A MelanieM Review: Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 3,75 stars out of 5

Six months have passed since Dillon and Lang crashed into each other on a crowded street in New York City, changing the course of their lives. Now they’re living together as a couple, happy, in love, but not quite ready to say the words out loud.

Dillon is about to embark on a new adventure—opening a private art school housed in the brownstone left to him by his father. Lang… Lang is becoming ever more aware of the futility of his mission: being caretaker to his clan’s future when his clan might not survive the war with an opposing faction.

When a flashbulb outside a nightclub on New Year’s Eve temporarily blinds Dillon, the course of their lives is set to change again. Dillon’s perception of how the world works is going to be forever altered, and Lang will have to decide between his mission and the man who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible.

It will be up to both of them to chart a new direction, one that holds the balance between being human and alien. A course that might require sacrifices neither of them is willing to make.

Purple Haze (Aliens in New York #2) by Kelly Jensen is the sequel to Uncommon Ground and for me, a better story.  While I enjoyed the first tale, this one contained more information about the aliens, some of their culture and genetics that was lacking in the first story so it felt more well rounded.

It takes place six months after the conclusion of Uncommon Ground so in Purple Haze Dillon and Lang can be considered an established couple.  It’s no longer a case of instant love, something I had a problem with in the first story.  Here the author continues to build on  that new relationship, Lang’s inspection of his feelings about Dillon from his species pov and from the fact that he now “feels” more humanized than Skov after all his years alone on Earth.  Which of course, he is also realizing that was never really the case.Others of his world have always been there with their own agenda.

This is a novel crammed full of story threads.  Dillon’s continuing adjustment to his new reality, Lang’s stress and issues as he struggles with his new relationship, his mission, and fears abiyt the ongoing galactic drama on Jord,  And yes, even more!  There’s aliens on Earth and the fear of discovery!  Jensen threw everything in the pot on this one.

And it’s absolutely entertaining and suspenseful and fun.

There are still a  lot of holes here.  We know nothing of Jord other than their sun is dying leaving their world in a perpetual Ice Age so looking for a new world for their people is essential for survival.  Also that they are an “engineered species” with clans charged with traditional jobs such as farming which has evolved through the ages but clean certain clans subservient to others.Those seem to be the basics but the gaps of knowledge we need for a solid foundation for their world and species is huge.  And not present.  That’s really necessary to make a science fiction story come truly alive and a alien culture feel real.

The characters were also likable and easy to connect with, although again, those that were “alien” felt like dressed up humans, lacking an alien mindset that felt believable.  While I had so much fun with all the ships, and talky AI’s and such, they had a superficial feel to them.  What I loved was Dillon’s Korean mother and grandmother and their warm house.  They made every scene they entered just glow with joy and love.

Same for the scenes in the art school that Dillon created with characters the author  borrowed from another author’s series (with permission).  Since I hadn’t read that  author or series, having them there made little to no impression on me other than they seemed nice.  Extraneous but nice.

No, there was a whole action filled, suspense element here that worked.  The resolution to which also left me with many ore questions as to what happened to certain beings who caused all the problems.  Those answers never come.  It all gets wrapped up rather too tidely. Sweet but a bit too swiftly for all that went down.

I could be wrong but it seems like this is a 2 book series.  That would be a shame because we know so little about the alien cultures and so much is left unresolved about Lang’s people.  As for Dillon and Lang?  A HFN is how I would consider the ending.

I liked this story and the one before but don’t consider them as strong as Jensen’s other science fiction story, To See The Sun.

If you love science fiction romance, I recommend that one first.  Then these.

Cover art is simple and to the point.  Still far preferable than that failure of a cover for the first story which looks like a contemporary romance with models that looks nothing like the mcs.

Sales Links: Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 191 pages
Published May 10th 2019
ASINB07QW1SGJ7
URL https://www.kellyjensenwrites.com/purple-haze
Series Aliens in New York 

Uncommon Ground

What About Lunch? now folded into the first story as an add on

Purple Haze

A MelanieM Review: Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.

Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.

But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?

Uncommon Ground (Aliens in New York #1) by Kelly Jensen is an entertaining and enjoyable story.  And I will certainly be reading the second installment to see what happens to this couple and the next step in their relationship and the events that happen here.  But having said that, Uncommon Ground also suffered from two things for me in comparison.  One wasn’t something it could  have anything to do with but I had just finished an absolutely brilliant science fiction novel and anything that came immediately after wasn’t going to measure up.  Again, not this story’s fault.

But the other?  It doesn’t hold to the usual meticulousness with which  Kelly Jensen permeates her typical stories.  There’s such a preciseness, a air of completeness about mostly everything this author writes that I have come to expect from her tales.  And I sort of tind that lacking here.

Maybe because I find the backhistory and foundation incomplete and Jensen is going to include that in future novels in the series. Perhaps its the swiftness of the relationship between Dillon Lee and Steilang Skovgaard.  But so much here didn’t logically add up for me.  And I liked these characters and the whole idea/arc that Jensen seems to be building here.  But as the story progressed and events happened quickly, I just wanted more answers to fall into place.  And the  ones that did, again felt too slight in their delivery.  They ended up putting forth more questions than the answers they supposedly provided.

Aliens among us is a familiar trope as even Dillon remarked and I still feel like I’m waiting on Kelly Jensen to fully put her mark on this trope, series and story.  I know this author can write science fiction because her novel To See the Sun is a 5 star favorite of mine.  So I will wait to see how this series and the characters grow and proceed.

If aliens among us and science fiction are your things, here is a series to take a chance on.  I am going to to Purple Haze, book two.  I will let you know what I find

Cover art is such a disconnect for me.  They look absolutely nothing like the characters and really what makes you think aliens?  Dillon has a strange face, purple hair, piercings and weirdly colored eyes for starters. I won’t get into Skov.  This is an utter fail.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 147 pages
Published June 22nd 2017 by Kindle Worlds
Original Title Uncommon Ground
ASINB0731VVQTZ
Edition Language English
Series Aliens in New York #1, Memories with The Breakfast Club

A MelanieM Audio Review: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen and TJ Clark (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?

Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.

Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.

Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

As both a fan of Kelly Jensen and science fiction, I was looking forward to how well the combination of the two worked out.   After listening to the wonderful audio version of To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen as narrated by TJ Clark I had a definitive answer.  It was everything I could have hoped for.

A detailist in her contemporary romances, that same aspect of her writing is found here and used to great advantage when building her alien worlds, their cultures, and the sciences that enable them to exist.  From farming in crevasses on a hard mining world with acid rains and methane mists to beautiful city that discards its evil and its refuse in a walled off underground city beneath it, each place, location, and world, becomes fully alive here as it’s so multidimensional in every way.  From the air filtration systems such as they are, the way the underground city is lighted, methods of payment and transit.  Jensen has thought it all out, and clued our minds in, whether the description is lengthy or a brief mention.  Nothing here to make your mind stop and thing “wait, how would that work here” because she’s thought of it.

Then with her foundations in place, we get great characters. With a horrible past history, we have poignant, suffering man in the person of Gael, and his “complication”,  lonely, gentle, and competent in the person of Bran, the man who sent for a companion.  As well as other secondary characters of note on the mining world.  It’s Gael we first meet and it’s quite the impression.  It serves to connect us indelibly to him as it opens him up in all his suffering and compassion.  We see his kindness, gentleness and inability to go on and survive in the world he is living in.

The story and action moves swiftly at first, the pace of the narrative pulling us into Gael’s life and situation.  Later it will smooth out to flow with the life of a farmer/miner on the edge of the galaxy.  A element I enjoyed because it felt so natural, a slower life suited to life on a farm. And that was the pace of the development of Gael’s and Bran’s relationship as well.  It’s more of a slow burn as they get to know one another to see if this arrangement could actually work out, as fraught with pitfalls as it was.

I really don’t want to go into too many actual plot details here because it would venture into spoiler territory and that would be a shame.  There is so much here to love.  All the relationship dynamics are believable and constructed in such a way that they will grab onto your heart, but slowly, just as they are working it out between them. There is suspense, and drama, and yes, some heartbreak, however, temporary, because this is a HEA story, which I deeply love.

The narrator,TJ Clark, did a wonderful job with the story. Only his ‘girlish child’s voice’ made me stumble a bit.  Then I got used to that.  That is a hard one to do right, especially when it’s such an important role here.  But his voice made the story a captivating one and pulled me into the drama, making it hard to stop for breaks when necessary.  I will definitely be listening to more books from this narrator again.

Cover By: Garrett Leigh.  Love this cover, bright and filled with the sun, an important element.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audiobook
Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Audible.com Release Date: April 4, 2019
Language: English, English
ASIN: B07Q49HTR7

A MelanieM Review: Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.

Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.

Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.

But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.

If you haven’t found Kelly Jensen’s This Time Forever series, you seriously need to.  While each story uses a structure like a legacy home or lodge at its heart, it’s the author’s ability to create and bring to life a group of interlocked men of varying ages, often older than your usual contemporary romance, intelligent, each carrying more than their share of life’s baggage.  Some are easily more damaged than others, some emotionally, others physically, some both. Through the stories we’ve met several of the characters over and over through their complicated relationship dynamics with each other, as couples form and ex’s watch from the sidelines.

In Chasing Forever, one of those ex’s, Brian is someone we’ve “seen” through other characters perspectives and the view hasn’t been a pretty one.  Here Brian’s past is revealed, the truth of the man  peeled back, and he’s set on the path to redemption.  One reason? Mal “Malcolm” Montgomery, history teacher  and track coach who is trying to recover from a devastating hit and run accident.  Prior to the accident he was someone who defined himself by his physical ability…to run, to coach…to just do and now it’s a struggle to just walk.  In these two amazingly complicated and damaged men, Jensen brings about both redemption, recovery, hope, love, and, finally an emotionally triumphant future.  All done within a realistic, adult plot with the expectant struggles, arguments, and hurdles to overcome.  What a joy to read!

Threaded through this romance is the series foundation that features, in this case, not a family house or lodge but a bar that needs saving because the historic structure is slated to   be  sold to a developer in town.  This is an ongoing battle in this series, as the developer has made an appearance in a previous story and I expect to see them again  in future novels.  How it all plays out I will leave out to each reader to discover for themselves.  It too is a rich, multidimensional element of this story, just as I would have expected from someone who clearly loves her old structures as much as this author does.

In fact, there are several other floating storylines here that will capture your heart, along with the characters that go along with them.  There are no people here that I could honestly consider “supporting” cast because each feels so meaningful to the town and each other.

It’s like that with each and every story here.  For me they build on each other with their relationships, their place in the town, and in each other’s lives.  This is one series I would go around waving at people, recommending the hell out of it because it’s just that great.  Start with the first one and work your way here.  Get to know the town and its people.  Love them as I do.  Then you will know why I highly recommend this story, this series, and it’s author.  And do the same.

Cover Art:  Natasha Snow.  It matches the other novels in the series in style and element perfectly.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 333 pages
Published December 10th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 139781626498426
Edition Language English

Series This Time Forever 

Building Forever

Renewing Forever

Chasing Forever

Kelly Jensen on Characters, Animals Comparisons and her new release ‘Chasing Forever (guest blog and giveaway)

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Chasing Forever (This Time Forever #3) by Kelly Jensen
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen on tour with her latest novel, Chasing Forever.  Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

If You Could Be Any Animal by Kelly Jensen

This post is another in a series I’ve written for all three books of the This Time Forever trilogy. To recap, in Building Forever, I decided that Charlie was most like a golden retriever and Simon wouldn’t mind being associated with a rare leopard. For Renewing Forever, Frank still hasn’t forgiven me for comparing him to an otter, but Tom said it first. For his part, Tom’s quite pleased with the choice of coyote. So what about Brian and Mal?

Mal’s actually pretty easy. I had his animal pinned down month ago. Easily, he’s a St. Bernard. To begin with, it was a bit of a whimsical choice. I sort of pictured Mal (in St. Bernard form) racing to the rescue of someone (probably Brian), barreling over a mountain landscape, never flagging, tongue lolling, handy little keg of something warm bouncing from his collar.

What? I’m a writer. I have a very active imagination. Also, I might have been drinking whiskey at the time and it’s definitely whiskey in that little keg. Tell me you don’t immediately picture the little barrel hanging from its neck when you think of a St. Bernard.

What really drew me to this particular breed, though, was their temperament. The St. Bernard epitomizes the phrase “gentle giant.” They’re large, loving, puppy dogs. They’re patient and sweet. They’re notably good with children. Like all large breeds, they do need proper exercise and socialization, and that could be why Mal is such a grump at the beginning of the book. Active people don’t do well with broken limbs.

Mal has a twin, Donny. They’re fraternal twins, alike enough in appearance to be brothers, but in no way identical. Physically, they’re similar, though, and Donny is as much a St. Bernard as Mal. Donny is the one who’ll grab you by the scruff of your neck when you’re lying half dead in the snow and drag you back down the mountain to a cozy little village so you can be fussed over. (I feel another book idea coming on…)

Donny is also the one who’ll drool all over you as he enthusiastically licks you clean. Or just says hello. Thankfully, Mal is a little bit more restrained. Or just shy.

So what about Brian? I had to think long and hard about Brian because he holds so much of his self close. He’s very guarded, which is odd when you consider how social he is. My first idea for him was a cat, but that felt too easy. Also, Simon was a cat and I didn’t want to give them the same animal. I started thinking about more secretive, furtive animals, but they didn’t feel right, either. Brian isn’t small and he’s not shy. He just has secrets.

I briefly considered giving him my own avatar, the mythical creature I most closely identify with: the phoenix. He does transform during this story and in a way, he does pass through a veil to return from the ashes of his past. But it felt a little unfair to give Brian something so magnificent when everyone else got regular creatures.

Brian, by the way, thinks it’s very fair. But he’s not writing this post.

But he is a bird. A golden eagle. I did hesitate to use an eagle, because they’re notably monogamous, or mostly so. But Brian is human, first of all, and not solely driven by the imperative to mate (not for the purpose of offspring, anyway). Secondly, he does desire just one partner. He’s not polyamorous, he’s just… not settled. His domestication starts the very minute he finds his nephew on his couch, though. Suddenly, Brian’s home is no longer just a house. It becomes a nest, and he begins the process of making it a safe place for Josh. He’d already set his sights on Mal, and Mal is just the sort of partner he’s always needed.

By the end of the book, Brian is very much an eagle. He has soared—and he knows exactly where his home and family is, meaning he will always return to his nest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts. It’s fun to be whimsical with my characters, and so often after I finish a book and particularly a series, I miss hanging out with my guys. These posts have been an opportunity to revisit them for a while, as well as introduce them to you.

 

Chasing Forever is the final book in the series This Time Forever. Brian and Mal’s story is special in all sorts of ways. Even though these books all standalone, Brian has been there since the beginning–as the character everyone loved to hate in the first book, and the character who seemed to have more to him in book two. In this final story, I share who Brian really is, and hope you’ll all come to love him as much as I do. Then there’s Mal, his other half, my serious soldier who has been waiting all his life for a challenge like Brian. Sometimes we have to be knocked lower than ever before in order to reach that high, and Mal’s journey is one I treasure. I hope you enjoy reading this story of redemption and learning to live out loud.

About Chasing Forever

Old wounds, new directions, and a forever worth chasing.

Malcolm Montgomery was a history teacher and track coach until an accident left him with two broken legs. He’ll recover, but life has knocked his feet out twice now. He’s not sure if he’s ready to try again, especially when it comes to love—and slick guys like Brian Kenway. Still, he needs help mentoring the school’s LGBTQ society, so he asks Brian to take some responsibility.

Brian has been hiding behind his reputation as a liar and a cheat for so long that he actually believes he’s that guy—until his nephew, Josh, turns up on his couch, tossed out for being gay. Brian has never considered being a father, but he knows all about being rejected by loved ones. Now Brian wants to be more: a partner for Mal and a role model for Josh.

But when Mal’s recovery is set back and the sad truth of Brian’s past is revealed, the forever they’ve been chasing seems even further from their grasps. It’ll take a rescue effort to revive their sense of worth and make Brian, Mal, and Josh into a family of their own.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — released October 15
  2. Renewing Forever — released November 12
  3. Chasing Forever — released December 10

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Chasing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 15, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

 

A MelanieM Review: Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago

Kelly Jensen has another warmhearted winner of a contemporary romance in Renewing Forever, the second in her This Time Forever series.  This time, instead of a decades old one family home,  Jensen looks to frame her story around a family resort high in the Pocono Mountains that has seen better days and the men whose lives were and are grounded in its foundations and woods.

I’ve always felt that houses, especially older ones, have a life of their own, one made over years of habitation, wear, care, and the impressions of the people who have pressed their personalities and lives upon their structures, until they almost give off a feeling of their own when you enter them.  Fanciful notions?  Maybe.  But Kelly Jensen’s resort has the power to pull one man back and to keep one man safely  tied to the dreams it represents, past, present, and future.    And with her vivid descriptions and ability to create painful scenes of a  resort on the edge of heartbreaking neglect and foreclosure, she contrasts that with memories of a place brimming over with promise, joy, and, love.

In many ways, this is a novel that has layers of time,  past, present, and a flickering hope of the future that shrouded by a mystery.  What happened all those years ago that divided these men?  As the story climbs towards the answer, we get flashbacks to the their past, and each boys background and history.  Then we move forward to the present as they awkwardly deal with the fact that Frank now owns the resort that Tom has been living in and keeping together for all these years.

The men, their relationship, their friends, the dynamics between them all are all rendered realistically.  It’s complicated, as they say because of old romances and misec up feelings have a   way of playing havoc when trying to sort out a truth. Kelly Jensen gets that muddy nature of life, especially at a older age with more emotional baggage to haul around.

There’s plenty of angst, hurt/comfort here, the serious nature of homelessness to deal with, and issues of trust.  Not exactly a lighthearted romance but the depth of the issues is mirrored by the depth of the characterizations and setting.  It’s a conglomeration of narrative wonder.

I thought that ending was just about right for these two men, such a beautiful way to go into the future.

This Time Forever series has given us a remarkable home, a memorable resort, and what?  What is next in this series?  I can’t wait to  find out.

I highly recommend this story, this series, and yes, this author.  They are all amazing.

 

Cover art:  Natasha Snow.  I love this cover artist but honestly wish there was a little aging to this house.  It’s not how I pictured this resort in the Pocono Mountains surrounded by the  woods.  It does fit in with the branding of the series.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Book Details:

ebook, 285 pages
Published November 12th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 139781626498402
Edition Language English
Series This Time Forever

Building Forever

Renewing Forever

Chasing Forever

Kelly Jensen on Behind the Story and her new release ‘Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2)’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2) by Kelly Jensen

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kelly Jensen here today talking about the inspiration behind her new release, Renewing Forever (This Time Forever #2). Welcome, Kelly.

✒︎

Behind the Book by Kelly Jensen

I’m known in author circles for being super organized. I have templates for my outlines, I spreadsheet my revisions, and often write 6000 word character histories. The support documents for every book are indexed and hyperlinked. The bulleting in my outlines often goes four levels deep.

And yet…

My big book of ideas is spread over several notebooks that live in different places throughout my house. That way, if inspiration strikes, I have paper close at hand—which sounds a lot better than I just have notebooks everywhere, in no particular order! The notebooks have snippets of dialogues, entire scenes, outlines, character notes, and plot ideas. And they’re all mixed in together without any sort of indexing.

I usually know which book to reach for (or go hunting for) when I want to look something up, though, and I never mind having to flip through the notes for other projects along the way. Sometimes another idea will catch me, and I can make more notes, or sometimes one of my ideas leaps off the page and says, “Write me!”

The ideas for Renewing Forever came from two different notebooks. One had a few notes about Frank, jotted down after a beta reader for Building Forever asked if Frank’s book would be next. I had no plans to write a series, but I wrote the idea down, anyway, and tucked it away.

In another notebook, I had a brief outline for a story about a guy who was “camping out” in a dilapidated resort. About five years ago, we took a road trip to New Orleans and stayed at a quaint family resort in Tennessee. The guy manning the desk had the most amazing accent—and he was very cute! I immediately got an idea for a story involving someone trying to revitalize a rundown family resort, and maybe facing challenges from a local developer who wanted the land.

I’m not quite sure how these two ideas got combined? I think it was mostly a matter of me hunting through my notebooks for a story idea that would suit Frank. I like using and combining ideas I already have—it gives me a sense of accomplishment to cross something off what is probably a never ending list.

I quickly decided to switch up the imagined roles: Frank would be the one to inherit the resort and he’d return “home” to find someone living in one of the guest cottages. Then I decided to complicate everything by giving Frankie and Tommy a shared history—one where they’d been each other’s best friend and first love.

What I didn’t realize while plotting was quite how emotional this book would be to write. I’m reasonably emotional anyway—for me, watching the television show “This Is Us” is like combining a wedding, a funeral, and the birth of a new baby every week. I’m always completely drained afterward! So I often get a little weepy (sometimes a little sobby) while writing my guys. This book wrecked me in a lot of ways. Tom’s self-sabotaging self-reliance (or hubris), and Frank’s longing. Oh my goodness, the longing. He never got over Tom and likely never would have.

What I also wanted to do with this book was write a character (Tom) whose bisexuality was integral and almost never discussed. I didn’t want this story to be about sexuality. I wanted it to be about rekindling lost love—and holding on to something you never really let go of.

After all of this, I devised relatively simple plot: should they or shouldn’t they renovate the resort? Really, the plot is just a reflection of the bigger question in this novel: should they or shouldn’t they repair their friendship and love? The obstacles to both are Tom’s inability to ask for help—and the fact he’s not so slowly sliding down the financial gurgler—and Frank’s dissatisfaction with his current career, and to a smaller extent, his feelings regarding his best friend, Simon, having found The One. Frank thinks he’s getting over a crush on Simon, and he is… sort of. What he’s really doing is mourning The One who got away. The one he let go.

So there is a lot of introspection and reevaluation going on, and in keeping with the themes of this series, scenes that highlight the importance of family (blood and found), friendships, and lots of more lighthearted moments where Frank and Tom explore small town happenings and decide whether or not they’re going to renew their forever.

I hope you enjoy Frank and Tom’s story. It’s not quite as upbeat as the one I wrote for Simon and Charlie, but all of my characters are different, and therefore they require different stories. I love the one I wrote for Frank and Tom. It’s one to cherish, and one that still makes me misty eyed, all these months later.

 

Renewing Forever is the second of a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. Frank and Tom’s story is a true second chance romance, reuniting childhood friends and first loves separated by an argument and thirty years of misunderstanding. I hope you enjoy reading about their renewed friendship and their plans for forever.

 

About Renewing Forever

A neglected resort, a lost chance at love, and one last chance to renew forever.

Frankie and Tommy once dreamed of traveling the world together. But when seventeen-year-old Frank kissed Tom, their plans ended with a punch to the jaw and Frank leaving town without looking back. Thirty years later, Frank’s successful career as a journalist is interrupted by his uncle’s death and the question of his inheritance—the family resort where his childhood dreams were built. When he returns to the Pocono Mountains, however, he finds a dilapidated lodge and Tommy, the boy he never forgot.

Tom’s been keeping the resort together with spit and glue while caring for Frank’s uncle, Robert—a man he considered father, mentor, and friend—and his aged mother, who he refuses to leave behind. Now Robert is gone, taking Tom’s job with him. And Frank is on the doorstep, wanting to know why Tom is still there and why the old lodge is falling apart.

But before they can rebuild the resort, they’ll have to rebuild their friendship. Only then can they renew the forever they planned all those years ago.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:

 


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Renewing Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 17, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

In the Spotlight: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen (special excerpt and giveaway)

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Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Natasha Snow

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen here today on on for Building Forever, a story we highly recommend. The author has   brought along a excerpt and giveaway for all to enter.  Check out both below.

Building Forever is the first in a series of standalone novels focused on older characters who think love has passed them by. I loved writing these second chance romances, and I hope you enjoy reading about the books—especially this one because Charlie and Simon will forever be the characters who started me on this journey.

 

About Building Forever

A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Now available from Riptide Publishing!

Building Forever Excerpt

Charlie’s daughter, Liv, is out on her first date, and Charlie is trying not to obsess over the fact that everything is changing. His daughter has met someone, Charlie has too—and he doesn’t know what to do with all his new anxieties or where to put them. Best friend Phil to the rescue! He and Phil head out for Chinese takeout and a little shopping and Phil does a lot of listening while Charlie struggles to come to terms with the changes in his life.

Everything Is Changing

Charlie followed the girl to a curtained alcove at the rear corner of the shop, accepted two different pairs to try, and pulled on the first. Stepping outside the curtain, he called to Phil, “What do you think?”

“They look like jeans.”

“Well, duh.”

“Why are you trying on clothes?”

“My old jeans are getting pretty, um, old.”

“Liv isn’t going to be coming in this direction, is she?”

“No. Banko’s is in the other way.” Someone had recently reopened the small local theater—and renamed it. Charlie could never remember the new name, though. “I just need new jeans.”

Charlie ducked back into the changing room. He studied himself in the mirror and admired the jeans. They made his legs seem longer and all of him more lean. He didn’t even have to suck in his gut, though that could have been all the jogging and projects around the house. As he turned to the side to inspect his profile, his thoughts wandered toward Simon again.

Would he notice the new jeans?

Did Charlie want him to?

“Here. I picked out some shirts for your updated wardrobe,” Phil called through the curtain.

“Uh-huh.”

Phil thrust a handful of material through the gap at the side. Charlie took the shirts and shook the first one out. It had Cute But Psycho printed across the front. “Very funny!” A muffled snort sounded from near the front of the shop. The second read: Sassy Since Birth.

“I think I see Liv!” Phil called.

Charlie dropped the shirts and scrambled for his own jeans, falling against the wall as he yanked them up his legs—over the pair he already had on. Shit. Tempting as it was to run, getting arrested for shoplifting would stick a wrench in his evening plans. Charlie pulled the new pair off and the old pair on. He pushed through the curtain with his fly half undone and nearly bowled Phil over. A laughing Phil.

“Just foolin’,” his new nemesis reported with an evil grin.

“Jesus.” Charlie melted back through the curtain and into the wall at the rear of the dressing room. He so wasn’t cut out to be the father of a teenager. Then there was this business with the jeans. What was he doing? Why was his life so weird all of a sudden?

“Everything okay in there?” Phil asked from outside the curtain.

Charlie drew it aside. “Yeah. I guess.”

“The jeans looked really good. Clean. Um . . . slimming.”

“Now you’re trying to distract me?”

“Is it working?”

“I dunno.”

Phil took the new jeans from Charlie’s hand. “C’mon, our food is probably ready.”

They paid for the jeans, collected their takeout, and turned back toward the beer store. By the time they got to the truck, Charlie felt drained. Not just empty, but as though he’d spent energy he didn’t have. He leaned against the side of the truck and closed his eyes.

“How are you doing?” Phil asked from his side of the truck.

Swallowing, Charlie shook his head.

Phil came around the back and stopped in front of Charlie. “Wherever you’re doing in that whacko brain of yours, stop. Okay?” Easier said than done. “Liv’s a good kid.” Phil delivered an encouraging shoulder squeeze.

“She was always a good kid. Thing is, she’s not a kid anymore, is she?”

“Don’t make me hug you on Broad Street.”

Charlie let go of something that might have been a whimper.

Phil put on a reassuring expression. “They’re always gonna be our little girls, man. Always. Even when they’re our age and we’re too old to even try for Maximum Overdrive.”

Charlie waved in the general direction of their heads. “Virtual reality. If we can think it, it will happen.”

“That’s kinda your problem.”

Charlie sighed. He wanted to tell Phil he was scared, but Phil already knew. “Everything’s changing,” he whispered instead.

He wasn’t sure Phil had heard him until his friend patted him on the shoulder. “Let’s go home.”

Charlie straightened his spine. He had to own this, whatever it was. The good and the bad. The jeans he could return tomorrow. Simon . . . Simon needed more thought. Liv, though, she was his, irrevocably, until the end of time, and he had no regrets there.

None.

But if he could have done things differently— No. Some things just couldn’t be changed. You had to own them. Fully.

 

About the This Time Forever Series

Small towns and second chances.

Simon, Frank, and Brian think love has passed them by. Each is facing down his fiftieth birthday—Simon in a few years, Frank next year, and Brian soon enough. Each has loved and lost. But for these men, everything old really is new again, and it’s only when they return to their roots that they’ll find their second chances and the happily ever after they’ve been waiting their whole lives for.

This time it’s forever.

This series includes:

  1. Building Forever — releasing October 15, available now!
  2. Renewing Forever — releasing November 12, available for preorder!
  3. Chasing Forever — releasing December 10, available soon!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly:


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Building Forever one lucky person will win a $25 Riptide Publishing gift card and a swag pack of stickers, art cards, and bookmarks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 20, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Release Blitz for Building Forever by Kelly Jensen (excerpt and giveaway)

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Building Forever by Kelly Jensen

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 15th, 2018

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Order here:

Riptide Publishing: https://riptidepublishing.com/collections/series-this-time-forever/products/building-forever-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/893958

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/building-forever/id1433933530?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/building-forever-1

Synopsis:

A new town, a new neighbor, and a new chance to build a forever.

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Teaser Excerpt :

“I wanted to thank you for the flower. I’m, ah, assuming it was you.”

Charlie’s smile widened a fraction. “You need some color in your house. And something bent.” His eyes widened briefly. “Curved, or not straight. Crap. This is why I shouldn’t talk. I’m really bad at this talking thing.”

One corner of Simon’s mouth curled upward. “Are you trying to tell me I’m not gay enough?”

Charlie moved to cover his face with his hands, nearly braining himself with the hammer. Bracing his forearm across his forehead instead, he breathed into a pause, quietly, steadily. Then he dropped his arm, and leveled a direct look at Simon. “I’m sorry I barged into your space, and messed it up with my clumsy come-on. I didn’t stop to ask if you were into guys, or take into account the fact you might have lost someone. Or might not even, you know, want to . . . whatever with me. I just got it into my head that I needed to know what it would be like to kiss you, to kiss any guy—not that you were the most handy one. It’s your eyes. They’re so damn blue, and I haven’t thought about anyone on a daily basis in so long, and I had to know.”

His face was red, and the quiet breathing had accelerated into a soft gasping, as though Charlie had just finished a run. Simon stepped in, closing the distance between them, and paused for long enough for Charlie to step back, dodge aside, or simply raise a hand. Say no. He stiffened a little, eyes widening, but otherwise remained still.

“Any guy?” Simon arched an eyebrow.

“You in particular.”

“Why the ice cream?”

Charlie’s eyelids fluttered, briefly. “Because there’s no way anyone can eat ice cream and feel sad.”

Oh God. Simon’s next breath shook slightly. “The puzzle?”

“Because you needed time to think, and something to do with your hands.”

“What are you trying to tell me?”

They were standing so close together that the straightening of Charlie’s shoulders was a twitch at the periphery of Simon’s vision. The thunk at their feet would be the hammer. Then Charlie was leaning in, a hand rising to curl behind Simon’s neck. He paused there, for the space of a single breath, before pressing his lips to Simon’s in a gentle kiss.

A whisper passed between them, a susurrus of words. Simon didn’t bother figuring them out; he tucked his free hand behind Charlie’s shoulder and pulled him closer, angled his head slightly, and deepened the sweet, tentative kiss.

Charlie’s lips were the sort a man might dream about. Full and plump and utterly distracting. Simon kissed both before tending the top and bottom in turn, exploring the mouth he’d fantasized about. The tip of Charlie’s tongue sent a tingling burn across his skin. He shivered. Goose bumps prickled his nape, his shoulders, his arms. The kiss deepened again, becoming less tentative, less question, more statement.

Simon stroked his hand down Charlie’s arm. The sharp, clean scent of Charlie’s sweat filled his senses. The taste of Charlie thrilled his tongue. Prickling skin gave way to keen-edged arousal. A southward rush of blood.

Head light, thoughts swimming, Simon pulled away. Just his lips. Charlie chased him, caught him in another kiss, and Simon got lost somewhere on the way to reason, answering the surer flick of Charlie’s tongue, the sweetly satisfied exhalation of breath.

Charlie bumped into him, nudging him backward. Simon broke out of the kiss again, stepping away to lessen the chance of losing himself a second time. Third time. The sun could have set and the stars come out. A year might have passed by. As he stood there, panting, gaze locked with one of deep and velvety brown, only the weight of the small pot in one hand served as a reminder of why he’d come next door.

Surely it hadn’t been for a kiss.

He’d have traveled much farther for this kiss.

 

Quotes about the book:

“Jensen’s talent for world-building and memorable, unique secondary characters are on full display here in this fabulous series starter. Deeply felt emotions and a lovely romance have me eager for more in this world!”

  • Annabeth Albert, author of Out of Uniform series

“Moving and well written, Building Forever will leave you with a mansion-sized smile.”

  • Sarina Bowen, USA Today bestselling author of Goodbye Paradise.

About the Author:

Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Enter the giveaway: Win one signed paperback copy of Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/88d45f0371/?

A MelanieM Review: Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Charlie King is doing fine. Sure, he’s a widower raising a teenage daughter who just got her first boyfriend, his book series isn’t writing itself, and he has a crush on his new neighbor — the guy next door. But everything’s just fine.

Simon Lynley is doing better. He moved to Bethlehem to fall out of love and rebuild his career. An affair with his neighbor isn’t part of the plan, but the attraction between them is too hard to ignore.

But when Simon’s ex follows him to Pennsylvania seeking reconciliation, and Charlie’s life starts to feel like a video on repeat, everything comes apart. Charlie worries that he’s failing as a father, and Simon is a distraction he can’t afford. Meanwhile Simon doesn’t know if he could survive being left again, and he hasn’t come all this way to make the same mistakes. But despite their fears, it’s only together that they’ll find the strength to slay old foes and build the forever they’ve been waiting for.

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is one of those books to hug close to your heart.  Once finished I wanted to pick it up and start it all over again, lose myself in the richness of the relationships the author has created within.  It’s so easy to fall in love here.  To embrace the people and their lives.

Charlie and his daughter, Liv?  You can feel the truth of their lives, the pain of having lived through watching a beloved mother and wife dying of cancer and then her death, the void her loss has meant and the guilt for Charlie.  And the warmth Charlie exudes, the “realness” of that father/daughter relationship just jumps off the page at you until you almost are a part of their lives as well.

Simon is just a connectable.  Viable, human, hurting.  His chemistry with Charlie and his, unbelievably Charlie’s house (a character in its own right) is so vivid that I kept re-reading passages for the shear joy of them.  I loved these two men together.  Their conversations, the funny dialog.  Especially, Charlie’s conversations and Simon’s reactions to them.  Priceless!

But, of course, it’s so much more than that.  It’s Phil, it’s the dog, Liv, Justin, that house…it’s the whole of this story.  It’s every element that combines to bring a town, a family, and this couple together so memorably alive that your heart feels warm and happy and so not ready to see everyone go.  I wanted to stay, seated in their midst, ready for another story from Charlie, another chapter in their lives, their next step forward.  Their next anything….

Building Forever (This Time Forever #1) by Kelly Jensen is beautifully written with wonderful characters and a heartwarming story you will truly love.  Yes, I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art: Natasha Snow.  I love this artist’s work but that isn’t the house as I pictured it with greystone and slate roof which is a big fail seeing that it’s a huge part of the story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 337 pages
Expected publication: October 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626498389
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series This Time Forever #1