A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Counter Culture by JL Merrow


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A delightfully humorous, yet poignant, story about two young men who have a chance meeting late one night when one spots the other removing a coil from an old refrigerator someone has trashed. Odd? Bizarre? Robin Christopher (cruel parents picked that name!) is intrigued enough with Refrigerator Guy to learn more.

Refrigerator Guy turns out to be Archie Levine, an avid steampunker and new father. After the usual “misunderstanding” scenario, Robin learns Archie and the baby’s mother aren’t married and aren’t even in love, so all is clear. Except—Archie’s mother is heading a protest march against the store where Robin works as she and her fellow protestors assume the well-known store took advantage of local homeless persons in their holiday ad campaign. Unfortunately, Robin doesn’t tell Archie where he works; instead, saying he’s an accountant.

The story is long, complex, and full of JL Merrow’s unique style of humor, and of course, Robin’s lies are found out, he and Archie break up, and both are devastated. Will they find their way back to each other? You know it!

What I loved most is the author’s humor and the way the plight of the homeless was portrayed. Readers are subtly presented with the facts through meeting a few of the “rough sleepers” who have their own places in the doorways and alleys surrounding the area. The author doesn’t preach but readers are certainly given food for thought and a nudge toward increased awareness of the problems facing those who live on the street.

MM romance readers who love steampunk should certainly enjoy this story, as would those who simply enjoy a sweet romance between two engaging characters.

The cover by LC Chase features two men: one in steampunk attire, one in a 21st century T-shirt. They are looking at each other in apparent shock—mouths open in surprise. It’s fun, it’s colorful, and it’s spot-on for the story.

Sales Links:   

Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 344 pages
Published November 4th 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Counter Culture
ISBN13 9781626499218
Edition Language English

In The Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:Counter Culture by JL Merrow.


Counter Culture by J.L. Merrow

Riptide Publishing
Published November 4th 2019

Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo


Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the release of my new rom-com, Counter Culture, which features a clash of cultures between a socially conscious steampunk and a stressed-out department store retail worker.

About Counter Culture

Customer service has never been this personal.

Robin Christopher, beleaguered retail worker, isn’t having an easy November. His boss is raising stress levels planning a Black Friday to end all Black Fridays, his family doesn’t understand him, and his best friend thinks his new crush is a hallucination brought on by watching too many episodes of Doctor Who.

Archie Levine dresses in Victorian style and divides his time between caring for his young son and creating weird and wacky steampunk gadgets from bits of old junk—when he’s not looking after his mum and trying to keep on good terms with his ex. The last thing he’s got time for is a relationship, but the flustered young man he met while disembowelling a fridge is proving very tempting.

When his mum’s social conscience is roused by a local store with a cavalier attitude to the homeless, former rough sleeper Archie shares her anger. Little does he know that Robin works for that same store. When Archie finds out he’s sleeping with the enemy, things could cut up very rough indeed.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!



About JL Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. 

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: https://jlmerrow.com/, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow




To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 9, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

A Caryn Review: Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) by Jeanne Reames


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but I recognize that it is inherently much more difficult to write a historical biography, and especially when the character written about is almost mythical.  As Dr. Reames mentions in her postscript, the information about Alexander is nebulous, contradictory, overlaid with myth and altered by centuries of political changes – there is no way to know the full truth.  Add to that the fact that the society he lived in is also poorly understood and completely foreign to the world we live in today, and writing a book of this scope becomes hugely difficult.  What sources are to be believed?  Which facts or theories will work best with the narrative the author wants to present?

The differences between this book and the first are stark.  Book I was about learning who Alexandros was, how he thought, how his experiences formed his adult character.  There was significantly more attention paid to the relationships he had with his friends, his family, and, of course, Hephaistion.  His military training and its importance to him as a prince was described, as were the wars Phillipos was waging, but the focus was not political at all.  I found it much more character and relationship-driven, which is, of course, what draws me to a book and is my personal preference.

Book II is more about the external factors in Alexandros’ life, and how he reacts to them.  His father presented him with a command during one of the campaigns shortly after the book started when he came of age, and from there Alexandros embarked upon what was to be his career and his life.  Military campaigns, political machinations, conquered territories…  the pace was much faster, allies and enemies were introduced in confusing array, and old friends and acquaintances from the first book changed in how they interacted with the Pellan court.  I have to admit, I got a little overwhelmed and confused, especially because I (sadly) know almost nothing about ancient Greece and Macedonia and their history, and I did not stop to look at the background information the author supplied in separate websites.  I admit to being a little shallow with my books – most of the time I just like to read and let the story soak in, rather than to study it.  I feel that to truly appreciate this book, you would need to either have some knowledge of the era going in, or to commit to studying.

That being said, I did enjoy watching Alexandros grow into his own.  For good or bad, it seemed that his focus on being Phillopos’ heir, and anticipating becoming king, led to increased distance between him and Hephaistion.  They became soldiers and officers primarily, and their relationship, though still close, seemed less romantic.  Less about love, and more about loyalty and reliance.  Which was absolutely necessary, but still a little disappointing to me as a romance reader.

Finally, <SPOILER ALERT>, I was not really prepared for the book to end where it did.  Although I knew this book was “The story of Alexander before he became ‘the Great”” I was surprised that the book ends when Alexandros becomes king at the exact moment of Phillipos’ violent death.  It was more than abrupt, and if another book was in the making, it would have been an excellent stopping place, but I understand this to be the final book in the series.

For those readers who are more knowledgeable about the ancient world, for those that are more interested in the historical facts (as much as they can be known) of the era, and for those that enjoy empire building and intrigue over relationship development, this will be a great read.  For me, it was good, but not great.  The 3 star rating has more to do with what I like personally than it does with the quality of the writing in the book, so I hope those reading this review will take that into account!

Cover art by LC Chase matches the first, but I found it interesting that Hephaistion is the man on the cover rather than Alexander…

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 350 pages
Published October 21st 2019 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Dancing with the Lion: Rise
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL https://riptidepublishing.com/products/dancing-with-the-lion-rise
SeriesDancing with the Lion #2

Jeanne Reames on Writing Kleopatra and the Sisters and the new release Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2) (guest blog and giveaway)


Rise (Dancing with the Lion #2)  by Jeanne Reames
Riptide Publishing

Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon


Writing Kleopatra and the Sisters

In the guest blogs for Becoming, I talked about Alexander and Women, and Alexander’s Mum, but I wanted to save his sisters for the release of Rise, as all three have more important roles in the second half.

In my first drafts of Dancing with the Lion, Kleopatra—Alexander’s only full sister—played a role, even a significant one near the end, but not as a point-of-view character. Yet I’d developed a real love for the character, and it finally occurred to me, “Hey, why don’t you just let her speak for herself?”

So I did.

For a variety of reasons, I stayed out of Myrtalē’s head (Alexander’s mother, better known to posterity as Olympias). But Kleopatra was another matter, and it seemed useful to provide her view not only on her brother, but also on their mother and father.

Yet she added so much more. Kleopatra opens a window onto the women’s quarters. Some of that is shown in Becoming, but we get a better view in Rise with Kleopatra’s undermining of her father’s last wife, also a Kleopatra. (The Macedonians had popular names too, so think of “Kleopatra” as the ancient Macedonian version of Taylor, Madison, or Elizabeth.)

It’d be a spoiler to tell what happens, but suffice to say the three sisters (really half-sisters) gang up on the interloper. Kynnane wields a spear (yes, she really could; her father took her to war), but Kleopatra? She wields an abacus and a loom. And she’s the chess master behind it all. Or perhaps we should say, the math mind behind it, three steps ahead of everybody else.

Kleopatra would go on to become the Queen of Epiros where, after her husband’s death, she took over as regent for her son. She and her brother would remain close, and reportedly, when he was told that she’d taken a lover, instead of expressing the expected outrage, replied, “Well, she ought to be allowed to enjoy herself.”

Dancing with the Lion is a coming-of-age story for Alexander and Hephaistion, but also for Kleopatra. Although a secondary character, she has her own journey to maturity across both books. I hope readers enjoy reading about her as much as I enjoyed writing about her. And if/when I continue the series, she’ll remain a significant secondary character, providing an important view on what’s happening back in Greece, as her brother wends his way across Asia.


About Dancing with the Lion: Rise

The story of Alexander before he became “the Great.”

Finished with schooling, Alexandros is appointed regent of Makedon while his father is away on campaign. He thrives with his new authority—this is the role he was born for—yet it creates conflict with his mother and Hephaistion. And when his soldiers, whom he leads with unexpected skill, start to call him “The Little King,” his father is less than delighted.

Tensions escalate between Alexandros and his father, and between Makedon and the city-states of southern Greece. As the drums of war sound, king and crown prince quarrel during their march to meet the Greeks in combat. Among other things, his father wants to know he can produce heirs, and thinks he should take a mistress, an idea Alexandros resists.

After the south is pacified, friction remains between Alexandros and the king. Hostilities explode at festivities for his father’s latest wedding, forcing Alexandros to flee in the middle of the night with his mother and Hephaistion. The rigors of exile strain his relationships, but the path to the throne will be his biggest challenge yet: a face-off for power between the talented young cub and the seasoned old lion.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Series

Alexandros is expected to command, not to crave the warmth of friendship with an equal. In a kingdom where his shrewd mother and sister are deemed inferior for their sex, and his love for Hephaistion could be seen as submission to an older boy, Alexandros longs to be a human being when everyone but Hephaistion just wants him to be a king.

Check out the series today!


About Jeanne Reames

Jeanne Reames has been scribbling fiction since 6th grade, when her “write a sentence with this vocabulary word” turned into paragraphs, then into stories…and her teacher let her get away with it—even encouraged her! But she wears a few other hats, too, including history professor, graduate program chair, and director of the Ancient Mediterranean Studies Program at her university. She’s written academic articles about Alexander and ancient Macedonia, and does her best to interest undergrads in Greek history by teaching them (et al.) to swear in ancient Greek.

Her Website: https://jeannereames.net/Dancing_with_the_Lion/DwtL.html

On Facebook: facebook.com/jeanne.reames.3

On Instagram: instagram.com/jeannereames

On Twitter: twitter.com/DrReames



To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 26, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

National Coming Out Day..a bit late. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


National Coming Out Day….a bit late.


National Coming Out Day was Friday, October 11, the 31st such coming out celebration and I didn’t want such a wonderful event to pass by without Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words making note of just how special and wondrous this occasion is. Our Twitter feed is full of stories, poignant, funny, accepting, sad, hilarious, and heartbreaking.  They have been running the full gamut of emotions, and histories, up to and including the advice that not everyone is ready to come out.  That they will know when, and if, that time comes that they feel safe and ready to make that step, a step only they should make for themselves.

As I said Friday, October 11, marked the 31st Anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a landmark in and of itself. Here are some special links, courtesy of HRC:

A Resource Guide to Coming Out

Transgender Visibility: A Guide to Being You

History of National Coming Out Day : started in October 11, 1987


For many more links (coming out at school, at work, inspiring stories, and helpful links, please check out HRC’s full link

National Coming Out Day | Human Rights Campaign |   https://www.hrc.org 


No matter the age when someone realized “who” they were and stated it out loud, from the earliest of ages to later in life, the ability to be i your truest self , whatever that may be, is a right everyone should have.  Here are some stories. Happy National Coming Out Day….a bit late.

National Coming Out Day: 2019’s top LGBTQ coming out stories

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 13:

  • National Coming Out Day..a bit late.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 14:

  • Review Tour – Ruby Moone – Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3)
  • Review Tour – Beth Laycock – Guarding His Heart
  • A Stella Review: Things Happen That Way (Mann of My Dreams #2) by Tinnean
  • An Alisa Review : Loving Daniel (MC Securities #3) by  Ruby Moone
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Dark Rivers (Witchbane #2) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (Narrator)

Tuesday, October 15:

  • Cover Reveal, – Sally Malcom – Twice Shy (A New Milton Novel)
  • BLOG TOUR Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale
  • Blog Post The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot #1) by Victoria Sue
  • BLITZ for Natural Disaster by Erin McLellan
  • A MelanieM Review: Wrecked by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga
  • A Lila Review The Spymaster’s Secret By Antonia Aquilante
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Master of Restless Shadows (Master of Restless Shadows #1) by Ginn Hale

Wednesday, October 16:

  • Review Tour Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • Blog Post – DJ Jamison”
  • The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth Tour
  • An Alisa Review: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Deosil (Whyborne & Griffin #11) by Jordan L. Hawk
  • A MelanieM Review:The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth

Thursday, October 17:

  • Release Blitz – Slow Birth (Heat of Love 2.5) – Leta Blake
  • BLITZ Starting from Scratch by Lane Hayes
  • An Alisa Review: Blood Wine (The Blood Bond Series Book 2) by Aimer Boyz
  • A Stella Review: Love on the Hudson by KD Fisher
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ghost House by Jacqueline Grey

Friday, October 18:

  • Release Blitz  – Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jay
  • Release Blitz – Felice Stevens – Running From My Heart
  • Review Tour – Con Riley – After Ben (Seattle Stories #1)
  • A Stella Review : The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Rule Breaker (Mixed Messages #1) by Lily Morton and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review: After Ben (Seattle Stories #1) by Con Riley

Saturday, October 19:

  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Lucky Break (Clean Slate Ranch #4) by A.M. Arthur
  • A MelanieM Review: The Necromancer’s Reckoning (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3) by S.J. Himes

A Free Dreamer Review: The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Hatred is a spell only true love can break.

Ángel Cruz is a dedicated session musician, until loyalty to his estranged family forces him to work for Oberon: the feared and hated envoy from the Otherworld. Overnight, Ángel is taken from his life, his friends, his work, and trapped in a hideous mansion in the middle of nowhere, under constant surveillance, and with only the frightening fae for company.

Oberon’s poor understanding of humans combined with Ángel’s resentment and loneliness threaten to cause real harm to the pair. Then a long winter together in the mansion unites them in their love of music. Slowly, Ángel’s anger thaws, and he begins to realize that Oberon feels alone too.

Gradually, these two souls from different worlds form a connection like none other. But hate and prejudice are powerful things, and it’ll take all the magic of their love to stop the wider world from forcing them apart.

I love a good story involving the fae and “ The Musician and the Monster” promised to be a new take on them. And I have to say, I quite enjoyed it.

I will admit it took a little till I fully connected to the story. It was a little slow in the beginning and I struggled to understand Oberon. I really think his POV would’ve made it much easier to understand him. He might not look all that different from your average human, but he doesn’t act like a human at all. I guess that would have also made it hard to write his voice, but I have seen this done successfully before.

After a while, it did click and I started to really enjoy the book. Once Ángel, and we, slowly get to know Oberon, the fae turns out to be a really interesting person. The author does a pretty good job at making him more accessible to the reader and I really liked him. I would have loved to learn a little more about the world of the fae, though.

The pace is rather slow and there’s not that much action, other than one big bang toward the end. I think the pace fit the story, even if it didn’t create any suspense in the traditional sense of the word. But I did find it harder to put down the book the further along I got.

I especially liked the end and I’d love to see a sequel. It felt like such a wonderful new beginning for everybody involved.

Overall, “The Musician and the Monster” is a good, enjoyable book that keeps getting better and better the more you read. I do think Oberon’s POV would have helped push it more towards “great” instead of just “good”. Still, if there is a sequel at some point, I will most definitely read it.

If you like quiet Urban Fantasy with a very slow burn, then you should give this one a try. If you want a fast-paced, suspense filled story full of action and magic, then this probably isn’t the book for you.

The cover by Shayne Leighton is gorgeous and fits the story perfectly.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon


Book details:

ebook, 300 pages

Published September 30th 2019 by Riptide Publishing

Kristina Meister on Aesthetics and Morality and her new release Love Under Glasse by Kristina Meister


Love Under Glasse by Kristina Meister

Riptide Publishing
Published August 26th 2019
Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have  Kristina Meister here today talking about appearances and her new release Love Under Glasse.  Welcome, Kristina>


One of my least favorite fairy tale conceits is the idea that aesthetics match morality—only the pretty can be good. I wanted to go a step farther with Love Under Glasse and take on the idea that only those who buy into the culture, in this case Christianity, can be good. There’s a concept pervasive to many organized religions—because otherwise they wouldn’t be organized—that “everyone else is wrong”. It’s a situation of absolutes, right?—if they’re correct about how everything works, then obviously everyone else has to be wrong.

For members of the LGBTQIA community, religion can be tricky. Not many embrace us, and some are downright hostile. It can be impossible to feel the pull of any spiritual teachings and a great deal of shame comes from a sense of conflict with the beliefs of everyone around us. Unlike the classic story of Snow White, in which the step mother becomes so fixated on her appearance that she is willing to have her daughter’s heart cut out, Love Under Glasse features a mother so concerned with the appearance of “deviance” that she is willing to essentially deny her child her heart and her independence.

When I told some of my beta readers about my plan to set up the plot with the main character discovering her mother was about to send her to a conversion therapy camp, a few of them were skeptical. Their argument was that those places seem too fanciful, and to people who either aren’t from conservative Christian backgrounds, or who aren’t members of the LGBTQIA community, that’s understandable, but they are unfortunately very real. The American Psychiatric Association rejects the notion that sexuality and gender need to be corrected based on assumptions of morality, and that subjecting patients to practices that are questionable is unethical, but that doesn’t stop many charitable organizations from selling just such “treatment”. There’s teams of researchers from private universities who argue that the therapy should exist in case a patient feels their sexuality is in conflict with their ethics. There are even states in which it is protected and not just legal. It’s in fact, quite a threat, and even if one isn’t part of a conservative Christian background, it’s disheartening to know that so many others feel pressured and ashamed. Even if only a few are affected, it’s a concern to all of us.

I also wanted to play with the concept of transformation, something very common to fairy tales: the princess has to kiss a frog to turn him into a prince, a magic spell must be broken to allow the hero to revert to original form, or a curse turns someone into a monster. Conversion Therapy can easily be seen, as either a curse or a magical fix, depending upon perspective, and this combined with its recent presence in the media, made it a very worthwhile plot device.



About Love Under Glasse

This runaway might want to get caught.

El Glasse’s mother controls her life. What she does, who she dates, even what she’s allowed to say. El only has two ways of holding onto her freedom. One is her popular anonymous blog, hidden from Mama Glasse. The other is what she so often blogs about: her feelings for Riley, the girl who works at the ice cream parlor. Riley is fierce, free, and rides a killer motorcycle, and El cannot help but love her. But Mama Glasse can never find out about her sexuality—unless El is willing to rebel. 

When El runs away, Riley feels responsible. She knows what it’s like to be alone, and she can’t deny her deep desire to learn El’s story. In a move she might end up regretting, she makes a devil’s bargain with Mama Glasse to hunt El down.

Riley isn’t trying to bring her home though, because she knows an evil spell when she sees one—a spell of fear and shame El is finally starting to break. This huntress might lose her own heart, but it’s a risk she’s willing to take. 

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Kristina Meister

Kristina Meister is an author of fiction that blurs genre. There’s usually some myth, some mayhem, and some monsters. While Kristina’s unique voice and creative swearing give life to dialogue, her obsession with folklore and pop culture make for humor and complexity.

She and her mad-scientist husband live in California with their poodles Khan and Lana, and their daughter Kira Stormageddon, where they hoard Nerf toys, books, and swords—in case of zombie apocalypse.

2018 Foreword INDIES Gold Winner – LGBT

Connect with Kristina:




To celebrate this release, Kristina is giving away a custom ordered biker-style patch that represents El and Riley, as well as a signed copy of her award-winning novel Cinderella Boy! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 31, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

Sports Romance and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


Sports Romances and M/M

We started talking sports and romance last week.  Baseball and hockey primarily.  And what sports are and were featured in LGBT romances. I’ve been reading a lot of MM hockey romance this month, getting caught up on our hockey recs and books/series I had missed.  Last week’s discussions also prompted me to start thinking about what other sports are featured highly in LGBT contemporary romances?  Right away rugby jumped into my brain.  Sean Kennedy’s outstanding series Tigers and Devils as well as Dahlia Donovan’s sexy  The Sin Bin series.  Soccer and rugby, English and Aussie rules, totally different, I know. Hot men in shorts with great legs.  Kill me now.

Don’t get me started on the French Rugby calendar Dieux du Stade  fans self!

So yes, those sports as well as hockey are right up there in romances.  Also ice skating seems to be on the rise as well.  A hockey and ice skating combo?  Hot hot hot.  There is one in the RJ Scott/VL Locey Harrisburg Railers Series.  And a couple of standalones if I could jog my memory.  I really need a better system of recording these stories.

Swimming.  Sean Michael has several of those.  BA Tortuga and her rodeo cowboys, in fact, loads of bull riders and ropers out there.  But NFL and MLB? I can’t think of too many as I said last week.

Some gymnastics….also Sean Michaels….comes into mind.  It might even be the same series.  I wondered what you had to say and this is what HB replied:


From HB:Basketball and football in romance seems less frequent to me. I think I’ve only read one basketball sport romance in 10+ yrs of reading m/m fiction and only seen a handful maybe less with ones that have football. I think there are less popular ones out there like soccer, ice skating, lacross, rugby and equestrianism that get even less attention. Swimming I think is a big one after hockey and the focus usually falls over the two.

Yep, forgot about the equestrian sports.  That’s a big one.  Jumping, Polo, Dressage, Racing!  From Mickie Aisling to others.  Horses are well represented in romance along with the men who love them.

So you know what’s coming.

Recommendations. Let’s divide them up by category.


Ice Skating


Equestrian (Polo,Jumping, Racing, Dressage)

Water Sports (do not go there!)

Baseball/Football American NFL


Let’s see what we can come up with.

Meanwhile I’m still reading and reviewing my way through Avon Gale’s incredible Scoring Chances series and will finish it up this month.  Stay with me.  Here is our schedule this week.


This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 24:

  • Sports Romance and This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 25:

  • Review Tour – RJ Scott – Today (Single Dads #2)
  • Release Blitz Tour – Joanna Chambers – Gentleman Wolf
  • Review  Audio Tour Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 4 – 6: Fight Their Feelings, Meet the Mob, Happy Ending (Wake Up Married #4-6) by Leta Blake ( and Alice Griffiths
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Today (Single Dads #2) by RJ Scott
  • An Alisa Review : Already Home (Finding Home #4) by Carly Marie
  • A Caryn Review: An Uncommon Whore (An Uncommon Whore #1) by Belinda McBride
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Wake Up Married serial, Episodes 4 – 6: Fight Their Feelings, Meet the Mob, Happy Ending (Wake Up Married #4-6) by Leta Blake ( and Alice Griffiths

Tuesday, August 26:

  • BLOG TOUR Heel by KM Neuhold
  • PROMO Mason Thomas
  • Book Blitz – Ann Lister – A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label Book One)
  • A MelanieM Review: Omega from the Ocean (Heron Manor Book 1) by Amy Bellows
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review The Witchstone Amulet by Mason Thomas
  • An Alisa Review Heel by KM Neuhold

Wednesday, August 27:

  • BLITZ A Noble Cause by Mickie B. Ashling
  • Review Tour for Escape (Rebellion #1) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • PROMO Belinda McBride
  • A MelanieM Review :Escape (Rebellion #1) by Annabelle Jacobs
  • A Lila Review: Soul on Fire by Tal Bauer

Thursday, August 28:

  • Release Blitz – Marshall Thornton – Code Name: Liberty
  • TOUR LOVE UNDER GLASSE by Kristina Meister
  • An Alisa A Alisa Audio Review :In Safe Hands (Heroes and Babies #1) by Victoria Sue
  • A MelanieM Review:Overtime (Scoring Chances #3.5) by Avon Gale

Friday, August 29:

  • Audio Blitz Dirty Mind – Roe Horvat
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Hitting Black Ice by Heloise West
  • A MelanieM Review: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale
  • A Stella review If You’re Going Through Hell Keep Going (Mann of My Dreams #1) by Tinnean

Saturday, August 30:

  • Blog Post – Joanna Chambers – Gentleman Wolf
  • A MelanieM Review:Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale

My Guilty Pleasure ~ Sports Books and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words


My Guilty Pleasure ~ Sports Books

I blame and applaud The Washington Post.

Dan Jenkins and his daughter Sally Jenkins who writes now, Jonathan Yardley, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Wilbon, Ken Denlinger,Thomas Boswell, Angus Phillips (omg Angus Phillips), Tracee Hamilton , Tom Wise, …just to name a few of The Washington Post sports columnists I lived and live for each day who helped drive my love for sports reporting and “the name of the game:.  Look up some of their columns and prepare for a literary feast.

The incredible sports columnists that have come ….and sadly gone…through the years…at the newspaper I have considered my own for decades.  Talk about high standards!  These men and women never stuck exactly to the scores at hand but ranged off into topics such as racism, social inequality, injuries, or whatever needed to be spoken about.  Or sometimes their articles were just downright humorous, tickling the intellect while informing and keeping score.

They pointed out the quirky, the extraordinary, and those not quite up to snuff with the same passion, in depth love of the games they were reporting on, and yes compassion for the players as well.

They also made me want to know more.  More about each sport, each team, and, indeed, each player.

They made me range out and start reading books like the hilarious and informative The Wrong Stuff and Have Glove, Will Travel by Bill “Spaceman” Lee (Lee was also known as The Ace from Space…baseball), and Semi Tough and You Gotta Play Hurt by Dan Jenkins  (football) for starters, then Ball Four by Jim Bouton and the great The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America by Joe Posnanski,

Books rec’d and talked about in the sports section of The Post.  My list started there.

There were a great many other baseball books, and still are.  My shelves groan under the weight of them, but for other sports?  Not so much. Hard to say why exactly.Maybe because football players never had the romance or the journey or something about them that the boys of summer did. That always seemed more of a business less a love affair.  A launching pad to wealth and something else…but maybe that’s just my perception.

Until I found LGBT romance and hockey love stories.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I have always loved hockey.  But never read the books about them like I did my boys of summer.  My bad.  Because the comparisons between the two and the way both sports bring up (or don’t) from the minor leagues are astonishing.  The players that toil their entire careers playing in small towns for tiny wages, living in hotels, and barely making it for the love of the game…that’s baseball and that’s hockey.   You don’t hear about those players and the lives they live. Well, not often.


Unless you read about them in stories like those from Lee and Posnanski for baseball.  And as I have been lucky to find out from Avon Gale’s recent recommendations like the Journeyman: The Many Triumphs (and Even More Defeats) Of A Guy Who’s Seen
by Sean Pronger and Hockey Night in Dixie: Minor Pro Hockey in the American South by Jon C. Stott.  I’m working on the first and have the 2nd one lined up.  Then on to books about Martin Brodeur (Brodeur: Beyond the Crease by Martin Brodeur) and Bobby Orr.  From those that were journeymen to the greats.

Why?  Besides my love of these books and these men and the sports of course?

Because it helps me appreciate the research and love the authors themselves bring to their stories and series.

Authors to be found on our LGBT hockey recommendations list like Gale,  Piper Vaughn, RJ Scott, VL Locey, Jeff Adams, Amy Aislin, AE Wasp, Samantha Wayland, and Rachel Reid.  I know I’m leaving others out.

LGBT romance stories about baseball players are less frequent, usually college players and not professional ones.  So my comparisons are left to the wonderful authors above who I’ am continuing my journey with this week.

Can you all think of other sports that compare to these two?  Especially in the way the players train and spend time in the lower leagues?  Have romance books written about them?

Chime in….and more about this topic next week.


This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 18:

  • My Guilty Pleasure ~ Sports Books
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 19:

  • Retro Review Tour – CID by S. L. Danielson
  • Release Blitz – Terry O’Reilly – Love Or The NFL
  • BLITZ Hitting Black Ice by Heloise West
  • PROMO Chris T. Kat + Giveaway
  • An Alisa Review: CID by S. L. Danielson
  • A Vivacious Review: Heel (Working Out the Kinks #2) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Barb  the Zany Old Lady Review: The Doctor’s Orders (Copper Point Medical #3) by Heidi Cullinan

Tuesday, August 20:

  • Blog Tour Appeal to You by Jaclyn Quinn
  • Book Blast  – Eighteen Moons by Andi Webb
  • BLITZ Coffee by Matthew J. Metzger
  • Blog Tour – Beauregard and the Beast by Evie Drae
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Heart Strain by Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee
  • An Alisa Review: Appeal to You (Beyond the Cove #3) by Jaclyn Quinn
  • A Lila Review: I Dare You to Break Curfew (Inshari Chronicles #1) by Eva Munoz

Wednesday, August 21:

  • Cover Reveal – Yours, Forever After by Beth Bolden
  • Release Blitz – Change of Plans by Riley Long
  • Release Blitz Signal – Annabelle Jacobs – Escape (Rebellion #1)
  • Blog Tour Guest Post – Heidi Cullinan – Doctor’s Orders
  • BLOG TOUR Mason’s Run by Mellanie Rourke
  • An Alisa Review: Mason’s Run by Mellanie Rourke
  • A MelanieM Review: The Captain and the Theatrical (Captivating Captains #3) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

Thursday, August 22:

  • Cover Reveal – The Marshal’s PI by Este Holland
  • Review Tour-Sara Dobie Bauer-Broken News
  • Release Blitz- Last Call in Wonderland by Rob Browatzke
  • PROMO Eva Muñoz on I Dare You To Break Curfew
  • An Alisa Review: Forever Nine by Kris T. Bethke
  • A MelanieM Review: Empty Net(Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Broken News by Sara Dobie Bauer

Friday, August 23:

  • Review Tour – RJ Scott & Meredith Russell – Kaden (Boyfriend for Hire #2)
  • New Release Blitz Kept in the Dark by Charlie Cochet
  • Blog Tour – Behind the Stick, The Speakeasy #3 by K. Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn
  • Release blitz Bike Business: A Holeshot Novel by Lynn Michaels
  • A MelanieM Review:A Rhythm You Feel (The Rock Gods: East Coast Label #1) by Ann Lister
  • An Alisa Audio review The Spirit Key (Lock and Key #1) by Parker Williams and Collin Carcy (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:Kaden (Boyfriend for Hire #2) by R.J. Scott and Meredith Russell

Saturday, August 24:

  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scot’s Today (Single Dads #2)
  • A MelanieM Review: Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks #1) by Josh Lanyon

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


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Hatred is a spell only true love can break.

Ángel Cruz is a dedicated session musician, until loyalty to his estranged family forces him to work for Oberon: the feared and hated envoy from the Otherworld. Overnight, Ángel is taken from his life, his friends, his work, and trapped in a hideous mansion in the middle of nowhere, under constant surveillance, and with only the frightening fae for company.

Oberon’s poor understanding of humans combined with Ángel’s resentment and loneliness threaten to cause real harm to the pair. Then a long winter together in the mansion unites them in their love of music. Slowly, Ángel’s anger thaws, and he begins to realize that Oberon feels alone too.

Gradually, these two souls from different worlds form a connection like none other. But hate and prejudice are powerful things, and it’ll take all the magic of their love to stop the wider world from forcing them apart.

Honestly, I am still going back and forth between a 5 star rating and 4.75 for this new twist on a fantasy Beauty and the Beast story from author Jenya Keefe.  The writer’s take on fae is quite unique and it not only makes this story but the comparison between our human visually oriented species and the harmonic Fae is  one that not only fills this story with amazing scenes and possibilities but can power an entire series.  How I hope it does.

The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe is as I said is a slight take  Fae take on the wonderful Beauty and The Beast storyline.  Here the Beast is represented by a lone fae whose come through a portal from his world to the human one and now he’s sequestered away, alone, in a mansion, wanting a companion.  The Beauty of this tale?  A hispanic session musician named Ángel Cruz, who becomes the Fae’s companion through messy dealings of his father’s.  That’s the plain facts that this incredible story and romance is built upon.

I will admit I am more enthralled here by Keefe’s world building and her clear understanding of species differences than by the romance.  Oberon’s excitement and understanding of the way human’s communicate visually through facial movements, clothing choices, tattoos, hair colors, etc.  is fascinating and spot on.  Especially as it’s something “alien” to his own species and world which operates harmonically and communally….a wide cultural canyon stretching between humans and Fae is both acknowledged and understood.  To a degree.

The relationships here are built slowly as acceptance is hard won, as it should be, as cultural differences and misunderstandings are exposed and explained..  I really wanted so many parts of this story to be expanded, because they delighted and made me think of more possibilities.  I love the interchanges between Oberon and Angel, especially when it came to music as a bridge and the use of the Podcasts was a brilliant element.

I don’t want to reveal more about the story or characters but just to say this cries out for more.  A sequel, a series, just more.  I found the characters astonishing, the world building not enough because it just threw up questions I needed the answers to.  What I got?  Imaginative and thoroughly compelling in its ability to make me start drawing my own outlines and  ideas as to what awaited on the other side of that portal.  I really need to know.

If you love fairy tales combined with a new twist and a wildly different take on Fae, I absolutely recommend The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe.  it’s exciting, very well written, with great characters and a fast paced plot.  A must read for all fantasy lovers.

Cover By: Shayne Leighton.  What a beautiful, haunting cover.  Just perfect for this story.  I love it.

Pre order Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

Soon to be published by Riptide Publishing
SBN: 978-1-62649-886-0
Release Date: 09/30/2019
Word Count: 80,000
Page Count: ~300
eBook and paperback