Trying Times and Scattered Thoughts. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Trying Times and Scattered Thoughts

This week I’m still trying to wrap my head around several thoughts this week, none of which is actually coming together into an cohesive post.   That’s the impact of all the events of the last week is having on me I guess.

Without even knowing the people involved, I’m hurting for them.  And our LGBTQIA  community.  I don’t know why I would think that the harm to the  community would always come from outside. Several times that’s proven not to be the case.  Santino Hassell is not the first case of catfishing, but  he has also hurt others in far worse ways.  That story is still unraveling.

Then there is the deeply disturbing events that lead to Riptide Publishing cutting all ties to  Sarah Lyon, ex Editoral Director, and Kate DeGroot, ex freelance editor and regrouping.  So many elements there to occupy my mind, but floating to the top have been things like “POC can’t be on book covers because they won’t sell. ”  And the obvious racism that existed at every corner there for some personnel/authors.  In an age of diversity, when we are talking about Quiltbag fiction…how can we still be facing such blatant racism?

Any why was it allowed to continue?

I get the power imbalance.  How could any of those authors speak up?  It would  cost them their stories and perhaps their livelihood. Or the artists who design covers they authors get to choose from.  I bet they got the message loud and clear to begin with. But truly?  Now, here?  Isn’t it time for us to be done with this?

But then I started to look through all the stories, catalogs, tons of covers…and noticed a dearth of yes, POC.  I began to wonder….are there more people like Sarah out there  telling artists and authors in our community …”don’t put POC on the cover, it won’t sell…”.  What an insidious, mean, racist sentence.  Guaranteed to make someone without power stop and think, and perhaps pull back.

I think it’s becoming clear..yes racism is with us…even in the LGBTQIA community.  We just need to choose to recognize it.  And then deal with it in a positive manner.  Help support those authors and publishers going forward towards  diversity across the spectrum in every way.

What are your thoughts on this and this whole sorry week.  Mine clearly are still coming together….

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 18:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 19:

  • DSP Promo Sarah Black on American Road Trip
  • BLITZ Tomboy by Janelle Reston
  • Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney Release Day Blog
  • A MelanieM Review:Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney
  • A Stella Review One Under by JL Merrow
  • An Alisa Review: No Rulebook for Flirting by Laura Bailo

Tuesday, March 20:

  • Blog Tour Jace’s Trial by JM Wolf
  • BLITZ The Moth and Moon by Glenn Quigley
  • TOUR Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell
  • A MelanieM Review:  Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye
  • An Alisa Review: Captive Hearts (Deviant Hearts #1) by A E Ryecart
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: A Wild Ride (The Bullriders #1) by Andrew Grey and John Solo (Narrator)

Wednesday, March 21:

  • DSP Promo Julia Talbot
  • BLITZ The Vampire’s Angel by Damian Serbu
  • Release Blitz – Breaking the Rules by C.J. Lynne
  • A Caryn Review The Weekend Bucket List by Mia Kerick
  • An Alisa Review: The Paramedic Who Hated Jazz by Stephani Hecht
  • A Stella Review: Jace’s Trial (Trials in Abingdon #1) by J.M. Wolf (

Thursday, March 22:

  • DSP Promo S.E. Harmon
  • TOUR The Vampire’s Angel by Damian Serbu
  • RELEASE DAY BLITZ Moon Illusion by Michelle Osgood
  • An Ali Review: ​​​​Oskar Blows a Gasket​ by Al Stewart​
  • A MelanieM Review: Partner with Benefits (Kolar Creek Tales) by Val Francis
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: How to Bang a Billionaire (Arden St. Ives #1) by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Friday, March 23:

  • DSP PROMO SJD Peterson on Going Of Grid
  • Release Day Blitz for Leaning into the Look by Lane Hayes
  • Tour and Giveaway: One Under by JL Merrow
  • A Lila Release Day Review:   Going Off Grid by SJD Peterson
  • A MelanieM Review: One Under by JL Merrow
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn /Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Saturday, March 24:

  • A MelanieM Review: Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

The Time is Right for Gay Superheroes. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


The Time is Right for Gay Superheroes

Does Black Panther’s Success

Open the Door for a Queer Superhero?

Black Panther
Hollywood is celebrating the remarkable breakthrough box office performance of Marvel’s Black Panther, the first entry in the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature a black leading character, and indeed, a mostly-black cast. Part of the shock and awe felt within the industry when it comes to Black Panther comes from the history of black superheroes in films: There just aren’t very many, …
Read more

Clearly, others were thinking along the same lines.  My friend and author J. Scott Coatsworth posted this story at his terrific site QueerSciFi (David Reddish – Full Story at LGBTQ Nation)   

From your recommendations, finds and links,  yes, there are gay superheroes out there in many forms and formats, yet few have made it through to the mainstream media yet as did Black Panther this year.  The Pride, the picture at the top of the page is from The Pride comic by Joe Glass.  It’s a small press comic series based in based in Treorchy, Wales.  Started in 2011, the first 8 page story formed about a superhero team consisting of FabMan, Angel, Bear, Frost, Sapphire, Twink, White Trash, Wolf and Cub.  I’ll let you guess who is who. Published sporadically through the years, it’s returning this year with Issue five of The Pride Adventures.  Look for more information here.

Just as Black Panther , and the call  #WakandaForever has become an affirmation of self, the beginning of a movement.  Of joy, of recognition, of belief, of strength.  If one movie…one comic has had, and continues to have the power to do all that for people of color.  What would gay comic heroes be able to do for the LGBT nation?

Clearly, we need our gay superheroes just as badly as Black Panther and Wakanda is needed and is now being treasured and loved  everywhere. Netflix series Jessica Jones comes to mind, but that’s hardly mainstream, although I love it so.  Where will it come from and when?  I have no idea but with Black Panther I hope I’m seeing a sea change, one that’s already brought us Wonder Woman and now will bring us a  LGBT superhero where we can see a representation like no other before…#LGBTsuperhero #PrideForever.

LGBT Superhero Giveaway

Further Recommendations from our Readers and Winner Announcement:


don’t think I’ve read many stories with actual superheroes (the ones with super powers and a suit) would be:
Love for the Cold-Blooded Or: The Part-Time Evil Minion’s Guide to Accidentally Dating a Superhero by Alex Gabriel.

Purple Reader:

Thanks for the links and other recs, especially the reference to graphics. I remembered a few more, including one graphic. Most are on those links, but these are the ones I’ve read and enjoyed:
– EARTH 2, VOL 1 by James Robinson, et al – graphic, simple plot, but a visual thrill w gay Green Lantern.
– LOVESICK GODS by Amanda Meuwissen – new one, framed around greek mythology.
– THE DIVISION by C.C. Bridges – part-time superheroes (one closeted, other has a crush) team up against alien invasion.
– EDDIE & SHADOW series by Skylar Jaye – heck, why not a son of superheroes being sub to a Dom supervillain.
– and it’s been mentioned, but I liked it too – LOVE FOR THE COLD-BLOODED, OR THE PART-TIME EVIL MINION’S GUIDE TO ACCIDENTALLY DATING A SUPERHERO by Alex Gabriel – yep, that’s the title, nuf said.


Superheroes are some of my favorite reading. Definitely Skylar Jaye’s Eddie and its sequel Shadow. Cari Z’s Panopolis series, Where’s There’s Smoke, Where There’s Fire, and Where There’s a Will are wonderful reading. Alexis Hall has a superb short in the Winter Rain anthology, Behind the Masks. Dreamspinner had a really nice anthology, Men of Steel, that has since gone out of print sadly. In YA, Hero by Perry Moore is on my keeper shelf. Also, Superior by Jessica Lack is a novella that delighted me. Refraction by Hayden Scott is another YA that I really enjoyed.

Thank you all for some great links and recs.  You all rock as always.  This is a topic close to my heart as if you all haven’t guessed already.  A huge geek I always had stacks of comic books at home (guess who’s mother tossed them..something I’ve never recovered from), seeing the resurgence of Black Panther and its impact has brought me to tears more than once.  The thought of what a gay superhero  could do for the LGBT youth and well, all the LGBT community?  Leaves me speechless….

Happy March.  Our winners are Purple Reader and Carolyn.  Please contact Stella at and she will help to get your gift certs to you.  Congratulations.  New giveaway coming up soon!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 4:

  • Cover Reveal for Lost Souls Found by Kris T. Bethke (giveaway)
  • BG Thomas on One NIght Stands, Writing and his new release  Orange (guest post)
  • The Time is Right for Gay Superheroes. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 5

  • DSP Promo Laura Lascarso
  • Hard To Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn Blog Tour
  • Release Blitz – Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris
  • A Jeri Review: The Time of My Life by Nora Phoenix
  • A MelanieM Review: A Matter of Justice (Hong Kong Nights Book 3) by J.C. Long
  • A Stella Review:  If Ever I Cease to Love You by Shawn Bailey
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Chief’s Mess (Anchor Point #3) by L.A. Witt and (Narrated by Nick J. Russo)

Tuesday, March 6:

  • COVER REVEAL BLITZ Invitation to The Blues (Small Change #2) by Roan
  • BLOG TOUR Unraveled by K.M. Neuhold
  • Livingston (Trenton Security #1) by J.M. Dabney Release Day Blog Tour
  • VLOG TOUR The Time of My Life by Nora Phoenix
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso
  • A Free Dreamer Review:Finding Sanctuary (The Hampton Road Club #6) by Morticia Knight
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Cowboy in the Crosshairs (Turquoise, New Mexico #1) by B.A. Tortuga

Wednesday, March 7:

  • BLOG TOUR – Skater Boy by A.E. Wasp
  • RELEASE BLITZ Off-Campus Setup by Maria Vickers
  • Review Tour  for Winter Cowboy (Whisper Ridge, Wyoming #1) by R.J. Scott
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: The Pick Up by Allison Temple
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Winter Cowboy (Whisper Ridge, Wyoming #1) by R.J. Scott
  • A MelanieM Review: The Calling by MD Neu
  • An Alisa Review: Switching Places By Morticia Knight

Thursday, March 8:

  • DSP Dreamspun Promo BA Tortuga
  • Harmony Promo Russell J. Sanders on Titanic Summer
  • INDIGO BLITZ Leaning Into the Fall (Audio) by Lane Hayes
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review:  Runner by Parker Williams
  • A MelanieM Review: Hard to Let Go (Haven’s Cove #1) by Jaclyn Quinn
  • An Ali Review: Closer by F.E. Feeley Jr.

Friday, March 9:

  • INDIGO TOUR Waking Oisin by Grace Kilian Delaney
  • Release Blitz: Art by Adonis by Kris Sawyer
  • Review Tour for Annabelle Jacobs’ Bitten By The Alpha
  • A Caryn Review: Room for Recovery (Hearts and Health #4) by D.J. Jamison
  • A MelanieM Review : Bitten By The Alpha (Regent’s Park Pack #4) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Heart of Glass (Lawyers in Love #3) by Ari McKay

Saturday, March 10:

  • A MelanieM Review Art by Adonis by KRIS SAWYER

Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction

So we are taking a little sideslip this week away from the topics I had meant to talk about (like that’s ever happened before lol) because of a opening of a spectacular movie last night.  That’s right Black Panther opened Thursday night to accolades everywhere!  Kids, parents, teens, tweens, millennials, any age, and yes, any race, said this movie has it all. Yes it does.  But to many, it’s much, much more.

Importantly, released during Black History Month, for the first time ever, a certified big budget blockbuster with a black superhero (not sidekick mind you, but the main hero), an almost all black cast, and a black director is rushing to break box office attendance records and looking to become a movement as the hashtag “WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe” has been trending.

Yes, it’s all about representation.

That’s something we have always known.  It’s why Wonder Woman (directed by a woman) is so important to women and little girls everywhere.  And why LGBTQIA fiction and yes comics are equally important to the LGBTQIA community.

Right now, Black Panther comics are flying off the shelves.  Black Panther first appeared in Marvel Comic’s Fantastic 4 in 1966 and got his own comic in 1977.  Here’s an article on the history of the Black Panther comics and serial…check it out.

The Black Panther comic of today is drawn a little differently.  But all this got me thinking.  What about gay superheros?  I know Roan of Infected first  popped into my mind (Andrea Speed) but how about others?  What about graphic novels?  What LGBTQIA Superheroes can we name?  How about stories?  Yes, that your cue….let’s find and name stories and  LGBT superheroes!  Include graphic novels if you can find them!  We’re on a hunt and a mission!

It’s our  LGBTQIA Superhero Hunt Giveaway!  Find stories and LGBTQIA Superheroes!  We will give you all the entire month that’s left.  Must be superhero stories, can be graphic novels (comics).  Giveaway ends March 3 at midnight.  Gift certificates will be given away!  Must be 18 years of age or older.  Let the hunt begin!

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  And go see Black Panther. It’s amazing!  Plus you know people will be shipping those hot actors like crazy! lol

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, February 18:

  • Black Panther, Superheroes, and LGBT Fiction
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February  19:

  • DSP Dreamspun Desires Promo Liv Olteano on Lover, Lover
  • Hard To Let Go by Jaclyn Quinn Release Day Blitz
  • Release Blitz – Loving Kit by L.M. Brown
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Seth & Casey by RJ Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: How To Bang a Billionaire by Alexis Hall and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: The Soldati Prince (Soldati Hearts #1) by Charlie Cochet and Narrator: Manuel Pombo

Tuesday, February 20:

  • Blitz Sign-Up: Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts
  • DSP Promo BA Tortuga
  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Losing It by Christine d’Abo
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Lover, Lover ( Dreamcatchers story)  by Liv Olteano
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor

Wednesday, February 21:

  • Review Tour for Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • Harmony Ink Promo Annabelle Jay on Luminosity
  • Release Blitz: Break Down (Dublin Rugby #4) by Rebecca Norinne
  • An Alisa Review: Manic Pixie Dream Boy (Underdogs #1) by KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Review:Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Thursday, February 22:

  • Release Blitz Jay Northcote – Pretty In Pink
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • DSP Promo KA Mitchell on Bad Boyfriend
  • A MelanieM Review: Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review: Jingle Bears (The Bears of Falcon’s Ridge, #2.5) by Susan E. Scott
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Friday, February 23:

  • BOOK BLAST for As You Wish by Isobel Starling
  • Heart2Heart Anthology Blog Tour
  • Found by Annabella Michaels Tour
  • A Stella Review: New Heights by Quinn Anderson
  • An Alisa Review: Just Here For The Pain (Underdogs #2) by KA Merikan

Saturday, February 24:

  • RELEASE BLITZ for Dead Camp #5 (The End Game part 2) by Sean Kerr
  • Book Blitz – Penny Brandon’s Blind Passion
  • A MelanieM Review: Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

Goodbye January, Hello February. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Goodbye January, Hello February

Okay, doesn’t it seem like we were just doing this?  Can it really be February already? January just flew by and here comes, what is for us in this area, the snowiest and coldest month of the year.  For us here in the Mid Atlantic states it means the last gasp of winter usually…. our worst winter storms whether they be of ice, cold or snow.

I say that as our  outside thermometers sit around 60 degrees and have for the past several days.

But it won’t last.  It never does.  Winter isn’t over and will be back with a bang next week because that’s what February does.  It reminds us that Winter is still with us, even though we are steadily adding minutes of light to each day….something that I love.  Come on, you Spring Equinox!  Even February’s coldest winds can’t scare my glimpses of Spring away!

Winter Story List Challenge!   

So last week we offered up the Winter List Challenge!   We asked What’s your Most Memorable Winter Stories?  From now until the end of the month, get in your recommendations!  We will pick a winner or two to receive a gift card of $10.  Make sure you include your name and email address where you can be reached.  So bring on the Brrrrrs and the Winter Recommendations!  Contest ends January 28 at mid.

Now about those wonderful lists from our readers, here’s the recommendations we’ve received so far.  Remember you have until midnight tonight.   Winner or winners announced next week:

📚From Jen:

Here are some of my most memorable winter stories:
North Pole City Tales series by Charlie Cochet
The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe
Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton
Blame It on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton
A Family for Christmas by Jay Northcote
The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn
The Avona Tales series by Raine O’Tierney
Color of You by C.S. Poe
Third Solstice by Harper Fox

📚From Purple Reader:

It’s sometimes hard for me to recall whether even good stories were primarily set in winter, but a few do come immediately to mind. I agree with Jen about C.S. Poe’s Color of You and Nevermore. Here are two more:
Enemy Within by Tal Bauer – a thrilling conclusion to his Exec Office trilogy that travelled via sub above the Arctic Circle in Russia. And he had a number of hot couples I wouldn’t have minded snuggling up to for warmth.
Foxes by Suki Fleet – moving YA story, and she vividly captures the cold that homeless kids have to survive in.

📚From Ami:

I have sucky memories so I can only remember the latest gorgeous winter story that I read: A Frost of Cares by Amy Rae Durreson.

📚From H.B.:

I didn’t have many winter reads this year but of the ones I did read these were my most memorable:

Sometimes the Best Presents Can’t Be Wrapped by B.G. Thomas
A Very Henry Christmas by N.R. Walker
Honey and Heat by Rian Durant
Something Permanent by Roan Parrish
Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles by Eli Easton
A Christmas Kiss by Annabelle Jacobs

📚From Moondrawn:

Some great books listed already. Winter (and Christmas) are inescapable if you read any Josh Lanyon–so many to choose from: Winter Kill, Icecapade (this one is a New Years, new chances story), So This Is Christmas, Baby It’s Cold and many more.
Minnesota Christmas series by Heidi Cullinan
Deefur Dog and then Deefur Dog and the Great Mistletoe Incident (winter weather is the heart breaker here), Love Happens Anyway, and Snow In Montana by R.J. Scott.
Mountain series by P.D. Singer (although the first one is about fire fighting, the rest are about skiing)
Something Like Winter by Jay Bell
A Reason to Believe by Diana Copland.
In The Middle Of Somewhere by Roan Parrish
Something to Believe in by Sloan Parker


Of course February is the month of Valentine’s Day celebrations so you know what  stories we will be asking for next…that’s right! Valentine’s Day stories  or lacking that…your most romantic story of all!  Yes!  That hearts of hearts story! That “wild thing, you make my heart sing, you make everything groovy” story!  Or whatever floats your boat!  So get those recs ready for next week and the week after!

Now onto this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 28:

  •  Goodbye January, Hello February
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, January 29:

  •  BLITZ Ibuki by Kathryn Sommerlot
  • BLITZ Sweethearts by Gemma Gilmore
  • Review Tour – Marshall Thornton’s Hidden Treasures
  • A Stella Review: When It’s Time (Go Your Own Way #3) by Zane Riley
  • A MelanieM Review: Hidden Treasures (A Pinx Video Mystery #2) by Marshall Thornton
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Wet Heat by RD Hero and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Tuesday, January 30:

  • RIPTIDE TOUR Trick Roller by Cordelia Kingsbridge
  • DSP Guest Post Emjay Haze on Home is Where Your Are
  • An Ali Release Day Review:When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hurricane Reese by R.L. Merrill
  • A Lila Review: A Boyfriend for the Weekend by Caitlin Ricci

Wednesday, January 31:

  • Review Tour – Meg Harding’s Contour
  • BLITZ Dantes Unglued by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh’s Dream (Skins #1)
  • A Stella Review:  Contour by Meg Hardin
  • An Alsa Review: Spanking the Boss by Hunter Frost
  • A Jeri Review : Dream (Skins #1) by Garrett Leigh

Thursday, February 1:

  • Color Me In by Riley Hart Release Day Blitz
  • Retro Review Tour – LA Witt’s For The Living
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Scratch Track by Eli Lang
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Color Me In (Last Chance #2) by Riley Hart
  • A Jeri Review:  For The Living by L.A. Witt
  • An Alisa Review: Pushing Phillip (Common Powers #4) by Lynn Lorenz

Friday, February 2:

  • TOUR The Calling by MD Neu
  • Release Blitz – Meredith Russell’s Dead Fall
  • Release Blitz – Louise Lyons ‘ The Short Stories Collection
  • A MelanieM Review: Finders Keepers by N.R. Walker
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Light by Nathan Burgoine
  • A MelanieM Review:  All The World’s An Undead Stage (Offbeat Crimes #6) by Angel Martinez
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Spanking the Boss (An Office Kink Novella – Book #1) by Hunter Frost

Saturday, February 3:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Rook by T. Strange


A MelanieM Review: The Case of the Man Eater (Kanaan & Tilney #2) by Jenna Rose and Katey Hawthorne


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Wolf-Beast and ex-cop Lowell Kanaan recently brought his boyfriend, Elementalist and mystery author John Tilney, into the PI business with him. They’ve been solving cases for Boston’s varied praeternatural communities ever since. So when a young Terran feels that the brutal murder of his Beast boyfriend isn’t being treated seriously enough by the police, he brings the case to Kanaan & Tilney for a second opinion.

Similarly defiled corpses pop up around Boston as they race to find the killer. All the victims are packless Beasts, like Lowell, and the vicious nature of the killings stir up old prejudices in the praeternatural community, Beast and otherwise. Throw a personal vendetta and some ugly family history for Lowell in the mix, and the trails are as muddy as ever.

This case will test Kanaan & Tilney’s strength, both as a PI team and a couple. It’ll take all they have to keep each other alive—and stop a serial killer.

Private investigators Lowell Kanaan and boyfriend John Tilney are back with another heartbreaking case of murder that hits close to home.  This time they are called in to investigate the murder of a packless lion, torn and cut up in an alleyway, parts of him missing.  That the lion-beast was packless like Lowell was enough for them to take the case…then more are killed, and it looks like Lowell could be a target.

In this story more of Lowell’s history and the nature of the pack organization/culture comes to light, and not in a good one. Those that are packless are looked down upon by others, said that their state will make them feral without the structure of the pack.  Their “second class citizenship” is made evident through their self help groups and troubled lives within the stories.  Easy prey for a murderer.

While investigating the crimes, the authors dive into the evolving relationship of Kanaan and Tilney, progressing as work partners as well as  romantic ones.  I loved them as both and enjoyed the dynamics between them, hot, sexy, and in one instance, where they impersonated tourists, very funny.

I wish there had been more about the actual murderer.  That seemed a bit fuzzy at best.  The action was swift and suspenseful but the actual person behind it and who they were?  That needed more groundwork and a better foundation here.  That actually would be the only thing that people coming at this story new would find fault with.  It’s not a stand alone.  You need to read the first story and then come here.  I loved the coroner and look forward to more investigations where he and other continuing characters resume their roles.

Cover art by Dar Albert.  I like the intense cover.  The old typewriter font and the story elements,  Nice!

Sales Links:  Loose id  | Amazon

Book Details:

Published December 26th 2017 by Loose Id
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesKanaan & Tilney #2

A Caryn Review: The Law of Love by Fyn Alexander


Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

Ugh, I think this book hit every single button I have for things I dislike in a book – some of these are personal reasons that may not apply to everyone, so keep that in mind as you read this review…

Rafe Devonish is a member of the gentry, and though not titled, he has a manor house, lands, tenants, and a position to uphold in society.  He is also a successful barrister, with a clear sense of right and wrong, and he is a homosexual.  He hasn’t really figured out how to reconcile his orientation with the rest of his life, and has been delaying what he feels is going to be inevitable – getting married and having children.  Despite the time, there are a surprising number of people who are aware that he is gay, including his mother and the senior clerk at his law firm, and they both hound him to get married before people start suspecting his truth.

Ivo Manning (and really, what kind of name is that for a British noble?  To me the author overdid it with the names.  Rafe and Ivo?  Really?  But I digress…) is a young man from a titled family that has unfortunately fallen on hard financial times since The Great War.  He is the 10th son, and the family regards him as a waste of space, but he doesn’t want to embarrass them and so he sought legal counsel after being arrested for gross indecency, aka suspicion of homosexual behavior.  Rafe is the barrister he ended up coming to, and it was insta-love for both of them.

So begins a dance where Ivo consistently pursues Rafe, and Rafe alternately pursues and runs away from Ivo.  It got really old, really fast.  One of my pet peeves is too much inner monologue, especially when it is repetitive, and that is about all we hear from Rafe.  There was very little angst about actually being a homosexual, but he did certainly angst about how to avoid being found out.  He waffled, and yet every time he saw Ivo, he couldn’t help himself but did things that would absolutely cause scandal.  Including having sex in public.  Twice.  Both times witnessed.  Ivo being caught coming out of his room in the manor house after clearly spending the night.  Rafe was supposedly a very intelligent man, but his actions were more often that not in the “too stupid to live” category.

Ivo is a caricature.  He is younger, smaller, poorer, less experienced, less educated, and much less confident that Rafe.  He looks to Rafe to solve his every problem, always bottoms, and almost every time he is described, the word “lovely” is used.  This felt to me to be feminizing him in the worst way, a way that also degrades women.  Ivo does nothing to help either of them avoid detection.  He does discover compelling reasons why a woman whom Rafe is defending should be declared innocent of murder, but those reasons are so obvious that there is no way Rafe should have missed them in the first place.


Normally I love historicals, and early 20th century is probably my favorite time period.  But to be authentic, the characters have to act like they actually live in that era.  To have modern views of homosexuality – that it is an inborn trait rather than a sign of mental illness, that it is natural, and should be accepted by any reasonable person, and homosexual relationships are just a matter of two consenting adults – in a setting where homosexual acts were unnatural at best and criminal at worst, just makes no sense.  Rafe and Ivo never felt that it was wrong to be gay, they just felt it was unfair that they couldn’t have an openly gay relationship.  I don’t think any gay man from this era would be so casually accepting of his orientation.

Well.  I have other complaints about the book, but I think I need to stop here.  If you like your romances to be heroic man and blushing damsel in distress, you may like this book, but for me it was a total fail.  I give it an extra half a point for good grammar and proofreading though.

Cover art by April Martinez is actually very good, probably the only thing I truly liked about the book.

Sales Links:  Loose id LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 225 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Loose Id LLC

Heartbreak, Hearthounds, And A Tale of Two Winstons. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Heartbreak, Heartterriers, And A Tale of Two Winstons

My heart is breaking this Sunday.  On Friday, after what was supposed to be a routine visit to the vet, for annual shots and to check out a cough, I found out that my redoubtable terrier, Winston has an aggressive tumor in the spleen, a cancer that’s already metastasized to his lungs. Prognosis is most likely one week.  This from a boy who was after a skunk, and racing the fence with a deer only days ago.  I’m in complete shock and utterly devastated.  He’s my heart terrier, my boon companion.  I was sure I would have him for at least 10 more years as I had the Winston before.  But its not to be and by this time next Sunday, my Winston will be gone.

So, because I’m in pieces and I need to spend as much time as I can with him, I’m re-posting this morning A Tale of Two Winstons, the journey of how this magnificent Winston came into my life.  Oh, he will always be a part of my heart. He’ll be so missed.

WinstonII home


A Tale of Two Winstons


Somethings are just meant to be, no explanation, no rational reason, they just are.  Somewhere a song is sung, a ripple forms in the water, a door closes, a window opens, and a dog finds its way back to its forever home.

It’s been a week to the day that Winston died, and this household has been a very changed, quiet place.  The dogs have been upset and grieving as have I.  Then this morning we woke to the smell of gas.  Flinging open the windows, we called the gas hotline and quickly the emergency crew arrived to locate the source and shut down the gas line.  It was a small issue, one quickly resolved but it meant that we were all home for the day, an unlikely occurrence. We had food we intended to donate to the local animal shelter and now had the time to do it. I checked the computer for address and hours of operation for the Montgomery County Humane Society.

There on the website was a picture that riveted me.  Up for adoption, dog 151 who looked remarkably like Winston.  I tucked that picture into my head, gathered up the food and we left for the shelter.  I checked in and we waited for our name to be called to state our business.  Upon hearing my name, I approached the desk and they gave me a slip, asked what dog I wanted to see and directed me to the back towards the kennels.  I didn’t correct them.

Through the door, past kennels full of dogs needing homes.  I averted my eyes, my heart sore.  We approached a cage, I looked down and nearly fainted.  There he stood, tail waving, face open and smiling, his entire body shaking in happiness – Dog 151.  He looked just like Winston, almost identical.  The attendant hooked him up to a leash and we took him outside, all the while telling us he just came in yesterday.  He was neutered, 4 years old, and had been rehomed twice.  We looked at him, he looked at us, and I heard myself saying “we want him, we want to adopt him”.  There was never a moments hesitation.

She handed us a slip of paper.  How can something so flimsy carry such weight?  It meant that he was taken.  How I hated leaving him there in the kennels while the routine paperwork had to be filed.

There were pages to fill out, and pages of information about him to be received.  Instead of having to wait for an interview, somehow someone was available to interview us immediately instead of the usual waiting period.  We sat and waited for our name to be called,  looking over the paperwork.  I was focused on the staff,  when I heard my name called out.

“Melanie, his name is Winston.”


“His name is Winston!!!!!”

Disbelieving, I looked at the paper she was holding up.  There, plain as day, next to the name for the dog being given up was the word Winston.  Dog 151 was Winston.   The tears that had been threatening from the moment I saw him spilled over.  The staff asked about the tears and the story of Winston poured out.  Even they thought the series of events unlikely.  The wonderful person who was our adoption counselor. Addie Soares who interviewed us had Winston brought in and he was as much a part of the interview process as we were. Sitting at our feet, body wagging a mile a minute, it was clear to all we were a family.  We talked some more and then she asked if we wanted to take him home today.  The answer was a resounding “yes”.

We had been warned he would likely bolt because of past issues so they gave us all new tags, harness and collar.  We keep a leash in the car just in case a dog needs to be rescued.  Out to the jeep we went.  Winston took one look at the car and leaped for the seat.  The ride home was a breeze as he sat safe and interested in my lap.  Then we were home.  Questions formed in my mind.  What would Willow and Kirby think?

I shouldn’t have worried. Willow kissed him, and Winston kissed her back.  Kirby came running up, happy to greet him.  Turns out Winston was just as overjoyed to see Kirby.  We employed the usual tactics to introduce new dogs to each other but really we needn’t have bothered.  Much sniffing ensued, much licking ensured, much peeing ensued, and they were fine.  So were we, again.

Now we are all ensconced on the bed, watching The Voice, and the dogs are sleeping peacefully next to us on the bed as well.  This is why king sized beds were invented.  Winston’s feet are moving in his sleep, his brows moving in tandem.  His slumber is full of dreams. Willow is curled up on her pillow and Kirby is doing his normal imitation of a teenage boy, unmoving and splayed out.  We are at peace, and we are whole once more.

There are certainly differences between them as it should be.  One is not the other.  One is not the replacement for the other, and their differences are to be celebrated.  This Winston has a long undocked tail, and a wide open personality.  This Winston lacks the arduous back history of my other Winston.  That Winston was wary of new circumstances, never taking treats or unfamiliar food.  This Winston took two treats immediately and then looked for more.  But there are also similarities.  The huge personality that says I will not give in, that persistent nature, hearty spirit and indomitable soul.

He is sleeping on his back now, at ease in posture and attitude.  Winston knows he is home.

They had asked us if we intended to keep the name Winston.  I looked at him, and thought of all the things that came together for us to become a family, and replied “yes, that is his name.”  He is Winston, a different Winston but Winston none the less.  Different but equal.

A song is sung, a wing beats on the wind, a direction is chosen, ripples form and a dog comes home just as another leaves.  Who is to say how these patterns are formed, and the paths chosen?   Somehow I know this was meant to be and Winston is smiling down upon us.  I will always love my Winston and miss him.  I will celebrate and welcome this Winston’s homecoming.

One is mourned and one is found.  A home is made whole as is a heart.  I swear I hear a song and a bark in the air…..

Here is Winston finally in his forever home.WinstonII asleep


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 14:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Cover Reveal for LOVE TIMES FIVE by Lily G Blunt

Monday, January 15:

  • Review Tour – Lost In Time – A.L. Lester
  • BLITZ Beneath the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • BLITZ Life After Humanity by Gillian St. Kevern
  • A Caryn Review: Lost In Time by A.L. Lester
  • A Stella Review: Friends and Lovers by Tinnean
  • An Ali Review:  A Purple Winter by Mel Bossa

Tuesday, January 16:

  • Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Jeff Adams and Will Knauss VIDEO
  • DSP GUEST POST BA TORTUGA ON Fighting Addiction
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fighting Addiction (Fighting Addiction) by B.A. Tortuga
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke

Wednesday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal for Selina Kray’s In Wild Lemon Groves
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for Tribute Act by Joanna Chambers
  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology
  • An Ali Review: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry
  • A MelanieM Review:  Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Stella Review:The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee

Thursday, January 18:

  • DSP Promo Amy Spector
  • Release Day Blitz A Way with You by Lane Hayes
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Romantic Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Julia Review :Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills by Liv Olteano
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)
  • A Stella Pre Release Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and J.H. Knight

Friday, January 19:

  • Book Blast – The Loss of Self – An Intimate Autobiography by Alek Martin
  • Release Blitz – The Station – Keira Andrews
  • Review Tour – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) – V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review: Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: An Amy Lane Christmas by Amy Lane (bundle)

Saturday, January 20:

  • A MelanieM Review: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker

A MelanieM Review:Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis #3) by Astrid Amara


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Seth Bellski and Lars Varga have opened their own law firm that specializes in representing the underrepresented–whistleblowers, disadvantaged employees, and those lacking power. The good news is, business is never slow.

But that also means they are busy when all Seth really wants to do is plan his pending nuptials. So when his brother-in-law approaches him with concerns about his own business, and when Lars’s brother gives them the cold treatment, Seth wishes he could just tune them all out.

But holidays are all about families, even the annoying members. If Seth and Lars are going to enjoy their joint Hanukkah/Christmas celebration this year, they’re going to have to deal with the brother that has a problem, and the brother that IS the problem. And do so before anything else comes in the way of them and their happily ever after.

Ah, Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis, #3) by Astrid Amara, what I can only assume is the final story in the Bellski tale is finishing off with Seth and Lars now happily established in their law practice and  after all this time,  able to get married and ready for it. It’s been a long time coming for this couple and a great way to go out in style but it has to be Bellski style!  So that involves tons of family drama from both sides of their families, business intrigue, familial angst (of course involving the Vargas), and mayhem all around.  It’s wonderful.

It’s been ten years for Seth and Lars, what a journey it’s been!  From Lars’ closeted lawyer status and Seth’s as his paralegal lover who called it off to equal partners in a successful law firm and happily out couple, it’s been a tumultuous, adventurous, funny, and heartwarming road to the present.

It all begins with a law case and reflection on marriage, the story unfolding from there.  The fact that they couldn’t get married was huge in the earlier stories.  That they legally can now shines just as large in Wedding Bellskis.  What an earth shattering difference ten years can make!  Planning the wedding takes over, with input from both families, just as you would assume it would, but with more chaos because the Bellskis are involved.

I’m not sure how only three stories, even ones spaced as far apart as these, has managed to feel so warm,vivid, and alive, but Astrid Amara has managed it.  I love these people and wish to celebrate in their lives, no matter what is happening, and Astrid Amara’s writing lets me do just that.  Her narrative pulls me intimately into each setting and the scenes unfolding there.  I feel as though I’m standing off in a corner, inches away, from the shouting or the hugs, or the laughter or tears that maybe flowing.  Or even the bullets whistling past your head.  That happens too.

All the characters I’ve come to love show the emotional and personal growth one would hope to see over ten times time.  They’ve aged and so have we but the love and romance has only deepened between Seth and Lars.  We get that too.  Now they get their wedding and oh what a marriage!  I loved it.  It was perfection for these two, and a great way for them to go out in style.  Although, Astrid Amara, if you’re listening, another holiday story with the Bellskis is always welcome!  Who knows what happens with the happily married couple?

For me this story is a must read but pair it with the other two stories.  Read all three together for a trilogy to charm your socks off! .I think this series is magical any time of the year and I highly recommend it.

Cover art by April Martinez continues with the menorah branding all three but the men now look a little young for Lars and Seth.

Sales Links:  Loose id | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 128 pages
Published December 12th 2017 by Loose Id (first published December 11th 2017)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHolidays with the Bellskis ;

Carol of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #1)

Miracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2)

Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis, #3)

A MelanieM Review: Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black


Rating: 3 stars out of 5


A million years, ago a galactic empire fell. That ancient empire is a source of many things. Wonder, knowledge, academic careers, and treasure. Treasure is what Beau Johnson seeks, tracking down artifacts for high-paying clients. Once a top student at the specialist institute for the study of the ancient empire, Beau rejected respectable archaeology and academia in favor of adventure.

Unlike his one-time rival Park Ki-tae, a brilliant student who became an enforcement agent tasked with keeping Imperial artifacts out of private collections. Beau thinks Ki-tae needs to loosen up, have more fun, and stop making it his life’s work to send Beau to jail. Ki-tae thinks Beau is a rogue and a criminal, and that it was a big mistake to sleep with him that one time…

When a client sends Beau after a legendary artifact that allows communication with the dead, Ki-tae pursues, sure that this time he’ll nail Beau. But circumstances force them to work together and deal with the feelings for each other they’ve both long denied. They have very different plans for the artifact they’re seeking–if it’s not a myth. Will they ever agree on their plans, or on anything else at all?

Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black sort of slides along that line between like and love.  There’s quite a lot that’s almost on the love side.  From the plot line to many of the characters but the total package and yes, execution just keeps it shy of the mark.

I love science fiction and here you have a group of treasure hunters after a mythological artifact and an galactic enforcement agent with a fierce resolve to ensure that artifact, if found, isn’t sold to the highest bidder as well as a certain hunter goes to jail.  Sound familiar?  And yes, they have a past together.  Black takes it further making them competitors/advisories since college where Beau Johnson always came out on top.  A nice twist that works to explain Ki-tae’s obsession with Johnson and his crew.

Black’s characters were a mixture.  While I thought Park Ki-tae, the enforcement agent, was strong, that of Beau Johnson had some major flaws, especially of someone of his renown. Supposedly the best at what he does, he was sloppy, under informed, ill-prepared etc. In other words, just not believable.  And that took away much of the ability to connect to the storyline. One or three of his crew were really nice characters, with enough quirks to stand on their own but for a band of superb outlaws at the top of the game? Never in a million years.

Other elements saved the story.  The places visited along the hunt for the artifact had rings of what might pass as authenticity in the future.  Most of the hard, narrative lifting here is done by Park, with Beau and crew chiming in.  But it was the most interesting part of this  story and the one I connected with.  King, their boss, and his android wife, were a nifty aspect of the tale.

The romance between Beau and Park  again seem undermined by the fact that Beau came off as less substantial, less believable than Park.  He’s supposed to be this huge deal yet falls so far short in the story that you wonder why Park is pursuing him.

There’s a HFN ending, which makes you wonder if the author intends this to be the first in a series.  There’s still so many loose plots threads dangling around t make a reader feel a bit unsatisfied even if the original hunt has come to an end.

If you are a lover of science fiction and want a quick read, you might want to investigate the hunt for a galactic artifact in Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black.

Cover art by April Martinez is on point with the characters and storyline.

Sales Links: Loose id | Amazon

Book Details:

Published October 31st 2017 by Loose Id
Original TitleBring Me the Dead
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Tangled Up in You by Emily Carrington


Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

Retired SearchLight agent Jason Campbell stumbles into intrigue in Kansas. Never attracted to women or men, he finds himself compelled by a fox demigod who gets to him through the magical medium of music. As Jason falls deeply in love with Reynard, he discovers an awful secret: Reynard is slave to a monster. As Jason struggles to free both Reynard and the fox-god’s son, he must do so without weapons, without backup, and without all the facts, which could lead to death’s retirement.

It was nice to read another story in the SerchLight universe however even though this doesn’t need to be read in order with any other story I felt as if there was a lot of little information missing.  Jason doesn’t know what to do with himself when is forced into retirement by SearchLight.  Reynard has been captive for so long he doesn’t know how to react to the confusing human who stumbles upon him.

I felt as if I was watching this story from a distance and didn’t really get to understand the characters.  I loved that Jason wanted to help Reynard but never felt as if these two really connected and they didn’t seem to get it either.  It also didn’t make sense to me how Reynard is a demigod but doesn’t always know when he is using his powers.  There was just so much talking in circles and around topics that while I liked the story it just seemed disjointed.

Cover art by Fiona Jayde is nice and follows the style of other SearchLight stories but the models seem way too young for two guys in their forties.

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 127 pages

Published: November 20, 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN: 978-1-68252-444-2

Edition Language: English

Series: SearchLight Universe