A Stella Advent Release Day Review: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change by Chris Scully

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.

This is exactly what I’m looking for in a holiday short, to be engaged and conquered by the characters and the plot since the first words. That’s exactly what the author gave me with this story. I fell in love with Joel and Perry from the start and I couldn’t wait for them to finally act on their feelings. It took some time but that time was needed to better see and understand both men and their  minds, I felt their thoughts in my mind and the deep love they shared for each other and for the beloved Dale.

I want to recommend this short story in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar and actually, all the books Chris Scully writes.

The cover art by Alexandria Corza is simple and clean but I don’t like it. In my opinion it misses a connection with the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 66 pages

Published December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ASIN B078CQKKN7

Edition Language English

Series 2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers

In the Spotlight: Back to You by Chris Scully (Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway)

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Back to You by Chris Scully
Riptide Publishing

Cover by: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Riptide Publishing

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Chris Scully here today on her Back to You Tour.  Welcome, Chris!

✒︎

Hello! I’m Chris Scully. I’m thrilled to welcome you to my blog tour for Back to You, my new romantic suspense novel. Join me at various tour stops, where I’ll be sharing some background on the novel and the characters, my thoughts on writing, and more. Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $20 Riptide gift certificate. Thanks for joining me on the tour!

About Back to You

Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.

Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.

As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.

Available now from Riptide Publishing

About Chris Scully

Chris Scully lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.

Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.

Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.

Connect with Chris:

Website: chrisscullyblog.wordpress.com

Facebook: facebook.com/chris.scully.author

Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/6152322.Chris_Scully

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Back to You, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 17, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Stella New Release Review: Back to You by Chris Scully

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.

Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.

As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.

I was a little scared to read this new release from Chris Scully, although she is one of my favorite authors, I’m really not a huge fan of mystery stories. I like my readings to be funny, light and sweet. And it’s hard to find a good mystery with these elements in it too. But I couldn’t skip it, so I approached it being a little wary of what I was going to have on my hands. And I was surprised.

Back to You is a beautiful novel, it’s about love, about regrets, about making amends, about deaths, more than one. I found myself in a mystery twenty-years old. A mystery I was sure where it was going on from the start, and I so appreciate the author gave it a little twist and proved me wrong. I so preferred the resolve she chose.

If you already read something else from this author, you know she can write pretty well, she can bring the reader into each new world, new character she creates. Back to You was no exception. I found myself into the characters’ lives and being with them was an amazing journey. Alex and Ben  twenty years later should be two strangers and for a lot of things maybe they are, but inside they are the same boys, as the same is the strong connection between them, not just a chemistry but an understanding line that runs deep.  A connection that doesn’t turn into sex as soon as they see each other again because there is too much going on around them.

All the characters are real, buried in problems like we are, they are flawed and weak. They suffered and are still hurting.

“I see you, Ben Morning,” I whispered, resisting the urge to fold him in my arms right there in the rotunda of the Community Hall. “I’ve always seen you. All these years. I didn’t know how much I missed you, how much a part of me you still were, until I was here again.” The words were out before I knew they were there, ready to be said. “And I wish I could do everything over, but I can’t. I just . . . I want you to know that.”

I feel to recommend Back to You (and in general ALL the books by this author) to everyone who is looking for a good story, well written, with a great setting and characters well developed. It totally deserves five full stars.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is well done, I especially like the colors and it’s fitting.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 266 pages

Expected publication: June 12th 2017 by Riptide Publishing

ISBN 1626495742 (ISBN13: 9781626495746)

Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Do Not Disturb: 3 Short Stories of Erotic Romance by Chris Scully

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

do-not-disturbChris Scully is one of my favourite authors. I often come back to her stories when I need to warm my heart. I was very enthusiastic to have Do Not Disturb on my hands and I can honestly say it was so much better than what I was expecting. I usually am not a fan of anthologies or collections of short stories, too many times it happens they don’t satisfy me or are too short to be complete. That wasn’t the case for this new release.

In Watch Me, I met Win, who has started working at the Benton Hotel six months ago. Taking care of his father during the day and working at night, is not easy at all. Especially when days at home are really bad. Lucas works the early shift and it is pretty clear he is interested in Win but every attempt Lucas does at starting something is shot down by Win, unconsciously at first until Lucas, pure sensuality as he is, plans to lure Win to him.

For many and different reasons I could emphatize with both main characters and I was so eager for them to find a happy ending. I couldn’t put the Kindle down for a moment. I loved how I was able to know a lot about them, even in so few pages.

Watch Me was the more “complete” short, I met the characters, I saw the interest, the chemistry, the courtship, the sex, the help. A very well done story.

The second short, Wedded, was the shortest and hottest one. At first it could seem just one little scenes where two strangers meet in a bar, fall in bed together and have (let me tell you) hot sex. But it wasn’t just this and although I can’t spoiler more I want to say it was hot and sweet.  I adored it.

Wanted, the third story, was longer and very very good. I was able to actually know the MCs, Evan and Graham, really well, during a chat, a bath, some hot moments. With great dialogues and the promise of HEA,  the author showed me two beautiful souls, both of them survivors in a different way, both of them in need of someone to love and care for. Wanted was an emotional story and I deeply loved it.

I feel I can recommend Do Not Disturb by Chris Scully, to me it was a winner. A collection of three hot shorts, full of feelings and well depicted characters. I couldn’t ask for more.

The cover art by the same author is pretty simple but it couldn’t have been more fitting.

Sales Link

c60a7-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook, 99 pages
Published January 12th 2017 by Chris Scully
ASINB01NCROTM5
Edition LanguageEnglish

Chris Scully Talks “Open for You” and Her Latest Story ‘Happy’ – guest blog, excerpt and giveaway

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Happy

Happy by Chris Scully
D
reamspinner Press
Cover art by Bree Archer

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Chris Scully here today to talk about her  latest novel, Happy.  Welcome, Chris.

~~~~~~~~~

 

Hello! I’m Chris Scully. Welcome to the blog tour for my new novella, Happy, from Dreamspinner Press. Join me at various tour stops, where I’ll be sharing some guest posts, excerpts and more. Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway to win a gift certificate and ebook of your choice. Thanks for stopping by and joining me on the tour! And a very special thanks to my hosts today.

**SPOILER ALERT** I don’t consider any of the below to be true spoilers, but if you really don’t want any hints, stop reading now

Happy was written long before the current discussion around “Gay For You” and bi-erasure in gay and m/m romance. But in a way it’s very timely. Happy is definitely an “Open for you” story. It’s not something I consciously set out to write, although at the start Peter was bi-curious, but it just developed that way. Peter Georgiou is well aware of his attraction to both men and women, although he’s hesitant to openly accept it because of how that would be received by his traditional Greek Orthodox family. Part of that involves not using the label for himself. He’s not in denial about his sexuality, but there’s a whole side of himself he represses a bit rather than stir up the inevitable trouble at home. He’s got an ex-fiancée whom he genuinely cared for, and a new girlfriend that his mother set him up with. And frankly, he’s never met someone he’s prepared to out himself for. Enter Louie Papadakis, who has returned home after a long estrangement from his family. Peter admires Louie’s bravery, not only for coming out at a young age, at great personal cost, but also for being able to be his own person and escape the demands of his family. But Peter also sees how Louie is still treated by certain segments of their Greek neighbourhood, including Peter’s own ultra-traditional mother. With his best friends’ relationship as a guide, Peter is encouraged to follow his heart, and the more time he spends with Louie, the more Peter begins to understand that true happiness can only come from being his authentic self. The question is will his family be so accepting?

About Happy –  Blurb

Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. HappyIn his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.

When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.

As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.

Excerpt

“Are you happy?”

It was a simple question. Should have been a simple answer. So why was it still rattling around in Peter’s head an hour after Adam had asked it? And why did his insides squirm uncomfortably every time he thought about it? Of course he was happy. Wasn’t he?

He rinsed his hands under the bathroom faucet and chanced a final glance in the mirror. The man staring back at him certainly didn’t look happy.

You’re a sad fucking case these days, Peter Georgiou, he thought tiredly, taking in the dark circles beneath his eyes and the retreating hairline that even the closest shave couldn’t disguise. His lungs grew tight, and he quickly averted his eyes before he looked too deeply and saw something he’d rather not see.

Peter cupped his hands beneath the water, letting it spill through his fingers before bending to splash his overheated face. He struggled to recall a time when he hadn’t felt this weight on his chest, but if it had ever existed, it must have been long ago. Before he knew what expectations were. What had happened to the boy who was going to get away and see the world? Be his own man?

He straightened and flicked his wet fingers at the mirror, shattering his reflection with droplets. With a sigh he reached for the nearby hand towel to dry it off. His image blurred for a second and then crystalized again as the water evaporated. He made a face and then looked away. Ugh. He shouldn’t have had that last beer. He was a gloomy drunk to begin with, but tonight he was more morose than usual.

When had it all started to go wrong? With his dad’s heart attack? When Elena ended their engagement? Or was it before that, even?

The sounds of laughter filtered up to the second floor through the floorboards of the old house. The party was winding down, but a few stragglers still hung on in the living room, having moved inside after darkness settled in and brought the mosquitos with it. Peter wondered if he could slip out without anyone noticing. Then he remembered he had no way to get home without Julian, unless he called a cab.

He was reaching for the door handle when voices drifted through the open window, too low to hear the words but loud enough for him to recognize the speakers. Curious, Peter crept to the window and squinted into the shadows. The bathroom overlooked the narrow backyard, and sound drifted easily. Through the fluttering streamers and paper bells stretching over the deck, two familiar figures moved about below, illuminated by the glow from the kitchen.

Adam hopped up to perch on the deck railing, facing the house as Joe filled a garbage bag with the litter from earlier in the evening. After a mumbled comment, Joe set down his bag and moved to stand between Adam’s splayed knees, his back turned toward Peter, his hands seeking out Adam’s hips. As Peter watched from his secret vantage point, Adam wrapped his arms around Joe’s neck and leaned down to kiss him.

It was slow and tender, and Peter’s stomach hollowed.

His best friends rarely displayed this side of their relationship in public. They’d always been affectionate with each other—Joe was a chronic hugger—even when they were only friends, so once they’d gone beyond that, not much had changed. Unless you happened to notice the way they looked at each other, or the way they finished each other’s sentences, or how one would know what the other wanted without him saying a word.

Peter did his best not to notice.

There was enough light from the house to see Joe’s hand slide up Adam’s pale thigh and under the leg of his shorts. Peter’s breath hitched. His groin filled with a slow heat.

About the Author

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.

Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she’s found a home in gay romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.

Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.

Connect with Chris:

Website: http://chrisscullyblog.wordpress.com
Facebook: facebook.com/chris.scully.author
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/6152322.Chr…
Email: cscully@bell.net

Buy Links

Available March 30, 2016

Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon  | ARe

Giveaway

Link to Rafflecopter:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ff396dca2/

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Blog Schedule:

Other blogs on the Happy tour:

March 24: MM Good Book Reviews
March 28: Open Skye Book Reviews
March 29: Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy
March 30: Hearts on Fire
March 30: Divine Magazine
March 31: Love Bytes
March 31: The Novel Approach
April 1: Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

A Stella Review: Happy by Chris Scully

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RATING  4,5 out of 5 stars

HappyGrowing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.

When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.

As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.

Are you happy?”

It was a simple question. Should have been a simple answer. So why was it still rattling around in Peter’s head an hour after Adam had asked it? And why did his insides squirm uncomfortably every time he thought about it? Of course he was happy. Wasn’t he?

He rinsed his hands under the bathroom faucet and chanced a final glance in the mirror. The man staring back at him certainly didn’t look happy.

I remember when the author first posted (maybe a couple of years ago, I’m not sure) the idea for this story. I was soon curious about it and my enthusiasm when I saw it finally published was huge. I read the Inseparable series some time ago and Until September last month. I can say Chris Scully is one of my favorite authors. I like her style a lot and her books are always a pleasure to read.

Happy is the story of Peter, a thirty-something guy in the closet, oppressed by his Greek parents who expect him to marry a nice Greek girl and make his own family. Two years ago he quit his job after his dad had an heart attack and started helping his parents’ restaurant. Now in a relationship with Demetra, of course recommended by his mum, he can’t take this life anymore, especially now that his two best friends, Adam and Joe,  had finally found happiness in each others arms.

Moving to Vancouver after college was the only way to not embarrass his family with his sexuality but now Louie has come back home, Toronto, and he is recovering from a bad relationship with a deep in the closet guy. He needs to mend his broken heart but it’s hard to be home again after so many years away. He’s feeling lonely and with no friends to hang with. Then he meets Peter, his sister’s new boyfriend. Peter and Louie basically grew up together same greek neighborhood, same school. Peter was the hottest boy and of course Louie has a huge crush on him. Fifteen years later a lot of things have changed but some are still the same.

Peter seems to not be ready to come out of his closet and Louie can’t settle for anything less than a full disclosure. Can they be happy together?

I loved this book a lot, it was light and deep at the same time, easy to read and all the characters were enjoyable and real. I liked watching Peter and Louie become first friends then start to feel more, even if the attraction is clear since their first meeting. Although nothing really happens between the MCs till over the 70% of the story, I appreciated the slow burn, because Peter is still in the closet and Louie is not ready for a new relationship yet.

Finally I want to thank the author for giving me  a little more about Adam and Joe from the Inseparable series, I liked this couple so much years ago and to meet and follow them to a truly HEA was perfect.

I’m conflicted about the cover art by Bree Archer. I like it but it’s not really a winner and forgettable. I would have preferred something different.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 165 pages
Expected publication: March 30th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634771397 (ISBN13: 9781634771399)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Stella Review: Until September by Chris Scully

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Rating:  5 out of 5 stars          ★★★★★

UntilSeptember_600x900As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.

I read the Inseparable series by Chris Scully two of years ago and when I saw Until September with the great cover and the interesting blurb, with promises of a lot of emotional moments and a couple of kids, I was soon conquered. I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed and I was right. I found it an amazing read, it simply took my heart.

The first chapter was hard to read. Abused by his uncle since he was a child, at sixteen Archie is tricking behind school to earn some money and move from the hell Manitoba Reservation has become. His only light is Margie, his baby sister, thirteen years old, the only person he truly loves. He was the one to protect and feed her when their mother left them alone. Leaving the place is his only chance at survival and staying away from all the drugs and child abusers the Cree population suffers. Now that the uncle is dead Archie needs to be strong, abandon Margie and save himself.

Then the story switched to twenty years later but that only first chapter broke my heart. Just a few pages helped me understand a lot about Archie, his deep connection with his sister and the mask he used to hide his scars from indelible things from her.

Twenty years later Archie is Archer Noble, new name, new place, new money, but the fear of losing everything still clings to him. He is now on tour, promoting his new book, when a call comes that will change his whole life.

Ryan Eriksson is a 25 years old teacher, with little social life, who has found in Marguerite, the mum of one of his student, a sister he never had, they shares secrets and hopes. He supports her after the loss of her husband and she knew about his desire to build a family and the disaster with his ex boyfriend.

When tragedy happens, Archer and Ryan need to be together and try to give a family to Dillon and Emma, Marguerite’s children. But Archer can’t take care of them, he still has a lot of work to do on himself. He can’t be a parent, he’s not ready. But he’s willing to give this family thing a try for a bit. Then he will be on his own and the children with Ryan. Ryan has until September to convince Archer that he belongs with his niece and nephew.

I have to be honest and say Until September is one of the best stories I read this new year. It has all the themes I love to read about, moreover it was delivered to my heart with an easiness and straightforwardness, I hardly had found somewhere else. I fell in love with the children and the MCs. Archer and Ryan both changed so much during the book and the development of their relationship, even if slow, it never bored me, on the contrary, it was right for a book like this.

If you want a book emotional that will put a smile on your face till the end, a tear on your cheek a couple of times, full of sweetness and the cuteness only children can give, you can’t miss Until September. I adored it. Plus, it was beautifully written, I felt every single word. 5 full stars!

The cover art by Lou Harper is perfect. It fits the story, cute and great in the colors. I love it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | ARe | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 298 pages
Published February 8th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626493553 (ISBN13: 9781626493551)
Edition Language English

Get An Inside Look At ‘Until September’ by Chris Scully (author guest blog and giveaway)

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UntilSeptember_600x900

Until September by Chris Scully
Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist Lou Harper

Release Date February 8, 2016
Goodreads Link

Buy it/Read An Excerpt Here

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Chris Scully, author of Until September, here today to share some insight about her  latest novel Until September.  Welcome, Chris.

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Hello! I’m Chris Scully. I’m thrilled to welcome you to my Until September blog tour! Join me at various tour stops, where I’ll be sharing some of the background of this novel, my thoughts on writing, and more. Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $20 Riptide gift certificate. Thanks for joining me on the tour!

About Until September

As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.

About Chris Scully

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.

Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.

Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.

Connect with Chris:

Website: chrisscullyblog.wordpress.com
Facebook: facebook.com/chris.scully.author
Goodreads: goodreads.com/author/show/6152322.Chris_Scully
Email: cscully@bell.net

UntilSeptember_TourBanner

Giveaway

Leave a comment for a chance to win $20 in Riptide credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 13, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

An Interview with Chris Scully On Writing and Nights Like These (contest)

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Book Name: Nights Like These
Author Name: Chris Scully

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Chris Scully here for an author interview and to talk about writing and her latest book, Nights Like These:

Q One of your main characters is Miles, 40 years old. I love an older protagonist. What was the inspiration behind Miles?

Age doesn’t mean you are any less immature or insecure—as Miles clearly demonstrates. I think older characters are definitely underrepresented in the romance genre (MF/MM), which is a bit odd because as a reading/writing community a lot of us are in that age bracket. As someone born with “an old soul”, I’ve never really identified with the angst of twenty-somethings—even when I was a twenty-something! I personally find it very difficult to write credible young adults because I don’t have those ‘traditional’ YA experiences to draw on. And as someone comfortable in her forties, I have no burning desire to revisit that period of my life. I like to be able to relate to characters I read or write—and for me that probably means they will be older (so far they’ve ranged from late twenties to early fifties). In the case of this novel, I knew that my protagonist was going to be cynical and jaded, and I feel that’s something that comes with being older. There is also definitely a large part of me in Miles. So much of the novel is wrapped up with my own experiences in being a mid-career employee who’s laid off that in a sense he became my alter ego.

Q Your main characters profession is something you don’t often see, again where did you get that idea and why?

Up until recently, I worked in an office building much like the one in the novel (in fact it’s my inspiration) and the security guards were fixtures–not to mention often the butt of friendly jokes. It is such a thankless job to sit there and not be able to interact with anyone. When I started thinking about writing a mystery, I didn’t want my character to be a cop or PI or special agent. That’s the standard route. I wanted him to be an everyday guy who gets mixed up in stuff beyond his control. As a writer you have a little more freedom to play fast and loose with the rules of mystery writing. The idea of a security guard seemed perfect, especially because it also tied in with Miles being laid off and unable to find a job and his perception that the job is beneath him.

Q. Is there a mystery involved or is this straight (pardon the word) romance?

He he he. There is definitely a mystery involved, but that’s not the focus and it’s pretty light. Actually, when I began writing, it was with the intention of it being a mystery with a romantic subplot, but along the way that flip-flopped. I’d say it’s 65% romance with 35% mystery.

Q. When you read romance, what twists do you like to see?

I love a good twist, but you don’t usually see that so much in romance. Sometimes you get these “ah ha” moments where an author might subtly imply or reference something unexpected. I love that moment of realization. I remember many years ago reading an Amanda Quick historical in which a pair of secondary characters were lesbians. It was implied so subtly that when it finally hit me I went “Oh wow, that’s why…”. What I don’t like are authors who jerk the characters around just to drag out the story and keep them apart.

Q. And do you incorporate those into your writing as well?

Not always consciously, but yes I do occasionally like to imply things or add in layers. Most readers probably don’t even notice it. In Rebound, because the whole story is told from Emmett’s point of view, you think it’s Emmett’s story. But when Sky says “You’re my Christmas miracle” it was intended to add a whole other dimension and make you suddenly look at things from his perspective. Also, depending on the story, I like to withhold information and reveal it later to heighten the emotion. In Touch Me, a short erotic novella I wrote and self-published, it starts out seemingly just about a guy giving erotic massages, but then when you find out about his personal situation, it changes the dynamic entirely.

Q. What drives your story as your are writing it, the plot or the characters or the romance? Or all of the above?

It’s a combination, and the balance between the three depends on the story. Character usually plays the largest role for me–even in Nights Like These, which I consider to be plot-driven, Miles is still a very strong character. It wouldn’t be the same story without him. I think if you have great characters, the romance becomes a natural extension.

Q Do you plot out your stories or do they change and morph as you write?

Again, it’s a combination. I like to have a rough plot or plan, but I try to be flexible if things start to change and to give the characters some freedom. Nights Like These is a perfect example. It was supposed to be a mystery, but Miles’ personality took over completely. My beta-readers indicated they were confused because it seemed like two different stories. My mystery loving friend said it was “too romantic”, and my romance reader found the mystery parts boring. Rather than try to force it into something it wasn’t, I finally accepted that the romance/ comedic aspects were stronger and did some rewriting to make the mystery secondary.

Q. Favorite story or author as a child?

Tough call. As a young child, my favorite was The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch. It’s about a princess who ends up rescuing herself instead of waiting on the prince. Considering this was written in the seventies, it is incredibly subversive. I still love the message of Paperbag Princess today. If I had kids I would definitely be reading that to them. Robert Munsch is an amazing kid’s author because of the way he writes for both kids and their parents. If you haven’t read Love You Forever, you definitely should, but be prepared with tissues. I still read this as an adult and bawl. You can listen to these stories for free on his website.

Q. What’s next for you as an author?

For now I’m concentrating on finishing my latest project (Happy) and also getting another novel (Until September) to publication. That should take me through most of 2015 at my current pace. After a year of unemployment I’m back to work full-time, so writing has to go back to second place. I’d like to target one book a year. Yes, that’s low compared to my peers, but it’s what I think I can comfortably manage and work full-time.

Eventually I’d like to move more into the gay fiction area—that is, fiction where the main character happens to be gay. I have a couple of ideas for romantic thrillers I’d like to try, and I that’s probably where I’ll focus for my next new project. They will definitely still have a romance angle, because I’m a born romantic, but they just won’t be as emotional and introspective.

Author Bio:

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Author Contact:

https://www.facebook.com/chris.scully.author

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press eBook  & Paperback  Amazon  All Romance

Nights Like These Blurb:SMNightsLikeTheseORIG_final_v01

Starting over sucks. At forty, Miles Koprowski thought he had life all figured out. He had a nice car, a hot young lover, and a cushy job… and then he didn’t. Call it fate, or karma, or a downturn in the market, but this opinionated cynic is now forced to play rent-a-cop in a dying office building in the burbs just to make ends meet. Throw in an unhinged ex, a coworker who hates him, and a hot new boss, and suddenly everything is uncertain.

Miles doesn’t plan on liking the night shift or becoming embroiled in a mystery that reawakens old passions and puts him in danger. And he certainly doesn’t plan on falling for the overbearing head of security, Colton Decker, former soldier and doting dad. But nights like these can change a man, make him start to believe there’s more to life than a high paying job and a warm body in his bed. With a thief on the loose and his new job in jeopardy, Miles will have to decide what’s truly important. He might discover things he never knew he wanted… as long as he makes it through the night.
Categories: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery

Nights Like These Excerpt:

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, dumb—” I managed to sputter before my mouth stopped working entirely and dropped open. The ability to speak, to think, deserted me at the first sight of the hunky stranger standing in front of me, his face contorted with apology as he tried to mop up my sodden jacket with a handful of napkins. He was a few inches taller than me—closer to six feet—and on the stocky side. His broad shoulders filled out a nicely tailored suit, and he projected an air of confidence that I’d never be able to pull off in a million years.

He was clean-shaven too, with a dark buzz cut that made me long to run a hand over his head simply to feel the texture. And gorgeous. Did I happen to mention that?

In short, he was the kind of guy you’d want to be stranded with on a deserted island; the kind you could count on to save you. If you were so inclined. Me? I didn’t need saving.

A pair of friendly, light-colored eyes now stared back at me, bemused. Odd that his lips were moving, but no sound was coming out.

“What?” I asked, blinking back to attention. I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had literally made me speechless. Me, Miles Koprowski, who never met a silence he didn’t want to fill.

Hell, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been on the receiving end of a full-body pat-down either. At least not so quickly. His hands were still drifting over my chest, wiping up the last drips of coffee, and the simple touch was doing alarming things to my heart rate.

“Are you okay?” he demanded. “Did you get burned?” Before I could react, he seized my wrist and held my hand up for inspection. Strong, lightly calloused fingers, I added to my mental list. Working hands. Dumbly, I looked down. The skin on the back of my right hand was red and stung like a son of a bitch, but it wasn’t blistering. I did flinch slightly when he skimmed his thumb over the sensitive area, but not from pain, more from the touch itself. My entire body lit up, as though I’d stuck a finger in an electrical socket. “It doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll live. Put some aloe on it when you get home.”

“Doctor?” I croaked, because really, that would be too perfect.

“Nope. Just seen a lot of injuries.” His lips twitched with barely contained amusement. “Sorry to disappoint you.” Sense of humor, check.

Words: 69,000

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2-Feb

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Cover Reveal for Nights Like These by Chris Scully (book tour and contest)

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Book Name: Nights Like These
Author Name: Chris Scully

Author Bio:

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Author Contact:

https://www.facebook.com/chris.scully.author

A few questions to get to know the author a little better….

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Every writer is on their own path—we have different things we hope to get out of the experience and different philosophies about it, so it’s difficult to give advice.

Writing is like golf. In a sense you’re competing against yourself, trying to do better in each outing. For me, writing is a never ending process of self-improvement. And so, I think the most practical piece of advice I can offer anyone serious about writing is to think of it like any other profession; expect to work hard, take the occasional training, embrace continuous learning, and practice, practice, practice so that you can perform better. Learn to accept critical feedback and recognize that without it you can’t improve. If you get a bad review, don’t give up—work on it. No writer is perfect. Work on developing those technical skills. Take a creative writing course, join a writer’s group, or check out many of the free online writing resources out there. Not because I think you can teach someone to be a writer, but because it will show you ways to improve the skills you already possess.

I definitely practice what I preach. When two early beta readers commented that Nights Like These was too slow and boring, I did some research on mystery writing and found my issue right away—I was breaking the cardinal rule of mysteries, which is to introduce the “mystery” within the first 3 chapters. Even though I’m a mystery reader, that bit of advice was something I hadn’t really considered before.

When it comes to technical writing tips, the most valuable thing I ever learned (and would like to pass on) was to show, not tell. “Show, don’t tell” is the first rule of writing, and yet so many people don’t follow it. I’m not sure why—maybe they don’t understand it, or maybe it’s too difficult. But if you want to elevate your characters, you have to do this.

Because I’m a visual thinker, the trick for me has always been to imagine my story as a movie or TV show. If you’re writing a script, you can’t just describe a character’s personality or backstory—you have to show it in the way they act, the way they dress, the way they talk. Sometimes you have to parse it out. If your character is a workaholic lawyer, don’t just write that…show it. Maybe the secretary says “Did you stay here all night, again?” His girlfriend complains “I never see you anymore.” Another trick is to write a profile of your character, listing all his attributes. Then for each of those, list an example of how you would demonstrate that—those become your scenes. Yes, it’s more work to do this, but your characters will thank you in the end.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I’m a hobby junky, although I rarely stick with them for long. Over the years my hobbies have included sewing (primarily historical costumes), gardening, interior design/ home renovations, architecture (I’m obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright), acrylic painting, jigsaw puzzles. Reading is the only one that has really stuck with me from the beginning.

Sca

 

Publisher: Dreamspinner PressNightsLikeTheseORIG_final_v01
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Sales Links: Dreamspinner eBook & Paperback

Blurb:

Starting over sucks. At forty, Miles Koprowski thought he had life all figured out. He had a nice car, a hot young lover, and a cushy job… and then he didn’t. Call it fate, or karma, or a downturn in the market, but this opinionated cynic is now forced to play rent-a-cop in a dying office building in the burbs just to make ends meet. Throw in an unhinged ex, a coworker who hates him, and a hot new boss, and suddenly everything is uncertain.

Miles doesn’t plan on liking the night shift or becoming embroiled in a mystery that reawakens old passions and puts him in danger. And he certainly doesn’t plan on falling for the overbearing head of security, Colton Decker, former soldier and doting dad. But nights like these can change a man, make him start to believe there’s more to life than a high paying job and a warm body in his bed. With a thief on the loose and his new job in jeopardy, Miles will have to decide what’s truly important. He might discover things he never knew he wanted… as long as he makes it through the night.
Categories: Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery

Excerpt:

“Why don’t you watch where you’re going, dumb—” I managed to sputter before my mouth stopped working entirely and dropped open. The ability to speak, to think, deserted me at the first sight of the hunky stranger standing in front of me, his face contorted with apology as he tried to mop up my sodden jacket with a handful of napkins. He was a few inches taller than me—closer to six feet—and on the stocky side. His broad shoulders filled out a nicely tailored suit, and he projected an air of confidence that I’d never be able to pull off in a million years. He was clean-shaven too, with a dark buzz cut that made me long to run a hand over his head simply to feel the texture. And gorgeous. Did I happen to mention that?

In short, he was the kind of guy you’d want to be stranded with on a deserted island; the kind you could count on to save you. If you were so inclined. Me? I didn’t need saving.

A pair of friendly, light-colored eyes now stared back at me, bemused. Odd that his lips were moving, but no sound was coming out.

“What?” I asked, blinking back to attention. I couldn’t remember the last time anyone had literally made me speechless. Me, Miles Koprowski, who never met a silence he didn’t want to fill.

Hell, I couldn’t recall the last time I’d been on the receiving end of a full-body pat-down either. At least not so quickly. His hands were still drifting over my chest, wiping up the last drips of coffee, and the simple touch was doing alarming things to my heart rate.

“Are you okay?” he demanded. “Did you get burned?” Before I could react, he seized my wrist and held my hand up for inspection. Strong, lightly calloused fingers, I added to my mental list. Working hands. Dumbly, I looked down. The skin on the back of my right hand was red and stung like a son of a bitch, but it wasn’t blistering. I did flinch slightly when he skimmed his thumb over the sensitive area, but not from pain, more from the touch itself. My entire body lit up, as though I’d stuck a finger in an electrical socket. “It doesn’t look too bad. I think you’ll live. Put some aloe on it when you get home.”

“Doctor?” I croaked, because really, that would be too perfect.

“Nope. Just seen a lot of injuries.” His lips twitched with barely contained amusement. “Sorry to disappoint you.” Sense of humor, check

.
Words: 69,000
BlueNLTBadgeTour Dates/Tour Stops:

Parker Williams, Rainbow Gold Reviews, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, The Hat Party, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Queer Town Abbey, Havan Fellows, Amanda C. Stone, Gaylist Book Reviews Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Love Bytes, Fallen Angel Reviews, Molly Lolly, Bayou Book Junkie, Inked Rainbow Reads, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, EE Montgomery, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, MM Good Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Cate Ashwood, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Velvet Panic, Andrew Q. Gordon, Kristy’s Brain Food

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy upon release. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Use the link provided for the entry form and all additional contest details.

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