Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring

 

I don’t know how many of you are fans of the book by Neil Gaiman or show based on it, American Gods, but the weather the nation has been having this past week has called to mind one scene from last season’s finale, when the goddess Ostara, provoked or encouraged (depending on how you look at it) by the god Wednesday, reminds those partying around her of her true origins and power with catastrophic results… removing Spring’s bounty and renewal from the lands….  setting off a withering landscape and the onset of winter.

I think it was watching that weather map showing a “bomb cyclone” sweeping across the Midwest bringing hurricane force winds and blizzards so unexpectedly, while here in Maryland we were experiencing 65 to 70 degrees of Spring.  It was Spring as its most turbulent, violent, and yet weirdly warm and calm state.  It just depended where you lived.  And yes, I do know its due to climate change.

But it did draw my mind back to that scene and to the goddess Ostara.

Ostara, or Eostre or Eastre, she has many names, the goddess of Spring.  She is responsible for the renewal of the earth each year after winter, the bringer of Spring, the symbol of fertility and birth.  Yes, rabbits (those reproducing, repopulating stars) are her symbols.  She has been pictured with a rabbit’s head but more often with them at her side.  They are the reason we now have the Easter Bunny, same with Easter Eggs.  All due to her, Eostre or Eastre.  Or Ostara.

She’s been on my mind a lot, for many reasons.  The Spring equinox approaches on the 21st, a new season of American Gods has started, and all around me, from my backyard to the news I have reminders of just how wild and unpredictable nature and Spring can be at times.

At night I’ve heard both the calls of wild geese migrating and the sound of a barred owl so out of season….must be a youngster trying to find his voice.

But it’s a reminder that rebirth can be a wild and tumultuous time.  That renewal isn’t always peaceful and calm, that wild winds and blizzards can herald the arrival of Spring just as often as the call of the bluebird.

Something to remember when pondering that Easter bunny.

Kristin Chenoweth as Ostara in American Gods

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 17:

  • Of Wild Weather, Eostre and Spring. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Book Blitz – LA Bryce – The Forever Kind Of Love

Monday, March 18:

  • Release Blitz – Rewind by Rowan Shaw
  • Release Blitz – Jeanne Marcella – The Demon Lord Of California
  • Review Tour – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Blue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed
  • A Caryn Review Shadows On The Border (Lost In Time #2) by A.L. Lester
  • A MelanieM Review: No Big Deal (#lovehim #1.5) by S.M. James

Tuesday, March 19:

  • Release Blitz ALL SOULS NEAR & NIGH (SOULBOUND #2) by Hailey Turner
  • Release Blitz – TL Travis’ A Heart Divided
  • Blog Tour – Marked by J. Jay Barrett
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Whiskey to Wine (Leaning N #3) by BA Tortuga
  • A Free Dreamer Release Day Review: I’m Not Who You Think I Am by Felicitas Ivey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Lord to Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

Wednesday, March 20:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan
  • Book Blitz  Tour Request – Elin Gregory – Midnight Flit
  • BLOG TOUR Wicked Games by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Lucy Review : The Forever Kind Of Love by LA Bryce
  • A Jeri Review Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: In Safe Hands by Victoria Sue

Thursday, March 21:

  • Book Blast – An Extra Alpha (Pine Wood Falls #2) by Sarah Havan
  • DSP PROMO Felicitas Ivey on I’m Not Who You Think I Am
  • PROMO BA Tortuga on Whiskey to Wine
  • An Alisa Review: How Not To Sin by Susan Hawke
  • A Stella Review: Brush Strokes by E.S. Karlquist
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Kennard’s Story (Cronin’s Key #4) by N.R. Walker

Friday, March 22:

  • Review Tour –  A Body In A Bathhouse by Brad Shreve
  • Review Tour – Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • Blog Tour for A Broken Promise by Mel Gough
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Apple Boy (The Quiet Work #1) by Isobel Starling
  • An Alisa Review: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • A Caryn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Black (Kitty Play Romance) by Quin Perin

Saturday, March 23:

Release Blitz Memory of Scorpions Series by Aleksandr Voinov

 

 

An Ali Review: Lunar New Love by Casper Graham

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Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Vincent Yang is thankful to David, his best friend, for being a nosy matchmaker. David introduces him to Anthony Lim, and there’s an instant attraction and chemistry between them. Not only is Anthony good-looking and sexy, the man is also the successful owner of a popular bakery. Vincent agrees to a date with Anthony without any hesitation.

One date leads to another, and before he knows it, the two of them are officially together. They have so much in common, especially when they find out about both their respective families being less than pleased about their sexual orientation. Their relationships with their families take a turn for the worse a few days before Lunar New Year. Now, both of them have no families to celebrate the holiday with. It’s both heart-breaking and stressful.

Can Vincent and Anthony’s relationship survive the holiday season?

I am always looking for new to me authors so I decided to give this a try.  I was excited to see that the main characters were people of color.  Once I started reading it though, the book didn’t really work.  The writing style was not for me.  I had a very hard time connecting to either of the MC’s and I was not feeling the connection between them. I wasn’t really sure what they saw in each other.
I appreciated the Asian characters and the Lunar New Year holiday as fresh topics for a romance story but unfortunately nothing else about this book worked for me.
Cover art:  The cover is average.  The models on the cover due match the book’s descriptions of the characters but overall it doesn’t really stand out.
Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC  | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 122 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ISBN 139781634868495

In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artwork by Paul Richmond

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond

 

Whether it be firebirds, fairies, pinup boys during the holidays, or dragons among the stars, Paul Richmond‘s covers have never failed to fire our imaginations, heat up our libidos, or just plain make us laugh.  Often glorious in color, sweeping in composition and style, there is just something so amazing, so special, so well, Paul Richmond about everything he does that it’s so easy to pick out a Paul Richmond cover by their distinctive artwork.

I regularly haunt his website to see what new original paintings he has finished so I can gawk and sigh over the  sheer vibrancy and beauty each conveys.  I recommend you all do the same.  You can find his website along with all his media connections below.

For his covers?  Well, they are so many.  From all the R Cooper Being(s) in Love Series (a favorite of mine) to T.J. Klune, to the many Advent Calendar stories to a multitude to authors in between, Paul Richmond has done covers for them all.  I’m only sorry we have room for so few.

I am delighted that Paul was able to take time out of his hugely busy schedule  to answer our questions about being an artist, book covers and much more.  I hope you enjoy his insights.  Here is Paul Richmond, up close and personal!

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Paul Richmond…

 

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

I can never predict how long a cover will take because there are a lot of variables that affect it. I do always like to show multiple drafts and work closely with the author to ensure that the cover is a good fit for the story they’ve written.

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

When I first started doing covers, most of mine were hand-painted, but the trends in our genre have shifted a bit and now I find myself doing mostly photo-based covers except for an occasional fantasy/sci-fi where illustration is still prevalent. Even though a photo-based cover uses stock images, I still consider them to be works of original art because there is often a large amount of photo-manipulation work that gets done in order to make the composite image cover-worthy. Ultimately, no matter how a cover was made, I think the most important thing is how effectively it draws in new potential readers.

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

I work closely with authors because their input is invaluable in the process. I will also make suggestions if they are presenting a concept that won’t work well on a cover. Simple, bold covers work best and sometimes it is necessary to edit down a concept in order to make it work well as a cover image. It’s important to me and everyone at Dreamspinner that authors are happy with their covers and that we create covers that are going to help their books reach new readers.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

My friend Jane Seville was having a book (Zero at the Bone) published by Dreamspinner and she asked me to illustrate the cover. I studied illustration in college and did a lot of freelance work so it was a natural fit. Dreamspinner liked the cover and asked if I’d like to do more. Now I work full time as their Associate Art Director.

What mediums do you use?  

Originally I did my covers as oil paintings, and gradually shifted to working in Photoshop. It’s easier to make changes and more efficient overall. Plus the tools have been greatly enhanced to allow so many different styles of covers to be created digitally.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve enjoyed all the covers I’ve had the privilege of making, but some of the ones I look forward to the most are the annual Advent anthologies because I get to paint my Cheesecake Boys pinups into hilarious holiday scenes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

We have so many wonderful cover artists working with us at Dreamspinner I couldn’t possibly pick one favorite. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the diverse styles and creativity of all our artists.

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

Yes, books were a huge part of my childhood. I was always reading and always dreaming of making books myself one day. I won a local art competition as a kid and used my $25 earnings to buy a toy typewriter that I used to “make books.” This was always something I wanted to do.

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

I love art that tells stories, so it is really fun for me to learn about the concept of a novel and then work out how to relay a glimpse of that narrative visually.

For  Cover Artist:

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

I think the role of a book cover is to entice readers, tease them with imagery that suggests the narrative of the story and make them want to start reading.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Simplicity of imagery and clarity of text is very important now because most readers will first interact with a cover as a small thumbnail image as they scroll through covers digitally. If it doesn’t grab them at that scale and entice them to click, it might get passed by.

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.)

Photo-based covers are the norm now in most genres. Striking, simple imagery with bold, clean text is also important. In gay fiction, readers are tired of the two-models-cut-out-over-a-landscape look, especially when it’s obvious that the two models were shot separately because they are in different lighting scenarios. If there are multiple models, the interaction or connection between them needs to be believable. And single model covers often work really well too. 

How do you feel about them?

I like the way our covers are evolving, especially as readership continues to grow and we see gay fiction being added to more mainstream bookshelves.

 

Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director

About the Artist
Paul Richmond is an internationally recognized visual artist and activist whose career has included exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States as well as publication in numerous art journals and anthologies. His work is collected by individuals around the globe. In his role as the Associate Art Director for Dreamspinner Press and their young adult imprint, Harmony Ink Press, he has created over four hundred novel cover illustrations. He is a co-founder of the You Will Rise Project, an organization that empowers those who have experienced bullying to speak out creatively through art. He lives with his husband Dennis in Monterey, California. He works and teaches at Open Ground Studios in Seaside. 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/paulrichmondstudi

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Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director
Dreamspinner Press – Where Dreams Come True…
International publishers of quality gay romantic fiction since 2007
DSP Publications – Off the Beaten Path. Worth the Journey.
Harmony Ink Press – LGBTQ+ Teen and New Adult Fiction

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!
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
Until next week, happy reading and listening!  Here is our schedule at the blog this week.  Enjoy

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, March 3:

  • Series Review Tour – Pros & Cons by A.E. Wasp
  • In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • An Alisa Review: Learning Trust (The Knights Club Series#3) by CJ Baty
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Review:To Be Honest (#lovehim #2) by S.M. James

Monday, March 4:

  • PROMO Andi Van on Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3)
  • Review Tour – Chris Quinton’s The Fall Guy
  • Review Tour –  – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote
  • A Lucy Review The 13th Month (Calendar Men #13) by Bailey Bradford
  • An Alisa Review Polar Opposites by Cheyenne Meadows
  • A Stella Review : The Fall Guy by Chris Quinton
  • A MelanieM Review The Rising by Morgan Brice

Tuesday, March 5

  • Release Blitz Order (Tattoos and Ties Duet, Book 2) by Kindle Alexander
  • Release Blitz  – Bitten By Fate – Annabelle Jacobs
  • Cover Reveal – Black by Quin Perin
  • A Alisa Release Day Review:  Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3) by Andi Van
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

Wednesday, March 6:

  •  Review Tour – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  • Review Tour – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey”
  • Release Blitz Request – K.A. Merikan – In The Arms Of The Beast
  • Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • An Alisa Review Shadowmancer (Paladin Charm #1) by Devin Harnois
  • A Stella Release Day Review: A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • A MelanieM Review : Touch Of A Yellow Sun by V.L. Locey

Thursday, March 7:

  • Release Blitz – Broken by Colette Davison
  • Review Tour – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • Bru Baker on Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)
  • An Alisa Review Coming Out (The Knights Club Series#4) by CJ Baty
  • An Ashlez Review: Broken by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Freckles by Amy Lane
  • A Melanie Review : Murder at Oakschott Hall by Jim Austen

Friday, March 8:

  • Review Tour – Anna Martin – Helix
  • Release Day for First Strike – Book 3 in the Dragon War Chronicles series by AG Carothers
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns & WM Fawkes – Prince Of Death
  • An Alisa Review: Finding Forgiveness (The Knights Club #5) by CJ Baty
  • A Free Dreamer Review: First Strike – Book 3 in the Dragon War Chronicles by AG Carothers
  • A Caryn Review :Helix by Anna Martin

Saturday, March 9:

  • Release Blitz – Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3) by A E Ryecart
  • Release Blitz – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by  Jay Northcote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A MelanieM Review: A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 5 stars for the contemporary story, 1 star for the supernatural story.  Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5

 

Seven-year-old Markie is determined to shine this Christmas. He’s decided his light can’t be hidden any longer, but not everyone in his life is supportive.

This Christmas, he’s looking for a miracle. Maybe if the family’s Nativity can host a miracle, then it might spill over onto him and his family.

For me, A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz is absolutely two short stories, one of which is unnecessary and in a Twilight Zone sort of way, will forever be that question mark dangling around narratively speaking.  The other?  An amazingly beautiful story about love and acceptance.

Why, oh why, I lament, did someone not pull them apart or say, hey, let’s just concentrate on that treasure of a child, Markie?

Because that’s where all of this story belongs.  On a broken family at Christmas time, a genderfluid child at  the heart of the shattered mess of a family   because his father couldn’t accept his child and the changes Markie was going through.  Lorenz brings Markie delightfully to life, we feel the joy in finding and buying “the one” dress for Christmas, the fear and doubt instilled by the father due to past arguments and loud disapproval.  And we get the fiercely loyal and protective mother and sister, who are loving and supportive of Markie while dealing with their own anger and pain.

This story?  Beautiful, heartwarming, and  all kinds of perfect.  Just like Markie.  Lynn Lorenz can write kids that melt your heart and this one is  no exception.  Love this whole part of this short story.

Ok, then on to the weirdness.

So there’s this Nativity that Markie likes to play with, and Markie makes up this story about a wise man in love with the shepherd, gives them names and, boom, in a Christmas Miracle, they come alive.  But only at night.  We see and hear them so they become real to the readers as well.  And of course they move around the Nativity, because , hey, real now.  When found in different places, who gets blamed and called a liar?  Markie, which I hated.  That’s never cleared up.  Because it’s never shown that Markie brought them to life, while showing the reader that he did.

It gets worse.  We know that they are alive.  No one else does.  And we know nothing else about that.  Nothing about a time frame etc.   Just that they are alive.   Guess what happens to Nativity scenes after Christmas is over?  Yep.  But they are alive….no matter here come the boxes….

Is that creepy music I hear start to play as the lid comes down and the screams start?  Why is this even part of the story?  Or why didn’t the author do a better job is explaining what does happen to the little alive people?   Unreal.  For me they keep waking up in a box in the dark for a year til next Christmas.  Talk about your nightmares.

This was so unnecessary next to Markie’s story that glowed.  I love Markie but guess what part of the story I remember. Yep. That box and the little shepherd and his boyfriend the wise man.

So if you want to skip over small chapters about Nativity scenes and keep just to Markie, then yes, I recommend this.  But in no way, should you read the entire book.  Not unless you have a really warped sense of humor.  Then be my guest.

Cover art: Kris Jacen. Lovely job of conveying the warmth and glow of the holidays.

Sales Links: MLR Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 65 pages
Published December 28th 2018 by MLR Press
ISBN13 9781641222198
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Temporary Dad (Bad Valentine #4) by Dev Bentham

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Nick Compton owns a small but mighty fashion magazine. He already has enough on his plate, between work and, well, work. There’s no room for a kid in his life but when his sister drops her seven-year-old daughter for an extended stay, he has to figure it out. Just before his niece arrives, Nick meets a blazing hot firefighter. They get on like a house a fire and the sex—scorching. Too bad the he disappeared in the morning. Like smoke. Now Nick’s stuck with a kid he doesn’t know how to manage and without the man he’d love to get his hands on again.

Dylan Gil wishes like hell he hadn’t taken his roommates advice and lied about who he was. He’s finally met someone he really likes and can’t stop thinking about. But now he’s too embarrassed to confess that he’s just a second-grade teacher, not a manly firefighter. Good thing that work gets distracting, particularly when one of his brightest students goes to stay with her uncle and all hell breaks loose. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to have kids.

If the term “dad pants” means anything it’s that taking care of children and fashion aren’t compatible. Does that mean these two doomed? Or is this the beginning of forever?

Nick gets thrown in the deep end taking care of his niece and while it helped the story I couldn’t help but think how irresponsible it was for his sister to not explain anything to him.  When Dylan and Nick meet again they are both surprised, for different reasons.

It broke my heart to see Nick realize that he was causing problems for his niece when he had no idea but I loved that Dylan was willing to step up and help, even if he thought he would never be more than a friend.  I loved Nick’s surprise at the end for Dylan.

The cover art by Jordan Castillo Price is cute and I like how the series all go together but not at the same time.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 81 pages

Publication: February 1, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Bad Valentine #4

Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Cover Art by Reese Dante

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante

When people ask me to name favorite cover artists, Reese Dante’s name pops immediately into my mind.  Over countless stories, from Amy Lane to Mary Calmes to T.J. Klune to C.S. Poe and so many other authors, there has been one stunning cover after another.  These book covers offer an amazing arrange of tone, coloration, composition, and even style depending upon the needs of the author and novel.  But they never fail to pull you in, hold your eye, make you linger over the artwork, and then want to read the story within.

These covers are gorgeous, compelling, and often magic.

Reese Dante’s designs can run from singular images to complicated forms and everything in between.  From explosions of color to subtle hued covers in greys and whites, both carrying an impact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn’t wait to hear Reese’s answers to our questions.  So on to our interview.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Artist Reese Dante!

Thank you so much for the invite!

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

That varies with each assignment. Image hunting is extremely time consuming, especially when character modifications are required. But once I have the images selected for a project and know all the character changes needed/requested, I move rather quickly through the design process. Start to finish (including finding the right pics to work with) can take anywhere between a few hours to a full week or more. Again, it all depends on the project.

How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?

Most of my work involves photo manipulation. I would say about 80-90% of my covers use licensed stock material as a starting point. There are times when I can’t find a resource I need or I’m just too stubborn and want to incorporate something specific. In those instances, I digitally paint what’s needed (such as a tattoo design element, a piece of missing clothes, etc).

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

That varies with each assignment and client. With publishers, there are house styles to consider and some are more restrictive than others regarding the level of input to incorporate. For my non-publisher work, all assignments begin with a spec completed by the author. The responses address a mix of questions about their story (characters, tone, time period, design preferences, etc). Some authors start the process knowing exactly what they want while others give me total creative freedom. Even with that creative freedom, the idea is sparked from something the author noted in a response. And ultimately, the tone and theme in their story determines the colors and style I use to finish off a design.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

Years ago, one of my friends needed a cover for a poetry book and asked me to design the cover. When he published his second poetry book, he asked me to design the cover for that one as well. I enjoyed the process and it was a welcome escape from my corporate office job. Some time later, another author friend asked me to design a cover for his first book, and I agreed. After he published his story, word started spreading and I received requests from other authors. One cover led to another and so on.

What mediums do you use?

I would be lost without Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I also use a mix of software for my vector and illustration work. And when push comes to shove, I revert to my older drawing days and sketch something out with pencil then scan it in.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. 🙂 In truth, there are too many and for different reasons (the author, the story, elements of the piece, or the overall experience). Some designs have challenged me to try new techniques and illustrate something original. While others provided a creative outlet to help me cope while dealing with something personal in life. I have many favorites, whether the author knows it or not.

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

There are tons of cover artists who create beautiful covers and some are truly gifted in what they can do with their creativity. I have favorite artists for different reasons and specialties. It’s impossible to pick one. Some have a gift for using vivid colors, digital drawings that leap off the page, and some can make something so simple look absolutely breathtaking.

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

As a book cover designer, I do look at other covers in order to determine market trends for the various genres.

As a child, I spent more time watching movies than I did reading books. 🙂 I was obsessed with movie posters while growing up. When I was a teenager, I reached out to two store owners who received promo items for movies they were selling or renting at the time. When they cycled through movie posters and promos, rather than throw them out, they would give them to the nagging teenager (*me*). My bedroom walls were wallpapered by movie posters—even the ceiling (I did mention I was obsessed). So I can easily say movie posters are a huge influence on my work.

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

So many things. I get to do what I love and I’m forever grateful. The creative freedom feeds my soul and the author squee is priceless. There’s nothing more exciting than an author telling me I’ve nailed their character or story on the design.

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

Do you realize how much you obsess with details?

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

Unless you’re an auto-buy author for the reader, the book cover is a critical marketing piece. The cover is the first encounter a reader has with any story when book shopping. Its job is to entice the reader to stop and take a closer look at the book.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Book covers are still important when book shopping. With the dominance of eBook formats, book covers now need to show well as B&W images and at thumbnail size, more so than a printed paperback on a bookshelf.

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.)

Trends cycle (and sometimes recycle) and vary by genre. Whether it’s a cropped face or naked torso, there’s a recent push toward single model covers.

How do you feel about them?

I don’t have an issue with single model covers (or any trend) if it fits the character and/or story.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. And thank you for all the amazing comments, gifs, and messages over the years. ❤

For more of Reese Dante’s artist, don’t forget to check out her website and the portfolio.  You will recognize many of your favorite stories and covers there!  I’ve only given you all a tiny sampling here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more about Reese Dante, visit

Reese Dante | Book Cover Artist & Designer

 

 

Original drawing by the artist

About the Artist

Art has always been a part of my life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve loved art. There wasn’t a safe piece of paper in my home. I doodled everywhere and everything…papers, magazines, envelopes, brother’s homework. Then I started sketching people. I’d go through a magazine and rip out ads, preferably in color, then try to redraw them in a pencil sketch. I’d obsess until I thought it was just as strong as the color photo.

I’m a perfectionist and enjoy a challenge.

I’ve drawn and designed for years, but my first professional logo was used in 1991 for a community development and my first (published) book cover design appeared in 2005. I hold both a BBA with a specialization in Marketing and an MBA. After working for a national corporation in a marketing position for 15½ years handling all creative aspects of the company, I realized it just wasn’t enough…something was missing. The day-to-day slowly overpowered the creative elements of the job until there was nothing left but management tasks and responsibilities. I realized I enjoyed art a little too much to let it go. I started actively designing book cover art in December 2009 to fuel my creative need. People began asking about my covers and availability (thank you – I am forever grateful). I am now a full-time book cover artist and designer, using my marketing background to create art that grabs the reader’s attention. And I’ve never been happier.

My only regret…not having started this sooner.

As a teenager, my walls were covered by movie posters.  Maybe it’s subliminal after staring at movie posters for so many years.  I don’t know, but I do love a good story, especially those told in a picture.

Reese Dante
Book Cover Art & Design
rdante@reesedante.com
reesedante.com

Twitter: @ReeseDante
Facebook

I hope everyone enjoyed this week’s spotlight with Reese Dante. Next week Paul Richmond will be visiting with us. It has been a joy getting to know her further.  Please check out more of her artwork and stories at her website listed above.

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!
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
Until next week, happy reading and listening!  Here is our schedule at the blog this week.  Enjoy!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 24:

  • Artist Spotlight: Reese Dante. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Ties of Destiny by Caitlin Taylor Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Letting Go (The Knights Club Series#2) by CJ Baty

Monday, February 25:

  •  PROMO Empire of Light by Alex Harrow
  • BLITZ Severed by Shona Husk
  • Blog Tour Post for A New Life by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review: Fire and Ink by KL Noone
  • A VVivacious Review Snowed In: Nen and Anani by Nell Iris
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Magic Runs Deep by Alex Whitehall  and Adam R Watson (Narrator)
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Case of the Arms Dealers (Kanaan & Tilney #1) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne

Tuesday, February 26:

  • Release Blitz – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Release Blitz – Anna Martin – Helix
  • ECHOES by LA Ashton Promotion
  • DSP POMO Cooper West on Mixed Signals
  • A VVivacious Release Day Review: Helix by Anna Martin
  • A MelanieM PRErelease Review: Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Treasure by Megan Derr

Wednesday, February 27:

  • Release Blitz – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  •  PROMO Emory Schneider
  • Cover Reveal – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Skin and Bone (Digging Up Bones #2) by TA Moore
  • A MelanieM Review: Echoes by LA Ashton
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Concatenation (Lost in Translation #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Milo by Lily Morton

Thursday, February 28:

  • Release Blitz, and Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • Cover Reveal – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • COVER REVEAL Becoming D’Vaire by Jessamyn Kingley
  • An Alisa Review Temporary Dad (Bad Valentine #4) by Dev Bentham
  • An Alisa Review:All He Needs (My Truth #1) by Ann Grech
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Empire of Light(Voyance #1) by Alex Harrow

Friday, March 1:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Demon on the Down-Low by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – DJ Jamison – Rapid Response
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Ostakis by Angelica Primm
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review Lord Seabolt (Four Families #2)by Megan Derr
  • A MelanieM Review A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz

Saturday, March 2:

  •  Release Blitz and Review Tour – Brigham Vaughn – The Ghosts Between Us
  • Redeem by Christina Lee Release Blitz
  • A Stella Review – The Ghosts Between Us(The West Hills #1) by Brigham Vaughn
  • A MelanieM Review:That Feeling When (#lovehim #1) by S.M. James

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

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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

An Alisa Review: Hidden Hearts (Bad Valentine #3) by Clare London

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Accident-prone Ethan has a dating history that reads like a disaster movie script. Strong and silent Kel can’t seem to master the necessary small-talk on a proper date. When they both get signed up anonymously for a Valentines’s night event—”for those with an adventurous spirit but an open diary”—they never imagined they’d be matched. They never imagined the romantic sparks would fly. To be honest, they never imagined they’d survive the week.

A catalogue of disasters dogs the footsteps of their blossoming romance, including a coffee date with food allergies as an added extra, an intimate dinner that strays too close for comfort to chopped chillies, and a sensual massage with hot wax candles that threatens to alert the local fire brigade.

But if they can hold tight to their sweet, surprising, yet single-minded attraction – they might just survive this Valentine’s Day with something very special to look forward to.

Oh gosh, I loved this story.  Ethan isn’t who Kel would have usually gone for but they connected immediately on their blind date.  Kel is everything Ethan has dreamed about but never thought he could have.

I liked how this was a bit opposites attract but they connected so beautifully.  I loved how Kel didn’t even blink at Ethan’s clumsiness and wouldn’t let it scare him away.  And the best part an epilogue, it always wraps a story up nicely to me.

The cover art by Jordan Castillo Price is cute and I love the visual of Ethan.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 68 pages

Publication: February 1, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Bad Valentine #3

Release Blitz and Giveaway for My Anti-Valentine Collection by DJ Jamison

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

My Anti-Valentine: Jaded by relationships gone wrong, Bret throws an anti-Valentine’s Day party to celebrate being single and burn his ex-boyfriends’ belongings. Bret’s low interest in sex has destroyed every relationship he’s had and tarnished his view of romance, but a cute blond guy at the party who says all the wrong things inspires him to hope for more.


My Anti-Boyfriend: Brad has everyone fooled. He’s the casual, sexy friend. The fun-time guy who sleeps around. Except not really. There’s one man who holds his heart: his best friend — with benefits — Riley. Too bad Riley has no interest in a relationship, and as far as Brad can tell, never will. But once Brad acknowledges his feelings for Riley, he can’t continue to ignore them. Riley’s days of having his cake and eating it too are over. Then again, maybe Brad is tasty enough to keep a man satisfied.


My Anti-Marriage: Love has never been a good bet for Chris, so going on a Vegas wedding trip for his friends is bittersweet. Especially when Ant, the last man to break his trust, is suddenly along for the ride. Which explains why Chris wakes up in his hotel room with the mother of all hangovers. Not so much why Ant is in his bed … or worse, wearing a matching wedding band.

 

EXCERPT FROM MY ANTI-VALENTINE


Bret pointed an accusing finger. “No couples! This is anti-Valentine’s Day. You can take your cards and your candies and your flowers and go to one of the bajillion places celebrating loooove tonight.”


“Ew, no,” Darla said with a laugh. “Harry is my cousin, not my boyfriend. I wouldn’t break your rules, anti-love guru!”


Bret did love the name Harry, mostly when applied to a boy wizard with a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. He gave Harry another onceover, noticing his sky-blue eyes and perfect cheekbones. Nope. Still didn’t like him, especially the frown that was twisting his features.


“Someone must have done a number on you,” he said.


Bret bristled. “Why do you say that?”


“I mean, to be this bitter about Valentine’s Day? It’s hard to imagine you really hate the commercialism of the holiday that much. I bet if you had a girlfriend it would be a different story.”


Bret rolled his eyes. “It really wouldn’t. Romance is a manufactured concept, you realize that, right? You might love someone, but if you do, you should appreciate them every day, not once a year with the most predictable gifts ever. That’s without even getting into the origins of Valentine’s and how very un-romantic it actually is.”


Darla grabbed a drink from the counter and swatted Bret’s butt playfully. “I’m going to leave you boys to it. If you get over your romance phobia, Harry’s on the market, and he hasn’t landed a nice guy in ages, so he’s pretty much a sure thing.”


“Darla!” Harry shouted after her, his cheeks turning bright red. “What the hell? Jesus, that’s not how I usually …”


“What?” Bret asked, feeling uncomfortable.


He’d thought he was engaging in friendly debate with a straight guy, only to discover he’d been bantering with someone cute, available, and gay. And that wasn’t at all the point of this party.


“Um, you know. Tell people I’m gay, or that I’m available. I definitely try not to go the ‘I’m so desperate I’ll take anyone route,’ but Darla seems to have taken care of that for me.”


He cracked a smile. It was crooked, a smidge embarrassed, and way too charming for Bret’s well-being.


“I’m not interested,” Bret said stiffly. “This is an anti—”


“I know!” Harry said, holding up his hands. “I’m not actually desperate.”


Bret stopped short, frowning. Was Harry implying he’d have to be desperate to like Bret? Ouch. He wasn’t Abercrombie and Fitch material like Harry, but he didn’t think he was that bad.


“That came out wrong,” Harry rushed to say. “You’re cute in that nerdy hipster way.”


“Unbelievable,” Bret muttered under his breath.


“I mean it,” Harry said, misunderstanding the reason for Bret’s shutdown. “I would totally do you.”


Bret avoided his gaze. “Thanks, but no thanks.”


He made a quick exit from the kitchen, more than ready to get the real party started now that everyone had arrived.


“Hey, who wants to burn some shit?” he called out, grinning when a round of cheers went up.


EXCERPT FROM MY ANTI-BOYFRIEND


Brad had everyone fooled.


He wore his sexuality like a disguise. The short shorts, making his ass look fine and flashing perfectly tanned skin 12 months a year? The mesh shirts, the halter tops, the extra-tight T-shirts that showed his lithe form and nipple rings? Yeah. It was all the equivalent of his bat ears, cape and tights.


Well, tights worked for every disguise. But that wasn’t the point, he reminded himself. It’s just that tights can be so distracting, and Brad — like a playful kitten — could be easily distracted by shiny objects or balls of … well, not yarn. More like balls of Riley.


Too bad he couldn’t fool himself.


Brad watched Riley grinding on another slender guy with platinum blond hair and sultry lips on the dance floor of Club Ozone. A guy who wasn’t him. And his heart panged.


Fucking panged.


He threw back another shot to drown that feeling ASAP and flashed a grin at the two guys at the table with him.


He’d come out with his regular circle of friends. For the past few years, he’d met up with Riley, Chris and Harry for a few drinks before they each went out to pick up a man. Then Harry met Bret, his boyfriend of a little more than a year now, and he gave up their regular nights out.


Tonight, he and his boyfriend were both there, having been guilted to attend, so Brad had to put on a cheerful face. Just one more element of his disguise.


“You guys ready to get your dance on?”


Harry looked at Bret, and his boyfriend shrugged. Bret was a real cutie, and he could crack up a whole room at a board game night or house party, but put him around a bunch of sweaty, half-naked men and he went quiet.


“Maybe in a few,” Harry said with a smile.


He leaned in and kissed Bret’s cheek. Gag. Who needed that kind of affection, right?


Pang.
Brad jumped up. “Okay, party poopers. Catch you on the other side!”


He stormed onto the dance floor, ready to burn away his sudden onset of melancholy. A good adrenaline rush and an erection rubbing against his ass would take care of him in short order. After all, why should he care that Riley was sexing up his next conquest on the dance floor? That’s what he did. That’s what they both did.


They agreed years ago that hearts and flowers were not for them. They were friends, wingmen and occasional fuck buddies.


But that was all.


EXCERPT FROM MY ANTI-MARRIAGE


“We’ll take off the rings. Problem solved.”


“No, problem not solved. We’re still married.” Chris’s breathing sped up. “We have to undo it!”


Ant guided him to the bed and pushed him down on the edge. Squeezing his shoulders, he met Chris’s eye.


“Come on now. Maybe this isn’t what it looks like.”


Chris laughed harshly. “I know that line is like your bread and butter as a player, but it’s always what it fucking looks like. Why the fuck else would we be wearing wedding rings?”


“I don’t know,” Ant growled.


“Do you remember last night?”


“Some,” he said grudgingly. “I remember hitting every casino we passed on the strip and taking a few shots at each one. You were hell-bent on checking out wedding venues for Brad and Riley. Maybe we took that too far, huh?” Ant smiled wryly. “What about you?”


“Not much after you found me at the fountain,” Chris admitted. “You were playing the responsible sober guy card with me, trying to get me to go to dinner. So, how the hell did we end up here?”


“My guess? You were totally unreasonable,” Ant said.


Chris huffed. “Sure, it’s my fault. I made you follow me around like a muscled-up bodyguard.”


Ant rolled his eyes. They were getting off-track. “So, we both have a few memory gaps,” he said, massively understating the issue. “I’m sure I’ll remember eventually. Or you will.”


Chris sighed. “What now? Everyone’s waiting on us downstairs.”


Ant shook his head. “Brunch first. Try to act normal. No one has to know. Divorce can wait for dessert.”


“Annulment,” Chris corrected. “Annulment makes it like it never happened, right? I want that one.”

 

Author Bio


DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.

 

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An Alisa Review: Home is Where The Heart Is (Isle of Misfit Toys) by Pelaam

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

On the Island of Misfits, Artie waits. As a teddy bear toy, no one wanted him, and he yearns for love and his forever home. When finally taken back to the human world, Artie doesn’t find a child waiting to claim him. Instead he has a life he never dreamed of and a niece to care for as Christmas fast approaches.

He’s given an opportunity for love but only has until Christmas. If he fails, he’ll lose not only the memories of his past life, but the chance to be united with his soul mate.

In a magical antique shop, Artie finds the man of his dreams. With time running out can Artie not just have his own happy ever after but save the shop from the owner’s unscrupulous nephew.

This was a cute story.  I thought the idea of these were interesting, the toys have both a human and a toy body that they can in either at any time but not shifting just seemingly shifting consciousness.

I felt for Artie and how lonely he felt but loved how willingly he took the reins of the new life he is given.  Cody is so adorable sweet and it is wonderful that he had Jeremy to support him and that Artie came to help him too.  Chrissy was also so adorable, even though she wasn’t around that long.  I enjoyed this story but didn’t feel a lot of depth in it, it felt like a nice fluffy story which was perfect for me right now.

The cover art by Kris Jacen is nice and liked the visual of the characters and the all so important Christmas tree.

Sales Links: MLR Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 21,000 pages

Published: November 9, 2018 by MLR Books

ISBN: 978-1-6412-21924

Edition Language: English

Series: Isle of Misfit Toys