Erik Swill on Characters, Personal Experience and his story ‘Too Many Temples (World of Love)’ (guest blog)

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Too Many Temples (World of Love) by Erik Swill

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Available for Purchase at

Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Erik Swill here today on his Too Many Temples tour. Welcome, Erik, please tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest story.

✒︎

 

I am thrilled that my latest novella, Too Many Temples, is set to be published by Dreamspinner Press in June 2017. I’m also happy to have the opportunity to rant a little bit about myself here on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. And what better way to do so than to say just how dissimilar I am personally from the characters I write!

I have always found this curiosity on how much an author is like the characters they write to be odd. Usually characters are assumed to be manifestations of the author. Naturally, it is difficult for a writer to express him or herself without letting personal biases, prejudices and experiences flavoring the way we write. This applies even when creating a whole new world and a character that is supposed to be as far removed from ourselves as possible. After all, if the character is nothing like the author, then that means the act of penning this character used the author as the model in which to “other” it.

Many authors seem to be limited to creating characters that are based on themselves and follow a n event that happened in their life or someone close to them (or worse yet, something they saw on a Lifetime television movie and decided to give the story a queer twist to it). Some authors are good enough writers and have interesting enough lives that they can pull it off. Others less so.

I like to think that I have lived an interesting life as well! But I don’t like the idea of crafting a character based on something that happened in my life. I mean, I write fiction. Why shouldn’t I “make something up”??? I see that as a sort of standard for fiction writing anyhow. Write fiction, not your life story with different names for the characters.

Writing under other names, I have had readers (sometimes scarily so!) grill me to find out just how similar the protagonist and his actions are to my own life. I love it if readers enjoy the character I’ve written, but I never really understood the need to know how much it is based on my own life. In general, my stock reply is that the character is not based on me or anyone I know. I created them.

But … I also tend to write using settings and scenarios that I am familiar with. This is a blessing and a curse. Obviously, it reduces the amount of research I need to do if I already know the material and location(s) inside and out! But it also can be frustrating. If I do write a unique (read: crazy, off-the-wall, you’d-never-believe-it-if-you-didn’t-see-it) event into a story–something that I witnessed firsthand or something that happened to me–it runs the risk of being criticized for being unrealistic. A reviewer telling you that something that happened in your life that you inserted into your book isn’t realistic … when it DID actually happen like that in real life … well? [Throws slipper at laptop in outrage while cursing their ignorance] How else to respond?

But I digress. What I DO acknowledge is that my personal experiences very much so influence how I write my settings, scenarios and the characters’ reactions to the world around them. This is how I interpret the question “how much of you is written into your characters?”

I travel a lot. Sometimes because I have to but mostly because I can’t sit still for too long in one place. Call it a travel bug or some mental disorder–whatever it is, though, it works for me. Because when I travel, I am throwing myself into a set of scenarios that I would not otherwise come across. I’m pulled out of my comfort zone and need to consider how I would deal with the challenges that confront me. Later in retrospect, I can rethink my actions (or lack thereof) and reimagine how else I could have reacted in those situations if I were someone else … like one of my would-be characters. If one of those what-if scenarios sits well in my head, then a possible plot element is born or a potential character trait starts to develop.

Now I’m living in a country where I only speak a basic amount of the language. Ya, it’s still at a basic level from a complete lack of effort on my part. My bad. But while that limits me from some spheres, it also can lead to some pretty challenging situations. And that’s always good fodder for fiction. So while the specific turn of events or even content of the (failed) interaction are easily transferred to other cultural settings, the human element is very relevant. How did it make me feel when I really wanted low-fat vanilla almond milk in my coffee but the barista misunderstood what I had said and gave me low-fat regular milk instead? {Shock and horror] Still, that awkwardness in communicating across languages and/or cultures exists in so many different contexts. So I can, for example, apply my personal difficulty ordering food in one country and turn that into my protagonist’s frustration at trying to make a doctor’s appointment in another country where the protagonist and I have similar communication problems.

In my latest novella, Too Many Temples, the characters are from Australia and Bali (Indonesia), two countries that I do have a lot of experience in. They are also presented with the challenges of a potential long-distance relationship between two very different cultures–something else I have also had to deal with. Yet, the events in the novella are nothing at all like my experiences. Happily so at that!

All relationships have their problems. But when you add geographical, emotional, and cultural distance into the mix, it can get even more complicated. Especially when … oh, well maybe you will just have to read it to see how the characters handle this hook-up gone right, despite the mess it creates!

 Blurb

Looking to spice up his stagnant sex life in Brisbane, self-professed player Adrian takes a week-long vacation in Bali, anticipating sun, surf, and plenty of no-strings-attached hookups. He doesn’t expect his attraction to the tour guide, Ketut, to become an obsession. As he travels around the beautiful Island of the Gods, Adrian is startled that he might be falling in love after swearing off relationships for good.

When Ketut opens a window of opportunity for a real relationship in Queensland after the vacation ends, Adrian retreats into his life of commitment-free fun. Unable to forget about Ketut, though, Adrian strikes out to the rural Queensland town of Rockhampton to find the man of his desires—hoping he hasn’t lost the chance for true love.

 Excerpt

“The sea here is both beautiful and deadly. The color of the water and the temptation to walk out at low tide to the base of the temple… but when the tide comes in and you are left stranded out there, the currents are strong and poisonous sea snakes swim here in large numbers. It’s odd that something so beautiful can also be so deadly. Many people have died here.”

“So it is better to avoid it completely.”

Ketut thought for a moment before answering. “No, Adrian. That makes it all the more important to visit. That people have died to see something so beautiful, so holy, makes this even more special. Sometimes taking a risk can lead to a life-changing experience. Or at least one that you will never forget for the rest of your life. How long will you remember this moment, Adrian? Right here, right now?”

Adrian had been staring into Ketut’s striking eyes as he spoke. There was a depth to him that Adrian admired, something that he would never know based solely on their first encounter. For a moment, Adrian wondered how many of the guys who had served as one-off fucks for him over the years also had something more than a tight ass to offer him. But the thought was short-lived.

Ketut leaned in and pressed his lips lightly against Adrian’s, pulling back slightly after a brief kiss. Adrian refused to let go. He pushed his face forward to continue what Ketut had started. He wasn’t done. The moment was too immediate to settle for anything less.

About the Author

Erik Swill is a professional editor and a cheeky storyteller. He has spent half of his life living abroad and half of that time trying to convince friends that he is not an international fugitive or secret agent. He isn’t. Really. But it probably doesn’t help that he writes under several pseudonyms, moves house frequently, and rarely posts anything on his social media accounts. He has published short fiction in Gay Flash Fiction and erotica in the Nifty Archives. With his longtime partner, Swann O’Hara, he coauthored the novella Wild Goose. Erik likes to write contemporary fiction but will try any genre once. Because why not?

Twitter: @ErikSwill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Erik-Swill/100010350225984

Cover Reveal for The Rhubarb Patch by Deanna Wadsworth

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Title: The Rhubarb Patch
Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Release Date: July 24, 2017
City boy, sci-fi novelist, and recovering pushover Scott Howe doesn’t know what to expect when he inherits his grandmother’s house outside the quaint village of Gilead, Ohio—but it isn’t an enormous bald man in nothing but tighty-whities and orange rubber boots shouting at him to keep his weed wacker away from the rhubarb patch. 

Scott has never met anyone like Phineas Robertson: homesteader, recluse… Republican. A tender—if unlikely—friendship grows over the summer while Phin and his schnauzer, Sister Mary Katherine, teach Scott about life in the country and the grandmother he never knew. Opposites attract, but widower Phin worries his secret will send Scott running faster than his politics, and Phin isn’t convinced he deserves a second chance at romance.
Scott is convinced—rural life, and his one-of-a-kind, older neighbor, is the future he wants. Before he can settle in, his mother drops a bombshell that strains their already tenuous relationship, and a cousin who believes he is the rightful heir to the property puts Scott in danger. It’ll take a lot of compromises, and even dodging a few bullets before they’re out of the weeds, but nurturing something as special as true love always takes hard work.

 

Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. She has served multiple board positions at her local RWA chapter and is the current President 2017 for Rainbow Romance Writers of America. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.

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A Month Full of Pride. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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A Month Full of Pride

 

As we count the days down towards the end of June, we’ve have a wonderful month full of Pride.  And we have one last week to go.  Last week we announced the winners of our Pride Readers Best Coming Out Stories Giveaway.  This week we put together a list of all of those recommended stories.  Please feel free to add to it by commenting or let us know if we’ve left any out.  It’s always great to have a place to lookup those stories we love to read but can’t always remember their names.  We will have a place here to start looking up Rec Lists (coming soon).  Here is our Readers Best Coming Our Stories:

Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!

Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain
Ready For Love by Stella Starling
Falling Together by SK (Shelley) Grayson
#gaymers series by Annabeth Albert
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst
Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenberg
Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons

Josh Lanyon’s Death of A Pirate King
John Goode’s Tales from Foster High.
Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim
The Catch Trap-Marion Zimmer Bradley
Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

My Summer of Wes by Missy Welsh
There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Superhero by Eli Easton
Bad Boyfriend by KA Mitchell.
True Colors by Anyta Sunday
American Love Songs by Ashlyn Kane
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secret of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Unexpected Guest by Andy Eisenberg.
Boy Meets Boy” by David Levithan

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

 

We have one last week for everyone to enter into our Father’s Day giveaway.  Give us your best stories with families and children, gay dads and their kids…

~Pride Father’s Day Celebration Giveaway – Last Week~

Give us your best suggestions for books involving LGBTQIA families or LGBT people with children stories.  I just finished last week’s wonderful Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding, with firefighter Zander Brooks learning to cope with fatherhood as the parent of a bright, frightened 5 year old.  Terrific story.  And Dragon Home by Mell Eight with William, the foster parent of two growing dragons kits (a whole different set of parenting skills required there).  But I know there are soooo many out there!  Let’s start a list!

So for Father’s Day, what books melted your heart?  That had children, maybe puppies or kittens or both?  Amy Lane’s Promises series just jumps to my mind.  What comes into yours?  Ones that break your heart and then puts them back together again.  Stories you never forget because your heart won’t let them go….

Tell me which ones you love and let’s share our favorites.  A random reader who leaves a comment or readers (you never know here) will receive a $10 gift certificate.  Dreamspinner Press or Amazon, your choice.    Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Happy Pride Month.   Giveaway ends midnight June 30th.  Winners announced July 1st.

Sad Announcement

And now for some very sad news.  Author A.C. Katt has passed away suddenly.  Kris Jacen of MLR Press announced the news on her FB page.  Many of our reviewers here, including Paul who also passed away recently, loved her stories including her Werewolves of Manhattan series.  Here is more on the author:

AC Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels.

Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC writes GLBT andis to writing, a late bloomer, however, she’s found her niche writing GLBT romance. She currently writes for MLR Press, JMS Books, and Decadent Publishing.

She will be missed.  Our condolences go out to her family and friends.  Her stories will always be with us.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 25:

  • A Month Full of Pride.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 26:

  • DSP GUEST POST Erik Swill on Too Many Temples
  • Release Day Blitz Nate’s Last Tango by Kevin Klehr
  • A Lila Review: Waiting for You (Lifesworn #1) by Megan Derr
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Slim Chance by Jeff Erno
  • An Ali Release Day Review: Model Investigator (Haven Investigations #3) by Lissa Kasey
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale

Tuesday, June 27:

  • Blog Tour Moro’s Price by M. Crane Hana
  • Release Day Blast Regret by Christina Lee
  • Smitty’s Sheriff (Hope Collection) by Cardeno C. /Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Misdemeanor (Responsible Adult #1) by C.F. White
  • A MelanieM Review McShayne’s Dragon (McShayne’s Bloodline Book 1) by Nicole Dennis
  • An Ali Review: Windward (Mirror #2) by Kirby Crow /Meridian (Mirror #1) by Kirby Crow
  • An Alisa Review: The Sky at Night by Wayne Mansfield

Wednesday, June 28:

  • Audiobook Review Tour for See Me (Lightning Tales #3) by K.C. Wells
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Haven Francis on Riding with Brighton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: See Me (Lightning Tales #3) by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Texting, AutoCorrect, and a Prius by M.A. Church
  • An Alisa Review:  Incubus Touch (Polar Nights Book 1) by Siryn Sueng

Thursday, June 29:

  • DSP GUEST POST Jeff Erno on Slim Chance
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Oversight by Santino Hassell
  • A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: The Hawaiians 4: Hawaiian Ginger by Meg Amor
  • An Ali Review: His Pirate (Second Chance #2) by Stephanie Lake
  • An Alisa Review:  That Alien Feeling by Alessandra Hazard

Friday, June 30:

  • Blog Tour for  Different Dynamics by Tamir Drake
  • DSP GUEST POST Kate McMurray on What’s the Use of Wondering?
  • DSP GUEST POST Tray Ellis on Pyresnakes
  • Review Tour for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series Vol. 2
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Something’s Brewing at Joe’s by SJD Peterson
  • A MelanieM Review: Kingdom Volume 2 (Kingdom #2) by R.J. Scott
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  ​A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania) by TJ Klune

Saturday, July 1:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane

 

 

 

In the Spotlight: Sean Michael on The Dom’s Way (author interview and excerpt)

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The Dom’s Way (Iron Eagle Gym #5) by Sean Michael
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press: eBookand Paperback |

Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |Kobo  

 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today talking about books, writing and the latest in his Iron Eagle Gym series, The Dom’s Way.  Welcome, Sean.

✒︎

 

Thank you Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me today.

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

They live in my head, so there’s got to be some of me that goes into them. A lot of times there will be one or two little details about a character that comes from me. A favorite food, a habit, how they watch tv, that kind of thing.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I was, and still am, a huge sci-fi and fantasy fan. I tend not to write either of those. Maybe because that for me is entertainment? I don’t know, because I love writing and reading MM, too. Although, really, if asked I’d still say that sci-fi and fantasy are my favorite.

  • 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?

The more my characters hurt, the faster I write. Once I hit angst, I hate leaving them there and I write like a fiend until I get them through it.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I love HEA (and I’ll take HFN). Everyone deserves their happy ending. Besides, there’s so much terrible stuff in the world, it’s important to me that the books I write add happiness.

  • How do you choose your covers?

Each publisher is slightly different, but with Dreamspinner you fill out a form, and most of the time the artist manages to interpret what I’ve written down into a great cover. I’m especially pleased with the Iron Eagle Gym covers – they are all clearly a part of the same series.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I have just submitted the next Iron Eagle Gym book – The Eager Boy. This one features Robin and Stack who make appearances in The Dom’s Way.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb

Neal and Way from The Closet Boy are back, only now they’re Dom and sub, and exploring their relationship through the lifestyle. Way is eager to learn everything, and more in love with his master every day. For his part, Neal can’t believe how lucky he is to have found such an innocent but sensual boy.

As they learn what works best for them both, Way has trouble obeying some of the rules Neal imposes. Like the no touching himself rule. Neal wants Way to learn control, but Way, after so long holding back, has trouble not indulging. The two men must work together to find the balance that brings them each the most satisfaction and happiness.

Excerpt

Neal stopped him in the stairwell, tilted his chin, and took a kiss, tongue slipping into his mouth. “I love you. And I want to know how the plug feels inside you.”

“It’s really there. Like pressing on my hole. I’m worried it’ll fall out.”

“You have underwear and jeans to make sure that doesn’t happen. But I think you’ll keep it in under your own power.”

“I can’t believe we’re talking about this. This is where I work.” He wanted to curl into Neal and hide.

“Well, there’s no one around, and this isn’t just any place.” Neal hugged him tight. “Given what goes on here, I don’t think a little conversation about a plug is going to shock anyone.”

Way gave in to temptation and snuggled in. How on earth had he ended up here—on the run from parents who believed he was going to Hell for kissing a boy to working for a gym with a gay BDSM clientele?

He knew his parents would say he’d lost his way entirely, but he liked to think he’d gotten lucky.

About the Author

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Patron by C.B. Lewis

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Theodore Wentworth, who possesses little more than a sharp and well-educated mind, is trying to solicit a sponsor for his studies of Greek antiquity by performing recitations at gatherings of collectors. Desperate for luck and better skills in oratory, in jest, he places a coin at the feet of a statue of Hermes. It seems like coincidence when his fortune turns and a gentleman calling himself Alexander becomes his benefactor. Despite his friend John teasing him about it, Theodore continues to offer tokens to Hermes and sinks himself into his study of the classics.

Alexander encourages Theodore’s interest, prompting Theodore to face desires he tried to put aside years before. As Theodore embraces the knowledge, he must also resist his attraction to Alexander—knowing his feelings are a serious crime in Victorian England.

But the secret Alexander keeps will change everything in a love story for the ages, steeped in taboo, temptation, history, and myth.

Patron by C.B. Lewis was a terrific novelette!  I wasn’t expecting to be quite as captivated by Theodore and his mythological lover as I was.  Lewis weaves a tale of increasing mystery, personal exploration, faith and love set within Victorian England. The author lets us know that Theodore has an open mind and heart by giving him a friend (half Indian) that British society of those times looks down upon. John and his wife (a couple I was swift to take to heart) are Theodore’s best and perhaps only friends.  John even has knowledge of Theodore’s leanings (never acted upon really)  towards men instead of women.    Theodore’s life changes one evening when he lays a coin down at the feet of Hermes, wishing for luck and the best speech of his life during a gathering of great and influential men. Theodore emotes brilliantly.  And the story takes off.

Lewis does a beautiful job of capturing the details of 1860 England, right down to the boarding house where Theodore lives and the clothes he wears.  From the lower to upper levels, we get the entire picture (as much as you can skillfully lay down in 78 pages).  It’s a great atmosphere in which to bring out the wildly romantic mythic element.  It’s in keeping with the times, enraptured as they were with the classics and using Hermes instead of one of the other Greek gods was a usual choice but one I adored.

Little by little, we build up to the ending.  I thought it was exactly right.  But did I want more?  Yes, of course.  You will too.  Such a little gem, this is!

Patraon by C.B. Lewis is a quite, delightful read, especially for those who love the Greek classics, mythology and romance.  I highly recommend it.

Cover Artist: Blake Dorner.  Love, love this cover by Dorner.  Its perfect in every way.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 78 pages
Expected publication: June 21st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635335217
Edition LanguageEnglish

Pride Month Continues with Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories! This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Pride Month Continues with A Winner Announcement

 

June continues and so does Pride Month celebrations!  We have had some wonderful comments and book suggestions for Best Coming Out stories. I’m going to put them all into a list and have them up by the last Sunday this month. Here’s  some of the wonderful comments and recs we’ve had:

Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!

✒︎From H.B.:

“I’ve never been to a Pride event but it sounds like something fun and exciting to support.
My favorite stories that have characters coming out are:
Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain
Ready For Love by Stella Starling
Falling Together by SK (Shelley) Grayson
#gaymers series by Annabeth Albert
Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst
Patient Eyes by Andy Eisenberg

H.B. has several of my favorites there. Knight of Ocean Avenue by Tara Lain and the #gaymers series by Annabeth Albert.  H.B. also has some I’m going to have to look up. Yay!

✒︎From Didi:

“Happy Pride Month to everyone of queer spectrum. A few of coming out titles that stay in my head are Kaje Harper’s Life Lessons, Josh Lanyon’s Death of A Pirate King, also John Goode’s Tales from Foster High. On the first two titles the coming out might not be the main issue of the story, but it’s something that affected the character deeply and overall emotionally engaging to me.”

Didi hit all 3 of mine, including a favorite Josh Lanyon series!

✒︎Purple Reader came through with a book I haven’t read either (so my list grows). Here’s what he has to say:

“DC is one of my fav cities for a couple special reasons. I’m not from there, but on a trip 15 yrs ago that’s where I came out (so you could say that’s my fav coming out story :-); and on another trip that’s where I proposed to my husband. Oh my, a fav novel about coming out? So many, and as always I like to go for beyond the norm. So one fav is “Mysterious Skin.” With its coming of age there’s self-awareness/coming out to oneself as well as others, and it deals with tough issues, but that it all the more poignant.”

That’s Mysterious Skin by Scott Heim.  I’ve got a GR link included.

✒︎Suze294 also chimed in with an all time favorite of mine Sean Kennedy.

Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy! One day I plan to get to a Pride event – probably Manchester or Liverpool as closest”

✒︎Ardent Reader surprised me with one of the first m/m books I ever read on her lists (non fan fiction that is).  Here is Ardent Reader’s list:

“A few of my favorite stories that have coming themes are: My Summer of Wes– Missy Welsh, Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane, The Catch Trap-Marion Zimmer Bradley

Because of the great response, we are going to pick 2 winners this week!  They are Ardent EReader and waxapplelover!  Congratulations!  You both win a $10 Dreamspinner gift certificate.  Stella will be in touch with you both shortly.  The rest of the comments, recommendations and full list will be up next Sunday.

Now for this week’s giveaway to finish up Pride Month!

 

Pride Father’s Day Celebration Giveaway!

Give us your best suggestions for books involving LGBTQIA families or LGBT people with children stories.  I just finished last week’s wonderful Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding, with firefighter Zander Brooks learning to cope with fatherhood as the parent of a bright, frightened 5 year old.  Terrific story.  And Dragon Home by Mell Eight with William, the foster parent of two growing dragons kits (a whole different set of parenting skills required there).  But I know there are soooo many out there!  Let’s start a list!

So for Father’s Day, what books melted your heart?  That had children, maybe puppies or kittens or both?  Amy Lane’s Promises series just jumps to my mind.  What comes into yours?  Ones that break your heart and then puts them back together again.  Stories you never forget because your heart won’t let them go….

Tell me which ones you love and let’s share our favorites.  A random reader who leaves a comment or readers (you never know here) will receive a $10 gift certificate.  Dreamspinner Press or Amazon, your choice.    Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Happy Pride Month.   Giveaway ends midnight June 30th.  Winners announced July 1st.

 

 

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 18:

  • Pride Month Continues with Readers Recommended Best Coming Out Stories!
    Winner Announcement.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 19:

  • Release Day Blitz for Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes by Kevin Klehr
  • Review Tour: The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Love Wanted by John Inman
  • A MelanieM Release Week Review: The Great North (A Legendary Love Book 1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
  • A MelanieM Review: Better Than Suicide (The Yakuza Path #2) by Amy Tasukada
  • An Alisa Review: Chasing His Cottontail (Hoppity Shifter #1) by A.R. Barley

Tuesday, June 20:

  • In the Spotlight: Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt (Riptide Publishing Tour & Giveaway)
  • Blog Tour for Sum of the Whole by Brenda Murphy
  • A MelanieM Review: The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2) by Josh Lanyon
  • A VVivacious Review:  Reckless Passion (Reckless #3) by Amanda Young
  • AN Alisa Review:  Romancing the Bouncer by J.D. Walker
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Deep of the Sound (Bluewater Bay #8) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Wednesday, June 21:

  • Review Tour for Enlightenment Series by Joanna Chambers
  • Blog Tour for Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov
  • Blog Tour for Queer Magick by L.C. Davis
  • A Caryn Review: Beguiled  (Enlightenment Series #2) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Caryn Review: Provoked (Enlightenment Series #1) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Caryn Review: Enlightened  (Enlightenment Series #3) by Joanna Chambers
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Patron by C.B. Lewis

Thursday, June 22:

  • DSP guest blog SA Stovall on Vice City
  • Release Day Blitz for A Way with Words by Lane Hayes
  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael on The Dom’s Way
  • A MelanieM Review: Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon
  • A VVivacious Review: Sex in C Major by  Matthew J. Metzger
  • An Alisa Review: Forest of Thorns and Claws by JT Hall
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Interborough (A Five Boroughs Story) by Santino Hassell and Michael Ferraiuolo (Narrator)

Friday, June 23:

  • Blog Tour for  Kevin Corrigan and Me by Jeré M. Fishback
  • Release Blitz for RJ Scott’s Kingdom Series Vol 2
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Kind of Home (A Kind of Stories #4) by Lane Hayes
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: The Dom’s Way (Iron Eagle Gym #5) by Sean Michael
  • A MelanieM Review:Kingdom Series Vol 1 by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Review: Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon
  • An Ali Review: Mai Tais and Murder by J.C.Long

Saturday, June 24:

  • Release Blitz  for  Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles
  • A MelanieM Review: Scrap (The Bristol Collection #3) by Josephine Myles

 

 

 

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London is everything I look for in a contemporary romance and more.  Beautifully written, great characters, fantastic storytelling! I fell completely in love with every aspect of Clare London’s tale, from the characters to the location (especially the location) to the plot.  This is one of those stories I just wanted to add on a star or plus sign because the characters touched me so.

Told from both Perry and  Greg’s povs, the blurb doesn’t give the reader any idea of the bad situation Perry is in when given the assignment by his boss to track down the estranged brother of a popular “pop/media” family to bring him back into the fold for a TV reality show.  Perry is in a bad situation at home, due to an ex-boyfriend and the stress at work, the family is a challenge to work with and the place he must travel to?  An unknown factor to Perry.

Greg Ventura left family, his brothers and their bullying behind, preferring life on the isolated isle of North Uist.  There he’s made a life without tvs or media and even phone for the most part.  So it’s not surprising he’s unaware of the arrival on the island of one Perry Goodwood, there to bring him home and make him over.  But Perry’s arrived under the worst conditions, Greg’s not only what he not expected but he’s refusing all offers and Perry’s stuck.  It’s such a engaging situation and London makes it magical.

North Uist is a featured  player here along with all its inhabitants and local charm.  It pulls the reader in as thoroughly as it did Greg and it does Perry,  the landscape’s harsh beauty combining with the warm-hearted, enveloping nature of the villagers and the isolation provide a enchantment that serves as a solid foundation for story and romance.  I wanted to find a plane, then a ferry, and then immerse myself in life here as well.  It’s as real to me as anywhere I’ve ever visited and the pull here feels true.

With North Uist as the background, having two main characters such as Perry and Grey, well, the story becomes irresistible imo.  Greg has been so wounded by his family, his brothers specifically.  Constantly belittled and bullied, made to feel ugly and not wanted, that mindset became a permanent part of his emotional and mental state.  He’s withdrawn to the island, almost hiding thinking himself unworthy in so many ways, unable to see himself as others do.  That he has friends who look after him, trying to pull him into the meager social life of the isle is testament that they see him far more clearly than he sees himself.  Greg is a wonderfully constructed character and watching the layers peel away here is a true joy of this story.

Perry also is a bundle of pleasing depth.  Interested about everything, outgoing, he finds himself embracing the island and its people to his surprise.  And Greg too.  From Greg’s introduction (and his stone cottage and his dog) to Perry, we are both completely lost in their relationship.  Perry is intelligent, charming and perceptive.  He’s a great match for Greg, and for the island itself.  He  just has to figure that out.

But it’s not just the main characters, it’s all the other people you meet here.  From Bridie, Greg’s friend, Greg’s dog Rory, the people at the pub, Marty who gets the fresh scallops and so many others, you’ll feel like you’ve known these people for a lifetime.  You get tangled up in the lives of island, how it’s lived…how they share it together. It’s a strength here as well as the fear from the parents that all the young people will be lost to the mainland.  I don’t know…I just can’t say enough about this entire story.

Yes, I can.  I didn’t want it to end.  I could have happily stayed there, watching these men live out their lives among friends.  I wanted to see that too.  Leaving that place left me sort of heartbroken.  I wasn’t ready.  But I was so happy to have read it in the first place.  You will be too.  I’m putting Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Romancing the… #2) by Clare London on my highly recommended list.  Don’t miss this one!

Cover art by Bree Archer is perfect with the island in the back and Perry in the front.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:

ebook, Dreamspun Desires #36, 260 pages
Expected publication: June 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleRomancing the Ugly Duckling
ISBN139781635333879
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Romancing the… #2 settingScotland

An Alisa Audiobook Review: Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires #30) by B.A. Tortuga and Dorian Bane (Narrator)

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

A little bundle of joy means big changes.

 

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

 

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

 

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

 

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

 

This was essentially a sweet story the biggest problem is that these two don’t know how to communicate, at all.  They have been completely oblivious to each other for years with Hoss actually thinking his best friend really hates him to being gay but still letting him live on his property and spending time together.  Huh?  That just confused me even more.

 

I could see Hoss’s confusion when it came to the baby showing up on his porch, I mean really who would expect a man with no experience with children to suddenly be willing and able to be the care giver to a baby that showed up on his porch?  He and Bradley work well together taking care are the baby and starting to show each other how they feel when they are thrown another curve ball.  And Bradley does what he did in high school, basically runs away to protect himself.  I was glad that they were able to work things out but up until the very end both of them were so unsure of their relationship I had trouble really connecting with them.

 

Dorian Bane did a nice job narrating this story.  I was able to keep track of the story and characters which is always nice.  I enjoyed the different voice he used and he portrayed their emotions and personalities well.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is nice and follows the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

 

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 51min
Published April 25, 2017 (ebook first published March 15, 2017) by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Series: Dreamspun Desires

BA Tortuga on Casts (Cats?) of Thousands and her release ‘What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary #2)’ (author guest post)

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What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary #2) by B.A. Tortuga
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have B.A. Tortuga back again talking about her latest story,What the Cat Dragged In (Sanctuary #2). Welcome, B.A.!

✒︎

Casts (Cats?) of Thousands by B.A. Tortuga

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of stories.

I had a reader ask me why there were so many people in my stories and, I have to tell y’all. I’m one child of ten. My daddy is one of seven. Moma Sue is one of six. My stepmom? One of fourteen. Stepdad? One five.

Small families aren’t my expertise.

Not only that, but I come from people that collect folks. We are happy to bring people into the fold and adopt them as our own. I have ‘family’ in Canada, in New Jersey, California, Colorado, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania… I grew up like that, and I don’t know another way.

It’s sort of like being part of this huge weird pack of choice. I have dozens of kids that know me as Auntie Pooh, tons of support when I need it, and an endless supply of people to pray for. 😉

You know that’s how it works, right? The more people, the more chances of drama and strangeness, especially from the rednecky side of the fence (and believe me, I have a shitload of folks on the rednecky side of the fence. You ever known someone that broke his neck playing redneck polo? No? I have.)

My universe is populated by huge families and casts of thousands, because I love being surrounded by family with all their bumps and scars and weirdnesses and love, because in the end, that’s what we’re all about right? The love?

Even if they make you a little bit nutso?

Much love, y’all.

BA

Blurb

A Sanctuary Novel

Don’t people know that cats and dogs don’t mix?

Connor Ragbone finds things. Sometimes it’s gold, sometimes jewels, sometimes people. Set in his hippie ways, he never thought he’d find a pack, but with Sam and Gus and their goofy shifter family, he fits right in. Then he finds Brock.

Shifter Brock Herman is undercover alone, working to break up a poaching ring. The last thing he needs is for Connor to wreck his sting. And now the crazy bobcat just won’t go away!

The poachers lead Brock and Connor on a merry chase all over Western Colorado, looking for shifter bears, but it’s a lost pup who brings them back to Nevada and the pack Sam and Gus are building. That’s when Brock has to decide whether he still travels alone or if Connor and his crazy family are where his heart belongs.

This follow-up to Just Like Cats and Dogs is a feel-good shifter romance novel where cats and dogs prove they can be way more than the enemies nature has made them.

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

Release Blitz and Review Tour for Clare London’s Romancing The Ugly Duckling (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 63,000 words
 
 
 
Blurb

 

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?


Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.


Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.


Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Excerpt

After the meal, they settled in the living room again. Greg poured himself a glass of what he introduced as his homemade wine, but Perry politely declined a glass for himself. He couldn’t recall any decent wine he’d ever drunk being that particular shade of purple. He was definitely making a mental shopping list for when he could find somewhere civilized, and gin and tonic would come several steps above couscous on that.

Greg picked up a book and started reading. Perry waited a while—after deciding against asking what they could watch on the miniscule TV in the corner of the living room, with obvious dust settling on the controls—then coughed to get Greg’s attention. “Where do you need me tomorrow?”

Greg peered at him over the book. “What are you talking about?”

“Working together, remember? Um. What exactly do you do, apart from painting?”

Greg’s look was possibly sly, but that could have been due to the waning light outside the cottage.

“Sometimes I work in the Sea Bird restaurant.”

Perry thought he remembered seeing a sign to that place on his journey here in Dougie’s car. The building itself had been very small, more like a tea room, with a single light on in the front porch, and it didn’t look very open for business. But he’d go with the flow. “Are you a chef?”

Greg laughed. He seemed more relaxed tonight. “No, I think you’ve realized my cooking skills aren’t the best. And it’s not really big enough for a chef and full kitchen staff. I mean, it wouldn’t meet your London standards.”

“That has nothing to do with anything.”

“What?”

“My London… standards, experience, whatever you want to call it. I’m in Uist now, and I want to know what you do here.”

Greg was looking at him oddly. Was he, Perry, coming across as too bossy? God, this man was impossible to gauge properly.

“It’s more of a large dining room where friends can hang out.” Greg still sounded reasonably relaxed. “It’s owned by a couple of elderly sisters who are marvelous cooks, and we sometimes hire it out for a celebration. We’re not big on dinner parties here, you can imagine. I help out with serving when it’s busy. But mainly I provide the fish dishes, especially scallops.”

“You’re a fisherman?”

Greg nodded slowly, his gaze still on Perry. “Yes, you could say that. I’m a diver. I dive for scallops.”

“Can’t you just… I don’t know.” Buy them in a shop? “Don’t they have official suppliers?”

Greg frowned. “Hand-collected scallops are better. The sweeter ones are chosen, and the dish is more precious. Haven’t you ever tasted the difference?”

It pained Perry to admit weakness, but he did. “I’ve never had scallops in my life.”

Greg’s eyes narrowed. “I thought you lived in the center of the sophisticated city?”

“We can’t all afford posh restaurants,” Perry snapped back, then blushed at—yet again—having to admit shortcoming.

“Oh.” Greg blinked. “Well, you’ll see them in the raw when you come out in the boat tomorrow with me.”

“When I…? Tomorrow…? Boat?”

Greg smiled slowly. “Yes. The weather should be fine, so I’m driving west past Lochmaddy to one of my favorite coastal seawater lochs. I’ll pack some provisions so we can eat lunch there. You can help carry the equipment, then collect the scallops into boxes and keep watch for me.”

“We… I….” Perry was struggling for words. Worse, Greg seemed to realize it and find it highly amusing. “I’ve never been in one.”

“One what?”

“Boat. I’ve never been in a boat. Well, until the ferry two days ago.”

Greg nodded, also slowly. “That’s fine. You can stay here if you want.”

“No!” Perry’s cry was instinctive. Did this brute of a bloke think he, Perry, was a lightweight? “I will not! We made a deal.”

“Okay. Well, I hope Bridie brought a selection of decent waterproofs as well as your day clothes, because you’ll need them.”

“You said the weather should be fine….”

“Just in case,” Greg said ominously. He concentrated back on his book.

Perry sat silently for a long moment. In fact, everything was silent, inside the cottage and out, apart from the occasional call from a bird, and Greg turning a page. Perry wasn’t used to such quiet. Nor was he used to living in close quarters with a man who barely tolerated him, and actually wanted him to get lost. There was a small pile of paperbacks on the table beside Greg’s armchair, and Perry picked one up. He also wasn’t used to reading anthologies of horror stories, his preference being for romantic comedies and the occasional biography—but he supposed there was always a first time. Opening it to the first chapter, he bit back a sigh. At least he’d won this stage of the battle with Greg Ventura, and he had more time to convince him about the TV project.

But thinking about the trip out onto a likely freezing Scottish loch tomorrow, he wasn’t sure whether the price would be too much to pay.

Author Bio


Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.


She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.


Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.