Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton On Characters, Stories, and their recent re-release Second Hand (a Tucker Springs story) (author interview)

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Second Hand by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton
Dreamspinner Press

Cover art: Reese Dante

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton here today talking about their new release Second Hand.

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~ A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton ~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Marie: A little piece of me goes into every single one, but how much varies from character to character. For most of them, it’s only small, random things, like their pet peeves or their favorite drink. Others have more. Trey from Family Man had a lot of my real life experiences, and Cody from Trailer Trash had a lot of my “not fitting in” teenage angst. 

Heidi: I’d agree that it’s mostly random things. I’ve had a few I identify strongly with, but no one has ever felt like a self-insert. They definitely end up with a lot of my personal stories and things I’ve witnessed/experienced, but it’s a real remix. For Second Hand, honestly, I’m the one who had El’s family making tamales, but that was all research. I’d never made them myself. Now I can make them like a pro and have had tutoring by people who know their stuff, and my tamales aren’t half bad. But at the time I wrote that, it wasn’t even borrowed from my experiences.

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

Marie: I’m going to be honest here — I despise research. My degree is in history, so it seems like something I should love, but I don’t. Which is why I mostly write contemporaries. Every time I’ve started writing something historical, I got bored and shifted it to an AU instead, largely so I could just make shit up and not have to do research. (Song of Oestend and Release being prime examples.)

Heidi: I research everything because it makes me feel grounded. I usually only write about something I have at least some familiarity with, but even then I’m always investigating. I don’t think it plays a role in my choices, but it does vary by project. Interestingly some of the least research I had to do was for Clockwork Heart, which I thought would have the most. There my biggest problem was all the dang languages.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Marie: Never. Growing up, I mostly read fantasy, with a smattering of horror, scifi, and mysteries in between. Back in about 2008, I read Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series. At the end of the second book, the two male protagonists become lovers, and I was blown away. So I started looking for more fantasy books with gay protagonists. I slid down a slippery slope into gay romance. I spent about a year reading every one I could get my hands on (which was only a few, really, because I was still reading paperbacks). Then, in 2009, I wrote my first book (Promises), and I haven’t read a romance since then (except for a handful that I’ve beta read for friends). These days, I primarily read thrillers and mysteries, with a bit of horror and fantasy in between.

Heidi: I started reading Harlequins in the library and sneaking them into checkout when I was a teenager, but I didn’t start formally reading romance until my choir teacher handed me A Knight in Shining Armor and told me I should read it. I really loved both the adventure and the female-centered adult story, plus the guaranteed HEA. In college I read a lot of them on the weekends after reading dead white men all week (I was an English major). Nowadays I still read romance, but I also read fantasy, Japanese fiction, and Japanese and Chinese manga and light novels.

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?

Marie: Yes, I did this with Trailer Trash. I originally started it back in about 2011. But then I knew it was going to get heavy and angsty, so I put it aside for several years. I finally went back and finished it in late 2015. I loved those boys too much to leave them hanging.

Heidi: A lot of my stories take years to write because I get to spots where it’s like their a pudding that needs to set up. Sometimes I need to think about it, sometimes I need to wrestle with it, and sometimes I need to forget about it and come back. It’s never been because I was overly emotional about it, but sometimes I see what I have to do to it and think, I’m not ready for that. Antisocial was probably the most difficult. Honestly part of me wanted another six months on that one, but sometimes you have to write the book when you have to write the book. But this is why The Roosevelt series takes so long. Those books really make me sit and ponder stuff. I feel like I’ve been having an argument with David for three years now.

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

Marie: My favorite is Song of Oestend, and its sequel, Saviours of Oestend. They have everything I love writing — friends to lovers, opposites attract, role reversal, a redeemed bad boy, and a touch of BDSM. And they have things I don’t get to write often — burly cowboys, paranormal elements, and an alternate universe setting.

Heidi: Double Blind is always my favorite, though while I wrote it Antisocial was. I began to get unwell as it was published and promoted, though, so it’s lost some of its luster for me with time. But pretty much Double Blind for life.

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

 Marie: I don’t do this often, but yes, it has happened. Back in 2012 or so, Heidi and I started writing a book together. It was supposed to be just for fun — not necessarily to publish — and without really deciding to, I ended up dumping a whole lot of myself into that. All my issues growing up with an addict, and then as an adult, watching my mother’s addiction catch up to her, seeing her in the hospital over and over again, dealing with the constant victim mentality — I dumped it all into that book. In hindsight, it was quite cathartic. And I’m glad Heidi talked me into publishing it after all. (But it’s not Second Hand. It’s the other book we wrote together — Family Man.)

 

Heidi: Yeah, I don’t set out to do it, but I talk to myself a lot while I write, and I hate chaos, so writing is a way to put order to things. The books I’m finishing up now feel to me like my way of creating a place/world I don’t know is possible to exist, yet I enjoy feeling like here, it could. I don’t try to overtly work through stuff, though. In fact, I work to avoid it. It just happens to me. I feel like if I deliberately attempt to address an issue, it comes out a mess.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

Marie: I’m currently finishing up Spare the Rod, the third book in the Heretic Doms Club series. I have one more to write after that, to finish the series. But first, I have to squeeze in a new Tucker Springs book.

Heidi: I’m finishing up edits on the last of the Copper Point: Medical series out this year from Dreamspinner, and then I finally, finally get to write the books I was supposed to write in 2017, starting with Rebel Heart. Somewhere in there I have to write another Tucker Springs book, but I’m hoping to produce at least two indie works first. 2019 will be the Year of the New Books for me.

Check out Second Hand, revised and re-edited, re-releases on January 8, 2019 from Dreamspinner Press. We hope you enjoy it! 

Blurb:

A Tucker Springs Novel

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

Tucker Springs Series

Welcome to Tucker Springs
Tucker Springs is located on the western slope of Colorado, in between Grand Junction and Silverton. One of the themes of Tucker Springs is that what you see is not what you get. Take, for example, the “springs”. Although many neighboring towns have actual hot springs, the spring here is more of a…

About the Authors:

Heidi’s Bio

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.

Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Colorado Eagles and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one teenage daughter, one adorable dog, and one very stupid cat, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Marie also writes dark dystopian erotic fantasy under the name A.M. Sexton. You can find her at http://mariesexton.net/, and on Facebook and Twitter.

How Not to Blend (Lovestrong #1) by Susan Hawke Release Blitz and Giveaway

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HOW NOT TO BLEND

LOVESTRONG SERIES, BOOK 1

SUSAN HAWKE

GAY ROMANCE – RELEASE DATE: 01.13.19

how not to blend cover

BLURB

One clueless single dad…

Dr. Corbin Davis is a busy guy just trying to do his best as a single parent. He may be oblivious to a lot of things, but surely he would’ve noticed something as important as his fifteen-year-old son, Grayson, being bullied, right? And what the heck is non-binary, and why hasn’t Gray shared this all-important part of himself with his own dad?

Plus one sassy Southerner…

Andy Ferguson, or Kandi as the Thursday night drag community knows him, is just trying to get along in a small town and hold things together while he takes care of his beloved Gam-Gam. If she’d just get off his back about finding himself a man, that would be fantastic, thank you very much. He’ll get around to love… one of these days. 

Equals a pair of fake-boyfriends who will keep you in stitches.

When Corb gets the wild idea to ask Andy to pose as his boyfriend to let Gray know that his dad is bisexual and open-minded enough to talk to about his nonbinary status, Andy is amused and just intrigued enough to say yes… especially since he seems to be in the market for a fake boyfriend himself, if it will get Gam-Gam to quit nagging.

This is the first book in the LOVESTRONG series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Intended only for 18+ readers, this is an mm romance filled with all the fun, fluff, and feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book.

http://mybook.to/LOVESTRONG-ONE/

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EXCERPT

I looked around the nearly empty diner, my eyes roaming over the faded artwork on the wall, the cracked Formica tabletop, the scarred linoleum, the selection of pies spinning around inside the rotating display case—yeah, I was pretty much looking at anything other than the delicious specimen of masculinity sitting across from me.

After our waitress dropped off the slices of cherry pie we’d ordered when we’d been seated and filled our cups with a substance resembling coffee, I had no choice but to find my balls and face him. When I looked up, I found Corbin watching me with a bemused smile. I bit my lip almost shyly before speaking. “What? Does it weird you out to be around me now that you know about my alter ego?”

Corbin shook his head as he picked up his fork and cut into his pie. “No, it’s stranger to be sitting here with the guy who serves my morning coffee than it was to watch you in drag. Thank you, by the way, for taking the time to do this with me.”

My nerves faded as we began to talk. “No trouble. If I’m being honest…” I leaned forward with a conspiratorial smile. “I work up quite an appetite when I do my routine. A little pie and coffee will hit the spot right now. If we weren’t here, I would’ve been heading home with a rumbly tummy. Maybe you’re the one doing me the favor, if you think about it. Speaking of favors, what was it you wanted from me? Nick mentioned something about your kid?”

Corbin dropped his fork with a clatter, leaning back in the booth and dropping his hands to his lap. “I feel really stupid now that we’re sitting here. I don’t want you to think that I’m an idiot or something.”

I cocked my head to the side, gazing at him curiously. “Why would you ever think that? Now you have to tell me what’s up; I’ll curl up and die of curiosity if you don’t.”

Puffing his cheeks out, Corbin blew out a breath and gave a slight nod. “You noticed my son’s black eye the other day, remember? So it turns out that he’s being bullied because he identifies as enby—that’s short for nonbinary. Have you heard of that?” He paused and waited while I resisted the urge to say duh and simply nodded instead as I took a bite of pie. Corbin blew out another breath, raking a hand through his short hair. “I don’t know why I thought that a drag queen might have any clue about what an enby might be dealing with, but I was hoping to pick your brain about it and… I don’t know… maybe get some makeup tips or something?”

I resisted the urge to laugh—almost. Corbin chuckled when he saw the suppressed laughter in my eyes and I couldn’t help but laugh along with him. “Yeah, I definitely don’t identify as anything other than masculine. I can see where people might be confused since I do tend to be flamboyant and glamorous in my daily life, but you have to understand me when I tell you that I don’t identify as anything other than a cisgender man. Drag is just a way for me to let my hair down and get into my creative side. I’m sure it could be confusing, from the outside looking in. My drag mama is an old-school gender-bender type of queen. He doesn’t bother to shave his thick stubble or his hairy, manly chest—even when he is in full-on Honey Combover regalia.”

susan hawke logo

As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it. This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.

Amazon Author: https://amzn.to/2Hdgwvl

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

In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Perfect Match by AG Meiers

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Perfect Match by A.G. Meiers

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art:  LC Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing

About Perfect Match

Secrets can derail even the most powerful attraction.

Logger Sven Larson has never found a man worth publicly coming out of the closet for. But his family has other plans. As a thirtieth birthday gift, his mother hires the online dating service Perfect Match to find Sven the love of his life. To say Sven isn’t thrilled is an understatement, but it’s too late to cancel, and Jayden Calver arrives.

Perfect Match’s success rate is unsurpassed, but they don’t come by it honestly: if a client can’t be matched, the agency uses a stand-in to fulfil their guarantee and protect their profit.

Tough luck has left Jayden in debt, and playing Perfect Match’s deceptive game is his only option. So he travels — sparkling toenails and all — to a remote camp deep in the mountains to meet Sven Larson and pretend to be his perfect match for a few days.

Sparks fly on first contact. But as the two men get closer, Sven grows more and more suspicious of Jayden, and Jayden struggles with guilt over his deceit. They both want a future together, but first they must find the courage to be honest with themselves and each other.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!


About AG Meiers

Eighteen years ago, AG Meiers came to the US for adventure and stayed for love. Currently, she lives in New England with her husband and two awesome kids—balancing work, friends and family, and writing.

When she has some free time, her favorite thing to do is travel and visit new places. Her past trips have already brought her to a variety of countries on four continents. She never passes up an opportunity to experience different cultures, diverse people and amazing locations.

Even though she has been dreaming up stories all her life, she has only recently started to write them down and share them with the world. As a writer she loves to put her characters through a lot of challenges, conflict and heartbreak, before she allows them to find their happy-ever-after.

Connect with AG Meiers:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Perfect Match  one lucky person will win a $20 Riptide Publishing gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 18, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Cover Reveal for I Wished For You by Colette Davison

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: I Wished For You

Author: Colette Davison

Cover Artist: Designs by Dana 

Genre/s: mmm contemporary romance

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Tagline

Since childhood, their friendship has been steadfast; falling in love will test that bond.

Blurb

Three wishes.

Seb wants to be happy.

Matt wants to find ‘the one.’

Connor wants them.

Two drunken kisses.

Seb didn’t plan to kiss Matt and Connor, but he doesn’t regret it, even if it has changed their friendship forever.

Matt has never considered dating a man before, let alone two. Despite his confusion, being with Seb and Connor feels right.

One uncertain future.

Connor’s potential fate has stopped him living and loving. Can he face his fears to be with the men he loves?

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Facebook Group: Colette’s Cosy Corner

BookBub

Goodreads

Instagram

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

How to describe this story?  Hmm.  I feel wrapped up in warmth and goodness. Like I received an unexpected gift.  Annabeth Albert paints a clear picture of her characters early in the story so readers, like me, can shadow them and experience their joy, their sorrow, their emotional growth, and yes, their love.

Canaan Finley is working the register when his favorite Navy SEAL, the guy his team calls Rooster, comes into his family’s cafe for a smoothie. The hot guy has caught Canaan’s attention each time he comes in but this time, Canaan isn’t going to let the moment pass without making…a pass.  He manages to surprise Rooster who is equally attracted to the cute guy making his smoothie just the way he likes it.  A cute intro, I like the way the author set the two up so that it’s natural to ask Rooster when Canaan needs a fake boyfriend.  He used to be in a rock band that’s just finished a European tour and would like to attend their “reunion” camping trip but won’t go alone. Why? Because his ex and the guy he cheated on Canaan with are both going to be there and Canaan doesn’t want to seem a loser. 

Over the course of the trip, which is no simple excursion to the woods, Canaan and Rooster are caught in a canyon during a flash flood.  Rooster’s quick thinking and rock-climbing skills save them both and over the course of time, as the two are stranded on a ledge above the canyon, attraction blooms into a solid foundation for a relationship.

The author’s skills in creating two very different characters who complement one another in unusual ways, getting those characters to be important to readers, and then making the characters important to each other is what I love best about her work.  These men are flawed, and they have backstories that include good judgment and bad mistakes, but I got so attached to them after a few chapters that I couldn’t go on with my daily routine until I knew more, more, more! Each scene was better than the previous and I simply had to know what came next and whether or not these two could find their way to their HEA.  And if a certain couple named Ben and Maddox (On Point) happened to run into them while they were out on a date, and if that run-in led to Rooster finding out about Canaan’s past adventure with the couple, well, all I can say is that was icing on the cake of my happiness.

I very highly recommend this story. In fact, I very highly recommend the entire Out of Uniform series to all MM romance lovers. And if you love SEALs or military men in your romance, this one is super perfect.   

The cover features two bare-chested men, one hugging the other from behind. The one in front, wearing camo pants, is Rooster. Canaan, of course, is behind and the models chosen look like those described in the story.  The coloring and theme of the cover matches the other Out of Uniform books in the series.

Sales Links:   Carina Press |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: January 14th 2019 by Carina Press
Original Title Rough Terrain
ASINB07GB8B4XR
Edition Language English
Series Out of Uniform #7

Series Out of Uniform /add to Goodreads here:

Off Base

Homecoming (1.5)

Off Leash (1.6)

At Attention (2)

I Do (2.5)

On Point (5)

Wheels Up (4)

Homebodies (4.5)

Squared Away (5)

Tight Quarters (6)

Rough Terrain (7)

 

A VVivacious Review: Stay (Working Out the Kinks #1) by K.M. Neuhold

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Jonah and Lars were best friends before they realised that they were actually more. With a decade full of blissful years between them they love each other more than ever.

But, when Jonah discovers his love for puppy play he immediately starts wondering what this means and how well Lars will take it. As Jonah’s secrecy starts creating a rift between the two will the truth be the straw that broke the camel’s back or can they get through this to be stronger than ever?

I loved this book. It was so good. I have never read a book by this author before but that blurb was so good that I just couldn’t resist.

This book was definitively ticking off all my boxes. The fact that it was an established couple romance was enticing enough for me because I love that trope but with puppy play being the cherry on the top, I couldn’t resist. I was really looking forward to this book and it delivered on all fronts.

I love reading an established couple romance. One because there is something so warm and cuddly about a couple secure in their relationship and secondly because I love the fact that people can fight for their love every day and loving a person is very much an ongoing process that begins with a relationship instead of ending there.

This book dealt with such an amazing plot point because it is something that a lot of people can relate to. I found myself wondering about what I would do in such a situation and really looked forward to how Lars and Jonah would work it out.

They work it out quite fabulously I might say and I really hope that if I ever find myself in such a situation I get a partner like Lars who was so open and understanding and so not judgemental. I truly respect Lars for how he handled himself and the situation.

I really think this might be a good first book if you want to delve into puppy play as this book deals with a much tamer side of puppy play and this would be a good book to test out if you might enjoy this particular kink. This book discusses something very fundamental to kink that is that you participate in a kink because first and foremost it gives you enjoyment. So, I feel like this book might serve as a good introduction to kink in general.

Lars and Jonah are such a warm and fuzzy couple that I almost instantly found myself enraptured with their cuteness and unconventional relationship. But, these two make it work.

Cover Design by K. M. Neuhold. I really like the cover because it truly gives you a sense of trepidation about the Puppy Play which is pretty on the nose with Jonah’s initial inhibitions about embracing the kink.

Sales Links:  Amazon
Book Details:
ebook
Expected publication: February 11th 2019
Edition Language English
Series Working Out the Kinks #1

Tia Fielding on Major Influences in Writing, Characters, and her new release and series Ten (Love by Numbers #1) (author guest blog)

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Ten (Love by Numbers #1) by Tia Fielding

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Buy link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon  

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Tia Fielding

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

You could definitely say so. I’m Finnish, so I haven’t read a lot of the classics people read in high school in the States, for example. I had the freedom to read whatever I wanted, because my parents were and are readers.

I read a lot of fantasy, which hasn’t really carried to my own writing for some reason. I guess I’m still waiting for the inspiration for that? Creating a fantasy world of your own is tricky, and the closest I’ve really gotten are my vampire novel Technically Dead and my shifter series, Finnshifters.

I did, however, read a lot of young adult novels, horse-related stories, and definitely a lot of straight romance when I got to my teens. There’s a women’s magazine in Finland that still has a reader-submission based part where people could send their sexual fantasies. Really explicit stuff. I started to read that in secret when I was around… 12, maybe.

I wonder if that over-exposition to erotica led to my not being too keen on erotica now? Or not really writing sex for the sake of sex?

In any case, I read a lot of romance especially in my teen years. Carolyn Cookson was my hero for some reason, back then. I don’t write historicals, it’s not my genre even as a reader these days, but the romance stuck, at least!

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

My favorite book of all time is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. That book has no extra words. The language is very exact and measured, and yes she might’ve written it in something like a decade, so definitely not something I could do, but it still left a mark.

Now, you have to remember I’m not a native English speaker, so my writing will always be different because of that. I did start to read in English more in my twenties, which has helped, but until that, my influences would’ve been different, less language based.

I was first published when I’d just turned thirty, and I have to say that the influence that got me to that point were all the awesome fan fiction writers around me in fandom spaces on the internet. I got some courage to write fan fiction and then to try being published, and somehow here I am soon eight years later, still going strong!

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

Is it cliché or fake sounding if I say the new series? Love by Numbers, of which Ten is the first book, is turning into a labor of love for me. The characters and the town I’ve  created for them has wrapped me around their little fingers extremely tightly.

The next book in the series, called Four, is going to be out sometime during the summer this year, by the way. So if you like the people of Acker, Wisconsin, as much as I do, don’t worry, there’ll be more to come soon!

Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I chuckled when I saw this question, to be honest. I’ve literally started to write book number three today, and one of the main characters from that one is tricky to redeem, let’s put it like that. I love him to bits, he’s so complex, but it’s breaking my heart a little, writing him. Redeeming him to the reader, let alone the characters in the series, is going to be… interesting.

With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

 I write to show a different-from-the-norm kind of life. That people can be different and still become happy and safe and loved. They can overcome obstacles of many kinds and still find a family to belong in, people to surround themselves with, and that forever kind of love most people dream of.

Hopefully my stories give the reader a way to escape their daily life for a little bit, and if I manage to give them something to think about, then I’ve definitely done my job well!

Blurb:

Can two broken men build one life?

Ten years.

That’s what Makai lost for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s been exonerated, but the abuse he suffered in prison isn’t so easy to leave behind. He heads to the one place he remembers being happy: Acker, Wisconsin, where he spent summers with his grandpa. Unfortunately, not everyone wants Makai there.

Ten days.

That’s how long Emil, now twenty-one, was held prisoner as a teenager. The mental and physical injuries he suffered at the hands of a drug trafficking ring still haunt him.

Nightmares, anxiety, and PTSD challenge the connection forming between Makai and Emil, though together, they might find a way to move beyond their pain and into a future—and a relationship—that both had thought impossible.

Now they just have to convince Emil’s father, the town sheriff. It won’t be easy with danger closer than they know….

 

About the Author 

Tia Fielding is a Finnish LGBTQ+ romance author. She lives in a small middle-of-nowhere town surrounded by nature and silence, just like she prefers. Tia identifies as genderqueer, but isn’t fussy about pronouns, because her native language doesn’t have gender-specific ones. She’s a lover of caffeine, sarcasm, peppermint, cats and dogs, sleeping and witty people.

 

Social Media:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/authortiafielding/

Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/tiafielding

Twitter – https://twitter.com/tiafielding

Release Day Blitz for Valor (Until You #4) by Karrie Roman (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Valor

Series: Until You, Book 4

Author: Karrie Roman

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 14, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85800

Genre: Contemporary, law enforcement, shark photographer, kidnapping, attempted murder, older MC

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Synopsis

Years ago Asher Winsome almost lost his life in the jaws of a great white shark. It was the scariest moment of his life—until his four-year-old nephew is kidnapped. Called home to be with his family, who see him as the black sheep, Asher must rely on every bit of his courage if he’s going to help get his nephew back. But this is not an ordinary kidnapping. And the outcome will leave Asher running for his life.

Former FBI agent Alec Banner buries himself in his work to forget everything that’s missing in his life. His job, at a private company run by an old friend, locating missing children can be tough and brutal, but Alec is no stranger to working with the worst of humanity. From the minute he’s called to help on the Winsome kidnapping he knows something is different.

Thrown together under such difficult circumstances Asher and Alec are drawn to each other’s unrelenting courage even in the face of their fears. But a relationship begun under such impossible stress can’t survive. When his job is finished Alec runs from Asher and his growing feelings, but the danger hasn’t passed, in fact it has only just begun. And both men will need to be brave if they are to survive.

Excerpt

Valor
Karrie Roman © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
Jesus Christ, he couldn’t get out of that happy, fucking home quick enough. The fact he’d put a bullet between the eyes of an abusive monster less than twenty-four hours ago wasn’t what had Alec Banner’s heart aching, his breath stuttering, and his legs itching to run. No, he’d had little trouble doing that.

What had him fleeing from the company of a man he considered his best friend, and three other men who’d become very important to him, had been all the fucking love wafting around the room—infecting everyone but him.

Alec had been friends with Ben Cronin for well over a decade. Though they’d lost contact for a few years, they’d reconnected close to a year ago. These days, he spent plenty of time with Ben. They’d been working together for several months now, locating missing and abducted children. Working at Chasing Hope was grueling, but very rewarding. Alec didn’t regret leaving the FBI to join Ben’s company at all.

It wasn’t Ben he was fleeing, though. Nor was it Ben’s partner. Ethan was a fucking dreamboat, but Ben was the lucky asshole who’d snagged his heart. Alec had no problem admitting he had a tiny crush on Ethan. Would it ever cause trouble between him and Ben? Fuck no, because no matter what, there was no way Alec would ever do anything about it. Alec Banner had a lot of faults, but disloyalty wasn’t one of them. He’d pine away for Ethan like a miserable bastard until he—hopefully—found a dreamboat of his own to love.

No, despite his messy feelings, the reason Alec was fleeing Ben’s brother’s house before he completely fucking lost it was because he couldn’t stand to see how happy the two couples there were. He’d witnessed the love between Ben and Ethan for months, and despite them going through a really rough time, they’d been going through it together. Alec had seen firsthand what it should be like to have a real partner. Someone to love, to care about. Someone who’d have your back no matter what.

Instead, he was expected to fucking sit back and watch how happy Ben’s brother, Cameron, and his lover, Zach, were? He couldn’t do it. Selfish maybe, but he was nearly forty years old and he’d had one boyfriend who’d lasted six months and a nine-month relationship with a woman, which had been explosive but ultimately fizzled out because she wouldn’t walk down the aisle with him. Her refusal had hurt like hell at the time, but looking back on it, years later, he was so glad Heather had rejected him. He was pretty sure he’d be a divorced father of three by now if she hadn’t.

Here was Zach, who was twenty-fucking-two and had found the love of his life in Cameron, and try as he might, Alec couldn’t shake the jealousy. He wanted that; he wanted what those men had.

There was only one thing Alec knew of to help when life went to shit, and that was work. He never turned to the bottle or eating his feelings when he was miserable, like some people did. Alec’s choice of pick-me-up was to tuck his head down and his ass up and get stuck into as much work as possible.

He pulled out his phone and thumbed through his contacts. Ryan Lowe was near the top of his list. Ryan was the brains and bank behind Chasing Hope, the company Alec worked for locating missing kids. Ryan had told Alec earlier he may have a job for him, and as he hit the call button he hoped to god Ryan did. Alec desperately needed something to keep him busy.

“Alec, how’d it go?” Ryan answered without preamble.

Alec knew Ryan would have heard from Ben or Ethan that they’d rescued Zach from Cameron’s crazy ex, but he wasn’t exactly sure if they’d have told him how far they’d gone, so he offered only a concise answer. “Good. All done. What else have you got for me?”

“Well, I’m sure we’ve got a case, but I’m waiting to hear back. I’ve already got Jacey putting a file together for you. Little boy, four, was taken this morning from his local park. The family is affluent and well-known in their community. The mother is certain there’ll be a ransom demand. She wants the cops called, but she’s getting pushback from her husband and the in-laws. I think you should head out to them ASAP, see what you think and be ready to act.”

His phone beeped as Ryan spoke, likely to signal the arrival of the file from Jacey. She was an absolute genius with technology, and he expected she’d have provided him with information, not only about the immediate family but the extended one, including friends, staff, and coworkers. Knowing Jacey, he’d even get information on the people the parents went to kindergarten with. She’d have dug up whatever dirt there was to find in a short amount of time, and no doubt she’d already be digging through old data to find even more.

“Got it. Where am I headed?”

“Del Mar. Get a flight to San Diego. I’ll get a hotel booked for you in Del Mar and text the details.”

“On my way.”

“Hey…you okay, Alec?”

Ryan was a sweetheart, tender and caring and far too innocent for this line of work. And yet he’d dragged himself into the misery of missing kids because he wanted to help—and found himself in a position where he could. He was one of the good guys, but Alec worried how it would all affect him. Alec had been dealing with scum for years; he knew the horror stories, and he’d hardened his heart to them, but Ryan? Alec worried about him.

“Tired, that’s all. I’m fine, Ryan, but thanks for caring.”

They exchanged a few niceties regarding Ryan and his partner, Lucas. Alec repeated several more times that he was, in fact, all right, despite the events of the past twenty-four hours, when Ryan asked before hanging up.

Alec made his way to the airport and settled in to wait for his flight. Getting in and out of Cody, Wyoming, wasn’t always easy. He didn’t mind curling up on one of the uncomfortable chairs common to most airports while he waited, though. He pulled out his tablet and opened the file Jacey had sent him.

The Winsome family of Del Mar wasn’t simply affluent, they were filthy fucking rich. The patriarch was one Edmund Winsome, who was a founding partner of one of the biggest law firms in Southern California. Matriarch Phyllis Winsome had brought her family’s considerable wealth to the marriage and together they had built a formidable empire for their two sons. From the images Jacey sent, they were an austere-looking couple who screamed wealth from every perfectly coiffed hair on their heads.

Oldest son—and father of the missing boy—Kane Winsome worked for his father’s firm. He hadn’t quite made partner yet, but from what Alec read, he was well on his way. Alec found the photo Jacey had sent and studied the image of Kane Winsome. He was a younger version of his father. Light-brown hair was cut to within an inch of its life and was gelled into what was probably the latest style, steel-gray eyes glared at the lens, and thin lips pursed to show their impatience with whomever had taken the photo. Alec tried not to judge a book by its cover, but if he had to, then the title would be Pride and Prejudice. A more modern day Fitzwilliam Darcy he couldn’t imagine finding.

Kane’s wife, Madeline, came from a wealthy family herself, though not on the scale of the Winsome’s wealth. She worked as a florist and could not look more opposite to her husband if she tried. She had a mane of flowing, dark, almost black hair that perfectly matched her dark skin. Her eyes were a deep brown but were lit by what Alec suspected was her natural joie de vivre. It was hard to tell from a photo, but she looked petite. Alec had no doubt she would be a lioness, though, when it came to her loved ones. While her husband glared and pouted at the camera, Madeline Winsome laughed and flirted with it.

He scrolled to another image—this one of Kane and Madeline together each holding hands with a toddling child he assumed to be the missing Jack. The photo must be at least a year old given that Jack was now four. The family looked—happy. Gone was Kane’s stern face, replaced with a beaming smile, his gaze fixed on his son. Madeline looked the same as in the solo photo as she, too, stared at her son. The little boy was adorable. His smile matched his parents’ as he seemed to be frozen in an attempt to take an ungainly step. The photo captured more than a simple image of family—it portrayed love, purely and simply.

Alec would read the file more thoroughly on the plane and over the days to come, but for now, he only wanted to get a feel for this family. He couldn’t even begin to imagine the hell they must be going through.

Movement around him alerted him to the fact that his flight was boarding. Alec took his place in line, greeting the staff politely as always. He was a firm believer in catching more flies with honey than vinegar, and a pleasant exchange with airline staff had him either sitting in an exit row or with an extra beverage more times than he cared to remember.

He made his way to his seat, delighted to see an almost empty flight. With luck, the two seats beside him would remain vacant so he might be able to get a couple of hours sleep. He settled in and took another look at the files while he waited for takeoff.

Next in the file was the second son, Kane’s brother. As Alec skimmed his bio, he realized instantly that Asher Winsome was the black sheep of the family. He too had studied law, as his father and brother had, but Asher’s most recent job was listed as marine photographer, location—varied. Interesting.

Alec scrolled to the attached photograph, his eyes popping like some kind of cartoon character. Jesus Christ, he’d never seen anyone more gorgeous. Asher Winsome was drop-dead stunning. The photo wasn’t even a good one, so he could only imagine how devastating the man would be in real life. His hair was a few shades darker than his brother’s, and he wore it long, just scraping his shoulders. His gray eyes were lighter than Kane’s. Alec couldn’t wait to see them in person to find out if they were as silver as they appeared in the photo. His smile was crooked and shy; his entire demeanor coy. Alec was insanely jealous of whoever had taken the photo and coaxed that look out of the man.

He knew he’d sat there staring too long when the flight attendant had to actually tap his arm to get him to prepare for takeoff. He shut down his tablet and fastened his seat belt. He leaned his head against the fuselage, letting his eyes drift shut. Glimmering gray eyes and a crooked smile followed him into sleep.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Karrie lives in Australia’s sunshine state with her husband and two sons, though she hates the sun with a passion. She dreams of one day living in the wettest and coldest habitable place she can find. She has been writing stories in her head for years but has finally managed to pull the words out of her head and share them with others. She spends her days trying to type her stories on the computer without disturbing her beloved cat Lu curled up on the keyboard. She probably reads far too much.

Website | Twitter

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Thoughts on Trends and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Thoughts on Trends in 2019…

 

Going into 2019 my mind is full of trends I’m seeing in books these days.  Some good, some imo not so great, some it’s hard to tell yet because it’s too early to see where certain paths will take us.  On certain things we’re stumbling about looking for footing, on others striding confidently forward.  The bookworld can be such a strange place at times for all…readers, writers, publishers, and cover artists alike.  Even narrators.  What is trending going into 2019?  Hmmm.  There’s the rub.  Might be hard to figure out.

But let’s try some polls:

 

That should give us a start.  I know where I’m going with all this, believe me.  And I have some people I want to send interview questions out to.  Hopefully this will be a fun and illuminating month or two.  I never know!  lol.

Meanwhile we are expecting snow.  It’s been a while since we’ve had any significant accumulation.  I wonder what the dogs will think of this?  It will be perfect reading and listening weather.  I hope everyone is finding their way into January and 2019 safely and happily.

Happy Reading and Listening!

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 13:

  • Thoughts on Trends and This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Release Blitz – Nell Iris – Awakenings and French Songs

Monday, January 14:

  • PROMO Tia Fielding
  • BLITZ Valor by Karrie Roman
  • Release Day Blitz Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth
  • A VVivacious Review: Stay by KM Neuhold
  • A Lucy Review : Perfect Match by AG Meiers
  • A Barb the  Zany Old Lady Review : Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert

Tuesday, January 15:

  • In the Spotlight Tour and Giveaway: Perfect Match by AG Meiers
  • How Not to Blend by Susan Hawke Release Blitz and Giveaway
  • Cover Reveal for I Wished For You by Colette Davison
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Ten (Love by Numbers) by Tia Fielding
  • A MelanieM: Review: Whiskey and Moonshine by Elizabeth Noble
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review :The Missing Ingredient by Brian Lancaster and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)

Wednesday, January 16:

  • BLITZ Stalker/s by L.J. Hasbrouck
  • Boost Release Blitz & Review Tour – V.L. Locey – One-On-One
  • Release Blitz for Pisces Floors Taurus by Anyta Sunday
  • An Alisa Review You. Forever. Always. (The Underdogs #3) by KA Merikan
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: The Spirit Key (Lock and Key #1) by Parker Williams
  • A MelanieM Review: Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3) by Kelly Jensen

Thursday, January 17:

  • New Release Tour for Sins of the Son by Christian Baines
  • PROMO Parker William
  • Cover Reveal for In Case You Missed It by S. M. James
  • A MelanieM Review:  Rough Terrain (Out of Uniform #7) by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Review: Away in a Manger by JC Owens

Friday, January 18:

  • Review Tour – Is It Over Yet – LA Witt
  • Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes Blog Tour
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Place Setting by Claudia Mayrant
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Is It Over Yet? by L.A. Witt
  • A MelanieM Review: You Forever Always by KA Merikan

Saturday, January 19:

  • Release Blitz – The Summoner’s Path (D’Vaire #10) by Jessamyn Kingley

 

 

 

New Release Tour for Awakenings and French Songs by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS 
 
Length: 11,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books 
 
Blurb
 

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis. When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime — drinking, dancing, and willing guys — he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?


Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late night cup of tea, it seems circumstances have changed. Is this the right time, finally?


Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?


Excerpt


“Iggy?” A slow smile blooms on his face and his eyes brighten. “What are you doing up this early? What happened to no knocking on my door before ten on weekends, young Miss Emery?” he asks, imitating my words perfectly.


“I grew old, that’s what happened.”


“Awww. Poor Iggy.”


“Hey! Be nice or I won’t share my breakfast.” I hold up the bags to show him what he’d be missing.


His eyebrows shoot to the heavens. “You brought breakfast?”


“Um, yeah. You gonna let me in, or …?”


“Of course. You just about shocked me to death, that’s all.” He pretends to clutch his pearls.


“That seems to be my theme this week,” I mutter and follow him to the kitchen.


“I was just about to start breakfast –” he points at a carton of eggs, “– but I guess I don’t have to?”


“Nope. Coffee would be good though. I didn’t buy any.”


“Sure.” He leans over to the machine and pushes the button. “All done.” He grins at me and takes a seat at the table. “Show me what you got.”


He watches as I unload my purchases. Baguettes. Croissants. Pain au chocolat. A box of pastel colored macarons I bought only because they’re so pretty and I thought Emery would appreciate the pinks and purples and yellows. Three tiny, fancy-looking jars of French jam; black cherry, fig and walnut, and raspberry. And finally, a box of huge, dark red strawberries the bakery sold for some unknown reason.


Ronan’s mouth falls open as he takes in everything. “What brought this on?”


I take my usual spot at the table. “I’ve had that song on my mind ever since the other night. I have no idea what it’s called or what the guy was singing about, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. So when I walked past Knead It and they had a French flag hanging in the window, I couldn’t help myself.”


“Which song?”


I hum a few bars, hoping I don’t butcher it too much so he won’t recognize it, but he nods.


“‘Ne me quitte pas’ by Jacques Brel.”


I repeat the title in a terrible French accent. “What does it mean?”


“It means ‘Don’t leave me.’”


His words make my heart stutter in my chest. “It’s great. So emotional,” I rasp out.


“I didn’t know you were a fan of old French songs.”


“I’m not. But it’s really beautiful.” The explanation feels inadequate, but I don’t know how to express myself better.


He doesn’t talk for several seconds, and then he says, “Huh.” His gaze is full of questions he’s not asking, and he doesn’t let up the intense scrutiny for even a moment. Inside, I’m squirming like a maggot on a fish hook, but I hope I manage to present a calm exterior.


For the first time ever, things are weird between us. The conversation is stilted, and the silences awkward. I know why, of course. By showing up like this, I changed the dynamics of our relationship. I’ve never been one for socializing in the mornings. And while I’ve brought the occasional pizza or six-pack, I’ve never brought anything like this before. Something meaningful. Something that shows I’ve been thinking about him and the time we spent together. Something serious.


I can’t blame him for wondering what’s going on. He listens to that French stuff all the time and I’m sure he’s played that song a million times before, but it’s like I heard it for the very first time on Wednesday.


I can’t stand his close examination any longer, so I get up and start setting the table with plates and cups and cutlery. “What’s the deal with you and all the French stuff anyway?” I ask with my head buried in the refrigerator, looking for butter and something for Emery to drink since she’s not allowed coffee.


“My grandmother was from France. She always used to sing the old songs to me and teach me the lyrics.”


I place a cutting board and a bread knife on the table. “Oh. What was her name?”


“Celeste.”


“That’s a beautiful name.”


“Yes.”


I look around for something else to do. “Do you speak French?”


“Iggy?”


I gulp, knowing what’s coming. “Yes?” Reluctantly, I retake my seat at the table.


“Why are you really here?” His voice is soft and caring and I’ve heard him use the same tone when he speaks to Emery about important matters.


I line up the jam jars in a perfect row, needing something to do with my hands. “I … uh … want to spend more time with you and Emery.”

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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