Bru Baker on Celebrity Chefs, Characters, and her new release Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)

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Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy links:

Amazon

Dreamspinner Press

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Google Play

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Bru Baker here today talking about her new series, a followup to the popular Camp H.O.W.L. series we loved so much.  Welcome, Bru!

🐾

If you’ve read any of my books you’ll know that food is featured in pretty much everything I write. Sometimes it’s center stage, like in Talk Turkey and King of the Kitchen, but even when it’s not a huge part of the book, it’s there. I love it when my characters cook together or share a romantic meal.

I’m a big foodie myself, and I love watching celebrity chefs. There’s something so soothing about watching the magic of television cooking, where nothing takes more than a few seconds to cook and you can see an entire complicated recipe come together from beginning to end in under thirty minutes.

One of my favorite celebrity chefs gets a cameo in my latest book, Stealing His Heart. Food has been part of every Camp H.O.W.L. book, from food fights in the camp mess to romantic picnics and home-cooked meals. This is the fourth book in that universe, and it’s no different–though it’s not exactly our heroes who are doing the cooking.

Most of the characters in the Connoll Pack series, which is a spin-off of Camp H.O.W.L. set in New York, are some sort of Supernatural being. You’ll have to read the book to find out if our celebrity chef is one, too.

Blurb:

Stealing His Heart

A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel

Connoll Pack series 1


Love sneaks in like a thief in the night.

Danny’s parents raised him to believe his wolf was a curse. He’s part of the wealthy and powerful Connoll Pack, but only nominally. He abandoned that world to volunteer with supernatural kids, and he isn’t looking for a mate….

Max is a shifter who is also a detective. He’s working a case that could make or break his career. Danny’s caught up in the case he’s on, and he’s also irresistible. They’re a bad match—Max, an Alpha having trouble with his new powers and Danny, who trusts Alphas as far as he could throw one. But they can’t get enough of each other, and they might bond before they even see it coming.

They could be amazing together, but they have to get past a few obstacles—especially since someone close to Danny might be involved in the thefts Max is investigating.

Excerpt

Stealing His Heart, by Bru Baker

“You might get hungry later,” Ina said, pressing a box full of Tupperware containers into Max’s hands.

He didn’t see how that was possible. Her clambake fed two hundred, and no one went hungry. Max had eaten his fill and then some. Ina rented dozens of picnic tables and covered them all in huge sheets of parchment, and the easy atmosphere meant Max didn’t have to worry about eating his lobster the right way. Danny, Sloane, and Ina had all circulated, helping the Janus Foundation kids who’d never seen a clambake before. It hadn’t been like any of the fundraisers Max had attended with the Cresswells.

For starters, everyone had been wearing tacky plastic bibs with lobsters on them—and they’d loved it. Mrs. Cresswell hired a band, and the entire afternoon had been full of food, music, and yard games. The kids loved it, and so did Max.

“I don’t know if we have room for all this on the boat,” Max said, eyeing the box.

Ina waved off his concern. “Three shifters, two Weres, and a teenage selkie? You’ll eat it before you go to bed tonight.”

That was probably true. Ray and Tori were coming to spend the night, and Max and Danny were taking Joss out for a weekend sail after they left in the morning. Well, the captain was taking the boat for a sail. Max knew nothing about sailing, but the Cresswells’ yacht had a full crew.

“There’s an extra serving of pavlova in there too,” Ina said with a wink. “Something for you and Danny to nibble on as a midnight snack. I remember how insatiable new mates are. Did you know my husband is a werewolf? Back when we bonded, J—”

Max bent down and kissed her on the cheek to cut her off. He liked her husband, and he wanted to continue to be able to look him in the eye.

“Thank you for everything, Ina. Next time you’re in the city, you should come by. The Torres family lumpia recipe is the best you’ll ever taste. We’d love to have you.”

Ina clapped her hands together. “That sounds fantastic.”

Sloane shouted for him from the car, and Max apologized as he rushed out the door. Tori raised an eyebrow when she saw the box but obligingly took it and rested it on her knees while he climbed in.

“Finally,” Sloane said as Ray started the SUV. “I adore Ina, but she’s a talker.”

“She’s lovely,” Tori said. “And the food was amazing.”

“It always is,” Danny said from the passenger seat where he was squeezed in with Joss. “Remember the time we spent Thanksgiving there, Sloane?”

“Everything had at least two sticks of butter in it and tasted like angel tears and unicorns,” she said dreamily.

Dreamspinner Press, release date March 5, 2019

About the Author

Bru Baker writes sophisticated gay romantic fiction with strong characters, real-world problems, and plenty of humor.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

A Stella Release Day Review: Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

 

Love sneaks in like a thief in the night. Danny’s parents raised him to believe his wolf was a curse. He’s part of the wealthy and powerful Connoll Pack, but only nominally. He abandoned that world to volunteer with supernatural kids, and he isn’t looking for a mate…. Max is a shifter who is also a detective. He’s working a case that could make or break his career. Danny’s caught up in the case he’s on, and he’s also irresistible. They’re a bad match—Max, an Alpha having trouble with his new powers and Danny, who trusts Alphas as far as he could throw one. But they can’t get enough of each other, and they might bond before they even see it coming. They could be amazing together, but they have to get past a few obstacles—especially since someone close to Danny might be involved in the thefts Max is investigating.

 

It’s been years since I read a Bru Baker story and as soon as I read the blurb of her new release, I was intrigued. I loved Stealing His Heart from the beginning, I found it very well done, both the romance and the mystery. There were great characters, main and second ones, all of them well defined, I’m so ready to read more about some of them and being this novel the first installment in the Connoll Pack series, I know I will get more and I’m enthusiastic.

The story between Max and Danny was easy to read and the plot engaging. It was different, especially their relationship which was well balanced through the alpha bond. The way they approached their mating, well pondered and not, as often happens in shifters stories, the spur of the moment of sex and attraction. I loved them dearly cause it was clear how good souls both of them were, how generous and ready to take serious risks for the safe of their friends. And then there were their families, imperfect and complicated like our real ones, with a lot of love to share, some messes to mend.

Stealing His Heart is a lovely story, full of feelings and laughs, I adored how Max and Danny bantered with each other, it was so easy to fall into their world and inlove with them.

The cover art by Aaron Anderson is not a favorite of mine among the artist works, but it’s simple and likeable.

SALE LINKS  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 240 pages

Published March 5th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B07M7FRHHG

Edition Language English

 

An Alisa Review: Shadowmancer (Paladin Charm #1) by Devin Harnois

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Marius Everhart is something even mages fear — a shadowmancer. His power marks him as cursed, a creature belonging to the Queen of Shadows. Marius escaped her realm with his memories corrupted and his sanity in tatters, managing to live a fragile, lonely existence at the edges of society.

Some might call Ayodele Sauveterre delusional. He prefers the term “optimistic”. With his homeland in danger from invasion, Ayodele will do anything to protect it, even recruit a shadowmancer. Marius’s incredible power and gentle nature make him a perfect addition to Paladin Charm, a new mage guild dedicated to helping rather than exploiting the non-magical populace. The fact that handsome Marius also warms Ayodele’s bed is a wonderful bonus.

With support from Ayodele and his new friends in the guild, Marius begins to heal. He’s also quickly falling for the alluring mage, but Ayodele struggles with what’s forming between them. Past experience left Ayodele flippant but guarded, and Marius’s open honesty unnerves him.

As they grow closer, Paladin Charm prepares for a battle with impossible odds. And in the darkness, the Queen of Shadows waits to reclaim Marius and drag him back into a nightmare.

This was a great beginning to a new series.  Marius is feared for what he is, even if it isn’t something he can change and he is just like a puppy underneath.  Ayodele lived under a guild that he now wants to fight against while trying to convince those in his homeland that magic (and Marius) aren’t necessarily bad.

This was a very interesting world, though at times I wished I would have more background, I felt I was just told how things were and not reasons for it.  Many of the names in the story are a bit fanciful to me and the longer they are or if they were being used a lot sometimes made me have to really focus on the story to know what was going on.

I felt for Marius from the beginning, you could easily see he just wants somewhere to call home and to be even somewhat accepted.  I hurt for him when all the thought he deserved was semi-tolerance.  Now Ayodele, I know he means well but he doesn’t always go about it the best way.  He seems to expect a lot to be so because it’s what he wants and while it hurt Marius I think that it helped him to realize that a bit.  I look forward to reading more about these two in the next book.

I loved the cover art by Kanaxa and the many visuals from the book.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 178 pages

Published: March 5, 2019 by October Night Publishing

Edition Language: English

Series: Paladin Charm #1

Don’t Miss Out on the Series Finale on the Kings of Hell MC. Check out the Release Blitz for In The Arms Of The Beast (Kings of Hell MC #5) by K.A. Merikan

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 105,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Kings Of Hell MC Series
 

Book #1 – Laurent & The Beast – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – My Dark Knight – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – On Your Knees Prospect – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Gray’s Shadow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 
— The real demons live within —



Laurent. Time traveller. Devoted husband. Stubborn as the devil himself.
Beast. Kings of Hell MC president. Will stop at nothing to protect his family.


After everything Baal put them through, neither Laurent nor Beast considered ever making another pact with a demon, but in the spur of the moment, temptation becomes too great, and they decide on one more deal.


This time, with Mr. Magpie.


But the gift might prove to be more than they can handle. The danger to the human world has already strained their relationship, but Magpie’s offering brings out the worst in both Laurent and Beast. Confronted with each other’s flaws, they need to decide if, despite all they’ve been through together, perhaps they’re just not meant to be.


With the world on the brink of collapse, and their pact binding them in new and unexpected ways, they have to put their differences aside to stand a chance at saving their family.




POSSIBLE SPOILERS:
Themes: motorcycle club, alternative lifestyles, demons, tattoos, secrets, crime, gothic, opposites attract, biker, commitment, family, sacrifice, relationship issues, established couple
Genre: Dark, paranormal M/M romance
Content: Scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes
Length: ~105,000 words (Book 5 in the series)


FINAL BOOK IN THE SERIES. NOT A STANDALONE.


WARNING: This story contains scenes of violence, offensive language, and morally ambiguous characters.

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.


K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.


FACEBOOK PROFILE
K.A. MERIKAN’S TWITTER (RUN BY KAT)
AGNES MERIKAN’S TWITTER
K.A. MERIKAN ON GOODREADS
PINTEREST
M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN

Giveaway

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Bitten By Fate (Regent’s Park Pack #6) by Annabelle Jacobs

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited


Length: 77,000 words approx.


Cover Design: Natasha Snow


Regent’s Park Pack Series


Book #1 – Bitten By Mistake – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Bitten By Design – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Bitten By Desire – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Bitten By The Alpha – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #5 – Bitten By Her – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Daryl plays with fire and gets burned by fate…


Former Primrose Pack member Jason Black happily accepted his role as beta in the new Regent’s Hill pack, knowing that merging the two was the best decision for everyone involved. Daryl Easton is loyal and honest but wary of change. The joining of the two packs wasn’t his preferred outcome, and he’s struggling to see all the newcomers as pack, including those now working alongside him.


When the alpha council proposes a two-week pack-building course to help improve troubled relationships, Jason and Daryl are sent along as backup. It soon becomes clear that the unit members and their betas won’t be the only ones taking part in tasks—Daryl and Jason will have challenges of their own to complete.


With the full moon adding to the rising tension, emotions are volatile, and tempers flare among the unit members. Jason and Daryl become closer than either of them expected, but with such opposing views on relationships, a messy outcome seems inevitable unless Daryl can let go of the past.

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with three rowdy children, and two cats. An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AJacobs_fiction
Website – www.annabellejacobs.com
Email – ajacobsfiction@gmail.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ajacobsfiction

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MelanieM Review The Rising (Badlands #2) by Morgan Brice

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A big storm is brewing, there’s a killer on the loose, and the ghosts of Myrtle Beach are restless. Psychic medium Simon Kincaide and his sexy cop boyfriend, homicide detective Vic D’Amato have their hands full helping the Grand Strand brace for rough surf, driving rain, and high winds as a winter storm roars toward shore.

Everyone’s on edge, and rumors are rampant about sightings of Blackcoat Benny, a ghostly omen of danger, and worse, the Gallows Nine, the spirits of nine infamous criminals hanged back in the 1700s, a harbinger of disaster. Rough tides wash the wreck of an old pirate ship into shallow waters, high winds threaten to damage an old mansion with a dark past, and the citizens of the beach town hunker down to ride out the storm.

As the skies grow dark and the sea turns wild, several men from prominent local families end up dead under suspicious circumstances. Simon’s premonition confirms Vic’s gut feeling—the killing is just getting started. As Simon tries to reach out to the spirits of the murdered men to help the investigation, he’s attacked by malicious ghosts that don’t want anyone getting in the way of their long-overdue vengeance.

With the storm hammering the coast, and new victims piling up, Simon is certain that the sins and secrets of the past are coming due, and that the murders have a supernatural link. Vic and Simon race to stop the murders against an unholy deadline, but as they battle rising tides and risen ghosts, can they save the intended victims without getting trapped themselves?

The Rising is the second novel in the Badlands series, and Morgan Brice had me hooked on this paranormal series after that first story, Badlands.  It was full of ghosts, mythology, murder, suspense, and a romance between two men  fighting for justice and right, just in very different ways. One as a homicide detective and one as a psychic medium,  That was the case where they met.  And it was spectacular.  A white knuckle ride all the way.  In every way.  And I was wondering how the author was going to top it.

The Rising is a great answer to that question.  Well, with ghost ships and angry pirates of course!

Actually, it’s never that simple.  There are far too many scary layers here to be reduced to that sentence, wonderfully so.  Murders both historical and modern haunt these pages and this couple, horrifying the locals and their nightmares just as a hurricane potentially sets its sights on the town. Brice is able to bring all the paranormal and supernatural occurances vividly to life through great writing and action packed scenes.  Hair-raising and bone chilling?  Yes, those terms are apt.

But while there are murders to be solved and ghosts to be talked to or fled from,Vic and Simon, mostly Vic, are still working their way through the new relationship dynamics of being a couple and now living together.  A great element here is Vic’s MBPD partner and their open communication, especially when it comes to their SOs.    It’s been hard for Vic to realize that Simon has tools and weapons to deal with supernatural killers (the series) that he doesn’t possess.  This is the story where both men make huge strides in acceptance in the dangers that each faces, will always face in what each does.  The mature, communicative relationship is wonderful to see play out.

The author also introduces several new characters that I expect to see in future stories.  I’m definitely intrigued by them and now need far more of their back stories, no matter the era.

Overall?  This is just a marvelous book and series.  The writing is outstanding, the characters nuanced, the plots packed with history, mythology, suspense ,action, hot sex, and love.  And ghosts, murder, and terror!  Really, what more could you want?  I highly recommend them both and now eagerly await the next!

Cover art: Natania Barron. Catchy and the models work for both characters. But, where’s the water?  Its Myrtle Beach.   Or the old house in the marshes? Those are the main elements here. What’s with the mountains?  That’s a fail.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Kobo

Nook/B&N

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published February 13th 2019 by Darkwind Press

 

A Lucy Review: The 13th Month (Calendar Men #13) by Bailey Bradford

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Marco’s ex destroyed him, but one man won’t let him give up on life.

Marco was the original photographer from the Calendar series. He’s almost died more than once thanks to his ex wife, Evan. It’s been a struggle to survive, but Ezra, his best friend has been by his side and isn’t disgusted by his scars.

And maybe it’s time Marco stopped fighting the feelings he’s had for his friend all along.

I have to be honest and say, this is the thirteenth book of the series Calendar Men.  I haven’t read any of the previous books so I had no idea that these men are shifters.  One is a cat, the other a bunny.  I mention this because not only was I surprised that this was part of the book but also I couldn’t figure out WHY it was part of the book.  It is mentioned once or twice about Ezra having cat vision in the dark and there is one quick reference to them playing in animal form at the end but that was it. Perhaps it was more prevalent in the other books and it was just continued in this one. 

That being said, I didn’t feel like I was missing anything or coming into the middle of the story by not having read the others.  Marco was the photographer for the charity calendar who has been married six times, always choosing women who weren’t good for him.  The last wife, Evan, was a doozy and tried to kill him.  “I knew she was a horrible person. I had a very thorough background check done on her before I dated her.  So I knew.” She’s in prison now but she’s still trying the one thing she wanted – Marco dead.  He has lost the use of his right hand from her efforts and “…had scars all over, albeit most of them were small except those on his right hand and arm.”  He’s been in a depression, living at his best friend, Ezra’s, house while he mends. 

Marco has money and prestige but he carries a lot of baggage. His parents were cultish religious who beat him and then kicked him out when he came out.  He has a lot of issues from that.  Add in that he’s had feelings for Ezra for years that he refuses to admit, feelings that sent him running to marry his first wife (he’s had six), and Marco is a hot mess.

Ezra? He’s the steady, loyal friend who has been in love with Marco for years and would do anything for him, especially keep him safe.  When Marco finally admits his feelings it is the most glorious day for Ezra and I was so happy for him.  The two of them fall into the relationship so seamlessly because they have been such close friends for so many years.  I want to put it out there that I loved, “There are plenty of ways to enjoy each other that don’t involve a**holes, and we can explore whatever you’d like to try”.  So often in MM books, it is all about the penetration and not every person likes that.  So it was refreshing to see Ezra giving that option to Marco.

There is the mystery of who is trying to get at Marco and I admit I was wrong about who it was.  While I can’t say this what kind of addition to the series it was since I hadn’t read the series, I can say it was an interesting, engaging stand alone.

The cover was a little off for me.  It is obviously not Marco, as there are no scars but it also didn’t seem to be Ezra, so it was a little random.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 128 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN13 9781786517012
Edition Language English

An Alisa Review: Polar Opposites by Cheyenne Meadows

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Donovan is the new guy in town, a polar shifter, harboring a big secret. He’s a big city bear who moved to the tiny town of Forgotten, Wyoming, in hopes of finding peace. What he finds is poison ivy and angry wasps.

TJ, a grizzly shifter, is the local doctor with a past. He’s found a home in the country, but lacks happiness and a sense of belonging. The fact that he’s in the midst of his natural mating season doesn’t help in the least. The moment Donovan enters TJ’s clinic, sparks fly. TJ is determined to resist the temptation that is Donovan, but his inner bear and Donovan have other ideas.

When a hunter starts going after shifters and a blast from Donovan’s past show up for revenge, things get hot. But not as hot as the attraction between Donovan and TJ. If they can pull together and survive, they just might discover that, while they might be polar opposites, sometimes opposites do attract.

This was an alright story, though I didn’t connect to the character which would have made it better.  Donovan and TJ seem to have one thing in common and that’s that they are bear shifters.  Though deep down aren’t too different from each other.

Both of these guys are keeping secrets and though TJ’s comes out sooner Donovan’s causes more problems.  I felt that these two were just going through the motions to make the story work which is always true but it felt forced.  I also had to continually go back and reread parts of the story to make sure I knew what was going on because names were often flip flopped.

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is okay, we get visuals of Donovan in both his bear form and his human form.

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 61,016 words

Published: January 12, 2019 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634868280

Edition Language: English

In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Artwork by Paul Richmond

Book Cover and Artist Month Continues

In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond

 

Whether it be firebirds, fairies, pinup boys during the holidays, or dragons among the stars, Paul Richmond‘s covers have never failed to fire our imaginations, heat up our libidos, or just plain make us laugh.  Often glorious in color, sweeping in composition and style, there is just something so amazing, so special, so well, Paul Richmond about everything he does that it’s so easy to pick out a Paul Richmond cover by their distinctive artwork.

I regularly haunt his website to see what new original paintings he has finished so I can gawk and sigh over the  sheer vibrancy and beauty each conveys.  I recommend you all do the same.  You can find his website along with all his media connections below.

For his covers?  Well, they are so many.  From all the R Cooper Being(s) in Love Series (a favorite of mine) to T.J. Klune, to the many Advent Calendar stories to a multitude to authors in between, Paul Richmond has done covers for them all.  I’m only sorry we have room for so few.

I am delighted that Paul was able to take time out of his hugely busy schedule  to answer our questions about being an artist, book covers and much more.  I hope you enjoy his insights.  Here is Paul Richmond, up close and personal!

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Paul Richmond…

 

How long it takes to put together a cover draft and whether or not they make multiple drafts to show authors/publishers?

I can never predict how long a cover will take because there are a lot of variables that affect it. I do always like to show multiple drafts and work closely with the author to ensure that the cover is a good fit for the story they’ve written.

How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere (like Shutterstock

When I first started doing covers, most of mine were hand-painted, but the trends in our genre have shifted a bit and now I find myself doing mostly photo-based covers except for an occasional fantasy/sci-fi where illustration is still prevalent. Even though a photo-based cover uses stock images, I still consider them to be works of original art because there is often a large amount of photo-manipulation work that gets done in order to make the composite image cover-worthy. Ultimately, no matter how a cover was made, I think the most important thing is how effectively it draws in new potential readers.

How much input comes from  the author and/or storyline?

I work closely with authors because their input is invaluable in the process. I will also make suggestions if they are presenting a concept that won’t work well on a cover. Simple, bold covers work best and sometimes it is necessary to edit down a concept in order to make it work well as a cover image. It’s important to me and everyone at Dreamspinner that authors are happy with their covers and that we create covers that are going to help their books reach new readers.

How did you get to become a cover artist?

My friend Jane Seville was having a book (Zero at the Bone) published by Dreamspinner and she asked me to illustrate the cover. I studied illustration in college and did a lot of freelance work so it was a natural fit. Dreamspinner liked the cover and asked if I’d like to do more. Now I work full time as their Associate Art Director.

What mediums do you use?  

Originally I did my covers as oil paintings, and gradually shifted to working in Photoshop. It’s easier to make changes and more efficient overall. Plus the tools have been greatly enhanced to allow so many different styles of covers to be created digitally.

Do you have a favorite cover you have done?  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve enjoyed all the covers I’ve had the privilege of making, but some of the ones I look forward to the most are the annual Advent anthologies because I get to paint my Cheesecake Boys pinups into hilarious holiday scenes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?

We have so many wonderful cover artists working with us at Dreamspinner I couldn’t possibly pick one favorite. I am constantly amazed and inspired by the diverse styles and creativity of all our artists.

Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?

Yes, books were a huge part of my childhood. I was always reading and always dreaming of making books myself one day. I won a local art competition as a kid and used my $25 earnings to buy a toy typewriter that I used to “make books.” This was always something I wanted to do.

What do you find most rewarding as a Book Cover Artist?

I love art that tells stories, so it is really fun for me to learn about the concept of a novel and then work out how to relay a glimpse of that narrative visually.

For  Cover Artist:

What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?

I think the role of a book cover is to entice readers, tease them with imagery that suggests the narrative of the story and make them want to start reading.

How has the eBook format changed that , if any?

Simplicity of imagery and clarity of text is very important now because most readers will first interact with a cover as a small thumbnail image as they scroll through covers digitally. If it doesn’t grab them at that scale and entice them to click, it might get passed by.

What trends do you see in Book Covers in the industry? Past, present, and future?  {for example the rise of the naked half male torso, model overuse ,generic covers ,etc.)

Photo-based covers are the norm now in most genres. Striking, simple imagery with bold, clean text is also important. In gay fiction, readers are tired of the two-models-cut-out-over-a-landscape look, especially when it’s obvious that the two models were shot separately because they are in different lighting scenarios. If there are multiple models, the interaction or connection between them needs to be believable. And single model covers often work really well too. 

How do you feel about them?

I like the way our covers are evolving, especially as readership continues to grow and we see gay fiction being added to more mainstream bookshelves.

 

Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director

About the Artist
Paul Richmond is an internationally recognized visual artist and activist whose career has included exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States as well as publication in numerous art journals and anthologies. His work is collected by individuals around the globe. In his role as the Associate Art Director for Dreamspinner Press and their young adult imprint, Harmony Ink Press, he has created over four hundred novel cover illustrations. He is a co-founder of the You Will Rise Project, an organization that empowers those who have experienced bullying to speak out creatively through art. He lives with his husband Dennis in Monterey, California. He works and teaches at Open Ground Studios in Seaside. 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/paulrichmondstudi

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Paul Richmond, Associate Art Director
Dreamspinner Press – Where Dreams Come True…
International publishers of quality gay romantic fiction since 2007
DSP Publications – Off the Beaten Path. Worth the Journey.
Harmony Ink Press – LGBTQ+ Teen and New Adult Fiction

Cover Artist Giveaway:

Please don’t forget to leave comments or questions for our artists to be entered into our Book Cover Artist Giveaway, a Gift Certificate for $10 the person chosen.  Please leave a email address where you can be reached.  Open until St. Patrick’s Day.
Now for this week’s reviews and tours.  Happy Reading and Listening!
We have more Artist Spotlights Scheduled. The schedule to date (with links in case you missed one):
February 09:  Aisha Akeju
February 10:   Garrett Leigh
February 17:   Meredith Russell
February 24:  Reese Dante
March  3           Paul Richmond
Until next week, happy reading and listening!  Here is our schedule at the blog this week.  Enjoy

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, March 3:

  • Series Review Tour – Pros & Cons by A.E. Wasp
  • In the Artist Spotlight: Paul Richmond. Book Cover and Artist Month Continues.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • An Alisa Review: Learning Trust (The Knights Club Series#3) by CJ Baty
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Dance For You by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Review:To Be Honest (#lovehim #2) by S.M. James

Monday, March 4:

  • PROMO Andi Van on Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3)
  • Review Tour – Chris Quinton’s The Fall Guy
  • Review Tour –  – Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by Jay Northcote
  • A Lucy Review The 13th Month (Calendar Men #13) by Bailey Bradford
  • An Alisa Review Polar Opposites by Cheyenne Meadows
  • A Stella Review : The Fall Guy by Chris Quinton
  • A MelanieM Review The Rising by Morgan Brice

Tuesday, March 5

  • Release Blitz Order (Tattoos and Ties Duet, Book 2) by Kindle Alexander
  • Release Blitz  – Bitten By Fate – Annabelle Jacobs
  • Cover Reveal – Black by Quin Perin
  • A Alisa Release Day Review:  Jacked Cat Jive (The Kai Gracen #3) by Rhys Ford
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Magic Triumphed (The Mages’ Guild Trilogy #3) by Andi Van
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1) by Bru Baker

Wednesday, March 6:

  •  Review Tour – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  • Review Tour – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey”
  • Release Blitz Request – K.A. Merikan – In The Arms Of The Beast
  • Blog Tour – The Rising by Morgan Brice
  • An Alisa Review Shadowmancer (Paladin Charm #1) by Devin Harnois
  • A Stella Release Day Review: A Model Escort by Amanda Meuwissen
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Blood Lust by L.E. Royal
  • A MelanieM Review : Touch Of A Yellow Sun by V.L. Locey

Thursday, March 7:

  • Release Blitz – Broken by Colette Davison
  • Review Tour – Murder At Oakschott Hall – Jim Austen
  • Bru Baker on Stealing His Heart (Connoll Pack #1)
  • An Alisa Review Coming Out (The Knights Club Series#4) by CJ Baty
  • An Ashlez Review: Broken by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Freckles by Amy Lane
  • A Melanie Review : Murder at Oakschott Hall by Jim Austen

Friday, March 8:

  • Review Tour – Anna Martin – Helix
  • Release Day for First Strike – Book 3 in the Dragon War Chronicles series by AG Carothers
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns & WM Fawkes – Prince Of Death
  • An Alisa Review: Finding Forgiveness (The Knights Club #5) by CJ Baty
  • A Free Dreamer Review: First Strike – Book 3 in the Dragon War Chronicles by AG Carothers
  • A Caryn Review :Helix by Anna Martin

Saturday, March 9:

  • Release Blitz – Perilous Hearts (Deviant Hearts #3) by A E Ryecart
  • Release Blitz – A.L. Lester – Shadows On The Border
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Better Place (Rainbow Place #3) by  Jay Northcote

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

E.J. Russell on Fashion, Characters and her new release, Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Demon on the Down-Low (Supernatural Selection #3) by E.J. Russell

Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: L.C . Chase

Published February 25th 2019

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have E.J. Russell here today talking about fashion, choices, characters, and her new story,Demon on the Down-Low. Welcome, E.J.

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Fashion impaired

by E.J. Russell

I am not a fashion-forward kind of person. In fact, “fashion” is probably a word that could never be paired with me, unless “victim” were also part of the sentence. Since I’ve worked from home for over fifteen years—first at my left-brain tech day job and then in my writer cave—I’ve definitely embraced the “comfort over style” paradigm.

This hasn’t always set well with my children, particularly when they were teenagers and had ideas about how their parents’ appearance reflected on them. LD once told me flat out: “Mommy, you dress badly.” She was, I think, in sixth grade at the time, and I was wearing sweat pants (because of course I was). She had embraced her own sense of style quite early, as I recall. My Curmudgeonly Husband and I had decided before she was born that we wouldn’t go for the “girls::pink, boys::blue” model, so we bought pants and shirts for her in bright colors (the late, lamented Mervyn’s department store had great toddler clothes!), and if there was any any pink in the lot, it was dark fuchsia rather than pastel. Then, when she was about two and a half, she suddenly refused to wear anything but dresses. Pink dresses. Pastel pink dresses. (Although CH and I had shunned the frilly and overly feminine, my mother was not on board, and her gifts infiltrated LD’s wardrobe.) 

With DS A and B, CH and I pretty much said, “Screw it,” because if we wanted anybody to be able to tell the boys apart (especially from a distance), we needed a color code. DS A’s outfits were predominantly red; DS B was the blue guy. Not only did it assist in people outside the family being able to identify them, but it was a huge help in sorting laundry.

The twins weren’t quite so dismissive of sweatpants either. Until they were in seventh grade, their entire fall-to-spring pants wardrobe consisted of Target sweatpants in red (DS A), navy (DS B), or black (both of them, dang it, and I had to buy a handful of laundry markers). Since Target  put their boys’ sweats on sale at regular intervals, back-to-school clothes shopping for the twins was a snap—even more so because, unlike LD, they didn’t want to have anything to do with choosing their own outfits. I bought ‘em; they wore ‘em. Easy peasy.

Who would have believed that those same boys would one day become absolute clothing snobs—especially DS B. Moving to Manhattan for college (and then remaining there to work as professional dancers after graduation) might have had something to do with their evolving sense of style. DS B, for instance, has worked in at least three different higher-end mens’ clothing stores, and usually smoked the other clerks in sales.

Because I’m not particularly interested in fashion, most of my characters dress pretty plainly. But in Demon on the Down-Low, I had a secondary character—Olli, Hamish’s first date—who needed to be fashionable. I knew just who to contact for advice, and had this text conversation with DS B:

As it happens, Olli is Finnish, not Swedish, but I hadn’t figured that part out yet. DS B pointed me to several websites, and I was able to dress Olli from the Paul Smith site.

In case you’re wondering about the coat, here it is (with DS B inside it). He designed the coat and had a friend of his make it.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it’s got two different fabrics, plus a lining, all of them super soft.

Lucky for me (when it comes to character wardrobe research), he’s come a long way from navy Target sweatpants!

 

 

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me on blog tour for Demon on the Down-Low, the third (and final) book in the Supernatural Selection trilogy! Follow along with the tour and comment for a chance to win the tour grand prize, a $25 Riptide gift card and your choice of either Single White Incubus or Bad Boy’s Bard. Winner chosen randomly at the end of the tour from comments across all tour stops.

 

About Demon on the Down-Low

After decades of unrequited love, this kangaroo will jump at the chance for a date. Any date.

Lovelorn kangaroo shifter Hamish Mulherne, drummer for the mega-hit rock band Hunter’s Moon, waited years for the band’s jaguar shifter bassist to notice him. Instead, she’s just gotten married and is in a thriving poly relationship. How is Hamish supposed to compete with that? But with everyone else in the band mated and revoltingly happy, he needs somebody. Since he can’t expect true love to strike twice, he signs up with Supernatural Selection. Because what the hell.

When Zeke Oz was placed at Supernatural Selection through the Sheol work-release program, he thought he was the luckiest demon alive. But when he seems responsible for several massive matchmaking errors, he’s put on notice: find the perfect match for Hamish, or get booted back to Sheol for good. The only catch? He has to do it without the agency’s matchmaking spells, and Hamish simply will not engage.

But Zeke starts to believe that the reason all of Hamish’s dates fizzle is because nobody in the database is good enough for him. And Hamish realizes that his perfect match might be the cute demon who’s trying so hard to make him happy.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About Supernatural Selection

Are you a shifter who’s lost faith in fated mates? A vampire seeking a Second Life companion? Or perhaps you’re a demon yearning to claim a soul (mate)?

Congratulations! Your search is over!

Welcome to Supernatural Selection, where our foolproof spells guarantee your perfect match.

Until they don’t.

Check out Supernatural Selection today.

 

About E.J. Russell

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

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

Connect with E.J.:

Website: ejrussell.com

Blog: ejrussell.com/bloggery/

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

Twitter: twitter.com/ej_russell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ejrussell/

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Demon on the Down-Low one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and an ecopy of either Single White Incubus (first in the Supernatural Selection series) or Bad Boy’s Bard (the book from the Fae Out of Water series that influences this one). Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 2, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!