A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1) by Anna Zabo

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This rock star BDSM MM drama deserves more than 5 stars. If it were possible, I’d definitely boost the rating higher.

Ray Van Zeller is a songwriter and singer who has dreamed of taking his high school garage band into the big time since high school and has finally achieved a step in the right direction, as they’re going on tour to open for a big-name band. But Kevin, his friend and drummer, has been drinking heavily, and in a fit of temper, Ray hurls a bottle at the wall behind Kevin. Unfortunately, the action is caught on camera, making it appear that Ray is drunk and throwing the bottle at his bandmate. His band manager, Carl, focuses on that as he berates Ray and convinces Ray that taking the fall and pretending to do rehab will benefit the band’s publicity and popularity.

Since Kevin is now out, after hurried auditions, the band hires Zavier Demos—the man Ray salivated over in high school. Two years his senior, Zavier was gone before Ray had his band established. After Zavier completed Julliard and contracted as a timpanist in a renowned orchestra, his personal issues with the conductor caused him to resign, so he’s ready to assume a position with Ray’s band, Twisted Wishes. Unknown to Ray, Zavier has wanted a place with the band and he’s wanted Ray as well—he’s been watching both from a distance for quite some time. But Zavier doesn’t want Ray for a one-night stand or for a long-term romantic relationship. He wants Ray as his submissive.

Zavier is a Dom and is aromantic so has never had a relationship with anyone and that’s the way he wants it. No complications. No strings. No love. Sex, yes. Romance, no. Ray doesn’t know it yet but he needs the strength this friend can offer and the level of control Zav can deliver. Carl seems to have it in for Ray and shoots the young man in the ego after every performance. Ray’s on a high after a concert? No doubt Carl will be there to bring him down. But once Zav enters the picture, Ray picks up tools to control his scattered thinking and he begins to speak up for himself and more firmly take on the leadership role he’s been handed but hasn’t been able to handle as well as he wants.

Ray isn’t the only one who benefits though. Zavier can’t believe he’s found a beautiful and talented submissive who accepts his friendship and understands that there won’t be hearts and flowers with an aromantic partner. Ray seeks to please Zavier as much as Zavier seeks to please and take care of Ray. It’s a give and take match unlike any other I’ve read, but it’s oh so perfect for these men.

Anna Zabo is an author I discovered this past year and I’m so very impressed with their work. The action and plot are believable, the sex kinky and hot, the BDSM is carefully laid out and easily understood, and the characters are well-rounded, endearing, and memorable. Each character, including the secondary band members, becomes personal to the reader, and this reader most definitely wants more of them—all of them. This isn’t just a story—it’s a work of art. Very highly recommended.

~~~
The bright and colorful cover features a tattooed man standing in front of a microphone as he tears off his leather vest. In the lower pane, fans are waving their arms and the background shows the floodlights that would brighten a stage. Very sharp and attractive and perfect for the story, even though the description of the MC would make him thinner and lankier than the cover model depicts. The only downside, but still attention-getting.

Sales LInks:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789GZX16/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/syncopation-anna-zabo/1127659237

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/syncopation/id1326105335

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anna_Zabo_Syncopation?id=t0RDDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/syncopation-8

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Syncopation/Anna-Zabo/Q264976640?id=7194974976389

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 295 pages
Published April 9th 2018 by Carina Press
Original TitleSyncopation
ASINB0789GZX16
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesTwisted Wishes #1

A MelanieM Review: The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet makes his way to the dragon’s cave and negotiates the item’s return. It’s annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon steals a person, that’s a step too far. As Sir Violet ventures out to get the missing baker back, however, he quickly realizes things are not at all what they seem..

Ever read a story that made your heart smile? That left you feeling warm, happy, and with an urge to read it out loud to someone?  Children, adults?  Just because you wanted to spread the joy a special tale had given you?  Well, The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen  is that story.

After I finished it, I wanted to grab onto the author and publishers and beg them to put it out in a hardback version, complete with illustrations.  One I could pick up and read to groups of children, no matter the age or even adults for that matter.

This book is charming, adventurous, and brings out the best in it’s characters.  Perhaps in its readers as well because it speaks to the heart in a gentle, kind, and  humorous way.  It has a dragon that steals things because it’s lonely and wants companionship. And just maybe  because certain things strike it as pretty or downright hilarious.  It has a knight named Sir Violet who’s nature is gentle and home loving.  And a village that suits them both.  I mean really, it’s full of characters who are absolutely a delight to spend time with (as you will) and whose lives will pique your interest (oh yes, they do).

I can’t remember reading any novelette I loved more recently.

I need to find more stories by this author.  This story is beautifully written, concise, and yet it flows just as it should.  The characterizations are perfect for the story.  Would I mind a return?  No.  Do I need one? No.  I think its marvelous as it.

Do you love fantasy?  Here’s a jewel you shouldn’t miss out on.  There is a romance but not the one you might be thinking of. Definitely no sex.  I told you I would read this to children.  There is a F/F couple, a dragon and knight to die for and so much more.  I highly recommend  The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen.  

Cover art:  Kirby Crow.  I love it.  It’s perfect really for the tone of the story.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 94 pages
Expected publication: May 16th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684312863
Edition LanguageEnglish

RELEASE DAY BLITZ : Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1) by Anna Zabo (excerpt and giveaway)

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Syncopation

Series: Twisted Wishes #1

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Ebook): April 9, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 104,000 words or ~295 pages

Subgenre: contemporary romance; m/m romance

Includes: Rockstars, BDSM, Angst, Pansexual/bisexual, Aromantic

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789GZX16/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/syncopation-anna-zabo/1127659237

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/syncopation/id1326105335

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anna_Zabo_Syncopation?id=t0RDDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/syncopation-8

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Syncopation/Anna-Zabo/Q264976640?id=7194974976389

Synopsis:

There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!

Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.

Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.

Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.

Excerpt 

Ray rose, and Zavier followed him past the berths and into the lounge at the back. He pulled the curtain closed, then turned. Ray was breath and lust and jangling tension. Not exactly where Zavier wanted him to be, but they would work on that. There was time. Right now, though?

“Ray, may I kiss you?”

Shock washed across Ray’s features. He stammered out a reply. “Yes.”

Good. Zavier stepped close, enough to see the wild beating of Ray’s pulse.

“But…why ask?”

“Consent,” Zavier murmured. He cupped Ray’s face with one hand. “Everything tonight has to be something you want.” He slid his hand against the other side of Ray’s head. “You can say no. You can tell me to stop.” He tilted Ray’s head up and their lips touched.

Ray whimpered.

“Trust that I’ll heed your wishes.” He held Ray’s head firmly between his hands. Brushed a thumb against a flushed cheek.

“I—do trust you.” Ray’s words were warm breath against Zavier’s lip.

“Good. Will you listen to me tonight? Will you obey me?”

Ray was trembling against him. “Yes.”

Zavier kissed Ray, gently at first, letting him stiffen and moan, then relax. Lips moved gently, coaxing, opening, claiming, until Ray’s mouth was his and that hard, lithe body was molded to Zavier’s. That taste, the press of Ray against him put fire into Zavier’s blood. He’d needed this. Wanted it since he’d auditioned. They’d danced and danced for months. Countless days of living with each other. It was time already.

The second time he kissed Ray, it was to claim his mouth. A kiss that pulled whimpers and sighs from him, had him digging his fingers into Zavier’s arms. But it also had him tipping his head back and thrusting his hips against Zavier. Savoring Ray’s desire was a joy. Finally, his hands were where they belonged, playing a different kind of music.

Zavier held Ray’s head with one hand and slid the other down to his ass to pull them tightly together. He drank in Ray’s gasp and groan when Zavier ground their dicks against each other so there’d be no doubt about Zavier’s intent.

They weren’t in high school anymore, and Zavier would have every inch of Ray that was offered to him.

When he broke the kiss, it was only to bite and lick and suck at Ray’s neck until he was twisting and thrusting and shaking in Zavier’s arms. “Oh fuck. Oh god, yes.”

There. Each word cascaded down Zavier. Ray’s pleasure, his need.

The engine turned over, then the bus lurched, sending them both off balance and breaking them apart of a moment.

Zavier laughed. Not the most ideal conditions. But a little space would keep him from getting too far ahead with Ray.

Ray groaned in exasperation. “Cock-blocked by a bus.”

“If you think you’re frustrated now, just you wait.” Zavier grinned.

About Anna Zabo:

 

About the Author

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Connect with Anna Zabo:

Twitter | Facebook Group | Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Facebook Page | Newsletter

Win 2 e-copies of any back catalog novel by Anna Zabo:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link to giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0352/

New Release Blog Tour: Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1) by Anna Zabo (excerpt and giveaway)

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Syncopation

Series: Twisted Wishes #1

Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date (Ebook): April 9, 2018

Length (Print & Ebook): 104,000 words or ~295 pages

Subgenre: contemporary romance; m/m romance

Includes: Rockstars, BDSM, Angst, Pansexual/bisexual, Aromantic

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789GZX16/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/syncopation-anna-zabo/1127659237

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/syncopation/id1326105335

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Anna_Zabo_Syncopation?id=t0RDDwAAQBAJ

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/syncopation-8

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Syncopation/Anna-Zabo/Q264976640?id=7194974976389

Synopsis:

There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!

Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.

Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.

Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.

Excerpt :

They cleaned up for the signing lines—Ray back in a T-shirt—and managed to get through everyone before midnight. Then it was back onto the bus and off to Utah. Long trip, but one with a hotel room at the end and a day off from playing. Even with Ray giving him those long, hooded looks, Zavier didn’t have much energy left, either to dominate or fuck. Still, when Ray headed toward the back of the bus, he followed.

Mish and Dom both had smirks. Zavier rolled his eyes at them, but smiled anyway. He pulled the privacy curtain closed.

Ray stood in the space, swaying with the bus, and staring at the couch on which they’d taken so much pleasure. “I had to ditch the bracelet. It was pretty disgusting by the time the concert was over.”

“That’s fine.” Zavier swept a hand over Ray’s back. He felt the shudder when he cupped Ray’s neck. “Figured that might happen.”

“Hence string and not leather?” Ray met his gaze. There was a hunger there, a deep, deep hunger. But none of the other signs that meant Ray was a live wire of lust.

“Exactly.” He let his hand fall away. “Is there something you want?”

Ray nodded slowly. “It’s—not sex, though. I’m beat.”

“Ditto.”

“But my mind won’t stop. I—god. Do you ever get music and words and everything just—tangled up in there?”

“No, but other things, yes.” He pulled Ray toward the couch. “Tell me about it.”

Ray sat and dropped his hands into his head. “The words are easy to get out. I write them down, even if they’re shitty. But the music—the colors and the shapes and the lines—I can’t stop seeing them. Feeling them in my blood.” He lifted his head. “I bet that makes no sense. I’ve tried to tell Mish and Dom, but they don’t get it.”

“Don’t worry about it making sense to me.” Zavier focused on Ray, whose gaze shifted from object to object in the room. “Tell me anyway. I want to know.”

“I…see music, Zav. Like see it. Shapes and colors and…” He shrugged. “Been that way forever. I put hues and forms together on the guitar until they look right.”

Fuck, Ray really had been a musical prodigy. Hell. Someone should have noticed. “Synesthesia,” he said.

Ray nodded. “Yeah. I found out there was a name for it on the internet.” He laughed. “Was kind of a relief.”

One Zavier knew well, for different reasons.

“I do note things down with colored pens and stuff. But sometimes my brain gets so fucking full.” Ray sighed and collapsed against the back of the couch. “Would it be weird if I—knelt at your feet? Like the first time? Not for sex. Not even to submit or whatever it is I do when I get all out of my head to obey you—but just to be here? With you?”

The worry there. Warmth spread through Zavier, and his chest ached. “Ray, you can always kneel like that if you need to. Or we can sit. Whatever you need from me.” He dropped his hand on Ray’s knee. Kept it there.

Ray relaxed under his touch. “Told you I was a burden. Just ask Dom.”

“Shush. I bet Dom would disagree.”

“Oh, he would, just to spite me.” Ray rolled his head and met Zavier’s gaze. “He’s put up with my antics for years, but we’re not like this.” He gestured between the two of them. “He’s not touchy-feely. You like touching me.”

“Like I said, not entirely altruistic on my part.”

Ray laughed. “But it’s not always sexual.”

That was true, too. He pulled Ray’s head down into his lap. “This okay, or do you really want to kneel on the floor with your forehead on my shoes?”

“Wanna do both. But this is fine.” Ray’s words were soft, and his body relaxed.

Zavier stroked his hair. “Tell me what you see.”

“I’m calling it ‘Dare to Be.’” Then Ray whispered words and colors. Shapes. Sometimes he spoke so low, Zavier couldn’t hear. He also tapped out a beat on Zavier’s thigh, one Zavier echoed and improvised with on his back, until Ray was humming and singing and then slipping into sleep. A continuation of the song Ray’d been working on before. And now Zavier had the name—one even Mish and Dom didn’t know. He held on to that like a talisman.

How many years had it been since he’d had a friend like Ray? One he could sit and be with? He couldn’t remember. Once sex came into the picture, everyone had always expected more from him. Some great romantic connection. Dinners and presents and declarations. But Ray didn’t seem to need that and it was a fucking miracle.

About Anna Zabo:

Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Connect with Anna Zabo:

Twitter | Facebook Group | Instagram | Website | Goodreads | Facebook Page | Newsletter

Win 2 e-copies of any back catalog novel by Anna Zabo:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link to giveaway: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0352/

Francis Gideon on Tattoos and Transitions and their release Hopeless Romantic (guest blog and giveaway)

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Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Vivian Ng

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Francis Gideon here today on tour for their new release, Hopeless Romantic.  Welcome, Francis!

📚

Hello everyone! I’m Francis Gideon and I’m touring for my new release Hopeless Romantic, a trans rom-com of sorts. Follow along this week as I talk about all thinks romantic comedy, trans identity, and being pretty in pink! I’m looking forward to sharing some serious 1980s nostalgia; be sure to comment with your own bit of nostalgia for a $10 giveaway for Riptide publishing.

Tattoos and Transitions

In an earlier post on my blog tour, I talked about how Nick and Katie–the main love interests in Hopeless Romantic–are kind of like my partner and I. One of the major differences in that regard, though, is that my partner has zero tattoos and I have all of them.

When Nick first meets Katie, he doesn’t quite notice her tattoos because her jacket hides most of them. As the story goes on, and of course as they become more familiar with one another minus clothing, he starts to see just how many she has. Katie is covered in tattoos, and many of them, like my own, mark different stages in her gender identity realization and her transition. Her ‘shitty’ butterfly tattoo on her shoulder represents this the most since the butterfly is often used to describe transition itself; starting out in a cocoon and blooming into something more. But as Katie points out to Nick, that idea is old and outdated, and kinda shitty just like her tattoo. She doesn’t view herself as a butterfly anymore, because it implies that she must wait in order to be beautiful, when in reality, she’s beautiful how she is now. Her tattoos after that point become a way to rebel against the standards of beauty that trans women are often forced to comply with. And of course, Nick finds them beautiful–like her.

I’m not a trans woman like Katie, but nonbinary, so my tattoos communicate slightly different things, but they are definitely a record of my transition. I have two tattoos of Artemis and Orion on my lower back, sketched from woodcuts of the Greek Gods, as a way to communicate a dual my gender identity; I also have a series of tarot cards that represent part of my coming to terms with not transitioning medically (so in many ways, my tattoos here became my transition), and I have several other smaller tattoos that marked particular salient moments–like a boy from a children’s book and a grandfather clock.

Both of those last tattoos are on my inner arm. My tattoo artist told me that what we get on our inner arms is what we most want to protect. So to me, those two tattoos represent the parts of my trans identity that I wanted to keep the most: childhood nostalgia in the kids’ book, and my future legacy–since the clock was an inheritance gift in my family.

For Nick, his only tattoo is his inner arm–and it’s a heart with the city of Toronto inside of it. To him, that’s his legacy and his future. Though he lives and works in a town two hours away from Toronto, the Toronto community is where he got his first degree, where he met his friends, and where he found himself. It’s also where he first kisses Katie, and so the city–and his love for her–become intertwined.

About Hopeless Romantic

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.

After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.

Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.

Connect with Francis:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Hopeless Romantic, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 15, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!