DSP GUEST POST Laura Bailo on The Sun Still Rises

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The Sun Still Rises (World of Love) by Laura Bailo
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Laura Bailo here today to talk about writing, characters and her latest novel, The Sun Still Rises. Welcome, Laura!

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Laura Bailo~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think there are always bits and pieces of the authors that bleed into their characters. Even when all I was writing were short stories, I could see this. What I write, my words, they’re like little windows into my soul, I always put a bit of myself there. In this case, Erik’s got my anxiety and David has got my love for Pamplona. They’re not me, I didn’t write myself into the book, but I created their personalities, and I think it’s normal a piece of mine slotted there along with theirs.

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

I’d say both, although I haven’t written anything that required a lot of research, at least not yet. In The Sun Still Rises, I wrote what I knew, since it’s set in my city and I’ve experienced the San Fermín festival more than once. I’ve never done the running of the bulls though, that part came completely from my imagination.

But I also enjoy making up worlds and different cultures. I started writing a fantasy story a while ago and I was loving writing it and playing with the world building. It’s on stand-by right now, but I do plan on getting back to it as soon as I can. 

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

I don’t think so, or at least, not directly. I read a lot when I was a teenager, and I read in every genre. I was reading Agatha Christie by the time I was twelve years old. But I was also reading Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and everything I could get my hands on. My mother loves reading, and she’s always loved mysteries, so I had quite a few to choose from. Still, to this day, I haven’t been tempted to write a mystery novel.

So my choice of genres didn’t really carry on into my choices for writing, but my love of reading did influence my love of writing.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Absolutely. I love picking up a romance book and knowing the characters are going to end up together, despite all the curveballs life throws at them. It gives me hope.

As for a preference between them, I’d say it depends on the book. I love HEAs, but in some cases, a HFN suits the characters better, or their circumstances.

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

I didn’t read them as a teenager, although I always loved when there was a romantic element in the stories I was reading. I started reading romance just a few years ago, but from then on, I’ve been hooked and I just can’t stop. I still read other genres, but I always have a romance book in mind to start once I’ve finished my current read.

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

I don’t think I’ve got any specific feelings about the ebook format. Reading is reading, doesn’t matter to me how it’s done. I still love and buy paperbacks, but the ebook format has given me a whole world of new books I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. I live in Spain and mostly read in English, but finding physical books in English here in stores is kind of difficult, unless they’re either bestsellers or classics. The book format give me a lot of possibilities outside of what my usual stores have to offer, and I love that.

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

Are you sure you are allowed to ask this to an author? Isn’t it like asking a parent which one of their kids they love more?

I don’t think I’ve got a favorite, or at least not so far. I haven’t written enough stories to be able to tell you “I like this above all the others”. You can ask me again in a few years.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Officially, I’ve contracted a short story with Nine Star Press for one of their F/F Paranormal anthologies. It’s about two girls that come to Spain to walk Saint James Way and find themselves in the middle of a Galician legend.

Besides that it’s just writing, writing and writing. I’m immersed in writing a story with two 17 years old MCs, one of whom is asexual while the other one is bisexual. I’m loving writing it and getting to know the characters and where they want to go, but I’m a slow writer, so we’ll have to wait until it’s finished. And then wait to see if anyone wants to publish it.

Blurb

Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

About the Author

Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life. 

She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.

She loves hearing from people and you can find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/laura.bailo

https://twitter.com/LauraBailo

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16360938.Laura_Bailo

https://laurabailo.wordpress.com/

Andrew Grey on Writing, Inspiration, and Setting the Hook, his latest release (author guest blog and excerpt)

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Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey
Publisher:
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Release Date: May 12 2017

 

Sales Links

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Dreamspinner Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here today talking about Setting the Hook, his latest story and the inspiration behind it. Welcome, Andrew.
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On Inspiration and Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey
Labor Day weekend I had the opportunity to fish on the gulf for the first time.  It was an amazing experience and I had an incredible time  And as you can guess, I looked out over the water, fishing, talking, laughing, and the entire time my mind is running though how I could use all the experiences in a book.  I stored them away until the idea for Setting the Hook started developing in my mind.  I do have to tell you that while the situations were different, that weekend we did experience many, of the things in the story, including the hurricane, catching the sharks, as well as meeting some amazing people who left an impression on me.    I can’t wait for my next fishing trip so I can see what comes out of that.  ~ Andrew

Blurb/Synopsis:

It could be the catch of a lifetime. William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

William Westmoreland escapes his unfulfilling Rhode Island existence by traveling to Florida twice a year and chartering Mike Jansen’s fishing boat to take him out on the Gulf. The crystal-blue water and tropical scenery isn’t the only view William enjoys, but he’s never made his move. A vacation romance just isn’t on his horizon.

Mike started his Apalachicola charter fishing service as a way to care for his daughter and mother, putting their safety and security ahead of the needs of his own heart. Denying his attraction becomes harder with each of William’s visits.

William and Mike’s latest fishing excursion starts with a beautiful day, but a hurricane’s erratic course changes everything, stranding William. As the wind and rain rage outside, the passion the two men have been trying to resist for years crashes over them. In the storm’s wake, it leaves both men yearning to prolong what they have found. But real life pulls William back to his obligations. Can they find a way to reduce the distance between them and discover a place where their souls can meet? The journey will require rough sailing, but the bright future at the end might be worth the choppy seas.

Series: Standalone
Genre:  M/M Contemporary Romance
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

Excerpt 

Dean got his bag and began slathering himself up. William already had, and he smelled of coconut and the rich, almost sweet scent that Mike would know anywhere. He kept his attention where it needed to be, but William kept tugging at his senses.

Mike knew he was attracted to William. He’d figured that out the first time William had showed up for a charter. Mike had taken one look at his broad shoulders and small waist hugged inside a tight T-shirt that might have been one size too small and his heart had raced. Mike still had fantasies about that white shirt that showed off the ripples in William’s belly and the way William’s nipples stuck out the perfect suckable amount. It had been hard for Mike to keep his attention where it needed to be, and now, even after four years, it wasn’t any easier. William was the kind of guy Mike could fall for. But that wasn’t going to happen. The list of reasons was so long, it could reach to the bottom of the Gulf.

William was a sophisticated man from the Northeast who worked in the family business, making engine parts for tractors, cranes, bulldozers, and all kinds of specialty engines. He lived outside Providence and was highly educated. There wasn’t any way a guy like him would be interested in someone like Mike. Besides, Mike saw him two times a year for the better part of a day when William came fishing. Their lives and worlds couldn’t have been more different, so whatever interest Mike might have in William was going to remain that—interest. Not action, and certainly nothing more than friendship of a sort. The fact that William got Mike’s motor running faster than the one on the boat was immaterial. He lived in Apalachicola, a town of two thousand people who made their living on the Gulf and where most people had family going back generations. There weren’t gay people in town as far as he knew, and Mike had no intention of being the one and only so folks could look at him differently.

“Mike,” Gordon called, pulling him out of his thoughts. “Are we getting close?”

“Yup.” Mike verified their position and turned on the fish finder, slowing down and checking out what was underneath them. “Go ahead and drop.” He slowed their speed even more, and Gordon released the anchor.

They came to a stop, the boat rocking on the waves as they got the guys ready. Mike let Gordon do his thing, and soon both Dean and William were reeling them in.

“I got a huge one!” William cried, his line whizzing out from the reel.

“Mike!” Gordon cried. “It broke the reel.” He hurried over as the line came to the end, nearly jerking the pole out of William’s hand.

Mike come up right behind him, taking hold of the rod as well, pressing to William’s back. “Get the large line spool. We can roll it onto that by hand.” He didn’t want to move but put space between them anyway, grateful for the distraction. Whatever William had was strong and large. Gordon passed him gloves, and he yanked them on, then pulled in more and more line. Foot after foot the line was retrieved, and William’s catch got closer to the surface.

“Shark,” Dean cried, pointing as a large yellow-gold body appeared from under the water.

“It’s a nurse shark,” Gordon said. “Odd to catch one during the day.”

Mike nodded his agreement. “I’d guess it’s about six feet.” He pulled back as the shark broke the surface right near the boat. “Someone snap a picture.” He held the line still, and Gordon got some pictures. So did Dean. Then Mike cut the line, and the shark took off back down into the water.

“Do you think it will survive?” William asked.

Mike shrugged, watching the waves, and thankfully the shark didn’t make an appearance as a floater.

Dean returned to his line, got a bite, and hauled in a really nice-size grouper, which went into the box with more ice.

“Let’s move on.”

Gordon hauled in the anchor, and they went in search of another location.

The morning passed with some nice catches. Dean and William ate lunch in the shade as Mike tried to locate a spot he’d had good luck with before. Out of habit and because of his mother’s warning, he checked the weather reports once again.

“Wind on the Gulf is still expected to diminish, as are the waves. However, Hurricane Marshall is continuing its fast pace toward the Space Coast, showing no signs as yet of turning north, has picked up speed, and will likely make landfall near Daytona Beach. It is now expected to turn north and ride up the center of the state and into Georgia.”

Mike sighed and took off his headphones. The weather wasn’t threatening, but he’d check in another hour for another update. Mike wasn’t so concerned about getting caught in the storm itself as much as the storm entering the Gulf and stirring up the waves.

He found a good location, and Gordon threw the anchor. While the guys fished, Mike ate his lunch and then switched with Gordon so he could eat as well, and William offered them whatever they wanted from his overflowing cooler.

The next few hours fell into a routine for Mike and Gordon, interrupted by Mike’s occasional daydreams about William. Mike checked the weather every few hours. The next check had little new information, but the report at two was disturbing.

“Hurricane Marshall made landfall at Daytona Beach and has been downgraded to a tropical storm. The eye is currently twenty miles north of Orlando. It continues to move west-northwest at twenty-nine miles an hour and is now expected the enter the Gulf as a tropical storm, but could strengthen once it gets over water. Stay tuned for further advisories.”

Mike’s stomach clenched and he looked to the east. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the storm was hundreds of miles away. Usually Mike stayed out until six and then headed back to the marina.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Amy Lane on Writing, Books and her new release in the Little Goddess series ‘Quickening, Vol. 1’ (author interview)

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Quickening Vol. 1 (Little Goddess #5 Vol. 1) by Amy Lane
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SP Publications
Release Date:  May 2, 2017

Buy Links

Vulnerable Amazon | Vulnerable DSPP | Quickening Amazon | Quickening DSPP

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words’ Interview with Amy Lane~

How much of yourself goes into a character? That depends on the character—every character has a little bit of me or somebody I know in them—but some have more than others.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?  Not really—very early on, I learned that when you put your own experiences in the hands of another person they become a different thing altogether. For Lady Cory, when she was an alienated adolescent, she got pissed off. I got mousy—and I liked her reaction better.

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

LOL—anybody who says you don’t do research when world building hasn’t paid attention.  Research to me usually means answering the question, “Hey, is that plausible?”  Sometimes it means defending yourself to your editing staff. I once wrote (in a fantasy) that it got colder right after sunrise. The entire editing staff jumped my shit and said it was impossible, and I had to pull three different sources that said it was totally possible. Even when you’re writing fantasy, you’re building on a long collected established code of wisdom and lore, and it’s good to know who’s ground you’re treading.  No—I choose my genre depending on what I like to read at the moment. The research follows.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing? Holy Goddess yes. The Blue Fairy Book, Norse Myths, To Kill a Mockingbird, Alice in Wonderland, The Hero and the Crown, and countless Harlequin Presents are all battling for supremacy with every damned story.

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? No. Once only have I put a story aside, and it’s because I was 70K in, and it was only halfway, and I needed my Christmas story before I’d be finished. Other than that, no. I start, I work to the finish, and I hope for the best.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?  I like HEA, but I don’t mind series that work for it—for example, Fish Out of Water, there are going to be a few more books there, and those guys are continually working for their balance.

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

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?  (I listed a few above so I’ll skip this one.)

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?  I think there are already two kinds of e-book audiences. One is the potato chip audience—reads absolutely everything, one or two books a day.  This is the type of reader that Kindle Unlimited was made for—and that’s wonderful, because that kind of addiction could bankrupt a person.  Also, I started out as an indie-pub, and my editing was not great, and people still found my books and treasured them—so I’m glad to see there is a growing outlet for that writer to get discovered and loved. 

The other reader is more the steak and salad audience—has either limited time or limited income or both, and will read all of an author’s backlist, from beginning to end, because this author has pleased the reader in the past, and it’s worth the reader’s time and effort—and possibly more money—to stick with one writer because there’s a component of trust there. These are often the authors who have a press and a slightly higher book price—there are gatekeepers there to make sure the product is as good as it can be. The thing is, this audience is starting to find itself. For a while, after KU came out, established writers were floundering, but as this audience realized they couldn’t read ALL the books and started relying on their favorite authors as they had before, and things are stabilizing again.

The fact is, e-books as entertainment are still one of the cheapest and most popular forms of entertainment—it’s up to authors and publishers to figure out how best to utilize their accessibility.

That being said, I still remember being part of the Rainbow Book Fair in New York City—where people brought suitcases and filled them with paperbacks, because, as hard as it is for us to believe, there are still people who devote their love of reading to print books. I think print still has a while to go on the favorite list—but e-book will continue to rise.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)  I usually ask for an image or a set of images, and the cover artist the company provides submits drafts for my approval. I actually have a very funky, odd visual sense—one of my favorite things to make as a knitter is a blanket or sweater put together out of scraps. This isn’t the greatest thing in marketing—it’s taken me a few years to figure that out—and I think it’s one of the reasons the New York publishing houses usually just hand an author a cover and say, “Yes. This is your cover. Deal with it.”  Because some of my covers are STUNNING, but some of them make me wonder what was in the water when I was having that conversation.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?  My favorites are the underdogs. The Little Goddess stories will always be my favorites. Fish Out of Water—totally my favorite. Racing for the Sun—top of my list.  I know that I have stories that are more popular than those—and I’m proud to have written them, but some of them get so much love I’m like, “Oh, Beneath the Stain has been soooooooo appreciated. This other one needs my support more.”

What’s next for you as an author?  Well, I’m trying to write a little more paranormal and urban fantasy—the trick is getting it to sell, because it doesn’t always do what we want it to. Coming out I have Quickening 1& 2, Manny Get Your Guy, Red Fish/Dead Fish, Familiar Angel (a paranormal) and Regret Me Not (the Christmas story I just finished), followed by Stand by Your Manny. 

So, something for everyone, I hope

Blurb

Little Goddess: Book Five
Volume One


Cory thought she’d found balance on Green’s hill—sorceress, student, queen of the vampires, wife to three men—she had it down! But establishing her right to risk herself with Green and Bracken had more than one consequence, and now she’s facing the world’s scariest job title: mother.

But getting the news that she’s knocked up takes a backseat when a half-elf hunts them down for help. Her arrival brings news that the werewolf threat, which has been haunting them for over a year, has finally arrived on their doorstep—and it’s bigger and more frightening than they’d ever imagined.

Cory throws herself into this new battle with everything she’s got—and her men let her do it. Because they all know that whether they defeat this enemy now or later, the thing she’s most afraid of is arriving on a set schedule, and not even Cory can avoid it. The trick is getting her to acknowledge she’s pregnant before she gives birth—or kills herself in denial.

Excerpt

Bracken nuzzled my cheek and, very carefully, put his hand on my abdomen again. I felt nothing but a little bit of hardness there, like I’d had a very full meal, except lower.

“What did you do? Why did it hurt?” I asked, half-afraid he’d put the pregnancy at risk in an effort to get through to me. I should have known better.

“Just talked to it,” he said. “One of them shares my gift. It was painful to have us talk through your blood.”

I noticed the way he said “one of them.” Elves did not pass down their own traits in the DNA. In fact, nobody really knew how elves and trait heredity really worked. Bracken’s parents were both lower fey. His mother was a pixie—three and a half feet of sex kitten with violet hair. His father was a redcap—same height, but built like the forgotten corner of a rock quarry.

Bracken was six feet six of beautiful, broad-shouldered, mostly smooth, pale-skinned, big-eyed sidhe perfection.

For all I knew, I was carrying a rock quarry and a pixie in my womb—but somehow I didn’t think so.

I blinked very slowly, wrestling with one thing at a time. “Does that mean I’m going to bleed out every time I pop a zit?” Yes, it was a gross analogy, but my skin hadn’t been this cluttered with acne since I was a junior in high school. Click. Oh, hell. Of course I was a big pimply mass of estrogen. Fucking Jesus—this was not going to get better.

“No,” Green said, his eyes meeting Brack’s. “In fact, we’re pretty sure the other one has my healing power. We think it was, perhaps, the Goddess….” He trailed off delicately.

“Trying to make sure I don’t die of my own stupidity?”

The lingering tension that had been present since I’d first gaped at Green and said “Oh fuck no!” began to dissipate.

“Not stupid, Corinne Carol-Anne,” he said softly. “Just very, very young.”

I usually railed at that. I’d finally reached twenty-two, right? Hell, there was a time I didn’t think I was going to live past twenty—and given how many scary things had tried to kill me, getting here was quite an accomplishment.

But not now. I had never felt so young in all my life—not even the morning I’d woken up in Green’s arms and we’d realized that our vampire lover had died the night before, and it was the two of us alone and grieving.

I snuggled in more tightly, and Bracken got a little closer. His hand brushed my breast as he did so, and my nipple gave a little shriek of pain. I gasped but kept it to myself—because hey, what girl hadn’t endured a boob shot when snuggling with one of her ginormous husbands, right?

Bracken grunted and stared at me through eyes the color of a weedy, brackish pond in shadows. “That hurt,” he stated.

“Yeah. The girls have been a little tender ever since Monterey….”

Just that quickly a kaleidoscope of our adventure down by the sea flickered behind my eyes. In particular, there was the moment when Teague, our alpha werewolf, and his husband, Jack, passive-aggressive pain in my ass, had both teamed up to protect me.

“Oh, hell. Was that why Jack decided to side with me? Because I’m pregnant?”

Dammit! Of all the…. I’d wanted to win Jack over with my leadership abilities, or with my ability to protect his lover, who was one of my captains and one of my best friends, or even with my friendship with their wife, Katy, whom I both adored and was dazzled by.

“You have a problem with that?” Brack asked curiously. Yeah, Brack’s brain worked along straightforward lines—as long as the result was that I was protected, he didn’t give a crap why.

“I would have liked it if he’d just thought I was a good enough leader to serve,” I grumbled. “I mean, what’s a girl gotta do?”

Bracken pulled out from under my arm, his eyes blazing. He ran a distracted hand through his dark hair, setting it on end like an angry hedgehog, and stared at me.

That’s what you’re worried about?” he asked, sounding outraged. “Do you know how many dangerous, foolish things we did in Monterey? And you’re worried that Jack followed you for the wrong reasons?”

I shivered—which was one of the by-products of having an emergency field transfusion of his blood, which I didn’t remind him of, because hey—one more thing to be pissed at me for, right?

So instead of arguing, I actually thought about what he was saying. Then I wished I hadn’t.

’Cause, well, we’d jumped out of a helicopter to be caught by my magic and my magic alone, which was a first for me in the flying department. We’d stood up to a gigantic rabid wolf pack with nothing but exhausted, injured werewolves and a few tired Avian shifters as support, and I’d….

Oh God, I’d….

I’d been forced to mass kill again, when I’d sworn I’d never do that. Not on purpose. Not so soon after having to issue a death warrant on vampire children because they’d had the bad luck to be turned by a pedophile and would never be sane, never be safe, never be human again.

In my mind I went back to that moment, the lot of us trapped under the force field I’d erected out of magic and desperation in a back alleyway. We’d been just far enough from the sea for us to lose the smell of hope. The rogue wolves had been throwing themselves against it for what seemed like forever, and I’d been growing tired. I could make the shield lethal. I’d been able to kill with my power from the very beginning, but I just kept hoping they’d see sense, that they’d stop somehow, that I wouldn’t have to waste so many fucking lives….

And I’d been teetering between trying to fight our way out and simply making the shield enough to kill them all, when Teague—my captain, my right-hand man, my friend—had looked at me and whimpered. His back end had dropped then—as it should, since he’d been recovering from breaking every bone in his body less than a week before—and I’d seen it in his eyes.

Please.

His mates were there, Jack and Katy, and he wanted them to live.

Or that’s what I’d thought.

Instinctively I placed my hand over my lower abdomen, thinking of what we could have lost there. What Bracken had known I’d been risking.

“You didn’t say anything,” I whispered. I looked over my shoulder at Green. He was gazing at me levelly, with no apologies and no regrets.

“No,” Green said. He and Bracken were staring at each other as though they were reliving a terrible conversation of their own.

“But—” But why? Why would two men who had made my health and welfare their bloody science for the past two years not protest, not try to protect me, not try to talk me out of my own stupid pride when I had their children on board?

“You never would have forgiven….” Bracken looked around the living room like he was looking for words. “Anybody!” he burst out. “Any of us. You, me, Green—hell, the children-to-be. And if, Goddess forbid, anything had happened to Teague, it would have been—” He stood for a moment and flailed his arms. “Cory-a-geddon. You would have self-detonated. This whole… baby thing would have begun under a—”

“A black karmic funk of epic proportions,” I supplied, feeling a little queasy just thinking about it. Of course, since I’d been feeling queasy pretty much for the past two and a half weeks, that was no big news. “But….” I could have died? Well, I could have died a lot of times in the last two years. I kept arguing that I would be fine—there were no promises, and my entire purpose was protection.

But….

Nothing.

“I asked for this?” Quiet revelations do sometimes sound like questions. “I did. I… I said I knew best, and… and….”

“And we trusted you to know best,” Green said quietly. “We trusted you with you, and our children.”

I closed my eyes, somewhat reassured. “That’s….” But I couldn’t do it. Maturity had apparently gotten me into this mess. It was time for honesty to get me out.

Terrifying!” I wailed, and then I dissolved into stupid tears on Green’s chest.

Bracken sighed and plopped behind me, and I cried until I fell asleep.

About the Author

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
 
Twitter: @amymaclane
 
 
 

BA Tortuga on Enchiladas, Austin and her latest story, Best New Artist (guest post)

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Best New Artist by B.A. Tortuga
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

 

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very happy to host BA Tortuga, talking about her latest release Best New Artist.  Welcome, BA.

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So, enchiladas.

Now, I know. I hear that my books make people all the time. I admit it. I’m a ‘food is love’ person.

I feed people because it’s one of the ways I express myself. I’m a better than average cook and so is my wife.

I tell you this because we are a weird, psycho convergence of enchiladas.

No, really.

You see, I grew up with what we called “Terrie’s enchiladas”. These were rolled flour tortillas stuffed with a mixture of beef and cheese and covered with chile con carne.

Then I moved to Austin and rolled corn tortillas with beef and ranchero sauce were like heaven on earth.


Seriously.

Amaya’s in Austin has the absolute best. Go. Try some.

I learned to make ranchero sauce from scratch, and I branched out to chicken enchiladas with sour cream sauce.

Bring on ye olde wife. Grins

She makes her enchiladas flat, with green chile and a fried egg on top.

Can y’all see my problem? Seriously.

So  now we have this hybridization of  sorts. Sometimes we have flat ground beef with green chili. Sometimes we have chicken. Sometimes we have rolled cheese with red sauce.

I tell you this because in my books I remember the places that were wonderful, the foods that were wonderful, and the joy that I had sharing it with people who came to visit.

So when I’m writing about Austin, like in Best New Artist, I’m talking about places like Amaya’s, where I used to go and pick up enchiladas about once a month for the girls at the office. They came in these round foil containers topped with paper, and I would get them out to the car and have to drive all the way back downtown to the library and get them down out of the parking garage and up into the fourth floor office without spilling anything or burning myself or letting them get too cold (which most the time in Austin is an issue).  Once we would finish lunch, the entire office would smell like enchiladas the rest of the afternoon.

Or there is dose sauces. I would be lying if I didn’t say I missed their Mexican martinis so much.

Of course, y’all do know the old saying, right? A Texan’s favorite Mexican food place is the one that’s the closest to his house.

Much love, y’all.

BA

 About Best New Artist

Kasey “Tuff” Tuffman just told Nashville to kiss his you know what. After winning Best New Artist at an award show, he knows it’s time to head back home to Texas. So after a very public meltdown, Tuff makes his way to Austin, where the Red Dirt music lives large.

Jonah Littlejohn once loved KT more than anything in the world. When KT loses it on national TV, Jonah knows he has to reach out and offer his home studio as a place to heal and make music. A bad relationship has left Jonah broken and wary of romance, but he wants to help his old lover out.

Seeing Jonah again proves to Tuff that he’s made the right decision. Now all he has to do is convince Jonah that they’re the most perfect duet there’s ever been.

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

KC Burn on Writing, Characters and ‘Just Add Argyle’ + Giveaway (author interview)

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Just Add Argyle (Fabric Hearts, #3)  by K.C. Burn
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for preorder at: Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host K.C. Burn here today. Welcome, K.C. and tell us about yourself!

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Hello! I’m KC Burn and I’m so happy to be here to talk about writing, inspiration, and my new release, Just Add Argyle, the third in my Fabric Hearts series.

1. How much of yourself goes into your characters?

That’s a difficult question. All of my books feature one of two themes: betrayal or fish out of water, or sometimes both. I think those are the biggest parts of me – I’m very sensitive to the concept of betrayal, which I think stems from having an emotionally and verbally abusive mother. I also have gone through much of my life trying to figure out where I fit in, so I often feel a bit like a fish out of water. These deeply internalized issues significantly colour my writing, and therefore all of my characters. Aside from that, a character who likes board games, and movies, and reading… these are all bits of me.

There’s only one character, though, that I would say is absolutely based on me. In my Christmas themed novella, Three Dates of Christmas, one of the guys is a grouchy Christmas-hater, primarily because he’s grown up in foster care and has spent his entire adult life working in retail. Although I had two parents, there were a number of times where I felt like I was alone with no support system at all, and I also spent 14 years working in retail. Let me tell you, both things can sort of sour you on the holidays, and to this day, I don’t get into the holidays although I certainly appreciate the sentiment behind it all.

2. Does research play a role in which genre you write?

Haha! Sort of. Just about any book requires looking up a lot of random factoids as you go, no matter which genre. And I’ve changed a character’s profession once because I was on deadline and didn’t have the time to research what I’d need to make him believable. But it doesn’t necessarily guide which genre I choose to write in. I get inspirations for story ideas from many sources: dreams, music, movies, people watching. Usually it’s the plot that guides the genre, not whether or not I’ll have to do research. I do write some sci-fi, but I sort of gloss over the techy/super science-y bits because I’m not really interested in the research part of it. But the creation of aliens and their customs and things – those are fun to play with, and I can at least apply some of the knowledge I gleaned from my Physical Anthropology degree, with respect to evolution to sentient beings and their respective cultures. Certainly it’s about the only use I’ve gotten out of that degree!

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

Huh. Yes and no. I started reading epic fantasy very early. I’d read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings at ten and loved it. My dad then started me on The Belgariad by David Eddings. The first book of that series cemented my desire to write books for a living. However, I don’t write fantasy (yet). I also started reading mysteries early, since both my parents did. I’ve added some mystery elements to a couple of my books, but I wouldn’t say I write mysteries. My books are all romances, but I didn’t start reading romance until I was about twenty. But, when I was a teenager I read the Last Herald Mage series by Mercedes Lackey. It featured a gay protagonist with some of the most heartbreaking, gut wrenching, but ultimately heart warming romantic scenes I’d ever read. And after several re-reads and almost thirty years, my opinion on that has not changed. Whether or not I succeed, my goal is always to put my characters and my readers through the wringer like that.

4. Do you like HFN or HEA and why?

LOL – this is a point of contention. I’ve been accused more than once of having endings that are too happy, too sweet. I definitely like the HEA. As to why… I don’t know. I like the completion of it all. I hate cliff hangers, and sometimes HFN feels a lot like a cliffhanger. Also, when I write, I don’t usually write more than one book with the same couple as main characters, so I like to wrap up all the loose ends.

5. Do you read romances as a teenager and as an adult?

I did not read romances as a teen. While I was in university, I worked in a pharmacy. One night, I was working until close, and I was sure I wanted to go home and read afterward. But the bookstores would be closed before I could leave work, and since this was in the days before ebooks, my only option was to buy a book from work. The selection was slim, and I’d read all the available thriller/mystery/fantasy books, which left me with Harlequins or single title romances. I ended up choosing a Johanna Lindsey, simply based on the bare-chested Fabio cover – Gentle Rogue. And she hooked me but good. I read all sorts of genres, but romance makes up the majority of my reading these days.

6. Who is your major influence as a writer?

I have a ton of influences. Because of David Eddings I wanted to become a writer. We can blame Agatha Christie for my tendency to combine my naturally coarse language with rather formal proper language. Mercedes Lackey probably had a lot to do with finding my way to gay romance. Johanna Lindsey who provided my gateway to romance. And then there are numerous incredible authors in my genre of gay romance, that I am so humbled to be able call peers and friends – all of whom are inspiring. Authors like ZA Maxfield, B.a. Tortuga, Julia Talbot, Tara Lain, Amy Lane, Mary Calmes, Lex Valentine, Sean Michael, Kiernan Kelly, Poppy Dennison, Charlie Cochet… this list could go on forever, and all of them have influenced me in one way or another.

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

Yes, I do. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I do. Unfortunately, they’re not ones that resonate with most readers so I’m not sure exactly why I love ‘em so much and no one else does. Illusion of Life (formerly Trompe L’oeil) is one of those. It’s about an artist who ends up trapped in a cursed painting in the 30s. He and his love interest, a modern day history professor, need to fall in love with each other without interacting with each other for almost ¾ of the book. It was such a fantastical challenge and I love that book to pieces. Pen Name – Doctor Chicken was my sort of stab at romantic comedy. I guess my sense of humour doesn’t jibe with other people’s because that one didn’t go over all that well. But the main character, Stratford, who goes by the pen name Doctor Chicken for a series of children’s books is so endearingly broken (in my humble opinion) that he’s one of my favourite characters, and it’s one of my favourite stories.

8. What’s next for you as an author?

Right now, I’m working on a rock star meets professor story – it’s early stages yet, but I’m excited about that one. I’ve also got a sequel to my paranormal mystery, North on Drummond, started – I’ll probably get back to that manuscript in a few months. And I’ve got a romantic mystery call Tea or Consequences heading into edits, and it should be out later this year.

Thank you again for having me here!

Blurb

Tate Buchanan is a troublemaker who can’t keep a job, no matter how many times his lucky argyle sweater gets him hired. Add to that a learning disability and an impetuous nature that sends him into altercations to protect the defenseless, and he hardly manages to make friends, let alone find a man who’s interested in him for more than one night.

Most people think EMT Jaime Escobar is a player, but the truth is he wants a serious partner—he just can’t justify wasting time on guys he knows aren’t a match. But when he treats a gorgeous redhead after a fight, he finds the spark he’s spent so many years looking for.

Jaime wants to take the next step with Tate, but it’s clear Tate’s not going to curb his impulsive behavior—his next fight sends him to the hospital. Jaime’s relationship with a near criminal isn’t something his family is ready to accept, not any more than Tate is willing to be kept a secret. Jaime will need a lot of understanding—and some luck of his own—to keep them both. But this is one fight he’s going to see through to the end.

About the Author

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds).  After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own — getting published.  After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does. 

Visit KC at her website, on Twitter, on Facebook, or find out about new releases by signing up for her newsletter.

Giveaway

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DSP GUEST POST Andria Large on ‘From War to Forever’ (author interview)

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From War to Forever (War Trilogy #1) by Andria Large
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Sales Links

              

And iBooks

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Andria Large

How much of yourself goes into a character?

It depends on the character. Some have more than others. For this book, From War To Forever, Dennis suffers from depression, something that I also deal with, so I was able to pull from my own experiences. Mine are not as extreme as I made Dennis’ but I understand the emotions very well due to my own battle with it.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Every author pulls from their own life experiences when writing. They use quirks from maybe a family member or friend for their characters, they use things that have been said to them, etc… It’s what makes the readers able to connect with the story on some level.

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

Right now, I write contemporary, so research absolutely plays a huge role when writing my books, especially if I want it to be somewhat realistic and plausible. However, I would love to one day write in the Paranormal or Fantasy genre and come up with my own world.

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

I wasn’t a big reader when I was younger. But I would say my love for Disney princess movies inspired my love of the romance genre.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? 

No. My books aren’t known for being super dark and angsty, even though I do bring up serious issues in From War To Forever, such as PTSD and suicide. I’ve never gotten overly emotional when writing my own stories.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

As a reader, I like HEA’s. So far as a writer, I’ve only written HEA’s, but I could see myself doing a HFN at some point.

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

I actually didn’t start reading romance until my early 20’s. A friend of mine suggested reading Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison and I was hooked, been reading romance ever since. I go through phases of what kind of romance I like to read. It started with witches and vampires, obviously, then I had a Scottish Highlander phase, a plain old contemporary phase, went back to witches and vampires, and now I’m in an MM phase. I’ve been stuck in the MM phase since I started writing it myself. I don’t see it changing anytime soon, lol.

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

I don’t think there was anyone in particular that was an influence on me as a writer. I’ve always been the artistic type and also enjoy spending time by myself. Writing was a way for me to escape and be alone in my own little world. Now, every book I read has an influence on me as a writer. I’m always looking for ways to better myself as a writer and reading other authors helps with that.

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

Ebooks are taking over the world! They aren’t going away anytime soon, that’s for sure. When they first came out, I swore I’d never switch, I loved holding a paperback in my hands. But I eventually tried it out and now I can’t go back to paperbacks. It’s so much easier with an eBook. The paperbacks I have now are just for show. They are all signed by the author and on display. That’s the only reason I buy paperbacks anymore.

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

Oh boy, this is a loaded question. There are so many things that contribute to choosing a cover. First, you need to make sure it’s appealing to the eye. I don’t care what anyone says, everyone judges books by their covers. Readers don’t look at an ugly cover and say, “Yes, I need to read that right now.” For the most part, they are going to skip on by and find something else. And second, how much you want to spend on it. If you want a cover photo that no one else has, you’re looking at going through a photographer and possibly having a custom photo shoot done. Prices vary, but you’re looking at, at the very least, $500. If you decide to go the stock photo route, then you have to find something that works for your story, but also isn’t on every other romance novel cover. Covers can be the life or death of your book, so it’s a very important part of the publishing process.

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

I write both MM and MF romance. My favorite MM story would definitely be From War To Forever. The characters, Dennis and Tucker, hold a very special place in my heart. My favorite MF story that I’ve written would have to be my one romantic comedy, Hammer & Nails. I put a lot of myself in the female MC, so I think that’s why I love that story so much. Plus, it’s really funny.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have multiple projects that I’m working on. Another MM military romance for Dreamspinner, an MF contemporary that I’ll be self-publishing, and I’m also co-authoring a book. Plus, I have a notebook full of ideas for new ideas and I need to get back to a couple old ones too.

Thank you so much for having me here today! Please check out From War To Forever! Be sure to leave a review when you’re finished, whether it’s good or bad. Don’t forget to like and follow my Facebook page for updates on what is going on in the world of Andria Large!

Blurb

Dennis

The love of my life is dead. Is there a reason to live anymore?

I’m a veteran Marine. Terrorists took not only my foot, but also my wife. Recurrent nightmares, a dead-end job, and a painful limp are all I have left. My best friend, Tucker, and my sister, Lizette, keep me afloat. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Tucker… literally. And then, out of nowhere, there are these feelings. The kind I haven’t felt in years. The kind I’m not sure I can handle, or even want to. But they’ve started wrapping around my broken heart, trying to mend it. Only they are not for a woman, but for the man suddenly sharing my bed. I’m not so sure I’m ready to give love another go.

Tucker

The war took my hearing, but I’m alive. Many of my friends are not. I am building a life with my best friend, Dennis. We have become practically inseparable. And now, we are more than friends. I’ve never had feelings like these for a man. My parents, my brother, my buddy, Duke—will they understand how I feel about Dennis? Can I risk losing my family?

About the Author

Andria Large is a traditionally published and self-published contemporary romance author. She doesn’t always follow the rules, so you will find both M/F and M/M books mixed into some of her series.

Henry from the Beck Brothers Series was the first book she self-published. Not expecting anything to really come of it, she was shocked to find the book caught wind and readers were asking for more. Writing books was not something she had set out to do. She wrote stories for herself, as a hobby. Now that it has become her career, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Andria grew up in Philadelphia, but now lives in New Jersey with her two daughters and wonderfully supportive husband, who frequently accompanies her at signings. The events that she attends every year are one of her favorite things about being an author. She loves meeting and conversing with her readers, but also enjoys finding new ones.

Andria considers herself open and friendly, so feel free to send her a message if you have a question or just want to chat.

You can contact Andria at:

Nikolai Joslin on Inspiration, Writing and Cold Front (The Fires of Destiny #2) (Harmony Ink Guest Post)

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Cold Front (The Fires of Destiny #2) by Nikolai Joslin
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armony Ink Press
Cover Art by AngstyG

Available for Purchase at 

Harmony Ink Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Nikolai Joshlin here today to talk about his latest story, Cold Front and share something about the inspiration behind it and the series.  Welcome, Nikolai!

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Inspiration, Stories and Role Models by Nikolai Joslin

I always loved fantasy and science fiction when I was growing up but it felt like I was sacrificing an important part of myself when I was reading, it pulled me out of the story and I wasn’t able to relate to characters who weren’t like me. It was incredibly hard to be proud of who I was when I never got to see a hero or a ‘Chosen One’ who I could look up to as a role model for this part of my life. So I wrote the first book, Life Beyond the Temple, when I was in high school because I was so frustrated with the lack of LGBT characters in books that also had magic and people saving the world. Casey was someone I wanted to be like, someone who was saving the world and doing amazing things and who was proud of her sexuality and found love in the midst of all that was going on around her. I came up with the idea for these books because I couldn’t find anything around me to read, so I had to write it myself.

 

About Cold Front

Casey Kelley is a mage, and like all mages she grew up in a Temple, a required institution for mages to teach them how to control their power and keep them from harming those in the outside world. In order to prove that she could return to the world she was tasked with defeating a powerful necromancer that sought to end the world as they knew it.

Now, a year later, Casey is living with her fiancée and dog, living the happy, boring life she had been looking forward to all this time. Until an old friend shows up at their door with news of a planned attack on Casey’s old home. The dark elves, after centuries of being forced to live in underground cities and treated like animals, are not only coming back to the surface, they’re starting a war.

It’s up to Casey and her friends to build an army to go against them and save the world again, and it will take more than anything else she’s ever done. Old ghosts come back to haunt her, her enemies have been preparing for years, and maybe hardest of all is getting everyone to cooperate. Even with things looking this bad, Casey knows failure is not an option.

About Nikolai Joslin

Nikolai is a trans man going to school for Baking and Pastry Arts. He decided to write more LGBT fantasy when he was high school and looking for books with characters like himself but couldn’t find anything outside of realistic fiction. He hopes to encourage others to write more stories like this so he has plenty to read. Right now he is living in New York while finishing up his degree and working on the final book for The Fires of Destiny.

Website: www.nikolaijoslin.com

The Fires of Destiny 

RK Staunton On Writing, Stories and her latest release, Gabriel (Order of the Black Knights #5) (guest post)

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Gabriel (Order of the Black Knights #5) by R.K. Staunton
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Available for Purchase at

           

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host R.K. Staunton here today to talk about her latest story, Gabriel, the latest in the Order of the Black Knights series from Dreamspinners Press.  Welcome, R.K.!

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~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words R.K. Staunton Interview ~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think at least a little of myself goes into every character I write or have ever written. We have small commonalities. For instance, at one point in my life I wanted to be a social worker and work in foster care like Lucas in Gabriel. For one reason or another, that never worked out for me, but that early ambition made its way into Lucas’s character.

At the same time, my characters are very much their own people. They have their own voices, and their own ideas that are often very different from what I think they’re going to do. Writers talk a lot about whether we outline or not and how much we outline. I fall somewhere in between in that I attempt to outline important parts but leave a lot of the getting there open, and I say that I attempt to outline because no matter how much I try the characters still seem to somehow change things up in the middle on me.

Gabriel is probably the character who is most different from me. He’s a hard-edged assassin, and I tend to be far more of the caregiver type.

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

I’ve been voraciously reading romances since I was about 16. I write the kind of stories that I like to read. Gabriel is my first M/M book, but I’ve been a reader for years. Personally, I think it’s essential that you know your genre as a reader before you try to write it.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a sucker for HEA. I’m a hopeless romantic who wants happily ever after. HFN is okay, but to me, it seems like more of a stopgap along the road to HEA than a true ending. When stories end in HFN, I always find myself wanting to know what happens next. It doesn’t feel like all the loose ends are tied up for me with that kind of ending.

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

Honestly, I don’t really have a method to choosing covers. It’s all about which one feels like it fits a particular story best. If I had to summarize it, I usually pick photos that look like the characters to me first. Then I’ll get a general idea of what I want as the look of the cover. Often, it doesn’t all come together until I’ve have a title, and that can be at any point in the book. I went into Gabriel knowing the title because all the books in the series are named after the knight featured in the book, but in the past, there have been times when I haven’t known the title until the very end of the book. On at least one occasion, I called the book by one title throughout the entire process then ended up changing it to something I thought fit better at the last minute. Sometimes, that would’ve also changed the cover, but it didn’t on that one.

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

Not really. Trying to choose between my stories would be like trying to choose between my friends or even my children. I’m fond of each of them for different reasons. I do have favorite parts in every story that I especially like, but not a favorite book.

What’s next for you as an author?

For the next few months, I will be working on books that I’ll publish under my Ruth Staunton pen name. I publish books that feature spanking/domestic discipline under that pen name and more mainstream M/M books as RK Staunton. Prior to now, everything I have published as Ruth has been M/F, but the series I am working on for the remainder of this year will be M/M. For now, I have informally dubbed it my Geek Love series because at least one character in every couple is a technology geek. Those books will be out beginning in July with a crossover prequel, and the series proper will probably start sometime around September.

As for the next RK Staunton book, I’m toying with a sci-fi idea about a man whose partner disappears and is replaced with his genetic double, but no one believes this man when he says the double is not his partner. I have no idea when I’ll get around to writing that one though.

Excerpt

“I’ll call you tomorrow,” Gabriel went on, and Lucas nodded. He forced himself to unlock the door and push it open, and he felt more than saw Gabriel turn to go down the steps.

“Wait.”

Gabriel froze midstep and immediately turned back to look at him.

“Do you even have my number?” he asked as he stopped in the open doorway and turned back to face Gabriel

Gabriel’s face shifted from confused to blank and back again. He took his phone from his pocket and thumbed through the contacts. “No,” he said after a moment, “I don’t guess I do.”

“It will be hard for you to call me, then,” Lucas teased, and he smiled despite his anxiety.

Gabriel jogged up the steps, and they traded phones and added their information to one another’s contacts. “Sorry. I wasn’t trying to blow you off.”

“I know,” Lucas said. He passed back Gabriel’s phone and pocketed his own. “Now you can call me tomorrow.”

“And I will,” Gabriel promised.

Lucas stepped back. He meant to say good-bye and close the door, but his hand closed over Gabriel’s wrist before his mind was even consciously aware of what his body was doing. “Don’t go,” he heard himself say, sounding like nothing so much as a child begging a parent to stay with them after a nightmare. “I can’t do this alone.”

He didn’t mean to say that out loud. Yes, he was terrified. He couldn’t remember the last time he even spoke to Eric’s father beyond the briefest of pleasantries when he answered the phone. And it was going to be hard enough to go into Eric’s room to find the number. He hadn’t set foot in Eric’s room since Eric had been gone. He wasn’t looking forward to doing that alone. But he wasn’t supposed to say so out loud.

About The Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done—what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.

Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.

Blurb for Gabriel

Gabriel Ingram is running from his past. It’s common knowledge at the college where he teaches that he’s a former CIA technical analyst, but no one knows the things he really did—or about the rage and bloodlust that are his constant companions. He’s holding on to his normal life with both hands, but he knows someday he’ll lose his grip.

Lucas Craig is a social worker studying to become a family therapist. For reasons Lucas can’t understand, the normally reclusive Professor Ingram takes an interest in him, and Lucas secretly hopes their friendship might become more.

Then Eric, Lucas’s roommate, disappears. Lucas is frantic. The police are no help. With nowhere else to turn, Lucas begs Gabriel for his expertise.

What starts as a simple errand to help a friend becomes a journey into a violent world of gangs and human trafficking—one that will bring Gabriel face-to-face with the forces intent on stealing his soul. But Lucas might be the one who can save him—if Gabriel can get them out alive.

About the Author

RK Staunton rebelled against having a Christmas birthday in favor of making an unexpected debut in early fall, and she’s been doing the unexpected ever since. This tendency has resulted in many adventures, including a ten-year stint as a guide in that strange urban jungle called middle school. While entertaining, that expedition ultimately proved too harrowing. After finally making her escape, she turned to a quieter life masquerading as a crazy cat lady living in a small town in the southeastern US.

RK has lived with a menagerie of characters inside her head for as long as she can remember. In a desperate bid to preserve her sanity, she has begun to transcribe the tales they tell her. This endeavor has proven to be fun, occasionally profitable, and cheaper than therapy. It has also fueled raging addictions to caffeine and chocolate on top of her lifelong addiction to books, but everyone is entitled to a vice or three, right?

RK also writes spanking and domestic discipline romances as Ruth Staunton. Right now, these are M/F, but several M/M stories are coming later this year. You can find out more about those books and get a free story here.

Find her Online:

Tali Spencer on Sex and the Ice Shanty and her release ‘Breaking the Ice’ (guest post)

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Breaking the Ice (States of Love) by Tali Spencer
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Tali Spencer here today talking about her latest story Breaking the Ice and Sex and the Ice Shanty. Welcome, Tali!

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Sex and the Ice Shanty

by Tali Spencer

When I lived in Wisconsin, I would drive past lakes in the winter and see them dotted with ice shanties. So of course I wondered… did people have sex in ice shanties? Because, let’s face it, any time a human sees an interesting looking, reasonably habitable, place—like a cave, or a canoe, or even a space capsule—one of the first thoughts to come to mind is whether it might be a good place for sex.

To no one’s surprise, ice shanties are used for sex. Often.

What does an ice shanty look like? Picture a garden shed with a flat roof. On ice. Some look more like an outhouse, but not Matt Wasko’s.

There was never a question about whether Matt’s ice shanty in Breaking the Ice would be a romantic setting. For one thing, Matt wants to have sex in his ice shanty. His shanty is his refuge, his happy place., and nothing would make him happier than to share his shanty with another man for something other than fishing.

Upper Great Lakes ice shanties run the gamut from strictly utilitarian to ridiculously plush. When shanties get big enough to sleep four, have a shower, and feature big screen TVs, they cross over into the realm of ice houses and are generally found at resorts where they get rented out for lots of money. Matt’s ice shanty is more typical: it measures he made it himself and its comforts are cozy, not luxurious. He has a satellite dish for TV, a heater, a small stove for cooking, a little booth for eating, and a comfy built-in bed for sleeping. There’s a gingham curtain on the single window and warm blankets and a comforter on the bed.

And there are two nice-sized ice-fishing holes in the black rubber floor at the shanty’s business end. An ice shanty is meant for fishing, after all.

That isn’t to say it can’t be romantic, too. Ice shanties go dark for fishing… and if it’s daylight outside, the ice holes glow. Soft. Blue. Magical. Matt’s always wondered what it would be like to kiss someone by ice light.

So do I. The closest I’ve come is talking with someone who has.

Close quarters. Soft lighting. Warm enough to maybe strip out of those winter clothes… that sure sounds like a recipe for some loving to me!

BLURB

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better—until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart—and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

Release Date: April 19

About Tali Spencer

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, including works in progress, check out her Pinterest boards.

Visit Tali’s blog at http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com
E-mail: tali.spencer1@gmail.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tali.spencer

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/talispencer/

Laura Lascarso on Writing, Characters and her release ‘The Bravest Thing’ (author interview and giveaway)

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The Bravest Thing by Laura Lascarso
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reamspinner Press

Cover art by Angsty G

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Laura Lascarso here today sharing thoughts about herself, writing and her latest novel, The Bravest Thing.  Welcome, Laura.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Laura Lascarso

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Well, in THE BRAVEST THING, one of my characters struggles with addiction. This has been a thread in my husband’s and my own family for many years, and it’s a topic I keep coming back to in my writing. It doesn’t always dominate the plot, but aspects of drug and alcohol abuse make appearances in my stories again and again. I’m still working through it, I suppose, and because I have some personal experience with it, I feel like I can speak from a place of compassion and understanding.

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

I think so. I read a lot of fast-paced thrillers and horror growing up, so even though I’m writing romances now, I like for them to be tightly plotted with a bit of psychological distress thrown in. For me as a reader, it’s all about the inner tension that makes the story come to life and keeps me turning pages, so I try to do the same as an author.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

I actually just had this experience with a work-in-progress. My main character has a deadbeat dad (as did I), and I found myself drawing from my own experiences and dredging up feelings of abandonment I thought I’d put to rest. It was interesting for me, because while my rational side knew I was writing a character with an absent father, I didn’t connect it to my own life until I started to dig into the character’s backstory. That’s also one of the things I like about writing—being able to work through some of my own “issues” and process situations I might otherwise gloss over or tamp down. The world moves a little too quickly for me sometimes, and writing allows me some space to reflect and heal.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both as a reader, though I’ve only ever written happy-for-now endings in my own work. I think that’s because my characters tend to be younger and in stages of flux and self-discovery. I like to think that even if my characters don’t end up together forever, they are forever changed by their experiences with their special someone, which is kind of like real life. We are forever altered by the people closest to us, for better or worse.

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

My mother was pretty permissive as far as books and movies go, so I was reading Danielle Steel and Jackie Collins from a pretty young age. I also read just about every Sweet Valley High that was published in the late 80’s. SVH gave me both the love and devotion of Elizabeth’s steady boyfriend and the excitement of Jessica’s scandals and conquests, usually involving a cute boy. Genius, really. As for now, I’m reading a lot of great M/M romances, partly for pleasure and also to study the craft or romance and its conventions. I didn’t come from the world of fan fiction, as I’m discovering a lot of M/M authors did, so I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.

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

I’m sure I’ve been influenced by the writers I read growing up, in particular Dean R. Koontz and Stephen King, but I remember Kurt Vonnegut’s CAT’S CRADLE being a real game changer for me. The voice of that book spoke to me on a deeply personal level—both in terms of my philosophy on life and my nihilistic outlook at the time—and I went on to read most of Vonnegut’s work. It’s a special treat to have that mind meld between author and reader and I think that’s been my quest ever since, to give my readers a similar experience.

As a side note, I read all my reviews. I’m kind of addicted to feedback. The act of writing is pretty isolating, so it’s affirming to have people read your work and take the time to offer comments. I don’t even mind if people don’t like my books, because the act of reading is interpretation on a deeply personal level, and it’s their right to dislike it.

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

As a reader, I love ebooks—they’re convenient, inexpensive and environmentally friendly. The rise of ebooks has allowed for a much wider variety of book and reader. Any writer can find their base, and any reader can find their passion. I think ebooks will only grow over time and I look forward to being part of that revolution.

I also like the old fashioned paperback—the mustier the better. Those got me through some lonely times growing up, so I hope that format won’t be leaving us anytime soon.

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

I’ve worked with AngstyG on both my Dreamspinner covers (THE BRAVEST THING and ANDRE IN FLIGHT). The background on that is I somewhat scientifically went through DSP’s catalog and picked out the covers that matched my aesthetic most closely. AngstyG’s name kept popping up, so I requested her specifically.

With regard to the process, once my books enter into production phase, I send her pictures of what I think the characters look like along with some other covers I’d like for her to emulate and she turns my gobbledygook into genius. She provides 3-5 concepts and we tweak them from there. I have such faith in her artistry that next time I think I’ll have her design the cover first, and then I’ll write the story to go along with it.

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

I tend to shy away from picking favorites among my darlings, but THE BRAVEST THING is very special to me. Both the characters are very endearing in their own way and the issues they’re dealing with are relevant to our times and political climate. It’s my first attempt at dual narration, and I really liked how it allowed me to get deeper into both their characters and their counter-perspectives. I think for this story it worked very well.

What’s next for you as an author?

Right now I’m finishing up a best-friends-to-lovers romance about two teenaged boys in South Florida—something on the lighter side. I also have a thriller I’ve put on the backburner that I may take another stab at. The avant garde in me wants to attempt a literary version of DINNER WITH ANDRE, but I may back out if it turns into a snoozer. One of my friends once told me that the only thing my ex-boyfriends had in common was that they were all very different, and I think my writing is a little bit like that. I’m continuously growing as an artist and trying new things, and I think my stories reflect that. That sometimes annoys the readers who want something the same, only a little different. My promise to readers is that while my next story might not be what they expected, my goal is that they’ll enjoy it nonetheless.

About The Bravest Thing

High school junior Berlin Webber is about to reap the fruits of his hard work and land a football scholarship—if he can keep his sexuality a secret from his best friend, Trent, and their homophobic coach. Then Hiroku Hayashi swerves into the high school parking lot on his tricked-out motorcycle like some sexy comic book villain, and Berlin knows he doesn’t stand a chance.

Hiroku is fleeing his sophisticated urban scene to recover from drug addiction and an abusive relationship when he arrives in Berlin’s small Texas ranch town. Initially sarcastic and aloof, Hiroku finds in Berlin a steady, supportive friend who soon becomes more. As Hiroku and Berlin’s romance blossoms, they take greater risks to be together. But when a horrific act of violence tears them apart, they both must look bigotry in the face. While Berlin has always turned to his faith for strength, Hiroku dives into increasingly dangerous ways of coping, pushing them in opposite directions just when they need each other most.

Two very different young men search for the bravery to be true to themselves, the courage to heal, and the strength to go on when things seem darkest. But is it enough to bring them back together?

About the Author


Laura Lascarso strives to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature.

For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso
 
Facebook: /lascarso
Twitter: @lauralascarso

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