A Free Dreamer Pre Release Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

After scientists stumbled across an anomalous human hormone present during moments of emotional intimacy, further research created the ability to harness the direction of living energy and pinpoint when two lines will merge. Personalized chips are now implanted beneath the thumbnails of every infant, where glowing numbers count down to the moment they will meet their soul mate. Fate is now a calculation.

But loving someone isn’t.

When Shannon Wurther, the youngest detective in Southern California, finds himself face-to-face with Aiden Maar, the reckless art thief Shannon’s precinct has been chasing for months, they are both stunned. Their Camellia Clocks have timed out, and the men are left with a choice—love one another or defy fate.

The idea of a sort of inbuilt clock counting down to Day X isn’t exactly a new idea. Usually, Day X marks the person’s death. In “Fortitude Smashed” the Camellia Clock counts down to the second when you meet the love of your life, your soulmate. I think that was an interesting take on things.

With the whole Camellia Clock and personalized chip set-up, I’d expected a Science Fiction story. What I got, however, was a contemporary story set in  present-day California.  I must admit, I was a bit disappointed by that. It almost seemed a little bit lazy to me, as if the author didn’t want to bother with coming up with a whole new world. Instead, she opted to set it in the present day and just added the Camellia Clocks. Consequently, there was very little worldbuilding involved. I would’ve liked to know how the whole Clock thing actually works and if there is a way to opt out of having that chip implanted.

Considering Shannon is a cop and Aiden is a thief, I’d expected lots of tension there. So I figured, even if there’s no SciFi plot there, at least there’s still gonna be lots of conflict. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t. Aiden stops his thievery pretty soon and the tension between the two is the usual romance-tension. I will say that I’m normally not a reader of contemporary romances, because I always feel like I need a little more than “just” a love story. And that’s just what “Fortitude Smashed” is: Just a contemporary love story.

I liked that both Aiden and Shannon had their issues. Especially Aiden struggled with mental illness and Shannon was wonderfully supportive. Neither of them was exactly perfect but they still worked together really well.

There were plenty of sex scenes and they were really hot, without being overly explicit. Taylor Brooke definitely has a way with words. All her descriptions are wonderful, no matter if she was writing about the landscape or body parts. She definitely also has a sense of humour and I found myself laughing out loud a lot.

Overall, “Fortitude Smashed” was a bit of a disappointment to me. I’d expected SciFi but got contempary. I’d expected a crime plot but got a “normal” love story. I guess I mostly just had the wrong expectations. As I’ve said before, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary romance novels and I probably wouldn’t have picked this up, if I’d known it wasn’t Science Fiction.

Still, this book did have its moments and I’m sure lovers of contemporary romance witha bit of a twist can and will enjoy this book. It just wasn’t for me.

Cover: I really like the cover. It looks very summery and is a nice change from the usual covers of M/M romance. And it matches the feel the story gave me.

Sales Links:

Amazon

Interlude Press

Barnes & Noble

Book Depository 

Book details:

ebook, 346 pages

Expected publication: September 21st 2017 by Interlude Press

Book Blitz for Misha Paige’s Beast of a Time (Hellbound Hound #1)

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Blurb
 

Everyone’s heard stories or songs about being a beast of burden. Well, it’s quite a burden to be a beast, too.

Kane isn’t like most people: he’s not human, for one thing. What he is, is exceptional.


An event from his past led him to stay on Earth, a planet of people that were often scared and hostile to his kind. Even so, Kane ignored all the hateful things said to him and focused instead on the job he chose to do.

That job is everything to him, and it’s his reason for living. When one man shows up—Al, a new hire who keeps smiling at Kane when he should be looking at him with fear and distaste—Kane is faced with a challenge he never expected. He didn’t think anyone would ever truly want him, and to discover that a very sexy, handsome man does indeed want him, shakes Kane to his core.

Despite Kane’s best attempt’s at keeping distance between them, he finds himself partnered with Al. Kane knows he needs to push Al away, and he tries. Sort of.

Al isn’t scared off like Kane’s former partners, and if he and Kane can survive the fight that’s coming for them, then maybe they’ll have a chance to discover what it means to love.

Author Bio


Misha Paige is the pseudonym of a stay at home mom of four whose favorite way to relax has always been reading. After years of hearing voices in her head, she finally decided to set them free and hopefully entertain others.

She is lucky enough to have the support of her wonderful husband even if he is shocked by what she writes.

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Ravon Silvius on Characters, Writing and The Storm Lords (DSP PUBLICATIONS Author Guest Tour)

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The Storm Lords by Ravon Silvius
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Where you can find the book 

DSP Publications |  Amazon  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ravon Silvius here talking about writing, characters and their latest fantasy release, The Storm Lords. Welcome, Ravon.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview With Ravon Silvius

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here! Thanks so much for interviewing me! I’m here to promote my newest book as well as talk about my career as a writer!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly? Very little. My life is rather boring and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, so nothing much of my life makes it into my stories. The one thing that might make it in is my curiosity–I’m a researcher in my day job, so some of my characters will likely have a healthy scientific interest.

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?

Interesting question. I think sometimes having real life experiences influence things is for the better. In The Storm Lords, Rowen is mute, and if I was also mute I maybe could have written him even more accurately. Having real experiences to fall back on can often make those experiences feel more real and tangible to the reader. But I could also argue that you don’t necessarily need real life experience to write about something, especially in fantasy. After all, I’ve never summoned a storm, but I can still write about Kristoff using his power. It depends on context, I think.

Of course, the Mary Sue/Gary Stu question comes up if you write a character based entirely on yourself, and never portray the character in a bad light. Think of self-inserts in fanfics. I’ve never done that, thankfully. Like I said above, if I wrote a character based on myself, it would be a really boring character.

 

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

A bit of both. Writing fantasy is fun because you can do anything, but things also have to make sense within the world. For The Storm Lords, I made up the cultures and geography and magic system and everything about the world, but I did do research on weather systems and how they could conceivably work. There’s a lot of fantasy, but I think having the most fantastical things (summoned storms) feel somewhat real (like using the proper terminology and the basics behind how hot and cold fronts work) makes the story more immersive. I think the general rule with fantasy, though, is that you can do and make up anything as long as its consistent within its own world. 

For science fiction, a bit more research is usually required, of course. For my sci fi stories, I did a lot of research on space travel and what sort of cybernetic enhancements might make it easier. I also looked up a lot of information on the theory of a space elevator for my upcoming anthology collection featuring cyborg erotica. 

 

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

As a kid, I read a lot of animal fantasy–things like Watership Down or TailChaser’s Song. I liked the fantasy aspect and the uniqueness of the animal world. As I got older, I started reading more traditional fantasies–things like Wheel of Time and Valdemar. I got into science fiction even later than that, with books by Ben Bova. I enjoy reading almost anything, but my favorites have always been genre. Its both escapist and gives people a caricatured look at the world, with genre writing sometimes able to tackle subjects in an oblique, interesting way. The Enforcers series is like that, a look at inequality in a world with those who can use magic and those who can’t. Plus, who wouldn’t want magic to be real?

 

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 always have a rough idea in my head of where I want a story to end up, so I don’t often run into a problem where I don’t know where the story is going to go. I did have a slight problem while writing the Storm Lords where Rowen’s motivation for a while was to ignore his memories of his old home and strive to forget it. It was an unhealthy way to deal with what he had lost, and it had to come back and bite him–but that part was hard to write!

 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?


I prefer Happy For Now over Happily Ever After. With HEA, I always wonder “What’s next,” especially with younger characters. Nothing stays happy forever. Maybe that’s a cynical way of thinking, but HFN feels more realistic, like the story we see is a part of a character’s life and not their entire existence. It makes the characters feel more real.I think the saddest story I wrote was Remembrance–it was very much a HFN, with the characters finding love, but the reader knows the world is going to end sooner rather than later. But I liked  ending it that way–the characters’ story was complete, but they and the world they live in had more in it to experience. I like leaving things a bit open for readers to imagine the future.

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


Ebooks are the future! In all seriousness, though, I love Ebooks. As a child and teenager, my only options were the hardcover books in book stores, and while I found a lot of my favorites this way, I also began noticing quite early on that a lot of them were very derivative. You’d see a lot of the same stories over and over, and what was worse, books came out so slow, and I read so fast, that I often couldn’t find new books in my favorite genres! 

Ebooks changed all that. I can go to Amazon and find unique works, either self-published or put out by publishers like DSP, who cater to my exact tastes (like genre with healthy doses of romance!). Ebooks can be released more quickly, and give authors who may not have been discovered traditionally a chance to shine. Of course, I still like paperback, but I am very glad Ebooks have made their mark. 

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


It depends on the cover. I am not a visual person, so I usually just fill out the cover art form and let the artist do their thing. Most of the time I’m happy with whatever they provide–cover artists are good at their job! I will usually provide a sentence or two of things I’d like to see–with the Enforcers series, for example, I usually request steampunky-type things, and for The Storm Lords I requested a storm somewhere in the art. I think it turned out great! 

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

This is a tough question! I love all of my work, from the shortest of the cyborg erotica stories to my longest work, the entire WaterLord trilogy. If I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would likely be Remembrance, which was discussed above. Its a science fiction story set in the future of a dying world, and it follows Aldric, a soldier who’s been traveling since the war ended. Its very bleak, but I think its a beautiful story.

Of course, I also love The Storm Lords, my most recent book from DSP. I love Rowen and Kristoff, and I hope others do too!

 

What’s next for you as an author?

 I have a few things coming out soon, and a few other things in development. Book 8 of the Enforcers Series, Allies, is coming out soon. Coming in October is an anthology of erotic short stories featuring cyborgs–there are 6 stories, all very hot. And of course, The Storm Lords has just come out! Check it out if you like fantasy with M/M romance. 

In the works I have book 9 of the Enforcers series, which will likely finish the series. I’m also working on a paranormal story feature a vampire. And finally, I hope to write the sequel to Freshman Blues, my first book with Dreamspinner.

Book Blurb:

The Storm Lords

The heat took everything from Rowen: his parents, his voice when the local cure for heatstroke poisoned him, and the trust of his fellow villagers, who branded him a water thief. It would have claimed his life when he was deemed unworthy of precious resources and left in the sun to die, had not a strange man named Kristoff ridden in on the wind and told Rowen he had power. 

Rowen works hard to become a Storm Lord, one of a secret magical group that brings storms to break the heat waves overtaking their world. But Rowen is starting his training at a disadvantage since he cannot speak and is much older than the other novices. The desire to please Kristoff inspires him to persevere even more than the threat of being sent back to his village to die should he fail. Still, he cannot gather rain, and when his abilities manifest, they are unlike anything known to the Storm Lords. Unless Kristoff can help him control his deadly powers, the entire world will be in danger.

Kristoff might be among the mightiest of the Storm Lords, but he’s never been a mentor before. For a chance to be with Rowen, he’s willing to risk everything.

About the author:

Ravon Silvius lives in a tiny apartment with two tiny cats in a tiny town in the United States. Despite the cramped living quarters, Ravon enjoys coming up with big ideas for novels, with some plots coming from Ravon’s findings as a neuroscience researcher and others coming purely from Ravon’s imagination.

Where you can find me:

My website: ravonsilvius.blogspot.com

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ravon.silvius

I’m on twitter too, sometimes: https://twitter.com/ravonsilvius

And please check out my goodreads page!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4897217.Ravon_Silvius

On Tour: E.M. Hamill on Writing, and ‘Dali’, (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Dali

Author: E.M. Hamill

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 8/7/17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85200

Genre: science fiction, space travel, third gender, interspecies sex, kidnapping, genderfluid, space opera

Add to Goodreads

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host E.M. Hamill here today. Thank you for taking time to sit in our author interview chair. The author also brought an excerpt and giveaway.  Don’t forget to check both out after the interview!

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~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words E.M Hamill Interview ~

 

  • Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Computer. It keeps up between my brain and my fingers better than pen. I used to do data entry and I type really fast.

  • How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Six months for the first draft of a full length novel, usually. You can’t rush editing, though. I average about a year before it’s ready to try and publish.

  • Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

Oh, gods, yes…just keep plugging away, is all I can do. Even a few words a day is better than none. Eventually it cracks. I may start an entirely new section just to get flowing again. Worst case scenario, walk away from it for a week or so and then come back.

  • What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

Writing is such a subjective thing. There are books I disliked, which were beautifully written and are someone else’s absolute favorite books. A review is simply the manifestation of personal taste. When someone’s taste coincides with mine and they love the story I’ve told, it’s a warm and wonderful thing. A bad review can really crush my ego, but if it’s constructive, I try to take those things into account.

  • What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Be the change you want to see in the world.

  • What is your favorite quote?

“We are the music makers,

And we are the dreamers of dreams,

Wandering by lone sea-breakers,

And sitting by desolate streams;—

World-losers and world-forsakers,

On whom the pale moon gleams:

Yet we are the movers and shakers

Of the world for ever, it seems. – Arthur O’Shaughnessy”

Synopsis

Dalí Tamareia has everything—a young family and a promising career as an Ambassador in the Sol Fed Diplomatic Corps. Dalí’s path as a peacemaker seems clear, but when their loved ones are killed in a terrorist attack, grief sends the genderfluid changeling into a spiral of self-destruction.

Fragile Sol Fed balances on the brink of war with a plundering alien race. Their skills with galactic relations are desperately needed to broker a protective alliance, but in mourning, Dalí no longer cares, seeking oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, in the arms of a faceless lover, or at the end of a knife.

The New Puritan Movement is rising to power within the government, preaching strict genetic counseling and galactic isolation to ensure survival of the endangered human race. Third gender citizens like Dalí don’t fit the mold of this perfect plan, and the NPM will stop at nothing to make their vision become reality. When Dalí stumbles into a plot threatening changelings like them, a shadow organization called the Penumbra recruits them for a rescue mission full of danger, sex, and intrigue, giving Dalí purpose again.

Risky liaisons with a sexy, charismatic pirate lord could be Dalí’s undoing—and the only way to prevent another deadly act of domestic terrorism.

Excerpt

Dalí
E.M. Hamill © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Human beings are assholes. I should know. I’d become one in the last few months.

You’d think the near extinction of our entire species after the pandemics and global poisoning our last world war inflicted might let us all pull together. Even with galactic war breathing down our necks, when almost everyone realized the human race constituted less of a threat to each other than some of the other things out there, we continued to be dicks.

Those attitudes started problems—in particular, Europan attitudes, of the New Puritan variety. I no longer possessed the self-control or sufficient fucks to avoid adding fuel to their fire.

His voice floated over the excited din of the crowd and the pregame show on the holographic screens above the bar.

“Abomination.”

I sighed and turned my head. The Team Europa-jacketed hulk next to me exuded a cloud of loathing against my empathic nets. I raised one eyebrow at him.

“Really? You can’t come up with anything more original after fifteen minutes of shit-talking?” The conversation behind me started as a diatribe against the rally for third-gender rights, held outside the arena and glimpsed on the main holo screen. I didn’t pay attention to either until the comments got louder and were meant for my ears.

“Faggot.”

“How very twentieth century of you.” I downed another of the six shots the robotic bartender dispensed in front of me. I wasn’t looking for trouble, only anesthetic. Outside, a cluster of media bots interviewing star athletes had driven me into the bar to hide. The presence of mechanized paparazzi still unsettled me. I didn’t want them in my face.

The annual Sol Series tournament games between Mars and Europa bordered on legendary for their savagery. No one took rugby as seriously as a gritty Martian colonist or a repressed New Puritan, and the bar overflowed with both, waiting for the station’s arena to open. Spectators gathered around us in the bar, drawn by the promise of a fight, glittering eyes fixed on us. My empathic senses drowned in their excitement and fear, even with the numbing effects of synthetic alcohol.

He invaded my personal space and leaned closer, face centimeters from mine. His breath carried a trace of mint and steroid vapors. Great. A huffer, his molecules all hyped-up on testosterone. He stood over a head taller than me, about twenty-five kilos heavier. His fists would do damage. His minions stood at either side, more meat than smarts. Neither spoke. Their mouths hung open while he harassed me, and I expected shuttle flies to crawl out at any time.

“You’re nothing but an A-sex freak.”

“Better. Still lacks originality.” I threw back the last shot. “How about androgynous freak? Hermaphrodite? No, those words are probably too big for you.”

The titter of laughter from the crowd only pissed him off. “Go fuck yourself.”

“Technically, I can’t. But I can fuck anybody else in this room. Can you?”

Shocked laughter rose from the circle of spectators. The guy clenched his fists and flexed his muscles. I continued, “Do I scare you?” I swiveled on the stool to face him and changed posture, crossing my legs in demure modesty. My voice rose into a husky, suggestive alto as I leaned one elbow on the bar. “Or do you want to find out what’s under my kilt?”

I hit a nerve. His eyes went blank, black, and his rage flooded over my senses. The crowd gasped and took a step back. Minion One caught his rising fist and spoke. “Jon, don’t you know who…”

Jon’s lip curled. “It’s an atrocity. It should have been killed at birth.”

“I prefer the term changeling.” I stood, and the circle around us got wider. The potent mix of hormones surged through my bloodstream as they altered my chemical makeup and bulked strategic upper body muscles. I let a cold smile form on my lips and dropped into a Zereid martial arts stance. Jon took half a step back as I became more definitively male in ways he recognized. “Oh, go ahead and hit me, by all means. A good fight is almost as good as sex.”

“Break it up.”

The crowd parted into nervous brackets with security’s arrival. Caniberi lumbered into the midst of the circle with the boneless roll space-born started to get after generations in orbit. He cast a sour eye in my direction.

“Dalí, why is it always you?”

“Just lucky, I guess.”

The constable growled at me. He turned to Jon. “You can’t play in the tournament if I throw you in the brig for violence. Move out.”

Jon stared at me a minute longer. The threat of not getting to beat the hell out of some hedonistic Martians made him reconsider. He and the minions moved away, but he threw one more sentence in my face like a javelin.

“You’ll be alone, changeling.”

The truth in his words knifed through me all the way to my gut and cut me deeper than any microsteel blade. “I’ll be waiting.”

Caniberi squinted at me as the crowd began to disperse. “Dalí, do I need to talk with the Captain?”

“No, sir. Leave my father out of this.” He’d dealt with enough from me already. My mother was now away on the diplomatic mission I’d been suspiciously—but rightly—deemed unfit to assume. Without Mom there to buffer the uncomfortable presence of my grief between us, Dad was lost.

“One of these days you’re going to push the wrong buttons and end up hurt, or worse. Some things the medical officer can’t fix.” His gaze softened. “Drinking and getting the shit beaten out of you won’t bring them back.”

“I’m well aware of that, sir.” My voice came out sharper than I intended. One of the best officers on the station, Caniberi had known me a little over a decade, and he never hesitated to kick my ass if I deserved it, no matter what gender I chose at the moment. This time, he just stared at me with an odd expression. His pity broke in tepid surges against my senses.

“Get out of here. I don’t want to arrest you again.”

I turned and left the bar. With the bots still hovering outside, I ducked my head to foil their facial recognition apps and fought my way upstream from the arena.

The shakes hit me in the aftermath of the hormone flood. The synthetic alcohol in my system warred with my normalizing chem levels and sour nausea threatened. I grabbed one of the rails lining the corridor and took several shuddering breaths as my muscles cramped, rearranged, and settled back into the lean, sexless frame where I am most at home.

The crowd jostled around me and headed toward the game. My empathic nets buzzed dully with their anticipation and excitement, but the sense of being watched pushed at the back of my mind. A familiar presence tripped a memory and an emotion.

The watcher knew me.

I turned my head. The Zereid made his way toward me, head and shoulders above everyone else, long, muscular limbs wading with passive grace through a river of human bodies as the crowd shifted for him. An eddy of cautious glances swirled and vanished downstream.

Oily quicksilver eyes without lids narrowed, their shape signifying the equivalent of a smile. His resonant voice buzzed in my ears. “He is the size of a cargo bot, you know. Even the arts we learned can’t change gravity. He might kill you.”

“I won’t let it go that far.” I shrugged. I actually hoped I’d bitten off more than I could swallow this time.

But the presence of my childhood friend undid me. A lump rose in my throat, pressure in my head, and I closed the distance between us. He gathered me in against cool flesh. I was locked in arms capable of crushing a human like a piece of foil but which held me with careful tenderness. Against his enormous chest, I felt like a small child, even though in developmental terms, Gor and I are the same age. His concern brushed my mind with affectionate familiarity.

“I see you, Dalí,” he murmured. “I mourn with you.”

I breathed in the scent of Zereid. Gor smelled of his homeworld—rain and earth and copper clung to his leathery turquoise skin and short, downy fur even in absentia. Homesickness washed over me.

I’d lived on Zereid most of my life. My mother, Marina Urquhart, served as ambassador for fifteen years. Dad’s career required he return to Sol Fed, and rather than separate our family, Mom resigned her appointment. My differences were clear, even to my third-gender mother, but there, we were aliens. I wondered what it would be like to have more friends who blinked.

When we got back to our own kind, I found out I was still an alien.

Gor pulled away. In the tarnished silver of his eyes, like antique mirrors, my unkempt reflection stared back at me. His dismay at my mental and physical state, impossible to miss, sighed against my mind.

“How did you hear?” I said.

“Your mother. “

“Of course.”

His head cocked. “I tried to come sooner, but the travel permissions into the colonies are daunting.”

“No, I understand.” I wanted to sit and talk with Gor. I eyed the bar, but couldn’t go back in there yet. “Come on. We can go to Dad’s quarters. He’ll be on the bridge.” My own cramped space wouldn’t accommodate Gor’s height or his bulk.

We squeezed into the private lift and rode up to the command deck. My thumbprint opened the door to the Captain’s suite, and Gor made a sound of wonder as he ducked through the port.

Three levels of transparent alloy shielding overlooked the U-curve of Rosetta Station. Shuttles buzzed in and out of bays like honeybees in the hydroponics domes, ferrying passengers to huge starliners docked on the outer limbs.

“An inspiring view.” Gor gazed out the window.

Ochre planet-shine from Jupiter’s face illuminated the room, the swirling storms in the gas giant’s atmosphere familiar to me now. I never found them beautiful, only an echo of the chaos in my head. I dropped into one of the chairs facing the viewport.

Gor eased himself into the seat opposite me. “You’re in crisis, Dalí.”

I couldn’t hide anything from him. Even if I wanted to, he was a telepath; his empathic senses much more attuned than my own modest abilities. Our friendship spanned far too many years, our trust well established. Lying to him would betray our oath of crechemates, a Zereid custom similar to old Earth tradition of blood brothers.

“Today would be the second anniversary of our wedding.” I stared at my hands. I still wore a ring on each of them, the ones Gresh and Rasida gave me.

“I remember. The love between you and your mates deserves celebration.”

Triad marriages with two members of the same sex and one of the opposite were common. The female population had not rebounded as fast as the male. But mine was the first triad marriage to include a changeling spouse under the new laws we helped to bring about. The legislation was both praised and vilified by hundreds of other citizens while we exchanged vows beneath the domes of the lunar capitol. My parents, Gresh’s mother, and Gor celebrated with us. Rasida’s mother refused to attend the wedding of her only daughter.

The three of us had been inseparable, invincible. Without them, I staggered, incomplete.

Our child would have been three months old now.

“Don’t say it.”

Gor’s eyes elongated in confusion. “What?”

“That they wouldn’t want me to be like this.”

“I did not come here to admonish you for grieving.”

I gave a short laugh. “What did you come here to scold me for?”

“For ceasing to live. Abandoning the larger destiny for which you trained.”

“Ambassador?” I dug a vape out of the pocket of my coat and thumbed the switch, inhaling illegal chemicals deep into my lungs. His gentle reproach against my empathic nets rebuked me without a word.

“You were sure of your calling as a peacemaker six months ago.” Zereid reverence toward conciliation is, ironically, unforgiving and unbending.

“I was certain of a lot of things then.” I exhaled a cloud of spicy mist. If any of the scent remained, I’d catch hell later for vaping in Dad’s quarters.

“There are always those who work against peace, even in their own hearts. As you are doing now.”

“I don’t know if I believe in peace anymore.”

“Because you do not possess it.”

“Stop feeding me platitudes, brother.”

He spread six-fingered hands wide. “What would you have me do? Tell me. Your pain is mine to share, beloved friend. Allow me to help you. Your rage is fearsome but undirected. You point it at yourself.”

“I was supposed to die, not them.” I cursed the terrorists who missed their target by eight minutes. When I decided not to address the media bots and chose instead to hold a private farewell with my family, I put myself ahead of schedule. I should have died with them. Even though the bastards failed to kill me, they destroyed me.

“Come home.” Gor waited for me to answer. I didn’t. He continued. “Madam Ambassador thinks Zereid would be a place of healing for you. You can study at the temple with me again, be teacher and student. This year’s crop of younglings is a challenge.” His vocal pipes fluted in laughter. “As we were.”

“That isn’t much of an incentive.” A grin tried to tug at the corners of my mouth, stiff and out of practice with the expression. “I’ll think about it.”

“Will you?” His doubt hovered between us.

The port slid open again and my father thundered in—Captain Paul Tamareia—“The Captain” to everyone on the station, even me at times. I stood at automatic attention, swaying a little. Gor rose too.

“What the hell were you thinking?” he demanded. “And turn that goddamned vape off.”

I complied. “A misunderstanding, sir.”

“Misunderstanding, my ass. Six shots of the synthetic piss that passes for whiskey says it wasn’t.” He turned to Gor and bowed. “Welcome aboard Rosetta Station, honored friend. Forgive me for not greeting you first.”

“Captain Tamareia.” Gor bowed back.

“How long will you be staying? I insist you use my quarters as your own. Stop by the constable’s office and he will register you for my door. I’m afraid most of the cabins are small, and we’re overcrowded with the tournament.”

“My thanks, sir. My travel clearance is good for the next two weeks, and then I must return.” Gor nodded at us. “I should collect my belongings now. I will go to your constable on the way back.”

“It’s good to see you, Gor.”

“You as well, Captain.” He put one enormous hand on my shoulder. “Dalí, please think about what I said.”

Gor let himself out. Dad and I both understood he made a graceful exit so we could shout at each other in peace. Zereids don’t carry a whole lot of baggage. They don’t wear clothes.

“Did you need to pick a fight with the number eight of the bloody Europan rugby team?” He tossed his personal data device on the table. “Do you even know who he is?”

“Other than a prick, no.”

“Jon Batterson. Does the name ring a bell at all?”

“Batterson.” I blinked through mental processes made sluggish by the vape. “As in President Batterson?”

“Light dawns. The heir apparent to his self-righteous little robotics empire.” He ran both hands through his hair. I inherited my dark-brown waves from him, but Dad’s customary high-and-tight showed little hint of curl. Mine now fell to my shoulders in a shaggy, tangled mane. “Do you realize the mess I would have had to clean up if you really let loose on him? Even if he is built like the ass end of a freighter, you could put him on the injured list.”

“It wasn’t my intent.”

“From what Caniberi told me, you were about to unleash hell on him. You sure stirred up some crap. The president is coming to the game tonight. The constable didn’t know who he was either, or he might have thrown you in the brig to prove a point.” He sat down with a thud on the steel bench and sighed. “Dalí. Come here.”

I sat next to him and braced myself.

“It’s been six months. Your leave from the diplomatic corps is finished, and if you don’t return, you’ll be dismissed. This has to stop. When you go back to your life, you’re going to encounter people like Batterson on a daily basis. Your reputation and your career are at stake. You can’t do this anymore.”

“That life’s over.”

“Don’t throw it away. You did so much in so short a time. You have a gift for understanding, and you will be a formidable ambassador. Sol Fed needs you in the negotiation chamber at the Remoliad. Luna is a better place because of your work.”

“Because of Gresh’s work. Because of Sida and our child. They were my reasons for everything. I’m not sure I feel as strongly for the rest of the human race.”

“Then you need to find another way to deal with their deaths. I won’t watch you destroy your future. You worked too hard for it.”

“Tell me how, sir.” My fury rose. “Tell me how I can deal with it because I’m looking for an exit.”

He stiffened. “What do you mean?”

“Nothing.” I rose and stalked away. He started to call after me, but the communication tones went off.

“Captain Tamareia, report to the bridge. The president’s shuttle is incoming.”

“On my way. Dalí!”

I ignored him and ducked through the port.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

E.M. Hamill is a nurse by day, sci fi and fantasy novelist by night. She lives in eastern Kansas with her family, where they fend off flying monkey attacks and prep for the zombie apocalypse. She also writes young adult material under the name Elisabeth Hamill. Her first novel, SONG MAGICK, won first place for YA fantasy in the 2014 Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Tour Schedule

8/7      MM Good Book Reviews

8/8      Love Bytes reviews 

8/8      Boy Meets Boy Reviews

8/9      Bayou Book Junkie

8/9      Divine Magazine

8/10    MillsyLovesBooks

8/10    The Novel Approach 

8/11    My Fiction Nook

8/11    Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

8/11    Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Recs Lists, Summer Reading and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Recs Lists and Summer Reading

August is here and people are off on vacation or thinking off where to head off to for their summer getaways before the fall arrives.  And that means, packing books to take with you.  Whether it’s stacking your eReaders full of the latest in new arrivals or old favorites, or stashing away those treasured hardbound or paperbacks in your luggage or knapsacks, it’s time to look over lists and make some choices.  That’s what all these wonderful recs have been leading up to…books you haven’t read yet, might have overlooked, or just plain want to read again during your vacation (note to self, start rereading Megan Derr’s Lost Gods series again asap)!  I hope we can keep adding to these lists all year long.  Plus more lists to rec to come!

I still have books to rec rattling around my brain in both categories so don’t be surprised to see these lists popping back up. Ugh, I need to be more organized here and add as I read.  Like that’s going to happen….

However, we had so many wonderful lists and books rec’d to us that we are choosing a reader in each category to receive a gift card. Here are our randomly chosen winners from each category:

Winner of the Gift Card is:

  • Historical:  moondrawn (if moondrawn does not contact us within 5 days a new winner will be chosen)
  • Science Fiction:  H.B.

🎉 Will each winner please write to Stella at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com and she will handle giving your your gift card.  Thanks!🎉

Part II – Soldiers/Warriors ~ Historical and Science Fiction Recommendations

There are so many wonderful stories that involve the past and the future with warriors and soldiers.  Let’s start our next series of lists.  Whether the author is Charlie Cochrane or Aleksandr Voinov, their stories will have you under their spells of soldiers past and future.

Science Fiction – Readers Recs

Angel’s Feather (Flyer Chronicles 1) by Alina Popescu
Mate of the Tyger Prince series by Shannon West
THIRDS series by Charlie Cochet
The Interscission Project series by Arshad Ahsanuddin
Body Option by Talya Andor

Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara (Science Fiction)
Memory of Scorpions series by Aleksandr Voinov (Science Fiction)
The Borders War (5 books) by S.A. McAuley (Science Fiction)
Astrid Amara’s Policy of Lies series (A Policy of Lies & Trustworthy)
Strength of the Pack (The Tameness of the Wolf #1) by Kendall McKenna
The Sci-Regency series by JL Langley
The Hellgate series by Mel Keegan
Chaos Station series by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen
Dark Space series by Lisa Henry.

Historical/Other 

Lost In Time by A.L. Lester
The Pompeiian Horse by Gabbo De La Parra
The Lion of Palmyra by Julia von Rist
Semper Fi by Keira Andrews
Unnatural by Joanna Chambers
A Minor Inconvenience by Sarah Granger
On Wings of Song by Anne Barwell
Into Deep Waters by Kaje Harper
The Prince He Loved by Michael Barnette
Promises Made Under Fire 
by Charlie Cochrane (historical)/
Lovers in Arms by Osiris Brackhaus
Royal Navy series by Lee Rowan
Captain’s Surrender by Alex Beecroft
The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara (historicalfantasy)

KJ Charles’s new Green Men series (Spectred Isle) historical paranormal
All Lessons Learned (Cambridge Fellows, #8) by Charlie Cochrane (devastating, but series must be read in order)
Lessons for Survivors (Cambridge Fellows, #9) by Charlie Cochrane (same note as above)
Seven Summer Nights by Harper Fox
The Soldier’s Scandal by Cat Sebastian.
Think of England by KJ Charles
The Auspicious Troubles of Chance by Charlie Cochet
Pirates of the Narrow Seas by M. Kei
Purgatory by Jeff Mann
Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy
The Lonely War by Alan Chin.

Fantasy Fiction Recommendation Time – Recs Part III

Fantasy Fiction Rec Time!  I have to admit fantasy fiction is one of my favorite types of fiction to read.  It takes me away to other worlds, introduced me to Fae, trolls, dwarfs, dragons! I’ve set sail across oceans and climbed mountains with so many authors and never has my thirst for this genre been quenched.

Some of my favorites?

The Lost Gods (5 books) by Megan Derr  5 stars every single one.
Endangered Fae Series (4 books, 2 stories) by Angel Martinez
No Ocean Too Deep by Leona Carver

Hidden Gem (3 books) by Lissa Kasey
So that’s just a beginning of some of mine just “off the cuff” as they say.  What are yours?

Fantasy Fiction Rec Giveaway

Send in your recs  for your favorite fantasy book/ or series!  Don’t forget to add your email address where we can reach you if chosen to receive our gift certificate of $10.

Purple Reader starts off our recs with this from last week’s rec list (I stuck it here, because it seemed to fit):
Readers Recs:
Again, gift certificates to a reader chosen at random who left a comment along with their email address where they can be reached if chosen.
Contest ends at midnight on 8/26.  That’s two weeks to get your recommendations in!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Now onto this week and our tours/giveaways and reviews!

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, August 6:

  • Of Recs Lists and Summer Reading
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 7:

  • DSP GUEST POST Ava Hayden on The Valentine’s Day Resolution
  • Release and Review Tour: The Rhubarb Patch by Deanna Wadsworth
  • RELEASE BLITZ and Giveaway: Weekend Getaway by Tamryn Eradani
  • A MelanieM Review: The Rhubarb Patch by Deanna Wadsworth
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Permanent Ink (Art & Soul #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
  • An Alisa Review: Nothing in Common, Except … by Edward Kendrick

Tuesday, August 8:

  • INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR Absolutely Almost Perfect by Lissa Reed
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Making It by Christine d’Abo
  • Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan Release Day Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: Love on the Boil (Love On # 5) by Neil Plakcy
  • A MelanieM Review: Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: The Storm Lords by Ravon Silvius

Wednesday,  August 9:

  • Blog Post – Patricia Logan – Thunder & Lightning
  • DSP GUEST POST Ari McKay on Out of the Ashes
  • REVIEW TOUR Roaring Waters (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries #3) by CJ Baty
  • An Alisa Review: Roaring Waters (The Warfield Hotel Mysteries #3) by CJ Baty
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Wheat Kings and Pretty Things by C.S. Wiley
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Setting the Hook (Love’s Charter #1) by Andrew Grey and Greg Tremblay (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Get a Grip (Bluewater Bay #19) by L.A. Witt

Thursday, August 10:

  • Release Blitz – KA Merikan – My Dark Knight (Kings Of Hell MC #2)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: Permanent Ink by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
  • HARMONY INK GUEST POST Jo Ramsey
  • A Jeri Review: Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan
  • A Lila Review: Elemental Hope (Warlocks #2) by L.M. Somerton
  • A MelanieM Review: House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh
  • An Alisa Review: Needing Seth by Shawn Lane

Friday, August 11:

  • Felice Stevens Audio Tour and Review for After the Fire
  • BLOG TOUR Chasing Ghosts by M.K. Hardy
  • BLOG TOUR Dali by E.M. Hamill
  • Review Tour – KC Wells’ Satin (A Material World #2)
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: The Long and Winding Road (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #4) by T.J. Klune
  • A Ali Audiobook Review:  After the Fire by Felice Stevens
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Satin (A Material World #2) by KC Wells

Saturday, August 12:

  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Cinnamon Eyes
  • A MelanieM Review: The Heart of the Lost Star by Megan Derr

A VVivacious Review: High and Dry (Mate of the Tyger Prince #5) by Shannon West

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Renard and Tallon are still at odds following the “incident” but when Tallon suggests a way for Renard to make it up to him, Renard is nervous but eager to regain their former camaraderie. But when all goes horribly wrong, will Renard and Tallon make it?

For the first time in a very long time, Davos isn’t speaking to Blake because that is exactly how pissed Davos is this time around. In all their time together Blake has never backed down and been the one to apologise. It has always been Davos. So it stands to be seen if Blake will salvage their relationship or stand by his pride?

Mikos is set on getting Ryan settled down with another baby, but he has no idea of what is cooking up in Ryan’s head…

This is the fifth book in the series and it is most definitely not a standalone. I don’t think any of the books in this series could be considered standalones but in most of the books prior to this one, the story wasn’t so reliant on already established characters and storylines. This book follows six characters – Mikos and Ryan (who were the couple featured in books 1 and 2), Renard (introduced in book 3 and featured again in book 4), Tallon (introduced in book 4), Blake (who has been a very important character in all the books of this series) and Davos. The only character who I felt I wasn’t intimately familiar with was Davos. Up until now, Davos has been the comic relief the guy who gets the brunt of Blake’s anger, so it was amazing to finally get to know him.

Mikos and Ryan are the much needed comic relief in this book though they are not written as such, they have a sweet short quickly resolved story line that helps put into perspective Blake’s rebelliousness. So even though they are not the main characters of this book their input and their storyline was greatly appreciated by me. I also loved how Ryan handled the issue of pregnancy in this book, with such humour and humility.

Tallon and Renard are one of the main couples in this story. Personally, I felt that their relationship had already developed a lot when the incident happened in which Renard left Tallon high and dry and accused him of rape, to create a diversion, to help Vannos escape and this book didn’t have much content to explore as far as their relationship was concerned. In fact, the conflict that arises in this book between thesetwo had me very annoyed at Tallon, but I was pleased with where these two ended up.

Blake and Davis stole the show. There is so much we still don’t know about Blake and Davos’ relationship, this fact is compounded by the fact that we don’t know much about Davos as a character. Thankfully this book goes a long way in filling up that hole.

I have talked in previous reviews of this series about how much I love Blake’s interactions with his children and while this book offered more of those fantastic gleams into Blake, the kick-ass omak what I loved the most was the insights we got into Davos the father. Davos is such an amazing father. His children’s reaction to seeing him went such a long way in cementing his character. I loved how for him his entire family was so important and how much he was willing to sacrifice for their happiness.

Davos and Blake are at odds but even though Blake doubts Davos’ love for him, even Blake realises that Davos still loves him. However, his uncertainty has him reminiscing about their past. One thing I especially loved was the fact that Blake willingly altered the story of how they met to protect Mikos which was just something so inherently Blake that it had a feeling of warmth rushing through me. The second one was the change in Davos during his initial days with Blake and how he goes from wanting to subdue him to just loving him unabashedly. I also loved Davos’ observation about how each of their kids was Blake’s idea no matter how convinced he was of the contrary. This was another statement that just established all that vague ideas I had of Blake and Davos’ together. I really loved Davos and Blake and getting to know these two characters as they were with each other was an unexpected delight.

Okay, so this is paragraph is going to be about me speculating about the future of this series because I have some mad theories. So this series is mostly following Davos and Blake’s children more or less in chronological order. I say more or less because Anarr and Vannos are twins and I have no idea who is the older one. So next up should be Derrick’s (whose name is spelt as Darrek in the first book and Derrick in the third one) story. Now you are probably wondering who Derrick is, Derrick is Blake and Davos’ fourth child who has been missing from most of the series because he is undergoing military training. Now knowing Blake and since this issue was addressed in Book 3, we know that Blake isn’t happy about being away from Derrick for so long. But still, the fact remains that he has been mentioned in two books out of five and all this mystery around his character has my mind going into overload because I feel that the reason we haven’t come to know Derrick is that there is a huge secret surrounding him. The wildest theory I have is the possibility that Derrick might be a girl considering Blake’s opinion on gender segregation in Tygeria this theory of mine has me going crazy because just the possibility of Blake giving birth to a girl and then having to give her up seems nigh impossible which begs the question about what would happen if Blake was indeed in such a dilemma. Yeah,crazy ass storyline but I definitely want more on Derrick, this mystery fourth son of his. Also, I feel like we will be getting to know more about Marcus Sept which I am not enthusiastic about because I want the focus of this series to remain on the Tygerian royal family and not shift to follow Marcus’ adventures in space especially if it means time off from Blake and his brood.

This book resolves the security threat that the royal family has been facing in the previous books while stilling leaving the issue of ARes open, to offer more storylines. So in a way, the next book will have lots of new things coming up in it and I can’t wait. As you can see I haven’t taken into account the fact there might not be a sixth book but I am extremely, extremely hopeful.

A shout out to Nicarr who is like the cutest six-foot nine-year-old ever especially when he is jumping on his omak and is supremely confident that his omak will wake up for him, no matter what other people say. Blake with Nicarr and Larz is like cotton candy. I especially love the imagery of Nicarr on Blake’s lap I mean I knew Nicarr was tall but the fact that he was 6 feet to Blake’s 5 feet 9 inches puts a whole new spin on Blake’s baby. Also, this series better not end without Nicarr getting his happily ever after though the series will have to flash forward a few years for that and that particular prospect has me even more excited about Nicarr’s eventual story.

I can’t wait for the next one.

Cover Art by E Connors. I am just going to come out and say it the cover is weird. But keeping in mind the fact that Tygerians and Moravians look so different from humans must make it hard to figure out the covers for this series.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published July 4th 2017 by Painted Hearts Publishing
ASINB073QWC7PX
SeriesMate of the Tyger Prince #5

 

An Alisa Release Day Review: Who We Truly Are (Enhanced #2) by Victoria Sue

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

Talon’s deadly abilities are spiraling out of control. Desperate to keep Finn safe, Talon struggles to protect the man he loves with all his heart and not become the greatest risk to Finn’s life.

 

Finn has no choice but to offer himself as bait for the evil forces kidnapping enhanced children, facing danger he is untrained and unprepared for, and he will have to do it alone.

 

Does Talon have one last fight in him? Will he slay everyone who wants to destroy Finn and the team, or will he finally discover that to defeat their enemy and the ultimate threat, the biggest battle he has to face is one with himself?

 

This was another great addition to the Enhanced universe.  This story continues just a few weeks after the last book with Finn and Talon but also gives us the chance to get to know the others on the team better.  Finn continues to push Talon’s buttons, sometimes without meaning to, but Talon will have to accept what they really mean to each other before he can trust more.

 

Finn continues to work hard in order to show the others that he is worthy of working with them but keeps getting hit with roadblocks and new obstacles.  Talon will to anything and fights tooth and nail to keep Finn safe even if he thinks that he might be the biggest threat.    They both continue to try and work everything out even when everything around them is trying to tear them apart.

 

Talon doesn’t do as much of the push and pull as he did in the first story but he does enough to make Finn feel as if he needs to prove himself for his lover to respect him.  I could feel Finn’s helplessness when he is trying to do his job but Talon continues to argue for his safety and I could see how much Talon was trying to do the right thing even if it wasn’t what he really wanted.  I loved getting to see more of this universe and I can’t wait to see what happens with Gael now having a human partner in the next book.

 

Cover art by Paul Richmond is wonder and perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages

Published: July 14, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781635337723

Edition Language: English

Series: Enhanced #2

An Author’s Interview with Gene Gant of In Time I Dream About You (author guest interview/new book release)

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In Time I Dream About You by Gene Gant
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Gene Gant here today talking about writing, books and In Time I Dream About You, the author’s latest release from Harmony Ink Press!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Very little, if anything at all. I strive to make every character as distinct a person as possible. In the process of writing, each character becomes a separate individual to me, with his or her own personality, history, political views and opinions. As such, they often take off in directions that surprise me, pulling the story in an entirely unexpected direction. I always work from an outline of the plot, but I’m forced to be flexible with it when a character takes control of things. There really isn’t much opportunity for me to insert any of my experiences or personal views under such circumstances. (Although a character occasionally likes my favorite food, reads one of my favorite books, or dresses in a style I personally favor.) Besides, I’m not all that interesting. Readers want compelling characters. Unlike Gavin Goode, for example, I’ve so far lived a fairly uneventful life. Or, as Donald Trump might tweet: BORING.

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

My publisher has a team of artists who work with authors to create covers. They begin with a series of questions to get an understanding of the plot, setting and characters along with the writer’s preferences. Using that information, they prepare two or more drafts of what will eventually become the cover. A great cover has to be eye-catching, convey a general sense of the story’s mood and pull the reader in. I usually go for the one that invokes the biggest emotional response in me, the one that makes me want to jump in and inhabit the world it depicts.

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

Yes, definitely. I’ve always enjoyed fiction across a variety of genres, some of my favorites being contemporary, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and horror. The stories I write fall mostly in the genres I love to read. I sometimes combine genres, as in the case of In Time I Dream About You, which is a blend of romance and science fiction/urban fantasy. Ironically, as a teenager, I read mostly adult novels by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, James Patterson, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eric Jerome Dickey and Sue Grafton. Now, as an adult, I find myself reading an awful lot of—some would say far too much—young adult fiction.   

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’ve had to put stories aside for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I lose interest in the main character, which is never a good sign. Occasionally, I discover that an idea just doesn’t come together in the writing and needs to be revamped

In Time I Dream About You actually began as a tale more heavily tilted toward romance than science fiction, with Cato as the main character who falls in love with Gavin while observing him from the future. He knows Gavin dies in a tragic event and is torn between letting history take its course or violating the law against changing the past and saving Gavin. Perhaps a third of the way into the story, I found myself getting stuck. I’d fire up my computer and sit there staring at the screen, unable to write a word. I moved on to another project, unsure whether the story would ever get finished. After a few months, I read through what I’d written so far and realized I was focusing more on Gavin than Cato, because Gavin’s life was resonating more emotionally with me than Cato’s. Once I shifted the point of view to Gavin, I finished the story rather quickly. Gavin’s tale was less romantic than Cato’s would have been, but for me, the heart of the story was with him.

What’s next for you as an author?

At the moment, I’m working on a young adult novel about a lonely fifteen-year-old boy who gets dumped by his girlfriend and is surprised to find himself falling for one of his male teachers.  It’s more of a coming of age story than a romance, with the kid having to face certain truths about himself and the people in his life. I also have this idea percolating in my head about a boy who discovers he is adopted when his birth parents surface unexpectedly in his life, just as he is settling into a relationship with his new boyfriend. Beyond that, I have no other stories planned…yet, I should add. Ideas for stories tend to pop out of the blue on me, and I’m sure it won’t be long before my mind is conjuring up new characters and situations.

Blurb

Gavin Goode, a promising high school athlete with good grades, forfeited his future when he joined a brutal street gang called the Cold Bloods. The gang’s leader, Apache, discovered Gavin is gay and framed him for murder. Now in prison, Gavin faces rape and abuse on a daily basis as gang members there attempt to break him. When his father is critically injured and Gavin reaches his lowest point, a mysterious ally appears. Cato is much more than the guard he seems. He has come from the future, and he possesses the technology to undo everything that’s gone wrong in Gavin’s life.

But meddling in the timeline has dire consequences, and Gavin faces an impossible decision: sacrifice himself and his father, or let thousands of innocents die instead.

About the Author

‘m Tennessean by birth, a resident of Memphis for most of my life. I tried living in a few northern cities after graduating from college, but I couldn’t take the brutal winters, and I missed good ol’ southern barbecue. Now I make my home on a country lane outside of Memphis. When I’m not reading, working out, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, you can find me tapping away at my computer.

Website

An Ali Audiobook Review: Vassily the Beautiful (The ESTO Universe) by Angel Martinez and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Vassily Belikov, composer and pampered son of privilege, suffered neurological damage in the accident that killed his father. Resentful of being treated as an invalid, he lives as a recluse, dependent on his mother. That changes the day she brings home a new husband with two sons of his own.

When deep-space pirates capture Vassily’s mother, he’s left to the mercy of his cruel, amoral stepfather. Fighting addiction and his physical shortcomings, he’s forced to seek out the criminal mastermind Baba Yaga for a crucial piece of equipment. While she agrees to deal with him if he beats his Exoticus addiction, paranoia and mysterious intentions infuse her household. Drawn to her fierce, suspicious youngest son, certain his actions are all carefully observed, Vassily must find the courage to face both his fears and his desires if he expects to survive.
 
I wasn’t sure about this book at the beginning.  Vassily was very fragile and made some decisions that didn’t make any sense to me.  Some of the abuse by his step-father was also a bit hard to read.  But when Vassily heads across the city to find the infamous Baba Yaga the story just took off out of the gate.  I loved it from then until the end.  
 
This is a sci-fi setting but it is not heavy on that aspect.  I mention that because I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I feel like there were just small aspects to this and really it just felt like a story in another universe.  It was easy to read and the world building was detailed enough for you to get the feel for how and where they live, but wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t overshadow the story.
 
I think the author did a great job with the characters.  There were a lot and they all stood out as individuals.  The villains were wonderfully bad, Vassily, once he starts to stand up for himself, was sweet and charming, and Baba Yaga and her sons were just awesome.  They were the highlight of the story for me.  
 
I loved the pairing of Vassily and Sumerki.   It was such a great opposites attract pairing.  Vassily soothed and mellowed Sumi out and Sumi’s fierceness gave Vassily the strength he needed.  
 
This audiobook was narrated by Greg Boudreaux and I thought he did a great job.  There were a lot of characters so there were a lot of voices, plus there were a lot of different accents.  I felt like he did them all really well.  This was my first time listening to this narrator but he will be going on my list of people to look for in future audiobooks.
 
Overall I enjoyed everything about this.  It was a unique plot and a sweet love story.  By the end I was fully invested in the characters and I really hope this author will revisit this world one day and give both of Sumi’s brothers stories also.
 
Cover:  I think the cover is nicely done.  I think it sets the feel for the book really well and the character on the cover fits the MC.  I also think the color scheme is attractive and eye catching.
Sales Links:  Mischief Corner Books | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 2nd Edition, 216 pages
Published June 11th 2014 by Mischief Corner Books LLC (first published April 2nd 2012)
ASINB00KWOP7NY
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe ESTO Universe

A VVivacious Review: Oversight (The Community #2) by Santino Hassell

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Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
“After the disturbing events that rock Evolution and send aftershocks throughout the Community, Holden finds himself in the middle of the upheaval that has the Community uneasy, and eager to brand Holden as the scapegoat.
When Holden finds himself saddled with another babysitter he is beyond pissed considering all the problems his last babysitter caused but when the babysitter comes in the form of a tall man with ridiculously broad shoulders and huge biceps covered in tattoos who is an invulnerable to boot Holden can’t help but find himself intrigued.
Sixtus Rossi is an invulnerable and thus a complete enigma to Holden who doesn’t realise how dependent he is on his ability to perceive emotions. But Sixtus has a  hidden agenda unknown to Holden.
As these two find themselves in the eye of the storm ready to wreck the Community the swirling mix of attraction and animosity that they share will come to a head in the most unexpected of ways.”
I didn’t like this book, it just didn’t work for me. The book is actually quite well written and I feel that a lot of people will enjoy this book but I also feel that this book just doesn’t have as compelling a story as the first book did.
Initially the thing that was a little irritating was the fact that Holden is completely unaware of just how selfish the Community is. There is a very distinct disconnect between Holden’s view of the Community and the tone of this book with regards to the Community wherein it felt like Holden was holding back the story from progressing just because he wasn’t ready to accept the truth.
The idea of Holden and Sixtus feels intriguing because an empath and an invulnerable can’t be more opposite and we all know what they say about opposites. But contrary to what you would believe, this book actually doesn’t focus much on the psychic abilities of its characters. I for one was very interested in the amount of advantage Holden has over people to know what they truly feel and extrapolate this knowledge to make quick deductions because Holden is a stronger empath than Nate. But despite the fact that Holden is supposed to be a stronger empath he makes almost no use of his abilities and for the most his abilities don’t play a big part in the book and almost no part in the plot. Also, there seems to be a disparity between the empath abilities of Nate in the first book and in the second book he seems stronger in this book but the fact that he now appears to be a stronger empath than Holden was really unexpected, I mean what the hell is up with Holden?
On top of that, Holden and Six feel like they happened too quickly. I wanted more of the angst of being on such different places in the psychic spectrum, more friction between their personalities instead it feels like they were moving along a predestined path and nothing offered any excitement.
The end of chapter thirteen offers the rare glimpse into what I expected this entire book to be like. The entire conversation between Nate and Holden followed by the scene between Six and Holden offers a peak into how this book could have been.
Overall the plot of this book comes across as a little too easy, there is almost no security on the farm and yet some of the strongest psychics have never managed to find their way out. I mean either something more sinister is at play or things aren’t as organised as you would think they would be.
On the whole I think this book suffered more because it couldn’t stand up to my expectations because I never felt like this book was boring or that I didn’t want to finish it. But reading this book made me feel that the emotions that this book should have been making me feel hit an invisible shield and fell short of their target.
Cover Art by Kanaxa. I liked the cover quite a lot.
 
Book Details:
ebook, 242 pages
Published June 26th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleOversight
ISBN 1626495076 (ISBN13: 9781626495074)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Community #2