Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga on Interesting Personalities and their new novel Heart of a Redneck (guest post)


Heart of a Redneck by Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Alexandria Corza

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga here today on tour for their latest novel, Heart of a Redneck. Thank you both for answering some of our author questions today!



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Jodi Payne and B.A. Tortuga


  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?


I think some of those interesting traits are exactly what we’re exploring in Heart of a Redneck. How family and upbringing shape you into who you are and inform your values. Which traditions you hold onto and which you reject, and the things you’re willing to compromise or even give up for someone else. The ways things like geography and privilege influence your opinions and your perspective.

Gordon’s family wasn’t tight, his father wasn’t present or terribly motivated, and that’s made Gordon feel like he has something to prove. He’s an overachiever, he’s confident, he thinks fast and has high expectations, and that’s built a successful and profitable restaurant. But he left home easily, he’s never had family support and he doesn’t really know to do anything but work 24/7.


I love clever people, funny people, and I’m totally addicted to honesty. Trust me, my wife is witty and wonderful.

I think the honest is what resonates with Colby. He is who he is, full stop. He loves working, babies, dogs, the mountains, and Gordon. Simple. Strong. Straightforward.


Blurb – Heart of a Redneck

Colby McBride is a blue-collar cowboy trying to make ends meet laying tile in Colorado. A loner by choice, Colby works hard with his hands and finds his peace camping in the mountains outside Boulder. Gordon James is a white-collar restaurateur who owns not one, but two successful establishments in downtown Boulder. He’s a sophisticated urbanite who is devoted to his work and is accustomed to getting what he wants.

The men are friends, but sparks fly when Colby falls in love and decides to show Gordon how much fun a good old boy can be. They’re just beginning to explore their relationship when Gordon’s sister’s suicide leaves him with custody of his five-year-old niece.

Colby comes from a huge family and is eager to help with the girl and to prove his worth to Gordon. But neither of them is ready for the tremendous changes to their already busy lives, or for how this new relationship with Olivia challenges them, complicating the way they interact with each other.

They say opposites attract, but can these two very different men work together to join their disparate lives and form a strong, if highly unlikely, family?

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press buy link:

Universal Link(Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo etc):


About the Authors

Jodi Payne takes herself way too seriously and has been known to randomly break out in song. Her men are imperfect but genuine, stubborn but likable, often kinky, and frequently their own worst enemies. They are characters you can’t help but fall in love with while they stumble along the path to their happily ever after. For those looking to get on her good side, Jodi’s addictions include nonfat lattes, Malbec and tequila any way you pour it.

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 ménages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

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Rick R. Reed on the Writing Process, Influences, and his new release ‘Bigger Love (Big Love #2)’ (author guest post)


Bigger Love (Big Love #2) by Rick R. Reed
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Reese Dante


Amazon paperback |  Amazon Kindle  |   Dreamspinner Press paperback |  Dreamspinner Press ebook 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Rick R. Reed here on tour for the latest story in his Big Love series, Bigger Love, Rick R. Reed. Welcome, Rick.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Probes BIGGER LOVE Author Rick R. Reed

How much of yourself goes into a character?

A lot. Whether I’m aware of it or not (sometimes I don’t spot it until long after a book is in print), I think a bit of myself goes into every character I write. That may be a small part or a big part. For example, in my latest, Bigger Love, I identify strongly with Truman Reid, my bullied, yet out-and-proud high school student. Like him, I suffered from being different when I was growing up (and the loathing came from both inside and out). But the wonderful thing I could do with Truman is give the strength, spirit, and self-love I wish I’d had at his age.

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 can’t say that I have. I’m the kind of writer who starts with the first sentence and writes through to the end, never straying. Once I’m committed to a project, I finish it and always from beginning to end, never in any other order. As the kids say, “I can’t even…” However, that’s not to say things I’ve written haven’t been painful to me, especially when they hit very close to home. The books I’ve cried the most while writing were CAREGIVER, RAINING MEN, BIG LOVE, BIGGER LOVE and BLINK. Those books all came very close to my own personal life and it was impossible to write them without feeling both the pain and joy of the experiences and people who inspired them.

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

In real life, that would be my college creative writing professor, Milton White, who was an old, gay man, who wrote a couple of brilliant books that no one, sadly read (A Yale Man and Listen, the Red-Eyed Vireo). Milton was funny, abrasive, and demanding when it came to teaching and he imparted so much wisdom to me about writing. For example, one of the many lessons I learned from him was that there’s a big difference between simple and simplistic. You always want to strive for the former. In the book world, authors like Patricia Highsmith, Ruth Rendell, Flannery O’Connor and Stephen King all shaped who I am as a writer today. I have endless admiration for them and only hope that my work perhaps just begins to approach their talent and world-view.

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

It’s here to stay. Look at Amazon, who are just this month releasing a new version of the Kindle Paperwhite, so there must be some demand for it. Take a look at any royalty statement I get, where ebooks outsell print books easily by 100 to 1. And personally, I read almost everything these days on my Kindle or on my phone/iPad on the Kindle app. Books are books and whether they’re paper or pixels, it’s the idea and the imagination that counts, not the vessel in which they’re conveyed to you.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

No. I believe it’s our flaws that provide conflict and make characters interesting. Flaws are something that can, during the course of a story, be improved upon, especially by the redemptive power of love. That power is a common theme in my work and brings about the most joyous changes among my characters and leads to their happy-ever-after. The more flawed the character, the greater the redemption and, I think, the more satisfying the story.


What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

Here you go. This is from a novella you can get on Amazon for only $1.99 called OUT ON THE NET (


A Visit to a Rest Stop

Oh, I know what you’re going to say when you see the title of this entry. You’ll roll your eyes and say, “Now, I understand why this blog is labeled ‘adult content.’” And you’re probably thinking that things are going to get juicy and scandalous.

Because everyone in Summitville knows what goes on at that little rest stop just north of town, on the way to the highway. There’s a reason people snicker about it and call it “Lollipop Park.”

Are you rolling your eyes and hoping in every sense of the phrase that I will not go there?

Hang on to your hats, boys and girls, because I did go there. Sordid. Seedy. Shameful. I know. I went there in real life and I’m going there now on paper. Hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride!

But I didn’t yet tell you why I drove out there just a couple of weeks after the disaster that was to have been my wedding day. And I haven’t yet related what happened there, so just hold your horses on your judgments, Mary. I am trying to learn to talk as I imagine a gay man would and it’s not coming easy. Case in point—calling you “Mary.” So stupid.

Anyway, Summitville, PA has no gay bars, no gay clubs, no gay newspaper. To the untrained eye, one might even claim the little riverside town has no gay people, but discerning minds know that in a town of 12,000, that can’t be true. If you take the more or less accepted rule of thumb of one in every ten people is gay (don’t ask me where I got that statistic; I’ve heard it all my life), that would mean there are at least 1200 people here just like me, or at least like me in that they prefer sausage over pie or vice versa.

I digress. Why did I stop by the rest stop, when I neither needed to rest, nor to pee? What made me go to that shadowy, stinking-of-excrement, gravel-fronted little rest stop with the obscene graffiti and lone men lingering too long in parked cars? What would possess a nice, clean, upstanding guy like me to wander out to a place known for anonymous sexual encounters?

Curiosity. Don’t give me that crap about killing the cat, either. It was curiosity. Because, you see, even though I knew now that I was a gay man, I had no idea what gay men did, where they went, how they met. Maybe if I lived in that big city to the west, Pittsburgh, with its gay bars and clubs, I would have a better idea. But here in Summitville, where when people think of “cornholing,” they think of a summertime game played with beanbags and slotted boards, I just hadn’t had much opportunity to know much about gay life—the ins and outs of it (yes, I hear you snickering…shut up!).

Ergo the rest stop, rest area, Lollipop Park, whatever you wanted to call it. It was my only frame of reference for where gay men met up. I had driven by many times, on my way to the mall, and had heard the whisperings and jokes about the place, had even pretended to find the idea of such a locale humorous. But when I was alone, I put the humor aside and toyed with the rumors I’d heard—that men sucked each other off in the woods nearby and sometimes even right there in the stalls; that guys picked each other up and went back to each other’s home for God knew what. Parcheesi? Root beer floats? I don’t think so. These ideas made me feel paradoxically sick and weak and, at the same time, queasy with desire.

So I decided that my first act as a gay man should be to meet another one. And my very limited frame of reference left this as my only option. The idea of driving up to Pittsburgh or down to Steubenville and setting foot in one of the gay bars there filled me with terror. I was so not ready to mingle with my more urban, and sophisticated, gay brethren.

So I was stuck with this seedy and unseemly choice. I pulled into the gravel parking lot, where several other cars were already sitting, and shrugged. What would be the worst that could happen? Okay, okay, I could be fag bashed or arrested…that would be the worst. But if I was careful, maybe I would come out of this at least knowing someone else like myself and maybe, oh God, just maybe, I would have my first sexual encounter with a man.

Whoa there, boy, you’re getting ahead of yourself! I quieted the lustful thoughts and the rising erection that both seemed to arrive of their own accord, with no prompting from me.

I sat in my car and looked around the little parking lot. It was around nine o’clock, dusky. A few fireflies danced in the air over the grassy area just ahead of our cars, where the Summitville park district had kindly put out a pair of decrepit looking picnic tables. Who would want to picnic here? And what was on the menu?

Shut up with the weenies comment, please!

Because of the dying light and the setting sun reflecting off car glass, it was hard to see any of the other occupants of the three other vehicles in the lot. One thing was for sure, though: from the silhouettes, I could tell that a lone male occupied each car. One of them was smoking; I could see the glow of the cherry at the tip of his cigarette as he brought it to his mouth and drew in.

What was I supposed to do now? I didn’t know, so I just sat in my car, the butterflies dancing in my stomach, for what seemed like hours, but was, in reality, only about fifteen minutes or so. I drew in a deep breath and gathered up my courage. Someone had to start something.

I rolled up my car windows and exited my Kia Soul, closing the door softly behind me. I used the remote over my shoulder to lock the car up as I headed to the little cinder block structure to my left. Even from here, the word, “MEN” beckoned in white on a blue background.


I went inside and thought of uttering that old Bette Davis line, “What a dump!” and then chastised myself for being such a queen.

But the shitter, er, the restroom was not exactly a sight for sore eyes. It was dingy and dark, the only illumination came from a bare, low-watt bulb hanging from the ceiling. The paint-peeling industrial green walls looked like they would be damp to the touch. Flies buzzed around, obviously delighted with the luxurious accommodations. Cigarette butts and toilet paper littered the floor. Twin pieces of reflective metal, trying hard to find their motivation as mirrors, had been affixed to the wall above a pair of old, dripping, and rust-stained sink. On one wall was mounted a dispenser out of which one could get a condom for just a quarter. What was that doing here? The whole place stank of urine and shit.

Isn’t it romantic?

If this was gay life, perhaps I should crawl back to Alice on my hands and knees and beg for forgiveness.

But, as the saying goes, “in for a penny, in for a pound,” I thought I should at least check out the rest of the place. See what some witty scribes had written on partition walls…

I headed over to the two toilet stalls and, after wiping the seat with a piece of single-ply toilet paper, I nervously sat down. Even though I had wiped the seat, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to lower my cargo shorts.

The first thing I spied was some graffiti that said, “10-4 good buddy, this is the place, pull down your pants and fuck my face.”


I wondered what poet wannabe had written those lines on the wall and if any burly trucker had ever heeded its siren call. I searched in vain for more rhyming couplets, but none of the other graffiti matched its poetic flair. In fact, the rest of it was downright crude, exhortations to suck and be sucked, to fuck and be fucked, penis sizes, and messages left by people who cared so little about their privacy that they left phone numbers.

I could not imagine calling one of those numbers…or what kind of person would be hanging out on the other end of the line.

I stiffened—and not in a good way—as I heard footsteps. It was then that I noticed the hole drilled into the partition wall. It was just the right size to fit a hand—or, oh my Sweet Jesus, another part of the anatomy—through and positioned at waist height.

Did people really use that hole for what I thought they did?

Was there no romance in the gay world?

The footsteps neared my stall, and because there was no front door, I locked eyes with my new restroom buddy. He stopped in front of my stall and stared at me. I didn’t know what to do. Even though my shorts were up, I placed my hand over my crotch.

He had his hand over his crotch, too, and was rubbing it suggestively. He squeezed and I could see the outline of an erect cock beneath the denim.

Suddenly, my mouth felt dry and my heart was beating at double its usual rate. Good Lord, when had it gotten dark outside?

I eyed the man and he met my stare almost with a challenge in his eyes. He was about my age, but had long, stringy blond hair. He was too skinny and his bare arms (he was wearing a grimy wife-beater) were tattooed up and down their sinewy lengths. A hoop earring dangled from one ear, peeking in and out from the strings of his platinum locks as he glanced down at his own crotch, as if making sure it was still there.

My mouth was dry and I wanted to lick my lips, but was afraid of giving the wrong idea. I was learning fast that the language spoken here was with the eyes and not-so-subtle gestures.

Finally, he smiled at me and I saw he had what my mom used to refer to as “summer teeth.” Some are here. Some are there.

Suddenly, he reached for my crotch, as if to give it a neighborly squeeze. I swung my legs around to ensure his intended was out of his reach.

He sighed impatiently and ducked quickly into the stall next to mine. For a long time, there was silence and I dared not hazard a peek through the hole in the wall to see what my new buddy was up to.

But finally, I could stand the suspense no longer. I leaned forward a little, positioning my eye so it was level with the hole.

Boy, did I get an eyeful. Mr. Summer Teeth had had no compunction about dropping his drawers and working himself up into a frenzy. A huge cock, what I would estimate to be between eight or nine inches, rose up from between his tanned thighs. He worked it hard and there was a drop of precum poised at the slit in his head.

I have to admit it. My mouth wasn’t so dry anymore.

I watched. I think I was a little in shock. All kinds of things were running through me, making me feel both nauseous and lustful. I wanted that thing. I needed to get the hell out of here now.

He must have noticed me peering through the hole because the next thing I knew that big missile was coming right through it. Hey, buddy, watch it! You could take out someone’s eye with that thing!

Suddenly the cock was right in front of my face, dripping precum. With just a slight lean forward, I could have the pleasure of tracing a bulging purple vein with my tongue.

Did I touch it? Did I take it in my mouth?

Are you crazy? I ran out of there as fast as I could and if it didn’t mean being labeled as a drama queen, I would have said I rushed out screaming into the night.

As I drove away, tires sending up a spray of gravel behind me, I wondered if I would ever make a very good gay.


Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

Being drunk is not a time to write. Neither is being high. I’m well-acquainted with both and am happy to say I’ve mixed lots of things with both states, but never my writing. That says something about me, but I’ll leave it to you to figure out what.


If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

My home office, with no distractions, and my dog snoring behind me as I write.



Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can’t wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen.

Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He’s quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman’s directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman’s mother is falling for Mike’s dad?

Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms.

See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self….

About the Author RICK R. REED 

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at or Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.


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Sean Michael on Time Change, Routine, and his latest release ‘Personal Best 2’ (author guest blog)


Personal Best 2 by Sean Michael
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:    Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today talking about his latest release Personal Best 2.  Welcome, Sean.





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

So, we fell back by an hour over the weekend and I haven’t been able to catch up since. The time change – both of them – really mess me up. You wouldn’t think an hour would make that big a difference, but it does, every time, and it seems to be getting harder to deal with the older I get.

Plus it’s now dark at like 4:30, and that’s only going to get worse the closer we get to Christmas. I think that’s why we do lights and decorations outside – it really brightens the dark nights up.

I imagine for someone like Mike, from Personal Best 2, who very much relies on his routine, it wouldn’t matter. He’d simply adjust everything by an hour. Or at least his coach Jessy would!

Mike and Jessy were such a joy to write, I did all three books over one summer and it was a sad thing for me when they were done with their story because I didn’t want to let them go. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I loved writing them.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything


Swimmer Mike Gauliet is moving up in the elite ranks of the American swim team, despite his repetitive stress injuries. He’s hiding his pain from coach Jessy Turner, not wanting to give in to it or let his coach and lover down, and by the time he gets treatment, it’s almost too late.

Jessy helps Mike heal, both in an out of the bedroom, and their need for each other grows as quickly as Mike’s career. They’re scorching hot and ready to go to the top competitions when another injury forces Mike to the sidelines. Jessy thinks this one is no accident, and Mike has to work hard to recover the lost ground.

Mike needs a break from the nonstop stress of training, so they move to the coast so Mike can recuperate once again. But their struggles don’t end with getting him back in competition form, and they can’t truly call it a victory unless they can find the balance between their romantic relationship and Mike grabbing the success he’s earned.

About Sean Michael

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:




TWITTER: seanmichael09


BL Morticia on Writing, Romance and her new novel Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia (author interview and excerpt)


Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: April Martinez

Sales Links:

Dreamspinner Press Ebook and  Paperback |  Universal Buy Link  


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host B.L. Morticia today on tour with her latest novel, Push.  Welcome to our author’s chair!


 Scattered Thoughts Rogue Words Interview with B.L. Morticia

Q: How much of you goes into the character?

A: I’d say a little depending on the book. For this one, I’d say Malakei’s passion about proving how much he knows about heavy metal because he is black. Even during the editing process, I had to explain to the interviewer why I wrote what I did. Many times when I’m at a live show or in conversation at a bar it’s as if some people don’t believe a middle aged black woman can love hard rock. I totally do. *smiles*

Q: 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?

A: Oh yes, plenty of times. Not with this one because it flowed through me and I didn’t have to stop. However, I did recently do that with a story because the characters weren’t doing as I wanted them to. The one time I actually want to guide a story in the right direction. Pfft! Anyway, yeah, once I let go of the reins sort of speak, the book turned out great. I suppose that’s the issue when you write by the seat of your pants.

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

A: Yes, I do. Admittedly, I read more MM instead of MF, but there are still some authors in het romance I love. LJ Shen being one of them. When I was a teen, I devoured my grandmothers Harlequins. Fern Michaels, Danielle Steel, and later Jackie Collins. *snorts* That’s where I got my naughty from.

Q: How do you choose your covers?

A: I want my covers to convey the mood of the story. For this one, I asked the cover artist for a lighter colored background because it isn’t an angsty story. There are some moments, but I figured the light brown told the tone of the book. Also, as an author of color who writes gay men of color, 95 percent of the time, I’d like that man on the front. While I know this might be a problem when it comes to sales, I don’t allow it to stop me from showing my diverse characters. This is very important to me in regards to representation.

Q: Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

A: *laughs* I certainly have. More times than I can count. This usually ends up being the love scenes in books because a little libation helps me relax. The first hot scene with Malakei and Seth on the pool table was written with the help of a few beers and a shot or two of whiskey. I remember it well because I raved to my author friends about it the next day.

Q: What’s next for you as an author?

A: Next for this muse, who is BLMorticia, is another story co-written with fellow DSP author and friend, Remmy Duchene. You can find out more on BLMorticia’s website.

Thanks for having me!

About Push Music In Motion: Book One

Malakei Oakley, aka rapper M. Prophet, is at the top of his game—but deep in the closet. Handsome, wealthy, and successful as the head of 315East Entertainment, Malakei should be on cloud nine. Despite his awards and a Midas touch that has every musician clamoring to work with him, something is missing.

Seth “Reaper” Davies is ready for stardom. His band High Stakes plays to small, packed houses all over Birmingham and London but has yet to get their big break. But Seth isn’t giving up on his dream—no matter what it takes.

A viral video prompts a message from a person he doesn’t expect—the talented M. Prophet. Their musical styles are worlds apart, and Seth has no desire to change his style to sell records. But his curiosity—and his attraction to Malakei—wins out.

Malakei can’t get Seth out of his mind. He also can’t come out without ruining his reputation. No matter how much he wants the sexy singer, his only option is to push Seth away. But he’s about to find out Seth isn’t one to give up on what he wants—and he might be just what Malakei needs.

Excerpt from Push – This is the initial meeting between Seth and Malakei. From the first handshake you can feel the sparks!

Malakei had gotten a text from Lena that she’d be coming in with High Stakes and family soon. He could barely hold in his excitement about seeing Seth Davies up close. Dang.

“Focus, M.” Malakei mentally checked himself and stood up when he heard the door open. He had to keep this as business because he wasn’t sure what to expect. However, Malakei had a hard time, knowing the fine guitarist was only feet away from his grasp.

“Malakei? We’re here.”

Malakei took another deep breath, then stood up. Making his way toward them, he glanced at everyone who appeared to be starstruck.

“Hello there. High Stakes and family, I presume. It’s so good to meet you.”

Lena cleared her throat. “Um, Malakei, from the left is Morty, the bassist, his girlfriend, Gina. Gio, and his mother, Theresa, and Seth along with his mother, Ethel.”

All of them said hi, and Malakei made sure he started with Morty, before greeting Seth and his mother. He kissed all the ladies’ hands and shook the band members’ hands as a gentlemanly display. The women blushed, apparently in awe.

Though Malakei didn’t spend that much time holding Seth’s hand, the feel of it wasn’t lost on him. As expected, it was rough, calloused, prickly around the tips from playing his guitar without a pick or even tape. He was a hard rocker through and through, not concerned with protecting the skin. Seth exuded rock and roll because in the minds of people like him, hard music meant sacrifice.

Other than the texture of Seth’s palms, Malakei couldn’t help but notice the outfit. Seth wore black jeans again and this time a classic Metallica T-shirt. Both hugged his lanky body like a glove, and as with most metal musicians he’d known of, they didn’t care for heavy coats. Seth wore a small leather jacket full of buttons on both lapels. Yes, he looked every bit of the part of the quintessential metalhead.

“Gods, you are even more handsome in person.” Ethel smiled at him.

“Um, thank you.” He chuckled. “And you, young lady have a very talented son. Along with his friends, I think we could help them be something special.” Malakei tried keeping his tone even. Out the corner of his eye, he could see Seth was actually at a loss for words.

“Um, yeah, Malakei,” Seth said. He held out his hand again and bowed his head slightly. “Thanks again for this opportunity. I’m totally gobsmacked you’ve asked us to play for you.”

Malakei accepted it again and gripped it firmly. “No, it is my honor. Can we offer you all something to drink? Coffee, tea, water, or soda?”

“Water for me, thank you.” Ethel spoke up first.

“Same with me,” Gina said, as did Gio’s mother.

“I’ll take soda,” Morty said.

“Me too,” added Gio.

Seth grinned at Malakei again. “Do you mind if I be different and ask for coffee? I’m a little drained and need to wake up.”

Malakei wished to follow that up with a snide remark, but he kept it to himself. “Of course. Lena, please grab refreshments while I show the ladies and gentlemen around the studio.”

Lena smiled at Malakei and walked out.

Malakei clapped his hands. “So, I was thinking we’d do a small tour of my space here; then I’ll listen to you guys play. I have a good friend of mine coming in that I’m working on a project with to help DIY bands like yourselves. He’s from my old label, Mustang.”

“Oh? May I ask why? We will not sign with a label.” Seth spoke up.

“Yes, I know, but if we come to some kind of agreement, Peter will help. Besides, he saw your video too. He was very impressed.”

“Al’right. Well, I s’pose that couldn’t hurt. Just reminding ya about what you said. No pressure.”

Malakei nodded. “That’s right. None. Follow me, please.”

About the Author


BLMorticia entertains her readers with hot and smexy sex, humor, and lots of swear words. She attempts to incorporate metal music or the military in most of her works. Nothin’ sexier than metalheads or military servicemen and women! 

Website –

Metalrotica –

Goodreads –

Facebook Page –

Facebook Profile –

Twitter –

Follow Me on BookBub –

BA Tortuga On Her Latest Release Long Black Cadillac (author guest blog and special excerpt)


Long Black Cadillac by B.A. Tortuga

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner PressAmazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have B.A. Tortuga here on tour for her most recent release Long Black Cadillac.  Welcome, B.A.


Hey y’all. I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things bitey.

I’m so stoked because I’ve added almost 15,000 words to my vampire novel, Long Black Cadillac and it’s releasing from Dreamspinner Press. It’s had some polish, some more background, and now Clay, Vince, Gryph, and Remy are back! Most of the additions were adding more Remy and Gryphon to the story, so I’d like to share Gryph’s introduction. Gryph is an ancient vampire who is trying to figure out what his prophetic dreams are trying to teach him.

Gryphon St. Jean watched the security detail for the big man pile out of the stretch limo as if the Colonel fellow was the president, or the king or whatever petty tyrant was ruling the world right now. The son of a bitch so rarely went out in public, and Gryph took every chance he could get to study the man’s habits, since he was declaring an all-out war on Gryph’s kind.

While there were some of his own who he couldn’t care less about, and he preferred his solitude above all else, decimating his brethren seemed rather rude, to be honest. Not to mention that Gryph lived in what the old bastard considered his “territory.” As if fiefdoms still existed, and all who lived within owed the fellow some kind of homage.

That bullshit had been shot down centuries ago, as far as Gryph was concerned. He didn’t believe in autocracy.

And this had been his “territory” since before the idea of plumbing had crossed any of these assholes’ minds.

He watched the Colonel wander into the restaurant, glad-handing like a politician, which, oddly enough, he wasn’t. He was more the reclusive billionaire with enough firepower to start a war and win.

Oddly dressed, though. Almost like a man from the long war—the blood had run free in those days, and Gryph had feasted on gray and blue coats alike.

He had no political loyalties. Never had, as far as he could recall. This man, though, he lived for petty hierarchies. Three of the guards took up outside the restaurant, the rest going inside. He wondered what the hell the Colonel was doing. Showing off, but why? What was the payoff, so to speak.

The temptation to walk in and sit down and ask was huge. Vast.

Dear puffed-up asshole. Why are you disturbing things? No love. Me.

He grinned. Really, people thought he was so… old-fashioned. Gryphon, however, loved to keep up with slang and technology to a point.

He tapped the edge of one fang with his tongue. A rather fine point.

No sense waiting for the Colonel to come back out. Time to hunt, while all the goons were occupied instead of making rounds of the surrounding area. He was somewhat peckish himself….

There had to be someone available. He wasn’t proud. He was willing to pay for his meals.

Perhaps not the beautiful boys he used to find. He was… well, not more rural than he used to be, but the rural areas had a shorter supply. Rather sad.

He could remember long, wine-soaked sips from beautiful lads. He craved those.

Maybe it was time for him to take on a servant again. It had been years. Decades…. None of the locals appealed, but if he went farther afield…. Maybe. For now he would settle for a rent boy.

There was a house he frequented, the madam smiling at him, encouraging him up the stairs, where a young blond man awaited, legs spread, the windows boarded up in case he overstayed his welcome.

Gryphon slid inside the room, closing the door behind him. The place dripped with cloth, with spangles and sparkles, and his supper was bare and gilt, oiled and wanton. No, this wasn’t just his, but he would take it and be glad he wasn’t one of the poor souls the Colonel had eradicated. This pretty lad had a strong heartbeat, a clean smell, and the same hot, delicious blood of any human.

That would just have to be enough for now.

Much love, y’all.


Long Black Cadillac

Official Blurb

When cop-turned-vampire-hunter Vance is sent to eliminate a bloodsucker from the Louisiana swamps, he figures it’s just another day at the office.

But he has no idea what he’s getting into.

Clay is no ordinary vampire, and the spark he lights in battle-scarred Vance is anything but average. Clay should be the enemy, but Vance is powerless to fight something that feels so right… and so damn good. In Clay’s expert hands, Vance might realize he’s misjudged vampires and that donating a little blood can be sexy as hell.

Clay might even ride to the rescue and save his new love when Vance’s mission goes south and Vance becomes the hunted instead of the hunter. Along with his human familiar, a crazy Cajun named Remy, and the enigmatic older vampire Gryphon, Clay must get to Vance before it’s too late. Then they can find the man who betrayed Vance and take their revenge.

But faced with lies and motives darker than they ever imagined, they’ll have to wade through blood and fight their way to a happily ever after….

Dreamspinner Press:

About the Author

BA Tortuga bio:

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 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.


You can find BA at:









Cari Z. on Writing, Romance, and Handle with Care (author interview)


Handle With Care by Cari Z.
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Cari Z. here today on tour for her new story in the Dreamspun Desires line, Handle with Care.  Welcome, Cari.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Cari Z.

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

Research is usually the last thing I want to do when I start writing, which is probably why I’ve done so much sci fi and fantasy and paranormal and so few historicals and contemporaries. I have made exceptions for things that really interested me, though. For Handle With Care, I happen to have a phenomenal friend and ficwife who also happens to work for CPS, so she was instrumental in helping me figure this story out.

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?

Oh my gosh, yes. I’m still working on a story I started two years ago because I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around how to do it all justice. There are some books that resonate so deep that it hurts more to contemplate finishing them badly then not finishing them at all.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both, but I confess a weakness for an HFN, because that usually means a sequel is incoming 😉

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

I love romances! I love that romance as a genre spans every other genre. There’s always space for romance.

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

My favorite work changes frequently. Right now, actually, I’m damn proud of Handle With Care because it was such a departure for me. No gun fights, no knife fights, no explosions, barely one fist fight and nobody even draws blood…what is this book even about? The answer is: EMOTIONS! So many emotions.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve got some big plans for 2019! I’m working on the sequel to another Dreamspinner Press book right now, and am contracted for a hugely fun action/adventure/mystery with them. Think of it like a contemporary version of The Mummy without the paranormal aspects of that film (I know, whyyyy? But it’ll work, I promise). It’s going to be awesome.

If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

Honestly, if I don’t like a character, I won’t read about them. I don’t care if he or she is the most complex, brilliant, tortured person ever created, with enough compelling backstory to blow my mind. If they’re also an asshole who ends up slow to change, or doesn’t change at all—screw them. I’m done.

 What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love figuring out what a person does with themselves while they’re alone. Everyone becomes something slightly other than themselves when they’re around other people. When a character feels comfortable enough to act like they’re alone while being with the person they love—that interests me.

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Tempest. It took me for effing ever to finish that one. I wrote seventy thousand words in three weeks, then lost my mind and shoved it in a drawer for over a year.

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

I’m going to take this question in not the spirit it was written in and say—I work out how I imagine getting into fights in some of my books. Obviously not exactly, since I write a lot of guys and I’m not one and the techniques are often different, but it’s safe to say that I think about self-defense a LOT, and that preoccupation comes out in a lot of my books.

 Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I drunk-wrote a sex scene once, came back to it the next day and was like, “Wait, how many hands is that? How many penises? Did I write in a dildo too?”

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

Cliché time! I write because I just love it. I love doing it, I love the realization of scenes from my head onto the page, I love telling stories. I have a baby now and I read to her every morning, and I can’t wait until she’s old enough to tell me stories back. I think it’s an intrinsic part of being human, and a beautiful thing.


A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years–boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas–and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

About the Author

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Social media: Twitter: @author_cariz




SJD Peterson on Getting to Know Jo and her new release ‘Calculated Magic’ by S.J.D. Peterson (guest blog)


Calculated Magic by S.J.D. Peterson
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.J. D. Peterson back today in our author’s interview chair, talking about characters, writing, and the latest in the Dreamspun Beyond titles, Calculated Magic.  Welcome, Jo!



How much of yourself goes into a character? 

I don’t know how a writer could tell a story without putting a bit of him or herself in each character. We (writers readers, & editors) bring our own life experience to each story written or read. I try to make each character unique yet even when I base that character on someone I know, there is still a part of me in each one.

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?

All the time!! I am one of those who always have more than one story going at a time. Typically, I’ll have a happy, sad, angry ect story going and depending on my mood that day, it’s the story I am going to work on. (Another reason I suck at deadlines) If I’m happy, I’ll be telling a fun, light story, with ewwy gooey love. On the flip side, if I’m sad, the angst is flowing. Now, if I’m pissed off… yup everyone is going to die.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like them, but I don’t think a good story has to end in one. I’m more of the, you don’t get happy unless you deserve it. In my world if the guy Is an asshole, he doesn’t deserve HFN or HEA. For the really big jerks, it may take more than one book before he’s become worthy of the love.

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

I never read fiction when I was a teenager, hell I didn’t read it most of my adult life either. I have always been a bit of a history buff and when I wasn’t reading about history, I was reading true crime. I am not embarrassed to admit that it was Twilight that brought me to reading fiction and ultimately to writing my first book. After watching that movie, I came home read the novels then moved on to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I was literally reading novel a day to make up for all the years I missed. I no longer have much time to read but when I do get a chance, I cherish it.

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

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

I surf the web. Sometimes I write a story based on a picture I see but most of the time, I have to go in search of photo. I have been blessed with finding the perfect photo and being given permission by the photographer to use it for my cover. Plan B, Quinn’s Need, Jess’s Journey, Tag Team and My Hometown are all examples of that.  I have a hard time picking one as a favorite since I love them all for a different reason. However, if forced to choose one, I’d have to go with Ty’s Obsession since my son created that one for me

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

You mean people actually write sober? Like my hero the late great Earnest Hemmingway, I write drunk and edit sober.

Just kidding hehehe I’ve only been drunk a couple of times while (tipsy doesn’t count) and I have no clue if EH wrote drunk either. You see, Hemmingway never said, Write drunk, edit sober The quote is all over the internet being attributed to EH, but no one ever gives a source in Hemingway’s works or conversations. It was the novelist Peter De Vries who said it. You go Pete!

Anything else you want to know, just ask. I’m an open book!



Never too late for love.

Three-hundred-and-fifty-year-old warlock Tikron must find his true love or forfeit his immortality. But if he hasn’t found his ideal mate in all these centuries, the prospects don’t look too bright.

That is, until he sees mathematician Richard Beaumont. It’s love at first sight and Tikron’s future just go a whole lot brighter. 

Except Richard doesn’t believe in love at first sight. He doesn’t believe in love at all. He certainly doesn’t believe in magic. His life is ruled by statistics and logic, and they tell him a relationship with Tikron has only a 10 percent chance of success. That’s unacceptable—even if the attraction between them is off the charts.

With his powers waning and the clock ticking down, Tikron’s last hope is showing Richard the true meaning of magic.

Buy Link:

About the Author

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

Visit Jo on

Twitter: @SJDPeterson





David C. Dawson on story location, writing, and his new release ‘For the Love of Luke’ (author guest blog, excerpt and giveaway)


For the Love of Luke by David C. Dawson
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host David C. Dawson here today on tour for his latest story For the Love of Luke. Welcome, David.

Thank you so much to Scattered Thoughts and Words for letting me stop by!

For the Love of Luke is a story of love, and has been a work of love for me. Not just the wonderful heroes Rupert and Luke, but also the British locations they visit in the book.

One of them is Middle Claydon, a village in Buckinghamshire where Rupert’s parents live. The village actually exists and I live about fifteen miles away from this beautiful spot. It’s a very romantic area to go walking, and there are three other Claydon hamlets nearby; Botolph Claydon, East Claydon and Steeple Claydon.

As described in the book, Claydon House was the ancestral home of the Verney family since 1620.

In the nineteenth century, Florence Nightingale’s sister Parthenope married the then Lord Verney and lived here. And that’s why Florence Nightingale often stayed at Claydon House. She wrote her seminal book Notes on Nursing here. Historians say she preferred the company of women to men, but lived a chaste life. According to her own writings, there were three women she loved dearly in her life. In the nineteenth century, there was no understanding or belief that a woman could be a lesbian.

If you ever get to visit Buckinghamshire, go find this beautiful spot. The surrounding countryside is lush and green, and the pretty church of All Saints is in the grounds of Claydon House.


About For the Love of Luke

A handsome naked man. Unconscious on a bathroom floor.

He’s lost his memory, and someone’s out to kill him.

Who is the mysterious Luke?

British TV anchor and journalist Rupert Pendley-Evans doesn’t do long-term relationships. Nor does he do waifs and strays. But Luke is different. Luke is a talented American artist with a dark secret in his life.

When Rupert discovers Luke, he’s intrigued, and before he can stop himself, he’s in love. The aristocratic Rupert is an ambitious TV reporter with a nose for a story and a talent for uncovering the truth. As he falls deeper in love with Luke, he discovers the reason for Luke’s amnesia. And the explanation puts them both in mortal danger.


The leathers Rupert brought for Luke were a snug fit. They clung tight to almost every part of his body. Luke admired himself in the full-length mirror. He turned side on. They felt good. He had to admit it. They looked damn good. Tight, black leather jeans enhanced the bulk of his thighs and the narrowness of his waist. They sagged a bit in the ass, but Rupert explained that was necessary to allow Luke to sit comfortably on the motorbike. Luke turned up the collar of the black leather jacket and closed the zips on both sleeves. Kevlar protective panels in the back, sleeves, and shoulders of the jacket filled out the upper part of his torso, adding bulk to his hours of work in the gym. He crossed to the bed and sat to pull on the reinforced bike boots, fasten their zips and Velcro covers.

Luke smoothed his hands across the surface of the leather stretched tight across his thighs and grinned at a stirring in his groin. The sensation both surprised and pleased him. He stood, and the rigid shape of the boots forced him to lean forward, like a skier about to descend a black run. He attempted to stand straight, the upper part of his body compensating for the enforced bend in his knees. The jeans pulled tight against his crotch, and his cock rose to the stimulation of the leather hugging his body.

“Sexy man.” Rupert’s voice came from the doorway. Luke turned. Rupert wore a one-piece racing suit made of red leather. White leather panels stitched into it enhanced the shape of his torso and legs. He crossed the bedroom to stand behind Luke at the mirror and placed his hands on Luke’s thighs. “I’ve not worn those leathers for a long time.” He studied Luke’s reflection in the mirror with an admiring grin. “They fit you really well. How do they feel?”

Luke took Rupert’s hands in his and pulled them to wrap around his waist. “They’re making me horny,” replied Luke. “I was getting a hard-on just standing here, even before you came in.”

Rupert slipped his hand down and caressed the front of Luke’s leathers. “And now you’re rapidly outgrowing those jeans. By the second, it feels like.”

He placed both hands on Luke’s shoulders and pulled him gently forward. He bent his head and kissed the side of Luke’s neck, slowly and tenderly, his tongue warm and moist against Luke’s skin. “I want you right now, the way you look and feel,” breathed Rupert. “But we’ve got to get moving. It should take us only an hour and a half to get there. Come on.”

About the Author


David C. Dawson writes contemporary thrillers featuring gay heroes in love. His debut novel The Necessary Deaths is published by DSP Publications and was described as “a real page turner”. It won Bronze for Best Mystery & Suspense in the FAPA awards. Rainbow Reviews called it “an exciting read with complex characters”.

The Deadly Lies is the second book in the series and came out last December.

For the Love of Luke is David’s third book. His fourth comes out in 2019.

David lives near Oxford in the UK, with his ageing Triumph motorbike and two cats.



Dreamspinner Press book:




Answer this simple question and you’ll have the chance to win a digital copy of For the Love of Luke! Email your answer with your name to: Competition closes on midnight October 16, 2018.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Question: In For the Love of Luke, what’s the name of the English village where Rupert’s parents live?

Tara Lain on Writing, and her new release ‘Love You So Special’ (guest post, excerpt, and giveaway)


Love You So Special (Love You So Stories #3) by Tara Lain
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Sales Links:

Goodreads |  Kindle |  Kobo |   B&N  |   iTunes  |  Dreamspinner Press  



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Tara Lain here today on tour for Love You So Special. Welcome, Tara.


Hi and welcome! I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to be celebrating the release of my new super-romantic story, Love You So Special. The book is a fave of mine, maybe because it not only includes one of my favorite couples, but also because I wove in a few of my favorite things – music, existentialism, and fish.

The old adage says write what you know. I think that is true primarily on an emotional and spiritual level. While I don’t know any werewolves personally, I still write paranormal stories sometimes because I do understand the alienation and loneliness that someone different from the pack might feel. At the same time, writers do weave in things we know and love. I’ve set many, many books in the town I lived in for 28 years, Laguna Beach. I love animals so I write a lot of pets. I adore decorating houses so we often know lots about where my characters live.

In Love You So Special, I wanted to show a guy who thinks he’s ordinary as dirt,  but reveals his specialness in small unique ways. He adores his landlord, a retired teacher of existential philosophy, he falls in love with the exquisite classical music he hears while installing plumbing at a concert hall, and he adores his tank full of colorful, amazing tropical fish. None of these things seem to go together, and yet for me they each revealed an aspect of my hero, Artie.

As you may know, I love opposites attract stories and one of the big challenges of these stories in uncovering and revealing the characteristics of each protagonist that make them compatible with the other, despite their superficial differences. In this story that happens through music, existentialism, and fish. I hope you love it! : )

About Love You So Special

Can a man’s secret yearnings be revealed in a tank full of fish?

Artie Haynes knows he’s nothing special, with just-your-regular-brown hair, a solid plumber’s job, not much education, and a family that can barely get off the couch. But Artie has quirks—like his love of tropical fish, a landlord who’s a professor of existentialism, a passion for the amazing piano music he hears at a concert hall while he’s fixing the bathrooms—and the fact that he’s never come out as gay and probably never will. But when he’s hired to build a guesthouse for the pianist whose music enchanted him, Artie is swept up into an unimaginable world.

Francois Desmarais may be famous, rich, and revered as one of the world’s great classical composers and pianists, but he’s soothed and challenged by the inquisitive, stalwart, protective man in his back yard. When Francois’s terrible fear of crowds turns into a dangerous plot, Artie can stay in the closet or prove just how special he is.

Excerpt 1 – Love You So Special by Tara Lain

Artie peered in the open front door of the Desmarais’s house. No way he’d pass that opportunity up. He stepped inside and followed the sound of voices. Man, what a house. All fancy and traditional and shit, with paintings on the walls of scary-looking people. Funny. He wouldn’t exactly expect that messy, casual, snarky guy to live in a house like this.

He walked quietly down the hall the woman had run down. Voices came from ahead of him.

“The man said you were hurt, Senor Desmarais.”

“I’m okay. I’m fine. Just go back to—whatever. Honest, I’m fine.”

“But he said—”

“Where is this man?” He sounded pissed and upset.

Artie stepped into the doorway. He might get a vase in the face, but—he just needed to be sure Francois was okay. “I’m here. Sorry. I was just worried that you were hurt.”

“Why? Because you scared the bloody hell out of me and made me fall on my butt?”

Artie fought a smile. Francois must be feeling better if he could be a wiseass. “Yeah. Sorry about that.”

The woman looked back and forth between them like she was watching tennis.

Francois crossed his arms. “It’s okay, Maria. I want to talk to Artie here for a minute. Thanks so much for looking out for me.”

“But—” She looked seriously uncertain.

He waved a hand. “It’s okay. Honest.”

“Your mama—”

He turned a full frown on her. “What does my mother have to do with this?”

“Nothing.” She shook her head. “Can I get you anything?”

“No thanks. I’ll get it.” He walked to the door of the room, herding her toward it. When they got there, he smiled, thanked her again, and closed the door; then he turned to Artie with a crease between his eyebrows—barely visible under his pale, shaggy bangs. “So why are you messing in my life? What business is it of yours?”

Good question. Artie gave Francois a look. The gorgeous face was still blotchy from crying, and he vibrated with stress. “Look, crying’s one thing. Everybody needs a good cry sometimes.” Francois looked shocked at that statement, but Artie pushed on. “But when I hear your music going all to shit, I figure something’s really wrong, and I don’t see anybody doing fuck about it, so—” He shrugged and took a breath. “—I did. Sorry I scared you, but I couldn’t think of what else to do.” He let his eyes meet Francois’s.

Francois stared at him like maybe he’d lost his mind—or maybe he’d found it. Somewhere in between. “What do you mean, my music went to shit?”

Artie gave him a duh look. “You were all over the place. All angry and making no sense. It sounded like you were pissed at the piano. I mean, when you write, you stop and start, but it has a flow. You know? This didn’t. It was just like a bunch of notes, like—” Artie stopped because Francois’s lips were parted and he looked like he might pass out. Well, hell. “Look, I don’t mean anything by it. I never heard better music than you play, but what the fuck do I know? I’m just a plumber. So don’t pay any attention to—”

“How do you even know that?”


“What my music sounds like. How I was all over the place?”

Artie pointed toward the window. “I listen.” He held up his hands. “Don’t get me wrong, I don’t eavesdrop. But I work right out there. How could I not hear?”

“You listen.” He said the word like he was sleepwalking, and his eyes got all shiny. “People pay huge prices for tickets to my concerts and don’t listen!” Shit, is he going to cry again?

Artie didn’t say anything. Hell, he didn’t know what else to say. But crying men weren’t really an everyday thing for him. He’d never seen his father cry. His brother, a little, but never any guy he worked with, even when they got hurt bad.

I cry. Alone, under a pillow. Sometimes to the fish. I know what that feels like. He’d stick his fingers in the water and let them nibble just to have something touch him that wasn’t cold or hurting. Tentatively, he reached out and put a hand on Francois’s arm. “It’s okay.”

The crease flashed between his brows as he stared at Artie’s hand. “What’s okay?”

“Whatever.” Artie smiled. “All of it. Sometimes being a particular way is just a pile of shit.” Jesus, he didn’t even know why he’d said that.

Francois gasped—and suddenly Artie had an armload of guy. Francois threw his arms around Artie’s neck and just squeezed.

About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Erotic Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance,  Best Gay Characters, and more. Readers often call her books “sweet,” even with all that hawt sex, because Tara believes in love and her books deliver on happily-ever-after. In addition to writing dozens and dozens of romance novels,  Tara also owns an advertising and public relations firm. Her love of creating book titles comes from years of manifesting ad headlines for everything from analytical instruments to semiconductors. She does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. Together with her soulmate husband and her soulmate Dog, she recently realized a vision to live where there were a lot more trees and a lot fewer cars by moving to Ashland, Oregon. She hasn’t stopped smiling since.

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Xenia Melzer on How to Write a Fight Scene and the release A Dom and His Warrior


A Dom and His Warrior (Club Whisper #3) by Xenia Melzer
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Xenia Metzer today on tour for her new book in the Club  Whisper series, A Dom and His Warrior.  Welcome, Xenia.




How to write a fight scene

When I chose to make Leeland an MMA fighter, I had many reasons to do so and none of them was any eagerness on my part to write a fight scene. I’m not good at writing fight scenes. They never turn out like the ones in my head, which are perfectly choreographed things of beauty that could put Mission Impossible or Charlie’s Angels to shame. Sometimes I feel like a child who has this great picture of a happy family in front of a house complete with sunshine and trees in the garden in mind and when I’m done painting, it’s a bunch of stick-people with a vaguely sphere-shaped ball in bright yellow and elongated brown smears with green blotches on top.

When I wrote A Dom and His Warrior I realized I had to somehow connect the picture in my mind with the painting/words on the laptop, which was a process, to put it mildly. First I had to learn the right words, because ‚and then he punched him in the face‘ gets old pretty quickly. Luckily for me, the internet is this huge space where you can find the answers to almost every question. At I found a treasure chest of terms to describe a fight. And after several highly instructional hours on YouTube I also knew what those moves looked like when executed by pros.

A little warning, if you are squeamish, MMA is not for you, since there is blood. And heavy punches. And kicks. And almost naked men with muscles in places you never thought possible.

In my mind, Leeland is a very elegant man whose fighting style is gracious. In MMA – as the name suggests – different kinds of fighting, like martial arts (all kinds), boxing, and wrestling are combined. Fighters usually come from a certain direction, like boxing, or taek won do and adapt movements from other styles. This diversity is what makes the fights interesting and what helped me to write fighting scenes that didn’t get boring after the first couple of sentences. Being able to choose from a wide variety certainly helped me to describe the fighting in a gripping way – if I do say so myself. 

In the book, Leeland has fight scenes with men who come from boxing and from kick boxing, while he himself has a background of karate and jiu jitsu. I did my very best to show how these sports influence the fighters and the fight itself and how highly adaptive an MMA fighter has to be.

Lastly there’s the way the winner of a fight is determined in an official UFC fight. If there is no knock out (one of the fighters gets down without getting up again) or tap out (one of the fighters taps the mat, usually when they’re in a submission hold, to show he gives up), there’s a rather complicated system in place with points deduced at each round for fouls or timid fighting. This system leaves room for lively discussions and some of Leeland’s best friends indulge happily in them.

Writing the fight scenes for A Dom and His Warrior was a challenge for me, one I took on with a certain amount of apprehension, but I think (and hope) it was worth the effort. 


About A Dom and His Warrior

Leeland Drake and Jonathan White are a committed BDSM couple and have just moved in together. Leeland has only one year left in college, and everything seems perfect… until Leeland’s uncle asks him to stand in for an injured UFC fighter.


Leeland wants to help his uncle, but he remembers all too well from his years competing in martial arts how strenuous life as an athlete can be. He doesn’t want to risk his relationship with Jonathan. After some discussion, they decide Leeland will go pro for a year.


As if the training and strict diet weren’t bad enough, the pressure skyrockets when Leeland encounters homophobic fighter Tommy Adams—especially when they end up facing each other in the championship


Between the bigoted rants of his opponent, the scrutiny of the media, the pressure from his sponsor, and a fire in his uncle’s gym, Leeland is close to breaking down. Only Jonathan’s support and love keep him focused enough to set foot in the octagon once more—and maybe even walk away a winner.


Biography Xenia Melzer

Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature’s true chocoholics, she’s always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she’s had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it’s cold by definition, so where’s the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.

Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.

While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.

When she’s not writing, she translates the stories of other authors into German, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband. If you want to contact her, please visit either her website, or write her an email: .