A VVivacious Release Day Review: The Eye of Ra (Repeating History #1) by Dakota Chase

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Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
 
Aston and Grant are at odds with each other almost from the moment they first see each other. Besides the fact that they are both delinquents serving out their sentence in the Stanton School for Boys they have nothing in common. But they have no idea what the future has in store for them.
 
Aston thinks he is in enough trouble as it is but when a fight with Grant accidentally leads to a fire in their history teacher’s office, effectively destroying all his possessions, is when he will truly learn what trouble looks like. Because when your history teacher is Merlin and his possessions are some of them most valuable relics of all time, nothing is out of bonds and everything’s possible, even a visit to ancient Egypt to steal the Eye of Ra from King Tut himself.
 
This book was a very boring read especially for much of the first half of the book. Things happen pretty slowly and I also couldn’t identify with Aston’s character much in the beginning. Things do get interesting in the latter half but overall this book is a dull read with a few good moments.
 
The fact that this book has time travel, Ancient Egyptian History, Merlin and is a YA LGBT romance and still failed to make an impression on me is very telling. This book has so many good things going on that nothing gets the right amount of attention. The entire part of the back prior to the office’s destruction feels like a drag because you already know what is going to happen from the blurb and the fact that I couldn’t sympathize with Aston’s character made it worse. But when the moment finally comes everything happens too fast. I think there should have been a moment here just for the reader to digest the fact that Merlin is their history teacher and to start wondering what the hell he is doing in Stanton.
 
The part of the book taking place in Egypt is an improvement over the parts of the book preceding it. But there is a little too much historical detail, at times this book starts reading like a history textbook especially when Aston starts describing people and things and the decor in great detail. This often had me wondering how a teenager would know so much about Ancient Egypt and the fact that he watched one documentary, god knows when, isn’t enough justification.
 
Things get better to again become a drag which is only salvaged by the budding romance between Aston and Grant which is what made me like the book because prior to that reading this book was a chore, but the whole retrieving the amulet thing is too dragged out. I found myself constantly wishing that they would just get it and get back because it seemed like there was no good reason to keep putting it off.
 
Personally, I think this book would have been much better had it been a short story instead of a novel because everything that is interesting in this book could be better concentrated had this book been shorter. I really can’t say if I would like to continue this series because for me the only good thing in this story was the romance between Grant and Aston, the rest is pretty much a drag.
 
Cover Art by Anna Sikorska. I really liked the cover.

Sales Links: Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 180 pages
Expected publication: May 16th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press (first published May 15th 2010)
ISBN 1635333709 (ISBN13: 9781635333701)
Edition Language English
Series Repeating History #1

Pearl Love on Writing, Books and her latest novel ‘Salvation’s Song’ from Harmony Ink Press (author interview)

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Salvation’s Song by Pearl Love
H
armony Ink Press
May 16th 2017
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

Harmony Ink Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Pearl Love here today.  Welcome, Pearl, and thanks for answering some of our author questions for us!

✒︎

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Pearl Love~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

It varies from story to story, but in the case of “Salvation’s Song,” quite a lot.  The most obvious (to anyone who knows me) is the fact that Jeremy is a band geek. I played in band from the time I was in fifth grade through my senior year of college. It was my most singular defining characteristic as a kid. I never particularly felt like I fit in well with my peers, but being in band gave me a sense of belonging. 

I also borrowed heavily from my personal experiences to create Tyrell’s grandmother. I am extremely close to my own, and she is suffering from some of the same difficulties, though fortunately at a much older age. I wanted to try and convey that sense of helplessness and absolute love between Tyrell and Lucille. Having her illness be the result of something more than nature gone awry was my attempt to make sense out of things.

Lastly, there’s Tyrell’s mother, who I assured my own mom is no reflection on her whatsoever. LOL! The only resemblance is that they are both heavily into church, but really, that’s it. 

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I have tried writing contemporary (and will again very soon), but I’m not very good at it. I’m an aromantic asexual, so I have very limited real life experience with romance or relationships. It’s all fantasy to me, which is why I have no difficulty writing gay men even though I’m not one. I do have a tendency to insert fantastical elements into modern-day settings, which I’ve done with this story as well.  So, I guess my preferred genre these days is urban fantasy. I find it fascinating to think about the mundane and then turn it on its ear in some interesting way. In this case, I decided to meld the ancient (Assyrian gods and demons) with the world of high schoolers trying to determine their sense of self. So, the research for “Salvation’s Song” focused mainly on the supernatural aspects, since they are based on an actual religious construct.

I also really wanted to make the city of Chicago a character in the story. I grew up there and visit my family there as often as possible. It’s such a beautiful city with a lot of diversity in terms of neighborhoods and people. Being able to revisit the haunts of my youth, as well as discover new places I’ve never been, has been wonderful. Thank goodness for Google maps!!

For other books I’ve done, in particular The Garden series, which is set in Victorian London, I have to research every aspect of the story. I was never into history when I was younger, but lately it has become a singular fascination. Writing in a world that is part of the not-too-distant past but that is so different from our modern day-to-day has been a real treat.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve ready in either of those genres. I’m not a fan of the current trend for depressing teenage dystopias…expect for the Maze Runner series (thank you Dylan!).  I was heavily into fantasy and sci-fi when I was younger, so my love of those types of stories has definitely carried forward into my own work.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Here’s where I get to give my plug for plotting vs pantsing. For anything longer than a short story, I never type a word until I have the story completely plotted out. That way, I know exactly where I need to end up and generally how to get there. Some of the details may change as I write to accommodate the flow of the story or characters that get unruly, but for the most part, my outline dictates everything. Fortunately, this has allowed me to avoid getting stuck.

As for the emotional aspect of a story, since I’m not drawing on any personal experiences, I can stay detached from my characters to a degree. I would never write a story that doesn’t affect me on an emotional level, but the mechanics of getting the story into words gives me distance. That being said, when going back to edit a story for submission, I have occasionally surprised myself and teared up. I try to put a story away for a good length of time after writing the first complete draft so I can read it with fresh eyes. When I’m not buried in the technicalities of grammar and word choice, I can appreciate the story more for its emotion. If I sniff, I know I’ve done my job.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Since romance is like fantasy to me, I treat it as such. “Once upon a time” leading to “happily ever after.” I honestly don’t see the point in HFN. If I’ve taken the trouble to guide my characters through an emotional journey toward each other, I want it to stick! Relationships fail or fade away in real life. I don’t need to read about it in a romance novel. Of course, anyone who has read “’Til Darkness Falls” is probably laughing or screaming at me right now. LOL!

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I’m giggling because of a particular thing that happened to me in high school. When I was a freshman, I got caught reading a Harlequin romance in class. How? I was hiding it behind my text book and it fell out onto the floor. I was sitting in the first row. Yeah. I was an aide for the teacher because I was a total goodie-two-shoes. During my next volunteer time with that teacher, I apologized profusely for what happened. She just laughed and said, “That’s why you have such a good vocabulary.” Nice!

To answer the question, yes. I read romances like they were going out of style! My grandmother had a huge collection, and I steadily made my way through them starting at age twelve when she finally let me see one.  At first, she would only let me read the ones with little or no smut, but I would sneak the juicier titles while she wasn’t looking. I fell off only after I went to college and my supply dried up.  Now, I read mainly M/M romance, a lot of them in manga form.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I know there are people who are devoted to print, but I am not one of them. I have a ton of books. My house is a fire hazard! But the ability to have so many reading options on a single device like my Kindle or tablet is miraculous! Not having to deal with physical books just makes everything easier, particularly when I’m commuting to and from work or when I want to read in bed at night with the lights off.

I’m pretty sure there will always be some market for paper books, but I honestly believe the market is shifting permanently toward digital. With every generation that lives more of their lives on computers and mobile devices, the demand for physical reading material will shrink. It’s sad to a degree, but progress is all about change. I welcome our ebook overlords!

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

It really depends for some books (“To Be Human”/”To Be Loved”) I wanted the covers to reflect a moment from the story. For The Garden series, the covers reflect the setting of Victorian London or of the brothel. The original DSP cover for “’Til Darkness Falls” was intended to be a puzzle where elements from the story and the characters were hidden or in plain view. For “Salvation’s Song” I wasn’t really certain what I wanted, but I am thrilled with what the DSP/Harmon Ink art department came up with. The elements of the story, in particular Jeremy’s pendant and the music theme, are the prominent features, which is simply perfect.  The type of cover I would reject is one that has zero connection to the fabric of the characters or the plot. I’m not a fan of posed bodies that are just there to be seen. I also don’t love photo covers because the models never look how I pictured my characters, but I suspect most authors feel that way.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite is probably still my first: “’Til Darkness Falls.” It is my most ambitious plot, and I poured months (if not years) of effort into creating it. There is a lot my personality in Brian (bless his shy, awkward heart), but I absolutely fell in love with Alrick. I made him a sexy, cheesy romantic cello player who is a contentious assassin. Marry me! And now you know more about me than you probably want to. *smile*

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I am currently working on the third book in The Garden series. I also have a contemporary (gasp!) in the hopper. It will feature an established couple that goes through some pretty serious drama. After that, I will work on the next book in the Salvation series. Since it is a YA series with Harmony Ink, I am going to try stepping outside my M/M comfort zone and to tackle a F/F couple. Wish me luck!

“Salvation’s Song” blurb

Only a chosen few can prevent an ancient evil from overtaking the world: the Singers, the Seekers, and the Saviors….

Tyrell Hughes and Jeremy Michalak are both juniors at Winton Yowell High School in Chicago, and aside from sharing a homeroom, they couldn’t be more different. Tyrell is well-liked, surrounded by friends, popular with girls, and looking forward to a bright future. Jeremy transfers to Winton Yowell to escape the troubles of his past. He’s hoping to survive his last two years of high school by flying under his new classmates’ gaydar and indulging in his passion: playing clarinet.

Tyrell and Jeremy struggle to ignore their attraction to each other. But that becomes increasingly difficult as young people across the city start dying. Both teens realize they alone know the true cause of the tragedies—and have the ability to put a stop to them. They’re the city’s only chance to defeat the dark forces threatening it, but to succeed, they’ll need to find common ground and reconcile the desires they’re trying to deny.

About the Author

Writing Manly Romance From The Heart! Pearl Love has been writing since she was a kid, but it was the pretty boys who frolic around in her head who finally convinced her to pursue it seriously. She’s a mid-west transplant who current thrives in the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital. She enjoys any type of story so long as the boy gets the boy. Pearl is a Marvel fan girl and owns a ridiculous stash of knitting supplies.

Facebook: Pearl Love Books (https://www.facebook.com/Pearl-Love-Books-158363940846627/)

Twitter: @pearllovebooks

More Postcards from Leipzig and Free Dreamer. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More Postcards from Leipzig and Free Dreamer

Last week we had our first look at F.D.’s trip to the Leipzip Book Fair.  This Sunday we pick up at our second of three installments of Free Dreamer’s Postcards from Leipzip ~ Book Adventures!  Next Sunday, we will wrap it all up and announce our winner as well.  Take it away, F.D.!

Day 2:

Welcome back to my adventures at the Leipzig Book Fair!

On Saturday, day two of our stay, we all had to go to the actual book fair together. Mandatory school programm. Which didn’t last too long, since we split up before we ever reached fair grounds. Me and my friends decided to grab breakfast at the main station. Food at the fair grounds is very expensive!
The tram to the fair grounds was packed full to the brim. So many people! I got lucky and was one of the first people to squeeze my way inside and actually managed to find a seat.
The Leipzig fair grounds turned out to be absolutely beautiful. There was even a big pond with a beautiful fountain right in front of the building. The weather was lovely, so it made for really pretty pictures.
Since the tram ride had taken longer than expected, we of course ended up being slightly late. Me and two friends had decided to listen to a dicussion about queer literature. Luckily my two friends knew where to go, otherwise I would have gotten completely lost. The entrance hall is huge, but it was packed full of people. All in all, there were five or six giant halls occupied by the book fair and every single one was packed.
We arrived just in time. The discussion was unexpectedly popular, so we ended up sitting on the floor because all the seats were long taken. The discussion was led by the manager of the “Quer Verlag”, Germany’s first publisher for gay and lesbian literature,  a gay romance author and a writer and journalist for lesbian and feminist literature. The three of them talked about what actually counts as “queer literature”. The guy from the Quer Verlag and especially the journalist seemed to think that gay romance should not be considered “queer literature” as its target audience and its authors are heterosexual women and not queer people. I absolutely don’t agree with that assessment, personally. I’ve never cared about an author’s sexual orientation. I’ve only ever cared about the sexual orientiation of their protagonists. It made me sad and angry to see m/m romance being discriminated and belittled. I think a large part of that is due to it being romance, which is still not  a very respected genre here.
They also talked about troubles with marketing and how mainstream bookshops never seemed to know where to put queer literature books and how mainstream publishers never mention the word “gay” or “lesbian” in authors’ bios or book blurbs. While I do work in a mainstream bookshop, I can’t say I have any experience with either queer publishers or mainstream publishers with queer titles. If we’ve ever had such titles in stock, I wasn’t aware of it.
One of my friends got so annoyed with the discussion that she up and left in the middle of it. She’s proof that not all readers (and writers) of m/m romance are straight. She’s a lesbian and totally addicted to the m/m genre.
After this rather infuriating and fruitless discussion, I stayed on with my one remaining friend to listen to a discussion about All Age books. After the participants all seemed to agree that TV series are a good substitute for books and consequently kept talking about Gilmore Girls, I decided to leave this discussion. I’ve never liked Gilmore Girls and found the whole discussion rather boring.
While wandering the hall, I met some classmates. I ended up touring the hall with one of them and buying 28 postcards to satisfy my postcard-addiction. Since noon was fast approaching, we decided to get lunch. We ended up sharing fries and sun bathing outside for a bit. Which led to me almost being late to a reading by Brandon Sanderson. At least that’s what it said in the program. The “reading” turned out to be an interview, which was interesting too, but not what I’d expected.
Since it was all over faster than expected, I decided to go to the meeting of the German book forum I joined years ago. I’ve been an active member there for 8 years now and I’ve met a few great people. Surprisingly enough, I managed to find to find the meeting point without too much trouble, even though my sense for directions is usually utterly awful. Once there, lots of hugging and book and postcard signing ensued.
After that was over and done with, I decided to take a look at the remaining halls. I found a few interesting books but was too shy to beg for free copies. Instead I took pictures and begged for a free copy from the safety of my work place by writing an e-mail. Some of my classmates were a lot less shy. My two temporary roommates each snagged a whopping twelve free books each!
I left the fair around 5.30, since I was exhausted and hungry and had agreed to another forum meeting at 6.30. I would have made it easily, had it not been for my awful sense of direction making me take the wrong exit and wandering around for half an hour to find the tram stop, which was on the opposite side of where I’d exited the building. Once I’d finally found it, everybody was trying to go back to the city and I had to wait at least 30 minutes till I actually managed to squeeze onto on of the trams. It was ludicrous!
The meeting/dinner was very nice and I met a few wonderful new people. I left early, though, since I wasn’t sure how to get back to our dump of a motel and was worried I’d miss the last bus there.
On the tram back, I met my teacher and she asked me how I was planning to get back home tomorrow. That left me a little confused, since I had been planning to take the train with her and my classmates.
If you want to know how I made it back home without a train ticket and how a bra that didn’t belong to either me or my roommates ended up on our door, then check back next week for the conclusion of my Book Fair Adventures.
    —-   Free Dreamer

📚Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway📚

Have any questions for Free Dreamer? Leave them here along with your email address.  Random reader will be picked to win a $10 gift cert in the Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway.  It ends 5/5  at midnight.  Have you been to a book fair? Met your favorite author?   Do you want to know what was Free Dreamer’s favorite part of her book fair experience was or what books she brought home?  Write in and leave a comment!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 23:

  • More Postcards from Leipzig and Free Dreamer.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 24:

  • Blog Tour: Heir of Locksley by N.B. Dixon
  • Cover Reveal for Unsteady by Melissa Collins
  • Release Blitz – Rick R Reed’s Unhinged
  • Tour – Clare London ‘s A Good Neighbour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fishy Riot by Lindsey Black
  • A Ali Audiobook Review: Signs of Life (Resilient Love #2) by Melanie Hansen and Robert Nieman (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Pre Release Review: Risky Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z

Tuesday, April 25:

  • BLOG TOUR See My Words by Melanie Hansen
  • BLOG TOUR Solid Ground by Jeff McKown
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – By The Numbers – RJ Scott
  • A Jeri Release Day Review:  Darkest Hour Before Dawn (THIRDS #9) by Charlie Cochet
  • A Kai Audiobook Review: Add Love and Mix by Sean Michael and Steve Balderson (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Review: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Necromancer’s Dance (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #1) by S.J. Himes and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Wednesday, April 26:

  • Cover Reveal for Ellery Mountain 1,2 & 3 – RJ Scott
  • Review Tour – Starting From Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Thaw by Elyse Springer
  • A Julia Review: Thaw (Seasons of Love #2) by Elyse Springer
  • A Kai Release Day Review: Kissing Lessons (Before… and After #2) by Susan Laine
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Olive Juice by TJ Klune
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary’s Boys #2) by Brandon Witt

Thursday, April 27:

  • DSP GUEST POST BA Tortuga on Best New Artist
  • DSP GUEST POST Lindsey Black on Fishy Riot
  • Release Blitz Silvia Violet – Well-Tailored
  • Release Day Blitz: Tied to You by Riley Hart
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Tied to You by Riley Hart
  • A Julia Review: The Rest is Illusion by Eric Arvin
  • An Alisa Review: The Acrobat (Blood Ties Book 1) by Agnes Moon and Kevan Houser (Translator)
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon and Kevin Chandler (Narrator)

Friday, April 28:

  • DSP GUEST BLOG Marguerite Labbe on Pandora
  • DSP Publications GUEST POST: Amy Lane on Quickening, Vol. 1
  • Release Day Tour:  Unsteady by Melissa Collins
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Personal Challenges by KC Wells
  • A Julia Review: Realm of Passion by Courtney Breazile
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Best New Artist by BA Tortuga
  • An Ali Review: See My World by Melanie Hansen

Saturday, April 29:

  • Release Blitz – Laurent and the Beast by KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Sharp Shooter Tokyoite by Charlie Godwyne

Nikolai Joslin on Inspiration, Writing and Cold Front (The Fires of Destiny #2) (Harmony Ink Guest Post)

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Cold Front (The Fires of Destiny #2) by Nikolai Joslin
H
armony Ink Press
Cover Art by AngstyG

Available for Purchase at 

Harmony Ink Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Nikolai Joshlin here today to talk about his latest story, Cold Front and share something about the inspiration behind it and the series.  Welcome, Nikolai!

✒︎

Inspiration, Stories and Role Models by Nikolai Joslin

I always loved fantasy and science fiction when I was growing up but it felt like I was sacrificing an important part of myself when I was reading, it pulled me out of the story and I wasn’t able to relate to characters who weren’t like me. It was incredibly hard to be proud of who I was when I never got to see a hero or a ‘Chosen One’ who I could look up to as a role model for this part of my life. So I wrote the first book, Life Beyond the Temple, when I was in high school because I was so frustrated with the lack of LGBT characters in books that also had magic and people saving the world. Casey was someone I wanted to be like, someone who was saving the world and doing amazing things and who was proud of her sexuality and found love in the midst of all that was going on around her. I came up with the idea for these books because I couldn’t find anything around me to read, so I had to write it myself.

 

About Cold Front

Casey Kelley is a mage, and like all mages she grew up in a Temple, a required institution for mages to teach them how to control their power and keep them from harming those in the outside world. In order to prove that she could return to the world she was tasked with defeating a powerful necromancer that sought to end the world as they knew it.

Now, a year later, Casey is living with her fiancée and dog, living the happy, boring life she had been looking forward to all this time. Until an old friend shows up at their door with news of a planned attack on Casey’s old home. The dark elves, after centuries of being forced to live in underground cities and treated like animals, are not only coming back to the surface, they’re starting a war.

It’s up to Casey and her friends to build an army to go against them and save the world again, and it will take more than anything else she’s ever done. Old ghosts come back to haunt her, her enemies have been preparing for years, and maybe hardest of all is getting everyone to cooperate. Even with things looking this bad, Casey knows failure is not an option.

About Nikolai Joslin

Nikolai is a trans man going to school for Baking and Pastry Arts. He decided to write more LGBT fantasy when he was high school and looking for books with characters like himself but couldn’t find anything outside of realistic fiction. He hopes to encourage others to write more stories like this so he has plenty to read. Right now he is living in New York while finishing up his degree and working on the final book for The Fires of Destiny.

Website: www.nikolaijoslin.com

The Fires of Destiny 

Adventures From Leipzig – Postcards from Free Dreamer Part I. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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As promised, we are starting to post Free Dreamer’s adventures at the book fair.  We had a small teaser a short while ago.  But now let’s delve into Free Dreamer’s journey to Leipzig and her book adventures!

Adventures From Leipzig – Postcards from Free Dreamer

After a very bumpy ride on the night train from Vienna we finally arrived at Leipzig main station, early on Friday morning.Despite the early hour, the train station and the tram stops in front were very busy. Lots and lots of people arriving by train and taking the tram to the book fair.
We took the tram to our “hotel”. Oh boy, what a dump. It wasn’t a hotel but a camping site, with three of us sharing a bungalow each. It was freezing and tiny and the wireless didn’t work. We were collectively Not Pleased.
After we’d checked in and stored our luggage, my teacher made us go to a printing museum. We printed our own postcards, which was fun. And then an employee showed us one old and two really antique presses. It was really interesting to watch him work. Other than that, the museum was a bit dull and not very exciting.
Luckily, we got the rest of the day off and got to do whatever we wanted. Me and my three classmates went back to the main station. First, we explored the shops a bit. German products tend to be cheaper than those in Austria and there are some you can only get in Germany. I was getting really excited, because it wasn’t long till Brandon Sanderson, my absolutely most favourite author of all times would hopefully sign my books. So we decided to check out the book store that hosted the signing. Since nobody was around yet and we were all starving, we found food at the Pizza Hut next door. Another new experience for me, since there are no Pizza Huts in Austria.
For those of you who don’t know Brandon Sanderson: He’s an American Fantasy and SciFi author. I’ve been a fan of his works for many, many years and never thought I’d ever be lucky enough to meet him in person. Not all that many international authors ever make it to Austria.
When I got back to the shop, there was already a very long line of people waiting to have their books signed. I was so nervous and excited. I ended up standing in line for about 45 minutes. Luckily, the woman in front of me was very talkative and we had an interesting chat. A group of three showed up in cosplay, dressed as characters from “Way of Kings”. They were kind enough to pose for pictures.
And then I could see HIM. I wanted to squeal in excitement but held myself back. I was so thrilled. I had six books of his with me. And he signed every single one of them. For “Elantris”, he drew a little city map. Some of the others got a little quote from the book. And all of them got a “for Miriam”. I was happy beyond imagination.
He wanted to know if I had any questions for him. I was too excited to come up with anything good. But then I asked him why he didn’t come to Vienna and complained that I had to bring six (not exactly light) books all the way from Vienna by night train. First, he laughed and said, “Well, I flew over Vienna when I came here!” And I just thought to myself that that wasn’t very useful… Then he started to give me this speech about how a book shop had to contact his agent and invite him and so on. I cut him off. (Yes, I cut off my absolutely most favourite author!!) I explained that I’m a bookseller and that I’m aware of the procedure. And that my employer HAD invited him. He listened patiently and then gave me hope. Once he gets invited somewhere, he always visits, sooner or later. Then I posed for a picture with him and when I left, he said, “Thank youf or being a bookseller!” I was thrilled beyond words. *.*
After that amazing experience, I met up with my friends again, who are horribly ignorant people who’ve never read anything by Brandon Sanderson, even though I repeatedly told them how awesome he is. We wanted to go to the Fantasy night hosted by a German publisher. On the way there, we got horribly lost and ended up being half an hour late. Since Brandon Sanderson and two famous German Fantasy authors were there, the place was packed and we couldn’t even get into the main room anymore. We had to sit in a side room, with no view of the stage and could only listen to the three of them talking. The interview wasn’t done very well. Half the stuff wasn’t translated or was lost in translation, since Sanderson doesn’t speak German. It ended up being a rather dull affair and we left after a short while.
The day had been long and the night even shorter, so we found our way back to our dump. It was a little creepy at night. It was in the middle of a forest and not very well lit. Apparently those houses are a favourite hiding place for spiders. My two friends got rid of a huge, hideous spider, while I hid out on my bed. I think we killed five or six spiders that night. It was really rather disgusting. *shudders*
If you want to hear how we survived the night in the spider-infested dump and what Germans have to say about queer literature, check back next week.

📚Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway📚

Have any questions for Free Dreamer? Leave them here along with your email address.  Random reader will be picked to win a $10 gift cert in the Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway.  It ends 4/29 at midnight.  Have you been to a book fair? Met your favorite author?   Do you want to know what was Free Dreamer’s favorite part of her book fair experience was or what books she brought home?  Write in and leave a comment!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 16:

  • Adventures From Leipzig – Postcards from Free Dreamer
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 17:

  • Book Blitz September by Robert Winter
  • Cardeno C on the Mates series + Giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Tali Spencer on Breaking the Ice
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Moments – RJ Scott
  • Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown
  • A Caryn Review:  Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown
  • A Julia (or Stella) Prerelease Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • A MelanieM Review Tour: Moments by RJ Scott

Tuesday, April 18:

  • DSP GUEST POST RK Staunton
  • HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST Nikolai Joslin on Cold Front
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Wake Up Call by JL Merrow
  • A MelanieM Review:  Imagines (Imago #2) by N.R Walker
  • A Stella Review: Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow
  • An Alisa Review: Beneath the Layers Anthology
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Lord Mouse (Lords of Davenia #1) by Mason Thomas and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Wednesday, April 19:

  • Blog tour Shelter The Sea by Heidi Cullinan
  • Blog Tour Beneath the Layers Anthology
  • Fierce by Rob Rosen 2 week blog tour
  • Review Tour – N.R Walker – Imagines (Imago #2)
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  A Day Makes by Mary Calmes
  • A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Fierce by Rob Rosen
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

Thursday, April 20:

  • Blog Tour: Falling for Him by CL Mustafic
  • DSP GUEST POST Andria Large on From War to Forever
  • Review Tour – Snap Shot by V.L Locey
  • RIPTIDE TOUR A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers
  • A MelanieM  Audiobook Review: Rough Edges by Cardeno C. and Kevin Chandler (Narrator)

Friday, April 21:

  • Blog Tour Drama Queens With Love Scenes by Kevin Klehr
  • Book Blitz Sound of Us by A.M. Arthur
  • DSP GUEST POST KC Burn on Just Add Argyle + Giveaway
  • Release Blitz & Giveaway:  Clare London’s  A Good Neighbour
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts #3) by K.C. Burn
  • A MelanieM Review: Wave Goodbye to Charlie by Eric Arvin
  • A Stella Review: Falling for Him by CL Mustafic
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Imperfection of the Swans by Brandon Witt and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Saturday, April 22:

A MelanieM Review: Wytch & Prinze by Kassandra Lea

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out #2) by Sean Kennedy

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Sequel to The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson

On the outside, Micah Johnson seems to have everything. He is proving his worth on the field during his rookie year with his new professional football team, the Fremantle Dockers, but his personal life is a mess. Homesick, three thousand kilometres away from his family and friends on the other side of Australia, Micah isn’t coping. He’s using casual sex, alcohol, and drugs as crutches since he doesn’t feel comfortable approaching his foster family with his problems, and he’s left with nowhere to turn. It isn’t until he experiences a health scare and a friend is rocked by a personal tragedy that Micah realises he does have the strength to succeed at a new life in the West—but he has to learn to ask for help.

Sean Kennedy is a must go author for me.  He become one on the strength of his wonderful series Tigers and Devils. Its from that series that the complicated and sometimes self-destructive Micah Johnson sprang.  He was a compelling character in Tigers on the Run (Tigers and Devils #3) so it was amazing (and overjoyed Kennedy’s readers when he brought him back in the Get Out series.

What can I say?  Use every cliche you want but this series and character just keep getting better and better!  Micah Johnson’s propensity for trouble begins early in Tigers and Devils and stays with him all through the first two stories in Get Out.  But these things that steer him towards a predilection for self-destructive habits are ones I think  most people will recognize.  The ability to believe you can handle things yourself…until they blow up, closing yourself off from people who want to help you until its too late…and you’re a teenager to boot.   When he finally realizes he needs help?  Well, you are almost weeping for joy for him and those that love and support him.  Those are just the first couple of books you meet him in.

Then comes Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out #2).  Micah’s world gets upended…again.  In a totally believable way.  The football draft!  And Micah gets all his worst fears and the best thing to ever happen to him all in one.

Sean Kennedy’s writing is just amazing.  I get lost in Micah’s story immediately.  Lost in his turmoil of emotions and the whirlwind of feelings whipping all around him.  Plus the author never loses sight of what’s happening to Micah’s all important support…his family, friends, and mentors, which include Dec and Simon from Tigers and Devils (yes, a wonderful series overflow occurs).

We also travel from Melbourne to Perth, a shock to the  system as well, in location and perhaps even in mentality.  Smaller, hot, isolated, the relocation to Perth is a shock to Micah’s system in every sense of the word.  Kennedy, however, supplied Micah with an incredible host family and mentor, a troubled younger brother Dane  to the host football player (an important part of this story) and a greater secondary cast to draw on for the next stories. The Mitchell household (Micah’s football foster family as it were) provides a wealth of storylines and  emotional support for everyone here.  Trust you, you will end up falling deeply in love with them as well. And don’t get me started on the Dockers organization and team! Loved them!

See?  One thing just leads to one more element but Kennedy ties them all together so perfectly, so naturally that the relationships, the work that it takes, the missed steps and yes, the forgiveness…well, it all seems right and very real.  And it made me want to get a jersey with Micah Johnson’s name and number on it!

Can you read it as a standalone?  I suppose so.  But read as part of this series and as even part of Tigers and Devils, you put the characters and their situations in context.  Its then becomes this incredible rich tapestry of lives, sports and cities that stays seated deep within your heart and continues to grow in scope with each story the author writes.  I need more of this series and as soon as possible.  So I hope Sean Kennedy is listening.

Oh and yes, I highly recommend this book, the previous book and Tigers and Devils.  So yes to the author too!

Cover art by Catt Ford is simple enough for Micah, the character. Would have loved some element of the Dockers there.

Sales Links  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 186 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1635333644 (ISBN13: 9781635333640)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Get Out 

  • The Ongoing Reformation of Micah Johnson (Get Out #1)
  • Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out, #2)

Hello April! New Beginnings and Reviewers at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Hello April

April has arrived and with it new arrivals at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  We have been looking to add new reviewers here and have been very lucky to have two new people recently join us.  What a great way to sail into April!  In addition, we have a preview of a reviewer blog from Free Dreamer and two giveaway announcements too.  And no, there’s no April’s Fools Jokes to be found anywhere!   Far too busy for such sass!

New Beginnings Announcements ~ New Reviewers!

We have another new reviewer starting at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Please welcome Kai, another international member of our family.  You’ll be hearing from Kai in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime,  here’s a short bio from Kai herself:

Meet Kai

Hey guys, I’m a Brazilian college student, living in São Paulo with my crazy sister.
 When I’m not in class or working, you can always find me reading.
I love to read, reaaally love. Actually, I’m a little obsessed: I can’t go anywhere without something to read – thank God for the e-readers.
I used to read a lot of mystery, classics, adventure, fantasy, but my favorite kind of book always was romance [what I can say? I’m a romantic kind of girl]. I found out about mm romance last year, by accident.
I was reading a series by Aly Martinez and the second book is a mm called “The Spiral Down (The Fall Up, #2) “. I read it and liked so much that I needed more. Then I found “HIM” by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen [one of my favorites since then]… After that, I become definitely a fan of mm books. Now I’m a crazy fan. I’m so in love with this genre that I almost never read m/f anymore.
 
I also love to travel, play board games with my friends and write short stories. I wrote a lot of short stories, so far just in Portuguese and just for fun, but who knows? One day I can become a super author with a movie based on my book. hahaha
 
I like to read my books with low angst, sweet and romantic story, hot scenes[I’m only human] and remarkable characteres. Hope to find more and more books like that to read. I’m always searching and, of course, recommendations is welcome. 🙂
With the addition of Kai this week, and Julia , in Austria along with F.D.,  in early March, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very international in our outlook! Do you know who else here lives abroad? Check out our reviewer bios! Our perspectives from all over certainly give us a wonderful international slant when it comes to reviews, books, cultures and locations for book settings!

Our Reviewer Adventures!

📚F.D. also known as Free Dreamer just finished attending a book fair in Leipzig, Germany.   I asked her to give us her impressions on the fair, meeting authors and some of the LGBT book offerings there.  Keep your eyes open for that reviewer blog coming up soon!  Here is your teaser from Free Dreamer from her upcoming blog:
As some of you may know, I earn my living as a bookseller. I’m an apprentice bookseller, to be exact. That means I go to vocational school twice a week to learn the theory behind the art of bookselling. 😉 That also means I get to go on awesome book-related school trips.
Last weekend, we went to the big book fair in Leipzig, Germany. That’s about 8 hours by train from Vienna, where I live and work. We met up late on Thursday night to catch the night train to Leipzig. Me and five of my classmates shared a compartment. Six cots in a tiny compartment, with six excited young women and a very bumpy ride… You can imagine how much sleep we all got! The train ride was definitely an adventure. At times it felt like I was about to slide out of my cot. When we were woken at around 6am, we had half an hour before we had to get off the train. Well, that certainly wasn’t enough. When we arrived at our destination, I was still missing a sock and wearing my pj top… And when I unpacked my handbag while looking for my wallet to buy breakfast at the train station, my phone was gone! Luckily the train was still at the platform and I found my phone in no time at all…
If you want to know more about my adventures in Leipzig and find out how I felt meeting my favourite author ever, then check back next week for a more detailed account of my misdeeds.
F.D.
I can just imagine her excitement! What a trip that must have been!  I’ll be reading her adventures along with all of you.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Giveaway Announcements

 

📚Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway.

Have any questions for Free Dreamer? Leave them here along with your email address.  Random reader will be picked to win a $10 gift cert in the Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway.  It ends 4/22 at midnight.  Have you been to a book fair? Met your favorite author?   Do you want to know what was Free Dreamer’s favorite part of her book fair experience was or what books she brought home?  Write in and leave a comment!
 📚Winner of our Wild Unpredictable Love Giveaway was H.B.  H.B.’s list of books?  H.B. had 2 on their list I hadn’t heard of and will now be tracking down (Broken in Silence and Grayson).  The other 3 are already firm favorites of mine.  H.B., Stella will be in contact with you about your certificate! Congratulations!
H.B.’s list:
ePistols at Dawn by Z.A. Maxfield
Broken in Silence by Katze Snow
Beta Test by Annabeth Albert
Connection Error by Annabeth Albert
Grayson by Morgan Campbell 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, April 2:

  •  Hello April! New Beginnings and Reviewers at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Alina Popescu’s Free Books for Five Days Giveaway Announcement!

Monday, April 3:

  • Release Blitz for Lillian Francis’ Renaissance
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway: An Unexpected Shot by Caitlin Ricci
  • Release Blitz for Who I am When I’m with You by Tamryn Eradani
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Plaid Versus Paisley by KC Burn
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: The Android and the Thief  by Wendy Rathbone

Tuesday, April 4:

  • DSP GUEST POST Julia Talbot on Just a Cowboy
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Home Fires (Common Law #4) by Kate Sherwood
  • An Ali Review:  Home Fires (Common Law #4) by Kate Sherwood
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Witches For Hire by Sam Argent
  • A Paul B Release Day Review: Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out #2) by Sean Kennedy

Wednesday, April 5:

  • DSP GUEST POST Bru Baker on Tall, Dark, and Deported
  • Book Blitz: Broken Bastard by A.L. Simpson
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Leap of Faith by Jackie Keswick
  • An Alisa Review: Broken Bastard (Broken #1) by A.L. Simpson
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: Joy (States of Love) by C.S. Poe

Thursday, April 6:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch
  • DSP GUEST POST: Wendy Rathbone on The Android and the Thief
  • Blog Tour for The Rainbow Clause by Beth Bolden
  • Review Tour:  Lillian Francis’ Renaissance
  • A Stella Review: Renaissance by Lillian Francis
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch
  • A VVivacious Review: Norwegian Woody (Let it Beatle #4) by J.D. Walker (

Friday, April 7:

  • Release Blitz and Giveaway for Snap Shot by V.L Locey
  • DSP GUEST POST Jackie Keswick on Leap of Faith
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway:  Stories From Sapphire Cay Vol 2 – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway: Take a Chance by Megs Pritchard
  • Review Tour – Annabelle Jacobs – Bitten By Design
  • A MelanieM Review: Bitten by Design by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Stella Review: Forged in Trust (Bay Area Professionals #4) by Mickie B. Ashling

Saturday, April 8:

  • A MelanieM Review:Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes #3) by Angel Martinez

Russell J. Sanders on Writing, Characters and his new novel ‘All You Need is Love’ (author interview/Harmony Ink Blog Tour)

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All You Need Is Love by Russell J. Sanders
H
armony Ink Press

Available for Purchase at

Harmony Ink Press

📚

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Russell J. Sanders here today talking about writing, characters and his latest story, All You Need Is Love. Welcome, Russell.

📚

✒︎Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Russell J. Sanders✒︎

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think it’s impossible for an author to create a character that doesn’t have some aspects of him/herself. We are products of our own experiences, thus we use those experiences—whether physical or emotional—in our characters. But in my new novel All You Need Is Love, that “putting myself into the character” goes far beyond where I’ve gone before. The main character Dewey Snodgress is I, and I am he. I’m not saying that everything that happens to Dewey happened to me as a teenager. The plot of the book is totally fabricated. But Dewey has so much me in him that I consider the book autobiographical. Like Dewey, I was a soloist in my high school choir, I was an actor with my high school drama group, and I was so sheltered that I barely knew what was going on in the world outside my high school. Also like Dewey, I never met a black person. In my 1960s Texas world, we had no black kids in our high school. They lived across town, and we never had occasion to mix with them. My fantasy of how Dewey meets LuLu is inspired by how I met one of my dearest friends—many years later—a beautiful, wildly funny African-American woman. And adding to the similarity between me and Dewey, I graced Dewey with the same childhood nickname my dad christened me with.

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I’ve done both. I have written novels like Special Effect and Colors where I’ve set the story in “today,” and not had to do much but create a story and characters from my own experiences and knowledge-base. Then there’s The Book of Ethan, set in the “now,” but is a book I had to meticulously research in order to create the world of a religious cult. Much of what I wrote is true, some is what I invented based on my research, in order to fuel the plot I wanted to tell. My first book Thirteen Therapists is set in modern-day Chicago, a city I love and have visited many times. But still I needed to do research to get the sense of place I needed. Then there are my historical novels, the current All You Need Is Love and the upcoming (in 2018) Titanic Summer. I did extensive research for both. I wouldn’t have thought I needed to research a story set in the era where I grew up in the town in which I grew up, but All You Need Is Love continuously sent me to experts to check facts or to fill me in on things my brain had lost. My brother, younger, handsomer, and smarter than I, was able to refresh my memories of our childhood neighborhood, while I got invaluable assistance from experts about the Vietnam War and the Texas one–act play contest of the time. For Titanic Summer, I spent hours reading about the famous ship that hit the iceberg so I could re-create that time and experience. Perhaps the novel I’ve researched the most is the one being released in 2019—You Can’t Tell by Looking. One of its main characters is a Muslim-American teen, and I read several books, learning about Islam, so I could get it all right.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

When I was a kid, I read everything. And I do mean everything. My mother, a voracious reader herself, raised me with this philosophy: “If he doesn’t understand it, it can’t hurt him; if he does understand it, it can only broaden his perspectives.” I remember my sixth grade teacher, at the beginning of the year, announced that she wanted us all reading books outside of the classroom, but she wanted to approve of each book. After I took her three or four books I was reading, she threw up her hands and said I didn’t need approval any more. It wasn’t that she felt she couldn’t control me, it was that she trusted that I could read whatever I wanted, and what I wanted to read were often bestsellers written for adults. So my love of reading certainly influenced my choice to become a writer.

As for choosing to write young adult novels, that came about more because of my teaching career. Actually, when I grew up, young adult novel was not a genre. Books with teen protagonists were just books, either young enough in perspective for children to read or old enough in perspective for adults to enjoy. But as a high school teacher, I learned to love young adult novels and love teenagers. I wanted to create books that reflected their experiences and spoke to them, and thus my career writing YA was born.

  • Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Never. I’ve put aside stories because I suddenly got stumped and couldn’t continue because I didn’t have a clue where the story was taking me. But those were stories that weren’t meant to be. The process many writers follow is to outline a plot and write from the outline. I think of a character, a setting, an incident, and then I start writing. My fingers take me all the way to the end. I’m continually amazed at what my characters do and where they go. I once wrote a murder plot that had a choice of six different murderers, and I didn’t know who did the dastardly deed until he confessed! I love that my characters take on their own lives and let me write those lives down for them. I get to live through them instead of my creating their lives.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I love romantic stories. Romance novels, as a genre, are not something I pick up very often. Amazingly, the genre seems to require two or three explicit sex scenes, and I get bored reading those, whether hetero or homo. You’d think I, as a gay man, would want to read about a hot encounter, but I think I, as a storyteller, want the story to keep advancing, and a sex scene just stops the action for me. And so, in my romantic young adult novels, my sex scenes are pretty tame, created to show character or plot development, rather than to add steam. And don’t get me wrong, I applaud the readers of Romance novels and I admire and honor the writers of that genre. As they say, different strokes for different folks.

  • Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Definitely, growing up it was my mother. The woman had a book at her easy chair, a book in the car, a book in her purse, a book by her bedside, and yes, a book in the bathroom, so she would never be without something to read. And she kept all those ongoing plots straight! So how could I not be influenced by that? (And yet, to my chagrin, my younger brother is not an avid reader, although I’m proud to say he’s read all the books I’ve written and is one of my greatest champions.)

As far as now, I suppose one of my greatest influences is the award-winning author Benjamin Alire Saenz. He truly is the finest writer alive today in my opinion. He is also a great human being, and it shows in his writing. I love all his books from my favorite, his first novel Carry Me Like Water, to his young adult novels like his Lambda award-winning book Ari and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. If I could be one tenth the success that Ben is and garner even 1% of the good reviews he gets, I would feel like an ultra-successful writer.

Aside from Ben, though, I continually sing the praises of my mentors: Kathi Appelt and Kelly Bennett. Both are amazing writers, teachers, and friends. Kathi encouraged me by example and by words long before I even began writing novels, and Kelly not only taught me and critiqued me, she has been steadfast in supporting my quest to be published and the continuance of this budding career I have. And she is one of my dearest friends.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Love/Hate. I love that it is successful and that many younger readers are actually reading because they are comfortable tied to their electronic devices. And selfishly, I love that royalties from an ebook purchase are greater than those from a print book purchase. But personally, I hate ebooks. There is something cold about the format. I feel that I’m not reading a real book if I can’t turn pages, look back easily to see what I missed, turn to the back cover and read the blurb one more time. Reading a print book is a sensory experience that I don’t get from an ebook.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I’m blessed to be published by Dreamspinner/Harmony Ink Press. They have the most incredibly talented artists. From a questionnaire I fill out (where I present some outlandish, unworkable ideas,) the Dreamspinner Press artist comes up with the perfect distillation of the essence of my book. And presents me with three or four choices! And then I’m further blessed that my husband is a graphic artist, for he can look at each choice, ask me questions, take my feedback, and help me either choose the best or know what to say if I deign to ask my artist to do further work. But lordy, lordy, lordy—no matter what I suggest, the artist comes back with the perfect cover. I was honored to have artist Anne Cain design the cover for The Book of Ethan. She evoked the two worlds of the cult-fleeing Ethan and the black rapper Kyan so beautifully. Aaron Anderson did Special Effect, with its shadowy figure trapped in the half-light of a dark theater; Colors and its stained glass that main character Neil is so tormented over; and All You Need Is Love’s iconic gun with the daisy in its barrel with the 1960s-inspired psychedelic paisley lettering. Aaron’s covers take my breath away.

  • Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

My favorite, I guess, is the one I’ve just finished. I finished Thirteen Therapists and loved it. Then I wrote Special Effect, and I was amazed I could create a murder mystery. Next came The Book of Ethan, and I was enthralled by the world I painted. Colors came after that, and I marveled at how I managed to tackle such an important, difficult subject. But oh—I wrote All You Need Is Love, and it is so much my life story that I can’t help but cherish it. The upcoming novels Titanic Summer and You Can’t Tell by Looking, when I see each in print, will probably capture my heart, respectively. What can I say? I love writing, and I love what I write. Does that sound too self-aggrandizing?

  • What’s next for you as an author?

What’s next? What’s next is to make sure All You Need Is Love finds its audience. Besides how much I love the story and want to share it with everyone, I think it is an important book because it sheds light on the era of the 1960s, a turbulent, life-changing time in America that most teens today know very little about. Even if they don’t learn enough from my book, I hope it spurs them to search for more about that time.

And then, of course, are my two novels already under contract. Spring of 2018 will see Titanic Summer, a novel that tells of a gay teen in the summer of 2015 in Houston, Texas, when the fight for the Houston Equal Rights Amendment was being fought. That fight was ultimately lost, but my hero wins his parallel fight with his gay identity, his problems with his father, and his feelings about a newfound friend. And along the way, I might add, he learns about a teen who perished on the Titanic.

A year later, I’ll have You Can’t Tell by Looking, a story of a love that develops between a Christian boy and a Muslim-American classmate, replete with all the things a relationship of that sort stirs up.

And finally, there’s a new story rumbling in my gut. I know very little about it, but sooner or later, it’s going to poke its head out and introduce itself. And then my fingers will fly across the keys to tell that story!

All You Need Is Love…blurb

It is 1969 when Dewey Snodgress, high school theater star, meets irrepressible hippie Jeep Brickthorn, who quickly inserts himself into Dewey’s life—and eventually, into his heart. Meanwhile, Dewey prepares to appear in a production across town, a play about protestors of the Vietnam War, where he befriends the wild and wonderful Lucretia “LuLu” Belton, who is also determined to follow her dreams and become an actress—whether her parents approve or not.

 The show has a profound effect, especially on Dewey’s father, who reconsiders his approval of the war after his son’s performance. But Dewey knows his dad won’t be so accepting if he reveals the love he’s developing for Jeep, so he fights to push his feelings away and keep the peace in his family.

 Still, Dewey can’t ignore the ripples moving through society—from the impending Woodstock Festival to the Stonewall Riots—and he begins to see that the road to happiness and acceptance for him and Jeep might lead them away from conservative Fort Worth, Texas—and Dewey’s dad.

Russell J. Sanders…bio

Russell J. Sanders is a life-long devotee of the theater. He’s a singer, actor, and director, winning awards for his acting roles and shows he has directed. As a teacher, he has taught theater arts to hundreds of students, plus he’s also taught literature and writing to hundreds of others.

Russell has also travelled the world, visiting Indonesia, Japan, India, Canada, the Caribbean, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Venice—and almost all the US states. His friends think he’s crazy, but wherever he goes, he seeks out Mexican restaurants. The Mexican food in Tokyo was great, he says; in Rome, not so good. Texans cut their teeth on barbecue and Mexican food. Russell’s love for enchiladas led him on a quest to try them wherever he can find them, and he has found them in some very out of the way places. And good or bad, he’s delighted to sample his favorite food.

Most importantly, Russell is an out and proud Gay man, living in Houston with his husband—a relationship that has lasted almost twenty years. He hopes that his novels inspire confidence and instill pride in his young Gay fans, and he also hopes others learn from his work.

Media Contacts for Russell J. Sanders:

Author of…

   Thirteen Therapists (Featherweight Press)

   Special Effect (Harmony Ink Press)

   The Book of Ethan (Harmony Ink Press)

   Colors (Harmony Ink Press)

   All You Need Is Love (Harmony Ink Press, coming March 2017)
   Titanic Summer (Harmony Ink Press, coming Spring 2018)

Wild, Unpredictable March and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Wild, Unpredictable March – Wild Tales of Love

 

Love provokes all sorts of emotions in us all and authors then write about them.  And of course, we love to read about them.  I’ve been talking about unpredictable couples, when one of the pairs turns out to be something totally unexpected ~ shifters, alien, what have you.  We paused that for St. Patrick’s Day and irishmen.  But  let’s pick it up again and expand the category.  What about those stories where one of the pair is unpredictable?  What is unpredictable to you?  Is it the best friend?  The frenemy? That first love that reappears after 20 years?  Or a true SciFy or Fantasy couple?  Again shifters, fae, magicians, and aliens etc come into play.

Do you all find that to be true?  Or is it when you fall in love with the friend that has always known you so well, been there for you, been your rock, a quiet love? What sorts of love do you find irresistible to read about in stories?  I wonder if the types of couples makes any difference when it comes to love.  I’m reviewing three books this week, one a contemporary love story by Amy Lane where the couple finds love at an older age and two with established fantasy and supernatural couples.  For all three love feels very much the same for all three pairs no matter the circumstances.

Wild, Unpredictable Love Giveaway!

Does love make us different?  Should it vary wildly from person to person, species to species?  Or is love so deeply essential and elemental that is transcends all boundaries?  What’s unpredictable to you? In couples and in romance. Let me know what you think and your favorite books that make your point!  The random reader chosen will receive a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press.  Giveaway ends March 29th at midnight.

Lucky In Love – A St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway!  The Winner is Fehu.  Stella will be in contact with you about your certificate.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 19:

  • Wild, Unpredictable March – Wild Tales of Love
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 20:

  • DSP GUEST POST Cy Blanca on A Teacher and a Poet
  • Blog Tour A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove
  • Release Day Blitz From Top to Bottom by Kevin Klehr
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: The Virgin Manny (The Mannies #1) by Amy Lane and John Solo (Narrator)
  • A VVivacious Review: A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove
  • An Ali Review: An Arresting Ride (Survivors Find Love #2) by Lissa Kasey

Tuesday, March 21:

  • Cover Reveal – By The Numbers – RJ Scott
  • DSP GUEST POST Tara Lain on Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns
  • BLOG TOUR Between the Secrets by S. Ferguson
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Growing Pains by Cass Lennox (giveaway)
  • An Ali Review: A Matter of Duty by JC Long
  • An Alisa Review: My Best Man by  Linn Edwards

Wednesday, March 22:

  • No Regrets by Nicky James Tour
  • An Alisa Review: The Cookie Said Red by J.D. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  An Invitation by Jay Northcote
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns (Cowboys Don’t #2) by Tara Lain

Thursday, March 23:

  • Review Tour & Giveaway – The Case Of The Guilty Ghost (End Street Book #6)
  • HARMONY INK PRESS BLOG TOUR Russell J. Sanders on All You Need is Love
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into the Fall (Leaning Into #2) by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review: The Case Of The Guilty Ghost (End Street Book #6) by Amber Kell and RJ Scott

Friday, March 24:

  • Release Day Blitz She Belongs to Them Both by Sedonia Guillone
  • DSP PUBLICATIONS BLOG TOUR Don Travis on The Bisti Business
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane
  • An Ali Review: Here For Us by AM Arthur

Saturday, March 25:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Twilight by Megan Derr

 

A Caryn YA Release Day Review: Driven by MB Mulhall

Standard

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I found this book a frustrating combination of a nice spin on the hurt/comfort trope, but with frequent sections that bothered me: long boring inner monologues by the main character, Oliver, and moments of incredible stupidity that literally made me want to DNF the book several times. I persevered because I was reading it for this review, and in the end I was glad I did, but it was close! Oliver is a homeless young man who is brought out of the vicious cycle of his self-recrimination and loathing by the kindness of several people in the community. His love interest, Simon, is actually a rather small part of the group that ultimately makes Oliver believe that he can be loveable, and I thought that was pretty refreshing.

The book starts with a flash forward to a moment when it seems that Oliver is dying. He is thinking of all the people he will miss, and the story truly commences at the time when he first meets the main secondary characters in the book. Two kind old ladies offer him a place in their home on a provisional basis, with the expectation that he help them out around the house. In addition to food and shelter, they offer him respect and kindness, which he has a hard time accepting as he has come to think of himself as the worst kind of criminal. There are hints about an accident, and incarceration, though the details are not revealed (and then only sketchily so) until later in the book. Simon is the boy next door who also befriends the skittish Oliver and encourages him to stay and give the old ladies, and himself, a chance. In the end, of course, Oliver learns to believe in himself and have faith in others, and has a promising future – and that’s not really a spoiler, just the expected resolution of a hurt/comfort romance.

The tragic events in Oliver’s past life were only somewhat vaguely explained, and I didn’t truly follow the path from accident to jail to homelessness. It was all fueled by Oliver’s self-hate, but those endless monologues just made me think he was whiny rather than feeling compassionate for his suffering. He also several times got into situations that he responded to with “too stupid to live” actions that just made no sense, when he was otherwise supposed to be a pretty smart guy. Those seemed like gratuitous drama and angst to me, and completely turned me off. I think different writing could have made me believe that Oliver’s self-hate was justified, but I just didn’t feel it. I didn’t get what his art had to do with anything, it really felt superfluous to his personality and to the story. I never understood what kind of hold Marcus had (the bad guy) had over him. The book was also fairly long for the plot and action that occurred, which I blame on those long monologues, and that made the pace of the book slow, and I found myself putting it down frequently to pursue something more exciting – like doing laundry.

I guess, in the end, the blurb was everything I wanted the story to be, but the execution was kind of a swing and a miss for me.

Cover art by Anna Sikorska was very appropriate for the story, and the empty section of highway was good for the initial somber tone of the story.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press

Book Details:

ebook, 210 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1635332796 (ISBN13: 9781635332797)
Edition LanguageEnglish