A MelanieM Review: Descendant (Apocalypse Rising Book 1) by Mychael Black

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Andrew Blackwell is only one of countless humans who managed to survive post-World War III. Living in the shell of what was once New York City, he focuses on working hard and playing hard. Nothing else matters.

But fate has other ideas, and they arrive in the form of a rather surly angel who’s been sent to find the one special human who can possibly help save humankind.

Thrown into yet another war, Andrew has no choice but to trust Mikhail … no matter where the angel may lead him.

I first started reading this author through the Legends of the Romanorum Series, a complex and riveting series I very much enjoyed that was co-authored by Shayne Carmichael. Once that series was finished, I really lost track of anything else Black was writing.   So when I saw that JMS Books had released a new story by this author, I grabbed it up, eager to see what the new story offered up.

Sadly,  while there are some terrific elements here, the overall tale just never came together for me, which was quite the disappointment. Descendant (Apocalypse Rising Book 1) by Mychael Black is incredibly short which leaves no room for character development, world building, or even much in overall plot depth, which pains me to say.  It reads more like an outline, less like an actual published story, granted with tons of sex that makes little sense.

One of the interesting elements here is that Andrew Blackwell is sought after by Heaven and Hell because he’s the only descendant of John the Baptist, and therefore, one of the closest links to the son of God still living.  I think that’s how it goes.  Really, there is no exposition here.  The world is a mess after yet another world war but again no  world building to lay a foundation.  We find out that’ there’s a way station between Heaven and Earth but little else.  Andrew and Mikhail jump into meaningless sex that instantly turns into love I think, there’s tons of shouting and yelling and then oh yes, the war between Heaven and Hell is on.  What?

The book is over.  And it’s just begun!  We are just really pages in.  Granted it’s the first in the series but still.  If the reader is left feeling clueless, well,  I would be floored if they were feeling anything else.  Sometimes I wanted to ask if Black was going for a satire or for a straight up supernatural romance, because it was hard to tell at times.

I think I’m leaving the series here.  I never came to care about any of the characters or their various fates, let alone the Apocalypse.  Maybe I will revisit that earlier series or check out other stories this author has written in the meantime.  As for this short tale, I’ll leave that up to you.

Cover art: Written Ink Designs.   Cover is ok, the angel is appropriate to the story, except the city is supposed to be in tatters.  Oh, well, half right is something.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Kobo | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published March 30th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB07NPJYVDG

Happy Easter, Eostre to All That Celebrate. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Happy Easter, Eostre to All That Celebrate

Happy Easter to everyone that is celebrating today.  For me it brings memories of Easter eggs, the smell of vinegar and Paas Dye kits.  How I loved dying Easter eggs.  The vibrant colors, the wax crayons, the surprise as they came out of the dye baths…those shaky little wire contraptions that came with the kits so flimsy when used that soon gave way to spoons !  Oh my!

Although associated with Christianity today, Easter eggs predate that religion going back to pagan rituals and the coming of Spring.  Eggs being of course a sign of fertility and renewal.  Some scholars believe that the pagan customs were adopted by priests and other Christian heads of that religion to help convert the population.  Whether true or not, the brightly coloring of the eggs started in the past in Medieval Europe and Asia.

I still see those kits in the store but people have clued me into egg spinners, natural leaf prints (so cool), tie dyed eggs (hey, man), Cool Whip eggs (need to investigate that one), plus so many more options plus the whole natural dyes that involve onion skins!

Leaf Print Eggs

 

Cool Whip Eggs

 

Tie dyed eggs!

Is it too late for an adult to get into the action without kids? lol.  These make me want to grab for several cartons of eggs and have at it.  Plastic eggs or the thought of them just don’t do it for me.

Anyway, it’s short, colorful and sweet this week.  Happy Easter to all who are celebrating.  Happy Egg Coloring and Egg Finding!  Happy Eostre and Happy Spring!

Greek Easter eggs dyed with onion skins

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 21:

  • BLOG TOUR Thirst For You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Release Blitz How to Heal by Susan Hawke
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 22:

  • Review Tour – Wrong Way Home – K.A. Merikan
  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2)
  • Release Blitz – The Gathering Storm by Tricia Owens
  • An Alisa Review : Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2) by Ruby Moone
  • A VVivacious Review: Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Wrong Way Home by K.A. Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review: Descendant by Mychael Black

Tuesday, April 23:

  • Release Blitz Crossing The Touchline – Jay Hogan
  • Release Blitz – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • BLITZ Destructive Forces by Harry F. Rey
  • An Alisa Review: For the Love of a Unicorn (Legendary Shifters #1) by Catherine Lievens
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Innocence & Carnality by J. Alan Veerkamp
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Burden (Love, Unexpected #2) by KC Wells
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Wednesday, April 24:

  • Release Blitz  for Montana Sky (Montana #6) – RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz for Love Is A Walk In The Park by V.L. Locey & Stephanie Locey
  • TOUR Mucklucked” by James Brock
  • BLITZ Where Song Replaces Silence by Layla Dorine
  • An Alisa Review:How Not to Break (Lovestrong #3) by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Review: Upside Down by NR Walker
  • A Lila Review: Love, Again by H.D. Nels

Thursday, April 25:

  • Release Blitz for Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz – Jay Northcote – Mud & Lace
  • Review Tour – Avery Cockburn – Play Hard
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen and TJ Clark (Narrator)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Play Hard by Avery Cockburn

Friday, April 26:

  • Review Tour – Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • Review Tour – Alex Jane – Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession
  • Release Blitz Don’t Fight the Spark by Kasia Bacon
  • An Alisa Review: Living on a Dare (Shore Thing #1) by Grace Kilian Delaney
  • A Lucy Review: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton
  • An Ashlez Review : Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession) by Alex Jane

Saturday, April 27:

  • A MelanieM Review: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid

An Ashlez Review: Catastrophe by Deirdre O’Dare

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Although veterinary technician Carlton is violently allergic to cats, he loves them with an undying passion, enough to tolerate miserable symptoms to keep working with the felines in the San Maribal Zoo. The cheetahs especially fascinate him. Then he meets a mysterious stranger who is evasive about why he’s in the zoo — nude and after hours! This man tells Carl there’s a cat inside him wanting to get out. That sounds really crazy, and the suggested way to make it happen even crazier … but exciting.

Zyl is a member of the ancient shifter tribe, or Were-Kind. His people are working to enforce humane treatment of animals and save endangered species. Hearing of a planned raid by an extreme animal rights group to free the denizens of zoos, they realize this will a real catastrophe. Joining forces with regular humans to avert the problem will mean “coming out” as the powerful beings they are. Again, a potential disaster.

Attracted to Carlton against his better judgment, Zyl teams up with the vet tech he meets under awkward circumstances only to discover a valuable ally and a soul mate

I was sorely disappointed in this – I know it’s only a 50 page novella but even then I struggled.  I liked the idea of the book, I love a good shifter story but this one was so weird and went from one extreme to another it was almost like whiplash.
Zyl – interesting fellow with a very interesting speech pattern
Carl – my kinda guy I always dreamed of having his job – though his initial skepticism and then immediate I’ve always known, kinda made me angry.

Overall it was an alright quick read if you want a little shifter romance, but for sure not if you want full on substance book that draws out the conclusion or is less abrupt in the subject shift.

Cover – beautiful, beautiful eyes beautiful cat .. very apt

Sales Links:  AmazonJMS Books LLC

Book Details;
Kindle Edition, 62 pages
Published March 13th 2019 by JMS Books LLC (first published May 18th 2014)
ASINB07NZLJXM9

Scattered Thoughts on the Rainbow Quiltbag. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Scattered Thoughts on the Rainbow Quiltbag

So I was sort of at a loss as to what to write about this week, my thoughts were all over the place.  And as usual, it came to me through a conglomeration of pictures, hits to the heart, books, people, and just moments in the weirdness that is my mind.

What all clashed together?  Well, it started with this quote from a story I’m reviewing next week from NR Walker.  It’s called Upside Down. If you haven’t read it, run out and grab it now.  I’ll be reviewing it later on.

 “Asexuality is defined by the absence of something.”

 

Boom!  What a way to start a novel and to set off an astonishing inner monologue by a character who’s intelligent,endearing, compex, and seeking answers to his sexuality. And not happy with the article he’s been reading. Of course, he hasn’t exactly finished it as his best friend and fellow librarian will later point out.   But it prompts a discussion over the fact that he feels that as a person he doesn’t feel that he’ should be defined by an absence of anything.  What follows is an extraordinarily well written story about  one man’s journey towards understanding  his asexuality,  two men in love,and their heartwarming romance and path to HEA which includes a daily bus ride, a Soup Crew and a cast to carry your heart.  One of my two 5 star reads in a week.

And for this blog and many others a story with characters that are Ace is standard, just part of the LGBTQIA spectrum we read and review.  Genderqueer, Non-binary, and Genderfluid , Pansexual, Aromantic, Intersex, our reviews (along with the books we are offered) have expanded far beyond what this blog first began with.

I couldn’t be happier or sadder that it took so long.

When Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words first took its first baby steps years ago, all our stories (I was at first the only reviewer as the owner), the only stories primarily out there were M/M.  Slowly I remember one or two transexual  short stories trickling in, a couple of bisexual characters in others that people angrily fought over in reviews on GRs and here because bisexuality  was still so poorly understood by some writers that they still considered it that “way station” to gayness, instead of a legitimate sexuality all its own.

But for the most part, M/M, with the F/F fiction for the most part not being carried along side.

Now things have changed.  We do read and review the spectrum.  Yes, perhaps, it’s still heavy on one or several sides, but we are getting better as does our choices of books  sent in to read and review.  That’s grown steadily larger too.  Perhaps to to ePublishing, eBooks?  I don’t know, but grown it has as Yoda would say.

It’s not just our stories but the change is reflected in the authors who mirror the rainbow of stories we read and review.

You wondered what else sparked this all things Rainbow?  This…I have someone at the Star Wars con and they posted this pic..

 

Our stories have always been full of geeky nerds we love to fall in love with and one recent story I read even featured a Con, with an enormous amounts of fans.  If its Star Wars, can it’s fans of any shape, size, color, or sexuality be far behind?  I think not.

I guess from a Pride Squadron to a librarian looking for answers to a YA #lovehim series that continues to astonish me, the full spectrum of the Rainbow hit me full force this week, as did a bit of “wow I’m so happy we’ve come so far”.

I know we have a long way to go but as it’s pouring outside and I’m looking forward to setting in with another book this afternoon (and GoT tonight).  I’m still so happy at the strides made ….steps forward are still that.  Movement ahead.  And that’s where I’m focused!

What are your thoughts on all this?

And btw?  I’m both Star Wars AND Star Trek! lol  Just don’t ask me which Captain….we don’t have that much time!

Now for our schedule this coming week!  There be dragons ahead tonight!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 14:

  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz for Finding Finlay (MC Securities #2) by Ruby Moone (excerpt and giveaway)

Monday, April 15:

  • DSP PROMO LaQuette on Under His Protection
  • DSP PROMO Royal Blue
  • Release Blitz – Ace in the Picture by Jude Tresswell
  • Release Blitz – Outshined by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
  • An Ashlez Review: Outshined by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
  • A Stella Review: Indulge Me (Kitchen Gods #4) by Beth Bolden
  • A MelanieM Review:To Be Continued (#lovehim #3.5) by S.M. James

Tuesday, April 16:

  • Release Blitz – Lillian Francis – Under The Radar
  • Blog Tour – Strokes on a Canvas by H. Lewis-Foster
  • Blog Tour – Galen’s Redemption (Links in the Chain #2) by Parker Williams
  • An Ashlez Review: Catastrophe by Deirdre O’Dare
  • A Stella Review: Galen’s Redemption (Links in the Chain #2) by Parker Williams
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Where There’s A Will Deanes (Get Out #4) by Sean Kennedy
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Under His Protection by LaQuette

Wednesday, April 17:

  • Release Blitz – Wrong Way Home – K.A. Merikan
  • Release Blitz  – Indulge Me (Kitchen Gods #4) by Beth Bolden
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – With a Kick Collection #2 by Clare London
  • An Alisa Review: Coming Home Finding Home #2) by Carly Marie
  • A Stella Review: Let Me Show You by Becca Seymour
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review – With a Kick Collection #2 by Clare London

Thursday, April 18:

  • Sale Blitz for Love & Family Book 1: TABOO FOR YOU
  • Cover Reveal for  Rebecca Cohen’s Anthony, Earl of Crofton
  • Release Blitz for – Tainted Love by T.S. Hunter
  • An Alisa Review: Because of Sam by J.D. Walker
  • A MelanieM Review: Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1) by T.S. Hunter
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Playing in the Dark (Glasgow Lads #4)  by Avery Cockburn

Friday, April 19:

  • Series Blitz/Review Tour – Holeshot Series – Lynn Michaels
  • Starting From Zero by Lane Hayes Book  Blitz
  • Release Blitz Grace Kilian Delaney – Living On A Dare
  • An Alisa Review: Hunter (Roam #2) by Dez Schwartz
  • An Ali Review: The Holeshot (Book #1) by Lynn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review:  This Is Not A Love Story by Suki Fleet
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Best Behaviour by Matthew Metzger

Saturday, April 20:

  • Release Blitz – Alex Jane – Devil Next Door (Criminal Delights: Obsession)
  • A MelanieM Review: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid

A Stella Release Day Review: Soft Place to Fall by BA Tortuga

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

Stetson Major and Curtis Traynor are about as opposite as two cowboys can get. Stetson is a rancher, tied to the land he loves in Taos, New Mexico, while Curtis is a rodeo cowboy whose wanderlust never could be tamed. But now Stetson’s momma is dying of Alzheimer’s, and she can’t remember that Curtis hasn’t been Stetson’s boyfriend for a long time. Curtis’s absence makes her cry, so Stetson swallows his pride and calls his ex-lover. To Curtis, Stetson is the one who got away, the love of his life. And Momma is his friend, so he’s happy to help out. Yet returning to the ranch stirs up all sorts of feelings that, while buried, never really went away. Still, the rodeo nationals are coming up, and Curtis can’t stay—even if he’s starting to want to, especially to support Stetson when he needs it most. Stetson and Curtis want to find a place where they both fit, to be there to catch each other when they fall. But family, money problems, and the call of the rodeo circuit might end their second-chance romance before it even gets started.

Soft Place To Fall is a very well done story, well written and developed. What hugely surprised me was, although the author decided to deal with some important themes, although I shed a couple (or more) of tears, the book was never too heavy or too much to take as sometimes happens to me with this kind of plots. Instead this novel was so easy to read the ending came too soon.

The romance between Curtis and Stetson is a second chance at love and I have to say it was absolutely beautiful to see how strongly the main characters were ready to reconnect; sure it showed how stupid they were to be apart all that years, but is also demonstrates how real love is destined to last no matter what. And it could sound cheesy, and maybe it is, but this is the feeling I got from this story and it filled my heart.

If you love the author previous releases, or if you are a fan of cowboys and you’re looking for a story with laughs, sweetness and sad moments, you can’t miss the new novel by BA Tortuga.

The cover art by Tiferet Design is so sweet and I don’t know how to say it with another word, so soft like the title of the book says, it’s perfect.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 258 pages

Published April 9th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B07PPBK1MY

Edition Language English

Love a Shifter Romance? Check Out the Blog Tour for Laws of Attraction (The Manx Cat Guardians #6) by JP Sayle (excerpt and giveaway)

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Laws of Attraction Tour Banner

Laws of Attraction
The Manx Cat Guardians Book 6
J.P. Sayle
Gay Fiction Romance
Release Date: 03.28.19

Final Cover - Laws of Attraction Manx 6
BLURB

Nick Riley, on the surface has it all. He’s grown up in a loving family, owns his own home, and has a job he loves. Yet under that façade of a happy life, Nick hides a multitude of secrets and lies. Those same secrets and lies have forced him to build walls to protect himself and kept others away.

Nick’s life is unraveling, and his walls are tumbling when his brother invites him for a visit to the Isle of Man. Nick is left floundering, unsure which way to turn and who to trust when his past decides to come knocking. Things go from bad to worse when Nick finds the fates haven’t finished with him, and his brother’s best friend, Brody Quilliam, comes to stay.

Brody Quilliam needs a break from his life and the weight of responsibility of his job. So when his best friend, Aaden Riley, moves to the Isle of Man and asks him to visit, Brody decides to take him up on the offer. Only things don’t go as planned when he finds Aaden’s younger brother, Nick, visiting at the same time.

Their love-hate relationship is only the beginning of Brody’s concerns. Events he can’t explain make him think he’s stuck in the twilight zone.

Witches, spells, and misconceptions are only the tip of the iceberg as Brody struggles to come to terms with the unbelievable.

Warning: Some of the content of this book is sexually graphic, with the use of explicit language and adult situations involving two males. It is only intended for mature adults.

This is the sixth book in the series and should be read in order to give the reader the back story of the other characters. The main characters in this book do get a HEA, but there is a storyline threading through the main story that is a cliffhanger and relates to a future series.

AMAZON US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q7GX7BF/

AMAZON UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07Q7GX7BF/

Teaser - Brody

Teaser - Nick

Teaser - Morgana

EXCERPT

Brody forced himself to lightly shut the bedroom door, even when his hands itched to slam it. The temper bubbled through his body. He looked at the large wardrobe mirror to see if there was steam coming out of his ears. He was surprised to see nothing.

Aaden, that cock-blocking fucker.

Brody was starting to think Aaden had a built-in radar. Any time he seemed to be making any progress with Nick, then bam, up would pop Aaden.

He dropped the towel and took hold of his erection with trembling fingers. The same erection he was mortified to acknowledge had sprung up when Nick was hurling down the loo. Nick’s tight arse waving at him, encased in a scrap of black silk, and that glorious naked skin on show was too much for his body to handle.

Brody chewed his lip, disconcerted by his own behaviour.

A blush heated his cheeks when he thought about why he left the bathroom door unlocked. He knew damn well Aaden and Greg used their en-suite shower and only used the bathroom in the evening if they wanted a joint bath. Had he secretly hoped Nick would catch him, naked and wet?

Jayne-main-logo2

Let me introduce myself, my name is Jayne, I’m a lady of a certain age (50, bites fingernails). I am an identical twin, the younger one of course by 7 minutes. I am married to a wonderfully complicated man, or as he puts it, off his rocker Rob. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary recently. I have one daughter and two grandbabies one boy and one girl.

I was born in the Isle of Man; this makes me Manx (not British or English). I moved to the UK for several years, and as a child, I lived in Italy for a while. But, the island calls to me so I returned home in 1998. I love the sea and now it’s only a stone’s throw from my home.

I have worked in the caring profession for 34 years and have been a hospital nurse manager, out of hours, for the past couple of years. I made the decision to work part time nights in 2016 so that I could pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a writer.

I have always believed that I could and would write a book, but life just seemed to get in the way. Until someone asked me the question, “What do I want?” The answer was easy, the hard part was making it happen. Well, it did and it has and it was life-changing for me.

So over two years later, my career path has changed and so has my life. I found my happiness again in something that just brightens my day. Now I won’t say it’s been a breeze because those who write know it’s not a total blast all the time, but it has been fun and exciting.

I am asked a lot why did I choose to write a gay romance. I went to a creative writing group (couldn’t recommend this enough for new writers); anyway, the course leader gave me these words of advice. “Put your inner critic aside, put pen to paper and just write, don’t worry about what comes out, just write.” I was a bit, really that works, but I decided to give it a go with it. Ignored all the research I did, which said to write about what you know because that just wasn’t working for me for many reasons. The answer it seemed was to try something different and I found it flowed out and 6 weeks later I had the bones of my first book (113,000 words). Writing something so different to what I was doing in my life, freed me.

My island is steeped in folklore and I have used some of this in my writing, particularly Where it all Began: Manx Cat Guardians Origins. The book, I have to say I love the most, if I had to choose right now, but that might change ☺

Writing has unleashed a beast in my mind and now I can’t switch it off. I follow a lot of authors and I listen to them talking about their characters talking to them. I so get this now, I find myself muttering and talking at odd times. I wake up at 3 am in the morning, with bits of story wanting a voice.

I have six books written currently with two more in the pipeline and a couple of ideas for future series, so you never know what will come next. I have lots of places you can stalker me if you’re interested in finding out more.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/39039955-jayne-p-sayle Goodreads

https://jaysayle.tumblr.com/ Tumblr

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/j-p-sayle Bookbub

https://www.instagram.com/jaynepaton/ Instagram

https://twitter.com/JPSayle69 Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/JaynePSayle?ref=bookmarks Facebook

http://jpsayle.com/ Website address

https://www.facebook.com/JPSayle69/ Facebook Author page

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Check Out the New Release Blitz for Hunter (Roam #2) by Dez Schwartz (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Hunter

Series: Roam, Book Two

Author: Dez Schwartz

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 8, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 50800

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, Vampires, other paranormal beings, sandman, Dream World, magic

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Dr. Grady Hunter has a vampire infestation on his hands in the town of Shady Pines, but he’s been deserted by those best suited to help. After enlisting Chris Reed, a techno-mage, they find the vampires might only be the tip of a deadly iceberg.

Returning home from his dream travels, Ethan Roam is eager to experiment with his newly discovered powers. But Ethan isn’t the only familiar arrival in Grady’s life. As more reminders of his dark past crop up, Grady and Ethan are swept up in a mystery of cosmic proportions.

Grady must fight to keep an ever-evolving Ethan on his side while being challenged by the ghosts of his past.

Excerpt

The old park in Shady Pines was the stuff of nightmares. Or so it would seem to anyone who happened upon the derelict area after the sun set. In actuality, it was simply a park. Located across from the oldest district in the small Texas city of Shady Pines and near the edge of a small forest encompassing the town, the park was extremely rundown and typically abandoned during the daytime. A snapshot of times past, the neglected playground had standard metal slides and jungle gyms, before modern worries of bruises, broken bones, and burns on hot afternoons. Like most cities, Shady Pines had since created newer and safer places for families to gather. And so, the old park had fallen to ruin but still remained hopeful its ghosts would return to play again.

As it happened, quite a few creatures loved to play there, but they were rarely of the human set. Part of what made the place so eerie was park’s location. Once sunset arrived, a thick fog would roll in from the marshes in the woods and overtake the area. If one were to stand there, as Dr. Grady Hunter was doing now, the murky haze would only rise to roughly one’s waist depending on their height. The moon would hang bright and looming overhead, as it also was now, to cast shadows all around. And a breeze would cause swings to sway, and the paint chipped merry-go-round to spin ever so slightly, as was also happening now. At least, one would hope the movement was due to the breeze. Unless, of course, the person was Dr. Grady Hunter and was hoping for something else.

“Any signs of movement? Blast this fog!” Grady, a semi-former monster hunter and more recently self-appointed alternative healer of supernaturals, whispered into the small microphone on the headset he was wearing. His British accent was always strongest when he was frustrated. The park wasn’t his first choice of venue to lure vampires, but any abandoned buildings or dark alleys would provide them too much of an advantage and surely seem like a setup. They would definitely be suspicious. He supposed they should be suspicious of a man in his late thirties strolling through the old park at night alone but, as the case happened, they appeared to find that behavior completely normal.

“Nada. And don’t worry about the fog. The visuals I’m pulling from my cameras penetrate right through it.” A casually confident, and extremely American in contrast, male voice replied back from the other side of the communication device between sounds of chewing.

“Are you eating right now? We’re working!” Grady admonished, still in a whisper as he slowly strolled through the park with his hand hovering by his waist. He had a number of weapons at the ready beneath his long brown coat in case he was successful in finding what he was looking for.

“Please, I’m the king of multitasking. Besides, it’s past my dinnertime and I can’t refuse a sushi place if I pass one,” the voice responded. Grady could tell the man on the other side, Chris Reed, was smiling. Then, he became urgent. “Ahab, you’ve got a white whale at ten o’clock.”

“That’s not my code name. We don’t have code names. Don’t make things up on the spot. It’s distracting,” Grady griped but whipped around to face whatever was heading his way.

“If we did, though, I think I’d want to be Zaphod,” Chris replied, obviously slurping a drink. “Your target is hovering by the slide. Not the loopy one. The tall straight one. I fell off a slide once when I was a kid. I was pretending to be Indiana Jones. Broke my wrist. Great summer.”

“Your lifelong aspiration to be fictional characters is both charming and annoying. Going silent now,” Grady replied as he stalked slowly in the direction of the slide. He reached inside his jacket for a stake. He saw a figure’s shadow wavering across the top of the fog. It definitely appeared human, which most likely meant it was a vampire. He tried to keep his weapon concealed beneath the haze and pretended he was simply walking in the same direction, unaware of the creature’s presence.

“Whip out the big boy! It’s an ambush from behind!” Chris shouted in his ear. Unable to keep from chuckling, he added, “That didn’t come out how I meant. But seriously, you’re under attack. “

Grady immediately switched to a revolving handheld crossbow, which was loaded with a round of stakes, should a situation such as this ever arise. He spun on his heel in time to see four vampires running full speed in his direction. He shot one down but then had to momentarily turn his attention back to the first vampire, who had taken the opportunity to pounce on him.

Grady wrestled free of his grip and knocked him onto the slide where he toppled over the edge and onto the ground.

“Yeah, pretty much how I broke my wrist,” Chris commented.

“Oh, do shut up!” Grady shouted back in the mic. The outburst caused some mild confusion for the vampires as none of them had been speaking, but it didn’t deter them from continuing their attack.

Two of the vampires lifted Grady and slammed him into the ground on his back, knocking the wind out of him. He felt a cracking pain he didn’t have time to assess, as one of the vampires straddled his chest and went fangs-first for his neck. He managed to pull the revolver up to the creature’s chest and let loose a stake right before he was torn into. He rolled free, still with three vampires to face and precisely three stakes left in his crossbow.

“This is exciting. You’re doing a great job, boss!” Chris complimented.

“Not! Helpful!” Grady panted as he attempted to catch his breath. He didn’t get much of a break as another vampire grabbed him by the shoulder and jerked his arm backward, trying to rip the crossbow from his grasp. Grady shouted in response to the wrenching pain.

“Keep him there!” Chris commanded. “I can get a shot in. He’s right in the line of fire.”

“I’m not the one in control at the moment, thank you!” Grady grieved between gritted teeth as he tried to maintain control of the weapon against the thrashing pull of the vampire. Thankfully, the vampire on the other side of the slide was only now running over to try to help his cohort, and the third had opted to watch the scene rather than participate.

A wild shot seemed to fly in out of nowhere. Grady knew the attack came from one of the cameras they had placed around the park for their mission. Attached to the bottom of each supernatural night vision camera was a small loaded device that would shoot a stake with bullet-like precision when activated. It was one of the many weapons they’d had to develop and utilize in the past few months as the vampire infestation in Shady Pines had progressively gotten worse and Grady found himself without much help in dealing with the problem.

Ethan Roam, his new partner in both work and life—who happened to be a sandman, was still away dream traveling. Benny, weredog and roommate, was living the high life as a spoiled Chihuahua fifty percent of the time, rendering him practically ineffective. Vivian Edwards, a highly skilled witch and his former secretary, refused to speak to him or respond to any of his messages. Ethan’s mother, Karen Roam, and their mutual friend, Dr. Arthur Ellis, were eager to help. However, while they were fine comrades in research, they were useless in the field. Grady had no choice but to call upon an old acquaintance to help with the crisis. Chris Reed, a rogue hunter and techno-mage. Thankfully, Chris was more than capable and equally enthusiastic at the prospect. He enjoyed inventing new ways to destroy and capture supernatural creatures, and he’d decided working with Grady was a fantastic way to demo his creations. Unfortunately, even with Chris’s handiwork and help, they hadn’t made much of a dent in the vampire population, which was rapidly growing and terrorizing the citizens (and other paranormals) who generally enjoyed a night out from time to time.

The shot hit the vampire perfectly, and Grady fell forward onto his knees, free of the monster’s grasp. This, however, caused the crossbow to fly free from the ended struggle and fall into the fog. Grady couldn’t see where the weapon landed and began swearing. Knowing he had only moments, he reached back into his jacket and produced two khukuri knives. He stood quickly, ready to face the vampire who had been standing by watching, but was surprised to find he’d disappeared.

“Bugger! One escaped. Did you see where he went?” Grady asked into the mic as he rounded on the last vampire, already furiously leaping toward him.

“Dammit! No. I’m sorry,” Chris replied. “I had my eye on my shot.”

Grady pulled up the khukuri knives on either side of the vampire’s throat as the creature attempted to attack him. The vampire’s eyes grew wide in surprise, realizing he was about to be beheaded. He met Grady’s gaze in a pleading manner. Grady hated when they did that. It made him think of Dacey Sinnett, the only vampire he’d ever call a friend, and he suddenly felt sick to his stomach. Grady did his best to keep his resolve.

“Tell me who is leading you, or I will end you right now!” Grady demanded, his expression ferociously serious.

“You’ll do it anyway,” the vampire spat back.

Grady shoved his weight forward and slammed him up against the slide, blades tightly gripped around the vampire’s neck.

“Your cooperation may convince me otherwise. Now answer the question!” he commanded again.

“You’re great at playing bad cop, Grady,” Chris interjected in his ear. Once again, he practically heard him grinning. Grady wished he could rip his headset off but right now his hands were full.

“I don’t know his name,” the vampire played along. “He showed up out of nowhere a few months ago. Started making promises and threats; demanding that we help him.”

“Help him with what?” Grady seized the opportunity to gather much-needed information. “And is he a vampire? A human? Something else?”

“He wants us to tear this pathetic town to pieces until we find—” The vampire’s answer was forever halted as he was hit expertly with a stake.

“Dammit! Chris, was that you?” Grady yelled angrily.

“No!” Chris was defensive. Grady stood, with no vampire left to interrogate, and looked around. He saw the source at the same time Chris must have on the cameras.

“Guess he found your crossbow,” Chris sighed limply as the last vampire, the one who had gone missing, ran off into the night after killing their only chance at finding some answers.

Grady kicked the slide in frustration which caused a metallic gong to echo around the now empty park. They weren’t any closer to dealing with the problem or having any real answers.

“Sorry tonight was a bust, man,” Chris consoled.

“Same story, different night,” Grady sighed. He brushed off as much dirt and grass from his jacket and pants as possible and attempted to calm his frustrations.

“Don’t worry, tiger. We’ll get them one of these days.” Chris was already back to his upbeat self. “If it’s any consolation, you looked like a total badass. I have to admit, watching you fight has to be my second favorite thing about this gig.”

“Oh, really? And what’s the first?” Grady smirked. Chris didn’t let anyone feel down for too long.

“The inevitable moments where I get to save your ass, of course,” Chris chimed.

“Prat.” Grady rolled his eyes but smiled anyway as he headed back through the park toward his old Jaguar.

“Twat,” Chris responded without missing a beat. Grady chuckled. If nothing else, at least having Chris around kept up morale.

“Go ahead and take the rest of the night off,” Grady said, getting into his vehicle. He glanced back at the park once more, in case he missed something, but the area remained quiet and empty. “I suppose Benny already went home?”

“Yeah, he left a while back. He said watching would make him nervous. And to be honest, I’m not much of a fan of small yapping dogs,” Chris replied. Grady heard him shutting off various equipment in the background.

“All right. See you tomorrow, then.” Grady turned off the headset and tossed the device into the passenger seat. He leaned back into the headrest and closed his eyes, inhaling deeply and slowly letting his breath back out.

“Find. What could they possibly want to find so badly in Shady Pines?” Grady asked himself aloud as he recalled what the vampire tried to tell him. The pit of his stomach tightened and his heart grew heavy because he had a pretty good idea of what, or whom, that might be.

He brought the car to life and drove straight home, feeling the need to be at Ethan’s sleeping side.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Vampire apologist and lifelong enthusiast of classic gothic horror, cryptids, and the occult; Dez Schwartz writes Dreampunk & Paranormal LGBTQ Fiction with a spellbinding balance of darkness and humor. When she’s not busy writing, she can most likely be found with a latte in hand, perusing antique shops for oddities and peculiar vintage books or wrangling her demonic (but adorable) cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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Location as a Main Character. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Location as a Main Character

I may have talked on this topic before but once again it struck me as I read several stories this past couple of weeks how impactful a location can be in a novel.  When done in a certain manner, well researched and folded into the story in a way that feels natural and powerful, the setting of a novel can become almost another main character.  It asserts a strong personality over the characters, their burgeoning relationship, and sometimes even their ending.

The setting can contain not only geographical limitations or expanse, barriers or doors to freedom for the couple.  In some locations is can be full of cultural  or religious overlays along with family implications that will play out throughout the storyline.  All that can come from setting your novel at a certain destination.  Like say South Korea, or Japan, or any place in the Middle East Or how about Alaska or parts of the outback in Australia?  Or planting trees in parts of the wilderness in Canada?  Or maybe a vineyard in Brazil?   All those  All of those are settings in novels that I have read.

In a recent case, the location and use of culture in the storyline saved the novel for me as I was less invested in the main couple and more committed to the secondary characters and the people around them.   Creating a setting that feels real, authentic is key to pulling in your readers and giving your characters a firm foundation for their lives and new romance.

Off the top of my head I can think of authors who gift of the vernacular and ties to certain locations have made an indelible impression on me with their characters, and stories, in some cases series.  There’s Neil S. Plakcy with his incredible Mahu series (Hawaii), BA Tortuga (any of her Texas series), NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart series (Australia), Amy Tasukada’s brilliant The Yakusa’s Path (Japan), Marshall Thornton’s Boystown (Chicago), and that’s just for starters.  As soon as I hit post, I’m sure my brain will be flooded with a ton more along with a bunch of personal smh’s.

That’s not including the amazing historical novels of Elin Gregory or Charlie Cochrane, among others who bring eras along with towns vibrantly alive.

Through these stories I have walked through places and towns in Iceland I can’t pronounce and always hoped to see.  The authors have made me see them.  I’ve visited temples of the Sun in Mexico and walked in the burning heat to amazing places in the outback in Australia.  I’ve witnessed the Southern Star and the Aurora Borealis up in the Arctic Circle.  All thanks to authors who made me feel as though I’ve been there, through great details, gorgeous descriptions, and fantastic writing.

What stories or authors have done that for you?  Taken you places, made you see them, feel them, along with the characters and their relationship?

Tell us, and let us go along for the journey as well.

The most recent books were:

The Yuchae Blossom (World of Love) by Asher Quinn – South Korea

Arctic Sun (Frozen Hearts #1) by Annabeth Albert – Alaska

So, again what are yours?  I can’t wait to find out…..

Now for this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words….it’s Cherry Blossom Festival time here so that’s what I’m leaving you all with…

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, April 7:

  • Location as a Main Character.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, April 8:

  • PROMO Hunter by Dez Schwartz
  • PROMO Sean Michael
  • An Alisa Audio Review Model Investigator (Haven Investigations #3) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Review: Royal Rescue by A. Alex Logan
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Wicked Games (Queen City Rogues #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Lila Audio Review: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Tuesday, April 9:

  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • BLOG TOUR Laws of Attraction by JP Sayle
  • PROMO Royal Rescue by A. Alex
  • A Stella Review : Cowboy Seeks Husband by Leta Blake & Indra Vaughn
  • An Alisa Review: Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3) by A.E. Ryecart
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Inked Music by Sean Michael

Wednesday, April 10:

  • Review Tour – Marina Vivancos – Honeythorn
  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • Book Blast Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys #1) by M.E. Parker
  • An Ashlez Review: Chasing Chance (Gilcrest University Guys #1) y M.E. Parker
  • A Stella Review : Honeythorn by  Marina Vivancos
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Soft Place to Fall by BA Tortuga
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Soulstealers by Jacqueline Rohrbach

Thursday, April 11:

  • TOUR THE DOCTOR TAKES A DETOUR by Bren Christopher
  • PROMO Mickie B. Ashling
  • Release Blitz – Trusting Him by L M Somerton
  • An Ali  Review: Trusting Him by L M Somerton
  • A MelanieM Review: The Doctor Takes a Detour by Bren Christopher
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Fracture (Unbreakable Bonds #6) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
  • A Lila Audio Review:Trick Roller (Seven of Spades #2) by Cordelia Kingsbridge, Wyatt Baker (narrator)

Friday, April 12:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Jude
  • Book Blast – Always Ours: An MMM Menage Romance by J.P. James
  • BLITZ Moonstruck by Aleksandr Voinov
  • An Ali Review : Jude by  Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Review: Moonstruck by Aleksandr Voinov
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Impacted! (Bay Area Professionals) by Mickie B. Ashling

Saturday, April 13:

  • PROMO Starting From Zero by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Review:For The Win (#lovehim #2.5) by S.M. James

 

TJ Nichols on Mytho Origins and Lust and Other Drugs (Mytho #1) by T.J. Nichols

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Lust and Other Drugs (Mytho #1) by T.J. Nichols

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Kobo | iTunes | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host TJ Nichols here today on tour for Lust and Other Drugs.  Welcome, TJ.

 

 

Mytho—Origins

One of the first thing people ask when a new book comes out is ‘where did the idea come from?’

It would be nice if there were an easy answer. A point in time where I could pinpoint exactly how the pieces came together. A story, for me, comes in many bits that have to be assembled without any instructions.

I think the first bit that appeared was Edra. I wanted to write a dragon shapeshifter and thought it might be fun if he had invisibility issues (he can’t control it all that well), which can make things awkward.

I wanted to set the book in the here and now, not an alternate earth like the Demonology series. But I had no idea how dragons fitted into our world so let the idea sit.

Months later I remembered reading something about the Hadron Collider and remembered all the predictions of ripping the world apart that had been made—but I still had no story at this point.

Then I went to a crime writing workshop (for no good reason besides a general interest) and thought that maybe I could add that in, maybe the love interest is a cop. And the love interest likes pretty lingerie (I don’t know why, sometimes a character insists and it’s easier and more interesting to go with it, so I did). So Jordan arrived with his pet can and lingerie.

Then it all snowballed into an idea that I could play with.

What if it wasn’t our world the Hadron Collider destroyed, but the Mytho world. The place where mythological creatures and people lived, though they had sometimes interacted with our world, thus our myths and legends. What if the Mytho world collapsed into ours and now we have werewolf and vampire and ogre refugees?

I had to make a choice here, I either wrote about the disaster, the fighting, marshal law and internment camps for mythos that would inevitably happen in such a disaster or I let all of that happen and write 10 years on when humans have grudgingly accepted that the Mythos are here to stay and cops are trying to police satyrs and mermaids and beings they know very little about. I went with the later simply because I didn’t want to write the grim fighting and death and destruction (I was writing the Demonology series at the time and this series needed to be a little lighter.

I plotted out the romance arc over several books, gave Edra and Jordan a crime to solve in each book and that was that. And that was about two years before I started writing Lust and other Drugs. All the plots and character arc sat there waiting for attention.

This sometimes happens, book ideas have to wait until I have time or the calling to write them (it’s kind of like my brain going, THIS ONE NOW and everything falls neatly into place).

The only thing I hadn’t decided on was where to set the story. I had two locations in mind Sydney, Australia (I’m an Aussie so that was the easy choice) of San Francisco. Both places have bridges and an island in the bay (both of which matter). In the end I went with SF (Which I’ve only visited once) so yay for the internet and the brilliant SFPD website.

Of course the Mytho world collapsing into ours changed a few things so any errors are clearly meant to be there and happened as part of the disaster…

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 every day. TJ enjoys writing novellas and novels and has a series, Studies in Demonology, coming out with DSP Publications.

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: www.tjnichols-author.blogspot.com

Twitter: @TobyJNichols

Facebook: www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cO-YRz

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/TJ-Nichols/e/B01B463R6W

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/tj-nichols

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14669076.T_J_Nichols

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tjnichols.author/

Blurb:

Mytho: Book One

Police officer Jordan and dragon shifter Edra might have to work together, but they don’t trust each other—even if sparks do fly between them.

If anyone finds out Jordan’s a mytho sympathizer, it could kill his career. No one can know that he frequents the satyr dens and uses the drug Bliss. Another satyr overdose might not get much attention, but two dead humans? That shouldn’t be possible.

And it might not be an accident.

Edra, Mythological Services Liaison, has been covering up mytho crimes to protect the community’s reputation. With a mayoral election looming, the last thing his people need is a scandal.

To get a murderer off the streets, Jordan and Edra will be spending a lot of time together, and it won’t be easy to keep up with their deceptions… or to keep resisting each other.

An Ali Review: All Souls Near and Nigh (Soulbound #2) by Hailey Turner

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

You can’t bargain with death if you’ve already sold your soul.

Special Agent Patrick Collins has been reassigned by the Supernatural Operations Agency to New York City. Navigating his new relationship with Jonothon de Vere, the werewolf he’s now soulbound to, is nothing compared to dealing with territorial disputes between the vampires and werecreatures who call the five boroughs home. But the delicate treaties that have kept the preternatural world in check are fraying at the edges, and the fallout is spilling into the mundane world.

Manhattan’s club scene is overrun with the vampire drug known as shine and the subways have become a dumping ground for bodies. When the dead are revealed as missing werecreatures, Patrick and Jono find themselves entangled in pack politics twisted by vampire machinations.

Learning to trust each other comes with problems for both of them, and the gods with a stake in Patrick’s soul debt aren’t finished with him yet. Bound by promises they can’t break, Patrick and Jono must find a way to survive a threat that takes no prisoners and is stalking them relentlessly through the city streets.

Old and new betrayals are coming home to roost but the truth—buried in blood—is more poisonous than the lies being spun. Trying to outrun death is a nightmare—one Patrick may never wake up from.

I loved this book.  Urban fantasy is my favorite genre and we rarely get true UF with the main characters having m/m relationships.  I had read the first book in this series and enjoyed it but felt it had a lot of problems with repetition and clunky world building.  I felt the writing was good but that it really needed better editing.  I almost didn’t try this but I had really enjoyed the characters themselves and felt the series had a lot of promise so I decided to give it another try.  I am so glad I did.  All of the issues I had with book one were absent here.  This was really well written and I felt there was a marked difference in the quality of this story.
 
I love the world the author has created and there are a lot of really interesting and well developed characters; both the two main characters, Jono and Patrick, as well as all of the side characters.  There are a lot of types of characters too which is always a bonus for me.  There are magic users, various types of shifters, vampires and gods.  The gods are one of my favorites and are not seen very often in most UF series so I find that a creative touch.  The author has done a great job of including gods from various cultures which I’m also a fan of.
 
The story is action packed and filled with twists and turns.  I found it all easy to follow though and I was immediately caught up in the plot and the new adventure these guys were on. 
 
The romance is lovely and is a unique twist on the fated mate trope.  I’m a sucker for fated mate stories and I’ve read a bunch of them.  This is the first time though that I’ve read fated mates that have a slow burn also.  These two know they’re fated to be together and they accept that but they’re taking their time developing their relationship and they stop and question different things.  They want to make sure they are clear on what things are the bond and what are their actual feelings.  They’re also very respectful of each other’s differences.  They have the potential to become a favorite couple of mine I think.
 
This could be read as a stand alone but I think you could easily follow along.  I would recommend you read book one first.  You meet all of the characters and it’s a good story overall.  This series is a must read if you like UF series with two male leads.  
 
Cover Art:  This cover was done by AngstyG and I love it.  I think it’s gorgeous and it really sets the vibe for the story and matches how I imagine Patrick. 
Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 374 pages
Published March 19th 2019
ASIN B07PLQBLH3
Edition Language English
Series Soulbound #2