Release Tour – Lyssa Dering’s fangjunkie27 (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Blurb

One human. One dhampir. Seventy-two hours where anything goes.

Shameless vampire addict Eli spends every waking moment chasing pleasure, securing invites to vampire den after vampire den via the vampire/human social network FangFinder. This weekend, he’s signed up for his most extreme adventure yet, a 72-hour party where a legal contract serves as his voluntary consent to anything and everything the den members decide to do to him…

Strong and silent type Orion is the only member of his den without fangs, a dhampir who wears metal points on two fingers so he can give the human guests what they crave. What he craves is a release for the savage half of his nature; he wants to force a human into submission. When his fellow den members inform him that Eli has signed up for just this treatment, Orion lays claim to him for the weekend.

But Eli would never have agreed to spend three days with a half-breed, and he’ll fight Orion’s touch every chance he gets. Even if the pleasure he finds in the dhampir’s grip is more intense than anything he’s ever felt with a vampire…

February 2 – Joyfully Jay
February 6 – Abbey’s 1-Click Blog
February 10 – Dog-Eared Daydreams, Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews
February 13 – Divine Magazine
February 15 – Making It Happen, MM Good Book Reviews
February 17 – Millsy Loves Books, Wicked Reads
February 21 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Book Lovers 4Ever
February 22 – Alpha Book Club, From Top To Bottom Reviews

Author Bio

Lyssa Dering is an author of queer erotic romance. She writes about damaged characters in impossible situations who, despite often horrifying struggles, will always get their happy ending.

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lyssaderingGoodreads: http://goodreads.com/lyssaderingPinterest: http://pinterest.com/lyssadering

 Giveaway

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A MelanieM Review: fangjunkie27 (FangFinder #1) by Lyssa Dering

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

fangjunkie27-fangfinder-1-by-lyssa-deringOne human. One dhampir. Seventy-two hours where anything goes.

Shameless vampire addict Eli spends every waking moment chasing pleasure, securing invites to vampire den after vampire den via the vampire/human social network FangFinder. This weekend, he’s signed up for his most extreme adventure yet, a 72-hour party where a legal contract serves as his voluntary consent to anything and everything the den members decide to do to him…

Strong and silent type Orion is the only member of his den without fangs, a dhampir who wears metal points on two fingers so he can give the human guests what they crave. What he craves is a release for the savage half of his nature; he wants to force a human into submission. When his fellow den members inform him that Eli has signed up for just this treatment, Orion lays claim to him for the weekend.

But Eli would never have agreed to spend three days with a half-breed, and he’ll fight Orion’s touch every chance he gets. Even if the pleasure he finds in the dhampir’s grip is more intense than anything he’s ever felt with a vampire…

fangjunkie27 (FangFinder #1) by Lyssa Dering is a  dark, violent short tale of 72 hours in a junkie’s life.  Instead of drugs or alcohol, Eli is chasing the high he felt from his first vampire bite and there’s nothing he won’t do or hasn’t done to get it.  He’s an addict in every way, including the sometime denial, the back history that helps with an addictive nature and the worst of an addictive’s personality.  On top of that?  Eli is somewhat masochistic (he wavers on this), likes being forced, is prejudiced towards dhampirs, in his words…he’s a “mess, a suicidal mess”.

Orion is unusual in this sort of fiction.  He’s a dhampir that is fangless (his solution to that is neat but one I’ve seen before), mortal and angry about that.  That last bit is  quite understandable. Yes, he gets called names under the guise of being “one of the gang”, yes, he’s looked down on for those characteristics by Eli who wants a ‘true vampire’.  Let the beatings and non-con sex ensue. I said it was  dark and violent.  Orion truly doesn’t have that much more going for him at least outside of the job at the den.  All he seems to have is this “den”, no other outside income or place of his own. So in a way he’s as dependent as Eli because of his less than desired stature.

There is a  redeeming factor to Orion.  He wants to give the people who come to him what they want.  Part of the game for him is figuring that out.  Eli is more puzzling than normal and that makes Orion even angrier.  Yes, more beatings and angry sex.

To give Dering some credit, its not quite as basic as that.  There’s some layering going on to both characters which is why this story got 3 stars.  But in the end you’re spending the weekend with a masochistic junkie and the angry, insecure somewhat sadistic Dom in charge of him. Look at that sentence and think hard about that. There’s an unlikely ending tacked on here probably to give reason for a second story but instead it just makes you wonder why this vampire den isn’t charging for this “cure’ for addiction.  To me this just felt unfinished, not enough payment for having to stay with Eli for 72 tortuous hours.  I’m stopping now before I rethink that 3 star rating.

For those of you who enjoy dark fiction, erotica, BDSM without restraints (no restraints here-that’s part of the contract at the den), a dhampir with quirks and fangs of his own and an blood addict on a downward spiral, this book is for you.

Cover art is dark which is certainly suitable for this story.

Sales Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU
Book Details:

 

Kindle Edition, 81 pages
Published February 2nd 2017 by Disobedient Publications, LLC
ASINB01N0WXHMR
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesFangFinder #1

Of Comfort Reads and Love Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Comfort Reads and Love Stories

We’ve been talking about our top books for comfort reading and love stories, some of which have ended up on each list with authors common to both.  I had to admit it got me thinking what makes a ‘comfort read’? What is that indefinable something a story contains or that an author offers that makes us want to read it over and over again.? Is that its a “known quantity”? That we go into that story knowing that the pleasures (and even some pain) it holds are ones that not only have touched us so deeply but that fulfill some hope or want in us?  Tales that reach us in multiple ways?  We love these men, their journey to love and a long term relationship, whether it be a contemporary world or something supernatural or otherworldly.  And we love these authors and their talent to create not only believable, vivid men and beings as well as for their ability in which they pull us into their characters lives and worlds over and over again, making it feel like home every time we read these stories.

That’s a wonderful gift and it shows in how many of the same authors and stories/series show up in list after list, including my own.  My gratitude to them.  And thank you to all our readers who contributed these last few weeks and days, letting us look into your favorite lists and authors too.  You’ve definitely added to my TBR pile and brought back a few books I’ve forgotten. Thank you!

Of course, our lists keep growing as we find new authors and new stories to share with you and hopefully, you our readers to share with us.  I love reading your lists too.

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Here’s some of our readers favorite couples and Love stories/series:

♡H.B. loves:

Jory and Sam from Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series
Jin and Logan from Mary Calmes’ A Change of Heart series
Rand and Stefan from Mary Calmes’ Timing Series
Ty and Zane from Abigail Roux/Madeleine Urban’s Cut & Run series
The couples (Dex/Sloane, Ashe/Cael, Calvin/Ethan) from Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series
Tucker and Elliot from Josh Lanyon’s All’s Fair series
Kit and J.X. from Josh Lanyon’s Holmes & Moriarity series
Gaven and Vlar from J.C. Owen’s Gaven series
Neil and Andrew from Nora Sakavic’s All for the Games series

(I agree H.B.  You  named Tucker and Elliot, 2 I left off of mine by accident, Gaven and Vlar because I had just forgotten about them!  Argh! Thank you for  bringing them back to mind.)

♡From Didi:

Jonty and Orlando, and Ty and Zane by Abigail Roux (and by Madeleine Urban)
Here’s my addition favorite couples to the above:
– Kit and JX from Holmes & Moriarity series by Josh Lanyon
– Tucker and Elliot from Fair Game by Josh Lanyon
– Mark and Stephen from I Spy series
– James and Sedgwick from the Dickens with Love
– Lucien and Stephen from A Charm of Magpie series
– Whyborne and Griffin from Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series
– David and Murdo from Enlightenment series

Again, thanks, Didi, I see  some I’ve been meaning to get too.  This is a wonderful reminder!

♡And from Jen:

Some of my favorite couples are:
Whyborne and Griffin from Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series
Jonty and Orlando from the Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows series
Cole and Jae from Rhys Ford’s Cole McGinnis series
Charlie and Travis from NR Walker’s Red Dirt series
Laurie and Sasha from Harper Fox’s A Midwinter Prince series
Gray/Caleb & John from Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series
Crick and Deacon from Amy Lane’s Promises series

Crick and Deacon were on my Comfort list, Jen, but I so agree with you!  So were Charlie and Travis, Cole and Jae, love them!  Do you know there are series here I need to add to my list?  Yay! Thank you all to add to my staggeringly high TBR pile!

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Winner Announcements!

♥︎Winners of our Comfort Story Reads are:

Purple Reader
Shirley Ann

♥︎Winner of our Love Story Read/List is:

Didi

 

Congratulations to you all.  Stella will be in touch with you about your prizes.  Now all our readers keep you eyes turned to us for more giveaways coming soon!  Meteorological Spring is within 2 weeks.  I’m sure we’ll think of some way to celebrate new beginnings and the coming of Spring!  Give me your suggestions and stay with us!

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Now for this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.   We handed out a new list of questions to authors for our author interviews and the results have been wonderful.  Everything from how they feel about their covers to what they think about ebooks and Gary Stu writing.  Don’t miss out on those.  Plus we have plenty of Release Day Reviews and audiobook reviews for those who  love to listen as well as read!  Something for everyone!

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This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 19:

  • Of Comfort Reads and  Love Stories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 20:

  • Release Blitz – Find Me (Rent Me Series #5) by Brina Brady
  • Release Day Blitz College Discipline by Caitlin Ricci
  • Release Day Blitz Unzipping 7d by J.C. Long
  • A Jeri Review: Down By Contact by Sloan Johnson
  • A Lila Review: A-dork-able by J.D. Walker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tropical Depression by BA Tortuga
  • A PaulB  Review: Dead Camp book 3 by Sean Kerr

Tuesday, February 21:

  • Review Tour – NR Walker’s Imago 
  • Jared’s Family Blogger Tour and Giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Poppy’s Secret
  • Review Tour – Lyssa Dering’s fangjunkie27
  • A MelanieM Review:  Imago by NR Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Love (Leaning Into #1) by Lane Hayes
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Unzipping 7D (Unzipped Shorts #2) by J.C. Long

Wednesday, February 22:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Catt Ford on Cross My Heart
  • TWO NATURES* by Jendi Reiter 4 Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Unspoken by R.A. Padmos
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Off Stage (Off Stage #1-2) by Jaime Samms
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Rushing Love (States of Love) by Meg Bawden
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Thursday, February 23:

  • DSP GUEST POST Meg Bawden on Rushing Love
  • Release Day Blitz Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer
  • RIPTIDE BLOG TOUR Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk
  • An Alisa Review: Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Open Road by M.J. O’Shea and Robbie D (Narrator)
  • An Ali Audiobook Review:  Everything Changes (Resilient Love #1) by Melanie Hansen and Robert Nieman (Narrator)

Friday, February 24:

  • DSP GUEST POST Matthew Lang on Better with Bacon
  • Book Blitz: Fallen Angel by Eden Winters
  • Release blitz: AFTER THE FIRE by Felice Stevens
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Ringo and the Sunshine Police by Nick Wilgus
  • A PaulB  Review: Max (Demon Elite 7) by April Kelley
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Kieran: The Atherton Pack 4 By Toni Griffin
  • A PaulB  Review: The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler

Saturday, February 25:

  • 3 day release blitz: *Snapshots by Addison Albright*
  • DSP GUEST POST Ariel Tachna on Talking in Code
  • A MelanieM Review: Man and Tree by Wayne Mansfield

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Two Publishers Announcements

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Two Publishers Announcements

 

📚First from Painted Hearts Publishing formerly known as Dark Hollows Press:

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Dark Hollows Press is thrilled to announce an exciting new change! As of 02.14.2017 we are now Painted Hearts Publishing! Who we are remains the same, but we believe our new name to be a better reflection of our diversity. From sweet to erotic, from paranormal to contemporary, from male/female to LGBT, we remain committed to bringing you the best in romance publishing today.

Visit us on the web at www.paintedheartspublishing.com

📚Secondly and sadly, from Samhain  Publishing, a final announcement:

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Greetings, Samhain Readers.

It’s with a heavy heart that we announce Samhain Publishing will be closing at the end of February. Due to the declining sales we’ve been experiencing with this changing market we’ve come to the sad conclusion it’s time to call it a day.

 

The last of our new titles launch February 21st; I hope you will check them out and support them as you have so many other Samhain titles through the years.”

 

Our site will go dark at the end of the day, February 28th. Please take a few moments and visit, buy what you might have been planning on getting someday in the future, but download and back up your bookshelf because you won’t have access to it after February 28th.

 

Thank you for all your support through the eleven years we’ve been open. It’s been a pleasure to bring to market new voices in publishing and new works from familiar authors. From start to finish, we’ve always kept what the reader wants in mind and hope you enjoyed what we had to offer.

https://www.samhainpublishing.com

 

This is the second time we’ve had a closing announcement from Samhain  Publishing but it looks to be their final one.  Last time, they pulled back and tried to stay open but as you can see, it didn’t work.  Again, we bid them farewell.  Those of you who still have books there or books you wish to buy, please make note of their deadline to backup your Samhain bookshelf.

 

 

 

An Alisa Review: What the Cat Dragged In by Kate Steele

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

what-the-cat-dragged-in-by-kate-steeleAn owl and a pussycat? Seriously? Oh yeah. Seriously hot.

 

It’s a case of lust at first sight. The sizzle between Kyle and Bryan ignites into a passionate encounter with an unexpected result. Fun and games between this owl and lynx shifter are all well and good, but love? That’s more than either one expected, and, for this interspecies couple, may be the very thing that tears them apart.

 

This is a cute short story.  Kyle always runs when Bryan is around because he doesn’t know how Bryan will take his attraction.  When Bryan uses Kyle’s games against him things get interesting.

 

I loved how Bryan didn’t care about what others would think of their relationship and just went with being with the man he wanted.  Kyle has more doubts, but when he sees that Bryan won’t hold prejudices against him he opens up.  Both characters make mistakes which we see in their interactions, but want to do right by the other in the end .

 

Cover art by April Martinez is nice and is a standard “fling” cover for Loose Id.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 48 pages

Published: January 24, 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682522943

Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The New Wolf (Building the Pack #1) by RJ Scott

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

the-new-wolfThis was an interesting twist on wolf shifter stories and the beginning of a trilogy that will be completed by two other authors, so it’s definitely not a standalone.

Veterinarian Josh Nolan and his partner, Connor Vincent, move to Black Creek, Vermont, after a shooting incident in their former location severely injured Connor, who was a cop in that city. Hired by the Sheriff’s Department in Black Creek, Connor finds life here a lot quieter than in the city so starts to look through cold-case files. What he discovers is a series of injuries, deaths, and disappearances in the late sixties to early seventies that were never solved, though they did abruptly end. But he’s cautioned by the sheriff to leave the mysteries alone.

One night, however, Josh is severely injured when he stops to help a large dog who was hit by a car. The driver disappeared, and as Josh was struggling to help the large animal that looked remarkably like a wolf, someone attacked him. Fortunately, Connor arrives on scene quickly to care for him, Josh having called him when he stopped to help the animal. Shortly afterward, the sheriff and a few deputies arrive, and by the time Josh gets treatment at the local hospital, he’s been convinced that he imagined some of what he saw and that the attack couldn’t have happened that way at all.

This sets the scene for most of the story, in which much of what occurs to Josh, and later to Connor, is covered up and secretive. Ultimately, we discover that there are indeed wolf shifters in the area, and that some of the principal “human” characters are wolves who are members of a fairly new pack.

I enjoyed the story, though it felt introductory and incomplete, since the “big, bad wolf” was not taken down in this installment in the series. The established couple, Josh and Connor, were good characters, but I didn’t feel the closeness that I anticipated. They certainly had their quiet times and their sexy times, but maybe it was because of what happens to Connor, and the distance that injury created, they didn’t feel as strong a couple as I would have liked.

Nevertheless, those who enjoy paranormal/shifter stories will likely enjoy this introductory look at what promises to be an interesting and exciting series.

Cover art by Meredith Russell depicts one of the characters front and center with the full moon in the background. A nice cover but not outstanding among all others which feature a cover model as opposed to artwork or other interesting symbolism.

Sales Links

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2jseies

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2jUYgGJ

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 78 pages
Published January 16th 2017 by Love Lane Books Ltd (first published August 1st 2013)
ASINB01MUBNP7M
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBuilding The Pack #1
CharactersJosh Nolan, Connor Vincent settingBlack Creek, Vermont (United States)

TJ Nichols on Research, Writing, and ‘Warlock in Training’ (author interview and DSP Publications Guest Post)

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Warlock in Training (Studies in Demonology #1) by T.J. Nichols
D
SP Publications
Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host T.J. Nichols here today in our authors interview chair.  Welcome, T.J.!

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with T.J. Nichols~

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

I do a lot of research even though I write (mostly) urban fantasy. It could be simple things like the physical location of the story if I’m setting it in a place I’ve never been through to different poisons that were common in the Middle Ages, or even the different types of werewolf lore.

When creating Demonside (the realm where demons live in Warlock in training) I had to research how desert dwelling people survived in those harsh conditions. I had to look up the life cycle of desert plants and animals which are dependent on the rains when, or if, they come.

Research is one of those things that I do all the time, even if I don’t know where the knowledge is going to come in handy.

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

Definitely. I read mainly fantasy novel when growing up, and I love that escape to new worlds. These days I love creating those new worlds and mixing magic into our world.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both as a reader and writer. Some stories need everything to be tied up with a bow and other stories need to be left undone. I’m generally happy as long as I think the couple has the chance to give being together a good shot. As a writer crafting the perfect ending can take a while. I try to know the last scene of the book by the time I’m ¼ of the way through writing the first draft. Sometimes I know that final image when I start plotting…then the trouble is working out how to get there. I must confess I’m not a fan of the ‘two years later epilogue’, I’ve never read one that’s made me love the story more (but I’ll read it if it’s there).

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

I didn’t discover romance novels until I was in my twenties. These days I read both. It all depends on what I want from a book (sometimes I want the happily ever after, sometimes I want the bigger world of an urban fantasy/fantasy, and sometimes I just want something I can read in 2 hours so I read a novella). I like the uplifting nature of romance novels and that love wins every time. Love should win and everyone should get their happily ever after, but that doesn’t happen in real life.

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

I don’t think ebooks will go away. I love them. The convenience of having a library on my ereader is great. I still buy print books, usually it comes down to price and availability as to which format I buy (I live in Australia).

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

I love all my stories but for different reasons. A Wolf’s Resistance is set in WW2 which is one of my favorite time periods so the research was really just reading for pleasure. Warlock in Training was just fun to write—not all stories are like that (I’m working on a novella at the moment which is like pulling teeth).

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m busy working on book 3 in the Studies in Demonology series (book 2 is with my crit partner at the moment). In September-ish Olivier (an Order of the Black Knights novel) will be out. If you haven’t checked out the Black Knights multi author series do, as it’s a mix of romantic suspense, past life repercussions and curses (some of my favorite things).

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Blurb

Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.

His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.

Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.

Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.

Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.

About the Author

TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday.

With two cats acting as supervisors TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.

Website: tjnichols-author.blogspot.com

Twitter: @TobyJNichols

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author/

Ebook: 978-1-63533-267-4

Print: 978-1-63533-266-7

In Our High Fantasy Showcase: The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia #2) by Mason Thomas (author interview)

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The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia #2) by Mason Thomas
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Designer: Maria Fanning

Available for Purchase from

           
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Mason Thomas here today to talk about writing, characters and his latest release, The Shadow Mark. Welcome, Mason.
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~
~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Mason Thomas~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

An intriguing question, and the answer isn’t easy to peg down since character development doesn’t always occur on a conscious level. It’s impossible to not put yourself into your characters to some extent since it is your own experiences that you draw from. You cannot escape your own brain, and little aspects of yourself are going to infiltrate your characters. None of my characters are ever “me” per se. They just tap into various facets of my personality.

At times, you need to be deliberate about it. To generate authentic reactions to the events in your story, you have to draw from your personal experiences and extrapolate what the feelings and responses would be. Auraq Greystone, the main character in The Shadow Mark, is the least like me in terms of personality. He’s brooding and ill-tempered, and isn’t into talking about his feelings. This made him a challenge to write—in a good way. I had to dig deep into some dark history at times to channel him properly.

I will say there are times however that a character comes onto the scene and I have no idea where he or she came from. They arrive fully formed and announce who they are with utter certainty. It’s as if they’ve already received an early draft and are merely showing up to perform their part, and I’m only there to record them in the scene. I’ve even tried to direct them, and say, no I’d like you to be more “this.”  They grin back at me, and then do what they’re going to do anyway, whether I like it or not.


Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

You have to be mindful of that line, certainly. I’m very intentional when creating a character not use myself as a template. Like I said in the previous question, you can’t escape your thoughts and your own experiences, but characters also take on their own distinct traits and personalities through the writing process. They evolve their own identities, and you cannot fight against that.  You are not the character—you are only channeling them, recording their words and actions.

You also have to embrace the weaknesses and negative qualities of your characters. It’s good if your main character makes a mistake, or says the wrong thing, or makes a mess of something. Readers have to see that a character can fail. There’s a looming fear that bad behavior will make your character unlikeable, but what it can do is makes them believable—and if the reason behind the bad behavior fits their history or circumstances, it makes them sympathetic too.

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

I enjoy the world building aspect of writing speculative fiction. I like the “sandbox” nature of being able to construct the world and establish the rules that exist within it.  I pull from real world events, cultures and experiences, but since the world is of your own design, there isn’t a danger of getting the facts wrong. You just have to make certain that your world make sense, and you don’t break your own rules. This means that much my research is for generating ideas.

Sadly, I cannot escape real research, however. Do I enjoy it? No. But it’s a necessary evil. Smaller details—like how a barrel is constructed, or how a mill works to grind flour—have to be right. A detail you’ve gotten wrong is an insipid little imp that can easily escape your notice if you’re not careful, and it can turn your reader against you if they catch it. Combat is the area that I probably invested the most time researching a topic. I’ve even taken longsword classes to learn how to move, and how the body feels and reacts during combat. That was my favorite kind of research. If you’ve never taken a sword-fighting class, it’s seriously fun and I recommend it for everyone.

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

The irony is I wasn’t always a great reader as a kid. I have a slow reading speed, and being ADHD, I had a difficult time remaining focused long enough on a book to finish it. I lost interest very easily. The very first novel I read on my own from cover to cover was The Hobbit. I was in sixth grade. I was instantly hooked. Something about the escapism of fantasy (and science fiction as well) and the notion of a completely different world, connected with my overactive brain and dynamic inner life like nothing ever had before. I’ve been obsessed with speculative fiction ever since.   

Today, I write the stories I wish had existed when I was growing up—fantasy adventures with gay heroes.

 

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

More the opposite. I use my own emotional connection to a story as a barometer. If I’m not feeling emotional as I write it, then it’s not connecting for some reason and I have to shelf it until I figure out what it’s missing. I’ve not yet reached a topic that cut too deeply, as it were, that it forced me to put it aside.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

This entirely depends on the story being told and the characters that occupy it.

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

I tend to not pick up novels that identify as “romance” alone. I choose the ones that overlap into speculative fiction. For me, as both a writer and a reader, I like it when the love story exists along with a larger context, and the two work in concert. The speculative elements shouldn’t be just a backdrop for the romance, but play a part in bringing the people together.  And speculative stories without a romance feel incomplete. The romance brings an authenticity to the story because connecting with others is a part of life that shouldn’t be ignored.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Hard to narrow this one down. I’ve been influenced by so many amazing writers over the years. Tolkien, of course, since he was my first introduction to speculative fiction. Anne McCaffrey, Brain Jacques, Piers Anthony and Stephen King to name a few more. Each of these authors has a magic about them that I’ve always revered—the ability to pull me so completely into their world. However, my primary influence as a writer has been Isaac Asimov, a writer from the golden age of science fiction. He was incredibly prolific, writing five-hundred books in his lifetime—but still took the time to type a personalized note to a thirteen-year-old fan boy who wrote him a letter with a pointless and annoying question. Twice.  I’ve always thought that was incredibly gracious of him. I have always been drawn to his intellect, and his humor, and his devotion to his craft. Many of his quotes are on my favorites list, but one quote has had a great impact on me as a writer: “I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear.”

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

Choosing a cover is terribly difficult and stressful for me. I want it to emote the tone of the book, I want it to be visually striking, and I want it to be sexy. I also want it to be original and stand out. That’s a lot of boxes I need it check off. I perseverate on the tiniest details, because once I’ve chosen the cover, it is forever connected to that work. I’m sure I drive the artist a little insane. Can you change the font? Can you move my name up just a little? Can you bring a little more color into it? I applaud their patience. 

The cover of The Shadow Mark, which was designed by Maria Fanning, is astounding and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It has everything I wanted. I think it exudes the strength of my main character, Auraq Greystone, it has a compelling look that draws you in, and it connects well to my previous cover as well.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Short answer—no.  They are all deeply personal to me for different reasons, and to select one over another is impossible. If I’m not fully drawn in to my own story, I’m not compelled to write it and it doesn’t get finished. My favorite project tends to be the one I’m currently working on.

What’s next for you as an author?

Juggling quite a few projects right now. I’ve recently finished a new young adult fantasy novel that I’ve very excited about. It’s the first in what I hope to be a series, with multiple young LGBTQ characters. My goal for this was to create a world where the LGBTQ characters are admired and respected, and are the heroes of the kingdom.  I’m in the process of editing it now, and hope to send it out this summer. I’m writing another romance/fantasy that takes place in a different world than the Lords of Davenia series. I’m also in the planning stages of creating a sequel for Lord Mouse.

Blurb

Auraq Greystone, once a military officer with a promising future, exists on the fringe of society. Accused of murder, Auraq is on the run from the ax—until two fugitives crash into his solitary life. One is a young man named Kane. The glowing marks on his arm pulse with an otherworldly power, and they have made him the target of a sinister organization called the Order of the Jackal. When the old man protecting Kane dies in an ambush, Auraq swears an oath to take his place.

But the runes are far more significant than they realize. They are a message from the shadow realm, a dark memory of the past—one holding evidence of a bloody massacre and its savage architect; one that will shake the kingdom to its foundation. Risking arrest and execution, Auraq fights to get Kane to the capital city where the cryptic marking can be unlocked.  And with assassins close on their trail, Auraq might never get the chance to show Kane what’s in his heart—or the way their journey together has changed him.

The Shadow Mark is an epic tale of magic, murder, conspiracy, betrayal, and—for the two men tasked with unraveling the mystery—love and redemption.

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Mason Thomas AUTHOR BIO:

Mason Thomas began his writing journey at the age of thirteen when his personal hero, Isaac Asimov, took the time to respond to a letter he wrote him. He’s been writing stories ever since. Today he is ecstatic and grateful that there is a place at the speculative table for stories with strong gay protagonists.


Mason, by all accounts, is still a nerdy teenager, although his hairline and waistline indicate otherwise. When his fingers are not pounding furiously at a keyboard, they can usually be found holding a video-game controller, plucking away at an electric guitar, or shaking a twenty-sided die during a role-playing game. Mason will take any opportunity to play dress-up, whether through cosplay, Halloween, or a visit to a Renaissance Faire. He pays the bills by daring middle school students to actually like school and encouraging them to make a mess in his science classroom. He lives in Chicago with his endlessly patient husband, who has tolerated his geeky nonsense for nearly two decades, and two unruly cats who graciously allow Mason and his husband to share the same space with them.

 
Social Media Info

A Paul B Review: Kieran (The Atherton Pack #4) by Toni Griffin

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Rating:  4.5 of 5 stars

kieran-the-atherton-pack-4-by-toni-griffinDamon is sent by the Brisbane police department with his partner to investigate the hacking of birth records by somebody in the Atherton area.  Atherton pack member Corey has been doing so for years in order to register births from same sex mates who have given birth.  However, he slipped up when he registered his Alpha couple’s son’s birth.  When Damon steps into Corey’s house, he scents that his mate has recently been in the house.  Unable to do anything about it, he continues his investigation trying to lead his partner away from Corey as the guilty party.

Kieran has recently returned to the Atherton pack.  Ben, not only the pack alpha but the Pennaeth Alpha (Supreme Alpha) of all Australia, has appointed Kieran as one of his Betas.  He finds it unusual for the inner circle to go out to dinner but agrees to go along.  As he enters the restaurant, he makes eye contact with Damon, his future mate.  Knowing that he is investigating his best friend does not bode well for the start of their mating.  When a couple of encounters with Damon end with Damon always retreating to his hotel room, Kieran feels betrayed and hurt even though he knows that Damon has to do his job.

Things go from bad to worse when the ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence Organization) is brought into the case.  After questioning, another federal organization drugs Corey and takes him away in a van.  Damon, along with the inner circle of the Atherton pack starts investigating who has taken Corey.  Thanks to his sources, Damon finds out that his worst fear has been realized—the government knows about shifters and is in the process of rounding as many of them up.  Just as he relays this information to the Atherton pack inner circle, he realizes that the pack house is about to be raided.  With the assistance of Kieran, Damon along with the alpha mate Tommy and Tommy’s son Joseph escape.  However, all the rest of the inner circle, including his mate Kieran, has been captured.  Damon now must find a way to free the captive shifters and make sure that the rest of his kind is safe from further abductions.

This fourth book in the Atherton Pack series has both romance and action in it.  Damon is torn between his job as a police officer and his duty to keep shifters safe no matter what.  He is frustrated that his mate cannot accept that he has to keep up the charade to his partner that basically he is a double agent within the police department trying to keep Corey from going to jail.  He would like to tell his partner of twelve years to ease off but that is impossible since he knows Corey is guilty.  Kieran meanwhile thinks Damon has betrayed his kind by working the federal agents.  Keep an eye out for characters from Toni Griffin’s Holland Brothers shifter series as a number of them make an appearance in this book.

The cover by Freddy MacKay works well.  A shirtless man’s back with a huge wolf’s head tattoo covering it stretches underneath a full moon with a black wolf’s muzzle looking at the man. 

Sales links available: AmazonAReBookstrand

Book Details

Ebook, 163 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published: October 19, 2016 by Mischief Corner Books

ASIN: B01M0OZAWQ

Series:  Atherton Pack

Liam (Atherton Pack #1)

Ben (Atherton Pack #2)

In Our Urban Fantasy Spotlight: Jaeger (Order of the Black Knights #4) by Evelise Archer (special guest post, excerpt and teaser)

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Jaeger (Order of the Black Knights #4) by Evelise Archer

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Evelise Archer here today to share a little bit about herself, writing, and her latest novel in her Order of the Black Knights series, Jaeger.  Welcome, Evelise!

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A Little Extra…

Once I decide to write a specific type of book, the research begins. I love the search aspect of hunting down the particulars, whether it be about culture, area, profession. Jaeger, a mystery/suspense allowed me to be creative with the part of the world some of the story took place and with the law enforcement aspect. Two things near and dear to my heart.

As a Latina, infusing my culture into the writing is very important to me and as a family of law enforcement/military, as well. Jaeger gave me the freedom to make a gruff individual evolve into a loving man- Jaeger just didn’t know he had honor and integrity deep in his soul until the lovely Latin brought out the best in him.

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Jaeger Blurb

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.

To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.

 About the series Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.

Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.

If the Knight pardons an enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it is less likely that he can be saved.

Excerpt

Prologue 1981

Oppressive heat caused the sweat to trickle down Jaeger’s back and pool at the waistband of his camouflage BDUs. For three fucking days, he’d been entrenched in the mosquito-ridden jungle of Colombia, waiting for his mark, Carlos Quintanilla—drug runner, coca grower, and major player in the Colombian cartel. He and his team were paid handsomely to sit, wait, and dispose of a target. And though the original twenty-four hours—in, shoot, and out—had grown to three days, mercenaries were paid to wait under any conditions.

Once the deed was done, he would trek four klicks through the jungle and rendezvous with the team, cross into Venezuela, and transform into a businessman for the trip back to the States. With his payoff, he planned to retire—hang up his hat as a killer for hire and live on an island in peace and quiet. Maybe. If the nightmares stopped and gave him respite.

He watched through his rifle sight as Quintanilla lumbered along the edge of the pool of his multi-million-dollar fortress. Security was a priority for him, but that was of little consequence to Jaeger, who was perched approximately half a mile away from the complex in a makeshift tree stand with his Remington 700, nicknamed Lolita. He waited.

Movement to the right of the pool caught his attention. Jaeger shifted ever so slightly as the slim figure of a man dressed in blue flowered board shorts, a white undershirt, and flip flops approached Quintanilla. The young man couldn’t have been more than twenty-four.

A dirty blond mop of hair fell over his eyes. His skin was only slightly tanned, as though it had been kissed by the sun, and his ass was meant to be grabbed.

Jaeger didn’t have time to ogle over some squeeze Quintanilla kept at his house. Or maybe the young man was the drug runner’s son. Intel reported that Quintanilla’s wife, children, and mistress were away on vacation. So either the young man was a fuck buddy or a returning son, there to see daddy. Additionally, the team had watched the workers and security guards and knew the next few days were the only time that month Quintanilla would be alone. It looked like a vacation from the world. Quintanilla sent everyone else away and stayed to enjoy the amenities he acquired by dipping his hands into blood money. Carlos Quintanilla believed himself so powerful that no one would dare to touch him. He’d soon be proven wrong.

“Target in sight.” Jaeger spoke softly into the mic attached to the lapel of his camouflage shirt. The earpiece in his right ear crackled with static.

“Can you take the shot, Arrow One?” The speaker, located approximately four kilometers away, waited with the rest of the team for Jaeger to complete the deed and return to the rendezvous point.

“Roger, Base One. Shot available, but there’s a slight problem. The target is not alone. Over.”

Jaeger waited for base to confirm or negate his mission. He hoped it was a go, because if not, the sitting in a mosquito-infested jungle, being eaten alive would have been for naught. And that would highly piss him off.

“Can you take them both out, Arrow One?”

Jaeger thought and quickly contemplated the speed of the traveling bullet, the wind velocity, and the reaction time for the second target to move and attempt to take cover and fall at Quintanilla’s feet. He couldn’t guarantee it.

“Negative, Base One. Advise.” Jaeger waited.

Sitting in the jungle required patience, which any mercenary or sniper had in spades. The average man found it torturous to sit in silence for three minutes. Jaeger did it for days at a time. So the five minutes it took for base to get back to him was nothing. If Quintanilla attempted to leave the premises, Jaeger would have to either take him out and leave the young man alive or try to eradicate both of them.

“Base One to Arrow One. Over.”

“Arrow One here.”

“It’s a go, Arrow One. Target first, then the secondary. Take the trip to the destination and see if any cleaning is required. We are still a go for the meet. Over.”

“Roger, Base One. Over.”

Jaeger had the green light. Kill Quintanilla, shoot the young man, and confirm both kills. Jaeger had no doubt Carlos Quintanilla would be dead, but was not sure of the second target. He’d put a bullet in him on sight, if needed.

Jaeger peered through the lens, blinked his eyes to refocus, and stared at Quintanilla. He and his blond companion were seated side by side in chaise lounges. The young man’s hands moved earnestly, as if the talk was at the forefront of his young life. Jaeger inhaled and filled his lungs. The feel of Lolita against his cheek and on his shoulder and the caress of the scope and wood stock comforted him but had also brought him great pain. But this was not the time to become maudlin. He had a job. One that would enlarge his bank account and maybe deliver the solace he’d struggled so hard to find.

Ever so slowly he released his breath as his index finger rested on the trigger. As he let go the last of his breath, Jaeger squeezed the trigger. The whiz of the bullet rang through the air and blended with the cacophony of birds in the untamed Colombian jungle. Jaeger released the shell, inhaled again, and aligned his second shot. Dead-on, the bullet pierced Carlos Quintanilla’s skull, and blood oozed from the hole. Quintanilla fell over in the lounger. The young man dropped to his knees and covered his mouth with his hands. The angle of his body made it impossible for Jaeger to kill him, but he’d maim him until he was onsite and could finish the deed. This better involve a bonus. And not a two-fer-one sale.

The second shot, strategically aimed at the young man’s side, tore through his ribs and pierced a lung, incapacitating him until Jaeger arrived. The man dropped.

Jaeger slung his minipack onto his back, hoisted Lolita onto his shoulder by her strap, and jogged through the foliage. Normally the slight trek would have taken about ten minutes on solid ground, but in the thick of the Colombian jungle, half a mile could take up to an hour. Jaeger didn’t have the luxury of wasted time. He humped the half mile as fast and expediently as the surrounding area allowed and arrived at the fortress in less than thirty minutes.

Careful and mindful of any unwanted guests, Jaeger quickly entered through a low-lying wall on the back side and made his way to the pool area. The silence was welcome, except for the slight whimpers of the wounded bystander. Jaeger verified Quintanilla’s death and turned his attention to the young man who struggled for breath as his lungs obviously filled with blood and his heart enlarged and worked overtime to pump. Blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. His soulful chocolate-brown eyes pooled with tears as he peered up at Jaeger. Blood, snot, and tears did not detract from the young man’s good looks. In retrospect Jaeger realized he was Quintanilla’s son and not a boy toy.

Jaeger removed his Sig from the side holster and aimed. The young man resignedly closed his eyes. Sadness illuminated Jaeger’s soul at the prospect of taking an innocent, but no witnesses were allowed. And Jaeger was paid to kill. He wasn’t quite sure where his feeling emanated from, but a job was a job, and Jaeger and the team were being paid handsomely. The boy had the misfortune to be born into the Quintanilla family and grow up the son of a notorious drug runner. Maybe not so innocent, then—tainted by his genealogy. Jaeger pulled the trigger. The sound was louder than usual.

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About the Author

Evelise Archer is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a new-found lover of tea, and don’t look in her office because what you find may astound you. She currently has twenty tins of tealeaves just waiting to be brewed for her drinking pleasure. She is bilingual, lives in one of the original thirteen colonies, and is a lover of the cold weather and snow. It’s a safe bet that you may find her on the beach in the autumn and winter, but rarely in the summer. She’s been married for over thirty years to a loving man who puts up with her obsession to clean—she currently owns three vacuum cleaners—, read, and spin a tale when the voices speak to her. When she’s not in front of the computer, search her out in the local gym.