Our STRW Fantasy Recommendations Continues and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Our STRW Fantasy Recommendations Continues

Are you at glued to however you watch tv these days when GoT comes on?  That’s Game of Thrones of course.  The lavish, addictive, often dark fantasy series from HBO adapted from George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire, one that’s he still writing, I  might add if you aren’t someone who read the books  first and then started watching the series.  Or lives in Outer Mongolia, although I’m convinced they get GoT there too.  It’s a land where winter’s coming, a woman ride’s a dragon to her destiny, there are terrifying whitewalkers and even scarier queens now sitting on the iron throne.  There’s Tyrion a dwarf who drinks and knows things plus so many mad wonderful, awful, horrific events that have occurred that we stay fastened to this series as though epoxied. You can’t help it.  It’s magnificent.  And its fantasy.  People love fantasy,  From Tolkien to George R. R. Martin, to the stories of our childhood, whether it be Harry Potter or Peter Pan, imagining the impossible or the improbable has always captured our imagination and our attention.

We want to slide into those worlds, those adventures, see those dragons!  How I loved Anne Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series and Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series just to name two that I couldn’t get enough of.   But really I gobbled them all up.  And still do today.  I just finished last week Don Allmon’s Glamour Thieves and another story in Megan Derr’s Tales of the High King, a series Lila loves as well.  Megan Derr can do no wrong in her  fantasy stories.  Just check our our recommendations for her below.

We are still working on our Fantasy Rec lists.  You all know?  I forgot the Supernatural/Paranormal lists, so those may have to come next.  But for now, lets concentrate on the Fantasy ones.  Our Giveaway runs until August 26~you just might see books you never got to or ones you definitely want to reread!

(Extra note:  We are still looking for reviewers, please contact us if you know of anyone or want to review for us yourself.  Write to us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com)

 

Fantasy Titles Recommended – 

Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling
Dance with the Devil series by Megan Derr
Charm of Magpies series by KJ Charles
Hexworld series by Jordan L Hawk
Woke Up in a Strange Place  by Eric Arvin
The Druid Stone (Layers of the Otherworld #1) by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Galway Bound (Layers of the Otherworld #1.1) by Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane
Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk
The Pirate’s Game (Etsey Novels #3) by Heidi Cullinan and
Etsey novels by Heidi Cullinan

Fantasy Fiction Rec Giveaway

Send in your recs  for your favorite fantasy book/ or series!  Don’t forget to add your email address where we can reach you if chosen to receive our gift certificate of $10.

Again, gift certificates to a reader chosen at random who left a comment along with their email address where they can be reached if chosen.
Contest ends at midnight on 8/26.  That’s two weeks to get your recommendations in!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week At Scattered Thoughts And Rogue Words

 

Sunday, August 20:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Our STRW Fantasy Recommendations Continues

Monday, August 21:

  • Book Blitz & Review Tour – JM Dabney – Ghost (Executioners #1)
  • DSP GUEST POST Vivien Dean
  • TOUR The Vampire’s Protege by Damian Serbu
  • TOUR Blended Notes by Lilah Suzanne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna: Book 5) by Tara Lain
  • A MelanieM Review: Ghost (Executioners #1) by JM Dabney
  • An Alisa Review Wrong Place, Right Time by April Kelley

Tuesday, August 22:

  • DSP GUEST POST Alex Standish for Changing Tides
  • Review Tour – Elin Gregory – The Bones Of Our Fathers
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior #2) by LA Witt and Cari Z.
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: The Tiger’s Watch (Ashes of Gold #1) by Julia Ember
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts 3) by KC Burn
  • A MelanieM Review: The Bones Of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory
  • A Stella Review: TBD

Wednesday, August 23:

  • Blog Tour *Inhuman Beings by Richard May
  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote’s Tops Down Bottoms Up
  • A Jeri Review: Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote
  • A Lila Review: The Heart of the Lost Star by Megan Derr
  • A VVivacious Review: How to Love a Monster by Lyssa Dering
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Coasting by Yvonne Trent

Thursday, August 24:

  • Cover Reveal First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Julia Ember
  • RIPTIDE TOUR The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water #2) by EJ Russell
  • An Alisa Review: Dude Mama by Michael P. Thomas
  • A Caryn Review: Becoming Andy Hunsinger by Jere’ M. Fishback
  • A MelanieM Review: One in Vermilion by Kris T. Bethke
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford and Greg Tremblay  (Narrator)

Friday, August 25:

  • TOUR for Grounded by Aidan Wayne
  • Tour and Giveaway for The Runner by Karma Kingsley
  • Retro Tour: Men of London series by Susan Mac Nicol
  • A Lila Review: Conned By Jana Denardo
  • A MelanieM Review: Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert
  • An Ali Review: Love You Senseless (Men of London #1) by Susan Mac Nicol
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Cowboys Don’t Come Out by Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

Saturday, August 26:

  • Blog tour FORBIDDEN LUST BY GRAYSON KNIGHT
  • Release Blitz Without A Compass – Helen Juliet
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lonely Merman (Landlocked Heart #1) by Kay Berrisford

 

Jo Ramsey on Characters, Writing, and her release Dolphins in the Mud (Harmony Ink Author Interview)

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Dolphins in the Mud by Jo Ramsey
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jo Ramsey here today with an author interview and a new release to share with our readers. Welcome, Jo!

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jo Ramsey ~

  • 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?

To be honest, no, I don’t think there’s that tight a line. A Mary Sue/Gary Stu is a character the author wants to be. The one all the other characters love. The one whose many accomplishments leave people in awe. The one who solves the mystery, or drives the entire plot, simply because of their skills and sheer awesomeness. In general, I would suspect that the experiences of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu character aren’t even close to the experiences of the author. They’re the experiences the author wishes they’d had.

An author using their own experiences to inspire a character isn’t the same thing. The character might share personality traits with the author, or with someone the author knows, but isn’t so heavily based on the source that anyone can tell who it is. Also, someone’s real life experiences often aren’t ones where they’ve saved the world and are beloved by all who know them, so an author who uses their own experiences is not likely to be creating a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. Some of my characters share my experiences and/or personality traits, but they’re very definitely their own people.

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

I do not enjoy research at all, so in general I will avoid it whenever possible. I much prefer creating my own worlds, or, with contemporary fiction, writing about characters and situations that are very similar to people and things in my own life.

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

When I was ten, someone gave me a copy of The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. In the book, a typical 11-year-old boy, the youngest in his family, learns that he’s the last of a group that exists to fight evil. The story is heavily inspired by Arthurian legend and mythology, and the idea that someone “normal” and often overlooked could have such amazing things happen to him captured my imagination.

Although nearly all of my books with Harmony Ink Press are contemporary fiction, my heart lies more in writing paranormal/fantasy. Primarily urban fantasy, where someone who is seemingly “normal” and often overlooked has amazing things happen to them. Some of my previous books, all of which are now off the market, followed that basic concept. Fighting evil, even if you don’t believe you can. Learning that you have power and are a hero, even if you’ve spent your entire life being taught otherwise. Even in my contemporary fiction, I incorporate some of those ideas with characters who, rather than fighting evil, fight things like mental illness, bullying, and trauma, and come out as heroes.

  • 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?

When I wrote Work Boots and Tees, the fifth book in my Deep Secrets and Hope series, I had to stop several times. Jim, the main character, is a sexual abuse survivor who, as a teen, sexually assaulted two girls he was dating. In both cases, he didn’t recognize it as assault; they didn’t say no, after all. When he realizes what the girls perceive as having happened, he’s devastated. In his mind, he has become as much a monster as the man who abused him.

I’m also a sexual abuse survivor, and, like Jim, was quite young when it happened. His memories and flashbacks of the abuse hit far too close to home for me. Although my life didn’t go the way Jim’s did, throughout writing his story I could feel the anguish, anger, and fear he experienced. I went much more deeply into his head than I have with almost any other character I’ve written.

Unfortunately this caused me to have more severe PTSD reactions than I had in a while. I had plenty of support from my loved ones and my therapist, but for my own mental health I had to stop working on the book a few times to give my brain a reset before I could continue.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I much prefer happy-for-now. I don’t think happily-ever-after is at all realistic. Even in the best relationships, there is sometimes conflict. And people change over time, so “the one” for you might not be the one five, ten, twenty years down the road. I prefer realistic endings to artificial ones.

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

I have read some romances, though most of my reading is nonfiction at this point. The romances targeted at teens have improved since I was a teen, in my opinion. The ones I remember reading back then were always about a girl having to choose between two boys, and that annoyed me, partly because I couldn’t even get one boy interested in me and partly because I didn’t understand why the girl couldn’t just have both boys so they could all be happy.

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

I think ebooks will become more popular, but I doubt they’ll ever entirely replace hard-copy books. Some people just enjoy holding a physical book in their hands. It’s also a lot easier to highlight or otherwise mark things in a physical book than an ebook. Personally, I think ebooks are great in terms of saving space, but I prefer physical copies.

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

It’s fairly easy for me. My publisher contracts an artist to create the cover based on a form I submit that includes descriptions of the main character(s) and the setting, and I’m sent three versions from which to choose. I choose the one that comes closest to what I’ve envisioned, and feels the most “right” to me.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

That is a good question! I’m currently working on a novel about an abusive relationship between two teenage boys. I think that dating abuse among teenagers happens far more frequently than people realize, and I also believe that abuse between same-sex couples is vastly underrepresented in fiction. Most abusive relationships I’ve seen depicted are between heterosexual couples. I know two teens who were involved in abusive relationships, and I felt it was important to depict.

Readers can always find out more about what I’m working on and what I have coming up by visiting my website, http://www.joramsey.com, or my Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/JoRamseyAuthor. They can also check me out on the Harmony Ink Press website, where they’ll find my new release Dolphins in the Mud among other books. https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/dolphins-in-the-mud-by-jo-ramsey-485-b

 

More about Dolphins in the Mud – Blurb

Stranded. Hopeless. Trapped. No one to turn to and no way to reach the freedom just beyond his grasp….

That’s how Chris Talberman feels when his family moves to an isolated New England coastal town and leaves him alone to care for his severely autistic sister, Cece.

Chris knows how the dolphins stranded in the cove near his home must feel—he understands their struggle better than he can express. But the tragic event has a silver lining. It’s there, while chasing his sister, that Chris meets Noah, a boy his age who is as kind and handsome as he is fascinating. Not only has Chris found the friend he needed, but the possibility for love—

Until Chris’s mother abandons the family and Noah reveals his own hidden pain. Now Chris must care for the person he thought would care for him.

Kindle Edition and paperback, 2nd edition, 180 pages
Published August 8th 2017 by Harmony Ink Press (first published May 29th 2012)
ASINB071WX1KGR

Annabelle Jay on Writing, YA Fiction, and her latest release ‘Caden’s Comet’, Book Four in The Sun Dragon Series (Harmony Ink Press guest post)

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Caden’s Comet (The Sun Dragon #4) by Annabelle Jay
Harmony Ink Press
Cover artist Stef Masciandaro

Available at Harmony Ink Press

Amazon

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have author Annabelle Jay here today talking about writing, YA fiction and her latest in the Sun Dragon series, Caden’s Comet. Welcome, Annabelle!

🐉

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview

with Annabelle Jay

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I always find this to be a really interesting question, though I’m not very good at answering it. The truth is, I often don’t know how much of myself goes into every character—I think that in some ways my characters all share something with me, and yet at the same time, they’re all very much their own people. Either way, I don’t do it intentionally. Using Caden’s Comet: Book Four in The Sun Dragon Series as an example, I’ve never thought of the main character, Grian, as similar to myself, but when I think about it, I used to have a very defined view of what “true love” meant—that it had to be like the movies—and Grian has to grapple with a prophesy for his own true love that doesn’t work out as he planned. And many of the other characters have shared traits with me—Allanah in Book One, for example, is obsessed with fantasy novels, as am I, and Princess Nimue in Book Three has my love of feminine material objects. So I guess at our emotional cores we’re similar in at least one way, though I’m never consciously writing myself or my own experience. As a side note, I almost never write nonfiction because I prefer to stay away from portraying actual events from my own life. 

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

My style of research is typically “as you go.” I write until I come across something, some fact or detail, that I don’t know—then I research it. For example, I knew almost nothing about Merlin’s backstory and the other characters in his life beyond what I’d seen in movies and shows until I retold Merlin in Merlin’s Moon: Book Two in the Sun Dragon Series. By the end of the book, I’d learned a lot! Even in that situation, though, I used the research as a jumping off point to completely change Merlin’s story to fit my own.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Absolutely. I still love young adult fantasy the most, and it’s almost all of what I write. I especially love Patricia Wrede’s novels, and I see a lot of her inspiration in my dragon books.

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

One thing that I never thought about until I started writing YA books with LGBTQIA+ characters was how teens were actually going to get my books. Then I quickly came to realize that most of them prefer hiding their reading choices from their parents—especially when the teen themselves is LGBTQIA and hasn’t come out yet—which is a decision that ebooks allow for. It’s hard for teens to hide a print book from judgmental parents, but it’s much easier to hide an ebook. It makes me really sad that anyone would need to do that, but it makes me very grateful for the ebook platform. 

How do you choose your covers?  

I am so lucky to have an amazing cover artist, Stef Masciandaro, who does all of my Sun Dragon covers. She is a designer Harmony Ink assigned to me when I first started publishing the series, and I’ve requested her every time since! She somehow takes my ideas for covers and makes them into exactly what I had in mind—only ten times more amazing. I also love that all of the books have the same color scheme for the spine and back, but each front cover dragon is completely unique.

What’s next for you as an author?

Just in the last few weeks I signed contracts for two new books with Harmony Ink—one science fiction novel about cloning and one ebook that’s a dystopia. Of course, like all my books, they have LGBTQIA protagonists. I’m thrilled to have future projects with Harmony Ink once the fifth Sun Dragon book, Luminosity, comes out this January. 

 

Back Cover Blurb

Long ago, in the days before King Roland, the four dragon kingdoms—Ice, Sun, Earth, and Bone—battled for dominion over the bountiful planet Earth. Prince Grian, a young dragon, hid aboard a Sun Dragon ship, traveled to Earth, and met Caden, an Earth Dragon who’d run away from his village. Despite falling in love, destiny’s plans for them turned cruel, and both perished in the war.

The Artists who created the universe could not let this tragic loss of true love go unpunished. They wiped out the race of Sun Dragons, exiled the Bone Dragons to Draman, and banished the Ice Dragons to the North Pole, safely away from the Earth Dragons. Only the rebirth of Grian and Caden could break the curse. One day, the return of their love would usher in an age of peace and prosperity for all dragons.

But when Prince Grian is reborn, he finds reuniting with his soulmate on Earth will be no easy feat. As he searches for his lost love, the Earth Dragon Protection Society, or EDPS, searches for him, ready to kill him when they find him. If Grian can elude the EDPS, he might find that the true love he once had isn’t guaranteed to bloom a second time.

Cover Artist: Stef Masciandaro

 

About the Author

If there’s one thing author Annabelle Jay believes with all her heart, it’s that there is no such thing as too many dragons in a book. As fantasy writer with few other hobbies—does being bribed to run with her partner or dancing awkwardly in the kitchen count?—she spends every day following her imagination wherever it leads her.

A hippie born in the wrong decade, Annabelle has a peace sign tattoo and a penchant for hugging trees. Occasionally she takes breaks from her novels to play with her pets: Jon Snow, the albino rabbit who is constantly trying to escape; Stevie, the crested gecko that climbs glass with the hairs on its toes; and Luigi, the green tree python that lives at the foot of her bed despite her best efforts to talk her partner out of the idea.

During her day job as a professor of English, Annabelle is often assumed to be a fellow student playing a prank on the class—that is, until she hands out the syllabus. When people stop mistaking her for a recent high school graduate, she will probably be very sad.

 

Links:

Author’s Website: www.annabellejay.com

Twitter: @AnnabelleAuthor

Instagram: @AnnabelleAuthor

Publisher’s book page: https://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/cadens-comet-by-annabelle-jay-483-b

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14191901.Annabelle_Jay

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Annabelle-Jay-376249719245415

An Author’s Interview with Gene Gant of In Time I Dream About You (author guest interview/new book release)

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In Time I Dream About You by Gene Gant
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Gene Gant here today talking about writing, books and In Time I Dream About You, the author’s latest release from Harmony Ink Press!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Very little, if anything at all. I strive to make every character as distinct a person as possible. In the process of writing, each character becomes a separate individual to me, with his or her own personality, history, political views and opinions. As such, they often take off in directions that surprise me, pulling the story in an entirely unexpected direction. I always work from an outline of the plot, but I’m forced to be flexible with it when a character takes control of things. There really isn’t much opportunity for me to insert any of my experiences or personal views under such circumstances. (Although a character occasionally likes my favorite food, reads one of my favorite books, or dresses in a style I personally favor.) Besides, I’m not all that interesting. Readers want compelling characters. Unlike Gavin Goode, for example, I’ve so far lived a fairly uneventful life. Or, as Donald Trump might tweet: BORING.

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

My publisher has a team of artists who work with authors to create covers. They begin with a series of questions to get an understanding of the plot, setting and characters along with the writer’s preferences. Using that information, they prepare two or more drafts of what will eventually become the cover. A great cover has to be eye-catching, convey a general sense of the story’s mood and pull the reader in. I usually go for the one that invokes the biggest emotional response in me, the one that makes me want to jump in and inhabit the world it depicts.

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

Yes, definitely. I’ve always enjoyed fiction across a variety of genres, some of my favorites being contemporary, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and horror. The stories I write fall mostly in the genres I love to read. I sometimes combine genres, as in the case of In Time I Dream About You, which is a blend of romance and science fiction/urban fantasy. Ironically, as a teenager, I read mostly adult novels by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, James Patterson, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eric Jerome Dickey and Sue Grafton. Now, as an adult, I find myself reading an awful lot of—some would say far too much—young adult fiction.   

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?

I’ve had to put stories aside for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I lose interest in the main character, which is never a good sign. Occasionally, I discover that an idea just doesn’t come together in the writing and needs to be revamped

In Time I Dream About You actually began as a tale more heavily tilted toward romance than science fiction, with Cato as the main character who falls in love with Gavin while observing him from the future. He knows Gavin dies in a tragic event and is torn between letting history take its course or violating the law against changing the past and saving Gavin. Perhaps a third of the way into the story, I found myself getting stuck. I’d fire up my computer and sit there staring at the screen, unable to write a word. I moved on to another project, unsure whether the story would ever get finished. After a few months, I read through what I’d written so far and realized I was focusing more on Gavin than Cato, because Gavin’s life was resonating more emotionally with me than Cato’s. Once I shifted the point of view to Gavin, I finished the story rather quickly. Gavin’s tale was less romantic than Cato’s would have been, but for me, the heart of the story was with him.

What’s next for you as an author?

At the moment, I’m working on a young adult novel about a lonely fifteen-year-old boy who gets dumped by his girlfriend and is surprised to find himself falling for one of his male teachers.  It’s more of a coming of age story than a romance, with the kid having to face certain truths about himself and the people in his life. I also have this idea percolating in my head about a boy who discovers he is adopted when his birth parents surface unexpectedly in his life, just as he is settling into a relationship with his new boyfriend. Beyond that, I have no other stories planned…yet, I should add. Ideas for stories tend to pop out of the blue on me, and I’m sure it won’t be long before my mind is conjuring up new characters and situations.

Blurb

Gavin Goode, a promising high school athlete with good grades, forfeited his future when he joined a brutal street gang called the Cold Bloods. The gang’s leader, Apache, discovered Gavin is gay and framed him for murder. Now in prison, Gavin faces rape and abuse on a daily basis as gang members there attempt to break him. When his father is critically injured and Gavin reaches his lowest point, a mysterious ally appears. Cato is much more than the guard he seems. He has come from the future, and he possesses the technology to undo everything that’s gone wrong in Gavin’s life.

But meddling in the timeline has dire consequences, and Gavin faces an impossible decision: sacrifice himself and his father, or let thousands of innocents die instead.

About the Author

‘m Tennessean by birth, a resident of Memphis for most of my life. I tried living in a few northern cities after graduating from college, but I couldn’t take the brutal winters, and I missed good ol’ southern barbecue. Now I make my home on a country lane outside of Memphis. When I’m not reading, working out, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, you can find me tapping away at my computer.

Website

Its July, Happy 4th. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Its July, Happy 4th.

Yes, its officially July.  Summer is well under way.  For those of us in the States or celebrating abroad, this is the start of a long weekend extending into next week, Tuesday which is the 4th.  Roads have been packed with people getting away as have the airports and railway stations.  Celebrations and get togethers, picnics and parades, all will be going on this weekend and into next week, ending with fireworks everywhere.  Why the 4th?  John Adams thought it should have been July 2!  And wouldn’t recognize the celebrations on July 4th.

A quick history lesson: “The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Day or July 4th—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.” Thank you, History.com

Also:

John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Happy Fourth of July!  Have a safe and happy weekend.

Also to our neighbors to the north, Happy Canada (Dominion) Day!  The US is not the only one celebrating our independence!  Per our wonderful internet “Canada became self-governing on July 1st, 1867, with the passage of the British North America Act (BNA Act) in the British Parliament. The holiday was originally known as “Dominion Day”. It was changed to Canada Day by the Canadian Parliament on October 27, 1982.”

Did you know? The U.S. and Canada share the largest un-defended border in the world. So congratulations and Happy Canada Day too!

 

Winner Announcement!

~Pride Father’s Day Celebration Giveaway – Last Week~

We wanted you all to give us your best suggestions for books involving LGBTQIA families or LGBT people with children stories.  What a great list of books you presented us with.  Here they are in no particular order….

STRW Great LGBTQIA Dads/Parents/Family Book Recs!

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Faith & Fidelity by Tere Michaels
What Remains by Garrett Leigh
Bonfires by Amy Lane
Until September by Chris Scully
Back to You by Chris Scully
Snow & Winter series by C.S. Poe
All’s Fair by Josh Lanyon
Stone and Shell by Lloyd A. Meeker
Good To Know series by DW Marchwell
Shaking the Sugar Tree series by Nick Wilgus
It’s Christmas Everywhere But Here by Liam Livings
Making Ends Meet by SL Armstrong
Just Like This by Taylor Lewis
The Nothingness of Ben by Brad Boney
Nested Hearts series by Ada Maria Soto
Ranger Station Haven by S.A. Stovall
Faith, Love and Devotion series by Tere Michaels
The Rebuilding Year series by Kaje Harper
But For You by Mary Calmes
The Christmas Wager by Jamie Fessenden
All the Wrong Places by Ann Gallagher
Frog by Mary Calmes (not a dad but mannies count right?) yes they do!
Southern Comfort by Lola Carson
Flaunt by E. Davies
The Harvest series M.A. Church (children don’t show up until the second book and in the spin-off sequel we to see the kids grown and finding their own mates <3)
A Matter of Time series by Mary Calmes
THIRDS by Charlie Cochet (the Dex and Cael’s Tony)
The Mannies series by Amy Lane (and because it also had great dads too)
Road to the Sun by Keira Andrews
Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan
The Tyack and Frayne Mystery series by Harper Fox

And Fur Kids, just because yes, they count:Pets
Tell Me It’s Real by TJ Klune
Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford
Finding Matt by J.D. Ruskin (no kids, but Bear the dog was awesome, almost the best part of the book).

 

So many great comments and recommendations.  Let me know if you have any more to add to our list!   Thank you all for participating!  New giveaway up next week.

Our winners for this contest are Trix and ami!  Thank you both.  Stella will be in touch with you both about your gift cards!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 2:

  • Its July, Happy 4th.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 3:

  • DSP GUEST POST Amy Lane
  • DSP GUEST POST M.A. Church on Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius
  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael on Making a Splash
  • A Julia Review:The Last Ranger of Sarn (The Journals of the Huntress Book 1) by Ed Ireland
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: What’s the Use of Wondering? By Kate McMurray
  • A MelanieM Review: Feral Dust Bunnies (Offbeat Crimes #4) by Angel Martinez
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote and narrated by Mark Steadman

Tuesday, July 4 (Happy Independance Day to all those in the US and abroad)

  • BLOG POST Two-Man Advantage by Leigh Carman
  • Release Blitz Force of Nature (Coming About #4) by J.K. Hogan
  • Release Blitz for  Meg Harding’s Finding Home
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Love and Other Hot Beverages by Laurie Loft
  • A Kai Review: Misdemeanor by CF White
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: A Second Harvest (Men of Lancaster County #1) by Eli Easton and narrator Will Tulin
  • An Alisa Review: Black Magic Glitterbomb by Sage C. Holloway

Wednesday, July 5:

  • Blitz Tour: Haven’s War by Parker Williams
  • Blog Tour: Burning Boundaries, by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham
  • DSP GUEST POST SJD Peterson on Something’s Brewing at Joe’s
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ahava Is Love (World of Love) by Avery Duran
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Making a Splash by Sean Michael
  • A Stella Review: Haven’s War (Safe Haven #2) by Parker Williams
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Santa’s Naughty Helper ( Lawyers in Love) by Ari McKay

Thursday, July 6:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Spun! (The Shamwell Tales #4) by J.L. Merrow
  • DSP Publications blog tour Xenia Melzer
  • An Alisa Review: Admiring Jesse by Shawn Lane
  • A MelanieM Review: Behind the Mask by Elizabeth Coldwell
  • A VVivacious Review: Oversight (The Community #2) by Santino Hassell
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Vassily the Beautiful (The ESTO Universe) by Angel Martinez and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

Friday, July 7:

  • DSP GUEST POST Avery Duran on Ahava is Love
  • Release Blitz for Luna David’s Saving Sebastian
  • Release Day Blitz for Lying Eyes by Robert Winter
  • Review Tour for TC Orton ‘s Iudicium
  • A Julia Review: Iudicium by​ T.C Orton
  • A Jeri Review: A Way with Words (Memories with The Breakfast Club ) by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review:  Prise de Fer by A.R. Moler

Saturday, July 8:

A MelanieM Review: The Werecat Trilogy by Andrew J. Peters

 

 

 

Haven Francis on ‘We Are All Liars’, Writing and her latest release ‘Riding with Brighton’ (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Riding with Brighton by Haven Francis
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Haven Francis here today on tour with Riding with Brighton.  Haven has brought along a giveaway so be sure to enter at the bottom of the blog. Welcome, Haven!

♦︎

WE ARE ALL LIARS by Haven Francis

In the spirit of Riding with Brighton, I’ve decided to revisit some of the more life-changing moments that Jay and Brighton managed to flirt and laugh their way through. Stop 3 is the river (aka, where Jay loses his sh@# and finally admits he’s a liar). 

Let’s talk about lying! It’s something most of us do every day, probably several times a day. If you’re thinking, maybe she does, but I certainly don’t, you might be right. But I bet that today, in response to the question, “How are you?”, you probably replied, “good”. And I’m almost certain that’s not the honest-to-God truth. Maybe you’re still pissed off at that self-righteous jackass who doesn’t think basic traffic laws apply to him, or you had a conversation with someone you care about that rubbed you the wrong way. It could be you’re just having a bad hair day or feel gross in your clothes. I could be wrong, it’s possible that you really are one-hundred-percent “good” but it’s also possible that’s just another lie, one you’re telling yourself. Which is where most of our lying occurs: in our own heads.  The lies come in the form of excuses and procrastination, sometimes we even rebrand the lies as “positive thinking”.  The truth is, telling yourself, I’ll deal with that closet tomorrow, or, what they’re doing to me isn’t that bad, are damn lies and you know it. They’re a-holes and that closet’s never getting cleaned.

In Riding with Brighton, this is what Jay did: he told himself one lie in order to make his life better and then, in order to make that lie become the truth, he told one more. And so on and so forth until, by the time we meet him, his lies have spun him right onto the edge of a nervous breakdown and complete identity crisis. And even then, instead of coming to terms with the one big lie he told so long ago, he decides to ignore it and forge a new path built on – yes, you guessed it – more lies.

And this time, Jay’s not keeping the fiction-foraging fun to himself. He recruits his artistic, outspoken, alternative classmate, Brighton Bello-Adler to be his unwilling partner in crime. Jay figures, if he can just become like Brighton, then all the mistakes, all the wrong roads he took in the past, will disappear and he can start over. But we all know that doesn’t work. Just because you close the door and put a padlock on it, doesn’t mean there’s not still a huge festering mess inside that closet you keep telling yourself your gonna clean. Because there is – the mess is still there. Yes, I know you can’t see it, but trust me, it’s there. And deep down you know it, and you’re thinking about that damn closet now more than ever. If you’re like Jay, you might even become paranoid and unable to look at anything without wondering how it relates to the mess you’re keeping locked up.

Eventually, it will all boil over and come exploding out. In the closet scenario it might be a literal explosion, but for Jay it’s an emotional one, and also an unintentional one. He didn’t want to tell the truth, but he did – for the first time in his life.  And… it wasn’t so bad. Not nearly as bad as he had anticipated. Certainly not bad enough to derail his entire life over. Which is usually the case: lies fester and grow and take on a life of their own inside your amazing and scary brain.

But the good news is that once you tell that first truth, it’s as if you’ve scraped away a layer of mildew from your eyes and suddenly you can see clearly. In Jay’s case, he finally feels like his true self for the first time in his life and this is when the real journey begins.

Something I know from personal experience to be true is that once you open up and show others who you really are, they tend to do the same thing. Telling the truth is infectious. In Jay and Brighton’s case, so infections that they end up upheaving the entire student body…

Blurb

In the small town of Spring Valley, molds weren’t made to be broken, and high school senior Jay Hall’s been living comfortably in his popular jock one since adolescence. If it weren’t for the colorful, outspoken artistic anomaly Brighton Bello-Adler, he might have been willing to remain there. Unnaturally drawn to Brighton, Jay knows he needs something from him, but is he ready to find out what that something is?

Temporarily ditching his old life, Jay climbs into Brighton’s Bronco and finds himself on a whirlwind road trip through parts of his small town he didn’t know existed. When the excursion takes an unexpected turn, Jay is cracked wide open, and the person who’s revealed does strange things to Brighton’s heart.

But just when it appears they could be headed toward their own shared piece of paradise, the road takes a sharp right turn into Jay’s life—where the real trip is about to begin.

In an unconventional love story that defies labels, two young men embark on a journey toward growing up, coming out, and finding their place in the world. It’s a trip that ranges from heartbreaking to uplifting, funny to sweet, but always unique and personal.

Excerpt

“I’m detecting a theme here as far as your little crisis goes,” he says with humor in his voice.

“It’s not too hard to figure out. I’m sick of living this life I made for myself and am mourning the guy I could have become, the life I could have had, if I had just grown a pair and done what I wanted to instead of what people expected me to do.”

“So what’s your plan when you go off to college? You’re gonna get a fresh start, be who you want to be…. Who are you gonna be?”

“I don’t know.”

He knocks his boot into my shoe again. “Yes you do. If you can’t even talk about the things you want to do, how are you gonna actually do them?”

Shit. Does he know? Is he trying to get me to admit that I’m gay? Do I want to admit that to him? Am I ready to say that out loud? I suck in a long breath, and as I’m exhaling it the words I think I might be gay are running through my brain, but when the words come out they’re “I want to write.”

I turn my head to Brighton. He’s staring right at me. His face is mostly blank, but I can see the confusion. Slowly, though, a smile creeps in. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s cool. I’ve always been shit at writing. What do you write?”

I shake my head. “Nothing, really.”

“Come on, Jay. You need to get over whatever it is that’s holding you back. You can say whatever you want to say to me. I’m not gonna judge you. It’s not gonna change my opinion about you. In fact if you’d open up and give me something… one thing… I might feel better about the fact that I’ve been talking about myself all day.”

I want to talk to him. I want to tell him things. But the truth is that, for whatever reason, I care about his opinion of me more than anyone else’s. “It’s stupid.”

“Is it time for the pep talk? Do we need to do a rundown of all your redeeming qualities?”

“Umm… hell no….”

He ignores my request. “You’re the most popular guy at our school; we’ve already established that you’re decent-looking and, with me out of the game, you could have any girl you want. Your body’s on point; I’ve heard you’re a pretty good athlete; you’re smart; you’re cool; you’re thoughtful; and you’re funny…. So where’s all this insecurity and self-deprecating crap coming from?”

“I don’t know. I guess I’m not usually like this. I think it’s just… you.” Oh shit. Immediately I can feel my veins pulsing under my skin, and all my muscles go on lockdown at this confession. I feel like I’m going to have a panic attack, and I’m already regretting the words that just came out of my mouth.

“Why would you feel insecure around me?” he asks.

Okay. That’s not what I meant. I mean it is, but I thought the implications were obvious. But maybe they weren’t. So I hold tight to the out he’s given me. “Because everything about me is superficial and nothing about you is, so I guess I just naturally feel inferior around you.”

“That’s such bullshit,” he says, his face turning intense, borderline angry. “I mean, come on, man. I just gave you a hella long list of all the reasons I think you’re cool. And you haven’t even opened up to me. If you did that, all it would do is make me like you more. ‘Inferior. That’s such a crap excuse.” He’s propped himself up on his elbow now, and he’s practically raging at me.

I can literally feel my body temperature rising. I want to yell back at him; I want to get all this shit out of me. I want to jump on him and take all my pent-up aggression out with him. I want to grab his hair and kiss the shit out of him. And Jesus, now I’m hovering over him, sitting on my knees, my hands pulling on my hair. I close my eyes and try to rein myself in.

“Just fucking tell me,” he says, and the tone of his voice, a painful whisper, snakes through my body and releases the hold that I’m keeping on all of the secrets inside me.

“I don’t know who the hell I am,” I say, seething, my eyes still closed tight. “I wake up every morning in that fucking house and look in the mirror, and I don’t know who the hell I am. I’m scared shitless of the thoughts running through my head. I’m terrified of the feelings that erupt in me when I’m around you, and I don’t know how long I can keep denying the truth. How long I can keep lying to myself. But I know I have to. I know I’ll never get to be who I want to be. And the fucking truth….” I let out a long, exasperated breath and fall back on my hands, finally opening my eyes and looking at him. “Is that I think about you all the time.” I’m breathing hard like I just ran a marathon. My vision is blurry, but I can see that Brighton is sitting up now too. And he’s smiling at me.

“Yeah?” he asks.

I nod and let out another long breath, trying like hell not to pass out. “Yeah.”

“That’s cool. I mean, I’m flattered.”

“Shit,” I mutter to myself, running my hands over my face before collapsing back on the ground. It’s like everything inside me just got ripped out of my body with those words.

The longer I lie here, though, the more the panic and fear evaporate and something else is taking its place. Relief? Excitement? Happiness? I’m not sure. It’s something I’ve never felt before.

“You okay?” Brighton asks.

“Yeah. I think I am.” I can’t help but laugh.

“I thought you were gonna go all hulk on my ass for a minute there the way you were practically vibrating.”

“I can’t believe I just said that to you. It’s scary as hell.”

“You want to talk about it?”

Jesus, no. “I think that’s about as much as I can handle for now.”

“All right,” he says easily. “So, you want to get out of here?”

I turn my head to him, cracking one eye open because it’s about all the physical activity I can handle at the moment. He’s propped up on his elbows, his legs kicked out in front of him, every part of him looking totally content. No signs of worry or stress on his face, which seems wrong, seeing as how he’s sitting so close to me. How can this hurricane of emotions I’m in the middle of not be sending at least a little gust his way? “Can I have a minute?”

“Yeah, take all the time you need.”

I close my eyes again and try to put myself back together. It’s like a bomb just went off inside me and tore everything apart. Which sounds gory, but maybe I can dig through the gooey mess and assemble something better than what I started with. Maybe this time I can get it right.

I lay there until my bones no longer feel weak and my head doesn’t feel like it’s completely covered in mud. When I open my eyes again, Brighton is gone, and I swear to God, a slimy vise clamps down on my heart. Shit. What the hell is that about? And when I see him, a little ways down the shore, skipping rocks into the water, I smile. Oh crap, am I giddy? For sure I’m nervous as hell.

What the hell do I do now that he knows how I feel about him? I mean in my fantasies—because, yes, I’ve had a ton of them—I confess how I feel about him, and he immediately takes control of the situation and practically rips my clothes off. I mean, he totally rips my clothes off. But, dang, that didn’t happen.

I search through the fog of my memories from the last however many minutes it’s been since I had my meltdown, trying to remember his exact reaction. He looked happy. But all he said was that it was cool and he was flattered. I don’t know why I assumed that just because I was into him he’d be into me too. Just because he’s gay doesn’t mean he’s gonna automatically want me. God, that’s a blow to the ego. And a total wrecking ball to my alternate fantasy world.

 

About the Author

An escapist filled with wanderlust, writing is Haven’s responsible adult version of getting in the car and driving without aim. Reading and music are close seconds. She and her husband can often be found checking out their favorite bands locally or hundreds of miles away via road trips. Reading is something they don’t have in common, but he tolerates her dimly lit late-night habit.

Haven once made a living writing about trends in interior design but thoroughly enjoys that fact that people, unlike furniture, can fall in love. She especially loves when they fall desperately and into a forbidden kind of love. Haven also works as a graphic designer but considers Mom her most important title.

She has a slightly embarrassing fascination with the period of life that sits awkwardly between childhood and adulthood; the years when nothing is certain, lots of mistakes are made, falling in love is inevitable, and finding yourself is a struggle. For her it’s a fun place to escape to and she hopes her readers agree.

Giveaway

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A Month Full of Pride. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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A Month Full of Pride

 

As we count the days down towards the end of June, we’ve have a wonderful month full of Pride.  And we have one last week to go.  Last week we announced the winners of our Pride Readers Best Coming Out Stories Giveaway.  This week we put together a list of all of those recommended stories.  Please feel free to add to it by commenting or let us know if we’ve left any out.  It’s always great to have a place to lookup those stories we love to read but can’t always remember their names.  We will have a place here to start looking up Rec Lists (coming soon).  Here is our Readers Best Coming Our Stories:

Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!

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
Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons

Josh Lanyon’s Death of A Pirate King
John Goode’s Tales from Foster High.
Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
The Catch Trap-Marion Zimmer Bradley
Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

My Summer of Wes by Missy Welsh
There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Superhero by Eli Easton
Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell.
True Colors by Anyta Sunday
American Love Songs by Ashlyn Kane
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Unexpected Guest by Andy Eisenberg.
Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

 

We have one last week for everyone to enter into our Father’s Day giveaway.  Give us your best stories with families and children, gay dads and their kids…

~Pride Father’s Day Celebration Giveaway – Last Week~

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.

Sad Announcement

And now for some very sad news.  Author A.C. Katt has passed away suddenly.  Kris Jacen of MLR Press announced the news on her FB page.  Many of our reviewers here, including Paul who also passed away recently, loved her stories including her Werewolves of Manhattan series.  Here is more on the author:

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC writes GLBT andis to writing, a late bloomer, however, she’s found her niche writing GLBT romance. She currently writes for MLR Press, JMS Books, and Decadent Publishing.

She will be missed.  Our condolences go out to her family and friends.  Her stories will always be with us.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 25:

  • A Month Full of Pride.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 26:

  • DSP GUEST POST Erik Swill on Too Many Temples
  • Release Day Blitz Nate’s Last Tango by Kevin Klehr
  • A Lila Review: Waiting for You (Lifesworn #1) by Megan Derr
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Slim Chance by Jeff Erno
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Model Investigator (Haven Investigations #3) by Lissa Kasey
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale

Tuesday, June 27:

  • Blog Tour Moro’s Price by M. Crane Hana
  • Release Day Blast Regret by Christina Lee
  • Smitty’s Sheriff (Hope Collection) by Cardeno C. /Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1) by C.F. White
  • A MelanieM Review McShayne’s Dragon (McShayne’s Bloodline Book 1) by Nicole Dennis
  • An Ali Review: Windward (Mirror #2) by Kirby Crow /Meridian (Mirror #1) by Kirby Crow
  • An Alisa Review: The Sky at Night by Wayne Mansfield

Wednesday, June 28:

  • Audiobook Review Tour for See Me (Lightning Tales #3) by K.C. Wells
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Haven Francis on Riding with Brighton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: See Me (Lightning Tales #3) by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church
  • An Alisa Review:  Incubus Touch (Polar Nights Book 1) by Siryn Sueng

Thursday, June 29:

  • DSP GUEST POST Jeff Erno on Slim Chance
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Oversight by Santino Hassell
  • A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hawaiians 4: Hawaiian Ginger by Meg Amor
  • An Ali Review: His Pirate (Second Chance #2) by Stephanie Lake
  • An Alisa Review:  That Alien Feeling by Alessandra Hazard

Friday, June 30:

  • Blog Tour for  Different Dynamics by Tamir Drake
  • DSP GUEST POST Kate McMurray on What’s the Use of Wondering?
  • DSP GUEST POST Tray Ellis on Pyresnakes
  • Review Tour for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series Vol. 2
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Something’s Brewing at Joe’s by SJD Peterson
  • A MelanieM Review: Kingdom Volume 2 (Kingdom #2) by R.J. Scott
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  ​A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania) by TJ Klune

Saturday, July 1:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane

 

 

 

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