An Alisa Review: Pushing Phillip (Common Powers #4) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Jobless, homeless and alone at Christmas—can his new friends keep him from running?

 

When the guys decide to spend Christmas together at the ranch, it’s going to be a time for catching up with each couple. Rush and Brian are hosting, Edward and Jack will be there and Mitchell and Sammi are coming in from Houston.

 

When Brian and Rush take Phillip, a newly outed gay man, under their wings, they discover he’s got a power. But this power is one that makes all of them uncomfortable, along with the young man himself as issues of trust arise.

 

Phillip finds himself jobless, homeless and alone for the holiday, and he’s run out of options. Just when he’s ready to move on, he finds new friends who are ready to give him a second chance at his dreams. Along with a second chance at love.

 

This book gave us the chance to see into the relationships of those in the previous books and to also learn about Phillip and Estaban. Phillip has just been surviving for as long as he can remember, being used by his mom for his powers and then on his own after he ran away and just as he is settling in somewhere it starts fall apart around him.  Luckily for him he had met Brian and their motley crew quickly adopt him into the fold.

 

I loved seeing the flourishing relationships of those from the previous books.  Sammi is really started to grow up more though he still needs to be taken care of but that is what Mitchell longs to do.  Edward still likes to throw Jack for a loop but he has started to take more in stride.  Brian and Rush have continued to be strong partners even as Rush worries.

 

Phillip is delighted when Rush given him the chance to learn and try to be a cowboy.  I could feel his desperation and hopelessness when he was sure that he would have to start out somewhere new.  We didn’t really see all that much of Estaban, more from Phillips side, which made it a little harder to connect with him.  I didn’t like how he made such quick judgements though and was glad to see Sammi put him in his place a bit.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is a wonderful picture and continues the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 209 pages

Publication: December 19, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-622-0

Edition Language: English

Series: Common Powers #4

An Alisa Review: Edward Unconditionally (Common Powers 3) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Edward is on a mission to save his grandmother by using his power. Jack is on a mission to never come out of the closet. It’ll take a dog named Winston to bring them together.

 

When Jack meets Edward at a traffic stop, his world is rocked—and not for the better. Edward is the gayest man he’s ever seen and Spring Lake is a small town just getting comfortable with its own new gay couple, Brian Russell and Rush Weston. Unlike Edward, Rush and Brian are big, strapping, manly men. But manly isn’t what turns Jack on. It’s Edward—everything about the younger man drives Jack wild with desire and the need to control Edward’s wild, impetuous spirit.

 

For Edward, his attraction to ‘bad boys’ has been his romantic downfall. His heart’s been broken so many times he’s lost count. When he meets Jack, Edward falls for the all-American by-the-book lawman, but finds his attempts rebuffed and his pride severely wounded. Jack’s straight, or at least says he is, but Edward knows that look in Jack’s eyes—he’s seen it before in other men. How can a man so right be so wrong?

 

Edward tempts Jack beyond anyone he’s ever met and his desire for Edward builds each time he encounters the younger man, until he can no longer deny it or himself. But Edward doesn’t want sex on the side, he wants forever. He wants the fairy tale.

 

Can Jack give Edward what he wants or will Jack’s fear of being ridiculed for his choice of a partner keep them from their happily ever after?

 

From their first meeting Jack and Edward’s relationship seems to be a comedy of errors.  Jack is embarrassed and then on top of that has to take Edward’s dog home.  They both push each other’s buttons, both the good and the bad, but have to learn a little about adapting too.

 

I didn’t quite connect with these characters as much as I did in the other books and felt that there was more to Jack’s backstory than what was told.  He continues to push Edward away and suddenly gives into his feelings to stand beside him and it just came out of the blue to me.

 

I did feel for Edward, he had been pushed away by his father and manipulated by his mother for most of his life and just as he is getting to know that one person who loves him no matter what he loses her.  But Olivia left a good base for Jack to finally latch on to.  I loved the support these two got from those around them and getting to see everyone from the previous books some more.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is great, I love the visual of Winston and continues the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 223 pages

Publication: 2nd edition, August 22, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-597-1

Edition Language: English

Series: Common Powers #3

An Alisa Review: Rush in the Dark (Common Powers 2) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Rush is so deep in the closet he can’t find the door, but meeting Brian might give him the courage to step out of it.

 

When Brian and Rush meet in a dark alley, sparks fly. The attraction is fast and hard, but Rush is a rancher with a reputation to uphold and Brian is out and open.

 

Both men have secrets, including the small powers they each have, and a relationship means they might have to share. It would require Rush coming out of his closet and putting his ranch and his friendships with the people around him at risk.

 

For Brian, it means putting his heart on the line for a man who’s afraid of being himself. He’s been down that road before and Brian won’t go back in the closet, not even for Rush.

 

Each time they’re together, Rush and Brian set the air around them on fire. As they move closer, both are still holding back, still unsure of each other. One of them will have to take the first step or this thing between them will flounder.

 

For Rush, it’ll take a huge step and a lot of trust to risk his entire life in the small Texas town of Spring Lake. And once he’s out, there’s no going back.

 

For Brian, his heart isn’t the only thing at risk. If he keeps seeing Rush, he knows he might just lose his life.

 

I enjoyed this story just as much as I did the first one in the series however this one really gave more time for the characters to work on building their relationship.  Brian has pretty much lived his life alone for years and meeting Rush makes him want to break his own rules.  Rush has never had anything other than one night stands but no matter what he does he can’t get Brian out of his head.

 

I loved how Brien was willing to hurt himself because he didn’t want to be hurt more later by Rush’s insecurities.  He continues to do his work and help Sammi find out some information about his past so that his friends can have the best chance to continue building their life.

 

Rush is constantly doing the wrong thing in regards to Brian and their relationship.  It takes a lot of soul searching for him to finally let his guard down enough to really let Brian into his life.  I could feel his father’s words and actions still hurting him even years after his death.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and continues the pattern for the series.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 189 pages

Publication: 2nd edition, July 11, 2017 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-584-1

Edition Language: English

Series: Common Powers #2

An Alisa Review: Soul Bonds (Common Powers 1) by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

It’s not how big the power, it’s how you use it.

 

Mitchell’s tired of one night stands and casual encounters.

 

Sammi is a runaway sex slave who’ll do anything to stay free.

 

When they meet in a bar, Mitchell can’t believe his luck. Sammi is sex on two legs and seems to know just what Mitchell wants from a lover. But Sammi’s owner Donovan isn’t going to let him go so easily. He’s prepared to destroy anyone who stands in his way to get back his prized slave.

 

Is the bond between Mitchell and Sammi strong enough to stand up against the damage Donovan inflicts on their lives, or will it shatter?

 

This was such a sweet story.  Sammi and Mitchell’s connection is instant and it kind of scares Mitchell a bit but even with that he refuses to think of not having Sammi in his life.  Sammi has been abused and used his whole life and can’t wait to live his life for himself but he has to face his past first.

 

I loved Mitchell’s determination to keep Sammi even when Donovan does his best to ruin his life.  I loved the relationship he has with his best friend Brian and how he is fully supportive and willing to help both of them.

 

Even with the support of Brian and Mitchell it’s heartbreaking to see Sammi determine that he just needs to leave in order to keep Mitchell safe.  I loved Sammi’s openness and how willing he is to put others first and help someone.  I am looking forward to seeing Brian’s story in the next book.

 

The cover art by Posh Gosh is nice and give good visuals of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 176 pages

Publication: 2nd edition, December 20, 2016 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-512-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Common Powers #1

Lynn Lorenz on Writing, Influences and her latest New Orleans story, New Orleans Second Lines (author interview)

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New Orleans Second Lines by Lynn Lorenz
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Available at Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lynn Lorenz here today answering questions and talking about writing and her influences…welcome, Lynn!

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Lynn Lorenz

Thanks to STRW for letting me blog today about my new release from Dreamspinner Press, New Orleans Second Lines!

I’m going to answer a few questions about reading and writing…here goes!

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?  Did you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

            I’m probably one of those few romance writers who didn’t really grow up reading romance. In fact, I didn’t start reading romance until I started writing it.

            As a young teen, I lived in my local library (Nix Library in New Orleans). Because it was small, I’d read through the “kiddie” book section about the age of 12-13. My mother had to give permission for me to take out books in the adult fiction section—books by writers like Mary Stewart, Shirley Jackson, and Daphne Du Maurier. I suppose these fell sort of in the romance genre, but back in those days, the most anyone got was a kiss. All the doors were shut and we could only imagine what happened behind them.

            But what I really liked in all of those stories was the edge of mystery in them. So I moved on to full bore mystery—classics writers like Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, Elizabeth George, and Dorothy Sayers. I still love watching those British mystery series on Netflix.

            In my college years, I devoured horror, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Robin Cook, to name a few.

(Notice: No Barbara Cartland or Nora Roberts. In fact, to this day, I’ve never read one of their novels and please don’t ask me about major authors, I don’t really know any.)

            Then I had kids, and couldn’t read horror anymore, so I started on a few true crime stories, and more of the detective novels. I loved police procedural writers like Tony Hillerman, James Dos, and Faye Kellerman, mostly because they delved into cultures not my own.

            I really didn’t read much fantasy, although I did read some paranormal like Interview with a Vampire when it came out, mostly because…New Orleans. Of course, during high school, I read classics like Frankenstein and Dracula, but perhaps I was too young to fully appreciate them.

            My mother turned me onto Robert Benchley’s humor, which was so like her own. I read Fannie Flagg, of Fried Green Tomatoes fame. Love her southern humor!

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

           I wrote a lot as a teen and in college. English was my minor and I also wrote poetry, angsty stuff about boyfriends, etc. I think what influenced me the most is a mix of elements like mystery, detective stories, humor and gothic romance.

             I learned how to write men by reading James Dos’s Charlie Moon, Hillerman’s Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, Kellerman’s Peter Decker, and a few other writers who got it right. But mostly by being around men my entire life. I worked in my father’s construction and electrical company, had jobs on worksites, wore a hard hat and listened to the guys and how they talked to each other.

           What was missing was…the sex.

           When I was about 40-45, I got bored reading what I’d been reading. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis, but I wanted books with sex. I remember asking my hubs if he had any sci-fi or fantasy books (he reads them exclusively) that had sex. He just laughed. “Nerdy scientists write these books. There’s no sex. Why don’t you write your own story?”

            So I did. The very first novel I wrote was what became The Avalon Patrol, and later became Majik Reborn, Majik Betrayed, and Majik Redeemed. I created a world where majik existed, and so did a police force (inspectors) who used majik to fight crime. It sprawled. I had no idea what I was doing. When it hit 250k I broke Word. Hubs finally told me I was writing a trilogy. So I found where the story broke and divided it up. But this story was a het romance, because…sex. My protags had sex; no closed doors for me! I wrote about six novels, all het romance, sort of thinking about publication.

            When I discovered gay romance something clicked. Suddenly, I realized why my male characters had so much..er…sexual tension between them. They were always one move from kissing or killing each other. My heroines weren’t exactly Mary Sues—I had to learn to write strong females and once I did, I started publishing those stories.

            So I took all of the elements I love to read, and rolled them up into what I call my style. Humor for sure. Mystery. Perhaps some crime. But mostly hot as hell men who love each other and will do anything to get to their HEA.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

            HEA—it’s the only thing I write, especially when I’m writing gay romance. For my het stuff, which I write under Theodora Lane for anyone who wants to check them out, I’ll occasionally go for a HFN.

           When my kids asked me why I write gay romance I told them, because everyone deserves to have a happily ever after. I told them about friends I had when I was in high school and college, wonderful people whom I loved, but who didn’t see a HEA in their futures. I explained no one should be denied it because of who they love. To me, writing gay romance is a way to reach hearts and minds. If I can open one person’s heart and mind to love with no boundaries, I’ve done my job.

            My two tag lines for Lynn Lorenz are Everyone Deserves a Happily Ever After and Open Your Heart and Open Your Mind.

            For Theodora Lane, it’s Step Into Her Worlds.

            I hope readers who haven’t read my writing will take a chance and try something new. And this book, New Orleans Second Line, is a great place to start! For readers who know me, I hope you enjoy something familiar, second time around.

More About New Orleans Second Lines

Matt and Lane grew up together, best friends, sharing almost all their secrets. But on the last day of college, those secrets spilled in one night of passion and tore them apart, sending Matt to the West Coast and Lane home to New Orleans.

Now, Hurricane Katrina is set to destroy New Orleans. This might be the worst time to try for a second chance, but nothing can keep Matt from Lane. The man he let get away.

For Lane, no hurricane can pry him from the city, especially without Sebastian. The older man has been a dear friend and his landlord since Lane returned from college. Sebastian refuses to flee, preferring to stay in his Creole cottage in the French Quarter and ride out the storm.

Sebastian’s life becomes intertwined with Lane’s, as Matt finds out when he’s drawn into capturing Sebastian’s memoirs of being gay in New Orleans. The elder gentleman’s stories are full of surprises and lessons for the young men.

The most important ones Sebastian teaches them—and himself—are that second chances don’t come along often, and you’re never too old to fall in love.

 

About the Author

Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and best-selling author who grew up in New Orleans but currently lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.

 

Also by Lynn Lorenz:

David’s Dilemma by Lynn Lorenz

When is it the wrong time to find Mr. Right? For David, that time is now. He’s caring for his homophobic father, who has Alzheimer’s, and his personal life is the last thing he has time to focus on. But when his father wanders off, David is forced to reach out to the police, in the person of Detective Travis Hart. Travis is gay, tired of the club life and twinks he can’t keep up with, and longs for a real relationship with a man who wants the same—maybe someone remarkable like David. In fact, David is exactly who he has been looking for, but Travis isn’t sure he can be the man David needs during this difficult time.

Because as David’s father sinks deeper into the disease that’s robbing him of his memories, David really needs a friend, not a lover. Though Travis is determined to support David in whatever way he can, David’s decision could lead both men into a situation with no possibility of a happy resolution.

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/davids-dilemma-by-lynn-lorenz-8012-b

https://www.amazon.com/Davids-Dilemma-Lynn-Lorenz-ebook/dp/B01NGZ9YB4

A Caryn Release Day Review: New Orleans Second Lines by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

After reading the blurb, I found myself a little surprised by how this story unfolded.  I expected Lane and Matt to be the MCs, with Sebastian’s life and times a backdrop for their story. 

Actually, it was just the opposite.

This book is actually a re-edited and combined version of three short stories previously published in 2010.  I did not read the originals, but for the most part this works as a single book.  The initial story arc of Matt and Lane does feel a bit separate from the rest (some editing to smooth the transition would have been a good idea), but it is important to know about them to read Sebastian’s story.

The city of New Orleans is not merely a setting, but integral to all three main characters’ personality and actions, especially Sebastian, who is in his 70s when he is first introduced.  They may have all left the city at some point, but they always came back.  The French Quarter is at the heart of their lives, and shaped their stories.

The first quarter of the book is essentially all about Matt and Lane.  Childhood friends who became close as brothers as they faced down Matt’s abusive father who kicked him out when he discovered Matt was gay.  Roommates in college who watched each other as Matt slept around and Lane saved himself for “the one”.  In the 5 years they lived together, neither man ever admitted to the other that he was in love – they both had their own reasons for feeling “not good enough” – and after one glorious night, Matt moved away to California.  Now, let me just say that I get so frustrated with that overdone trope, but I guess it’s expedient when you are trying to put a lot of angst into a short story.  Hurricane Katrina provided the catalyst to get Matt and Lane back together, and at least then they spoke honestly to each other, and of course they were both single, still in love, soul mates, yadda yadda, and now happily together.

And to me, that is when the real story started.  Two years after Katrina, New Orleans is still rebuilding, recovering, returning to its previous vibrant self.  Matt and Lane are still happy together living in the slave quarters behind the courtyard of Sebastian’s French Quarter house.  Matt is still working as a journalist, and has decided to make a documentary of sorts about gay men in New Orleans history through the life and times of Sebastian.  He is such a character!  Sebastian is definitely a queen, flamboyant, but sophisticated and intelligent.  He spent his early adulthood with the artistic (and very gay friendly) denizens of the city, along with all the hedonism you’d expect from the Big Easy, but was also an astute businessman who became wealthy, and one of the gay elite of the French Quarter.  He had his share of disappointments and tragedies too, including the death of his long time lover from AIDS.  I loved his voice – the words he used, the way he told a story, how elegant he was even while being catty!  It was so easy to imagine what he looked like, sounded like, and even how he moved.  Sebastian was perfectly happy to make the documentary because he felt his life was essentially over, that he was just waiting until the end, when he could pass the torch on to the next generation of gay men.

And then he met Raymond.  Another elderly man, gay, also bereaved, who convinced Sebastian that even in his 70s, there were still adventures to be had, life to be lived, and love to be made.  That it is never too late to have a happy ending.  Their affair might seem a little saccharine to some, but I just adored it.  There wasn’t much angst for them, but I think their romance was in many ways more open, more honest than it would have been if they had met when they were younger.  Though Matt and Lane are constants in Sebastian’s life – they essentially became his sons and stayed with him in his adventures step by step – this book is primarily about Sebastian.  And it is lovely.

Cover art by Angsty G is a good representation of Lane and Matt, but where was Sebastian???  Gotta admit, I was disappointed by that oversight…

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 2nd Edition, 246 pages
Published July 17th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635334326
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Truth or Lie by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Anthony Pappas has known since puberty he was gifted with a special gift due to his Greek ancestry. After all, he’s the descendant of Artemis and Socrates’ one night stand. It’s good, because he has a passion for teaching. It’s bad, because he can tell when someone is lying to him. As he’s matured, he’s realized his superpower is a relationship killer.

 

Everyone lies. And if they lie over the little things, like jobs, they’ll lie over the big things, like cheating. So he just hangs back, teaching elementary school, waiting for Mr. Tall, Dark and Honest. So far, it’s been a bust.

 

Travis Conner is just a dumb fire fighter, or at least it’s what he’s been told and he believes. He’s hated school his entire life, but one thing he does love is his nephew, Rusty, his sister’s kid. When Rusty begs him to come to school for Bring Your Dad to Work, Travis can’t say no, no matter how uncomfortable it makes him feel.

 

But when he gets there, and meets Anthony, Rusty’s sexy, but geeky teacher, he’s smitten. And for Anthony, Travis’ honesty and honor draw him to Travis like a magnet. Both men have stayed aloof, each for his own reason, but can their attraction pull them out of the shadows and into a relationship?

 

Can Travis be Anthony’s Mr. Honest and will Anthony still want Travis when he finds out he barely graduated high school? Both men have secrets, but when they get down and honest about them, will those secrets, especially Anthony’s gift, tear them apart?

 

This was a nice story.  Travis and Anthony have both been hurt in previous relationships and are a bit gun shy about getting involved with anyone.  Travis won’t make the first move because he can’t believe a teacher would want a dumb jock but all Anthony can see from their first meeting is how honest and caring Travis is.

 

I liked both Travis and Anthony in the general terms but it felt like they both kept doubting themselves and waiting for something bad to happen.  Travis is quick to jump to conclusions but after taking some time to think and talk to his sister and nephew he realizes that maybe he should be a bit more trusting.  They both came together rather quickly and resolve their one problem fast too.  I think it would have been nice to see them build up a solid relationship and not have everything work out so well so fast.

 

The cover art is nice and gives visuals of both of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 108 pages

Published: May 9, 2017 by Hartwood Publishing

Edition Language: English

Lynn Lorenz Shares Her Thoughts on Writing, Inspiration and her release David’s Dilemma (guest post)

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David’s Dilemma by Lynn Lorenz
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lynn Lorenz here today, sitting in our author’s interview chair.  Welcome, Lynn!

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First, thank you to the people at Scattered Thoughts for hosting my release, David’s Dilemma! I truly appreciate it!

I’m answering some of their questions about me and my writing and I hope you’ll find it interesting, funny and give you an insight to me, my writing and my life.

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?

     Usually from real life like the news, or a retelling an old tale, but also personal.  For David’s Dilemma, it was my father’s slip into Alzheimer’s Disease that led me to write the book, as a homage to him and to honor the caretakers.

     For Pacific Nights, not currently in circulation, I wanted to tell the South Pacific story, only with gay characters. Remember those guys who went to the island to spy on the Japanese? Those guys.

     For Soul Bonds, I took the story from the sex slave industry thriving in Houston and reported on the news.

  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why?

     I started out as a pantzer, but found I was writing way too many stories at one time to keep it up for long. Most writers who are pantzers will have a number of stories – with anywhere from 1-5 chapters – then they hit a wall and get stuck. We have no problems with the beginning and ends, it’s the damn middle that’s the hardest.

     So I developed what I call a “loosey goosey” method of plotting – very brief and short chapter descriptions. It enabled me to veer off, to move chapters and timelines and to not feel so trapped by a fully plotted story. With this method, I can create all the chapters, what will happen in them, and then write the ones that I’m feeling – non-linear. So, if I know the ending, I can write it whenever.

     I actually teach an online course on this method.

  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so?

     If you look at my list of books and the genres, I span the gamut from contemporary, historical, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, and even inspirational. My favorite is paranormal, because I get to create a world, inhabit it with characters and play Goddess. But I do love to mix them up, fantasy and paranormal, contemporary and paranormal.

     I write primarily gay romance under my Lynn Lorenz name, and het romance under Theodora Lane. Both of us write across genres. And by the way, I don’t consider gay romance as a genre, I consider it the genre (like historical) with gay heroes.

  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why?

     Now that I think of it, not really. I think my characters are true to who they are, from the moment I conceive them to writing them down. Since my stories are character-driven, those characters goals, motivations and conflicts define the plot. If I changed them, I’d change the plot and so it’d just be better to write a new book with that changed character. He wouldn’t be who he first was anymore.

     In David’s Dilemma, who would I change? David, a gay man struggling with his father who has Alzheimer’s? Travis, his love interest, a gay cop who’s come to grip with his age and what he really wants in his life, or David’s father, an elderly man sinking into a dark place he doesn’t understand? Any of those changes would change the book.

     In No Good Deed, my main character is Dan Chan, a gay Chinese cop in rural Texas. He’s bisexual and struggling with it. If I removed his bisexuality, it’d be a different story. I love him and his doubts, his struggle to understand himself and who he loves.

     For me, who the character is defines the book, the story I need to tell about that particular person.

  1. Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them?

     Sure. We have favorite kids, right? Uh…I wasn’t supposed to say that, was I?

     Anyway, I do have a few favorites. I love David, in David’s Dilemma. He’s so torn between what he sees as his duty to his father, a man he loves, but doesn’t really like, and doing the hard thing about his dad.

     I loved Edward, from Edward, Unconditionally. He’s all about learning to love himself, about acceptance, about loving and being loved unconditionally.

     Drake, my hero from The Mercenary’s Tale, is special because he’s was my first published book hero. He’s on a journey of sel-discovery, as much as any gay medieval mercenary can be in the 1300’s.

     One of my favorites is Jason from Best Vacation That Never Was. He’s a wild, adrenaline junky fire fighter with a rescue complex. He’s all heart and love and “watch this, bubba!” I loved mixing that good old boy with frat boy with the responsibility of a fire fighter.

     I think I love Dan Chan from No Good Deed for his self-depreciating humor, his love of cowboy boots, his dry, witty, make you think twice comebacks and his struggle to claim who he is and loves.

  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list?

     God, don’t let it be LaGuardia!! And as long as the island or the planet have working bathrooms and toilet paper, I’m good.

     I’d bring a collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets, mystery books from Tony Hillerman, James Dos, and Faye Kellerman, all of Lois Bujold-Masters works, Tolkein’s hobbit books, and a few classics, like How Green was My Valley, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

     (Notice I didn’t really name any romance books? Well, I’m not going to name any because I know too many of the authors and wouldn’t want to miss anyone and have them feel bad.)

     Truthfully, until I started writing gay romance, I never read romance books at all. Ever. I still can’t understand it. But in my gay romance books, you’ll find all the elements of the books I love to read, like mystery, cops, crime, danger, action and suspense. My books rarely depend on the “misunderstanding” or “guys can’t talk” pretending to be a plot. I love to take my guys through a lot – I want them to really struggle and fight for their happily ever after. My tagline is Everyone Deserves a Happily Ever After. And I believe it.

  • How early in your life did you begin writing?

     I remember writing poetry in junior high. About all sorts of things. I don’t have any of it and don’t remember a single poem. I write poetry again in college, full of angst and sexual desire. But I was more of an artist, painting, drawing, printmaking. I went to college for Fine Art and have a degree in it. With English as my minor, so a lot of writing there, but all for school.

     I did art for years, then as I got older, I move to gardening. I loved it so much I’d planned to be a Master Gardener, but my knees when bad and I couldn’t do much anymore. So I started reading. I’d always been a reader, but this was in my early 40’s and I wanted to read stories that had dragons and heroes and sex. Lots of sex. But they were hard to find.

     My husband listened to me complaining about not finding books and he said, “Shut up and write one.” So I did. I wrote my first book, over 250K, which he informed me was what they call a “Trilogy”. I then wrote about 6 books before I decided to publish.

  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why?

     Oh, yes. I read all the Dr. Suess books. I read most of the child classics like Winnie The Pooh, and I remember falling in love with Belinda and the Dragon. When I hit about 11-12, I hated the Nancy Drew books, but ate up all the Trixie Beldon books. She had curly hair like me and was horse crazy like me.

     At about 13, I spend most of my time in my local library. Nix Library on Carrolton Avenue in New Orleans. They let me take out books way above my pay grade, but I devoured books. I especially love Mary Steward, Shirley Jackson, and any gothic book, like Daphne du Maurier. All of H.P. Lovecraft. All of Sherlock Holmes. All of Edgar Allen Poe.

     Then during and after college, I discovered horror, reading all of Stephen King, Robin Cook, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. I also read a lot of true crime books. But then I had kids, and reading horror just didn’t sit well with me. And my husband worried about all the true crime stuff, like “How I Killed My Husband” stuff. So for everyone’s sanity, I move off it.

     And onto mystery, detective stories, police procedurals.

     But never romance. Not until my mid to late 40’s.

     Now, if you read a lot of my books, you can see where all of these early reads had a big influence on how and what I write about. I can go light and funny or very dark and gritty. I love adding action, mysteries, or suspense to my books. 

     And sex. Lots of sex. Hot, hot sex.

  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be?

     Good Lord! Well, I’d definitely be filed under the erotic romance section. I need to think about this for a bit. My life has been fairly usual. Sort of boring in its last half. Married, with children. Working a corporate job, 9-5.

     I’m not sure – maybe chicklity like Strong, Steady, and Sexy

     Or for a literary turn, The Electrician’s Daughter

     Maybe something southern, like Fried Okra, Grits and Men.

  • 10.What question would you ask yourself here?

     What are you working on next?

     My answer – I’ve got three books to series I need to finish. A new WereWolf Fight League book. This is going to be a menage (m/m/m) set in the dark, gritty world of werewolf slaves and cage fighting. This is for Loose Id.

     Another is the next Locke and Blade book. It’s set in a magical world torn away from the non-magical. They are a team of Inspectors who serve the Patrol, their world’s police force. This is for MLR Press.

     And I’ll be working on a new Rougaroux Social Club book, the last in the series. I plan on figuring out who Maman’s black cat really is and why he’s found a home in the bayou. Another for Loose Id.

    And I’m working on a…wait for it…gay inspirational story for Dreamspinner, if they take it. It’s the first in a series, so we’ll see, but I have hopes for it.

    Anything more than that will be for my het pen name, Theodora Lane.

Thanks again to Scattered Thoughts!!

And a big thank you to my publisher Dreamspinner, my editors, and my cover artist for David’s Dilemma, AngstyG.

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About David’s Dilemma

2nd Edition

When is it the wrong time to find Mr. Right? For David, that time is now. He’s caring for his homophobic father, who has Alzheimer’s, and his personal life is the last thing he has time to focus on. But when his father wanders off, David is forced to reach out to the police, in the person of Detective Travis Hart. Travis is gay, tired of the club life and twinks he can’t keep up with, and longs for a real relationship with a man who wants the same—maybe someone remarkable like David. In fact, David is exactly who he has been looking for, but Travis isn’t sure he can be the man David needs during this difficult time.

Because as David’s father sinks deeper into the disease that’s robbing him of his memories, David really needs a friend, not a lover. Though Travis is determined to support David in whatever way he can, David’s decision could lead both men into a situation with no possibility of a happy resolution.

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About the Author

Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and bestselling author who grew up in New Orleans but currently lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.

Author Spotlight: Lynn Lorenz on Diversity in Characters & ‘Silent Lodge’ (The Company of Men Series) (guest, post,series excerpts and giveaway)

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In the Company of Men #5 book cover

Author Name: Lynn Lorenz
Book Names: The Mercenary’s Tale, Jackson’s Pride,
Baymore’s Heir, His Duke’s Gift
Series: In The Company of Men,Books: One through Five
Release Date: September 2015 – December 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Hartwood Publishing
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Lynn Lorenz here this morning to talk about her series The Company of Men, her latest novel in that series, Silent Lodge, and give us some insight into her stories with a post on ‘Diversity in Characters’.  Welcome, Lynn. we are delighted to have you here.

~

Baymores_Heir-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800His_Dukes_Gift-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800Jacksons_Pride-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800The_Mercenarys_Tale-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800

 

Diversity in Characters by Lynn Lorenz

Diversity doesn’t just mean having character with different races. It means having characters who have mental illness and struggle with it everyday, like Will in Jackson’s Pride and Baymore’s Heir.

And in Silent Lodge, Arvel, the young man who tends the lodge, is both mute and deaf. He doesn’t have the use of our modern sign language, and because of losing his hearing at as a child, any sounds he can make are not by any means words.

~*~

The fork to the left disappeared around a copse of trees, the one on the right headed straight, through flat fields.

From a distance, a shout echoed. He snapped his head up, turning so he could hear the direction. For a long moment, silence. Then another shout, this time louder.

The road ahead was empty for miles. It had to come from the left, toward the lodge.

He kicked his heels into the mare and urged her down the narrow lane. She broke into a trot, and they rounded the curve.

Ahead, a group of young men had another man surrounded.

Thieves? Villains?

They looked clean enough, but the hatred and disgust on their faces couldn’t hide their intent. All of them were large young men, but the man they’d turned their anger on was only half their size in height and weight. Truly an unfair fight if he’d ever seen one.

One of the men stepped out of the circle and kicked the legs out from under the man. He fell onto his back, his hands going up to protect his face. His attacker moved in, fists clenched, as the others goaded him on with shouts and curses.

Peter shouted, “Ho! What’s this?” and jerked his steed to a stop. He leaped off and strode forward as he pulled his sword.

“None of your business, now, is it?” one of the men called over his shoulder. The others shifted to one side, opening the circle and exposing the man on the ground.

“Get away from him!” Peter advanced. “Is this fair? Six men against one?”

Their faces flashed shame, except for the one still standing over the downed man. His look of hatred and anger hadn’t changed.

“You! Step away from him.” Peter stepped into the middle of the group.

The man blocked his way, red faced and frowning. “Who are you?” he barked. “This is none of your affair.”

“Who I am is none of your affair, but I won’t allow such villainy.”

At the flourish of Peter’s sword, the man backed down.

“Now, get along with you. Go on. I don’t know what this man has done, nor do I care. If it’s a matter for your village elders, let’s bring him before them. If not, then be on your way.”

The crowd moved farther away, leaving a gap between the attacker and themselves. Clearly, they were only following their leader. The man looked from them to Peter as if deciding his next course of action.

He pointed at the man on the ground. “Next time I catch you, no one will be around to save you.” He spat at the man, then strode to his companions.

They circled around him, absorbing him in their midst, and then without another look at Peter they fled.

~*~

So how does this affect Arvel? As you might think, he’s bullied by the other young men in the nearby village, to the point of fearing for his life. From being pushed, spit on, and cursed at, to being beaten, almost to death, Arvel has spent most of his life being punished for something he has no control over.

So he hides at the lodge, which Duke Logan’s father owns. Logan knows of the young man, and has allowed him to live there, caring for it, more for Arvel’s protection, than Logan’s need.

When I wrote this character it was easy to fall into thinking about Arvel’s thoughts and actions in respect to our world. But Arvel doesn’t know sign language other than a few rudimentary signs, like putting food in his mouth, or mimicking motions to describe things.

Also, his internal thoughts can’t be written like anyone else’s because his frame of reference isn’t built around language, but around the natural world around him. How he describes colors, for instance.

~*~

“I won’t hurt you.”

A pink tongue licked pinker lips. He blew a great breath, and strands of red hair flew up and away from his face.

He nodded.

“I’m going to get off now. Are you well?”

Another nod.

Peter shifted, got to his feet, and offered his hand.

The man took it, and Peter pulled him to his feet. He came up to Peter’s shoulder. Peter fought the urge to push the man’s hair from his face and pick the leaves from it.

Strange.

“What’s your name?” He softened his tone.

Arvel tilted his head, inspecting the man’s face with the intensity of a hawk. It warmed him all over to look at this man, just like his Heart did.

But was he a friend? Would he be safe?

Something about the man made Arvel trust him.

He pushed the hair out of his face, then squatted and wrote his name in the dirt with his finger, as he’d been taught long ago.

“Arvel? Is that your name?” Something about that name sounded familiar.

The man nodded and gave him a shy smile.

“I’m Peter.” He pointed to his chest and squatted down to write his name just as the younger man had, in the dirt of the road.

Arvel watched him, then nodded.

“Are you hurt?”

Arvel got to his feet and brushed off his breeches and tunic. He extended his hand toward Peter, those lavender eyes glancing up and down Peter’s body.

Peter took the offered hand in his. Small, delicate. If he didn’t know this was a man, he’d have sworn the hand belonged to a woman. Everything about Arvel spoke of gentleness, delicacy, and grace.

But he still hadn’t said a word, just stared hard at Peter as if absorbing every word he’d spoken.

“Well. Can I escort you to your home in case the others come back?” Peter moved away and gathered his horse’s reins as she grazed along the side of the lane.

Arvel cocked his head and twisted his lips to the side.

Too many words at once and his lips moved too fast.

Arvel waited for the man to speak again.

Peter shrugged. It seemed the young man didn’t want his help. He climbed into the saddle as his mare grunted and tossed her head at the tightening of her bit. He gave Arvel a wave and turned the horse back to the lane. He needed to find the lodge before dark fell.

The young man ran forward and caught his boot. Peter looked down into Arvel’s upturned face, and his memory snapped into place. The caretaker of Marden Lodge?

Arvel mouthed his thanks as his hand clenched tightly on to Peter’s leg, pulling at him, willing him not to go. To stay.

He glanced down the road. The others might come back again to hurt him. They rarely gave up. He should never have left the safety of the lodge, his home, not even for the supplies he’d needed.

Not without someone to protect him.

Like this man.

“What is it? Can’t you speak?”

He shook his head and touched his fingers to his mouth, then to his ear and shook his head.

“You can’t speak or hear?” Peter’s eyes widened; then anger flooded him. Those bastards had not only attacked a man alone, unarmed, and outnumbered, they’d attacked someone deaf and mute. Had they no honor?

~*~

I couldn’t have him sounding like an idiot, because he’s not. In fact, Arvel is very clever and knows his own mind. He knows what he wants and how to get it. So his internal thoughts had to be simple in language, relating to his world, and show his humor.

Also, some might say I did too much head-hopping, but for this story, I wanted Arvel’s reactions to the action around him integrated into the story, like dialogue. Because he can’t speak, only motion with his face, body and hands, we don’t know what he’s thinking most of the time, and neither do the characters.

I hope it doesn’t bother you too much, but it’s how I thought the books should be written, and my editors agreed.

~*~

I hope you’ll give my medieval men a chance. You can find my books on my website. And of course, on Amazon, ARe, and all the other retailers.

And I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your blog!

Blurb(s)

The_Mercenarys_Tale-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800The Mercenary’s Tale – Drake is a mercenary for hire. He values little other than his sword and his skill. Fighting his attraction to the young men he trains, he refuses to take any on. When Ansel walks into his life, Drake breaks all his rules.
But life for mercenaries is hard, brutal and deadly.
Can Drake take a chance on finding the love he’s denied himself for so long?
Can he have a second chance?

Jackson’s Pride – Jackson has been called to attend his father, Lord Baymore. The man has never claimed Jackson Jacksons_Pride-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800as his son and Jackson believes this might be his father’s intent. He’s left the Duke of Marden’s employ to discover his destiny—to remain a nameless bastard or to claim his father’s name.
When Jackson stumbles across a man, stripped, beaten, and left in a field to die a slow death, Jackson rescues the man. After all, he’s guilty of the same thing—wanting a man.
Will Holcombe gambled and lost. His meeting with a young, willing man went horribly wrong, and now he must pay for it with his life.
Until a man walks up to him in a frozen field and cuts him down.
Jackson is like no one Will has ever met before—a man strong enough to stand with him, perhaps forever.
But Jackson’s on a mission. Will his pride blind him to what his life could be if he chose Will and not his father?
Or will his pride lead him to a fate worse than death?

Baymores_Heir-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800Baymore’s Heir – Duke Jackson of Baymore finally has all he’s ever wanted—his name, a title, and the man he loves by his side. Lord Will Holcombe couldn’t be happier. He’s Jackson’s lover, best friend, and manages all of Jackson’s affairs. For two years, their life together, although deadly if anyone knew of their forbidden love, has been perfect.
Until Jackson the day when decides the one thing he needs is an heir.
And the one person to find him a wife is Will.

Silent Lodge – Drake and Logan are worried about their friend and captain of the guard, Peter. After the death in In the Company of Men #5 book coverchildbirth of Peter’s wife, he’s a changed man. Unfocused, lonely, and devastated, Peter needs a new challenge, instead of going through the motions of living.

Logan sends Peter on a mission – to discover Duke Weathersby’s plans for invasion. Logan’s father has a small hunting lodge near the border of their lands, and it has a caretaker. Peter sets off alone, to make camp at the lodge and do some scouting.

But what he finds at the lodge just may be his future. Arvel is a fascinating young man. Red haired, deaf and mute from a fever as a child, he’s been living in the lodge and caring for it for years. It’s a safe haven for him. But he’s not alone. He has a protector, Gareth.

When Gareth, Arvel and Peter are together, sparks fly. Arvel belongs to Gareth, but he wants Peter too. Can Peter join their small family? And if he does, will he always be the third to their couple?

His_Dukes_Gift-Lynn_Lorenz-500x800His Duke’s Gift – In this Yuletide story, Duke Logan is preparing the keep for the holiday. Twelve nights of feasting and gift giving to those in his favor. Gifts must be made or bought. Once mercenary Drake struggles to think of just the right gift for his love and liege, and for their sons.

Something isn’t right. A stranger has arrived at the keep and Logan refuses to let Drake into his bedroom at night. Angry and frustrated, Drake fears Logan has lost his love for the mercenary.

When the Twelfth night arrives, and Drake has received no gift, he begins to think he might need to take his son and leave what has become his home.

 

Pages or Words: Varies by book
Categories: Historical, M/M Romance

 

Excerpt (NSFW)

Ansel lowered himself with effort to the ground and leaned back on his saddle. From across the fire I could tell he still ached. I rummaged in my saddlebag and found the vial of oil I used to keep my leathers supple. It would work for Ansel’s back.

“That’s enough moaning from you. Take off your shirt and stretch out; I’m giving you a rubdown before you become so stiff you can’t move.” It came out more like an order, and Ansel obeyed.

He unlaced his leather vest, removed it, and then with careful motions, pulled his shirt over his head. Smooth chest met my gaze, lean muscles and wide shoulders. Dark hair trailed down his stomach to disappear beneath the strings of his breeches.

“Lay on your belly.” It was not the wisest thing I’d ever done, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. In truth, I wanted to touch him.

He stretched out on his cloak, his smooth broad back to me, arms over his head. There were no scars on his back or on his chest. Hidden scars, indeed.

By clicking here you agree that you are 18 or over to finish reading the NSFW excerpt.

 

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Meet the Author

Lynn Lorenz is an award-winning and best-selling author of over 30 gay romances. She lives in Texas, where she’s a fan of all things Texan, like Longhorns, big hair, and cowboys in tight jeans. She’s never met a comma she didn’t like, and enjoys editing and brainstorming with other writers. Lynn spends most of her time writing about hot sex with even hotter heroes, plot twists, werewolves, and medieval swashbucklers. She’s currently at work on her latest book, making herself giggle and blush, and avoiding all the housework.

 

Where to find the author:

RC


Tour Dates & Stops:

10-Nov: Elin Gregory, BFD Book Blog

12-Nov: Up All Night, Read All Day, Tara Lain

17-Nov: Divine Magazine, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

19-Nov: Molly Lolly

24-Nov: Velvet Panic, Havan Fellows, Inked Rainbow Reads

26-Nov: Lee Brazil, Jessie G. Books

1-Dec: Love Bytes, The Novel Approach

3-Dec: Bayou Book Junkie, MM Good Book Reviews

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of any book from any of Lynn’s series.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Links and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.
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