Evie Drae on Writing, Characters and her new release ‘Beauregard and the Beast (Once Upon a Vegas Night #1)’ ~ author guest blog, excerpt and giveaway

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Beauregard and the Beast by Evie Drae

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: August 20th 2019

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2IGmc0N

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2UCn8oo

Google Play: https://bit.ly/2Vv1Q0Q

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/2DxeW3s

Dreamspinner Press: https://bit.ly/2VnRb7L

Goodreads: https://bit.ly/2Ro3VH6

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Evie Drae here today on tour with her new release Beauregard and the Beast.  She’s answering our author questions, has brought a wonderful excerpt and giveaway for all our readers.  Welcome, Evie!

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Evie Drae

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I tend to be one of those writers who projects a great deal of myself into the characters I write. In an effort to maintain distinct voice, I only allow certain aspects of who I am to bleed into each personality, but there is definitely a part of me in every character I’ve ever written.

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

When I was a tween, I used to sneak-read my mom’s romance novels. I didn’t understand the complexity of the emotions the same way I do today, but I devoured those books. Which, of course, set me up for disappointment in my own first experiences with love and lust as I grew older. It’s hard to find a man who stands up against a well-written romance hero, especially when the pool you have to choose from is filled with adolescent boys who haven’t “come into their own” just yet. However, those early reading experiences have affected my own choices for writing, as I only write romance. Granted, that romance does fall in a variety of sub-genres, but there is always a love story with an HEA at the heart of my work.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m a reader who absolutely must have an HFN or HEA. Stories that end on a negative note leave me traumatized for ages—and I’m not being dramatic. There’s enough heartache in the real world, I don’t want my escape into fiction to bring even more to the plate.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’m against dark or intense subject matter within the plot of the story, but at the end, those issues have to either be resolved entirely or at least be on the way there. I like to lose myself in stories and my favorite part is seeing the characters overcome hardship and find happiness. It gives me hope and keeps me going through the reality of life.

I definitely prefer HEA over HFN, but if it’s a series and an HEA is on the horizon, I can dig a solid HFN. Just don’t leave me sobbing into my pillow—in a bad, non-happy tears kinda way—and I’m a happy camper.

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?

This is a very interesting question to me, especially after my recent experience with editing Beauregard and the Beast. I’ll admit, my first round of edits from my senior editor had me focusing on cutting back on a few of Bo’s flaws, as he came across a bit unlikeable. Once I saw him from her POV, I realized she was absolutely right—I’d created a bit of a selfish pain in the butt. When I made the adjustments, even I fell more in love with my own character. I had been trying so hard to draw conflict into the story to keep things interesting that I went a bit overboard. Yes, to err is human, but to be a butthead isn’t necessary. I have my goddess of a senior editor at Dreamspinner Press—Desi Chapman—to thank for her brilliant insight that saved Bo from being a rather disagreeable knucklehead.

 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?

This is actually something I do quite frequently. Writing is a form of therapy for me and often a way that I work through issues and events in my life, both the positive and negative. Many of the primary plotlines I’ve written about are based on true life events, one way or another. Perhaps not exactly as they play out in my manuscripts, but often that’s because I make adjustments based on the ways I wished I would’ve responded and the outcomes I imagine might have happened had I reacted in a different way. For me, fiction is used as a way to reimagine events or to work through more positive outcomes that allow me to process and reshape how I view my own experiences.

 What’s next for you as a writer?

As we speak, I have a proposal on submission with Dreamspinner Press to do the next book in my Once Upon a Vegas Night series. It’s a Little Mermaid re-imagining with an Olympic swimmer and the man who rescued him from a near-drowning incident eight years prior that I’m hoping to release during the Summer Olympics in 2020 if it gets picked up!

I also have the first book I ever hit “The End” on out on submission with an exciting group of publishers. This particular book—entitled All Your Broken Pieces—is a true passion project of mine. I wrote it for my best friend who experienced a traumatic period in his life and wanted to see his story told, both to raise awareness and to imagine the HEA of his dreams come true. Due to the subject matter, it’s a significantly darker read than Beauregard and the Beast, but it holds a very special place in my heart and I’m hoping to find it a home in the near future.

Blurb

A Once Upon a Vegas Night Tale

His greatest prize can’t be won in the octagon.

Champion MMA fighter Adam Littrell needs no distractions as he prepares for the fight that will determine whether he retires. But when he opens the door of his swanky Las Vegas home to his new personal assistant, Bo Wilkins, staying focused becomes a struggle.

Aware of Adam’s surly reputation, Bo doesn’t expect to like his new employer, let alone fall for him. But Bo is pleasantly surprised when a shared love of books leads them to study for their GEDs together and plan for a life after their current careers. Adam won’t be able to fight forever, and Bo wants a relationship on equal footing.

But just as their relationship is getting off the ground, the sister Bo raised needs his help, and he drops everything. With Adam’s final match looming and Bo in a different city, reuniting will be the real challenge.

TEASER SCENE EXCEPT:

The smell of fresh laundry mixed with strong cleaning chemicals assaulted Adam’s senses the moment he walked through the garage door after his morning training. He scrunched his nose in protest. The clean linen smell was pleasant, but what the hell kind of biochemical warfare was Bo waging on his home? The pungent scent of corrosive bleach and all manner of other caustic solutions burned his nostrils and left his head spinning.

He headed for the laundry room to drop off his gym bag and found Bo on his hands and knees in the hallway, scrubbing at the stone tile flooring.

“Fuckin’ hell, Bo, you’re gonna asphyxiate from all these fumes.” Adam tossed his bag down the hall in the general direction of the laundry room. “Why don’t you take a break? We can grab lunch somewhere and hit the grocery while we’re out.”

Bo sat back on his haunches and swiped a wrist over his brow. “I’m almost done here any—” His eyes bugged, and he scurried to his feet, the sponge dropping from his hand. “Holy crap on a cracker, what the heck happened to you?”

Adam froze when Bo’s soapy fingertips grazed his jaw. A jolt of electricity fired under his skin at the connection. He followed the tingling path of Bo’s touch with his own fingers, marveling at the intensity of the impression that brief contact left behind.

“Did you get jumped?” Bo’s brows pinched, his lips turning down at the corners. “Did you call the police? Are you hurt anywhere else?”

A laugh bubbled up Adam’s throat at the unexpected barrage of questions and the look of genuine concern twisting Bo’s face. When was the last time anyone cared he’d been hurt? Hell, unless they bordered on life-threatening, even he failed to notice his injuries more often than not. So was the life of a mixed martial arts fighter. Sparring was the best way to train, and sparring equaled wounds. Rarely as intense as those suffered at an official fight, but colorful and bloody nonetheless.

“I’m fine. Just a few scratches.” Adam tried to grin, but the act tugged at his already split lip and fresh blood trickled down his chin.

Bo gasped and clamped a hand over Adam’s wrist. “That’s more than a scratch. Where’s your first aid kit?”

“First aid kit?” Adam cocked a brow. He didn’t keep anything like that at home. If his injuries required mending, Eddie, his coach, would tend to him after he hit the showers. Today, the damage was minimal, so he’d left without patching up.

Gaping, Bo shook his head. “Don’t tell me you get beat up for a living and don’t keep basic first aid supplies around the house.”

Adam knuckled the blood off his chin and shrugged. “It’s a split lip. I’ll be fine.”

“A split lip, a black eye, and a gashed eyebrow. That is not fine.” Bo scowled and dropped Adam’s wrist with an adorable little huff. “I’m adding medical supplies to the grocery list. If you’re going to come home looking like roadkill on a regular basis, I’m going to need some necessities. In the meantime, will you at least let me put some ice on that eye?”

 

About the Author

Evie Drae is a registered nurse by day and an award-winning male/male romance writer by night. She has won first place in seven Romance Writers of America® (RWA®) competitions, including the prestigious title “Best of the Best” in the 2018 Golden Opportunity Contest. She is a double finalist in the 2019 Golden Heart®, in both the Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense categories, and finished as a second-place runner-up in four additional RWA contests. As an added perk, she landed the fabulous literary agent Eva Scalzo from Speilburg Literary following a dual win in two separate categories of the 2018 Heart to Heart contest.

One of Evie’s favorite things to do is encourage her fellow writers. To that end, she started the #writeLGBTQ and #promoLGBTQ hashtags on Twitter to support and promote LGBTQ+ authors and allies while providing a safe space to connect and grow as a community. She is married to the love of her life, is the mother of three wonderful fur babies, and runs almost entirely on coffee and good vibes.

Evie loves to link up with fellow writers and readers. You can reach her directly at EvieDrae@gmail.com or find her on her social media accounts listed below. Twitter is where she’s most active but be sure to check out her blog too. She focuses on reviews for LGBTQ+ authors and allies with the occasional quirky advice/recommendation post just to toss things up.

WHERE TO FIND EVIE:

Website/Blog: https://www.eviedrae.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EvieDrae

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Evie_Drae

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

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

 

RELEASE WEEK GIVE AWAY (ENTER BY AUGUST 26th, WINNERS ANNOUNCED AUGUST 27th, 2019):

The GRAND PRIZE WINNER will receive a personalized signed copy of Beauregard and the Beast, a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and an assortment of author swag! The RUNNER-UP will receive a personalized signed copy of Beauregard and the Beast and an assortment of author swag! Your followers can enter by clicking the following link: https://promosimple.com/ps/e886/b

 

Jamie Fessenden on Writing Characters, Research and his new release Small Town Sonata (author guest blog)

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Small Town Sonata by Jamie Fessenden

Dreamspinner Press

Published August 6th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Jamie Fessenden today, on tour with his latest novel, Small Tour Sonata.  Welcome, Jamie.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Jamie Fessenden:

 

How much of yourself goes into a character? 

A lot. Every major character I write is me in some aspect, flaws and all. Which means my music major and philosophy minor in college often shape their behavior. Minor characters are frequently inspired by friends and family, though I attempt to disguise it.

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

Perhaps, but the way to avoid that is honesty. The character of Tom in Billy’s Bones was definitely a lot like me in his understanding of psychology and PTSD (both of my parents are psychologists and I’ve worked with clients at my mother’s agency). But he also had my tendency to psychoanalyze friends who don’t appreciate it.

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?

Yes. I would never make one of the main characters in a romance deliberately hurt animals or children, or slap his partner around. As every therapist and police officer knows, abusers being sorry for what they’ve done and swearing never to do it again doesn’t prevent them from lashing out in the future. I can’t trust a character like that.

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

Most of my novels involve a large amount of research. I enjoy exploring different cultures and locales, and completely immerse myself in them. Small Town Sonata was an easy one, because I was largely writing about my home town and using my experiences in the music world.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Both. I tend to think that HFN will become HEA, but sometimes it isn’t possible to get to HEA in the timeframe of the story.

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

Thinking, and yes. I am totally disgusted with characters who refuse to listen to reason, especially if they drag arguments out for days, weeks, or months. Tempers flaring is one thing. Refusing to calm down and listen the next day is childish.

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

I discovered Phyllis A. Whitney through her YA novels, when I was a teenager, then began reading her adult gothic romances and fell in love with them. From there, I moved on to Mary Stewart and several other romance writers.

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

As a teenager, I discovered Phyllis A. Whitney wrote articles for “The Writer” magazine, and our local library had several years’ worth of them in the stacks. I still remember some of her advice, such as when the two main characters meet, there must be an emotional “zing” between them. It can be hostility or intense dislike, but it should never be tepid. As a science fiction reader, I admired Robert A. Heinlein, and loved his clear prose. So I strived to emulate it.

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

Thanks to failing vision, I rarely read print books these days. eBooks allow me to increase the font size at will, so I prefer them. I’ve been trying to keep tabs on the industry, and from what I’ve seen, eBook sales are still hovering at about 20 percent of the total market. It’s declined a bit, but since those figures often leave out self-published sales, it’s difficult to say what the truth is. And one article claimed 90 percent of romances sold are now eBooks. Personally, I know eBooks are here to stay.

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

I want striking images, even if they aren’t necessarily “sexy.” If it’s something that would catch my eye, while searching among several other romance covers on Amazon, I’ll generally go with that. The best example is the cover for “Violated,” which is about a man who gets raped and loses everything – his best friend, his partner, his job, his entire sense of who he is. The cover by L.C. Chase is a misty image of sunset on a lake with a man standing in silhouette at the end of the pier. It’s striking and conveys the feeling of isolation perfectly.

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

I wrote a novel called “By That Sin Fell the Angels” about how a teen suicide impacts a small community. It deals with the vicious way evangelicals often treat members of the LGBTQ community, but I struggled not to make anything cliché or hackneyed. The boy’s father is a pastor and nominally the villain, but he’s a real person struggling with his beliefs, and ultimately the story is about his redemption. That story exhausted me, tapping into my own experiences as a fundamentalist Christian teenager, and I’m very proud of it.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently finishing up a ghost story with co-author F.E. Feeley, Jr. and about a third of the way into a novel (possibly another Dreamspun Desires) that takes place on a farm. It’s located outside the town of Springhaven, which features so prominently in “Small Town Sonata.”

 

Blurb:

Can the trusted town handyman rebuild a broken pianist’s heart?

When a freak accident ends Aiden’s career as a world-renowned classical pianist, he retreats to his New Hampshire hometown, where he finds the boy he liked growing up is even more appealing as a man.

Dean Cooper’s life as handyman to the people of Springhaven might not be glamorous, but he’s well-liked and happy. When Aiden drifts back into town, Dean is surprised to find the bond between them as strong as ever. But Aiden is distraught over the loss of his career and determined to get back on the international stage.

Seventeen years ago Dean made a sacrifice and let Aiden walk away. Now, with their romance rekindling, he knows he’ll have to make the sacrifice all over again. This time it may be more than he can bear.

Author’s Bio:

Jamie Fessenden is an author of gay fiction in many genres. Most involve romance, because he believes everyone deserves to find love, but after that anything goes: contemporary, science fiction, historical, paranormal, mystery, or whatever else strikes his fancy.

He set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple short pieces in his high school’s literary magazine and had another story place in the top 100 in a national contest, but it wasn’t until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie wrote several novels and published his first novella in 2010. That same year, Jamie and Erich married and purchased a house together in the wilds of New Hampshire, where there are no street lights, turkeys and deer wander through their yard, and coyotes serenade them under the stars.

Blog: https://jamiefessenden.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/349365308959423/

Check Out the new release from BA Tortuga! It’s Love the 2nd Time Around at Come Back Around (Leaning N #4) by B.A. Tortuga (excerpt and guest blog)

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Come Back Around (Leaning N #4) by B.A. Tortuga

Dreamspinner Press
Published July 2nd 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have BA Tortuga here today with an excerpt from her new story Come Back Around.  Welcome, BA.

 

 

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and cowboy fanatic. Come Back Around is the fourth in the Leaning N Series in the Dreamspun line. It’s the story of two estranged dads, a wedding, two little girls, and the universe conspiring to bring a family together.

I love exploring the more traditional dynamics about parents in a love story, and Mat and Reid didn’t disappoint me at all.

***

Mat took the girls to supper, even though all he wanted to do was stuff them in his SUV and run.

Fuck, it was good to hold them and listen to them laugh.

At dinner, though, they swarmed over Alejandro, leaving Mat nothing to do but eat his amazing mashed potatoes and watch Reid.

Reid didn’t eat a bite; he just drank a glass of pinot and sat back in the corner, texting someone. Who? A new lover? Why hadn’t Reid brought the new guy here?

He needed to eat. Reid looked pale and tired. Damn it.

Jennifer sat down next to him. “God, those look good.”

“You want some? There’s an enormous bowl.” He had a feeling the chef, Geoff, loved special requests.

“I’m not allowed to eat until after the ceremony. Elena will kill me if I don’t fit in my dress.”

“Not allowed to eat?” That seemed barbaric. “Man, I’m glad I didn’t have to wear a dress.”

“Yeah, it’s overrated, this dress thing. Alejandro is loving the attention from his nieces.”

“They adore him.” He met her pretty green eyes. “Thanks for getting them here.”

“Reid never once suggested that they not come.”

“Did he know I would be here, though?” He laughed, but it sounded hollow to his own ears. “Don’t. I know he had to. It’s Alejandro’s wedding too. I’m just being an ass. I could sneak you a granola bar later.”

She began to chuckle; then that turned into laughter. He shot her a look, and she opened her purse. In it were three granola bars—one with Lucia’s name, one with Daniela’s, and the third with Reid’s.

“Well, your people love you, kiddo.” He winked at her, laughing helplessly too.

“You all do. No question.” She closed her purse and snuck a bite of his potatoes. “Are y’all going to let Patricia eat him?”

“What?” His mama would never do that. He widened his eyes hugely, going for innocent, which he knew wouldn’t work. “I might let her chew a bit, just for keeping things from me.”

“Huh?”

Now he turned serious. “He got a nanny, Jen. Full-time. He’s supposed to disclose stuff like that. His custody depends on him having more time to take care of them. You know that’s the only reason I didn’t fight harder for at least split time.”

“So he was supposed to turn Pottery Barn down? Williams Sonoma? Come on now, after you ragged his ass and accused him of being worthless? He’s been busting his ass doing everything.”

“I never said he was worthless. Not once.” He was grinding out the words through gritted teeth, but he knew what he’d said. “When he accused me of avoiding him and the kids by working too much, I told him if he worked harder maybe I could stay home more. Sue me.”

“Hey.” A hand landed on his shoulder and Jennifer’s. “Y’all stop it. This wedding isn’t about me. I’ll see you at the rehearsal, honey. I’m going to put the girls to bed.” Reid kissed Jennifer’s head. “Night, honey. I love you.”

“Night.” Jennifer gave him a tiny smile. “Sorry, Mat. I’ll get out of your hair.”

He pushed his potatoes toward her. “No, I have work to do. Have at ’em.” He wanted to catch the girls and kiss them good night.

She started to argue, but the girls were already on the move, Reid talking hard to them. Hell, he had to put on a burst of speed to catch up, and honestly he didn’t want Reid telling the girls he wasn’t coming or something.

“…and after bath time, I’ll see if Papi can come and read us a book, give nighttime sugars, okay? He needs to finish his supper or his belly will hurt.”

Oh. He stopped dead, not wanting the kids to see he’d been trailing them. That was really decent. Seriously.

***

Much love, y’all.

BA

Come Back Around blurb:

Leaning N

Can two divorced dads get a second chance at a redneck wedding?

When Reid Porter agrees to be his best friend’s man of honor, he never considers that his ex, Mateo, will be there too. Which is ridiculous, because Jennifer is marrying Mat’s brother. Reid would never let Jen down, though, so he finds himself at the Leaning N Ranch with his two daughters and a whole lot of baggage about seeing Mat again.

Mat loves his baby brother and would do anything for him, including face the love of his life, whom he’s sure has moved on. When he and Reid come face-to-face after more than two years apart, they realize they’ve never let go. Now they have to do what they never could before—balance work, home, and children, while finding a way to come back around to each other’s love.

Available July 2: Amazon

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, knitting, 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 friends, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

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

Ashlyn Kane on the soundtrack for her new release Fake Dating the Prince (author guest blog)

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Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: June 18th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links: Amazon, Dreamspinner, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, Target

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Ashlyn Kane here today on tour for her new novel, Fake Dating the Prince. Welcome, Ashlyn!

 

Hi! I’m Ashlyn Kane and you’re here with me on Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts, Stella and Melanie!

Considering that I’m a romance writer, I sort of couldn’t believe I’d never really written something where someone really got swept off their feet—you know, in the silver screen way (apologies to Drew from His Leading Man). Mutual adoration and pining, sure. But the kind of contemporary story where an everyday character is introduced to a whole new world by a billionaire or a rock star or, oh, a prince—I hadn’t done that before.

Why haven’t I done that before?

Anyway, never mind, I’ve done it now. I present Fake Dating the Prince:

When fast-living flight attendant Brayden Wood agrees to accompany a first-class passenger to a swanky charity ball, he discovers his date—“Call me Flip”—is actually His Royal Highness Prince Antoine-Philipe. And he wants Brayden to pretend to be his boyfriend.

Being Europe’s only prince of Indian descent—and its only openly gay one—has led Flip to select “appropriate” men first and worry about attraction later. Still, flirty, irreverent Brayden captivates him right away, and Flip needs a date to survive the ball without being match-made.

Before Flip can pursue Brayden in earnest, the paparazzi forces his hand, and the charade is extended for the remainder of Brayden’s vacation.

Posh, gorgeous, thoughtful Prince Flip is way out of Brayden’s league. If Brayden survives three weeks of platonically sharing a bed with him during the romantic holiday season, going home afterward might break his heart….

If you like tropes like fake dating, “platonic” bed sharing, and royal scandals, this is the book for you.

And a grand, dare I say cinematic romance like this deserves to be scored like one, but unfortunately my composing abilities extend about as far as cheesy country songs. So without further ado, I present the unofficial Fake Dating the Prince soundtrack, with annotations.

  1. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe.”
    Because “Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but do you want to go to an extremely posh event hosted by the crown prince, who is me” is absolutely the vibe of this story. Even if it doesn’t quite scan.
  2. From Disney’s Snow White – “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
    When Brayden’s sister finds out he’s dating Flip—she doesn’t know that it’s all a ruse that got out of hand—she 100 percent rickrolls him, except the link is to this video on YouTube.
  3. Sunidhi Chauhan – “Aaja Nachle”
    I watched a lot of bhangra dance competitions on YouTube while I was writing. There’s only one actual scene where they dance it, but it’s so fun to watch that I ended up going down the YouTube rabbit hole a bunch of times. I’m a lousy dancer even by basic white girl standards—it runs in the family—which is maybe why, to me, dancing can be such an impossibly romantic activity. “Aaja Nachle” isn’t necessarily a romantic song to dance to—as I understand it, it’s a call to start dancing. In the story, dancing is the turning point where things are no longer black and white. Is this relationship still fake? Does either of them want it to be?
  4. Whitney Houston – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
    Flip has his work cut out for him softening Brayden up enough to fall in love. Brayden’s been single by choice since he was sixteen—he’s punishing himself for something and never lets himself get close to anyone for longer than a one-night stand. But does he want to dance with somebody who loves him? Of course. And Flip is just the prince charming for the job.
  5. Billy Joel – “The Longest Time.”
    I know, I know. I wasn’t actually even born yet when this song came out. But a) it’s catchy and b) it’s thematically appropriate—a song about a man who’s decided to take that chance and damn the consequences, it’s already worth it. That’s a romantic sentiment I (and Brayden) can get behind.
  6. Queen – “A Winter’s Tale.”
    It may be June now, but in the book it’s the dead of winter, and this song is perfectly atmospheric for a romantic surprise winter getaway—the sort you’d get taken on if a handsome prince wanted to sweep you off your feet, for example. (Hint: he does.)
  7. From Frozen: The Musical – “Hygge.”
    When I set out to write a book set in northern Europe in early winter, I knew that coziness was the name of the game. I have some experience with this firsthand—I lived in Dresden, Germany, for three years—so I had that to draw on for ways to make a dark, chilly place come across as warm and inviting. There are markets and festivals pretty frequently throughout the winter months, and mulled wine out with friends and slippers at home are key to feeling warm when it’s gray out. “Hygge” is sort of a silly song about things that do (and don’t) help a person stay cheerful in the winter months. (The song is itself quite hygge, IMO, but it can be an earworm. Probably not as bad as “Let it Go,” though.)
  8. Golden Earring – “Radar Love.”
    Because why shouldn’t Brayden’s love for his prince be the equivalent of the Bat Signal? And… well, spoilers.
  9. Bonus track: Bruno Mars – “Marry You.”
    Look, the classics are classic for a reason. And this one includes references to dancing and tequila, both of which are present in the book. Besides, every romance novel needs a happy ending!

Fake Dating the Prince releases June 18. It is available at Amazon, Dreamspinner, Barnes & Noble, Indigo Books, Target, and (this just tickles me, so I have to mention it) at the Dayton Public Library—so you’ll want to check your local library too!

ASHLYN KANE is a Canadian former expat and current hockey fan. She is a writer, editor, handyperson, dog mom, and friend—sometimes all at once.

On any given day she can usually be found walking her ninety-pound baby chocolate lapdog, Indy, or holed up in her office avoiding housework. She has a deep and abiding love of romance novel tropes, a habit of dropping too many f-bombs, and—fortunately—a very forgiving family.

Twitter: @ashlynkane

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ashlyn.kane.94

Website: www.ashlynkane.ca

Sean Michael on Characters Dictating Stories and his new release The More the Merrier (The Teddy Bear Club #2) – author guest blog

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The More the Merrier (The Teddy Bear Club #2) by Sean Michael

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: June 4th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon Kobo |  Barnes and Noble  

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael here today talking about writing, characters, and his new novel The More the Merrier.  Welcome, Sean!

 

 

 

 

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

I loved revisiting the men from The Teddy Bear Club when writing The More the Merrier. I knew when I’d finished the first book that Logan and Dirk were going to be the next couple, but I had no idea what their story was going to be.

Both men had little girls, and I assumed they’d have a fairly regular courtship and maybe a little drama between the girls, but as soon as I started writing, Logan up and throws a wrench into the works. Or rather, a bunch of babies! I do love it when the characters just look at me and go, “no, you don’t get to dictate our lives, we do – remember, you’re just taking notes.”

The best books to write for me are always the ones where the characters grab the story and run with it. Unless I try to fight them, those are the books that flow, that write up quickly, where I’m running, figuratively speaking, just to keep up. Trying to fight the characters (which totally happens when I’m sure this is how the story is going to go and I’m trying to hit a certain word count) almost always winds up with the writing dragging and it’s long and hard (and not in the fun way) and it just takes me forever to come up with the word count. Then, when I finally really pay attention and listen to them, then the book starts working properly again and that is always such a relief!

With The More the Merrier, I didn’t fight the guys, I just let Logan and Dirk run with their story the way they wanted it, and as a result, I had fun writing it and I think they’re a darn good story as a result. Hopefully you do too!

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

Too much of a good thing?

When Logan gets the call about newborn triplets in need of a home, he steps up, realizing too late the daunting task he’s taken on. He’d be lost without the men of the Teddy Bear Club—especially Dirk.

Dirk even offers to spend spring break at Logan’s home, helping him and the babies settle in. He loves being a dad, and he wants to help Logan find the same joy. It doesn’t hurt that they enjoy spending time together.

Before they even realize it, they’re settling into a routine… becoming a family.

Falling in love.

But their new bond is about to face the ultimate test. Will they come through and realize that with love, there’s no such thing as enough?

 

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:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/seanmichaelpics/

An Ali G Release Day Review: Love Conventions by Morgan James

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Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

A happy ending worthy of a TV fantasy… in real life?

Ashland Wells is an actor of sci-fi cult fame but with little direction for the future, when handsome grad student Remy Beaumont lands in his lap at a fan convention. Remy is everything Ash ever wanted and wished he could be—including out and proud. For twelve hours they’re the best of friends. But the convention ends, and saying goodbye to Remy might be the biggest mistake Ash has ever made.

A few months later, they’re reunited on a new production—Ash as an actor, Remy a writer—and though Ash doesn’t plan to let him go twice, being with Remy means going public about being gay. He’s not sure that’s a risk he—or his career—can handle, no matter how great the temptation.

If only they could write themselves the romantic happily ever after they both need.

This was a good story.  Ash and Remy hit it off from the get go and when they meet by chance again they actually get the chance to know each other.  When they see each other again a few months later it seems like fate.

I enjoyed this story and felt like I was right there watch these two navigate their relationship but just felt their communication often felt stilted or non-existent.  That and the constant switching of words (i.e. series vs seasons), even in the same conversations left me re-reading more often than I would have liked to make sure I knew what was going on.  The ending was a bit sudden but it looks like they were able to work it all out.

The cover art by Alexandria Corza is alright and gives a visual of Ash, though I saw him as more gruff than that.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 248 pages

Published: May 7, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-728-0

Edition Language: English

Morgan James on Characters and his new release Love Conventions (guest blog)

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Love Conventions by Morgan James

Dreamspinner Press
Published May 7th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Morgan James today on tour for the new release Love Conventions.  Welcome, Morgan!

✒︎

As I pondered what to write for this blog post, I did some searching. Not soul searching, but topic searching. As I considered the many suggestions, one topic leapt out at me for this book like it might not have for another—How much of yourself goes into a character?

Like many aspects of my writing process and questions about it, the shortest and simplest answer for this will always be “It depends.” For example, the slutty, party-happy competitive hockey player Dante Baltiera from my work Winging It doesn’t have much of me at all. Though his love interest, Gabe, certainly inherited my need for privacy and a low profile.

But when it comes to Love Conventions, the short answer has to be “Quite a lot actually.”

I find it somewhat challenging to craft a character that doesn’t want to lean towards introspection and catastrophizing and away from partying and risk-taking. Well, some of the time.

Sometimes the creative process is slow and aggravating and a struggle every step of the way. And sometimes it’s easy and happens almost without conscious thought.

Ash was like that. Ash was the sort of character who came to me fully formed—well, except for the red hair, or the beard, or the being Scottish, those details were all surprises mid-work that required back editing for continuity. Ash was always a shy giant who wanted a quiet life but somehow stumbled into fame.

And that is me in Ash—shy, quiet, happy to let others steal the spotlight, and yet wanting to pursue a creative career that practically demands one hog it. But it’s not just some of my more introverted traits that Ash took. He also took my love of reading and all things sci-fi and geeky.

From the first page of the first draft, Ash wasn’t just part of the sci-fi world because he’d acted in it, but also because he’d loved it. Ash’s Doctor Who obsession was one of the first character-building details he offered up, and the role it plays in his life has always been a focal point for his character. The fact that his love for the show connected him to family, that it helped him define himself in social spaces, and that it made him feel a kinship with con-goers are all essential to who he is—and as I write it out here, the parallels to my own life grow more and more clear.

Of course, as I ponder this question about my writing, I wouldn’t want to leave Remy (the love interest) out of the equation. Remy is less like me—he is a risk-taker, he’s a “jump in first with both feet and then wonder about the consequences later” sort—but Remy also shares my love of all things geek, and unlike Ash, his personal experiences with fandom culture more closely resemble my own.

But of course, if Remy was also too much like me, then he wouldn’t be a good match for Ash. So, it’s probably all for the best that my answer to the question “How much of me is in each character?” will always be “It depends.”

Blurb

A happy ending worthy of a TV fantasy… in real life?

Ashland Wells is an actor of sci-fi cult fame but with little direction for the future, when handsome grad student Remy Beaumont lands in his lap at a fan convention. Remy is everything Ash ever wanted and wished he could be—including out and proud. For twelve hours they’re the best of friends. But the convention ends, and saying goodbye to Remy might be the biggest mistake Ash has ever made.

A few months later, they’re reunited on a new production—Ash as an actor, Remy a writer—and though Ash doesn’t plan to let him go twice, being with Remy means going public about being gay. He’s not sure that’s a risk he—or his career—can handle, no matter how great the temptation.

If only they could write themselves the romantic happily ever after they both need.

Dreamspun Desires #81, 196 pages

About the Author

Morgan James is a clueless (older) millennial, who’s still trying to figure out what she’ll be when she grows up but is enjoying the journey to get there. Now, with a couple of degrees, a few stints in Europe, and more than one false start to a career, she eagerly waits to see what’s next. Morgan started writing fiction before she could spell and wrote her first (unpublished) novel in middle school. She hasn’t stopped writing since. Geek, artist, and fangirl, Morgan tends to pass free hours with imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it’s an addiction. As is her love of coffee and tea. She lives in Canada with her massive collection of unread books and acts the personal servant of too many four-legged creatures.

https://twitter.com/MorganJames71

 

Love a Contemporary Romance? Check out the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Crossing The Touchline (An Auckland Med Story) by Jay Hogan

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Cover Design: Kanaxa


Length: 119,000 words approx.


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


Blurb


An Auckland Med. Story


What if you’ve worked your whole life for a dream, to play rugby for the most successful sports team on the planet, the New Zealand All Blacks?


What if that dream is so close you can smell it?


What if you meet someone?


What if you fall in love?


What if your dream will cost the man who’s stolen your heart?


And what if the dream changes?




Reuben Taylor has a choice to make.


Cameron Wano is that choice.

Jay Hogan is a New Zealand author writing in m/m romance, romantic suspense and fantasy. She has travelled extensively and has lived in quite a few countries. She has a BA degree in Nursing and in Theology, and in another life, she was an Intensive Care Nurse, Counselor, and a Lecturer.


She is a cat aficionado especially of Maine Coons, and an avid dog lover (but don’t tell the cat). She loves to cook- pretty damn good, loves to sing – pretty damn average, and as for loving full-time writing -absolutely… depending of course on the day, the word count, the deadline, how obliging her characters are, the ambient temperature in the Western Sahara, whether Jupiter is rising, the size of the ozone hole over New Zealand and how much coffee she’s had.


She has complex boys telling stories in her head that demand attention and a considerable number of words to go with them. Their journeys are never straightforward and even surprise Jay. She does her best to plot things out ahead of time but those pesky characters seem to have a mind of their own. Go figure.


You can find Jay at:
https://www.facebook.com/JayHoganAuthor
https://twitter.com/jayhoganauthor
jayhoganauthor@gmail.com

Giveaway

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A Lila Release Day Review: Under His Protection by LaQuette

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

They can escape their enemies, but not the desire between them.

Prosecutor Camden Warren is on the fast track to professional nirvana. With his charm, his sharp legal mind, and his father as chief judge in the highest court in NY, he can’t fail. Nothing can derail his rise to the top… until an attempt on his life forces him to accept the help of a man he walked out on five years ago.

Wounded in the line of duty, Lieutenant Elijah Stephenson wants to ride his new desk job until retirement—not take a glorified babysitting gig with more risk than it’s worth… especially not protecting the entitled lawyer who disappeared after the best sex of their lives.

The threat against Camden’s life is real, but their passion for each other might prove the greatest danger they’ve yet to face.

Under His Protection is an interesting law enforcement love story. There’s some intrigue, drama, and great chemistry between Cam and Elijah. The tension is palpable and the reader has no other option but to keep reading, hoping for a happily ever after.

The action and the tension starts from the very beginning. We get to understand their fears and hopes. And the real reason their relationship didn’t work the first time. I enjoyed the small number of characters in the story. Yes, they were well-developed but the author put great emphasis on the main couple, which paid off.

The apprehension Elijah felt returning to work was an important component of the story. It mixed with Cam’s anxiety about meeting his father’s political aspirations to create a shadow over their relationship. They had to learn to prioritize themselves before loving each other.

Overall, this is a quick read, packed with mystery, intrigue, and a lot of romance.

The cover by Alexandria Corza matches the new Dreamspun Desire branding and gave us a great view of Elijah. It’s simple but it goes well with the story.

Sale Links: Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

Book Details:
ebook, 250 pages
ISBN: 9781640805583
Published: April 16, 2019, by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

LaQuette on Second Chances and her new novel ‘Under His Protection’ (author guest post)

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Under His Protection by LaQuette

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: April 16th 2019
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host LaQuette today on tour for her novel Under His Protection. Welcome, LaQuette!

The Second Time Around

Hello, I’m LaQuette and I’m visiting all the way from Brooklyn, NY! Thanks to the Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words crew for allowing me to talk to you about my favorite romance trope, second chance romances.
Have you ever thought, “If I could only do it all over again, I’d do things differently?”  Now, of course, since there’s no way to travel back in time, we don’t actually know if our different choices would yield different results.  But sometimes, especially where romance is concerned, it’s sure fun to think another chance could make all the difference.
In my latest release, Under His Protection, neither of the heroes want a do over.  Life and circumstances sort of forces that on them.  And even though they have to be brought to this realization kicking and screaming, they ultimately conclude another chance and a clean slate could bring them more happiness than they ever believed possible.
Blurb

They can escape their enemies, but not the desire between them.  Prosecutor Camden Warren is on the fast track to professional nirvana. With his charm, his sharp legal mind, and his father as chief judge in the highest court in NY, he can’t fail. Nothing can derail his rise to the top… until an attempt on his life forces him to accept the help of a man he walked out on five years ago.  Wounded in the line of duty, Lieutenant Elijah Stephenson wants to ride his new desk job until retirement—not take a glorified babysitting gig with more risk than it’s worth… especially not protecting the entitled lawyer who disappeared after the best sex of their lives.  The threat against Camden’s life is real, but their passion for each other might prove the greatest danger they’ve yet to face.

“This is a must-read for fans of tropey contemporary romances filled with snarky banter and steamy sexual encounters, topped off with an ending that will melt the hardest heart.” ~Publishers Weekly

Excerpt
Elijah sat back in his new, mostly empty office, trying to get his head right. Unfortunately, Camden Warren’s presence was an unavoidable distraction he couldn’t ignore.
“If this is your new office, I’d hate to see what the old one looked like,” Camden commented while he stood in the center of the small room and turned in a slow circle to survey the place.
 “The office is new to me, as in it came with my new rank and command,” Elijah responded.
“You’ve been promoted? I always knew you’d make something of yourself. What kind of unit are you being assigned to?”
Did this motherfucker just low-key insult me?Elijah threw the file Captain Searlington had given him onto the empty desk and leaned back in his chair. “Listen. There’s no need for the small talk. I’m here to do a job, and you’re here because someone is trying to kill you. If you haven’t been worried about my life enough to call over the last five years, my new promotion shouldn’t be of any concern to you now.”
Elijah returned his focus to the file as he heard Camden take the few steps to the seat in front of Elijah’s desk.
“Bitter much, Detective?”
Elijah pulled his nose from the papers in front of him and lifted a skeptical brow.
“Bitter? To be bitter, I’d have to care. We fucked. It was fun, but that’s all it was. I had no illusions it would be otherwise. The dick was good.”
A flash of memory zipped across Elijah’s mind, reminding him just how good Camden had been. Good didn’t accurately describe the way the lawyer made Elijah’s entire body burn with need that night.
It didn’t matter, though. Elijah for damn sure wasn’t about to share that bit of info and contribute to Camden’s already inflated ego. Nope, he’d just swallow the appreciation he had for Camden’s stroke game and keep it to himself.
“But just so you know,” Elijah continued, “I don’t make a habit of laying with bad fucks. You weren’t special. It didn’t mean shit then, and it has no bearing on how I do my job five years later. Get over yourself, and let’s get to work on your case.”
Camden’s Adam’s apple bobbed as the man swallowed.
He shoots. He scores.
The minor action told Elijah he’d stuck a pin in Camden’s “I’m better than everybody else” perspective of himself. With that settled, maybe they’d get some work done since their focus was off how sexy Camden was then—and now, if Elijah was to be honest.
“Executive ADA Warren,” Elijah stated with his matter-of-fact cop tone in play, “why does the Path of Unity want you dead?”
LaQuette is the 2016 Golden Apple Award Author of the year winner. She writes bold & sexy tales for diverse characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page. Represented by Latoya C. Smith of LCS Literary Agency.  Visit her at LaQuette.comand LaQuette@LaQuette.com