Tiny Stories and Tiny Universes! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Tiny Stories and Tiny Universes!

If you look at cable or even Amazon, you will see people consumed with the notion of tiny houses.  Amazon actually sold out of the tiny houses they sell online (yes, you can buy an entire tiny house for assembly at Amazon, several types actually) within hours! Some are looking to downsize their carbon footprint and go  small, others are obsessed with the technology and preciseness that goes into the tiny houses.  As I was watching and pondering life in one the other day, it sort of meshed together with thoughts I have been having about short stories and universe building.

My question …for myself and for all of you is…how much of universe building can you fit into a tiny story?

And how much is needed?

It’s like asking how much stuff do you really need inside a tiny house?  What’s actually necessary and what isn’t?

I’ve been reading a lot of short stories recently, fantasy and contemporary, many a part of a series.  And while the world building hasn’t been nearly as central to the contemporary series, in the fantasy stories in some cases, the authors have resorted to other options for their overall series world building.   The authors have zeroed in on creating an atmosphere and framework for that particular story but left the series foundation out in the individual shorts.  Same for the contemporary series.  They were all loosely connected, importantly so in some cases, but no one foundation novel for the entire series.  The reader sort of compiles it themselves, story by story, caching each tiny detail away to pull out as needed.

Just as spare it seems to me like living in a tiny house.  Only what is absolutely necessary, nothing extraneous.  Need something more?  Give directions and point them down the road…..Like to a Glossary that details everything. I have seen this used in more than one series and it’s absolutely a necessity to keep track of a series cultures, histories, religions etc, especially when the series is incredibly complex and layered.  So I am not decrying it’s use just hoping it’s not standing in for world building within the story completely.  Unless it has to be.  I think I’m flummoxed here.

Can you build a universe within a tiny story and does it need it?

And how much can you realistically do?

 

And consider this, some of the steps that might go into building your own fictional world:

  • Draw a map of your world
  • Make a history of your world
  • Include the flora and fauna for your world, what climates support them, complete natural history which will impact your other beings
  • Include your world’s background, (governments, politics, religion, cultures, infrastructures, etc.)
  • Create outlines for the above.

Whew!  Didn’t even through in mythology, my fav!  I can hear that tiny house screaming “get out, no room”! lol

I am dying to know everyone’s thoughts here.  Readers, authors, everyone, please chime in!  And tell me what you all think of tiny houses!  Did you know you could buy them on Amazon?  I hadn’t a clue! lol

Happy Sunday!  Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there!  Happy Reading and Listening!

And now to our week ahead!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 12:

  • Tiny Stories and Tiny Universes!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review:Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

Monday, May 13:

  • Review Tour – GB Gordon – Match Grade (Criminal Delights)
  • RELEASE BLITZ Healing Glass by Jackie Keswick
  • PROMO Angel Martinez on The Mage on The Hill
  • An Alisa Review Unexpected Journey by JD Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Chained (Bureau #4) by Kim Fielding
  • A Ali Review : Match Grade – Criminal Delights: Assassins by G.B. Gordon
  • An Ali Audio Review Where Death Meets the Devil (Death and the Devil #1) by L.J. Hayward and Rowan Scott (Narrator)

Tuesday, May 14:

  • TOUR Once Upon A Wolf” by Hurri Cosmo
  • BLITZ At the Trough by Adam Knight
  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • An Alisa Review Once Upon A Wolf by Hurri Cosmo
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​ Alcatraz! (Repeating History #4) by Dakota Chase
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Wednesday, May 15:

  • Book Blast Last Loose End by K R Allen
  • Cover Reveal, for Nine Small Sips (Tales Of Bryant #2) by V.L. Locey
  • DSP PROMO Tara Lain
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3) by Tara Lain
  • A Lucy Release Day Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Gideon (Finding Home #3) by Lily Morton

Thursday, May 16:

  • Release Blitz for Let Me Show You by Becca Seymour
  • RELEASE BLITZ – No Ordinary Drakeling by Jessamyn Kingley
  • Release Blitz – Not Gonna Lie by S. M. James
  • A Stella Review: Made For You by Anyta Sunday
  • A Lila Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds, #1) by Jackie Keswick
  • A Free Dreamer Review: At the Trough by Adam Knight

Friday, May 17:

  • Retro Review Tour – Made In Manhattan by Ana Newfolk
  • Release Blitz Sean Azinsalt – It’s In My Blood (Criminal Delights)
  • BLITZ A Cordial Agreement by Ryan Loveless
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: A Cordial Agreement by Ryan Loveless
  • A MelanieM Review: Made in Manhattan (Made In #2) by Ana Newfolk
  • A MelanieM Review: Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera

Saturday, May 18:

  • Release Blitz for DJ Jamison’s Surprise Groom
  • Release Blitz – Under the Jasmine Flowers by W.S. Long
  • A MelanieM Review:  Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by D.J. Jamison
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds, #1) by Jackie Keswick

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Proper English by K.J. Charles

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A beautiful lesbian love story wrapped in an intriguing mystery, this is most definitely KJ Charles at their best. No matter what the plot or who the characters, I always recognize this author’s writing style. The mystery is superb, the characters diverse and interesting, and the setting in rural England is beautiful.

Patricia (Pat) Merton is invited to a shooting party at a friend’s estate and is shocked to find that besides the men she expected to be there, her hunting buddy’s fiancé and a host of others have been invited. The All-England Ladies’ Shooting Champion, her hopes were for a peaceful hunt without having to deal with social niceties or other foolish games. Pheasant hunting is right up her alley. Sitting in the parlor with the ladies? Not so much.

Fenella (Fen) Caruth is lovely, in Pat’s estimation. Literally well-rounded, with a large-sized bosom and plenty of curves, she’s also charming, witty, and fun-loving, and Pat falls hard. But the house party isn’t all good times. The host’s son-in-law is a dastardly villain. In fact, I constantly pictured cartoon character Snidely Whiplash every time the man opened his mouth. He was so bad, he was almost a caricature, and yet, he wasn’t. He was serious about cutting people down and most serious about the blackmail schemes he engaged in—until he was stopped.

After a rough start, Pat and Fen gravitate together to solve the mystery. Aided by Pat’s brother Bill and her friend Jimmy, son of the Earl and next in line for the title, the quartet eventually put together a good working theory. And then another disaster strikes. I loved the pacing of this story. There’s so much to like. First, this underlying blackmailing cad constantly throws out tidbits meant to upset the whole household. Then, there’s a rift between engaged couple, Fen and Jimmy, and a romance develops between Pat and Fen, while another two couples pair off as well. In fact, there’s a lot of coupling and there’s explicit FF sex in the relationship with Pat and Fen that appears to be heading for a HEA by the end.

So those who don’t wish to read a FF romance, with a wonderful underlying mystery, should not pick this up. It would be a travesty to downgrade it due to a misunderstanding. This is a historical romance between women—two very unique, very engaging women at the turn of the 20th century. Those who appreciate KJ Charles’s work, with attention to historical detail and ability to hide the “bad guy” in a whodunit story, will love this book and I highly recommend it.

And a PS—the story takes place two years before Think of England (my first KJ Charles read) and the cover design is by the same artist. A pretty woman stands looking toward the sky against the background of an estate house. This is Pat and she’s beautifully portrayed in this artwork by Lexiconic Design.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 8th 2019 by KJC Books
Original Title Proper English
ISBN 139781912688104
Edition Language English
SeriesThink of England

Love Historical Romance? Check Out the Release Blitz for The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman (Duke & Dandy #1) by Zakarrie C. (excerpt and giveaway)

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NEW RELEASE

Book Title: The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman Trilogy

Author: Zakarrie Clarke

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: May 6, 2019

Genre/sHistorical M/M Romance (Regency), Comedy/Humour

Trope/s: Forbidden Love, Highwayman/Duke

ThemesDuty, Expectations of Society, Redemption Tale

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: approx. 100,000 words

It is a standalone story

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

AVAILABLE FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Blurb

‘The Most High, Noble and Potent Prince, His Grace Padraic, Duke of Waterford.’

After enduring the Ducal Grand Entrance, one might be forgiven for thinking that an evening could only improve. One would be wrong. Padraic was then duty bound to find an amiable miss to romance and dance attendance upon. In truth, the Duke was rather more partial to establishments that promised charms he would ne’er find in the arms of a Lady. Such dalliances did add a dash of decadence to his life of ducal drudgery, but time was tick-tocking and a blue-stocking bride must be wooed, and wed…

Raff of the Rookeries. The most afeared rake-hell to have haunted the highways since Darkin denied them the pleasure at the gallows…by stepping off the ladder before they could whip it from under his feet. Raff had fought his way up to rule the roost with instincts as razor-sharp as his dirk. His sword skills, fists, and wily wits had stood him in good stead, but none had proved as invaluable as the weapon he’d ne’er needed to tend. His fury. A rage every bit as lethal as arsenic—deadlier than brawn, brains, or bravado—Raphael had carried it like a toxic plague. Until, he became Raff of the Rookeries. Unleashed upon the underworld, it was the most formidable foe in London. Two men from two different worlds…a mere few miles apart. That is, until the fateful night when The Duke was halted in his tracks by a very Dandy Highwayman…

Excerpt

Mayhaps twenty minutes later, the air turned decidedly rank; a stench that came accompanied by random street sounds and the odd drunken shout. They were, beyond any shadow o’doubt, heading for some godforsaken part of town. A logical assumption, further embellished by the aroma of decaying cabbage and other, far less salubrious odors.

If the Devil himself intended to demoralize the poor, he could not find a means more agreeable to his plans, than the London slums.

“Nearly there, Yer Grace,” The scoundrel called over his shoulder as they slowed to a trot.

“Where is ‘there’?” Padraic dared to wonder.

“My humble abode. It’s where you’ll be staying awhile; leastways until someone coughs up for yer safe return.” The highwayman’s voice sounded harsher, colder while imparting this, as if his words were poisoned by the rancid air as they fell from his lips.

“Whereabouts are we?” Padraic asked, curious as to whether his rogue would answer.

“The Strand.”

It was as he’d expected. They were in the warren of narrow, filthy streets and alleyways in the densely populated slums. Home to one of London’s most notorious Rookeries. An utterly lawless labyrinth of squalid living, gin dens, bawdy houses, and brothels. Popular legend told of a traveller who had entered Portugal Street on his way to The Strand and never emerged. His ghost was, apparently, still searching for a way back to civilization. Padraic would just have to hope to fare rather better than he.

The Duke had e’er been horrified that people were forced to live this way, right under the refined noses of the ton. Poles apart, but virtually overlapping in proximity. Padraic had poured thousands into funding an orphanage and school for foundlings, when he came into his inheritance. He visited them oft, choosing the staff himself to ensure that no child was ill-treated, but there was only so much he could do. With all the will in the world, there wasn’t a great deal to be done, as long as those in power turned a blind eye to the suffering of others.

“Whoa…” When Demon clattered to a halt on the cobblestones, the Duke reluctantly relinquished his grip about his captor’s person. The scoundrel shifted in the saddle and with one sharp tug, the kerchief was gone, alongside a fair few strands of hair that were tangled into its knot. The Duke scarce felt the sting as his hungry gaze guzzled the sight it had been denied for the duration of the ride. ’Twas with a devilish wink that the highwayman threw a leg over the horse’s head, before lightly dismounting.

“Billy, m’lad!” He hailed a youth seated on the front steps of a large dilapidated townhouse, holding a lantern aloft. An endearing grin lit up his grimy face as he sprang to his feet.

“Yer all right, Raff?” he chirped, in very genuine cockney tones.

“Too right I am. We ’ave ourselves a guest m’friend. Yer Grace, this is Billy—he ain’t got another name—so I can’t tell yer that. Billy, this ’ere is His Grace, The Duke of Waterford, so yer better mind your p’s ’n’ q’s, like I taught yer.”

“Hello Billy, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” Padriac greeted him.

“Lawks! I can’t fink why, Yer…Grace?” Billy glanced at the man he’d called Raff, seeking reassurance for his form of address, and received an approving nod.

“I can’t think why ’twould not be.” Padraic smiled. Billy looked puzzled for a moment—as if trying to make sense of something he’d patently understood—then just beamed instead and reached for Demon’s halter.

“See that he’s rubbed down and well-fed, won’t you, Billy? I need to get our guest settled in.”

“Righto. C’mon Demon, let’s be ’avin yer, there’s oats awaiting and some fresh hay.”

“After you, Yer Grace…” The rascal sketched a bow, waving his hand with a flourish as he bent extravagantly low, before straightening up to push open the front door. It was painted black; blistered, peeling and desperately in need of a fresh coat. A large, dimly lit hallway lay beyond it, with a wide staircase ascending on the left.

“Raff! I’d almost given up ’ope on ya. Thought you’d gone a-whoring,” announced a stocky, bow-legged man, with close-cropped hair and forearms like lamb shanks. His broad grin revealed several missing teeth, the remaining ones having seen better days. Several decades ago.

Despite having tugged his kerchief down when they entered, Padraic was still unable to drink his fill of Raff’s face, for much of it was cast into shadow and the rest, obscured by a tangled fall of hair.

“Not tonight Bluff, I was off procuring us a guest,” he smirked.

“Crikey, you’ve nabbed a right nob. Who the ’ell is he?”

“This ’ere’s The Duke of Waterford.” Raff declared, inclining his head with divine insolence.

“Lawks! A Duke? Couldn’t yer find a Prince ’anging about then?” Bluff gaped.

“’Fraid not, we’ll just ’ave to slum it…” Raff tutted, with a fulsome sigh.

“I hope yer don’t expect me t’curtsy. I ain’t got the legs for it.”

“You ain’t got the legs for owt except sitting on ’orseback,” Raff retorted, about a breath before his tone darkened to a deadly rasp. “Bluff. See to it that no one. But no one. Lays a finger on him.” He added nary a dire threat, nor had he raised his voice. Raff had, in fact, lowered it to a lethal lash of sound that sliced the air like a whip—but it was the glint of green he levelled at Bluff that made the man swallow visibly while nodding several times.

“Will do, Raff. He’ll fetch a pretty price, won’t he?”

“Too bloody right, he will. I’ll have to keep him up top with me—Duke he might be—but he ain’t above being too ripe and ready by ’alf.”

“A dark ’orse is he? I ain’t at all surprised, now you mention it. Beggin’ yer pardon, Yer Dukeness. Right, I’ll just wait for Billy an’ lock up then.”

“Thanks, Bluff. ’Night.”

“’Night Raff…’night yer Dukeness.” Bluff doffed an imaginary cap at Padraic, who inclined his head with ducal gravity, so as not to disappoint him. The amiable miscreant was chuckling away to himself as he took his leave of them, before disappearing through a door further down the hallway.

“Right then, Yer Grace, up yer go. Right to the top,” Raff instructed, gesturing towards the staircase with a regal sweep of his hand.

“Are you locking me in the attic?” Padraic asked, as he clasped the bannister.

“I am, indeed. Yer can’t get up to any mischief up there.”

The Duke thought it might be wise to hold his tongue and make his way upstairs, afore the scoundrel decided to shove him in the coal cellar instead. Padraic’s brain was abuzz with demon steeds, daft monikers, and bandy-legged blackguards. A boy with only one name and a heart of gold.

About the Author

After moving to London at eighteen and flitting about for far too long, Zakarrie settled, as blissy as can be, by the sea. ’Twas here that her castaway dreams resurfaced and she began to write; stories that are, in truth, better at being her than she’s ever been. Her one hope now is that someone, somewhere, will enjoy the misadventures of her miscreants as much as she loves writing them.

Social Media Links

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Happy Cinco de Mayo! This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo also known as the ‘Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla’ is heavily celebrated here in the US, but not all may know exactly what that day stands for.  Some may think it’s the date of Mexico’s Independence.  Not true.  It actually celebrates a victory in battle over the French.

From the Britannica:

“When in 1861 Mexico declared a temporary moratorium on the repayment of foreign debts, English, Spanish, and French troops invaded the country. By April 1862 the English and Spanish had withdrawn, but the French, with the support of wealthy landowners, remained in an attempt to establish a monarchy under Maximilian of Austria and to curb U.S. power in North America. On May 5, 1862, a poorly equipped mestizo and Zapotec force under the command of General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French troops at the Battle of Puebla, southeast of Mexico City; about 1,000 French troops were killed. Although the fighting continued and the French were not driven out for another five years, the victory at Puebla became a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. The city, which was later renamed Puebla de Zaragoza, is the site of a museum devoted to the battle, and the battlefield itself is maintained as a park.”

However, according to some references, once the holiday got associated with a certain alcohol, namely tequila, it really took off and it’s widely celebrated today outside Mexico.  So happy Cinco de Mayo!  Hence, the many Margaritas flowing today!

For more about Cinco de Mayo, check out the History Channel link here.

Cinco de Mayo – HISTORY

 HEA or HFN?

Now a little more about last week’s post on HFN or HEA, we heard from H.B on the subject:

H.B. “It’s hard to say and I guess depends on the characters and the way the story goes for me. I agree that a HEA has to have stability but I think the same standard can be applied to HFN stories. I guess a HEA story for me has to have details that make me believe the characters are committed to each other, solid within their relationship no matter the situation, will have each other backs, be supportive and not waver and is willing to fight when the going gets tough. In a nutshell, the author has to sell to me that the characters are deeply in love and that they’ve met “the one” and won’t let the person go if sh*t hits the fan and each fight to keep the other in the relationship.”

It was also on my mind as I was reading a new Rhys Ford story, the first in a new series the author has coming out (yes, just terrific).  The first book ends, of course, on a HFN, which i s the only way the story could end.  It was realistic, perfect, and made me immediately want to reach for the next story….which wasn’t there! lol.  But once again, it made me realize, as did the absolutely splendid story 717 miles by Sophia Soames that sometimes a HFN is the only way to end a novel.  That a HEA would be not only be unrealistic but would even ruin the story.

I also read far too many stories where a HEA was forced onto a story where a HFN would have been a far better fit.  Haven’t you?  A rushed ending?  Or a rushed relationship?  Just to get a ending that perhaps the author thought their readers wanted to read …heading off happily ever after…before they were actually ready for it.

How do you all feel about that?  You ok with it in your stories?  Or does that turn what could have been a great book into a meh book for you?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Meanwhile here is our week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 5:

  • Happy Cinco de Mayo! This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Lucy Review:  The Accidental Baker by Clare London
  • A VVivacious Review: The King’s Fear (The Brass Machine #2) by Isaac Grisham

Monday, May 6:

  • Release Blitz – The Duke & The Dandy Highwayman (Duke & Dandy #1) by Zakarrie C.
  • Blog Tour – The King’s Fear (The Brass Machine #2) by Isaac Grisham
  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote ‘s Mud & Lace
  • A Lucy Review: Lyin’ Ryan by Kim Davis
  • An Alisa Review :The Love Left Behind by Daniel de Lorne
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) by Angel Martinez
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Mud & Lace (Rainbow Place #4) by Jay Northcote

Tuesday, May 7:

  • Blog Post – Bryan T Clark – Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • Blog Tour  for The Nature of the Game (Stick Side #2) by Amy Aislin
  • Audio Review Tour for Falling Down by Eli Easton and and Michael Stellman (Narrator)
  • A Lila Review: Starting from Zero by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review:The Nature of the Game (Stick Side #2) by Amy Aislin
  • An Ali Audio Review Audio Review:  Falling Down by Eli Easton and Michael Stellman (Narrator)
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: The Mage on the Hill (The Web of Arcana #1) by Angel Martinez

Wednesday, May 8:

  • Review Tour – Annabelle Jacobs’ Wounded Soul
  • RELEASE BLITZ for The #lovehim Series Box Set by S. M. James
  • Morgan James Promo on Love Conventions
  • An Alisa Review: A New Leash on Life by Deirdre O’Dare
  • An Ali G Release Day Review: Love Conventions by Morgan James
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wounded Soul by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Proper English by K.J. Charles

Thursday, May 9:

  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Witchbane by Morgan Brice
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns & W.M. Fawkes – Prisoner Of Shadows
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Review: Where Song Replaces Silence by Layla Dorine
  • A Stella Review: Made for You (Love and Family #2) by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Witchbane (Witchbane #1) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (Narrator)
  • A Lila Review: A Cordial Agreement by Ryan Loveless

Friday, May 10:

  • Release Blitz – Michael Mandrake – Love Kills (Criminal Delights)
  • Review Tour for Bryan T. Clark’s Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • An Alisa Review : Escaping Camp Roosevelt by Bryan T. Clark
  • A Stella Review: How to Heal (Lovestrong #5) by Susan Hawke
  • A Lucy Review To Be Continued (#lovehim #6) by S. M. James
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Kanaan & Tilney: The Case of the Man-Eater by Katey Hawthorne

Saturday, May 11:

  • Blog Tour – SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon’s Life Healing by Kerry Ashton
  • A MelanieM Review: The Poison Within (Inspector Skaer #1) by Kasia Bacon

A MelanieM Review : Under The Radar by Lillian Francis

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

It’s 1942 and after a sexual indiscretion, US Navy pilot Zachary MacKenzie is sent to serve in the Royal Navy’s submarine service—a shockingly harsh punishment for a man who loves to fly. The submarine is oppressive and frustrating for him, and he’s marked out from his peers, publicly by being American, and privately by his attraction to men.

The only bright spot is the company of his steward, sonar operator Gethin Llewelyn. Despite the differences of rank and background, they’re drawn to each other. Gethin’s integrity complements Zach’s casual joie de vivre, and soon the friendship develops into something much more.

As the threats of war increase, the submarine is plagued by potentially hostile vessels, and circumstances lead them to suspect there’s a spy amongst their own crew. Being forced even closer together as they work for the greater good reveals a new awareness, and Zach doesn’t know what is in more danger, the vessel under his charge or his heart.

I am a long time lover of historical novels, historical romance included, among them several stories of Lillian Francis.  So I knew I was in good hands historically speaking when it came to the era and details of naval mariner life found in Under The Radar by Lillian Francis.  As always the author ended up delivering so much more than I anticipated, astonishing me with new revelatory details about gay life from that time period, secret naval oddities and historic events that Francis folds effortlessly into her novel and romance, along with characters that show great growth and redemption.

It is the latter that had me most concerned and yet won me over the most. US Navy pilot Zachary MacKenzie is passionate about flying, his need for the sky almost as fierce as his need and passion for men, but homosexuality isn’t merely a sin, it’s against the law, ending careers and sending people to jail.  But Zachary has an arrogant, almost fearless streak that gets him in trouble time after time until one last scandal sees him bedding the wrong person and ending up with an enemy too powerful  for his friends and family to assuage.  It costs him his “sky and flying”.  He’s sent to serve in a submarine in England.

You would think he’d be more contrite but no.  The character of Zach barely acknowledges his part in all of it.  And I had a huge time connecting with him.  His attitude towards trying to seduce Gethin (a true innocent about his attraction towards men), his responsibilities on board, Zach was just too glib for me to like.  Especially in contrast to the realistic portraits of submariners on board and the life everyone was living there.  Luckily, the author proceeded to slowly have the character of Zachary MacKenzie undertake a much needed personal growth, his character changing as his relationship with Gethin turned from pursuit into friendship and his appreciation of the people and duties on boards shifted as well.

The life inside the small cramped “tin can” of a 40’s submarine is mind boggling.  The descriptions of how the men lived must have come from journals it feels so real and authentic.  That includes the fact that homosexuals serving in the navy (or later adopted outside military services) used a secret language called Polari to speak to one another, a sign of recognition and let each other safely know they knew you were  one of them.  Here the author uses it in a wonderful scene and it sent me scrambling to know more about a piece of history I’d never heard about. Astonishing to learn that the language has been in use worldwide from 1600 to 1970’s, until LGBT laws made the language less needed. And the use of stewards in a submarine! A place where headroom was scarce alone with personal space!  And the fact that carbon monoxide poisoning was a constant threat upon diving…well the facts of life on board just continued to amaze me.

So with such a rich, solid foundation and framework established with her history and naval and gay culture, Francis proceeds to give her readers a wonderful slow burn romance with elements of suspense and drama that keeps both the characters and reader deeply connected to the men and plot right up to the end.  It’s all the many interlocking relationships here, the friendships that add to the romance as well as to the structure and responsibilities needed to run the submarine. It’s such a tight knit community of men that spills from career into friendship and in this case (and others) into romance and love.

And at the end, I’d gone from not liking Zach very well to whole hearted admiration for the man he’d become.  That went for Gethin too.  What a journey this was, what a path both still had still ahead.

Under The Radar by Lillian Francis is such an incredible historic romance, one I absolutely recommend.  You  feel as though the era and these men come alive for you.    It’s a romance not to be missed!

Cover art: Tiferet Designs.  Love the sub emerging behind the character and the beards, which yes, many of the submariners had.  Its part of the story.  Wonderful cover.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 407 pages
Published April 14th 2019 by Finally Love Press
Original Title Under the Radar
ASINB07QMM3H8R

Love Suspense and Historical Romance? Check Out the Tour and Giveaway for Under The Radar by Lillian Francis

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Cover Design: Tiferet Design
 
Length: 138,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

It’s 1942 and after a sexual indiscretion, US Navy pilot Zachary MacKenzie is sent to serve in the Royal Navy’s submarine service—a shockingly harsh punishment for a man who loves to fly. The submarine is oppressive and frustrating for him, and he’s marked out from his peers, publicly by being American, and privately by his attraction to men.


The only bright spot is the company of his steward, sonar operator Gethin Llewelyn. Despite the differences of rank and background, they’re drawn to each other. Gethin’s integrity complements Zach’s casual joie de vivre, and soon the friendship develops into something much more.


As the threats of war increase, the submarine is plagued by potentially hostile vessels, and circumstances lead them to suspect there’s a spy amongst their own crew. Being forced even closer together as they work for the greater good reveals a new awareness, and Zach doesn’t know what is in more danger, the vessel under his charge or his heart.


“From Polari to Polaris, it’s never been just the nice girls who love a sailor. Lillian Francis effortlessly evokes the claustrophobia and camaraderie of life—and forbidden love—aboard a WW2 submarine.” – JL Merrow

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here.  We highly recommend it!

 

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.


http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/
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Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com

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A MelanieM Review: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.

Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.

When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.

It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.

I have loved this couple from the start of their relationship.  That was  Rebecca Cohen’s The Actor and the Earl, the first story in the The Crofton Chronicles. That series was told from Sebastian’s pov and actually stretched through their lineage into the modern day Crofton Hall.  It is a terrific series, one I rec to anyone who adores M/M historical romance.

I had thought that Rebecca Cohen was finished with the Croftons, the series over.  But with the release of this new story, the author has also started a new series as well.  This time told from Anthony’s perspective and what a joy and entertaining ride it is.

Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen picks up after the events of Forever Hold His Peace (The Crofton Chronicles #3).  You don’t have to have read that story as the author fills in all the details nicely here.  But if you have, this feels like coming home again and your fingers will itch to go back and pick up the other series as a foundation.  Sebastian is treading the boards as a popular and extremely successful actor of the day, with his ex brother in law Anthony as his patron.  It’s again trying times to disguise their true relationship as lovers behind this masquerade but they are taking precautions and Anthony’s new engagement to Lady Sarah (which also shields her love for her maid Beth) will also help hide them.

Then a plan to kill King James by a Scottish insurgency intent on returning Catholicism and a far different reign to England comes to light and Anthony and Sebastian’s assistance is needed.

What makes this novel so enjoyable is that not only are the characters so well drawn but that the author has done her research for the time period and it all flows together so beautifully.  The plays, the cloths, the court, the politics and intrigue.  It all comes together in high romance, suspense, and no little amount of anxiety at times over the safety of our main couple.  And their happiness!

If you have read the other three books that make up their wild beginning story and path towards love and a real relationship, you can more readily appreciate the stage Anthony and Sebastian are at here in their lives.  If you haven’t, I have listed them for you below.  They are well worth reading before you get to this one, trust me because they are the foundation story for this couple.

Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen ended just as I hoped after such a thrilling adventure for them both.  I can’t wait to see what the next installment brings.    It will sure be one of great romance, high adventure, more than a little suspense and a love that lasted through more turmoils and troubles than anyone could expect.

The story is fast paced, sexy, fun, and so well written that it just flies by.    You will definitely want more once it’s finished.  I highly recommend reading all the Crofton stories as I love them all, including this one.

Cover art:  Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Designs.  Well, I would have thought Anthony would be one with a little less swagger but then again maybe not.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published April 25th 2019
ASINB  07QMTQ6DB
Edition Language English

The Crofton Chronicles Series – Anthony and Sebastian from Sebastian’s pov:

The Actor and the Earl

Duty to the Crown

Forever Hold His Peace (this is where Anthony, Earl of Crofton picks up)

Love Historicals? Don’t Miss the Review Tour and Giveaway for Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton

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Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 66,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.


Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.



When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.


It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.

 

Author Bio
 

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

 

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HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You?

 

Here we are sailing into May.  Hard to believe, right?  Weather is still all topsy turvy with Spring blossoms vying with snowflakes depending upon where you live.  Here its’ winds and pollen, blossoms and varying temperatures.  All of which makes staying indoors and reading or listening a great way to spend the time.

Which segues into this Sunday’s topic.  HFN Or HEA?  What makes a story a HEA or HFN for you?  That came up last night as I finished reading a story I wanted to review this week.  It ended on a great note.  There was a proposal, the couple was definitely in love (yes, having declared it previously), but no wedding.  Just a proposal.  Also there is a child in the mix, that while a custody battle was semi settled, there wasn’t a permanent solution figured out.  Just a “feeling” that everything was going to work out in the end.  New job, etc.  It got me thinking.  How would I classify that ending?  I believe that author has it as a HEA.  And in many ways I can see that.  They are a committed couple, engaged.  They see themselves as a family unit going forward so yes, ok.

But….for me, there is also a lot of things still “up in the air” so to speak.  Elements in their lives that need settling before I might consider this a HEA.  Maybe more stability …I just don’t know why the feeling of that HEA totally escaped me here.  But it did.  Perhaps since we get to see progress of other couple from the story here, this might carry through to the third novel.  The author has a way of progressing her characters through her series, maturing the relationships or letting the readers see a progression in bits and pieces.

But again, it got me thinking why does one ending leave me so completely satisfied with the fate and relationship for a couple and another , nodding in recognition of a HFN?  And before I continue further I should say that HFN means Happy For Now and HEA means Happily Ever After.  Sign, sometimes I just assume people know what those terms mean.  HFN is where the couple might face an uncertain future, it could be temporary with a HEA still in play.  But life always manages to throw in obstacles in the path to HEA so for me HFN has always felt a more realistic choice in some cases however my heart wants a HEA for everyone.

I mean can you have a HEA after a short amount a time?  I’m talking about stories where the couples meet, fall in love in a week or two and have a HEA?  Possible?  Maybe ….or maybe not.  Maybe a HFN feels more authentic.

What makes a HEA feel real to you?

For me it’s where I have been on the journey with the couple to find their HEA, the relationship dynamics and characters felt real and believable.  I’ve watched the romance grow in depth, from stage to stage until everything comes to a culmination that says they made it, they are an established couple with a future ahead of them that we can and do believe in.  It’s golden (even if certain authors are then going to put them through the wringer lol).   Eventually we know they will toddle off together happy as rainbow clams.

But that’s me.  What’s your definition?  What elements have to be in play for a story to be a HEA for you ?  Or a HFN?  Let me know….a gift cert will be in your future.  Cut off date in 2 weeks time.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 28:

  • HFN Or HEA? What Makes a Story a HEA for You? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz – Clare London’s The Accidental Baker

Monday, April 29:

  • Review Tour – Love Is A Walk In The Park – V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey
  • Review Tour – Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz for Annabelle Jacobs ‘ Wounded Soul
  • DSP PROMO Amanda Meuwissen on Coming Up for Air
  • An Ashlez Review: Sweating Lies – Criminal Delights: Taken (Lies #1) by Emma Jaye
  • A MelanieM Review: Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey

Tuesday. April 30:

  • PROMO Mourning Dove by R.R. Campbell
  • Blog Tour – Sweating Lies – Criminal Delights: Taken  Lies #1) by Emma Jaye
  • Blog Tour – Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • An Alisa Review: Rescued by Love by Deirdre O’Dare
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Coming Up for Air by Amanda Meuwissen
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Murder Most Lovely (Lacetown Murder Mysteries #1) by Hank Edwards and, Deanna Wadsworth
  • A MelanieM Review: Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon

Wednesday, May 1:

  • Review Tour – Montana Sky (Montana #6) by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour – Lillian Francis – Under The Radar
  • Release Blitz – Bryan T. Clark – Escaping Camp Roosevelt
  • Release Blitz Made For You by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Review : Under The Radar by Lillian Francis
  • A Lucy Review: All My Fault by Michael Gouda
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Montana Sky (Montana #6) by RJ Scott

Thursday, May 2:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: RUNNING ON EMPTY, a Havoc novel by SE Jakes
  • Release Blitz – 717 miles by Sophia Soames
  • DSP PROMO Murder Most Lovely by Hank Edwards and Deanna Wadsworth
  • Blog Post – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard (Glasgow Lads 4.5)
  • An Ali Review:Starting from Zero by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review :717 miles by Sophia Soames
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Destructive Forces by Harry F. Rey

Friday, May 3:

  • The Doctor’s Secret by Heidi Cullinan Tour
  • Blog Tour – Unimaginable by Iyana Jenna
  • Release Blitz – GB Gordon – Match Grade (Criminal Delights)
  • An Alisa Review: Unimaginable by Iyana Jenna
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs #4) by L.A. Witt
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Dangerous Times by Isobelle Winter
  • A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Saturday, May 4  May the Fourth Be With You!:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Gina Harris and Anne Key
  • A MelanieM Review: Arctic Wild (Frozen Hearts #2) by Annabeth Albert

 

New Book Release Blitz and Giveaway for Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton

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Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Length: 66,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.


Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.



When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.


It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.
 
Author Bio
 

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

 

Giveaway

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