EJ Russell On Oregon Locations and her new release Howling on Hold by EJ Russell (guest blog and giveaway)

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Howling on Hold by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing

Published January 13th 2020
Cover Art: L.C.Chase

Sales Links:

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

Around Oregon by E.J. Russell

I’ve been an Oregon resident for—*checks watch*—almost thirty years now, and have lived in the same spot in the country outside Portland for twenty-nine years this month. (You’ll note I didn’t say I’ve lived in the same house, because the house we moved into isn’t the house we live in now. We’ve done two different remodels—neither one of which is completely finished, but I digress…)

Because I love Oregon and it’s what I know best, most of my books are set here. In fact, there’s only one—Tested in Fire—that’s not (if you don’t count the occasional side trip into Faerie, Sheol, or the Welsh Underworld). Consequently, there are some places and/or iconic objects that show up in Howling on Hold that have appeared in other books as well.

In no particular order…

Voodoo Doughnuts

I dare anyone to walk through the Portland International Airport and not spot at least one person carrying Voodoo Doughnuts’ signature pink box. I took this photo on the Amtrak train between Portland and Seattle, so even our neighbors to the immediate north can’t seem to resist the magic that’s in the hole. That pink box makes a cameo appearance in Howling on Hold, as it did in Stumptown Spirits. In Wolf’s Clothing, the doughnuts emerged from the box when Christophe brought them to Trent as a peace offering. Maple-bacon bars, anyone? (BTW, Voodoo has extended its reach beyond Oregon—they’ve now got stores in Denver, Orlando, Austin, and Hollywood!)

Forest Park

Portland is known for its urban green spaces, and Forest Park is one of the most well-known and extensive. In Howling on Hold, Tanner sees the park as a refuge, but in Stumptown Spirits, it had a more sinister edge as the sight of a legendary ghost war. Trent revisits the park in Wolf’s Clothing despite  the panic it triggers. In Cutie and the Beast, David, Alun, and Mal enter Faerie from the park, and in Bad Boy’s Bard, Niall and Gareth emerge from Faerie into the park, where David has to rescue them outside the Audubon Society. I took this picture of Balch Creek in Forest Park the day my Curmudgeonly Husband and I toured the Witch’s Castle (the site of the ghost war)—it’s similar to the terrain Tanner negotiates in Howling on Hold.

Portland Old Town and the Pearl District

I’ve placed two significant imaginary places from my Mythmatched story universe in downtown Portland. The Bullpen, the shifter bar visited by Casimir in Vampire with Benefits and by Hamish in Demon on the Down-Low is located in Old Town. Chase and the other guys from Portland Howling Residence Seven (aka, the Doghouse) take Tanner to the Bullpen for his twenty-oner party, where, er, hi-jinks ensue.

The Pearl District, the trendier area that got a lot of exposure in the television show Grimm, is where the Supernatural Selection offices were located in Single White Incubus, Vampire With Benefits, and Demon on the Down-Low. In Howling on Hold, those offices have been taken over by Quest Investigations, the private investigation company run by Mal Kendrick (from The Druid Next Door) and Niall O’Tierney (from Bad Boy’s Bard). Chase consults with Quest after the, er, hi-jinks.

What can I say? Once I find a place I like, I can’t resist revisiting! What about you? Any favorite spots that you come back to again and again? (And by the way, fictional spots totally count!)

About Howling on Hold

Sometimes it’s harder to teach a young dog new tricks.

That’s why werewolves embark on a Howling: a three-year rite of passage in which they’re sent to a group residence to wrestle with their wolfy instincts and assimilate into the Wider World. But Tanner Araya’s Howling is almost over, and he could be called back to his remote pack at any moment. His twenty-first birthday might be his last chance to act on his strongest instinct and finally kiss Chase Denney.

Chase is RA at the Howling residence affectionately dubbed “the Doghouse,” and he takes his job seriously. So seriously that when he realized he was developing feelings for a resident, he forced himself to keep Tanner at a distance. But now that Tanner’s twenty-one, he’s not Chase’s charge any longer. They could be friends or—if Chase is lucky—something more. At least until they both return to their home packs for good, as tradition demands.

It would take a miracle for them to get together—especially when the other Doghouse werewolves insist on “helping.”

Warning: Many Frisbees are harmed in this story, forgiveness is not always easier than permission, and the five-second rule does not apply.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About the Mythmatched Universe

Wait . . . Is that . . . No, it couldn’t be. Could it? A fae at the florist? A demon at the deli? A werewolf at the Y?

Humans will never know. They can’t know, or the lives of every supernatural creature on this world—or under it—would be at risk.

So the supes of every nation, culture, and pantheon joined together in uneasy alliance, vowing to keep their society secret in order to survive among humans.

But when you spend every moment hiding your true nature, how can you ever find true love?

Check out the Mythmatched universe today!

 

About E.J. Russell

E.J. Russell holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business-intelligence consultant. After her twin sons left for college and she no longer spent half her waking hours ferrying them to dance class, she returned to her childhood love of writing fiction. Now she wonders why she ever thought an empty nest meant leisure.

E.J. lives in rural Oregon with her curmudgeonly husband, the only man on the planet who cares less about sports than she does. She enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/


 

Giveaway

To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $25 gift card to Riptide and their pick of an ebook from E.J.’s backlist. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 17, 2020. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. For more chances to enter, follow the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

A Free Dreamer Review: Wren and Oak (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #9) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Rowan Harbor has been peaceful for a now unprecedented two months, but everyone knows it’s the calm before the storm. The Summer king is coming for the thorn—a weapon destined to bring his end—and Fletcher has never felt so helpless.

When the disturbing dreams start and his mentor, Oak, is hesitant to discuss them, Fletcher doesn’t know where to turn. He and his boyfriend Conner are in the process of moving in together, and he doesn’t want to add anything else to Conner’s list of concerns.

With a vengeful fae waiting for his chance to raze Rowan Harbor to the ground, Fletcher has to find a way to protect everything he loves and survive the coming storm.

This is it. The final part has arrived. And I can’t believe I actually managed to finish a series with 9 whole books. Okay, 9 short books, but still. And to think I almost didn’t continue reading after the first part…

So we’ve all eagerly anticipated “Wren and Oak”. It didn’t disappoint, that’s for sure.

Fletcher and Conner are my second most favourite couple and I love reading about Oak.  So the scenes with Fletcher and Oak together were a big plus for me. Oak makes a great teacher and it was really interesting to learn more about Fletcher’s abilities. I just wish he’d done a little shapeshifting.

The strange dreams bring an undercurrent of suspense to the whole story, which not a lot of the previous parts had. And the sex was hot, of course.

There were some things that I didn’t like as much, though. One of them was the lack of communication between Fletcher and Conner, which led to a bit of relationship drama, which could have been avoided. I’m not a fan of that particular trope.

Some parts of the story were a little over dramatic for my likes. I’m not going to go into details, because that would be a spoiler, but that final showdown was a bit much.

At the same time, the book also felt too short as a whole. Maybe I’m a little biased because it does make me kinda sad that this is the end, but it feels like there was more to tell.

Overall, it was a worthy end of a good series. If you’re reading this review to figure out whether the series is worth reading, I can only say it definitely is. It does have its ups and downs, but on the whole, it’s a pretty great read.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect The cover, while accurately depicting a part of the plot, looks a bit too gloomy and dramatic for me. But it fits with the other covers and it’s not your run-of-the-mill m/m romance cover, so it’s alright.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 

Book details: Kindle Edition, 145 pages

Published December 26th 2019

Length: 45,000 words 
 

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series


Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Adder and Willow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6.5 – In Any Light – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Eagle In The Hawthorn – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #8 – Salmon and the Hazel – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #9 – Wren and  Oak series finale

More Best of 2019 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More best of 2019 Lists

 

We are continuing on this week with more best of lists.  This time from our reviewer Chaos Moondrawn!  Let’s check out her Best of 2019!

 

Chaos Moondrawn Best Of 2019

The Best Of The Best

This year I read approximately 200 stories/books, although I didn’t review them all. If you have been reading my reviews, both here and on my own blog, you’ll know I like quirky–books that do things a little differently than the status quo. They still have to make sense, connect with me emotionally, and tell a good story.  I gave 5 Stars, without rounding up, to these books that were published this year:

Digging Deep, Digging Deep 1, by Jay Hogan

This book gave a realistic depiction of being in a relationship with a chronically ill person with humor, honesty, and dignity whilst still managing to be a romance. The author didn’t cover over the gross or inconvenient things about illness the way most books do.

The Ghosts Between Us, The West Hills 1, by Brigham Vaughn

People handle grief differently and sometimes they fall in love at completely the wrong time with someone others might deem inappropriate. Oh well, that’s their problem.

The Story Of Us by Logan Meredith

Literally, no one agreed with me about this book featuring an older prudish, judgmental man falling in love with a young student and porn star. With breaking the fourth wall and only one point of view, some people didn’t dig it.

Best Covers

The Witchstone Amulet cover by Tiferet Designs, Healing Glass cover by Jackie Keswick,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The King’s Dragon cover by Natasha Snow, Taji from Beyond the Rings by R. Cooper cover by Lyn Forester, Anhaga  by Lisa Henry cover by Tiferet Designs, Hell and Gone by Tal Bauer cover by Danonza, Clean Break by Erin McLellan cover by Natasha Snow, Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford cover by Reece Notley, Earth Fathers Are Weird  by Lyn Gala cover by Lyn Gala.

The Best Of The Rest

Best Contemporary

Arctic Sun, Frozen Hearts 1, by Annabeth Albert

Best Behavior by Matthew J. Metzger

Heated Rivalry, Game Changers 2, by Rachel Reid

Ramen Assassin by Rhys Ford

The Other Book, Those Other Books 1, by Roe Horvat

We Still Live by Sara Dobie Bauer

Best Fantasy/Paranormal/Science Fiction

Anhaga by Lisa Henry

Dead Man Stalking by T.A. Moore

Empire of Light, Voyance 1, by Alex Harrow

Healing Glass, Gifted Guilds 1, by Jackie Keswick

Space Train by David Bridger

The Shoreless Sea, Liminal Sky 3, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Best Holiday

A Faerie Story by Barbara Elsborg

Best Dark Themed/Taboo

Sick And Tragic Bastard by Rowan Massey

Please read the tags and get ready for a big, fat, ugly-crying meltdown if you have a soul. Then, read or watch the fluffiest, sweetest stories you can find for a week after.

Best Rerelease

Release, Davlova 1 and Return, Davlova 2, by Marie Sexton

This dark romance duology (pay attention to the tags) was originally released under the name A.M. Sexton. I don’t think there are any substantial changes. Expect rich, bleak, dystopian world-building.

Honorable Mention

The King’s Dragon, Fire And Valor 1, by W.M. Fawkes and Sam Burns

The Stone Amulet by Mason Thomas

I read so much fantasy this year. These two books stayed with me even though I rated them lower than the others. Why? Maybe I didn’t have enough coffee.

Dec 31, 2019

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 12:

  • More Best of 2019 and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 13:

  • Blog Tour Rules to Obey by Susan Hawke
  • BLITZ Breaking the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – Saving Sean
  • A Stella Review : Saving Sean (Seattle Stories #2) by Con Riley
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tough Guy (Game Changers #3) by Rachel Reid

Tuesday, January 14:

  • Release Blitz His Fake Prison Daddy by Thursday Euclid and Clancy Nacht
  • BLITZ Unraveling by Rick R. Reed
  • An Alisa Review: Rules to Obey (Davey’s Rules #5) by Susan Hawke
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Wren and Oak (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #9) by Sam Burns

Wednesday, January 15:

  • Cover Reveal – Hold Me Up by Colette Davison
  • Book Blast – Damaged Hearts by Jan St. Marcus
  • Vlog Tour for Unexpected by KM Neuhold
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rebound (Overtime #1) by V.L. Locey

Thursday, January 16:

  • TOUR Howling on Hold by EJ Russell
  • Release Blitz – Dravyn’s Garden (D’Vaire, Book 15) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • Release Blitz Garrett Leigh – The Edge Of The World
  • An Ashlez Review: Star and Fire by R Parr

Friday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal – A Summer of Smoke and Sin by TJ Nichols
  • BLOG TOUR International Banker, Beach Boy by Mia Terry
  • A MelanieM Review: Head in the Game by Jeff Adams
  • A MelanieM Review: Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters

Saturday, January 18:

  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

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Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5

Historically enemies, there is now a peace treaty between vampires and shifters. As vampires push to announce their existence to humans in the face of technological advances in order to control the PR, many shifters disagree, threatening the peace. The real problem is that it’s just an armistice: there is no integration or friendship. Sinclair, a living vampire, has been accepted at a shifter college for graduate study, which is an historic opportunity. His father, who presides over the Vampire Council, is worried about his safety. He might be right as Sinclair is met with hostility and suspicion. The POV then switches to Mitchel, the Alpha on campus, whose uncle Marcus runs the Werewolf Council. Mitchel’s parents where killed by vampires, so he has no love of their kind. As Sinclair and Mitchel actually get to know each other, they become friends while they try to help maintain peace between their species. Others struggle to accept a world where vampire and werewolf date and humans know of their existence.

Each chapter is started by a news report updating the reader about the issues and fears in the supernatural community. I thought it was a little gimmicky. This is firmly in the new adult genre even though Mitchel is older. It has an enemies to lovers, slow burn vibe–fun, flirty, a little juvenile–at the beginning. Then, all of the sudden, their relationship is serious with sexy times and a violent, action packed plotline. The vampires are ruthless and bloodthirsty when threatened, while the wolves come off as more squeamish and less prepared for violence. Other supernatural species are mentioned in passing, but not focused on so they have no face. It was great to see Erika as a strong female Alpha wolf who takes charge in the crisis, yet none of the secondary characters are very detailed. This story is enjoyable even though it doesn’t break any new ground in this subgenre.

The cover art by Natasha Snow works well with the titles to convey much of the story.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Details:

ebook
Published December 23rd 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN13 9781951880064

Join Us for the New Release Tour for Life Minus Me (The Evanstar Chronicles #5) by Sara Codair (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Life Minus Me

Series: The Evanstar Chronicles, Book .5

Author: Sara Codair

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 23500

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, Angels, Mental illness, Psychic ability, Pets, #ownvoices, Fae/fairies

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Mel is half Angel, but despite her ability to heal and read minds, she feels powerless to help anyone. When a prophecy shows a local pet supply store owner driving their car off a bridge, Mel sets out to stop it.

Baily, owner of Barks and Bits, is barely holding it together. Things keep going wrong, and their depression spirals out of control. Just as they start wondering if they’d be better off dead, a new friend provides a glimmer of hope. But is that enough to keep living?

Mel never thought saving Baily would be easy, but she can’t figure out when, where, or why Baily’s suicide will happen. As her confidence fades away, she wonders how she can help anyone when she needs so much help herself.

Excerpt

Life Minus Me
Sara Codair © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Mel

Saturday

Sun beat down on Mel’s cold, rosy cheeks, and wind whipped her blonde hair into a frenzy of thrashing strands. She sped up on I-95 in a yellow Jeep Wrangler with the top down on a chilly Saturday morning in January. The fact that she even felt cold at all reminded her that she was a little human…25 percent human.

A salty chill grew in the air. A green bridge loomed on the horizon. It crossed the Piscataqua River, the border between Maine and New Hampshire, leading her from the place where she, a seemingly human college senior who lived with her grad-student fiancé, was deciding which medical school to attend, to one where she was an Angel-Elf-Human hybrid who fought Demons and healed minor injuries. Sometimes, Mel felt like she lived in two worlds. In one, science and reason left little room for belief in the supernatural. In the other, her maternal grandmother was an Elf, her father was an Angel, and the rest of her family members were Demon hunters.

They weren’t technically two separate worlds so much as cultures, one hidden from the other. Mel led a double life in this messy multifaceted world where she tried her best to make it a better place. She tried, but she failed more than she succeeded.

She tapped the steering wheel with her fingers, drumming a rhythm to a song someone was listening to in the car in front of her, one she wasn’t hearing through her ears, but through telepathy she’d failed to turn off. She understood even less of the science behind her mind reading than that of her healing abilities.

Speeding up, she passed the pickup truck whose driver was loudly thinking about the music he was listening to and how it reminded him of his ex-boyfriend. Mel imagined the rush of wind, the growl of her engine, and a big brick wall shielding her mind from everything outside her skull until the music ceased. Mostly. She’d inherited her telepathic powers from her father, but she didn’t control the ability nearly as well as he did.

She tightened her grip on the steering wheel. It was going to be at least another hour before she got to Mary’s Eats, a diner where she was meeting her cousin, Erin, for breakfast.

Driving was difficult when her attempts to control her telepathy failed, but crowded restaurants were more of a challenge. When Mel stepped through glass doors into the diner, other people’s thoughts battered the mental walls she’d constructed around her mind. She squeezed by the line of customers waiting for tables, ignoring their glares and reinforcing her shields so the dull, incoherent murmuring of a dozen minds faded away.

The L-shaped room was filled with pink and blue tables that had been there since the 1950s. The faux-wood vinyl floors were less than a year old, installed around the same time the owners had gutted the walls to insulate them, updated the wiring, and added gender-neutral bathrooms. Those bathrooms, along with the large portions of bacon that the restaurant served, were why Erin often insisted on meeting here.

Erin sat in the fifth booth from the line, hood up and headphones on. Rocking back and forth to the beat of music Mel couldn’t hear, Erin shredded a straw wrapper and stared at the silverware. Two menus sat untouched on the edge of the table.

A bony shoulder collided with Mel’s back. Newspapers flew up into the air and floated to the floor like feathers from broken wings as a man with wispy gray hair and pasty skin jumped backward.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, catching his balance on the side of the booth. “I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

“It’s fine. It’s a good thing you didn’t fall.” Mel bent down and started picking up the dropped papers.

“I’ll get them. I’m healthier than I look.” The old man bent down and scooped up more pages.

Mel picked them up quicker and then helped him back to his feet.

“Thank you,” he said, before shuffling off to a table where a younger person with short brown hair and rosy cheeks glared at a computer screen.

“Cooper, these numbers don’t look right,” said the person, picking at chapped lips.

Cooper clutched his disorganized newspaper to his chest as he looked over the person’s shoulder. “That check was only supposed to be for $5,000, not $50,000!”

“Call the bank. They close at noon,” said the younger person.

“Mel? Someone else is going to walk into you if you keep standing in the middle of the aisle,” said Erin, whose hood and headphones were now off.

“Good point.” Mel slid into the seat across from Erin. “It’s been a long week.”

“It must be horrible, going back to school after having a month off.” Erin gathered pieces of their shredded straw wrapper into a pile and slid them under the menu.

“You had a couple weeks off too.” Mel fidgeted with the ring on her left-hand ring finger.

“Over which I had to write a five-page paper. You had no homework and get to start all new classes.” Erin picked up the butter knife and put it down, squeezing their hands together.

“Are you okay?” Mel leaned forward and tilted her head, peering at Erin’s grass-green eyes, barely resisting the temptation to let her shields down so she could read Erin’s mind.

“Not really.” Erin yanked their right hand away from their left, running their fingers through short, red curls. “The meds my new doctor had me on were actually working until I broke out into hives, got really dizzy, and couldn’t keep a single meal down.”

“That sucks.” Mel curled her hands around the edge of the booth’s seat, digging her fingernails into the old vinyl. Erin wasn’t much more human than Mel, which was probably why medications intended for humans didn’t work. But Erin didn’t know that, and Mel couldn’t tell them the truth—she was bound by an oath that was impossible to break. Had she known what the consequences of this secret would be, she never would’ve agreed to keep it.

“Yup. My stupid brain is already foggy again, and I can’t focus on getting anything done.” Erin picked up the fork, spun it around, and ran their fingers over the prongs.

Mel snatched it out of their hand. “Careful.”

Erin rolled their eyes. “I wish the server would hurry up and come back now that you’re here. I’m starving.”

“Me too.” Mel slid Erin’s napkin and butter knife closer, farther away from Erin.

“Really? You think that little of me?” Erin stood up, fists clenched as they stared out the window to the street where their car, a Jeep Cherokee built four years before Erin was even born, was parked outside.

“Erin, I’m sorry. I just…it’s an old habit, maybe. I’m sorry.” Mel’s hands shook as she waited for Erin to either accept the apology or storm away. Her chest got tight and her eyes burned. A year and a half ago, she had sat with Erin in this very diner, thinking Erin was just fidgeting, not realizing until she dropped her shields that Erin had a butter knife under the table and was nervously running their thumb back and forth over the edge until it bled. It was the type of thing that used to happen all the time, and each time Mel intervened, Erin pushed her further and further away, resisting help no matter who it came from.

Erin took a deep breath and sat back down. “I don’t cut anymore, and if me being off medication means you’re going to start meddling with my life again, I’m not talking to you. Either accept that I’m fine without your interference or leave me alone.”

“Okay. I’ll stop. I won’t intrude.” Mel gritted her teeth. Erin would’ve died if she hadn’t meddled. Erin’s bitterness over Mel’s interference in a suicide attempt was a sign Erin was not fine at all, but there was nothing Mel could do about it without crossing boundaries and breaking the fragile trust she’d built with her cousin.

Erin leaned forward. “I have a good therapist now. Mom isn’t ignoring me as much as she used to. Be my cousin and friend. Don’t act like some guardian angel trying to save me.”

Mel squeezed her eyes shut, holding tears in. She’d do what Erin asked, for now, even though it made her feel like a complete failure, like the shittiest Angel ever.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Don’t miss Book #1 in the The Evanstar Chronicles series, Power Surge, available from NineStar Press

Erin has just realized that for the entirety of their life, their family has lied to them. Their Sight has been masked for years, so Erin thought the Pixies and Mermaids were hallucinations. Not only are the supernatural creatures they see daily real, but their grandmother is an Elf, meaning Erin isn’t fully human. On top of that, the dreams Erin thought were nightmares are actually prophecies.

While dealing with the anger they have over all of the lies, they are getting used to their new boyfriend, their boyfriend’s bullying ex, and the fact that they come from a family of Demon Hunters. As Erin struggles through everything weighing on them, they uncover a Demon plot to take over the world.

Erin just wants some time to work through it all on their own terms, but that’s going to have to wait until after they help save the world.

Meet the Author

Sara Codair lives in a world of words, writing fiction in every free moment, teaching writing at a community college and binge-reading fantasy novels. When not lost in words, Sara can often be found hiking, swimming, or gardening. Find Sara’s words in Alternative Truths, Helios Quarterly, and Secrets of the Goat People, at https://saracodair.com/

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Announcements and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Announcements and Less Than Scattered Thoughts

Announcement 1:

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is Going on Hiatus as of February 1, 2020.  We intend on  returning June 1, 2020.

 

Real life has been complicated and incredibly time consuming of late.  The effects of aging is often not kind, and it’s hard to see it’s impact upon one’s parents.  And then have to deal with it.

Sometimes the change is gradual, and then, without notice, like some out of control vehicle, the changes speedup rapidly, veering off in directions you least expected, leaving you scrambling for time, plans, and someone to provide assistance for you and them.

And it all takes time.

I have tried handling  this, my life, and the blog.  And it hasn’t been going well.  So for now, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words will go on hiatus February 1 until June.  Our intention is to return then, restored and recovered.

I hope you will return as well.  Trust me, this was a very difficult decision as I love this blog, our reviewers, authors, and readers so.  We make no money off of STRW and do it solely out of love.

We hope you will stay with us all through January and return to us in the summer.

 

Announcement 2:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Does Not and Will Not Support Dreamspinner Press Through Tours or ARCs, now or in the future.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue  Words has not worked or accepted tours or ARCS since October 2019,  and will not,  (even if they manage to pull off some sort of restructuring deal and avoid bankruptcy) from Dreamspinner Press, its owner Elizabeth North, and any of its associated presses.  Like other bloggers, readers, and tour owners, we too had hoped originally that DSP would turn things around.  Then began the long parade of authors out of Dreamspinner, the lengthy tweets and tales of unpaid royalties (still unpaid royalties and unreturned emails), the impact DSP”s action’s have had on these author’s lives, the immeasurable pain and stress that’s been caused, and, their latest maneuver, makes any support impossible.

I am sorry for those authors still remaining at that firm for whatever reason.  If any of you have ARCs that are self published or published with another press, we will be happy to help you promote those upon our return in the Summer and this January.

On a hilarious side note, when contacted by a certain author for Dreamspinner, asking if we wanted to continue with their tours/ARCS, we politely said not at this time.  And were then informed we were put on their blacklist. lol    A company that acts in such a (insert word of choice here)  manner, imo,  and acts towards to many authors but has a blacklist?  That’s irony. #payyourauthors

A last note on this  subject here.

We also fully throw our support towards those blogs, authors, and readers who have been so brave and vocal in supporting the LGBTQIA+ authors who left Dreamspinners and have been outspoken about the reasons why and the impact on their lives and writing.  This includes Jay of Joyfully Jay, RJ Scoot, Avon Gale, TJ Klune, BA Tortuga, Jodi Payne, Julia Talbot, Sean Kennedy, Sean Michael, Anna Zabo, among others. There are over 80 ex DSP authors, all with the same story.  They need our support.  We  will be here to help them through January and again in the summer when we return.

Plus I will be reading all through my blog’s hiatus so I will have a backlog of books to review come return time!  None of which will be DSP!

 

Now on a more positive note.

Here is Lila’s Short Best of 2019 List:

From Lila:

Best Cover – I Was a Gay Teenage Zombie by Alison Cybe

Best Novel – Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke

Best Audiobook – Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch: narrated by Joel Leslie

Overall Best – Bishop by A.E. Via

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 5:

  • Announcements and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 6:

  • BLITZ Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan
  • BLITZ Life Minus Me by Sara Codair
  • Blog Tour – Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin
  • A Melanie Review Inheritance (Deadly Curiosities #4) by Gail Z. Martin

Tuesday, January 7:

  • Cover Reveal Signal – Fade In (A Tales of Bryant Romance) – V.L. Locey
  • Reveal Blitz Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) by Amy Aislin
  • BLITZ Lord of Thundertown by O.F. Cieri
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker

Wednesday, January 8:

  • BLITZ Boiling Over by Thea McAlistair
  • AUDIO BLITZ All the Way to Shore by CJane Elliott
  • REVIEW TOUR – A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)
  • An Alisa Audio Review A.E. VIA – PROMISES: PART 1 (BOUNTY HUNTERS #1)

Thursday, January 9:

  • BLOG TOUR Devil’s Hour by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hunt for Red Fluffy (Brimstone #6) by Angel Martinez

Friday, January 10:

  • Release Blitz – Biker Daddy (The Grimm Tales of Smoky Vale Book 1) by Gianni Holmes
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Forbidden Bond by Lee Colgin

Saturday, January 11:

  • A MelanieM Review: Head in the Game by Jeff Adams

New Release Blitz for The Hunt (Psychic Underground #2) by Sarah Elkins (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: The Hunt

Series: Psychic Underground, Book Two

Author: Sarah Elkins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 30, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 82100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, psychic ability, shifters, captivity, law enforcement/FBI, fantasy, medical personnel, shifters, paranormal

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The Facility is undergoing repairs after a chaotic failed escape attempt by several psychic test subjects some months ago. Neila and Henry’s mission is to locate potential psychics for the scientists at the Facility to study, but they have other ideas.

Neila can’t shake the idea of Nikola Tesla from her mind, and it’s getting worse as bizarre things start happening to herself and Henry. As they hunt for more about Neila’s possible past life, they aren’t sure if they will find answers or if they will become the hunted.

Things are not peaceful back at the Facility as troubling secrets come to light, and the Psychic Underground may never be the same.

Excerpt

The Hunt
Sarah Elkins © 2019
All Rights Reserved

The repair work on the Facility was slow going, but the director refused to forego using her office. The ceiling was still missing. New modern cameras, a phone, and internet were being installed: the works.

Director Lianne McClaine sat behind her desk with her elbows on several paper files while she read the results from her last checkup with her oncologist on her tablet. The cancer had vanished. Out of nowhere. Gone. Her doctor was sure there had to be some sort of error with her previous tests. Cancer didn’t just go away.

Not the type she had.

The newly installed landline phone rang on her desk.

“Director McClaine,” she said, leaving her answer vague. A director could be in charge of all sorts of things. No need to out their secret operation because of a wrong number.

“Director, you wanted to see us?” Agent Henry Anderson replied. She remembered him saving her life. The painful feeling of them being temporarily linked; her bullet wounds healing at his beckoning. He had hijacked her body with his shapeshifting ability, but it had saved her life. She wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Despite being grateful to be alive, she also felt violated. The director tried to put the latter feeling out of her mind.

“Yes. You and Blackbird report to my office.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The call ended.

The director glanced over the two paper files once more before she put them back in the bottom drawer of her desk. Agent Henry Anderson’s blood work and DNA tests had the same error the other shapeshifters at the Facility had. The results read as if he had just had a minor blood transfusion from multiple donors. There were traces from more than one blood type. The sort of errors that are normally attributed to contaminated samples. She should have noticed the pattern, even if the doctors hadn’t made the connection. They still hadn’t, but no denying it, he was a shapeshifter.

Henry’s results weren’t the only ones with the error. Besides the known shapeshifters, there were two others with the same anomaly: the pyrokinetic, Wallace, who had been killed by Shorty four and a half months before and “Blackbird” Neila Roddenberry, who had killed Shorty after he had almost succeeded in killing everyone in the Facility.

The whole incident had been a complete clusterfuck. Shorty, a telekinetic ex-con who, sick of being a prisoner and test subject in the Facility, rallied the rest of his test group of four men, Blue Team, to lead an escape attempt. The only reason anyone survived was because Henry had joined forces with several other test subjects.

Three members of Green Team, the shapeshifters, used their powers to help the perpetually disoriented group of telepaths and several doctors escape, bypassing the Facility’s biometric scans by copying Lianne’s own DNA. Green Team’s efforts weren’t what put an end to the assault though. Shorty had his eyes on another test subject, the only other one down on paper as an agent, Neila Roddenberry. The woman had more than one ability and the skill to use them.

After a vicious fight between members of Shorty’s Blue Team and the Facility’s surviving pyrokinetic, a nonbinary person named Lor, that wrecked the hallway leading to the Facility’s solitary holding cell, Henry managed to free Neila from the holding cell. Lianne wasn’t entirely clear on what happened afterward, but the two men Shorty sent to reach the Hole were soon very dead.

Not long after, Shorty and his remaining team member found the director, killed her guards, and almost killed Lianne just before he brutally broke Neila’s leg and dragged the small woman away by her hair.

Director McClaine was surprised she hadn’t been handed her ass on a platter by her superiors. They wanted an excuse to privatize the work the Facility was doing. The vultures circling the Facility had only grown in number since the incident. Defense contractors were interested in taking over where the clandestine government agency had continually failed. Private companies like White Rook and HUGO Defense had personnel trained to use the abilities most people assumed were utter bullshit, such as psychic powers like telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, shapeshifting, and God knew what else. The federal government was behind the private sector and had been for years. All Director McClaine had left was one more strike, just one more mistake, and she’d disappear into another dark hole somewhere. And even God wouldn’t have a clue what would happen to everyone else at the Facility.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sarah Elkins is a comic artist and writer who nearly had to give up art entirely due to a form of ossifying tennis elbow that forced her to be unable to use her dominate hand for nearly a year. She spent much of that time writing novels with her left hand as a means to deal with the pain and stress of possibly never drawing again. Thanks to a treatment regimen she is able to draw again albeit not as easily or quickly as she once did.

Sarah enjoys reading science fiction, horror, fantasy, weird stories, comics of every sort, as well as any biographical material about Nikola Tesla she can get her hands on (that doesn’t suggest he was from Venus.) She has worked in the comics industry since 2008 as a flatter (colorist assistant,) penciler, inker, and colorist. She contributed a comic to the massive anthology project Womanthology. Currently she (slowly) produces a webcomic called Magic Remains while writing as much as her body will allow.

Facebook | Twitter | Deviant Art

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Lucy Review : Dances Long Forgotten by Ruby Moone

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

On Christmas Eve, Dylan, the man of James Pell-Charnley’s dreams, is on the point of walking out. Then they hear the faint strains of a waltz in the library of the empty abbey. The music is said to be heard only by those truly in love, and it gives James the courage to tell Dylan the story.
In December 1841, Lord Hugo Pell-Charnley is in a terrible mess. The youngest son of the late Marquis, youngest brother of the incumbent, never felt to fit. When his life comes crashing down, and his life and his family are threatened, he is forced to face his elder brother and confess his deepest secret. When he arrives at Winsford Abbey he finds he must also confront the shame from his past in the form of Lyndon Cross. The boy he’d loved but betrayed in school.
As they clear the ghosts from the past, they dance in each other’s arms in the library to the soft strains of the waltz, but long buried secrets threaten to destroy their happiness.
Two hundred years later, can those dances long forgotten give James and Dylan the courage to hold on to love? 

This is a story within a story.  James, the current Marquis, must tell the story of Hugo and Lyndon to his own love, Dylan, in order for Dylan to understand how James feels about him.  So we have the modern beginning and end sandwiching the historical story and that worked very well for me.

Hugo is the youngest of the Pell-Charnley family and he believes himself to be nothing spectacular.  He had a terrible time at school, can’t do the one thing he really wants to with his life (own a bookstore) because it is beneath people of his class, and now is being blackmailed.  Things just go from bad to worse when he shows up at his family estate for Christmas only to find three of the bullies from school present, as well as someone he used to like at school, someone who he didn’t treat well because of the bullies.  Lyndon Cross.

It’s funny how people assume things.  Winston, Hugo’s older brother, believes Hugo to have an unencumbered life in London.  “You seemed perfectly happy as you were…” while never realizing “I hated every moment of school.  I never fit in.  I was bullied, beaten, terrified…”  He was bullied to an extreme degree, as was Lyndon.  Now they may have a chance to be together, if only short term.  Of course nothing is that easy.

No secret that I am a huge fan of historical romance but I need it to be believable.  This one hit all my switches.  Sympathetic characters, plot that made sense and with twists that I completely didn’t see coming, and an ending I felt was plausible.

I was thinking four stars for this story until another plot twist showed up, one that I wasn’t expecting yet again, and I had to raise it up.  My heart was breaking for Hugo at that point. “…had talked about him, speculated about him, made him queasy inside.”  I so understood that feeling.  I was angry at people for him – more than he was even! Hugo is a good person and handles things so much better than he believes he does.

“Every Christmas we should definitely waltz in the library.”  “Until we are too old to move….I’ll hold your hand and we’ll sway in time.”  That made me happy, as did the sweetness of the epilogue.

This was so interesting, so sweet and so wonderful.  I especially appreciated a bisexual character in a historical, which may be the first time I’ve read of one in this genre.

The cover, showing Dylan and James dancing against the backdrop of Hugo, is perfect.

Sales Links:   Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 145 pages
Published December 19th 2019
ASINB082QQ7QGF
Edition LanguageEnglish
Other Editions
None found

99c Book Blast with Excerpt for Little Red (Big Bad Wolves Book One) by Queenie Wise

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99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Little Red (Big Bad Wolves Book One)

 Author: Queenie Wise

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Genre/s: Paranormal M/M Romance 

Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, Hurt/Comfort 

Themes: Werewolves, Coming Out

Heat Rating: 2.5 flames

Length: 117 500 words/351 pages

This is the first book in a series.

It is on sale for $0.99 for a limited time (Dec 27 – 31)

to celebrate the release of its sequel on December 27, 2019

Add on Goodreads 

 

 

Big, sexy werewolves + sassy, gay protagonist + fun worldbuilding = Little Red!

Blurb

Peter “Penis” Caldwell (nickname bestowed courtesy of popular jock, Jackson Davis) didn’t necessarily have a lot of things going for him.

  1. See “Penis”.
  2. He attended high school in a small town that was as bigoted as it was boring. (Having the audacity to stand out was considered a major character flaw.)
  3. He was maybe, sort of, a little bit (a lot) gay. Not that anyone knew that last one.

None of that meant, however, that Peter was prepared for the consequences when he is bitten by a giant wolf during a reckless night of teenage adventure.

Consequences that smack him right in the face when he is simultaneously saved and snatched by a (hugely-muscled, obscenely handsome)… mentally-imbalanced man who’s convinced that he’s a long-distance relation of Jacob Black. That’s right: werewolf.

Mr. Big and Bad claims Peter is one, too, now that he’s bitten him.

The only thing worse than being kidnapped by a crazy person? A crazy person who’s right.

Forced to adjust to pack life in a hidden society, Peter’s not sure what he longs to do more: throttle the man who’s bitten him and ruined his life so conclusively, or throw himself on Mr. Big and Bad’s ridiculously firmlap.

Yeah, lap

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited 

99c for a limited time (Dec 27 – 31)

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

​For the first time in his life, Peter realized that people had ​scents​. He wasn’t referring to the funky smell that always followed around his history teacher, Mr. Herbert, or even the flowery perfumes that his mother often saturated herself in.

No, people had scents beneath all that.

Like his dad, who smelled a bit like worn leather, or his mom, whose natural fragrance more closely resembled lemons.

Not everyone had a pleasant aroma, however. Jackson’s smell, for example, was putrid – not unlike the stink of sour milk.

No one’s scent was overpowering, and Peter often only caught whiffs of people as they walked by – and that was only when he put his mind to doing so. It was when he spent a lot of time with people, like his parents, or even Scott, who smelled a little like freshly cut grass underneath his Axe body spray, that he really noticed it.

Peter sighed, forcefully pulling himself from his thoughts. He couldn’t be certain, of course, but none of the books his parents – mostly his mom – had bought for him and his older sister about puberty mentioned the strange ability to ​smell​ other people. (He knew because he’d wasted an entire half hour searching the section about body odor.)

Realizing that as he had daydreamed, the sun had risen (and the heat index along with it), Peter glanced down to discover he had sweat through his shirt. Yanking his ear buds out of his ears and stuffing them into his pocket along with his MP3 player, Peter began tugging his shirt off his head.

He probably should have stopped running to do it. But he didn’t.

Which was why, shirt blocking his vision, Peter completely missed the man who suddenly appeared in front of him. By the time he had yanked the shirt completely off, it was too late, and he collided full speed into him.

He didn’t even have time to brace himself. One second, he was running, and the next, he was practically ricocheting off the solid mass of the man’s chest, his body flying backwards. It was a battle to stay upright– a battle he was losing – until firm hands grasped his hips and righted him, allowing Peter’s equilibrium to return to him.

An embarrassed flush bursting across his cheeks, Peter quickly stepped out of the man’s grasp, finally getting a good look at him, and… ​oh.

Jesus.

He’d almost plowed down a god, or a half-god, or ​something,​ because there was no way it was possible to be that naturally good-looking without having a parent named Aphrodite.

The handsome stranger – the man was definitely a stranger, Peter would know if he had seen ​this particular face before – had perfectly symmetrical features. He had an attractive nose and strong jaw, and his face was framed by dark, disheveled hair, longer on the top than it was on the sides.

Not only was the man absurdly handsome, he was also tall (​well​ over six feet), and judging by the way his shirt-sleeves bulged, he was positively covered in lithe muscle.

Which you are very rudely staring at,​ a voice in the back of Peter’s head pointed out. Unfortunately, jerking his eyes away from the display of tanned muscle only served as a reminder that Peter’s less-muscled body was also on parade.

“I-I wasn’t,” Peter stuttered, clutching his shirt to his chest like an old lady holding a rosery in church, “I mean, I ​was​… and then you, and I… I’m really sorry!” he eventually managed to spit out.

Determined not to embarrass himself any further – because apparently people related to Greek gods made him a little tongue-tied – Peter directed his gaze to the ground.

“Are you alright?”

Half-expecting to have been ignored, or worse, laughed at, Peter was taken off-guard by the concern-laced question. (It didn’t help that it was asked in such a cultured timbre. Peter had no idea it was possible to be physically attracted to a voice until that very moment.)

Unable to resist, he allowed his gaze to flicker back up. And promptly froze.

Peter had been so preoccupied with the man’s handsome features earlier that he had somehow missed the most striking of them all: his eyes.

Framed by black lashes, they were an intense blue. Peter’s poetry-obsessed mother would have probably called them sapphire or cobalt or something equally fanciful. But their color wasn’t what had Peter’s entire body tensing.

No, that was due to the fact that the eyes were strangely familiar. Like Peter had seen them somewhere before.

Except Peter was completely certain he had never laid eyes on this man before.

For one hare-brained moment, he thought of the pair of eyes that had been haunting his dreams for over a week now. ​They’re the same​, his subconscious all but screamed at him, ​they’re the same!

But that was ridiculous.

The eyes in his dream were red. And they belonged to a wolf. They weren’t blue and set in the face of a Michelangelo statue come to life. A statue that was currently frowning at him, a troubled crease in his brow. “Well, are you?”

Peter blinked. “Am I…?” “Are you alright?”

Oh.

That’s right.

The man had asked Peter a question, and instead of answering it like a normal person, Peter had just stared rudely.

Face burning, he half-wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. “Yeah! Fine. Great. Dandy, even.” ​Dandy? What. the. hell.​ “It’s not like I fell or anything.” Although Peter wasn’t so sure he hadn’t somehow concussed himself by running into the man’s chest of solid muscle, what with his mouth moving without consent from his brain and all. “I mean, you stopped me before I could. Fall, that is. Grabbed me by the waist, which would usually be sort of creepy, in a bad-touch way, but, I mean, you’re obviously not… you wouldn’t… you know what? I’m just going to shut up now.”

By the time Peter had finished inserting both his feet firmly in his mouth, the man’s frown had increased in severity. He seemed confused.

You and me both, buddy.

After a moment, he just shook his head. “You should really watch where you’re going,” he said somberly.

Yeah, can’t be smacking into god-like entities every time I take my shirt off,​ Peter thought sarcastically. What he actually said was: “I’ll do that.”

“See that you do. You never know when you might run into… someone dangerous.”

For some reason, a shiver tingled down Peter’s spine at the remark. It wasn’t a​ scared​ shiver. Sure, the statement could have been threatening – Peter had just run smack into ​this​ man, after all – but somehow, it was something… ​else.

Peter found himself staring again, almost involuntarily, into the man’s eyes. Dark blue drilled right back into muted green. It was a staring contest Peter was desperate not to lose for reasons beyond his grasp.

 

About the Author

 

Queenie Wise is a happily married mother of four. (Yes, that is four ​human ​children.)

When she is not busy wiping noses or magically kissing away “boo-boo”’s, she is obsessing over M/M romance. Original stories, fanfiction; she reads it all. She is especially fond of sassy protagonists and huge, burly love interests who have tough-as-nails exteriors, but are actually giant marshmallows on the inside. She loves all the tropes: hurt/comfort, enemies to lovers, and May/December being some of her favorites.

Although Queenie began her writing career as a M/F author (under a different pen name), she has recently returned to her true passion: M/M.

While she has a penchant for torturing her favorite characters, all of her stories feature HEA’s. Just because there are not enough of them in the real world doesn’t mean the fictional world should be denied.

(In other words, Queenie is as soft and gooey on the inside as her giant, marshmallow men.)

 

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Wren and Oak (Rowan Harbor Cycle #9) by Sam Burns

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 45,000 words 
 

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect


The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series


Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Adder and Willow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6.5 – In Any Light – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Eagle In The Hawthorn – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #8 – Salmon and the Hazel – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb



Jesse’s only priority in life is protecting the people he loves, so he’s determined to see Rowan Harbor’s wards rebuilt. There’s just one problem: they’re missing an ingredient that can’t be ordered online.


Jesse volunteers to search for the missing component in the realm of the fae, but his boyfriend, Sean, isn’t letting him go alone. The town has an enemy among the fae, so they’ll need to keep a low profile. Along their way, they find unexpected allies, surprising enemies, and a whole host of problems.


The journey is a test of their endurance, but also of their relationship and their faith in each other. Can they find what they need and get back home in one piece in time for the summer solstice?

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.


If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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