Blog Tour and Giveaway: Falling for Him by CL Mustafic

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Title:  Falling for Him

Author: CL Mustafic

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 17

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Female/Male (No Male/Male interaction)

Length: 116000

Genre: Romance, attempted murder, coming out, divorce, hate crime, law enforcement, medical profession, MFM, OFY

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host  CL Mustafic here today, and we had a couple of questions for the author!

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Three Questions for CL Mustafic, author of Falling for Him

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

I think I’d like the power to teleport. I love to travel and it would be great to just pop over instead of having to drive or fly.

If you could trade places with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

I think right now it would have to be Gavin, because Lex is super sweet. He’s kind and loyal and just the sort of man who you know would always have your back. Plus, he’s got that uniform and handcuffs.

If you could sequester yourself for a week somewhere and just focus on your writing, where would you go and what would the environment be like?

Oh man, I would go to a small cabin by water. I don’t care if it’s the sea or a lake but water it is. I don’t know why, but water is so soothing and with the hectic life I live, I think it would be a great way to relax and just let the words flow.

Synopsis

Doctor Gavin Addison’s marriage didn’t end on the friendliest of terms, and his estranged wife’s continual harassment has the local police visiting his home so often they’ve started calling him “the doc.” One of those cops, Officer Lex Turner, has a crush on the handsome doc, even though he knows there’s no chance the doc would ever consider dating a man.

A chance encounter on a crowded dance floor ends with both men in the same bed with the same woman—but with questionable results. When the doc wants to try that again, Lex becomes more involved than he’d dreamed possible as he helps his new friend navigate the kinkier side of sex. Knowing it’s just sex for Gavin, Lex finds it hard to keep his feelings hidden. But when Gavin finally figures out he has feelings for Lex that go beyond what a guy should feel for his buddy, will he let Lex convince him to take a chance with him—even if it turns both their lives upside down?

Excerpt

Falling for Him
CL Mustafic © 2017
All Rights Reserved

“How much paperwork we got tonight?” Grady asked. He turned on his computer and started digging through his desk drawer, looking for god knows what.

“Not too much. Gotta finish up that report on the doc’s vandalism, and you need to write up that accident report. Then we can get back out there for another fun-filled night,” Lex said, making Grady wrinkle his nose.

“That damn woman makes for a lot of fucking paperwork. I’ve got half a mind to handcuff her to her water heater and forget her,” Grady said with a smirk for his own cocky bravado. “Don’t know how a nice guy like the doc got mixed up with a crazy bitch like that.”

Lex sat back in his chair. That was the question, wasn’t it? The doc seemed like a decent enough guy. Why his ex, one Cassandra Addison, would want to make the poor guy’s life hell was beyond Lex. It was even more fucked up when you added in the fact that, from what Lex had gathered, she’d cheated on him. He just hoped they wouldn’t end up with a Fatal Attraction–type ending with this case.

“Yeah, well, sometimes they hide the crazy until they have you in their clutches; then, bam presto chango, psycho chick is in your bed, and you’re fucked in more ways than one,” Lex said.

“Sounds like you got some experience in that area.”

“Don’t we all?”

Grady’s gaze shifted to something over Lex’s shoulder. “Speak of the devil,” Grady whispered.

Lex turned around, hoping that Cassandra Addison was not, in fact, standing behind him. Nope, not the bitch, but Gavin was, and he didn’t look thrilled to be in Lex’s humble workplace. Lex cast an appreciative look over the handsome doctor. He was one fine-looking man, with blond hair that curled wispily around his head and those deep-brown eyes, where you expected to see crystal blue, got Lex every time. Gavin had the greatest smile, and the dimples that peeked out at the slightest grin made Lex want to dip his tongue in them. He shook his head to clear away the thoughts of what he would like to do to the doc, if the doc was so inclined, that was.

“You got him, Grady. You know you’re better with this kind of crap.” He didn’t tell Grady that he got tongue-tied around Gavin and was afraid he’d make a fool of himself.

Grady stood up, smiled, and gestured for Gavin to take a seat by his desk. “Hey there, Doc, what’s up today?” he asked as if Gavin’s was a social visit.

Color rose on Gavin’s cheeks as he flushed a little before answering. Lex was glad he was sitting at his desk because the doc blushing like that did things to his body that weren’t acceptable in polite company. “There’s been another incident. I can’t be one hundred percent sure she did this, but I can’t think of anyone else who would want to humiliate me so much.”

“So what did she do this time?” Grady asked, “Or allegedly do?”

Gavin handed Grady a little slip of paper. “If you punch that into your web browser, you can see for yourself.” Grady took the paper and turned to his computer to type in the web address. He waited a second, and when Grady’s brow furrowed at what he saw on the screen, Gavin’s blush deepened. Lex itched to see what was on that screen but stayed in his seat.

“Why do you want me to look at your personal ad?” Grady asked.

“Because I didn’t post it, and that little sticky note was stuck to a computer at the nurse’s station on the fourth floor surgical unit where I happen to do rounds every morning. Everyone at the hospital now thinks I’m some kind of kinky pervert,” Gavin explained, visibly upset.

Lex had to see what was on Grady’s screen. He got up to look at his partner’s computer. He instantly understood why the doc had turned pink when he handed over the little piece of paper. Lex shook his head; that woman was pure evil.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

CL Mustafic is a born and bred American mid-westerner who mysteriously ended up living in one of those countries nobody can ever find on the map of Europe. Left with too much time on her hands—let’s be honest here: it was the lack of television channels in her native language–and too many voices in her head trying to fill the silence, she decided to give her life-long dream of writing a novel a shot. So now, between shuttling kids back and forth from various activities and risking her life on the insanely narrow, busy streets of her new hometown, she loses herself in her own made-up world where love always wins.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Email

Tour Schedule

4/17 – Stories That Make You Smile

4/17 – MM Book Escape

4/18 – Molly Lolly; Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

4/18 – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

4/19 – Oh My Shelves

4/19 – MM Good Book Reviews

4/20 – Slashsessed

4/20 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

4/21 – Happily Ever Chapter

4/21 – Love Bytes

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Marek Moran on Writing, Research and his first novel ‘The Sparky’ by Marek Moran (guest blog and excerpt)

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The Sparky by Marek Moran
D
reamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Some Questions

Hello, Reader!  I’m here because my first novel, The Sparky, has just come out, and the kind people at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words have let me give you a bit of idea about what it’s like via some questions they’ve posed.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

As this is my first novel, it’s only one data point so far.  But, as I imagine is pretty typical for first novels, the answer would be “quite a bit”.  There were a couple of times in the editing process where the editor would say “Would your characters really do X?”, and my answer was that that was something that had actually happened in my own life.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I’ve always thought that something that makes for a full Mary Sue or Gary Stu is that (in Wikipedia’s words) they’re “an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character” in addition to being an author surrogate.  The experiences of my own that I use to create a character certainly aren’t only the positive, glowing ones!  Among other things, I think my essential nerdiness comes through pretty strongly.  (You’ll see this in the excerpt.)

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

Probably research—in my day job I am an academic, after all.  I can spend days going down the rabbit hole of links and citations and references.  But as a kid I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction, and I enjoyed making up worlds and cultures in tandem with that.  Tolkien really got me imagining worlds at a fine level of detail.  But the world-creating authors I especially like do an awful lot of research to make their worlds plausible—right now I’m rereading Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, and there’s a lot of anthropology research that went into that—so I think maybe research and making up worlds aren’t totally separate.

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

Not really.  Or maybe the answer is, Not yet.  As I mentioned, I mostly used to read fantasy and sci-fi (and still read it now, although my book diet is more balanced), but I also used to read some romance—I’d borrow the latest Mills and Boon from one of my (female) friends, although I wouldn’t tell my other friends about it, it not being the conventional teenage boy thing.  So I’m not sure why I ended up writing contemporary romance, except that it’s obviously more natural to write out of real life experience, and I’ve had more relationships with guys than with elves or aliens.  And in a sense the story had a life of its own and just wanted to be born that way.  (Cue Lady Gaga soundtrack.)

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

I do, although I also read a lot of history, some fantasy and sci-fi, some mystery / thrillers, and what the other members of my bookclub refer to as Serious Literature.  In romance, it’s a pretty mixed bag of authors I read.  I like old work like Jane Austen, George Eliot, E. M. Forster and Georgette Heyer, but also some newer romance, both straight and gay.

What’s next for you as an author?

I am writing another novel, although it’s still in the early stages: I’ve just hit 10K words.  It’s also contemporary romance, but otherwise quite different from The Sparky.  There’s a bit of a thriller element to it, and a bit of politics as well—that’s how it is in my head and in my notes file at the moment, anyway.  Who knows how it will turn out …

Blurb

Aaron’s been living in what his friend Howie calls a sexual desert. But an oasis appears on the horizon when Paul, a divorced electrician with a five-year-old daughter named Sam, moves in next door. He’s a country boy from northern Australia, and although he’s never been with a guy before, he has an impression that anything goes in the city. They find that the ordinary things in life—books, footie in the park, looking after Sam—lead them into an unlikely relationship.

But as their relationship slowly deepens, with Aaron spending time on Paul’s family’s cattle station, it becomes clear that Paul might have a harder time leaving the country behind. To him, happiness means a conventional life—including a mother for Sam. Being with his old friends convinces him he’s on the wrong path with Aaron, and he starts a relationship with a girl from his hometown. If he cannot find the courage to go after what he truly needs, he and Aaron will become nothing more than awkward neighbours. 

Purchase The Sparky at

Amazon | Dreamspinner

Excerpt

[BACKGROUND: Noone knows Aaron and Paul are going out.  At this point in the novel, Aaron’s visiting his sister Deelie just before Christmas, playing paintball with her and her friends.  It’s one of those occasions when he’d really like to talk about Paul, but can’t.]

After that we go through the training and the warnings about face masks, goggles, neck and throat protection, dangerous shots, dangerous behaviour. Even as I’m walking out onto the ground, I’m not sure how I’ll bring myself to shoot teenage girls. Then I think about Mean Girls—that’ll help me see them as vicious threats. I manage to shoot one crouching in a wooden fort, and then another inexpertly hidden behind a tree, but then I’m hit. Deelie survives until the end.

As I drive us home in a rental car, I look over at her. She has a bruise forming on her right arm. I don’t know what from. “Heh, warrior princess.”

“You don’t still watch that, do you?”

“Maybe. There’s a kid next door up in Sydney and I’ve watched some episodes with her.”

I can’t talk about Paul with anyone, although sometimes it wants to bubble up out of me; this is the next best thing. Just touching on it, skirting the edges of it without actually giving anything away.

“Oh my God.”

“She’s pretty fierce, this kid.”

Last week on a visit through the back gate, Sam told me what she’d been up to at vacation care. As well as doing craft and going on an excursion to the park, she updated me on her playground relationships.

“Finn’s my frenemy,” she told me.

I wasn’t even aware that five-year-olds knew the word “frenemy.”

“Do you know what a frenemy is?”

“Someone who’s kind of a friend and kind of an enemy.”

So apparently they do know.

“Why are you frenemies?” I asked.

“We were playing Xena, and he was a baddie, and when I kicked him by accident, he hit me back on purpose.”

“Did you say sorry?”

“It was an accident.”

“You should still say sorry, though. Xena would if it was an accident.” That’s probably not in the canon, but I’m happy to make this up.

“Okay.”

I tell Deelie a bit more about Sam as I’m driving.

About the Author

Marek Moran is, in his day job, a computer science professor.  If you want to know about shortest path graph algorithms, he’s your man.  However, that’s probably not why you’re reading this.  He currently lives in Sydney, Australia, and has previously lived in France, Germany and the US, enjoying travelling around and listening to people talk: he’s learnt to respond to enquiries after his wellbeing with a ça va merci, sehr gut danke or copacetic, thanks.

The only member of his book club to like George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss, he’s discovered that he enjoys writing romance as well as reading it; the other members of his book club don’t yet know this.  He plays piano, squash, and his cards close to his chest.  The Sparky is his first novel.

Author Links

Facebook | Email | GoodReads

Join Us for the Release Day Blitz for Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer (excerpt)

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Title:  Justin’s Season

Author: S. M. Sawyer

Publisher: Ninestar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2016 (print), February 29, 2016 (e-book)

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 101,300 words

Genre: New Adult, historical fiction, redemption, destiny, acceptance, sports, coming out, interconnected, small town, flashback, AIDS

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The year is 1988, and Justin Davis, a former nationally recruited football prep star, awakens from twelve years of masking his shame with drugs and alcohol to find he has been returned to his former self through what can only be described as a miracle.
Triggered by the confirmation of his closely guarded sexual orientation, his fall from grace of over a decade before sets the stage for his redemption. The fulfillment of his destiny is prompted by Providence and the serendipitous deeds of those who are a part of his new life, as their intertwined lives are likewise impacted. Though his rapid evolvement and acceptance of his homosexuality is countered by setbacks, Justin perseveres and eventually triumphs as fate, he believes, has led him back to the sports arena to recapture past glories.
In a stunning finale, however, he learns his destiny is not what he had envisioned. His calling has been thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Can Justin embrace it and become the man he was always meant to be?

Excerpt

A sliver of light from the early morning sun came through an exposed slit of the basement window blind, creeping its way against the wall until it came to rest upon Justin’s eyes. He lay sleeping in a jumbled mass of musty blankets on an old steel-framed bed. After a few moments of the sun’s focused rays beckoning him to awaken, he flinched and turned his head away, and then rolled onto his left side toward a dark corner in a vain attempt to deny the day’s arrival.

For Justin, it had been another long night, and the reminder of a new day came with a reluctant anticipation akin to that of a prisoner serving a life sentence without a chance for parole. He lay there motionless, holding the sheets close to his chin as he gazed upon an iconic black-and-white poster of James Dean. The actor walked down a puddled street with a cigarette between his lips, hands in his coat pockets, and his collar turned up to keep the cold and drizzle at bay. Marching down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and into immortality.

Though it had been hanging on the wall for fifteen years, Justin, enjoying a rare and lucid moment of circumspection, studied the poster in silence as if he were looking at it for the first time. You did it right, Mr. Dean, he thought. You died early…frozen in time. Leaving everyone wanting more. Never having to answer for life’s failings.

The unwelcome light from the sun continued to fill the room, exposing the remnants of Justin’s life before the troubles. Dusty citations, press clippings, photographs, scholarship offer letters, and trophies from his high school years. Collected over a decade before, they now served as the remaining threads that connected to past glories.

This is what happens, isn’t it? You peak early and get a little cocky that you’re in control, and instead of leaving on top, you live long enough to mutate into some bad apple that people use to warn their kids. “Don’t get too full of yourself or you’ll turn out like Justin Davis.” That’s right…I’m not remembered for what I was and what I should have been. It’s easier for voyeurs to whisper among themselves about the broken, washed-up, slow-motion train wreck I’ve become—how I let my charmed life slip away.

Justin sat up and swung his legs over as if getting out of bed, but stayed sitting there to give his head time to clear from another all-night bender and to gain a semblance of balance before stepping onto the cold cement floor. His still imposing six-foot-four-inch body, an inch taller than in his high school days, was out of shape and bloated. It served as a metaphor for everything else his life had become, contrary to the Greek god physique he’d had when he was seemingly in total charge of his life and circumstances.

His blond hair was long and greasy, and his face contorted by the miseries of daily self-flagellation through alcohol, drugs, and slovenly habits. His tongue felt thick and dry, and his eyes appeared as if seared on an iron skillet. He did his best to gather whatever strength remained to get up and to live what had become his own recurring Groundhog Day. He wanted water to quench his alcohol-induced thirst and to be bathed by a sympathetic and nonjudgmental geisha, washing away impurities and regret. But again he thought of sleep and of beckoning the dreams to reacquaint him with his previous life. He eased his head onto the pillow with hopes that sleep would allow him to wander back to his senior year in high school—to a time when he was admired by all and treated as the town’s favorite son.

Justin Davis was the class hero and the most likely to succeed. He had excelled at everything—sports, scholastics, popularity—and as the top quarterback recruit in the nation he received offers from scores of college football powerhouses representing the Big Ten and other major conferences. Why then, he continually asked himself, had he let his guard down—putting everything on the line and seeking confirmation from strangers?

Throughout his life he had felt that guardian angels were with him, but they’d abandoned him when he needed them most, so they could steward over someone more deserving…someone who wouldn’t risk all for a taste of what he had been brought up to consider the forbidden fruit. He couldn’t explain it, but life’s confusions made him feel that he no longer fit the role his angels had paved for him. That maybe he’d had a hand in sabotaging it before it went too far; a secret he kept hidden from himself and others with the aid of any mind-numbing substance he could get his hands on.

With his room in the basement of his brother’s home now bathed in full light, Justin drifted back to sleep, and from his sleep he could hear the marching band and cheers from the packed stadium as he led his team, charging onto the field through the gauntlet of cheerleaders. In reliving the moment, he managed a slight smile as his dreams took him back twelve years to the fall of 1976 and the sound of the PA system announcing the starting teams for the state of Ohio’s high school football championship game.

And as the dreams continued and the light of the sun streamed through the basement’s walk-out French door and remaining windows, Justin subconsciously felt a strange and unique sensation upon his dormant soul. The feeling of his angels returning to envelop his body like fresh snow on a blemished landscape—lovingly transforming his unkempt and damaged being. They had come to caress and heal his body and spirit, and renew his faith to trust what lay ahead.

Purchase

Ninestar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

S. M. Sawyer is a retired military officer. He has also served as a defense contractor and as President for a nationally accredited charity whose mission is to recognize exceptional maritime rescues and assist voluntary search and rescue organizations worldwide. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Natalie. They have five grown children. Justin’s Season is his debut literary effort.

Find S.M. on Facebook or send him an eMail

 

 

 

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Cover Reveal for Hipster Brothel by K.A. Merikan

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Title:  Hipster Brothel

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher:  Acerbi&Villani ltd.

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date:  24th of January 2017

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: M/M

Length: 50,000 words

Genre/Tags: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, M/M Romance, Hipsters, sex work, friends to lovers, bisexuality, post-break up issues, coming out, first time, alternative lifestyles, lumbersexual bear, commitment

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Synopsis

— The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent. —

Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.

But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.

After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.

After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic would happen. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.

WARNING: Explicit content, strong language. A shameless amount of buzzwords. May cause second-hand embarrassment.

Meet the Author

K.A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

e-mail: kamerikan@gmail.com

More information about ongoing projects, works in progress and publishing at:

K.A. Merikan’s author page: http://kamerikan.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KAMerikan

Twitter (run by Kat): https://twitter.com/KA_Merikan

Agnes Merikan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/AgnesMerikan

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6150530.K_A_Merikan

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KAMerikan/

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Riptide Tour: Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell (giveaway)

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Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell
R
iptide Publishing
Cover  art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

 

About Angel Voices

One frigid winter night a week before Christmas, college student Will stumbles into a church during choir practice, bruised by his own father’s hands. He’s out of the closet now—there’s no going back since his fundamentalist father learned the truth—but he’s also out of a home, a family, and a future. Will has nowhere to turn. No one to care.

Except . . . Will’s roommate, Quinn, cares. Maybe too much. He’s been attracted to Will since they moved in together, but never dreamed his crush was gay. With Will’s life in pieces, Quinn doesn’t want to push. He also knows he has more experience than Will, who’s never even been kissed.

Then Will’s father makes a reappearance, and Will has to learn to trust his heart more than the voices of his past. But it’s the season of miracles, faith, and hope, and Quinn is determined to teach Will how to love and be loved.

Available from Riptide Publishing. 

About Rowan Speedwell

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . .  Hmm.  Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math.  She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry.  She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.

Connect with Rowan:

angelvoices_tourbanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Angel Voices, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with a thoughtful question and your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Big Love by Rick R. Reed

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Big LoveWhen Dane Bernard, a teacher at Summitville High School, gets a call from the police telling him that his wife has been killed in an accident, he’s devastated. He and Katy were married for twenty years, and were, in fact, high school sweethearts. Breaking the news to his children was difficult but not as difficult as what he decides to tell them after he’s had some time to come to terms with his wife’s death—he’s gay. And he chooses to tell them now because he’s going to go forward as a gay man out of the closet.

He has no idea how to be with a man, and when new teacher Seth Wolcott arrives at the school several months later, he finds himself attracted in a way he’s never before experienced. But before they even have a chance to get to know one another, and before Seth finds out Dane is gay, one of Dane’s students, a gay teen who has been the victim of school bullies one too many times, is spotted on the ledge at the top of the roof of the school and Dane is the only one outside who might possibly help him. He gets an unexpected assist from Seth and together they manage to get the boy down, but not before Dane shares that he’s gay—and he does it in front of the whole school.

Truman Reid is an effeminate gay teen. He has a wonderful sense of fashion and can put together innumerable outfits from thrift shop finds, but not a day goes by that the jocks and others in the school don’t bully him, laugh at him, trip him, and often beat him up. When he arrived at school that morning and discovered the main bulletin board covered in photos of him in drag, it was his last straw. People might say it gets better, but Truman didn’t think he could wait for that to happen, so he headed for the roof.

Dane and Seth volunteer to spend extra time with Truman to help his mother out. Dirt poor, she doesn’t have enough money to pay for counseling for him, but with the guys offering to act as big brothers, it helps her breathe easier. And after Truman turns the corner, he decides that no amount of hiding or wearing other clothes or acting butch is going to help him, so he takes the opposite stance and flaunts his flamboyance by wearing makeup, T-shirts with hand-printed slogans, and bright, colorful outfits he puts together from thrift shop finds. Though they initially worry about him, Seth and Dane back off when they see he’s doing well and they focus on enjoying their own budding relationship.

This is a sweet story, with the lives of the three men entwined, and lessons to be learned by all. No one—man or boy—is the teacher. Each contributes to the other so that they all take away positive life lessons. There’s no explicit sex, though there is mention of it, and no on-page sex for the underage character. It’s just a romantic story, a coming of age story for both Truman and Dane, though at least twenty-five years separate their age. And the romantic ending provides a happy situation for each of the three characters.

I’d recommend this to those who enjoy tags like coming out, older men, teens, men with children, and those who simply like a romantic story about real people because each of the situations in this story could have really happened to someone we know.

~~~~~

Cover Art by Reese Dante beautifully depicts the two adult MCs as we would imagine them to be.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published April 4th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634769775 (ISBN13: 9781634769778)
Edition Language English

A Stella Review: Fire of the Heart (Hearts of Parkerburg #3) by Havan Fellows and Lee Brazil

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Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.

Beacon Hill, Boston in snow.

Craig Gilchrist is the oldest of five siblings, the captain of the Parkerburg Fire Department, and all around buddy his friends run to when they have a problem. Unfortunately, he’s keeping a secret not only from the whole town, but his family as well. Living in the shadows works for him until one fateful night when a hot stranger walks across a smoky barroom, forcing Craig to make a move that could rock the foundation of his existence…and fill the void in his heart he doesn’t realize he has.

Melrose escaped the end of a bad relationship to start over in Parkerburg. With the support of his cousin and a job waiting tables at a great restaurant, he thinks his life is finally going pretty smoothly. That’s when his path crosses that of Craig Gilchrist, local fire captain. The big, beefy firefighter is definitely not his type. So why does he suddenly star in all of Melrose’s fantasies?

With Melrose at his side, Craig finally has the motivation to step out of the shadows and let Parkerburg see the real him…until trouble arises and the truth comes to light that perhaps he doesn’t know the real Melrose.

Lies and fears play havoc with their newly acquired relationship. Luckily, once ignited, the hearts of Parkerburg don’t burn out so easily.

The Hearts of Parkerburg stories can be read as standalones, each with a HEA…but trust me, you’ll want to read about all the sweet happenings in this quaint little town.

I agree with the authors’ note, Fire of the Heart could be easily read as a standalone. Still I don’t feel to freely recommend to start with it, if you can, read the  Hearts of Parkerburg series in order. You won’t wonder (as I did) about the other couples’ stories, IMO you will get a major completeness. And probably this is one of the reasons why I didn’t give it more that 3 stars.

I had some trouble getting into the story at the start because through all of it, there were too many characters to keep track of and I get confused. The relationship between Melrose and Craig was easy to read and light in spite of some important themes (abuses by an ex boyfriend, being in the closet, coming out) that could have been developed more and give the book a depth it missed very much. This authors’ choice made the plot too simplistic to be realistic and deeply appreciated by me.

I said that to explain my rating, but honestly, if you can ignore the criticisms I made, what you will get is an easy and well done reading. I would have preferred some drama, some angst, just a little spice to take the story on another level , a higher one. Nonetheless I quite enjoyed Fire of the Heart, most of all it was sweet and with a well showed feeling of love, in any form you can think of, from friends, family, co workers and nosey acquaintances.

The Cover Art by Author Services works well just because I like the color and with all those hearts is very romantic.

Sales LinksARe  |  SMASHWORDS   | AMAZON  

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 175 pages

Published February 2nd 2016 by Appleton Publishing Avenue

ISBN13 9781941841426

Edition Language English

Hearts of Parkerburg series

Christmas in His Heart #1 – Dermot & Xander’s story
Heart on the Run #2 – Chaz & Sprocket’s story
Fire of the Heart #3 – Craig & Melrose’s story

A Jeri Review: Him (Him #1) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

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Rating: 4  Stars out of 5

HimThey don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

I love to watch love and romance grow and bloom. Especially when they start as friends as kids. Developing that bond that can seemingly get them through anything- as long as they are together.

Him is such a story but with a slight twist. Jamie and Wes were friends, but only saw each other during hockey camp in the summer. In between camp they lived on different coasts and communicated with a box that they would fill with something related to them and mail and it back and forth.

As they grew, Wes not only realizes that he is gay, but goads Jamie into experimenting with him on the last night of cap. That was the beginning of the end of their friendship. Wes thinks he ruined it all and Jamie is just completely confused. When their college hockey teams are playing in the same tournament 5 years later, they both blame themselves and begin a tenuous relationship again.

I found this story to be emotionally gripping, tender and heartfelt. The heart break Wes feels because Jamie is “straight”. The confusion Jamie feels because he doesn’t understand his feelings for Wes and wants his best friend back. Coming to grips with themselves and their maturing relationship.

Deeper than the confusion and muddling through a potential romantic relationship was the true friendship of men who were best friends and so desperately wanted that again.

Being together means a lot of different things to both of them. They have to reevaluate and look at their lives. Trying to decide if being together is worth the potential consequences.

Sweet, hot, tender and romantic. With humor and lots of hockey on the side. A must read.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 276 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Rennie Road Books
Original TitleHim
ISBN139781942444077
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHim #1
CharactersJamie Canning, Ryan Wesley
Literary AwardsGoodreads Choice Award Nominee for Romance (2015)

A MelanieM Review: Dormant Heart by Lane Swift

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Rating:  4.75 stars out of 5

Dormant HeartAmateur photographer Josh Thornton is out but not so proud. He’s estranged from his family, his boyfriend dumped him, and his job at an estate agency is in jeopardy—especially after he crashes his boss’s car in the middle of nowhere on his way to Hartley Manor.

Callum Black works at the English country estate and lives there in an isolated cottage. Left mute by a childhood accident, he’s more comfortable in the company of animals than people. But when Josh—literally—crashes into his life with his camera and his friendship, Callum realizes his peaceful solitude has been more than a little lonely.

Josh’s affection for Callum deepens even as he’s consumed by doubts over Callum’s sexuality and whether Callum could ever love him. And Callum is haunted by the secret that stole his voice—a secret that keeps him tethered to Hartley Manor. When the past comes hurtling painfully back into the present, Josh and Callum have to overcome their fears and breathe life back into their dormant hearts in order to have a chance at their own picture-perfect future.

What a beautiful story.  Just as the cover is a feast for the eyes, one where you need to linger to appreciate all the details, Dormant Heart is a novel that unfolds with the pace and depth of a walk in the woods.  Its one in which each move forward should be treasured. Stop look around, admire the beauty of the narrative moment that the author is creating in words and scenes before going forward again.

The story is told from two perspectives, the first from Joshua’s, from the moment he is thrown, horribly, from his parents home to two years later when he meets Callum.  He’s funny, brave, enduring, a bit prickly and he’s feels fresh to me, loaded with his camera and a need to press forward with his life.  Blow after blow, and I mean fists in one case however briefly, to crushed bumpers, Joshua’s inner stamina makes him get up and persevere.  Joshua’s character is one that’s so easy to connect with because his voice is one that bubbles like a spring of hope around him, where with others that would have drained away.

Halfway through the story, Callum takes over, a device that might have derailed  another novel but works here.  Why?  Primarily because  Callum never speaks and here, inside his head he finally does.  We get to hear that voice no one else has heard since he was a young boy.  We hear his thoughts on Joshua, his appearance in his life, and what that interruption has meant to Callum emotionally and sexually.  Joshua is the wind blowing through Callum’s life and the effects are immediate and yet so natural as though Callum has been waiting for him.  Callum is calm on the surface, and nightmares from a childhood injury that has  taken his memory just underneath the calm.  There is so much to this character and Swift peals back the layers slowly, unfolding clues and letting us see Callum only after much effect and love.

Callum is the quiet, the observer to the constant motion of Joshua and together they make an impressive whole.  One slows the other down, and one speeds the other up.  Harmony achieved in pairing and novel. So do the characters that Lane Swift surrounds them with, especially the appealing Heather, daughter of the Lord of Hartley Manor and the sad, faded lord himself.

Yes, Joshua is the key to the memories return.  Those memories.  So shocking from a child’s standpoint and so damaging.  I think that’s where Lane Swift made her best decisions.  It was in keeping with realistic possibilities and repercussions on all involved.  Just a great job.  So why not a perfect score?

The ending…I think I wanted just a   little more resolution or pages to finally draw it out for me. And it felt a little rushed in comparison to the flow of the rest of the story. It was so close.

Lane Swift has written a gorgeous book in Dormant Heart, its one that awakened this reader’s heart for the story and characters and a certain glade with a mother fox and her kits still roam.  Love contemporary romance, and characters that speak to you?  A story that will hold your attention as well as your heartstrings?  Look no further than Dormant Heart by Lane Swift.  I highly recommend it.

Cover art by Anna Sikorska is one of my favorite covers of the year.  Gorgeous, sumptuous even, in content and color. Perfection in every way for the character and story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 10th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634768450
Edition Language English
URL

 

A Very Special Charity Spotlight: A Intimate Look at Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton (guest post and giveaway)

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Winter Oranges cover

Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist:  L.C. Chase

This title is part of the Love for the Holidays: A Charity Bundle Benefiting
the GLBT National Help Center collection. 
You can purchase it and learn more about the charity bundle here.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have  Marie Sexton here today to talk about the inspiration behind her Christmas novel, Winter Oranges.  Marie is sharing some of her photos from her Pinterest board and thoughts behind her characters.  Winter Oranges is one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Novels.

Hello, everybody! This is Marie Sexton, and I’m thrilled to be here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words today talking about my Christmas novel, Winter Oranges. I thought I’d share some photos that helped inspire the novel.

First things first: I started with the house. I originally planned to set the book in rural West Virginia, so I started out researching older homes. Later, I decided to move the story to Idaho, and I ended up making the house a “revival” built in the 1980s, which meant there was no “servant’s room” on the ground floor. I rearranged the entire dining room/kitchen setup, and added a Winter Oranges House Planspantry/mudroom. The other problem was, I kept picturing the garage on the left side of the property (the left when facing the house, that is). I tried over and over to flip that image in my mind, but it didn’t work. And why would the garage be on the family room side of the property rather than the mudroom side? It didn’t make sense. So I flipped the entire bottom floor. But for the most part, this is Jason’s house. (I’m sure he paid more than $1548 for it, though!)

The next step was the snow globe. Yes, I could have just made it up, but I wanted a photo. It needed to look old-fashioned and have a cottage. So I settled on this one:Winter Oranges_Snow Globe

Now, for the characters.

Winter Oranges_Tom HughesIn my brain, Ben looks like Tom Hughes, minus the bad boy attitude.

Ben’s clothes were based largely on this picture:Winter Oranges_civil war men

And Jason… well, I wasn’t entirely sure what Jason looked like. I was pretty sure he was blond, and I knew he was in his late 20s. That was good enough, until I got to a line where somebody says to him, “You look familiar.” Jason hates his semi-celebrity status, so rather than telling her who he really is, he says, “Some people say I look like [some other celebrity].” The problem was, who did he look like? I spent a stupid amount of time googling actors, but I finally decided on William Moseley.Winter Oranges_William Mosely

That’s it for my primary sources of inspiration, but for more pictures, check out my  Winter Oranges Pinterest Board. Have an image you’d like to add? Leave your Pinterest user name in the comments, and I’ll send you an invitation to add to the board.

And be sure to check out Winter Oranges! 20% of the proceeds go to the GLBT National Help Center.

About the Book

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Winter Oranges is one of Riptide’s 2015 charity titles.

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website:  “http://www.glbthotline.org/

HYPERLINK “http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/winter-orangeshttp://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/winter-oranges

About the Author

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.

Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie:

WinterOranges_TourBanner

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Winter Oranges, Marie Sexton is giving away two titles from her backlist and a $50 Amazon gift card! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 5, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Happy Reading and Good luck!