A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: A Full Plate by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bradford Tolliver, Tully to friends, has everything and nothing—he’s wealthy, a highly sought attorney, has a beautiful condo but has no friends, no family to speak of, and is clueless as to how empty his life is.  That is, until Sage Filling enters his life.  Yes, Sage’s father had a sense of humor when he named him and when he named his dog Tooth (Filling).  I love Kim Fielding!

Sage knew from an early age that he’d be a chef someday.  Growing up, he worked for his family’s business, a restaurant named The Filling Station, and his greatest wish for birthday and Christmas gifts was always food-related: a subscription to Gourmet Magazine, a new kitchen utensil, etc.  But as the story opens, he’s moved to Portland to earn extra money to support his family and needs a place to stay.  His cousin Carrie, one of Tully’s coworkers, asks Tully to allow Sage to be Tully’s roommate for the one year he’ll be in town. 

Not wanting to refuse, and willing to give it a try, Tully agrees.  Little does he know his life has taken a turn for the better.  It takes a while – I love a slow burn! – but eventually Tully and Sage find their way into each other’s arms…and beds.  But they know their time is limited.  Tully can’t work from Sage’s little hometown and Sage can’t stay in Portland because of family issues. 

I love the way Kim Fielding crafted these characters.  We have time to get to know them individually before we get to the coupledom.  And when we do, we don’t just have sex, sex, sex.  We have sex, yes indeed, but we also have romance and the caring, concern, and support one would hope to see between two people who love each other.  Sage finds it hard to believe that this gorgeous, smart, wealthy man can possibly love him beyond the time they spend together.  And Tully finds it hard to believe that Sage sees himself as anything other than the perfect man he is through Tully’s eyes. 

I just loved it and I hope others will too.  These Dreamspun Desires stories are just the ticket to brighten a day and warm a cold heart.  I highly recommend this to all who enjoy contemporary MM romance. 

~~~

Cover art by Bree Archer features a good-looking, well-dressed man—no doubt Attorney Bradford Tolliver—set against the Portland city skyline.  The cover is no more or less attractive than others in the series but is done in a similar theme so readers will certainly know this is one of the Dreamspun Desires books.   

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: April 17th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640801028
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL

Kim Fielding on Writing, Influences, and her new release A Full Plate (author interview and guest blog)

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A Full Plate by Kim Fielding
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Bree Archer
A Dreamspun Desire Novel

Sales Links

Dreamspinner PressAmazon 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kim Fielding here today talking about writing, characters and her latest release in the Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press, A Full Plate.  Welcome, Kim.

✒︎

 

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Kim Fielding ~

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

I love doing research. Partly because I’m a great big nerd, partly because it’s an occupational hazard of my day job (university professor). Also, it really annoys me when the smallest details aren’t right.

Even when I make up an entire world, I do research to back it up. Imaginary universes feel a lot more real when they bear similarities to ours. That doesn’t mean I can’t embroider on reality—that’s the creative part—but the foundation is often based on what’s really out there. For example, the city of Tellomer exists only in my novel Brute, but to build it, I did a lot of research on medieval cities and castles. The town of Rattlesnake is fictional too, but it’s based on some real places in California gold rush country, and it has such substance in my head that I once honestly forgot Mae’s Café isn’t real (and was disappointed with the realization).

Even a contemporary novel set in a real place requires research. For A Full Plate I looked up a lot of stuff about cooking, private jets, and the logistics of creating flying cars, among other things. I even went on a tour of the Tesla car factory!

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

Not exactly, although I have occasionally found it difficult to progress with my writing. The hardest book I’ve ever written is one I’m ultimately very proud of: The Tin Box. I had a hard time with that one in the beginning because the protagonist, William, isn’t very likable at that point. I knew why he wasn’t likable, and I understood it. I also knew that eventually he’d blossom and we’d learn what a good man he truly is. But there at the beginning? I kind of wanted to throttle him.

But a later part of that book was even worse. Not to be too spoilerish, but I had to do something terrible to a secondary character. That thing had to happen; no way around it. But man, I dreaded that part, and every word was like ripping out a piece of my heart. Sob. I think the results are worth the pain, but my characters feel very real to me, and I honestly suffered. It didn’t help to know that what happened to my fictional person actually happened to thousands of very real human beings.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like both. Now, to be honest, my guys often go through a good bit of suffering during the story. Even in A Full Plate, which is relatively light on angst, Tully and Sage have serious struggles in their life. In the end, though, I want happiness. I mean, who doesn’t? And doesn’t that give us hope? I think that’s a good part of what draws readers to romance in the first place.

I don’t think I have a preference between HFN and HEA. Certainly an HEA is joyful and brings that warm feeling of completeness. But I also enjoy the bit of ambiguity inherent to an HFN, that sense that the story will continue, maybe with more potential conflict. That’s real life.

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

As a young kid, I read a lot of classic science fiction. I veered more into other aspects of spec fic when I got older: horror, fantasy, magical realism. I found traditional romances somewhat limiting and didn’t really get into the genre until later, when I discovered m/m.

Although I read in many genres, the authors who’ve influenced me the most are the ones who are excellent writers. These folks have such a way with words that they can draw good storytelling out of even the simplest plots. Some of my very favorites include Isabel Allende, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Charles deLint, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman. When I read these authors, I get a little envious of their skills, yet that envy inspires me to improve my own writing.

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

I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I love the instant gratification of ebooks and the ability to obtain them in unlikely places. I’ve downloaded them on ships, on a train in Spain (yes, it was on a plain), and in hotels and apartments in many places in North America and Europe. Once I was sitting next to a woman on an airplane, and when she discovered mid-flight that I’m an author, she bought one of my books and began reading it right then and there on her Kindle! Of course, ebooks are also wonderful for reducing clutter, and I find them invaluable for travel. I also like how I can read a single book on multiple devices, depending on which one is handiest.

On the other hand, I love print books. I like to browse them and enjoy their full-sized covers in all their colorful glory. I like the feel of them and even the smell of them. I like giving them away and buying used ones. All the ebook catalogs in the world will never satisfy me like a brick-and-mortar bookstore does. Or a public library. (A shout-out to Little Free Libraries too.) And print books never run out of batteries.

I think we’ll see ebooks increase their dominance. They’re just so easy for consumers, and they reduce production and distribution costs so much for publishers. I am troubled by some aspects of the market, however, including Amazon’s near monopoly (I have a love-hate relationship with the Zon), the poor quality of many ebooks, and reduced profits for authors and publishers. I hope we see improvements in those areas.

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

I love flawed characters, and I believe that no matter how imperfect we are, every one of us deserves love. In fact, I think that’s a central theme to most of my stories.

One thing that kept me from enjoying traditional romances, back in the day, was that I found the characters too perfect. They were all beautiful and brilliant (well, except some of the women, frankly, who I found depressingly dim-witted) and rich. I had a hard time relating. So when I began writing, I made a deliberate choice to make my people more human. Even when they’re wealthy and handsome, like Tully in A Full Plate, they have real problems. In Tully’s case, that includes a past with unsupportive family and a present in which he struggles to make emotional connections.

Unless a character is cartoonishly awful, I think love is always a real possibility. I even love villains. And redemption makes for a wonderful character arc.

   

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

I don’t drink often, and I very rarely get drunk, mostly because I’m too big of a control freak to enjoy it. However, I do frequently do my writing very late at night, after a long day, when my eyes are bleary and my brain is desperately wanting to go offline. I think the resulting writing is a little bit as if I were drunk. The grammar and spelling tend to suffer—sometimes neither spellcheck nor I have any idea what I was trying to say—but I do find myself making some creative leaps. And I usually keep those.

 

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

A really nice hotel someplace very interesting, where I can look up from my writing and enjoy a sweeping view. When I need a writing break, I can take a few steps outside my room to find myself on a secluded tropical beach or in the midst of a fascinating city—where I can walk for a while to refresh my body and brain. I can choose to eat at delicious restaurants or order room service. I can sleep in and stay up late—that’s when I’m most creative—and there are few interruptions and little noise.

Ahhh.

 

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

This is a really busy year for me. I have two more releases from Dreamspinner this year. Blyd and Pearce will come out this summer; it’s a noir private-eye gay romance in a medieval fantasy setting. Then The Spy’s Love Song releases in October. That’s another Dreamspun Desires title, this time about a jaded rock star and the spy he falls for. In May, I’ll have the third novella in The Bureau series, Creature. And Joel Leslie will be recording an audiobook version of all three novellas, which I’m really excited about. I’m also planning a light Christmas fantasy set in the 1880s. And I’m working now on the third book in the Love Can’t series.

***

A Full Plate by Kim Fielding

Opposites come together for a spicy surprise.

Bradford “Tully” Tolliver has everything—money, a great car, a beautiful condo, and a promising career as one of Portland’s hottest young lawyers. Sure, he puts in long hours and has no social life to speak of, but who needs romance when corporations pay top dollar for his expertise? He hesitates when a colleague asks if her cousin can live with him, but the arrangement will last less than a year, and then the cousin—Sage Filling—will return to his tiny hometown.

But Sage is handsome and intriguing, and his cooking makes Tully swoon. Sage has obligations back home, though, and Tully has offers he might not refuse from a persistent—and very wealthy—ex. Since Tully and Sage each have a full plate, can they make room for a side of love?

***

About the Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/

Cover Reveal for Creature: A Bureau Story (The Bureau Book 3) by Kim Fielding

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Creature: A Bureau Story (The Bureau Book 3) by Kim Fielding

 

Kim Fielding is about to release book three in her “Bureau” series, and we have the over reveal for you here! The book comes out on May 7th, and can be read as a stand alone. You can preorder it now!


About the Book:

Alone in a cell and lacking memories of his past, John has no idea who—or what—he is.

Alone on the streets of 1950s Los Angeles, Harry has far too many memories of his painful past and feels simply resignation in facing his empty future.

When Harry is given a chance to achieve his only dream—to become an agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs—all he has to do is prove his worth. Yet nothing has ever come easy for him. Now he must offer himself and John as bait, enticing a man who wants to conquer death. But first he and John must learn what distinguishes a monster from a man—and what a monster truly wants.

Preorder “Creature” Now From Amazon


About Kim

Kim Fielding is the bestselling, award-winning author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Author Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites/

Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/KFieldingWrites

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4105707.Kim_Fielding

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/kim-fielding/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Fielding/e/B006FN2T78/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1521954454&sr=8-1

 

A Stella Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

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RATING 3,5 out of 5 stars

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

I liked The Little Library quite a lot, I read it slowly and savoured every single word. Every well written word. What conquered me from the beginning was how very real the characters and the plot were. I found soon myself empathizing with Elliott and Simon, I connected with them because I felt them as real friends, common people like me, full of doubts and fears. They needed to love and be loved. And the lives they lived were normal and sometimes boring, at least until Ishtar comes into Elliott’s home. I adored how they approached their relationship, their dates were memorable and hilarious. I loved how down to earth their dialogues and thoughts were. Perfectly done plot and main characters.

Although I liked this novel so much I rated it “only” 3,5 stars. The single POV, Elliott’s, is one of the reasons why I wasn’t able to give it a higher rating. I admit more than once I so wished I could have had Simon’s POV too. I missed his thoughts and side of the story a lot. For example, there’s a moment in the plot where Simon decided to take a step back from Elliott and honestly he left me (and his boyfriend too) dumbstruck because it seemed to me everything was going pretty well between them, something happened in his mind and yes, his POV could have helped and so should have been written.

Nonethless I’m not disappointed, I read an amazing book and I want to recommend The Little Library to everyone who is looking for a light and heartwarming story, real and hopeful.

The cover art byLC Chase is cute and fitting, I like it.

SALE LINKS:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 1 edition

Published March 26th 2018 by Kim Fielding

ASIN B07BJL6NMB

Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I loved this story about Elliott, a young college professor who was badly deceived and used by his lover and mentor and now struggles to fight his way back to the career path of his choice.  And Simon, who was injured on the job and is now fighting his way back to his career path as well—and if it can’t be as a cop, as he was before, at least he hopes to find something that fits.  He most definitely doesn’t want to work with his parents in their restaurant, not only because that’s not his chosen vocation, but also because he can’t meet their high personal expectations for him—that he’ll find a nice, preferably Assyrian, young woman, settle down, and raise babies for them. 

What I liked most is that these two guys seemed to be pretty normal—the kind of guys you might meet in your neighborhood, or on the job, or even have as a family member.  They are gay, but they’re not atypical—neither are porn stars, or con men, or werewolves—they’re a college professor and a cop.  Granted, the college professor spends a lot of time immersed in his books when he’s not teaching one of the online community college courses he’s now reduced to overseeing.  He lost his highly regarded, research-oriented position with a university when his lover and mentor was discovered to be embezzling and he was inadvertently caught up in the backlash.  Now, he’s searching to get back into a tenure-track position and idling away his free time by shopping for more books to feed his book-buying (and reading) addiction.  He tries to “behave” and exercise willpower, as many addicts would do, but it’s not until he decides to try something he’s seen elsewhere that his life takes on new purpose, and as a side benefit, he meets a pretty sexy guy with a bum knee. 

The solution?  He builds a “little library” a small set of enclosed book shelves on a post in his yard.  Rearranging the furniture in his home so he can spy on the people stopping by gives him pause, but he does it anyway, and he’s rewarded with making new friends. Among them a little girl and her mom and that sexy guy with the bum knee that he’s seen as he’s been out running.  That guy is Simon, and the two form an immediate friendship that leads to a very slow-burn relationship. I appreciated the way the author set this relationship up—no hurry to the bedroom, no over-the-moon heartthrobs—just a slow, gentle exploration of each other, starting with kisses and leading slowly to more. 

And as they grow closer, it’s evident that Simon’s closet is not where Elliott wants to be.  He was very hurt by his former lover and he won’t be hidden again.  But Simon’s family feelings on homosexuality and strong cultural and religious beliefs don’t allow for room to negotiate and he desperately fears losing his parents if he comes out.  In the meantime, Elliott is still searching for a university where he can settle in to research and get his career back on track, and it’s starting to look like that might happen in Nebraska. 

Again, the author does not make the solution magical. These guys have to work for all they have both together and individually.  It’s just not simple.  It’s real.  And I loved them.  For me, the hallmark of a well-written book with endearing characters who face and overcome difficult life situations is when I can not only remember the story days later, but I can also recall their names. This one is a winner—proven by the above standards several days after I finished the story.  And it’s going on my list of best of 2018.  Well-written, with a host of amazing secondary characters, two outstanding main characters, and a variety of interesting experiences, added to slow burn, which is one of my favorite themes, I can easily highly recommend this one to lovers of MM romance.  If you like it slow and you like your characters to be people you’d like to get to know, by all means choose this story. 

~~~

The very attractive, colorful cover by LC Chase depicts the torso of a man holding an open book while standing at a “little library.”  It’s one of the reasons—beside the fact that I love this author—that I chose this book. 

Sales Links:

AmazonSmashwords 

Book Details:

self published by the Kindle Edition, 1 edition
Published March 26th 2018 by Kim Fielding
Original TitleThe Little Library
ASINB07BJL6NMB
Edition LanguageEnglish

KIM FIELDING on Modesto, Story Locations, and her new release ‘The Little Library’ (guest blog)

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The Little Library by Kim Fielding

Release Date:  March 27, 2018
Cover art: L.C. Chase

Buy links:

AmazonSmashwords 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Fielding here today talking about her latest release The Little Library.  Welcome, Kim.

✒︎

 

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding and I’m very excited to announce the release of my newest novel, The Little Library! Set in California’s Central Valley, this story stars a guy with a slightly obsession with books. What’s not love about that, right?

I live in California. I’ve lived here for 25 years, but my husband is a native and my daughters are something like 5th generation Californians on his side. Thanks to movies and TV, people all over the world have at least some vague impressions about this state. Hollywood. Surfers. San Francisco. Redwoods. Death Valley. And all of those things really are here, of course. But California is a big state—its land mass is greater than that of Japan or Paraguay and only a little smaller than Sweden or Morocco—and there are parts of it that even most Californians aren’t familiar with.

I live in one of those parts: the San Joaquin Valley. In case you’re not a geography whiz, this is part of the Central Valley, lying flat and hot between the Sierra Nevadas and the coast ranges. About 4 million people live here, and there are a few larger cities (e.g., Fresno and Bakersfield), but most of the valley is rural. My new book, The Little Library, takes place here, in Modesto.

So what’s this area like? Well, we’re a couple of hours from beaches and redwoods. Celebrities are few and far between (although notable Modestans include Jeremy Renner, George Lucas, and James Marsters). Our winters tend to be cool and foggy, while our summers are oven-hot and bone-dry. People here tend to be more politically conservative than in the Bay Area. Housing prices are reasonable by California standards.

This is a heavy-duty agricultural area. We grow almost all of the country’s almonds and a whole lot of grapes (Gallo Winery is headquartered in Modesto). We have tomatoes, melons, feed corn, chickens, and dairy cattle. My subdivision, in a town about a half hour south of Modesto, sits on what used to be a bean field. Ours is a climate that allows backyards to sustain orange and apple trees, and rosemary and oregano become large shrubs.

This isn’t the most beautiful part of California, and it’s certainly not the most glamorous. People pass through here on the way to other places—Yosemite, Sacramento, LA—and few people would put the San Joaquin Valley at the top of their vacation wish lists. Still, I believe that almost every place on the planet has at least some charms, and interesting people live everywhere. Even in Modesto.

My decision to set The Little Library in Modesto was a deliberate one. Like their hometown, my protagonists—a failed academic and an ex-cop—aren’t flashy. Neither of them is wealthy, and they don’t look like they’ve stepped off a fashion runway. But they’re dealing with some universal issues. Fear of failure. Family conflicts. Uncertainty about their future. And, of course, the search for love.

Do you live somewhere nobody knows about? Or maybe you live somewhere famous but outsiders have misconceptions about your area. Please share in the comments!

***

About The Little Library

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

***

About the Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/

 

A Highly Recommended Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words story.  Find our review here.

A Lila Audiobook Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding and Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

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Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

Ante Up is a different type of paranormal story. When the majority of the characters are vampires, not all the traditional troupes are followed. I enjoyed those differences and Ante’s Croatian background. The number of details worked well for the story and added to its depth.

The author did a nice job making Ante unique. He’s not the traditionally rich, alpha vampire with a legion at his feet. He’s a down the mill hustler whose only worry is where to be at sunrise. He’s comfortable living in the fridges and doesn’t believe in causing harm to survive. Most of the men he feeds from are as lonely as he is, and their times together are beneficial for both of them.

Enters Peter to change Ante’s organized life. With his quick charm and good looks, he brings out Ante’s curiosity. He’s not sure about his heritage or his powers but he tries to keep both under wraps. Just like Ante, he’s not the traditional hero, but it works for them.

The more time they spend together, the more they discover about themselves and other paranormals. The descriptions, settings, and new characters are interesting and only added to the plot.

The meeting and battle at the end felt a bit rushed. After so many details, it was unexpected to have such a simple resolution. Overall, it’s a good story if you are looking for more than sparkling vampires.

The narration by Andrew McFerrin worked well with the story. The characters came to life and he showed Ante’s slight accent.

The Cover by Aaron Anderson follows the Dreamspun Beyond style and has a depiction of Ante.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Amazon | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Length:  5 hours 52 minutes

Published: January 12, 2018 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B078YC6477
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Release Day Review: Dear Ruth by Kim Fielding

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Dear Ruth,


I’m not in the mood for Christmas. After a romantic relationship went up in flames, I returned to my hometown in rural Kansas. Then my mother passed away. I’m really busy with my job as fire marshal—and now with my mother’s advice column, which I reluctantly took over. There’s a sexy newcomer down the street, a guy with a young daughter and an unfortunate disregard for fire safety. He seems to want to be friends, but that creates problems that may be too hot for me to handle. The last things I need right now are flammable holiday decorations and too much holiday food. How am I supposed to give good advice to others when I can’t seem to get my own life straight?

—Bah Humbug in Bailey Springs

A very enjoyable holiday story, this one is the perfect stocking stuffer—all the goodies of Kim Fielding’s enjoyable imagination into just fifty-two pages. Though short, this one packs a punch. 

Bryce Reynolds is the Deputy Fire Chief in the small town of Bailey Springs. Grieving over the recent loss of his mother, he’s not sure he’s going to celebrate Christmas this year in any way other than covering at the fire station for the guys with families.  When he spots his new neighbor and his daughter hanging purple lights on their porch, he offers his assistance and finally meets Noah Costa and Harper, who wants to be a firefighter when she grows up. 

His mother’s BFF is the owner of the town’s newspaper—still thriving despite the electronic media available.  The paper thrived, in part, due to his mother’s advice column, “Dear Ruth.” Now, somehow, he finds himself agreeing to take over the column.  Channeling his mother’s thoughts and past words of advice, he’s pretty successful at it.  In fact, he’d like to write his own letter—something that would attract Noah to him.  Though sure Noah is straight, he can’t help but want a chance to at least kiss the attractive older man. Something about him just rings true for Bryce. 

It isn’t until he receives a Dear Ruth letter that asks for advice on how to attract an oblivious love interest that things start to perk up for both men.  Do they get a HEA?  Well, as much as one can in a short holiday story.  But at least they get the chance to find their way to a HEA. 

Heartwarming, with the just enough character development to make this a perfect holiday romance, I highly recommend this to lovers of MM warm and fuzzy contemporary romance.

This story does not have the same cover as many of the other Advent Calendar stories from Dreamspinner Press.  Cover art is by Alexandria Corza depicts a gift box and fire truck, with the story title written as a gift tag at the top of the page. The cover is simple, colorful, and perfect for this story. 

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 52 pages
Expected publication: December 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640802889
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers

Kim Fielding on Writing, Research, and her latest story Ante Up (guest interview, and giveaway)

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Ante Up by Kim Fielding
Dreamspinner Press

A Dreamspun Beyond Title
Cover Artist:

Available for Purchase from Dreamspinner Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Fielding on her tour with Ante Up.  Welcome, Kim, and thank you for sitting down and answering some of our author questions.

 

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

I love research. Seriously. My day job is university professor, so research is in my blood. It’s fun to do, but it’s also really important to me to get even small details right. I don’t want readers to be jolted out of a story due to an inaccuracy. Sometimes this means I spend hours trying to figure something out, like when needed to know whether a jollyboat can be lowered from a ship by the people in the jollyboat, or whether it has to be lowered from the bigger ship. Or the time I researched the likely average cost of a healthy male slave in 15th century Bosnia.

Research is just as important for imaginary worlds—maybe more so, actually. Even an imaginary place has to be plausible. For example, my Ennek trilogy takes place in an alternate universe in which the Roman Empire eventually reached the Americas. My city-state of Praesidium is located where our San Francisco sits, and the level of industrialization is roughly equal to the late 19th century. So I had to look stuff up. Was there indoor plumbing back then? (Yes.) What were the native fauna and flora before urban sprawl set in? What kinds of ships were in use? Yes, this brings us back to the jollyboat question (and the answer is yes, it can be lowered from within the jollyboat).

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

Absolutely. As a kid, I heavily favored speculative fiction of all kinds—fantasy, sci-fi, horror, etc. Some of my favorite authors included Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King, Lloyd Alexander, E.E. Nesbitt, Peter S. Beagle…. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now I write in a variety of genres. In fact, I write in almost all of them, it seems. But spec fic remains my most common and most comfortable home. I love how it allows me to mix things up. Vampire mobsters in Vegas (Ante Up). Hipster architect werewolves (the Bones series). A noir detective story with paranormal elements (the Bureau series). Looking over my lengthy ideas file, I’d say about 80% of my plot bunnies are spec fic.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

No, mostly because I force myself to finish one story before beginning the next. But I can think of several stories where I experienced true anxiety and distress because of what I was about to put the characters through. The Tin Box is an example of this. So is Motel. Pool. And I once wrote a long fanfic (Spike/Xander *g*) in which one character had to betray another really horribly. That was awful to write. Sometimes, though, stories must include these difficult times, so I just need to soldier through. Sniff. I hope my own emotional turmoil makes the story more resonant for readers.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I don’t think I have a preference. HEA is nice because it’s so satisfying and optimistic. Especially when RL times are difficult, I think we all need some truly happy endings. But I’m also a big fan of the ambiguity HFN can offer. An HFN is more complex and more akin to real life. It leaves more room for speculation and imagination. So yeah. I like both.

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

I didn’t read them until I began writing them. I think partly that was because I found traditional romances limiting. I didn’t identify well with any of the heroines and was easily frustrated by them. I did, however, occasionally read gothic or horror stories with romance elements. When I was about 14 my friend and I had a wonderful time reading the Flowers in the Attic series—I think we felt very daring for reading them. Ditto with Judy Blume’s Forever. And I’ve always loved Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” That’s a romance. Sort of.

Nowadays I read a lot of romances, mainly m/m. There are many talented authors in the genre, which offers a lot more diversity than the books I rejected as a kid.

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

I think ebooks offer a lot of advantages. Portability is a huge one. I travel a lot, and instead of lugging books along, I can just bring my Kindle—or my phone. Ebooks are also a great option for those who are visually impaired, since it’s easy to change font size and audio’s often an option. The instant gratification aspect is great too. I’ve downloaded books in all sorts of places, like on a train outside Barcelona, on a cruise ship, and in airplanes.

On the other hand, I also love the feel of physical books. And I much prefer browsing a bookstore to browsing online. I think a lot of people share these feelings, so although I believe ebooks will continue to grow in popularity, I don’t see the end of print anytime soon.

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

I have personal preferences for cover art—I tend to like strong graphic elements and tend to avoid the naked-floating-torsos-over-a-landscape. But the art also has to reflect the tone and subject of the story and has to be eye-catching. And there are decisions to be made about drawn covers v. photo covers, each of which has its pluses and minuses. I often have a vague general concept for the art, which I describe to the artist. I’ve been lucky to work with some extremely talented cover artists who not only listen to my ideas but often vastly improve on them. Sometimes artists will offer me several alternative versions to choose from, and often the initial design needs a little tweaking. I always get really excited when the cover is completed. I’ve even had a couple of covers—The Pillar and Venetian Masks—made into posters, which I framed and hung on my wall. And honestly? Sometimes I just pet my cover and gloat.

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

Well, I love all of my children, of course, but my favorite depends on my mood. One I’m especially proud of is The Tin Box, because in addition to being a romance story, that book offers a view of the real and shameful history of how we’ve treated both homosexuality and mental illness. A lot of people aren’t aware of that history, and I hope the book opens some eyes while also offering hope for the future.

What’s next for you as an author?

Um… a lot. Ready? My Christmas novella, Dear Ruth, releases December 1, or folks can get it as part of Dreamspinner’s Advent Calendar subscription. Next year, I have contemporary novels releasing in March and April—A Full Plate and The Little Library, respectively—and a suspense thriller called Jaxon Powers in the fall. I’ll also be releasing another novella or two in the paranormal Bureau series. I have some audiobook projects planned with K.C. Kelly and Joel Leslie. I’m looking for a publishing home for a noir private-eye novel in a medieval fantasy setting. Right now I’m working on a contemporary about a lifestyle guru, plus Venona Keyes and I are writing the sequel to Running Blind. I also have some live appearances planned. Life is busy!

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Blurb

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

About the Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/

Giveaway

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An Ali Audiobook Review: Buried Bones (Bones #2) by Kim Fielding and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Werewolves don’t have a how-to manual—nor do men embarking on a new life together. 

It’s been a few weeks since Dylan Warner wolfed out and killed Andy, the crazed werewolf who originally turned him and later tried to murder Chris Nock. Architect Dylan and handyman Chris are still refurbishing Dylan’s old house as they work out the structure of their relationship. They come from very different backgrounds, and neither has had a long-term lover before, so negotiating their connections would be challenge enough even if Dylan didn’t turn into a beast once a month. 

To make matters worse, Dylan’s house is haunted, and events from both men’s pasts are catching up with them. Dylan has to cope with the aftermath of killing Andy, and Chris continues to suffer the effects of a difficult childhood. 

In his quest to get rid of the ghost, Dylan rekindles old friendships and faces new dangers. At the same time, Chris’s father makes a sudden reappearance, stirring up old emotions. If Dylan and Chris want to build a lasting relationship, they’ll have to meet these challenges head-on.
This is the second book in the Bones series and it catches us up with the MC’s from book one.  Dylan and Chris are a couple now and they are working on both developing their relationship and fixing up the old house.  While overall things are going better there is still a problem.  A ghostly one this time. And, in their search to figure out the haunting, they accidentally get themselves involved with a werewolf pack.
Who’s haunting it and why is something they slowly figure out with the help of a psychic grandma who’s not scared of much of anything.  We meet her grandson Ery who is Dylan’s friend and who will be the MC of the next book in the series.
Overall I found this to be a sweet and enjoyable story.  I don’t quite feel the connection between these two main characters that would take this from a series I liked to a series I love.  It’s not a favorite of mine from this author but I still find it enjoyable.  I like the low angst level also.
This audiobook was narrated John Solo and I think he did a good job.  His voices for both of the MC’s were distinct and I also enjoyed the way he did the side characters.  I felt the performance added to the story.
If you enjoyed the first book in this series I think you will enjoy this also.  If you have not read book one you should do that first.  This book does not work as a standalone.
This cover is done by Christine Griffin.  I’m not a big fan of the animated style of covers so this is not a favorite of mine.  I do think the artist is talented and it is a great representation of the story.
Audiobook Details:
Release Date Sep 25, 2017
Type Novels
Length 8:00