A Followup on LGBT History Month Recommendations and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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A Follow up on LGBT History Month Recommendations

 

So as a follow up to last week’s post on the fact that October is LGBT History Month, we had a wonderful comment from Purple Reader with some great recommendations that I wanted to share with everyone:

Purple Reader:

I’m so excited about this post. I’m a history buff, and love combining that with my lgbtq interests. So many to rec; so I’ll have to whittle it down. I’ll start with one my gay book group is reading based on my rec in honor of this month:
– “Flagrant Conduct: the Story of Lawrence v. Texas” by Dale Carpenter, about what I think is the more major Supreme Court decision, which invalidated sodomy laws and led 10 years later to the marriage equality decisions. Some great, moving twists of fate in that.
– Speaking of which, this is good too: Love Wins: “The Lovers and Lawyers Who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality” by Debbie Cenziper, Jim Obergefell
– Many good bios, including this multiple award winner: “Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin” by John D’Emilio
– And of course one about authors, another award winner: “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America” by Christopher Bram

Btw, in Chicago’s Boystown there’s a Legacy Walk up & down Halsted with plaques honoring some you mention (as well as writers Baldwin, Wilde, Whitman & Audre Lorde). Check it out if you’re in town.

Purple Reader’s comment on The Legacy Walk intrigued me, so I did a little digging.  Wow.  I’m so sorry I missed this when I was in Chicago for GRL.  Its now on my must visit list when I return.  Check this out!

The Legacy Project

Turns out there are also LGBT walking tours in other cities as well.

LGBT History Walking Tours for Every City | HuffPost

More coming up.  And for Purple Reader a special $10 gift card for history month recognition coming your way!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, October 22:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 23:

  • Hula Dancers and Hauntings, Second Level, The Reunion, Half Breeds Tour and Giveaway
  • Men of Crooked Bend Series (My Choice, My Chance) by Taylor Rylan Book Blast
  • Review Tour and Giveaway for Deacon’s Law (Heroes #3) by RJ Scott
  • A Jeri Review :Love By Number by DJ Jamison
  • A Lila Review: His Convenient Husband (Love and Sports #1) by Robin Covington
  • A MelanieM Review: Deacon’s Law (Heroes #3) by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:Hula Dancers and Hauntings by JC Long, Second Level, The Reunion, Half Breeds

Tuesday, October 24:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Ava Hayden on Highballer
  • Dreamspinner Promo Amy Lane on Familiar Angel
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Changing Colors (Seasons of Love #4) by Elyse Springer
  • A MelanieM Review: Count the Shells (Porthkennack #6) by Charlie Cochrane
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Touch (Leaning Into Stories #3) by Lane Hayes
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Palisade (Lavender Shores #1) by Rosalind Abel and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Wednesday, October 25:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Eli Easton on Tender Mercies
  • GUEST POST Myths, Moons & Mayhem (Gay Paranormal Menage and MMM Erotic Romance anthology
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • A MelanieM Review: Jackalopes & Woofen-Poofs (Offbeat Crimes #5) by Angel Martinez
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: The Librarian’s Rake by Z Allora
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Highballer (World of Love) by Ava Hayden

Thursday, October 26:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Julia Talbot on To Hell You Ride
  • Release Blitz – Shane Morton’s The Year Of The Cock
  • Release Blitz – Anna Martin’s Whiskey Kisses
  • A Stella Review :​ Eggplant Highlights and Mustard Yellow Jeans by  Sarah Hadley Brook
  • A VVivacious Review: Sightlines by Santino Hassell
  • An Alisa Review: Dish of the Day by Clare London

Friday, October 27:

  • BOOK BLAST – Blackbird Fly Home by Kendel Duncan
  • Dreamspinner Promo Z. Allora
  • Review Tour and Giveaway for VL Locey’s Improper Fraction
  • Review for Improper Fraction by V.L. Locey
  • A Julia Review: Ardulum: First Don (Ardulum) by J.S. Fields
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County #2) by Eli Easton

Saturday, October 28:

  • Release Blitz for Holographic Havoc by L.M. Brown
  • A MelanieM Review: Whiskey Kisses by Anna Martin
  • A MelanieM Review:  Dragon Lesson by Mell Eight

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Familiar Angel by Amy Lane might be one of those “its not you, it’s me” things.  I’m in totally unfamiliar territory here (no pun intended) because I’ve never felt less connected to a story than I did here with that of Harry and his angel Suriel.  It’s been bothering me to no end to get to the heart of why because first it’s Amy Lane (insert surprise face emoji).  That’s never happened before. I felt such a detachment towards a story that had so many elements that should have had my had my emotions all caught up,  zip tied and locked in.

There was child trafficking, child prostitution and abuse, magic, demons (yes, I absolutely find them far more interesting than angels) and the potential for love  forever lost.  All great!  I did zero in on the angel aspect as part of my issue with the storyline.  Angels are not high on my list when looking at plotlines, not until they fall, and then they have to do some scrambling to draw my attention. Usually I just avoid the heck out of them.  But Amy Lane?  I don’t avoid her…  ever!  So into Familiar Angel I dove.  I dunno.  I think the angels won here.

I found Suriel whinny and his explanation as to why he couldn’t be with Harry full of holes.  I liked Harry but honestly wished he could have moved past his initial “angel worship” because their interactions and dynamics got old and repetitive. Harry’s two other ‘brothers’ and their chosen mates I found far more fascinating than the main couple here.

I liked the family that the author created to surround Harry, Edward, and Francis.  That goes for the evil that’s chasing the boys and the way in which he gets dealt with.  Francis and Edward especially seem to have so much depth and promise, that I can’t wait to read their stories.  At least I think that’s where Amy Lane is heading here.  Francis deserves to have his HEA so I hope the author gives him one.

Other readers will pick this story up and love the romance between Harry and Suriel.  They might find it sweet and magical and, just what they are looking for.  But for me…I’ll look backwards to those stories I loved and forwards to the new Amy Lane

Cover art by Reese Dante.  Something about that cover is off just like the story.   The cat should be more alleycat, leaner, harder like Harry.  Again, it’s me, not you.  *Shakes head*

Sales Links;  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 20th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781635339468
Edition Language English

A Lila Audiobook Review: Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells and Finn Sterling (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?

Out of the Shadows is a slow burn romance between a recluse Christian and an extrovert Josh. I like how they communicated when Josh started working at Christian’s apartment and would have loved to see more of it.  It allowed them to get comfortable with each other, creating a foundation for their relationship.

This is a very sweet and fluffy story but those aspects worked with the Dreamspun series. I wanted a slower transition for Christian to adjust to his new reality but in this case, love cured it all. Their attraction was immediate as well as Christian’s acceptance of Josh’s plans for him.

Overall, this story has nice characters, and interesting instigating event, and the potential for so much more. Unfortunately, I never connected with the main couple. Their bromance was stronger than their romance. In the end, it was an okay story.

The narration by Finn Sterling was a fifty-fifty for me. I enjoyed all the characters but Josh. And since he’s one of the main characters, it took from my enjoyment of the story. I think he tried, too hard, to create a distinctive voice for Josh, but ended with a cartoonish version of a young man instead. Everything else saved his performance.

The cover by Bree Archer is a bit theatrical. Perhaps a hoodie would have worked better. The model doesn’t reflect Christian’s description, either.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Finn Sterling
Length: 6 hours 6 minutes
Published: September 13, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B075KNQDCT
Edition Language: English

Xenia Melzer on Writing, Inspiration, and her latest release ‘A Dom and His Writer (Club Whisper #1) (guest blog)

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A Dom and His Writer (Club Whisper #1) by Xenia Melzer
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Aaron Anderson

Release Date: October 23, 2017

Available to Purchase at

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

How I got the idea for A Dom and his Writer

by Xenia Melzer

People often want to know how authors get their ideas for stories. For each author, that can be a unique process, but one thing many of us have in common is the so-called “plot bunny disease”. The plot bunny is an evil little thing that hops through your mind, leaving new ideas like Easter eggs when you should be writing something else. Once the plot egg hatches – with me, it usually happens during night, when I’m defenseless – there’s this new story with all those interesting characters and it wants out. It can’t wait. Nope. Not a day, not a minute, and certainly not until you have finished this other project.

For me, this means I sit down with my trusty notebook (analog, not digital, so last century, I know!) to write down the cliff notes, overall plot, and everything else you need to craft a story. I usually don’t know what triggers the plot bunny to drop its eggs, but with “A Dom and his Writer”, I have a pretty good idea. I had read something about so-called helicopter parents, the pro and cons of getting children early/late in your life, and why especially parents with an academic background seem to be prone to helicoptering. Why I read that article? Don’t ask me. It was less complicated than the Lego bus my younger daughter wanted to build with me and slightly more demanding than scrolling through my FB account, so I went with it. Anyway, said article culminated in the idea for “A Dom and his Writer”.

I thought about all the ways my children have changed my life and then I wondered how somebody who had no ties to children or inclination to have them whatsoever, would react to having one dumped in their lap. At least, I wanted to have children…

So I came up with Richard and Dean, a gay BDSM couple, Richard a filthy rich billionaire, Dean a super-successful, not as filthy rich but still loaded author, who live their life with absolutely no care in the world. (I’m not saying BDSM couples don’t want children, it’s just that I wanted the maximum in contrast and black leather against pink onesies was irresistible to me.)

Richard and Dean have it all: deep love, a stable relationship, both are comfortable with their roles and the kinky side of their love-life, they have good friends and more money than they will ever be able to spend. Then comes Emily, Dean’s niece, a three-month old girl, and everything changes.

I do admit some of the scenes including Emily were written with my own children in mind. Becoming a parent is easy, being one is quite another story and nobody can prepare you for the challenges that come with raising a child. Those who consciously decide to become parents have at least nine months to prepare for it. To read books, watch videos, attend courses. Richard and Dean are thrown into the role with no warning and I have to admit, I just watched them struggle with the changes Emily brought to their life.

Sometimes it was funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes I got angry. Writing this story was a bit like the first year with my first daughter. A roller-coaster ride that I’d never want to miss, even when the ride was a bit bumpy sometimes.

I hope readers see the story like I do – a love story between two men who have to face a major challenge, not knowing how it will end for their relationship.

Oh, and there’s a bit of kink, too. 😊    

 

Blurb

Life is perfect for Richard and Dean. Richard is a wealthy and successful businessman who also owns a BDSM club, and Dean is a bestselling author and sub to Richard. They’re young, happy, and in love. The future is bright….

 

Until tragedy strikes and an accident claims Dean’s beloved sister. Dean also finds himself the guardian of a three-month-old infant, and soon he’s trading in his leather fetish gear for diapers and drool bibs. But little Emily is all that remains of his family, so how can he abandon her?

 

It’s not what Richard signed up for. As much as he tries to be supportive, he never wanted kids and misses having his partner to himself. Suddenly the life he imagined for them is gone, and he’s not sure their relationship can survive the upheaval. But fate isn’t through with Dean, and when misfortune strikes again, will he be able to turn to the man he loves? A final crisis will determine if they can pull together as a family or they must face facts and part ways.

About the Author

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

You can contact her through her website: http//www.xeniamelzer.com

Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/

An Ali Audiobook Review: Unquiet (Resilient Love #3) by Melanie Hansen and Michael Stellman (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.

Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.

Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.
This book has the distinction of being both one of the best and the worst books I’ve read in a long time.  The writing in this story is fantastic.  The author makes the characters and their situation so realistic you feel like you’re right there along with them.  This level of top notch writing makes it one of the best books I’ve read this year.
What makes it one of the worst is that this story is just emotionally brutal. It takes a very realistic look at loving someone with a chronic, severe mental health issue. I would go so far as to say it’s a love story but not a romance. If you’re looking for a story with a touching hea this is not it. The book is nothing but pain for these two. They have their moments of happiness but they’re boxed in between really horrible days, weeks, months. When it ended I just felt sad and so, so bad for both of them. I found this entire story to be a giant downer.
If I had known going in how heavy and serious it was going to be I would have been prepared and maybe I would have probably liked it better. Honestly it was just too much for me.  I want my romance stories to have a happily ever after and that didn’t happen here.  They’re together at the end and it’s as good as it’s ever going to be, but their lives are still this roller coaster of emotion.  There was more than once occasion where I wished for something different for Loren.  I had liked him so much in book two.  He was such a great guy.  Then I felt guilty for those thoughts because none of what was happening was Loren’s fault.  He didn’t ask for the life he was given.  My heart hurt for all the pain he had to go through.
This book was narrated by Michael Stellman who is a new narrator for me.  I thought he did a great job on this.  His narration was well done and I liked the way he did both MC’s as well as the side characters.  I think the great narration added another level of emotions to the story.  Normally that’s a good thing but in this I think it made it even sadder.
I struggled with how to rate this.  I think it deserves a 5 plus stars on plot and writing but if I based it on enjoyment level it would be much lower.  I have read and really enjoyed the first two books in the series.  I was expecting something with that same level of angst.  This was just too gritty and too realistic for me.  If you’re looking for something different and on a more serious tone I do recommend this.  If you have read the first two books you will see the other two couples in this a bit and there’s some sweet scenes in regards to some of them.  If you have not read the first two you can read this as a standalone.
This cover was done by Natasha Snow Designs and I think it is really good.  It perfectly captures the mood of this story.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio
Published September 13th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 22nd 2016)
Original Title Unquiet
ASIN B075KFLSC7
Edition Language English

A Kai Release Day Review: Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci

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Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Well, guys, this story just didn’t work for me.

The premise had such a great potential and although is a really short novella, I was hopeful it would be a good one before I read it. But, unfortunately, the execution fell flat.

Even though I didn’t have a big problem with the writing style, I didn’t like the way the story was developed. Or better yet, not developed enough.

I couldn’t connect with the main characters, and maybe if their personality had been more worked, it could be a little better. 

Mason seemed and acted just like a kid. And I get he had a traumatic experience in the past (that could have been more traumatic in my opinion), but his reaction to everybody and constant helpless characteristic seemed a little unrealistic for me.

On the other hand, Oliver personality wasn’t helplessly at all, but it was flat. He avoided monogamic relationships and, ok that’s his choice, not judgment here for it. But I couldn’t wrap why of it. I mean, he kind of tried to explain himself, but it was dull. It would be nice if we could see more depth in him.

Well, the open relationship Oliver had and the way it worked was intriguing, at least. But I couldn’t connect with Mason and Oliver together. It was really super fast and unrealistic the feelings. Like a super fast kiss and they had feelings for each other? 

I also didn’t like much of the supporting characters. Don’t even let me start with the mom. urgh! She treated her son like a kid and at the same time didn’t see what was in front of her nose. Urgh! 

I’ll stop now before I give you a big spoiler. But go there and read it. I recommend it? No. But I’d like to know if you have a different opinion or maybe agree with me. Let me know what you think about this novella.

Well, the cover art by Brooke Albrecht, is a really generic and a nice picture. But didn’t fit the story and I’m sorry, but it isn’t as inviting to read the book as a cover should.

Sales Links

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/safe-and-sound-by-caitlin-ricci-8948-b

Amazon: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36267337-safe-and-sound?from_search=true

Book Details:

ebook, 1st, 84 pages
Published October 18th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635337839
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Deeds & Confetti (Mary’s Boys #4) by Brandon Witt

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Steven Conley loves the excitement of owning his own Hamburger Mary’s restaurant in Denver, Colorado, and his chosen family of coworkers makes life even better. Steven never regretted leaving the corporate grind behind until his father’s harsh deathbed words leaves him doubting himself.

 

Ryan Fuller abandoned a lucrative career to start his own party-planning business, but he keeps afloat by coordinating funerals for the local mortuary. When Ryan bumps into Steven—his best friend’s uncle and the man Ryan has secretly crushed on forever—the attraction explodes into a night of passionate abandon for both men.

 

Steven is blown away by the care and deep connection he feels for the hot young mortician—until Ryan admits who he really is. Reeling from the recent upheaval in his life, Steven must decide whether to give Ryan a chance. To find love, they must risk it all….

 

This was a wonderfully sweet story.  Steven has been living the last few years for himself despite his father’s criticism, but his father’s death and his harsh words cause Steven to doubt the life he has built.  Ryan has recently begun to live his life for himself and isn’t going to let Steven’s doubt stop them.

 

Steven has a wonderful support system in his friends and family (excluding his judgmental father).  I loved the internal strength that Ryan had and how he wouldn’t let the little things keep him down.  I chose this story for the short and sweet aspect it seemed to have which it really did but I loved seeing small glimpses of how Steven greatly affected the lives of those around him.  It makes me really want to go back and read the other stories in this series however I didn’t need them to know what was going on.

 

Cover art by AngstyG is wonderful, I love the visual of these two characters.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 100 pages

Published: September 27, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-749-5

Edition Language: English

Series: A Mary’s Boys Novella

Andrew Grey on the Definition of HEA and his latest release ‘Taming the Beast’ (guest blog)

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Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Paul Richmond

Release Date: October 13, 2017

Book Links

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Andrew Grey here today on his Taming the Beast tour.  Welcome, Andrew.

✒︎
I’m very much a Happily Ever After kind of guy.  I like my characters to feel as though they are going to be together in the story as well as my heart.  But I seem to have a problem because I’m not sure what a HEA really means any more.  In traditional romance that path leads to the altar or at least to a proposal.  But in MM romance marriage wasn’t possible for so many years, so a HEA usual consisted of some sort of gesture of permanence.  They moved in together, bought a house, or asked each other to be their life partner, even exchanged rings with only the two of them.  Something to signify that they planned to stay together.  Now in this age of marriage equality, I’m having trouble because I’m not sure if we’ve reverted to the traditional version of an HEA or not.  In my stories I tend to use the older definition of an HEA, probably because I’m an old fart and getting older by the day.  (Rolls eyes)     But I’d like to hear what you think.  Please comment and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear them.

Blurb/Synopsis

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.

The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life helps him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.

But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

Excerpt

Dante turned back to Bobby. “Do you know what we’re going to have for dinner?”

“Roast beef and potatoes and beans.” Bobby made a face. “I don’t like beans.”

“Bobby,” Beau said gently.

“Why not? They’re good, and they make you grow up big and strong. My mom always made me eat my green beans, and look at me.” He sat up straight, and Bobby’s eyes widened.

“These are green and yellow beans together,” Beau clarified.

“Even better. The yellow ones make you smarter. I really like those. And it’s good to be smart.” Dante nudged Bobby. “I’ll make a deal with you. If you eat all your beans, then after dinner, I’ll see if they have any ice cream for dessert.”

Bobby shook his head. “There’s cake.” He pushed out his lower lip. “I can’t have cake. It has gluten in it.” He turned away, his little shoulders drooping.

“I see.” Dante pulled out his phone and made a very quick call to Harriet at the house, then began to eat. When he was done with his starter, his salad was placed in front of him, and he ate it slowly. As he finished, the lady from the other couple, who had been quiet so far, asked him about what the Foundation did. “It’s to better the people and community of St. Giles and Maryland in general, though we localize our work to the Eastern Shore. We take proposals from anyone and evaluate them for community impact and need.”

“Do you get anything out of it?” she asked.

“I own the porcelain works, and half the profits go into the Foundation. We invest the money and then arrange to distribute the earnings through our projects. The principal is never touched, and so far it has grown each year through contributions.” Dante finished his salad and glanced at Bobby, who was carefully eating one piece of lettuce at a time.

“I’m Clyde Harrison, and this is my wife, Jean. I’m a second-shift foreman at the porcelain works.” He reached across the table to shake hands, and Jean did the same. They both seemed nervous, like if they said one wrong thing, Dante would fire him.

“It’s nice to meet you, Jean.” He turned to Clyde. “I’ve seen you at the plant.” He thought for a second. “You were the one who came up with the idea to reroute the laboratory-ware line last year. That was a great idea, and it’ll be done next month. We figure it will save us quite a bit.” Dante had already arranged a bonus for him, but he’d let that work through the channels.

The conversation died, and Dante turned to Bobby, who had eaten about half his salad and seemed to be finished. “Are you done?” Dante asked him, and Bobby nodded. The servers collected their plates and brought the dinners.

“Do I have to eat all this?” Bobby whispered. “Mama says I have to clean my plate and not waste food.” He looked at him and then at Beau.

“Just eat what you want and have some of the beans.” Dante winked, and Bobby took a bite of the beans and ate a few before starting on the rest. Beau helped Bobby cut his meat, and then the kid ate like a trooper. “Is it good?” Dante asked.

Bobby grinned, nodded, and went back to eating. Dante took a few bites and ate a little of the roast beef. It was okay. The potatoes weren’t exceptional. He ate the vegetables and enough of the rest to make his hunger abate and then waited for his plate to be cleared.

As the conversation in the room increased while the courses were changed, Dante excused himself and left the room. Roberts stood waiting for him. “Harriet added some ice to make sure this stayed cold.”

“Thank you.” Dante took the small cooler bag and carried it back into the banquet room. Pieces of cake had been distributed, with one sitting in front of each place, including Bobby’s, taunting the poor kid. Dante moved the cake aside and opened the bag. Dante took out a bowl of Harriet’s homemade chocolate ice cream and set it at Bobby’s place. “Guaranteed gluten-free.”

“Thank you!” Bobby said and began to eat like he hadn’t just had dinner.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Blitz Tour for ‘In Over Our Heads’ by CJane Elliott (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  In Over Our Heads

Series: Stories from the Shore

Author: CJane Elliott

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date: October 16, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 67,000

Genre: Romance, Second Chances, Vacation

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Synopsis

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Excerpt

The door burst open, and Sophia sailed in with my morning cappuccino. She was humming under her breath and had that telltale postsex glow about her. I tried not to hate her too much.

“What’re you doing in here with me, doll? Don’t you have a sexy dive instructor to entertain?”

“She had to leave early.” Sophia handed me the mug. “She’s taking her group out on the ocean dive too, and she had to go to Back Bay to get the boat ready.”

I took a restorative sip of cappuccino. “Ahh. Well, I hope you didn’t tire her out too much last night. Or vice versa.” I winked at her, even though I didn’t feel very winky.

“Guilty on both our parts, I’m afraid.” Sophia smirked, then perched on the side of my bed. “Can we talk more about what’s going on with you and Walter?”

“Going on?” I blinked and buried my nose in the cup. “I mean, I told you guys last night. What more do you need to know?”

“Whatever it’ll take to help you and him figure yourselves out, because second chances like this don’t come around often.”

“God, not you too. You and Jonny need to start a group for incurable romantics.”

She straightened, her dark eyes snapping with intensity. “Caro! You’re the one who talks about destiny. This is your destiny!”

I sighed. She was so over the top sometimes. Must be her Italian blood. “Maybe my destiny is to be reminded to never let a guy walk over me the way Walter did.”

“I…. Look, Marco has a good point, and I agree with him that Walter needs to apologize. It was awful of him to drop out of sight. You so don’t deserve to be treated that way.”

“Right.” I put down my cup, having lost my taste for the cappuccino.

“But you two were barely out of high school. So young! People change. It certainly doesn’t seem in character with how he is now.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Well, I mean, Walter seems so conscientious and thoughtful. Yes, a little gruff, but not someone who would knowingly hurt you. But maybe… safety seems to be a huge concern to him. And maybe he couldn’t stand that you almost drowned, and he couldn’t face you after that? Did he ever explain it to you?”

“No. I begged him to tell me why, and all he would say is ‘I’m not good for you. I don’t want to hurt you anymore.’ I guess the safety thing is the most plausible explanation. Because other than that, it’s bizarre that he would walk away and throw away a great thing. We were….” I paused, hit by an unexpected wave of grief. “Damn it, Soph, we were really good together. Yes, we were young, but we complemented each other so well. Like, I brought him out of his shell, and he calmed me down. And he took me seriously. He listened to me in a way no one but Jonny ever had before.” My eyes betrayed me by welling up.

“Oh, Anthony. That’s lovely. I can tell he still does. Take you seriously, I mean. He hasn’t been able to stop staring at you the whole time we’ve been around him. It’s obvious he still cares.”

Sophia’s words threw little daggers at my silly heart. Jonathan had said essentially the same thing. If they both thought Walter still cared for me, maybe it was true. And God, if it was true, I was in deep waters. I knew I should stiffen my backbone and armor myself with outrage. But I couldn’t. Still hung up on Walter Elkins? Guilty as charged. Convicted. Lock me up and throw away the key, because I had no hope of rehabilitation. I put my face in my hands for a moment. What a hopeless sentimental fool!

Luckily for my humiliation factor, Marco came barging in with a brilliant grin. “All right, darlings! Today’s the day! Scuba diving or bust! Get ready for the adventure of your lives.” He stopped short and peered at me. “You okay?”

Pulling myself together, I returned his smile. “Fabulous, doll! Off to the reefs we go to swim with the fishies!”

 

Purchase

Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Celebrate the release of In Over Our Heads with a special sale: All the Way to Shore is on sale for 99 cents at Amazon through October 24 with that price matched at the Dreamspinner Press store October 16-24.

Meet the Author

After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.

CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories. In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.

CJane is the author of the award-winning Serpentine Series, New Adult contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Serpentine Walls was a 2014 Rainbow Awards finalist, Aidan’s Journey was a 2015 EPIC Awards finalist, and Sex, Love, and Videogames won first place in the New Adult category in the 2016 Swirl Awards and first place in Contemporary Fiction in the 2017 EPIC eBook Awards.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail | Dreamspinner | Amazon

 

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Kim Dias on Writing, Stories and her release ‘Breakfast at Midnight’ (guest post)

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Breakfast at Midnight by Kim Dias
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Release Date:
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Dias here today on her Breakfast at Midnight tour.  Welcome, Kim.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with the author of Breakfast at Midnight… Kim Dias

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I find this one of the hardest questions to answer because, well, I don’t really know! I definitely share traits with several of my characters, but when I’ve finished writing, I sometimes feel as though there’s more of my characters in me than there is of me in them. Which can make me feel a little bit crazy sometimes! When a character has a really strong voice, I’ll sometimes find myself talking in their voice rather than them talking in mine. It’s a good thing, I think. I’d rather have their voices come easily to me than struggle with them.

  • 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?

This happens more with characters than with plots. I’ll often have a character in my head for years and years before I find the right story for them. Shawn from my short story “How to Build a Shed” was one of those characters. He was in my head for ages before I managed to find the right story for him.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Do you mean choosing one over the other? Because I really can’t do that. It depends on the story. If the ending fits the story, I like it. I hate seeing a happy ending forced into a story, the same way I hate seeing sad endings forced into a story because a happy one didn’t seem artsy enough, I guess.

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

My two favourites are “How to Build a Shed” and “Two Captains”. I really love the storyline of “How to Build a Shed”; it takes me to such a happy place, and I love my characters in that one. As for “Two Captains”, well, I call it “my queer lady pirate story”, and I love it just for the fact that I can give it that description. It does important things for representation, I think, and I’m incredibly proud of it.

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

My current work station is pretty great—it’s just a desk set up in my bedroom, but its atmosphere is really conducive to getting work done. It’s also where I got the news about Breakfast at Midnight’s publication, so there are very fond memories associated with this desk.

But if I’m dreaming, I’d love a house on the beach with a study overlooking the ocean. A big desk. A whiteboard on the wall so I can scribble down my ideas when they’re overflowing from my head. Bookshelves absolutely filled with books. Someone to bring me cups of tea.

I have a hard time working when I’m surrounded by clutter. My desk is currently a mess and I’m struggling with everything. I need to set aside some time for cleaning because clutter at my work station seems to create clutter in my brain.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently at school. I’m majoring in writing at the University of Victoria in Canada. So there’s lots of writing, but it isn’t always the kind of writing I want to be doing. My current goal is to survive this semester, but I’m always playing with ideas for my own creative pursuits. Editing Breakfast at Midnight was such a rewarding, but exhausting experience that I haven’t ventured out into romance since we wrapped up, but I think it’s time. I want to write about people falling in love again. It’s my favourite thing to do.

About Breakfast at Midnight

Hope can be found in unexpected places.

Lonely, still struggling with his divorce, and suffering from writer’s block, successful thriller author Fred spends much more time in an all-night Denny’s than is healthy for any man. It’s the last place he thought he’d meet someone like Callum, who has literally run away from the internationally famous boy band Leos.

Despite their age difference, the two become friends, and their long nights of soul-searching might help them find the courage to face their problems: Fred’s deteriorating relationship with his daughter and Callum’s career issues. It’s easy for their lives to tangle together, and each might provide the other the means to move beyond the past—even if it’s not a journey they can take together.

About the Author

Kim Dias has been writing for years, but has been making up stories for what feels like forever. She writes love stories, preferably with a side of hot sex; Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Awards constantly inspire her to do better.

When not focused on her studies at the University of Victoria, Kim spends her time working on her novel, which she swears will one day be finished. She loves dogs, reading in front of fireplaces, and days spent in the sunshine. She believes whole-heartedly that stories can change the world.

You can find her online at kimdias.tumblr.com.