A MelanieM Release Day Review: Barricades by Dem Had

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

They were raised to hate each other, but love has other plans.

When introverted bookworm Orestis escapes his homophobic parents and abusive home for a night out with friends, he meets artist Emir, and the passion between them is instant and explosive. But Orestis is a Greek Cypriot and Emir is Turkish, and neither society nor their families will accept their love. If they want a romance that lasts beyond one fiery, forbidden night, they’ll have to face the backlash.

Let me say immediately that Dem Had has a wonderful story here, with a location, situation, and main couple I really hadn’t seen before.  If the full promise indicated by the blurb isn’t fulfilled, mark that up to the shortness of the story.  Given the writing, the gritty details, the research, and many of the facts and emotional layers to Barricades, had it just been extended further, this would have been a remarkable novel.

As released, Barricades by Dem Had is a contemporary romance that takes us to the divided island of Cyprus, a tiny paradise that’s currently in the middle of a economic boom …on the Greek side.  Yes, its divided by religion and countries, Turkey and Greece, Islam and Christianity. And in between lies a border and years of hatred.  All on one small exquisite island.

Had uses Cyprus’ division and pasts which will always extend into its present as a foundation for Barricades and it’s main couple, one a Greek Cypriot and the other a Turkish Cypriot.  Four words that are almost swear words depending on which side of the border you live on.

While Had brings the fanatical animosity between the two factions alive, she never really accounts for the depth of feeling for being a Cypriot which I know from being friends with someone there.  Their love for Cyprus, in this case they never say Cyprus , no its always, always, “Im a Greek Cypriot”, is on a cellular level.  Away, the word pining for his town and land is entirely accurate . His pride in returning after getting his degrees abroad?  Beyond words.  In the story, you get the anguish and the bitterness of both mens’ situation.  The cultural divide that brings the bullying and endless harassment feels real, especially as they live so close to the border (which my friend never mentions, it’s as though that part of the island does not exist).

It’s as though we are only getting part of their story and you feel the hole because of the richness of what remains. These are terrific characters.

Orestis with his physically abusive father, comes in for twice the hatred, he’s gay and his boyfriend is Turkish.  His pain and fear on the page is visceral. His father treatment of Orestis includes the way the father feels the family is now seen by everyone around them, that the son has “failed” them. A real situation there.Emir is the one that needs more layers.  You never see the full artist in him, yet supposedly he’s successful commercially.  But that part of his character never feels real or part of the story.  He’s clearly a conflicted person emotionally over his sexuality, driving him to cheat and have anonymous sexual encounters behind Orestis,’s back.  That part of their relationship or should I say Emir’s conflict within himself is never resolved satisfactorily.  It can’t be within this short a story.

Yes, readers who have problems with a mc that cheats is going to have issues here.

Had is dealing with so many legitimate issues here.  She could have filled a 500 page novel with this couple and their relationship alone with dealing with their backgrounds, the issues of their differences in religion which never arises, the culture of hypermasculinity that exists in Greece and Cyprus, the idealization of Greek sons within the family and the family’s high expectations, domestic and child abuse, along with LGBT rights which are admittedly shaky there.

All of which made the ending extremely puzzling because there was no foundation set for it.  Had the author built the groundwork, ie shown the readers that the men truly loved  their island and why (the places, their homes) we would have understood the choice better.

But perhaps this is just me seeing so much promise in this story and characters and wishing for more.  As written, I do recommend it,  It’s different, terrific, and will make you think while enjoying a romance with its feet on an island both torn and exquisite.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  Dramatic and eye catching.  Great job.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, World of Love #27, 85 pages
Expected publication: May 24th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781644052266
Edition Language English

Jodi Payne on Writing, Romance and her new release ‘Stable Hill’ (author guest blog)

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Stable Hill by Jodi Payne

Dreamspinner Press

Published May 21st 2019

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jodi Payne here today talking about writing, romance, and her latest novel, Stable Hill.  welcome, Jodi!

 

Hi all! Thanks for coming by to read a little about me and about my new contemporary MMM ménage, Stable Hill! Today, I’m answering some interview questions.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

It depends on what I’m reading. If it’s a short piece—a short story or a shorter novella, I am perfectly happy with HFN. The short form is like that, you get a quick bite and the rest is left to your imagination. I love short fiction. But, if I’ve invested my time in a longer novella or full-length novel, I want the full resolution. I want to know for sure the amazing partnership I’ve been wishing and hoping for is forever. The only exception for me is a series, but I still need to feel like the MCs are solid, even if I know they’ll be tested in Book 2.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I read them as a teenager, but as an adult, while I do read romances, I read much more in the mystery/forensic thriller genre and non-fiction. I have to turn my brain away from Romance once in a while to keep things fresh. I find I get lots of new character ideas from other genres too.

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

I like real people. Real people aren’t perfect, they say the wrong thing sometimes, make a bad decision sometimes, are occasionally selfish… all of these things are part of being human and I don’t think I could write a character that didn’t have some of these flaws. I like to make them grow in the book as they grow into a relationship. I like to see the ways in which a lover, and falling in love, changes them.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have more in my pipeline than I ever have, thanks to my wonderful writing partnership with BA Tortuga. Our next book is called Land of Enchantment, it’s a romance between two young men, one of whom is a college student on the run from the east coast and the other is a bull rider and business owner who is firmly rooted in his chosen home in New Mexico (naturally, hence the title). I’ll be jumping into some independent publishing this year as well, keep an eye on my website (jodipayne.net) or in my Facebook author group (Jodi’s Gents) for more about that.

Stable Hill Blurb:

Will three men from very different backgrounds find a home and a future together?

After losing his husband to cancer, Oscar Kennedy has his hands full with their four girls, the house, his job, and his mother-in-law. When he loses his father too, keeping Stable Hill, the old horse farm where he grew up, becomes impossible. Oscar hires Jeffrey Stokes, a slick-looking real estate broker with a roll-up-his-sleeves work ethic, to get it on the market.

Russell White manages the day-to-day at Stable Hill. Russ had loved Oscar’s dad like a father, and took on even more responsibility when the old man fell ill. He is shocked and saddened by Oscar’s decision to sell.

All three men have a stake in Stable Hill, and it’s not long before they start to invest in one another too. But their complicated relationship doesn’t make having to sell Stable Hill any easier. Will the fragile triad they’re building last when the farm that brought them together is gone?

✒︎

About the Author

Jodi Payne spent too many years in New York and San Francisco stage managing classical plays, edgy fringe work, and the occasional musical. She therefore is overdramatic, takes herself way too seriously, and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likeable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after.

For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila any way you pour it. She’s also obsessed with Shakespeare and Broadway musicals. She can be found wearing sock monkey gloves while typing when it’s cold, and on the beach enjoying the sun and the ocean when it’s hot. When she’s not writing and/or vacuuming sand out of her laptop, Jodi mentors queer youth and will drop everything for live music. She lives near New York City with her beautiful wife, and together they are mothers of dragons (cleverly disguised as children) and slaves to an enormous polydactyl cat.

Tagline: You’re gonna love this guy…

Book Links:

Universal Books2Read Link: books2read.com/StableHill

Dreamspinner

Social Media Links:

Website: www.jodipayne.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/payne.jodi

FB Author Group: www.facebook.com/groups/jodisgents

Twitter: @JodiPayne

Instagram: @jodipayne1800

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jodi-payne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/267617.Jodi_Payne

A MelanieM Review: Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

After years of running wild, Linc might’ve finally run out of road.

After a brutal capture at the hands of the Heathens Motorcycle Club, Linc is just trying to heal, mentally and physically. But he’s got men in his life who are complicating everything. There’s Mercy—a Havoc MC biker and the man he is falling fast for—plus an undercover ATF agent and a rogue Havoc member.

But Mercy’s keeping him at arm’s length, and Linc is spinning. In an attempt to regain his equilibrium, he heads to the bar where he first met Mercy. Night after night, he escapes Havoc bonds and continues down his merry path of mayhem . . . mainly in the hopes that Mercy will give chase.

Since Linc’s capture by his old MC, Mercy’s been dealing with the fallout of his guilt. He’s trying to give Linc space and still watch over him—all without Linc’s knowledge. But with Linc’s old job calling and a threat to Havoc MC heating up, can they make their way back together?

I have to admit that it has been a while since I have read one of S.E. Jakes stories, bothin this series and in the Hell or High Water series, but if this novel is any indication, I’m just not remembering them right.  I had anticipated coming into this a taut, well written,  somewhat kinky romance with some brutal and suspensful elements.

But instead Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes came full of errors in editing and continuity that I had to double check to see that I hadn’t been sent a pre-edited copy.   I hadn’t.   Ot just plain elements in the plot and characters that had me putting Kindle down in amazement, and not in a good way.  When you are stopping to think “who treats their main characters that way” mid paragraph, you know the story isn’t going well.  Perhaps that should be going down well.

Although, most of Linc’s torture in captivity is not described in graphic detail, you get enough details to know what happened to this man for months, months of relentless torture. Mental, physical, emotional abuse of the most horrific you can imagine, including gang rape, over and over.   He is hospitalized and then released.  Later he’s approached and agrees to resume his undercover work.  Now, he’s suffering from extreme nightmares, obviously has PTSD but has anyone, including his handler said he must come in for a Psych Evaluation?  Because perhaps he’s too messed up to continue as a agent let alone one ready for the mental and emotional rigors of undercover work? Nope.

Nor will we get into the relationship between Linc and Mercy coming off months of torture.

This is definitely not a standalone novel and should be read as part of the entire series.  So before you read this, make sure you have a foundation by reading the previous stories first.  That will get you into the mindset of the MC universe and these characters.  Then continue on if  you want. For me, this story just has far too many issues in it to be an enjoyable read.  Maybe I’ll return to the author’s Hell or High Water series, a group of novels I remember as being far more entertaining.

Cover art: L.C. Chase.  It’s a fitting cover for this story, motorcycle and all, although that’s about the only element.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 204 pages
Published April 29th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Running on Empty
ISBN139781626498808
Edition Language English
Series Havoc:

Running Wild

Running Blind

Running on Empty

Kim Fielding Talks Writing, Research, and her new story Redesigning Landry Bishop (Stars from Peril #2) (author interview)

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Redesigning Landry Bishop (Stars from Peril #2) by Kim Fielding

Dreamspinner Press
Published May 21st 2019
Cover Art: Alexandria Corza
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kim Fielding here today talking about writing, characters, and the latest story in her Stars from Peril series, Redesigning Landry Bishop. Welcome, Kim.

✒︎

Hi! Kim Fielding here to celebrate the release of my new novel, Redesigning Landry Bishop.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I think it’s often inevitable that fiction authors include some of their own experiences in their books―maybe those experiences even inspired some stories in the first place. The distinction here is that the characters should react to those experiences in a way that’s true to themselves and the stories, rather than reflecting what the author did or wants to do.  For example in my new book, as soon as Landry Bishop graduated from high school, he moved to California and created a more glamorous version of himself. I left my hometown as soon as I graduated college, but I’m no more glamorous now then I was then. And unlike Landry, I love opportunities to go back and visit the place where I grew up.

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

I love doing research. It’s sort of an occupational hazard since my day job is university professor. But even if I didn’t enjoy it, I still believe that all genres―not just historicals―benefit from research. Readers bring various areas of expertise to their readings, and mistakes often pull them out of a story or cause them to abandon a book entirely. My new book is a contemporary that required me to look up lots of things about Los Angeles, men’s fashion, luxury cars, the Nebraska Sandhills, hip restaurants, and Seattle roadways, among others. For my sci-fi novel Astounding! I spent hours researching the physical layout and power output of Bonneville Dam and figuring out the amount of energy necessary to convert a noncorporeal alien to physical mass. (I hope no government agencies were tracking my Google searches during that process.) My Ennek fantasy series needed a lot of background work on geography and the Roman Empire. When I was working on my paranormal Bones series, I spent a lot of time reading about wolves (the real kind, not shifters). So even when I’m making up worlds and cultures, I find research critical for consistency and believability.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Not exactly, but I’ve certainly struggled to continue. Probably my worst time was when writing The Tin Box―a book I’m very proud of now. The problem there was twofold. First off, my protagonist, William, is really uptight at the beginning. He’s in denial about his own sexuality and, consequently, isn’t very warm to Colby at the start. Colby is out, proud, and a trifle flamboyant. I knew why William was like this, and I knew he’d grow as a person, but writing him was still difficult at first. Even worse, though, was writing the letters that William discovers in the former mental hospital. I hated what was happening to the man who wrote those letters, even more so because those things actually happened to far too many gay men during that era. I’m glad I soldiered on and finished the book, but it was hard going for a while.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I rarely read romances as a teen. That was back in the Stone Age, and I found the depictions of women in most of those (het romance) books off-putting. Back then, I mostly stuck to fantasy, horror, and sci fi, although I enjoyed some of the gothic novels that sort of straddled romance and horror. Fourteen-year-old me adored Flowers in the Attic. My reading habits changed when I was older. For one thing, gay romance became widely available, and I fell in love with that genre. Also, het romance matured, and now I find the range of heroines much more relatable and sympathetic. I’ve also discovered that there are some truly excellent writers in both gay and het romance.

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

This varies a bit, depending on whether the book is self-published or released through a publisher. In either case, though, I generally have a vague concept that I give the cover artist. I’ll describe the characters and the tone, because the cover for an angsty paranormal should look very different from a light contemporary. Then I let the artist do their thing. I never cease to be amazed at how well these talented people can take my germ of an idea and nurture it into something amazing. I’ve even had a couple of my favorite covers made into posters and framed; they’re hanging on my wall right now. I consider myself hugely lucky to have worked with these artists. Sometimes I think it would be worth writing books just to score the beautiful cover art.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

I can―and do!―write almost anywhere, although I do the bulk of my work sitting at the kitchen table. One of my favorite places to write is in hotel rooms, probably because there isn’t much to distract me. But I have a dream. I’m staying at a resort on the shores of a tropical sea. My private bungalow is set on stilts in the water. The glass walls open completely, allowing the warm breeze to ruffle the white curtains and carry the faint scent of flowers. Outside, dolphins frolic. Inside I have a huge bed, a big desk, and a comfy chair. At the press of a button, scantily-clad waiters bring me trays of fruit, pastries, and cold drinks. Aaaahhhh.

  

What’s next for you as a writer?

The third book in the Stars from Peril series, Drawing the Prince, will release in October. If you’re in the mood for something with more angst, the third Love Can’t book will come out early next year. That one is called Love Has No Direction. I’m also working now on the fifth novella in the Bureau series, plus I have projects going with Venona Keyes and with Shira Anthony. Busy!

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Blurb:

Love never goes out of style.

Landry Bishop fled his tiny hometown and never looked back. Now his expertise in food, fashion, and décor has earned him all of Hollywood’s glittering perks. But with his husband deceased and his personal assistant retired, Landry has nobody to rely on—and no one to help him indulge his secret cravings.

Casual, plainspoken Jordan Stryker seems a dubious choice of a PA for someone as formal and self-controlled as Landry. Jordan’s questionable fashion sense and limited kitchen skills don’t exactly enhance his résumé. But as Landry soon realizes, Jordan has many attractive qualities too.

With a strong pull toward Jordan, new career opportunities on the horizon, and a persistent tug from family back home, Landry is in a quandary. He can advise others on how to make their lives special, but what should he do about his own?

Excerpt:

Half an hour later, while Landry was puttering around with an experimental tabbouleh recipe, Jordan and Elaine joined him in the kitchen. “Try this,” he ordered, handing them each a spoonful.

Jordan made approving noises, but Elaine frowned. “That’s not a grain.”

“It’s cauliflower.”

“For the love of God, why?”

“For people who want to eat grain-free.”

“If you don’t want to eat grains, you shouldn’t be eating tabbouleh.” She took Jordan’s spoon along with her own and washed them in the sink.

“I like it,” Jordan announced. “It’s kind of crunchyish.” He seemed sincere.

“Thank you,” Landry said.

“Hey, um, you didn’t really have an important phone call, did you?”

“No. That was Elaine rescuing me.”

“I kinda figured. Except… I hope this doesn’t sound rude, but why did you need rescuing? Those guys were hot. That whole thing was like the opening of a pretty good porno, you know? If they’d been all over me like that, I sure as hell wouldn’t have wanted rescuing.”

Landry pushed aside the interesting information that Jordan was attracted to men. His PA’s sexual orientation was irrelevant. He also pushed aside a stupid and inexplicable jab of jealousy. If Jordan wanted to fantasize about group sex with hunky furniture deliverymen, that was none of Landry’s business. So he focused on the question itself.

“Why do you think those extremely attractive men were so interested in me?”

“Um, because they were throwing themselves all over you.”

“Yes, I suppose they were. But why? Why me?”

“’Cause you’re damned hot too.”

Even as Landry’s face heated at the unexpected compliment, Jordan’s cheeks turned a charming shade of pink. Interesting. Their gazes locked so tightly that Landry wondered if either of them would ever look away. Or if he wanted them to.

About the Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

Having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls California home. She lives there with her family and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Instagram: @KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

A Stella Release Day Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Corey Ellis sure doesn’t. Oh, everyone around him seems to have found their happy ending, but he’s far too busy to worry about such things. He’ll have plenty of time for romance after he survives his last summer before graduation. So what if he can’t get his former professor, Jeremy Olsen, out of his head? It’s just hero worship. And that’s the way it should stay.

Except that this summer, bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House, a LGBTQI youth center that recently hired an interim director. And because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now current boss.

Desperate to keep things professional as he and Jeremy grow closer, Corey makes a major mistake: he turns to his friends, Paul Auster and Sanford Stewart, for help.

But Paul and Sandy have some ideas of their own.

Set in the summer of 2016, Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life and being true to oneself… no matter the cost.

I was so waiting for Corey’s HEA and when I finally finished to read Why We Fight I was so happy he found Jeremy in his life. As always TJ Klune wrote another masterpiece, beautiful written and full of emotions. I got sucked one more time into the amazing world lived by Sandy, Paul, Vince and Charlie and all the amazing people I met in the previous titles in the series. This time too I laughed out loud more than once when I really shouldn’t have since I was alone. It was impossible to resist, these people were all so funny and always over the top. I fell for them through all the books and I think it will take time to recover.

I don’t want to spoiler the plot more than what the blurb tells you. Probably Why We Fight was my favorite title in the series, it was packed with feelings as the others, but in my opinion it was more strong and poignant, maybe due to the place Corey and Jeremy were working at, maybe simply cause Corey was truly on another level, a bigger than life human being, a precious friend. And for someone like him, Jeremy was so right, and the way they waited for each other and for the perfect moment for them to be together was special.

If you haven’t started the At First Sight yet, do it now, you want be disappointed.

The cover art by Reese Dante is awesome, it was love at first sight for me.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 350 pages

Published May 14th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN  B07NDFWSKC

Edition Language English

At First Sight series:

Tell Me It’s Real

The Queen & the Homo Jock King

Until You

Why We Fight

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Redesigning Landry Bishop (Stars from Peril #2) by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Landry Bishop is a keeper, one who’s going to stay with me a long time. Kim Fielding created a wonderful character whose inner sweet man doesn’t match the outer persona he’s spent years creating for mass media. Known as an expert in food, fashion, interior design, homemaking, and beauty tips—Landry is a well-rounded gay man whose popularity in the media is soaring.

When Elaine, his PA and good friend, decides to resign to help take care of her aging parents, Landry is bereft until she convinces him to hire a distant family connection, Jordan Stryker. Jordan has a colorful history—not all of it good. He’s never found his place in the world and has bumbled and bungled his way through several jobs, but he has a heart of gold and a deep desire to make Landry’s life easier, something he happens to excel at.

These two souls come together like two halves of a puzzle piece. Jordan is a fast learner and his overarching desire to make Landry’s life easier makes his job a success. But there’s more than a work relationship forming, and when the two head to Las Vegas on vacation, their sexual attraction explodes. Add in some fun shopping trips, sightseeing, and downtime together and their togetherness is a given.

But inside, Landry Bishop is still the kid who grew up in Peril, Nebraska, as evidenced by his secret trips for fries and burgers and other treats he “shouldn’t” have. So when his sister convinces him he must come back to Peril, though he dreads going, he takes Jordan and they travel to a town that time forgot to change. There, a major surprise awaits Landry—one that is both well-deserved and shows Landry just how much the real Landry Bishop is valued.

One of the things I most love about Kim Fielding is her love of sharing locations in our country that many of us wouldn’t get to visit without her vivid descriptions and shared experiences. Her enthusiasm comes through and enhances my appreciation of the story by taking me to where the action is happening.

I also love her characters, all of whom are always three-dimensional and interesting. Both main and secondary characters hook me into her stories, and I remember them long after I turn the last page. Considering how many books I read each year, this is high praise, since I often can’t remember the name of the person I met yesterday! But I most certainly can remember the names of many of her MCs: Jaxon, Ennek, Miner, Elliott, Alby, and Xeno to name a few.

I highly recommend this MM romance to those who love just that—Romance with a capital R. Intriguing characters, fun dialogue, all the fun of a trip to Vegas without the expense, and a glimpse at life in Nebraska—what more could we want?

The cover by Alexandria Corza is done in the Dreamspun Desires theme and features a handsome, well-dressed man, adjusting his tie as he stares forward. The Beverly Hills sign over his shoulder adds the perfect touch for this “well-designed” cover that hits the high points of the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details;

Kindle Edition, Dreamspun Desires #88, 177 pages
Expected publication: May 21st 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07PQNZH5N
Edition Language English
Series Stars from Peril

The Spy’s Love Song

Redesigning Landry Bishop

An Alisa Audio Review: If I Ever (Hell or High Water #4) by SE Jakes and Mark Larchmont (Narrator)

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

Some ghosts refuse to stay buried . . .

Prophet and Tom have been through the wringer more times than they can count, both as partners in the field and in life. Yet despite it all, they’ve built something great together. But now they need to protect it again: Prophet’s old nemesis, John Morse, is back and threatening everything he loves.

Prophet is driven enough to take John down alone, and with a chance to do exactly that on the table, he runs with it, risking himself in the process. But trusting Tom to help him is so much more than mission critical.

It’s the final stand, and with Tom and his team behind him, Prophet’s in for the fight of his life. Then a figure from his past goes missing, and the consequence of an old mission rears its head. As complications and destruction mount all around them, getting out alive becomes the most important mission of their lives.

It’s been over three and a half years since I read the last book in this series and over five since the last book was released.  Which makes it a little hard to get into the story when I don’t remember everything that happened in earlier books and I’m not sure I would enjoy them as much as I did then if this story was any indication.

There was so much going on along with all the secrets I had trouble keeping up with what was going on.  I know I liked Prophet and Tom’s relationship in the previous books but throughout this whole book they were pushing each other away and then suddenly pulling them back and all the sex scenes seemed to be displays of dominance.  And I hate to say it but I felt no investment in them taking down all the different bad guys that kept popping up.

Mark Larchmont’s narration was nice but didn’t help me keep track of the story but I’m pretty sure it’s more of the writing and the seemingly endless jumping from place to place and character to character.  I also didn’t feel the character’s emotions through his portrayal of their voices and I know it didn’t help that there were so many people to keep track of. I will definitely give him another shot in the future to see if his narration lends better to a different author.

I like the cover art by LC Chase, though the tattoo shown is described in a different location.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 8 hrs 33 min

Published: April 12, 2019 by Riptide

Edition Language: English

Series: Hell or High Water #4

RELEASE BLITZ Torn by Rick R Reed (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 63,424 words
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
 
Blurb
 

Ever been torn between two lovers? That’s Ricky Comparetto’s problem.


It’s 1995, and Ricky is making his very first trip across the pond with his best friend. Ricky, hungry for love and looking for it in all the wrong places, finds it in the beach city of Brighton. His new love has the curious name of Walt Whitman and is also an American, which only serves to make him sexier and more intriguing. By the time Walt and Ricky part, promises are made for a reunion in Boston.


But the course of true love never runs smooth. In Chicago Ricky almost immediately falls in love again. Tom Green is a sexy blue-collar beast with the kindest heart Ricky has ever run across.


What’s he to do? With a visit to the East Coast on the horizon and a new love blossoming in Ricky’s home of Chicago, Ricky truly is torn.


Excerpt


In which our hero, Ricky Comparetto, finds himself lost on his very first time in London in the wee hours of the morning. It serves him right, after his shameless behavior at an after-hours sex club.

Much later, I found myself wandering the streets of London near New Scotland Yard, searching through its labyrinthine corridors for Trevor’s building. In the quiet darkness of London’s wee small hours, it seemed the world had paused to take a breath. Again, a feeling of things being surreal overcame me; I wondered if I’d ever find my way back to Boutros again, or if I’d be doomed to wander endlessly through this curving warren of streets.

It was maybe three o’clock in the morning, and Westminster felt almost like a movie set, perhaps something dystopian, where the main character wakes to find the world empty. The light of Big Ben shone in the distance, but I had no idea how to get back to Trevor’s.

I was too exhausted to panic, however, even though I felt like a rat in a maze, a charming, historic maze, but a maze nonetheless. Looking back, I recall that I felt serene, strange as that is to remember.

I had just decided to see if I could find a park bench or curb to lie down on—to await morning’s light and new clarity to get back to my friends—when I discovered that there was such a thing as a bobby, the Brits’ word for a patrolman on foot. This bobby, who was dressed all in black with a tall hat adorned with a shield, and I appeared to be the only ones about, other than the black cabs that passed by stealthily, similar to the one that had deposited me in a place I’d believed was close to Trevor’s.I approached the bobby and told him, a little abashed, that I was lost. I supplied him with the name of the street I sought and, for good measure, what Trevor’s building looked like.

He nodded, all business. “You need to cross the Thames”—he pointed that way—“and then make your way back in the opposite direction from where you were going. You’re not far.”

I thanked him, but his directions simply didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to argue with him, and I certainly didn’t want to believe he was fucking with me, so I didn’t question him. I may have been lost, but I wasn’t that lost. I let him continue on his rounds. I stood still, not wanting him to see me continue on what he’d most likely perceive as my misguided path. Why’d you bother asking him if you weren’t going to listen? I wondered but had no good answer for myself.

I plopped down on a bench to ponder what I should do. I supposed that, with morning’s light, Boutros would be worried (or worse, would believe I’d shacked up with yet another man) and come looking.

I questioned my decision to part from Boutros and Trevor earlier in the evening, when the gay club we were drinking at closed its doors way too early for me. I mean, really, eleven o’clock? And this was “swingin’” London? Trevor suggested I go to an “after-hours” club called the Brick. He told me it was a no-holds-barred kind of place. Or was it “no-holes-barred”? Whatever. The idea of the “Felliniesque” club, as Trevor described it, appealed to me.

So I went, met a few nice boys, and ended the evening by being showered with come in a cloakroom, courtesy of one half of a couple I’d met who were visiting London from Liverpool.

I thought it would be easy to get home because Trevor’s building was within walking distance of New Scotland Yard, which is where I told my cabbie to drop me.

I hadn’t counted on streets that curved, and ended and began with no rhyme or reason. I hadn’t counted on the buildings and streets all looking so alike.

I should have.

After a while, I got up from the bench and started wandering again. And then I stopped… and sighed with relief. Just ahead was one of those iconic red phone booths you might imagine when you think of London—or Doctor Who.

“Oh thank God,” I whispered, making my way to the booth. I groped in my pocket, hoping the receipt upon which Trevor had written his phone number earlier was still there. What if it isn’t? I thought, the panic already causing my pulse rate to quicken despite my fatigue, the copious amounts of alcohol I’d imbibed, and the two orgasms I’d had at the Brick.

But my hand curled around the little slip of paper, and I brought it out and squinted at the scrawled number in the wan light. I lifted the phone off the hook, deposited a mystifying array of coins that I hoped would be enough, and dialed.

Trevor answered, voice heavy with sleep.

I told him my problem and described where I was, along with the cross streets nearby.

He didn’t seem fazed, for which I was grateful. “Hang on, sweetie. I’ll be right there.” He disconnected before I could say anything else.

I left the phone booth and sat down on a curb. I regarded the crescent moon above for only the shortest of times. Trevor appeared before me, like an angel, within a matter of fewer than five minutes.

I didn’t have much to say, other than to express my gratitude… and embarrassment.

His building turned out to be around the next corner.

Real Men. True Love.


Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.


Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
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Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed
Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

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Check Out the New Release! Seeing Red (Trowchester #5) by Alex Beecroft (excerpt)

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Seeing Red

Trowchester Series, Book 5

Alex Beecroft

Contemporary MM Romance

Release Date: 05.12.19

Seeing Red Cover

BLURB

Bad boys don’t tame easy.

Victor is a bad man. Is there anything he won’t do for power and money?

Destroy a local business so he can buy it cheap? Kick out its owners and turn it into a cash cow? He relishes the chance.

Idris is a good man in possession of a renowned tea-house. He’s put his heart and soul into the place. It’s everything he has and wants…

Except for Victor.

He wants Victor too.

Can the love of a compassionate man soften a predator’s heart before it’s too late? Or is Idris doomed to lose his life’s work, and his heart with it?

A contemporary mm romance, Seeing Red is a long-awaited new installment of the critically acclaimed Trowchester Series. Each book in the series is a standalone, and can be read in any order. Feel free to start here and work back!

https://amzn.to/2VnfmiU

Seeing Red Graphic

EXCERPT

“You were brought up poor?” Idris’s inner voice was now more of a clench of pity and anger in his gut. “And you see yourself in these dogs?”Stray dogs, un-fed, unwanted, dogs that were being taken out to be drowned. “I won’t ask you the story behind that,”Idris put out an arm and pulled the man closer to him, relishing the way Victor melted into him, letting his meagre weight rest against Idris’s sturdier frame. “But I want to remind you that not only you but also I fell in love with these dogs the moment we saw them. Those who mistreated them before… not everyone is like that.”

“They are, though.”Victor’s head came slowly down to rest on Idris’s shoulder, tentatively. His cynical words made even that little gesture of trust seem enormous, more than Idris deserved. “It’s kill or be killed out there, and I’m not… I’m not going to be killed.

Of course, he had fought off two men only a couple of hours ago—bigger men than himself. That must have taken some courage, and he was probably now exhausted from the adrenaline crash. With that and whiskey on top of it, he was confessing private insecurities to a man he had only just met.

As much as Idris would have liked to carry on supporting all his weight, hearing his murmured confessions, and perhaps sliding his fingers into that drying hair and stealing a kiss or two, he realized that this was absolutely not the time.

They had done a good thing here. Idris would not sully it by continuing to make a pass at a man who was more vulnerable than usual, whose judgment might be impaired, and who might therefore regret it in the morning.

“Let me get you to bed,”he said, and then hurriedly, realizing it could be misinterpreted, ”you need to sleep. In the morning, I’ll convene an emergency book-club meeting and we can meet up again then. All right? I think you’re too tired for anything else.”

“Out of the habit,”Victor raised his head slightly and smiled fuzzily.

“Out of the habit of… rescuing dogs?”

“Fighting, ‘cept—except with words. I guess I am tired.”
Alex Beecroft

I was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. I studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where I worked for a number of years. Now a full time author, I live with my husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and try to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Asexual, agender and mother of a transgender son, I still feel like my place in the LGBT community is perhaps peripheral. But it’s very important to me nevertheless.

I’m only intermittently present in the real world. I have lead a Saxon shield wall into battle, I can be found most weekends practicing an eight hundred year old form of English folk dance, and recently I’ve been getting into Steampunk, with a character who’s a cross between Evie from The Mummy and Indiana Jones.

I write queer romance – that is, my main characters are typically gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual or asexual men. Best known for historicals, I also write Fantasy/SF and contemporary romance, all of which tends to be on the sweeter side of the heat spectrum.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexBeecroftAuthor/

Website: https://alexbeecroft.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Alex_Beecroft

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Marie Sexton on Romance, Characters, and her new release Promises (author guest blog)

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Promises by Marie Sexton
Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press

Includes the Coda series prequel novella, Meant to Be

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to interview Marie Sexton, here today on tour for her re-release of her novel Promises. Welcome, Marie!

 

STRW Interviews Marie Sexton!

 

Hello, everybody! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today celebrating the re-release of my very first novel, Promises. Promises was first released back in January of 2010. The new version has been re-edited, features one expanded scene, and also contains a brand new Coda short story called Meant to Be.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Not a ton, but there’s certainly a little bit of me in each of my protagonists. Probably Angelo from the Coda series, Cody from Trailer Trash, and Trey from Family Man are the most “me.”

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Well, any character based on my life experience probably wouldn’t be a Mary Sue (or a Gary Stu). I make way too many mistakes and bad decisions for that. LOL.

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

I hate research. As an author with a degree in history, I probably shouldn’t admit that, but it’s true. I find it mind-numbingly boring. Which is why most of the time when I start out writing historical, I end up with some kind of weird AU. (My Oestend series being the primary example.)

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Nope. Didn’t read them back then and I don’t read them now. I always felt like a fraud at romance conventions because I had no idea who any of the other authors were.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Yes and no. I read SFF almost exclusively in my teens, and yet I mostly write contemporary. But I think I always gravitated towards stories with quirky characters and questionable narrators. One of my favorites as a kid was the Great Brain series, where the reader watches a young genius/con-man through the eyes of his adoring (and naïve) little brother. I love the idea that the exact same story can be vastly different when seen through the eyes of a different character, which is probably why most of my early books were written in first person. 

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

I have a few, actually. First and foremost, I love my Oestend series (Song of Oestend and Saviours of Oestend). These books have everything I love to write — opposites attract, friends to lovers, redeeming a bad boy, macho cowboys, role reversal, and BDSM — all with an AU, paranormal twist. I love Trailer Trash, because it captured so much of the joys and heartaches of my teen years. I love Winter Oranges for being outlandish and yet (hopefully) believable. And as far as complexity, I think Release is probably my best work.

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 he becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I think this is more about the reader than the writer. Some readers can’t stand to read about characters who make choices they wouldn’t. For example, if the character smokes, or if he and his partner aren’t monogamous, some readers will immediately DNF the book. I can’t really do anything about that. I have to write the character the way he is, smoking and all.

  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes. I did this with Trailer Trash. I originally started it way back in about 2011. Then I realized I was writing about the AIDS era, and I knew the story was going to get heavy and angsty, so I put it aside until 2015 or 2016, I think. But I did finally finish it, and I personally think it’s one of my better books.

I also kind of did this with Damned If You Do. I originally had the idea for that story when I heard the song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” and I started wondering what would happen if, after that first duel, the devil became a bit obsessed with Jonny and kept going back for more. But my original idea for the story would have stepped all over copyright, so I kind of put it away until a new idea came to me about a year later.

And I guess The Well was also similar. I knew for several years that I wanted to write about a group of teens who spend a night in a haunted house and wake up to find one of them has disappeared without a trace. But it took me several years to figure out what exactly had happened to Elise.

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’ve probably done this to lesser degrees multiple times, but the one instance that was HUGE was when I wrote Family Man with Heidi Cullinan. I wrote Trey’s POV, and I dumped every bit of my rage at growing up with an alcoholic parent into that book. It was awful and painful and raw, but when it was all said and done, it was incredibly cathartic. That being said, I tried doing the same thing recently with a different issue in a different work in progress, and it’s a hot, unpublishable mess. It’s been anti-cathartic, if that’s a thing. It left me even more frustrated than I was before. So… time will tell how that situation works out.

  

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m still trying to finish book three in my Heretic Doms Club series. And I have a Tucker Springs novel to wrap up. (And because Tucker Springs and Coda are now with the same publishing house, Matt and Jared might drop in for a visit.) 😉

That’s it for today. Don’t forget to check out the re-release of Promises. You can also join my private Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts for having me here today.

Blurb

Can a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He can’t imagine living anywhere else. But Jared’s opportunities are limited—the only other gay man in town is twice his age, and although Jared originally planned to be a teacher, the backlash that might accompany the gig keeps him working at his family’s store instead.

Then Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt may not be into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but when Matt realizes he’s attracted to Jared, he panics and withdraws, leaving Jared all too aware of what he’s missing.

Facing Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together. But for the first time, he has the courage to try… if he can only convince Matt.

About the Author

Marie Sexton is the author of over thirty published works. She’s written contemporary romance, science fiction, fantasy, dystopian fiction, historical short stories, and a few
odd genre mashups. Marie lives in Colorado , where she recently fell head – over – heels in
love with the Colorado Eagles. She’s happily married, with one teenage daughter, one adorable dog, and one very stupid cat.
You can find Marie on Twitter (@mariesexton, where she mostly talks about sports), at
http://www.MarieSexton.net , or in her private Facebook group,
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MarieSextonFans/
.