A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Heart2Heart Anthology

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A very enjoyable charitable endeavor by eleven talented authors.  My review is done by story:

The Set-up

A short chapter about “how Bailey the geeky programmer lost his focus.” The segment focuses on Bailey as he’s setting up the final algorithms for the new Heart2Heart dating app.  He’s distracted by a sexy window washer who pantomimes calling him.  The story breaks here and is then continued at the end of the anthology.

The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer by Alison Hendricks – 3 stars

Shy photographer meets gregarious gamer—at first glance, the match seems destined to failure, but when the two get to know one another over a game—of course—they find they have much more in common than they’d thought.  And the interesting paranormal experiences Allen has captured on film intrigue Lawrence enough to continue their friendship to a relationship and they realize the match wasn’t so bad after all.  I didn’t feel the character chemistry in this one so only 3 stars here.

The Magician and the Mortician by AE Wasp – 4 stars

A very sweet story of a 42-year-old magician who lost his husband five years ago and has finally agreed to a blind date arranged through Heart2Heart.  The mortician turns out to be a quiet, sexy man who first saw Beto perform ten years ago and lost his heart to the magic of magic shows.  A pleasant surprise and coincidence that the two are destined to meet again.  Another unlikely match finds love.  I enjoyed the pace of this story and the characters were charming.

The Assassin and the Dog Walker by Charlie Cochet – 5 stars

What an adventure!  Charlie Cochet captured the spirit of Valentine’s Day, the sweet temperament of Daniel, the cute dog walker, and the cutting-edge, dangerous personality of the assassin, Lymond.  Another two unlikelys who found their way together through the H2H app. I know a story is a keeper (and a future re-read) when I’m smiling as I read along, enjoying every minute of the adventure, totally immersed in the lives of the characters. Kudos, Charlie! 

The Criminal and the Sommelier by Chris Owen – 5 stars

Phillipe is the Sommelier who is impressed, despite his initial misgivings, by the restaurant and their sommelier’s selection of wines—all provided by Heart2Heart for his first date with Angelo.  And Angelo? Oh my! Phillipe is very impressed with him as well—even when he finds out he’s an international art thief, or broker, as Angelo prefers to call himself. Full of humor, witticisms, adventure and fun, this fast-paced short story is only the beginning of the adventure in store for these guys.  I hope Chris Owen brings them back for a full-length novel. 

The Superhero and the NSA Agent by Hailey Turner – 3 stars

This story was a lot of fun to read – from the beginning to about midpoint.  The characters and the setup were intriguing and I especially fell in love with Damien in his Superman outfit—who wouldn’t?  It looked like it would be a sweet Valentine’s Day romance, but then the author fell victim to throwing them into hot, panting sex and canceling their romantic Heart2Heart dinner date.  To be honest, it felt out of character for them—especially for Damien, and I was no longer interested in them after that. 

The Tattoo Artist and the Writer by Lily Morton – 5 stars

Well, this one showed me that I can find an outstanding new author anywhere.  I never expected that this would be the story that would be OTT for me, but it was.  Two best friends, matched by Heart2Heart, find their way to love—a love that’s apparently been there for years but never acknowledged.  I’m definitely going to check out this author’s other work.  Excellent story. 

The Uber Driver and the Phone Sex Operator by Lucy Lennox – 4.5 stars

I feel like I’m the only one of my friends who hasn’t read Lucy Lennox yet, but that’s now taken care of with this humorous, sweet MM romance.  Travis is filling in for his brother Brody as an Uber driver when he picks up a cute, young guy who is having phone sex while in his back seat.  Lots of laughs later when it gets straightened out, and lots of cuddles and loving when the two get together to solve Azrael’s problem of being a 25-year-old virgin.  Add to that, the compatibility of their “real” careers and this was a romance made in heaven.  All right, not heaven—the Heart2Heart app.  Very enjoyable!

The Baker and the SEAL by May Archer – 5 stars

Another new-to-me author that hit her story out of the ballpark.  Nothing like a big, strong, ex-Navy SEAL with a heart of gold to melt this old lady’s heart.  But add to that a snarky, strong, independent baker with a penchant for vanilla—only in his cooking—and you have the perfect recipe (pun intended) for a sweet Valentine’s Day romance.  Loved it!

The Event Planner and the Electrician by Poppy Dennison – 3 stars

May-December romances are one of my favorite tropes and this sweet story captured the angst of the younger guy who falls in love yet again with an older guy, only to have their age difference thrown in his face, yet again.   I loved Theo ‘s character.  He reminded me of a sweet, energetic bundle of energy with a heart of gold.  And I enjoyed Harvey’s character as well—older, good-looking, gentle giant.  Though it took awhile, they finally got their Valentine’s Day wish. 

The Lawyer and the Lobsterman by Ruthie Luhnow – 2 stars

This one was my least favorite of the stories.  The lawyer, Isaac, had an abrasive personality and the lobsterman, Will, was super-casual and flirty.  Of all the couples, they not only seemed ill-suited, but also had poor communication and I couldn’t quite get behind their togetherness.  And though all the stories are about men who shouldn’t have been matched but were, in this one I couldn’t find their commonality—their spark, so to speak.  They ended up together but it wasn’t as satisfying to me.

The Florist and the Lawyer by Sloane Kennedy – 3.5 stars

This little tidbit was sweet and sexy, but to be honest, there was an overabundance of sex scenes. I would have liked more face-to-face, get-to-know-you time and less of the highly descriptive in-your-face sex time. Don’t get me wrong, Sloane Kennedy is one of my favorites, and I love her writing and storytelling style, but in this instance, less would have been more.  Another abrasive lawyer in this story, Harrison is matched with Nate, a cute, flamboyant twink, who eventually melts his heart, puts a smile on his face, and brings color to his black-and-white world.

The Fallout

A continuation of The Setup, which was the intro to the anthology.  It’s not clear who wrote this segment, but it’s really quite sweet and a story unto itself.   The window washer has distracted the programmer from the last testing of the algorithm of the Heart2Heart app and because of that, all the previous couples were mismatched.  Thankfully, the previous couples are more than happy with their mismatches and have contacted Heart2Heart to express their gratitude.  So the window washer and the programmer live happily ever after.  A very nice way to introduce and wrap up this anthology, the proceeds of which will benefit several different LGBTQ charities. 

In summary, not only is this an enjoyable group of stories, the authors have donated proceeds to their favorite charities.   I highly recommend this one to lovers of MM romance—especially to those who enjoy reading opposites-attract stories.

~~~

COVER DESIGN:  AngstyG/www.angstyg.com’  .The cover features a photo of two guys, one with his arm draped over the other’s shoulder, walking down a road.   It’s a nice representation of the “coupledom” of the stories within.

BUY LINK:  http://getBook.at/Heart2Heart

Anthology Details:

It will only be available for 90 days, so Tuesday, May 8th will be the last time you can purchase this anthology.
Over 162k words total, contemporary MM romance

100% of the proceeds to 3 wonderful charities:

The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Bisexual Resource Centre: http://biresource.org/

One n Ten: http://onenten.org/

Charlie Cochet on her Characters for the Heart2Heart Anthology Blog Tour (Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway)

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HEART 2 HEART ANTHOLOGY

May Archer * Charlie Cochet * Allison Hendricks * Sloane Kennedy *

Lucy Lennox * Ruthie Luhnow * Lily Morton * Chris Owen *

Poppy Dennison * Hailey Turner * A.E. Wasp

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.07.18

COVER DESIGN:  AngstyG/www.angstyg.com

ANTHOLOGY EDITOR:  Leslie Copeland

BUY LINK:  http://getBook.at/Heart2Heart

 

BLURB

Once upon a time, a bunch of authors wondered… What if a dating app that guaranteed you a love match broke down just in time for Valentine’s Day? What if you found yourself on a blind date with a random guy who might be your opposite in every single way? It could be a disaster. Or… When the code breaks down, fate just might take over.

Eleven of your favorite gay romance authors have joined forces to light up your Valentine’s Day with a collection of sweet, sexy, silly, and hot short stories, featuring a wacky cast of characters chosen from your reader suggestions! Morticians and magicians, superheroes and spies, lawyers and lobstermen, will all learn that love has nothing to do with algorithms… and sometimes you find it in the least-likely places.

And the best part? All proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities, to ensure that love in all its incarnations will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

It will only be available for 90 days, so Tuesday, May 8th will be the last time you can purchase this anthology.

Over 162k words total, contemporary MM romance

Charlie Cochet

The Assassin and the Dog Walker

Can you tell us a little bit about your characters?

Lymond is a gruff, broody assassin who’s just trying to have somewhat of a normal life, though his hope has been slowly dwindling until he’s signed up for a blind date through the Heart2Heart app by his younger brother Jerrott. Daniel is a professional dog walker who’s always surrounded by furry friends. He’s sweet, snarky, and looking to be swept off his feet by Mr. Right.

Was writing this story easy for you to do? Or was it a little bit outside of your normal writing zone?

It was a little outside my normal writing zone as I decided to go with first person point of views for this little story, and I generally write third. I also had to make sure I focused more on the romance than the action, which I normally try to balance out the two, but this story was more about two men finding each other under the somewhat strange circumstances. It was so much fun to write.

The characters you had to choose from were readers’ submissions, correct? Were there any other characters you considered writing about before you chose this couple?

That’s write. Well, when I saw assassin, how could I not, right? As I went through the list, there were so many fabulous characters to choose from, but I needed someone who would be perfectly opposite my broody assassin, and when I saw sassy dog walker, I knew I had my couple.

What were some of the reader submissions that stood out to you, and why?

There were so many of them. Really they were all fabulous! Everything from dancers to lumberjacks. FBI agent was one I ran across before I got to my assassin, but I loved the challenge of trying to write a romance for Lymond. Keeping the story light when an assassin is involved was certainly not any easy task.

Since the anthology is only available for a limited time, (90 days) do you have any plans for your story after that?

I’m not sure yet. I have had readers asking me about Crispin and Jerrott, so it’s very likely they’ll be getting their own story.

What do you think of the line-up of authors? How does it feel to be in such great company?

It’s amazing. They’re all authors whose books I own, many favorites of mine so it was an absolute honor to be a part of this, especially since it’s for such a good cause. It’s been a lot of fun, and a fantastic experience.

Is this something you’d like to be a part of again in the future?

I would certainly work with these authors again. Schedules can sometimes make things tricky, and I tend to take part in things like this when I personally know the people involved. Many of these authors I consider friends, so there really was no question.

You’re donating the entire proceeds to charity – can you tell us more about where the money is going?

The proceeds of the anthology is going to three charities: The Trevor Project, The Bisexual Resource Center, and One-N-Ten.

Have you ever been set up on a blind date? If yes, how did it turn out?

No, I’m not that adventurous. LOL

If Heart2Heart were to match you with someone, who do you think you’d get paired with?

If the app were looking for my opposite, probably the Math professor-who’d be thoroughly horrified by the C’s I got on the subject at school, and by the blank stare on my face when they tried to explain some math formula to me. I had straight A’s and a few B+’s in everything else, but Math? Nope. 

EXCERPT

“Breathe. Just breathe.

Why the hell was I so nervous? It’s not like I hadn’t gone on blind dates before. One of these days I was going to put my foot down, and Lissa might actually listen to me. I knew my best friend just wanted to help, but every date I went on ended in disaster. It wasn’t because of the guys she picked. It was me. Or so everyone told me. According to my mother, my standards were too high, and outside of a romance novel, I was never going to find the man of my dreams, so I should stop trying to find Mr. Right, and settle for Mr. Good Enough. Thanks, Mom.

All I wanted was a little romance. Was it too much to ask to be swept off my feet? To be treated like something special, and not just a hot piece of ass? Yes, my ass was fabulous, but there were other body parts attached to it. Unfortunately, the guys I had a habit of falling for weren’t interested in those parts, especially outside of the bedroom. I had a type. Big, strong, alpha dudes were my Kryptonite. A sexy voice and chiseled jaw turned me into a puddle of whimpering need, my resolve vanishing into nothingness, much like the men in my bed did the morning after. It’s like they all turned into David fucking Blaine the moment the sun came up.

I’d even caught one guy sneaking out my bedroom window at dawn. I’d asked him if there was something wrong with my front door. He’d been so startled, he lost his balance and fell into my downstairs neighbor’s rosebushes. Served him right. When I’d looked out of my window at him, he had the nerve to tell me he forgot his gym bag, and could I could bring it down to him. I said “sure”, and tossed it out the window, ignoring the manly yelp that followed shortly after. 

CHARITIES

We are pleased to be donating 100% of our proceeds to 3 wonderful charities:

The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Bisexual Resource Centre: http://biresource.org/

One n Ten: http://onenten.org/

We encourage all readers to learn more about these groups and consider making a donation of your own. Every little bit helps.

 

BACKGROUND/TITLES

What began as a random idea quickly turned into a collaborative and completely voluntary effort from 11 authors, more than 130 readers, cover designer, 2 proofreaders, and one cat herder to keep it all together.

Readers were asked to submit ideas for characters, both typical and off-the-wall, and from that list, each author picked 2 seemingly mismatched guys and helped them find love.

May Archer – The Baker and the SEAL

Charlie Cochet – The Assassin and the Dog Walker

Poppy Dennison – The Electrician and the Event Planner

Alison Hendricks – The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer

Sloane Kennedy – The Florist and the Lawyer

Lucy Lennox – The Uber Drive and the Phone Sex Operator

Ruthie Luhnow – The Lawyer and the Lobsterman

Lily Morton – The Tattoo Artist and the Writer

Chris Owen – The Criminal and the Sommelier

Hailey Turner – The Superhero and the NSA Agent

AE Wasp – The Magician and the Mortician

Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction

So we are taking a little sideslip this week away from the topics I had meant to talk about (like that’s ever happened before lol) because of a opening of a spectacular movie last night.  That’s right Black Panther opened Thursday night to accolades everywhere!  Kids, parents, teens, tweens, millennials, any age, and yes, any race, said this movie has it all. Yes it does.  But to many, it’s much, much more.

Importantly, released during Black History Month, for the first time ever, a certified big budget blockbuster with a black superhero (not sidekick mind you, but the main hero), an almost all black cast, and a black director is rushing to break box office attendance records and looking to become a movement as the hashtag “WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe” has been trending.

Yes, it’s all about representation.

That’s something we have always known.  It’s why Wonder Woman (directed by a woman) is so important to women and little girls everywhere.  And why LGBTQIA fiction and yes comics are equally important to the LGBTQIA community.

Right now, Black Panther comics are flying off the shelves.  Black Panther first appeared in Marvel Comic’s Fantastic 4 in 1966 and got his own comic in 1977.  Here’s an article on the history of the Black Panther comics and serial…check it out.

The Black Panther comic of today is drawn a little differently.  But all this got me thinking.  What about gay superheros?  I know Roan of Infected first  popped into my mind (Andrea Speed) but how about others?  What about graphic novels?  What LGBTQIA Superheroes can we name?  How about stories?  Yes, that your cue….let’s find and name stories and  LGBT superheroes!  Include graphic novels if you can find them!  We’re on a hunt and a mission!

It’s our  LGBTQIA Superhero Hunt Giveaway!  Find stories and LGBTQIA Superheroes!  We will give you all the entire month that’s left.  Must be superhero stories, can be graphic novels (comics).  Giveaway ends March 3 at midnight.  Gift certificates will be given away!  Must be 18 years of age or older.  Let the hunt begin!

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  And go see Black Panther. It’s amazing!  Plus you know people will be shipping those hot actors like crazy! lol

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 18:

  • Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February  19:

  • DSP Dreamspun Desires Promo Liv Olteano on Lover, Lover
  • Hard To Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn Release Day Blitz
  • Release Blitz – Loving Kit by L.M. Brown
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Seth & Casey by RJ Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: How To Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Narrator: Manuel Pombo

Tuesday, February 20:

  • Blitz Sign-Up: Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts
  • DSP Promo BA Tortuga
  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Losing It by Christine d’Abo
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Lover, Lover ( Dreamcatchers story)  by Liv Olteano
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor

Wednesday, February 21:

  • Review Tour for Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • Harmony Ink Promo Annabelle Jay on Luminosity
  • Release Blitz: Break Down (Dublin Rugby #4) by Rebecca Norinne
  • An Alisa Review: Manic Pixie Dream Boy (Underdogs #1) by KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review:Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Thursday, February 22:

  • Release Blitz Jay Northcote – Pretty In Pink
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • DSP Promo KA Mitchell on Bad Boyfriend
  • A MelanieM Review: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review: Jingle Bears (The Bears of Falcon’s Ridge, #2.5) by Susan E. Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Friday, February 23:

  • BOOK BLAST for As You Wish by Isobel Starling
  • Heart2Heart Anthology Blog Tour
  • Found by Annabella Michaels Tour
  • A Stella Review: New Heights by Quinn Anderson
  • An Alisa Review: Just Here For The Pain (Underdogs #2) by KA Merikan

Saturday, February 24:

  • RELEASE BLITZ for Dead Camp #5 (The End Game part 2) by Sean Kerr
  • Book Blitz – Penny Brandon’s Blind Passion
  • A MelanieM Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

Valentine’s Day Stories and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Valentine’s Day Stories

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Week!  The air is full of love and romance, balloons, flowers, cards, and whatever else a loved one may desire.  Stuffed animals?  Songs?  Mixed tapes….yes that dates me! lol  What things have you received? From friends and loved ones…sometimes even a those little candy hearts with messages were enough to make your day.  I can remember some stories that actually captured those elements.  Apparently you all did too with your recommendations.

Here’s some stories from me you may have missed for your Valentine’s Day reading:

Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows By Ari McKay
Letters From Cupid by Ari McKay
Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale
Valentine Rainbow Anthology
A Secret Valentine by BG Thomas
A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth
Campfire Confessions by Bru Baker

And coming out this week on Valentine’s Day (and to be reviewed as well)

Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

 

Here are some of the Valentine’s Day Stories our readers are listing and recommending:

From Ami:

I loved this F/F novella by Aidan Wayne “Making Love” because it’s about Cupid and also featuring an asexual character. It’s cute, it’s adorable, and for me FITS the Valentine’s day vibe.

From Jen:

I just looked through my Read list and I haven’t read too many Valentine’s Day stories. But one that I really loved was

  • Lazy Valentines (Lazy Days #2) by K-lee Klein.

From H.B.:

  • Looking forward to the valentine’s book list and recs from everyone. I don’t think I have too many on my own list over the years (and I started tagging them a on goodreads a year and half after I started reading m/m fiction). My recs are:
    6 Days to Valentine by L.E. Franks
    The Colors of Romance (A Valentine Rainbow) by Ashavan Doyon
    Fruity on the Inside by G.R. Richards
    On Valentine’s Day by Raine Delight
    From Your Secret Admirer by Debora Day
    Naughty Cupid/A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth (A Cupid’s Wager was part of the A Valentine Rainbow Set published by Dreamspinner)

 

However, there’s still time to get your stories into us to be added to our Valentine’s Day list.  See our  giveaway below!  And Happy Valentine’s Day in advance!

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Then it’s soon to be Valentine’s Day and I know there are book written with this in mind.  Can I think of them now?  No!  But maybe you can.  Who can remember Valentine’s Day stories?  Or maybe ones with Cupid in them?  I know there are a few of those out there.  Of course we will have a giveaway attached to that.  It’s our Cupid or Valentine’s Day Giveaway! Give us your favorite Valentine’s Day stories!  The one overflowing with romantic, love, roses, or whatever!  Giveaway is a gift card from Dreamspinner Press for $10.  Contest  ends on February 17th at midnight.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 11:

  • Valentine’s Day Stories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 12:

  • Bite Me by Beth Bolden Release Day Blitz
  • BLOG TOUR Rebel by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
  • Cover Reveal: Forsaken by J.R. Gray
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  The Station by Keira Andrews
  • A Stella Prerelease Review:  Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Bodyguard (Haven Investigations #2) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 13:

  • J. Scott Coatsworth on Lander
  • Release Blitz: Three’s the Charm by P.A. Friday
  • Review Tour and Giveaway : In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray
  • SERIES TOUR for Shatterproof Bond by Isobel Starling
  • A Jeri Review: Winning Edge by Keira Andrews
  • A MelanieM Review:In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2 Infected Universe) by Andrea Speed

Wednesday, February 14 -Valentine’s Day 💘:

  • DSP Promo Amy Lane
  • Lander (Oberon Cycle Book 2) J, Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Cam Boy by Quinn Anderson
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker Release Day Blitz
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Review:Lander (Oberon Cycle Book 2) by J.Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, February 15:

  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for The Artist’s Touch by EJ Russell
  • In the Promo Spotlight: Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz for DJ Jamison’s Hearts & Health 1-3 Box Set
  • A MelanieM Review: Oh Yeah, An Elf  by L.L. Brooks
  • An Alisa Review :GHOST WOLF by Hurri Cosmo
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

Friday, February 16:

  • DSP Publications Promo Andrea Speed  on Infected: Throwaways
  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scott & VL Locey’s Poke Check
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns’ Wolf & The Holly
  • A Free Dreamer Review:Wolf & The Holly (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #2) by Sam Burns
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns
  • An Alisa Review: Alpha Dragon: Nyve by Kellan Larkin and Kaz Crowley

Saturday, February 17:

  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology Joe Bone
  • BLITZ September (Audio) by Robert Winter

 

 

In the Spotlight: Mandi Ware and Resist and Triumph, a charity Anthology (excerpt and giveaway)

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resist-cover_small

 From The Respect of Love by Mandi Ware

Excerpt

Standing at the podium, looking out at the faces of our friends and families, it was hard to control my emotions. I shuffled the papers in my hands again, buying a few scarce moments.

This isn’t how this is supposed to work. This isn’t right to have a funeral, but have no loved one to mourn.

“Thank you all for coming. I know Peter would’ve loved everyone together. He would’ve donned his naughty nurse apron and fired up the grill.” A light chuckle wafted across the room. The memory of our last barbecue wrapped around my heart.

*

“Baby, can you please bring out the salt for these glasses?” Peter yelled from the backyard.

“Of course,” I mumbled. “Allow me to service you, sire. May I cleanse your tuchus for you, too?” I raised my voice. “Where the hell is it?”

“Sweetheart.” Peter’s voice came from directly behind me. “Relax. It’s going to be fine. This is just going to be a small speed bump on the highway for our family.” He reached around me and grabbed the salt bowl at my hip. “Oh, by the way. I don’t need you to wipe my ass, but if you want to service me, we got some time.” He planted a kiss on my eyebrow.

I wrapped my arm around his waist bringing our lips together. He was always a fabulous kisser. Those warm full lips and marvelously sweet tongue had magic powers. He definitely knew how to make my knees weak.

Breaking the kiss, he peered into my soul.“Have I ever told you how much I love you?”

“Um,” I tried to think. “Nope. Never heard it.”

“Good.” Peter pulled me into his strong embrace. “Because love is nowhere near the right word for how I feel for you.”

I snuggled tighter against his warmth, nuzzling into his chest. His heart beat against my collarbone.

“Stop that.” He laughed, pushing me away playfully. “You keep that up my meat is going to burn.” Taking the salt he turned his back on me, shaking his bite-worthy bottom.

Reaching out, I pinched him. “I can burn your meat, baby.”

“That you can, my lover.” He smiled and winked as he escaped out the patio doors. “Later.”

“Tease!” I yelled. His melodic laugh floated back.

Author Bio

Twenty+ years ago, Mandi embarked on an adventure to the Midwest, Southeast Wisconsin specifically, where writing became an expansive habit in distraction and pleasure. Through loss, love and marriage Mandi has exploited the muse of storytelling for entertainment, distraction and as a form of personal therapy.  For some of Mandi’s earlier stories and bloggings, visit Mandi at http://www.mandiware.com.  When that’s not enough there’s always Twitter and Facebook.

Author Links

Twitter: @scribemandiware
Facebook: scribemandiware

Rafflecopter/Giveaway

Don’t forget to click the link below and take your chance at winning a FREE paperback copy of “Resist & Triumph Anthology”.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3797bda115/?

resist and triumph fb banner (1)

 

As 2017 opened, the United States took several steps back in the progress toward equality. In response, a group of authors has stepped up to offer positive stories of hope and love. In an effort to help fight and support those groups who are facing even greater challenges, we wrote these stories to offer a small amount of aid.

Stories of hope, resistance, and ultimately triumph fill the pages of this anthology.

All proceeds of the anthology go to The Trevor Project and GLAAD to help fight the effects of the dark times we’re facing.

 

Purchase Resist and Triumph here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078NKHVCK

Cover art: Jess Small
Publication date: 1/26/2018

Genres: M/M Romance, Paranormal, Historical, Dystopian, Contemporary, BDSM, F/F Romance

 

Other stories included in the anthology:

Breaking Ties with the Bully by Perci T. Brooks

Consummation by Tucker McCallahan

Fighting the Alpha, the Omega Way by Carol Pedroso

Get Off of My Runway by Shane K. Morton

Leto of The Ionian Sea by Maria Siopsis

The Respect of Love by Mandi Ware

Small Victories by Helen Dupres

White Rabbit by Grace R. Duncan

Release Day Blitz for Heart2Heart, A Charity Anthology (excerpt)

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HEART 2 HEART ANTHOLOGY 

May Archer * Charlie Cochet * Allison Hendricks * Sloane Kennedy *

Lucy Lennox * Ruthie Luhnow * Lily Morton * Chris Owen *

Poppy Dennison * Hailey Turner * A.E. Wasp 

M/M ROMANCE 

RELEASE DATE: 02.07.18

COVERHeart2Heart-Anthology-Medium

BLURB

Once upon a time, a bunch of authors wondered… What if a dating app that guaranteed you a love match broke down just in time for Valentine’s Day? What if you found yourself on a blind date with a random guy who might be your opposite in every single way? It could be a disaster. Or… When the code breaks down, fate just might take over.

Eleven of your favorite gay romance authors have joined forces to light up your Valentine’s Day with a collection of sweet, sexy, silly, and hot short stories, featuring a wacky cast of characters chosen from your reader suggestions! Morticians and magicians, superheroes and spies, lawyers and lobstermen, will all learn that love has nothing to do with algorithms… and sometimes you find it in the least-likely places.

And the best part? All proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities, to ensure that love in all its incarnations will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

It will only be available for 90 days, so Tuesday, May 8th will be the last time you can purchase this anthology.

Over 162k words total, contemporary MM romance

COVER DESIGN:  AngstyG/www.angstyg.com

ANTHOLOGY EDITOR:  Leslie Copeland

 

BUY LINK:  http://getBook.at/Heart2Heart

Charities

CHARITIES 

We are pleased to be donating 100% of our proceeds to 3 wonderful charities:

The Trevor Project: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Bisexual Resource Centre: http://biresource.org/

One n Ten: http://onenten.org/

We encourage all readers to learn more about these groups and consider making a donation of your own. Every little bit helps.

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EXCERPT

The Set-up 

How Bailey the geeky programmer lost his focus

 

It was like a scene out of a soda commercial. All of the women (and a few of the men) in the office gathered around and drooled over the sexy eye candy hanging onto the side of the damned building as if the guy was nothing but a sex object.

Fuck, he’s a hot sex object, Bailey thought. I’d like to sex object the hell outta that beefcake.

Bailey himself had been watching the guy for two days now. At first, he assumed the man on the scaffold was a window washer. It was the obvious explanation. Otherwise, why would a man—a beefy, hot, muscled man, ahem—be riding a hanging scaffold on the fifteenth floor of the office building?

But how long, exactly, does it take to wash a few windows? He’d been right outside of Bailey’s cubicle window for two straight days.

Bailey shook his head and tried to focus on his job, ignoring all of the lookie-loos in the space behind his cubicle. He was finalizing the algorithms to be used in Heart2Heart’s new matchmaking software, and it was critical he got the matchmaking algorithms just right in order for the product launch to be a success. He needed to pay attention to what he was doing.

A lot was riding on the Heart2Heart launch. Their big marketing campaign promised love matches just in time for Valentine’s Day, and in order for the actual matches to work, Bailey had to create pristine code that took all of the variables into consideration. He was almost done with the programming. Just cleaning up a few final glitches and he’d be over the last of the hurdles. His plan was to stay late to double-check everything that evening before the software went live after midnight.

His eyes slid over to his cubicle window again and caught sight of thick, tanned forearms flexing above huge, strong man hands. The late afternoon Miami sun shined against the guy’s skin, showing a light sheen of sweat from his work doing… something.

Ungh. You can do something… to me. Get sweaty… with me, Bailey mused, chewing on the end of his pen. He saw one of the man’s large hands grab a screwdriver out of his tool belt. Maybe he’s screwing… something.

The window man looked like he needed to be licked. Like, a lot.

Bailey didn’t realize his elbow had rested on the spacebar while he drooled out the window until he heard an angry series of beeps from his computer.

“Fuck. Shit,” he stammered, focusing again on his monitor and correcting his lapse.

A few minutes later, he heard a thud coming from the window. With his heart racing in fear of something happening to the poor man on the scaffold, Bailey snapped his eyes to the large pane of glass.

The sexy stack of muscles grinned at him and held up a piece of paper.

With a phone number on it.

The hot guy gestured to his cell phone and pointed at Bailey with a flirty grin.

Bailey looked behind him before turning back and pointing at his own chest. Me?

The beefcake nodded and put his finger and thumb up to his ear in the universal gesture of call me.

With trembling hands, Bailey dialed his phone, never taking his eyes off the window man while the man answered his own phone.

“How long do I have to pretend to wash this one window before you notice me?” Window Man asked in a deep, sexy voice.

“Who me?” Bailey squeaked in response.

“Yeah, you,” he said pointing to Bailey through the window and winking at him. The wink tightened Bailey’s pants in an instant.

“Um… I noticed you about two days ago…” Bailey admitted. “Can I help you with something?”

“Yeah. I can’t get your adorable nerdy self outta my head. Please god, tell me you’re gay or bi or something.”

Bailey’s face turned fuchsia and he squeaked again. “Gay. Mm-hm. Yeah. Gay.”

“What’s your name, gorgeous?”

“Bailey.”

“Well, Bailey, I’d love to take you to dinner tonight. Are you free?”

“Uh huh,” Bailey stammered. “Sure. Of course. Yes.”

“I get off work right now. Any chance you’re ready to pack up and get outta here?”

Bailey stood up from his chair quickly enough to knock his keyboard to the floor.

The Heart2Heart matchmaking algorithms would be just fine without a final round of testing.

Probably.

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BACKGROUND/TITLES

What began as a random idea quickly turned into a collaborative and completely voluntary effort from 11 authors, more than 130 readers, cover designer, 2 proofreaders, and one cat herder to keep it all together.

Readers were asked to submit ideas for characters, both typical and off-the-wall, and from that list, each author picked 2 seemingly mismatched guys and helped them find love.

May Archer – The Baker and the SEAL 

Charlie Cochet – The Assassin and the Dog Walker 

 Poppy Dennison – The Electrician and the Event Planner

Alison Hendricks  – The Professional Gamer and the Paranormal Photographer

Sloane Kennedy – The Florist and the Lawyer

Lucy Lennox – The Uber Drive and the Phone Sex Operator

Ruthie Luhnow – The Lawyer and the Lobsterman

Lily Morton  – The Tattoo Artist and the Writer

Chris Owen – The Criminal and the Sommelier

Hailey Turner – The Superhero and the NSA Agent

AE Wasp – The Magician and the Mortician

Of Covers, Valentine’s Day Books and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Covers and Valentine’s Day Books

 

 

I’m of two minds this Sunday.  Valentine’s Day which is coming up in two weeks and book covers which has been occupying my mind a lot recently.  So I’m going to burble on a bit about both today to get the gears cranking for major posts down the line.  Chime in please with your thoughts here.

First up books covers.   Lately I either absolutely love them, think the artists are whacking it right out of the cover ballpark so to speak or find them bland, bland, bland.  Not a whole lot of in between.  I’m not sure if that’s due to the huge amounts of authors now self-publishing and actually trying to do the covers themselves.  Or perhaps the limited choice in photography the cover artist can choice from when designing the cover?  All I know is that certain  artists names pop up again and again on the covers that people love and  that stand out on favorite lists.  Natasha Snow has had a great year (last year too).  I love her  covers.  Paul Richmond, Anne Cain, Reese Dante? So too Angsty G, and  Aaron Anderson. They continue to blow me away.  Posh Gosh over at Pride Publishing has done the same for years.  Garrett Leigh or GD Leigh has a style about her covers that so immediately recognizable that it jumps out at you. LC Chase?  Shakes head….amazing.

And I’m throwing this out here for discussion.  Back in 2008, Anne Cain did the cover for J.L. Langley’s My Fair Captain (Sci-Regency #1).  IMO its the gold standard for all half  naked torso covers and may indeed be the first.  Can anyone think of one before this?  To me, it still is beyond amazing and yes, utterly drool worthy.  Comments?  Here’s the cover.  And if you haven’t read the story, you should!  Just outstanding!

So many manage to combine an eye-catching design, story elements, along with a striking color combination that comes together in a cover that pulls you in and makes you want to read that book!  Now think of all the ones that  totally missed that mark.  The nondescript ones, the ones that could be for any book let alone the one you are reading, the “oh, here’s another….fill in the blank for me” image cover.  There seems to be a lot of those  to balance out the sublime.  So I’m planning on a couple of posts to talk about the state of covers these days.  How do you feel about them?  Do you have your favorite artists?  Fav covers?  What strikes your fancy when it comes to cover art?  More on that  later but start talking to me please!

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Then it’s soon to be Valentine’s Day and I know there are book written with this in mind.  Can I think of them now?  No!  But maybe you can.  Who can remember Valentine’s Day stories?  Or maybe ones with Cupid in them?  I know there are a few of those out there.  Of course we will have a giveaway attached to that.  It’s our Cupid or Valentine’s Day Giveaway! Give us your favorite Valentine’s Day stories!  The one overflowing with romantic, love, roses, or whatever!  Giveaway is a gift card from Dreamspinner Press for $10.  Contest  ends on February 17th at midnight.

Winter Story List Challenge!   

So last week we offered up the Winter List Challenge!   We asked What’s your Most Memorable Winter Stories?  From now until the end of the month, get in your recommendations!  We will pick a winner or two to receive a gift card of $10.  Make sure you include your name and email address where you can be reached.  So bring on the Brrrrrs and the Winter Recommendations!  Contest ends January 28 at mid.

Now about those wonderful lists from our readers, here’s the recommendations we’ve received so far.  Remember you have until midnight tonight.   Winner  is Moondrawn.  Congrats!  Please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will arrange to get you your gift card!

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 4:

  • Of Covers, Valentine’s Day Books and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz – KA Merikan – Just Here For The Pain

Monday, February 5:

  • DSP Dreamspun Desires Promo Shira Anthony on Swann’s Revenge
  • DSP Promo R.L. Merrill on Hurricane Reese
  • La Famiglia (A Men of Gilead Novel) by Deanna Wadsworth Blog Tour
  • A Stella Review: Still The One (The Best Gift #2) by Shawn Lane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Friends and Lovers by Tinnean
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Long and Winding Road (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #4) by TJ Klune and Sean Crisden (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 6:

  • Cover Reveal –  Out Of The Ocean  by Lynn Michaels
  • DSP Promo H. M. Shepherd
  • Rob Rosen on And God Belched
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Bobby Green (Johnnies #5) by Amy Lane
  • An Alisa Review:Alpha Dragon: Taran (Treasured Ink #1) by Kaz Crowley & Kellan Larkin

Wednesday, February 7:

  • Book Blast My Horrible Gay Dating Life by Dimitrius Jones
  • DSP Dreamspun Desires Promo j. leigh bailey
  • Release Blitz: RJ Scott’s Seth & Casey
  • A Jeri Review: Going Overboard (Anchor Point #5) by L.A. Witt
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances# 5) by Avon Gale and Scott R. Smith (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Tarnished Hero by  Temple Madison

Thursday, February 8:

  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology by  Joe Bone, editor
  • DSP Guest Post CJane Elliott
  • Release Blitz Tour – Selina Kray – In Wild Lemon Groves
  • A Caryn Review: The Artist’s Touch (Art Medium) by E.J. Russell
  • An Alisa Review: Camp Lake Omega by Penelope Peters
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: ​Lost and Found by Rick R. Reed and Narrator: Michael Neeb

Friday, February 9:

  • From Ashes by K.M. Neuhold Audiobook Tour
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns – Wolf & The Holly
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Going Overboard by LA Witt
  • Series Blitz – Katze Snow – Demons & Wolves
  • A Lila Review: The Man on the Balcony by Edward Kendrick
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Just for Nice by H. M. Shepherd

Saturday, February 10:

  • Release Blitz – Keira Andrews – Winning Edge
  • Heart2Heart, A Charity Anthology Release Day Blitz
  • A MelanieM Review:  Rook by T. Strange

 

Goodbye January, Hello February. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Goodbye January, Hello February

Okay, doesn’t it seem like we were just doing this?  Can it really be February already? January just flew by and here comes, what is for us in this area, the snowiest and coldest month of the year.  For us here in the Mid Atlantic states it means the last gasp of winter usually…. our worst winter storms whether they be of ice, cold or snow.

I say that as our  outside thermometers sit around 60 degrees and have for the past several days.

But it won’t last.  It never does.  Winter isn’t over and will be back with a bang next week because that’s what February does.  It reminds us that Winter is still with us, even though we are steadily adding minutes of light to each day….something that I love.  Come on, you Spring Equinox!  Even February’s coldest winds can’t scare my glimpses of Spring away!

Winter Story List Challenge!   

So last week we offered up the Winter List Challenge!   We asked What’s your Most Memorable Winter Stories?  From now until the end of the month, get in your recommendations!  We will pick a winner or two to receive a gift card of $10.  Make sure you include your name and email address where you can be reached.  So bring on the Brrrrrs and the Winter Recommendations!  Contest ends January 28 at mid.

Now about those wonderful lists from our readers, here’s the recommendations we’ve received so far.  Remember you have until midnight tonight.   Winner or winners announced next week:

📚From Jen:

Here are some of my most memorable winter stories:
North Pole City Tales series by Charlie Cochet
The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe
Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton
Blame It on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton
A Family for Christmas by Jay Northcote
The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn
The Avona Tales series by Raine O’Tierney
Color of You by C.S. Poe
Third Solstice by Harper Fox

📚From Purple Reader:

It’s sometimes hard for me to recall whether even good stories were primarily set in winter, but a few do come immediately to mind. I agree with Jen about C.S. Poe’s Color of You and Nevermore. Here are two more:
Enemy Within by Tal Bauer – a thrilling conclusion to his Exec Office trilogy that travelled via sub above the Arctic Circle in Russia. And he had a number of hot couples I wouldn’t have minded snuggling up to for warmth.
Foxes by Suki Fleet – moving YA story, and she vividly captures the cold that homeless kids have to survive in.

📚From Ami:

I have sucky memories so I can only remember the latest gorgeous winter story that I read: A Frost of Cares by Amy Rae Durreson.

📚From H.B.:

I didn’t have many winter reads this year but of the ones I did read these were my most memorable:

Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped by B.G. Thomas
A Very Henry Christmas by N.R. Walker
Honey and Heat by Rian Durant
Something Permanent by Roan Parrish
Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton
A Christmas Kiss by Annabelle Jacobs

📚From Moondrawn:

Some great books listed already. Winter (and Christmas) are inescapable if you read any Josh Lanyon–so many to choose from: Winter Kill, Icecapade (this one is a New Years, new chances story), So This Is Christmas, Baby It’s Cold and many more.
Minnesota Christmas series by Heidi Cullinan
Deefur Dog and then Deefur Dog and the Great Mistletoe Incident (winter weather is the heart breaker here), Love Happens Anyway, and Snow In Montana by R.J. Scott.
Mountain series by P.D. Singer (although the first one is about fire fighting, the rest are about skiing)
Something Like Winter by Jay Bell
A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland.
In The Middle Of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Something to Believe in by Sloan Parker

 

Of course February is the month of Valentine’s Day celebrations so you know what  stories we will be asking for next…that’s right! Valentine’s Day stories  or lacking that…your most romantic story of all!  Yes!  That hearts of hearts story! That “wild thing, you make my heart sing, you make everything groovy” story!  Or whatever floats your boat!  So get those recs ready for next week and the week after!

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 28:

  •  Goodbye January, Hello February
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 29:

  •  BLITZ Ibuki by Kathryn Sommerlot
  • BLITZ Sweethearts by Gemma Gilmore
  • Review Tour – Marshall Thornton’s Hidden Treasures
  • A Stella Review: When It’s Time (Go Your Own Way #3) by Zane Riley
  • A MelanieM Review: Hidden Treasures (A Pinx Video Mystery #2) by Marshall Thornton
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Wet Heat by RD Hero and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Tuesday, January 30:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • DSP Guest Post Emjay Haze on Home is Where Your Are
  • An Ali Release Day Review:When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hurricane Reese by R.L. Merrill
  • A Lila Review: A Boyfriend for the Weekend by Caitlin Ricci

Wednesday, January 31:

  • Review Tour – Meg Harding’s Contour
  • BLITZ Dantes Unglued by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh’s Dream (Skins #1)
  • A Stella Review:  Contour by Meg Hardin
  • An Alsa Review: Spanking the Boss by Hunter Frost
  • A Jeri Review : Dream (Skins #1) by Garrett Leigh

Thursday, February 1:

  • Color Me In by Riley Hart Release Day Blitz
  • Retro Review Tour – LA Witt’s For The Living
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Scratch Track by Eli Lang
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Color Me In (Last Chance #2) by Riley Hart
  • A Jeri Review:  For The Living by L.A. Witt
  • An Alisa Review: Pushing Phillip (Common Powers #4) by Lynn Lorenz

Friday, February 2:

  • TOUR The Calling by MD Neu
  • Release Blitz – Meredith Russell’s Dead Fall
  • Release Blitz – Louise Lyons ‘ The Short Stories Collection
  • A MelanieM Review: Finders Keepers by N.R. Walker
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Light by Nathan Burgoine
  • A MelanieM Review:  All The World’s An Undead Stage (Offbeat Crimes #6) by Angel Martinez
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Spanking the Boss (An Office Kink Novella – Book #1) by Hunter Frost

Saturday, February 3:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Rook by T. Strange

 

Of Frost and Winter Readings. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Frost and Winter Readings

On days like the ones we’ve had recently, when the winds blow cold and snow puts a pristine layer of white over everything within sight, one  of the first things that pops into my mind is the poem of Robert Frost~ Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  It’s one of those poems that, from the moment I first read it, has continued to resonate with me.  Especially that last stanza…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I’m probably not alone in that. Those words have a way of circling around in my head, along with the imagery they produce.
There’s something about a winter atmosphere, an artic location for a story that can render a tale so memorable if for no other reason that for our own body memories an author is able to call upon when describing scenes and  writing chilling passages that evoke shivers and make us remember to curl up deeper into our blankets, seeking the warmth against the cold of a winter night.  Several authors whose stories made an arctic landscape vivid and coldly beautiful jump to mind including Megan Derr (Frostwick, The Prince of the Moon, Chaos (The Lost Gods #5, and many more), RJ Scott (The Christmas Throwaway, A Reason to Stay, and more as her agents, safe houses and blizzards are a great combination),Jamie Fessenden (A Viking for Yule), Freddy MacKay (Snow on Spirit Bridge, Chestnuts Roasting Anthology), Amy Lane ( Turkey in the Snow, Winter Ball, The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critter – the whole series actually, and more ), Marie Sexton (Winter Oranges), Heidi Cullinan (Minnesota Christmas series). And that’s just a few that snapped right into my head.
What winter tales made you crawl closer to the fire?  Which stories brought the howl of the cold arctic winds swirling about your home and body even though you live in the warmer climes?  You know how Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words loves our lists! So here’s your Winter List Challenge!  What’s your Most Memorable Winter Stories?  From now until the end of the month, get in your recommendations!  We will pick a winner or two to receive a gift card of $10.  Make sure you include your name and email address where you can be reached.  So bring on the Brrrrrs and the Winter Recommendations!  Contest ends January 28 at mid.
Now for this week’s reviews and  tours!  Happy Reading and stay warm!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 21:

  • Of Frost and Winter Readings.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 22:

  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Kris T. Bethke
  • BLITZ To Seek and To Find by Tamryn Eradani
  • TOUR The Calling by MD Neu
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Barricade by Lindsey Black
  • A MelanieM Review: Open Net (Cayuga Cougars #2) by V.L. Locey
  • A Stella Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight

Tuesday, January 23:

  • Release Blitz – Why I Need You by Colette Davison
  • Release Blitz Tour – Meg Harding’s  Contour
  • Release Tour for:La Famiglia (A Men of Gilead Novel) by Deanna Wadsworth
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: La Famiglia (The Men of Gilead # 2 ) by Deanna Wadsworth
  • A Stella Review:  Motorcycle Man by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Dragon’s Hoard by M.A. Church and Narrator: Dorian Bane

Wednesday, January 24:

  • Blog Tour Seeing Red: Interlude by T.C. Orton
  • DSP Promo Deanna Wadsworth on La Famiglia (A Men of Gilead Novel)
  • Release Blitz – Garrett Leigh – Dream (Skins #1)
  • A Caryn Review: The Law of Love by Fyn Alexander
  • A MelanieM Review: The Case of the Man Eater (Kanaan & Tilney #2) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Way with You (Memories with The Breakfast Club) by Lane Hayes

Thursday, January 25:

  • DSP Promo Sean Michael
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Two Man Station by Lisa Henry
  • Tour: Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney.
  • A MelanieM Review: Why I Need You by Colette Davison
  • An Alisa Review: Waking the Prince by Shawn Lane
  • A MelanieM Review: Knightsgift by J. Hepburn

Friday, January 26:

  • Release Blitz for LOVE TIMES FIVE by Lily G
  • Sounds of Silence Tour –
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Home is Where You Are ( States of Love ) by Emjay Haze
  • A Lila Review:  An Actor’s Guide to Romance by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead
  • A MelanieM Review: And God Belched by Rob Rosen

Saturday, January 27:

  • A MelanieM Review: Velvet Claw by L.J. Hamlin

 

Heartbreak, Hearthounds, And A Tale of Two Winstons. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Heartbreak, Heartterriers, And A Tale of Two Winstons

My heart is breaking this Sunday.  On Friday, after what was supposed to be a routine visit to the vet, for annual shots and to check out a cough, I found out that my redoubtable terrier, Winston has an aggressive tumor in the spleen, a cancer that’s already metastasized to his lungs. Prognosis is most likely one week.  This from a boy who was after a skunk, and racing the fence with a deer only days ago.  I’m in complete shock and utterly devastated.  He’s my heart terrier, my boon companion.  I was sure I would have him for at least 10 more years as I had the Winston before.  But its not to be and by this time next Sunday, my Winston will be gone.

So, because I’m in pieces and I need to spend as much time as I can with him, I’m re-posting this morning A Tale of Two Winstons, the journey of how this magnificent Winston came into my life.  Oh, he will always be a part of my heart. He’ll be so missed.

WinstonII home

 

A Tale of Two Winstons

 

Somethings are just meant to be, no explanation, no rational reason, they just are.  Somewhere a song is sung, a ripple forms in the water, a door closes, a window opens, and a dog finds its way back to its forever home.

It’s been a week to the day that Winston died, and this household has been a very changed, quiet place.  The dogs have been upset and grieving as have I.  Then this morning we woke to the smell of gas.  Flinging open the windows, we called the gas hotline and quickly the emergency crew arrived to locate the source and shut down the gas line.  It was a small issue, one quickly resolved but it meant that we were all home for the day, an unlikely occurrence. We had food we intended to donate to the local animal shelter and now had the time to do it. I checked the computer for address and hours of operation for the Montgomery County Humane Society.

There on the website was a picture that riveted me.  Up for adoption, dog 151 who looked remarkably like Winston.  I tucked that picture into my head, gathered up the food and we left for the shelter.  I checked in and we waited for our name to be called to state our business.  Upon hearing my name, I approached the desk and they gave me a slip, asked what dog I wanted to see and directed me to the back towards the kennels.  I didn’t correct them.

Through the door, past kennels full of dogs needing homes.  I averted my eyes, my heart sore.  We approached a cage, I looked down and nearly fainted.  There he stood, tail waving, face open and smiling, his entire body shaking in happiness – Dog 151.  He looked just like Winston, almost identical.  The attendant hooked him up to a leash and we took him outside, all the while telling us he just came in yesterday.  He was neutered, 4 years old, and had been rehomed twice.  We looked at him, he looked at us, and I heard myself saying “we want him, we want to adopt him”.  There was never a moments hesitation.

She handed us a slip of paper.  How can something so flimsy carry such weight?  It meant that he was taken.  How I hated leaving him there in the kennels while the routine paperwork had to be filed.

There were pages to fill out, and pages of information about him to be received.  Instead of having to wait for an interview, somehow someone was available to interview us immediately instead of the usual waiting period.  We sat and waited for our name to be called,  looking over the paperwork.  I was focused on the staff,  when I heard my name called out.

“Melanie, his name is Winston.”

“What?”

“His name is Winston!!!!!”

Disbelieving, I looked at the paper she was holding up.  There, plain as day, next to the name for the dog being given up was the word Winston.  Dog 151 was Winston.   The tears that had been threatening from the moment I saw him spilled over.  The staff asked about the tears and the story of Winston poured out.  Even they thought the series of events unlikely.  The wonderful person who was our adoption counselor. Addie Soares who interviewed us had Winston brought in and he was as much a part of the interview process as we were. Sitting at our feet, body wagging a mile a minute, it was clear to all we were a family.  We talked some more and then she asked if we wanted to take him home today.  The answer was a resounding “yes”.

We had been warned he would likely bolt because of past issues so they gave us all new tags, harness and collar.  We keep a leash in the car just in case a dog needs to be rescued.  Out to the jeep we went.  Winston took one look at the car and leaped for the seat.  The ride home was a breeze as he sat safe and interested in my lap.  Then we were home.  Questions formed in my mind.  What would Willow and Kirby think?

I shouldn’t have worried. Willow kissed him, and Winston kissed her back.  Kirby came running up, happy to greet him.  Turns out Winston was just as overjoyed to see Kirby.  We employed the usual tactics to introduce new dogs to each other but really we needn’t have bothered.  Much sniffing ensued, much licking ensured, much peeing ensued, and they were fine.  So were we, again.

Now we are all ensconced on the bed, watching The Voice, and the dogs are sleeping peacefully next to us on the bed as well.  This is why king sized beds were invented.  Winston’s feet are moving in his sleep, his brows moving in tandem.  His slumber is full of dreams. Willow is curled up on her pillow and Kirby is doing his normal imitation of a teenage boy, unmoving and splayed out.  We are at peace, and we are whole once more.

There are certainly differences between them as it should be.  One is not the other.  One is not the replacement for the other, and their differences are to be celebrated.  This Winston has a long undocked tail, and a wide open personality.  This Winston lacks the arduous back history of my other Winston.  That Winston was wary of new circumstances, never taking treats or unfamiliar food.  This Winston took two treats immediately and then looked for more.  But there are also similarities.  The huge personality that says I will not give in, that persistent nature, hearty spirit and indomitable soul.

He is sleeping on his back now, at ease in posture and attitude.  Winston knows he is home.

They had asked us if we intended to keep the name Winston.  I looked at him, and thought of all the things that came together for us to become a family, and replied “yes, that is his name.”  He is Winston, a different Winston but Winston none the less.  Different but equal.

A song is sung, a wing beats on the wind, a direction is chosen, ripples form and a dog comes home just as another leaves.  Who is to say how these patterns are formed, and the paths chosen?   Somehow I know this was meant to be and Winston is smiling down upon us.  I will always love my Winston and miss him.  I will celebrate and welcome this Winston’s homecoming.

One is mourned and one is found.  A home is made whole as is a heart.  I swear I hear a song and a bark in the air…..

Here is Winston finally in his forever home.WinstonII asleep

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 14:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Cover Reveal for LOVE TIMES FIVE by Lily G Blunt

Monday, January 15:

  • Review Tour – Lost In Time – A.L. Lester
  • BLITZ Beneath the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • BLITZ Life After Humanity by Gillian St. Kevern
  • A Caryn Review: Lost In Time by A.L. Lester
  • A Stella Review: Friends and Lovers by Tinnean
  • An Ali Review:  A Purple Winter by Mel Bossa

Tuesday, January 16:

  • Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Jeff Adams and Will Knauss VIDEO
  • DSP GUEST POST BA TORTUGA ON Fighting Addiction
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fighting Addiction (Fighting Addiction) by B.A. Tortuga
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke

Wednesday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal for Selina Kray’s In Wild Lemon Groves
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for Tribute Act by Joanna Chambers
  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology
  • An Ali Review: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry
  • A MelanieM Review:  Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Stella Review:The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee

Thursday, January 18:

  • DSP Promo Amy Spector
  • Release Day Blitz A Way with You by Lane Hayes
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Romantic Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Julia Review :Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills by Liv Olteano
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)
  • A Stella Pre Release Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and J.H. Knight

Friday, January 19:

  • Book Blast – The Loss of Self – An Intimate Autobiography by Alek Martin
  • Release Blitz – The Station – Keira Andrews
  • Review Tour – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) – V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review: Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: An Amy Lane Christmas by Amy Lane (bundle)

Saturday, January 20:

  • A MelanieM Review: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker