Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell

If you’ve read a book by RJ Scott or V.L. Locey to name two authors quickly off the top of my head, well, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  If you read some or all of the stories  in The Christmas Angel series by various authors, then you’ve seen the covers of Meredith Russell.  And of course, if you’ve read Forever In The Sun (co authored with RJ Scott) or Fallout,  you’ve seen a cover created by the artist for a book she’s written.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus if you are a follower of either RJ Scott or VL Locey or the MM Hockey Romance Group, then you are familiar with the adorable chibis that Meredith Russell draws of the characters of the Harrisburg Railers hockey players and their mates and families.  I’m hoping she will extend it to the Rush soon.  Here is the first chibi she drew.  It’s Tennant Rowe! The others can be found here at

Railers Chibi-style promo pieces

Adorable, right?  If you are a fan of the Harrisburg Railers series by RJ Scott and VL Locey, then you know Ten is featured in a very special story that’s to be released this summer, June 30th 2019.  Here’s a look at the cover by Meredith Russell, of course|
Now onto our interview….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Meredith Russell on Art, Book Covers and Much More

  • How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

Making a draft varies author to author for me. Some come with ideas, or a set style they’ve adopted, or images they’ve found themselves and so we go down one route and a single draft, and it’s a rather painless process. Then others need to see something to help decide what they actually are after from a cover. I’ve never really paid a lot of attention to exactly how long I spend on a draft. There are various stages I go through – getting any info or ideas from the author, looking at what images are available and which might work together, some back and forth with the author as to whether images fit with what they’re after, and finally the cutting/pasting/making etc of the draft. The time adds up but usually after a few days I have something to show them and a starting point to tweak into something final.

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

I work pretty much exclusively with images from stock sites so I am limited in some ways to what I can find on them and how I can maybe manipulate them into what we need. However, I would love to venture into digital art but I haven’t found the time to devote myself to figuring it out or getting the resources I’d need. I’ve had fun creating some simple drawings for RJ Scott, and a couple of others, who have had me turn their characters into little cartoon people though.

  • How much input comes from the author and/or storyline?

Again it varies. Some authors have a set idea of what they want. Some (naming no names lol) come to me requesting a man with brown hair and give me a couple of details about the story’s setting. I do like to know about the storyline or at least key moments or places that can be incorporated into the cover.

  • How did you get to become a cover artist?

What feels like a long time ago now, I used to do bits of fan art, mostly fanfiction banners for myself and some other writers. When RJ Scott went on to self-publishing she asked me to create her a cover and it went from there.

What mediums do you use? 

I work on a pc. I do have a pen and tablet that I use for drawing the cartoon characters (see above), but also a lot of those do actually start out as pencil and paper sketches that I then digitize and use as a guide.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done? 

Oh that’s a tough one. I recently did a set of seven covers for a series called The Christmas Angel. I liked how they turned out along with the challenge some of them offered considering they were all set in different time periods. A few others I really like include Liam Livings’ And Then That Happened, RJ Scott’s Boy Banned, KC Wells’ A Christmas Promise, and an as yet untitled merman cover I created as a premade that Amber Kell bought off me. Somebody should poke her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

I do. I really love Jay Aheer’s work. She does some beautiful pieces.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

I don’t think so much as a child. I was more about the title and blurb, particularly considering what was popular in way of covers back then, or at least for the kinds of books I was reading. It wasn’t until maybe early twenties where I started being tempted by pretty covers, quite a few being the YA type books, or having a striking female model on them.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

I just really enjoy getting to work with the authors. I enjoy the sharing of emails, building a working relationship and even friendships.

If you could ask yourself a question, what would it be?

It would be, ‘Have you remembered about that request you got over on Facebook?’ Seriously, I have a terrible memory and am constantly emailing myself or telling people to send details in emails as my inbox is something I have open all day whilst on my computer and can easily check on my phone when I’m not at my desk.

From the Christmas Angel series…

For both the Author and Cover Artist:

  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

Firstly, as an attention grabber. If you’re looking for something beyond the regular authors you read, the title and cover are the first things you’re exposed to so it helps if they make an impression. And secondly, covers can be a way of making a brand for authors. It might be they all have a set look – so maybe a single model on the cover, or simply keeping the font for their name consistent for all their books.

  • How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

I don’t think it’s changed it too greatly, in that whether you’re walking a row of books in a store or scrolling through online pages of somewhere like Amazon, covers are there to grab your attention.

  • What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse, generic covers ,etc.)

I think like with everything styles come in and out of fashion. There was the time of the headless models, shirtless torsos, two models, touched up single image covers,  Recently, for me at least, it’s been focusing on a single model on covers, for example The Christmas Angel series and having just one of the characters on there. And unfortunately, because cost is a factor for many authors when paying for cover art, repeated use of models from stock sites is difficult to avoid, but it offers artists the challenge to try and use them differently.

  • How do you feel about them?

Personally, I think the only trend I didn’t like was the headless men one. I know it was a way to make use of limited models in the earlier days, plus allows readers to form their own image of the character simply from whatever descriptions the authors wrote about them, but for me, I just wasn’t a fan. Otherwise, each trend has its place and does its job. There’s a risk of all books looking the same, but that’s then up to the artists, and also the authors and their input, to put their own twist on what’s popular.

  • Anything you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re interested in my work both as an author and cover artist you can view details at my website meredithrussell.co.uk, or find me over at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/meredithrussellauthor. Thank you.

 

About Meredith

Meredith Russell lives in the heart of England. An avid fan of many story genres, she enjoys nothing less than a happy ending. She believes in heroes and romance and strives to reflect this in her writing. Sharing her imagination and passion for stories and characters is a dream Meredith is excited to turn into reality.

Meredith Russell’s Media links
I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Meredith Russell.  It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 17:

  • Artists and Book Covers Spotlight: Meredith Russell.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Monday, February 18:

  • Release Blitz Milo by Lily Morton
  • Amy Lane Author Guest Post
  • Harmony Ink YA John Goode
  • An Alisa Review: Port in a Storm (Kitten and Witch #1) by K.L. Noone
  • A MelanieM Review: Wolff (Redemption #1) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lucy Review: Shine (Uncorked #4) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review: For the Clan by Archer Kay Leah

Tuesday, February 19:

  • Book Blitz for Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • Cover Reveal – Broken by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Ithani (The Oberon Cycle #3) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells
  • A Lucy Audio Review: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Catesj and  Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Wednesday, February 20:

  • Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns – Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan
  • Cover Reveal,- The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Diplomatic Relations (The Sci-Regency Series #4) by J.L. Langley
  • A Lucy Review: Sweet (Uncorked #5) by Shea Balik
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Eagle In The Hawthorn (Rowan Harbor Cycle #8) by Sam Burns
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, February 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock
  • An ALisa Review: The Romantic by Elodie Parkes
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Redemption #2) by J.J. Harper
  • A Lila Review The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Foreign to You by Jeremy Martin

Friday, February 22:

  • OLD SINS by Charlie Cochrane Tour by Charlie Cochrane
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3)
  • DSP PROMO Andrew Grey on Reunited
  • Book Blast – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Ace of Hearts by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Broken Alpha (The Alpha/Omega Verse #1) by D.C. Juris
  • A Caryn Review: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Saturday, February 23:

  • Release Blitz Signal – Kris Jacen – Step Up With Me
  • “Ithani” by J. Scott Coatsworth Mark (OWL) Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:  Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen
  • A MelanieM Review Waiting on the Rain by Freddy MacKay

Book Covers and Artists! This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju Our Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Cover Art by Aisha Akeju

Book Covers and Artists!

 

I’m so very excited about this month and perhaps into March.  We are getting back answers from artists and publishers to our questionnaire on Book Covers and Book Artists.  We asked how they came to work on covers,  what they thought about the current state of book covers, their inspirations, role models, and even the process the authors went through so see covers for their stories.  So many questions to help us get insight into an aspect of our stories we love and that, frankly, fascinates us, me especially.

We have sent out our questionnaires to many of our favorites artists and publishers who have been gracious enough to answer back so our Sundays will be full this month and probably into March with answers and insights from everyone from Garrett Leigh, Reese Dante, NineStar Press, Riptide Publishing, Meredith Russell, Dreamspinner Press, and more.  I can hardly wait myself.

For me, even before I could read, it was the cover that grabbed my attention, made me want to reach out for it.  Want to know what was inside…  Just as it was for so many others.  Book covers draw us to the story inside.  It makes us want to ask that question “what is that book about”?  Even before we read the blurb or are old enough to know what a blurb is. It’s the cover that tells a story, catches our eye, “says Read Us!”.  If the artist does their job.  That is.

For those great covers?  One glance and you’re hooked!  My eye slides by, boom and back it goes.  I  need to examine that cover and book closer.  I pick it up, turn it over, look at it, and often buy the story.  Job done.  It’s always been that way.  Gothic, fantasy, science fiction, name the genre…I still have the books and can go fish out the story and the cover artist that hooked me.

I can still remember the great Anne Cain cover’s for the first edition of J.L. Langley’s My Fair Captain.  Hot damn as they say.  It may have been the first of the half naked torso covers but to this day for me, it’s still one of the hottest.  *fans self*  All others have been just pale reproductions in my mind next to that one.  Fair?  No, but that is the power of that first impression.

Anne Cain has left a lot of those!

So have all the artists who has participated in Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words first venture into insights on Book Covers , Artists, and, their current role in Publishing.  We hope you enjoy it.

First up in our artist spotlight is someone I have long admired.  I found Aisha Akeju through the many stories of Megan Derr, Mell Eight, and other authors at Less Than Three Press.  They are unfailingly fantastical, highly artistic, incredibly imaginative,and always, always, make me look closer.  I just love her works.

You probably have seen her covers if you have read a Megan Derr story.  I have included the link to her website.  Please check out her covers there, also on the LT3 website as well.  They always have a section on the cover artist for each book you buy. I love that about them!  I have included a link to Less Than Three Press as well.  Gp and check out all their new releases as well as the covers!

 

This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju

 

Megan Derr at Less Than Three Press forwarded me your email with questions for cover artists and while I can’t answer all the questions for lack of time, I’ve answered some of them below. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about something I love and I hope my answers are helpful!

AISHA AKEJU

aisha-o.com

======================================

  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?
I’d say about 90% of my covers are comprised of stock material, and about 10% are elements I’ve had to create for the covers. Because sometimes a request is so unique you can’t quite find what you’re looking for.
  • How much input comes from  the author and/or storyline?  
Pretty much all of it, I’d say. I work off of a cover request sent to me from the publisher. I wouldn’t know where to start without it. The cover request includes the book title, author, number in a series if applicable, and what the author would like to see on the cover. It also includes a brief blurb describing what the book is about. I’ll then do my best to fulfill the cover request.
  • How did you get to become a cover artist?
About eight years ago, a friend who I’d done some art for suggested I reach out to Less Than Three Press and offer my services as a cover artist. So I emailed, fingers crossed, and I was lucky enough to be picked up as a contractor. The rest, as they say, is history.
  • Do you have a favorite cover you have done?
I have quite a few favorites! Too many, probably. I quite like Dust on the Wing by Parker Foye, Hellbeasts by Katya Harris, A Honeyed Light by Freddie Milano, and The Neighbor by Bernadette Chapman. But I find I’m most proud of the covers that requires me to flex my graphic design muscles a bit. A few are: Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lynn Darrow, The Devil You Know by Camilla Quinn, Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde, and The Show Must Go On by Buggy Brooks.
^^^^^^
  • Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?
Natasha Snow! She creates stunning covers and I’m honestly in awe of her talent.
  • Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?
Oh, absolutely! I always gravitated towards the books that had covers I found appealing. I think it’s just natural when it comes to books. It’s perfectly fine to judge a book by its cover. You’re putting a lot of trust into a product you’re not sure about beyond a blurb. It certainly helps if the packaging is nice to look at.
  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?
I think the book cover is integral to selling books. It’s the packaging that’s responsible for catching a reader’s eye and hinting at the story within.

About Aisha Akeju

A New Yorker born and raised, creativity has always been a part of Aisha’s life and is, in fact, in her blood. The daughter of an artist and museum director, Aisha picked up a pencil before she learned her ABCs, learning to draw at her mother’s knee and “borrowing” art supplies from her mother’s drafting table when she grew tall enough to reach. Her love of art has only been matched by her love of books, becoming a voracious reader at an early age after falling in love with the written word after her first taste of Green Eggs and Ham, and becoming a published author by the time she was nine years old. Her passion for art and books helped shape Aisha into the illustrator and graphic designer she is today. Her love of fantasy and pop culture weaves itself into her life and her work.

Aisha graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Illustration, and prides herself on her unique style in all her endeavors. With several years of experience under her belt, Aisha currently works as a freelance designer, creating book covers and promotional images for independent presses, publishing houses, and self-published authors. In her spare time, Aisha illustrates for fun and profit, crochets gifts for friends and family, plays mom to a slightly evil and completely ridiculous cat, enjoys table-top gaming, and is a harcore kpop fan.

To learn more about what Aisha can do for you, please see her offered services and read testimonials from satisfied customers.

 

 

That’s our Artist of the Week.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Next week we have Garrett Leigh, who is both an artist and an author.  Let me know if you have any questions for our artists in advance!

 

Meanwhile check out the covers below for the upcoming reviews.  How do they strike you?  Do they tell you a story?  What are they saying?  And then check out what our reviewer has to has say about the covers and their relation to the story they are reviewing.  Interesting stuff!

 

Meanwhile have a great week! Stay warm if you are caught up in the polar vortex!  And always happy reading and listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 3:

  • Book Covers and Artists! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju
  • A Barb Review His First Family by Victoria Sue

Monday, February 4:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Andrew Demcak 2emails
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael on Educating the Professor
  • Alisa Review: Omega Teacher’s Secret (Men of Meadowfall #5) by Anna Wineheart
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Trenton Security #3) by J.M. Dabney 
  • A Jeri Review Rewind by Rowan Shaw
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams and John Solo (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 5:

  • Release Week Blitz Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke
  • BLITZ Diamond Heart by M.A. Hinkle
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna
  • A Lucy Review: Bubbly (Uncorked #1) by Shea Balik
  • A Lila Review: Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1) by Jenn Burke

Wednesday, February 6:

  • Series Blitz – The Knights Club Series – CJ Baty
  • Review Tour Marina Vivancos – Rat Park
  • DSP PROMO Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga on Syncopation
  • An Alisa Review: In the Lion’s Den by Abigail Kade
  • A Stella Review: Rat Park by Marina Vivancos
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker

Thursday, February 7:

  • Release Day – JJ Harper – Gage (Redemption Series
  • Release Blitz – My Anti-Valentine Collection – DJ Jamison
  • DSP PROMO M.D. Grimm on Eye of the Beholder
  • A Caryn Review No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ruff Trouble by Sharon Maria Bidwell
  • A Lila Audio Review A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

Friday, February 8:

  • Gage, Trenton Security Book 3, by JM Dabney Blog Tour
  • Review Tour – The Other Book – Roe Horvat
  • Release Blitz – TL Travis – Forgive Me Father
  • An Alisa Audio Review From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review Hexhunter (Hexworld #4) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: Eye of the Beholder by MD Grimm
  • An Ali Review : The Other Book by Roe Horvat

Saturday, February 9:

  • Joe Cosentino on Drama Castle (A Nicky and Noah Mystery Story)
  • Series Review Tour – NASU and ENRAI (Blood Sealed Book 1 and 2)

More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

 

More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions.

 

More results from last week’s polls on book covers.  I really did sort of expect these tbh.  Yes readers to look and choose books by their covers, yes, they look at the names of the cover artists, and while they say they might not have a preference over type of cover, when it comes right down to it?  They love a “painted” cover over of photograph.  Maybe I should look at demographics on that one as that is my preference as well.

This week Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is sending out our questionnaires to publishers and cover artists, to get a feel on the state of book covers today, how many of these artists came to be book cover artists and much more.  I have included the questions I received from our readers in our form.  I can’t wait to get back the answers!

If you have more questions, please continue to send them in, it’s never too late to revise our form as we send it out to more people.

With stories these days, you might see the same or re-released/revised story several times.  That means multiple covers, eBook and audio formats too.  Each time it’s job is the same.  Reach out to readers, grab their attention, make them want to read or listen to that story with a cover that looks fresh and vibrant!  Dramatic, current, and catchy.  Wow!  That’s an artistic job and a half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are three different covers for Andre Norton’s Witch World.  One from 2016 and the original from 1963.  At the end there was one more version.  1986.  Each era leaving its mark on the design and style of the cover.  And yes, mine is the 1963 version which I still have.  I have to admit each speaks to me in a different way.  What do they say to you?  Which do you prefer? And if you aren’t familiar with Andre Norton, what a fantastic author awaits you!

When covers are done beautifully, we remember them.  And the artist that made that cover sing to us.  And of course, we picked that book right up, perhaps even again, to dive into the story and get lost in another world of an author’s creation.   This from someone who was up til 4am with a new Rhys Ford story…lol Yes, the cover of that story is fabulous!

So yes, along with all of you, I’m dying to know what answers will be coming back our way from these amazing artists and the publishers.  What wonderful Sundays we have ahead of us!

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 27:

  • More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Audio Release Blitz K.A. Merikan – Road Of No Return

Monday, January 28:

  • Release Blitz Marina Vivancos – Rat Park
  • BLITZ Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • PROMO TARA LAIN on The Case of the Voracious Vintner
  • A Stella Review The Fairy Pond by Jason Black
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Devil Take Me anthology by Rhys Ford , Ginn Hale ,Jordan L. Hawk ,T.A. Moore ,C.S. Poe ,Jordan Castillo Price , and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

Tuesday, January, 29:

  • BLITZ Imminent Dawn by R.R. Campbell
  • AUDIO BLITZ Out in the Deep (Out in College #1) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)
  • Release Blitz for   Gage, Trenton Security Book 3, by JM Dabney
  • Book Blast – Bad Deal by Ember-Raine Winters & Faith Ryan
  • A Lucy Review Forever Starts At Midnight by Kim Breyon
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: The Case of the Voracious Vintner (Middlemark Mysteries #2) by Tara Lain

Wednesday, January 30:

  • Release Blitz – The Other Book – Roe Horvat
  • PROMO AUGUST LI on Nomad’s Dream
  • Cover Reveal, – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li
  • A MelanieM Review: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles

Thursday, January 31:

  • BLITZ Living on the Inside by Londra Laine
  • DSP COVER REVEAL Inked Music by Sean Michael
  • An Ashlez Review Bad Deal by Ember by Raine Winters & Faith
  • A Free Dreamer Review The Witchin’ Canoe by Mel Bossa
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Contact by M.D. Neu
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Catherine Curzon

Friday, February 1:

  • COVER REVEAL Forlorn by Elvira Bell
  • Terrible Things by Beth Bolden Blog Tour 
  • Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Awakenings and French Songs by Nell Iris
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Escape to Paradise (A Planet Called Wish #4) by Caitlin Ricci
  • A MelanieM Audio Review:His Consort by Mary Calmes and (Narrated by Scott Smith)

Saturday, February 2:

  • BOOK BLAST – The Selkie Prince’s Forbidden Mate (The Royal Alphas series, Book 4) by J.J. Masters

 

Poll Results, Posts, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Poll Results, Future Posts, and  How We Look At Covers

I loved looking at our poll results from last Sunday.  It turns out that most of our readers like short LGBT stories and find the ones they are reading pretty enjoyable.  Also gleaned from the polls? Most of the books are purchased from Amazon first, then the publishers, then a third source, which is probably not a surprise to anyone as that juggernaut  continues to plow on with major consequences for all, not just the book world.  Only time it seems will be able to stop Amazon.  All others will have to adjust.

Audiobooks?  A surprise!  I really thought our numbers would reflect the industry’s here.  But for our readers only 50 percent listen to audiobooks, 43 percent don’t, and the rest don’t but can’t tell you why.  Huh.  According to the  industry many more are listening to books these days than actually  reading them.  A figure I   also find surprising.  Maybe the real answer lies somewhere in between.  Another assumption of mine?  That more readers actually followed narrators but that turned out not to be true.  They listened to books no matter who narrated them.  Now I’m sure people actually do look for certain narrators. I certainly do.  But it doesn’t stop them from listening to stories with other narrators, including narrators they may be unfamiliar with.  Which is great news for new narrators and all companies who produce audiobooks.

Then it comes down to book covers. Do they still matter?  The answer is a resounding yes!  A majority of our readers, 72 percent, say covers matter.  Which might surprise some in this age of the eBook but it shouldn’t because those covers are heavily featured too.  In tours, ads, and yes, on the books themselves on publishers sites and Amazon.  People still choose books by their covers (29 percent) but no one said they don’t look at them.  Everyone looks at them and has a judgement about them.  Do you love them?  Do they make you go meh?  Do you glance over them or is your attention grabbed immediately?  Are you transported to another world or into a story?   Did the artist do their job?  And what is their job?

And do you, my readers, sense a post coming on? lol

Why yes, you do!

You see, I have been passionate about covers all my reading life, since the first cover caught my attention and made me want to pick it up and ask “what’s this about?”  I’ve been asking that question ever since no matter the  genre.  Great artists continue to pull me in.  I even have an oil  painting on my wall that was once the cover of a book.  It’s gorgeous.  I can look at certain covers and at a glance know that it was done by Garrett Leigh or Paul Richmond, Simone’ or Anne Cain.  There’s a style , a tone that shouts that artist’s name.  The same goes for Reese Dante.  A Reece Notley cover?  Yep.  Aisha Akeju is another who’s artist is quirky and different.  Just look at that artist’s covers for Mell Eight’s series.

When I think of new or newer artists that stand out, Natasha Snow jumps to mind.  Her covers are  extremely popular and well done. Meredith Russell and Kris Jacen too.

I love it when I see a gorgeous cover that has been carefully crafted so that its not only dramatic but that it tells a story, as it should.  Covers have a job to do.  And many are forgetting that these days.

If I had a Skittle for every cover that had nothing to do with the story within, that seemed generic, that had a half naked male torso on it and left it at that, etc, I would have a gallon full.

Boy, I struggled to find great covers this year.  First time ever.

So here we go.

 

And if you could ask a cover artist any question, what would it be?  Send them in and be entered in our Ask A Cover Artist Giveaway!  Ends in 2 weeks.

And I have also give you all three covers for the amazing novel,  The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4) by Ursula K. Le Guin.  My version was that first one.  Each was a different edition with, of course, a different cover.  What do you think of them and which do you prefer?  And why?  And how many of you have read this story?  Curious on my part…..

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 20:

  • Poll Results, Posts, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Freebie Blitz for Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers #1) by Anyta Sunday

Monday, January 21:

  • Cover Reveal  – Rat Park by Marina Vivancos
  • Release Day Blitz Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  • BLITZ Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart by Liam Livings
  •  PROMO R.L. Merrill
  • An Alisa Review: Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James
  • A Stella Review: How Not to Blend (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes

Tuesday, January 22:

  • Review Tour – V.L. Locey – One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5)
  • BLITZ Contact by M.D. Neu
  • Tour for Abaddon’s Locusts (A BJ Vinson Mystery #5) by Don Travis
  • An Ashlez Release Day Review: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick
  • An Alisa Review: At Home (Finding Home #1) by Carly Marie
  • An Ashlez Review: I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Review: One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5) by  V.L. Locey

Wednesday, January 23:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:If I Ever by SE Jakes
  • BLITZ Half Life by Gregory L. Norris
  • Blog Tour Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  •  PROMO Claudia Mayrant
  • An Alisa Review: Home is Where The Heart Is (Isle of Misfit Toys) by Pelaam
  • A Lucy Review: Pisces Floors Taurus (Signs of Love #4.5) by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Review: Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines

Thursday, January 24:

  • Release Blitz – I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • BLITZ The Fairy Pond by Jason Black
  •  PROMO A. Nybo
  • A Lucy Review:  Love Around the Corner (New Milton #1.5) by Sally Malcolm
  • An Alisa Review : There’s Something about Flying by Schuyler L’Roux
  • A MelanieM Review: At War with a Broken Heart by Dahlia Donovan

Friday, January 25:

  • Ward Maia on Beneath These Fields
  • Blog Tour Stay by KM Neuhold
  • Blog Tour for A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review Gargoyle’s Embrace (Polar Nights #3) by Siryn Sueng
  • A Stella Review: Living on the Inside by Londra Laine
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Beneath These Fields ( World of Love) by Ward Maia
  • A Jeri Review: Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers #1) by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, January 26:

  • Release Blitz – Jessie Pinkham – Acts Of Service
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review – See the Light by Kate McMurray

Final Lists of 2018 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Happy 2019! Here Are Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Final Best of 2018 Lists!

Here are the  last of our lists for 2018, in many categories and divided out as each reviewer saw fit.  So many books read and listened too.  It’s been an amazing year.  It was tough to narrow down lists as always.  Gone from mine was the cozies.  I love my cozy mysteries and that category will probably come back next year.

Many of the books that came out went to other reviewers here, speeding past me and they have now landed on my huge TBR list.  I see many on our reviewers Best of 2018 that I also haven’t gotten to yet, having my own huge set of stories to read this year.

Isn’t it lovely to have these stories to look forward to?

And new one to come in 2019!

So one last look all the book that rose above the many we read and loved this year to end up on our Best of 2018 this year, along with the covers, Best of Audiobooks as well.  Check them all out below:

 

From Stella:

Here are my Best of 2018

 
Tomte by Jamie Fessenden
 
 
BEST SERIES
 
Go On Your Own Way by Zane Riley

Sawyer’s Ferry by Cate Ashwood

North Star Trilogy by Posy Roberts
Butterfly Hunter by Julie Bozza 

From Lucy

I am the first to admit I am so stingy with my five star reviews.  I like many books, I love quite a few but for me the five stars are the ones that I want to read over and over, that stick with me long after I’ve finished them and the ones that make me sad I’m finished because I don’t want to leave them.  For 2018, some of the ones I loved weren’t released in 2018 (or just the audio was released this year) but I read them this year.  So in random order, my five star reads for this year…

From the Ashes by CM Valencourt – While my list is in no particular order, this is the exception.  This was my absolute favorite book of 2018 and may end up being one of my favorite books of all times.  I gave it five stars, rare enough for me, but I would have given it more if possible.  Justin is the most amazing character and I cried, laughed, cried more and just had so much respect and love for that selfless man. 

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss – A sweet children’s book about embracing your differences and not being a stink bug.  I have this one on audio as well and John Lithgow and Jim Parsons make it absolutely perfect.  I thought it was funny that I bought the book and then had four different people give me copies as gifts!

My Crunchy Life Mia Kerick I am a fan of Mia Kerick’s young adult books and this one was amazing. The ending of this was so perfect, sweet and YA and lovely. This coming of age story isn’t incredibly angsty, despite some very serious themes, but it’s a story of growth and I thought it was just right.  It was so spot on with the confusion and angst that can be the teen years.

Exorcising the Exes Jill Wexler  Loved it. I can’t even do justice to how amazing Tanner is, and once he meets Dan things just get so much better.  It makes me smile every time I read it.  The insane goose posse, the taco binge, the hashtags, the everything!

Bump Matthew Metzger I read a couple by Matthew Metzger this year and I was hard pressed to decide if I liked Bump or Erik the Pink more, but ultimately went with Bump.  As a trans man who just want to be seen as a man, this was such a struggle for David and it was perfectly encapsulated in this book. David’s gender dysphoria was handled realistically and the emotions are so strong.  Even more interesting for me was that David didn’t give birth and immediately become super parent.  I loved that because it is a fact that not everyone has that Hallelujah, bonding and perfection moment immediately. 

Promises by Ruby Moone  Ruby Moone is a favorite of mine for historicals. I loved this one even more than usual because our characters, Sebastian and Charles, are realistic and likeable but also because the secret that Sebastian is hiding from everyone is not only being attracted to men, shameful and dangerous in that time period, but something else that isn’t understood.  I ust loved it.

Suicide Watch Kelley York  So bittersweet, it was sad and hopeful. Best of all, it was true to the feelings of Vincent, Casper and Adam.  This definitely wasn’t a sweet and fluffy read (my usual) but these characters were so real and made me smile and cry.

Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children – Michelle Finch and Phoenix Finch  The book was written by Michelle and Phoenix Finch, a real life seven year old transgender girl who was assigned male at birth. At the end of the book there are comprehension questions and some open-ended critical thinking questions that as a teacher I appreciated. Possibly even better, there is an informational section at the end for grownups. 
I loved the story of Phoenix going to school but more importantly, I hope that transgendered and gender diverse children will read this and know they are not alone, they are perfect just the way they are.

AUDIO FAVORITES

Tell Me It’s Real and Until You by TJ Klune  – These are my go-to re-reads when I’m having a lousy week.  I know I’m late to the party, as I just read them this year when I bought the audio.  I can’t believe it took me so long.  If I were to get to be any character I’ve read, I’d be Paul Auster!

Audio: A Family for Christmas Another one that was introduced to me via audio.  The car ride to work is so much improved with these books.  I loved Rudy and my heart went out to Zac. This is a sweet story of a man afraid to let anyone in and a family who refuses to keep anyone out. 

Favorite cover because it perfectly captured the feel of the book: 

 

From Lila:

As of today, I have read 234 books of my goal of 144. Just like last year, I don’t have one favorite book for the year. Some have been great, others not so much, but I can’t say one was the best of them all. Therefore, I’m using the same format as last year to tell you more about the books I enjoyed. I’m really looking forward to that perfect book though. I hope to share it with you all next year.

Looking back on my shelves,

The Best of 2018 (according to me) are:

·         Best Cover – Art House (Buchanan House #6) by Charley Descoteaux. Cover by L.C. Chase

·         January – Felix and the Prince (Forever Wilde #2) by Lucy Lennox

·         February – Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z. [Audiobook]

·         March – Fake Out (Fake Boyfriend #1) by Eden Finley

·         April – Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue [Audiobook]

·         May – Object of Desire by Dal Maclean

·         June – Logan’s Need (The Escort #3) by Sloane Kennedy

·         July – Unexpected (The Protectors #10) by Sloane Kennedy

·         August – Creature (Bureau #3) by Kim Fielding [Audiobook]: John is now my favorite MM character of all time.

·         September – A Gentleman’s Position (Society of Gentlemen #3) by K.J. Charles [Audiobook]

·         October – Dirty Desire (Dread and Terrible #1) by Avril Ashton

·         November – Bond (Forbidden Desires #2) by Piper Scott & Virginia Kelly

·         December – Home in Austin (Lone Star Brothers #4) by Susi Hawke

 

Free Dreamer’s Best of 2018

2018 was a great reading year. I read 80 books, just like planned, which is 14 books and about 2000 pages more than in 2017. I have finally decided that normal literature just isn’t for me, especially if it’s supposed to be Meaningful and make you Think. Maybe I’m just too immature. But I’ve also discovered that there are some very interesting non-fiction books out there. None of them quite made it to my list, but it’s definitely a genre I’ll keep pursuing.

While I only review LGBT+ fiction for Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, my reading habits are far more varied and my “Best of” list just wouldn’t be complete without them. Those books mostly contain little to no romance, since I’m not much of a romance reader anyway.

An honorable mention should go to the “Taking Shield” series by Anna Butler. I read the first three books in quick succession and really enjoyed them. But they just didn’t quite make it to “Best of”.

I hope 2019 will be another good reading year, for me and all the other readers out there. Happy New Year!

LGBT+:

  • Showers, Flowers and Fangs” by Aiden Wayne (adorable YA fantasy)
  • Salt Magic, Skin Magic” by Lee Welch (fascinating historical fantasy)
  • Bones and Bourbon” by Dorian Graves (what a wild ride; brilliant fantasy)
  • Amberlough” and “Armistice” by Lara Elena Donnelly (very surprising espionage thrillers set in an AU 1940s)
  • The Seeds of Dissolution” by William C. Tracey (very unique magic system)
  • Another Day” by David Levithan (loved part one and finally read the great sequel)

Non-LGBT:

  • Arcanum Unbounded” by Brandon Sanderson (collection of novellas and short stories set in the Cosmere, Sanderson’s main universe; great for hardcore fans like me)
  • Empire of Sand” by Tasha Suri (Fantasy set in a desert world, inspired by the Indian/Arabian culture)
  • Snapshot” by Brandon Sanderson (Novella; Mind fuck like woah)
  • Verwunschen” by Mara Lang (New Adult Fantasy set in a modern fairy tale world, dark as hell; Sadly only available in German)
  • Not Quite Narwhal” by Jessie Sima (super adorable picture book)“The Doldrums and the Helmsley Curse” by Nicholas Gannon (children’s fiction with gorgeous illustrations, reminded me of classical adventure stories)

 

MelanieM Best of 2018

Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and  Paranormal/Supernatural for 2018

The Calling by MD Neu

Bones and Bourbon by Dorian Graves

Stone the Crows (Wolf Winter #2)by T.A. Moore

Green Death by Madeleine Ribbon

Sweet Clematis (Being(s) in Love #9) by R. Cooper

The Rising Tide (Liminal Skies #2) by J.Scott Coatsworth

And God Belched by Rob Rosen

Apocalypse Alley (Blue Unicorn #2)by Don Allmon

Lander (The Oberon Cycle, #2 by J. Scott Coatsworth

Best Historical Novels of 2018

I will admit this category is owned almost entirely this year by Marshall Thornton

and two series of his:  Pinx Video Mystery and Boystown (all of the novels were reviewed this years and were 5 stars)

Hidden Treasures (A Pinx Video Mystery #2) by Marshall Thornton

Late Fees by Marshall Thornton

The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai (recent historical retelling of the Phantom of the Opera)

Best of 2018 ~ Contemporary Novel

Forged in Flood by Dahlia Donovan

Stand By Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane

The Eye of Ra (Repeating History #1) by Dakota Chase

Mammoth! (Repeating History #3) by Dakota Chas

The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore (coming out, coming of age)

Wait For Me by Kris Jacen

Learn with Me (With Me #3) by Kris Jacen

Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen

Homebird by Amy Lane

One Thousand Cranes (The Yakuza Path #3) by Amy Tasukada

The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada

Best Series of 2018

Blue Unicorn Trilogy by Don Allmon

Offbeat Crimes Series by Angel Martinez

The Yakuza Path by Amy Tasukada

Liminal Sky Series by J. Scott Coatsworth

Boystown series by Marshall Thornton

This Time Forever Series by Kelly Jensen

Faith, Love & Devotion by Tere Michaels (series finale 2018)

 

Best Audiobook of 2018

Crocus (Bonfires #2) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso and Michael Mola (Narrator)

Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)

The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton and Scott Richard Ehredt (Narrator)

Best Covers of 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yakuza Path series by Amy Tasukada, artist Natasha Snow

Blue Unicorn #2 and #3 by Don Allmon, artist Simone’

Mary, Queen of Scotch by Rob Rosen, Cover art: Written Ink Design

Homebird by Amy Lane, Artist: Reese Dante

The Rising Tide by J. Scott Coatsworth

Wish Upon The Stars by T.J. Klune, Artist Paul Richmond

Special Mention for 2018

 

It would have to go to Ethan Day who left us all too soon and his wonderful series, Summit City,  who had a new release in 2018 that gave his beloved characters the wedding and his readers a ending we had long wanted.  That would be the third and now last story Life In Union.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 6:

  • Final Lists of 2018 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 7:

  • BLITZ Tea by Matthew J. Metzger
  • PROMO Marguerite Labbe
  • E.J. Russell on Devouring Flame
  • A Lucy Review The Replacement Husband by Eliot Grayson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Manuel Pombo (Narrator)

Tuesday, January 8:

  • PROMO Robert P. Rowe
  • BLITZ My Fake Canadian Wife by M. Hollis
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Unfamiliar Waters by Andrew Grey
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Devouring Flame by EJ Russell
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Something Like Forever (Something Like #10) by Jay Bell

Wednesday, January 9:

  • Release Blitz – The Choice (The Faction, book 2) by Addison Albright
  • Release Blitz Is It Over Yet – LA Witt
  • BLITZ There’s Something about Flying by Schuyler L’Roux
  • A MelanieM Review: Valhalla by L.A. Ashton
  • Review: The Choice (The Faction, book 2) by Addison Albright

Thursday, January 10:

  • PROMO Elizabeth Noble
  • Tour for Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review: Ta Weezo’s Blues by Layla Dorine
  • A MelanieM Review:  You Forever Always by KA Merikan

Friday, January 11:

  • PROMO Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
  • An Ashez Review: Elias by  Erin E Keller
  • A Melanie Release Day Review:  Don’t Fear the (Not Really) Grim Reaper by Carole Cummings
  • A LIla Review: Not on My Bucket List by Tom Munroe
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:The Alpha Heir (Kingdom of Askara #2) by Victoria Sue and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Saturday, January 12:

A MelanieM Review: Prince of Air and Darkness by M.A. Grant

 

Best of 2018 Lists Abound and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Best of 2018 Lists Abound at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Here we are, it’s almost 2019 and it’s Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words penultimate weekend of Best of 2018.  We are winding out with another reviewer heard from, our very own Chaos Moondrawn, who has some of my Best of  on her list.  So many terrific books and series this year in every category.  A surplus of riches for readers no matter what genre you love to read in.  Are you checking your lists against ours?  How are they looking?

From Chaos Moondrawn:

Best Books of 2018

Over And Over Again by Cole McCade

Rule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne
The Bones Beneath My Skin by T.J. Klune
Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen
Beyond Meridian by C.C. Bridges
Rogue In The Making and Blood For The Spilling by T.J. Nichols (Studies In Demonology series)
A Wolf At The Door by Charlie Adhara

Best Series

Criminal Intentions by Cole McCade

Best Covers

Stone The Crows cover by Bree Archer
Once Upon A Wolf cover by Reece Notley
Blyd And Pierce cover by Tiferet Design
Two Man Station cover by Natasha Snow
The Wolf At The Door cover by Carina Press
Where Death Meets The Devil cover by L.C. Chase

So final lists next weekend.  A final goodbye to 2018 and a fresh start in 2019.

Speaking of which some of my bests of 2018 will actually have their reviews rolling over into 2019 but I read them in 2018 and that’s where they will go on my lists.  That includes the series finale by Tere Michael to Faith, Love and Devotion, a time time favorite of mine.  Lucky and Bo from my favorite Diversion series pop up again in Eden Winters’ Suspicion. Waiting to hear from the author if this is a series finale or not.    Sean Kennedy’s Tigers and Devils latest release just slipped into the new year by a nose.  That will have to wait until next year’s list.

So almost done.

I’m getting ready for the New Year Eve celebration and hoping that everyone has a safe, wonderful, and happy glide into the New Year!  Happy Reading, Happy Listening, and of course, Happy New Year from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to all of you!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 30:

  • A Barb Advent Calendar Review:Miracle on Three Kings’ Day by Beth Laycock
  • A Lila Review  Yule Planet by Angel Martinez
  • Best of 2018 Lists Abound at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve)  🎉:

  • On Tour with Valhalla by L.A. Ashton
  • Release Blitz for KA Merikan – You Forever Always
  • PROMO Louisa Masters
  • An Alisa Review : Midnight Angel by Kevin Klehr
  • A MelanieM Review: Finders Keepers by Rob Rosen
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Exit Through the Gift Shop by Kim Fielding

Tuesday, January 1 ~ New Year’s Day!

  • Charley Descoteaux on her new release Always Forward! Never Straight
  • AUDIOBOOK TOUR – A Dance For Two by Colette Davison and Neil Macfarlane (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tigers on the Way (Tigers and Devils #4) by Sean Kennedy
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Whole Latte Sass (Geek Life #2) by Marguerite Labbe

Wednesday, January 2:

  • Shadowing the Light by Miranda Turner Blog Tour 
  • An Alisa Review: Shadowing the Light by Miranda Turner
  • A MelanieM Review: Always Forward! Never Straight by Charley Descoteaux
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady audio review – Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Thursday, January 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Whiteout Conditions (Black Ops Heroes #10) by Dara J. Nelson  and Kendel Duncan
  • Cover Reveal for The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • An Alisa Review: Best Christmas Ever by Terry O’Reilly
  • A MelanieM Review: Forever & Ever: A Collection of Stories (Faith, Love & Devotion #7) by Tere Michaels
  • An Alisa Review : Kink Aware  (Kiss of Leather #9)  by Morticia Knight

Friday, January 4:

  • PROMO Julia Talbot
  • An Alisa Releases Day Review: Gabriel and the Devil Robert P. Rowe
  • A MelanieM Review: Suspicion (Diversion Book 7) by Eden Winters
  • A Caryn Review: Trysts and Burning Embers By Freddy MacKay & Angel Martinez
  • A MelanieM Review: Drama Castle (Nicky and Noah Mystery #7) by Joe Cosentino

Saturday, January 5:

  • Release Blitz – Erin E Keller’s Elias
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review:  Jack of Thorns (Inheritance #1) by Amelia Faulkner and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Best of 2018 – Week 2 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

Best of 2018 – Week 2

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words continues to share its Best of 2018 lists with all of you, this time from our reviewer Ali.  Are you making your lists and checking them twice? I know I am.
Happy Reading and Listening from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

From Ali….

Favorite Books of the Year:

Favorite Audiobooks of the Year:

Infamous by Jenny Holiday/narrated by Michael Fell
They Both Die in the End by Adam Silveria/narrated by Bahni Turpin, Robbie Daymond, Michael Crouch
Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton/narrated by Colin Darcy
How to Be a Normal Person by TJ Klune/narrated by Derrick McClain

Favorite Series of the Year:

Seven of Spades by Cordelia Kingsbridge
Death and the Devil by LJ Hayward
Big Bad Wolf by Charlie Adhara
The Woodbury Boys by Sidney Bell

Favorite Covers of the Year:

 

 

Pisces Hooks Taurus by Antya Sunday / Natasha Snow
Death of a Bachelor by M.A. Hinkle / Natasha Snow
Gray’s Shadow by K.A. Merikan / Artist: Natasha Snow
To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen / Artist:Garrett Leigh
Lights & Sirens by Lisa Henry / Artist:Natasha Snow
One Eyed Royals by Cordelia Kingsbridge / Artist: Garrett Leigh
Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 16:

  • Release Tour for The Strength of His Heart – Victoria Sue
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Calendar Review: Make a Circle by Elliot Joyce
  • An ALisa Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue
  • A MelanieM Review: The Evolution of Jeremy Warsh by Jess Moore
  • Best of 2018 – Week 2 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 17:

  • Review Tour for Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott
  • Release Blitz  – Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • PROMO J.P. Barnaby on Saving Hannah
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: A Holiday Tradition by Chrissy Munder
  • A MelanieM Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced World #4) by Victoria Sue

Tuesday, December 18:

  • Release Blitz – Full O’Festive Spirits by Zakarrie Clarke
  • From These Ashes by Davidson King Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Tit for Tat by JS Harker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Homebird by Amy Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Saving Hannah by JP Barnaby
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny Series: Beyond the Boardroom by Angela McAllister
  • An Ali Advent Calendar Review: Once in a Lifetime by Cassie Decker

Wednesday, December 19:

  • Review Tour –  – Trusting by Ruby Moone
  • Review Tour for  Christmas Prince by RJ Scott
  • Book Blast – Little Harbour by Sophia Soames
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Colina de Lavanda by August Li
  • An Alisa Review Something To Celebrate by Evelyn Benvie “Escape From the Holidays Story”
  • An Alisa Review : Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Home for Christmas (Texas #9) by R.J. Scott

Thursday, December 20:

  • Release Blitz – Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather 9) by Morticia Knight
  • DSP PROMO JS Harker on Tit for Tat
  • An Alisa Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Q*Pid by Xavier Mayne and Rudy Sanda (Narrator)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Forbidden Pursuits (The Galactic Captains #2) by Harry F. Rey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review:Summer Santa by Ward Maia

Friday, December 21:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Verity Croker on Jilda’s Ark
  • Review Tour – Sarah Hadley Brook – Operation Toy Rescue
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Review: Paradise Lodge by Riina Y.T.
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review:Slow Summer Heat by Renae Kaye
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tutus and Tinsel by Rhys Ford
  • A Stella Review : Operation Toy Rescue by Sarah Hadley Brook

Saturday, December 22:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Review:Season to Shimmer by Kim Katil
  • An Alisa Audio Review: Going Overboard (Anchor Point #5) by L.A. Witt  and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Sci fi/fantasy a Favorite of Yours? Check out the collection of stories in Spells & Stardust by J. Scott Coatsworth (giveaway)

Standard

Spells & Stardust

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi/fantasy anthology out: Spells & Stardust.

Spells & Stardust is Scott’s first anthology – eight sci fi and fantasy shorts that run the gamut from regeneration to redemption.

The Bear at the Bar: A gay fish out of water tale with a pinch of magic.

Tight: What happens when your lover disappears in midair?

Morgan: The year when everything changed.

Re-Life: What if you were reborn in a strange new future?

A New Year: They met every eleven years. And each time, Hank’s life changed.

Repetition: What if you wanted to go back in the closet?

Gargoyle: Sometimes you get what you deserve. Sometimes it happens on All Hallows Eve.

Avalon: A few bright moments in the sun, stolen from outside time.

Most of these stories have been previously published in various anthologies and journals. This is the first time they have all been collected in one place.

Get It On Amazon


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4740/?


Unique Excerpt – From “Re-Life”

The taxi from the Re-Life Clinic dropped out of the sky onto a raised landing pad. It alighted twenty feet above ground level like a giant dragonfly. The door lifted, and Eric looked out uncertainly. “The hostel?” he said.

“Down the ramp, on the left,” the taxi told him in a suave, gender-neutral voice.

He clambered out, dragging his shiny duffel bag along, trying hard to ignore its ever-changing ripples of color. It epitomized the gaudy nanotech that seemed to be in everything here. He’d just completed his six-week orientation and rehab at the Clinic. It had taken four weeks just to get used to this new body they’d grown for him using his own DNA. It still didn’t feel entirely… his.

It was finally time to get out into the world. The long weeks of rehab had chaffed at him—he was itching to explore this strange new city, Safris. He couldn’t wait to take a look around and see what had changed. And though he had nothing but a few personal belongings and a credit on his account, he was young and healthy again.

The cancer that had killed him half a millennia earlier was gone.

It had been utterly strange to open his eyes in the clinic for the first time, after he’d had himself frozen on the off chance that someone, sometime in the future would be able to cure him. It had also been traumatic, processing the loss of everything and everyone he had once held dear.

He’d spent a week straight crying and morose, sitting in a dark room and counting all the things he’d lost. All of that is behind me now. I hope.

He looked around. There were few people about, most of them standard-form. The buildings were so unlike those back home—they thrust upward at strange opposing angles, and they went up and up and up. Like the carry sack, some of them changed colors as he watched, and he was half-convinced that one of them moved.

He fought down his panic. It was perfectly normal to feel out of place the first time out, his counselor had told him.

Maybe so, but it was also painful.

He missed many things: Levis, trolley cars, Wild Cherry Pepsi, and the smell of sandalwood.

But he missed David most of all.


Author Bio

Scott lives with his husband of twenty five years in a Sacramento suburb, in a cute little yellow house with a brick fireplace and two pink flamingoes out front.

He inhabits in the space between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into science fiction and fantasy by his mom at the tender age of nine, he quickly finished her entire library. But he soon began to wonder where all the queer people were.

After coming out at twenty three, he started writing the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Crown Books. If there weren’t many queer characters in his favorite genres, he would will them into existence, subverting them to his own ends. And if he was lucky enough, someone else would want to read them.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently than most – he makes connections between ideas that others don’t, and somehow does more in a day than most people manage in a week. Although born an introvert, he forced himself to reach outside himself, and learned to connect with others like him.

Scott’s stories subvert expectations that transform traditional science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something different and unexpected. He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark.

His romance and genre fiction writing brings a queer energy to his stories, filling them with love, beauty and power. He imagines how the world could be – in the process, he hopes to change the world, just a little.

Scott was recognized as one of the top new gay authors in the 2017 Rainbow Awards, and his debut novel “Skythane” received two awards and an honorable mention.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

LOGO - Other Worlds Ink

First of Our Best of 2018 Lists. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Standard

First of Our Best of 2018 Lists

So this Sunday we are starting off with our first of our Best of 2018 lists.  First up is our reviewer Alisa with her Top Stories down to her Top Covers.  Yes, we have always shared our love of book covers here along with our appreciation of the various artists talents.  Lately we have had some new names appear doing absolutely incredible covers alongside the artists who represent the best in the industry.  So make sure you check out all the names to go along with the beautiful covers we put out there.  Maybe give us a few suggestions of your own.

Also relatively new are the narrators in the  audiobook Best of category.  I listen to more and more audiobooks every year and can’t stress the importance of a fabulous narrator.  They can make or break an audiobook.  Check out who Alisa has as her favorites below.  Do you have yours?

Each week we will roll out more lists…keep an eye out to see how our lists compare with yours.  Did you miss some books?  Did we agree on others?  Let me know!

 

From Alisa:

2018 Top Stories/Novels

Guarding His Melody by Victoria Sue

Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols

Promises Part 4 by AE Via

Elemental Magick by Jacki James

Us by Shaw Montgomery

Professor Adorkable by Edie Danford

Discovery by Quinn Ward

Expecting by Sarah Havan

After the Weekend by Silvia Violet

The Swap by Annabella Michaels

Best Audiobooks

Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn, narrator Kirt Graves

Kairos by Mary Calmes, narrator Michael Fell

Freckles by Amy Lane, narrator Nick Russo

BFF by KC Wells, narrator Michael Mola

Pins and Needles by AJ Thomas, narrator Jason Riley

Best Series

Men of Meadowfall by Anna Wineheart

Studies in Demonology by TL Nichols

Promises by AE Via

Requiem Inc. by Kris T. Bethke

College of United Monsters by CB Archer

Cold Case Psychic by Pandora Pine

Enhanced World by Victoria Sue

The Accidental Master by MA Innes

Kink in the City by Quinn Ward

Strength by MA Innes

Best Covers

Blood for the Spilling by TJ Nichols, cover artist Catt Ford

Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne, cover artist Alexandria Corza

Edge of Living by HL Day, cover artist HL Day

Elemental Magick by Jacki James, cover artist Vicki Brostenianc

Expecting by Sarah Havan, cover artist Melissa Liban

 

Now here is this week at our blog.  We continue with more Advent Calendar stories, I have reviewed an incredible M/M historic romance today called The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne.  You really should check that out. The Yakuza Path series by Amy Tasukada is as far from a holiday saga as you can get.  But it’s brilliant, bloody, and a must read. Number 4 is out this week.  If you love holiday series, The Christmas Angel series is not to be missed, several of them are also on to be reviewed as well.  So much going on.  Don’t miss a day here.

 

Happy Reading!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 9: ☃️

  • First of Our Best of 2018 Lists.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blast Love’s Trials by Janice Jarrell
  • A MelanieM Review: The Bibliophile by Drew Marvin Frayne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Oz (Finding Home #1) by Lily Morton
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Holiday Island by A.D. Ellis

Monday, December 10:☃️

  • COVER REVEAL: Amanda Meuwissen’s A Model Escort
  • Release Blitz for Home For Christmas by RJ Scott
  • Review Tour for A Soldier’s Wish (A Christmas Angel Story) by NR Walker
  • Release Blitz Tour for  Trusting Jack by Ruby Moore
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Boca Dreams by Scudder James Jr
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Soldier’s Wish (A Christmas Angel Story) by NR Walker
  • A Lucy Review : Under The Felt Mistletoe by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Mine for Christmas by AD Lawless

Tuesday, December 11: ☃️

  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz  Tour – Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Chasing Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stetsons and Stakeouts by BA Tortuga
  • A Lucy Review : All I Want Is You by DJ Jamison
  • A Free Dreamer Advent Calendar Review: Tulsi Vivah by Anna Kaling
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: Showers, Flowers, and Fangs by Aidan Wayne

Wednesday, December 12: ☃️

  • Review Tour – Jordan L Hawk – The Magician’s Angel
  • Review Tour – Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • Review Tour – The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada
  • A MelanieM Review:The Deafening Silence (The Yakuza Path #4) by Amy Tasukada
  • A Lucy Review : Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Guess Who’s Coming to Karamu by Cy Blanca
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady :The Magician’s Angel (The Christmas Angel #3) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • An Alisa Review: Celebrations in the Season of Long Nights by Mere Rain, a”Escape From the Holidays” Collection from Mischief Corner Books

Thursday, December 13:  ☃️

  • Spells & Stardust Anthology Tour
  • HARMONY INK PROMO Aidan Wayne
  • Book Blast for Pain and Promise by Lazlo Thorn
  • Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code by Charlie Cochrane Blog Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Vampire with Benefits (Supernatural Selection #2) by E.J. Russell
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird
  • A MelanieM Review: Spells & Stardust by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • An Alisa Advent Calendar Review: Death to Christmas Sweaters by LE Franks

Friday,  December 14:  ☃️

  • Review Tour –  Christmas Homecoming by LA Witt
  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • Review Tour for Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6) by Anyta Sunday
  • Review Tour  for Rebellion by Naomi Aoki
  • An Ali Advent Calendar Review:The Night Sky Festival by S.A. Stovall
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Rebellion by Naomi Aoki
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady: Christmas Homecoming (The Christmas Angel #4) by L.A. Witt
  • A Lucy Review: Shrewd Angel (The Christmas Angel #6)by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, December 15:  ☃️

  • Review Tour – Neve Wilder – Dedicated (Rhythm Of Love #1)
  • Tour for  Meik&Sebastian – Obsessed #4 by Quin Perin
  • Book Blast: Blessed (The Matawapit Family #1) by Maggie Blackbird
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review: Too Hot for Santa by Helena Stone
  • An Alisa Review: Meik&Sebastian – Obsessed #4 by Quin Perin
  • A MelanieM Review: Dedicated (Rhythm Of Love #1) by Neve Wilder
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Holiday Home Hotel (An Escape from the Holidays Story) by Lou Sylvre
  • A MelanieM Review:  Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code (Cambridge Fellows #12.7by Charlie Cochrane

 

 

 

 

Into the Holidays We Go and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Quote

Into the Holidays We Go and Oh What Our Lists Will Bring!

It’s official, we’re in December, the last month of the year.  The beginning of the winter celebrations where we see the longest night of the year, the bonfires light to drive the darkness away and the return of increasing daylight, one minute at a time.  We acknowledge the passing of the old and the arrival of the new.  We reflect and look forward.  A time of straddling the boundaries between what has gone the year past and what we will make of the time that’s coming.

As with all things we’ve had our incredible highs and unexpected lows in losses this year.  Authors who’s passing has left us a much smaller and poorer community.  I’ll talk about that later this month.

I want to also remember all the wonderful authors, and their stories, the cover artists and their work, on books we loved this year.  It’s so hard to winnow it down into lists.

How do you compare an  outstanding cozy mystery series with a violinist with autism with a soaring SciFy masterpiece about a sentient spaceship?  Can’t possibly go in the same category and do both authors justice!  Or the finale of a urban fantasy that  reads like a nerd’s list of wanna’s but has been constructed ever so carefully  amidst careening mind blown action.  Do you throw that in against a book with deeply drawn portraits of lovers in a contemporary romance?  No, again, I think not.

Plus we have some outstanding 5 star holiday stories that surely deserve their own category?  How to divide up the list into sections without going crazy?

Hmmmm.

Thoughts anyone?

Anyhow, I’m working on that and lists will be soon rolling out.  Let me have a few of your Best of 2018.  We will be awarding some gift certificates just because it’s December for those who participate.

 

Happy Reading, get those  lists in, and check out all the stories we have coming at you this week!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, December 2:

  • Release Blitz – Saving Jax by L.M. Brown
  • Blog Tour for Drawn  to You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Closer by F.E. Feeley, Jr Book Blast
  • A Barb The Zany Old Lady Advent Calendar Review:That Turtle Story by C.S. Poe
  • Into the Holidays We Go and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, December 3:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • Release Blitz  A Soldier’s Wish by NR Walker
  • Review Tour – Neutral Zone by RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: Rough Trade by Sidney Bell
  • A MelanieM Review :Neutral Zone (Harrisburg Railers #7) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review:  Best In Show by Kelly Jensen
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Barbies and Beaches by Asta Idonea

Tuesday, December 4:

  • Book Blitz Defensive Play by Jamie Deacon
  • Review Tour –  Christmas Angel (The Christmas Angel #1) by Eli Easton
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Sunshine in the Dragon’s Heart by Jaime Samms
  • A Caryn Review Broken Halos by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review: Mosquitoes and Mistletoe by Ren Holly
  • A Lucy Review: Christmas Angel (The Christmas Angel #1) by Eli Easton

Wednesday, December 5:

  • Cover Reveal for  Illumined Shadows by G.R Lyons 
  • Review Tour  for Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • Release Blitz Tour –  – The Deafening Silence by Amy Tasukada
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review  Loving A Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • A MelanieM Review: Loving a Warrior by Melanie Hansen
  • A MelanieM Review: The Holiday Spirit by Carole Cummings
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Advent Review:The Last Birthday Party by Mere Rain
  • An Alisa Review Surreal Estate by Jesi Lea Ryan

Thursday, December 6:

  • Review Tour – Kim Fielding – Summerfield’s Angel
  • Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander New Release Tour
  • DSP PROMO Liv Olteano
  • Cover Reveal – A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • A MelanieM Review: Havoc (Tattoos and Ties) by Kindle Alexander
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Summerfield’s Angel by Kim Fielding
  • A MelanieM Advent Calendar Review: Warren’s Peace by Emjay Haze
  • A MelanieM Review:Lucky Town by Morgan Brice

Friday, December 7:

  • PROMO Jaime Samms
  • Mischief Corner Books”Escape From the Holidays” Collection
  • Blog Tour – The Stars May Rise and Fall by Estella Mirai
  • An Alisa Review: The Last Prince by Shawn Bailey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review:  Semper Fae by Angel Martinez
  • A Stella Advent Calendar Review:Trapped in the Valley of the Kings by Blue Jones
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon and Noah Michael Levine (Narrator)

Saturday, December 8:

  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Under The Felt Mistletoe
  • Release Blitz – The Selkie Prince’s Unexpected Omega (The Royal Alphas)
  • Release Blitz for Ari McKay – Designer Holiday
  • An Alisa Review: Slow Thaw by J. Scott Coatsworth (MCB anthology)
  • A Caryn Advent Calendar Review:The Faller by Daniel de Lorne