A Lila Release Day Review: Falling Into the Black (A Planet Called Wish #3) by Caitlin Ricci

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Rate: 4 stars out of 5

Sometimes there’s a difference between duty and doing what’s right. And sometimes doing what’s right comes with a high price.

Every aspasian at Asiq adores the handsome peacekeeper Resan—all except for Arin. While the other workers vie for Resan’s attention, Arin avoids him at all costs, which rouses Resan’s suspicion. When he discovers Arin is a runaway slave, Resan is bound by law to return him to his master. It is only later that Resan realizes what he’s done.

Arin’s owner bought him at twelve, married him, and not only violated Arin himself, but loaned him out to his friends. Resan has returned him to a life of rape and abuse, and now he must make a decision: free Arin and abandon the oaths he swore as a peacekeeper, or leave him to languish and abandon his own conscience and heart.

Falling Into the Black has a different feel than the previous books in the series. Perhaps because it takes place on different planets in the galaxy, and Corbin & Thierry are just secondary characters with a limited participation in the story. Even when they do play an important role, and we get updates on their relationships.

Arin and Resan are interesting characters. As a peacekeeper, Resan sees everything as black or white, good or bad. On the other hand, Arin’s life experiences have shown him the diversity found in-between those places. It takes time, and many rough moments for them to see beyond their own perceptions and into a future together.

The first part of the story moves fast and gets into the main issues right away. I’m glad that Arin’s experiences weren’t too graphic even when they were heartbreaking. I did have trouble putting the book down because I wanted to know how everything would be resolved. It does slow down toward the middle before it picks up again.

There are several twists and turns, and when you think the story is almost over, it’s just halfway there. Some things are a bit gut wrenching but don’t take away from the story. I enjoyed learning about the rest of the planets, the species, and all their characteristics. The world-build makes sense and enhances the scenes instead of being intrusive.

I’m not too sure about the ending and that’s why the story isn’t five stars for me. It’s more of an HFN than anything else, but not exactly what I was expecting. I love this series and I hope another one comes out soon. I definitely want to read more about this world and the couples we have met.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht goes well with others in the series. But, Arin’s representation seems too human.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 145 pages
Published: March 17, 2017, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781635334890
Edition Language: English

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

 

An Alisa Review: Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love by Dale Cameron Lowry

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

Nine of Dale Cameron Lowry’s best short romance stories, available for the first time in one book.

Part 1: Falling Fast
Warm up with whirlwind romances that last.

Mi Alma — Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn’t know the first thing about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension—and possibly something much deeper. Will this Christmas bring them both a love that lasts?
Loggerhead — Soon after they fall in love, Jake makes Eric a promise inspired by an old track uniform. But demanding work schedules at Jake’s four-star restaurant and Eric’s newspaper keep them from following through. Six years later, they take the honeymoon they never had, heading to the Florida coast in search of sea turtles—and rekindling their passion for each other in the process.
Reading the Signs — The only thing twenty-three-year-old Theo De Jong expects when he enrolls in a summer school for linguists in New Mexico is to get more ideas for his master’s thesis in Dutch Sign Language. But then he meets the American sign language expert Alfonso Grossman, and sparks fly.

Part 2: Falling Fantastically
Because reality is overrated, these stories have elements of the fantastical.

Born of Fire — The fairies on Ireland’s north coast are notorious for kidnapping, and Aodhán of County Donegal has the scars to prove it. When the fairies abduct the handsome youth Cainnech, Aodhán seeks to free him—but risks losing his health and Cainnech in the process.
Ghost of a Chance — When shy Jeremy Anderson meets mysterious and dapper Frank at his spooky old university library, their connection is instant. Their romance waxes with the full moon—but just as quickly, Frank’s interest seems to wane. He insists that he loves spending time with Jeremy, but then why does he keep Jeremy at arm’s length?
Far From Home — Rajiv met and fell in love with his husband, Mateo, when they were both members of the scientific team responsible for transforming Mars into a home suitable for humans. But years into their shared mission, Rajiv is ordered back to Earth to restore the barren lands of the American Midwest. With a little help from technology, the two men find innovative ways to nurture their long-distance relationship while they wait to reunite.
Sweeter Than Blood — Keith was a vegan before a hot encounter with a stranger turned him into a vampire. In the year since, his sire, John, has tried to make up for the mistake by teaching Keith everything he knows about being a non-murderous bloodsucker. But temptation is strong in the form of Andres, a regular customer at the barbershop where Keith works. When Andres finally asks Keith on a date, the real danger begins.

Part 3: Falling Deep
The deeper the love, the hotter the intimacy.

Rough Love — Blake thinks new boyfriend Michael doesn’t like French kissing. Michael thinks Blake doesn’t like rough sex. Neither are virgins, except in the art of conversation. Can they set things straight before the honeymoon’s over?
Pacific Rimming — On Mike’s fortieth birthday, his husband, Ken, takes him on vacation to Vancouver Island in Western Canada to celebrate. While Mike mourns his loss of youth, Ken encourages him to recapture it by bedding a gorgeous twenty-something man they encounter while hiking in Pacific Rim National Park. A night of no-holds-barred passion among the three men reveals a sizzling chemistry, and when Mike and Ken return home they find themselves longing to reconnect with the young Jason. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?

 

This is a great collection of stories.  The men are all looking for love or are enjoying the love they already have which was a nice variety.  They all ended great but took a bunch of different ways to get there, just like in real life.  Most of the stories are only told from one character’s point of view, but the author does a wonderful job of showing the other characters emotions and feelings through their eyes.

 

In Mi Alma Damian and Alma aren’t quite sure how to approach the other with their growing feelings but their tension works wonderfully in building their friendship, I thought both of these characters played well off each other.  In Loggerhead Jake and Eric show that it is easy to put yourselves and your relationship on the back burner a bit, but I loved seeing them make their relationship even stronger during their trip.  Theo and Alfonso begin a wonderful friendship at the beginning of Reading the Signs and keep it going via skype when their course is over for the summer and seeing Theo learn what love really is, even at a distance, is great.

 

Born of Fire was an interesting concept; Aodhán becomes abducted by fairies and realizes this and how much Cainnech could mean to him if they were free, but they have to support each other once they are free from the fairies.  Ghost of a Chance was one of the sweetest stories in this collection; Jeremy and Frank build a great friendship that turns into a strong relationship even though they are somewhat separated on the physical plane, but their love is what can keep Frank solidly in Jeremy’s life.  Rajiv and Mateo miss each other so much in Far From Home, but have figured out the next best thing to having the other with them.  In Sweeter than Blood Keith has not been very welcoming to the vampire lifestyle and when he finally takes a chance on Andres he realizes that maybe John is the one he needs.

 

In Rough Love Blake and Michael are trying to start their relationship off well, but don’t know how to talk to each other.  When they finally do we can see what they have been holding back and how much more perfect they are for each other.  Pacific Rimming show how there is always room in people hearts for more people to love if they want and Ken and Mike know that if they give it a chance Jason could easily fit into their lives.  Seeing Jason realize that he can have the love he has wanted is wonderful.

 

Cover art by Dale Cameron Lowry is great and eye catching.

 

Sales Links: Terrestrial Press | Amazon | Books2Read

 

Book Details:

ebook, 233 pages

Published: February 20, 2017 by Terrestrial Press

ISBN: 9781508058670

Edition Language: English

Fickle, Fickle March ~ Its Snowing? This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Fickle, Fickle March Part II ~ Its Snowing?

So remember all that lovely warm weather I was talking about?  Well, out the window it went and here’s comes the first Nor’easter of our winter season.  The meteorologists are calling from anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of accumulated snow here in the metro area, possibly more.  Oh those poor cherry blossoms, to say nothing of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival that draws visitors from around the world.  Yep, those  blossoms will be history, taken down by nature’s blast this week!

And what will that do to our St. Patricks Day parades?  Will they be marching in the snow?  Most likely.

Oh, this mercurial March. Much like love and romance, it blows hot and cold.  It heats up and then quickly can become ice cold.  Then flare up when you least expect it.  I’m hoping for the more heat to melt this coming snow away quickly.

 

Lucky In Love – A St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway!

So new  giveaway for our  readers.  With it being St. Patrick’s Day this week, what are your favorite books with Irish settings, or Irish men and romance in them?  Lists please and  we will post a special St. Patrick’s Day Romance Book List of Love.  Random reader will receive gift card of $10 from Dreamspinner Press.  Please leave a name and email address with your recs!  I will start you off with one that still makes me cry and grabs at my heart every time I read it:

Where the Grass is Greener (Seeds of Tyrone #2) by Debbie McGowan and Raine O’Tierney

And don’t get me started on those magnificent Morgan men of Rhys Ford’s Sinners series.   I’ll add in more when list time comes.  Our  giveaway ends Saturday, March 18th at midnight.  Slainte’! D’fhéadfadh grá i gcónaí a bheith mise!  May love always be yours, in life and in our stories.  I can’t wait to see what books your lists may bring us.

This Week’s Announcements at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

📚~ Reviewers ~We have a new reviewer coming on.  Her name is Julia.  And we’re thrilled to have her here.  Let Julia tell you something about herself:

Hey, there!

I’m Julia, a mid-twenties gay language student from Austria. I love travelling, Japanese curry, Scotland, the sea and anything and all fiction-related. My current passions are writing (mainly short stories and flash fiction) and playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends (where I play as a half-mermaid cleric with a pet pufferfish named Huffl-Puffington Supreme Conqueror of the Northern Seas).

When it comes to literature, I’m basically open for anything that catches my interest in some way. I love books that make me cry, books that make me laugh, books that make me want to ram my head against a wall with spikes protruding from it – as long as a story can get any kind of emotional response out of me, I’m happily along for the ride. That being said, my most-read genre right now would probably be Fantasy and my favourite author Terry Pratchett with his glorious Discworld-series.

Well, I think that should give you a pretty decent picture of myself. Have a lovely day and as a friend of mine once said: Don’t get eaten by a dragon! (Unless they ask nicely and all around seem like a pretty ok-person.^^)

Say hi to Julia and be on the lookout for her reviews to start appearing soon!  We are still looking for reviewers.  So contact us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com if you love books and want to tell other about them too!

📚~Last Week’s Giveaway ~ He Turned Out To Be What? Contest and the Winners:  Purple Reader (Stella will be in contact with you)

This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 12:

  • Fickle, Fickle March Part II ~ Its Snowing?
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 13:

  • DSP GUEST POST BA Tortuga on Two Cowboys and a Baby
  • DSP GUEST POST Ethan Stone on Wild Instincts (Seaside Shifters: Book Two)
  • Release Day Blitz Shaper by Christine Danse
  • RIPTIDE TOUR BLOG Sons of Devils by Alex Beecroft
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Lickety Split by Damon Suede
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Step by Step by K.C. Wells
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  Dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe by Rick R. Reed

Tuesday, March 14:

  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Cleansing Flame (Rekindled Flame #2) by Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz – Rick R Reed’s Dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe
  • In the Paranormal Spotlight: Insight by Santino Hassell (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)
  • A Jeri Review: Danced Close by Annabeth Albert
  • A Stella Review: Momo, My Everything by Posy Roberts
  • A Stella Review: Beneath the Stars by Lynn Charles
  • An Alisa Review: Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love by Dale Cameron Lowry

Wednesday, March 15:

  • DSP GUEST POST Sarah Madison on Unspeakable Words (The Sixth Sense: Book One) 
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – K.C. Wells’s  Step By Step
  • Who We Are by Nicola Haken Tour and Review
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Two Cowboys and A Baby by BA Tortuga
  • An Ali Release Day Review:  Sophie by JP Barnaby
  • An Alisa Release Day Review:  Running with the Moon by Kiernan Kelly
  • An Alisa Review: Love by Design by Sam B. Morgan

Thursday, March 16:

  • Release Blitz Tour – The Case Of The Guilty Ghost (End Street Book #6) by RJ Scott and Amber Kell
  • RELEASE BLITZ Between the Secrets by S. Ferguson
  • Release Day Blitz An Officer’s Submission by Christa Tomlinson
  • Release tour Who We Are by Nicola Haken
  • A MelanieM Review:  Who We Are by Nicola Haken
  • Step by Step by KC Wells Release Tour
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review:  Fallen Angel by Eden Winters
  • A Stella Review Spark to the Heart (Parkerburg series #4) by Lee Brazil & Havan Fellows

Friday, March 17 – Happy Ēostre or Ostara:

  • Blog Tour for Leaning into the Fall by Lane Hayes
  • Book Blitz Here For Us by AM Arthur
  • A Caryn Review : Bedside Manner by DJ Jamison
  • A Caryn Review: Drinker of Blood (SPECTR Series 2, #3) by Jordan L Hawk
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Falling Into the Black by Caitlin Ricci
  • A Melanie Releases Day Review:  There’s this Guy by Rhys Ford

Saturday, March 18:

  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Drama Muscle by Joe Cosentino and Narrator Chip Hurley
  • Blog for the audiobook of DRAMA MUSCLE, the second Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino, performed by Chip Hurley

INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR: Ghosts & Ashes (Broken Moon #2) by F.T. Lukens (author interview, special excerpt and giveaway)

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Ghosts & Ashes (Broken Moon #2) by F.T. Lukens
I
nterlude Press
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Available for Sale at

amazon square borderB&N borderApple borderKobo borderSW border

Other Purchase LinksGoogle | Book Depository | Indiebound

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have F.T. Lukens here today to talk about her  latest novel, Ghost & Ashes.  Welcome, F.T., thank you for stopping by on your tour today. Hi FT, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover. It’s not the sole reason I buy a book, but I do love a nice cover. I’m very lucky to have the beautiful covers I’ve had for my Broken Moon Series.

It also helps if the book is in my genre of choice. A good blurb that’s interesting can get me too.

Probably needless to say but I do end up purchasing a lot of books.

  • What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

This is a tricky question. I think romance can mean the whole sweep- someone-off-their-feet thing. But I tend to think of it as person meeting another person where they are and going from there. I think that’s romantic. But I love slow-burn romances and pining and those kinds of tropes.

  • What are your current projects?

I’m happily working on several different projects right now. This current book, Ghosts & Ashes, is the second of a trilogy. I’m busy plotting out the third and final installment. I also just finished another YA book about myths and cryptids. I’m also hoping to write a steampunk fantasy novel this year as well. It’s a lot to squeeze in.

  • What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

It’s the motivation. I’m a driven person. I recently had to take a strengths finding test for my day job and my top was called “Achiever.” Which basically means I’m here to get things done. But sometimes, after working a full day, and tending to three kids, and putting everyone to bed and I’m sitting at the keyboard and I’m drained… Those nights are difficult. But I surround myself with people who will push me. I have friends who will send me emails asking me if I’ve made my goals. And I have a goal tracking spreadsheet that keeps me on track.

  • Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

I don’t know if this is ‘surprising’ but it’s funny/sweet. My penname is of course, not my real name. But it is a combination of an inside joke plus the name of the person who nicknamed me FT. The name ‘Lukens’ is the last name of a friend of mine who passed away. She loved nicknaming people and she loved to joke around. The FT part is the joke that I share with her and a few others and the Lukens in her last name. When I was coming up with the penname, I thought of her, and I knew she would’ve loved it. I’m sure where she is that she’s smiling and probably laughing at me. 😉

GHOSTS & ASHES ~ Summary

Three months have passed since the events of The Star Host, and Ren is living aboard the Star Stream under the watchful eyes of the Phoenix Corps. Plagued by vivid nightmares that ravage the ship in his sleep, he struggles to prove he isn’t a threat and fears he has traded one captor for another. His relationship with Asher, whose efforts to balance his personal loyalty to Ren with his professional duties to the Corps are failing, fractures.

Adrift without an anchor, Ren must return to his home planet of Erden if he has any chance of reversing his dangerous descent into madness. There, he hopes search for his missing brother and salvage his relationship with Asher. What he nds is knowledge that puts everyone’s allegiance to the test.

GHOSTS & ASHES ~ EXCERPT

“There you are!” Asher said, striding toward him, wrapping him in an embrace. “Stars, you’re freezing.” Asher rubbed Ren’s arms; his palms swept over the chilled skin. “Where have you been? You left and never came back. Jakob and I have been looking all over for you.”

Ren pitched forward, planted his face in Asher’s chest, and shook. The terror at being taken again mixed with the crushing truths from his parents overwhelmed him.

“Hey, hey, you’re okay.” Asher pulled Ren close. “What happened? Was it a dream? Sleepwalking?”

Ren stilled. Pressed close to Asher’s body, it would be easy to give into the urge to tell him everything, to spill the truth about what his parents had said about the Corps and the star hosts and the history his life was mired in. But his mother’s words lingered in the back of his mind, and Ren remembered how Asher had sided with VanMeerten so many times since the debacle on the drift. Asher was Phoenix Corps, through and through. His allegiance was split, torn between Ren and his duty as a soldier. And how much did he know? Was Asher aware that the first mission of the Corps was to hunt down the scattered remnants of the star hosts? Or did he only know what he had been told, like the rest of them?

* * *

Ren poured his power outward. The force field created a partial wall between the captives and the Corps. The comms shrieked. The pulse guns spat electricity, came alive in the hands of those who wielded them, and sparked and sputtered, shocking the Corpsmen with forks and tangles of electricity. They fell, writhing on the ground, even Zag. Ren vibrated with their screams, tasted the burn of skin and hair, but it wasn’t enough.

They had destroyed his home. They had made it so Ren could never return to what he was before. They had scared Ezzy, who was only a girl with a crush, who wanted to prove herself capable in a warzone when she should’ve been learning at school, playing in the woods, swimming in the lake, or blushing around boys. They had threatened them, frightened them, and they would burn, as Ren did, blaze in misery and despair, and thrash in pain until their veins blackened and peeled like wires, until their bones glowed like circuits.

The power flowed from him in a torrent, and he pushed it, and pushed it. He ensured those responsible were filled until they burst, until their souls were scorched out of them, until their humanity had crumbled to dust as his had.

* * *

Ren sighed. Asher wanted to talk, and Ren’s insides ached with a fierce loneliness he hadn’t experienced since the first night in the cell of the Baron’s citadel. He didn’t want Asher’s words or his pity. And he didn’t want to relive the details of the nightmare, which had sent him twisting in his sheets and crawling across the floor. The sense memories clung to him, like cobwebs whose phantom threads, fluttery and strange and stubborn, brushed against his skin. The strands were infinite; they touched the deep places of Ren’s consciousness and burrowed down to his marrow to pull out the things that terrified him most.

He didn’t want to share the nightmare, but Asher’s flat countenance and sure gaze couldn’t hide his worry. It flashed in his eyes and ran in shaky tremors down the length of his crossed arms, as if he hugged himself to keep in his concerns and not as a defense to reflect whatever Ren had to throw at him.

Ren bent his knees, propped his arm up, and allowed his fingertips to dangle. Sweat flattened his hair against his temples. He regarded Asher coolly as Asher sat on the edge of Ren’s bunk.

“Do you remember when we went dancing?”

Asher blinked at the non-sequitur. “On Mykonos?”

Rowan had taken them dancing in a place with loud music and rotating lights. The beat had vibrated through Ren’s boots. “I had never been dancing like that before.”

Asher raised an eyebrow. “You weren’t bad. Well, not as bad as Jakob.”

“I liked the slow dance.” Asher had grabbed Ren in his arms and pulled him to the dance floor. They’d laughed and moved and all Ren’s worries had dissolved in happiness and the rhythm of the music. “I liked being with you. With the crew. I miss that.”

“We’re here now, Ren.”

He shook his head. “No. You’re not. It’s different now.”

“It doesn’t have to be.”

Ren looked away.

“Ren, you’re not okay,” he said flatly.

“No. I’m not, but I didn’t feel like broadcasting it.”

“It’s a little late for that,” Asher said softly. Ren’s stomach twisted. Asher had all but confirmed his latest nightmare had played on the vid screens. The crew had seen what Ren couldn’t remember, didn’t want to remember. “You’re getting worse. And they know it.”

Ren twisted his lips. “I’m aware the crew already knows. Pen can’t lie for anything.”

“Not them. The Corps.”

Ren rested his head on his knees. “You told her. You threw me to the wolves.”

“I had to.”

“Why? Do you want me to leave? Be locked away?”

“Stars, Ren. You know I don’t want that.”

“I don’t know what you want, to be honest. I don’t understand why you hold allegiance to them at all.”

“Because I have to. I promised five years.”

“You and your promises,” Ren said bitterly. That was loyalty Ren couldn’t understand, not after what the Corps had done to Asher, not after having left him for a year to rot in a cell on what they called a backwater planet. But Ren was beginning to realize there were things he would never understand and maybe wasn’t meant to.

“And I promised I’d keep you safe. Any way I could. This is the only way. Don’t you understand that?”

Ren felt the slight touch of Asher’s fingertips across the back of his hand. His star sparked and sought out the mechanism in Asher’s shoulder instinctually.

Asher shivered.

“There’s a fine line between safety and captivity.”

* * *

Connect with F.T. at authorftlukens.wordpress.com on Twitter @ftlukens, on Tumblr at ftlukens.tumblr.com and on Goodreads at goodreads.com/ftlukens.

About the Author

F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult ction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan community writing contest. A sci- enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Fire y and is a longtime member of her college’s science- fiction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats.

Her 1st novel in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host, was published by Duet Books in 2016.

Connect with F.T. at authorftlukens.wordpress.com on Twitter @ftlukens, on Tumblr at ftlukens.tumblr.com and on Goodreads at goodreads.com/ftlukens.

Giveaway

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Ghosts & Ashes // Five winners receive the multi-format eBook.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

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A VVivacious Release Day Review: Shaper by Christine Danse

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Rating: 5 Stars out of 5
 
I woke up running through the abandoned streets of Shapertown. I didn’t know who I was, where I had come from or even who I was running from. It was like I had come into this world running with the nebulous command of “Run” ringing through my brain. I hid myself only to be found by a pair of brown boots with red laces and I didn’t know if I should run or not. After all, where do you run when you have nowhere to go?
 
This book is Wow! It tells the story of a planet at the centre of the universe where reality itself is in a constant flux. In this world exist a group of people know as Shapers that can change the very matrix of reality with their thoughts. They are varied, each with specific abilities and the government seeks to control them leading to a rebellion and it is in these dangerous times that our story begins.
 
I loved the premise of this story. It is like the perfect mix of plausible married to boundless imagination and the story is beautifully written. I loved our main character for someone who has no idea who she is she is very balanced individual and I found myself engrossed in her story from the very beginning.
 
This book is a story first and foremost and that is the deepest compliment I can give it. This story is amazing. Some stories really amaze me with the extent of imagination and this was one of them. I am truly mystified by the planet of Mi’hani and the life that exists on it. I am very hopeful for the books that are to follow in this series because if the first book is any indication this is going to be one hell of a ride.
 
Our second main character is Natalia who is lethal in every way. I mean she has some mad skills but for once it was refreshing to meet an assassin, a killer who wasn’t jaded who felt the burden of the path she has led but tried to keep living with it instead of arresting her emotions, while still being a bloody fantastic person to read about. I loved the character of Natalia and I am very excited to see where her relationship with Lark is going to go.
 
This story is a gateway to a bigger picture and I can’t wait for the books that will enlighten that path.
 
Cover Art by Natasha Snow. I loved the colour especially its mix of the shades of blue and green that seem to sum up the universe. All in all it is a fabulous cover.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 45 pages
Expected publication: March 13th 2017 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781945952715
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Paul B Review: The Chain of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have really enjoyed the Taking Shield series.  Each book draws me in further into Shield Captain Bennet’s world.  While Albion is fighting its hundred year war against the Maess, and struggling to hold on, Bennet tries to live his life as best as he can.  But sometimes the horrors of war interfere with his plans.

During his last year of rotation out of his mandated three years out of Shield, Bennet is assigned to the Gyrfalcon, his father’s ship.  That only would cause headaches for Bennet.  But his assignment as Flight Captain of the ship would mean he is now in the line of command of Flynn, his lover from the ship.  As a result, he must now spend the next year  (10 months or 400 days in Albion terms) being able to look but not touch when it comes to Flynn.  Add in the fact that Flynn has probably had a fling with his sister and his father suspects that he and Flynn are more than just friends makes life even more difficult for him.

As if the romantic entanglements aren’t enough to make Bennet irritable, the fallout from the Makepeace continues to haunt him.  The president is on the verge of being ousted from office, either through impeachment or the next election.  Some members of the intelligence committee believe that while his theories might be correct, there is no proof that the Maess are getting help.  The man behind the political scenes wants to groom Bennet for a political career, much to Bennet’s chagrin.  And the topping of the cake is the treatment of the rescued humans from Makepeace are being kept on a former penal colony with his partner Felix leading the scientific team seeing what the Maess have actually done to them.  Bennet is counting down the days until he can return to his form of normalcy and back in the Shield fold.

Bennet has become a favorite character of mine.  He is trying the best he can for the war effort in a variety of ways.  While he could have taken a desk job at the Strategic unit doing analysis of data for the war, he is out there sometimes behind enemy lines doing what he feels needs to be done.  What really gets to Bennet’s soul is the consequences of those actions that sometimes are unknown to him until two or three years later.  This goes for not only the militaristic side of his life but the personal.  Flynn notes that he and Bennet have spent sixty-four days out of the past five years (2000 days) together.  Yet somehow Bennet keeps going on.  As his year on the Gyrfalcon is finishing, he must once again go home, away from Flynn, and deal with the ramifications of the fallout from Makepeace with the new president.  I wait impatiently for the next book in this saga.

Cover art again is terrific. Lush and dark, just perfect.

Sales Link

Book Details

EBook, 283 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 13, 2016 by Glass Hat Press

ASIN:  B01MZ9QQYQ

Series:  Taking Shield

Gyrfalcon (Taking Shield #1)

Heart Scarab (Taking Shield #2)

Makepeace (Taking Shield #3)

The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4)

Adrian Randall on Writing, Characters and his latest novel ‘Countermind’ (author interview and excerpt)

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Countermind by Adrian Randall
D
SP Publications
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase from

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Adrian Randall here today.  Thank you, Adrian, for sitting in our Interview chair and answering a few questions for us:

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

It’s not really a question of how much as it is which parts. In the case of Countermind, Alan Izaki is a fugitive psychic, hacker, and thief on the run. Jack Smith, a government agent trained in a classified school of “counter-psychic” techniques, is trying to arrest him. The two of them run at very different temperatures: Alan is angry and indignant, whereas Smith is cool and conniving. I’m a pretty mild-mannered guy myself, so both of these characters represent very different extremes from me. But the nice thing about fiction is that you get to engage in behaviors that are a bit more outrageous than anything you’d do in real life.

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

Writers should write what they know, which isn’t to mean that they should play it safe. Rather, they should go out and learn. The benefit of setting your story in this universe (or one close to it) is that you end up learning lots of cool stuff. Writing Countermind meant learning about topics ranging from hacking to spies to quantum physics and even video games. The risk is that you’ll get some details wrong, and actual experts will catch your mistakes and call you out on them, but it’s a risk worth taking.

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

Probably, but I was a well-read kid so it’s hard to know which books influenced my writing and how. It doesn’t help that Countermind is a pretty adult novel, so it’s hard to say it was influenced by anything I read as a kid. I’ll say that one of the most formative books I read early in my life was A Wrinkle in Time. What that book taught me was that science fiction may be crammed full of big, cosmic ideas, but it can still be about the characters and their journeys. It taught me that genre fiction should still be character-driven. So I tried to make sure Countermind’s crazy plot also had a human heart pumping at its center. This weird little paranormal cyberpunk thriller is still, at bottom, a drama.

  • 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 had a couple works in progress that I’ve had trouble revisiting lately, just due to the current political climate. I started Countermind at a time when things were, if not perfect, at least more optimistic. It was easier to write dystopian literature without getting too bummed out. When I revisit these other projects, I’m going to try to make them a bit more hopeful, even if just because that’s what I need right now. (I’m also getting interested in the current “solarpunk” fad, for the same reasons.)

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

At the end of Stardust, Neil Gaiman writes that though the heroes were happy together, it wasn’t ever-after, “for Time, the thief, eventually takes all things into his dusty storehouse, but they were happy, as these things go, for a long while.”

But my own opinion is a little less certain. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that one of Countermind’s characters doesn’t believe in happy endings, either for-now or ever-after, and is very surprised to end up getting both.

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

I haven’t been publishing long enough to have an informed opinion from a business standpoint, but, as a consumer of books, it’s been a godsend. You can read anything anywhere at any time without lugging pounds of paper bricks around with you. That’s revolutionary. But for those particular books that have special sentimental value to me, I do like to buy and display “analog” editions. (On that note, if you order Countermind from DSP Publications’ web site, you can get a free digital copy with the physical version, so it’s the best of both worlds!)

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

Like I said, I haven’t been publishing long enough to have much perspective on this process. I had lots of ideas about what Countermind’s cover look like, and I passed these along to the cover artist, but I mostly wanted them to have the freedom to surprise me with their own vision. And I’m so glad they did. I fell in love with L.C. Chase’s cover as soon as I saw it. The cool tones give the whole thing a very noir feel. Alan’s fixing the viewer with a guarded, wary look that really captures the character’s personality. And the arrangement of the cover’s elements, with Alan’s face, the Hong Kong skyline, and the text all at right angles to each other, puts the reader off-balance before they even open the book. It’s perfect.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m not sure. I have a few ideas in mind, and a few projects in progress, but it’s a matter of deciding which of them needs to be written. We’ll see!

Blurb 

In a postprivacy future, secrets are illegal and all communication is supervised. Telepaths are registered and recruited by a government with no qualms about invading the minds of its citizens. Fugitive psychics are hunted by the Bureau of Counterpsychic Affairs, or Countermind.

Alan Izaki is one such fugitive, as well as a hacker, grifter, and thief.

Countermind agent Jack Smith is hunting him through the twisted underbelly of Hong Kong.

But Alan possesses a secret so dangerous and profound it will not only shake Smith’s loyalties, but the foundations of their society.

And Alan isn’t the only one on the run. Rogue psychic Arissa binti Noor escapes Countermind, in search of brilliant game designer Feng Huang. She hopes that together, they can destroy the government’s intrusive Senex monitoring system.

Their goals seem at odds, and their lives are destined to collide. When they do, three very different people must question their alliances and their future, because everything is about to change.

Excerpt

It was past midnight, and some parts of Hong Kong actually did sleep at this hour. The pawnshop was near Kwai Chung, its customer base mostly local workers pawning valuables just to squander their money on the races, men who wouldn’t have the resources to track down the goods they’d put up as collateral. Alan had chosen the shop for its proximity to a body of water, and it was just a minute’s hard sprint to the nearest container yard, then through that to the channel.

Alan charged downhill on roads still slick from the afternoon’s rain, gleaming with the reflected glow of the city. No neon signs or electronic billboards, just streetlamps and a few lit office windows. Droplets ran in steady trickling streams off the buildings, canopies, streetlights, AC units. Steel shutters of closed storefronts shimmered wet, and Alan’s skin glistened in the damp air. He didn’t hear any pursuing footsteps, didn’t bother turning his head to check.

He’d only gotten a brief glimpse of the attacker in the pawnshop, but that had been plenty. The man looked just a few years older than Alan, Eurasian, tall and lean, hale, clean-cut, clean-shaven. His attire had been dark but utterly nondescript. There was an impression of a black suit jacket, black slacks, and a black button-down shirt (but no tie, and open at the neck). Alan hadn’t the time for more lingering impressions, but the man would’ve been attractive under more civil circumstances.

The man wasn’t the shop owner, and was too well-dressed to be another crook or a triad member. That probably meant law enforcement, ample reason for Alan to make the quickest possible escape without sparing even a backward glance.

Alan vaulted from the sidewalk over a steel railing, dashed across the street, leapt another rail, and charged down a covered stairway, letting gravity lead his charge toward the water, angling toward the red lights atop the cargo-loading cranes just visible over a row of gently swaying palm trees. He hit the next street with such speed he lost some momentum to a brief stumble. A red-and-silver taxicab blared its horn at him, and Alan ducked under the canopy of a shuttered dim-sum shop to get his bearings. He glanced up at the building corners in the nearest intersection and spotted the closed-circuit cameras. He couldn’t see which way they pivoted in their housings, but didn’t think they’d have a clear look at him where he stood. Just to be safe, he’d have to circle around, keeping shy of major streets if he was to stay clear of any more traffic cams, though his pursuer couldn’t be far behind.

Or was it pursuers? The man had attacked Alan alone, not a standard practice for an officer of one of the world’s most famous police forces. If he was a government agent, he had to know what Alan was, right? And what such agent would be so reckless as to challenge a rogue telepath completely solo? Alan doubted even a state psychic would risk such a confrontation, and this man had given no sign of being a psychic himself, had not attempted any telepathic attacks, relying entirely on physical force. Who was he?

Whatever he was, if he caught Alan, it would mean death or worse. He had no need to know who this man was, only to escape him.

Alan pulled his jacket tight around him and popped the collar up. He turned a corner for a side street with fewer cameras and fewer lights and strolled a leisurely path into the shadow of an elevated highway, traffic rumbling above him. From there, he made his way through a hole in a chain-link fence he’d prepared earlier tonight with the help of his bolt cutters, slipping into the container yard, and then he sprinted across the yard toward freedom.

He ran straight into the agent.

The man stepped around the corner of a container and flashed Alan a razor smile as he kneed him in the stomach, allowing Alan’s own momentum to double him over. Then the man threw Alan into the side of the steel container with a clang that echoed inside his head as his arm was twisted behind his back. Alan was strong for his size, but the agent was using some sort of judo leverage shit. Alan tried to wrench free, nearly succeeded, and then the man compensated for his strength by spinning him into the side of another container.

The man tightened his hold and hissed into Alan’s ear.

“How many counts of resisting arrest?”

Alan gasped, gulped, and tried to talk his way out, forcing the words. “Come on, man. You never said you were arresting me.”

“I thought it was implied. You did flee.”

“After you shot me!”

“With a government-issue ranged electroshock device. Pay attention.”

The agent tripped Alan roughly to the ground and buried his knees in Alan’s back. His hand forced Alan’s face against the concrete, and Alan wheezed as the air was squeezed out of his lungs.

Alan screwed his eyes to the edges of their sockets, trying to see up through the corner of his eye. The light of a passing ship winked between the container towers and slid over the man’s features: dark eyed, dark haired, darkly smiling.

“Resist some more,” the agent said. “I don’t need to excuse brutality, but it helps with the paperwork.”

Alan realized—a bit belatedly and with scant sense of relief—that he was now very much in danger of physical harm.

He expanded his thoughts outward and upward, seeking out the luminescent glow of his assailant’s mind as if reaching for a firefly in the night. He found it, wrapped telepathic fingers around it, and squeezed tight.

There you are, Alan thought at him.

Fleeting impressions of the man’s surface cognitions filtered through the permeable membrane of Alan’s consciousness: mild surprise, then recognition, and then a strange kind of resigned satisfaction.

“And there you are,” the man whispered

.

About the Author

Adrian Randall is a PhD and a dual-class bureaucrat/scientist. A native Floridian, he lives in Alexandria with the love of his life and their many beautiful board games. He has a tenuous grasp on reality, owing to a steady diet of novels, comics, and other distractions. All his ideas start as character backstory for MMOs and RPGs, and he does all his writing while listening to video game soundtracks. So if he’s gaming instead of working on a book, it’s not procrastination, it’s workshopping. He usually spends his free time geeking out about some damn thing or another. You can geek out with him through any of his social media channels. If he doesn’t respond, it means he broke his phone again.

Twitter: @cyberpreppy

Tumblr: cyberpreppy.tumblr.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/cyberpreppy

Of Comfort Reads and Love Stories. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Of Comfort Reads and Love Stories

We’ve been talking about our top books for comfort reading and love stories, some of which have ended up on each list with authors common to both.  I had to admit it got me thinking what makes a ‘comfort read’? What is that indefinable something a story contains or that an author offers that makes us want to read it over and over again.? Is that its a “known quantity”? That we go into that story knowing that the pleasures (and even some pain) it holds are ones that not only have touched us so deeply but that fulfill some hope or want in us?  Tales that reach us in multiple ways?  We love these men, their journey to love and a long term relationship, whether it be a contemporary world or something supernatural or otherworldly.  And we love these authors and their talent to create not only believable, vivid men and beings as well as for their ability in which they pull us into their characters lives and worlds over and over again, making it feel like home every time we read these stories.

That’s a wonderful gift and it shows in how many of the same authors and stories/series show up in list after list, including my own.  My gratitude to them.  And thank you to all our readers who contributed these last few weeks and days, letting us look into your favorite lists and authors too.  You’ve definitely added to my TBR pile and brought back a few books I’ve forgotten. Thank you!

Of course, our lists keep growing as we find new authors and new stories to share with you and hopefully, you our readers to share with us.  I love reading your lists too.

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Here’s some of our readers favorite couples and Love stories/series:

♡H.B. loves:

Jory and Sam from Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series
Jin and Logan from Mary Calmes’ A Change of Heart series
Rand and Stefan from Mary Calmes’ Timing Series
Ty and Zane from Abigail Roux/Madeleine Urban’s Cut & Run series
The couples (Dex/Sloane, Ashe/Cael, Calvin/Ethan) from Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series
Tucker and Elliot from Josh Lanyon’s All’s Fair series
Kit and J.X. from Josh Lanyon’s Holmes & Moriarity series
Gaven and Vlar from J.C. Owen’s Gaven series
Neil and Andrew from Nora Sakavic’s All for the Games series

(I agree H.B.  You  named Tucker and Elliot, 2 I left off of mine by accident, Gaven and Vlar because I had just forgotten about them!  Argh! Thank you for  bringing them back to mind.)

♡From Didi:

Jonty and Orlando, and Ty and Zane by Abigail Roux (and by Madeleine Urban)
Here’s my addition favorite couples to the above:
– Kit and JX from Holmes & Moriarity series by Josh Lanyon
– Tucker and Elliot from Fair Game by Josh Lanyon
– Mark and Stephen from I Spy series
– James and Sedgwick from the Dickens with Love
– Lucien and Stephen from A Charm of Magpie series
– Whyborne and Griffin from Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series
– David and Murdo from Enlightenment series

Again, thanks, Didi, I see  some I’ve been meaning to get too.  This is a wonderful reminder!

♡And from Jen:

Some of my favorite couples are:
Whyborne and Griffin from Jordan L. Hawk’s Whyborne and Griffin series
Jonty and Orlando from the Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows series
Cole and Jae from Rhys Ford’s Cole McGinnis series
Charlie and Travis from NR Walker’s Red Dirt series
Laurie and Sasha from Harper Fox’s A Midwinter Prince series
Gray/Caleb & John from Jordan L. Hawk’s SPECTR series
Crick and Deacon from Amy Lane’s Promises series

Crick and Deacon were on my Comfort list, Jen, but I so agree with you!  So were Charlie and Travis, Cole and Jae, love them!  Do you know there are series here I need to add to my list?  Yay! Thank you all to add to my staggeringly high TBR pile!

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Winner Announcements!

♥︎Winners of our Comfort Story Reads are:

Purple Reader
Shirley Ann

♥︎Winner of our Love Story Read/List is:

Didi

 

Congratulations to you all.  Stella will be in touch with you about your prizes.  Now all our readers keep you eyes turned to us for more giveaways coming soon!  Meteorological Spring is within 2 weeks.  I’m sure we’ll think of some way to celebrate new beginnings and the coming of Spring!  Give me your suggestions and stay with us!

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Now for this week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.   We handed out a new list of questions to authors for our author interviews and the results have been wonderful.  Everything from how they feel about their covers to what they think about ebooks and Gary Stu writing.  Don’t miss out on those.  Plus we have plenty of Release Day Reviews and audiobook reviews for those who  love to listen as well as read!  Something for everyone!

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This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sunday, February 19:

  • Of Comfort Reads and  Love Stories
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, February 20:

  • Release Blitz – Find Me (Rent Me Series #5) by Brina Brady
  • Release Day Blitz College Discipline by Caitlin Ricci
  • Release Day Blitz Unzipping 7d by J.C. Long
  • A Jeri Review: Down By Contact by Sloan Johnson
  • A Lila Review: A-dork-able by J.D. Walker
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Tropical Depression by BA Tortuga
  • A PaulB  Review: Dead Camp book 3 by Sean Kerr

Tuesday, February 21:

  • Review Tour – NR Walker’s Imago 
  • Jared’s Family Blogger Tour and Giveaway
  • DSP GUEST POST Andrew Grey on Poppy’s Secret
  • Review Tour – Lyssa Dering’s fangjunkie27
  • A MelanieM Review:  Imago by NR Walker
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Leaning Into Love (Leaning Into #1) by Lane Hayes
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Unzipping 7D (Unzipped Shorts #2) by J.C. Long

Wednesday, February 22:

  • DSP GUEST POST: Catt Ford on Cross My Heart
  • TWO NATURES* by Jendi Reiter 4 Tour
  • A Caryn Review: Unspoken by R.A. Padmos
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Off Stage (Off Stage #1-2) by Jaime Samms
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Rushing Love (States of Love) by Meg Bawden
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Murmuration by T.J. Klune and Kirt Graves (Narrator)

Thursday, February 23:

  • DSP GUEST POST Meg Bawden on Rushing Love
  • Release Day Blitz Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer
  • RIPTIDE BLOG TOUR Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk
  • An Alisa Review: Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Open Road by M.J. O’Shea and Robbie D (Narrator)
  • An Ali Audiobook Review:  Everything Changes (Resilient Love #1) by Melanie Hansen and Robert Nieman (Narrator)

Friday, February 24:

  • DSP GUEST POST Matthew Lang on Better with Bacon
  • Book Blitz: Fallen Angel by Eden Winters
  • Release blitz: AFTER THE FIRE by Felice Stevens
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown
  • A Stella Release Day Review:  Ringo and the Sunshine Police by Nick Wilgus
  • A PaulB  Review: Max (Demon Elite 7) by April Kelley
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Kieran: The Atherton Pack 4 By Toni Griffin
  • A PaulB  Review: The Chains of Their Sins (Taking Shield #4) by Anna Butler

Saturday, February 25:

  • 3 day release blitz: *Snapshots by Addison Albright*
  • DSP GUEST POST Ariel Tachna on Talking in Code
  • A MelanieM Review: Man and Tree by Wayne Mansfield

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A Paul B Release Day Review: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

skythane8-1With each book I read from J. Scott Coatsworth, the more I want to read.

His latest book, released today, tells the tale of two young men from different backgrounds, an older woman who serves as a mother figure along the way, and a boy that the three find along their way. 

Xander’s life on Oberon has not been easy.  He is a Skythane, a winged being, among the Lander, humans.  His foster parents were murdered by the Syndicate, the local crime organization.  He was “adopted” by the crime boss, which meant Xander servers a sex slave for him and his friends.  He is rescued by a man named Alix who takes him to Oberon City.  He is getting by and that is good enough for him.  His friend and surrogate mother Quince asks him to pick up a corporate representative wanting a tour of the mines.

Jameson has had a far more comfortable life.  Adopted by one of the founding families of Beta Tau, he has been pampered.  He has followed his family’s Christianist values and it due to be married next year.  He studies to become a psych and has last worked at a mining outpost.  He has been sent to Oberon to meet with representative with OberTech, the company that basically runs the planet of Oberon.  Little does he know he is going to go  for the adventure of his lifetime.

Quince, unbeknownst to Xander, is from Titania.  Titania and Oberon were one planet until the great divide.  Every 750 years, a solar flare from the sun threatens the population of the planets.  Her mission is to guide the two young princes whom she has watched over to help reunite the planet.  So she has arranged for Prince Davyn (Xander) and Prince Lyrin (Jameson) to meet so she can take them from Oberon to Titania to prevent both worlds from being destroyed by combining the two halves of the planet together again, as told by the ancient prophecy.  Along the way, they meet a young boy they name Morgan.  Xander feels he cannot leave the boy behind as he was so many years ago.  Quince thinks he is a demon and should be left behind if not killed.  Only time will tell which of them is correct as they journey against time, corrupt companies, and crime syndicates in order to complete their mission.

Once again Coatsworth has built an entertaining world for his story to take place in.  The idea of a planet being split in half with each behind a veil to the other is interesting.  The only way to get from one side to the other is a portal opened only one time a day.  The relationship between Xander and Jameson is helped along the way by Quince with use of an agent that brings about romantic desire.  Jameson, whose world is basically turned upside down acclimates himself to his new situation well enough.  The ending provides lots of opportunity for a sequel, which I hope there will be. 

The cover by Anne Cain has a young Skythane with his wings hovering over his world.  It fits the book well. 

Sales Links

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

Book Details

Ebook, 244 pages

Edition Language:  English

Published:  February 17, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN:  978-1-63533-404-3

In Our Science Fiction Spotlight: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth (guest post and excerpt)

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Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

Available for Purchase by

Dreamspinner – eBook | Dreamspinner – paperback | Amazon – kindle |Amazon – paperback

Barnes & Noble – paperback | Kobo | iBooksGoodreads 

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J. Scott Coatsworth here today talking about writing and his newest science fiction release, Skythane. Welcome, Scott.

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Writing the Perfect Story by J. Scott Coatsworth

As a writer, you are just one part of the wide and diverse community that makes a book actually happen. Once you type those last two words “the end”, it takes a village to transform your little manuscript into the finished work of art that your readers will hold in their hot little hands.

Chief among these villagers are your alpha and beta readers.

These are both now typically conflated under the title of “beta reader”, but they do mean fairly specific things. An alpha reader is usually the first peson who reads the book after you finish it, and may send you back to the drawing board for things like problems with the overall structure of the book or the storytelling, whereas a beta reader typically gives you a critique that is more limited in scope.

Both of these types of readers are critical to the process – they can help you catch things you are too close to the story to see.

For Skythane, one of my dear writer friends played the role of alpha reader. Her conclusion? That I had the bones of a cool story, but I had to figure out a lot more of the science and background to make it a great one.

Her critique set me back a few months, but in the end it made Skythane a much better story.

It’s a good thing when a pre-submission reader helps you catch errors before the publisher sees your work, but just once, I want to write a story that even my harshest reader thinks is perfect. Or at least in decent enough shape for submission.

The consolation? Once a story has run the gauntlet, it is pretty damned near perfect. And that’s gotta be worth something.

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Blurb

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Excerpt

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 

About the Author

j-scott-coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth