October’s Scary Joys and Frights! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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October’s Scary Joys and Frights!

This week’s topic came to me because one of my friends has been sending out pictures of her house that she’s getting ready for Halloween.  Now she and her family are renown for how their house shows.  It looks as though it was professionally knocked out and produced by someone in Hollywood.  Nope, just in the wonderfully warped brain by my friend and her family.  This year?  They are adding actors.  Most likely returned son and his soon to be husband lol.  People come from miles around to see her  place and trick or treat there.  And be scared the beejazus out of!    It takes months of  planning and they start over a month in advance to lay out the decorations and wiring.  It’s’ clearly a joy for all involved.  I’ll see if she posts a vid this year and bring it to you.

She’s not alone.

Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays in the U.S.  We decorate our houses, planning way in advance, and we plan, and coordinate our costumes too.  Parties galore happen all over the place, and streets like  Georgetown flow with Ironman and Scarlet Witch,  Thors and WonderWoman.  You name it, the costume is there, and probably some you can’t.  That’s great too.  People feel free to express themselves, free their imaginations…sometimes it’s much easier to be yourself under a wig and behind a mask  Took a turn there didn’t I?

The unexpected.  That’s always to be found at Halloween as well.  Never forget it’s origins.  More on that to come next Sunday.

Until then let’s enjoy people’s efforts to get into the spirit of Halloween this year.  Do you know someone who goes 100 percent when decorating for Halloween?  Are you one of those people?  I know I am!  And I need more pumpkins to carve…

Some of the readers recommendations for frightful reads?  Let’s see what they have in store for us!

From H.B.:

I don’t usually read horror or psychological thrillers. Those are things I rather watch. But I have read a few books that have ran chills down my spine:
The Rats by James Herbert
My Boyfriend’s Back by Elliot Cooper
Buried Desires 1-2 by Ofelia Gränd and Amy Spector
Silent Woods by Ofelia Gränd
The Deadly Sugar Collection by Ofelia Gränd
The Snowflake by Ofelia Gränd (will be in Buried Desire 3 releasing this week, which i received the ARC of)

I think a story that is written with an ominous tone and reference things like murder,death or torture as if it’s a everyday occurrence in people’s lives is chilling. If it becomes too gruesome it just becomes hard to read also.

From Purple Reader:

Boy, you really do like Oct; plenty of good ideas. As are the ones from H.B. Like H.B., I’ve not made my tbr-for-Oct list yet, but here are some more I’d rec from two authors you’ve mentioned:
If you like John Inman like I do, definitely rec Spirit, and:
– Sunset Lake
– The Boys on the Mountain
If you love Jordan L. Hawk like I do, also rec. Hainted, and:
– Restless Spirits (Spirits #1)
– Threshold (Whyborne & Griffin #2)

What makes a story go Boo for You?  And which ones have?

You have until the end of the month to get your recs into us.  I’m sure the authors and publishers will be releasing titles all month.  Let us know what new ones you find.  We will be doing the same.  Gift certs will be given out in our Horror or Boo For You Title Rec Giveaway!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 14:

  • Release Blitz: Orc Haven by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus
  • Blog Tour Savor Me (Kitchen Gods #3) by Beth Bolden
  • October’s Scary Joys and Frights!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 15:

  • Release Blitz Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • Release Blitz – – His To Save (The Candy Cane Club #2) by Ari McKay
  • Dreamspun Promo Cari Z. on Handle with Care
  • A VVivacious Review: Orc Haven by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus
  • A Lucy Review: Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) by Anyta Sunday
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Devil Take Me Anthology

Tuesday, October 16:

  • Release Day Blitz Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) by Anyta Sunday
  • Review Tour – Lone Wolf by Anna Martin
  • Promo BA Tortuga
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: Calculated Magic by SJD Peterson
  • A Lucy Release Day Review: Handle With Care by Cari Z
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Lincoln’s Park (Links In the Chain) by Parker Williams
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lone Wolf by Anna Martin

Wednesday, October 17:

  • Tour for Soulbound by Archer Kay Leah
  • Release Blitz – Roads Series by Garrett Leigh
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Baylin Crow – Fling
  • TOUR Leopold Author: M.D. Grimm
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Yakuza (Guns and Roses #1) by Lilia Blanc
  • A Lila Review: Rebuilding Hope (Kindred #1) by Jessie G.

Thursday, October 18:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • Review Tour Boy Shattered by Eli Easton
  • BLOG TOUR Commitment Collection Box Set by Karen Botha
  • Promo TOUR for Parker Williams and  Lincoln’s Park (Links In the Chain)
  • A Lucy Prerelease Review: Harmonious Hearts 2018
  • A Stella Review: Savor Me by Beth Bolden
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Boy Shattered by Eli Easton

Friday, October 19:

  • Review Tour – Sam Burns’ Adder and Willow
  • Release Blitz – Sarah Hadley Brook’s Gateway To Love
  • Promo BL Morticia
  • Harmony Promo Lou Hoffmann
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Gateway to Love by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • A Free Dreamer  Review: Adder and Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns
  • A Caryn Review:  Fireworks and Stolen Kisses (Lijun #1) by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay

Saturday, October 20:

  • Release Blitz Tour – Blake Moreno – Heat For Sale (writing Leta Blake) Signal Boost
  • A BeeJay Review: Escaping Solitude (Escape Trilogy #2) by Sara Dobie Bauer

 

 

 

What Makes A Scary Story? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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What Makes A Scary Story?

Is it an outright gore fest?  Or is it the chill that builds?  The scream that shatters the night?  Or the quiet that settles softly, quickly before it becomes apparent all noises have ceased…except for the sounds of someone breathing?

If you are talking about a romance with a touch of the dread, is one member of the couple in  danger or both? Contemporary, paranormal, supernatural or does it even matter?  Does it have clowns?  *Shudders*

What’s your cuppa chilling horror?  Do you even have one?

Mine have always been the latter, no not clowns, never clowns.  A twist on the normal where suddenly things are just a little bit off, then come a skittering of beetles….enough to send shivers up your spine but not enough to make you put down the story.  That’s why I have always loved the lyrical, almost poetic works like Lily or Earthly Concerns by Xavier Axelson where the horror is quiet and unearthly. Or The Reunion by M.D. Neu which layer by layer slowly unfolded a remarkable truth.

Other reviewers here  have loved the scary tales that John Inman has occasionally written.  Others fall into the shifter romances which for me aren’t really horror or scary tbh.

What are your criteria for a story to fall into a horror or scare genre?  I was scanning through various writing blogs  and most agree that there are 8 elements for horror:

8 Elements Of A Horror Story
  • Gothic elements. Things put in a story meant to scare you.
  • Monster. Antagonist.
  • Protagonist. Someone who battles the monster.
  • Motivation. Why the monster is what it is.
  • Setting/atmosphere. Over all feeling you get.
  • Foreshadowing. Gives clue on what is going to happen.
  • Mood. The readers feeling as they are reading the story.
  • Suspense.

Amazing how that can apply to contemporary stories where the monsters are human beings who do the most atrocious things. Real monsters are everywhere unfortunately.  However, back to things that go bump in the night.

Most of us don’t think about this when reading our stories.  We think about the end product.  How did we feel reading the story?  Did we get the shivers?  Were we concerning for the couple/person involved?  Did the events/ending upset us?  Did the tale continue to linger with us long after the story was done?  I think we can agree that most great monsters and stories live on and on because their creators have done their job extremely well and their stories continue to resonate generation after generation.  Just look at Frankenstein and Dracula!

So getting back to our current stories or just plain stories.  Which ones have continued to resonate with you?  Or what new ones have found a home in your collection?

What makes a story go Boo for You?  And which ones have?

You have until the end of the month to get your recs into us.  I’m sure the authors and publishers will be releasing titles all month.  Let us know what new ones you find.  We will be doing the same.  Gift certs will be given out in our Horror or Boo For You Title Rec Giveaway!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 7:

  • What Makes A Scary Story?
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • BLOG TOUR: Rebuilding Hope by Jessie G
  • Release Blitz: BURN (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice

Monday, October 8:

  • Book Blast – A Pride Anthem by Rob Browatzke
  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:  TOO HOT! by Avery Giles
  • Blog Tour Date His Instant Family by Rheland Richmond
  • A Lucy Review: A Pride Anthem by Rob Browatzke
  • An Alisa Review: Square One (Under The Uniform #7) by JJ Harper
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing #2) by Layla Reyne
  • An Ashlez Review: Murderous Twins by Edward Kendrick

Tuesday, October 9:

  • BLOG TOUR Craft Brews by Layla Reyne
  • Hearts Untouched by Andrew Grey Book Tour
  • Release Blitz – Lone Wolf – Anna Martin
  • Release Blitz –  From The Ashes by C.M. Valencourt
  • An Alisa Review: Ginger and the Wolf by Kerry McBoyd
  • A Free Dreamer Review: SYN Consulting (Dragon War Chronicles #1) by A.G. Carothers
  • A Caryn Review: Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall

Wednesday, October 10:

  • Review Tour – Leta Blake – Any Given Lifetime
  • New Release Blitz: Out in the End Zone by Lane Hayes
  •  Promo David C. Dawson
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Heart Untouched (Hearts Entwined #3) by Andrew Grey
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Texas Charm (Aberrant Magic series#6) by Lyn Gala
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Any Given Lifetime by Leta Blake

Thursday, October 11:

  • Release Blitz – Take It All – Steamy Encounters Collection by Quin Perin
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns’ Adder and Willow
  •  Promo Andrew Grey
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Long Black Cadillac by BA Tortuga
  • A MelanieM Review: Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy by Dahlia Donovan
  • A Lila Review: His Pagan Love by Wayne Mansfield
  • A Stella Review: Falling Into Love by Nell Iris & Kris T Bethke

Friday, October 12:

  • Release Blitz – Love’s Trials by Janice Jarrell
  • Dreamspun Promo SJD Peterson
  • Review Tour – Neve Wilder’s Center Of Gravity
  • A MelanieM Review: Love’s Trials (Revolutionary Heart #2) by Janice Jarrell
  • An Ali Review: Sadistic Sherlock (Ward Security #4) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
  • A MelanieM Review: Center Of Gravity (Nook Island #1) by Neve Wilder

Saturday, October 13:

  • A Stella Release Day Review: Strays by A.J. Thomas
  • Blog Post Request – Center Of Gravity (Nook Island #1) by Neve Wilder

Stella Review: Holiday Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

It’s holiday time in Fairyland. On Halloween, Ichabod Crane, a young schoolteacher, has a boner over sexy and muscular farmer Brom Bones. When the residents of the homophobic Sleepy Hollow aren’t happy about it, the headless horseman rides into town. Will Ichabod fall off his horse into Brom’s strong, rescuing arms, teaching the townsfolk a lesson in acceptance they’ll never forget? On Christmas, hunky Cavalier P.I. receives a visit from a new client, handsome young Fritz. Somebody strangled Fritz’s sister Clara with the ribbons of her toe shoes, and Fritz is the top suspect. But he seems more interested in the bulge in Cavalier’s tights than in getting himself off the hook. When Cavalier turns sweet on Fritz, it’s time for the private investigator to question his old dance partner the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara’s husband the Nutcracker, Fritz’s other sister Louise, and Fritz’s Godpapa Drosselmeyer to save his intended and find out: Who Killed Clara? At Winter Solstice, young Vasily falls in love with a mysterious, handsome man who rides by his orphanage each morning, noon, and night. Upon following him, Vasily discovers the man is a prince under the powers of Baba Yaga. Can Vasily rescue his tortured Prince Anton from the witch’s conversion therapy and dance around his pole on May Day?

I read the previous collection in the Tales from Fairyland series by Joe Cosentino called The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland and liked it so I obviously decided to give Holiday Tales from Fairyland a chance. I can tell you it was a lovely reading.

The three short stories in the book are quick, sweet and cute. They were a lovely surprise, I enjoyed all of them, with their magical atmosphere. Nothing was like our traditional fairy tales, every character was gay or lesbian, nothing was pure and candid, but promiscuous and cheeky. All of them were full of attitude, strong and brave.

The first short about Ichabod and Brom, Halloween in Fairyland, was my favourite, simply because the main couple was adorable, the way they took care of each other, how they fell in love, one consciously, the other still oblivious about his true feelings. 

The second story, Christmas in Fairyland (Who Killed Clara?), was instead more complete, with a mysterious little plot to follow and that’s way it caught my interest, I was so curious to discover who was the killer.

The last short, Winter Solstice in Fairyland, caught my heart, it made me sad because it treated very important themes, like the abuses made by priests or depression. But no fear, the happy ever ending and the sweetness were guaranteed.

The cover art is so cute, I adore it!

Sales Links:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 114 pages

Published October 1st 2018

ASIN B07G4MKMHK

Edition Language English

Falling Frightfully Into October! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Falling Frightfully Into October!

 

How I love this month! Or to be more specifically the month of October, only days away!  It’s a time of changing leaves, the arrival of fall, hopefully a crispness of air, and of course, that favorite  of holidays Halloween!  All Hallows Eve. More about the holiday later this month.  But it’s also time to think about all those lovely stories that carry a tinge of horror, a bite of fright, or a element of scare!

So all month I’ll be recommending series and stories to read.  I hope you will be chiming in too.  We need our Frightening Reads Recommendations!

So to get us started heres some that I’ve rec’d from the past:

From Missouri Dalton, author of the recent releases

The Hanged Man’s Ghost (The Night Wars, #1)
The Night Shift (The Night Wars #2)
The Hellfire Legacy

Guidebook Series

Vampirism And You! (Guidebook 01) ~ my review here
Necromancy and You (Guidebook 02) ~ my review here

Pretty Monsters coverPeek A Boo coverTriple Feature coverJosh of the Damned The Final Checkout

Author Andrea Speed:

Josh of the Damned Series – humor and the Supernatural -killer combo along with outstanding covers

Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #1 (Josh of the Damned #3) by Andrea Speed
Pretty Monsters (Josh of the Damned, #1)
Peek-a-Boo (Josh of the Damned, #2)
Night of the Dust Bunnies (Josh of the Damned, #3.5)
Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #2: The Final Checkout (Josh of the Damned #4)
Merry Christmas, Josh! (Josh of the Damned #4.5)
Josh of the Damned: The Complete Collection

The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men by Eric Arvin

And finally, two short tales of such lyrical elegance and narrative poetry I read them over and over in admiration.   These should be on everyone’s must read list!

End Street Detectives by RJ Scott and Amber Kell

Lily by Xavier Axelson

Sand and Ruin and Gold by Alexis Hall

Now from some previous years recommendations:

In A Dark Wood civerKraken coverWinter Kills coverDown cover

 

 

 

 

 

In a Dark Wood by Josh Lanyon: If you want something scary-creepy to make you cower under the blankets and double-check the doors and windows. Look no further. Who knew Lanyon could rival King, in this I see the making of the Master of M/M horror. And this horror buff wants more of this style of writing from Lanyon please.

Winter: Haunted Heart by Josh Lanyon: For those who want more of haunted-creepy, Lanyon has you covered there as well. Check out this lovely ghostly mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed. The audio version’s narrator is excellent if you’re into audiobooks.

Kraken by M. Caspian: Ready for the creature feature now guys? Then check this one out. It takes creepy to a whole new level. You know the slimy, make-your-skin crawl kind. *shiver*

Down by Ally Blue: Features violence and death trapped seven fathoms below the deep. Creatures with glowing purple eyes and sharp teeth and a horror that could annihilate the human race-EEK! Tantalizing beginning and an ending that circled nicely back to it. The author’s writing style didn’t work well for me personally, but many others loved it and the story is most certainly eerie and quite unique.

As for favorite scary reads…
Slasherazzi by Daniel A. Kaine

Favorite shifters…
The Tameness of the Wolf series by Kendall McKenna

Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk

Spirit by John Inman

What are you reading this All Hallows Eve?  We will be adding to the list all month long and gift certificates will be given out!

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, September 30:

  • Falling Frightfully Into October!
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • New Release Blitz for Sadistic Sherlock (Ward Security #4) by Joceylynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
  • Cover Reveal – Burn (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice
  • A MelanieM Review: Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • A Stella Review The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter #3) by Julie Bozza

Monday, October 1:

  • Cover Reveal Commitment Collection Box Set by Karen Botha
  • Dreamspun Promo Kim Fielding on The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril)
  • Promo Tara lain on Love You So Special
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Surviving the Apocalypse by Tinnean
  • A Lucy Review From the Ashes by C.M. Valencourt
  • A MelanieM Review: A Taste Of Agapi by Chris Ethan
  • A Stella Review: Holiday Tales from Fairyland by Joe Cosentino

Tuesday, October 2:

  • BLOG TOUR THRALL by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
  • Blog Tour With a Twist by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn
  • TOUR To Save His Prince by Hurri Cosmo
  •  BLITZ A Dance of Water and Air by Antonia Aquilante
  • A Jeri Review: Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
  • A Lila Audiobook Review Cowboy in the Crosshairs (Turquoise, New Mexico) by BA Tortuga
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril) by Kim Fielding

Wednesday, October 3:

  • Release Blitz – Claw Marks & Card Games by Maz Maddox
  • Cover Reveal Tour – V.L. Locey – One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5)
  • Review Tour Garrett Leigh – Lucky
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady  Review: Of Sunlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: The Librarian’s Ghost (The Supers #2) by Sean Michael
  • An Ali Review: Lucky by Garrett Leigh
  • A Stella Review: All He Ever Needed by Cate Ashwood

Thursday, October 4:

  • Release Day Blitz Of Sunlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee
  • Spotlight Blog Tour and Giveaway for Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall
  • Release Blitz –  – Center Of Gravity by Neve Wilder
  • Dreamspun Promo Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Review: Promises: The Next Generation (Bounty Hunters #5) by A.E. Via
  • An Ashley Review: The Academy by Quinn Anderson
  • A MelanieM Review : Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind

Friday, October 5:

  • Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book One by AG Carothers Blog Tour
  • Harmony Promo Russell J. Sanders
  • Review Tour – Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A Free Dreamer Review: BURN (Witchbane #1.5) by Morgan Brice
  • A Free Dreamer Review:  Of Gallantry and Magic, by Alex Hintermann
  • A MelanieM Review: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
  • An Ashley Review The Beach Brat by Louise Collins

Saturday, October 6:

  • Book Blast: The Selkie Prince and His Omega Guard
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Us Again
  • Release Blitz *signal)Tour – Jay Northcote – Not Just Friends
  • A MelanieM Review: Claw Marks & Card Games (Stallion Ridge #2) by Maz Maddox
  • A Stella Review “no way out” by Eric Alan Westfall

 

 

Final Thoughts on Literary Titles ! and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Final Thoughts on Literary Titles !

Hard to believe that once again September is winding down.  Well, it has been an eventful month.  Hurricanes, flooding, and well, just plain old tons of rain pouring through my communities have a dampening effect  that washed away  my planned thoughts for posted blogs.  Maybe we will see those slip into October, one of my absolute favorite months!

Yes, its still pouring outside even as I type.  This will go down as the wettest two, maybe three months recorded for our area.  The mold being reported is off the charts.  I will try to locate plants that love water for the backyard.  Submergents anyone?

Meanwhile back to some wonderful suggestions for our own literary days of the month.  Remember we had a giveaway going?

This was the contest:

Literary  Event Title Giveaway
If you all were to suggest a Literary Event for the calendar, what would it be?  An International LGBT Romance Story Day?  Triad in Lust Day?    Quiltbag Aliens HEA Day?  Give me some titles for our own special September literary events.  Let’s call it our LGBTQIA Literary  Event Title Giveaway!  Have your title chosen and we will have Stella set you up with a $10 gift card from Dreamspinners.   And here’s what you all came up with.

Here from Purple Reader:

It does look like quite the week lined up. I’ve seen a cpl of Free Lib boxes pop up in my neighborhood here in Chicago, and I had to smile. Some more ideas for days:
– GLBTQ Reads That Surprised You Day
– Older GLBTQ Readers Can Have Fun Too Day
– Read a GLBTQ Book Together Day
– Smile & Touch through Words Day
– Read the Book, Visit the Scene Day
– Honoring GLBTQ Books Where You Live Day
– GLBTQ Books That Changed the World Day
– Ok, I gotta stop this day, lol

From Ami: Read in Public Transportation Day

From H.B.  Donate a Book Day

From  Jen:

If I were to add another literary event to the calendar, it would be “Give a Kid a Book” day because reading meant so much to me as a kid and it means a lot to my kids. Reading can help kids in so many ways.

And also from P.R….Ok, This has been stimulating … and dangerous. Here goes with my imagination (I hope this is what you had in mind, because I had some fun here after not having time to think even scattered thoughts for a while):

Question Mark Day (Never Stop Asking Why)
Readers With Guilty Pleasures Day
Out-of-the-Limelight GLBTQ Genres Day (spreading the love to less popular genres)
Out of Your Comfort Zone Reading Day
Readers Reviewing Reviewers Day (let’s give THEM some feedback!)
Co-Authors Day
Pay It Forward with Words Day

Thank you everyone for participating.  Congratulations to Purple Reader on the winning ….many of them entries!  Please contact Stella about the gift certificate!
  Meanwhile, we have a great week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Great tours, great books (audio and ebook), and did you all notice we slipped in another new reviewer on you?  Welcome, Ashez, our new reviewer to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!
 It’s going to be quite the week.  So don’t miss out on a day of it.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, September 23:

  • Release Day Blitz for Of Sunlight and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Final Thoughts on Literary Titles and Our Giveaway
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, September 24:

  • Dreamspun Bru Baker on Hiding in Plain Sight
  • Review Tour – Darcy by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell
  • BLOG TOUR Ride or Dye by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Counterpoint (Twisted Wishes #2) by Anna Zabo
  • A Stella Review: Of Dreams and Ceremonies (Butterfly Hunter #2) by Julie Bozza
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Darcy (Boyfriend for Hire #1) by R.J. Scott and Meredith Russell

Tuesday, September 25:

  • DSP Promo John Inman+giveaway
  • OWI TOUR grydscaen: beginnings Author: Natsuya Uesugi
  • RIPTIDE TOUR RUNNING BLIND, a Havoc novel by SE Jakes
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Dragonslayer (Twitterlight #1) by Matthew Lang
  • A Lucy Review: Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Strays by A.J. Thomas

Wednesday, September 26:

  • DSP Publications Matthew Lang on Dragonslayer
  • Review Tour – C.J. Baty – Starting Over
  • The Hunt by J.M. Dabney & Davidson King (Michelle) Blog Tour and Review
  • Blog Tour “no way out” by Eric Alan Westfall
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Guarding His Melody by Victoria Sue
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt by J.M. Dabney & Davidson King
  • An Alisa Review: Starting Over (The Knights Club #1) by C.J. Baty

Thursday,  September 27:

  • DSP Promo Xenia Melzer
  • Guarding His Melody (A standalone in the Enhanced World) by Victoria Sue
  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey – Ryker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Band Sinister by KJ Charles
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Witchbane by Morgan Brice
  • A Lila Audio Review: His Leading Man Author: Ashlyn Kane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review:  Falling Into Love by Nell Iris & Kris T Bethke

Friday, September 28:

  • BLOG TOUR COUNTERPOINT by Anna Zabo
  • Exclusive guest post – CJ Baty Starting Over
  • Release Blitz – A Taste of Agapi by Chris Ethani
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Love you so Special by Tara Lain
  • A MelanieM Review: Building Forever by Kelly Jensen
  • A Stella Review: The Thousand Smiles of Nicholas Goring (Butterfly Hunter #3) by Julie Bozza

Saturday, September 29:

  • Release Blitz – Distant Cousins by Eric Huffbind
  • Release Blitz – Keira Andrews – Honeymoon For One

Free M/M Short Story Downloads at Instrafreebie! Only A shorttime!

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FREE m/m romance instafreebie downloads until September 4th! Jumped on and read quite a few of the stories already and they are wonderful. Lol! There’s Bru Baker, Lucy Lennox, Susi Hawke, RG Alexander, Silvia Violet, just to name a few! Go get ’em!

 

So many highlights here! New free stories from Marie Sexton, J.M. Dabney, Annabeth Albert, A.M. Arthur, Charlie Cochet’s Four Kings Security Series short story Ante Up, K.M. Neuhold, and much more.  I’ll be reviewing some of the ones I’ve read too.  It’s also a great way to get on these author’s mailing lists for upcoming announcements for new releases.

The free downloads will continue only until September 4th.  So download away.

 

Here is the Link to the Instafreebie website:

https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/oryl0wCduHLFHJCRZy20

A MelanieM Review: Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

 

When a Christmas shopping expedition brings Tomy Peralta into Jason Winters’ yarn store, both men feel an immediate and intense spark of attraction, but dance instructor Tomy intends to propose to his boyfriend Sean at Christmas. Unfortunately for Tomy, marriage isn’t on career-minded Sean’s agenda. Heartbroken, Tomy throws himself into his work until his mother convinces him that learning to knit might help take his mind off his failed romance.

Jason falls hard for Tomy, but he knows Tomy needs time to heal and to trust in love again. As Jason teaches Tomy how to knit, Tomy teaches him how to dance in return to prepare for his sister’s wedding. Just when it seems Tomy is ready for a new romance, Sean shows up, wanting Tomy back. Has Jason helped Tomy knit his heart together again, only for Tomy to give it to Sean once more, or will Tomy finally see Sean for what he truly is?

It’s rare that the authors known as Ari McKay make a misstep, let alone two (or more) in my opinion.  Normally, they can do no wrong.  In fact, that’s one of the major reasons I was so excited to read this story.  Ok, I’m always happy to pick up any McKay tale but I’m a knitter so I was intrigued to see how they would fold such a tactile and favored element into this story.

Honestly?  Disappointed in how underused the craft of knitting is here, from Tomy learning to knit (which is supposedly a huge deal), to Jason who dyes his own yarn, detail after sensuous, vivid yarn/knit related detail is left out of the romance and therefore out of the story.  We are told Jason teaches Tomy to knit, we hear briefly about the yard shop and that he dyes yarn?  But the particulars that actually bring all that alive?  Totally missing in action.  And I have read several stories from other authors that use knitting as a framework that make you want to jump into the nearest bags filled with skeins and make you want to start madly knit away at your own projects. Or go off and start fondling some yarn.  Not here, which  is a problem with a story that has a titled called  Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together.   Someone’s heart was not into the knitting part at allAnd that sort of includes the character of Jason He’s nice but something is  missing…

Then there’s the element of dance. Tomy and his family have always  owned a dance studio and competed professionally. Truly this book should have been called Waltzing your Broken Heart Back Together. Because its in the descriptions of dance, dancing together, the feeling of “floating” and being a partner in a sensual  embrace on the studio floor where this story comes soars. In short, the descriptions of dancing have everything that knitting lack. You can tell, that one of the author’s interest was vested here in dance, not knitting.  The part’s of the story in the dance studio?  They sang!  The main characters exhibited a connectivity that didn’t happen earlier in the story (certainly not when talking about knitting) and it’s dancing that brings them together.

Anyway, it takes them a while to start dancing cheek to cheek, to its a slow burn sort of romance as Tomy gets over his disastrous love affair and finds himself ready to love again…with his partner on the dance floor.  It is a sweet romance with cute relatives (Tomy’s) and relatively angst free story.

As I said, the only thing that just feels a let down is the total fail with the knitting from the cover, title and the blurb.  Change it over to dancing and you have a winner.  Honestly.  did someone not read this story?  It’s all about the dancing.That’s where it dances away with the story.

 

Cover art: Bree Archer.  Lovely cover.  Would work great for a book actually more about knitting.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd edition, 125 pages
Expected publication: July 6th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 16th 2014)
ASINB07DYK8PWN

What’s Made Your Favorite Books Magic? And This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Romance Do’s In Your Romance Novels.

What’s Made Your Favorite Books Magic?

 

Several books I finished this week just furthered my ideas as to what helps launch a romance novel above the mass of romance stories you read or will read over the course of a year or more.  One wasn’t terribly successful in the romance department in my opinion while succeeding wildly in almost every other aspect, while two others had an almost constricted romance that still managed to allow their main characters love shine through along with an unusual storyline that unfolded around them.

Why does one fail while others succeed?  What makes a well done romance novel?  Yes, yes, I know so much can be subjective.  I remember that one write’s advice that I repeated (and still think is awful) on concentrating only on the main characters and leaving secondary characters totally alone.  Insert roll of eyes here.  Because imo a well done supportive cast makes a novel…romance or not.  All of my favorite  stories mention a marvelously done secondary grouping of characters, almost or as memorable as the main ones.

For some authors, they use their stories as love notes to  locations, towns they visited or grew up in or in one instance (Basil, Switzerland) one they live now.  The result can be a superb blending of location, culture, and story.  For others, its some other element…tree planting, apple orchards, a trip to the Sun Temple and Machu Picchu.  This list is endless.  Then there is the fantastical…the marvelous blending of mythologies, cultures, gods, and beasts that can come about when imaginations soar and blend with romances.

All of the above have managed to come together for me in romances that became something splendid, magical…even when the book itself was contemporary or science fiction.  The author or authors wrote and their story spoke to something deep inside of us.

Stories and characters we remember.

What are those books that still speak to you now and why?  What’s so special about them?  I really want to know.

What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway

So let’s make this official with a What Makes a Book Magic List Giveaway.  Send in your comments, it will run til the end of the month and we will giveaway 2 gift certificates to 2 lucky readers.  Leave your name and email address where you can be reached if chosen.

I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with.

 

Now for this week’s books and tours.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 15:

  • Smoke in the Mirror by Aimee Nicole Walker Release Blitz
  • Fireworks and Stolen Kisses by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:Fireworks and Stolen Kisses (Lijun #1) by Angel Martinez and Freddy MacKay
  • Romance Do’s And This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 16:

  • Drive Shaft by Geoffrey Knight Book Blast
  • Release Blitz – Thief Of Hearts by Ruby Moone
  • Review Tour – Riza Curtis’s The Dragon’s Thief
  • An Alisa Review:  The Dragon’s Thief by Riza Curtis
  • A Lucy Audiobook Review: Hearts and Flour By Tara Lain/ Ry Forest (narrator), Stephen Kurpis (narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Review:The Wolf at Bay (Big Bad Wolf #2) by Charlie Adhara

Tuesday, July 17:

  • DSP Dreamspun Promo JS Harker on Soul Bond
  • DSP Promo Tia Fielding
  • Audio Tour for Unscripted Love by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Soul Bond by JS Harker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Soul Bond by JS Harker

Wednesday, July 18:

  • DSP Promo Rayna Vause
  • Release Blitz – Nothing Serious – Jay Northcote
  • Review Tour – Ari McKay – Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together
  • A Dangerous Dance by Davidson King Release Blitz
  • A Lucy Review: The Pet Stylist and The Playboy by Rebecca James
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lies That Bind (Boystown #8) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay

Thursday, July 19:

  • In the Spotlight: Sink or Swim (Anchor Point series) by L.A. Witt
  • Blog Post – V.L. Locey – Lost In Indigo
  • DSP Publications Promo August Li
  • An Alisa Review: Tainted Life​ by ​Mel Gough
  • A MelanieM Review: Lucky Days (Boystown, #9) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Beneath This Mask ( Enhanced World #3) by Victoria Sue and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Friday, July 20:

  • BOOK BLAST – Daisy, Yellow by Angelique Jurd
  • DSP Promo Hudson Lin
  • DSP Promo JL Merrow on Camwolf
  • A Lila Review: The Merchant’s Love (Chronicles of Tournai #6) by Antonia Aquilante
  • A Caryn Review Daisy, Yellow by Angelique Jurd
  • A MelanieM Review: A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics #1) by Diana Waters (
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Sink or Swim (Anchor Point #8) by L.A. Witt

Saturday, July 21:

  • Audio Tour for Someone to Call My Own by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Gifts Given (Boystown, #10) by Marshall Thornton

There’s More to Romance and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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There’s More to Romance …

The last couple of weeks we’ve been discussing the elements that “break” our romance books.  The things that stop the reading cold or leave us with a DNF.  Cheating is up there on the list.  And at the end of today’s blog hand out a few gift certs and post the last of the comments on the subject.

But what about the opposite?

What in our romance stories gladdens our hearts?  Makes a story jump out of the ordinary?  Widens our outlook?  Let’s us perceive something special about a piece of the world or aspect of falling in love that we hadn’t seen or thought of in the same way before?  That in some way the author dug a little deeper into your heart with their tale, that some element that connected you so completely to the characters and their relationship hooked you, that even now, you can’t forget their love story.

Something that made that story magic beyond your expectations.

I was thinking Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt series) by Heidi Cullinan , Clear Water by Amy Lane, and RJ Scott’s the Texas series (and attached Legacy group),  Watermelon Kisses by Freddy MacKay,Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan,Tales From Verania series by T.J. Klune just for starters.  Those are a few that leapt to mind in seconds.  Can you guess what elements in each might have made them memorable?  Have you read the stories?

Of course my list stretches for far longer.  That’s merely a tease.

But each of those grabbed at my heart while stretching my mind and horizons in some way. They made me cry and laugh and fall in love. Over and over.

Quickly now…which books popped into your head?  Let me know…let all of us know and why.  And then I’ll fill you in  next week on more of my choices and why they made my list as well.

Now let’s put a close to our Romance No’s:

From P.R.:

I’ll chime in here – so busy couldn’t comment last week but agree with most everything. My perspective is that I understand why folks can not like cheating – ONE reason folks can like rom is for escapism, and they don’t like RL intruding b/c they already have too much of that. In that way, I think rom is a type of fantasy, and I can relate. Been there. But I usually appreciate more where MCs have RL flaws, and that’s reality, which includes in a majority of straight & gay relationships, “cheating,” (I love the Boystown series). And my being a cis gay male amongst other gay guys, let me tell you – I know there is much more diversity there than depicted in m/m rom, that it’s part of the culture, and frankly that’s why many guys think gender makes a difference among authors b/c one does not often “get it.” I think personally it has more to do with targeted audience, experiences, preferences, empathy, deep understanding … and it’s all good. You said it best “Life is messy and its always been about how the author has handled the subject.” A WELL-WRITTEN TALE TRUMPS A TROPE EVERY TIME (pun intended).

Ami:

Holy! EXCREMENT!?!? WTH!!! Okay, that will be a HUGE NO for me

Furthering my comment from last week in which I can still tolerate cheating but getting really pissed off when it comes to threesome, or ‘forced’ threesomes brought me to a couple of books. “A Vintage Affair” by Josh Lanyon made me VERY angry because the love-interest suddenly brought a woman to sleep with the MC because he wanted to “challenge” the MC that sex is just sex. Then I also DNF “My Heartache Cowboy” by ZAM who also introduced threesome scene in the middle.

I guess i’m good if the threesome is stated in the beginning, or the book is marketed as threesome. But if it somehow introduced in the middle, without any warning, it’ll be huge NO for me.

And H.B. with a no on poo, “Blood play and humiliation would also bother me.”

Yep, poo is a big no for lots of us.

Very enlightening!  And while cheating still remains a big no, it still comes down to the author and great writing.

Winners Announcement!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is handing off $10 gift certs to: Chris Tharrington and ashleyomelia

Please contact Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will get your gift cert to you.  Congratulations!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 8:

  • There’s More to Romance and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz – Riza Curtis – The Dragon’s Thief
  • The Pet Stylist and The Playboy by Rebecca James Release Blitz

Monday, July 9:

  • DSP Promo Scotty Cade
  • Release Blitz for Tight Quarters by Annabeth Albert
  • BLITZ – Nectar and Ambrosia by E.M. Hamill
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: WITH A KICK Collection #1 by Clare London
  • A MelanieM Review: Hard Contact (Guild Enforcer, #1) by Ali Atwood
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane and Narrator: Gomez Pugh

Tuesday, July10:

  • Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes Blog Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo j. leigh bailey
  • BLOG TOUR The Wulf Chronicles by Wulf Francu Godgluck
  • A Caryn Review: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee
  • An Alisa Review A Desperate Love by J.D. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes

Wednesday, July 11:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Believe (Skins #3)
  • Temple of Time by Geoffrey Knight Blog Tour
  • RELEASE BLITZ Love it Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly
  • A Jeri Review : Believe (Skins #3) by Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Review: Bloodlines (Boystown #7) by Marshall Thornton
  • A MelanieM Review: Born of Air (Dragon Soul #4) by Sean Michael

Thursday, July 12:

  • Harmony Promo Annabelle Jay
  • Release Blitz – The Omega’s Second Chance by Kenna Grace
  • DSP Promo Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Review: Discovery (Kinky in the City #3) by Quinn Ward
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Camwolf by JL Merrow
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Family Man By Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton/Colin Darcy (Narrator)

Friday, July 13:

  • DSP Promo Z. Allora
  • BLOG TOUR for Badlands by Morgan Brice
  • 99c Book Blast – Double Dare by Jeanne St. James
  • A MelanieM Review: Ground of Insurrection by Mell Eight
  • A MelanieM Recent Release Review: Galaxies and Oceans by N.R. Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Balefire (Whyborne & Griffin #10) by Jordan L. Hawk

Saturday, July 14:

  • BLOG TOUR (Exclusive Post) Pursuing Happiness by Jessie Pinkham
  • Release Blitz – To Love & Protect His Omega by Quinn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review: The Wolf at Bay by Charlie Adhara

Release Blitz for Knitting a Broken Heart Back Together by Ari McKay (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 40,603 words
 
Cover Design: Bree Archer
 
 
Blurb
 

When a Christmas shopping expedition brings Tomy Peralta into Jason Winters’s yarn store, both men feel an immediate and intense spark of attraction, but dance instructor Tomy intends to propose to his boyfriend, Sean, at Christmas. Unfortunately for Tomy, marriage isn’t on career-minded Sean’s agenda. Heartbroken, Tomy throws himself into his work until his mother convinces him that learning to knit might help take his mind off his failed romance.


Jason falls hard for Tomy, but he knows Tomy needs time to heal and to trust in love again. As Jason teaches Tomy to knit, Tomy teaches him to dance in return. Just when it seems Tomy is ready for a new romance, Sean shows up, wanting Tomy back. Will Tomy give his heart to Sean once more, or will Tomy finally see Sean for who he truly is, and choose the man who helped him knit his heart together again?

 
Excerpt
 

Chapter One


TOMY PERALTA opened the door of the yarn shop, feeling a little out of place as the cheerful ringing of the bell announced his presence in this unfamiliar territory. Stitchin’ Time was one of Mama and Lola’s favorite stores, but Tomy had never been here before himself, only heard about it when they gushed and cooed over the hand-dyed yarn they’d bought there.

The shop itself was large, and the rent in the fashionable Lenox Square area of Atlanta must have been enormous, but it had a surprisingly homey feel. Rather than traditional retail metal shelving, whoever had designed the interior had opted for wooden storage units, woven baskets, and what looked like enormous pasta racks dripping with hanks of yarn instead of spaghetti. There were also finished knitted and crocheted pieces displayed on the walls and on hangers at the ends of the shelves. There were the expected sweaters and scarves, of course, but also stuffed animals, knickknacks, and one intricately cabled afghan draped over the sofa where a group of gray-haired women were gathered, chatting and laughing. Several of them looked up when he entered, but he was greeted with friendly smiles rather than surprise.

The sales counter was visible from the door, a large wooden affair with more baskets of yarn and other knitting supplies stacked neatly around it. Behind the counter sat a man, square-jawed, blond, and broad-shouldered, working a set of knitting needles with amazing speed and agility. He, too, glanced up, smiling, and called out to Tomy in a deep, smooth Southern drawl.

“Hey! Welcome! Feel free to look around, and let me know if you need any help.”

Tomy gave the man an appreciative once-over. Sure, he had a boyfriend, and he hoped to be happily engaged after Christmas, but he could still look. Then he glanced around, briefly considering whether he ought to muddle through on his own, but he dismissed that thought. He was way out of his depth here, and he didn’t even know where to begin. Best to ask the professional rather than waste time wandering around utterly clueless.

“Actually, I do need some help,” he admitted, offering a sheepish smile as he approached the counter. “I want to buy something for my mother and sister, and I know they shop here a lot, but….” He looked around again and shrugged. “I have no idea where to start.”

The blond put his knitting aside—Tomy didn’t know what the item on the needles was, only that it was deep forest green—and stood up. He was tall, at least four inches over six feet, and up close, Tomy could see his eyes were a soft blue.

“I know that feeling,” he said. He moved out from behind the counter, walking with a slight but noticeable limp. “Who are your mother and sister? If they’re regulars, I can definitely help you with things I know they’d like.”

“My mother is Ana Lucia Peralta,” Tomy replied, trying to ignore the zing of wayward attraction he felt for the hunky knitter. He’d always been drawn to tall, burly blonds, much to his boyfriend’s dismay. Despite being tall, blond, and hot himself, Sean got jealous easily. He wouldn’t even let Tomy watch any of the superhero movies with Thor or Captain America in them when he was around. “My sister is Lola Barrett.” He picked up the tasseled end of the navy blue scarf he wore, which was an elaborate pattern of cables and bobbles. “Mama made this for me, if that helps. Lola made the hat,” he added, gesturing to the slouchy hat he wore, which had wide abstract colorwork stripes.

Hunky Knitter stepped closer and looked at the hat, smiling slightly, then picked up the end of Tomy’s scarf, running his fingers over the cabling. “Ah, yes. I remember when your mother bought the yarn for this. It was a special order. She wanted a particular shade of blue, and I dyed at least four batches before I managed to get the color she was picturing.”

“You dyed the yarn yourself?” Tomy gazed up at Hunky Knitter, impressed by his crafting skills. “Thanks, I really like the color. She wanted it to go with my coat, and I think it’s a perfect match,” he said, holding out his arms to show the pea coat he was wearing.

“So it is. I’m Jason, by the way.” Jason held out his hand, his eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled.

“Tomy Peralta,” Tomy said, enunciating his name to make it clear it was pronounced like Tony, not Tommy. “Nice to meet you.” He clasped Jason’s hand, which was warm. Jason’s grip was firm, the touch sending little tingles along Tomy’s arm, and he felt his knees wobble just a little. I have a boyfriend, and we’re very much in love, he reminded himself sternly.

“Nice to meet you too.” Jason released his hand with what Tomy thought might be a tiny bit of reluctance. “Yes, I dyed the yarn. I do custom work for people who want it, and I like to try out the various dyes and yarns just to see what they look like. I prefer not to sell or recommend things to my customers that I haven’t tried myself.”

“Are you the owner?” Tomy asked. He didn’t know many men who were into crafts, much less enough to own a shop devoted to crafting.

“Yes.” Jason’s grin became a little sheepish. “I know I don’t look like the kind of guy who’d own a yarn store, and to be honest, never in a million years did I think this is what I’d be doing, but I love it. I majored in marketing at Vanderbilt, but I was a football player. After graduation, I played in the NFL, but in my second season with the Falcons, I blew out my knee.” He slapped his right leg. “Had to get an artificial replacement, so it was goodbye, NFL. I started knitting during my rehab, and one thing led to another and… here I am.”

Tomy didn’t hear any trace of self-pity in Jason’s voice, only a matter-of-factness that implied he’d had to explain his situation before. Tomy imagined an ex-football player turned yarn shop owner got a lot of questions about his life choices.

“Who taught you to knit?” he asked, voicing the first question that popped into his head. Of all the therapeutic exercises in existence, he wondered how knitting ended up being Jason’s choice. “I know it has a lot of therapeutic value, but not for knees.”

Jason laughed. “It was mental therapy, mostly. Moving hurt, but sitting almost hurt more. My mother got tired of me always moving restlessly whenever I was in a room, so she taught me how to knit as a form of distraction. If I had something in my hands to occupy me, I tended not to dwell on the pain in my knee as much.”

“That makes sense.” Tomy nodded, and then he noticed the ladies on the sofa were watching them with avid interest. He knew matchmakers when he saw them, and he cleared his throat and took a step back so they wouldn’t get the wrong idea. “Anyway, presents? I’m open to suggestions. I have no idea what they might want or need, but I want to get them something they’ll really like this year, not just a gift card.”

“Of course.” Jason nodded, suddenly all business. “I know there’s a set of knitting needles your sister has had her eye on for a while. They’re rosewood. Your mother has indicated she’d like to knit an afghan for her sofa, and so perhaps a pattern and the yarn for it? I recently dyed a batch of a bulky superwash wool in tonal greens I think she’d like. That might run a little more than you’d like to spend, though.”

“Sounds perfect!” Tomy smiled widely, pleased with the suggestions. “Do you know which pattern she’s interested in, or is there a pattern book she might like? I don’t care how much it costs.” He gave a sheepish shrug. “I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging or anything. It’s just that I want this to be a special Christmas. I’m planning to propose to my boyfriend, and I want everyone to be as happy as I am. I guess that sounds silly, but joy to the world, right?”

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.


Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.


McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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