DSP GUEST POST: Remmy Duchene and BLMorticia on Wounded Pride (author interview)

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Wounded Pride (Wounded #2) by Remmy Duchene and BLMorticia
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase from

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Remmy Duchene and BL Morticia here today talking about writing, books and their latest story Wounded Pride. Welcome, Remmy and BL!

~Our Interview with Remmy Duchene and BLMorticia~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

RD: Well, ethics and morals, I try to put most of my own in my good guys. Renford isn’t at all like me. He’s brave, loves working out, funny – hell the only time I’m funny is by accident and I’m always stunned someone laughs lol. Most times, I put my attitude in a character, give him a bit of my temper to handle things he needs to handle. But sometimes I base characters off people I’ve met.

BL: I agree. I also base characters off people I know. Brian isn’t really like me. He has an air of confidence I don’t possess. His vulnerability might be attributed to me though. The sexy piece of ass he is, yeah that’s all him and no, I don’t know anyone like that.

  • 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?

RD: I don’t think so. If I based all my characters off my own experiences they will all be the same, I think. I try to create experiences for my characters, sort of like making them have their own thing going on rather than putting my bad luck on them. No one deserves that lol.

BL: I have used a few of my experiences, not in Wounded Pride though. It could be as simple as having an agreement with a significant other. And it will be the stupidest thing. Yes, I’ve done that before. I love that term Gary Stu. I’ll have to use that. lol

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

RD: When using a location/culture that is real, I think as a writer I am limited to the special kind of crazy I would like to instill in certain stories. Especially with cultures–I believe, since I am an outsider I have to be careful not to offend anyone. That isn’t what I want to do with my writing. I enjoy researching cultures in general–one of the reason I write predominantly interracial/multicultural stories. I LOVE making up my own words because then you can write anything you want as long as it jive and is consistent. But for Wounded Pride I think I was limited to the kind of crazy we could bring. This story takes place in New York, mostly, so there are certain things about that microcosm that we cannot change.

BL: I also love doing research. I also write a lot of interracial but, I have to saw, not to the extent of Remmy. Not that I haven’t wanted to. I love learning about different cultures and nationalities of people. For Pride, I did a little research on the Lakota tribe. I wanted to make Brian real and not a stereotype.

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

RD: Kinda. As a child and teenager, even now, I will read almost anything. From science fiction to erotica, if it has words I will take a look. Well, I wasn’t reading erotica as a kid but I picked up my first romance novel at eight years old and I haven’t looked back.  But that was because being from a 3rd world country and living in the middle of nowhere, things to read weren’t plentiful so you read what you can get.

BL: I read romance when I was young and yes, that has carried on into adulthood. I don’t read very much outside of romance, but I’m looking to change that.

  • 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?

RD: A few times. And it’s for completely different reasons for me because as a female writing MM. Case in point, recently I started on a ‘secret story’ and I’ve had to put it aside so many times because from the first chapter, I started sobbing. There is a lot of hardship that one main character has been through and that is still on the horizon and it’s just heart wrenching. As a human being, it pains me to have to put a ‘person’ through the hell I know I must to have the story come out right.

BL: Not with Pride, but I did put it aside because I didn’t know what to do next. I recently wrote a trans romance and my anxieties about writing a new character got to me. I’m still nervous, but I managed to finish the story and I hope to have someone trans to read it for me before release.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

RD: As long as there is happy in there I am happy lol. Honestly, as a reader and a writer in the same body, I find myself reading a book and then thinking “was that ending appropriate for the story?” and “was that ending necessary?” I’m a nerd, I know. Look, happily ever afters are a little hard to write especially when it’s a short story and it has to move so fast to get to the end within a set number of words. So happily for now will do. Other times, you just NEED that happily ever after. 

BL: Lately I’ve been writing more happy for now because true HEA, to me, have to be long as hell. For me, either one works as long as the characters are satisfied. 

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

RD: Yes. I am a sucker for romance. Sometimes I want the harder stuff but most times I love a little of the old, corny stuff too. As a teenager, I devoured every romance novel in my high school library (I am not kidding). After I graduated I went back to visit the the school and stopped off in the library. When I was introduced to the new generation of Library Club members one girl was like “omg! You! You’ve read every romance novel in this place!”

BL: I did. I read some of my grandma’s Harlequins when I was younger. They were very vanilla. When I was a teen or young adult, I graduated to more “erotic” works. Anne Rice, Fern Michaels, Jackie Collins. The stuff my grandma would have a fit about if she knew.

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

RD: Growing up, I loved spinning words. Whether it was for lyrics for a song or poetry. I always love the feeling of creating and since I wasn’t remotely good at anything else. Now, I am heavily influenced by the people around me. The people I ‘meet’ who read other stuff I’ve written.

BL: Growing up, I had no influences as far as writing, but when I got older I looked to Anne Rice as Zane as major influences. When I started writing erotica and or fanfiction, I wanted my books to be just as racy as Zane’s. Lol I don’t think I’ve achieved that yet.

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

RD: Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I mean I LOVE the feel of a paperback in my hands. Being able to turn the pages, smelling that book smell. I read e formats on my tablet and this is when a book is not in paperback format. I would love it if we could keep both but after seeing one of Canada’s largest music stores shut down because no one is buying CDs anymore – I hold out no hope.

BL: I do love paperbacks, but the Kindle is such a godsend. I have a young one, so I can’t really keep the racy paperbacks in my house and I have a small place too so, space is limited. As far as where it’s going, I believe people will always buy paperbacks regardless of how many e-readers are sold. Many people prefer it. 

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

RD: So far, I have been very lucky with my cover artists. For Wounded Pride BL and I sat down and discussed the men to be on the cover. Since it’s a second story to Wounded Hearts the colours etc were already picked. So this cover was just to change the backgrounds and the model. Usually, for me, I fill out the cover art form and for me, if when I open the cover my first reaction is “YES YES YES!” Then that’s my cover. If I have to sit and think about it – or close the file, go away and come back, then it’s not my cover. I usually give the cover artist a little bit of a free range to be creative. I find this gives them the chance to come up with something impressive.

BL: I have also been lucky. The Wounded Pride cover model was easy for me. I have used that model many times and I’m not ashamed! Lol I think LC did a great job on both Wounded Covers. As far as my others, I also give artists free reign. I try not to be difficult because I know their time is precious. Most of the time, all the pope who have worked on my covers have gotten them exactly right.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

RD: Surprisingly, a lot. I have a couple of stories being translated in different languages with Dreamspinner – French, Italian and German so far. BL and I wrote Wounded Hearts together and that is now in French and Italian! How awesome is that! My story Piece of Me is coming soon and the third book in my intoXication series was recently accepted and coming soon! So there is plenty that I’m excited about.

BL: I’ve just released the second books in both my Hardy and Day series and Hirah Blaze collections. I’m taking a break for now and focusing on newsletter promotion.

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 About Wounded Pride (Wounded #2)

Renford Kline is straight… right? He got over his experimentation in college and moved on. Then how does he explain his blush-inducing fantasies about Brian Daystar? Fantasies he’s having when he should be focused on his career move from attorney to professor. When Brian comes to New York, Renford knows he’s in trouble. Everything about Brian attracts him—from his tight body to his beautiful, dark hair—but Renford is straight… right?

Brian Daystar needs a break. He’s been working nonstop to turn his Montana ranch into a safe haven for at-risk youth—so much so that he can’t even bring himself to care when he finds out his partner, country star Corey, is cheating on him. Their relationship has been over for a long time, but it might take his feelings for Renford to make Brian accept it.

Both men have decisions to make. Renford must come to terms with who he truly is, and Brian is going to have to decide if he will shun his happiness or embrace it.

 

✒︎Want to know more about the Authors?  Contact them at their links below:

Remmy Duchene – https://remmyduchene.wix.com/remmyduchene

                               https://twitter.com/remmyduchene

                               https://remmyduchene.blogspot.com

                              https://www.instagram.com/manluvlikeaboss

 

BLMorticia aka Sharita Lira –  http://thelitriad.com/

                                                http://blmorticia.wordpress.com

                                                https://twitter.com/AuthorSharitaL

                                                http://instagram.com/sharitalira/

Lila Leigh Hunter on Family Questioning and her States of Love Story ‘Dating in Retrospect’ (author interview, excerpt and giveaway)

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Dating in Retrospect (States of Love) by Lila Leigh Hunter
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Release Date: February 15, 2017

Pre-Order Links

Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Nook | Kobo

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have one of our own in the author’s chair talking about their latest novel and answering our questions on writing.  Hi, Lila!

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Family Questioning

Hi, guys! I’m Lila and I have been part of the Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words family for a little over a year. I love to write stories for all of you, but reading is my first love. I have been lucky enough to find a great place to share that love with other readers. Today, though, I’m here as an author. My States of Love novella, Dating in Retrospect, comes out tomorrow.  And it’s time for me to sit on the hot chair and answers the author’s interrogation. Sorry, fun and friendly questions.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

  • This time, more of my husband and his friends are weaved into my characters. The story is set in Southeastern Iowa were he’s from. So, small details like wearing ballcaps instead of cowboy hats and watching the four of July fireworks from a parking lot are part of my story.

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

  • No, I do my research after I select the genre I’m going to write. I prefer to write contemporary romances, but I have some alternate historical fantasies. In the next couple of years, I’m hoping to work on several full fantasy stories, but I’d need the time to build the worlds and everything that goes with it.

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

  • I started reading romances about four years ago. Before that, I read mostly literary fiction and autobiographies. I really enjoy learning about others’ lives. It’s interesting to see the world trough others’ experiences.

How do you feel about the e-book format and where do you see it going?

  • I’m a fan of e-books. They have allowed me to read over two hundred books a year, something I couldn’t afford when buying paperbacks. I still love the smell of new books, but I buy e-books almost every day. The best part, I don’t have to leave the house to do it.

How do you choose your covers? 

  • I designed all the covers for my indie stories. I prefer to use one of the main characters as the main focus. I try to think of ideas beforehand, but most times, I simply look around stock photos until I find the right one. Then, I just play with the fonts until I get it right. For my trad published stories, I send all the relevant information to the cover artist and we work together to get the right cover after they presented me with some rough drafts.

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

  • My favorite story is tentatively called Prescribed Discipline. It’s not out yet, but I wrote it in 2015. It’s my favorite because the character are the oldest ones I have work with so far. One is in his late forties and the other on his fifties. I love to give HEA to men that were not able to be themselves in their youth.

What’s next for you as an author?

  • I’m currently revising one of my BDSM stories and writing the follow up book to Tow Trucks & New Year’s Kisses. After that, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and working on a FF short story and a het speculative story. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of men coming your way.

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Book Blurb

Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.

Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.

A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.

Category: Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bisexual
Identity: Cisgender
Length: Novella-Words: 38,800
Pages: 101

Excerpt

Excerpt

©2017 Lila Leigh Hunter

All Rights Reserved

Clay—May ’15

Back to the future and all of that were Clay’s first thoughts as he stepped out of the car. The campus looked the same—Midwest Americana at its best. Redbrick buildings and perfectly pruned trees surrounded him, but as if the last fifteen years hadn’t happened, Clay’s world narrowed to the man waiting at the top of the portico stairs. The only thing time had changed? Them.

“Here’s your receipt, Mr. Keller,” the valet said, interrupting Clay’s musings. He didn’t remember being as young as the valet. Mr. Keller was his father, but Clay didn’t feel like correcting the man’s error.

“Thank you.”

“Not a problem. The man in the light gray suit is Professor Grant. He will be your escort today.”

“Perfect,” Clay responded, smiling at the mention of having an escort at his service, especially one whose body he knew well. With a nod and a tip, Clay left the valet behind, turning his attention back to Professor Grant. Professor. Aaron had done it after all. Clay had never doubted it, even after Aaron decided to stay and work at his family’s farm instead of moving with him to LA. Now he needed to find out if he had a chance with Aaron. At least having him there, waiting for him, had to be a good sign. Today was his lucky day indeed. True, he hadn’t expected to see Aaron so soon. He had planned to stop by the farm after the commencement, but he was ready either way. Life had been rough lately, but having the opportunity to see Aaron again was worth coming back to the middle of Nowhere, Iowa.

He walked casually toward the man he’d left behind many summers ago—a man standing like a prizefighter, waiting for Clay to reach him. With only a couple of feet between them, Clay’s step faltered. Aaron didn’t seem happy to see him, more like he was ready to bolt before Clay got to him. Shaking his head and keeping his eyes on his prey, he closed the distance and extended his hand in greeting.

“Professor Grant, I believe you’re expecting me?” He hoped his smile would ease Aaron’s frown.

“That I am, Mr. Keller. As the university liaison, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to your alma mater and to convey the president’s and the board of trustees’ deepest regards.”

“How long did it take you to memorize that spiel? As far as I remember, you weren’t fond of formalities.” Neither of them let go of the other’s hand. Aaron’s touch, familiar and foreign, branded him in seconds.

“Ass.”

Aaron didn’t expect the hug that followed. As soon as their bodies touched, Aaron tensed, but Clay held him tighter.

“Relax, sunshine. It’s been a while.” Clay let Aaron go, but not before he rubbed his trimmed beard against Aaron’s clean-shaven face as he moved back.

Meet the Author

Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.

She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.

Social Media

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctHk41

Author’s Page: http://www.facebook.com/HunterRomances

Lila’s Cabana on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/LilasBooks/

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/LilaLeighHunter

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Hunter_Romances

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lila_leigh/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Hunter_Romances/

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

Website: http://lilaleighhunter.wordpress.com

Email: llhunter.romance@gmail.com

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Rafflecopter Giveaway
(February 9th to February 28th – Winner to be contacted March 1st)

Dating in Retrospect Giveaway

Its Tara Lain on Inspiration and her novel, Fire Balls (Balls to the Wall #2) by Tara Lain (guest post)

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Fire Balls (Balls to the Wall #2) by Tara Lain
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Available for Purchase at

       

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 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Tara Lain here today.  Welcome, Tara.  Tell us more about Fire Balls and your series!

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Book Ideas are a Ball!

Hi everyone. I am so happy to be visiting Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words and celebrating the re-release of my book, Fire Balls. Where do the stories come from? That’s one of the questions all writers get asked a lot. I used to wonder that too. I’m a non-fiction writer by long-time profession and for years people would say I should write a book. That sounded like work!  LOL. Then I discovered LGBT romance and loved it so much I wrote my first novel, a book called Genetic Attraction, based on the genetic research of a company I knew from my day job.

What I discovered writing that first book is that creating fiction is like sex. The more you have the more you want! Once I turned on the story spigot it just kept running and everything I see and person I meet has book potential (yes, be afraid!). For example, I have lived in or near a beautiful beach town in California. It’s famous for its art festivals. Bingo. What if my hero was one of the people who poses as a nude statue in the famous Pageant of the Masters? And what if my other hero was a hunky alpha male who’s gay but in the closet. That’s was the idea for the best-selling summer romance, Volley Balls.

In Volley Balls, I created a memorable character named Rodney who was my hero’s best friend. He was an unlikely hero himself–short and flamboyant —  but he wanted his own book. That’s how I got to bring you my beach romance, Fire Balls. Actually, the title came first. People told me they loved the title Volley Balls and I was thinking of “Balls” titles. When I thought of the name Fire Balls a whole story started to form. What if my hero, Rodney, was a great artist who has a passion for a firefighter but can’t imagine that the man could ever care for him, the short and weird? So when his good friend, the handsome surfer Jerry, develops an unexpected crush on the firefighter, Rodney helps Jerry woo the guy, breaking his own heart. The story is loosely based on the famous book, Cyrano de Bergerac. Very loosely!

See, stories do come from everywhere. I have a whole series called The Pennymaker Tales that pay homage to fairy tales. The third book in the Balls to the Wall series, Beach Balls, is based on an actual environmental dispute that took place a few years ago in Newport Beach California. When a friend told me about it I thought what if two guys fell in love and then found themselves on opposite sides of that case. I also included in the story the passion for rebreather diving of one of my best friends. The story of Knight of Ocean Avenue, my most popular novel, came from me watching the construction workers renovating my house and wondering if any of them were gay. LOL. The stories are all around us – we only have to pay attention and take notes!

I hope you enjoy Fire Balls!

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Excerpt: FIRE BALLS by Tara Lain; The Artist and the Firefighter

Renowned artist Rodney Mansfield stands five foot six, has pink hair, six earrings, a black belt in karate—and a desperate yearning for firefighter Hunter Fallon. But Rod, the Runtback of Notre Dame, knows he’ll never land the beautiful “straight gay” guy, so Rod musters his altruism and helps his more masculine friend Jerry attract Hunter. As if a broken heart wasn’t enough, Rod saves Hunter from a firehouse homophobe—humiliating Hunter in front of his dad!

Hunter lives a dream life—his father’s dream. While he’d like to teach literature in college, read poetry in the sun, and find a strong guy to top him, he fights fires for his dad. Hunter hates flamboyant guys like Rodney. So why can’t he resist him? Maybe it’s time to admit this is one flame he has no desire to put out.

He leaned back on the couch. “Anyway, he’s dreamy, straight-up divine. Sweet and nice and smart. Shit, man, have you ever seen anything so beautiful?”

Too much. Rod got up and went back to the easel. At least he didn’t have to stare into Jerry’s smitten face. Crap, he wanted to be happy for the guy. He really did. “He’s beautiful, all right.”

“And guess what? He asked about you.”

No breath. “He, uh, did?”

“Yeah. Said you were so talented. See, I told you not to leave.”

“Didn’t want to be a third wheel.”

“Hey, my man, you’re my brother from another mother. What I got, you got. So I’m going on another date with him, and he loves to read and shit. Could you tell me some stuff to talk about?”

Oh dear God. “So what have you read, Jerry?”

He looked at his hands. “I, uh, read a few romance novels.”

“I think it’s okay to talk about those, but you have to know some other writers too. So think. What did you read in high school?”

“Comic books.”

“Graphic novels?”

“Yeah. Man, I love Watchmen and X-Men and Batman.”

“Comic books.” He walked over to a bookshelf he kept tucked away in the corner of the studio. When he rested on the couch, he loved to read himself to sleep. “Have you ever heard of Lord Byron?”

Jerry shook his head. “Sounds like a rock star.”

“He kind of was for his time. He was a poet.” He took out a slim volume and began to read from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. “Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean—roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain; man marks the earth with ruin—his control stops with the shore.” When he got to “unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown” he looked up.

Jerry’s big blue eyes shone with tears. “Hey, man, that’s awesome. Probably not a surfer, I guess. All the ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ sound kind of old. But that dude knew what a surfer feels, man. We ride on top of the—what did he call it?—deep and dark blue ocean. And we know we can sink and never be heard from again, man. Axed. It’s how we want to go if we gotta.”

He had to stop underestimating this man. Rod walked over to the couch and handed the book to Jerry. “Just be yourself. He’s got to love you.”

“Wow, thanks. But I’ll read this, man. Every word, or at least the words I understand, okay?”

He smiled. “Okay.”

“I sure do like the way you read it, though.”

Rod laughed, took back the book, and began to read.

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About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 35. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

Website:              http://www.taralain.com

Blog: http://www.taralain.com/blog

Goodreads:        http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4541791.Tara_Lain

Twitter:               http://twitter.com/taralain

FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/taralain

Its Writing, Research and Their Latest Release ‘Letters from Cupid’ by Ari McKay (author interview)

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Letters from Cupid by Ari McKay
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host McKay of the writing duo known as Ari McKay here today to talk about their latest release Letters from Cupid.  Welcome, McKay!

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Hi, I’m the McKay half of Ari McKay! I’d like to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for giving me the opportunity to be a guest blogger today. Ari and I are currently celebrating the release of our Valentine’s Day story, Letters from Cupid, from Dreamspinner Press.

I loved the questions that Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words provided, so I’m going to answer some of those!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think it’s safe to say there’s always a little bit of Ari and me in the characters we write. In Letters from Cupid, I wrote Macon, who is a tenured professor in creative writing. I was going to say that Macon isn’t the character who is closest to me out of all our books, but now that I’m thinking about it, he’s pretty close! We’re both academics and creative writers who are introverted, single, and over forty. There’s one scene in which I shamelessly channeled my own opinion through him, and that’s when I let Macon go on a little rant about administration bloat. I could have easily let that rant go on for a good page or more because I have Opinions. I will say his view on faculty meetings and departmental parties isn’t that far from mine either. 😉

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. I think what makes a character a Mary Sue/Gary Stu is their lack of flaws. Everyone loves them, and every obstacle is easily overcome because of their intelligence/super powers/whatever. There’s no real character growth because the character is already “perfect”, and there’s no real conflict.

To me, that’s very different from using your own experiences to create a character. For example, I used a lot of my experiences in academia to create Macon, but I wouldn’t consider him a Gary Stu because he’s an imperfect character, and forcing himself to emerge from his introvert bubble in order to help Derek changes him over the course of the story.

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

Ari and I both enjoy doing research. We’re both history buffs, and when we write historical books, we like to make sure we’re getting the details right. So having to do research doesn’t deter us from writing in a particular genre. We enjoy world-building as well, so for us, it comes down to asking “How hard is this plot bunny gnawing on our ankles?” rather than “Do we want to tackle research/world-building?”. If we feel strongly enough about a particular story, we’ll write it, regardless of genre.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEA! I think Ari would agree with me when I say we have enough problems, stress, and things out of our control in our real lives that we like being able to fix things for our characters. Writing HEA romances is a form of escapism for us. We may put our characters through the angst mill, but we’ll make it up to them by the end every time.

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

I know there are a lot of print purists, and I like the weight of a real book in my hand as much as the next bookworm, but I think ebooks have their advantages as well. I like that I’ve got an extensive library on my phone as well as on my bookshelves. I used to carry a book everywhere, but now I whip out my phone to read while I’m waiting at the doctor’s office.

I think, too, that the rise of ebooks has been beneficial to writers. There are now other avenues for getting published than the traditional publishing houses, and I think having those choices is beneficial for the authors and readers.

There are drawbacks as well. We’ve seen some indie publishers go under in the last year, but I’m inclined to attribute some of that to less than stellar management. Amazon has the potential to saturate the market with self-published works that haven’t known the touch of an editor’s hand.

I think overall, the ebooks market is going to thrive, and it’s not going to spell the end of the print book market because there are plenty of people – myself included – who like reading words on a page instead of a screen sometimes. I think there’s room in the world for both.

What’s next for you as an author?

Right now, we’re finishing up a revision of Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows, which is a 2nd edition story that will be released by Dreamspinner Press in September. After that, we’ve got a to-do list lined up: the first book in a new light contemporary series, a new Herc’s Mercs book, and another book for Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun line. We’re never at a loss for something to write! Our main problem is time. Too many plot bunnies, too little time.

Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting us on our blog tour!

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About Letters from Cupid

After breaking up with his partner, English professor Dr. Derek Chandler feels like a failure who will never win at romance. His aloof colleague, Dr. Macon Pinney, disagrees and pens an anonymous note of encouragement to Derek, which he signs “Cupid.” Thus begins an exchange of correspondence, a courtship through words where the two men find out they have a great deal in common. Meanwhile, Derek reaches out to Macon, not knowing Macon is his anonymous pen pal. Derek reveals through his letters that someone close by has piqued his interest. Could he mean Macon—or has Macon missed his opportunity and lost Derek to another man?

Perhaps the time has come for Cupid to put in an appearance, and when better to do so than Valentine’s Day?

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About the Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

CONTACTS:

Dev Bentham On Hot Men, Dull Jobs and her new Story ‘Buyout – A Love Story’ (guest blog by Dev Bentham)

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Buyout – A Love Story by Dev Bentham
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reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

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

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 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Dev Bentham here today to talk about writing and Buyout – A Love Story.

Welcome, Dev!

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Hot men, boring jobs by Dev Bentham

I often first meet a character through his employment. That isn’t all that surprising for someone who has had a lot of jobs in her life. Except that you’d think a writer who conceptualized characters through their work would fill her books with men in really interesting occupations. I do have a few protagonists with cool jobs (like my Antarctic diver in August Ice). But mostly my books are about regular guys who are teachers, cooks, farmers, veterinarians, yoga teachers—you get the idea. No dentists or plumbers yet, but who knows what the future will bring.

I like the challenge of inviting readers to fall in love with men who aren’t characteristically dreamy romantic heros. For example, in Buyout—A Love Story, my narrator is a burned-out finance guy in his mid-30s and the man of his dreams is the proprietor of a struggling hotel. Neither of them are Mr. Darcy types. Which I think is what I love about them.

Because, while we spend a lot of our time working, our jobs don’t have much to do with our innate attractiveness, worthiness or ability to love. I’ve known some distinctly un-hot firemen and cowboys or have been bowled over by a janitor or the guy behind the counter at a fast food restaurant. Traditional romance stories don’t prepare us for finding that perfect someone where we least expect them—right in the middle of our everyday lives. I like to think that anyone can be a romantic hero, no matter what he (or she) does to pay the rent.

My quirkiest job was counting ants for the Forest Service. Forty hours a week bent over a microscope, sorting dead ants by species and counting—1, 2, 3 …a million. I don’t think that job said anything about my attractiveness (or at least I hope it didn’t), but the ants—they kind of grow on you after a while.

So how about you—got any great work stories??

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Blurb:

Everyone deserves a second chance. Or do they? Sean and Martim fell in love at Harvard. Things broke apart when Martim fell into a downward spiral of addiction after his father died. Sean kicked him out but has regretted it ever since. He’s never gotten over losing Martim. But then, not many aspects of his life have lived up to his collegiate dreams.

When he’s sent to evaluate Martim’s family hotel for foreclosure, Sean is once again in the position to put Martim out on the street. In the time since they parted, Martim has pulled himself together, although both health and financial problems linger as a result of his years as an addict. Can the two men bridge the gap of distance and time to rekindle their relationship, or will they fall apart again under the burdens of guilt and disease? 

Set in Lisbon, Portugal, this is the story of lovers reunited after more than a decade apart, and their second chance at romance.

Here’s a taste:

He wore jeans and a black turtleneck, and with one finger held a sleek leather jacket slung over his shoulder. Looking at him was enough to make a man break out in a cold sweat.

He leaned against the doorway. “Stop working, Sean. The sun is out. Let me show you the sights. Then you’ll know why people want to come here.”

My first thought was that I was looking at it. But of course, even Martim in his most promiscuous days couldn’t have satisfied all the tourists.

I shook my head. “I’ve been to Lisbon before. Remember?”

“I remember.” He let it hang. After a moment he rubbed his hands together. “Okay. I have a new plan. I’ll take you someplace we did not go to back then.”

I couldn’t help but smile a little at his enthusiasm. It was so much like the old Martim, the one I knew before he fell apart.

He raised one eyebrow. “Come on, Sean. I promise I won’t bite.”

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About the Author

Dev Bentham has lived in way too many places and had far too many jobs. She’s finally settled in frozen northern Wisconsin where she teaches online and draws on her former lives to write love stories about mature men searching for true love. Her restless feet take her globetrotting whenever she gets the chance, but most of the time she’s tucked up in her office in the woods dreaming about romance and adventure.

She’s the author of many gay romances, including a DABWAHA finalist, a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention and a Rainbow Awards Finalist.

Website: http://www.devbentham.com

Twitter @DevBentham

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dev.bentham

E-mail: DevBentham@yahoo.com

Sign up for Dev’s Monthly News Flash, every month a little news and some flash fiction

DSP GUEST POST: Julia Talbot on Writing Families and her new release ‘Wolfmanny’

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Wolfmanny by Julia Talbot
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reamspinner Press

Release Date: February 6, 2017

Cover Artist: Christine Griffin

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Julia Talbot here today to talk about her latest release Wolfmanny.  Welcome, Julia!

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Hey y’all!

I’m Julia Talbot, and I’m here to talk about my newest release, Wolfmanny!

I’m so in love with this book. It’s my first paranormal for Dreamspinner, which was a little nerve wracking I tend to write novellas with my paranormal books. I go for over the top sex and lots of biting.

Wofmanny is kind of a departure for me on this. Oh, there’s some hot Alpha smoochies, no doubt, but there’s a lovely mmm menage, some unfinished mating, and a family of inherited kids.

It made my heart happy to write it, and I hope it makes people just as happy to read it.

I know some folks don’t like to read books about couples with kids, but I love the Manny trope, and I’ll tell you why. So often our only clues to what our two (or three) heroes’ motivations are is in their interactions with one another. Well, sure, you say. It’s a romance. Why wouldn’t that be the case?

Well, because we want to know how that romance will settle out when these men who already have this huge responsibility in their lives. They don’t just have themselves to worry about. When they’re choosing a partner, they have to consider their kids and how the family would be affected by allowing that person into their life.

Then you add the paranormal aspect. With a wolf alpha like Kenneth, you have to ponder how mating with Jack and Miles will affect the family, and the broader pack, or extended family. Kenneth has a lot of weight on his shoulders that way, so it’s no wonder he tries to put off sealing the deal. He loves both his men, though, so it’s also tough not to just accept their love.

I hope y’all will read Wolfmanny with the joy I took in writing it for you! I hope you give this unruly pack of kids a chance.

XXOO

Julia Talbot

About Wolfmanny

Three hot werewolves, sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife, an impending Colorado winter, and a rambunctious pack of werewolf pups. Stand back and watch the fur fly.

When Kenneth Marcon loses his nanny to a bite from one of his inherited kids, he knows he needs someone strong to contain five werewolf children. What he finds isn’t a stalwart nanny, but a werewolf manny named Jack. Kenneth and his assistant, Miles, aren’t sure if Jack is what they need, but he’s what they have to work with.

Jack’s got what it takes to keep the kids busy—and attract both Miles’s and Kenneth’s attention. The two old friends have been circling each other for years, but with Jack as the final piece to the puzzle, it’s time to finally act on those urges. When Kenneth is forced to travel instead of solidifying the bond with his new mates, Jack and Miles take desperate measures to get him back, even as they save the kids from one disaster after another. Amidst the chaos, they have to learn how to become not just a pack, but a family.

Buy link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wolfmanny-by-julia-talbot-8124-b

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About the Author

 Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner, Samhain, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at http://www.juliatalbot.com “The mountains are calling, and I must go”

Julia Talbot: http://www.juliatalbot.com

Minerva Howe: http://www.minervahowe.com

Julia’s Blog: http://juliatalbot.blogspot.com/

@juliatalbot on Twitter

https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

Sherrie Henry on Life, Writing, and her release ‘Flag on the Play’ (HARMONY INK PRESS GUEST POST: interview, excerpt )

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Flag on the Play by Sherrie Henry
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armony Ink Press
Release Date: February 7, 2017

Cover artist: Alexandria Corza

Available for Purchase at Harmony Ink Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Sherrie Henry here today.  Welcome, Sherrie!

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Chugging right along! We’re at my third stop for my blog tour to promote my newest release “Flag on the Play.” Thank you Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for having me!

Check out my question/answer session:

  • How much of yourself goes into a character? 

I think all writers put a little bit of themselves into their characters. It’s like splitting your own personality, bits and pieces go into each character you develop. I think it’s inevitable; it’s been my experience that regardless of how far-fetched the plot, there is still a grounding in reality that reflects our own lives and experiences.

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

No. A Mary (or Gary) Sue in my opinion is a character who’s sole purpose is to save everyone, be the hero, and has no character flaws (or have flaws that are endearing). To me, that’s cheating the reader to create such a perfect character. No one learns anything, there’s no plot or character development in a Mary/Gary Sue. I’m not certain I could create such a character; I’m flawed, thus my characters, who are in some part a reflection of me, are flawed as well.

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

In my most recent novel ‘Flag on the Play’, I interviewed a few gay men on their experiences as a gay teen (as, being female and not gay, I couldn’t draw much from my own childhood!). It gave me tremendous insight into their world and their struggles, which still occur across the country to this day.

I did enjoy doing the interviews and I like research in general. But I also write sci-fi/fantasy, so it’s nice to just let loose and change the laws of physics. LOL

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

I consider myself an eclectic reader which has shaped my writing to an extent. I tend to write what I want, regardless of genre. Whatever fancies me at the time, that’s what comes out. For example, I’m finishing a sci-fi novel and also working on a cookbook. I’m not the type to be pinned to a specific genre!

  • 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?

Once, when I had to kill off a major character, I needed some time away from the story as I ended up crying as I typed the death scene. Had to give myself a couple of days away to recover. It was painful, but it was necessary as it advanced the story.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

As life never gives HEAs, I do enjoy reading them in my stories as a change of pace from reality. As I don’t read a lot of books that are parts of series, I don’t typically come across HFNs.

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

Oh hell yes. I remember sneaking my mom’s Harlequin Romance and Danielle Steele novels as a young teen. I’m not sure to this day if she realized I read them!

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

Choosing an English degree as an undergrad. I was exposed to so many different genres and authors during that time. I had always been an avid reader; I remember getting the Scholastic Reader booklets as a kid and ordering all the books I could afford on my allowance. I probably owned a few hundred paperbacks as a child.

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

I certainly like the ebook format; makes reading in bed a lot easier. My Kindle weighs a lot less than hardcover novels and large paperbacks and is much less bulky.

I’m not sure where the ebook is going; because a writer can publish anything and everything they want without going through a traditional publishing company, the ebook has gotten a bad rap. Those ebooks from self-pubbed authors still have a the stigma of bad writing, no editing, and crappy covers. Ebooks are evolving, but I’m not sure for the better. I’m not saying all self-pubbed books are crap, but it’s the perception of the reading audience, myself included. (I’m a trivia buff, and you wouldn’t believe the amount of bad trivia ebooks published.)

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

I typically have an idea of what I want and convey that to the cover artist. A couple of times I’ve had no clue, so the cover artist gave me some drafts and I was able to envision what I wanted.

As an amateur landscape/wildlife photographer, a lot of times I can at least have a very base idea of what I want, at least in the background.

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

As a piece of me is in all my work, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but I’d have to say my vampire story ‘Traditions.’ The main character is a snarky, sexy, slightly-overwhelmed male vampire surrounded by dysfunctional family and friends. It’s the first in a trilogy and has been submitted for publication. Hope to hear within a month or so!

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Finish my sci-fi novel (about 3-4 chapters to go) and my cookbook, then pick one of the dozen or so WIPs I have on my computer. I’d like to finish at least one more novel this year, if not two. I want to diversify myself; I’ve got two WIPs that are thrillers, which is a new genre for me to be writing.

Thank you, Sherrie, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed your answers!  Now more about Sherrie and Flag on the Play.

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About the Author

Sherrie was born and raised in Southern Indiana, in a small farming community. A stop-over at Indiana University in Bloomington to earn bachelors and masters degrees was the next step before she struck out to the big city of Chicago. She has lived in the ‘burbs of the Windy City for the past 19 years, currently residing with her dog Rocky and teaching at the local community college. She is a third-degree black belt in hapkido and is considering a run for a fourth-degree before hanging up the ol’ black belt. Writing and photography are her hobbies, and hopes that she can add travel to her hobbies soon.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrieHenry
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/sherriehenry
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AuthorSHenry
Blog: http://sherriehenry.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.sherriehenry.com

Sales link for ‘Flag on the Play’:

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About Flag on the Play

Sixteen-year-old football punter Liam Hartley has come to terms with being gay, but it isn’t something his religious and conservative community will ever accept. He’s isolated in his Midwest town until Cody Williams transfers to his school from Chicago. A proud bisexual young man, Cody shows Liam he isn’t alone—or abnormal—and they soon become more than friends.

Despite the intimate, secret world he shares with Cody, Liam is in pain. The hatred spewed by bigots has an effect on Liam, even if Cody carefully hides their relationship with a pretend girlfriend. Liam is jealous—he doesn’t want to have to share Cody, and he doesn’t want to have to live in shame. Cutting himself seems to be the only way to deal with everything he’s suffering, and things only get worse when Liam and Cody are outed in front of the school. And even if they can make it through the hardship, they know their relationship is destined to end when Cody’s family returns to the city.

Liam can’t go back to facing the hatred and religious judgment by himself. He won’t survive it. Somehow, Liam and Cody must secure a future for both of them, and that means finding a way to stay together.

 Excerpt from ‘Flag on the Play

Liam downed his lemonade. Even though it was fairly cool out, he was sweating profusely. After the tuck-pointing, he volunteered to help cut and haul some wood from the downed trees on the property. He and Cody were sitting in the backyard, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. Cody’s mom came outside with more to drink.

“You boys finish?” She set the pitcher on the step and sat down next to Liam.

“Yes, ma’am.” Liam refilled his glass.

Marissa laughed. “Please don’t call me ma’am. Makes me feel old.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“No worries. So, Cody said you had some questions you wanted to ask me?”

Liam looked out over the expansive yard. “If you don’t mind.”

“Nope.”

Cody nudged Liam. “Go ahead. She’s a good listener.”

Liam swallowed. “Me and Cody. That’s natural, right?”

Marissa furrowed her brow. “Of course it is.”

“I’ve been taught it’s a great sin and I’m going to hell.”

“Oh, hon, no. Look, I don’t want to sway you from your religion—”

“I’ve lost my religion. I can’t believe in it anymore. I need to know I’m going to be okay. You accept Cody, and me, and us and….” His voice trailed off.

“I’ve been where you are.”

Liam glanced over at her. “Really?”

“Yes. Born into a very Catholic family. But I realized at a very young age, what was coming at me at every Mass was pretty much bullshit. Pardon my language.”

Liam snorted. “I’ve heard worse.” He gave her a smile. “How did you get out of the church?”

“I had to bide my time until high school. I finally sat my parents down and told them I couldn’t believe in what the priest was saying. That any higher power couldn’t hate his or her creations, that he or she would create such inequality. And I was totally against the no birth control thing. That really rubbed me the wrong way. I’d done research at the library—this was back before everything was on the Internet you know—and found that human sexuality isn’t something to be repressed. Not that I condone sleeping around, sex and love need to go hand in hand, but it doesn’t need to be saved for marriage or be something to feel guilty about.”

“So you don’t believe I’m going to hell?”

Marissa gave a little laugh. “Hon, that’s why I love being Wiccan. We don’t believe in hell. Hell is a Christian concept.”

“There’s no heaven or hell?”

“Wiccans, other pagans, some of us believe in what’s called Summerland. A place we go when we die until we are reincarnated. Hell doesn’t exist.”

“But what about people like Hitler, or Stalin? Shouldn’t they be in hell?”

Marissa paused, taking in a long breath and letting it out. “To be honest, I struggle with topics like that. Leaning on my youth teachings, yes, hell would be a good place for such evil. But to reconciling such evil in my Wiccan beliefs—I came to the conclusion that people like that don’t go to Summerland, they just cease to exist, no reincarnation. That their evil energy is dissipated into the universe, forever dissolving out into the reaches of deep space.”

“Wow, that’s profound.”

“Nah, just the way I can deal.”

“So what about the Bible?”

Marissa patted his knee. “The Bible is a book, a good book, but it was written by men, and men are fallible. I don’t like how some people will pick and choose what they want to follow out of it. They should use it as a guidebook, not a rulebook. Use the teachings of doing good deeds, of not throwing the first stone. Of being kind to strangers and helping those in need. That’s what they should take away, not a strict or not-so-strict adherence to rules written in a time when slaves were the norm and women were property to be bartered for.”

“Never thought about it that way.”

“I never did either, until I took a ‘Bible as Literature’ class in college. The discrepancies stood out, the outright contradictions. It was then I solidified my beliefs.” She put her arm around Liam. “I’m not saying to dump all your beliefs, or even change them. I’m just giving you a different perspective. You have to decide what is right for you. Each religion, even mine, has its good points and shortcomings.”

Liam sucked down the rest of his lemonade. “I can’t see any shortcomings with yours.”

“There are. Like the question of evil from before, there’s no consensus. It’s just what I’ve decided to believe. And the threefold rule.”

“Cody told me about it. How can getting threefold of good coming back at you be bad?”

“Because it works the other way as well. If I put bad thoughts or bad deeds out there, bad stuff can come back to me threefold.”

“I don’t see how you can do anything bad.”

“Well, I get angry and anger begets anger. I get angry against people who do bad deeds, like a mother who kills her children. My inclination is to say she deserves the death penalty, but I’m sworn to do no harm.”

“But you wouldn’t be pulling the switch, so to say.”

“No, but I’m putting the bad energy out there by thinking and stating my opinion. It’s like I can feel the negative energy build when I think about situations like that. I have to meditate a lot when news stories such as those are aired, try to diffuse my thoughts. It can be hard work.”

“I would think someone who kills their children doesn’t deserve to live.”

“And you’re not alone, not by a long shot. But doesn’t even your faith say you should forgive the sinner?”

Liam cocked his head. “Yeah.”

“While Wicca doesn’t believe in sin per se, we do believe in forgiveness. To keep up the positive energy so it always outweighs the negative.”

“And how do I deal with messages from my pastor that what I feel is wrong? That I’m damned?”

“You need to forgive your pastor and hope one day he can see the error of his ways. That love is precious, in all its forms.” She turned and gave him a hug. “You aren’t damned. My Cody loves you and so do I.”

Kelly took that moment to come running out of the house and plopped down in Cody’s lap. She shoved a book in Liam’s face. “Story?”

Marissa laughed. “I think you’ve made quite an impression on Kelly as well.” She let Liam go and collected the empty glasses and pitcher. “Guess it’s story time. Once you’re done, you’d probably head home. It’s getting late.”

“Yes, ma-Marissa. And thank you.” He took the book from Kelly and started to read about a fairy princess and her faithful companion, a dragon named Sue.

Z. Allora on Writing, World Building and her release ‘The Craving’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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The Craving by Z. Allora
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Z. Allora here today talking about writing, world building and her latest story.  Welcome, Z.

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Star System Building Starts With Sex by Z. Allora

I want to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for allowing me to share my new release with you: The Craving. (There’s also a giveaway to thank the readers). If you read my stories or you’re one of my Facebook Pretties, you know I believe that the relationships we have with sex and gender affects the filter we use to view the world. I figured just cause I’m wandering through space doesn’t mean I can’t continue to explore this connection.

Before writing The Craving I had to understand the generalizations each planet had about sex. What would their feelings and expectations toward sex, orientation, and gender. Do they have anything taboo? What are they? Why are they? Then I had to piece together if my character agreed or denied their society’s view on sex and relationships.

K’Dane: (moderately wealthy and technologically advanced)

The K’Danes believe they are sexually progressive. They openly discuss recreating (masturbation) and sex. The K’Danes go through a biological process called the craving, which is an unstoppable urge to soothe the burning need to bond on a physical and spiritual level.

Phoenix Dotir comes from K’Dane and he’s marked as a Chosen. This means he’ll forego a life mate to dedicate himself to his art. He’ll be doing every thing he can to avoid the craving. He adopted the monk’s Principles of Purity earlier than he has to which involves him wearing a protective device. He even exacted a promise from his mother that she would medicate him if he went into the craving.

Zadra Solav is torn between being respectful of Phoenix’s status as a chosen and going after what he wants. He’s open like most K’Dane but won’t try to convince Phoenix to abandon his path. 

Ambrosial: (Garden planet half vacation destination half monastery)

There is no sex at the monastery. The Principles of Purity promote chastity. Many of the initiates were unaware of the strict code of conduct or how a protective unit (chastity belt) ensures adherence to the principles. Orgasms are taboo. Even though most don’t like it they live under the strict rules or are careful not to get caught.

Song Di Wangan II: (Uber wealthy and technologically advanced)

Song citizens used to heart link with one partner for life.

The Xi virus ravaged the planet a thousand seasons ago causing many to perish. Those that were heart linked couldn’t survive the loss of their partner and it devastated the population. As a result of this monogamy was all but outlawed.

No sexual act is taboo on Song Di Wangan II. On a person’s coming of age day their parents would gift them with erotic pleasure workers to celebrate in any manner they wished. But desiring a heart linked love is viewed as backwards and dangerous.

Eytan Rain Otak Sita wants to share his life with one love. His family deemed his needs counter culture and disgusting, thus sent him away.

Feri: (radiated rock, life expectancy short & death painful)

The citizens of Feri learned at a young age, if you had privacy, time and energy you sought as much satisfaction as you could. Tomorrow wasn’t promise so enjoy everything you can to the fullest.

Riva Quinton believed in love and marriage. He wasn’t aware going to Ambrosial would mean giving up pleasure.

Viking Haven: (Capital planet and blessed in most ways)

People, who identified as female, threatened the current ruler’s great-great-great-great grandfather legitimacy. So rather then surrender his seat of power or worse share it, he mandated a gender divide. Male lords and males slaves were allowed to stay in Viking Haven’s capital while all others were banished to Valhalla.

The lords were kept to serve and protect His Greatness. Some still maintained relationships with women in Valhalla but until recently there was no easy assessable path. Homosexual power exchanges were the expected norm.

Slaves were born with the honor of serving the lords. Slaves were meant to receive penetration and the lords were meant to give. This stringent framework creates a number of issues for Viking Haven and those in charge need.

I could go into greater detail but you get the idea. Let me share the blurb with you.

The Craving Blurb:

The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.

Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.

Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.

Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.

Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press ebooks and Paperback

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Giveaway

 Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

About the Author

Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com

FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora

Website: www.zallorabooks.com

Twitter: @ZAllora

DSP GUEST POST: Sean Michael on Inheritance

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Inheritance by Sean Michael
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reamspinner Press

   

Cover art by Bree Archer

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today talking about his story, Inheritance. Welcome, Sean!

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Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today!

Life is Short

Cash and Brad learn very quickly at the beginning of this book that life is short. Their sister and brother have just been killed, leaving them with six kids to look after. I was reminded of this myself only last week, when my high school best friend’s father passed away. He was quite old and it wasn’t a surprise, but it was a reminder. This high school friend and I had more or less lost touch – Christmas cards, the occasional call. We have been reminded that we need to make a bigger effort to keep in touch with the people we want to.

Don’t make your bucket list for later. Make it for now. Sure you probably can’t do them all at once or right this minute, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a list for later.

And that’s one of the reasons why I write romance. Life is short and we all deserve our happy ending. I love giving the characters that live in my head their happy endings. Just like Cash and Brad and their brood.

I hope you enjoy Inheritance.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Inheritance

Cash McCord’s life is pretty much perfect. He owns the family ranch, loves his work, and invites the occasional cowboy into his bed. But everything is turned upside down when his brother Jack and Jack’s wife Val are killed in a car crash, leaving behind six kids.

Cash is made guardian of the children, along with Val’s brother, Brad Rafferty—a man who couldn’t be more different from Cash if he tried. A Yankee, Brad is a video-game developer who works twelve-to-fourteen-hour days at his desk. They lock horns as soon as they set eyes on each other. Neither man is happy to have the other around, but neither is willing to give up custody of his nieces and nephews.

It’s up to these two polar opposites to keep the kids together and give them a family again. But first they’ll have to keep from killing each other.

About the Author

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

Ki Brightly on Writing and her release Trust Trade (Gem City Grit #1) (author interview)

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Trust Trade (Gem City Grit #1) by Ki Brightly
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reamspinner Press

Cover art by Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Ki Brightly here today to talk about her writing and her latest release, Trade Trust.  Welcome, Ki!

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Hi! I’m Ki Brightly. My book Trust Trade is due out on January 27th, and Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words was kind enough to invite me to their blog for an interview today. I’m excited to answer some questions, so I will get to it!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

This is a tremendously difficult question to answer, though it appears up front. I don’t think any writer can say nothing of themselves makes it into a character. Any character, no matter how unique or researched or villainous, can only react to a situation as a writer can imagine that character reacting. Now, a person can have a damned good imagination, but the writer is the limit. So, how much of myself goes into a character? I think that depends. If I start out writing with a clear picture of a character, or say I have gone all out and created a character sheet for them (attributes, thoughts on certain subjects, and what not) then I would say that less of me goes into them. They become more of themselves when I know who they are to start with. If I start writing and I’m sort of discovering a character as I go, say I just can’t get a bead on them or I’m confused about what type of person they will be, then I would say more of the essence of my thoughts ends up in that character because they don’t have their own thoughts yet. Sometimes when that happens and say I hit the middle of the book and realize it is happening, I will go back and edit a little or a lot, sometimes I don’t. There a couple of characters that have a lot of “me” in them. I would have to say one of the ones that most has “me” responses out of all of my books is probably Duncan from Threefold Love, (he also briefly appears in The Paranaturalist). Duncan works in a museum. I have a history degree and adored my art history classes. He loves to cook and I would spend about 6 hours a day cooking and eating if I could. He’s pudgy. Left to my own devices, without my marathon training, I’m pudgy. I’ll let you guess at what other attributes he and I share. He is a character, but yes, there are definitely bits of me there.

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. I define a Gary Stu as “perfect person syndrome”. It’s when that character is a super hero with a fix for every situation to the point where their story is almost boring. I can quickly and easily think of a few stories with these types of characters, both mainstream and other. If I’m doing a good job putting together a story you should never know that the experiences I’m using to create it are my own. In any event, most of the things that I would probably use while writing would be unpleasant things, creating trouble for the character, and since I try to write realistically, whatever it is would likely end up being a pie in the face to said unsuspecting character.

There’s that old saying, “Don’t do or say anything around a writer or it will end up in a book.” It’s true. Writer’s mine their own lives as well as anything and everything around them for inspiration and story ideas. I don’t think it is unusual to use personal experiences to write.

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

Yes, for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever written a book or article that didn’t require some form of research or another. For Trust Trade I think I probably spent somewhere around 100 hours doing research on Deaf culture to create a single aspect of the story as accurately as possible.

I don’t know if I enjoy research, but I certainly don’t mind reading about things that I find interesting, so to that end I like it. I don’t like the time it tends to eat up. It can really slow down a story if I decide to write about something I am minimally informed about. I do like story building and world building, my first published books were paranormal romances, but even with those I spent a lot of time researching. While writing The Paranaturalist I did paranormal research (before the time I spent with a local paranormal investigator I would have called it Ghost Hunting) and made a very nice friend along the way.

I think I like hands on research best.

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

Yes and no. I was a large fan of Ann Rice when I was younger. To that end, I do enjoy writing paranormal romances, but I don’t think I particularly emulate her style. I do like description, but anyone who has ever read Interview will know what I’m talking about when I say she LOVES description. She takes description above and beyond. To some degree I like that. I like showing people what is in my head, creating a reading experience that can compete with a movie or television show. But I mainly write gay romance. I’ve toyed around with writing something a little more mainstream, and perhaps someday I will, but right now I’m focusing on what I love to write and attempting to do it well.

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

Yes. I have two separate stories right now that I have set aside. One I will be coming back to this year, hopefully, because it is sitting pretty at 60 thousand words (that is novel length for those of you not familiar with word count, but probably about 1/3 of the size of the books I usually put out). One is a paranormal romance, and one is a contemporary.

Both have an abusive boyfriend.

I started the first book, untitled except for the main characters Matteo and Devin, and ended up setting it aside. After I finished Trust Trade I started the second book, tentatively entitled The Bullsh*t Hippy Cure, but it also has an abusive boyfriend. I get stuck when there are abusers involved in the storyline, mainly because I had a quite lengthy (five years) emotionally and physically abusive relationship while I was in college. I refuse to write a book where the abused individual doesn’t “save themselves” because honestly, even if a prince comes along to rescue a person from the outright violence, they still have to do the work of putting themselves back together. I suppose the problem arose when I was trying to move the person who had been abused into a new, healthy relationship. I think it is an issue of time collapse in a novel, you only have so much time, and in real life it could take a person years, if not longer, to get over something like an abusive relationship. I suppose when I figure out a healthy way to move those characters forward those books will almost write themselves because I know the story arcs, the plots and the sub plots, but I just haven’t gotten them written yet.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I suppose I prefer Happy for Now over Happily Ever After, simply because it is more realistic. I have no way of knowing, even with characters I wrote, what the future will bring. That being said, I have to stop myself from ending every book with a ring because I so badly want my characters to be happy, even when, or maybe especially because, I put them through the wringer.

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

Yes! Of course! I’m not sure anyone could write romance and not read it. I used to read m/f as well as m/m, but in the last several years I’ve slowly progressed into reading primarily m/m. Every once in a while I think maybe I’m missing out on something and will venture back out into het land, but I still prefer gay romance to mainstream.

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

I’m not sure. Growing up I loved Ann Rice and she spawned many a started and abandoned vampire novel. For a while I was stuck on Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry series, but the shine has worn off those for me. I read all Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books and liked them a lot. Mostly what I read now days is in the gay romance genre. I have a New Year’s resolution to read one “mainstream” book for every gay romance I read this year, but I’ve been reading true crime novels as research for the upcoming two books in my Gem City Grit Universe. Love It Like You Stole It (the one I’m working on editing it now) will be a mob influenced book, and the one after that (actively writing) will be more of a gang crimes book…it features Gus Jolliss and Kare Eckland. For anyone who reads Trust Trade and wonders what happens to Kare…well, you’ll find out, hopefully by this time next year, if I can get moving faster. 

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

Ebooks are a mixed bag for me. I love them for their affordable price points and space saving. If I had every ebook I own as a physical book then I wouldn’t have room in my house for anything else….I have book problems. I also like that I can make any book a large font book. On the other hand, sometimes I want to give my eyes a break from screen time, but most of my books are digital. Then I have to make a choice between reading the digital book I’m currently sucked into (and there always is one) or picking up a paperback that I haven’t started. This is how I end up with seven books going at a time. At this point I feel ebooks are well established and I don’t see them going anywhere. As the economy improves I think perhaps we will see a resurgence in physical book buying, but only for those people who have issues reading digitally or thoroughly enjoy the physicality of holding a book.

How do you choose your covers?

I have to take a moment to gush about the Dreamspinner Press art department. They are absolutely amazing. I get beautiful art packages before my books are published, including book marks and post cards. I can’t say enough good things. The book cover choice starts almost as soon as the book is accepted: the art department asks for everything possible about my characters and the setting of my book. They also give me samples of covers from the artists they have on hire, and I can choose anyone, so long as they are available. Only once have I not gotten to work with the artist I requested, but the artists I did work with are all amazing. I tell them the ideas I have for the book and they send me several mock ups to choose from. I pick, and from there on out they do their wonderful, artisty goodness and produce glamorous, beautiful covers for me. The artist for the cover of Trust Trade was Bree Archer and she was a delight to work with.

I always want to have one of the most engaging scenes from the book on the cover, but unfortunately, that usually isn’t possible based on how covers are made and what is determined to “sell well”. With The Paranaturalist I had a sketch artist, Christine Griffin, so I did get to have Joe in the river, which was spectacular. Working with her was fun because I could give her input on any and all aspects of the cover, down to the lights on the water and the shade of Joe’s eyes. It was great! As a writer there is no better feeling than seeing a talented artist breathe life into the wisps of your imagination.

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

Any time I’m asked this question the answer is usually going to be the book I just worked on, so I will go ahead and say Trust Trade. I think that happens because in order to put a book out you have to become so immersed in it, eat sleep breathe it, that it becomes a part of you. During the first professional edit for Trust Trade I literally spent four days, ten hours a day, sitting in my chair, staring at my laptop with Trust Trade—littered with spelling and grammar and other errors—staring back at me. I was on deadline. It was brutal. I had to edit it four more times. When you go through a process like that you either start loving or loathing something, and I usually turn toward loving it. Eventually.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently working on the next book in the Gem City Grit universe. It features Ben Jelen and Michael Levine, two characters who aren’t in Trust Trade, but there will be several other characters you should recognized throughout the book. Ben is a mechanic. Michael works for Ben, and finds himself caught up in a mob run scheme to funnel illegally procured car parts out of the country. There are a lot of different nuances in this book—Ben rescued Michael (he usually calls him Meeko) from bullies when he was a teen, and Michael has been hanging around Ben’s garage, learning about and working on cars ever since. But Michael’s all grown up now and Ben’s not entirely comfortable with how he feels about him. I had a good time writing this book because for the first half Ben’s part of the book is a “romance”, mostly, and Meeko’s part of the book is sort of a romance but mostly a crime drama, and then they run headlong into each other. I’m hoping everyone else likes it as much as I’ve enjoyed burning the midnight oil on it. 

Ki, that was a terrific interview.  Thank you so much for sharing.  And now for more information about Trade Trust!

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Blurb for Trust Trade

Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

About the Author

kibrightly

Ki Brightly

Ki grew up in small town nowhere pretending that meteor showers were aliens invading, turning wildflowers into magic potions, and reading more than was probably healthy. Ki had one amazing best friend, one endlessly out of grasp “true love”, and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

Now, as an adult, living in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ki enjoys the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Seriously, fancy waters…who knew there were so many different kinds? It’s just water…and yet…

Ki shares this life with a Muse, a Sugar Plum, and two wonderful children.

Social Media

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

Blog http://www.brightlybooks.wordpress.com

Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/search/Ki+Brightly

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KiBrightly

E-mail: kibrightly@gmail.com

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