New Release Blitz for Escaping Mortality (The Escape Trilogy #3) by Sara Dobie Bauer (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Escaping Mortality

Series: The Escape Trilogy, Book Three

Author: Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 28, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 33100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, bisexual, gay, vampires, polyamorous, British nobility, established couples

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Synopsis

Their ocean journey was successful, and Andrew and Edmund found an Elder just in time. As they wished, Edmund is now a vampire like Andrew. They have eternity together, but first, they must visit Edmund’s ailing mother in the English countryside with their flock of immortals, including the Elder, who has taken an ominous liking to his new creation.

When they arrive at Edmund’s family estate, his sick mother and her loathsome best friend await them. While ducking religious curses, Edmund struggles to harness an unexpected power gifted him by the Elder. Andrew fears for his beloved as Edmund becomes more and more monstrous—but vampires have always been monsters, haven’t they?

A battle is coming, for Edmund’s heart and his soul, and Andrew will lose neither. He escaped island exile and a near tragedy at sea to be with Edmund, the beautiful young sailor he loves. Andrew will do anything to keep Edmund by his side, but his most dangerous adversary may be Edmund himself.

Excerpt

Escaping Mortality
Sara Dobie Bauer © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Edmund tries desperately not to shiver, but he forgets himself every minute or so and allows a full body shake that vibrates the wet edges of his hair. We’re back on deck after our desperate leap into the ocean, my sailor and I. A half-hysterical Michelle wrapped us both in the heaviest fabric she could find once we were both safely lifted back onboard with our new passenger: the Elder.

He sits across from Edmund at a large table in our ship’s common area while I stand and glare. Michelle and Felipe linger silently to my left and right.

This Elder is nothing more than a rotting skeleton, covered in loose, hanging flesh. He smells of dead fish and refuses to take his dark eyes off the man I love.

“You are dying,” the creature says, his voice like the swinging of a rusted gate.

Edmund chuckles. “Yes. So you understand why I need your help.”

“Why do you want this gift, dead man? Power? Prestige?”

“No.”

“Then, why?”

“Love.”

The creature’s gaze momentarily swings up, and I stand straighter. For the first time since we escaped the rolling waves, the Elder addresses me: “How frustrating for a strong vampire such as yourself that you cannot save the one you adore.”

I’m about to respond when Edmund speaks first. “I would prefer to keep this conversation between the two of us, if you don’t mind. It is, after all, my life we discuss.”

The Elder studies Edmund and says nothing. For a long moment, he merely observes. Although the blanket covers Edmund’s black, infected flesh, it’s impossible to miss the green pallor of his skin, the purple circles around his eyes, and the color of his lips, now practically white. All signs of the healthy young man I first met are gone.

“You have no fear right now, dead man. Strange for one with so little time left. I tasted it underwater, your fear. Quite a strong bouquet.” A tongue like a slippery snail pokes out from the Elder’s mouth to lick cracked lips.

“You tried to pull me under.”

“You offered yourself.”

“I needed to get your attention.”

I’m not sure, but I think the Elder smiles. He shows his teeth anyway—long, pointed fangs bigger than any I’ve seen. “And now, you have it, dead man.”

“My name is Edmund. And you?”

Again, those eyes—so dark as to be almost black—glance at me. “Brien.” He growls the R. “If the world is still how I recall, Edmund, nothing is free. You woke me with your dying flesh because you need something.” He opens his hands before him, skin wrinkled, sharp fingernails like weapons. “What do I get from you?”

Edmund shivers and groans. When he bends over in pain and rests his forehead on the table, Michelle stops me from rushing forward. “What do you want?” Edmund asks.

As my darling struggles to find the strength to sit, Brien watches with interest—I assume. It’s difficult to tell with the sagging, wet flesh. Logic says the Elder should be dry by now, but he continues to drip foul water as though made of the stuff.

“You can have anything,” Edmund says.

Brien leans forward and sniffs, seeking Edmund’s scent. “I want to kill you.”

I step toward them. “No.”

The Elder stares at me. “No?”

“Edmund requested I do that.” I could say more about how I want to taste his soul, how I want that moment to belong to me and me alone. I want him in my arms the moment he takes his last breath. So many things do I want, and this monster of the sea would steal it all.

“Dead man?” Brien practically purrs.

“Damn it.” Edmund closes his eyes. “Fine. My life is yours.”

“But—”

“It is better than the alternative, love,” Edmund mutters. “Is that all you require?”

“I will travel with you wherever you now go.”

“Michelle?” Edmund says her name but doesn’t turn. I don’t think he’s strong enough to move anymore.

My old friend—once enemy, now leader—steps forward in her sweeping skirts. “Of course, Elder Brien. We are at your service.”

“You might want to…” Edmund coughs. “Find something to wear. They frown upon naked corpses walking around London.”

Felipe laughs—one short burst of amusement.

“Do we have a deal?”

Brien lowers his head. “Yes, Edmund.” He looks up and shows his teeth. “Ah, there it is—the smell. Now, you are afraid.”

Edmund’s eyes are red. I don’t know if he cries from pain or from the thought of his own murder at the hands of a hideous monster. Perhaps he found comfort in the thought of me doing it because he knew I wouldn’t let him hurt. Brien appears liable to chop off each of Edmund’s fingers before letting him die—but I will not let that happen. I will be at his side. I will hold Edmund’s hand as his heart stops beating. Thinking of this, my own chest begins to ache.

My God, what if this doesn’t work? What if the Elder kills my darling and jumps back overboard? What if these are the last moments I have with the only creature I have ever loved? I lean down quickly and kiss Edmund’s forehead.

His hand finds my face. “I’m ready,” he whispers. “Are you?” He smiles at me.

I pick him up and carry him to our room. The others follow close behind. In fact, the entire crew stands in the hall, watching us pass. What’s about to happen hasn’t happened in centuries, and I suppose everyone wants a view.

By the time I rest my shivering love in the center of our bed, someone has given Brien a cloak, although it does little to hide the emaciated ground meat of his face. Michelle comes in but locks everyone else out, for which I am thankful.

I kiss Edmund, and Jesus, he smells almost as bad as the Elder. I kiss his lips softly as he whispers he loves me.

“I love you too. I’ll be right here.” I squeeze his hand and kneel on the edge of our bed.

From across the room, Brien watches me again with what I suspect is delight. I want to bark at him and ask what on earth could be so funny, but I bite my tongue. Now is not the time to provoke the only man who can save Edmund. As he leans forward, I lean back, paying the Elder respect.

He looms over Edmund, but strangely, instead of beginning his feast, he rests on his side and touches Edmund’s hair with his pointed nails. “I am going to kill you now, but I will give you a new life. One without sickness or death. Do you accept this gift I give?”

Edmund nods.

“As I feed, I want you to think. Picture yourself healthy—the way you were before this. Perhaps, the way you were when you first met your vampire.”

“Half drowned on a beach?”

Although I can’t help but smile, the Elder seems confused. “Perhaps not. Picture yourself how you want to be, and in a little while, it will be so. Do you understand?”

Edmund nods again and flails for my hand. I entwine our fingers.

“Thank you for your offering,” Brien says. He then moves faster than even my eyes can manage to follow.

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Review here!

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among other sexy things.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pinterest

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More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions.

 

More results from last week’s polls on book covers.  I really did sort of expect these tbh.  Yes readers to look and choose books by their covers, yes, they look at the names of the cover artists, and while they say they might not have a preference over type of cover, when it comes right down to it?  They love a “painted” cover over of photograph.  Maybe I should look at demographics on that one as that is my preference as well.

This week Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is sending out our questionnaires to publishers and cover artists, to get a feel on the state of book covers today, how many of these artists came to be book cover artists and much more.  I have included the questions I received from our readers in our form.  I can’t wait to get back the answers!

If you have more questions, please continue to send them in, it’s never too late to revise our form as we send it out to more people.

With stories these days, you might see the same or re-released/revised story several times.  That means multiple covers, eBook and audio formats too.  Each time it’s job is the same.  Reach out to readers, grab their attention, make them want to read or listen to that story with a cover that looks fresh and vibrant!  Dramatic, current, and catchy.  Wow!  That’s an artistic job and a half.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above are three different covers for Andre Norton’s Witch World.  One from 2016 and the original from 1963.  At the end there was one more version.  1986.  Each era leaving its mark on the design and style of the cover.  And yes, mine is the 1963 version which I still have.  I have to admit each speaks to me in a different way.  What do they say to you?  Which do you prefer? And if you aren’t familiar with Andre Norton, what a fantastic author awaits you!

When covers are done beautifully, we remember them.  And the artist that made that cover sing to us.  And of course, we picked that book right up, perhaps even again, to dive into the story and get lost in another world of an author’s creation.   This from someone who was up til 4am with a new Rhys Ford story…lol Yes, the cover of that story is fabulous!

So yes, along with all of you, I’m dying to know what answers will be coming back our way from these amazing artists and the publishers.  What wonderful Sundays we have ahead of us!

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 27:

  • More Poll Results and Book Cover Questions.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Audio Release Blitz K.A. Merikan – Road Of No Return

Monday, January 28:

  • Release Blitz Marina Vivancos – Rat Park
  • BLITZ Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • PROMO TARA LAIN on The Case of the Voracious Vintner
  • A Stella Review The Fairy Pond by Jason Black
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Escaping Mortality by Sara Dobie Bauer
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Devil Take Me anthology by Rhys Ford , Ginn Hale ,Jordan L. Hawk ,T.A. Moore ,C.S. Poe ,Jordan Castillo Price , and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)

Tuesday, January, 29:

  • BLITZ Imminent Dawn by R.R. Campbell
  • AUDIO BLITZ Out in the Deep (Out in College #1) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)
  • Release Blitz for   Gage, Trenton Security Book 3, by JM Dabney
  • Book Blast – Bad Deal by Ember-Raine Winters & Faith Ryan
  • A Lucy Review Forever Starts At Midnight by Kim Breyon
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: The Case of the Voracious Vintner (Middlemark Mysteries #2) by Tara Lain

Wednesday, January 30:

  • Release Blitz – The Other Book – Roe Horvat
  • PROMO AUGUST LI on Nomad’s Dream
  • Cover Reveal, – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – V.L. Locey
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li
  • A MelanieM Review: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles

Thursday, January 31:

  • BLITZ Living on the Inside by Londra Laine
  • DSP COVER REVEAL Inked Music by Sean Michael
  • An Ashlez Review Bad Deal by Ember by Raine Winters & Faith
  • A Free Dreamer Review The Witchin’ Canoe by Mel Bossa
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Contact by M.D. Neu
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Late Summer Night’s Dream by Catherine Curzon

Friday, February 1:

  • COVER REVEAL Forlorn by Elvira Bell
  • Terrible Things by Beth Bolden Blog Tour 
  • Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Review : Awakenings and French Songs by Nell Iris
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Escape to Paradise (A Planet Called Wish #4) by Caitlin Ricci
  • A MelanieM Audio Review:His Consort by Mary Calmes and (Narrated by Scott Smith)

Saturday, February 2:

  • BOOK BLAST – The Selkie Prince’s Forbidden Mate (The Royal Alphas series, Book 4) by J.J. Masters

 

An Alisa Review: Gargoyle’s Embrace (Polar Nights #3) by Siryn Sueng

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

The mysteries that are building in the deep snows of Tromsø seem to never end—including how Auren knows a certain incubus, and perhaps the reason why the fae have come so far north…

 

As the owner of a high-profile exotics bar for the supernatural, Krystalf is used to attention. Being the son of wealthy and powerful parents and a formidable second-tier mage himself, Krystalf is also used to being the target of petty humans looking for a healthy ransom. Luckily, his life in Tromsø, Norway is usually quite peaceful.

Then…the fae arrived. After a brutal attack, Krystalf is left shaken as he witnesses for the first time how powerful they are. And at how helpless he truly is against them.

For the devilishly-handsome Auren, a gargoyle from Cara, Egypt, finding his mate was the last thing on his mind.  He’s been painstakingly hunting the host of fae who attacked his home. That hunt leads him straight to the arms—and heart—of the mysterious mage, Krystalf. Yet, more questions than answers arise once Auren sets foot in Tromsø.  Questions regarding how Auren knows a certain incubus—and perhaps the reason why the fae have come so far north…

This is still an interesting world though I continue to have trouble understanding how mating works.  Krystalf is lucky that Auren had been tracking the fae that attacked him.

I am having trouble remembering parts of the last books but I don’t think it affected my understanding of this book but as I said before I am still having trouble understanding how the mating really works.  The main focus of this book was the fae and they brought in the others from the previous books.  It is extremely hard to connect with the characters because they all seem to keep everything to themselves unless it’s necessary to divulge it.

The cover art is great and follows the style for the series.

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 75 pages

Published: November 20, 2018 by Deep Desires Press

Edition Language: English

Series: Polar Nights #3

New Release Blitz for The Fairy Pond by Jason Black

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Title: The Fairy Pond

Author: Jason Black

Publisher: Self-pub

Release Date: 12/19/2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 29 pages

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, historical

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Synopsis

Nevan lives a simple life. He works hard in the fields with his brothers and his grandpa, and adores his mother wholeheartedly. He’s a good boy who usually stays out of trouble, but even when Grandpa warns him to stay away from the pond, he can’t help feeling curious about it…and the creatures that watch him whenever he’s near.

Excerpt

It had been a long day. Nevan had come out to the fields with lunch after helping with the home chores and stayed to work the rest of the day. He enjoyed this time alone with his grandfather. Each night they were the only ones who stayed awake for the ride home, Grandfather telling stories of times past while Nevan soaked it in like a sponge.

That evening, Grandfather was quiet, glancing around as if uneasy with the sounds of the coming night. Nevan turned to look out at the familiar shapes around them. In the distance, he saw the barn come into view and knew their destination wasn’t far beyond. As they finished rounding a grove of fruit trees, he could also see the small pond that sat next to the barn; home for geese, ducks, and fish. It also served as a cool respite on a warm summer day.

The lack of talk and the swaying of the wagon served to lull Nevan toward sleep. He let a shivering yawn pass his lips, his eyes again turning toward the pond. A splash, a movement. Nevan blinked, now fully awake, and squinted his eyes in disbelief.

“Grandpa?”

“Yeah, boy?” his grandfather answered in a hushed tone.

“There are people swimming in our pond!”

“T’ain’t no one out this late, boy. People be sleepin’.” Grandfather’s words had a finality to them that told Nevan not to argue.

Another splash and Nevan couldn’t hold his tongue.

“But… look!” His finger shot out toward the pond, now directly to the right of the wagon.

Nevan could clearly see the shapes of the figures in the water, even the gleam of eyes in the moonlight as they looked directly at them.

“Boy,” Grandfather said sternly, “Don’t look and don’t be talking about that no more.”

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Jason Black lives in Texas with his partner and two roommates. He cooks. He writes. He’s an okay guy.

Goodreads | eMail

Twitter – @J_HuffmanBlack

 

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A MelanieM Review: Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Abandoned by his werewolf lover, the only thing Reylan wants is to return to his vampire life of blood and beautiful boys. It’s a solid plan, until his first meal as a single man tries to kill him.

Hoping to free his young would-be assassin from the religious zealots that sent him, Reylan enlists the help of Iain Grieg, a charismatic priest with unsettling knowledge of the night’s secrets.

Surrounded by conflicting agendas and an army fuelled by hate, Reylan fights to secure his future, if he can only trust the mysterious priest and bury the ghosts of the past.

As I read my way through Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines I couldn’t help but think about how far the main character, vampire Reylan, has come from that first meeting back in The Beast Without.  For sheer ferocity and merciliness there were few beings who could best him. Reylan was an apex predator in his prime.  And if I’m to be honest, I admired that in his character as it seemed; true to his nature and all the vampires as Baines was  using them here. At the time, it was far from the sparkling, sort of bloodless vampires ruling the year at the time.  It was refreshing.

But Reylan was intelligent as well as predatory. And the author had a complicated, magically dense narrative arc in store for the characters and series so as the intricate plots developed, so did Reylan’s emotional growth.  Through loss, through revelation, through devastating events in the first two novels, we saw Reylan gather together an odd sort of crew or family and change.  Sins of the Son represents another step forward in this character’s process and I find it endlessly fascinating.

Astonishingly full of action and mystery, we enter into a scene of chaos, another reason to love this story and series.  There’s no easing in, nor given the nature of theses beings and the various storylines, should there be. I hesitate to talk about the plot, the new characters introduced, or even the older ones that appear again.  It’s all a part of a labyrinthine tale that’s still working it’s way through the pattern the author has plotted out, and  the path ahead is murky indeed. Delightly, horrifically so.

I loved the twists and turns here,some downright shocking as the deaths that flowed and the blood that spilled.  The ending itself is one long incredibly white knuckle horror flight that’s just amazing.

Christian Baines has written three books that build on each other like superlative supernatural building blocks, full of gorgeous passionate, and yes deadly characters in an incredible world of magic and the mundane, which is getting more layered, more fantastical by the story.  I can’t wait for the next book to arrive.

If you are looking for swooning romance, or soft hearted any other type of love, truly this is not the tale for you.  Love there is but not for the faint hearted.    I find this a series and book to sink your teeth into and highly recommend it.  If you are new to it, start at the first novel.  I have listed them all for your convenience below.  I love and recommend them all.

Cover art: I think this really works, especially the font with the different color lettering and the person in the background.  Well done.

 

Buy Link:  Amazon

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 233 pages
Published January 20th 2019
Original Title Sins of the Son
ASIN B07MH3P4TR
setting Sydney, New South Wales (Australia)

Arcadia Trust Series: each is not a standalone story but builds on the one before:

The Beast Without

The Orchard of Flesh

Sins of the Son

New Release Blitz for Half Life by Gregory L. Norris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Half-Life

Author: Gregory L. Norris

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 21, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 14300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBT, witches, zombies, gay, magic

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Synopsis

Whitney Abbott travels to the seaside Maine town of Window to begin a new life in his uncle’s home. Robert Abbott is well-to-do and owns several high-end restaurants. Whitney will start at the bottom and work his way up at the flagship. But from the moment Whitney exits his car in the drive of the big, brooding house, he senses the sinister atmosphere surrounding his relations.

His cousin November, princess of the estate, feigns joy at having Whitney in town. And November’s handsome athlete boyfriend, Griffin, is an enigma. Soon after his arrival, Griffin warns Whitney to leave. With nowhere to go—and certain that his attraction to Griffin goes both ways—Whitney is drawn into November’s malevolent plans. Plans that will pit Whitney against dark supernatural forces in order to save both his and Griffin’s lives.

Excerpt

Half-Life
Gregory L. Norris © 2019
All Rights Reserved

I hit the switch. The familiar cold, white glare from the overhead lights rained across the kitchen, prep station, and the industrial dishwasher, scenes of so many long shifts and leg cramps. The light did little to remove the greater darkness that hung over the back of my uncle’s restaurant. The gloom swirling outside had followed me into Abbott’s Table, one of your finer dining establishments along this part of Maine’s Rocky Headlands. Rain pelted the oblong window above the prep-station sink, where I’d cleaned and breaded untold thousands of shrimp. The ghostly aroma of garlic, lobster, and grilled meat hung over the place. Cloying, with an edge of lemon cleaner.

“Hello?” I called.

My heart hammered against my ribcage. I imagined my balls shriveling up against the root of my dick. An icy finger stroked my spine.

“Anyone here? It’s me, Whitney.”

Identifying myself made the creeping sensation even worse. The darkness had pursued me, constantly there at the periphery hiding in shadowy corners. Here in my uncle’s flagship restaurant after hours, the unwanted attention from sinister powers was more tangible, more intimate. I choked down a heavy swallow to find my mouth had gone completely dry.

“Griffin, it’s me. I saw your truck in the lot,” I said, aware of how my lips risked a smile at the mention of his name. Griffin. My heart raced for different reasons after that. “Griff?”

I checked the kitchen—empty. Willing my legs forward, I pushed past the rightward pair of swivel doors, hearing the awful voice of the restaurant’s manager, Marc with a c—Always keep to the right, that’s how it’s done at Abbott’s Table. The dining room sat dark and empty, chairs stacked upside down over tabletops, the floors swept, mopped, and shiny under the green glow of the exit lights.

I checked the bar and both of the public heads, finding the same result: no Griffin. My pulse continued its mad speed. Danger juice soured in my bloodstream. His truck in the far corner of the Abbott’s Table parking lot could have meant a hundred different things on any other night—Griffin out having fun with some of his hockey league buddies, late fun, guy stuff. I knew he wasn’t with the Ice Queen. No, after what had happened and the kiss that followed, Griffin wouldn’t have gone back to confront my cousin, November Abbott.

That kiss…

For a wonderful instant, the storm cloud dissolved, and I was in my car again, his big hand cupping my cheek, his mouth crushed over mine, claiming me as his and offering me all he had to give in return. I remembered the warm scent of pinesap, of Griffin’s magnificent body, the swell of his erection pressing against me as we kissed, and the certainty that what we both felt, while undeniably physical, went past simple attraction. Dare I again think it? Love.

I loved Griffin, and he loved me.

The rain pounding the world outside the restaurant’s windows unleashed eerie silver dapples across the dining room. I stood pondering, waiting for a sound, a sign. When none came, I turned and hastened back in the direction of the kitchen exit.

“Whitney…”

I dug in my sneaker treads on the rubber mat set between the kitchen and rear door, at first thinking I’d hallucinated Griffin’s voice. But then I faced the direction of the sound and found myself staring at the one corner of the restaurant I hadn’t thought to search: the walk-in refrigerator and freezer.

Reaching the big stainless-steel door seemed to take longer than the actual few seconds. I tugged on the latch. The door resisted, as though someone was pulling at the same time from the other side. The inner voice that had told me a week earlier to turn around, to not travel north to the town of Window, Maine, was back, urging me to get out. Just leave. Run!

I drew in a breath, smelling the rain, the kitchen’s funk, and the trace of clean, athletic sweat from the T-shirt I wore—Griffin’s sweat, and Griffin’s shirt, borrowed on an afternoon that now felt part of another decade. I pulled harder. The door released. A gust of cold, foggy air billowed out.

The front part of the walk-in was already lit up from inside, even though the light switch was off. I pushed through the long plastic strips of the freezer curtain and into the wide space that housed expensive cuts of tomahawk steaks, bins of heirloom tomatoes and other fresh produce from the local farmer’s market, and, I discovered, one sacrificial altar.

I froze, my eyes recording details—the waxy candles, three, burning around the body on the folding table, the sprigs of Datura stramonium Devil’s Snare flowers draped around the nude man’s corpse laid out in a funeral pose. I recognized the patch of hairy, athletic lower leg, upon which a winged lion had been inked.

“Griffin,” I gasped.

A breeze that hadn’t been there the previous second whispered through the walk-in, stirring the leaves of bunches of basil, parsley, and other fresh herbs. My paralysis broke. I moved beside the table, my eyes wide, not blinking. Griffin, naked, his hands folded over his midriff. Even as I reached my trembling fingers toward his and the voice in my head screamed for me to run—run from the restaurant, from Window, Maine, and, above all else, from Griffin—my eyes recorded the pallor of his skin. Griffin’s flesh was gray in the flickering candlelight.

My hand covered his. A chill raced up my fingertips. He was icy to the touch. No, impossible—hours before, in that other era, he’d held me, kissed me. And I had seen proof of our tomorrow together even as the storm clouds raced over our heads. Griffin had pledged his love and promised to return.

I glanced at Griffin’s big jock feet—still sexy despite their grayness, up his legs, past his junk, and all the way to his eyes, clamped shut. I gripped his hands, the fingers interlaced in prayer, and squeezed.

“Griffin!”

The dead man’s eyes shot open. Gone was their beyond-blue color—what I’d come to think of as twin sapphire gemstones. What focused upon me now was a pair of predator’s eyes with a wolf’s silver sharpness. The hands beneath my fingers abandoned their illusion of prayer and seized hold of my arm. I shrieked, attempting to pull away. Right before the corpse’s legs swung out and the altar collapsed, toppling candles, I saw Griffin’s mouth open. He licked his lips. His teeth chattered. The dead man salivated hungrily.

And then his weight spilled on top of me, and he was snapping at my throat.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Raised on a healthy diet of creature double features and classic SF television, Gregory L. Norris is a full-time professional writer, with work appearing in numerous short story anthologies, national magazines, novels, the occasional TV episode, and, so far, one produced feature film (Brutal Colors, which debuted on Amazon Prime January 2016). A former feature writer and columnist at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), he once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager. Two of his paranormal novels (written under my rom-de-plume, Jo Atkinson) were published by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape With Romance” line — the first time HSN has offered novels to their global customer base. He judged the 2012 Lambda Awards in the SF/F/H category. Three times now, his stories have notched Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Best-of books. In May 2016, he traveled to Hollywood to accept HM in the Roswell Awards in Short SF Writing.His story “Drowning” appears in the Italian anthology THE BEAUTY OF DEATH 2, alongside tales by none other than Peter Straub and Clive Barker. Follow his literary adventures at http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com.

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An Alisa Review: Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

For most of Aaron’s life, things have been uninteresting, boring, safe–just the way he likes them. He makes his decisions based on logic and reason and he doesn’t believe in paranormal mumbo jumbo like crystals and tarot cards and witches.

When he sees an ad for an estate sale at the old house on the edge of town, he doesn’t see any harm in going and buying some things like an old book with odd symbols on the front for his antique shop. Who cares if the old woman who owned the house was rumored to be a witch; everyone knows witches aren’t real.

After accidentally raising a demon by goofing around with a spell from the book, Aaron realizes that there are things in this world that logic and reason can’t explain. That witches are indeed real, and that he just might be one too.

Malakai has been searching for the Coughlan Grimoire for years, knowing there are spells in the book that can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands. Securing the book so his coven can protect it is of the utmost importance.

He isn’t prepared for the adorable rookie witch with the curly red hair and incredible latent power. But to his surprise, keeping Aaron safe and close by his side quickly becomes more important than the Grimoire. More important than anything.

Before Malakai and Aaron can be together they will have to battle vampires, wolf shifters, and one very powerful warlock. Malakai can’t do it alone; it will take, friends, family, and for Aaron to figure out just how powerful he is if the two of them are going to protect the book and make their new found bond last forever.

Oh, what a great start to a new series.  Aaron is confused by the sudden commotion a simple book has brought to his life but Kai is definitely the best part of it.  Malakai wants to love and protect Aaron from all the dangers they will face but still allows him to learn and fight beside him.

I loved how Aaron was able to accept and adjust his life to the new reality in which he lives.  Seeing Kai and Aaron work well together and only grow their bond was wonderful.  I loved all of the side characters in this book and look forward to more in the series to hopefully feature some of them.

We see both of their points of view and learn more about these characters’ backgrounds.  I loved how well they complemented each other.  Aaron comes to magick so naturally it will be great to see how he grows in the future.

The cover art by Vicki Brostenianc is great and I love the visual of Kai.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 153 pages

Publication: October 9, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: The Donovan Coven #1

Poll Results, Posts, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Poll Results, Future Posts, and  How We Look At Covers

I loved looking at our poll results from last Sunday.  It turns out that most of our readers like short LGBT stories and find the ones they are reading pretty enjoyable.  Also gleaned from the polls? Most of the books are purchased from Amazon first, then the publishers, then a third source, which is probably not a surprise to anyone as that juggernaut  continues to plow on with major consequences for all, not just the book world.  Only time it seems will be able to stop Amazon.  All others will have to adjust.

Audiobooks?  A surprise!  I really thought our numbers would reflect the industry’s here.  But for our readers only 50 percent listen to audiobooks, 43 percent don’t, and the rest don’t but can’t tell you why.  Huh.  According to the  industry many more are listening to books these days than actually  reading them.  A figure I   also find surprising.  Maybe the real answer lies somewhere in between.  Another assumption of mine?  That more readers actually followed narrators but that turned out not to be true.  They listened to books no matter who narrated them.  Now I’m sure people actually do look for certain narrators. I certainly do.  But it doesn’t stop them from listening to stories with other narrators, including narrators they may be unfamiliar with.  Which is great news for new narrators and all companies who produce audiobooks.

Then it comes down to book covers. Do they still matter?  The answer is a resounding yes!  A majority of our readers, 72 percent, say covers matter.  Which might surprise some in this age of the eBook but it shouldn’t because those covers are heavily featured too.  In tours, ads, and yes, on the books themselves on publishers sites and Amazon.  People still choose books by their covers (29 percent) but no one said they don’t look at them.  Everyone looks at them and has a judgement about them.  Do you love them?  Do they make you go meh?  Do you glance over them or is your attention grabbed immediately?  Are you transported to another world or into a story?   Did the artist do their job?  And what is their job?

And do you, my readers, sense a post coming on? lol

Why yes, you do!

You see, I have been passionate about covers all my reading life, since the first cover caught my attention and made me want to pick it up and ask “what’s this about?”  I’ve been asking that question ever since no matter the  genre.  Great artists continue to pull me in.  I even have an oil  painting on my wall that was once the cover of a book.  It’s gorgeous.  I can look at certain covers and at a glance know that it was done by Garrett Leigh or Paul Richmond, Simone’ or Anne Cain.  There’s a style , a tone that shouts that artist’s name.  The same goes for Reese Dante.  A Reece Notley cover?  Yep.  Aisha Akeju is another who’s artist is quirky and different.  Just look at that artist’s covers for Mell Eight’s series.

When I think of new or newer artists that stand out, Natasha Snow jumps to mind.  Her covers are  extremely popular and well done. Meredith Russell and Kris Jacen too.

I love it when I see a gorgeous cover that has been carefully crafted so that its not only dramatic but that it tells a story, as it should.  Covers have a job to do.  And many are forgetting that these days.

If I had a Skittle for every cover that had nothing to do with the story within, that seemed generic, that had a half naked male torso on it and left it at that, etc, I would have a gallon full.

Boy, I struggled to find great covers this year.  First time ever.

So here we go.

 

And if you could ask a cover artist any question, what would it be?  Send them in and be entered in our Ask A Cover Artist Giveaway!  Ends in 2 weeks.

And I have also give you all three covers for the amazing novel,  The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4) by Ursula K. Le Guin.  My version was that first one.  Each was a different edition with, of course, a different cover.  What do you think of them and which do you prefer?  And why?  And how many of you have read this story?  Curious on my part…..

 

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 20:

  • Poll Results, Posts, and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Freebie Blitz for Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers #1) by Anyta Sunday

Monday, January 21:

  • Cover Reveal  – Rat Park by Marina Vivancos
  • Release Day Blitz Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  • BLITZ Unlocking the Doctor’s Heart by Liam Livings
  •  PROMO R.L. Merrill
  • An Alisa Review: Elemental Magick (The Donovan Coven #1) by Jacki James
  • A Stella Review: How Not to Blend (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes

Tuesday, January 22:

  • Review Tour – V.L. Locey – One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5)
  • BLITZ Contact by M.D. Neu
  • Tour for Abaddon’s Locusts (A BJ Vinson Mystery #5) by Don Travis
  • An Ashlez Release Day Review: The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick
  • An Alisa Review: At Home (Finding Home #1) by Carly Marie
  • An Ashlez Review: I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • A MelanieM Review: One-On-One (Cayuga Cougars #5) by  V.L. Locey

Wednesday, January 23:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:If I Ever by SE Jakes
  • BLITZ Half Life by Gregory L. Norris
  • Blog Tour Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  •  PROMO Claudia Mayrant
  • An Alisa Review: Home is Where The Heart Is (Isle of Misfit Toys) by Pelaam
  • A Lucy Review: Pisces Floors Taurus (Signs of Love #4.5) by Anyta Sunday
  • A MelanieM Review: Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines

Thursday, January 24:

  • Release Blitz – I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • BLITZ The Fairy Pond by Jason Black
  •  PROMO A. Nybo
  • A Lucy Review:  Love Around the Corner (New Milton #1.5) by Sally Malcolm
  • An Alisa Review : There’s Something about Flying by Schuyler L’Roux
  • A MelanieM Review: At War with a Broken Heart by Dahlia Donovan

Friday, January 25:

  • Ward Maia on Beneath These Fields
  • Blog Tour Stay by KM Neuhold
  • Blog Tour for A World Apart by Mel Gough
  • An Alisa Review Gargoyle’s Embrace (Polar Nights #3) by Siryn Sueng
  • A Stella Review: Living on the Inside by Londra Laine
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Beneath These Fields ( World of Love) by Ward Maia
  • A Jeri Review: Shane and Trey (Enemies to Lovers #1) by Anyta Sunday

Saturday, January 26:

  • Release Blitz – Jessie Pinkham – Acts Of Service
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review – See the Light by Kate McMurray

Parker Williams on Writing, Romance, and The Spirit Key (author guest blog, excerpt, and giveaway)

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The Spirit Key (Lock and Key #1) by Parker Williams

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: January 15, 2019

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  |  Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Parker Williams here today on tour with his latest release, The Spirit Key.  Welcome, Parker.

 

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Parker Williams ~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

As with all my stories, a little piece of me goes into each of the characters I write. It might be something as simple as a desire to own a store, like George, or to see spirits, like Scott (though I could do without some of the ones he sees.)

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

Normally research plays a part in my stories, but since this one is a paranormal, it was a little harder. I had to write something, then ask my beta readers if it made sense to them. Putting things from my head onto paper sometimes doesn’t translate like I thought it might.

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

Ooh, the cover for this one is from Reese Dante! She’s done a lot of the covers for me over the years (she’s my absolute favorite, you know), and this one? She slammed it out of the park for me. When I told her I had no idea what I wanted, and gave her carte blanche, she said she wanted to try something and asked if I was feeling experimental. When she gave me this cover, I was head over heels in love with it.

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

What’s next for you as an author?

That’s like asking a parent if they have a favorite child. (Of course they do!) I love Runner, but there’s another book coming called Stained Hearts that will give it a run for my affection. I even made another author cry when I showed her the first chapter, and that made me super-happy!

My next book is called Galen’s Redemption, and is the second book in the Links in the Chain series (Lincoln’s Park was the first) and Stained Hearts will be the third and final one.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

To be honest, I’m not sure. I mean, it depends on what the author does with them. Galen has a lot of learning to do in his book, so he’s got a lot of little moments where he has self-doubt. In Spirit Key, Scott does something he thinks is right, but in the long run, he realizes that it wasn’t.

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.

Drunk, no. On Ambien? Yes. Let’s just say when I looked at it the next day, I have no freaking clue what any of it even said.

  

What’s next for you as a writer?

I just finished edits for Galen’s book, and expect to start Stained Hearts soon. Currently I’m working on a shifter book titled ‘The Night Wolf’, and then I’m going to start in on my writing goals for 2019, which will include book four of the Secrets series, ‘On the Same Page’.

 

Blurb(s):

Lock and Key: Book One

When he was eight years old, Scott Fogel died. Paramedics revived him, but he came back changed. Ghosts and spirits tormented Scott for over a decade until, thinking he was going mad, he did the only thing he could.

He ran—leaving behind his best friend, Tim Jennesee.

Scott’s had five normal, ghost-free years in Chicago, when the spirit of Tim’s mother comes to him and begs him to go home because Tim’s in trouble and needs him.

He isn’t prepared for what he finds when he goes home—a taller and sexier Tim, but a Tim who hasn’t forgiven Scott for abandoning him… a Tim whose body is no longer his own. The ghost of a serial murderer has attached itself to Tim, and it’s whispering dark and evil things. It wants Tim to kill, and it’s becoming harder for Tim to resist. To free the man who has always meant so much to him, Scott must unravel the mystery of the destiny he shares with Tim.

Pages, Words, or time (for audiobooks): 74,439 words

Book Categories: Ghosts/spirits/paranormal

Excerpt:

SUMMER, 2002

 

WHAT MEMORY stands out most in your mind from when you were a kid? For many of my friends, it was getting a good grade on a test they were sure they’d fail, making a catch during a football game, or finding out the person they were crushing on liked them back. For others, it was more physical, like their first kiss or having sex for the first time.

For me, the one that topped that list was in the summer of 2002. The memory? Me dying. Well, almost dying. I mean, technically, I was dead for twenty-seven minutes, at least according to the paramedics and doctors.

See, I had gone down to the quarry with my brother and some of his friends. I was eight at the time, and to be invited to go along with the “big kids” was a heady thing.

Okay, fine. My mom told them they had to take me, but they weren’t supposed to let me know.

That’s not the point of the story, however. Still, between us, when your brother tells you that Mom said he had to take you and that you ruined his day by dying? That kind of sticks with you.

Anyway. The whole week had been hotter than hell—upper nineties, heat index topping a hundred, with no breeze at all. What made it worse was the humidity. Everyone complained their clothes stuck to them, and we all would have given anything for a bit of cool air. Those were the days you wanted to do nothing more than stretch out in front of the air conditioner and fantasize about being in the arctic.

Of course, those are also the times that drive Mom mad, like when we’re there, whining about how hot it is, and my brother announces he’s going swimming with his friends, and she tells him to take me along to the quarry with him.

Fine. I’m a little hostile over that memory, but in my defense, I died, so I think I have a right to be a tad grumpy.

Moving on….

There were a few old trees that stretched out over a pit of water. In the seventies, the place had been used to mine rocks that were crushed to use in gardens and the like. When the company that owned it shut down, it left a huge hole in the ground. Over time, it filled with water, which attracted kids from all over, wanting to swim. That was our destination for the day.

By the time we got there, all of our T-shirts had soaked with sweat. I distinctly remember looking at Cole Turner and seeing wisps of dark hair on his chest and wondering to myself what it would look like once he took his shirt off. I wasn’t sure why that thought flitted through my head, but it was gone just as quickly, because I saw Tim Jennesee sitting on a rock, taking off his shoes.

“Tim!”

He turned and smiled at me, waving like a freak. I took off running. Tim had been my best friend forever—which at the time was probably a few months, but in my eight-year-old mind, that qualified as a really long time—and seeing him there was a surprise. Normally he preferred to stay inside and play on the computer, indulging in game worlds like the Sims. Later he graduated to MMORPGs like EverQuest, with the promise that one day he would be creating them instead of playing someone else’s.

I got to where he sat and took my spot at his side. He nudged me with his shoulder. “I didn’t know you were going to be here!”

“Ryan asked me to come along.” See? I thought my brother was all cool and stuff. Shows how much I knew.

“Really? My mom said I had to get out of the house. I figured I’d come swimming for a while. I tried to call, but—”

“We were already on our way here.”

I hadn’t thought to call him, and I felt bad… for about three seconds. I was with Tim and the day had gotten a thousand times better. His dark hair shone in the sun, and his brown eyes sparkled. Being with him was enough to make me smile, and having him there with me made the day perfect.

Okay, here’s where things go to shit, so you’ll have to indulge me a bit. I don’t often discuss my death with people, because they ask all kinds of inane questions, and I’m so over that shit.

There was a big tree that stretched out over the watery pit. Someone had climbed it, tied off a rope, then knotted it at the other end. See, the idea was to grab hold, push off, and soar out into the nothingness, then arc high in the sky before letting go and plunging into the water, sinking, then rising once again until you broke the surface, then rushed to have another turn.

Doesn’t that sound idyllic? Like a Norman Rockwell painting or something?

Yeah, you’d think that.

It was my turn. I’d hedged about it all day, because I hated the idea of being so high in the air and falling. Ryan openly mocked me, and his friends teased me to no end. When Tim got up and announced he was going to do it, well, that raised the bar right there. How could my best friend do it, while I was too chicken?

Wrapping his hands around the rope, Tim ran and leaped off the edge, soaring into the air with a loud cry. Then, as he reached the apex of the arc, he let go. For a moment everything stopped, as he rose a little higher, then hung in the air before he dropped like a stone, laughing all the way.

When he broke the surface of the water a few seconds later, my heart started beating again.

“So, nerdy Tim can do it, but little Scotty is too much of a baby.”

It’s funny how you don’t remember how much of an ass your brother was when you were a kid, isn’t it?

“I’m not a baby!”

“Then prove it, chicken.”

“Fine!”

I stormed over to the rope and took hold of it. I glanced down into the murky pit, and my heart stuttered once more.

“Come on, Scott. It’s fun!”

Tim came jogging over, water sluicing down his chest, his hair matted to his forehead. Weirdly, that stray thought about Cole? Yeah, so over it. Now it was Tim that I was staring at.

“Okay.”

I was going to make Tim proud of me. I didn’t understand why, but thinking of him running over and hugging me, telling me how great I’d done? It became the only thought in my head at the moment.

I turned back and set myself, ready to do it. One quick glance at Tim, who nodded at me, and I rushed to the edge, jumped, and flew.

It was amazing. One second gravity has been conquered, and you’re flying up, up, up. Then you remember that everyone is gravity’s bitch, and you’re jerked back down. I hit the water, flush with pride over having done it.

When I flapped my arms to go back to the surface, though, that was when shit got real.

I couldn’t move my foot. Something had wrapped around it and held me below the surface. In my mind, a shark had grabbed me and was dragging me down. I struggled, trying to swim up, and my lungs burned.

You have to know, at this time, my mind had refused to believe I was going to die. It kept screaming for me to fight, to do whatever the hell I had to in order to get back to the surface. And I fought as hard as I could. Only….

At one point, I thought I’d gotten free, and my struggles to swim back to the surface intensified. I pushed hard against the water, trying to get up, back into the sun, but then I knew I was still stuck, and I had no more breath in my lungs.

I remember opening my mouth to scream for Tim to help me, but the murky water rushed in, and I choked, which led to more water being drawn into my body. Everything sort of went hazy and then shifted to black.

I’d died.

 

About the Author

Parker Williams began to write as a teen, but never showed his work to anyone. As he grew older, he drifted away from writing, but his love of the written word moved him to reading. A chance encounter with an author changed the course of his life as she encouraged him to never give up on a dream. With the help of some amazing friends, he rediscovered the joy of writing, thanks to a community of writers who have become his family.

Parker firmly believes in love, but is also of the opinion that anything worth having requires work and sacrifice (plus a little hurt and angst, too). The course of love is never a smooth one, and happily-ever-after always has a price tag.

Website: http://www.parkerwilliamsauthor.com

Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/parker.williams.75641

Email: parker@parkerwilliamsauthor.com

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42934300-the-spirit-key

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

 

Giveaway prize offered: Signed Paperback copy of The Spirit Key delivered anywhere in the world.

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New Release Tour for Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust, #3) by Christian Baines (excerpt and giveaway)

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Sins of the Son (Arcadia Trust #3) by Christian Baines

Expected publication: January 20th 2019

Buy Link:  Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Christian Baines on tour with his latest novel, Sins of the Son.  Welcome, Christian.

 

SINS OF THE SON Blog Tour #3: Sloth

WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG? ARE YOU EVEN WRITING? HELLO?

Welcome to day three of my Sins of the Son blog tour. Thanks for joining me, and thanks so much to Melanie and the team at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today – where the theme is… sloth.

Yes, I know. Sloth? Others get exciting sins like wrath, envy, pride, and lust. I get sloth? Really, Christian?

Okay, I know sloth might not seem like the most exciting sin, but besides being a favourite sin of many (you know who you are), I decided to make this the ‘sloth’ post in honour of a question Melanie asked me in an interview about the last Arcadia Trust book, The Orchard of Flesh about the lengthy time span between books in the series. It’s usually a couple of years between Arcadia Trust books, which is slow compared to romance authors who put out a new release every few months, or even those ‘Big 5’ authors faithfully putting out one book a year.

First off, I want to promise you it’s not sloth! I’m attaching this topic to today’s theme in jest. But just in case anyone thinks I’m being mean or sitting on my hands, making my readers wait, I promise you, I’m not. I’m always working on something, even if it’s not an Arcadia Trust book. I love these books and these characters. If you like paranormal and want an introduction to my work that’s easy to get into and comes with a romantic streak, start with them. But I also love weirder, more experimental work, which has led me to do books like Puppet Boy and Skin. My current WIP also isn’t an Arcadia Trust book (though work on book 4 in the series is on the way).

When The Beast Without came out, that was my first introduction to the MM romance world. The book itself is a weird fit to that world, because while romance is an important part of its story, it doesn’t really follow romance beats and tropes, so I don’t sell it as a ‘romance’ novel. It’s urban fantasy with some male/male action. Possibly love. That’s it. No false advertising here. One of the things that hit me on entering this world was seeing the speed at which some authors pumped out new releases. Every four months, three months, or even less. I had no idea if this was ‘normal’ in romance world, but it was kind of intimidating. While I tapped away on the second Arcadia Trust book and Puppet Boy at the same time, I started to wonder how I was going to keep up. Did I have to keep up? Would people just forget about me if more than a year passed between releases?

When a friend reached out, asking if I had any short stories or other material that his publisher could take a look at, I bit. I spruced up a story I’d been playing with as an erotic short, gave it an ending I sort of liked and sent it off. To my astonishment, the publisher accepted it, and I had a contract, cover, and editor within a few days.

I like that short. I think it’s the beginnings of a great story. But it had no business going out into the big bad world on its own. It was like a short film that’s really just a teaser for producers you hope will invest in a feature. Yet the pull to produce something and keep my name out there was so strong, I felt compelled to release it. Critics were… confused, to say the least. I’m not embarrassed by it. It’s a good story. But it was also a valuable lesson that rapid-fire releases aren’t for me.

Anyone who seems to write and publish at lightning speed (and there are some fakes, but most just develop a solid habit of working quickly – I recommend L A Witt’s book Writing Faster FTW) will tell you

is that there is no good or bad speed at which to write. The ‘right’ speed is the one that allows each book you put out to be as good as it can be.

So what takes so long with the Arcadia Trust books? Planning. Insane amounts of plotting and planning.

The Arcadia Trust is essentially a serial. I make each one self-contained enough that a new reader can pick it up and get a complete narrative, but they will find references to a plot that unfolds over several books. If you’ve read either of the previous Arcadia trust books, you know my protagonist, Reylan, has a soft spot for troubled young men. The one he meets in Sins of the Son however, bears a startling resemblance to a lost friend. Reylan also receives help from an unexpected new ally. Or has Iain Grieg been in the picture longer than Reylan knows?

When writing a series, I try to drop hints, Easter eggs, veiled clues ,references to other books… anything I think will make it fun for loyal readers. That means knowing what’s going on in behind doors 1, 2, 4, and 5 while your camera is fixed and rolling on door number 3. Working out interesting ways to reveal that to the reader without switching point-of-view or spoiling whatever mystery you’re building. Having a character who subtly influenced events in book one come back to bring their plan to fruition later. It’s fun, and it forces you to dive deep, knowing your characters so well you can follow their actions and thoughts the whole time they’re ‘off-screen.’

And it’s time consuming for the author to keep it all clear and easy for a reader to follow. But it’s worth it, I think, for both reader and author, particularly in this genre.

In Sins of the Son, things are gearing up in the Arcadia Trust universe. The background players are emerging from the shadows and making their agendas known. Reylan and other characters you know and love have more at stake than their own safety and happiness. In short, Sins of the Son is where it all changes and things start to get real for the night-time denizens of Sydney.

I promise it was worth the wait.

GIVEAWAY: WIN your choice of one e-book edition of either of the first two Arcadia Trust novels, The Beast Without or The Orchard of Flesh. NEXT: Which trope keeps coming back to raise the WRATH of LGBTQs? Find out at Queer Sci-Fi on January 20, release day for Sins of the Son.

Blurb

Abandoned by his werewolf lover, the only thing Reylan wants is to return to his vampire life of blood and beautiful boys. It’s a solid plan, until his first meal as a single man tries to kill him.

Hoping to free his young would-be assassin from the religious zealots that sent him, Reylan enlists the help of Iain Grieg, a charismatic priest with unsettling knowledge of the night’s secrets.

Surrounded by conflicting agendas and an army fuelled by hate, Reylan fights to secure his future, if he can only trust the mysterious priest and bury the ghosts of the past.

Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

Release date: January 20, 2019

Series: The Arcadia Trust #3

Setting: Sydney, Australia

Length: 282 pages

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Excerpt

I ducked in time to avoid the stake that shattered the glass cabinet behind me. When I looked up, my young attacker was already closing in, a shining blade in each hand. Balancing my weight on the kitchen counter, I pushed my feet hard into his chest. A blade nicked my ankle. I leapt upon my target and pushed him the floor, gripping his chin and pinning his right shoulder.

He blindsided me across the jaw with the dull edge of the other blade, breaking my hold.

I staggered, sizing up the left-handed assassin. Narrowly avoiding his weapon as he lunged again, I grabbed hold of his hair and threw him into my dining table with a crash.

I clapped a firm hand over his mouth, muffling his cries as I slammed his left wrist against the table, forcing him to drop the knife. The blade in his opposite hand flashed as he struck out with it.

I yanked him off his feet and dragged him across the floor before he could find his mark. Ignoring muffled roars of protest, I buried my teeth in his shoulder, puncturing through his flimsy mesh vest. His youth, his anger, his alarmingly good health, all brought such a warmth and sweetness to…

The foul taste of bitter roots spoiled the stream. Poison. I shoved the boy away, spitting rancid blood over his face. When he came at me again, I used his momentum to topple him into the living room. I snatched up the knife he’d left on the kitchen table and trained it on him as he regained his feet.

The boy had to have known the true nature of his prey. Why else would he lead with a wooden stake, knowing he was far outclassed for natural speed and strength? Or was he?

He lunged again, this time happily using his right hand. Was he ambidextrous? I couldn’t tell, not while ducking his blows. He kicked me in the gut before pivoting his back foot up and into my chest.

I dropped to the floor just in time to sweep his legs out from under him. His forehead glanced off one of the side tables, though this didn’t stop him from grabbing the lamp and throwing it at me with a force that plunged the room into darkness. I caught his weight as he came at me again, spinning him into the living room, bound for a set of shelves which splintered and collapsed, spilling their contents and my attacker to the floor. He sprang to his feet and snatched up a piece of broken wood.

Contrary to the myths of horror fiction, it would take more than a splinter of wood through the heart to kill me outright. I was not, however, in a rush to be paralysed, nor left unconscious at the mercy of whatever lethal objects remained in the boy’s backpack. The one he’d collected from the club’s cloakroom, that he’d so adamantly held onto when I’d offered to carry it. The one he’d taken with him, when he’d retreated to my bathroom to change.

Did I have to start bag checking my trade now?

He sliced the air before me with his knife, following it up with a staking attempt. I grabbed his knife-wielding hand, but he twisted his arm out of reach, nicking my hand in the process. I licked the wound as I backed off, kicking away a broken cat figurine from the rubble that had once been my bookshelves.

“Alright, you little bastard,” I muttered under my breath. “Are we going to talk, or does this get nasty?”

“Maledetto.” He raised the stake once more.

“Excuse me?”

“Maledetto!” He cried, striking out at me.

I ducked to avoid it only to have the hand holding the knife slam into my jaw. I barely realised I’d been faked out before the stake plunged into my chest, missing my heart by inches. Choking down the pain that shot through my entire body, I caught the boy’s arm before he could slice my throat. Not that that would have killed me either, but to quote a wise and much underrated human expression, that which does not kill me still stings like a bitch.

About the Author

Christian Baines has written on travel, theatre, film, television, and various aspects of gay life, factual and fictional. Some of his stranger thoughts have spawned novels, including queer urban fantasy series The Arcadia Trust, the horror novella Skin, and Puppet Boy, which was a finalist for the 2016 Saints and Sinners Emerging Writer Award. Born in Australia, he now travels the world whenever possible, living, writing, and shivering in Toronto, Canada on those odd occasions he can’t find his passport.

Web: http://www.christianbaines.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/christianbainesauthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/xtianbaines

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7024194.Christian_Baines

Giveaway

The author is offering an e-book of either The Beast Without or The Orchard of Flesh to one winner.at each blog stop. To enter to win, leave a comment along with a email address where you can be reached if chosen.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.