Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga Get Collaborative in a Interview and their new novel ‘Syncopation (Collaborations #2)’

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Syncopation (Collaborations #2) by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Buy Links

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga here today on tour for their latest novel, Synopation.  Welcome, Jodi and BA!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga

 

BA:

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because it’s what I do. The political climate right now is more than I can bear, and the best way I can make things better is to give my boys and girls their happy endings and to live my happy ending now.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Well…

*bounces*

Y’all, the next in the Leaning N series is coming in March from Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun line, AND Soft Place to Fall is releasing in April! Both are about former lovers coming together — Whiskey to Wine is a fun romp in the snow with a snowboarder and a sculptor at the Leaning N Ranch, and Soft Place is…Oh, y’all. These boys are two balls of hurt in Stetsons needing a home.

JODI:

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?

I walk this line with a lot of my MCs. They’re not always a hundred percent loveable when a story starts. Sometimes they’re selfish or arrogant, sometimes they’re greedy or entitled, occasionally they take advantage of the man that eventually becomes the love of their lives. But growth is what it’s about. Redemption. Learning lessons. Changing for the better to win and keep the man they love. I think “real” is important, and not every man is a sweep you off your feet perfect hero. Even heroes can (and should IMHO) have flaws. Real love makes you want to be a better person.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I have a m/m/m menage coming out this May with Dreamspinner Press called Stable Hill. It’s my first m/m/m and I’m really excited about it. It’s about Oscar, a widower and father of three who loses his elderly dad and inherits a farm called Stable Hill. He hires Jeffrey as his realtor to sell the house, and Russ, the barn manager, doesn’t know how he feels about the old family farm being sold. All three men have a stake in the farm, and soon have one in each other as well.

Blurb

Syncopation
A Collaborations Novel

Colt Boudreaux was raised in the Louisiana bayou and is gifted with a talent steeped in the rich and soulful New Orleans blues tradition. He makes a living as a session musician, playing guitar for anyone who needs him. When his manager sends him to New York, the Cajun is as beguiled as he is baffled by the energy of the city—and just as charmed by Kyle Alexander.

Kyle is a successful classically trained ballet dancer, choreographer, and native New Yorker whose unbridled talent defies convention, and whose rebel spirit favors ink, shuns the orchestra, and is every bit as unique as Kyle himself.

They find a connection right away that inspires rhythm and movement, mood and music, both in and out of the bedroom. It’s not long before they’re as obsessed with each other as they are with their art, and they decide to work together on an improvisational piece for Kyle’s upcoming solo exhibition.

But Kyle is focused, and Colt is free-spirited. Colt’s work ebbs and flows with inspiration, and Kyle’s is rehearsed. Kyle is social and sophisticated, and Colt… isn’t. When their talents weave together, it’s magical, but will their differences destroy it all?

 

About the Authors

Jodi Payne takes herself way too seriously and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after. For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila any way you pour it. 

Social media

Jodi

Twitter https://twitter.com/JodiPayne

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/payne.jodi

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

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

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jodipayne1800/?hl=en

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

BA

Twitter https://twitter.com/batortuga

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

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/batortuga

Instagram https://instagram.com/batortuga/

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Lexington Lovers

A love built to last.

When Derek Jackson is hired to renovate the LGBT bookstore that’s also Owen Hensley’s home, opposites attract. Derek is a big burly blue-collar guy, about ten years older than slight, sweet, and bookish Owen. As they spend time together, it becomes clear that each handsome outside leads to a beautiful interior. Far from the shy twink he appears, Owen has a rock-solid foundation that helped him put himself through college and start his own business. Behind Derek’s strong façade waits a tender heart that’s been battered by a rough family past—something Owen understands.

After Owen’s runaway nephew lands on his doorstep, it throws a wrench in their plans. Derek can’t ask Owen to choose, but he doesn’t think he can take second place with his lover the way he always has with his family. Can they find a way to keep their romance standing?

As much as I have enjoyed each story separately, I find that the more the author releases new novels and builds a community that all the couples reside in, relate to and repeatedly connect to one another, that my fondness for and delight in this series has grown with each installment.  That has happened again with Rebuild My Heart, a book that offered up some wonderful new characters, showed some old ones in new light, and had the readers watch as this small corner of Lexington grew a bit larger in population and heart once more.

I love that cover because that is Owen Hensley to perfection.  Ariel Tachna will stretch out the reveal of Owen’s actual name and history to give the developing romance and his character depth and new elements not often seen in romance.  Authentic to the south, harsh and dark in the reality, I almost wish Tachna had spent more time on this aspect of the story instead of that bit of frippery with Owen’s ex which really came to nothing.  Owen’s background has the feeling of bedrock, the bit with the ex that of cotton candy.  And it took away from the story.  Unless of course, it will figure on down the line.

Derek Jackson’s background is, not lopsided, but maybe less filled in for the reader.  His family comes from the wonderful third story , Stage Two. All those characters are in attendance here to my complete gratification and happiness.  They are in many ways his family, although it will take the entire book for Derek to figure that out, much to my frustration with him.  The other part of his “real family” is one we hear about but never see.  It makes them less than realistic, it also makes the demons in his head due to the pressures they lay on him , perhaps less believable because we don’t see it in action.  I don’t know, this portion of the story and Derek’s doesn’t come across as it should for me.

What I do love is their romance, the boys Kit and Phillip, their dynamics with Derek,and then Owen, and finally Ephah.  That was so amazing and pulled me in.  Those boys were boys!  The dialog often hilarious or poignant or whatever the boys were into.  And the slow evolution of one man’s thinking, actually two was beautiful to read.

So yes, some things that bothered me but on the whole, many other elements that offered depth and additional pleasures.  I love seeing the same characters continue to appear in book after book, as I said they continue to form a community I look forward to visiting in.  Now to see who is coming next.  Especially since there is an opening into Owen’s  past .

I recommend this series and definitely Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna.  At some point Kit will need his story too.  But not yet.  Too soon.  So who is next?

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza, yes, that’s Owen alright, down to the pink hair. Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Book Details:

ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 139781644051429
Edition Languagev English
Series: Lexington Lovers #4

Lexington Lovers Series

Unstable Stud

A Matchless Man

Stage Two

Rebuild My Heart

An Alisa Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.

At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.

Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?

Another good Sean Michael book.  Kenn is such an introvert but thanks to his friend Tim gets him to the Rainbow Mixer.  Dave is instantly smitten with Kenn and spends as much time as possible with him.

I enjoyed this book but didn’t feel a lot of depth to it.  I connected with the characters but everything seemed surface level.

I had a little trouble with the quick friendship that fast become friends with benefits and it felt a little like Dave was pushing himself on Kenn.  Their kinks match perfectly though we had to watch Kenn come to terms with what he really wants.  At times I had trouble keeping track of the timeline as it all seemed to move so fast and I thought the drama with Kenn’s ex didn’t really do anything for the story.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is great and I like the variety of visuals.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: February 5, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-896-6

Edition Language: English

Sean Michael on Wild Scenes, Gary Stues, and his new release ‘Educating the Professor’

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Educating the Professor by Sean Michael

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press   |   Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today in our interview chair talking about writing, characters, and his new release, Educating The Professor.  Welcome, Sean.

 

 

 

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for interviewing me today.

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

I think the Gary Stu phenomena is more about inserting a perfect vision of oneself into a story rather than one’s experiences.

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

My favorite genre to read has always been sci-fi and fantasy, but I also read a lot of romance as a teenager and beyond. I used to read a Harlequin every night before going to sleep during university – it was a way to turn my brain off from school work and let it settle. So yeah, I’d say it carried into my choice of writing genre.

  • 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?

I actually find I do just the opposite – the more the characters are hurting, the faster I write. I hate it when they’re hurting and I have to write as quickly as possible to get them to a good place.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Absolutely. There’s enough sadness and negativity in the world. I want my HFN and HEA.

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

I think I answered that above 😉

  • 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?

I think we don’t need the nitty gritty details of a character – the number of bowel movements he needs, stuff like that. But I think flaws make a character more real, more believable. And often more loveable.

  • What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I don’t know – I think I pretty much go ahead and include all the wild stuff in a lot of my stories…

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

Somewhere that I could hear and see the waves of the ocean.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write about love and happy endings because there is so much going on in the world and so much of it is negative. I want to write about people finding their happily ever.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m working on a story featuring a triplet – his brothers will also be getting their stories. And I’m working on a little something for Valentine’s Day.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

 

Blurb:

Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.

At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.

Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?

 

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:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/seanmichaelpics/

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Well, I’m almost at a loss for words for this review.  First of all, I listened to the audiobook and kudos to John Solo for a great job portraying a variety of voices, both male and female, especially given the MCs were teenagers.

Second, I must be honest in that I thought the story ended rather abruptly.  I knew it was first in a series but I didn’t realize so many threads would remain open when the book ended. And suddenly it was over.

And third, the plot was incredibly complex as it dealt with computer programming, coding, and electronic communication. The espionage business is alive and well in this story. So kudos to the author for a complicated and interesting plot.

Theo is a high school hockey player whose parents are both spies. Though only sixteen, his genius is more than welcome in their organization—TOS: Tactical Operational Support—and he’s their go-to guy when the electronics get complex. His code name is Winger, and in this installment, Winger is called upon to stop whatever group is behind the plot to deactivate the tracking devices each agent has implanted. Things go from bad to worse when they find the devices have been taken over and the enemy is using them to mind-control the agents. And that includes Winger’s dad who goes missing. Amidst the espionage plot, Theo and his boyfriend Eddie try to find alone time, though Eddie is injured, while stopping a kidnapping attempt on Theo.  The plot is very complex with mystery, romance, and lots of computer geek speak.

I’d recommend it to those who enjoy a YA story, especially when mixed with espionage and intrigue.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.    The cover is a close-up of a young man’s face and superimposed on the background of that is a computer grid, no doubt in recognition of his talents. It’s gray in tone so not very attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audible Audio, length 6.22 hrs
Published December 12th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published October 17th 2017)
Series Codename: Winger #1

Book Covers and Artists! This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju Our Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Cover Art by Aisha Akeju

Book Covers and Artists!

 

I’m so very excited about this month and perhaps into March.  We are getting back answers from artists and publishers to our questionnaire on Book Covers and Book Artists.  We asked how they came to work on covers,  what they thought about the current state of book covers, their inspirations, role models, and even the process the authors went through so see covers for their stories.  So many questions to help us get insight into an aspect of our stories we love and that, frankly, fascinates us, me especially.

We have sent out our questionnaires to many of our favorites artists and publishers who have been gracious enough to answer back so our Sundays will be full this month and probably into March with answers and insights from everyone from Garrett Leigh, Reese Dante, NineStar Press, Riptide Publishing, Meredith Russell, Dreamspinner Press, and more.  I can hardly wait myself.

For me, even before I could read, it was the cover that grabbed my attention, made me want to reach out for it.  Want to know what was inside…  Just as it was for so many others.  Book covers draw us to the story inside.  It makes us want to ask that question “what is that book about”?  Even before we read the blurb or are old enough to know what a blurb is. It’s the cover that tells a story, catches our eye, “says Read Us!”.  If the artist does their job.  That is.

For those great covers?  One glance and you’re hooked!  My eye slides by, boom and back it goes.  I  need to examine that cover and book closer.  I pick it up, turn it over, look at it, and often buy the story.  Job done.  It’s always been that way.  Gothic, fantasy, science fiction, name the genre…I still have the books and can go fish out the story and the cover artist that hooked me.

I can still remember the great Anne Cain cover’s for the first edition of J.L. Langley’s My Fair Captain.  Hot damn as they say.  It may have been the first of the half naked torso covers but to this day for me, it’s still one of the hottest.  *fans self*  All others have been just pale reproductions in my mind next to that one.  Fair?  No, but that is the power of that first impression.

Anne Cain has left a lot of those!

So have all the artists who has participated in Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words first venture into insights on Book Covers , Artists, and, their current role in Publishing.  We hope you enjoy it.

First up in our artist spotlight is someone I have long admired.  I found Aisha Akeju through the many stories of Megan Derr, Mell Eight, and other authors at Less Than Three Press.  They are unfailingly fantastical, highly artistic, incredibly imaginative,and always, always, make me look closer.  I just love her works.

You probably have seen her covers if you have read a Megan Derr story.  I have included the link to her website.  Please check out her covers there, also on the LT3 website as well.  They always have a section on the cover artist for each book you buy. I love that about them!  I have included a link to Less Than Three Press as well.  Gp and check out all their new releases as well as the covers!

 

This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju

 

Megan Derr at Less Than Three Press forwarded me your email with questions for cover artists and while I can’t answer all the questions for lack of time, I’ve answered some of them below. Thank you for the opportunity to talk about something I love and I hope my answers are helpful!

AISHA AKEJU

aisha-o.com

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  • How much of your covers are original art and how much do you rely on using content purchased elsewhere?
I’d say about 90% of my covers are comprised of stock material, and about 10% are elements I’ve had to create for the covers. Because sometimes a request is so unique you can’t quite find what you’re looking for.
  • How much input comes from  the author and/or storyline?  
Pretty much all of it, I’d say. I work off of a cover request sent to me from the publisher. I wouldn’t know where to start without it. The cover request includes the book title, author, number in a series if applicable, and what the author would like to see on the cover. It also includes a brief blurb describing what the book is about. I’ll then do my best to fulfill the cover request.
  • How did you get to become a cover artist?
About eight years ago, a friend who I’d done some art for suggested I reach out to Less Than Three Press and offer my services as a cover artist. So I emailed, fingers crossed, and I was lucky enough to be picked up as a contractor. The rest, as they say, is history.
  • Do you have a favorite cover you have done?
I have quite a few favorites! Too many, probably. I quite like Dust on the Wing by Parker Foye, Hellbeasts by Katya Harris, A Honeyed Light by Freddie Milano, and The Neighbor by Bernadette Chapman. But I find I’m most proud of the covers that requires me to flex my graphic design muscles a bit. A few are: Pyre at the Eyreholme Trust by Lynn Darrow, The Devil You Know by Camilla Quinn, Defying Convention by Cecil Wilde, and The Show Must Go On by Buggy Brooks.
^^^^^^
  • Do you have a favorite cover artist yourself?
Natasha Snow! She creates stunning covers and I’m honestly in awe of her talent.
  • Did you look at book covers or were influenced by book covers as a child?
Oh, absolutely! I always gravitated towards the books that had covers I found appealing. I think it’s just natural when it comes to books. It’s perfectly fine to judge a book by its cover. You’re putting a lot of trust into a product you’re not sure about beyond a blurb. It certainly helps if the packaging is nice to look at.
  • What or how do you see the role of the Book Cover?
I think the book cover is integral to selling books. It’s the packaging that’s responsible for catching a reader’s eye and hinting at the story within.

About Aisha Akeju

A New Yorker born and raised, creativity has always been a part of Aisha’s life and is, in fact, in her blood. The daughter of an artist and museum director, Aisha picked up a pencil before she learned her ABCs, learning to draw at her mother’s knee and “borrowing” art supplies from her mother’s drafting table when she grew tall enough to reach. Her love of art has only been matched by her love of books, becoming a voracious reader at an early age after falling in love with the written word after her first taste of Green Eggs and Ham, and becoming a published author by the time she was nine years old. Her passion for art and books helped shape Aisha into the illustrator and graphic designer she is today. Her love of fantasy and pop culture weaves itself into her life and her work.

Aisha graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Illustration, and prides herself on her unique style in all her endeavors. With several years of experience under her belt, Aisha currently works as a freelance designer, creating book covers and promotional images for independent presses, publishing houses, and self-published authors. In her spare time, Aisha illustrates for fun and profit, crochets gifts for friends and family, plays mom to a slightly evil and completely ridiculous cat, enjoys table-top gaming, and is a harcore kpop fan.

To learn more about what Aisha can do for you, please see her offered services and read testimonials from satisfied customers.

 

 

That’s our Artist of the Week.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Next week we have Garrett Leigh, who is both an artist and an author.  Let me know if you have any questions for our artists in advance!

 

Meanwhile check out the covers below for the upcoming reviews.  How do they strike you?  Do they tell you a story?  What are they saying?  And then check out what our reviewer has to has say about the covers and their relation to the story they are reviewing.  Interesting stuff!

 

Meanwhile have a great week! Stay warm if you are caught up in the polar vortex!  And always happy reading and listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 3:

  • Book Covers and Artists! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • This Week’s Spotlight Artist: Aisha Akeju
  • A Barb Review His First Family by Victoria Sue

Monday, February 4:

  • HARMONY INK PROMO Andrew Demcak 2emails
  • DSP PROMO Sean Michael on Educating the Professor
  • Alisa Review: Omega Teacher’s Secret (Men of Meadowfall #5) by Anna Wineheart
  • A MelanieM Review: Gage (Trenton Security #3) by J.M. Dabney 
  • A Jeri Review Rewind by Rowan Shaw
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Tracker Hacker (Codename: Winger #1) by Jeff Adams and John Solo (Narrator)

Tuesday, February 5:

  • Release Week Blitz Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke
  • BLITZ Diamond Heart by M.A. Hinkle
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Rebuild My Heart (Lexington Lovers #4) by Ariel Tachna
  • A Lucy Review: Bubbly (Uncorked #1) by Shea Balik
  • A Lila Review: Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1) by Jenn Burke

Wednesday, February 6:

  • Series Blitz – The Knights Club Series – CJ Baty
  • Review Tour Marina Vivancos – Rat Park
  • DSP PROMO Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga on Syncopation
  • An Alisa Review: In the Lion’s Den by Abigail Kade
  • A Stella Review: Rat Park by Marina Vivancos
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker

Thursday, February 7:

  • Release Day – JJ Harper – Gage (Redemption Series
  • Release Blitz – My Anti-Valentine Collection – DJ Jamison
  • DSP PROMO M.D. Grimm on Eye of the Beholder
  • A Caryn Review No Fae is an Island (Endangered Fae #4) by Angel Martinez
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ruff Trouble by Sharon Maria Bidwell
  • A Lila Audio Review A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)

Friday, February 8:

  • Gage, Trenton Security Book 3, by JM Dabney Blog Tour
  • Review Tour – The Other Book – Roe Horvat
  • Release Blitz – TL Travis – Forgive Me Father
  • An Alisa Audio Review From a Jack to a King by Scotty Cade and Kenneth Obi (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review Hexhunter (Hexworld #4) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Releases Day Review: Eye of the Beholder by MD Grimm
  • An Ali Review : The Other Book by Roe Horvat

Saturday, February 9:

  • Joe Cosentino on Drama Castle (A Nicky and Noah Mystery Story)
  • Series Review Tour – NASU and ENRAI (Blood Sealed Book 1 and 2)

A Lila Release Day Review: Escape to Paradise (A Planet Called Wish #4) by Caitlin Ricci

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Rate: 5 stars out of 5

His attraction to men means Kalean is the black sheep of his wealthy and powerful family—but it won’t get him out of attending his brother’s pretentious wedding ceremony. Kalean doesn’t want to go, but if his parents insist, he has a stipulation: he’ll be there with a man on his arm.
On the pleasure planet, Wish, Kalean goes to a brothel to meet some potential escorts. But the man who captures his attention isn’t one of those on offer….


Descani is as surprised as anyone at Kalean’s attraction to him—and at his own interest in the young man. He’s even more perplexed as a bond begins forming between them.


But a murder rips apart Kalean’s family and redefines his role. He’ll be isolated on his cold and barren home world, far from the warm and colorful planet of Wish—and the arms of the man who’s coming to mean so much to him—unless he can find a way to escape the forces separating them.

Escape to Paradise has the perfect combination of sweet and sexy. It’s short but it has enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged. And great characters for everyone to love. It can be read as a standalone but reading the previous three books is worth it. I did want a little more from previous characters.

It’s an easy read with an amazing world-build and people from all around the universe. Everything from technology to food to sexual preferences are part of the plot.

Since the opening scene, the reader gets a connection with Kalean and Descani. Their quick friendship and easy banter are endearing. There’s a lot of promise in those few pages and the author delivers in the end.

The last part of the story felt a bit rushed but that’s expected on a novella. I enjoyed the glance at their future together.

I hope this is not the last book in the series.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht isn’t as beautiful as the previous in the series, but it goes well with the story.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | AmazonKobo

Book Details:

ebook, 145 pages
Published: February 1, 2019, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 978-1-64405-108-5
Edition Language: English

Series: A Planet Called Wish
Book #1: To the Highest Bidder
Book #2: Fantasy for a Gentleman
Book #3: Falling into the Black
Book #4: Escape to Paradise

A MelanieM Audio Review:His Consort by Mary Calmes and (Narrated by Scott Smith)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A new life in New Orleans is all Jason Thorpe had hoped: his quaint little store attracts a devoted staff and his warm, loving heart grants him a loyal circle of friends. He’s perfectly content, having left behind the chill of a confusing and danger-filled night in Washington, until he discovers something unbelievable lurking in the steamy darkness of the shadowy streets of the Vieux Carré, something that turns out to be terrifying… and utterly mesmerizing.

The prince of the vampyrs, Varic Maedoc, is visiting New Orleans when he finds out the man who once helped his counselor is there in the Quarter. He thinks to simply meet and thank Jason—until he lays eyes on him. Varic’s devoted himself to protect the honor of his race, and he’s never wanted a mate before… but he immediately knows he must have this man, and no one else will do.

Varic may want to bring Jason safely into his world, but someone who doesn’t like the human’s soothing influence on vampyrs has deadly plans that would disrupt Varic’s dreams. Now, unable to tell friend from foe, Jason finds himself wondering how to hold on to the prince’s heart when he’s fighting for his life.

I’m a big Mary Calmes fan, both of her contemporary stories and her fantastic supernatural series as well.  So I was enthusiastic to hear she was including vampires in her next release, His Consort and couldn’t wait to see what spin she would put on the vampire mythology. A plus was waiting until it came out in audiobook so I got the additional pleasure of listening to the superb narration of Scott Smith as he effortlessly voiced character after character, making each come alive for me, scene after scene.  That extra half point is his alone.

I found His Consort entertaining, enjoyable, and, honestly, a wonderful Mary Calmes story.  It has so many of her hallmark elements here.  It also had aspects to the story that sent me looking for answers I never found. Like will it be a series? For me (and others) I found a sort of similarity in format or perhaps setup in His Consort to another beloved series.  That would be Change of Heart.  Here we follow Jason to New Orleans and a new life after exiting military service and the death of his best friend.  He gathers around him, in a new home, new “family”, much like Kin did, then comes Varic with his group who we slowly get to meet and become close to, ala Logan, then towards the end of the story you can see as the two groups begin to come together as one.

It’s a complex, and slow process.  And very much has the feel of the author laying down the foundation for a series, not just the framework for one story.  So as Jason meets all these different people and various events happen…without meeting Varic, I really didn’t mind.  I was caught up in the world building the author was laying down before me.  Plus I really liked all the characters I was meeting, watching all the complicated dynamics play out, the new relationships form, watch Jason get his “besties” together and formed into an odd family.

Plus there is the whole vampire mythology thing going on here to explore.   Loved that.

So while there wasn’t an immediate romance (at least not Jason and Varic’s ) to connect with, there was so much fascinating story threads running around grabbing my attention that I didn’t want the audiobook to stop (and didn’t).  I had to know what was to happen next!  All the other couples, the devilish delights, and suspense ! Tiago and Hadrian’s story is definitely one I hope she is writing even now.  There are so many elements laid down that are similar in structure to Change of Heart that I’m hoping that it’s because this is just the first in a series and not just one story.

I will  say that I love the New Orleans location.  There is something special about that shop, customers, and the dynamics being played out there between the casts that need more exploration. I hope Malta is to this story what Egypt was to Change of Heart.  I can’t wait to find out.  So much promise here.  So many great characters waiting in the wings for their chance at love.  This is different in that you don’t get an immediate romance, but I thought the wait was more than worth it.

I definitely recommend this audio version of His Consort by Mary Calmes.  The narration by Scott Smith is splendid and the story just needs the sequel it cries out for.

Cover Artist: Reese Dante,  I love, love this cover.  That’s Varic to a T.  Just mesmerizing.

Audio Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

Audiobook

Length 6:33

Published December 20th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 20th 2018)
Edition Language English

Cover Reveal for Inked Music by Sean Michael

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Title: Inked Music

Author: Sean Michael

Release Date: April 9, 2019

Category: BDSM, Erotic Romance

Pages: 193

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase    http://www.lcchase.com

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback:
Blurb:
Can a wealthy but bored businessman rescue a tortured musician from his self-imposed purgatory with a scorching kinky romance?
When Rene Conette attends an intimate performance at a local bar, the guitarist moves him enough that he attempts to go backstage but is stymied by the man’s bodyguard. Putting it down as not meant to be, he goes on with his life only to run into the man again, late at night at a bookstore.
Gavin Turner used to be a famous musician until an obsessed fan kidnapped and tortured him. Then it came out that he was into the BDSM lifestyle, and the court of public opinion ravaged him. He lost his Master and his self-confidence. Now he hides behind his ink and his bodyguards, who make sure he doesn’t come into contact with anyone or anything he doesn’t want to. Though it’s been years since he satisfied his needs, he doesn’t think he can trust again.
If Rene can work his way past Gavin’s defenses, they might find they complement each other perfectly.
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.
Twitter: @seanmichael09

A Stella Release Day Review: Nomad’s Dream by August Li

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine? Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach. In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.

Each time I read a new story by August Li I am in awe by the author’s talent. I already said this but he is one of my favorite authors and his name has become a guarantee, I don’t even read blurbs anymore, I simply go in fan mode and just need the book in my hands. When I saw the cover of this new release, I was very curious about it. Nomad’s Dream is very different from my usual mm readings, starting with the setting and the main characters. Plus I found this novel a little different from what the author usually writes, it was more sweet and romantic, not too much, just that little bit more that perfectly balanced the magical and mysterious part.

The story is set in the desert for two third’s and I completely lost myself among the bedouins tribes, the camels and the dunes. I was deeply engaged with Janan mystery and the love for Isra. I found everything so real and true although the magical elements and the character of Flicker (I adored him and never doubted of his attachment to Isra).

I have to confess my heart went to Isra since the first pages, I saw his clear soul, his loyalty and devotion to his family and himself. I saw how troubled he was until he finally reached the man that was hunting his dreams. And then my heart ached for Janan, being so lost and poor and later seeing him flourishing beside Isra was very heartwarming.

The author developed a beautiful plot, there is some action, some mystery, and then there are many times where Isra and Janan are alone in the desert that were my preferred moments. He did a so great job I breathed the peace they were living. I fell in love with quite a few secondary characters too, some of them would deserve their own HEA, they were well defined and interesting, all of them so brave and generous.

I feel to recommend Nomad’s Dream, in my opinion the author delivered another amazing success. I felt a sense of loss when I finished the novel but it gave me some serenity I needed.

The cover art by Tiferet Design is well done, I like the colors and it perfectly fits the book.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title Nomad’s Dream
ISBN 139781644050149
Edition Language English