An Alisa Release Day Review: Educating the Professor by Sean Michael

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Kenneth Brannigan is a small-town history professor. He’s happy with his life, loves the classes he teaches, and lives in a tiny apartment in a converted house with his best friend, Tim, next door. He’s still recovering from a bad breakup and is content to stick to his comfortable routine. It’s Tim who insists he come to the Queer Alliance’s Rainbow Mixer.

At the mixer, Kenn meets David Burgundy, a new-to-town TA who is working on his masters. Dave is drawn immediately to Kenn and is thrilled when Kenn offers to show him the best pizza place in town. One meal leads to two, which leads to Dave and Kenn spending most of their free time together… and Kenn loosening his self-imposed rules regarding dating and sex for some kinky fun.

Kenn’s ex isn’t going to just let Kenn be, though, and the happier Kenn is with Dave, the less the ex likes it. Will Kenn continue to run away from his past, or will his relationship with Dave help him face it head-on?

Another good Sean Michael book.  Kenn is such an introvert but thanks to his friend Tim gets him to the Rainbow Mixer.  Dave is instantly smitten with Kenn and spends as much time as possible with him.

I enjoyed this book but didn’t feel a lot of depth to it.  I connected with the characters but everything seemed surface level.

I had a little trouble with the quick friendship that fast become friends with benefits and it felt a little like Dave was pushing himself on Kenn.  Their kinks match perfectly though we had to watch Kenn come to terms with what he really wants.  At times I had trouble keeping track of the timeline as it all seemed to move so fast and I thought the drama with Kenn’s ex didn’t really do anything for the story.

The cover art by L.C. Chase is great and I like the variety of visuals.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages

Published: February 5, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64080-896-6

Edition Language: English

Xenia Melzer on How to Write a Fight Scene and the release A Dom and His Warrior

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A Dom and His Warrior (Club Whisper #3) by Xenia Melzer
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Xenia Metzer today on tour for her new book in the Club  Whisper series, A Dom and His Warrior.  Welcome, Xenia.

♦︎

 

 

How to write a fight scene

When I chose to make Leeland an MMA fighter, I had many reasons to do so and none of them was any eagerness on my part to write a fight scene. I’m not good at writing fight scenes. They never turn out like the ones in my head, which are perfectly choreographed things of beauty that could put Mission Impossible or Charlie’s Angels to shame. Sometimes I feel like a child who has this great picture of a happy family in front of a house complete with sunshine and trees in the garden in mind and when I’m done painting, it’s a bunch of stick-people with a vaguely sphere-shaped ball in bright yellow and elongated brown smears with green blotches on top.

When I wrote A Dom and His Warrior I realized I had to somehow connect the picture in my mind with the painting/words on the laptop, which was a process, to put it mildly. First I had to learn the right words, because ‚and then he punched him in the face‘ gets old pretty quickly. Luckily for me, the internet is this huge space where you can find the answers to almost every question. At https://breakingmuscle.com/learn/what-s-that-move-called-a-glossary-of-mma-terms I found a treasure chest of terms to describe a fight. And after several highly instructional hours on YouTube I also knew what those moves looked like when executed by pros.

A little warning, if you are squeamish, MMA is not for you, since there is blood. And heavy punches. And kicks. And almost naked men with muscles in places you never thought possible.

In my mind, Leeland is a very elegant man whose fighting style is gracious. In MMA – as the name suggests – different kinds of fighting, like martial arts (all kinds), boxing, and wrestling are combined. Fighters usually come from a certain direction, like boxing, or taek won do and adapt movements from other styles. This diversity is what makes the fights interesting and what helped me to write fighting scenes that didn’t get boring after the first couple of sentences. Being able to choose from a wide variety certainly helped me to describe the fighting in a gripping way – if I do say so myself. 

In the book, Leeland has fight scenes with men who come from boxing and from kick boxing, while he himself has a background of karate and jiu jitsu. I did my very best to show how these sports influence the fighters and the fight itself and how highly adaptive an MMA fighter has to be.

Lastly there’s the way the winner of a fight is determined in an official UFC fight. If there is no knock out (one of the fighters gets down without getting up again) or tap out (one of the fighters taps the mat, usually when they’re in a submission hold, to show he gives up), there’s a rather complicated system in place with points deduced at each round for fouls or timid fighting. This system leaves room for lively discussions and some of Leeland’s best friends indulge happily in them.

Writing the fight scenes for A Dom and His Warrior was a challenge for me, one I took on with a certain amount of apprehension, but I think (and hope) it was worth the effort. 

 

About A Dom and His Warrior

Leeland Drake and Jonathan White are a committed BDSM couple and have just moved in together. Leeland has only one year left in college, and everything seems perfect… until Leeland’s uncle asks him to stand in for an injured UFC fighter.

 

Leeland wants to help his uncle, but he remembers all too well from his years competing in martial arts how strenuous life as an athlete can be. He doesn’t want to risk his relationship with Jonathan. After some discussion, they decide Leeland will go pro for a year.

 

As if the training and strict diet weren’t bad enough, the pressure skyrockets when Leeland encounters homophobic fighter Tommy Adams—especially when they end up facing each other in the championship

 

Between the bigoted rants of his opponent, the scrutiny of the media, the pressure from his sponsor, and a fire in his uncle’s gym, Leeland is close to breaking down. Only Jonathan’s support and love keep him focused enough to set foot in the octagon once more—and maybe even walk away a winner.

 

Biography Xenia Melzer

Xenia Melzer was born and raised in a small village in the South of Bavaria. As one of nature’s true chocoholics, she’s always in search of the perfect chocolate experience. So far, she’s had about a dozen truly remarkable ones. Despite having been in close proximity to the mountains all her life, she has never understood why so many people think snow sports are fun. There are neither chocolate nor horses involved and it’s cold by definition, so where’s the sense? She does not like beer either and has never been to the Oktoberfest – no quality chocolate there.

Even though her mind is preoccupied with various stories most of the time, Xenia has managed to get through school and university with surprisingly good grades. Right after school she met her one true love who showed her that reality is capable of producing some truly amazing love stories itself.

While she was having her two children, she started writing down the most persistent stories in her head as a way of relieving mommy-related stress symptoms. As it turned out, the stress-relief has now become a source of the same, albeit a positive one.

When she’s not writing, she translates the stories of other authors into German, enjoys riding and running, spending time with her kids, and dancing with her husband. If you want to contact her, please visit either her website, www.xeniamelzer.com or write her an email: info@xeniamelzer.com .    

A Julia Review: Figure Study (Chiaroscuro #2) by Suzanne Clay

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ainsley and her former student Noma face the aftermath of their unexpected one-night stand in this second story of Chiaroscuro.

The night Ainsley spent gently dominating Noma was far more intimate than any scene she’d ever been in before. The intensity of playing with someone she’d taught and cared about was a completely different experience–and twice as intimidating. She’d had two options: turn Noma away and never see her again, or let her stay for a few hours more.

The years away from scenes have left Ainsley eager for play but unsteady in her role. And memories of a younger Noma, when their relationship was student and mentor, only add to the confusion. A return to familiar ropes and knots, an erotic bondage play, helps Ainsley regain a sense of control and face her vulnerabilities. She must learn to see Noma as an adult woman in every way, risking a dangerous power imbalance, even as her heart begins to yearn for intimacy she’s long hidden from.

As they delve into new scenes, Ainsley and Noma confront past pain and baggage. Only by facing their fear of opening up can they learn to trust each other and share something deeper.

Figure Study by Suzanne Clay is the second part in the Chiaroscuro-series of short stories featuring painter and art teacher Ainsley and her former student Noma. After reviewing the first entry a while back, I was excited to come back to this. If you plan on reading this series, you should definitely start with previous story “Painting Class”.

The story picks up right where the previous one ended as Ainsley finds herself making breakfast after sharing an intense body painting session with a former student of hers. Since this is a short story the entirety of it takes place in Ainsley’s house over the course of half a day. The author threw in some nice details of Ainsley’s living space to get a better picture of her personal habits.

Normally I dedicate only a short paragraph to the sex scenes but in this case they are tightly interwoven with the progression of the plot as well as character development. As Noma and Ainsley continue to intimately explore each other’s needs, bodies and desires, they also get closer to one another on an emotional and very personal level. That is why I will go into more detail about the erotic aspects this time – and they are definitely worth it.

Just like the previous one does this story focus on BDSM scenes with Ainsley acting as the domme and Noma as the submissive. The author did quite a good job in dealing with the subject as the more experienced Ainsley is easing Noma into it, so even (or especially) someone who is not too familiar with the subject can get into it. I very much liked the emphasis on open communication and mutual respect for the other person’s boundaries. And not to mention, the sex scenes themselves are of course quite hot and wonderfully explicit.

Noma also talks a bit about some negative experiences she had that shaped her initial expectations of dominance and submission. It is quite heart-warming to witness how she opens herself up and is truly touched by Ainsley’s care for her. Ainsley in turn is dealing with her own trepidations in returning to the position of domme after having been inactive for quite some time as well as the responsibilities (and pleasures) that come with it. I found the careful dance between those two as they try their best to make each other feel safe rather engrossing. All the while there is the underlying, unspoken question of whether there is any hope for this relationship to continue beyond this one encounter of passion. You very much get the feeling that both women want it to but are unsure on how the other person feels.

The continuation of this story certainly did not disappoint. This entry has definitely made the characters much more endearing to me to the point where I’m rooting for them and their blossoming relationship. I loved how the author told us so much about them within this brief period of time through their interactions and care for one another. I’ll be looking forward to reading and reviewing the next chapter of their story.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is very beautiful and spot-on just like last time. I love the way the rope just pops out but at the same harmonizes wonderfully with the colourless body and emphasizes its contours.

Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 58 pages

Published September 25, 2017

by NineStar Press

ISBN: 978-1-947139-90-9

Edition Language: English

Jaime Samms on Families, Kinship and her latest story ‘Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights (Off Stage #3)’ (author guest post)

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Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights (Off Stage #3) by Jaime Samms
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Jaime Samms here today on her Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights tour. Welcome, Jaime!

Life rarely turns out how we think it will. It throws curves at us and when the curves drive us down bumpy, pot-holed, muddy roads, that’s often the time we find out who we can count on to come with a shovel and help dig us out of the mire.

One thing I noticed as I was writing this series, is that sometimes, family is stronger than blood. The family you make isn’t always the one you share DNA with. The strongest bonds can break, and forgiveness never has to be off the table if you’re willing to do the work.

Coming from a gigantic, strongly bonded family filled with diverse opinions, personalities and ideas, I know that kinship is highly malleable. On day, the sibling you’ve always thought you were tightest with is the one you can’t even fathom, and the one you had nothing in common with is the one who gets you, out of the blue. It happens. And the next day, it changes again.

I think even when you’re related to the ones you call family, you still have to spend the time and do the work to make them the family you choose. So as I was writing these books and it came time to fix the damaged family bonds between band mates and brothers of the heart, I enjoyed creating and strengthening those ties. Because family is something you never stop creating, no matter where you find them along your road in life. 

Blurb:

Kilmer and Jacko’s relationship has been foundering for a long time. With the end in sight and despairing that he might never find a Dom who suits him, Kilmer heads to a local bar to drown his sorrows—and meets country singer Tanner.

Tanner feels oddly protective of the broken man and eventually convinces Kilmer to hire him to help remodel the small, sad house Kilmer once shared with Jacko. As Tanner and Kilmer get to know each other, Kilmer regains his lost independence and Tanner’s dominant streak rises to the surface. But will it be a help or a hindrance to the trust they’re trying to build?

The answer might lie in the music Kilmer gave up not long after he met Jacko. Music always granted him solace, clarity, and an outlet for his emotions, and with Tanner’s encouragement, he picks up where he left off. Playing together eases them into honest communication, and though a happily ever after will still take patience and work, taking a chance on each other sounds sweeter with every note.

About Jaime:

Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Various Publishers.

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.

She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . . .

Website: http://jaime-samms.com

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000982219151&ref=tn_tnmn

Livejournal:http://dontkickmycane.livejournal.com/

Deviantart: http://dontkickmycane.deviantart.com/

Twitter:https://twitter.com/#!/JaimeSamms

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms

Michaela Grey on Writing and her release ‘Broken Halo’ (author interview and excerpt)

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Broken Halo by Michaela Grey
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Publication Date:  January 30, 2017

Available for purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Michaela Grey today.  Welcome, Michaela! 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I’m here to talk about Broken Halo and a little of my writing process, and share an excerpt from the book with you.

For Micah Ellis, boundaries are paramount. He needs strict order and cleanliness to stay sane—no dirt or germs allowed.

So when Devon Mallory shows up, Micah knows he should stay away. Devon is a mechanic, and he’s everything Micah isn’t: dirty on the outside, pure within. He’s a far cry from what fits in Micah’s sterile, boundary-bound life.

Micah doesn’t understand why Devon’s bright blue eyes won’t let him go, or why he wants to spend the rest of his life looking at Devon’s smile. He knows happily ever after doesn’t exist for him… but Devon makes him wonder if it could.


Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?
I’m open to inspiration wherever it may come from. I’ve woken up from dreams and jotted down the idea before I lost it. I’ll see a movie, and think “well, this is great but it could be gayer”. (To be honest, that’s 95% of my thought process when consuming media.) I’ve even simply thought a person was pretty and spun a story around them, which is how I ended up with the spinoff to Halo. (Harry Lloyd’s face is a public menace.)

Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why? I’ve always been more of a pantser than a plotter, but that’s not to say I go in blind. I hash out plot points and overall arcs with both my betas. My primary beta knows everything, from beginning to end, with no spoilers or surprise twists, before I write it. My secondary beta reads as I write it and offers input and feedback on the spoilers as she experiences them in “real time”. This gives me a dual feedback loop and helps keep me focused on what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.

Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them? Don’t tell any of my other characters, but Micah and Fox (from the spinoff) are my absolute favorites.

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? Anything from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, as well as Maggie Stiefvater and Seanan Maguire’s entire works.

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? My father read most of the classics to us from the time we were tiny. I have many fond memories of being sprawled on the floor, coloring busily, while he described Middle Earth or the great white whale or Narnia to us. We were encouraged to read from the minute we could hold a book in our hands. I fell into new worlds daily, and finally succumbed to the urge to build my own, because of his and my mother’s love of the written word.

EXCERPT:

Micah pointed at the table. “Sit and keep me company while I cook. You haven’t given me many chances to spoil you rotten.”

Devon obeyed and dropped backward into a chair. “Maybe because I like spoiling you.” He hooked his long feet over the bottom rung and rested his arms on the backrest. “So I was thinking,” he said. “How do you feel about collars?”

Micah dropped a dosa on the floor and stared at Devon.

“That was… that was just mean,” Micah said. “Warn a guy.”

“Question stands,” Devon said, dimples flashing.

Micah dumped the dosa in the trash and turned back to the frying pan. “Umm. Collars… collars are good.” He cleared his throat and shifted his weight. Then he looked up as a thought struck him. “No leashes, though. Barrett used a leash sometimes. I didn’t—”

“No leash,” Devon said quickly. “What kind of collar do you want, then? Shall we pick it out together, or do you want me to surprise you?”

“I trust you,” Micah said, startled to realize that was true. “Surprise me. Nothing too flashy.”

He piled the dosa on plates, added the rava and coconut chutney, and then brought them to the table. Devon turned around in his chair and caught Micah’s wrist as he passed by on his way back to the kitchen for drinks, and he tugged until Micah toppled with a squawk into his lap.

Devon caught him and tipped Micah’s chin up with one long finger. “Hey,” he said quietly.

Micah swallowed, caught in Devon’s bright blue gaze. “Hey back,” he managed.

Devon’s lips curved up. “I’m glad I met you,” he whispered and pressed their mouths together.

Micah slid his arms around Devon’s neck and held on. Devon’s hands on his thighs kept him in position, his thumbs rubbing gentle circles, and their lips and tongues fit against each other perfectly.

When they pulled apart, Devon cupped Micah’s cheek. “Have you thought about a safeword?” he asked.

Micah nodded shyly. “Ah… I was thinking… manta ray.”

Devon’s smile lit up the room. “I like that,” he breathed and kissed him again. “You’re so beautiful,” he said. “The light from the kitchen is haloing you, and you look like an angel right now.”

Micah couldn’t help but snort at that. “So not an angel, pal.”

“You are to me,” Devon murmured and kissed him again.

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About the Author

Michaela Grey told stories to put herself to sleep since she was old enough to hold a conversation in her head. When she learned to write, she began putting those stories down on paper. She resides in the Texas Hill Country with her cats, and she is perpetually on the hunt for peaceful writing time.

When she’s not writing, she’s knitting while watching TV or avoiding responsibilities on Tumblr, where she blogs about cats and writing, offers dubious life advice, and tries to keep her cat off the keyboard.

Tumblr: greymichaela.tumblr.com

Twitter: @GreyMichaela

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreyMichaela

E-mail: greymichaela@gmail.com