Liv Olteano on Writing, Inspiration and her new Dreamspun Beyond release Lover, Lover (guest interview and giveaway)

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Lover, Lover by Liv Olteano
Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Beyond Title

Cover art: Aaron Anderson

Goodreads Link  

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback Amazon | B&N Kobo   

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Liv Olteano on tour for  Lover, Lover.  Welcome, Liv.

Our Interview with Liv Olteano – Lover, Lover tour

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

Hmm… if I’m honest, the most interesting thing I find about someone is their set of contradictions.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed this: the most interesting people always have some sets of contradictions around which their personality is built. Sometimes these contradictions are harder to pinpoint, and other times they wear them proudly and for all to see. If someone has no contradictions I can identify, I generally tend to believe them to be dishonest or phony somehow.

So I’m aware I also write characters that feature contradictions, because by reflex I build characters that come off as real people to me. In fact, when I write a certain story, I see those characters as real people, and explore them just as I do when I meet someone new.

I’m aware some look for these inconsistencies as proof of faulty building – in fictional characters as well as in real people – but I must disagree. There’s no such thing as linear anything when it comes to real life, so why should fiction try for it?

  • Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

The simple truth of the matter is I address the toughest parts of a story – those pesky bits that give me trouble – when I’m not actually drunk but just a bit tipsy. There’s something about the altered chemistry of the brain, the lowered inhibitions, and the more risk-prone thought process of such times that simply makes me breeze through the rough patches. Ideas flow differently; I don’t bump my head against anything – genre, tropes, plot outline – and just immerse myself in the joy of writing what I feel. I call it feel-writing, because right then I simply let the characters and story do their thing without any sort of authorial intervention. It’s exhilarating, and the highest degree of freedom I’ve ever personally experienced – and writing, as a process, is in itself a form of freedom so that’s saying something.

I don’t think I’ve ever read the material written like that the next day to find it not up to par. Those parts tend to become my favorite ones of that particular story, in fact.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I think that for each story, the answer is different. In fact, I think that for each chapter or significant scene of the same story, there are different reasons behind the writing.

When I was writing Lover, Lover for instance, a close friend was contemplating an imminent breakup. I already knew the story would be a second chance romance, but the details of the relationship and how things would mend was a total unknown to me at that point. I don’t like to outline the relationship part of my stories, because the exploring as I go makes it all feel a lot more fun and authentic to me.

In my mind were all these thoughts resulting from talks my friend and I had about breakups, about where all the love goes and how it slips away; about all the shared memories and times – how can one move on from everything they’ve known for years of their life, how they can rebuild and why they feel the need or desire to do so.

I’d thought about these things a lot, so I wanted to explore not how people break up or why they would get back together, but what might happen when my characters – Drew and Angelo – reunite some years after their breakup, when they still have feelings for each other. So I wrote the story to find that out.

Blurb:

Twin souls reunited.

Drew’s always been a fighter: first in martial arts competitions, and now as a dreamcatcher—keeping the people of Seattle safe from spaga attacks that would drain their life force in their sleep. All he has to do to become a full member of Team 32 is complete his first mission.

But the first one he has to defend is his ex, Angelo… the only man Drew ever loved, even if he was the one to leave. Drew never got over Angelo, and it seems Angelo might feel the same, despite the heartbreak he suffered at Drew’s hands.

As the chase after a powerful and resourceful caster hits close to home, old feelings resurface. But if Angelo learns of the dreamcatchers, he’ll be a target for the spaga. And how can he trust Drew now that Drew’s keeping bigger secrets than ever?

Excerpt

“I put the phone back in my pocket and looked toward the bed. The victim stirred beneath the covers. I knew they were supposed to be sound asleep, but I held my breath nonetheless. It was really weird to stand and look at someone who was sleeping—I felt a bit creepy. The person had to be turning on the other side or something, but then the head poked up. The bedroom windows were positioned so the light from the street hit his face—because I saw clearly it was a man. He blinked a few times and looked at me, his face slack from sleep and probably the shock of staring at someone standing in his bedroom. He had hazel eyes and dark brown hair, and his skin looked just as deliciously tan as I remembered it. His face had changed a bit. The angles were sharper and the lines more prominent. He looked more grown-up somehow. But it was him, without a doubt: Angelo, my first real steady man. The one that got away—well, more accurately, the one I’d walked out on five years ago. Even if he could see me, the red charm still being active, he was supposed to go right back to sleep. If he’d remember anything at all, he’d be convinced it was a dream.

“Drew? Is that you?”

My heart skipped a beat or five. He was most definitely not going back to sleep. He was freaking talking to me! I panicked and quickly swallowed the green charm. I found myself immediately back at our home base, in the webs room, my heart pounding like hell.

Claw poked his head into the room. “Hey, man. Back already?”

I stared at his long, straight black hair, at his black eyes. I’d had a bit of a crush on Claw when I first met him. Something about his dark skin had always reminded me of Angelo’s permanent tan. But Claw’s black eyes with their intense, brooding gaze had never been like Angelo’s glimmering hazel ones. I felt my stomach tighten. Just thinking about his name did things to me, all these years later. I was such a huge moron—they had to invent a whole new league just for me.

“Come into the kitchen,” Claw said. “We’ve got a bit of a celebration going on here. You finally popped your dreamcatcher cherry after all.”

I smiled while my pulse spiked. Oh, crap. Way to end my very first mission—I hadn’t done the cleansing. I’d panicked and fled, without doing the cleansing. Goddamn it! For tonight, having used my red charm there would keep the home shielded. But without the cleansing it would be a beacon to all spaga, calling their attention to the premises and the residents, starting next nightfall. I had to get back there before that. No way was I going to tell Claw I’d screwed up on my first ever mission. No way. I just had to hope Aashi wouldn’t think to check up on my work. She didn’t, usually—at least as far as I knew. I could fix this.

I went into the kitchen where Claw and our other teammate, Taka, were holding up glasses of champagne. I took mine and we toasted to me not being the junior anymore. We didn’t hang around too much after that, going to our rooms instead. Claw had to attend the daily dreamcatcher leaders meeting for the Seattle area. Taka probably went back to his room to read—he was always reading, it seemed to me. And I just went to my room, hoping that the excitement would wind down and I’d be able to sleep.

It took a while. I kept thinking about five years back. I kept remembering nights spent with Angelo, and the sweet mornings after. All the things I now yearned for, and from which I’d run away then. I’d been dealing with a lot of confusion at the time. I hadn’t been able to find my center, and the steady connection between us had only made me feel more off-kilter when it came to everything else. I’d needed to sort myself out. So I walked out on him and tried to do just that.

It seemed to me that before shaking shit off and figuring yourself out, you had to get piles of shit a mile high weighing you down so you’d have the proper incentive. So I’d worked on my pile until it was nice and large. And then I’d shaken it off and figured out who the hell I was and what I wanted from life. Sad thing was, in my rare moments of honesty, I knew part of what I wanted was what I’d had with Angelo.

The look in his eyes tonight kept overlapping with the look in his eyes the day I’d moved out. It had hurt to walk out that day. I could imagine how it must’ve hurt him to see me do it. I had to make amends somehow. I had to keep him safe.

I finally fell asleep with the image of his hazel eyes running through my mind over and over again.”

Want to read more from Chapter 1? Check out the book on the Dreamspinner Press site (Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lover-lover-by-liv-olteano-9289-b ) and hit the Read an Excerpt button right beneath the cover xD

 

 

About the Author

Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

Links:

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Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction

So we are taking a little sideslip this week away from the topics I had meant to talk about (like that’s ever happened before lol) because of a opening of a spectacular movie last night.  That’s right Black Panther opened Thursday night to accolades everywhere!  Kids, parents, teens, tweens, millennials, any age, and yes, any race, said this movie has it all. Yes it does.  But to many, it’s much, much more.

Importantly, released during Black History Month, for the first time ever, a certified big budget blockbuster with a black superhero (not sidekick mind you, but the main hero), an almost all black cast, and a black director is rushing to break box office attendance records and looking to become a movement as the hashtag “WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe” has been trending.

Yes, it’s all about representation.

That’s something we have always known.  It’s why Wonder Woman (directed by a woman) is so important to women and little girls everywhere.  And why LGBTQIA fiction and yes comics are equally important to the LGBTQIA community.

Right now, Black Panther comics are flying off the shelves.  Black Panther first appeared in Marvel Comic’s Fantastic 4 in 1966 and got his own comic in 1977.  Here’s an article on the history of the Black Panther comics and serial…check it out.

The Black Panther comic of today is drawn a little differently.  But all this got me thinking.  What about gay superheros?  I know Roan of Infected first  popped into my mind (Andrea Speed) but how about others?  What about graphic novels?  What LGBTQIA Superheroes can we name?  How about stories?  Yes, that your cue….let’s find and name stories and  LGBT superheroes!  Include graphic novels if you can find them!  We’re on a hunt and a mission!

It’s our  LGBTQIA Superhero Hunt Giveaway!  Find stories and LGBTQIA Superheroes!  We will give you all the entire month that’s left.  Must be superhero stories, can be graphic novels (comics).  Giveaway ends March 3 at midnight.  Gift certificates will be given away!  Must be 18 years of age or older.  Let the hunt begin!

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  And go see Black Panther. It’s amazing!  Plus you know people will be shipping those hot actors like crazy! lol

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 18:

  • Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February  19:

  • DSP Dreamspun Desires Promo Liv Olteano on Lover, Lover
  • Hard To Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn Release Day Blitz
  • Release Blitz – Loving Kit by L.M. Brown
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Seth & Casey by RJ Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: How To Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Narrator: Manuel Pombo

Tuesday, February 20:

  • Blitz Sign-Up: Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts
  • DSP Promo BA Tortuga
  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Losing It by Christine d’Abo
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Lover, Lover ( Dreamcatchers story)  by Liv Olteano
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor

Wednesday, February 21:

  • Review Tour for Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • Harmony Ink Promo Annabelle Jay on Luminosity
  • Release Blitz: Break Down (Dublin Rugby #4) by Rebecca Norinne
  • An Alisa Review: Manic Pixie Dream Boy (Underdogs #1) by KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review:Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Thursday, February 22:

  • Release Blitz Jay Northcote – Pretty In Pink
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • DSP Promo KA Mitchell on Bad Boyfriend
  • A MelanieM Review: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review: Jingle Bears (The Bears of Falcon’s Ridge, #2.5) by Susan E. Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Friday, February 23:

  • BOOK BLAST for As You Wish by Isobel Starling
  • Heart2Heart Anthology Blog Tour
  • Found by Annabella Michaels Tour
  • A Stella Review: New Heights by Quinn Anderson
  • An Alisa Review: Just Here For The Pain (Underdogs #2) by KA Merikan

Saturday, February 24:

  • RELEASE BLITZ for Dead Camp #5 (The End Game part 2) by Sean Kerr
  • Book Blitz – Penny Brandon’s Blind Passion
  • A MelanieM Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

An Alisa Review: Alpha Dragon: Nyve by Kellan Larkin and Kaz Crowley

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

As an older dragon, Nyve’s been waiting years for his fated mate. He just didn’t think he’d be so… young. Austin is the breath of fresh air the alpha dragon needs, but Nyve can’t help but worry about the age gap.

 

Austin feels stifled by his overprotective aunt, who took him in after his mother died mysteriously. As a half dragon, half wolf shifter, he’s never felt like he’s fit into either world. But he misses his mom—and meets his fated mate when getting a tattoo to remember her.

 

As Austin strives for independence while also learning to accept his mate, the guys at Treasured Ink learn more about a mysterious organization with a sinister motive attacking mythical shifters.

 

And it seems like Austin’s distant father might be involved.

 

It’s up to the dragons to get to the bottom of this—before someone they love gets hurt. And in the midst of it all, Nyve struggles to give his young mate the space he needs, while controlling his fear that he’ll lose the one thing he’s been waiting his whole life for.

 

Austin has lived a sheltered life under his aunt’s watchful eye.  When he meets Nyve their time together finally gives him the courage to take steps to make his life his own.  Nyve is willing to wait for Austin but has trouble with Austin’s yo-yoing actions, they are happy together in the end but no nice conclusion for their relationship.

 

The book left the mystery form the first book still open ended so presumably once we get to the last guy in the shop we may find out everything.  Much more was found out about the muggings and the group they are connected to and it connects back to Austin’s father.  I was confused as his aunt’s reactions but hope that will come out in a later book.  If I had known this was a serial type storyline I’m not sure I would have gotten started but I’ll probably continue as I want to know what will happen in the end.

 

The cover art is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Link: Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 140 pages

Publication: January 23, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Treasured Ink #2

A Free Dreamer Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Devon Murphy has never believed that there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, but when he’s in an accident on his way to his grandmother’s house and comes face to face with the biggest, baddest wolf he’s ever seen, he’s forced to reconsider.

When his grandmother asks him to look into a string of suspicious accidents, he finds a much bigger mystery to unravel. From his childhood best friend to the too-attractive Deputy Wade Hunter, everyone in Rowan Harbor seems to have something to hide. Devon has to get to the bottom of it all before the accidents turn deadly.

This novel is intended for adult audiences, and contains swearing and sex scenes.

I love it when there’s several different fantasy creatures in one book and I’ve always had a thing for fairies. So when I read the blurb of “Blackbird in the Reeds”, I knew I had to have this book.

I’ve read a ton of fantasy books, with varying degrees of romance, but I’ve never read a book with a romance between a fairy and a werewolf. So Sam Burns definitely came up with something very unusual, if not unique. I’m always thrilled to discover new ideas in the genre, so I’m extremely pleased to have found this book, even if it didn’t quite live up to my (admittedly pretty high) expectations.

Devon is a modern day nomad, never staying in one place for very long. The only place that’s ever felt like home is Rowan Harbour, the small town where his grandmother lives. It was really interesting to discover the secrets of the town along with Devon, who knows nothing about its supernatural residents. This way, the secrets could unravel without info dump. Though I did feel like Devon took it all a little too easily. There was hardly any doubt or fear, ever. He just accepted everything without ever really questioning it.

The romance fell a little flat. Devon doesn’t particularly like Wade when they first meet. I never got how this dislike turned into love, the author just lost me somewhere in between. Devon went from “I don’t like Deputy Downer” to “I love Wade” in the span of a few days, without the two of them really getting to know each other. I’ve never been a fan of enemies to lovers, though, so I guess part of my disappointment is due to that. It just smacked of insta-love to me, another thing I can’t stand.

The story is told from Devon’s pov. While we get to know him fairly well, we don’t get much of an insight into Wade’s personality. I get that he’s a bit of a lone wolf and doesn’t talk much, but I’d still have liked to know more about him. There are many minor characters, we basically meet a whole town’s worth of them. I especially liked Devon’s grandmother and Oak.

The world building was sadly lacking. Part of it is due to Devon only just discovering his supernatural heritage, but I would have loved to find out more. But since this is only part one in the series, there’s still hope for more world building in future books.

All in all, “Blackbird in the Reeds” was a bit too fluffy for me. There wasn’t all that much tension and everything was resolved fairly easily. I have no patience for happy-fluffy stories. It wasn’t very memorable and left me feeling a little “meh”.

But that’s just me. If you’re in the mood for a sweet romance with a dash of fantasy, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this book.

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect: I quite like the cover. It really fits the story and is definitely nice to look at.

Universal Buy Link:   books2read.com/BlackbirdInTheReeds

Amazon

Book details: Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 188 pages

Published January 4th 2018

Andrea Speed Interviews Her Characters from Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2), her latest release (guest blog and tour)

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Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2) by Andrea Speed
DSP Publications
Cover Art: Anne Cain

Buy links:

DSP Publications

Amazon

 

If you Google “Proust character questions”, you’ll find a list of questions that the French author supposedly came up with to get to know your characters better. I’m going to use it as a game, and randomly ask Roan, Holden, or Chai one of the questions. To make it even more challenging for me, I’m using random numbers to pull up the questions. This could be great, or this could be a disaster. Let’s find out together!

 ~ Andrea Speed Interviews Roan, Holden and Chai ~

1. What is your greatest regret?

 Holden: It is too early in the day for that question.

Chai: Honestly? That I didn’t rip all of Paul’s clothes out of the closet and burn them in the parking lot when I had the chance. Not that I’m bitter.

Roan: Greatest? That I didn’t have more time with Paris.

Holden: Way to bring the room down, Roan.

Roan: You haven’t answered yet.

Holden: I try not to regret anything. It gives you wrinkles.

 2. What is your most marked characteristic?

 Holden: What the hell does that even mean?

Roan: I’ll name yours if you can’t.

Chai: Um, that’s actually a tough one. I think I’m pretty reserved.

Roan: You’re introspective. That’s not a bad thing.

Holden: I guess that makes me the big old extrovert.

Roan: No. You’re street name is Fox, right? You’re a clever son of a bitch. And the worst thing is you know it.

Holden: Look at mister smarty pants here. I guess that’s yours.

Roan: I actually thought mine was my stubbornness.

Holden: Dude, the answer is lion. It’s always lion.

3. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

 Holden: All of them.

Chai: Purity. Why? What good is it? How does it help you? It seems really pointless.

Roan: I agree with Chai. That one seems sexist and encouraging submissive conformity, which is all insidious. Same with obedience, which just makes my skin crawl.

Holden: How many five dollar words did you use just now?

Roan: Fifteen dollars and thirty five cents worth.

Holden: Thirty five cents?

Roan: There has to be tax.

 4. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

 Roan: I could say a whole bunch of things, but I think living in a big, futuristic library on another planet. With my husband, of course.

Holden: Oh God. Roan, how the hell could being a space librarian be your idea of happiness? I feel so bad for you.

Chai: I … um. I sort of feel bad admitting this, but I wouldn’t have lost my leg or gotten these scars, and I would probably live in a big mansion in a tropical paradise, with many different kinds of pool boys at my beck and call.

Roan: I like your scars.

Holden: So do I. Although I feel like my statement means more, because Roan is scarred up like a ratty old tom cat, and it’s ridiculously, infuriatingly hot.

Roan: You haven’t said what yours is.

Holden: Three words: no straight people.

 5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

 Roan: I wouldn’t be infected.

Holden: Dude.

Chai: Similar answer – I’d have my leg back.

Holden: And here I was just going to ask for a six-pack. Way to make me feel shallow, guys.

 6. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what do you think it would be?

 Holden: There’s two answers for that. Person would be a soap opera star. Male or female, but probably female.

Chai: You do like drama.

Holden: Do I ever. And if I came back as a thing, I think it would be a butt plug. A really good one.

Chai: That was too easy.

Holden: Don’t blame me. I didn’t come up with these questions.

Chai: Uh, person? I’d hope I’d be a Bollywood star. So I could dance and sing like a lunatic and get paid for it. I’m not even going to speculate about thing, ‘cause … that’s a slippery slope.

Roan: As Holden said, the answer is always lion.

Holden: So no different than now?

Roan: *stares intensely at Holden*

Holden: Okay, so, let’s wrap this up before I get eaten. In a bad way.

 **

Blurb

From the Infected Universe

Former prostitute and street kid turned private detective Holden Krause is asked to look into the murder of Burn, a black-market dealer, who turns up dead near the infamous homeless encampment known as the Jungle. It’s a place Holden is familiar with—and his memories of it aren’t entirely bad. The settlement has been taken over by sinister people but Holden isn’t afraid to take them on. A big part of his PI gig is cover for his more dangerous vigilante crusade: exacting justice for the people the system ignores, the throwaways—people just like the ones living in the Jungle.

It’s getting harder and harder for Holden’s partner, Chai Nayar, to look the other way while Holden searches out retribution beyond the confines of the law. When one of their associates is shot and Holden realizes—far too late—that he’s in over his head with this case, Chai is left to pick up the pieces and hopefully save their lives. He resorts to the only solution he can find and calls Roan, who is more lethal than ever. Will it be their saving grace, or a fatal mistake?

 

 

Excerpt

As far as Holden knew, Burn had no family, here or anywhere. He was a man without a country, a home, a basic understanding of dental hygiene. All that was generally known about him was that his appetite for drugs was bottomless, and if you needed something questionable fast—untraceable gun, pharmaceuticals, car of dubious provenance—he was the guy to see. He’d been around since Holden had started his life on the streets. Burn could be found at the dirtiest bar in town, swilling cut-rate hooch at a back booth, dealing drugs in the filthy men’s room. He was the man your parents warned you about, no matter who your parents were. He was a tragedy and a warning at the same time.

That was about all Holden really knew about him. He knew Burn’d done time, but he didn’t know what for. He knew he’d taken to meth recently, but only because of the chemical smell he gave off and the sad state of his teeth. Holden knew he went missing for days, sometimes weeks or even months, but he always popped back up, and nothing was ever said about it. Except for this time. This time, his disappearance was a prelude to his death.

Kevin told him where to find the morgue, and Holden didn’t have the heart to tell him that he already knew where it was. He was quite familiar with it. It wouldn’t be his first time visiting the place, and given the circles he ran in, not the last either. Holden was now glad he’d quoted Dahlia such a late time, as this probably wouldn’t be a quick jaunt.

The morgue was an unobtrusive building downtown, so desperately anonymous you knew it was trying to hide something. Some wag had spray-painted on a neighboring building Don’t Open, Dead Inside. They deserved points for general humor, but some had to be deducted for the obvious cultural reference.

Inside, it was air conditioned to death—no pun intended—sterile, and smelled mostly of toner and coffee, like any other office. The hallways were long and bland, purely industrial, clinging to normalcy as a counterbalance to its grim reality. A receptionist along the way pointed him in the right direction, and Holden knew he was in the right place when he saw Kevin Robinson.

Kevin was a chunky cop in his dress blues, with the same hangdog expression he always seemed to wear. Holden was reasonably certain he was born with that expression on his face. He also had the bone-deep weariness that suggested he was halfway done with the world and all its shittiness, which was a state Holden had reached roughly fifteen years ago. You didn’t become the gay Punisher because you thought people and the world were ever going to get better.

Kevin nodded upon seeing him and gave a high sign to a medical technician, who apparently unlocked a door for them before Holden followed Kevin into a room full of body drawers. Holden wondered briefly at the security for an area devoted to corpses, but what was that about people being shitty? Hell, they stole some of Roan’s and Paris’s blood samples from a lab, all to infect new people. For the millionth year in a row, humans proved themselves to be the absolute worst.

Kevin walked over to one of the lower drawers and pulled it open as white fluorescents buzzed overhead and threw stark, unflattering light on everything. “Do I even need to warn you about looking at a dead body?” Kevin wondered.

“I worked with Roan, so no,” Holden replied. There were quiet layers here, ones concerning his gay Punisher status and the fact that Kevin had heard those rumors but had no proof of anything. Holden knew if Kevin found that proof, he’d nail him to the wall with it. No matter that Roan was a mutual friend and that they were both gay men—although Kevin was still closeted. They were essentially cop and hustler, and they’d always be adversaries. They were just more polite than most.

“Speaking of which, heard from him lately?” Kevin was trying to act like it was a casual, spur-of-the-moment thing, but for a police officer, he was a terrible liar.

Luckily, Holden knew he was a great liar. He shrugged a single shoulder. “Got an email from him a couple days ago. Hard at work on his book.”

“That’s good,” Kevin replied. He didn’t sound all that mollified, and Holden didn’t blame him. But what was going on with Roan right now was not his news to tell. If Dylan wanted to share it, he would. Besides, he could see it causing Kevin nothing but pain. Sometimes the fear was better than the knowledge.

“Don’t they identify bodies by fingerprints nowadays?” Holden asked.

“Usually. But his fingerprints are all scarred up. Looks like he tried to obliterate them several times before. Can’t get a clean read.”

Kevin had pulled the drawer all the way out, and inside was a partially zipped body bag. The head and upper chest were exposed, and Holden looked down at a ghastly pale man with bloodless lips, messy, greasy black hair, and a clean gash in his torso right where the heart was. His eyes were closed, but he had the same angular cheekbones and pointed nose of the hood rat Holden knew in passing.

“Yeah, that’s Burn. Holy shit, someone killed him?”

Kevin nodded, zipping up the bag. There was a smell, but considering how Burn usually smelled, it wasn’t that bad. It was probably the cleanest Burn had been in some time. “His body was found just outside the Jungle last night. We don’t know if he was killed there or just dumped there. The residents aren’t exactly being cooperative.”

“What, homeless people being scared and suspicious of cops? Who’d have thunk it?”

Kevin closed the drawer and turned to him with a nasty look, which was semi warranted, but then his expression changed. It lightened as if he’d just realized something. “Do you know if he was living there?”

“In the Jungle?” Holden shrugged. “I have no idea. He could have a condo in Queen Anne. Everything I know about Burn could fill a bottle cap.”

“Do you know people in the Jungle?”

Holden realized what Kevin had just twigged to. “Is this where you ask me to ask around in the Jungle about Burn’s death?”

**

About the Author

Andrea Speed is a thought collective from beyond time and space, disguised as an ’88 Toyota hatchback hidden in an illegal dump somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. If you find her, she has to grant you three wishes, but they’ll all have terrible twists, like the sandwich you wished for will be made of Silly Putty, or the pot of gold you request will be full of gold paint. Really, it’s not worth bothering. Also there’s a family of possums living in the hatchback, and the mother can be kind of mean.

 Connect with the author at:

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Wolf & The Holly (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #2) by Sam Burns

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Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/WolfAndTheHolly
 
Length: 199 pages
 

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect

 
The Rowan Harbor Series
 
Book #1 – Blackbird In The Reeds – books2read.com/BlackbirdInTheReeds
 
Blurb
 

Five years ago, Jesse dropped out of college and came home to Rowan Harbor to find safety with his pack. A broken man, he’s been living as though the world is ending—allergic to responsibility and spending most of his nights at the local bar.

But he can’t avoid growing up forever. On the night of his thirtieth birthday party, he finds his childhood friend Isla unconscious, attacked in the middle of their peaceful hometown. The wolf inside him wants to protect its people from the slick-haired, smooth-talking vampire who’s brought trouble to town, and Jesse can’t run from his instincts any longer.

Now that his inner wolf is out of its cage, it’s picked the most inconvenient moment to find its mate. Sean Anderson—recently back from college and much changed from the skinny preteen Jesse once knew—is just what he never knew he needed.

Trigger Warning: discussion of past abuse.

This novel is intended for adult audiences, and contains swearing and sex.

This is the second of nine books in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. It continues where the first book left off. Jesse and Sean will return in book five to continue their story, so this book contains a HFN, not their HEA.

 



February 8 – Book Lovers 4Ever, Mirrigold: Mutterings and Musings
February 10 – Mikku-chan
February 12 – Booklove
February 14 – BooksLaidBareBoys, RAM PA Group, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews
February 16 – A Book Lover’s Dream Blog, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Valerie Ullmer, Bayou Book Junkie, My Fiction Nook

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Review here.

Author Bio

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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A MelanieM Review: Oh Yeah, An Elf by L.L. Brooks

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Rating: 1.5 stars out of 5

Enchained, enchanted, cursed….

Since coming home from Afghanistan, finding himself in a motel room with some random guy he’d picked up in a bar was nothing new for Jason Burge. To have the random hottie say he was an elf…yeah…okay, that was different. Sex on two feet or not, the whole thing was just too weird for Jason’s tastes. But, just when Jason decided it was time to leave, things go from weird to just plain crazy when Guy, a real live elf with pointed ears and all, appears out of thin air.

Jason suddenly finds himself embroiled in a war involving elves, demons, fairies, and – who can tell one from the other when they’re all glamoured? – dragons. One thing is sure, Jason wants nothing to do with any of it. Well…maybe there is one thing he wants – a sexy elf named Guy.

I’m going to be kind and make this short.  If you looked at this synopsis and thought wow, that’s a lot of elements to balance in a plot, you are absolutely right.  It’s a fantasy narrative sink full and here in Oh Yeah, An Elf by L.L. Brooks it feels as though the author put them all on little plot cards and tossed them into a bag, then wrote them as them were pulled out.  It’s all very hodge podge, starting with the beginning.  Throw in a nonsensical bdsm thread, characters with no depth or development, and you pretty much have this story.

I hate it when this happens and don’t like to write these reviews.

I haven’t read anything else by this author so I’m hoping to  give other works by this author a try.  But Oh Yeah, An Elf?  Give it a pass.

Cover art is  ok, but again a jumble of fonts and elements.

Sales Link: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, first, 101 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing
ISBN13
9781946379269
Edition Language
English

An Alisa Review: Ghost Wolf by Hurri Cosmo

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Rating:  4.25 stars out of 5

 

Hi, my name is Trevor. I’m a wolf shifter.

 

I say that like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t. I was simply running off a ton of steam one day when I was around eleven and bam! Okay, not quite that easy or fast but it happened when I was young and stupid. I’m also gay. I say that like I know what I’m talking about with that too. I simply don’t.

 

I’m grown up now and living in the big city which has me too busy to much care about either one of those things. I get out and run my wolf when I can, trying like hell to stay out of the local pack’s territories. Belonging to a “family” just sounds like too much work, and honestly I don’t have time for such things. Besides, I was told when I was young the color of my wolf was all wrong. Too silver…or something. Metallic. I kinda thought it looked cool in the full moon. “Pack Alpha would kill ya soon as look at ya.” My grandpa used to say. Course he wasn’t my real grandpa. Just an old man who lived down the street, but he was a shifter too and I thought he knew it all. He probably knew diddly either, but a guy can’t be too careful. And romance? Way off the radar.

 

Only now someone has started killing wolves. Started leaving broken bodies lined up in a nice little row next to the high school in my home town and it’s got me to thinking. If a shifter is killed in his or her wolf state, do they stay that way? Were these dead wolves like me? The hell of it all is this: being a shifter isn’t common knowledge. It bothers me enough that now I want to find out more. See if there’s anything I can do. Kind of like a super hero.

 

Oh yeah. Probably forgot to tell you this too. I can turn invisible.

 

Yep, Ghost Wolf to the rescue.

 

I was so excited to see a new story from Hurri Cosmo and it was as great as I anticipated.  Trevor has been keeping so many secrets since he discovered he was a wolf shifter and his grandpa’s words keep him cautious.  Ryan quickly throws his world into a tailspin but not in a completely bad way.

 

Trevor never actually learned much about being a shifter or a part of shifter society.  He is quickly thrown into the politics of it.  Ryan is devoted to Trevor from the beginning and is willing to wait as long as Trevor needed him to.

 

We saw the story from Trevor’s point of view.  It was easy to see his confusion and fear when he first really met Ryan and how to navigate their relationship.  I loved the mpreg that was thrown into the story and it’s one of my favorite themes.

 

The cover art by E Keith is wonderful and I think it’s perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 390 pages

Publication: January 17, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

An Ali Release Day Review: Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2 Infected Universe) by Andrea Speed

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Former prostitute and street kid turned private detective Holden Krause is asked to look into the murder of Burn, a black-market dealer, who turns up dead near the infamous homeless encampment known as the Jungle. It’s a place Holden is familiar with—and his memories of it aren’t entirely bad. The settlement has been taken over by sinister people but Holden isn’t afraid to take them on. A big part of his PI gig is cover for his more dangerous vigilante crusade: exacting justice for the people the system ignores, the throwaways—people just like the ones living in the Jungle.

It’s getting harder and harder for Holden’s partner, Chai Nayar, to look the other way while Holden searches out retribution beyond the confines of the law. When one of their associates is shot and Holden realizes—far too late—that he’s in over his head with this case, Chai is left to pick up the pieces and hopefully save their lives. He resorts to the only solution he can find and calls Roan, who is more lethal than ever. Will it be their saving grace, or a fatal mistake?
 
This story starts with Holden cruising along much like he was at the end of the last book.  With Roan gone, he seems almost rudderless.  He misses Scott but won’t admit it and he doesn’t have any close friends except for Chai who is moving in to his own place.  When Kevin approaches him for help on a case he agrees.  He also ends up working a second case at the same time.  As Chai realizes what Holden actually does on cases he’s not sure this is the job for him.  
 
When things get really out of hand, Chai ends up calling Roan for help.  Roan and Dylan come back to Seattle and Roan helps Chai out.  As someone who loved the original Infected series it was both great and bittersweet to see Roan again.  His situation isn’t any better and that makes me sad but like most Roan fans, I can’t get enough of his story.
We see a decent amount of all of the side characters in this one.  Dee, Kevin, the hockey guys and even Dropkick are all a part of the story. Chai had a decent amount of page time this book and I was happy about that.  We got to know him better and I liked him a lot.  (I was also really happy with where his love life seems to going). 
 
Both mysteries were interesting and fast paced enough to be very entertaining.  As for Holden, well, I don’t know.  He makes some little steps in this book and he seemed a bit vulnerable in regards to his relationship with Scott. But overall he’s a mess and he makes me want to shake him. 
Overall I really enjoyed this.  I’m a huge fan of this series and get excited being back in Seattle with all of the gang.  This was a good installment and I can’t wait to see where the story leads for the next book.  This can not be read as a standalone.
Cover Art:  This cover was done by Anne Cain.  I liked it a lot.  It fits really well with the other covers in the series and it captures the vibe of the story well.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: February 13th 2018 by DSP Publications
ISBN139781640801189
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Mean Streets #2, Infected #10

Valentine’s Day Stories and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Valentine’s Day Stories

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Week!  The air is full of love and romance, balloons, flowers, cards, and whatever else a loved one may desire.  Stuffed animals?  Songs?  Mixed tapes….yes that dates me! lol  What things have you received? From friends and loved ones…sometimes even a those little candy hearts with messages were enough to make your day.  I can remember some stories that actually captured those elements.  Apparently you all did too with your recommendations.

Here’s some stories from me you may have missed for your Valentine’s Day reading:

Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows By Ari McKay
Letters From Cupid by Ari McKay
Conversation Hearts by Avon Gale
Valentine Rainbow Anthology
A Secret Valentine by BG Thomas
A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth
Campfire Confessions by Bru Baker

And coming out this week on Valentine’s Day (and to be reviewed as well)

Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

 

Here are some of the Valentine’s Day Stories our readers are listing and recommending:

From Ami:

I loved this F/F novella by Aidan Wayne “Making Love” because it’s about Cupid and also featuring an asexual character. It’s cute, it’s adorable, and for me FITS the Valentine’s day vibe.

From Jen:

I just looked through my Read list and I haven’t read too many Valentine’s Day stories. But one that I really loved was

  • Lazy Valentines (Lazy Days #2) by K-lee Klein.

From H.B.:

  • Looking forward to the valentine’s book list and recs from everyone. I don’t think I have too many on my own list over the years (and I started tagging them a on goodreads a year and half after I started reading m/m fiction). My recs are:
    6 Days to Valentine by L.E. Franks
    The Colors of Romance (A Valentine Rainbow) by Ashavan Doyon
    Fruity on the Inside by G.R. Richards
    On Valentine’s Day by Raine Delight
    From Your Secret Admirer by Debora Day
    Naughty Cupid/A Cupid’s Wager by Deanna Wadsworth (A Cupid’s Wager was part of the A Valentine Rainbow Set published by Dreamspinner)

 

However, there’s still time to get your stories into us to be added to our Valentine’s Day list.  See our  giveaway below!  And Happy Valentine’s Day in advance!

Valentine’s Day Giveaway

Then it’s soon to be Valentine’s Day and I know there are book written with this in mind.  Can I think of them now?  No!  But maybe you can.  Who can remember Valentine’s Day stories?  Or maybe ones with Cupid in them?  I know there are a few of those out there.  Of course we will have a giveaway attached to that.  It’s our Cupid or Valentine’s Day Giveaway! Give us your favorite Valentine’s Day stories!  The one overflowing with romantic, love, roses, or whatever!  Giveaway is a gift card from Dreamspinner Press for $10.  Contest  ends on February 17th at midnight.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 11:

  • Valentine’s Day Stories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 12:

  • Bite Me by Beth Bolden Release Day Blitz
  • BLOG TOUR Rebel by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix
  • Cover Reveal: Forsaken by J.R. Gray
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  The Station by Keira Andrews
  • A Stella Prerelease Review:  Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Model Bodyguard (Haven Investigations #2) by Lissa Kasey and Brian Hutchison (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 13:

  • J. Scott Coatsworth on Lander
  • Release Blitz: Three’s the Charm by P.A. Friday
  • Review Tour and Giveaway : In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray
  • SERIES TOUR for Shatterproof Bond by Isobel Starling
  • A Jeri Review: Winning Edge by Keira Andrews
  • A MelanieM Review:In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Infected: Throwaways (Mean Streets #2 Infected Universe) by Andrea Speed

Wednesday, February 14 -Valentine’s Day 💘:

  • DSP Promo Amy Lane
  • Lander (Oberon Cycle Book 2) J, Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Cam Boy by Quinn Anderson
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker Release Day Blitz
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Review:Lander (Oberon Cycle Book 2) by J.Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, February 15:

  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for The Artist’s Touch by EJ Russell
  • In the Promo Spotlight: Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz for DJ Jamison’s Hearts & Health 1-3 Box Set
  • A MelanieM Review: Oh Yeah, An Elf  by L.L. Brooks
  • An Alisa Review :GHOST WOLF by Hurri Cosmo
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet and Andrew McFerrin (Narrator)

Friday, February 16:

  • DSP Publications Promo Andrea Speed  on Infected: Throwaways
  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scott & VL Locey’s Poke Check
  • Review Tour – Sam Burns’ Wolf & The Holly
  • A Free Dreamer Review:Wolf & The Holly (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #2) by Sam Burns
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blackbird in the Reeds (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #1) by Sam Burns
  • An Alisa Review: Alpha Dragon: Nyve by Kellan Larkin and Kaz Crowley

Saturday, February 17:

  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology Joe Bone
  • BLITZ September (Audio) by Robert Winter