Memorial Weekend. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Memorial Weekend.

We Remember.

That’s what this weekend is all about. What it was created for.  After the Civil War was over, Decoration Day came about to honor both the dead of the  Union and Confederate. Now we know it as Memorial Day, remembering those that have fallen, given service to their country, honoring our dead by keeping them alive in our memories, in our hearts and our thoughts.

Living near Washington, DC, Memorial Day and Weekend’s true meaning is never far away.  Rolling Thunder roars past my parents place every year on it’s way to the District.  The Vietnam Veterans Memorial remains for me the most haunting and striking memorial in the District.  The WWII and Korean War Memorials will be visited heavily.  And Arlington Cemetery with its white sea of uniform tombstones stretching for miles and the incredibly moving Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, with its changing of the Guard ceremony, will be overflowing with visitors (families of those buried there and those just paying their respects).  I will be there too.  It’s a family tradition.

My father recently returned to Arlington to visit family buried there.  I forgot it had been a while since his last visit.  He stood stunned by the vista before him.  Arlington has had to expand it’s boundaries since the last time he was there.  The tombstones now spread  out before him like a vast ocean where before my father remembered nothing but trees and meadows.  It was heartbreaking.  What could we say?  So many deaths. So many to remember.  And honor.

For many, it’s a time to celebrate with family and friends.  Picnics and parades, bbq’s and cookouts.

But take time to remember.  And perhaps if you see someone in their military uniform, you might want to thank them for their service now.  I think they will appreciate it.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Weekend.  #WeRemember

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 27:

  • Memorial Weekend. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A Lila Review Object of Desire by Dal Maclean

Monday, May 28:

  • Release Blitz – Murder in New York by C.J. Baty
  • DSP Promo Julia Talbot
  • Blog Tour – #IsHeHereYet: Being the person you want to be with by Dr Tony Ortega
  • A MelanieM Review: The Lonely Dragon by Anna Lee
  • An Ali Review Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm​ by ​Hans M Hirschi ​
  • An Alisa Review: Veiled Dominance by Evelise Archer
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: The Consumption of Magic (Tales From Verania #3) by TJ Klune and Michael Lesley (Narrator)

Tuesday, May 29:

  • DSP Promo JL Langley on My Fair Captain
  • Cover Reveal, for Ari McKay’s Absence of the Sun (Blood Bathory #2)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Riven by Roan Parrish
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: My Fair Captain (Sci-Regency #1) by J.L. Langley
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Love You So Madly (Love You So Stories #2) by Tara Lain
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair and Greg Boudreaux (Narrator)

Wednesday, May 30:

  • Book Blast Just A Year by Jena Wade
  • A Lucy Pre release Review: My Crunchy Life by Mia Kerick
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Stone the Crows (Wolf Winter)by TA Moore
  • A VVivacious Review: A Love to Remember, by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • An Alisa Review: Snow Cat by Edward Kendrick

Thursday, May 31:

  • Harmony Promo Shirley Anne Edwards
  • A Caryn Review : Mason and the Dog Wrangler” by CL Etta
  • A Lucy Review: Where Do I Start? (Why You? #1) by Chase Taylor Hackett
  • An Ali Audiobook Review:  Bobby Green (Johnnies # 5) by Amy Lane and Gomez Pugh (Narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review The Solstice Prince (Realms of Love #1) by S.J. Himes and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Friday, June 1:

  • Blog Tour: The Curse by Kethric Wilcox
  • Cover Reveal- Overtime by V.L. Locey
  • DSP Promo Julia Talbot
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Recruit by Addison Albright
  • A Lucy Review: And the next Thing You Know . . . (Why You? #2) byChase Taylor Hackett
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Wight Mischief by JL Merrow

Saturday, June 2:

  • RELEASE BLITZ for Waiting in the Wings (Upstaged #2) by S. L. Danielson
  • Release Blitz  – Three-Man Advantage by Ariel Bishop

A MelanieM Review: The Gallery: The Permanent Collection (The Gallery #1) by Megan Derr

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Welcome to the Gallery, where powerful beings enjoy peace, quiet, and the company of each other, where they are free to love as they choose, be it one, many, or anything in between.

The Permanent Collection comprises those paintings which never leave the Gallery. The beings within these paintings have bargained with the Curator to stay on forever in return for gifting him their powers, resources, or knowledge. They help the Curator in running the Gallery, and provide sustenance for the Curator.

Today’s featured pieces include: The Assistant, about a lonely, misunderstood young man and the unusual new job he is offered by the mysterious curator; The Tycoon is about a rough and powerful man who went missing several years ago, and has every intention of remaining so; Three Kings once walked away from their kingdoms, and now spend their days with each other; The Bastard Son is about a man who once fled betrayal and heartache, and now uses his deadly skills and famous sword to defend the Gallery. And in The Demon Slayer, an angel arrives to find the gallery under attack, and soon one demon is slain while another falls…

I have always loved this concept.  The idea of pictures actually being alive and here Megan Derr carries it into an unusual gallery.  This is the first Collection with another installment in the works.  This one introduces us to Rex upon his entrance into the Gallery.  And as he starts to understand it’s peculiarities and occupants, so do we.  It’s also presided over by one very special owner.

Rex, who’s identity is key here becomes a thread that ties all the paintings together, along with its owner.  It’s a unifying touch that pulls all the stories together as a whole, as well as creates a foundation for the set to follow.  I truly loved Rex and wished we knew more of his background.  Perhaps that’s coming still in the Semi-permanent Collection Gallery of Stories to follow (the one that he originally played a part in).

Each painting forms very quick tales of passion and love, flashes of depth (a man alone in a tower) to a twist  on King Arthur to three Kings…all different in taste.  I wanted more of some, not of others.  But with another book to come and an overall arc appearing, I’m hopeful that I’ll see more of these occupants as well.

This us just such a juicy novella…it wets your appetite for more.  More of these fascinating paintings, more of the owner and Rex of course.  And more from Megan Derr.  You just can’t go wrong.

Cover art:  Aisha Akeju.  Not a fan.  Most of the paintings in the gallery are formal and this should have reflected that.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Author’s Note: A few of these stories were freebies on my website. All have been edited for re-release and some, like The Tycoon and Three Kings, have undergone significant changes.

Kindle Edition, 65 pages
Published May 9th 2018 by Less Than Three Press, LLC
ASINB07CQ1SXBZ
SeriesThe Gallery #1

Book Blast for His Wildest Dream by Xander Collins (excerpt)

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BOOK BLAST

Book Title: His Wildest Dream: A Portville Mpreg Romance

Author: Xander Collins

Publisher: Self Published

Genre/s: Mpreg, Non-shifter Omegaverse,

Length: 46,300 words

It is a standalone with a HEA in a series.

Goodreads 

Blurb

Dreams really do come true …

When Daniel goes into a debilitating super-heat while delivering a package to the office of one of the wealthiest men in town, he is horrified. It’s not like any other heat he’s had before, and he finds out it could have been caused by some very compatible pheromones.

Those of billionaire Cameron Styles.

He can’t fathom that Cameron could be interested in a young, poor omega like him, but when he’s asked to move into Cameron’s penthouse condo, he can’t turn down the chance to live out some of his dreams.

Cameron has hidden himself away in his penthouse ever since his omega partner was killed in an accident. He has made sure to not come into contact with anyone who might set off his powerful alpha hormones, or touch his heart.

Until Daniel walks into his office, that is.

After Cameron inhales Daniel’s scent and sees the sweetness in his eyes, he can’t get him out of his mind. But he’s afraid of love and pain, and most of all, of scaring an innocent omega with his depraved desires.

Can two people from different backgrounds let go of the pain in their pasts and come together to find the love they’re searching for?

His Wildest Dream is a Cinderfella-style romance of 46k words. It includes a May/December relationship between a sweet, virgin omega from a poor part of town and a reclusive billionaire single dad, and is served up with a big side of kink.

It is a very sweet, incredibly hot mpreg romance with kids, babies, a lavish wedding, and a super-HEA that will have you smiling from ear to ear.

Excerpt

Suddenly, that distinctive scent that was in the air when I walked into the office completely surrounded me like a warm, fuzzy blanket. The deep, rich woodsy scent with the touch of sweetness and coziness felt like it was closing in on me and whisking me away. I could feel the scent swirling around me, as if it were something real that I could touch. The scent tickled my skin and moved against it softly, causing every hair on my body to stand on end.

But that wasn’t all that was standing on end. I was suddenly rock hard as that incredible scent entered me. It was so overwhelming and distracting that I couldn’t remember where I was or what I was doing there. I could barely stand up straight, so I moved over to the glass desk to steady myself.

I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. I felt hypnotized, not only by the overpowering scent of the man who had just entered the room, but by his piercing eyes. It was as if I’d fallen into darkness and the light in his sea blue eyes was the only thing I could see at the end of a tunnel. An incredibly strong feeling of longing inside me tugged at my heart, urging be toward the light in those eyes.

It felt like we’d both been standing there staring at each other for hours, but really it was probably just a few seconds. I saw the alpha’s mouth moving but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His eyes were the only thing I could focus on. They were so bright and sharp, and I wanted to do anything and everything they told me to do. And I swear, the alpha’s eyes were telling me to come to him.

I kept thinking, Just take me now. Please, take me now. I couldn’t move my mouth to form the words, so I just pleaded with my eyes. I begged him to take me right there and then. But he didn’t. My brain screamed NO! when he turned and walked back through the door.

In my haze I heard the woman say, “Yes, Mr. Styles,” then felt I hands squeeze both of my arms.

That was Cameron Styles? The alpha that had just left me in this state? I repeated his name over and over in my head, and each time I said the words, a wave of tingles flooded through me. I finally realized the woman was still gripping my arms and it took every ounce of strength I had to look away from the closed door where he had disappeared.

“Are you okay?” the woman asked. “Do you need a glass of water?”

When my eyes finally moved so that they were looking at hers, I snapped back to reality—or as close to reality as I could be in that moment. I suddenly realized there was sweat pouring down my face and back and my mouth had gone completely dry.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author 

Xander Collins write super sexy, romantic omegaverse stories with the warm fuzzies, hot dudes, and cuddly babies we all crave.

Social Media Links

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Facebook

Amazon Author Page

BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE

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Release Blitz – Ice Fairy 3: Coming Together by S. L. Danielson (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ice Fairy 3: Coming Together

Author: S. L. Danielson

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Dan Skinner

Genre/s: contemporary m/m, new adult, romance, swapping partners

Length:  55,551 words/166 pages

Release Date: May 25, 2018

Goodreads

Blurb

Sexy sparks fly when four best friends become roommates… and more

With Olympic Gold in his possession, Sam is the newest darling of the skating world. Brett does his best to be supportive but the brighter the light shines on his boyfriend; the more he is left in the shadows. Cracks appear and the relationship begins to break down.

Their friends try their best to assist however they can. Their advice and support is crucial when Brett suspects Sam’s creepy agent is up to no good; and even more so when a dastardly plot by Sam’s own father is uncovered.

Can this couple finally come to terms with fame and find the peace they crave? An offer by Ryan and Caleb might provide the answers they seek…if they’re brave enough to take a leap of faith.

Is it too late for Brett and his precious Ice Fairy or can they come together?

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

Chapter One

Brett curled up on the couch in the basement; waiting for Sam to return from the bathroom. He’d muted the movie they were watching, “Star Trek; Into Darkness.” It’d become one of their new favorites in the very brief hours that they usually had together now. It was the only saving grace for Brett, who felt not only very left out of Sam’s newly found fame; he felt cracks forming in their nine month old relationship.

He had to chide himself for feeling and sounding like a woman to himself; a woman who missed her man more than anything and wished that they could have a lot more time together. But that just wasn’t happening. Not with how things were now. Brett was in college and was luckily on spring break. But it was only a week. What was a week in the life of his now very famous lover? The one that people called incessantly, especially his agent, or was it his accountant? Maybe his now very famous coach too? Or was it a reporter again?

Whoever the fuck it was, Brett wished they would vaporize. He wanted Sam to himself this evening, if they didn’t mind, thank you very fucking much!

After a grunt of a breath, Brett tried to stave off the headache that gnawed at every muscle and nerve in him. Why did it have to be this way? Everything before the Olympics had seemed so simple. They were a couple of guys in love, just living happily, going to college, skating, having some laughs, seeing their friends, and having sleepovers.

In fact, things had been awesome with Sam’s life; his father had apologized for all that he’d done and said; which wasn’t taken very seriously at first, but he’d convinced them and was back living at home with his wife and daughter. His now very famous son, Sam, was able to buy his own place if he wanted to. He stayed with his folks on a limited basis; the rest was traveling, making appearances, etc. But they weren’t with Brett at his side.

That, worst of all, tore at Brett’s heart. Jealousy. Suspicion that someone else would get to Sam’s heart the way he had, but maybe just did it way better, sans the teasing and tripping and bullying. Would he lose Sam to his newly found fame? It was heading straight to his beautiful head; and Brett hated every bit of it.

With every second that Sam was away from him lately, even though it’d been only two months since the Olympic win and their lives had changed forever…Brett missed his boyfriend. Even now, he wished they could spend the whole week together, uninterrupted; but he knew that was a pipe dream.

He grabbed a throw pillow and leaned his jaw on it, waiting for Sam’s return. As if he’d wished for it, he heard the door close and felt Sam’s strong arms around him once again.

“Hey, handsome.” Sam straddled over Brett’s lap, after he’d ditched the pillow of course, and they kissed deeply.

Now this was more like it! Holding Sam, getting to touch him, kiss him, taste his lips and his face, feel his body, and savor every cell of him.

“Mmm, there’s my Sam. I get to have you in my arms for more than a few minutes.” Brett was trying to be a good sport about all of this and to take his lover’s fame in stride. It was still tough, though.

Sam sat back and pouted. Boy, did that guy have such adorable expressions even when he was pouting. “I’m here right now, Brett. No one’s calling or bugging me. You have me all to your heart’s content.” He leaned in and kissed Brett again; they hung on for a long time after.

Well there was a small blessing anyway; not once had he heard Sam’s phone. Of course, it was likely on silent after the looks he got last time. They’d been interrupted no less than a dozen times on their last date. He could see a few; but that much? Hell no. He figured Sam likely took care of the messages while he was in the bathroom for almost ten minutes.

Putting aside his harsh thoughts on the whole situation, Brett just wanted to soak up all he could of his love. He held Sam close. “Stay with me? My folks are good about us being here; you know that. Hell, they buy breakfast for us sometimes.” He’d do anything to keep Sam there with him just that much longer.

“Brett…”

Shit, not this again. The now famous “I’d love to but I’ve got a…” fill in the blank from there. Photo shoot? Interview? Public appearance? This has gotten too old too fast.

“I know, I know,” Brett digressed. “We can be quick about it though; or just sit down here and hold each other under the blankets.” He waggled his brows. “Naked of course.” He held his lips open, so unsure of what Sam’s reaction would be, he wasn’t sure if he should smile or frown at this point.

“Brett… you know I want to…” Sam responded slowly, his dark eyes just peeking out from under his dark hair. There was a ‘but’ coming though; Brett knew it and he expected it. Sam had not been the same since his glorious win and the gold medal that had hung around his neck now dangled between them; not literally, but metaphorically. Though he wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sam wore the damn thing all the time.

“Sam, we don’t have to be out in the open here, we could go to the back bedroom or my room…” he was desperate just to hold his lover again. It’d been nearly three weeks since they’d been together sexually and he was about at the end of his rope. “Dammit, Sam. I need you, alright? I want to make love with you again; it’s been way too long.” He didn’t want to beg; but the situation was that bad.

At first, it looked like Sam would turn him down again, because he didn’t respond. But as the seconds passed and their eyes met, it looked like comprehension finally took hold. Sam nodded.

“Okay. I miss you too, Brett. Very much. Don’t you think I do too? I love sleeping with you and being naked together; it’s one of my favorite things. Time just…”

Brett held up his hand. “I know, baby. I know. But right now we’re here, and we’re good, and I want you.” He held Sam tighter and massaged his tight body. “Damn… am I ever ready.” He smiled and felt his cock pushing on his jeans. “Upstairs or here?”

They kissed deeply and savored each other’s mouths for a long moment before they answered that. It was more of a test to see just how horny the other one was. The answer was: very horny. Sam bucked against Brett and started to unbutton his shirt. “Down here. I couldn’t run all the way to your room.”

About the Author 

S. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works (both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include: painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook   

Twitter

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A MelanieM Release Day Review: War Paint (States of Love) by Sarah Black

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

There’s an art to love.

Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.

Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

I’ve accepted that I’ll never read a long novel by Sarah Black as she’s written that the novella is her favorite form of story.  Truly length has never really mattered other than my strong wish to spend more time in the universes this author creates and with the characters she brings so vividly to life.

War Paint is a perfect example of why I love her stories so.  Small, encapsulated, yet so fully formed a universe that every building, cafe, street, and benches across that street can easily be envisioned.  And populated with layered, wounded characters trying to find their way through life, one day, one person at a time (see Sarah Black’s guest post on Adaptive Reuse on Young Guys and Old Buildings)*.

Vet Eli feels lost, and not just because of the trauma of losing a limb and the subsequent recovery.  He’s still dealing with the loss of his “warrior self” as well as his limb.  His unusual therapist wants him to keep a diary.  Eli’s character is wounded in multiple ways and the path he takes towards healing and love is remarkable, and (in a 88 page novella) deceptively slow.

An act of kindness has Eli meeting artist Ben and his dog across the street from the cafe Eli haunts.  A conversation becomes a layered, complicated, and oh so lovely relationship that I can’t even begin to attempt to describe.  A sort of yin and yang of need, love, wounds and ability to salve.

Oh, and there’s this automobile building that’s getting repurposed (like so many older wonderful buildings are these days) and is getting a mural as well.  Sarah Black gives us some insight into that process as well.*

This story runs tender, wild, funny, and loving.  All within 88 pages.  It has so much soul.  Love even for the buildings and the man himself who is behind the construction project is treated with a light of respect and a gift.

Small gems like these leave me smiling all day, even more in memory when I spot street art or another building downtown being repurposed and saved.  I’ll remember War Paint.  And Ben and Eli, and a certain therapist.

Yes, I highly recommend this story. And the author.  Oh and check out the free story here at Dreamspinner Press, The Nutmeg King of Marrakesh.  Just amazing!  Yes, another gem.

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  Cover is strong but I always wish for a little more here. Maybe something of the building itself.

Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 88 pages
Published May 25th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640806412
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Review: Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.

Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.

Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.

Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?

Swings and Roundabouts shows the family Gareth and Jack have created during this series. I love Gareth and it’s interesting to see how much he had changed, and at the same time, has stayed the same as he makes Jack his priority. Jack has grown as a person too but his quirky personality still intact.

The story has three parts, not equally divided but well-balanced. The story starts pretty much into Jack’s and Gareth’s day to day routine. With how Nico and Daniel are integrating into regular life and how they are adjusting to the up and downs. The second part includes the romantic getaway, and the last part shows how everything comes together in the end.

There’s a lot of introspect and some self-recrimination from Gareth’s and Jack’s points of view. Dealing with the kids, their jobs, and their relationship is taking a toll on them, but at the same time is making them get closer. They have a great support system which is also present in this story. It’s nice to see everyone back for this installment.

As always, the author descriptions are great. Especially, anything related to food. Once again, this book has made me hungry, even if I’m not adventurous enough to try to half the recipes.  The weather was another nice integration in the story, as well as the small details as clothing and decorations. And the humor it’s on spot as always.

Overall, this is a great addition to the series. I hope this is not the last time we get to enjoy this couple and their band of misfits and adventures.

The cover by Maria Fanning shows all the elements from previous books–colors, silhouettes, and Jack’s tattoo–to create a cohesive cover. Even when it’s not too appealing.

Sale Links:  Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Published: May 13, 2018, by Jackie Keswick
ISBN: 9781717103819
Edition Language: English

Series: The Power of Zero
Book #1: Job Hunt
Book #2: Ghosts
Book #3: House Hunt
Book #4: Swings & Roundabouts

Sarah Black on Adaptive Reuse and her new release ‘War Paint’ (author guest post)

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War Paint (States of Love) by Sarah Black 

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Sales Link: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sarah Black here again talking about her latest story, War Paint. Welcome, Sarah.

♦︎

Adaptive Reuse for Young Guys and Old Buildings

Thanks for letting me visit! When I was writing War Paint, I was thinking about what happens when a door slams shut behind you. You don’t get to transition gradually, get used to the change and settle in to the new place or new role. Sometimes life just kicks us in the butt and slams the door. Retirement, divorce, an accident or injury. For soldiers and other military people, a combat injury not only changes everything today, but may change the future forever. No kids, no career, no ability to support oneself—that’s not easy to swallow at 24.

At the same time I was working on this story, about a young guy who sustains a combat injury and is trying to find a way forward, I was looking at adaptive reuse buildings. I started writing some information articles for an architectural firm to use on their blog, and the more I looked into adaptive reuse, the more I liked it. The idea of saving the old buildings, making them useful and beautiful again, appealed to me deeply. Much of the adaptive reuse is being done in cities, and as the old warehouses and factories are being turned into lofts and small creative businesses, more than just buildings are being rejuvenated and made new again.

This adaptive reuse is more expensive and difficult that simply tearing down the old buildings and putting up new. They have to be changed to support new access and new systems, while keeping their structural integrity and the design elements that people associate with the old. The care and attention, intentionally seeking out a difficult way to work, was very appealing.

But why? It didn’t make sense. Lead paint! Asbestos! Why couldn’t we just sweep those old mistakes under the rug and put up the new and shiny and efficient, with functioning air conditioning? There is just something about the slow, the old, the challenging, choosing to keep the antique and not so efficient—because it is part of our history, it reminds us where we came from, it has—forgive me—the weight of years of stories in the floorboards, the walls. We are more than our potential. We are also where we came from. For me, keeping the old buildings, making them useful again, seems like we are keeping the soul of the old places. And taking responsibility for caring for it.

Somehow my thinking about these characters, one just injured and one injured in the past, melded with the other writing I was doing about adaptive reuse. I wanted to fix everyone, the old buildings, the characters. So then I did something totally off the wall- I put myself into the story. I’m the model for the slightly flaky, totally inappropriate therapist the guys call The Manatee.

The building in the story, the Riviera, is actually an adaptive reuse Buick showroom in Roanoke, Va. It has been made into lofts and artist studios, and is called The Electra after one of the original Buick models. The work done on the old building is beautiful, and it is lovely, a grand old lady- but without a mural! However, the wall of big industrial windows on the side of the building make the artists who work there very happy. I live right up the street, in another adaptive reuse building, in a neighborhood of warehouse conversions and old buildings made new again.

Thanks for reading my story! I hope you like War Paint.

About War Paint

There’s an art to love.

Mural artist Ben has come from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to work on a commission. A successful artist, he’s still lonely and isolated after his family’s rejection. Ben is charmed and surprised when local soldier Eli mistakes him for homeless, and brings him a cup of coffee and a biscuit. This gesture opens the door. Eli is lost, trying to make sense of a future without the Army after a combat injury ends his career.

Art gives them a new language and a path forward. But lost men can reach out, desperate to hang on to anyone close. Is what they find together real, and the kind of love that will last?

Review Tour and Giveaway – Swings & Roundabouts (The Power of Zero #4) by Jackie Keswick

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Length: 100,000 words approx.
 
The Power Of Zero Series
 
Book #0 – The Power Of Zero
Book #1 – Job Hunt
Book #2 – Ghosts
Book #3 – House Hunt
 
Blurb
 

Jack Horwood. Vigilante, hacker, security specialist. Partner to Gareth Flynn. Adoptive father to their two teenage boys. Happily juggling long days and short nights.


Gareth Flynn. Ex-army officer. Ace negotiator. Righter of wrongs. Family man. Away from home more often than he likes.


Desperate for a relationship reset, Jack treats Gareth to a romantic getaway and Sweden’s frigid peace gives them the break they both need. But Jack’s a trouble magnet and the next dead body just a wild skidoo ride away.


Can love, teamwork, and trust survive the troubles that follow them around? Can Jack save what’s become so important to him?


Expect action, drama, and hot romance in book 4 of the Power of Zero series.



May 14 – Megan’s Media Melange
May 18 – RAM PA Group, MM Good Book Reviews
May 21 – Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews
May 25 – Gay Media Reviews, Book Review By Virginia Lee, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

Author Bio
 

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.


Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.


And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.


For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops, or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:


Website: http://www.jackiekeswick.com
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctY9RD
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieKeswick
FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackieKeswick
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jackiekeswick/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jackie-keswick
Queeromance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackie-keswick/

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Series Recap Blitz/Cover Reveal – Taking Shield Series by Anna Butler

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The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to an explosive conclusion in the fifth book, Day of Wrath, to be published on 28 June 2018.

First that cover. Designed by Adrian Nicholas, whoís been responsible for creating the Taking Shield brand, this cover features a faceless drone, one of the cyborg soldiers sent against humanity by the Maess:

About Day of Wrath

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friendsÖ and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything heís worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesnít want to leave Flynn.

Thereís time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, heís ever had. Thatís the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Pre-order Day of Wrath

Want to win some loot? Pre-order The Day of Wrath at a digital store (Amazon, Kobo, Nook etc) and send a copy of the email confirmation (or a screengrab of it) to annabutlerfiction@gmail.com and

(i) Anna will send you the first chapter and some deleted scenes by email. The deleted scenes will be exclusive until the end of the year;

(ii) the first twenty to respond will get a little bag of Taking Shield loot; and

(ii) your name will be entered in a draw to win one of seven signed first edition paperbacks of Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab. Winners will be announced on publication day.

Preorder here: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kobo | Smashwords

 

Excerpt from Day of Wrath

As Bennet angled over to starboard, Flynn gave his own Hornet a metaphorical boot in the backside, and tagged along faithfully at Bennetís port wing. He stayed close and tight. Pity the ensigns werenít there to see how it was done. With finesse. Panache. And sheer, mind-boggling talent.

The Hornetís navigational computer helpfully overlaid a representation of Aglaia with the usual spherical latitude-longitude grid, pulling the planetary data from the database. At least they had the figures for known planets logged and stored and the nav-com didnít have to make it up. Which it could, of course, by designating the poles with an arbitrary north and south label, locating the equator, and inventing an arbitrary prime meridian to work with. According to legend, the system originated on Earth before man took to the skies, so old it was invented for sailing ships. Given Earth was ten thousand years gone, Flynn put a lot of emphasis on ëlegendí. Their flight navigation systems were built on bloody folklore.

Madness.

Still, at least he couldnít get lost.

He followed Bennet into a high orbit along Aglaiaís equator, skimming along for a moment before going down into the atmosphere. And by skimming, he meant they bounced along like stones skipping over water before they burst through into a storm system. A big storm system. The air roiled in great waves and billows, buffeting the Hornets, and lightning cracked and sizzled off their hulls. The flow of the clouds was fierce, the turbulence greatest at the boundaries between cloud layers. And the winds! More than fierce. They were a howling, raging, relentless savagery that threatened to overwhelm even the Hornetís engines. The Hornet bucked and balked against the winds, and it took every ounce of skill Flynn possessed to fight her into obedience, to keep her flying in the direction he wanted. He couldnít rely on relaxed experience here. This was active, constant readjustment to make her respond. He dropped back a trifle, giving Bennet and himself room to ride out the bucking and bouncing. He wasnít so much flying through Aglaiaís skies, as cavorting through them.

Gods, it was fun!

Anna : what you, dear reader, might expect from the Taking Shield series

Gay literature is a growing genre. And the biggest element of that, just as itís the biggest element of literature generally? Romance. Love, hearts, kisses, and happiness. M/M romance, in particular, is booming.

Now then, if Iím reading a romance, I have certain expectations. I want to see two people attracted to each other, overcoming some obstacle to being together, being faithful and loving. And at the very least, the book must close with a Happy-For-Now ending even if the story canít quite make it Happy Ever After. En route they can have all sorts of things happen: murders, mystery, mayhem. Doesnít matter. What matters is theyíre together and I can put the book down feeling good about the outcome.

But this is where things get a little sticky. Because if youíre looking for pure romance, then I have to confess that the Taking Shield series wonít deliver it. Shield isnít romance. It is a love storyóa very deep and, at times, intense love storyóthat covers five or six years of interstellar war and billions of miles of space travel. This is a classic space opera. All the staples of old school sci-fi are here: big spaceships, infiltrations of enemy bases, cool Shield suits, and lots of people running around shooting their lasers.

And it has two men in love. Oh wait. Not as old school as all that, then.

Across the whole of the series, there are two main story themes, intertwining with each other: the war against the Maess and, set against that, the relationship between Shield Captain Bennet and Fleet Lieutenant Flynn. The Maess war and everything Bennet has to do there gets equal billing with the slow unfolding of his relationship with Flynn.

So something of a niche appeal, here! But if you like sweeping sagas and big love stories where the obstacles the heroes face are big and sweeping too, I do hope youíll give Bennet and Flynn a try. They arenít perfect, but a couple of guys with all their warts and faults, all their brilliance and intelligence, all their courage and loyalty and great hearts, all their beauty and all their uglinessóand they love each other. They love each other a great deal, despite every parting, and every reverse and upset in their relationship. And now, at the end of the series, perhaps theyíll get their chance.

Do come on the adventure with them. I donít think youíll regret it.

About the series

Taking Shield started out as a simple set of ëwhat ifí questions. What if, in some AU universe, Earthís been a burnt out dustball for the last ten thousand years? What if thereís a riff on the Exodus and remnants of humanity escape, but led by Pharaohs? What if the new world they found, Albion, is at war with an enemy no one has ever seen? What if the hero is a member of Albionís special forces and the Military Strategy Unit? What if he finds something that seriously threatens Albion? What if he falls in love with a Fleet pilot and has his life turned upside down?

Earthís a dead planet, dark for more than ten thousand years; lost for so long no one even knows where its solar system is. Her last known colony, Albion, has grown to be regional galactic power in its own right. But Albionís 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 thatís dragged on for generations.

The Taking Shield series charts the missions and adventures of Shield Captain Bennet, scion of a prominent military family. Over the Taking Shield arc, Bennet will see the extremes to which humanityís enemies, and his own people, will go to win the war. Some days he isnít able to tell friend from foe. Some days he doubts everything, including himself, as he strives to ensure Albionís victory. And some days he isnít sure, any longer, what victory looks like.


Note: the novels are not standalones and should be read in order.

 

Taking Shield 01: Gyrfalcon ó Earthís last known colony, Albion, is fighting an alien enemy. In the first of the Taking Shield series, Shield Captain Bennet is dropped behind the lines to steal priceless intelligence. A dangerous job, and Bennet doesnít need the distractions of changing relationships with his long-term partner, Joss, or with his fatheróor with Flynn, the new lover who will turn his world upside-down. He expects to risk his life. He expects the data will alter the course of the war. What he doesnít expect is that it will change his life or that Flynn will be impossible to forget.

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Taking Shield 02: Heart Scarab ó Shield Captain Bennet is on Telnos, an unpleasant little planet inhabited by religious fanatics and unregistered miners running illegal solactinium mines. Itís about to be about to be overrun by the Maess. Bennetís job is to get out as many civilians as he can, but the enemy arrives before the evacuation is complete. Caught in a vicious fire fight, Bennet is left behind, presumed dead.

His family is grieving. Joss, his long-term partner, grieves with them; lost, unhappy, remorseful. First Lieutenant Flynn has no official ërightsí here. He isnít family. He isnít partner or lover. Heís just broken

Available at Payhip | A digital bookstore near you

Taking Shield 03: Makepeace ó Returning to duty following his long recovery from the injuries he sustained during the events recounted in Heart Scarab, Shield Captain Bennet accepts a tour of duty in Fleet as flight captain on a dreadnought. The one saving grace is that it isnít his fatherís shipóbad enough that he canít yet return to the Shield Regiment, at least he doesnít have the added stress of commanding former lover, Fleet Lieutenant Flynn and knowing the fraternisation regulations will keep them apart.

Bennetís new mission takes him behind the lines to Makepeace, once a human colony but under Maess control for more than a century. The mission goes belly up, costing Albion one of her precious, irreplaceable dreadnoughts and bringing political upheaval, acrimony and the threat of public unrest in its wake. But for Bennet, the real nightmare is discovering what the Maess have in store for humanity. Itís not good. Itís not good at all.

SECOND PLACE WINNER 2016 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

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Taking Shield 04: The Chains Of Their Sins ó Shield Captain Bennet arrives on the Gyrfalcon to take up his final year’s posting before returning to the Shield Regiment.

On the Gyrfalcon he faces up to the fallout from Makepeaceóethical, political and above all, personal. Will he be able to accept necessity: that knowing what the Maess are up to outweighs the humanitarian issues surrounding the prisoners he rescued from Makepeace? Can he ride out the political furore that follows the loss of the dreadnought Caliban? How will he cope with an entire year of serving under his father, Caeden? And worst of all, how in the name of every god in the Pantheon can he stand to see Flynn every single day, with the Fraternisation Regs standing between them and keeping them apart?

It will be an interesting year. Bennet can hardly wait for it to be over. Of course, things never really do go to plan…

FIRST PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Sci/Fi Futuristic book

THIRD PLACE WINNER 2017 Rainbow Awards for Best Gay Book

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Anna Butler 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. Sheís 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.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butlerís Pantry (Facebook Group) | Twitter | Sign up for Annaís occasional newsletter

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COVER REVEAL for Murder in New York (The Pinkerton Man Series #2) by C.J. Baty

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Murder in New York, The Pinkerton Man Series

Author: C.J. Baty

Cover Artist: Select-O-Grafix, LLC

Genre/s: M/M Mystery

Blurb

Coming back to New York to see her ailing father, Lizzie Ferguson did not expect to find him healthy and newly married to a much younger woman. She, also, didn’t expect to connect with an old lover and childhood friend or be accused of killing her father. But, life has a way of knocking you to your knees when you least expect it.

Stiles Long had always regretted that the killer, from his first case as a Pinkerton Agent, had got away. Now, in New York it was happening again. The Hotel Astor Bar was a meeting place for men who enjoyed the company of men. And, some of them were being brutally murdered. When one of the suspects from the original case appears at the hotel, Stiles is torn between his desire to stop a killer and kiss the man senseless.

Two different cases, but some of the faces overlap from one to the other. Stiles and Lizzie are in a race to discover who the killers are before another body gets added to the count.

About the Author

CJ Baty lives in southwest Ohio with her very patient husband and two encouraging children. Her heart however, lives in the mountains of Tennessee where she hopes to retire some day. The mountains have always provided her with inspiration and a soothing balm to the stresses of everyday life.

The dream of writing her own stories started in high school but was left on the back burner of life until her son introduced her to Fan Fiction and encouraged her to give it a try. She found that her passion for telling a story was still there and writing them down to share with others was much more thrilling than she had ever expected.

One thing she has learned from life and she is often heard to say is, “You are never too old to follow your dream!”

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