Back from GRL and Chicago Today and The Week Ahead at Scattered Thoughts

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airplane-flying-through-cloudsSo I am still in the air, coming back from Chicago!  So it will be short and sweet today.  I will bring you all up to speed next week as I expect to be busy apologizing to the pups for being away later on and catching up on my zzzzz’s and  home stuff.

Winner Announcement:  From Rachel Haimowitz: Congrats to vitajex, the winner of the signed paperbacks!

Without further ado, here is the week ahead at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words…

Monday, October 20:

  • Riptide Publishing’s Billionaire with Benefits Tour and Contest
  • N.R. Walker’s Red Dirt Heart Book Tour and Contest
  • A MelanieM Review: Merry Christmas, Josh by Andrea Speed

Tuesday, October 21:

  • Jude Dunn’s One Thing Leads Book Tour and Contest
  • A MelanieM Review:  DMZ by Andrea Speed

Wednesday,  October 22:

  • Piper Vaughn’s “Hook, Line and Sinker” Cover Reveal (contest)
  • Double book blast: Jackie Nacht ‘A Bittersweet Haunting’ and ‘Zombie Run’‏ (contest)
  • “Stand by You” and “Foundation of Trust” Author: AM Arthur Book Tour and Contest
  • A MelanieM Review:  Stand by You by A.M. Arthur

Thursday, October 23:

  • Sean Michael’s “Bruised” Tour
  • A Barb, the Zany Old Lady Review:  Anchored by Rachel Haimowitz
  • A MelanieM Review:  Say Something by BA Tortuga

Friday, October 24:

  • Heat – RJ Scott & Chris Quinton’s Book Tour and Contest
  • Author Spotlight:  Zee Kensington on Finally Home (contest)
  • CjElliot’s “Aidan’s Journey” Book Tour and Contest
  • A MelanieM Review:  Brothers in Arms (Broken Road Cafe #2) by TA Webb

Saturday, October 25:

  • In Our Author Spotlight:  Ashley Ladd
  • A MelanieM Review:  Spaghetti Western by E.M. Lynley

 

Virtual Book Tour: A Kate Paddington Interview on her book, “Platonic” and Writing (contest)

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 Kate Paddington is here today to climb into ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWord’s author armchair for an interview.  I am happy to have Kate here today to talk about her latest release, her thoughts on writing and inspiration. Plus Kate has brought along a contest to celebrate Platonic’s release.

Contest: Kate will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes & Noble GC and a print edition of Bleeding Heart (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.

My interview with Kate Paddington on writing, Platonic and inspiration:

STRW:  What was the inspiration behind Platonic?

Kate P: It started as an idea I had for fan fiction. The relationship between two characters in a TV show hadn’t developed the way I wanted it to – their relationship on screen eventually devolved into a cheating storyline and a break up. I was frustrated and wanted to write a love story where high school sweethearts broke up, then grew up and really figured themselves out, and then came back together to try again as adults. Ultimately I wanted a happy ending love story for two flawed, young individuals and to do that with the original characters I came up with, I had to have them apart for almost a decade.

STRW:   How much research do you do for a story?

Kate P: It is more a story of imagination and storytelling than research and fortunately, the settings were very familiar to me. I know the two main settings, London and New York, as I’ve lived in the former while working at Imperial College and have accumulated several months in the latter. The world of academia and study is familiar as well, although I had to spend quite a while figuring out the US college and legal systems.

STRW:   Which do you choose?  Hero or Antihero?

Kate P:  Antihero, I think, though I am grimacing at the idea. I don’t write the kind of conflicts that need heroes, no epic struggles or evils. I tend to be more interested in character stories about normal people so it’s hard to imagine any of them as heroes. They’re just people, good and bad, and I’ll admit my favorite character in the book probably is more bad than good and that’s why I chose antihero, but I don’t really see my characters or my experiences in the hero/antihero sphere.

STRW:   What genres inspire you?

Kate P:  I read a lot of young adult and fantasy/adventure, which seems strange now that I’m writing erotic romance. They’re the genres I grew up with and I’m more comfortable taking ideas from there, turns of phrase or character traits, and working them into my own stuff than I am being inspired by other peoples’ romance fiction—I never want to accidently take someone else’s work and write my own too close up against it!

STRW:    What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?

Kate P:  Finding time, definitely just the finding of time. And I envy anyone who has a problem that isn’t temporal. In the last six months I’ve completed this novel and moved through all the editing processes, I’ve spent two months in the US, some of which was for science conferences. I’ve written up my PhD as well as three or four scientific papers. No one at my day job suspects I’m juggling more than just the usual academic/PhD workload. So right now, I don’t have enough time to write as much fiction as I want. I look forward to the day when I might discover what else I will struggle with!

STRW:    Write what you know or does that even matter?

Kate P:   I think it should be something more like ‘Don’t write what you don’t want to figure out’. I think that’s less limiting and less obviously fallible. I don’t know what a Stanford law degree entails, or fashion design, or gay sex, or how to cook as well as Mark, or the kind of romance my characters experience. That might not be my world, but I’ve put in the time to figure it out. I research where I need to. Direct experience isn’t the only way of learning, and I think limiting authors to what they know can limit literature. But I think what you are writing you need to be interested in and keen to learn about. Otherwise what’s the point?

STRW:   Have you always written M/M?

Kate P:  I actually only started writing m/m about three years ago. Before that I wrote hetrosexual erotica and before that I wrote het romance. Most of this was in fan fiction form, based off of relationships (or relationships I wanted to see) in TV shows and they just happened to all be between a man and a woman (or a male alien and female alien that one time…). In my mind, romance is romance and I can write both without much bother. There are things that make writing or reading two men together better than a straight couple but then there are things I like about writing straight couples, too.

Thanks so much for the chance to chat today! I am very excited to have people reading my novel and happy to talk about it as much as anyone will listen!

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Cover_Platonic “Platonic” BLURB:

Mark Savoy and Daniel O’Shea were high school sweethearts who had planned their forevers together. But when Mark goes to college in California rather than following Daniel to New York, he embarks on a decade-long search for independence, sexual confidence and love.

When Mark lands a job in New York and crosses Daniel’s path, they slowly rebuild their fractured friendship through texts and emails. If they finally agree to see each other, will they be able to keep it platonic? Or will the spark of a long-lost love reignite just as Daniel accepts a job overseas?

Platonic is a story of trials, growth, and knowing how to learn lessons from the past to build a future.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Platonic Excerpt:

“Why did you ask me?” Daniel asks, genuinely curious.

“That’s unfair. I’ve been asking you all night why you came.”

Daniel holds his gaze. “You know that night in the bar, when I ran into you?” Mark tilts his head—he remembers. “You asked me to email you and your eyes were wide and pleading and there was no way I was going to be able to say no to you. I remember wondering if you used the same face on juries, to get your way in court. I guess what I’m saying is that I still don’t know how to say no to you. I still don’t know how anyone does.”

Time stops around them, stutters and then kicks back in when their eyes slip away from each other. Neither one of them knows what this is or what to do with it. Neither of them walked into this dinner tonight thinking “seduction” or “relationship” or “date” or anything like that. They were far too busy not thinking it.

“Did you want to say no?” Mark asks.

“Of course not. I wanted to come. Of course I did, Mark.” And then somehow they’re touching. Without giving it any conscious thought, Daniel has reached across the space between them and caught one of Mark’s hands in his.

The realization that they are touching comes slowly to Mark; his nerves feel sluggish, his brain has trouble processing the simplicity of the touch, just skin on skin, not intimate or unwelcome or leading to anything. But Daniel is touching him—and not briefly, not fleetingly, he’s holding on—and suddenly it all rushes back through Mark and he never, ever wants to let go.

Not ever. This is it. Daniel is it. He always was.

“You broke my heart.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

VBT_Platonic_CoverBannerAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Kate Paddington wrote her first work of fan fiction at age 12. Today, at age 26, she has degrees in philosophy and chemistry, and is currently completing a PhD in biophysics. A native of Australia, she has published numerous academic papers as part of her research. Platonic is her first novel.

You can contact/follow Kate Paddington at the following links:

Buy link:  Interlude Press

 Contest Details:  Kate will be awarding a $25 Barnes & Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $25 Barnes & Noble GC and a print edition of Bleeding Heart (US ONLY) to a randomly drawn host. A free download of an Interlude Press eBook title or an author/book swag pack (US ONLY) will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter at each stop during the tour.

 

Visit the Rafflecopter link here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

More Winner Announcements , The Week Ahead at ScatteredThoughts and Happy Fourth of July!

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Happy Sunday All!  This is the lead up to the 4th of July Celebration here in the US, so preparations are underway for picnics, barbecues, and gatherings of family and friends to celebrate our country.  There will be parades and fireworks and sunburns and way too much food.  I am having people over, family and friends, so we are working to get everything ready.  Time is tight so may I wish all Americans here and abroad a Happy 4th!  I hope you all have a wonderful time!

✰And as we celebrate our Independence this 4th of July a special shout out to all the warriors out there, all the veterans and all their support at home and abroad!  A heartfelt thank you to you all for your sacrifice and duty.  You are greatly appreciated and remembered.

✰One winner announcement this week:

Winners of the Amy Lane contest are:

  • Caelum: Winner of her choice of either yarn or ebook copy of Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair
  • Rod B:   Winner of the print copy of Granby Knitting Menagerie

Congratulations to Caelum and Rod B.  Thanks to everyone who left comments and participated.

 

✰The Week Ahead in Reviews, Contest, and Author Interviews:

Monday, June 30:      Unexpected Places by Bailey Bradford TB Tour/Contest

Monday, June 30:      Book Blast:  Wolf Run by B.A. Tortuga (tour/contest)

Tuesday, July 1:          Author Spotlight: Madeleine Ribbon Interview and Book Tour (contest)

Tuesday, July 1:          Book Blast: Havan Fellows’ Hidden Needs Book Tour/contest

Wed., July 2:                On Tour with Rebecca Cohen and Forever Hold His Peace Book Tour/Contest

Wed., July 2:               Review: Forever Hold His Peace by Rebecca Cohen

Thursday, July 3:       Virtual Book Tour with Eric Thornton and “Absolute” (contest)

Thursday, July 3:       Eden Winter’s Diversion Book Tour and Contest

Friday. July 4:             Belligerent Beta by Poppy Dennison, Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, July 5:         Son of a Fish by Kenzie Cade

Saturday, July 5:         June Summary of Reviews and Best June 2014 Covers

 

 

 

In The Spotlight: An Interview with Amy Lane on The Granby Knitting Series (Giveaway)

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 The Granby Knitting SeriesGranbyKnittingMenagerie[The]LG

by Amy Lane

 

 

 

 

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The Winter Courtship of Fur Bearing CrittersHow to Raise An Honest Rabbit coverKnitter in His Natural HabitatBlackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair cover

 

 

 

 

 

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One of my favorite series just got a long awaited update with the release of Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair by Amy Lane.  It’s a story I waited to read for over 2 years.  And I loved it.  To celebrate its release and the new printed series collection, Granby Knitting Menagerie by Amy Lane and Dreamspinner Press, I invited Amy to stop by for an interview about the series, its characters, and perhaps, even its future.

Contest:  To celebrate the release of Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair and the Granby Knitting Printed Collection, we have 2 prizes to giveaway to some lucky commentators.  From Amy Lane…an e-book copy of Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair, OR a random skein of yarn from Amy’s stash!  I can hear you knitters salivating already! And from me a paperback copy of The Granby Knitter’s Menagerie.   

You must be over the age of 18 to enter and from the continental US or  Canada.  Make sure you leave your email address in the comment where you can be reached should you be chosen.  Contest ends 6/26 at midnight.

Introduction to the Granby cast of characters (via DSP series blurb):

Welcome to Granby, Colorado, a small town at the foot of the Rocky Mountains where it snows eight months out of the year and knitting is a mashup of art form, necessity, and religion. Here you will meet:

* Rance “Craw” Crawford, owner of the local alpaca farm and fiber mill, who courts tenderfoot Ben McCutcheon with awkwardness and the most lovingly handcrafted knitted garments known to man.

* Jeremy Stillson (also known as Jeremy Bunny), ex-con and ex-grifter, who comes to work for Craw and learns the secrets to being honest are in both the yarn he learns to use and in Aiden Rhodes, his young co-worker, who has a very direct way of dealing with life and seducing Jeremy.

* Stanley Schulz, yarn buyer and Craw’s ex-lover, who discovers the joys of knitting alone—and then discovers the joys of knitting for Johnny, a delivery driver with a shady past. Join this menagerie of knitters as they craft to keep their toes toasty and their hearts warm.

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You’ve met the people, now meet their creator, Amy Lane!

Now on to our interview with Amy Lane….

STRW:  Does the Granby Mill really exist? Why Colorado?

Amy Lane: About five years ago (okay, *exactly* five years ago) Mate and I went on a 20th anniversary vacation to Colorado. Why Colorado? Because our timeshare went there. There is NO other reason– I kid you not. While I was there, of COURSE I went looking for yarn– and it turned out that there, at the end of what looked like a long country road (but what started out as a little suburban road) was an alpaca and sheep farm/mill. They had a little shop (I took no pictures!) but the yarn was… lovely. I haven’t knit any of it up– not even five years later–because I can’t stand the thought of not making something lovely enough to do it justice. Here is the blogpost I wrote back then– and I did manage to get some pictures of the alpacas 🙂 http://writerslane.blogspot.com/2009/…

STRW: How did a series/story about wool, knitting and such a diverse group of characters come about? What was your inspiration for this series?

Amy Lane:  As for the characters? Well, Rance came from Granby itself. The people there were nice– friendly, kind– but not exactly chatty. Granby really *is* in a bowl valley. There is a sense of isolation there– of intense community. It was lovely, but we obviously did not fit in. So that made me wonder… what would Rance Crawford do with a tenderfoot? Well, mostly worship him from afar, actually!

STRW: I love the patterns you incorporate into your stories. How do you choose which ones to use. Pattern or storyline? Which comes first?

Amy Lane:  I actually write the story first, and then decide which of the projects the characters talk about can make something simple enough and interesting enough to work! With Jeremy, the half-mittens are some of my all-time favorite projects. So easy, and so useful. Every writer I know wants a pair!

STRW:  Jeremy Bunny. He’s my favorite. Why was what happened to him so necessary? How did such a wounded, beautiful man happen and become such an important part of this series?

Amy Lane: Jeremy Bunny… wow. See, I wrote two sentences about him in the first story– I said he was an ex-con that Craw found panhandling on the streets of Boulder, and that he wanted to go straight. And I implied sort of a chemistry between him and Aiden. The rest of it… I had to make an ex-con/ex-conman who was redeemable. Oddly enough, working with kids sort of gave me the way to do this. I worked with a number of young people who HAD been arrested–and the thing that caught me most often about these kids was the things they didn’t know about life. Some of them were so VERY innocent about the things we take for granted– things like food, or clothes that fit, or how people could be kind with no underlying motive. It sounds cliched–but very often, they just didn’t know. It’s this core of innocence in the center of all these really questionable “life skills” that drove Jeremy for me. LIke Aiden said, emotionally, he was the same age as Aiden– just coming into adulthood. But in the meantime, he’d accrued a sort of horrific karmic backlog. It was nice and all that he’d reformed–but that part of his life cut a swath through innocent people. That’s why, for me, it was so important that he protect Stanley. Stanley was innocent, and Jeremy had some dirt on his hands. That fact that he would do this gives us the last puzzle piece of redemption. He’d more than earned it.

STRW: I loved that Angora rabbits and alpacas are represented along with sheep in the creation of yarns. As a knitter I gobbled up these stories as well as a lover of romance. What’s your favorite yarn to knit with?

Amy Lane: I’m a sucker for basic wool with a touch of luxury fiber in it– and I am a color way *slut*! The color way truly depends on what mood I am in that day– or eve THAT HOUR that day. All the pretty colors– I want to knit them all.

STRW:   Is the series truly over?

Amy Lane:  No! I have a plan for Eli and the Naked Alpaca Hats Band 🙂

STRW:  *still cheering over the news*  Do you have a favorite character in this series and why?

Amy Lane:   LOL– I’m a bad mommy, because I think I just sort of outed my favorite character by writing him a whole other book. Jeremy–hands down, he’s my favorite. I know a couple of people got upset that he was so much older than Aiden, but I know, by the end of the story, most of them realized that Aiden was the dominant one, the protector, and the old soul in that relationship. I loved that– loved that reversal, and loved Jeremy’s tentative sweetness. Yes. He’s my favorite, but Aiden was a close second. But it’s a hard fight– grumpy Craw, flamboyant Stanley, gentle Ben, suave Johnny– I really did love them all.

And it’s been my pleasure to answer the questions– thanks for asking them 🙂

Cover art by Catt Ford who created all those incredible covers in the series. I have included all of them as well.

Books in the series in the order they were written and should be read:

The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters (Granby Knitting, # 1)
Super Sock Man
How to Raise an Honest Rabbit (Granby Knitting, #3)
Knitter in His Natural Habitat (Granby Knitting, #4)
Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny’s Lair (Granby Knitting #5)

Book Details:
Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press      Amazon

GranbyKnittingMenagerie[The]LGThe Granby Knitting Menagerie by Amy Lane Paperback: Buy links above.

ebook, 244 pages, A Granby Knitting Novel

Published May 2nd 2014 by Dreamspinner Press (first published May 1st 2014)
ISBN 1627988742 (ISBN13: 9781627988742)
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.dreamspinnerpress.com
seriesKnitting #5

(Catt Ford, I love your covers.)  Here is another to drool over…..

Author Bio:

Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her at http://www.greenshill.com or http://www.writerslane.blogspot.com, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.

You can follow Amy Lane via:

Website
Twitter
Blog
Goodreads Author Page

 

 

Author Book Tour & Contest: An Interview with Angel Martinez on Finn (Endangered Fae #1)

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On Tour with Angel Martinez and the first in her new series,

Finn (Endangered Fae #1)

ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords welcomes Angel Martinez here today to talk about the new series and the story that starts it, Finn ( Endangered Fae #1).  Contest: Angel Martinez has brought along with her a Rafflecopter giveaway. To enter to win an eBook copy of Finn: Endangered Fae, visit this Rafflecopter link and fill out the form.  Contest ends June 13th. 

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STRW: Thanks, Angel, for stopping by today.  I am always fascinated by the different approaches authors take the writing process and inspiration.
What research did you do for this novel?

AM: It’s funny. People don’t often associate research with fantasy. They think you can just toss it together all higgledy-piggledy. You can’t. You have to understand the genesis and history of your world, the nature of the characters and its magic, and the natural history of any non-human species you use. Urban fantasy is compounded with real world research as well. Sure I’ve been to New York and New Brunswick, but it had been awhile. What did I have to research?

Brooklyn neighborhoods, streets and where a Goodwill was located
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (it’s changed enormously since I saw it last)
Fundy National Park, the trees and wildlife there, and its surroundings
What to do for a carsick dog
Pookas – I dug through every old story I could find with a pooka reference and then had to decide what I wanted to use and what to discard
Wendigo – again, I knew something but not enough. I needed everything I could dig up.

STRW: So many people are enthralled by the Fae.  And there is a huge amount of Fae folklore and writings to draw from.  Did you create your own or draw from some of the more traditional aspects?

AM: I went straight to Irish legend, the old stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the several waves of invasions, of heroes and gods and ancient wars. My fae are directly built on those old stories, though I’ve made certain to characterize them as neither gods nor humans. Those stories and the old folktales people my fae courts and my Otherworld.

Obviously, I’ve taken liberties in creating distinct fae species and setting down the rules and characteristics of each type, but the old stories from the age of heroes are their forerunners.
STRW:What drew you to write about the Fae?  What was your inspiration for this story?

AM: I suppose you could say my inspiration was a lifetime of stories, a deep love from early childhood for stories of fairies and non-human realms. They’ve always been with me. I suppose I had to write about them eventually.

This story specifically was a reaction to an internal need, though. My first M/M story was a contemporary piece – one written for a specific reason. But I wasn’t comfortable with contemporary fiction and probably never will be. I don’t read it. Why would I write it? My critique partners urged me to turn to what I loved. Why didn’t I write a fantasy? Elves and things. I wrinkled my nose. Everyone had written about elves. I didn’t want to do what had been done a hundred times already. So I dove for the books and searched until I found a critter that people rarely discussed. The pooka.

STRW: How many books are planned for this series?

AM: There are currently four – three already written and one in the works. I may find I need a fifth, depending on where things end up, but four has been the goal for some time now.
STRW: How long have you been writing or writing in the M/M genre?

AM: I’ve always written something, from the time that I could write. I first started writing novels in, oh, 1998 or so? I think that’s about right. The first novel was written for my son as a chapter-by-chapter bedtime story – a novel that will most likely never see the light of day. Then I spent several years writing mainstream science fiction, with no success in finding a publisher until a short story sold in 2005. I probably started writing M/M romance in 2001 but didn’t seek publication for a few years. The first M/M story I wrote specifically for publication was contracted in 2007.

So, the answer to the question is: a lifetime of writing, almost ten years as a published author and over seven years as a M/M fiction author.

STRW:  Thank you, Angel Martinez, for a great interview and for stopping by today.  And for all readers, check out Finn (Endangered Fae #1) below and don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this book for your own!

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Finn_432(1) coverBook Name: Finn (Endangered Fae #1)
Author Name: Angel Martinez
Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published May 2nd 2014 by MLR Press (first published July 2nd 2009)
original titleFinn
ASINB00K3496AS
edition languageEnglish
seriesEndangered Fae #1
charactersFinn Shannon, Diego Sandoval
settingNew Brunswick (Canada)

literary awardsDark Diva Top Pick

Buy Links: MLR Press   Amazon   ARe

 

Author Bio: While Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres, she writes both kinds of gay romance – Science Fiction and Fantasy. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, two cats, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amartinez2
Facebook Author Page
Pinterest
Tumblr
Twitter:
Cover Artist: Lex Valentine
Publisher: MLR Publishing
Blurb:

Lost and starving, Finn wakes to a poisoned world, but a man comes to him, a white light in the darkness—can a centuries old pooka find what he needs with a heartbroken, modern man?

When Diego rescues a naked man from the rail of the Brooklyn Bridge, he just wants to get the poor man out of traffic and to social services. He gets more than he bargained for when he discovers Finn is an ailing pooka, poisoned by the city’s pollution. To help him recover, Diego takes him to New Brunswick where Finn inadvertently wakes an ancient, evil spirit: the wendigo.

While they struggle to find a way to destroy the wendigo before it can possess Diego or kill nearby innocents, Diego wrestles with his growing feelings for Finn. Kill the monster and navigate a relationship between a modern man and a centuries old pooka. Piece of cake

Finn (Endangered Fae #1) Excerpt:

The ordeal of the shower seemed cruel, but Finn was filthy and smelled like a dumpster during a garbage strike. Diego placed one of his plastic kitchen chairs in the middle of the shower and installed Finn there, but he only slumped against the chair back, eyes closed, face turned into the spray.
Too exhausted to even flinch.

Diego fought down the little shiver of revulsion at the stench, stripped to his boxers, and stepped into the stall with him. He attacked the tangled mass of hair first, positioning Finn so his head hung back over the chair. No lice—a good sign. He might have been homeless, but he probably hadn’t lived on the streets too long. The nest of midnight snarls unwound under the caress of water and shampoo. If Finn stood, his hair would reach at least to the top curve of his butt. A strange blue-black iridescence shone in it, his natural coloring as far as Diego could tell rather than bottled special effects.

The rest Diego washed with a loofah, shoving away modesty out of a need to get Finn to his rest. An ache lodged around his heart to see how malnutrition had ravaged what probably had been a lean-muscled frame. An athlete, perhaps, before he went off the deep end, an impression reinforced by the absence of almost all body hair. Waxed or electrolysis-denuded—only Finn’s crotch sported a black thatch of soft hair. Swimmer, perhaps. The Olympic competitors often shaved it all off for every small gain in streamlining.

He turned off the water and tugged at Finn’s arm. “Come on. Let’s get you settled. You can’t sleep in the shower.”

Finn staggered to his feet and Diego all but carried him to Mitch’s room. The spare room, he corrected himself. He usually kept the door closed so the stark, unfurnished space wasn’t glaring at him.

He sat Finn down against the wall, brought him a pair of flannel pajamas, soft with age, and went out to the front closet to retrieve the air mattress and vacuum. Six boxes lay stacked against the wall; all that remained of Mitch’s things. Diego ran a hand over one, and then shook his head against the temptation to open the top and look at its contents. When he returned, Finn hadn’t moved from where he sat, naked and dozing in a patch of sunlight.

“You might want to put those on.” Diego toed the pajamas closer as he dragged the air mattress into place. When Finn’s only response was a long sigh, he added, “We need to get you warm. I don’t want to have to take you to Emergency.”

With a puzzled frown, Finn unfolded the material and managed, after looking back and forth between the pajamas and Diego’s jeans a few times, to pull the bottoms on. His efforts with the top, though, were sabotaged when the vacuum roared to life. He startled and scuttled sideways, wide-eyed and panting.

Diego hurried to switch it off. “Sorry. Should have warned you.”

“Is it some sort of small dragon?”

For a moment, Diego stared in blank surprise before he caught himself. At least the nature of Finn’s delusion was becoming clearer. He might even share his history later when he had the energy, perhaps some tragic story of an exiled prince. For now, Diego thought it best to play along.

“Not a dragon. Just a machine. It blows out and sucks in air with great force.”

“Ah.” Finn seemed disappointed, but waved a hand for him to continue.

Mattress inflated, Finn dressed and installed in bed, Diego thought he should get something in him before he drifted off. He tried tap water first but Finn jerked his head away, the color draining from his face.

“Tainted,” he gasped. “Great Dagda, it reeks.”

Diego sniffed above the glass, puzzled. New York City water, piped in from the mountains, was cleaner than most but it was treated. Chlorine. Fluoride. Maybe Finn had an allergy to one or the other.

Bottled water produced a less violent reaction. Finn smelled it, nose crinkled, but he downed half the bottle in desperate gulps before Diego could take it back from him. Hydration, at least, wouldn’t be an issue.

The hurdle of food remained. Starvation often did terrible things to the body’s ability to accept nourishment. Not the best time to offer a hamburger and fries. Diego decided he should start with the foods one was supposed to give sick kids: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, minus the applesauce, since he didn’t have any.

Finn wouldn’t touch the boiled-in-tap-water rice. He nibbled a corner of the toast and set it aside with murmured apologies. The banana completely stumped him. He turned it over and over in his hands and finally tried to bite through the skin.

“You eat these?” He handed it back to Diego with a grimace.

All right, so his reality doesn’t include New World fruit. Diego peeled the banana for him and handed it back. “You don’t eat the skin. Try the inside.”

Finn took a careful bite and his eyes widened. “That’s not bad.”

Diego could only watch anxiously, praying his guest wouldn’t choke, as the rest disappeared in three bites. With a contented sigh, Finn handed the peel back, gathered the covers into a circle in the center of the mattress, and curled into a tight ball inside his nest. By the time Diego brought an extra comforter to cover him, Finn was fast asleep.

Clean and at rest, his face had a childlike quality with his hair tucked behind one finely-curved ear. Diego wasn’t certain it was a handsome face, almost unearthly in its delicacy, and though Finn stood six inches taller, he had the odd feeling he could scoop that long frame up in his arms without much effort.
He backed out and closed the door as quietly as he could, confident Finn wouldn’t die on him. Tomorrow he would see about finding the right agency to take his guest, preferably one that wouldn’t hand him right over to immigration.

A few hours of peace while Finn sle

Crystalpt should let him at least get through the current chapter he was writing.

The moment he sat ready at his desk, fingers poised over the keys, the phone rang.

✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍✍

FinnBadge for TourTour Dates: June 2, 2014 – June 13, 2014
Tour Stops:
June 2: Tara Lain
June 3: Parker Williams
June 4: Kimi-Chan, Jade, Talon SO
June 5: Book Reviews Rants, and Raves, MM Good Books
June 6: Nephylim, Hearts on Fire
June 9: Prism Book AllianceDawn’s Reading Nook 
June 10: Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook
June 11: Fallen Angel Reviews
June 12: The Novel Approach, Rainbow Gold Reviews
June 13: Amanda C. Stone, Velvet Panic, ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords
Contest Link for an eBook copy of Finn: Rafflecopter Link

 

WillPride

More Winner Announcements….and the Week ahead At ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords

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Places to go, things to do.  Busy, busy, busy.  so short and sweet this week.

I have some winner announcements to make.  All the winners have been notified.  Congratulations go out to:

  • The Winner of Leona Carver’s giveaway for No Oceans Too Deep is Hannah B!
  • *Winners of Shira Antony’s Into the Wind Tour are as follows:

Entry #992Lori P.
Entry #853Carolyn
Entry #44Shorty C.
Entry #493Chase P.
Entry #664Renee S.

  • The winner from my blog of an ebook copy of Stealing the Wind is Gabrielle Jones.
  • The Winner of John Inman’s Spirit is Joe.

 

The week ahead is full of book tours, audio book releases, reviews and contests.  Don’t miss out on a day of it.  The week ahead at ScatteredThoughts looks something like this:

  • Monday, June 9 – am:     On Tour with Brad Vance and his release, Apollo’s Curse
  • Monday, June 9 – pm:     Review:    Apollo’s Curse by Brad Vance
  • Tuesday, June 10 – am:     In the Author Spotlight with David Pratt of Looking After Joey (interview/contest)
  • Tuesday, June 10  – pm      Audio Book Tour:  Finding Release by Silvia Violet
  • Wed., June 11 – am            Stranger on the Shore by Josh Lanyon
  • Wed., June 11 – pm           Audio Book Tour:  Brokenhearted by Cate Ashwood
  • Thurs., June 12 – am         On Tour with E.M. Lynley and Out of the Gate
  • Thurs., June 12 – pm        Review: Out of the Gate by E.M. Lynley
  • Friday,  June 13- am        Quickstop Tour/Contest with Daisy Harris and Nothing But Smoke
  • Friday, June 13 – pm        On Tour with Angel Martinez and Finn (Endangered Fae #1) Contest
  • Sat., June 14 –                      Nothing But Smoke by Daisy Harris

 

 

Go “To The Very Last Inch” with Heidi Belleau & Amelia C. Gormley on The Professor’s Rule Tour & Contest

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TPR5_TourBanner

Hi! We’re Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley, and we’re here to let you know that our kinky series The Professor’s Rule is coming to an end. The last two novelettes–Every Inch of the Way and To the Very Last Inch–are out now from Riptide TPR5_150x300Publishing, and to celebrate, we’re touring the web with a contest and a free bonus short. You’ll have to follow the whole tour to read the short in its entirety, but since every comment you make along the tour gets you an entry in our contest, there’s plenty of reasons to tag along.

If you haven’t yet heard of The Professor’s Rule, here’s a quick crash course (see what we did there?)

School is back in session.

When undergrad student James Sheridan set out to seduce his way into a better grade, he had no idea what he was signing on for. Professor Evander Carson wasn’t about to trade a good grade for sexual favors, but he was definitely willing to tutor his wayward pupil in far more than history.
By the end of their tumultuous relationship, James not only excelled academically, his sexual horizons had expanded to include pleasures—and agonies—the likes of which he’d never dreamed. But enough was more than enough, and James fled from his Professor, unsure of where his limits lay or if he had the wherewithal to set boundaries.

Two years later, a chance misdial puts James back in contact with his former instructor and brings all his old cravings back in force, leaving him yearning to kneel once again at his Professor’s feet. But James has a new life now, with new sexual and romantic prospects—most notably the charming menswear salesman Satish Malhotra. Still, the pull to return to Professor Carson is a powerful thing. Can James give in to it without giving up his newfound confidence and budding romance?

The complete collection is on sale now for 40% off, and if you’d like to try before you buy, Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) is free wherever ebooks are sold!

To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule #5)

To The Very Last InchJust days after their scorching reunion, Professor Evander Carson has kicked his one-time pupil James Sheridan to the curb—and tried to sabotage James’s new relationship with Satish Malhotra. Something isn’t right here, but James isn’t sure he should bother trying to figure out what. Carson isn’t good for him and will never change. He needs to accept that and move on.

Satish knows something is up, too, but he thinks the relationship between Carson and James is worth saving. To do the right thing, Satish will have to make James and Carson confront the secrets they’ve hidden for years and help them to overcome the pain and mistrust they’ve caused.

But if Satish succeeds, where will that leave him and his intensifying romance with James? Will the three of them be able to find the right balance, or will James be forced to choose between the pain and submission he craves with Carson, and the sweet, vanilla stability he’s found with Satish?

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Book Details:

ebook, 56 pages
Published March 3rd 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published March 1st 2014)
original title To the Very Last Inch (The Professor’s Rule, #5)
ISBN13 9781626491281
edition language English

About the Authors

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book OneAcceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Loverthe The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, and her upcoming, New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, available for pre-order now.

You can contact Amelia on

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centered on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.

She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.

Contest

Contest Rules: Win an ebook copy of An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2) in your choice of formats! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you (email address–posted in comment field, twitter handle, goodreads or facebook account), and you’ll be entered to win! Every comment counts for another entry, so be sure to follow the whole tour

Guest Authors, Contests and The Week Ahead in Reviews

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Giveaway Alert

While March is deciding whether to be winter or spring, new books are popping up like crocuses, just waiting to be discovered and read.  I have a wonderful group of authors and stories waiting for you this week along with a number of book giveaways and author contests for everyone to enter.

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Monday will start off with the sequel to The Fall, a novel by Kate Sherwood.  Tuesday is a 2 book review day with of some of the Pulp Friction 2014 stories.  This year’s series is very different in tone and characters from last years, but just as absorbing.  A new author for me, E.E. Ottoman, is visiting on Wednesday to talk about E.E.’s release, Song of the Spring Moon Waning, a story I think everyone should read.  A copy of that book will be given away as part of E.E. Ottoman’s guest blog.  Thursday is the return of those marvelous group of authors whose stories comprise the Pulp Friction 2014 series.  Laura Harner, Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows and Tom Webb will be stopping by to talk about this year’s series and will give away a $25 gift card from All Romance eBooks!  Friday Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley continue on their book tour with To The Very Last Inch, The Professor’s Rule #5 (contest also).  And finally, ScatteredThoughts is finishing up the week with another new author for me, Liz Boreno. Liz Boreno will be here talking about her Angel series, Angel’s Hero (The Angel #1) and Angel’s Truth (The Angel#2), reviews of which will follow.  And there will be a book giveaway to go with her spotlight guest blog as well.Frog Reading

Whew!  What a packed and wonderful week in store!  All those great authors and contests too.  Don’t miss out, stay with me all week long.  Now off to whack some bushes just to feel all gardenery and such….

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  • Monday, March 10:           Riding Tall by Kate Sherwood
  • Tuesday, March 11:           Firestorm by Laura Harner, Cold Snap by Lee Brazil
  • Wed., March 12:                 E.E. Ottoman Author Spotlight and Contest
  • Thursday, March 13:        Pulp Friction 2014 Authors & Series Spotlight/Contest
  • Friday, March 14:              To The Very Last Inch Book Tour/Contest w/ Heidi Belleau & Amelia C. Gormley
  • Saturday, March 15:         Take Flight with Liz Boreno, Author Spotlight, Contest
  • Review: Angel’s Hero by Liz Boreno

Go Every Inch of The Way with Heidi Belleau & Amelia C. Gormley onThe Professor’s Rule #4 Tour and Book Contest

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TPR4_TourBanner

Hi! We’re Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley, and we’re here to let you know that our kinky series The Professor’s Rule is coming to an end. The last two novelettes–Every Inch of the Way and To the Very Last Inch–are out now from Riptide Publishing, and to celebrate, we’re touring the web with a contest and a free bonus short. You’ll have to follow the whole tour to read the short in its entirety, but since every comment you make along the tour gets you an entry in our contest, there’s plenty of reasons to tag along.TPR4_150x300
If you haven’t yet heard of The Professor’s Rule, here’s a quick crash course (see what we did there?)

School is back in session.

When undergrad student James Sheridan set out to seduce his way into a better grade, he had no idea what he was signing on for. Professor Evander Carson wasn’t about to trade a good grade for sexual favors, but he was definitely willing to tutor his wayward pupil in far more than history.
By the end of their tumultuous relationship, James not only excelled academically, his sexual horizons had expanded to include pleasures—and agonies—the likes of which he’d never dreamed. But enough was more than enough, and James fled from his Professor, unsure of where his limits lay or if he had the wherewithal to set boundaries.

Two years later, a chance misdial puts James back in contact with his former instructor and brings all his old cravings back in force, leaving him yearning to kneel once again at his Professor’s feet. But James has a new life now, with new sexual and romantic prospects—most notably the charming menswear salesman Satish Malhotra. Still, the pull to return to Professor Carson is a powerful thing. Can James give in to it without giving up his newfound confidence and budding romance?

The complete collection is on sale now for 40% off, and if you’d like to try before you buy, Giving an Inch (The Professor’s Rule #1) is free wherever ebooks are sold!

Every Inch of the Way coverAbout Every Inch of the Way  and To the Very Last Inch

In Every Inch of the Way, Satish Malhotra is in over his head. What appeared to be the hookup of his dreams turned out to be another man’s kinky sex game, and thus ended his relationship with sweet, submissive James Sheridan before it’d hardly begun.
Or so he thought. Being used in someone else’s domination/submission play should have been a deal breaker, yet James—bruises, boyfriend, and all—is too compelling to let walk away. But James has needs Satish isn’t sure he can fulfill, and it seems his mysterious Professor isn’t willing to share.
Can Satish keep James happy in bed and in life, or will James be forced to choose between his dominant and his burgeoning vanilla romance with Satish?

Book Details:  45 pages, word count: 11,200
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-127-4

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In To the Very Last Inch . . . Just days after their scorching reunion, Professor Evander Carson has kicked his one-time pupil James Sheridan to the curb—and tried to sabotage James’s new relationship with Satish Malhotra. Something isn’t right here, but James isn’t sure he should bother trying to figure out what. Carson isn’t good for him and will never change. He needs to accept that and move on.
Satish knows something is up, too, but he thinks the relationship between Carson and James is worth saving. To do the right thing, Satish will have to make James and Carson confront the secrets they’ve hidden for years and help them to overcome the pain and mistrust they’ve caused.
But if Satish succeeds, where will that leave him and his intensifying romance with James? Will the three of them be able to find the right balance, or will James be forced to choose between the pain and submission he craves with Carson, and the sweet, vanilla stability he’s found with Satish?

About the Authors

Amelia C. Gormley may seem like anyone else. But the truth is she sings in the shower, dances doing laundry, and writes blisteringly hot m/m erotic romance while her son is at school. When she’s not writing in her Pacific Northwest home, Amelia single-handedly juggles her husband, her son, their home, and the obstacles of life by turning into an everyday superhero. And that, she supposes, is just like anyone else.
Her self-published novel-in-three-parts, Impulse (Inertia, Book One; Acceleration, Book Two; and Velocity, Book Three) can be found at most major online book retailers, and be sure to check Riptide for her latest releases, including her Highland historical, The Laird’s Forbidden Lover, the The Professor’s Rule series of erotic novelettes (co-written with Heidi Belleau), the post-apocalyptic romance, Strain, and her upcoming, New Adult contemporary, Saugatuck Summer, available for pre-order now.

You can contact Amelia on

Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in history from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centered on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.

She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.

Contest

Contest Rules: Win an ebook copy of An Inch at a Time (The Professor’s Rule #2) in your choice of formats! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you (email address–posted in comment field, twitter handle, goodreads or facebook account), and you’ll be entered to win! Every comment counts for another entry, so be sure to follow the whole tour

Review: Strain by Amelia C. Gormley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Strain_500x750When a deadly virus is unleashed, it spreads and mutates quickly, wiping out most of the human race.  Rhys Cooper and his small family has escaped the virus and its consequences by living in a small compound under the rule of a puritanical preacher and his son.  But soon the zombie like plague victims discover them and all are killed except Rhys and Jacob, the preacher’s son.  They are rescued by a special militia corp, but not before Rhys and Jacob were exposed to the virus themselves.

Sergeant Darius Murrell  belongs to a group that used to be Army and nows roams the country looking for survivors.  They are also charged with finding and killing the people the virus has turned into cannibalistic murderers who spread the virus by various means including blood sprays.  When Darius and his unit find Rhys, he is covered in the blood of a revenant, their name for the infected.  Rhys and Jacob are surely infected themselves by their exposure to the revenants that killed the rest of their group.  When the militia’s medic comes up with a last ditch experiment that might save Rhys and Jacob’s lives, Rhys is begins to think that dying is preferable to the experiment the soldiers propose.

Xolani, the medic present, knows that her squad cannot return to base with the survivors in time to save them so Rhys and Jacob’s only hope is to be infected by another strain of the virus and that the combination might confer immunity. The problem? The virus needed is one that’s sexually transmitted, and the only means to obtain it is to sexually submit to the entire squad of soldiers as many times possible daily over a six-week time period.  At what cost is his survival, Rhys wonders.  Would he rather die than become the sexual plaything of a bunch of hardened soldiers?  And if Rhys chooses to try the experiment, will he be able to live with the memories and the humiliation afterwards?

Of all the thoughts that crowded into my mind after finishing this story, first and foremost is the one that said that Strain is a story people will either love or hate or even possibly hate to love.  The plot alone is one of such emotional impact that the blurb itself just might be a turn off that will leave some would be readers cold.  At its barest outline, you have a teenager who has just watched his family killed by revenants and is now forced to have sex with multiple partners and not yet once but as many times a day as his body can stand.  Throw in the fact that he is a virgin and I can almost see potential readers cringing in dismay, wanting to avoid any emotional involvement this story will demand.

This is not a story for the faint of heart or stomach.  It rears up and commands a reaction from its reader.  And gets it.  At almost 400 pages in length, the reader, once committed to the story, will find themselves on an emotional roller coaster that will include a range of responses, from disbelief to distain, hopefulness to despair, and even moments of hostility towards the author for putting Rhys through such torment for such a long duration.  But if you stick with this story, then it also had its own rewards.

Some of the issues that crop up at first glance are blatantly in your face huge. First, there is Rhys.  He is 19 and a virgin.  Raised in a religious sect environment, he has been abused, starved, and finally deprived of those he loves when they are killed by the revenants that infect him. And in order to live he must whore himself out to a group of unknown hardened soldiers, trusting that the experiment isn’t just a falsehood used to gain his services.  I defy any one out there to to deny the emotions that arise within themselves just by reading that description.

Secondly his rescuer, Darius, that Rhys comes to have feelings for, is 42 years of age.  Think of that difference in age, experience and outlook on sexuality and morals.  Once the reader adjusts and gets past those elements, more arrive to be dealt with.  Additional issues will depend upon how your tolerance and acceptance of the fact that the only method available to transmit the virus is near constant coitus, the more partners Rhys has the greater exposure to different variations of the strain he requires.  I will admit that I was skeptical of the science behind this experiment at the beginning.  Thoughts of injections, blood exchanges or other field methods that an army medic would have at their disposable, even on the go as this company is, rose up to make me question the plausibility that such extreme measures as they require of Rhys and Jacob.  But again, the author managed to answer all my questions, convincing me of the science behind it and the medic’s explanations as the story progresses.  All it takes is sticking with the story, even if you have to stumble past those sections that make you cringe.

Then there is the sexuality that prevails throughout the story.  It is crude, harsh, with elements of voyeurism, D/s, bdsm, and other kinks.  It is noncon, almost noncon, sprinkled with “boy”, dirty language, and the need for pain and humiliation.  That is most likely the biggest hurdle of them all.  Rhys and his initiation into sex by such a horrific requirement is the element that will give most people pause.  I think my take on the events and changes that occur within Rhys might vary from those found within.

Gormley takes Rhys from virgin to one who adjusts his morality to include casual sex among partners while still needing to have relations with someone who cares about him, all within a month’s time.  Towards the end he has adjusted his outlook to become more flexible in his thinking and morality.  Here is Darius’ take on Rhys somewhere in the middle of the story:

“Of course given the way that Rhys seemed to like a rough and dangerous edge to his sex, maybe it was time for that to change. Toby and Jie might be right up his alley.”

For me this is by far the largest issue here. My opinion is that if you take a 19-virgin who has been isolated from others and made to feel that sex is for procreation, including the idea that same sex feelings are a perversion, you have an almost fragile blank canvas in the person of Rhys. Then by  subjecting  him to constant near rape, you are practically hardwiring him to not only accept the role he has been made to play but also that casual rough sex and domination are the norm because he doesn’t have any other frame of reference.  It verges on Stockholm Syndrome in my opinion.  That odd lack of recognition that Darius and the group’s treatment of Rhys might have played a role in the formation of his sexual preferences makes this aspect of the story its biggest obstacle in my opinion.

So why stick with this story and why give it such a high rating?  Because for all those elements, and distasteful to some, storylines, Strain is a well written and absorbing novel.   The further into the novel the reader gets, the deeper the reader sinks emotionally. It grabs onto your heart or should I say Rhys does, and, refuses to let go.  Trust me when I say you will be sobbing at certain junctures within this story.  Rhys will break your heart over and over.  And not just because of his current situation either.

You will find yourself getting angry or disgusted at times during the narrative.  “Why should that happen to Rhys?  It’s all so unfair” you might find yourself saying, conveniently forgetting that Rhys and the injustice of his situation are the product of a fine imagination.  Truly despicable characters along with those that pull at your heartstrings come not from poorly layered constructs but from wonderful characterizations.  If at times you forget everything but the world the author has created, then that person, in this case, Amelia C. Gormley, has done their job and then some.

This is a HFN story.  Indeed given such a post apocalyptic world and constant peril, it is the only reasonable ending the author could apply.  For some people, Strain will be a difficult book to read, for others a complete joy and for still others, the wide array of strong elements pose just a mild discomfort, a small price to pay for such a complex and compelling tale.  Take a moment to think and make the decision for yourself.

This is how it all starts:

D eath smelled like old wooden pews whose varnish and cushions had become saturated with acrid layers of dust. It smelled like mildewing carpet rotting from rain that had leaked through a roof he’d never had the skill or resources to repair. The hymnals had long since been used for tinder, but the musty scent of old books—once so comforting but now vaguely nauseating—remained.

Cover Art by Kanaxa.  I think the cover fails to deliver any idea of the story or character within.  Rhys is rail thin, disheveled, a survivor.  The model here looks the very antithesis of Rhys Cooper.

Book Details:

ebook, 375 pages
Published February 17th 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published February 15th 2014)
ISBN13 9781626490710
edition language English
 Book was received as an ARC through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.