Jump Back to Jazz Age Romance with the Book Blitz Tour for Midnight Flit (The Carstairs Affairs #2) by Elin Gregory (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 73,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: Manifold Press
 
The Carstairs Affairs Series
 
Book 1 – Eleventh Hour – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link
 
Blurb


Miles Siward and Briers Allerdale return for another thrilling Jazz Age adventure .

“Silk stockings on expenses.”

Miles’s aristocratic mother has information of importance to the British Government and he must escort her home from Bucharest immediately, but their plans go violently awry and Miles and Lady Siward find themselves on a train to Belgrade – where Miles’s lover is posted. Since their pursuers are looking for a man and a woman, might two women slip past them unnoticed?

“Is anyone on this train who they say they are?”

Briers doesn’t know whether to kiss Miles or punch him but is delighted to accompany him and his mother on their journey. All he has to do is keep an eye open for their enemies – but who exactly are they; the enormous Russian, the sinister priest, the handsome jazz pianist, or maybe the winsome young movie star? And his mother-in-law might just be the most terrifying of all!

All aboard for the ride of a lifetime, with a cast of characters you’ll never forget!


Excerpt


Secret Intelligence service operative, Miles Siward, is preparing for a mission with the assistance of his gentleman’s gentleman, Pritchard.

“Do you miss working for Father?” Miles asked after a moment. “I feel bad that I’ve never asked before, but I was so grateful when you agreed to come back with me and run my little establishment that I suppose it never occurred to me to ask.”

Pritchard paused, his hands full of snowy linen. “Lord bless you, sir, no. Ronald and I were heartily sick of exchanging letters by then, and maybe seeing each other once a year – your father’s commitments allowing. To be offered the chance to come here, with private accommodation provided, was a Godsend. My only worry was that a relationship started in the trenches and continued on paper might not weather more frequent contact.”

Ronald – professional stage manager, natty dresser, a full head taller than Pritchard – was perhaps a little shrill, but one had to be shrill to be heard in theatrical circles. From what little Miles had seen of Pritchard and Ron together, though, they seemed blissfully happy and he wished them well and envied them with all his heart.

“I’m glad,” he said. “Going from valet to His Majesty’s Ambassador in Bucharest to the man-of-all-work of a clerk seems such a come down.”

“We both know that you are far more than a clerk, sir,” Pritchard grinned. “And speaking of more, Bucharest is not that far from Belgrade. While you are there, will there be any chance of meeting with the master?”

Miles snorted. “You mustn’t call Briers that, it only encourages him. He’ll turn up in plus fours and a monocle next, you wait and see!”

“It’s meant affectionately, sir.” Pritchard gave him a serene smile and tucked a rolled black tie and a pair of silk socks in beside the shirt.

“I know, and he loves it.” Miles paused in smiling contemplation of Briers Allerdale – tall where Miles was short, dark where he was fair, a hard-bitten field agent where Miles spent a lot of time at his desk − and thanked his lucky stars that opposites attract. “But sadly I am only going for one night, solely to retrieve Ma and bring her home safely in time for her appointment. A side trip is completely out of the question.

“I understand, sir.” From the sympathetic glint in Pritchard’s eye, Miles knew that he did understand, very well.

 
About Elin
 

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and works in a museum in a castle built on the edge of a Roman Fort! She reckons that’s a pretty cool job.

Elin usually writes on historical subjects, and enjoys weaving the weird and wonderful facts she comes across in her research into her plots. She likes her heroes hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow. Often they are in danger, frequently they have to make hard choices, but happy endings are always assured.

Current works in progress include one set during the Great War, another in WW2, one set in the Dark Ages and a series of contemporary romances set in a small town on the Welsh border.

www.elingregory.com
www.facebook.com/elin.gregory
@ElinGregory
www.elingregory.wordpress.com

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Lord to Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

The Price and Morgan families have been feuding for years—over a piece of land that records show belongs to the Morgan family—but contains the Price family burial ground.  So Harrison Price hasn’t been able to visit his mother’s grave, and it’s wearing on the young man who was very close to her.  Now, to top it all off, his father has died, and they must settle this debate so his father can be buried next to his wife.

Lord John Morgan offers a solution.  He will give the land freely to the Price family if the youthful, handsome Harrison will agree to marry him. Outlandish? Yes, but not unheard of in their time. Men may marry, though it’s not common.  Giving the property away?  Well, John doesn’t really want it. He only held onto it because he enjoyed the fight and because it gave him an excuse to come to the Price holdings to possibly catch a glimpse of Harrison. 

John has loved the younger man for three years, ever since his heart was engaged by a violin recital Harrison gave.  He not only admires his handsome face and long, lithe body, he admires Harrison’s intellect and quick wit. There’s really nothing about the young man he doesn’t like, and now that Harrison has inherited the title and lands from his father, the two lords are a match made in heaven.  But will Harrison see it that way?  Will he see John as a love interest or just an old man, a neighbor who’s been keeping him from visiting his mother’s grave?

What I most loved about this story, aside from the premise of a marriage arranged by one man who has the hots for another, is how quickly the author engaged me with both characters and how fully she was able to sketch their personalities.  I felt the attraction.  I was there when the shy, virginal Harrison experienced his first kiss.  And I rejoiced with John when he realized his quest was not in vain. 

Though short, this story packs a punch.  I’m sure it will become a favorite among those of us who enjoy an outstanding MM romance.

The cover depicts two lords, dressed in the clothing of the time, above the lower pane that features a large old mansion.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: March 19th 2019 by Carnation Books
ISBN13 9781948272148
Edition LanguageEnglish

Review Tour for Shadows On The Border by A.L. Lester

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Release Date: March 9 2019
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Lost In Time Series
 

The Gate (a FREE short story introducing the characters from Lost In Time)
Amazon US | Amazon US | JMS Books

Book #1 – Lost In Time – Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Newspaper reporter Lew Tyler and his lover, Detective Alec Carter, are working out the parameters of their new relationship. Meanwhile, time traveler Lew is trying to decide whether he wants to stay in the 1920s or find a way to get back to 2016, and Alec doesn’t know if he can bear the vulnerability of being in love with someone who uses such dangerous magic.


Fenn is a Hunter from the Outlands, come through the Border to search for the murderous Creature and its offspring at the behest of the Ternants, who maintain the balance between Fenn’s world and ours. Fenn strikes a bond with Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s second in command, who is keen to learn more about his own magical abilities. As time goes on, Will grows keen to learn more about Fenn, as well.


Fenn has their own painful secret, and when they appear to have betrayed the team and goes missing in London, Will is devastated. He has to choose between following his heart or following his duty.


Moving through the contrasting rich and poor areas of post-First World War London from West End hotels to the London docklands, the men need to work together to capture the Creature … and choose who – and what — is important enough to hold on to and what they may need to give up to make that happen.


Author Bio


A. L. Lester likes to read. Her favorite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.


She has a chaotic family life and small children, and she has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She lives in a small village in rural Somerset and is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft


Website: http://www.allester.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CogentHippo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cogenthippo/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-L.-Lester/e/B01MZ6R1QR/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/allester

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Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring

 

I don’t know how many of you are fans of the book by Neil Gaiman or show based on it, American Gods, but the weather the nation has been having this past week has called to mind one scene from last season’s finale, when the goddess Ostara, provoked or encouraged (depending on how you look at it) by the god Wednesday, reminds those partying around her of her true origins and power with catastrophic results… removing Spring’s bounty and renewal from the lands….  setting off a withering landscape and the onset of winter.

I think it was watching that weather map showing a “bomb cyclone” sweeping across the Midwest bringing hurricane force winds and blizzards so unexpectedly, while here in Maryland we were experiencing 65 to 70 degrees of Spring.  It was Spring as its most turbulent, violent, and yet weirdly warm and calm state.  It just depended where you lived.  And yes, I do know its due to climate change.

But it did draw my mind back to that scene and to the goddess Ostara.

Ostara, or Eostre or Eastre, she has many names, the goddess of Spring.  She is responsible for the renewal of the earth each year after winter, the bringer of Spring, the symbol of fertility and birth.  Yes, rabbits (those reproducing, repopulating stars) are her symbols.  She has been pictured with a rabbit’s head but more often with them at her side.  They are the reason we now have the Easter Bunny, same with Easter Eggs.  All due to her, Eostre or Eastre.  Or Ostara.

She’s been on my mind a lot, for many reasons.  The Spring equinox approaches on the 21st, a new season of American Gods has started, and all around me, from my backyard to the news I have reminders of just how wild and unpredictable nature and Spring can be at times.

At night I’ve heard both the calls of wild geese migrating and the sound of a barred owl so out of season….must be a youngster trying to find his voice.

But it’s a reminder that rebirth can be a wild and tumultuous time.  That renewal isn’t always peaceful and calm, that wild winds and blizzards can herald the arrival of Spring just as often as the call of the bluebird.

Something to remember when pondering that Easter bunny.

Kristin Chenoweth as Ostara in American Gods

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 17:

  • Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz – LA Bryce – The Forever Kind Of Love

Monday, March 18:

  • Release Blitz – Rewind by Rowan Shaw
  • Release Blitz – Jeanne Marcella – The Demon Lord Of California
  • Review Tour – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed
  • A Caryn Review Shadows On The Border (Lost In Time #2) by A.L. Lester
  • A MelanieM Review: No Big Deal (#lovehim #1.5) by S.M. James

Tuesday, March 19:

  • Release Blitz ALL SOULS NEAR & NIGH (SOULBOUND #2) by Hailey Turner
  • Release Blitz – TL Travis’ A Heart Divided
  • Blog Tour – Marked by J. Jay Barrett
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: I’m Not Who You Think I Am by Felicitas Ivey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Lord to Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

Wednesday, March 20:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan
  • Book Blitz  Tour Request – Elin Gregory – Midnight Flit
  • BLOG TOUR Wicked Games by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Lucy Review : The Forever Kind Of Love by LA Bryce
  • A Jeri Review Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Safe Hands by Victoria Sue

Thursday, March 21:

  • Book Blast – An Extra Alpha (Pine Wood Falls #2) by Sarah Havan
  • DSP PROMO Felicitas Ivey on I’m Not Who You Think I Am
  • PROMO BA Tortuga on Whiskey to Wine
  • An Alisa Review: How Not To Sin by Susan Hawke
  • A Stella Review: Brush Strokes by E.S. Karlquist
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Kennard’s Story (Cronin’s Key #4) by N.R. Walker

Friday, March 22:

  • Review Tour –  A Body In A Bathhouse by Brad Shreve
  • Review Tour – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • Blog Tour for A Broken Promise by Mel Gough
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • A Caryn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Black (Kitty Play Romance) by Quin Perin

Saturday, March 23:

Release Blitz Memory of Scorpions Series by Aleksandr Voinov

 

 

Springing Forward in Time and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Springing Forward in Time

Daylight saving time began this Sunday, March 10, at 2:00 a.m. And yes, this is the one where we all lost an hour of sleep. How many of you forgot to change your clocks and watches that don’t automatically switch over on a smart device this morning? lol  And while we may have lost that hour of sleep it also means we gain one more precious hour of sunlight at the end of the day to beat those end-of-winter blues.  I will take that any day of the week!  I love having that longer day!  How about you?

How about a history lesson?

The practice started with the “federal government as a way to save coal during World War I in the spring of 1918, and was only meant to exist during wartime. The practice was technically ended later that same year, but many regions continued to follow it, until eventually the government put the measure back in place in 1966.

The next major change came in 2007, when the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is surprisingly in charge of the practice, expanded daylight saving time to encompass about 65% of the year. The DOT was assigned the responsibility because the switch affects so many modes of transportation. The agency continues to observe the twice-yearly time swap because it reportedly saves energy, cuts down on traffic accidents and reduces crime.

States have the final say on if they participate, though. Hawaii and most of Arizona do not — the latter because it receives so much sunlight already. The islands of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands abstain as well.”

I really wish Maryland kept the practice year around.  How about you?  How do you feel about setting the clocks back in the fall?  Or this practice of manipulating our clocks?  Or are you one of the lucky ones that live in a place that isn’t affected?

Book Covers and Cover Artists

I want to thank all the artists that participated in our month long look at Book Covers and Artist Spotlights!  For our readers who may have missed any of the wonderful interviews with these talented artists.

Artist Spotlights Schedule(with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond

It was a wonderful month, full of insight into the cover making process, book covers in general, and these fabulous artists we have come to admire so much.

Cover Artist Giveaway:  Winner is H.B. Congratulations, H.B.! Thank you for all the wonderful questions.  Please contact Stella to get your certificate.

Coming up next?

Thoughts about the spring equinox, stories about new starts, and of course, looking forward to perhaps a month of interviews with your favorite narrators.  So what questions would you ask a narrator?  Start thinking about that and get reading to post them here when our latest contest ends.

 

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
– Robin Williams (1951–2014)

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 10:

  • Springing Forward in Time and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz – Ann Lister – Moved By You
  • Series Review Tour – Pros & Cons by A.E. Wasp
  • An ALisa Review: Pros & Cons of Vengeance (Pros & Cons #2) by A.E. Wasp

Monday, March 11:

  • Review:Release Blitz & Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Signal
  • Review Tour – Bitten By Fate (Regent’s Park Pack #6) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • DSP PROMO Amanda Meuwissen
  • An Ali Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham
  • A MelanieM Review: Bitten By Fate (Regent’s Park Pack #6) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Lila Audio Review: A Few Good Fish (Fish Out of Water #3) by Amy  Lane and Greg Tremblay  (Narrator)

Tuesday, March 12:

  • A Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: A Chip and a Chair by Cordelia Kingsbridge.
  • BLITZ Hearts of Fire by Kay Doherty
  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Hidden Powers (Superordinary Society #1) by Tara Lain
  • A Vivacious Review: Controlled (Hot Flash) by J.M. Snyder
  • A Stella Review: How Not to Sin (Lovestrong #2) by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Review: Magic Triumphed by Andi Van

Wednesday, March 13:

  • How Not to Break by Susan Hawke Release Blitz
  • DSP PROMO Tara Lain
  • Book Blitz – Katherine Wyvern – In The Eye Of The Wind
  • Book Blitz – Frank W Butterfield – Chasing Eddie
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Severed (Precinct One #1) by Shona Husk
  • An Ashlez Review: Diamond in the Rough (Four Kings Security #4) by Charlie Cochet
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey and ;John Solo (Narrator)

Thursday, March 14:

  • Release Blitz – Brad Shreve – A Body In A Bathhouse
  • DSP PROMO Elizabeth Coldwell
  • Blog Tour for The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann
  • An Alisa Review: The Hands We’re Given (Aces High, Jokers Wild #1) by O.E. Tearmann
  • A Melanie Review: Ties of Destiny (Curse of the Crown #1) by Caitlin Taylor
  • A Caryn Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • A Lila Audio Review: Running Blind (Havoc #2) by S.E. Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

Friday, March 15:

  • Uncomplicated by KM Neuhold Release Blitz
  • Release Blitz – A Love Like Fire by Tricia Owens
  • COVER REVEAL Ties That Bind by Alex Whitehall
  • BLOG TOUR Order (Tattoos and Ties Duet, Book 2) by Kindle Alexander
  • An Alisa Audio Review: Once Burned (Anchor Point #6) by L.A. Witt and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Ali Review In His Sights by L.A. Bryce
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: The Leprechaun Next Door by Elizabeth Coldwell

Saturday, March 16:

  • A MelanieM Review: Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • RELEASE BLITZ for Becoming D’Vaire by Jessamyn Kingley

A MelanieM Review : Murder at Oakschott Hall by Jim Austen

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

In the Junior students’ dormitory at Oakschott Hall, a heavy gaslight falls from the ceiling, crushing the head of a student sleeping beneath it. Was it simply a tragic accident? To avoid publicity, the Headmaster asks Colin Revell, a young Oxford University graduate and former Oakschott student, to quietly investigate.

While interviewing the faculty and staff, Colin meets Max Lambourne, a handsome don who was wounded and gassed in WWI. When Colin tries to help Max overcome his trauma and depression, the two men fall in love and begin an erotic affair.

But when another student dies—diving at night into an empty swimming pool—murder is suspected. Students and faculty all come under suspicion, and rumors proliferate when Scotland Yard intervenes. Meanwhile, during all this confusion and wild theories, the murderer sees Colin and Max as threats. Unbeknownst to the two lovers, their lives are now in danger.

Murder at Oakschott Hall by Jim Austen is my first novel by this author and it’s in a genre, two in fact, that are hard to get right.  The first is the historical novel.  This is set in 1927 in England and has its own lingo/colloquialisms and historical framework wherein  the story and characters have to adhere to.   For Austen, that meant having his characters with WWI as part of their back history, including being gassed,  and having PTSD although it wasn’t called that at the time.  Getting all those elements that make an era come alive without making it feel like a history info dump takes hard work and i believe that Austen did a great job here, albeit with an occasional  slip up or two.  This author is inordinately fond of the word queer and uses it so frequently that it becomes not only noticeable but an annoyance.  When you count it’s use 3 times in 3 short sentences in a row, well, you can see my drift.  Other words could have been substituted but he was either making a point about its use in the 1900’s which yes, we know it meant something different, or its just his favorite word.  Either way, it took away from the scenes becauses it was a distraction.

The other thing that is hard to write?  A good old mystery!  And here, Austen does well too.  The author keeps us guessing  with multiple suspects right up until the end, with just the right amount of twists and turns to keep the main character poised for either a major breakthrough or major trouble.  Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this element of the story.

No, I think where the story floundered a bit was in the romance itself.  And perhaps the main character of Colin Revell.  He just never seems to have much substance to him. A flighty sort might be one description.  I didn’t particularly like him.  And the romance?  A total case of instant love or lust.  It was a matter of Max Lambourne having a bad case of PTSD which turns into sex, when they barely knew each other in 1927.  Talk about taking risks.  Which of course turned into “I love you” almost immediately.   I mean how fast could my eyes roll? Yes that fast.  What follows between them is just as superficially epic while asking the reader to believe this is a real relationship.

No for me, while the historical elements and mystery worked, the two main characters actually didn’t, which was sort of a first.

I think that while I wouldn’t read this story again, I would seek out more from this author.  As I said there’s much to recommend here,just not the romance.  If you like historical mystery, pick it up for that.  And the language and setting.  I never could resist a mystery.

Cover Design: Reese Dante

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 204 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Flying Heron Press
ASINB07NJ2L79L
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review : The Fall Guy by Chris Quinton

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

 

In 1920s New York, Pinkerton Agent John Brady is assigned to a brutal robbery/kidnapping, an open and shut case with an obvious culprit – but nothing and no one are what they seem. Small-time crook Cesare Donati has the perfect getaway: a transatlantic cruise ship. When Brady turns up at his cabin door, Cesare knows he is out of options until they reach England. Will London be a safe haven or a place of reckoning?

 

The Fall Guy is the first story I read by Chris Quinton and although very short, I found it quite well done. I have to say I have never been a huge fan of historical titles set in the first half of the twentieth century, don’t ask me why, I don’t have an answer. Still The Fall Guy worked pretty fine.

I liked the writing style, it was easy to read. The plot was well done and delivered; sure, being so short, the plot was fast paced, but not too much. Perfectly balanced for some actions that took place in few days. Usually shorts like this one leave me unsatisfied cause I always think it missed something. Not with this story, I was so happy to see John and Cesare be aware of the attraction and so much more that had started to born between them. I loved both of them from the beginning, I felt how good persons both of them were, in different ways but with the same purpose.

I feel to recommend The Fall Guy, it was a truly joy to read it.

The cover art by Vgorbash Dreamstime.com is simple and clean, it caught my attention, I liked it.

Sales Link:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 46 pages

Published January 22nd 2019 by Kouros Books

ASIN B07N1J75B6

Edition Language English

 

Love Historical Fiction? Be Sure to Check Out the Tour for The Fall Guy by Chris Quinton

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 13,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



In 1920s New York, Pinkerton Agent John Brady is assigned to a brutal robbery/kidnapping, an open and shut case with an obvious culprit – but nothing and no one are what they seem.



Small-time crook Cesare Donati has the perfect getaway: a transatlantic cruise ship. When Brady turns up at his cabin door, Cesare knows he is out of options until they reach England.


Will London be a safe haven or a place of reckoning?

About The Author
 

Chris Quinton started creating stories not long after she mastered joined-up writing, somewhat to the bemusement of her parents and her English teachers. But she received plenty of encouragement. Her dad gave her an already old Everest typewriter when she was ten, and it was probably the best gift she’d ever received – until the inventions of the home-computer and the worldwide web.


Chris’s reading and writing interests range from historical, mystery, and paranormal, to science-fiction and fantasy, writing mostly in the male/male genre. She refuses to be pigeon-holed and intends to uphold the long and honourable tradition of the Eccentric Brit to the best of her ability. In her spare time [hah!] she reads, embroiders, quilts and knits. Over the years she has been a stable lad [briefly] in a local racing stable and stud, a part-time and unpaid amateur archaeologist, a civilian clerk at her local police station and a 15th century re-enactor.


She lives in a small and ancient city in the south-west of the United Kingdom, sharing her usually chaotic home with an extended family, three dogs, a frilled dragon [lizard] and sundry goldfish and tropicals.

 
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Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Cover Art by Reese Dante

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante

When people ask me to name favorite cover artists, Reese Dante’s name pops immediately into my mind.  Over countless stories, from Amy Lane to Mary Calmes to T.J. Klune to C.S. Poe and so many other authors, there has been one stunning cover after another.  These book covers offer an amazing arrange of tone, coloration, composition, and even style depending upon the needs of the author and novel.  But they never fail to pull you in, hold your eye, make you linger over the artwork, and then want to read the story within.

These covers are gorgeous, compelling, and often magic.

Reese Dante’s designs can run from singular images to complicated forms and everything in between.  From explosions of color to subtle hued covers in greys and whites, both carrying an impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t wait to hear Reese’s answers to our questions.  So on to our interview.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Artist Reese Dante!

Thank you so much for the invite!

How long does it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

That varies with each assignment. Image hunting is extremely time consuming, especially when character modifications are required. But once I have the images selected for a project and know all the character changes needed/requested, I move rather quickly through the design process. Start to finish (including finding the right pics to work with) can take anywhere between a few hours to a full week or more. Again, it all depends on the project.

How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?

Most of my work involves photo manipulation. I would say about 80-90% of my covers use licensed stock material as a starting point. There are times when I can’t find a resource I need or I’m just too stubborn and want to incorporate something specific. In those instances, I digitally paint what’s needed (such as a tattoo design element, a piece of missing clothes, etc).

How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

That varies with each assignment and client. With publishers, there are house styles to consider and some are more restrictive than others regarding the level of input to incorporate. For my non-publisher work, all assignments begin with a spec completed by the author. The responses address a mix of questions about their story (characters, tone, time period, design preferences, etc). Some authors start the process knowing exactly what they want while others give me total creative freedom. Even with that creative freedom, the idea is sparked from something the author noted in a response. And ultimately, the tone and theme in their story determines the colors and style I use to finish off a design.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

Years ago, one of my friends needed a cover for a poetry book and asked me to design the cover. When he published his second poetry book, he asked me to design the cover for that one as well. I enjoyed the process and it was a welcome escape from my corporate office job. Some time later, another author friend asked me to design a cover for his first book, and I agreed. After he published his story, word started spreading and I received requests from other authors. One cover led to another and so on.

What mediums do you use?

I would be lost without Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I also use a mix of software for my vector and illustration work. And when push comes to shove, I revert to my older drawing days and sketch something out with pencil then scan it in.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. 🙂 In truth, there are too many and for different reasons (the author, the story, elements of the piece, or the overall experience). Some designs have challenged me to try new techniques and illustrate something original. While others provided a creative outlet to help me cope while dealing with something personal in life. I have many favorites, whether the author knows it or not.

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

There are tons of cover artists who create beautiful covers and some are truly gifted in what they can do with their creativity. I have favorite artists for different reasons and specialties. It’s impossible to pick one. Some have a gift for using vivid colors, digital drawings that leap off the page, and some can make something so simple look absolutely breathtaking.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

As a book cover designer, I do look at other covers in order to determine market trends for the various genres.

As a child, I spent more time watching movies than I did reading books. 🙂 I was obsessed with movie posters while growing up. When I was a teenager, I reached out to two store owners who received promo items for movies they were selling or renting at the time. When they cycled through movie posters and promos, rather than throw them out, they would give them to the nagging teenager (*me*). My bedroom walls were wallpapered by movie posters—even the ceiling (I did mention I was obsessed). So I can easily say movie posters are a huge influence on my work.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

So many things. I get to do what I love and I’m forever grateful. The creative freedom feeds my soul and the author squee is priceless. There’s nothing more exciting than an author telling me I’ve nailed their character or story on the design.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

Do you realize how much you obsess with details?

What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Unless you’re an auto-buy author for the reader, the book cover is a critical marketing piece. The cover is the first encounter a reader has with any story when book shopping. Its job is to entice the reader to stop and take a closer look at the book.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Book covers are still important when book shopping. With the dominance of eBook formats, book covers now need to show well as B&W images and at thumbnail size, more so than a printed paperback on a bookshelf.

What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future? {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse ,generic covers ,etc.)

Trends cycle (and sometimes recycle) and vary by genre. Whether it’s a cropped face or naked torso, there’s a recent push toward single model covers.

How do you feel about them?

I don’t have an issue with single model covers (or any trend) if it fits the character and/or story.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. And thank you for all the amazing comments, gifs, and messages over the years. ❤

For more of Reese Dante’s artist, don’t forget to check out her website and the portfolio.  You will recognize many of your favorite stories and covers there!  I’ve only given you all a tiny sampling here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more about Reese Dante, visit

Reese Dante | Book Cover Artist & Designer

 

 

Original drawing by the artist

About the Artist

Art has always been a part of my life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved art. There wasn’t a safe piece of paper in my home. I doodled everywhere and everything…papers, magazines, envelopes, brother’s homework. Then I started sketching people. I’d go through a magazine and rip out ads, preferably in color, then try to redraw them in a pencil sketch. I’d obsess until I thought it was just as strong as the color photo.

I’m a perfectionist and enjoy a challenge.

I’ve drawn and designed for years, but my first professional logo was used in 1991 for a community development and my first (published) book cover design appeared in 2005. I hold both a BBA with a specialization in Marketing and an MBA. After working for a national corporation in a marketing position for 15½ years handling all creative aspects of the company, I realized it just wasn’t enough…something was missing. The day-to-day slowly overpowered the creative elements of the job until there was nothing left but management tasks and responsibilities. I realized I enjoyed art a little too much to let it go. I started actively designing book cover art in December 2009 to fuel my creative need. People began asking about my covers and availability (thank you – I am forever grateful). I am now a full-time book cover artist and designer, using my marketing background to create art that grabs the reader’s attention. And I’ve never been happier.

My only regret…not having started this sooner.

As a teenager, my walls were covered by movie posters.  Maybe it’s subliminal after staring at movie posters for so many years.  I don’t know, but I do love a good story, especially those told in a picture.

Reese Dante
Book Cover Art & Design
rdante@reesedante.com
reesedante.com

Twitter: @ReeseDante
Facebook

I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Reese Dante. Next week Paul Richmond will be visiting with us. It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond
Until next week, happy reading and listening!  Here is our schedule at the blog this week.  Enjoy!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 24:

  • Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Ties of Destiny by Caitlin Taylor Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Letting Go (The Knights Club Series#2) by CJ Baty

Monday, February 25:

  •  PROMO Empire of Light by Alex Harrow
  • BLITZ Severed by Shona Husk
  • Blog Tour Post for A New Life by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review: Fire and Ink by KL Noone
  • A VVivacious Review Snowed In: Nen and Anani by Nell Iris
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall  and Adam R Watson (Narrator)
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Case of the Arms Dealers (Kanaan & Tilney #1) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne

Tuesday, February 26:

  • Release Blitz – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Release Blitz – Anna Martin – Helix
  • ECHOES by LA Ashton Promotion
  • DSP POMO Cooper West on Mixed Signals
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: Helix by Anna Martin
  • A MelanieM PRErelease Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure by Megan Derr

Wednesday, February 27:

  • Release Blitz – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  •  PROMO Emory Schneider
  • Cover Reveal – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Skin and Bone (Digging Up Bones #2) by TA Moore
  • A MelanieM Review: Echoes by LA Ashton
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Milo by Lily Morton

Thursday, February 28:

  • Release Blitz, and Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • Cover Reveal – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • COVER REVEAL Becoming D’Vaire by Jessamyn Kingley
  • An Alisa Review Temporary Dad (Bad Valentine #4) by Dev Bentham
  • An Alisa Review:All He Needs (My Truth #1) by Ann Grech
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Empire of Light(Voyance #1) by Alex Harrow

Friday, March 1:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – DJ Jamison – Rapid Response
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2)by Megan Derr
  • A MelanieM Review A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, March 2:

  •  Release Blitz and Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Redeem by Christina Lee Release Blitz
  • A Stella Review – The Ghosts Between Us(The West Hills #1) by Brigham Vaughn
  • A MelanieM Review:That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell

If you’ve read a book by RJ Scott or V.L. Locey to name two authors quickly off the top of my head, well, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  If you read some or all of the stories  in The Christmas Angel series by various authors, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  And of course, if you’ve read Forever In The Sun (co authored with RJ Scott) or Fallout,  you’ve seen a cover created by the artist for a book she’s written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus if you are a follower of either RJ Scott or VL Locey or the MM Hockey Romance Group, then you are familiar with the adorable chibis that Meredith Russell draws of the characters of the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and their mates and families.  I’m hoping she will extend it to the Rush soon.  Here is the first chibi she drew.  It’s Tennant Rowe! The others can be found here at

Railers Chibi-style promo pieces

Adorable, right?  If you are a fan of the Harrisburg Railers series by RJ Scott and VL Locey, then you know Ten is featured in a very special story that’s to be released this summer, June 30th 2019.  Here’s a look at the cover by Meredith Russell, of course|
Now onto our interview….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Meredith Russell on Art, Book Covers and Much More

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

Making a draft varies author to author for me. Some come with ideas, or a set style they’ve adopted, or images they’ve found themselves and so we go down one route and a single draft, and it’s a rather painless process. Then others need to see something to help decide what they actually are after from a cover. I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to exactly how long I spend on a draft. There are various stages I go through – getting any info or ideas from the author, looking at what images are available and which might work together, some back and forth with the author as to whether images fit with what they’re after, and finally the cutting/pasting/making etc of the draft. The time adds up but usually after a few days I have something to show them and a starting point to tweak into something final.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

I work pretty much exclusively with images from stock sites so I am limited in some ways to what I can find on them and how I can maybe manipulate them into what we need. However, I would love to venture into digital art but I haven’t found the time to devote myself to figuring it out or getting the resources I’d need. I’ve had fun creating some simple drawings for RJ Scott, and a couple of others, who have had me turn their characters into little cartoon people though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again it varies. Some authors have a set idea of what they want. Some (naming no names lol) come to me requesting a man with brown hair and give me a couple of details about the story’s setting. I do like to know about the storyline or at least key moments or places that can be incorporated into the cover.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

What feels like a long time ago now, I used to do bits of fan art, mostly fanfiction banners for myself and some other writers. When RJ Scott went on to self-publishing she asked me to create her a cover and it went from there.

What mediums do you use? 

I work on a pc. I do have a pen and tablet that I use for drawing the cartoon characters (see above), but also a lot of those do actually start out as pencil and paper sketches that I then digitize and use as a guide.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I recently did a set of seven covers for a series called The Christmas Angel. I liked how they turned out along with the challenge some of them offered considering they were all set in different time periods. A few others I really like include Liam Livings’ And Then That Happened, RJ Scott’s Boy Banned, KC Wells’ A Christmas Promise, and an as yet untitled merman cover I created as a premade that Amber Kell bought off me. Somebody should poke her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

I do. I really love Jay Aheer’s work. She does some beautiful pieces.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

I don’t think so much as a child. I was more about the title and blurb, particularly considering what was popular in way of covers back then, or at least for the kinds of books I was reading. It wasn’t until maybe early twenties where I started being tempted by pretty covers, quite a few being the YA type books, or having a striking female model on them.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

I just really enjoy getting to work with the authors. I enjoy the sharing of emails, building a working relationship and even friendships.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

It would be, ‘Have you remembered about that request you got over on Facebook?’ Seriously, I have a terrible memory and am constantly emailing myself or telling people to send details in emails as my inbox is something I have open all day whilst on my computer and can easily check on my phone when I’m not at my desk.

From the Christmas Angel series…

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Firstly, as an attention grabber. If you’re looking for something beyond the regular authors you read, the title and cover are the first things you’re exposed to so it helps if they make an impression. And secondly, covers can be a way of making a brand for authors. It might be they all have a set look – so maybe a single model on the cover, or simply keeping the font for their name consistent for all their books.

  • How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

I don’t think it’s changed it too greatly, in that whether you’re walking a row of books in a store or scrolling through online pages of somewhere like Amazon, covers are there to grab your attention.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse, generic covers ,etc.)

I think like with everything styles come in and out of fashion. There was the time of the headless models, shirtless torsos, two models, touched up single image covers,  Recently, for me at least, it’s been focusing on a single model on covers, for example The Christmas Angel series and having just one of the characters on there. And unfortunately, because cost is a factor for many authors when paying for cover art, repeated use of models from stock sites is difficult to avoid, but it offers artists the challenge to try and use them differently.

  • How do you feel about them?

Personally, I think the only trend I didn’t like was the headless men one. I know it was a way to make use of limited models in the earlier days, plus allows readers to form their own image of the character simply from whatever descriptions the authors wrote about them, but for me, I just wasn’t a fan. Otherwise, each trend has its place and does its job. There’s a risk of all books looking the same, but that’s then up to the artists, and also the authors and their input, to put their own twist on what’s popular.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re interested in my work both as an author and cover artist you can view details at my website meredithrussell.co.uk, or find me over at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor. Thank you.

 

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Meredith Russell’s Media links
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Meredith Russell.  It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 17:

  • Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Monday, February 18:

  • Release Blitz Milo by Lily Morton
  • Amy Lane Author Guest Post
  • Harmony Ink YA John Goode
  • An Alisa Review: Port in a Storm (Kitten and Witch #1) by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolff (Redemption #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Tuesday, February 19:

  • Book Blitz for Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • Cover Reveal – Broken by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Catesj and  Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, February 20:

  • Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan
  • Cover Reveal,- The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A Lucy Review: Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, February 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock
  • An ALisa Review: The Romantic by Elodie Parkes
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Redemption #2) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lila Review The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Friday, February 22:

  • OLD SINS by Charlie Cochrane Tour by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey on Reunited
  • Book Blast – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Ace of Hearts by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris
  • A Caryn Review: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Saturday, February 23:

  • Release Blitz Signal – Kris Jacen – Step Up With Me
  • “Ithani” by J. Scott Coatsworth Mark (OWL) Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:  Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • A MelanieM Review Waiting on the Rain by Freddy MacKay