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

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

Sales Links: Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book Details:

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

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

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

Available for Purchase at

Harmony Ink Press

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

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~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Pearl Love~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s next for you as an author?

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

“Salvation’s Song” blurb

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

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

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

About the Author

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

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

Twitter: @pearllovebooks

David Pratt on Wallaçonia, his latest novel and the Inspiration Behind it(Author Guest Blog)

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Wallaçonia by David Pratt

Title: WALLAÇONIA  (woll-uh-SO-nee-uh)

Publisher: Beautiful Dreamer Press, 309 Cross Street, Nevada City, CA  95959
Distributor: Ingram
Release Date: April, 2017

Available for Purchase at

Beautiful Dreamer Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have David Pratt back again to talk about his latest novel, Wallaçonia, and the inspiration behind it.  Welcome, David.

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“Who Is Michael?” by David Pratt

I dedicated Wallaçonia “to Michael, with my greatest appreciation.” I’d like to tell you about Michael.

One of the curious features of Wallaçonia is that it’s eighteen-year-old hero feels bullied and excluded, he actually turns out to have done some bullying of his own. Early in the book, he confesses to picking on a smaller, weaker, odder kid when they were both in middle school. He wishes he could see that kid again and make it right. For a long time I had that wish myself. I don’t remember when I decided to include this part of my young life in Wallaçonia. I just felt I had to. I had to confess, as it were. When I was a confused, put-upon middle schooler, I picked on Michael. In the book I call him Nate.

I have tried to find Michael online. Unfortunately his name is quite common. He wanted to be a rabbi, but even when I add “rabbi,” there are still lots of men with his name. One in particular is kind of a local hero in Oregon. Like Jim in Wallaçonia, I was irritated by chubby, effeminate, chatty Michael’s attempts to engage me over and over, to associate me with his weakness. I was also probably irritated that I responded. The cool kids, the masculine boys simply ignored him. As though he didn’t exist. I was drawn to him. And repulsed by him. The association with him was a sign of my fate, and I hated that and found opportunities to insult him or push him away.

I was never, ever violent with Michael, but, egged on by me, a classmate once took aggression against Michael too far. I stood there shocked as this boy gripped Michael around the neck and pushed his head back against a wall. I watched Michael’s face go red, his face in shock. This had not been my intention. I had tried to feel big and masculine by picking on Michael, but an even bigger, more real, more dangerous masculinity now asserted itself. Something we both feared. Something I had never meant to happen.

Of course, years more of being the weak one and the outsider, and I finally came to appreciate what Michael endured at my hands and the hands of us all. Michael could not disguise his effeminacy or his nerdiness. At the same time, he could not escape the clutches of an overbearing mother (in our one encounter she threatened to call the cops on me) and a father, himself a rabbi, who clearly had single-minded expectations. I wonder how the expectations and the effeminacy eventually sorted out. Did he become a rabbi, while everyone turned a blind eye? Or did he rebel? Move away? Keep secrets?

In Wallaçonia we eventually find out how “Nate” grows up. The necessities of fiction made me give Nate a future Michael very likely could not have. So while I appreciate what Michael went through, I really did not give him his due. (I am not saying just what I gave grown-up Nate that Michael could not have, because it would involve spoilers aplenty!) I still would like to apologize to Michael, if he could hear what I have to say. If there would not be a communication gap because I would be talking “gay,” and he would by now be far beyond closeted, going through the motions for a lifetime, to the point that he would actually be the motions. That would be a new level of Michael to appreciate. A communication we can never have. A person he can never be, never conceive. A book that I might like to write, but that perhaps can never be written.

“Sharp, focused, super-intense, and special. It’s rare to find a novel with such a beautifully rendered friendship between a young gay man and an older mentor. I’ll remember the relationship between Jim and Pat for a long, long time.”

—Bill Konigsberg, author of Openly Straight and The Porcupine of Truth

 

About Wallaçonia

“My name is James Howard Wallace, and I always wanted to be normal.” Every young man should have a mentor. Jim Wallace is about to prove for good and all how “normal” he is when he finds himself getting close to Pat Baxter, his neighbor next door. Pat befriends Jim, reveals to him his own heartbreaking story, and in the end helps him know who he really is and where he wants to go with his life. Along the way, Jim must decide what to tell his parents and his girlfriend, Liz, and he must confront an old acquaintance who unexpectedly comes back into his life.

Price: $13.95 – see sales links above
Trim Size: 5.5” x 8.5”, 270 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9981262-0-3
Audience: LGBT, Young Adult, Family Life

Trailer on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/211172226

About the Author

DAVID PRATT

is the author of three published novels: Bob the Book (Chelsea Station Editions), which won a 2011 Lambda Literary Award; Looking After Joey, soon to be re-released by Lethe Press; and Wallaçonia, a young adult novel released March 25, 2017 by Beautiful Dreamer Press. Several of his short stories are collected in the volume My Movie (Chelsea Station); three of these stories are being adapted as a film by San Francisco-based director Joseph Graham.

David Pratt won a 2011 Lambda Literary Award for his novel Bob the Book. He published a collection of stories, My Movie, in 2012, and another novel, Looking After Joey, in 2014. Praise for David Pratt’s Work:

For Bob the Book: “Sure to make you laugh…highly recommended.”—After Elton; “A rare and extraordinary accomplishment.”—Lambda Literary

For My Movie: “Character-driven narratives that cannily encapsulate small personal revelations and lead to gratifying endings.”—Lambda Literary; “An important voice in LGBT literature.”—Examiner.com

For Looking After Joey: “The laughs never stop coming; neither do the deep truths this tender book reveals on every page.”—Joel Derfner, author of Swish

Marketing:

National print and media campaign.
National tour: NYC, Boston, Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Milwaukee, New Orleans, SF Bay Area
Free advance reading copies.
Blog tour.
Advertising in IBPA, Lambda Literary.
Social media: Facebook, dedicated web page at BeautifulDreamerPress.com.
For more information or to book a reading, contact Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management at michelekarlsberg@me.com.

A Stella Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

I fell in love with this book since the first time I saw its cover, too cute and well done to be ignored by a cover whore like me. Then I read the blurb and guess what? The first cartoon I remember from my childhood, which videotape I still save, is The Little Mermaid, that’s why I was so curious to see how a new to me author would turn this fairytale into a FF retelling.

I have to say I loved The Seafarer’s Kiss a lot. I took my time at reading it and each time I put my eyes on a new chapter, I was surprised and satisfied. First of all the characters were awesome, each of them, they were beautifully delined and the growth they went throught was clear and always positive. Ersel in particular was beautifully done, she was fierce and brave, as Ragna was too. And that was the reason why they were a match made in heaven.

Nothing in the plot has been left to the chance, how and why our MCs met, why they needed to be parted, how they were together again, and the lovely happy ending. Mixed with these, a lot of things happened, event after event that took me engaged till the end. I got to know some great characters, like Ersel’s mum, who broke my heart with her huge love for the daughter she is ready to let go, and then Havamal, the ex-bestfriend who betrayed Ersel, and the dreams they made together, to join the guards of the evil king.

The story took place in a well craft world and it surprised me, I wasn’t waiting for so many details, I was able to understand and emphatize with not just Ersel but with Vigdis too, the popular girl. I felt the despair they had in their souls, how both of them, differently, were ready to do everything it was possible to fullfill their dreams. The writing was perfect for a book like this, where I so wanted to be able to see in my mind this magic world and its ihnabitants. It’s an evocative writing, I could picture every word I read, every new character I met. And I fell for all of them.

I don’t want to say more about the plot because I don’t want to spoil your reading, but I was deeply conquered, all the little twists the author gave to me, were little steps to the success The Seafarer’s Kiss was to me. In this book you can find a contemporary story, with some young adult elements and a fairytale with some mythology added. All blended together.

I have to say, I would so love to read the same story told by Ragna, it would be a copletely different story. I think following her in her travellings and mis/adventures would be incredible and truly exciting. I have just to try and convince the author.

The cover art by CB Messer is so fitting, the same scene can be easily find in the story, exactly like this. And it’s cute, and the style and the colors just perfect.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 224 pages

Published May 4th 2017 by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press

ASIN B01MUJHWTO

Edition Language English

The Rites of May, Free Dreamer’s Answers Your Questions and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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The Rites of May and Free Dreamer’s Answers Your Questions!

The first of May, which, yes we’ve left behind, has meaning for many rites and celebrations.  This includes one I remember from my childhood, dancing around the Maypole.  No I wasn’t in England, believe it or not, it was in a small town in New Jersey.  Why did we do this?  To celebrate May Day!  May Day is an ancient Northern Hemisphere festival which traditionally marked the return of spring. It is believed that the celebrations originated in agricultural rituals intended to ensure fertility for crops, held by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

Other seasonal celebrations of this time included the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. Today, many customs still celebrate this ancient festival, including the gathering of wildflowers and the setting up of a decorated May tree or Maypole, around which people dance, although I’m not sure how many school children in the US are skipping around a pole.  Somehow I just don’t think this would get through these days.

Maypole dancing continues to be one of the most popular May Day customs in Europe. Participants dance around a wooden Maypole, holding colourful ribbons that become decoratively intertwined. The dancers then change direction and repeat the steps in reverse, causing the ribbons to unwind. This is said to symbolize the lengthening of the days as summer begins.  That’s the organized version.  I wish you could have seen the chaos that ensued when us children were unleashed to run madly with our ribbons around each other and that pole.  Fun yes, but we were the very opposite of anything that could be described as “decoratively intertwined.”

May Day celebrations these days include singers, dancers including Morris Dancing, May King and Queens, but almost never in the US, where such goings on were frowned upon by the Puritans and May Day  celebrations never really took hold.  Makes me wonder now about that small town in NJ where I grew up.  Did you celebrate any Rites of May in your town?  Let us know!  How about books that include celebrations?  Write us and let us know.

One of my favorite stories revolve around a Morris Dancer.  That would be Alex Beecroft’s Blue Eyed Stranger from her Trowchester Blues series, an excellent story in an outstanding series.  Can you think of others?

While we are waiting as promised, here is  Free Dreamer with her answers to your questions and the winners of her Book Adventures contest!

Hey there! It’s Free Dreamer! Here are my answers to the readers’ questions:

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From Jen: Which books did you take photos of and end up getting free copies when you got home?

There were only two books that really caught my attention. I picked up an excerpt for “The Blackthorn Key” by Kevin Sands, a Fantasy YA novel. I have yet to read the excerpt, though. And then I discovered the German version of “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzie Lee. Also YA, but historical with a gay protagonist this time. I successfully begged for a free copy of that and already read it. Or should I say devoured it? It was utterly brilliant and I’ve already lent it to a co-worker! You can look forward to a review of it sometime in the near future. 😉
 
 
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From Purple Reader: For your fair, as a dreamer, what did you anticipate or expect the most from going, and how did that go? Were your expectations met or exceeded? (I hope they were). I know what you’re saying about Sanderson. I read his concluding 3 vols. in the Wheel of Time series, and thought they picked the quality back up to what I saw in the first 3 vols. But I’ve since gravitated to gay fiction, so haven’t read anything of his since. Do any of his stories involve a gay protagonist?

The thing I anticipated the most was easily the meeting with Brandon Sanderson. I’m so glad he turned out to be a nice guy. He was really patient with the signing and everything. In hindsight, I could’ve been a bit braver. I’ve always been wondering how he feels about religion. In every one of his books I’ve read so far religion is an important topic and the religions he comes up with are really fascinating. But I was too cowardly to ask that. It seemed too personal, somehow. And since he promised to come to my Vienna one day, my expectations were definitely exceeded. Can’t wait for that!!
I have to admit I haven’t yet managed to read the Wheel of Time series. There are just soooo many books in that series. Sadly, none of his book feature a gay protagonist. If it helps, there’s little to no romance in his books.
 
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From Didi: I always want to go and see an int’l book fair! How much plan did you do prior to going (you’re not take “we’ll just see what’s interesting there” tactic and go with it, surely? What’s your most favorite “souvenir” from the event (books purchased incl.)? 

🙂


I didn’t really plan all that much, tbh. I took a look at the program online a couple of weeks before the fair. And I really only did that because our teacher wanted us to give her a list of at least three events we were planning to visit. I’m not much of a planner at the best of times. 😉
Since I’m a bookseller, I get a discount on books I buy at work, so I didn’t actually buy any books at the fair itself. So I only bought postcards (I’ve taken up writing postcards to people all over the world as a hobby – the site’s called Postcrossing). My favourite souvenir though is a free bookmark from the Swiss publisher Diogenes. It shows an owl in a bird’s house made of books. The house is covered in snow and it’s snowing. The heading says “Diogenes reading weather”. It’s so cute. ❤
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From H.B.: Did you get to attend many discussions and if you did which ones were your favorite(s)? It’s great you got to meet Brandon Sanderson. I haven’t read one of his books yet although I have my eye on a few of his stories. In general what book of his would you suggest I start with?

I only got to attend two discussions, sadly. One about queer literature and one about all age books. I didn’t really like either of those.
I’d recommend you start with the “Mistborn” series, “The Final Empire” being part one. There are currently 7 books in the series, but the first three work as an individual series. The other parts are set in the same universe, but hundreds of years later. So it’s actually his only completed series so far, even though there are more books on their way. “The Final Empire” was also how I got hooked on his works.

📚Winner Announcements!📚

Thanks, everyone for following Free Dreamer on her Leipzig Book Adventures!  The contest winners of the Gift Certificates are Didi and Purple Reader!  Congratulations to you both!  Stella will be in contact with you about your gift certs!

Announcement – New Reviewer at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

We have another reviewer starting at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  In just a few weeks start to look for the reviews of Alessandro, our newest reviewer.    I’ll let Alessandro tell you all about himself.  Please give him a warm welcome.

Meet Alessandro!

Hello there. My name is Alessandro and I’m currently 25 years old and I live in Germany. When I’m not working as a hairdresser, one can always find me reading, literally everywhere I go. My kindle is my best friend and it’s always safely tucked into my rucksack. And my smartphone with my audible app isn’t far away either.

I really got into reading almost a year ago, around May 2016. Of course I’ve read before, but not as excessively as I do nowadays. My current schedule is one book each day. If its a book over 200 pages, maybe ill take about 2 days. I don’t even watch TV or Netflix anymore. When I started reading again, I started with fantasy books mostly. But recently, about 75 books ago I started reading M/M books and now I’m totally obsessed with it and I can’t really get into anything else. Of course there are some releases I just have to read in M/F, but I will return to M/M definitely. I’m reading English literature because it is just more fun to read in another language than your own mother language, at least that’s the case for me. I’ve got like 2 books in German on my TBR list, if ill read them though I don’t really know. I can’t really remember what my first M/M books was, I think it was years ago, because every now and then when I had my reading phase, there would be at least one M/M book in there somewhere.

My favourite sub-genre in the M/M genre would be fantasy and contemporary.

Other hobbies would be, meeting with friends and maybe some shopping? 😃

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 7:

  • The Rites of May and Free Dreamer’s Answers Your Questions!
    This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, May 8:

  • BLOG TOUR Addict by Matt Doyle
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Faking It by Christine d’Abo
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Beach Balls by Tara Lain
  • A VVivacious Review: Hijacked Love by Ethan Stone
  • An Alisa Review: Wake up Call by Becky Black

Tuesday, May 9:

  • BLOG TOUR The Simplicity of Being Normal by James Stryker
  • Spotlight Tour: Beach Balls by Tara Lain
  • Blog Tour Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
  • An Ali Audio Review: Everyday History by Alice Archer and Daan Stone (Narrator)
  • A Julia Review: Addict by Matt Doyle
  • An Alisa Review: Turn Up the Heat by Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates #3) by Jay Northcote

Wednesday, May 10:

  • Cover Reveal for By the Book By Maria Vickers
  • A Melanie Release Day Review:Hearts in Ireland (World of Love) by J.C. Long
  • A Caryn Review: Urgent Care (Book #3) by DJ Jamison
  • A Caryn Review: Heart Trouble (Book #1) by DJ Jamison
  • A Kai Release Day Review: Runaway Rock Star (States of Love) by C.J. Anthony

Thursday, May 11:

  • BLOG TOUR Believe in the Wish by Christi Snow
  • DSP PUBLICATIONS GUEST POST Amy Rae Durreson
  • Release Blitz & Giveaway: Garrett Leigh’s Bones (Blue Boy Studio #2)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Bend by Nancy J. Hedin
  • A Stella Review The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • A VVivacious Review: Positive Reinforcement by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Alisa Review: Louder Than Words by Siryn Sueng
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay #7) by Anne Tenino and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Friday, May 12:

  • Blog Tour Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
  • DSP GUEST POST C. J. Anthony on Runaway Rock Star
  • DSP GUEST POST Lucie Archer on Past the Breakers
  • A Julia Review: The Rest is Illusion by Eric Arvin
  • A Kai Review: Nate And The New Yorker (Nate and Cameron #1) by Kevin Klehr
  • An Ali Review: Bones (Blue Boy #2) by Garrett Leigh
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Liar, Liar by TA Moore

Saturday, May 13:

  • A MelanieM Review:Nine 10 ths of the Law by LA Witt
  • Review Tour – LA Witt – Nine 10ths of the Law
  • Release Blitz for The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles  (giveaway)

INTERLUDE PRESS Presents The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
D
uet Books (YA Imprint of Interlude Press)

Purchase Links:

 Interlude Press | Amazon |Barnes & Noble   | Target | iTunes |  Google Books 

Smashwords | Book Depository  | Indiebound

Blurb

Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

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Excerpt

Taking a deep breath to steady myself, I poked my head above the waves. My hair, gone limp and heavy with the air weighing it down, instantly flopped across my face. I pushed it aside and looked at the human through a parted curtain of wet blue locks. Its rippled form came into focus, and, even under the animal furs, I could make out a tapered waist and curves. A female. She stared back at me; her brown eyes widened. Her crystal breath came fast behind her mask. Then, she screamed.

I froze in the water. The high-pitched sound chilled me worse than the cold sea. The human’s gaze drifted skyward, as if she prayed to Odin. Her scream grew louder and louder. I laid a hand on the edge of the ice, ready to hoist myself out and try to calm her, but her harpoon whizzed past my ear. I shrank back. The human still howled, but her eyes had taken on a predatory focus.

I grabbed the weapon by the shaft. The tip of the spear grazed my palm, making a shallow cut. I ignored the pain. Easing back into the water, I stopped kicking my fins to stay afloat. My body sank deeper, and I kept my grip on the weapon.

With nothing to grab, the human couldn’t steady herself on the slick ice. She let the harpoon go, and I dropped it into the ocean; I hissed as salt water lapped against the wound on my palm. As the weapon sank, the relieved whales rose. Each of them gently brushed my hip as they took a breath, thanking me in their soft, dignified language of touch.

The belugas’ leader swam under me and nudged me up over the ice’s lip. The sudden weight of my body as the whale pushed me into the air made me groan with exhaustion. The human girl scurried backward. Even though her feet slipped clumsily on the ice, she put distance between us as fast as she could.

I wanted to study her, but glorious sunlight coated my scales. I tilted my head back as the heat seeped into me, making me drunk and dizzy with pleasure. The human watched me silently from twenty feet away. My body gleamed from my head to the tips of my fins; each of my scales glistened like gemstones. I should have been concerned about the human, but the blast of heat inside me blocked fear. As soon as I ate, all would be well again.

When my scales reached their absorption capacity, the fog in my mind started to clear. Usually, I might crawl inland and look for foxes to watch. But today, I didn’t dare stray too far from the water. If the human was brave enough to hunt a whale, I didn’t want to leave myself too vulnerable. I lay back on the ice and kept my eyes trained on the girl.

I’d never seen a female among the drowned bodies that littered the northern seafloor. How had she survived the shipwreck? She looked so small and fragile compared to the sailor I’d tried to save. How had she made it back to the surface and through the cold water when he could not?

She continued to scoot backward across the ice. My gaze followed her to a makeshift cave of splintered wood and wet furs. She must have saved some things from the ship, which might explain her survival. Crawling inside the shelter, the human braced another harpoon across her knees and squared her shoulders as if daring me to come closer. But the hostility in her posture didn’t quite hide the look of wonder in her wide brown eyes.

* * *

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

* * *

Connect with Julia Ember at Julia-ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.

Giveaway

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold // Five winners receive Storm Season eBook.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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Free Dreamer’s Leipzip Adventures End, May Begins and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words welcomes the last of Free Dreamer’s Book Adventures at the Leipzig Book Fair.  Next week she answers your questions and we announce the winners of the Free Dreamer Contest!  Take it away, F.D.!

Oh, and welcome the Merry Month of May, more on that too!

Free Dreamer’s Leipzig Adventures End and May Begins

Welcome back to the final instalment of my book fair adventures in Leipzig.
Back at our bungalow on Saturday night, I was awaited not only by my two temporary roommates but also by two other classmates. We only had two uncomfortable chairs, so the five of us ended up sharing two single beds. We chatted and gossiped till way too late. It was around 1.30am when we finally threw them out.
Since none of us wanted to get up earlier to pack their stuff, we took care of that in the night. While picking up my clothes and throwing them into my suitcase, I found a bra that most definitely wasn’t mine. Upon closer inspection it turned out to be my classmate’s binder, who’d needed it for her cosplay. Obviously, the best way not to forget it the following morning would be to hang it on the door knob of our front door. We speculated on the meaning of a bra on a door latch as opposed to the traditional sock. We never did find an answer to that question…
It was about 3am till our stuff was packed and we were all showered. One of my roommates said she’d take care of the alarm and everything. Said she’d probably go for a walk in the surrounding woods before waking us the following morning. Well. What woke us was a knock at the door, about half an hour after we’d planned to get up. Luckily it was a classmate at our door, who was slightly confused why we’d hang a bra on the door. It might have been a little weird to explain that to our teacher… 😄
So the three of us dressed in a hurry, neither of us really all that awake. At the bus stop where we’d agreed to meet my teacher told me she didn’t have a train ticket for me. Suddenly I was worried I’d have to find my own way back home! A few tense minutes at the train station talking to a friendly employee there and I parted with 105€ so I could catch the same train as everybody else. That was the cheapest option available to us and I was just glad I had a safe way to get home.
Once on the train, we started writing our postcards. And once we’d finished writing them we realized we only had 5 minutes to change trains at the last German train station. Since we’d bought stamps, we ended up giving our postcards to the conductor, who was kind enugh to post them for us.
The train ride was looooong. We had all slept very little the last three nights and were all exhausted. Some took a nap but I’ve never been able to sleep on a train in broad daylight. On the first train, we read lots of crappy teenie magazines. We learned that it’s no fun to have a baby when you’re only 14. We also learned that boyfriends don’t like it when we post sexy pictures on our Instagram accounts and that you should talk about stuff like that in a relationship. We also tested our coolness and I turned out to be coolest of them all. All in all, it was a very educating train ride. That left me feeling kind of old and wise. 😄
The next part was worse, somehow. It was a faster, more modern train. The people there weren’t as loud and we were more spread out. The time for education had passed and me and the four classmates from the night before played cards. We were in this weird state when you’re beyond exhausted and have passed into that hyperactive phase. We even played the card game my friend had gotten for her 4-year-old son and started imitating the sounds of the animals we saw on the cards. We ended up talking about all sorts of random things and laughing way too loudly. I think our poor fellow travellers were slightly annoyed by us.
And then we were finally back home, after 3 nights of way too little sleep and 8 hours on the train. I was glad to be home again, tbh. All in all, the book fair weekend was great. Way too short, though. I’m planning on going again next year, but not as part of a school trip. If you ever get the chance to go to a book fair like this one, you should absolutely take it. It’s totally worth the experience.
I’ll be back a final time next week to answer all the wonderful comments my reports have gotten.

📚Some Questions for F.D.:

✍🏼From Jen: Which books did you take photos of and end up getting free copies when you got home?

✍🏼From Purple Reader: For your fair, as a dreamer, what did you anticipate or expect the most from going, and how did that go? Were your expectations met or exceeded? (I hope they were). I know what you’re saying about Sanderson. I read his concluding 3 vols. in the Wheel of Time series, and thought they picked the quality back up to what I saw in the first 3 vols. But I’ve since gravitated to gay fiction, so haven’t read anything of his since. Do any of his stories involve a gay protagonist?

✍🏼From Didi: I always want to go and see an int’l book fair! How much plan did you do prior to going (you’re not take “we’ll just see what’s interesting there” tactic and go with it, surely? What’s your most favorite “souvenir” from the event (books purchased incl.)? 🙂

✍🏼From H.B.: Did you get to attend many discussions and if you did which ones were your favorite(s)? It’s great you got to meet Brandon Sanderson. I haven’t read one of his books yet although I have my eye on a few of his stories. In general what book of his would you suggest I start with?

 

Stay Tuned for Winner Announcements Next Week Along with Answers to Your Questions…Yes we are picking more than one! So leave more questions for F.D. at the end of today’s blog!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 30:

  • Free Dreamer’s Leipzig Adventures End and May Begins
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, May 1:

  • Release Blitz – The Perils Of Intimacy by Rick R Reed
  • Release Blitz- Bryan T Clark’s Come To The Oaks
  • Release Day Blitz: Nate and the New Yorker by Kevin Klehr
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Risky Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Lila Review: Perils of Intimacy by Rick Reed
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stage Two (Series: Lexington Lovers Book Three) by Ariel Tachna
  • A Stella Review: Catch A Falling Star by Matt Burlingame
  • An Alisa Review: Sand Trap (The Wyverns #4) by L.M. Somerton

Tuesday, May 2:

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn & K. Evan Coles
  • Release Blitz Positive Reinforcement by Tamryn Eradani
  • Review Tour – Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry #2) – Avylinn Winter + Volatile
  • A VVivacious Review: Toxic (Treacherous Chemistry #2) by Avylinn Winter
  • A VVivacious Review: Volatile (Treacherous Chemistry #1) by Avylinn Winter
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Winter Dark by J.S. Cook and  K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

Wednesday, May 3:

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour While You See A Chance by Alexa Milne
  • Release Day Blitz I Do, or Dye Trying by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Concourse by Santino Hassell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: For a Good Time, Call (Bluewater Bay) by Anne Tenino and EJ Russell
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Somewhere on Mackinac by Jeff Adams
  • A Stella Release Day Review: By the Numbers: Adding it Up (By the Numbers #2) by Tory Temple and Chris Owen
  • A Alisa Release Day Review: The Dusk Parlor (World of Love) by S.A. Stovall

Thursday, May 4:

  • Release Blitz: Urgent Care (Hearts & Health #3) DJ Jamison
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: You Are the Reason (The Tav #2) by Renae Kaye and Dave Gillies (Narrator)
  • A Julia Review: The Rest is Illusion by Eric Arvin
  • A Stella Release Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • An Alisa Review: Hot Wednesday by Taylor Kinney
  • A MelanieM Pre-Release Review:  Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

Friday, May 5:

  • Book Blitz Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
  • INTERLUDE PRESS The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Poppy’s Secret by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter
  • A Kai Review:Anything For You (A Middleton Romance #1) by Ethan Day
  • A VVivacious Review: The Art of Mutual Pleasure by K.A. Merikan

Saturday, May 6:

  • Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolf in King’s Clothing by Parker Foye

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

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More Postcards from Leipzig and Free Dreamer

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

Day 2:

Welcome back to my adventures at the Leipzig Book Fair!

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

📚Free Dreamer Book Fair Adventures Blog Giveaway📚

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

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 23:

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

Monday, April 24:

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

Tuesday, April 25:

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

Wednesday, April 26:

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

Thursday, April 27:

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

Friday, April 28:

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

Saturday, April 29:

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

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

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

Available for Purchase at 

Harmony Ink Press

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

✒︎

Inspiration, Stories and Role Models by Nikolai Joslin

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

 

About Cold Front

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

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

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

About Nikolai Joslin

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

Website: www.nikolaijoslin.com

The Fires of Destiny 

A Julia Prerelease Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s fortress. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Being an avid reader of the Fantasy genre myself, The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember had me intrigued as soon as I laid eyes on it. I find mermaids to be one of the most fascinating mythical creatures and yet I can hardly recall any Fantasy novels in which they play more than a supporting role. So, since the protagonist in this one is in fact a mermaid, I was really hoping that the author would grant a closer look into the society, customs and lifestyle of the merfolk. And thankfully I was not disappointed in the least!

The novel features a close-knit community of merfolk living inside a glacier far up in the frozen North with strict societal rules and traditions. As a reader you get to experience their way of life through the eyes of young Ersel from whose first-person perspective the story is told. World and lore building are one of the key aspects of Fantasy writing and I was immediately drawn in by the loving details the author used to describe how the merfolk lived and their society worked. The people of the sea really take the centre stage here and we are handed only small pieces of information on what the lives of humans are like in this world. I also very much enjoyed how the merfolk’s way of life was so closely entwined with the harsh and cold environment they lived in. The author did a good job in depicting the icy landscape and some of its inhabitants (most prominently a pod of beluga whales). A nice touch of magic and Norse mythology is added as well.

The novel features a varied cast of characters with the mermaid Ersel as its main protagonist. She does not want to lead the life dictated to her by the community’s traditions and laws but is too scared and timid to openly oppose them at first. A focus of the story lies on her personal development as she is repeatedly faced with new experiences and difficult decisions that impact her own future as well as others’.  The most profound of said experiences being when she meets Ragna, a fierce young human woman bent on survival and revenge. Ragna acts in many ways as a mirror for Ersel: They both have dreams and goals they want to achieve but unlike her Ragna has the courage and will to actively work towards and fight for them. At the same time Ersel comes to Ragna’s aid and becomes the friend and support the human girl desperately needs. The relationship that starts to blossom from this encounter was a delight to witness and I found myself rooting for them to succeed in their ambitions as well as their growing feelings for each other. Their story is one of self-discovery, compassion, determination and sacrifices.

Other types of relationships are explored as well, especially the one between Ersel and her childhood friend Havamal with whom she used to share a strong bond before he decided on a different path in life than the one they had once dreamed of together. And then there is of course Ersel’s deal with the infamous trickster god himself who, while being a divine entity, displays some rather human-like traits as well. I also quite enjoyed the magical aspects of this part of the story. 

Since this is a Young Adult novel the sex scenes are not described in detail but they are still teased enough to let the imagination run wild.

I had a great time reading this novel and enjoyed learning about the fascinating world the author had created. The characters, their motivations and interactions were very engaging as well. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more from this author. 

The intricate cover design by CB Messer is what drew me to this novel in the first place. It is probably one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen. The art and colour choices are truly lovely. It immediately invokes a sense of ancient legends and fairy tales.

Sales Links:  Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 224 pages

Published May 4, 2017

by Interlude Press

ISBN: 978-1-945053-34-4

Edition Language: English