Blog Post and Giveaway for Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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Penny Plain

I’m a bit of a nerd, really. I like knowing stuff. I like details and fun facts, and, well, I am a bit of a control freak. I have to have things sorted. Docketed. Filed away for future reference.

No, really. When it came to Taking Shield, I was looking up such wonderfully esoteric things as interferomatic dispersion, what actually happens if an airlock blows out in a vacuum, and sketching out on paper how the Gyrfalcon’s hangars and launch tubes work.

I love research.

Partly for its own sake, because it’s innately satisfying to learn how a naval flag office works or browse through the SF writing handbooks gawking at the inventive methods people have come up with (fictionally, I mean) to overcome Einstein’s pesky limitation that nothing can travel faster than light. But mostly I love it because it helps me visualise and describe the world I’m building, and because I think those worlds are stronger and more vivid from the details I’ve been able to add to them.

This isn’t about that old chestnut of ‘suspending the reader’s disbelief’. It’s quite the opposite: it’s about getting them to believe. There’s far more to being a writer than just sitting down to the keyboard and letting rip – you have to seed that urge to write with research. And then you have to look at all those lovely, juicy things you’ve learned and prune them away, despite the ache in your heart and the tears, to leave just the right amount to thread through your story to make it come alive. To make it tuppence coloured, rather than just penny plain.

The trick is to know what to put in (only just enough) and what to leave out (probably most if it, but I had fun researching). Feed through enough detail to give the created world completeness and coherence and make the narrative three dimensional and rich. Do it right and the little gems of knowledge inform the story, catching at the reader’s attention—hopefully subtly and naturally. It makes the world live. It’s all about balance: blend imagination with all that stuff so painstakingly collected together, and seed the details through the story so quietly and seamlessly the reader just sees the whole, complete world and never has to worry about things like the scaffolding holding it all up in the background.

For me, half the fun is sharing research with readers. I use glossaries, author’s notes, Pinterest, blog posts, website background notes… If I were a little less technologically challenged, I’d probably include animated slideshows and book trailers, too. But I am, so I don’t. The ways of sharing these fascinating world-building snippets have gone well beyond the old days when all a reader got was a fold-out map at the end of a book, if they were lucky.

You’ll find extra snippets of information on Taking Shield at my website. Do explore them to find out fascinating things such which dreadnought heads up the Ninth Flotilla, or how the chain of command of the Albion Defences work, what the medals for valour are and what colour uniform an Infantryman wears. I hope you enjoy reading it all as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas


Hate buying books in a series until the whole thing is done? Then check out the Rainbow Award-winning Taking Shield series, just released as an e-book boxed set. Not only do you get the entire series, there’s a very nice saving on the cost of the individual books! Anna’s dropped in today to tell us more.


About Taking Shield


Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.


Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Bennet, also an analyst with the Military Strategy Unit, uncovers crucial data about the Maess to help with the war effort. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family—his difficult relationship with his long term partner, Joss; his estrangement from his father, Caeden, the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla; and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.


Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

 

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Release Blitz and Giveaway for Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas


Hate buying books in a series until the whole thing is done? Then check out the Rainbow Award-winning Taking Shield series, just released as an e-book boxed set. Not only do you get the entire series, there’s a very nice saving on the cost of the individual books! Anna’s dropped in today to tell us more.


About Taking Shield


Earth’s a dead planet, dark for thousands of years; lost for so long no one even knows where the solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But its drive to expand and found colonies of its own has threatened an alien race, the Maess, against whom Albion is now fighting a last-ditch battle for survival in a war that’s dragged on for generations.


Taking Shield charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Bennet, also an analyst with the Military Strategy Unit, uncovers crucial data about the Maess to help with the war effort. Against the demands of his family’s ‘triple goddess’ of Duty, Honour and Service, is set Bennet’s relationships with lovers and family—his difficult relationship with his long term partner, Joss; his estrangement from his father, Caeden, the commander of Fleet’s First Flotilla; and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn, who, over the course of the series, develops into Bennet’s main love interest.


Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanity’s enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isn’t able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albion’s victory. And some days he isn’t sure, any longer, what victory looks like.

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

 

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Looking For Your Next Romance Story? Check Out the Blog Tour with Excerpt for Consorts of the Red King by Eden Winters

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Consorts of the Red King

Eden Winters

Gay Romance/Sci-fi/Menage

Release Date: 10.26.19

Cover artist: Perie Wolford

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Blurb

In deepest space the ruthless Federation lays waste to one rebel colony after another, leaving comrades-in-arms Van Orskey and Tayn Kassik without family, without a home, and without hope.

With nothing left but each other, they run contraband and smuggle fugitives from the safety of their ship, the Cormorant—with the occasional clandestine mission for the rival Coalition thrown in. Their heists have not gone unnoticed, though even the bounty on their heads doesn’t prevent them from being a thorn in the enemy’s side at every opportunity.

Pissing them off? Big mistake.

From the day of his birth Prince Jorvik of Akiak learned duty, wisdom, and honor from his father, leaving him ill-equipped to withstand betrayal by his Federation-puppet uncle. He has no love for the greedy off-worlders who plunder his world’s natural resources and enslave his people. To defeat his foe, he needs the cunning, fearlessness, and touch of treachery only outlaws can offer.

Two off-world mercenaries make unlikely partners in Jorvik’s quest for vengeance, but the more he learns of them, the more common ground he discovers. In each other’s arms they find passion, heat, and maybe, a reason for living—until their common enemy threatens to tar them apart.

To survive, they must take on the corrupt Federation.

And win.

3D

Excerpt

How dare they assault the king’s son! Where were Father’s advisors? He demanded answers.

Jorvik’s anger crumbled when a familiar figure swept through the door. His heart seized.

His uncle? A moment of relief hit. Uncle would help him.

He stopped himself from stepping from the closet.

What was… The guards turned toward his uncle.

Why was Uncle smiling? He looked so… satisfied, patting a blood-spattered guard’s shoulder. What…

Dear Queen of the Stars. Cold fear captured him in an icy grasp.

Jorvik grabbed the wall to keep from falling, and bent double, struggling to breathe. Air. He needed air.

No help. All alone. Six armed guards.

One Jorvik.

He must get to his father.

What could he use as a weapon? As quietly as possible, he rifled through his clothes, tossing away a belt. No, wouldn’t do. A pin? A boot? His eyes fell to the sex toy he’d dropped on the floor. One kick hid the object beneath a pile of silk.

He’d been taught to fight, more for exercise than self-defense, with a staff, knives, but mostly with his hands. While he’d bested his teacher a few times, he’d not fare well against so many well-trained guards.

Knives! The blade of his dagger glinted from the pile of clothing he’d left on the floor. A grinning man picked up the gleaming blade and slipped it into his waistband. What? No! His father gave him the dagger.

Why hadn’t he hidden more weapons in his room?

His blood boiled, instincts screaming, “Attack! Attack!” He nearly added his own scream, of frustration. No. To do so meant sure death.

He crept away from the door, though not far enough to escape the sight of Sika and Gris, mouths open and eyes staring in his direction.

Just a few moments ago they’d been alive, loving…

His uncle spat on the robed body on the floor. Please let him not see me, please let him not see me. All the while Jorvik’s brain accused, “Coward!”

The dim greenish glow of the crystals gave his uncle an eerie, monstrous look as he crouched down by Gris’s body. “He’s just a whore, but a pretty one. Such a shame he chose the wrong bed to come to.”

One of the guards laughed.

Whore? How dare the traitor call sweet Gris an off-worlder insult! Jorvik’s hard swallow didn’t lessen the burning in this throat. These were his father’s own guards. What were they about? And what were they doing with his uncle?

Worst still, what was his uncle doing?

“Take them! Burn their bodies!” his uncle barked.

The men split up, one each at their victims’ heads and feet, lifting them from the floor, with two trailing behind.

Burning their bodies? No. They must be taken to the caves to join Akiak’s cycle of life, amidst chanting and prayers to the queen of the stars. To be burned…

One guard stopped, glancing toward the closet door. The breath caught in Jorvik’s throat. Please don’t see me. Please don’t see me.

“Come! Now!” his uncle ordered from the hallway.

With one last sweep of the room, the guard spun on his heel and followed the carnage, leaving the door ajar.

A trail of red followed the procession out the door.

Jorvik collapsed against the wall, head in his hands. His heart still pounded. Try as he might he couldn’t get his breathing under control. Nothing made sense. Surely, he slept and wine-induced dreams haunted him.

More cries sounded from the hallway.

He couldn’t cower here. Father! He had to find his father.

Countless lessons drove his actions. At the time he’d thought the caution ridiculous. Who would dare challenge the king?

Yet, his father insisted he train for battle, an ancient art practiced by rulers and guards.

Though he wanted to run to his father straightaway, he’d do as he’d been told and plan for the worse.

Jorvik closed his eyes, opening them again a moment later when visions of two dead men appeared on his eyelids.

Choking down his horror, he forced himself to stand and grabbed a travel case. His hands shook. He must pack quickly, but taking too much might slow him down. These were his things, by the mother. He’d every right to them.

The urge to forget all else and run straight to his father nearly overwhelmed him, but with a threat to the family, his father would send him into hiding. They’d been through the drill. Someone might plot to harm the heir, but who would dare move against the king?

His guards would keep him safe. Wouldn’t they?

Jorvik’s chest ached at the thought of the two dead men. He couldn’t help them now, but he could help others.

If he lived. Living meant taking only what he truly needed.

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You will know Eden Winters by her distinctive white plumage and exuberant cry of “Hey, y’all!” in a Southern US drawl so thick it renders even the simplest of words unrecognizable. Watch out, she hugs!

Driven by insatiable curiosity, she possibly holds the world’s record for curriculum changes to the point that she’s never quite earned a degree but is a force to be reckoned with at Trivial Pursuit. She’s trudged down hallways with police detectives, learned to disarm knife-wielding bad guys, and witnessed the correct way to blow doors off buildings. Her e-mail contains various snippets of forensic wisdom, such as “What would a dead body left in a Mexican drug tunnel look like after six months?” In the process of her adventures she has written twenty gay romance novels, has won several Rainbow Awards, was a Lambda Awards Finalist, and lives in terror of authorities showing up at her door to question her Internet searches.

When not putting characters in dangerous situations she’s a mild-mannered business executive, mother, grandmother, vegetarian, and PFLAG activist. Her natural habitats are airports, coffee shops, and the backs of motorcycles.

Website: edenwinters.com

Email: edenwinter@gmail.com

Twitter: edenwinters1

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

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Review Tour and Giveaway for Something Wild by Anna Martin

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Length: 67,000 words
 
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
 
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
 
Blurb



The South Pacific Archipelago is home to a tiny island community of around three hundred scientists… and twenty thousand dinosaurs. As a paleogeneticist, Kit Sterling leads a team studying the dinosaurs to unlock the unanswered questions of evolution.


But there is something more dangerous than dinosaurs on the islands.


Head ranger Logan Beck discovers evidence of poachers, while rumors of a black market for dinosaur leather swirl around the community. Kit and Logan haven’t always gotten along professionally, though that has nothing to do with their attraction to each other. So when they’re thrown together to save an injured infant dinosaur, their professional disdain turns into a clandestine romance.


With not just the injured dinosaur at risk, but all of the precious dinosaurs on the islands too, Kit and Logan have to figure out how to balance their budding romance without letting their careers go extinct.

 
Author Bio
 

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.


Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.


Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


https://www.annamartin-fiction.com/
http://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
http://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/
http://instagram.com/missannamartin
http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

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Don’t Miss Out on the Release Tour for The Shoreless Sea (Liminal Sky Book 3) by J. Scott Coatsworth (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Shoreless Sea - J. Scott Coatsworth

J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer sci fi book out, the final book in his Liminal Sky trilogy: “The Shoreless Sea.” And books one and two are on sale!

As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.

The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth’s technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.

But during the generation ship’s decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They’ll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can’t understand.

The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.

Series Blurb:

Humankind is on its way to the stars, a journey that will change it forever. Each of the stories in Liminal Sky explores that future through the lens of a generation ship, where the line between science fiction and fantasy often blurs. At times both pessimistic and very hopeful, Liminal Sky thrusts you into a future few would ever have imagined.

Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play | QueeRomance Ink | GoodreadsGet Books One and Two on Sale!

Liminal Sky Series sale

The eBook for book one in the Liminal Sky trilogy, “The Stark Divide,” is just 99¢, and book two, “The Rising Tide,” is $1.99 at all vendors:

The Stark Divide Buy Links – 99¢Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

The Rising Tide Buy Links – $1.99Dreamspinner | Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play


Giveaway

Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour, along with three eBook sets of his Oberon Cycle trilogy. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

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Excerpt

MEME-Shoreless-Sea-03

Kiryn Hammond-Clarke floated in the darkness of space, stars he’d never seen in person twinkling against the velvety black depths.

The voice came to him from out of nowhere. “Can anyone hear me?”

In his dreams, he could hear. Like when Belynn let him ride in her mind.

The voice repeated, sounding stretched and thin. “Is anyone out there?”

In the distance, a single star glowed brighter than all the others, though it was still just a small golden dot.

Kiryn reached out toward the light, his hand naked to the cold of the void.

Ice crystals formed on his arm, hardening it in place. The cold reached into his bones like knives of frozen glass. It raced up his bicep, the burning cold fire of the void.

He snatched back his arm, but he was too late. The freezing grip reached his heart, and he screamed silently—

Kiryn awoke with a start, sitting up in bed in his dorm room drenched with sweat. He ran his hands through his dark hair, letting them come to rest clasped behind his head.

First Light flashed past in the trees outside his window, brightening up the room.

The world was utterly silent.

The silence, his constant companion since birth, was particularly soothing after his rude awakening. It wrapped itself around him like a blanket, a suit of armor, a barrier between him and the hustle and bustle of the outside world.

Between him and emotion.

He held his arm out for inspection, half expecting it to be blackened by the void. Instead, it looked perfectly normal. Warm and tan, halfway between his mothers’ sepia and white skin tones.

He shivered at the memory.

The bed moved under him, and his date from the night before sat up, his mouth moving soundlessly.

The man was handsome, a Thyrean sent to the university at Micavery for his higher schooling—long limbs, blond hair shaved short, warm brown eyes.

His name was Dax. Or Zack. Or something.

Kiryn’s lipreading was decent, but he hadn’t bothered to spend too much time learning this one’s name. Dax or Zack hadn’t seemed to mind much.

Kiryn pointed at his ear and shook his head.

The man’s mouth closed, and he blushed. “Sorry. I forgot.”

That one was easy enough to read.

He grabbed the piece of cotton paper and a pencil Kiryn kept at his bedside just for that purpose and scribbled something out longhand, then handed it over to him.

It’s Dax. And are you okay?

Kiryn stared at him. Did you just read my mind? Maybe there was a little Liminal in him. He laughed, wondering not for the first time what it sounded like from the outside. It felt clunky and awkward on the inside.

He sighed and took the paper and pencil.

Dax’s hand lingered over his for an extra second before letting go.

Bad dream. Class in fifteen minutes. He hesitated, then scribbled, Dinner?

Dax took the paper, and a grin lit up his face. His eager nod needed no translation. I work at the hatchery until six. Meet me there?

Kiryn nodded and grinned.

Dax slipped out of bed and pulled on his trousers and white shirt, the V-neck showing off his chest to perfection.

Kiryn sat back with his hands behind his head, admiring the view.

He leaned over, kissed Kiryn on the cheek, and mouthed, “See you.”

When Dax left, Kiryn grabbed a change of clothes and headed down the hall to the dorm bathroom. He hopped into the shower, using the aromatic red berry soap bar his mom and mamma had sent him from the Estate. The smell transported him, and he closed his eyes and imagined himself standing among the long, even rows of red berry vines that arched across the hillsides.

His parents worried about him, out here alone, but it was Andy who had insisted he go.

When Kiryn had been born congenitally and profoundly deaf, Andy and Shandra had learned sign language from the world mind in vee.

There were so few other deaf people in Forever. So few like him.

The day before he was set to leave for university, to catch the public wagon headed for Darlith and then Micavery, he’d had a huge panic attack.

His parents had sat him down along with his sister, Belynn:

 

“I’m scared. Why do I have to go away?” He was fidgeting, nervous.

“You have to go. There’s nothing here for you.” Andy indicated the Estate, where the family had built a thriving agricultural business on the backs of Trip’s and Colin’s earlier work.

You’re here.” His hands signed it while his knee bounced up and down.

Andy shook her head. “This is our place. You need to go.”

He flushed. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I was such a burden.”

“No.That was emphatic. “That’s not what I meant. We don’t want you to get trapped here, working on the Estate for the rest of your life. There’s a whole world out there for you to explore.” She looked up at Shandra, who nodded.

“I’ll go with him,” Belynn said and signed it at the same time, but he could hear her inside his head too.

Mom could do that, too, of course, but she had to touch him to do it.

“You’re not ready.” Shandra glared at Belynn and shook her head.

“I’ve been with Kiryn in every vee class since I was born. I’m only two years younger than he is. Let me go with him to help.”

Kiryn frowned. He wasn’t sure he wanted his little sister tagging along after him, cramping his style. If he decided to go.

Belynn’s hand found his, palm to palm, and he could feel her emotions. We can take care of each other. That thought was private, just for him, inside his head.

Maybe so.

Andy looked at Shandra. “They could take care of each other.” She echoed Belynn’s thought and touched Shandra’s hand. Something passed between them.

Shandra looked at him and then at Belynn, uncertainty clear on her face. “We could… try it.”

Belynn squeezed his hand. “Yes!”

“For a semester.” Andy kissed Shandra on the forehead.

Kiryn thought about it. It would be nice to have someone close by, just in case. Someone who really knew him. “Okay.” And it would be a lot less scary.

Now he was here, and Belynn wouldn’t be far behind.

Where are you, big brother? Belynn’s insistent voice.

I’ll be back in a minute. He pulled the towel from its wooden peg, dried off his hair and shoulders.

A couple of the other guys in the dorm, Stave and Trevor, waved on their way to their own showers. Cute as hell, but straighter than the old antenna on Micavery’s village green. Well, except when Stave got drunk on red berry wine….

Kiryn grinned. He pulled on his trousers and shirt and padded back to his room. Belynn was waiting for him on his bed. “How did you get in?” he signed.

They touched palms, the emotions flowing between them and synching.

“Easy. Aric at the front desk is a sucker for a pretty girl.”

“Like I said, how did you get in?”

She stuck out her tongue at him. “Come on. We’re going to be late.” She tugged him off the bed, and Kiryn barely had time to grab his carry sack before she had him out the door and down the hall.


Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

A Rainbow Award winning author and Science Fiction Writer’s Association (SFWA) member, he runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction reflecitng their own reality.

Author Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ/

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Special Books I’m Promoting This Weekend and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Book Highlight Weekend!

So I thought I’d do something a little different this weekend and highlight some books I thought should be in the spotlight. In case a few readers here and there had missed them.  Each for varying reasons but the first being excellence.

The first one is a teaser, you can preorder it now from MacMillan (Tor), the author is T.J. Klune.  Perhaps you all have heard of him? lol

The cover is amazing, the reviews from those that have read it incredible…

Charlaine Harris, the author of the True Blood books read The House in the Cerulean Sea and said, “The House in The Cerulean Sea is a modern fairy tale about learning your true nature and what you love and will protect. It’s a beautiful book.”

1984 meets The Umbrella Academy with a pinch of Douglas Adams thrown in.” (Gail Carriger)

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

An enchanting love story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is Lambda Literary Award-winning author TJ Klune’s breakout contemporary fantasy.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Tor Books

 Pre Order LinksAmazon | Tor | Goodreads | Barnes&Noble

A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Next up?

Sales Links:     

All Proceeds Go To Charity:

Amazon US

Everywhere Else

Book Details:

Buy for $4.99 or try Kindle Unlimited to read over a million titles
Kindle Edition, 761 pages
Published October 1st 2019

That would be the Heart2Heart Vol 3 AnthologyYou can find the link to the tour hereAll proceeds go to charity and the anthology is only available for the next 90 days!

Blurb

Once upon a time, a group of authors wondered… What if the Heart2Heart app — the dating app with a glitch that matched up the oddest, most perfect couples, and sponsored the charity date raffles that helped dozens of people find love — offered a classifieds section, too?

Need a handyman who knows how to wear a tool belt? Have a closet of drag costumes that needs a new home? How about finally tracking down that guy who made the perfect drink, or who’s just the right height to reach the top shelf?

Join some of your favorite authors of gay romance as they bring you sixteen brand-new stories inspired by reader suggestions!

Once again, all proceeds from this collection will go to the authors’ favorite LGBTQ charities (which are named and linked -see above tour), to ensure that love in all its forms will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

Participating Authors:Annabeth Albert , May Archer , Mary Calmes , Charlie Cochet , Eden Finley , Susan Hawke , Sloane Kennedy, Lucy Lennox  , Lily Morton , K.M. Neuhold , Nora Phoenix , Layla Reyne , Piper Scott, Damon Suede , Hailey Turner , Aimee Nicole Walker

#MustHave

One look at that lineup tells you this is something special!

In Addition….

And just in case you are having problems finding some of these authors and their stories lately?  Here are  some links to a few novels.  Not familiar? Pleases check them out! Those are links to the Amazon sales sights and the blurbs can be found there as well.

 

More authors next week.

 

Until then. Have a great weekend.  Happy Reading and happy listening to all your stories and authors.  Don’t forget to check out our week ahead below!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, October 6:

  • Don’t Miss Out on the Book Blast with excerpt for The Black Mask by Samuel King
  • Love Historical Romance? Check Out the Release Blitz for Lost and Found by Liv Rancourt (excerpt and giveaway)
  • Check Out the Release Blitz with excerpt for the Best Man (Close Proximity #1) by Lily Morton
  • Special Books I’m Promoting This Weekend and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, October 7:

  • Review Tour – Jay Northcote – Where Love Grows
  • Review Tour – V.L. Locey – Life According To Liam
  • Release Blitz – Con Riley – After Ben (Seattle Stories #1)
  • A Stella Review: After Ben (Seattle Stories #1) by Con Riley
  • A MelanieM Review : Life According To Liam by  V.L. Locey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote

Tuesday, October 8:

  • TOUR In Safe Arms by Ann Grech
  • Shots on Goal (Stick Side #3) by Amy Aislin – Cover Reveal Blitz
  • RELEASE BLITZ Master of Restless Shadows by Ginn Hale
  • Release Blitz  – Elle Keaton – Conspiracy Theory
  • A Stella Review: Things Happen That Way (Mann of My Dreams #2) by Tinnean
  • A Lila Review: Sundown, Holiday, Beacon (Extraordinary Book 1) by K.L. Noone

Wednesday, October 9:

  • Review Tour Request – Coast To Coast – RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • Book Blitz – BITE – Various Authors
  • Blog Tour Ground Zero by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • An Alisa Review:  BITE Anthology (Various Authors)
  • A Stella Review : The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton
  • A MelanieM Review : Coast To Coast (Arizona Raptors #1) by  RJ Scott & V.L. Locey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Ground Zero (Zero Hour #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker

Thursday, October 10:

  • Cover Reveal – Precariously Mated (D’Vaire, Book 14) by Jessamyn Kingley
  • Review Tour – Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake
  • Blog Tour “Dog Tagged” by James Brock
  • An Alisa Review: “Dog Tagged” by James Brock
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Shinigami by Xia Xia Lake
  • A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Playing a Murderous Tune (Cambridge Fellows #12.8) by Charlie Cochrane

Friday, October 11:

  • Release Blitz – Crystal Lacy – Ready For You
  • Cover Reveal – First Priority by Este Holland
  • New Release Tour for A Thousand Lifetimes – Katey Hawthorne
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Winter’s Knight (New Amsterdam #2) by Kelly Wyre
  • A Lucy Review: The Captain’s Flirty Fireworks by Eleanor Harkstead and Catherine Curzon
  • A MelanieM Review A Thousand Lifetimes by Katey Hawthorne

Saturday, October 12:

  • Release Blitz  – DJ Jamison – Wrangling A Groom
  • Book Blast – The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein
  • A Free Dreamer Review: The Killing Spell by Shane Ulrrein

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Space Train by David Bridger

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

The blurb says this is like Firefly meets Wagon Train and that is accurate. This is the best world-building I have read in a long time that wasn’t contained in a bubble: meaning the reader isn’t just given enough to advance the plot at that moment, and that not just one location was looked at in detail. Almost everywhere they went was looked at in enough detail, showing urban and rural areas, to get a sense of place except planet Main. The only thing shown about Main is the murder and betrayal games the elite play. As they are the bad guys in this scenario it may seem strange, but don’t we already know what they look like? They have a ruling Primary class that is white, homogeneous, and hereditary. Their economy is about to collaspe and they are running out of resources in the planet system they control.

There are so many different types of ships and flying described, as is landing and docking, ship engineering and design, and navigational systems too. Then there are all the planets, cities and aliens–although all humanoid. This is an author who delights in giving the reader different cultures and landscapes. These planet systems are linked by travel through wormholes for trade and exploration. In fact, it’s almost as if the story is just a reason to go on a journey from one place to another. That’s alright, because it’s vastly entertaining and fun to picture it all. The plot is the age old tale of greed, corruption, racism, control of labour, the mismanagement of resources and imperialism. So, the plot is nothing that shocking, just very complex.

This has a huge cast that the reader learns about through their actions, words, and thoughts gleaned by the Clear, a blue skinned race of telepathic beings, some of which are monks. I couldn’t help but think of the Delvian of Farscape. At first, I was excited because everyone is represented here: different colors, different sexualities, different classes, different abilities, even accents and other languages are explained. There m/f, m/m, and f/f pairings, even a trans character. However, the main relationships where intimacy is shown are all m/f. If the author can explore the tentative start of two relationships, and the reestablishment of romance in a marriage, he can certainly describe the reunion of the only m/m couple after they have been separated eight years. (This book is non-explicit, with no on page sex.) All of these situations are cleverly used to get the reader emotionally attached to the human element, which I appreciated. It would be easy to get lost in the politics and scenery otherwise.

The main characters tying everything together are the Russell family. Being people of color, they have no love of the racist elite of planet Main. They are all still mourning the loss of loved ones in the previous war due to the rulers of Main, who made them a target of the Binaries. They own the Wagon Train and each of them (Tom, Rain, Ellen, and Mark) has a hand in everything that happens. Tom, Captain of the Mary Mackin, a huge ship that carries families and their smaller ships, and supplies to a new homeworld, has the largest role in this book. The best thing about Tom is his lack of hyper-masculinity. He isn’t embarrassed about feeling fear, or that people know it. He still does what he needs to in spite of it. He takes his responsibilities seriously, and cares for his people. Tom is still traumatized by Saxe’s torture of him during the war, and the death of everyone on his ship. Saxe is relentless like The Operative from Firefly, and could easily become Kylo Ren from Star Wars in future books, killing his father and taking over everything. For now though, The Ten of Main send Saxe to find out where Tom takes his passengers–he also wants his own revenge for Tom’s previous escape. The reader won’t learn too much about Mark in this book, and his husband Richard is also underutilized. Yet, the strong female characters of Ellen and Rain are a pleasure to read. I hope they get their own books. There are a plethora of strong women characters here, whether businesswomen, settlers, mothers, crew, monks, or spies. I also enjoyed that the most intelligent beings, with the best technology are not human, are not even mammalian.

I loved reading about the planets: Red, Willerby, Clear, and Anza. I liked the religions versus spirituality explorations of all the different people and places. I liked how even tiny details are throw in, like the concern of black hair care with such dry spacecraft air. I liked them building houses and the sense of community. I felt a sense of joy, a celebration of science, art, love, and life…all being overshadowed by the war that is coming, the war that is already here. This has an end, and yet there is still a the threat coming from planet Main and Saxe isn’t going away. This was so good. Could a follow up novel be as good? I don’t know, but want to find out, soon.

The cover design is by Roe Horvat. It has a space feel, and communicates danger, but not the intricate nature of this novel.

Sales Link:  Amazon | Beaten Track Publishing |

Book Details:

Kindle Edition and paperback from the publisher, 318 pages
Published August 29th 2019 by Beaten Track Publishing
ASINB 07WNDCBGD

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

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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

A Lila Review: The Windmines of Bora Bora (Virasana Empire: Sir Yaden Book 2) by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

“The Emperor cares for each and every one of his subjects.”Betrayed by his sister and sold into slavery to die in the dreaded Windmines of Bora Bora, Ivan has nothing but sarcasm and spite for the Lotus Knights’ well-worn catchphrase. No one ever cared for him – not when he was a young noble, not as a tortured Quetzal pet, and definitely not as a runaway slave gang leader in the slums of Yaiciz.

But all that changes when one of his fellow inmates turns out to be a genuine Lotus Knight, offering help and a way out of this misery. Suddenly, even Ivan can’t help but feel like there might be something good in his life to look forward to.

The Windmines of Bora Bora is a dark, snarky adventure and the the second book of ‘Sir Yaden’, an epic SF saga of grand adventure, bromance and patchwork family, set in the multi-faceted Virasana Empire.

The Windmines of Bora Bora is a hard book to rate. On one hand, it’s an intrinsic, epic story with a well-developed world and characters. On the other, it lacks a satisfactory resolution. It’s a transitional book, a second act, ending on an intermission.

From the beginning, we are drawn to Ivan and his life. We get to see him as a young adult and as a child, through his sister’s eyes. The memories and the present time chapters are intermingled to perfection. It’s easy to move back and forward without whiplash.

The story’s plot moves abruptly from Ivan to Yaden. Leaving the reader looking for a switch back. Yes, it has an ending. And yes, Ivan gets to restart his life but… it ends before we can get real closure for him. Yaden story gets wrapped nicely but for Ivan is just the beginning.

I will continue to look forward to this series, and other books by these authors. I’m a fan of their imagination. In this case, I simply hope the next book gives Ivan a little more happiness to compensate for all the suffering .

The cover by Anna Tiferet is simpler than the first one but it gives a sense of place to the story. Plus, it matches the series well.

Sale Links: Amazon | iBooks | Smashwords

Book Details:
ebook, 215 pages
ISBN: 9780463799727
Published: August 13, 2019, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus
Edition Language: English

Series: Virasana Empire
Book #1: The Demon of Hagermarsh
Book #2: The Windmines of Bora Bora

A Caryn Review: An Uncommon Whore (An Uncommon Whore #1) by Belinda McBride

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Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

A bit sci-fi, a bit fantasy, a romance rekindled after tragedy, and just a little challenge to the psychology of traditional male gender roles…  This book ended up being a little more wide-ranging than I expected, but I truly enjoyed it.

The novel opens on the planet Warlan – mined out, ugly, and full of dangerous and desperate beings from all over the galaxy who seemingly have nowhere lower to go.  Pasha was a slave, a whore, controlled by a chip in his brain that not only suppressed his memories of who he was, but also guaranteed obedience to his owner.  Pasha was always looking for escape, but his many attempts over the years were unsuccessful, until his pimp lost him to a pirate over a game of cards.

That pirate was Captain Griffin Hawke, and he had been searching for years for his king, Helios Dayspring.  He’d heard rumors that Helios might be on Warlan, and was thrilled to find him, but horrified by what Helios had become.  He was equally horrified to learn that Helios had no memory of who he was, what had happened to their people, or how the two of them had been lovers before they became guerrilla warriors for their people.

This is the beginning of a series, so the entire restoration of the kingdom of Astrum will take a few more books.  An Uncommon Whore is all about the restoration of Helios Dayspring, as Griffin takes him off Warlan, through a series of adventures to recover his memories and return to their new homeland.  Along the way, they reunite with unexpected allies, confront traitors, and most importantly, learn more about themselves and their relationship with each other.  Helios found ways to use his experience as a slave to become a better man, and convince Griffin they could be partners despite their difference in rank.  There was a lot of discussion between the two of them about the role of dominance and submission – not in a BDSM type of way, but in regards to all the roles and positions in a sexual relationship.  Is the man on his knees submissive?  Is the top in anal sex the dominant?  Is it possible to switch roles?  What does that mean when they have political and leadership positions to maintain as well?  I think I liked that part of the narrative best, even though it was overdone at times.  This quote, Helios talking to Griffin, kind of sums it up best:

I’ve discovered that humility is not such a bad thing and that strength can be found through submission.  I’ve learned that I am not always right, and being wrong is not a bad thing, nor is it a weakness.

Some things I didn’t like were how the dialogue sometimes seemed less like Astrum and fantasy world, and more like 21st century America.  There was also a definite feeling of insta-love between Helios and Griffin – and I didn’t really buy that a man who had been an abused sex slave would be so instantly attracted to anyone.  But that aside, it was an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson captures Helios well, and the background clearly shows the sci-fi aspect of the story.

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon |  Barnes and Noble:

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd edition
Published August 27th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published January 25th 2010)
Original Title An Uncommon Whore
ASINB07TZ2FRZS
Series An Uncommon Whore #1
Characters Helios Dayspring, Griffin Hawke
setting Warlan
Neo Domus