Wild Unpredictable Love Goes Marching Out. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Wild Unpredictable Love Goes Marching Out

Yes, its the final week of March, that wild, unpredictable crazy month that’s echoed the rollercoaster that is romance for so many.  Ups and downs, wild turns and topsy turvy motions that has your stomach churning. Yes, love and romance can be like that in life and certainly in our stories.  From love that finds a foothold when all hope was lost to that stunning man always out of reach suddenly turning back around to look your way to the tiger prince and the warrior mage, perhaps even more so the wonderful nerdy geeks that capture our hearts with their hesitant ways, we never know what some of our favorite books will bring us.

Last week I reviewed Amy Lane’s Bonfires, a 5 star story that continues to stay with me.  This week, Amy Lane is here to talk about it.  That story was full of unpredictable twists and turns, typical of that author.  On Saturday, April 1, I’m reviewing a book that certainly no April Fool’s Joke, Bru Baker’s Tall, Dark, and Deported, one of Dreamspinner Press’s Dreamspun Desires titles.  Its heartwarming, sweet and surprising.  Stella has one she’s reviewing that’s on my TBR list, John Inman’s story My Dragon My Knight.  Check out that review along with me.  Plus there’s that amazing Tal Bauer series The Executive Office that has another book out.  We have back to back reviews on it this week as well along with Alex Beecroft’s new supernatural series.  So many wonderful rollercoaster stories to get hooked on going into April.  What’s on your TBR list this week?  Did it make it onto ours?  Let us know!

Plus this is the last week to enter into our giveaway.  Go over your favorites, throw us your lists!  With all these great books coming out, I’m sure you can use that gift certificate!

Wild, Unpredictable Love Giveaway!

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

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 26:

  • DSP GUEST POST Cy Blanca on A Teacher and a Poet
  • Wild Unpredictable Love Goes Marching Out
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 27:

  • Rob Rosen blog post on Fierce + Giveaway
  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Strays by Garrett Leigh
  • DSP GUEST POST Amy Lane on Bonfires
  • Release Blitz March 27th *The Necromancer’s Dance by S J Himes (Audiobook)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Strays by Garrett Leigh
  • A Lila Review: One Bullet by Casey Wolfe
  • An Ali Review: One Bullet by Casey Wolfe

Tuesday, March 28:

  • DSP GUEST POST Ken Bachtold on A Company of Players
  • Release Blitz – Bronze Star by AE Wasp
  • Release Day Blitz: Enemy Within by Tal Bauer
  • Review Tour – Helena Stone’s Patience
  • A MelanieM Review: Patience by Helena Stone
  • A VVivacious Review: An Officer’s Submission (Cuffs, Collars, and Love #3) by Christa Tomlinson

Wednesday, March 29:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR Angels of Istanbul by Alex Beecroft
  • Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Book 4 by Joe Cosentino (interview with a character)
  • BLOG TOUR One Bullet by Casey Wolfe
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Counting Down by Kelly Jensen
  • A VVivacious Review: The Poison Within (Inspector Skaer #1) by Kasia Bacon
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin

Thursday, March 30:

  • Blog Tour Spritzer – A Sparkling Gay Romance by Jon McDonald
  • Release Blitz – Dirty Games by Barbara Elsborg
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown
  • A MelanieM Review: Sons of Devils (Arising #1) by Alex Beecroft
  • A VVivacious Review: Fierce by Rob Rosen
  • An Alisa Review:  Nightsong by A. M. Leibowitz

Friday, March 31:

  • Cover Reveal for Take a Chance by Megs Pritchard
  • A DSP GUEST POST Karen Bovenmyer
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Annabelle Jacobs’ Bitten By Design
  • A Lila Review: Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3) by Tal Bauer
  • A Paul B Review: Enemy Within (The Executive Office #3) by Tal Bauer
  • A Stella Release Day Review: My Dragon My Knight by John Inman

Saturday, April 1

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tall, Dark, and Deported by Bru Baker

 

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

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

Available for Purchase at

Harmony Ink Press

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

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

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s next for you as an author?

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

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

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

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

All You Need Is Love…blurb

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

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

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

Russell J. Sanders…bio

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

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

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

Media Contacts for Russell J. Sanders:

Author of…

   Thirteen Therapists (Featherweight Press)

   Special Effect (Harmony Ink Press)

   The Book of Ethan (Harmony Ink Press)

   Colors (Harmony Ink Press)

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

In the YA Spotlight: A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  A Boy Worth Knowing

Author: Jennifer Cosgrove

Publisher:  NineStar Press – SunFire Imprint

Release Date: March 20

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 62200

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, NineStar Press, LGBT, gay, bisexual, romance, young adult, contemporary, paranormal, coming of age, ghosts, family drama, high school, bullying

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.

Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.

Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.

Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.

Excerpt

A Boy Worth Knowing
Jennifer Cosgrove © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I loved autumn mornings.

The October air was just cold enough to set my lungs on fire, my breath visible in clouds of condensation, forcing all of the crap clogging up my head into the recycle bin. Bonus, I could pretend I was a dragon. Nothing could touch me; my morning run made everything go away, lost in miles at a time. Down an isolated country road.

Everything changed when I was twelve, and not for the better. That was when I started running. Five years of road I’d put behind me. My mom worried about me the first time I took off alone. Well, when she used to worry about me. I wished she was more worried about the reason I was running instead of the fact I was doing it down an empty road.

I turned the corner about a mile after leaving home, and that was when I saw him. Samuel was always lurking among the sunken headstones. Most people had no clue there used to be a cemetery out there. Looking closely, some of the stones that made up the foundation of the chapel could still be seen. No one else ever paid that much attention to it. Samuel glared at me as I got closer. He was a surly one.

My life was like the horror movies I loved. I talked to the dead. Well, technically dead. They were really spirits, or whatever. Whatever was left behind when people died. And they talked to me, for some reason. There was nothing like sitting in math class and having a ghost whisper in my ear while trying to take notes.

It happened all the damn time. I didn’t know how to handle it at first. And no one wanted to hang out with the crazy kid in the back of the room, muttering away to himself. I got used to it. Really. And the lack of a social life helped me get all of my homework done on time; all of the teachers loved me. That was good. Talking to ghosts wasn’t all bad.

I waved at Samuel as I ran by the cemetery. He shook a fist at me in return. Samuel wasn’t evil or anything, just grumpy. Couldn’t blame him, though. I looked him up one time and found out he’d died in the late eighteen hundreds. The cause of death on record was a heart attack. But Samuel told me his brother-in-law had poisoned him because he wouldn’t sell him his prize mule. I had no clue what was so special about that mule, but his brother-in-law evidently thought it was worth killing him over. I’d have been pretty surly myself.

Past the forgotten cemetery, a few miles to the McGregor farm, and then I’d swing around for home. Yes, I said McGregor farm. Small-town life— I couldn’t have made this stuff up if I’d tried.

There was another house just past the farm where I had to watch out for their beast of a dog. Dogs weren’t huge fans of mine. My Nana had a theory they could sense a bit of whatever it was that let us chat with those who’d “passed on.” I had no idea how that was even possible, but cats loved me, so yay.

Speaking of which, Aunt Susan’s overly fluffy cat waited by our mailbox. Arthur did that every time I went out for a run. He would sit there and then fall in behind to follow up the driveway until we got to the house. Then, it was a shady spot on the porch in the summer or, if it was cold like that day, into the house in front of the fireplace. I loved predictability.

The house used to be my grandmother’s. It was a standard farmhouse, old and creaky just like dozens more all around us, and it could have stood a little paint. But we called it home, and we liked it. It became Aunt Susan’s home. It had been left to her after Nana died, since my mom already owned one. It was a little out of the way and a long drive to the hospital where my aunt worked. But it was paid for, and that meant a lot.

I had to be quiet going in because Aunt Susan was not a morning person, and the floor squeaked just inside the back door. I was very much a morning person, and I followed the same routine each school or work day. Flipping on the coffee maker, I headed to my room to get ready for school. I got the shower running, since it took a while to heat up in an old farmhouse, and took a sniff to make sure a shower was actually necessary. Oh, yeah. I was gross.

Purchase

Meet the Author

Jennifer has always been a voracious reader and a well-established geek from an early age. She loves comics, movies, and anything that tells a compelling story.

When not writing, she likes knitting, dissecting/arguing about movies with her husband, and enjoying the general chaos that comes with having kids.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Tour Schedule

3/20 – My Fiction Nook

3/20 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

3/20 – Just Love

3/21 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

3/21 – Diverse Reader

3/21 – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

3/22 – V’s Reads

3/22 – Molly Lolly

3/22 – MM Good Book Reviews

3/23 – Liz’s Reading Life

3/23 – Stories That Make You Smile

3/23 – Dog-Eared Daydreams

3/24 – Bayou Book Junkie

3/24 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews

3/24 – Love Bytes Reviews

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

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Wild, Unpredictable March – Wild Tales of Love

 

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

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

Wild, Unpredictable Love Giveaway!

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

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

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 19:

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

Monday, March 20:

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

Tuesday, March 21:

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

Wednesday, March 22:

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

Thursday, March 23:

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

Friday, March 24:

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

Saturday, March 25:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Twilight by Megan Derr

 

INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR: Ghosts & Ashes (Broken Moon #2) by F.T. Lukens (author interview, special excerpt and giveaway)

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Ghosts & Ashes (Broken Moon #2) by F.T. Lukens
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nterlude Press
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Available for Sale at

amazon square borderB&N borderApple borderKobo borderSW border

Other Purchase LinksGoogle | Book Depository | Indiebound

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have F.T. Lukens here today to talk about her  latest novel, Ghost & Ashes.  Welcome, F.T., thank you for stopping by on your tour today. Hi FT, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover. It’s not the sole reason I buy a book, but I do love a nice cover. I’m very lucky to have the beautiful covers I’ve had for my Broken Moon Series.

It also helps if the book is in my genre of choice. A good blurb that’s interesting can get me too.

Probably needless to say but I do end up purchasing a lot of books.

  • What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

This is a tricky question. I think romance can mean the whole sweep- someone-off-their-feet thing. But I tend to think of it as person meeting another person where they are and going from there. I think that’s romantic. But I love slow-burn romances and pining and those kinds of tropes.

  • What are your current projects?

I’m happily working on several different projects right now. This current book, Ghosts & Ashes, is the second of a trilogy. I’m busy plotting out the third and final installment. I also just finished another YA book about myths and cryptids. I’m also hoping to write a steampunk fantasy novel this year as well. It’s a lot to squeeze in.

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

It’s the motivation. I’m a driven person. I recently had to take a strengths finding test for my day job and my top was called “Achiever.” Which basically means I’m here to get things done. But sometimes, after working a full day, and tending to three kids, and putting everyone to bed and I’m sitting at the keyboard and I’m drained… Those nights are difficult. But I surround myself with people who will push me. I have friends who will send me emails asking me if I’ve made my goals. And I have a goal tracking spreadsheet that keeps me on track.

  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

I don’t know if this is ‘surprising’ but it’s funny/sweet. My penname is of course, not my real name. But it is a combination of an inside joke plus the name of the person who nicknamed me FT. The name ‘Lukens’ is the last name of a friend of mine who passed away. She loved nicknaming people and she loved to joke around. The FT part is the joke that I share with her and a few others and the Lukens in her last name. When I was coming up with the penname, I thought of her, and I knew she would’ve loved it. I’m sure where she is that she’s smiling and probably laughing at me. 😉

GHOSTS & ASHES ~ Summary

Three months have passed since the events of The Star Host, and Ren is living aboard the Star Stream under the watchful eyes of the Phoenix Corps. Plagued by vivid nightmares that ravage the ship in his sleep, he struggles to prove he isn’t a threat and fears he has traded one captor for another. His relationship with Asher, whose efforts to balance his personal loyalty to Ren with his professional duties to the Corps are failing, fractures.

Adrift without an anchor, Ren must return to his home planet of Erden if he has any chance of reversing his dangerous descent into madness. There, he hopes search for his missing brother and salvage his relationship with Asher. What he nds is knowledge that puts everyone’s allegiance to the test.

GHOSTS & ASHES ~ EXCERPT

“There you are!” Asher said, striding toward him, wrapping him in an embrace. “Stars, you’re freezing.” Asher rubbed Ren’s arms; his palms swept over the chilled skin. “Where have you been? You left and never came back. Jakob and I have been looking all over for you.”

Ren pitched forward, planted his face in Asher’s chest, and shook. The terror at being taken again mixed with the crushing truths from his parents overwhelmed him.

“Hey, hey, you’re okay.” Asher pulled Ren close. “What happened? Was it a dream? Sleepwalking?”

Ren stilled. Pressed close to Asher’s body, it would be easy to give into the urge to tell him everything, to spill the truth about what his parents had said about the Corps and the star hosts and the history his life was mired in. But his mother’s words lingered in the back of his mind, and Ren remembered how Asher had sided with VanMeerten so many times since the debacle on the drift. Asher was Phoenix Corps, through and through. His allegiance was split, torn between Ren and his duty as a soldier. And how much did he know? Was Asher aware that the first mission of the Corps was to hunt down the scattered remnants of the star hosts? Or did he only know what he had been told, like the rest of them?

* * *

Ren poured his power outward. The force field created a partial wall between the captives and the Corps. The comms shrieked. The pulse guns spat electricity, came alive in the hands of those who wielded them, and sparked and sputtered, shocking the Corpsmen with forks and tangles of electricity. They fell, writhing on the ground, even Zag. Ren vibrated with their screams, tasted the burn of skin and hair, but it wasn’t enough.

They had destroyed his home. They had made it so Ren could never return to what he was before. They had scared Ezzy, who was only a girl with a crush, who wanted to prove herself capable in a warzone when she should’ve been learning at school, playing in the woods, swimming in the lake, or blushing around boys. They had threatened them, frightened them, and they would burn, as Ren did, blaze in misery and despair, and thrash in pain until their veins blackened and peeled like wires, until their bones glowed like circuits.

The power flowed from him in a torrent, and he pushed it, and pushed it. He ensured those responsible were filled until they burst, until their souls were scorched out of them, until their humanity had crumbled to dust as his had.

* * *

Ren sighed. Asher wanted to talk, and Ren’s insides ached with a fierce loneliness he hadn’t experienced since the first night in the cell of the Baron’s citadel. He didn’t want Asher’s words or his pity. And he didn’t want to relive the details of the nightmare, which had sent him twisting in his sheets and crawling across the floor. The sense memories clung to him, like cobwebs whose phantom threads, fluttery and strange and stubborn, brushed against his skin. The strands were infinite; they touched the deep places of Ren’s consciousness and burrowed down to his marrow to pull out the things that terrified him most.

He didn’t want to share the nightmare, but Asher’s flat countenance and sure gaze couldn’t hide his worry. It flashed in his eyes and ran in shaky tremors down the length of his crossed arms, as if he hugged himself to keep in his concerns and not as a defense to reflect whatever Ren had to throw at him.

Ren bent his knees, propped his arm up, and allowed his fingertips to dangle. Sweat flattened his hair against his temples. He regarded Asher coolly as Asher sat on the edge of Ren’s bunk.

“Do you remember when we went dancing?”

Asher blinked at the non-sequitur. “On Mykonos?”

Rowan had taken them dancing in a place with loud music and rotating lights. The beat had vibrated through Ren’s boots. “I had never been dancing like that before.”

Asher raised an eyebrow. “You weren’t bad. Well, not as bad as Jakob.”

“I liked the slow dance.” Asher had grabbed Ren in his arms and pulled him to the dance floor. They’d laughed and moved and all Ren’s worries had dissolved in happiness and the rhythm of the music. “I liked being with you. With the crew. I miss that.”

“We’re here now, Ren.”

He shook his head. “No. You’re not. It’s different now.”

“It doesn’t have to be.”

Ren looked away.

“Ren, you’re not okay,” he said flatly.

“No. I’m not, but I didn’t feel like broadcasting it.”

“It’s a little late for that,” Asher said softly. Ren’s stomach twisted. Asher had all but confirmed his latest nightmare had played on the vid screens. The crew had seen what Ren couldn’t remember, didn’t want to remember. “You’re getting worse. And they know it.”

Ren twisted his lips. “I’m aware the crew already knows. Pen can’t lie for anything.”

“Not them. The Corps.”

Ren rested his head on his knees. “You told her. You threw me to the wolves.”

“I had to.”

“Why? Do you want me to leave? Be locked away?”

“Stars, Ren. You know I don’t want that.”

“I don’t know what you want, to be honest. I don’t understand why you hold allegiance to them at all.”

“Because I have to. I promised five years.”

“You and your promises,” Ren said bitterly. That was loyalty Ren couldn’t understand, not after what the Corps had done to Asher, not after having left him for a year to rot in a cell on what they called a backwater planet. But Ren was beginning to realize there were things he would never understand and maybe wasn’t meant to.

“And I promised I’d keep you safe. Any way I could. This is the only way. Don’t you understand that?”

Ren felt the slight touch of Asher’s fingertips across the back of his hand. His star sparked and sought out the mechanism in Asher’s shoulder instinctually.

Asher shivered.

“There’s a fine line between safety and captivity.”

* * *

Connect with F.T. at authorftlukens.wordpress.com on Twitter @ftlukens, on Tumblr at ftlukens.tumblr.com and on Goodreads at goodreads.com/ftlukens.

About the Author

F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult ction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan community writing contest. A sci- enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Fire y and is a longtime member of her college’s science- fiction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats.

Her 1st novel in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host, was published by Duet Books in 2016.

Connect with F.T. at authorftlukens.wordpress.com on Twitter @ftlukens, on Tumblr at ftlukens.tumblr.com and on Goodreads at goodreads.com/ftlukens.

Giveaway

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Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Ghosts & Ashes // Five winners receive the multi-format eBook.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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A Caryn YA Release Day Review: Driven by MB Mulhall

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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

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

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

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

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

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press

Book Details:

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

Looking for New Reviewers to Join Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Looking for New Reviewers for

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Do you love to read?  Can’t wait to share your thoughts on the books you just read?  Or maybe the books you just listened to?  Ebook and Audiobooks included!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for new reviewers to join our family. Get in touch with us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com if you love books and like to share your thoughts about them with others. Send links to your reviews if you are already reviewing here. YA,New Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Sci Fy, you name the genre, and any coupling as long as its LGBTQIA.  Maybe you like LGBTQIA Non fiction or graphic novels.  That would be cool.  Have a busy schedule?  We’ll work with you.  We don’t pressure you to take more books then you want or can handle.

We supply the books, you supply the review. We are flexible with schedules and the amount of books each person needs to review. Let’s talk! Send all inquiries and links to reviews if you have them to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Fickle, Fickle, March and Love and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Fickle, Fickle March & Love

Ah March!  So fickle, so surprising!  Here in Maryland, we had almost 80 degree weather two days ago.  Flowers were blooming as were trees including the famed cherry trees.  Pollen counts were up!  Thoughts of gardening danced in my head as emails from local garden markets flew into my mailbox announcing they were opening early this season!  Then yesterday here came the snow and the plunging temperatures, forcing all those happy plans right out of the mind, reminding me that yes, its way too early for all those wonderful outside type endeavors.  March is often a smack of reality.  A gentle breeze followed by gale force winds.  A lovely day of sunshine that’s tipped on its head by hail and a foot of snow.  You never know quite what a day in March will bring.

Sometimes love is like that too.

A simple date that turns into something more.  A summer fling that becomes that love you can never forget.  And in the case of some of our favorite stories, that man you met might just turn into something unexpected.  Maybe a wolf, panther, owl, lion, or even in a story that still has me laughing a sloth.  Maybe he’s an alien instead of a were! Angel or demon? Dragon or ancient eternal knight? Oh, how I love those stories.  And judging from the Best of Lists, so do all of you.  So here goes our giveaway for this week.

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~This Week’s Giveaway ~ He Turned Out To Be What? Contest

What stories are on your He Turned Out To Be What? List.  The books can be supernatural, science fiction, alternate universe,whatever.  Its just that one of the main couple has to be a surprise in one way to the other.  He can be warlock, alien or were ~ is there another category I’m missing?  Sexuality is out.  We are talking different being here, magical entity, demon, different were than the other.  That’s cool too.  I’m hoping  for some new stories that I haven’t read here.  Dolphins, Meerkats, all good.  Go for it!    Two random readers who submit lists will be chosen to receive a $10 gift certificate.   Giveaway ends Saturday, March 11th at midnight.Get Kraken! lol

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Winner Announcement

New Love, New Beginnings Love Story Giveaway winners are:

 DSP gift Card:  jenf27 and H.B.  Congratulations both of you

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, March 5:

  • Fickle, Fickle, March and Love (This Week’s Giveaway)
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is Looking For Reviewers

Monday, March 6:

  • DSP GUEST POST Lucie Archer on My Paradise is You
  • Audiobook Review Tour For NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart #2
  • Release Day Blitz:  The Broken Butterfly by Caitlin Ricci
  • Retro Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Misfits (Urban Soul #1) 
  • FreeDreamer Review: Misfits (Urban Soul #1) by Garrett Leigh
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Red Dirt Heart #1 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • A Lila Audiobook Review:  Red Dirt Heart #2 by NR Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: Talking in Code by Ariel Tachna

Tuesday, March 7:

  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael on Just the Right Notes
  • A Caryn YA Release Day Review: Driven by MB Mulhall
  • A Lila Release Day Review: The Mystery of the Curiosities (Snow & Winter #2) by C.S. Poe
  • A Paul B Review: The Chain of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler
  • A Stella Review:  Momo, My Everything by Posy Roberts
  • An Alisa Review: Rough Edges by Cardeno C

Wednesday, March 8:

  • DSP GUEST POST Marek Moran on The Sparky
  • DSP GUEST POST CC Bridges on Love in the Time of Hurricanes
  • A Jeri Review: After the Fire by Felice Stevens
  • A Stella Review: Beneath the Stars  by Lynn Charles
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review:  Shaper by Christine Danse
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Darkness (Common Law book 3) by Kate Sherwood

Thursday, March 9:

  • GUEST POST Skylar M Cates on Secrets of You
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Darkness (Common Law book 3) by Kate Sherwood
  • A Paul B Review: The Otto Digmore Difference (The Otto Digmore Series #1) by Brent Hartinger
  • A Vvivacious Review: Insight by Santino Hassell
  • An Alisa Review:  Fangs Like Me by Lyssa Dering

Friday, March 10:

  • COVER REVEAL: Separation by Louise Lyons
  • INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR Ghosts & Ashes by FT Lukens
  • Release Blitz for Bedside Manner by DJ Jamison
  • A VVivacious Review: You Had Me at Hero by Michael P. Thomas
  • An Ali Review: We Three Kings by AF Henley
  • An Alisa Review: Hunter by Dakota Storm
  • A Stella Review: Three Hearts by Grace R. Duncan

Saturday, March 11:

  • Blog Tour: Audiobook of DRAMA MUSCLE (Nicky and Noah mystery #2) by Joe Cosentino, performed by Chip Hurley
  • A MelanieM Review: Dragon Soldier by Mell Eight
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review:  DRAMA MUSCLE (Nicky and Noah mystery #2) by Joe Cosentino, performed by Chip Hurley

 

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A Free Dreamer Review: Foxes by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

FoxesWhen Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.

A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn’t know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can’t help him fight against.

To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.

I’ve been a fan of Suki Fleet’s writing for a long time, so I just had to have this book. I had high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed.

The tone is achingly bittersweet. There’s the bitter reality of Danny’s life in an abandoned swimming pool, desperately lonely after the death of his best friend. He’s dead set on finding Dashiel’s killer and protect other boys and girls like him. So Danny follows dangerous men all over London, alone, at night, without telling anybody. He also writes descriptions of every street walker he meets during his search. One night, he meets Micky and his carefully arranged world spins into chaos.

That’s when the sweetness starts seeping in. Because the love story is absolutely beautiful. I was often torn between wanting to grin like a loon and wanting to cry my eyes out.

I loved that Suki Fleet didn’t turn this into an angst-ridden cinderfella story. There’s no easy solution at hand, no rich lover who rescues the poor rent boy. Micky and Danny both have next to nothing. Both have issues aside from being poor that can’t be solved with a sudden influx of money. Still, the beautiful love story was a great counterpoint, keeping just the right balance of sad and happy. The result was an incredibly addicting story that I just couldn’t put down. I just sort of fell into the story and it didn’t let me go till the end.

Both MCs proved to be very likeable. They’re unique and well developed. They have their quirks and troubles and simply felt very much alive. Suki Fleet created an intense connection between me and Danny and Micky. They have depth and aren’t just cardboard cut-outs. Suki Fleet’s character building is simply beyond words.

Foxes were a bit of a recurring theme throughout the story. A little detail that endeared the story even more to me.

The writing style is quietly poetic and fits the mood of the story perfectly. Suki Fleet can conjure an incredibly dense atmosphere with very few words. It’s an incredible gift. I could practically see the streets of London before me and feel the bitterly cold rains on my skin.

By now, you’re probably wondering why I only gave this story 4.5 stars. There’s an easy answer to that: I didn’t like the ending.

Now, to be fair, I’m very picky about my endings and I’m often dissatisfied. In this case, the HEA felt forced and a little rushed. It was jarring after the slow quietness of the rest. It didn’t really fit the otherwise so realistic story either. Honestly, I’d have been perfectly happy with a HFN or even a tragic ending. But I’m weird like that.

“Foxes” is a quietly poetic story, without much excitement, that is still incredibly addicting with its bittersweet love story. Suki Fleet is one of the most talented writers out there and she deserves more readers. So, go read this. And everything else she’s written. She’s amazing.

The cover by AngstyG shows two things at once. At the top, you can see the silhouettes of two men walking toward the sunset. On the bottom are two silhouetted naked figures, one leaning down to the other, as if they’re about to kiss. I love the cover, it portrays the same sense of quiet bittersweet as the story itself.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon

Book details:

ebook, 274 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769211
Edition LanguageEnglish

In the Spotlight: Foxes by Suki Fleet (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner


2016 Rainbow Award Winner – Best Gay Young Adult

Blurb


When Dashiel’s body is found dumped on an East London wasteland, his best friend Danny sets out to find the killer. But Danny finds interaction difficult and must keep his world small in order to survive. By day he lives in an abandoned swimming pool and fixes electrical devices to trade for supplies, but by night, alone, he hunts sharks—a reckless search for dangerous men who prey on the vulnerable.

A chance meeting with an American boy selling himself on the streets throws this lonely existence into disarray. Micky is troubled, fragile, and Danny feels a desperate need to protect him—from what, he doesn’t know. As Danny discovers more about Micky, he realizes that what Micky needs saving from is the one thing Danny can’t help him fight against.

To save Micky, Danny must risk expanding his world and face something that scares him more than any shark ever could: trusting he will be accepted for who he is. If a freezing winter on the streets, a sadistic doctor, and three thousand miles don’t tear them apart first, that is.

February 10 – Back Porch Reader
 

Author Bio

Award Winning Author. Prolific Reader (though less prolific than she’d like). Lover of angst, romance and unexpected love stories.

Suki Fleet writes lyrical stories about memorable characters, and believes everyone should have a chance at a happy ending.

Her first novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014

Email: sukifleet@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/suki_fleet/
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https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7919609.Suki_Fleet
http://sukifleet.tumblr.com/
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https://twitter.com/SukiFleet?lang=en

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