An Alisa Release Day Review: Mischief Maker (Animal Lark #1) by Andi Lee

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

What to expect when your pet rat is expecting, or how to fall in love at a pet show.

Jamie Hewett rescues and breeds prize-winning fancy rats. While he’s surrounded by supportive, animal-loving friends, his ex-boyfriend has never been one of them. One embarrassing breakup later, he definitely isn’t looking for love again, but perhaps a rebound relationship might ease his broken heart.

Liam Donnelly’s quirky dating life is the subject of a popular vlog, and his viewers have interesting ideas on where he might find romance. When they suggest he take Mabel, his new rat, to a pet show, he’s up for the adventure.

Although they can’t deny their growing interest in each other, neither Jamie nor Liam believes in love at first sight. They’ve both had bad luck with men, and Jamie isn’t pleased that Liam makes a living as a serial dater. On top of that, others are conspiring to keep them apart, and Jamie is left holding the baby—or twenty-plus babies—when their fur children have no trouble making a connection. Will a YouTube ukulele serenade convince Liam that Jamie’s love for him—and their unborn rat children—is for real?

Liam doesn’t do relationships, one and done, that seems to be his MO and then also putting those disasters on YouTube.  He wants his plus one for a wedding and that means a real relationship, trying a fake one seems best to him and to help Jamie get over his ex but it quickly becomes much more.  Jamie is such a sweetheart and can be just a bit blind to what is actually going on around him.

Once Jamie accepts Liam’s proposal and they art to hang out for the most part everything between them goes smoothly.  I had more trouble with Jamie’s ex than I probably should have but seriously they had apparently all been friends for years you don’t go and cheat with another person in the friend group and then pout and throw tantrums when people are upset with you and you don’t get your way, it just proves that you were never good friends to begin with.  And the pettiness of trying to get back at Jamie because you seem to have lost your friends was just childish.

Though both of these two seems to have a problem with not getting their way they were likeable guys.  I think Liam has spent so much time only letting people see what he wants them to see it’s hard to actually open up and let people in but he lets Jamie in far more than he ever planned at the beginning.  I got a bit ticked at Jamie for only being concerned about himself when Liam’s rats got pregnant but he seems to have mostly redeemed himself in the end.  I want to see who the next couple could be as there are a few choices just going by the friends in the book.

I really like the cover art by Reece Notley and the cute visual of Liam with Mable.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 196 pages

Published: August 13, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-421-5

Edition Language: English

Series: Animal Lark #1

Elyse Springer on Antarctic Animals (aka Penguins!) and her latest release ‘World Turned Upside Down’

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World Turned Upside Down by Elyse Springer

Dreamspinner Press
Published August 9th 2019
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Purchase Links:

Dreamspinner Press |  Kobo iTunes |  Amazon |   Barnes & Noble | Google Play |

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Elyse Springer here today with a wonderful guest blog on the animals of Antartica and her new release World Turned Upside Down. Welcome, Elyse!

✒︎

World Turned Upside Down, by Elyse Springer

Antarctic Animals (aka Penguins!)

Welcome to the blog tour for World Turned Upside Down, my M/M romance novella set at the bottom of the world… Antarctica!

After spending three years living and working in Antarctica, the number one question I get from people is, “Are there any polar bears down there?”

So time to clear up a few things on one of my favorite topics: what animal life can you find in Antarctica?

Polar Bears: NOPE! Polar bears are a North Pole thing only.

Penguins: YES! Antarctica is home to several different species of penguins, though most often at McMurdo you’ll find Emperor Penguins and my all-time favorites, the Adelie penguin. Check out these molting cuties!

 

 

Birds: Surprisingly enough, yes. While various sea birds do make the voyage across the southern oceans to Antarctica, the massive (and cunning) Skua is the most common sight in McMurdo. Think giant brown dinosaur bird that is smart enough to steal your lunch right out of your hands…

Here’s a great YouTube video (not by me) showing a fearless skua trying to find some baby penguin for dinner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH537AZoDtU

 

Mammals: Other than humans, the only mammals you’ll find in Antarctica are whales, seals and dolphins. Orcas and Minke whales are common during the summer months, when the sea ice breaks up. Leopard and Waddell seals can be found sunbathing on the ice shelf or nearby rocks, like this sleepy happy guy:

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Fish: The oceans around Antarctica are teeming with a variety of fascinating fish species, a fact I think will shock many. In fact, researchers come to McMurdo every year to study the various fish, shrimp, and other ocean creatures that live in the frigid waters… and often beneath a thick layer of ice for much of the year.

 

 

 

 

People are surprised to learn that Antarctica is teeming with life, despite the bitter cold. Unfortunately, come winter these animals migrate to warmer waters, which means Simon and Asher don’t get a chance to experience this rich wildlife. But it’s an important part of Antarctica, and the reason for a lot of the scientific research on the continent!

Summary:

After three winters in Antarctica, Simon Bancroft is an old hand on the ice. The harsh weather and extreme isolation aren’t for everyone, but he enjoys the tight-knit community at McMurdo Station… and lately he’s enjoyed watching the hot new researcher, Asher Delaney, who’s recently arrived to study the aurora. But Simon’s just a janitor. Asher doesn’t even know he exists.

When Simon’s friends propose a wager, he gets a chance to introduce himself to Asher at last. But Asher defies all of Simon’s assumptions, and suddenly he finds himself reevaluating everything he thought he knew about Asher, himself, and falling in love at the bottom of the world.

Giveaway:

 

To celebrate the release of World Turned Upside Down, I’m giving away a t-shirt from McMurdo Station, Antarctica (yes, actually purchased in Antarctica!) and an e-copy of WTUD in the format of your choice. Two additional winners will also receive an e-copy of World Turned Upside Down in the format of their choice, or an e-copy of any book from my backlist.

Link to Giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1d4f97ea1/?

Contest is open to anyone worldwide over age 18. Closes 8/21 at 11:59 PM EST.

About the Author:

Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQIA+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, Elyse spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.

You can find Elyse online at:

Website: http://elspringer.com

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

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

Amy Lane on The Least Important Puppy and her new release Paint It Black (Beneath the Stain #2) ~ author guest blog

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Dreamspinner Press
Publication: August 13th 2019
Cover Art:

 Sales Links 
Buy at Amazon 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Amy Lane here again, talking about the latest story in her Beneath the Stain series, Paint it Black. Welcome, Amy!

 

The Least Important Puppy

By Amy Lane

As we read Beneath the Stain, we get the feeling that Cheever is an entitled punk, a user, a grabber, someone who doesn’t recognize what sacrifices his brothers have made for him and takes advantage of what he’s handed.

As we read through Paint it Black, and see Cheever as a young adolescent, miserably bullied, assaulted, alone, we start to see him as the least important puppy in a pack of over the top extroverts.

Both things are true.

Neither of them are true.

Perspective is like that.

Cheever was the center of the older boys’ being. The sent money to him, they worried about his schooling—they worked their asses off so Cheever didn’t have to go through school like they had, bullied and angry. But in order to do that, they had to leave Cheever and his mother and go on the road.

And even if a kid gets the logic of how that happens, he’s not going to feel that in his heart.

By the time we catch up with Cheever in Paint it Black, eight years have gone by—and the brothers have tried to make amends. They’ve taken care of all Cheever’s material needs, and they offer, month after month, year after year, olive branches to him to try to welcome him into their fold. They have bonded after years in the band, years on the road together, even their years in poverty when Cheever was still a little kid—and they’re looking at their little brother helplessly, thinking they have nothing in common.

Cheever is looking at them helplessly, thinking all the awful things he went through are so awful, they wouldn’t love him if they knew.

And we, the reader, realize that if Cheever can only tell them, he’ll realize that his brothers, who love him, are the perfect people to understand.

And that Blake Manning, who has fallen in love with him, will get it better than most.

And that’s the painful beauty of giving multiple perspectives of the same story. Because nobody’s a villain. Everybody is just doing their human best. We know that when Mackey and the others left, they were in rock and roll hell. We know that Cheever was all alone and drowning.

They think the other one had it best.

It’s our job to reconcile the perspectives, to suss out the truth in the different experiences. And when we do that, we realize that there are no least important puppies in family. Just lost brothers who need to be welcomed back to the fold.

Blurb
 

A Beneath the Stain Novel

Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders’s Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can’t wait to make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.

Blake Manning has been one of Outbreak Monkey’s lead guitarists for ten years. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So hearing that Cheever is blowing through Outbreak Monkey’s hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.

Blake shows up at Cheever’s nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. Childhood abuse and a suicide attempt left Cheever on the edge of survival—a place Blake knows all too well.

Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?

 
 
About the Author
 

Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. She’s been nominated for a RITA twice, has won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
 
 

Check Out the Review Tour and Giveaway for Jay Hogan’s Digging Deep

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Length: 340 pages
 
 
Cover Design: Kanaxa
 
Blurb
 

A Digging Deep Story


Drake Park has a complicated life. As a gay male midwife, he’s used to raising eyebrows. Add Crohn’s disease and things get interesting—or not, considering the sad state of his love life. Experience has taught Drake that most men are fair-weather sailors when it comes to handling his condition—gone for dust when things get rough. Staying healthy is a full-time job without adding in any heartbreak, so a little loneliness is a small price to pay. If he says it often enough he might even believe it. One thing for sure, the cop who arrested him isn’t about to change that.


Caleb Ashton does not have a complicated life. A senior detective with the Whangarei Police Department, he likes his job and is good at it. He works hard and plays hard, happy to enjoy as many men as he can while he’s still young enough—or at least he was. These days he feels adrift for the first time in his life, and the only thing sparking his interest—a certain prickly young midwife.


But can Drake find enough faith to risk opening his heart again? And does Caleb have what it takes to cope with the challenges Drake’s condition presents?

 

Jay Hogan is a New Zealand author writing in m/m romance, romantic suspense and fantasy. She has travelled extensively and has lived in quite a few countries. She has a BA degree in Nursing and in Theology, and in another life, she was an Intensive Care Nurse, Counselor, and a Lecturer.


She is a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). She loves to cook- pretty damn good, loves to sing – pretty damn average, and as for loving full-time writing -absolutely… depending of course on the day, the word count, the deadline, how obliging her characters are, the ambient temperature in the Western Sahara, whether Jupiter is rising, the size of the ozone hole over New Zealand and how much coffee she’s had.


She has complex boys telling stories in her head that demand attention and a considerable number of words to go with them. Their journeys are never straightforward and even surprise Jay. She does her best to plot things out ahead of time but those pesky characters seem to have a mind of their own. Go figure.


You can find Jay at:
https://www.facebook.com/JayHoganAuthor
https://twitter.com/jayhoganauthor
jayhoganauthor@gmail.com

Giveaway

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Qualifications of a Perfect Romance Novel Continues and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Qualifications of a Perfect Romance Novel Continues

Thoughts on what makes the perfect romance novel continues into this Sunday with some of our readers chiming in on favorite books and their own romance book qualifications.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it myself this last week, mentally shuffling over titles and thinking about what made them so powerful and so lasting…

One thing, one factor that appears and vanishes like a will o’ the wisp from story to story is, oddly enough, humor.  Some are bereft of it.  There is no levity to be found in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, two stories that left a great impact on me to the point I can quote sentences and passages from each of them.  Pride and the Prejudice by Jane Austen?  Or Sense and Sensibility?  What humor there is is gentle or should that be upper class?

But I have also read romances that have left me crying with laughter, lighthearted and filled with love for the story and couple.  See Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston for the most recent story.  Or going back?  Arabella by Georgette Heyer (or anything by Georgette Heyer (M/F Regency Romance).  Amy Lane’s series often veer from the hilarious to the angst full on a dime, breaking our hearts in the bargain.  Don’t get me started on one of my favorite series of hers, The Granby Knitting Series.  There are the wonderful historic romances of WWI of Charlie Cochrane and her inestimable Orlando Coppersmith and Jonty Stewart in her Cambridge Fellows series that spans decades in a relationship and major changes in England and the world around it.  This series has a deep, abiding place in my heart.

So it begs the question …to humor or not to humor?  Should that be a element in a great romance novel?  Let’s continue to chime in….

And now let’s hear from one of our readers:

H.B. :

I agree with the assessment of whether you can have a great story was too much story and no or not enough sex scenes. Sometimes a story just doesn’t need it to get the idea of intimacy and love across.

I think everyone had one or more books that have stuck with them over the years. I’ve been reading romance for a long time and have plenty that i can still recall the story of without going back and rereading it and still love today.

M/F:
Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard
Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown
A Man to Call My Own by Johanna Lindsey
Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Violet by Lauren Royal

Fantasy:
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Nine Kingdom series by Lynn Kurland

SCI-FI:
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

LGBT:
Kirith Kirin by Jim Grimsley
Valdemar: Last Herald-Mage series by Mercedes Lackey
All for the Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic
Dreams of Fire and Gods series by James Erich (YA)
Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux (and Madeleine Urban)
Chronicles of Ylandre by Eresse
A Simple Romance by J.H. Knight
Cethe by Becca Abbott
He Speaks Dead by Adrienne Wilder
Mercury’s Orbit by Lia Black
The Men of Halfway House series by Jaime Reese
all of Anyta Sunday books…

I can name so much more but the list keeps on going.

 

Thanks, HB, and let’s keep the conversation going….what books do you have on your list?  I gave you just a sampling of mine. More to come.  Meanwhile, here is our schedule for this week. Check it out and happy reading and listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 11:

  • Qualifications of a Perfect Romance Novel Continues
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 12:

  • Review Tour – Jay Hogan’s Digging Deep
  • Release Blitz – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell – Kaden (Boyfriend for Hire )
  • PROMO Amy Lane
  • A Stella Review : Digging Deep by  Jay Hogan
  • An Alisa Review: Anticipating Disaster (Anticipation #1) by Silvia Violet
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ignite (Unbreakable Bonds #7) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Tuesday, August 13:

  • RELEASE BLITZ – Wanderlust by Quin Perin
  • Release Blitz – After The Final Curtain – TL Travis
  • New Release & Tour: Here Comes the Son by Dahlia  Donovan
  • Guest Post and Tour – Elyse Springer World Turned Upside Down
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Mischief Maker (Animal Lark #1) by Andi Lee
  • A VVivacious Prerelease Review: Nemesis (Alpha Unit One #2) by Chris T. Kat
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Out in the Field (Out in College #4) by Lane Hayes and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

Wednesday, August 14:

  • BLITZ Stray by Nancy J. Hedin
  • PROMO Andi Lee on Mischief Maker (Animal Lark #1)
  • Release Blitz  – Repeat Offence by Jackie Keswick
  • BLOG TOUR Out of the Office by Louisa Masters
  • An Alisa Review: Relationship Material by Jenya Keefe
  • A Vivacious Review Repeat Offence by Jackie Keswick
  • An Alisa Review Anticipating Rejection (Anticipation #2) by Silvia Violet

Thursday, August 15:

  • Cover Reveal for V.L. Locey ‘s The Good Green Earth
  • Book Blitz – – Jesus Kidj by Kayleigh Sky
  • Blog Post – Jay Hogan on Digging Deep
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: The Exile Prince (The Castaway Prince #2) by Isabelle Adler
  • A Lila Audio Review: Cash Plays (Seven of Spades #3) by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • AN Alisa Review: Mad About the Boy by Beth Laycock

Friday, August 17:

  • Blog Tour Heart Strain by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee
  • “The Stones of Power” series by M.D. Grimm Tour
  • A MelanieM Review:Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale
  • A Stella Review Release Day Review: Nemesis (Alpha Unit One #2) by Chris T. Kat
  • An Alisa Review Anticipating Temptation (Anticipation #3) by Silvia Violet

Saturday, August 18:

A MelanieM Review: The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe

 

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: World Turned Upside Down by Elyse Springer

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 Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Set at the McMurdo station in Antarctica, this story is told through the first person POV of a janitor named Simon. It follows his crush on Asher, a new researcher. With them stuck there for four months to over winter, Simon is afraid of rejection and making it awkward in an enclosed space where they can’t avoid each other, even if they want to. What starts out as a harmless bet, made in jest to get Simon to talk to Asher, ends up being the albatross around his neck as his thoughts change from lust to care. Sweet, shy, and awkward, Asher is not who Simon thought he was. Simon seems to suffer from low self-esteem and has no interest in a real relationship. Fantasies aren’t usually the same as reality, and Simon has to navigate what he thought he wanted vs. what he actually wants.

I understand just wanting to play the field, not wanting to get serious. I don’t understand Simon’s panic at the thought of a relationship; by the time he changes his mind…he has hurt Asher by not realizing he was already in one. Part of what happens is his fault for not communicating to Miranda and Oli that his feelings about Asher had changed, but it was none of their business and he didn’t really owe them an explanation. In fact, they are more acquaintances than friends. They’re not malicious, but they are self absorbed about their own amusement and thoughtless in their actions throughout the book.

Though this is enjoyable, there isn’t much detail. The Aurora is colorful and pretty. It’s cold and there is much ice. Simon is never really described even when he is looking in the mirror so all I know is he has: a flat stomach; a round butt; his bangs to the side; and a smaller physique than Asher. Several months pass and not much happens. The sex scenes start slow and build up as their intimacy increases; these are the best described scenes in the book. Overall, I think they make a cute couple because Asher is actually a nice guy. Who wouldn’t want to date him?

The cover is by Brooke Albrecht (http://brookealbrechtstudio.com). I assume the cover is Asher, who is described as a fit, tall man with blond hair that goes darker down his face and green eyes. I think the cover is very striking and matches the story well.

Sales Links:  Amazon | Kobo | GooglePlay | Apple Books

Book Details:

ebook, 105 pages
Expected publication: August 9th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781644054277
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: A Pocketful of Stardust (Aster #1) by J.P. Barnaby and Rowan Speedwell

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RATING 3,25 out of 5 stars

Noah Hitchens loves the New York City life he worked hard to build. But when his father dies and leaves him a bankrupt bookstore in their sleepy Georgia hometown, Noah knows he has to save it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anything about business. He finds unlikely help in Henry, the man who owned Stardust Books before his 1966 murder, and Kyle St. James, a shy but kind-hearted out-of-towner with a past almost as mysterious as Henry’s.


Kyle came to Aster, Georgia, looking for redemption. On the run and out of hope, he’s just trying to get on with his life. Then he meets Noah, a ghost, and a big sloppy lab named Jake who redefine his idea of living. But his past is closing in, and when it finds him, they could lose everything.

I had a great time with this new novel, I found the plot so in tune with what I usually like to read, I finished it quickly. I loved Noah deeply, he sacrificed his life and job in New York to take care of his father dream, even if later he discovered it was his own dream too. I knew his pain and his devotion, I ached for him when things weren’t going well. I was glad he had first Henry and then Kyle to help, and the whole Aster people.

The book is beautifully written, it wasn’t a surprise knowing some of the authors’ previous releases. That said there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me: first in all in this story I think Kyle’s POV was necessary. His background, his fears, the reason why he was in Aster and he acted like he was from another planet, knowing all of these from his mouth would have made the narration more fluid and complete. I missed his thoughts, his POV, it wasn’t enough having only Noah’s. Plus the romance part fell a little short to me, I wasn’t able to feel a connection between the MCs.  I can understand the authors wanted to probably focus the book on Noah and his loss and more, but a romance is made of two parts, it seems to me like on of them was not ignored, cause we knew a lot about Kyle, but almost like not developed or less important. And because of this, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate and understand Kyle feelings for Noah.

I will surely read the next installment in the series, I was conquered by Aster population and can’t wait to discover more about it.

The cover art by Tiferet Design is lovely, I like it a lot

Sales Links:   | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 234 pages

Published July 30th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN13 9781644054666

Edition Language English

Series Aster#1

Jamie Fessenden on Writing Characters, Research and his new release Small Town Sonata (author guest blog)

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Small Town Sonata by Jamie Fessenden

Dreamspinner Press

Published August 6th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jamie Fessenden today, on tour with his latest novel, Small Tour Sonata.  Welcome, Jamie.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Jamie Fessenden:

 

How much of yourself goes into a character? 

A lot. Every major character I write is me in some aspect, flaws and all. Which means my music major and philosophy minor in college often shape their behavior. Minor characters are frequently inspired by friends and family, though I attempt to disguise it.

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

Perhaps, but the way to avoid that is honesty. The character of Tom in Billy’s Bones was definitely a lot like me in his understanding of psychology and PTSD (both of my parents are psychologists and I’ve worked with clients at my mother’s agency). But he also had my tendency to psychoanalyze friends who don’t appreciate it.

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

Yes. I would never make one of the main characters in a romance deliberately hurt animals or children, or slap his partner around. As every therapist and police officer knows, abusers being sorry for what they’ve done and swearing never to do it again doesn’t prevent them from lashing out in the future. I can’t trust a character like that.

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

Most of my novels involve a large amount of research. I enjoy exploring different cultures and locales, and completely immerse myself in them. Small Town Sonata was an easy one, because I was largely writing about my home town and using my experiences in the music world.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Both. I tend to think that HFN will become HEA, but sometimes it isn’t possible to get to HEA in the timeframe of the story.

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

Thinking, and yes. I am totally disgusted with characters who refuse to listen to reason, especially if they drag arguments out for days, weeks, or months. Tempers flaring is one thing. Refusing to calm down and listen the next day is childish.

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

I discovered Phyllis A. Whitney through her YA novels, when I was a teenager, then began reading her adult gothic romances and fell in love with them. From there, I moved on to Mary Stewart and several other romance writers.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

As a teenager, I discovered Phyllis A. Whitney wrote articles for “The Writer” magazine, and our local library had several years’ worth of them in the stacks. I still remember some of her advice, such as when the two main characters meet, there must be an emotional “zing” between them. It can be hostility or intense dislike, but it should never be tepid. As a science fiction reader, I admired Robert A. Heinlein, and loved his clear prose. So I strived to emulate it.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Thanks to failing vision, I rarely read print books these days. eBooks allow me to increase the font size at will, so I prefer them. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on the industry, and from what I’ve seen, eBook sales are still hovering at about 20 percent of the total market. It’s declined a bit, but since those figures often leave out self-published sales, it’s difficult to say what the truth is. And one article claimed 90 percent of romances sold are now eBooks. Personally, I know eBooks are here to stay.

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

I want striking images, even if they aren’t necessarily “sexy.” If it’s something that would catch my eye, while searching among several other romance covers on Amazon, I’ll generally go with that. The best example is the cover for “Violated,” which is about a man who gets raped and loses everything – his best friend, his partner, his job, his entire sense of who he is. The cover by L.C. Chase is a misty image of sunset on a lake with a man standing in silhouette at the end of the pier. It’s striking and conveys the feeling of isolation perfectly.

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

I wrote a novel called “By That Sin Fell the Angels” about how a teen suicide impacts a small community. It deals with the vicious way evangelicals often treat members of the LGBTQ community, but I struggled not to make anything cliché or hackneyed. The boy’s father is a pastor and nominally the villain, but he’s a real person struggling with his beliefs, and ultimately the story is about his redemption. That story exhausted me, tapping into my own experiences as a fundamentalist Christian teenager, and I’m very proud of it.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently finishing up a ghost story with co-author F.E. Feeley, Jr. and about a third of the way into a novel (possibly another Dreamspun Desires) that takes place on a farm. It’s located outside the town of Springhaven, which features so prominently in “Small Town Sonata.”

 

Blurb:

Can the trusted town handyman rebuild a broken pianist’s heart?

When a freak accident ends Aiden’s career as a world-renowned classical pianist, he retreats to his New Hampshire hometown, where he finds the boy he liked growing up is even more appealing as a man.

Dean Cooper’s life as handyman to the people of Springhaven might not be glamorous, but he’s well-liked and happy. When Aiden drifts back into town, Dean is surprised to find the bond between them as strong as ever. But Aiden is distraught over the loss of his career and determined to get back on the international stage.

Seventeen years ago Dean made a sacrifice and let Aiden walk away. Now, with their romance rekindling, he knows he’ll have to make the sacrifice all over again. This time it may be more than he can bear.

Author’s Bio:

Jamie Fessenden is an author of gay fiction in many genres. Most involve romance, because he believes everyone deserves to find love, but after that anything goes: contemporary, science fiction, historical, paranormal, mystery, or whatever else strikes his fancy.

He set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several novels and published his first novella in 2010. That same year, Jamie and Erich married and purchased a house together in the wilds of New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them under the stars.

Blog: https://jamiefessenden.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/349365308959423/

Andrew Grey on His Wonderful Book Covers and new release Heart Unbroken (Hearts Entwined #4) ~ author guest blog and excerpt

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Dreamspinner Press
Published August 6th 2019
Cover Art: L.C.Chase
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey back again to talk about the next novel in his Hearts Entwined series, Heart Unbroken. Welcome, Andrew.
❤️
I get asked a lot of questions, but one of the most is about my covers.  Dreamspinner has an amazing Art Department and I work with the cover artists to develop a cover for each story.  Sometimes it takes some back and forth in order to come up with the cover for a story and other times it happens so very quickly.  The cover for Heart Unbroken came about relatively quickly.
Since it was the fourth in the series and because of the auto restoration in the story, the elements I wanted on the cover were pretty easy to figure.  However, it was the two guys that took a little doing.  I really wanted to men together because touch and closeness mean so much in this story with Lee’s blindness and L C Chase came though in a huge way.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Car restorer Dean Milford knows how to make damaged things beautiful again. Only, after a bad breakup, he loses sight of who he is, playing the field and distracting himself with any man he comes across. But now there’s only one guy who really matters to him. And maybe with his latest restoration job—a vintage Cobra—he’ll get the chance to let him know.

Losing his sight wasn’t the worst thing to happen to Lee Studer—losing his independence was. It’s taken a while, but he’s finally found his place in the world—in a garage. Funny enough, his acute hearing allows him to pinpoint engine problems just by listening. And even better, he’s going to have a chance to help his long-time crush, Dean, rebuild his fantasy car.

As the restoration comes together, so do Lee and Dean, building a friendship that quickly turns into so much more. But before they can think about a future together, they have to deal with the past. Only that turns out to be more dangerous than either one ever dreamed….

Excerpt 

“What the fuck?” Scott swore next to him. “Everything is messed up.” He pulled back his hand, and Lee listened as each drawer in the chest was opened and closed. “They all are. Shit, I’m going to kill whoever did this.” Scott turned and shouted for Brent to come over.

“What’s going on?’ Brent asked in his deep but kind of soothing voice. He must have been signing as he spoke, because Scott answered right away.

“Everything in Lee’s drawer is messed up. He needs his tools in the right place so he can find them easily.”

Lee stood to the side, his arms around his own chest. It seemed stupid, but the thought that someone had been in his things and messed everything up on purpose just about killed him. He’d probably have felt better if they’d just stolen them. That was impersonal. But messing everything up—that was close, intimate. They knew exactly what would upset him most.

Before losing his sight five years earlier, Lee had been a real slob. His mom had been forever asking him to clean his room. But once he couldn’t see, he’d learned from James that he needed to be organized and precise if he was going to be able to navigate his blindness in a sighted world.

Scott moved to stand right next to him, then hugged him tightly. “Scott, can you and Lee spend some time fixing his tools? I’m going to get the car for you and drive it into the bay. We’ll try to figure out who did this. Was the box locked?”

“Yes. I saw Lee unlock it. Someone just tipped the entire box on its side to mess it up.” He was angry and as pissed off as Lee was. “The bastards.”

“I’ll get to the bottom of it, but I don’t understand,” Brent said.

Lee didn’t either. As far as he knew, he was friends with everyone at work. All of the other guys had always been nice to him. They even helped him and offered to guide him if Scott wasn’t there. He trusted all of them. That’s what really hurt.

“Okay,” Scott said, then started opening the drawers. He set to work, the tools banging against the metal dividers as Scott set them back in place.

Lee stood out of the way and let Scott help him. He could identify his tools by their feel, but he needed them in their own places if he was going to find them easily.

.

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

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

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

A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Digging Deep (Digging Deep #1) by Jay Hogan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

In an unfortunate series of events, Drake meets Caleb. This is meeting the right person in the wrong circumstances–or maybe not! It starts with an enemies to lovers vibe. Frankly, I didn’t quite feel the attraction during the hate phase, but once it gets going I was really rooting for these two. This takes place in Auckland, so there is use of New Zealand vernacular. It alternates first person POV in different chapters. I am hoping this is a typo and will be removed before publication, but it breaks the fourth wall in Cal’s thoughts, “and yeah, you heard what I heard.” It is only one sentence, but I didn’t like it.

This is an honest look at two people who meet and are attracted to each other, but will have to be mature and put the work in to maintain a relationship. This is flat out real in the way most romances are not. Sex is awkward, at times difficult, messy, and painfully vulnerable. This story explores all that. Many people say they hate it when the characters have issues because they just don’t talk to each other–here is your book where they have no choice but to communicate if they want to make this work. Medical issues are no joke and either one or the other of them could chicken out and run away without confronting the details on a daily basis, but they don’t. Neither does this book slap a label on it and call it a day, the reader gets the full nitty gritty about Drake’s illness and profession. This is all seriously intense; they barely date and then they are in it for life, and yet it still feels really believable. I am worried people won’t give this story a chance, or will give bad reviews, because of the discussions about bodily functions. This story is very good. Thankfully, there is plenty of humor also.

These families are loving, accepting, and have ribald moments of fun. These friends do not let the characters have rose tinted glasses or lie to themselves. This is what friendship looks like to me–people who will tell you harsh truths, not to hurt you, but to help you and still support your decisions, even if they think you are wrong. However there is also a great line in Caleb’s thoughts about making sure to not let your friends define who you are, “the first mistake I’d made was believing that Leanne’s version of me was maybe all there was.” I love that there is a wide and varied cast with representation of different cultures and sexualities. The epilogue takes place six months later and is heartwarming, taking them into the future together.

The cover art is by Kanaxa. I think it shows Drake and all I could think of was that expression “in the weeds,” which seems apropos.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner | Universal Link

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 354 pages
Expected publication: August 6th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644054192
Edition Language English
Series Digging Deep #1