Pride Month Continues with Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories! This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Pride Month Continues with A Winner Announcement

 

June continues and so does Pride Month celebrations!  We have had some wonderful comments and book suggestions for Best Coming Out stories. I’m going to put them all into a list and have them up by the last Sunday this month. Here’s  some of the wonderful comments and recs we’ve had:

Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!

✒︎From H.B.:

“I’ve never been to a Pride event but it sounds like something fun and exciting to support.
My favorite stories that have characters coming out are:
Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain
Ready For Love by Stella Starling
Falling Together by SK (Shelley) Grayson
#gaymers series by Annabeth Albert
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst
Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenberg

H.B. has several of my favorites there. Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain and the #gaymers series by Annabeth Albert.  H.B. also has some I’m going to have to look up. Yay!

✒︎From Didi:

“Happy Pride Month to everyone of queer spectrum. A few of coming out titles that stay in my head are Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons, Josh Lanyon’s Death of A Pirate King, also John Goode’s Tales from Foster High. On the first two titles the coming out might not be the main issue of the story, but it’s something that affected the character deeply and overall emotionally engaging to me.”

Didi hit all 3 of mine, including a favorite Josh Lanyon series!

✒︎Purple Reader came through with a book I haven’t read either (so my list grows). Here’s what he has to say:

“DC is one of my fav cities for a couple special reasons. I’m not from there, but on a trip 15 yrs ago that’s where I came out (so you could say that’s my fav coming out story :-); and on another trip that’s where I proposed to my husband. Oh my, a fav novel about coming out? So many, and as always I like to go for beyond the norm. So one fav is “Mysterious Skin.” With its coming of age there’s self-awareness/coming out to oneself as well as others, and it deals with tough issues, but that it all the more poignant.”

That’s Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim.  I’ve got a GR link included.

✒︎Suze294 also chimed in with an all time favorite of mine Sean Kennedy.

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy! One day I plan to get to a Pride event – probably Manchester or Liverpool as closest”

✒︎Ardent Reader surprised me with one of the first m/m books I ever read on her lists (non fan fiction that is).  Here is Ardent Reader’s list:

“A few of my favorite stories that have coming themes are: My Summer of Wes– Missy Welsh, Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, The Catch Trap-Marion Zimmer Bradley

Because of the great response, we are going to pick 2 winners this week!  They are Ardent EReader and waxapplelover!  Congratulations!  You both win a $10 Dreamspinner gift certificate.  Stella will be in touch with you both shortly.  The rest of the comments, recommendations and full list will be up next Sunday.

Now for this week’s giveaway to finish up Pride Month!

 

Pride Father’s Day Celebration Giveaway!

Give us your best suggestions for books involving LGBTQIA families or LGBT people with children stories.  I just finished last week’s wonderful Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding, with firefighter Zander Brooks learning to cope with fatherhood as the parent of a bright, frightened 5 year old.  Terrific story.  And Dragon Home by Mell Eight with William, the foster parent of two growing dragons kits (a whole different set of parenting skills required there).  But I know there are soooo many out there!  Let’s start a list!

So for Father’s Day, what books melted your heart?  That had children, maybe puppies or kittens or both?  Amy Lane’s Promises series just jumps to my mind.  What comes into yours?  Ones that break your heart and then puts them back together again.  Stories you never forget because your heart won’t let them go….

Tell me which ones you love and let’s share our favorites.  A random reader who leaves a comment or readers (you never know here) will receive a $10 gift certificate.  Dreamspinner Press or Amazon, your choice.    Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Happy Pride Month.   Giveaway ends midnight June 30th.  Winners announced July 1st.

 

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 18:

  • Pride Month Continues with Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!
    Winner Announcement.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 19:

  • Release Day Blitz for Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes by Kevin Klehr
  • Review Tour: The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Love Wanted by John Inman
  • A MelanieM Release Week Review: The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A MelanieM Review: Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada
  • An Alisa Review: Chasing His Cottontail (Hoppity Shifter #1) by A.R. Barley

Tuesday, June 20:

  • In the Spotlight: Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt (Riptide Publishing Tour & Giveaway)
  • Blog Tour for Sum of the Whole by Brenda Murphy
  • A MelanieM Review: The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2) by Josh Lanyon
  • A VVivacious Review:  Reckless Passion (Reckless #3) by Amanda Young
  • AN Alisa Review:  Romancing the Bouncer by J.D. Walker
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Wednesday, June 21:

  • Review Tour for Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers
  • Blog Tour for Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov
  • Blog Tour for Queer Magick by L.C. Davis
  • A Caryn Review: Beguiled  (Enlightenment Series #2) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Caryn Review: Provoked (Enlightenment Series #1) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Caryn Review: Enlightened  (Enlightenment Series #3) by Joanna Chambers
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Patron by C.B. Lewis

Thursday, June 22:

  • DSP guest blog SA Stovall on Vice City
  • Release Day Blitz for A Way with Words by Lane Hayes
  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael on The Dom’s Way
  • A MelanieM Review: Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon
  • A VVivacious Review: Sex in C Major by  Matthew J. Metzger
  • An Alisa Review: Forest of Thorns and Claws by JT Hall
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Interborough (A Five Boroughs Story) by Santino Hassell and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

Friday, June 23:

  • Blog Tour for  Kevin Corrigan and Me by Jeré M. Fishback
  • Release Blitz for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series Vol 2
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4) by Lane Hayes
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: The Dom’s Way (Iron Eagle Gym #5) by Sean Michael
  • A MelanieM Review:Kingdom Series Vol 1 by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Review: Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon
  • An Ali Review: Mai Tais and Murder by J.C.Long

Saturday, June 24:

  • Release Blitz  for  Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles
  • A MelanieM Review: Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles

 

 

 

 

Liv Olteano on Characters, Books and her latest story ‘Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills’ out on Harmony Ink Press (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills by Liv Olteano
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Art : Catt Ford

Buy Links

      

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Liv Olteano here today talking about books, writing and her latest Harmony Ink story, Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills by Liv Olteano. Welcome, Liv.

✒︎

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Liv Olteano

 

Q: How much of yourself goes into a character?

I often ask myself that question. The truthful answer is I think there’s something of the creator in whatever they create. Just like there’s something of parents in their children, without them being an exact replica of the parents, I believe as writers we put something of ourselves in every story and character we come up with.

Without them being any sort of mirrored image, I believe characters do say something about their writer.

Q: Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I believe that if a writer uses their own experiences only to create characters, then the results end up feeling stunted, incomplete, and terribly repetitive.

What we do is use everything around us, every moment of our lives and of those around, every melody we ever hear, every feeling anyone has ever expressed in some way that has reached us. There’s a sort of primordial soup bubbling in a writer’s mind and heart, I think. Everything that person has ever experienced, thought, heard, and in any way came into contact with goes into the soup.

It can lead to the creation of countless worlds and characters, and some can have traits or present ideas that are very much connected to their creator; and sometimes the worlds and characters we come up with are shocking to those around us, because they can’t reconcile what they know of us as people with what we create.

I’m not sure if the “perfect” creation would reflect enough of the creator, or of it should reflect nothing of them. What do you think?

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

I’m a geek at heart, truth be told. I’m also a sociologist by training and have studied various cultures and cultural patterns. I love reading about different societies and belief systems, and am fascinated both by what they all have in common, and what sets each one apart. There’s a wealth of information out there, more than any one person can ever hope to have the time and resources to access and understand. But what we do manage to find out and experience goes into that creative primordial soup.

When a story comes to me, it comes with its setting and world traits, as well as its characters. I do research on whatever I feel can strengthen what came to mind at that point – cities, cultures, folklore, anything and everything. I love the research stage of the process. It’s when that primordial soup is at its finest, shaping up clear directions and solidifying in what later becomes that story.

I love the freedom of creating something of my own and including facts or aspects of the real world – it’s the mix of things that is interesting, after all. Always much more interesting than each element on its own, right?

Q: Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

As a reader, I can enjoy either – it really depends on the writing, on how invested I am in the characters and the story itself. I find I enjoy the ‘falling for’ bit of the story the most, in fact. All that tension, all the uncertainty. I’m a very evil reader, lol. I love tormented characters and love to see them squirm, haha. Once that part of their interaction is over things can still be fun, but the most fun for me is when it’s the toughest for the characters, mwahaha.

As a writer, I generally go where the story wants me to – I don’t like putting pressure on my characters to interact in a certain way so it would lead to a certain ending.

Blurb

Watching her father’s termination, twenty-year-old Cristina Mera Richards decides to kill the reaper Edgar Verner. Verner is the resident alkemist of New Bayou, though, and since alkemists are immortal, killing him won’t be easy. But the harvesters are destroying the hovertown one citizen at a time. Edgar Verner must be stopped.

Cristina Mera has a gift for seeing and hearing ghosts. She escorts souls out of bodies ravaged by the withering sickness, taking away their pain. Her gifts are unique. Once it’s clear she’s a changeling, Verner becomes more than interested in having her by his side.

Mysterious Wanderer Alkemist Nikola Skazat is the solution to Cristina Mera’s problems—a delightful and charming one, since Nikola is a woman unlike any Cristina Mera has ever met. Becoming Nikola’s apprentice instead of Verner’s finally gives Cristina Mera the opportunity she needs to save her hovertown. It also puts her heart in high gear, gives her butterflies, and just might get her killed.

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1

“It was night. It was always night.

Since the Final War, the skies had been covered in thick clouds that allowed no light to pass through. The Outside air was poisoned. The Old World was covered in a thick layer of soot. A dead world rotting away under a coat of darkness. And we had killed it, history said. Now we were dying too. Or would have been were it not for alkemists and their hovering platforms that housed us and filtered the air that we breathed. The alkemists had saved us, the story went. But in order to be saved, people had to make sacrifices.

In our town, New Bayou, the sacrifices consisted of terminations, soul extractions, becoming golems, paying fines for negative float factors, and allowing the hover platform resident alkemist to be our lord and ruler. Our resident alkemist had declared that civilized towns had to have a mayor, senators, and policemen. But what our authorities did was anything but civilized.

We had traditional times of day and night that followed the cycles we were told existed back when the sun rose and set. Clocks told us what time it was, and we used terms like “day” and “night” for the endless darkness of the skies. We separated time into hours, weeks, months, and years, though nothing much ever changed except for the citizens of each platform. Or at least on ours. We didn’t travel often between platforms. It was too risky to try.

Today was a termination day. It was staged as a grand event, always. People gathered in the town hall, in the terminations room, specifically, to witness the sacrifice citizens were making for the greater good. Or the punishment inflicted on those found guilty of a crime. At least once a week, a dozen citizens at a time were terminated. Sometimes the authorities required more or settled for less—it all depended on how much float fuel the engines needed.

Death lounged against the window frame. It seemed eager to pick up the dozen souls still residing in the bodies lined up. Max Richards—my father—was among them. The sacrifices stood proud and brave, condemned while their runes shone in bright colors nobody besides me and Death itself seemed to see. The rune tattoos were supposed to give them strength, courage, and quiet of the mind while they waited. Nobody wanted to have a restless soul right before termination. It might change the float factor of their soul and make their sacrifice futile. Of course no one wanted those dozen souls to have anything but positive float factors.

I thought those runes were simply signs of condemnation. Death was death, as far as I was concerned. It wasn’t a brave sacrifice or a glorious gesture. It was simply the parting of the soul from the body. And regardless of the runes, that parting was a painful event.

This batch of terminations was a strange mix of criminals and volunteers. Strangest of all was the fourth volunteer from the right—my father. My heart beat violently, and I looked him straight in the eye. There should have been some sort of emotion in those beautiful gray eyes, but they looked blank. He stared back at me, unreachable, as much a stranger now as he’d been for too much of my life. It made sense, after all, that he’d be a stranger in the hour of his death too. I loved my father the way one loves art: as a concept, for its execution, and from afar. My love for him was a cold kind of love that unsettled the heart, neither tender nor comforting. I liked to think he loved me the same way. It was better than the alternative… that he didn’t love at all.

Edgar Verner—our resident alkemist—walked around the flock of victims, thick-lens goggles hiding his eyes. His presence was insulting in a way I wasn’t allowed by law to even contemplate, but I did contemplate it, felt it and fully embraced it in my heart. I hated Verner because I saw so many of his victims’ ghosts still ambling about the hovertown. Sometimes he deemed souls as having negative float factor after having extracted them from the body, so he didn’t consume them. He simply freed them, left them to wander, lost and terrified, without a body. Once extracted by the alkemic device, a soul was stuck among the living. Nobody had told me so, and I had no way of asking, but I was sure the cupola under which we lived also kept souls within. It seemed to me releasing those extracted souls was an act of pure malice. He had to know they suffered once released in such a manner. I knew they suffered. I heard their wails of fear and despair. And I hated him for it. I hated him even more for having consumed some of the souls himself. He was a reaper, a soul eater, a monster. The town could sing his praises all it wanted. It was easy to. The town couldn’t hear the wails of the ghosts still around. And they wailed on and on, seeming to have no notion of time or place, and no consolation.

I glanced at Death as it sat there and I wondered how it felt about the competition. It stared back at me like we were old friends. In fact we were acquaintances, if I had to find a word for it. We’d seen each other over the last ten years on multiple occasions—never chatted, though. Death never had a thing to say. Perhaps it knew no language, and little need did it have to use one. Its actions spoke loud enough. Just like Verner’s, I thought bitterly, though he chose to speak.

In the crowd of witnesses, I stood numb, oddly detached from the moment. Every now and then my gaze slid back to Death as it lazed against the window. Hair tumbled from its head like a tangled river of blood. Its face, hair, and attire flickered in and out of view. When it grinned, a void opened up on the brink of its lips. It regarded me with holes for eyes.

Silence reigned like a curse over the room, thick enough to choke. Verner pointed slowly to the first victim in the row. The young girl was probably no older than me—I thought she was too young to be terminated. But then again, there never was a good time to die. Was she a volunteer at such a young age? Perhaps a criminal? My stomach seemed to crawl up into my chest.

Death chuckled and took a step closer. The alkemic device in Verner’s palm looked deceptively delicate and beautiful. The thin iridium spokes, nicely held together by a matching iridium frame, held a crystal in place. It was quite a tiny, lovely thing—lovely and deadly. It shone with a rainbow of colors as it began to suck out the girl’s soul. A mirroring pull in my own heart made my skin crawl. My soul seemed eager to abandon ship.

Death frowned and wagged a finger at me like a mother chastising her child. I swallowed thickly as black-cherry hair overlapped the rivers of blood gurgling from Death’s head. Its eyes seemed green for one terrible moment. The face cut my breath short. Of all the times it could have done so, it chose this particular moment to flash at me an image of my dead mother. Was it a twisted sort of kindness on its part to show me the one I’d loved the most and whom it had taken away?

Verner sucked in the young soul through his mouth like a mist of colors that he breathed in. The device in his palm slowly shut down, the crystal’s eerie glow dying out. He licked his lips and grinned.”

Want to read Chapter 1 entirely? Visit Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills on Harmony Ink and click Show Excerpt to read it!

 

About Liv Olteano

Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

Links:

Giveaway

Tour Giveaway Open: International
Prize: a $15 Harmony Ink giftcard – winner must have a free account at the Harmony Ink store, and $15 will magically appear in that account 😀
To get an account: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/login
Winner: will be contact by the author when the giveaway is over
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Pride Month Continues! Its Pride Weekend Here in the Nation’s Capitol! This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

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Pride Month Continues! Its Pride Weekend Here in the Nation’s Capitol!

Pride Weekend actually kicked off on Thursday with a splendid Rooftop event continuing on to the Pride Parade today (Saturday when I write the blog) and then the Pride Festival on Sunday.  Each year Capitol Pride Weekend gets bigger and better!  The schedule of events keeps growing as does the crowds who come to enjoy the entertainment and each other.  There’s parades, music, festivals, dances, rooftop events and so much more. The diversity of the people flocking to the Pride events, smiling, laughing, the support and yes, pride that shines is amazing!

Never been here for Pride Weekend?  Want to see what’s offered?  It’s not too late for Sunday’s event or to plan for next year.  I’ve got some photos from the Capitol Pride Alliance site for you to look at, for more visit their site or FB page.

 

 

Here are a couple of links to the Capitol Pride Alliance page for this weekend’s events and for their main page (they can always use the year around support):

Celebration 2017 – Capital Pride Alliance

Capital Pride Alliance: Home

I feel that since our presidential election, we are living in an age where ugliness and intolerance is promoted from our highest office and that’s not acceptable.  So Pride events, Pride Month and our support becomes even more important.  My little flags from GRL? Outside and in my planters and Uber will get a workout this weekend.  I hope to see some of you there if you live locally!
Also we started our Pride Giveaway last week!  Don’t forget to enter!  Here it is again for those who missed it the first time.

Pride Month Giveaway #1 – Coming Out Stories

Pride Month Celebration continues, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is having a Coming Out Giveaway.  Enter to win a $10 gift certificate from Dreamspinner Press by naming your favorite coming out story!  Author and title please.  A winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, June 17th (that’s 2 weeks). You need to leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 11:

  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Just Drive (Anchor Point #1) by L.A. Witt and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • Pride Month Continues! Its Pride Weekend Here in the Nation’s Capitol!
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 12:

  • Cover Reveal Blitz: Fast Balls by Tara Lain
  • Blog Tour: Sex in C Major by Matthew Metzger
  • Blog tour for  Stoker & Bash: The Fangs of Scavo by Selina Kray
  • A Jeri Release Day Review:  Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights (Off Stage: Set Three) by Jaime Samms
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Power Bottom? by Rowan McAllister and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: The Running Fields by Sydney Presley

Tuesday, June 13:

  • Blog Tour The Ties that Bind by S. Davidson
  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Setting the Hook
  • A Julia Review: The Sidhe (The Heart of All Worlds #1) by Charlotte Ashe
  • A MelanieM Review: Crossing Jordan by Shannon West
  • A Stella Pre-Release Review: The Palisade (Lavender Shores #1) by Rosalind Abel
  • An Ali Review: Aftercare by Tanya Chris

Wednesday, June 14:

  • Blog Tour for Detour by Sid Love
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Liv Olteano on Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills
  • Review Tour – Summer Heat by Jay Northcote
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Summer Heat by Jay Northcote
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ride Along (States of Love) by Meghan Maslow
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Until You (At First Sight #3) by T.J. Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

Thursday, June 15:

  • DSP GUEST POST BA Tortuga on What the Cat Dragged In
  • Release Blitz  for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series vol 1
  • Release Blitz for Clare London’s Romancing The Ugly Duckling
  • Review Tour for Romancing The Ugly Duckling by Clare London
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London
  • A Kai Review: Boys Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires #30) by B.A. Tortuga and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

Friday, June 16:

  • Book Tour for Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding
  • In the Spotlight: Back to You by Chris Scully (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)
  • Blog Tour and Giveaway for Will to Live by M. Christine
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: What the Cat Dragged In (Series: Sanctuary: Book Two) by BA Tortuga
  • A MelanieM Review: Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding
  • An Alisa Review: Darien’s Omega (Dire Pack Reborn #4) by Stephani Hecht
  • A Julia Review: Love Plus One (Stephanie Spicer Erotic Touch Romance Book 4) by Gemma Stone

Saturday, June 17:

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review:Dragon Home (Supernatural Consultant #5.2) by Mell Eight

In the Spotlight: Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack (excerpt and giveaway)

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Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack
Interlude Press
Publication: June 8, 2017

 

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press |  Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Apple Target 

Kobo |   Smashwords |Book Depository |   Indiebound 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Carrie Pack on her Grrls on the Side tour. Welcome, Carrie.

GRRRLS ON THE SIDE by Carrie Pack

Summary

The year is 1994 and alternative is in. But not for alternative girl Tabitha Denton; she hates her life. She is uninterested in boys, lonely, and sidelined by former friends at her suburban high school. When she picks up a zine at a punk concert, she finds an escape—an advertisement for a Riot Grrrl meet-up.

At the meeting, Tabitha finds girls who are more like her and a place to belong. But just as Tabitha is settling in with her new friends and beginning to think she understands herself, eighteen-year-old Jackie Hardwick walks into a meeting and changes her world forever. The out-and-proud Jackie is unlike anyone Tabitha has ever known. As her feelings for Jackie grow, Tabitha begins to learn more about herself and the racial injustices of the punk scene, but to be with Jackie, she must also come to grips with her own privilege and stand up for what’s right.

Excerpt

The club is dirty and small, and I have to stand on my tiptoes to see the stage, but I don’t care because these are my people: the hardscrabble freaks and losers who are angry at the world for their lot in life. Dramatic? Sure. But no one here looks at me like I’m some sort of zoo animal. An elephant with too much hair. A rhinoceros missing her horn. Here I am just a girl with cool boots, who maybe looks like she could kick your ass.

Mike seems in his element, too, and taller somehow, protective almost. When a guy with a safety pin through his left eyebrow bumps into me during the opening act, Mike shoves him back. At first I think we’ve won, but Eyebrow Piercing continues to thrash. I step to the side and let him go crazy. Who cares? This band is shit anyway. Mike lifts his brow as if to say, “Want me to kick his ass?” But I shake my head. No point in getting kicked out before the good bands start. We make our way to the other side of the venue where I can see the stage a little better.

We stand there for a while, taking in the scene. The opening band continues to suck. I’m not even sure the bass player’s amp is on. Their sound is top-heavy, like a car stereo with the speakers blown out. Mike nods in the direction of the merch tables. Looks like all the bands are selling CDs and a couple of girls are handing out flyers. We sidestep the thrashing masses to get a better look. I pass up the CDs; I don’t get my allowance until Monday, and I already blew my savings on the boots. A girl about my age catches my eye and smiles. Her brown hair is barely past shoulder length and much shinier than mine. Bright pink barrettes frame her pale face near her forehead. It should make her look childish, but instead she looks cool. I smile back.

“Hey, you interested in doing some shit?” she asks. Her pale green eyes sparkle with determination.

“Like what?”

“About all the bullshit in the world that girls have to put up with.”

Thinking she’s joking, I laugh. “That’s ambitious.”

“Just because we’re girls doesn’t mean we can’t change things. Here.” She hands me the flyer I’d noticed her passing out. “We meet on Tuesdays.”

About the Author

Never one for following the “rules,” Carrie Pack is a published author of books in multiple genres, including Designs on You, In the Present Tense and the forthcoming Grrrls on the Side (2017). Her novels focus on characters finding themselves in their own time—something she experienced for herself when she came out as bisexual recently. She’s passionate about positive representation in her writing and has been a feminist before she knew what the word meant, thanks to a progressive and civic-minded grandmother. Coincidentally that’s also where she got her love of red lipstick and desserts. Carrie lives in Florida, or as she likes to call it, “America’s Wang.”

* * *

Connect with Carrie Pack at carriepack.com, on Twitter @carriepack, and on Facebook at facebook.com/mscarriepack.

Giveaway

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Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold // Five winners receive Grrrls on the Side eBook

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A Free Dreamer Review: Seidman by James Erich

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In Viking Age Iceland, where boys are expected to grow into strong farmers and skilled warriors, there is little place for a sickly twelve-year-old boy like Kol until he catches the eye of a seið-woman—a sorceress—and becomes her apprentice. Kol travels to the sorceress’s home, where her grandson, Thorbrand, takes Kol under his wing. Before long Kol discovers something else about himself that is different—something else that sets him apart as unmanly: Kol has fallen in love with another boy.

But the world is changing in ways that threaten those who practice the ancient arts. As Kol’s new life takes him across the Norse lands, he finds that a new religion is sweeping through them, and King Olaf Tryggvason is hunting down and executing sorcerers. When a decades-old feud forces Thorbrand to choose between Kol and his duty to his kinsman, Kol finds himself cast adrift with only the cryptic messages of an ancient goddess to guide him to his destiny—and possibly to his death.

I’ve always been fascinated by ancient mythology, and when I discovered this book about Iceland Viking mythology, I just couldn’t resist. And I’m glad I didn’t, because “Seidman” was utterly brilliant.

There are plenty of books out there that feature ancient mythology in some way or another. But most of the time, it’s Greece or Roman mythology. Other myths are much rarer and I don’t think I’ve come across a book with a similar setting to “Seidman” before. I’m not overly familiar with Viking mythology, I just know the bare basics, but that was enough to understand what was going on here. Unfamiliar terms were explained and the glossary at the beginning was a huge help as well. I loved that the author actually included a bit about how to pronounce the language. I’m a bit obsessed with foreign languages and it always bothers me immensely when I have absolutely no clue how to pronounce words. So the bonus points started adding up before the actual story even began.

James Erich created a very intricate world, that felt extremely realistic, seemingly without any effort. The world building was brilliantly done. It all just fell into place, without any need for lengthy explanations or boing info dumps.

I liked Kol from the beginning. He’s really sweet and charming at the beginning and it was interesting to watch him grow up and change. The love story between him and Thorbrand was low key and yet obvious from the very beginning. It felt inevitable, really. But in a good way. The two of them were just meant to be. When they had to seperate, it broke my heart.

I liked that the author didn’t just skip over any homophobia. It’s just the way it was, back then. Glossing over uncomfortable topics makes a story unrealistic. I’m glad the author chose to address all the issues Kol and especially Thorbrand would have had to face. I loved the book all the more for how realistic it was.

The ending was perfect for the story. It was in tone with the rest of it. A bit sad, but ultimately it left me happy.

Overall, I really enjoyed “Seidman”. I think it’s a wonderful Young Adult story, also suitable for a bit younger readers. I’d recommend it for ages 13 and up. If you have a thing for Vikings and mythology and don’t need it to be overly bloody, then go for this book. It was brilliant and probably won’t be my last by the author. I wish there were more books about this topic!

Cover: The cover is simple but fits the story. I like it.

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 210 pages

Published May 31st 2012 by Harmony Ink

Honorable Mention: Best Gay Debut Novel/Book

Honorable Mention: Best LGBT Young Adult / Coming of Age

A Free Dreamer Review: This Is Not a Love Story (Love Story Universe) by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).

I’ve been a huge fan of Suki Fleet for years now, ever since I first stumbled across one of her stories online. I’ve loved all of the books I’ve read by her so far and “This is Not a Love Story” is no exception.

This book is simply and utterly brilliant. It’s incredibly bittersweet and had me hooked from the beginning. The story of Romeo and Julian is so very sad and yet so very beautiful. Their love for each other is obvious, no matter what they’re faced with. I loved both of them and their story tore me apart. And yet it also made me smile, because their love was always shining brightly, there was always a bit of hope, no matter how hopeless the situation might seem.

Romeo and Julian are faced with a lot of hardships that come with living on the streets, making this book anything but a light read. If you’re easily triggered by these things, you might want to pass on this book. It’s never overly graphic, but it’s still obviously there, the consequences not glossed over or ignored. Because of the whole theme of the book and the somewhat explicit sex scenes, I’d call this a New Adult story. Probably not suitable for most readers under 15 or 16.

It was really interesting to see how Romeo and Julian changed and developed throughout the book, how Romeo becomes more confident with his disability. Romeo being mute was definitely an important part of the story, but it’s not what the story was ABOUT. It was simply yet another obstacle to stop the both of them from leading a “normal” life.

The ending was really well done. It’s happy but not overly cheesy or unrealistic. It was very fitting.

Long story short: “This is Not a Love Story” is utterly brilliant, the kind of book that leaves a lasting impression. And I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on the second part of this universe.

Cover:The cover is simple but absolutely fitting. The bleak skyline of London with the title in bright, hopeful colours is a perfect representation of the book’s tone. Well done!

Buy Links: Harmony Ink | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book details:

ebook, 270 pages
Published May 22nd 2014 by Harmony Ink (first published March 22nd 2014)
Original TitleThis Is Not a Love Story
ISBN139781632160423
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesLove Story Universe
CharactersRomeo Danilov, Julian Lavelle

Retro Review Tour and Giveaway – Suki Fleet’s This Is Not A Love Story

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Buy Links: Harmony Ink | Amazon US | Amazon UK


Publisher: Harmony Ink Press


Length: 270 pages


Blurb


When fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.


Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.


This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).



May 22 – Booklove
May 24 – BooksLaidBareBoys, Mikku-chan, Molly Lolly
May 29 – Dog-Eared Daydreams, United Indie Book Blog
May 31 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
June 2 – Inglorious Bitches
June 5 – Keysmash
June 9 – Diverse Reader
June 12 – Bayou Book Junkie

 
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 Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards.

Email: sukifleet@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/suki_fleet/
https://www.facebook.com/suki.fleet.3
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7919609.Suki_Fleet
http://sukifleet.tumblr.com/
http://sukifleet.wordpress.com/
https://twitter.com/SukiFleet?lang=en

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A Caryn Review: Concourse (Five Boroughs #5) by Santino Hassell

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

First off, let me just say that I love, love, LOVE the Five Boroughs series, and I struggled with what rating to give this book.  I’ve become very invested in all of the characters, and I’ve also joined Mr. Hassell’s Patreon to read additional short stories that he writes in this universe (check out Patreon if you’re interested, it’s worth it!) He includes a pretty broad spectrum of NYCs queer community, and I continue to enjoy how all the characters are represented in each novel, even if only as cameos.

That being said, I think that Ashton Townsend, the main character of this book, was probably the one that I was least interested in reading more about.  In First and First, he was written as a wealthy, vapid, oversexed party boy who had no direction in life and didn’t even seem to want one.  I think this book started out a little behind the eight ball as the author had to reinvent Ashton as a lost soul who had a fabulous cover as an oversexed party boy, and that really was a bit of an uphill battle.  Valdrin Leka is a completely new character we haven’t seen in the earlier books, and the first from the Bronx.  He’s a cab driver by day, and amateur boxer by night, and has his sights set on qualifying for the Olympics so he can eventually go pro.  His mother was Ashton’s nanny, so these two men have known each other since they were pre-teens, and in many ways they grew up together despite coming from drastically different backgrounds.

This isn’t a story about falling in love.  These two men have been in love with each other for years, but for various reasons they have been unwilling to admit it to themselves or to each other.  And I guess that’s the main reason I didn’t like this book as much as I enjoyed the others in the series.  There seemed to be a very abrupt change, especially in Val, from being distant to being unable to stay away from each other.  The reasons given as to why they changed weren’t really convincing to me, and the angst in the book – yes, of course there is angst, even more than usual for this series – was mostly due to the secrets Val kept from Ashton, and Ashton’s deep seated insecurity.  And while the relationship between Raymond and David, or Michael and Nunzio, also had the same themes, for some reason I just wasn’t feeling it for Val and Ashton.  When these men just got over their issues at the end of the book, I could only wonder why the hell it took them so long.

Despite feeling a bit disappointed in the characters and the plot, I was happy to see another facet of sexuality introduced – the demisexual, or one who only feels sexual attraction infrequently, and usually only after a significant emotional bond has already developed.  Now in the Five Boroughs universe we have many gay characters, several bisexuals, a pansexual man, a lesbian woman, a demisexual man, some monogamous couples and some swingers.  The group of friends is increasingly diverse in regards to class and ethnicity as well, and I find it amazing how they all interact so well and so naturally with each other.  I am looking forward to the next book(s) in the series, which I think will be Jace and Aiden’s story, but I have to say that I am shipping Charles and Clive and hope that they will get together at some point as well.  Even though this is my least favorite in the series so far, I still can’t get enough of these characters and Mr. Hassell’s writing.  His characters are unique and interesting, his dialogue is fluent and effortless and some of the best I’ve read anywhere (not just in this genre), and his writing is exciting and just leaves me thirsting for more.  Very highly recommended!

Cover art by L. C. Chase, is, as always, amazing.  I would believe that Mr. Santino saw this model before he even dreamed about Ashton, he is so perfect.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing |Amazon | BNkobo | iBooks |

Book Details:

ebook, 366 pages
Published April 29th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleConcourse
ISBN 1626495629 (ISBN13: 9781626495623)
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://riptidepublishing.com/titles/concourse
SeriesFive Boroughs #5

Time for Remembrance – Memorial Weekend. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Time for Remembrance – Memorial Weekend

With the sound of Roaring Thunder still echoing in my ears as they passed by on their way to the District,  it’s time to remember and honor those that have given their lives for their country and freedom, protecting those here and around the world.  Those fallen on the field of Flanders, Khe Sanh,  Gettysburg or Helmand Province, you will always be remembered.

Literature, whether novels or poetry,  is a powerful tool to keep memories alive, evoke the emotions, the pain, the hopes and fears, the bravery behind those that go off to war, no matter the year or war, controversy or no.  Siegfried Sassoon or Walt Whitman, John McCrae’s Field of Flanders (seen above) to all the anonymous poems and letters left at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington, DC (gathered up daily by volunteers to be stored and/or displayed at the museum).  I’ve included one such poem here as well.  They touch at the heart, the mind, the soul.  They make us remember.    It’s Memorial Weekend.  Do you have a favorite poem you could share?

Remembrance Day Poems To Remember The Fallen | HuffPost UK

Posted on The Wall Site for Cpl Brent R Jones. 


The Stranger

One lovely summer day
As I was walking through the grass
Reflecting on the very fondest
Memories of my past

I past an unfamiliar place
And stopped a while to see
Completely unsuspecting
Of the change this place would bring

I stood before a wall of names
Two hundred and fifty-one
Engraved upon a monument
That pierced the shining sun

And though, to all these names
I was a stranger passing by
I looked upon these names
And there was one that caught my eye

It may have been a moment
Or an hour, or a year
I walked up to the name
And leaned in close so I could hear

I closed my eyes and listened
To the pure and priceless truth
And came to understand the love
Of which, this wall is proof

It’s said that he who bears
The very greatest love of all
Will sacrifice his life
Before He’ll see a dear friend fall

Though people often wonder
Whether such a man is real
I see him now
Through these engraven letters that I feel

He’s sitting with his brother
telling stories as they laugh
Of the greatest game’s he’ll ever pitch
Of the biggest fish he’ll catch

He’s standing by his colors
On a hillside far away
He’s diving through the amber fire
While others run away

I search through all my memories
Of the noble and the grand
The courage and the truth
That I’ve been taught to understand

Of all the stories that are told
This shall be told of you
Dear Soldier, How you gave your life
For those you never knew.

This poem was written by Callie Crofts, Firth High School class of 2004.
Sunday, March 27, 2005

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 28:

  • Release Blitz for  Nell Iris’s Find His Way Home
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts ad Rogue Words
  • Time for Remembrance – Memorial Weekend

Monday May 29

  • Release Day Blitz and Giveaway for Performance Review by Tamryn Eradani
  • DSP Publications GUEST POST Bradley Lloyd on Shadow Fray (Shadow Fray: Round One)
  • DSP GUEST POST Ari Mckay on Breaking Bonds 
  • A Caryn Review:  Concourse (Five Boroughs #5) by Santino Hassell
  • A MelanieM Review: Law of Love by Bob Masters
  • A VVivacious Review: Lion’s Mate (Hell’s Creek #1) by Shannon West & T.S. McKinney
  • An Alessandro Audiobook Review: Willow Man by John Inman and Austin Rising (Narrator)

Tuesday, May 30:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR &  Giveaway: Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer
  • DSP GUEST POST L.A. Merrill on Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (States of Love)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Slow Heat by Leta Blake
  • An Ali Review: Heels Over Head by Elyse Springer
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Shadow Fray (Shadow Fray: Round One) by Bradley Lloyd
  • A Stella Review: Back to You by Chris Scully

Wednesday, May 31:

  • Release Day Blitz and Giveaway for Frank at Heart by Pat Henshaw
  • Retro Review Tour – Suki Fleet’s This Is Not A Love Story
  • DSP GUEST POST Z Allora On Writing, Books and Secured and Free
  • A Free Dreamer Review: This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:Frank at Heart (Foothills Pride #6) by Pat Henshaw
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (States of Love) by L.A. Merrill
  • An Alisa Review: Hybrid (A Darker Hollow #1) by Shannon West & T.S. McKinney

Thursday, June 1:

  • Release Blitz for  The Ties that Bind by S. Davidson
  • DSP GUEST POST : Tara Lain on Return of the Chauffeur’s Son
  • Blog Tour Permanent Jet Lag by A.N. Casey
  • A Lila Review: Whiskey Business (States of Love) by Avon Gale
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Mystery of Nevermore (Snow & Winter: Book One) by C.S. Poe
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Breaking Bonds (The Walker Boys 2) by Ari McKay
  • An Alisa Review: Smitten by R.W. Clinger

Friday, June 2:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Fraud Twice Felt by JT Hall
  • Blog Tour: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain
  • A MelanieM Review: Hawaiian Fragrance (The Hawaiians 3) by Meg Amor
  • An Ali Review : False Start (Wilmington Breakers #2) by Sloan Johnson
  • An Alisa Review: To Touch You (Mates #4) by Cardeno C.

Saturday, June 3:

  • Release Blitz His Master by Bink Cummings
  • A MelanieM Review: Seduced by the Tide by Sean Michael

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