Royal Blue on Writing Romance, Characters and her new story Kyle’s Reveal (author guest blog)

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Kyle’s Reveal (My Brother’s Keeper Collection Book 1) by Royal Blue

Dreamspinner Press
Publication: April 16th 2019
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:

Amazon link Here>>>>https://amzn.to/2WV1P47

Order from Dreamspinner Press Here >>

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/kyles-reveal-by-royal-blue-10365-b

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Royal Blue here today talking about her new release Kyle’s Reveal, and answering our author questions. Welcome, Royal!

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Royal Blue

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I put a lot of myself in my books. Most times one of the characters is a strong representation of me or a family member or friend. I’ve placed a lot of my experiences into characters and stories.

  • 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?

It can be a tight line. However, I think I create a proper balance. I like to balance my characters with a voice of their own. While they may have pieces of me their journeys are never the same as mine.

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

Research never influences my genre choice. My characters speak to me. Goodness gracious, yes, I’m the one that hears voices. LOL No, really. The characters show me what I’ll be working with. I like to say it’s like watching a movie in my head. It all plays out and then I start writing from there. When I’m done then I know what sub-genre I’ve landed in.

I love to researching for details to make the story come to life, but I also love the art of constructing their worlds.

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

LOL. Absolutely! I had no business reading Danielle Steele at the age I started. Yet, I’d devoured those books anytime I could get my hands on them. I still remember the librarian that used to have to shoo me back to the Sweet Valley High books and I’d pout and give her the stink eye. Now, I write what I love and then I share it with the world, but it all stems from those days.

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

I often cry while writing. I think I tend to push through to get it out and then lick my wounds after. OMG! Kyle’s Reveal did this to me. I cried while writing it, I cried through each round of edits. Like, dude! You wrote the book! Seriously. Stop with the tears. LOL. Yup, needed a long nap at the end of this one.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

It depends on the story. I tend to lean more towards HEA. We get to know them, fall in love with them and move on. Lost time I wrote a HFN book is was a three book series and I wrote them back to back. I need to fall out of love with the main character when I’m done. I don’t want to come back for a leading role once I’ve closed the book, know what I mean?

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

I’ve read romance as both. I’ve been a sucker for love for a very long too.

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

My mother. I was able to read and write by the age of two. She made my brother and older cousins write with me and teach me what they knew. (She probably regretted that later. Mouth almighty I was.) She also told me I could do whatever I wanted. She fostered my vivid imagination and allowed me to tell her my stories. She would read my little picture books. That’s where it all started.

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

Ebooks are taking over the world. I’ll admit. I still purchase my YA titles in harder because of the beautiful artwork. Oh, and I always buy my craft books in paperback. However, my Kindle app is where I do most of my reading.

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

I usually go shopping for my stock photos once I have a sense of my lead character. I then hand it off to my designer and they create magic. Kyle’s Reveal was a different process. I presented a series I had and ask the designer to bring it in as close as they could. Voila! Magic!

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

I think I love them all when I’m living in their worlds. At least once I’m done. I totally hate every single book while writing it. However, when I’m done and read it back I fall in love and want to hug them tight. LOL. My Brother’s Keep Collection is a series of books that are really taking a big place in my heart. I love Kyle’s Reveal, book one, but book two, Beau’s Redemption has stolen my heart in a whole new way.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I’m loving writing as both Blue Saffire and Royal Blue. I have a ton of new releases coming in 2019 and 2020. You asked about building worlds. I so can’t wait to share a few paranormal world’s in the future. We shall see.

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

I believe creating character flaws is a part of the art and craft of writing. I love to create characters that you can’t help but love no matter what. Romance is the language of hope and love. A perfectly flawed character is the greatest way to create a wealth of hope through the experience of love.

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I like to people watch and learn corky things about people. Yup, they sure do show up on page.

  •  Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

Yes, I’ve done this plenty. Where the Pieces Fall, under my Blue Saffire pen would be one of those.

  • Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

So, I’m very open about the fact that I lost my mother in 2007 to cancer. I fell into depression and my life spiraled out. I crawled back out of the pit through my writing. I say all the time I write to breathe.

  •  What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

Assassins flying through the air so fast no one in the room sees them. They do their job and it’s done. Yup, share did write it. More than once.

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

I don’t really drink. Nooooo. Don’t run away. We can still be friends. You will see I’m naturally the friend that says stuff you only say drunk. ROTF! Sooo serious.

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

Some place with water that’s nice and warm. Not too hot, the perfect temperature to chill. I’m dreaming of the day that I have Island Blue. LOL

  •  With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To widen our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write for me. It’s my escape. It’s my healing. Writing brings me joy. You can find me typing away with a smile on my face at all hours of the day and night.

  •  What’s next for you as a writer?

I’ll be publishing another title in the My Brother’s Keeper Collection with Dreamspinner Press this year as Royal Blue and in 2020 I’ll be publishing four titles as Blue Saffire with Sourcebooks Casablanca. I’ll be signing at Book Lovers Con in NOLA in May and I’ll be at Shameless Con in October. In between, I’ll have a few indie releases and surprises.

Blurb:

Some scars are on the body, while others exist only on the heart. But together, two scarred souls can find healing, love, and family.

Professional basketball player Kyle Tyson is suffocating beneath the weight of his responsibilities and his past. Childhood abuse left its mark, as did Kyle’s guilt over his sister’s death. Now, he’s trying to raise his young nephew, pursue his career, and dodge a narcissistic and manipulative ex who wants to out Kyle before he’s ready.

Schoolteacher Andy Connor found a shield in food as a boy, but that shield nearly took his life. He now bears the marks of a botched skin-tightening surgery following the dramatic weight loss that saved his life. Unfortunately, Andy’s scars have left him insecure about his body, causing him to find a shield in his shyness. Andy can scarcely believe someone like Kyle could be interested in him. But as they get to know each other, Andy starts to see himself through new eyes. Now if he can just help Kyle learn to love himself as much as Andy is growing to love him.

About the Author

The color blue is known for trust and healing, as are the words of author Royal Blue. Blue started writing books to heal herself after losing her mother to breast cancer in 2007, followed by a miscarriage only eight months later. Books and words were one of the things that held her together.

As a young girl, Blue’s mother introduced her to the world of love and music through movies like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Bye Bye Birdie, and Neptune’s Daughter. Once she got her hands on books that sucked her into the magic that pages bring, an authoress was born. A story here, a few songs there, but she actually didn’t complete a manuscript until 2009.

However, books were piling up and collecting dust as fear clung and whispered evil thoughts. Yet, fear was silenced in 2015. Needing to write in order to breathe and wanting to share, Blue Saffire, Royal’s alter ego, rose from the ashes and entered the world.

The self-proclaimed hermit was born in Far Rockaway, NY, but is now a Long Island resident with her loving and supportive husband. The two work round the clock creating music and characters. There is no shortage of laughter or creativity in their home.

Never in a million years did she think the passion that saved her sanity would allow her to walk around with blue hair and spend her days dreaming of hot men to put on paper. After all, an MBA in Marketing and Project Management, as well as a MED in Curriculum Design and Instructional Technology, tell a very different story. Although, it’s safe to say Royal would rather be doing something Blue with her time.

Email: AuthorRoyalBlue@gmail.com

Website: AuthorRoyalBlue.com

Twitter: @authorroyalblue

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

Instagram: @authorroyalblue

BA Tortuga On Land Allegiance and her new story Soft Place to Fall (guest blog)

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Soft Place to Fall by B.A. Tortuga

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have BA Tortuga back again talking about all things Texan, writing, and new stories, in this case Soft Place To Fall. Welcome, BA.

 

 

My Daddy Hates It Here 😉

Hey y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things western.

I have to tell y’all a story. As y’all may know, I’m a Texan and when I announced to my daddy I was moving to New Mexico, he was pissed.

You see, Daddy really likes all of his little girls near, thank you.

Regardless, here I moved, and when Daddy saw it, he hated it.

Now, I live in between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, so I live surrounded by high desert and mountains. It’s stunning here. The light, the sun, the colors…I can rhapsodize.

All my daddy sees is dirt.

*grins* That’s how it goes with my newest book – Stetson in a New Mexican, Curtis is a Texan. Stetson is married to the land, Curtis is married to rodeo.

Damn y’all.

When Stetson has to call Curtis for a favor years after they break up? Whoa.

Much love, y’all,

BA

Soft Place to Fall Official Blurb:

Stetson Major and Curtis Traynor are about as opposite as two cowboys can get. Stetson is a rancher, tied to the land he loves in Taos, New Mexico, while Curtis is a rodeo cowboy whose wanderlust never could be tamed.

But now Stetson’s momma is dying of Alzheimer’s, and she can’t remember that Curtis hasn’t been Stetson’s boyfriend for a long time. Curtis’s absence makes her cry, so Stetson swallows his pride and calls his ex-lover.

To Curtis, Stetson is the one who got away, the love of his life. And Momma is his friend, so he’s happy to help out. Yet returning to the ranch stirs up all sorts of feelings that, while buried, never really went away. Still, the rodeo nationals are coming up, and Curtis can’t stay… even if he’s starting to want to, especially to support Stetson when he needs it most.

Stetson and Curtis want to find a place where they both fit, to be there to catch each other when they fall. But family, money problems, and the call of the rodeo circuit might end their second-chance romance before it even gets started.

About BA Tortuga 

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

You can find BA at:

Website: http:www.batortuga.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/batortuga

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/batortuga/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/batortuga

Blogger: http://batortuga.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/batortuga/

Tumblr: http://batortuga.tumblr.com/

Sean Michael on Creating the Right Space, Dream Homes, and his new release ‘Inked Music’

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Inked Music by Sean Michael

Dreamspinner Press

Publication: April 9th 2019

Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Buy links: Dreamspinner Press |   AmazonKobo |  Barnes and Noble 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sean Michael back again talking about his latest release Inked Music and creating the perfect space.  Welcome, Sean.

✒︎

 

Thank you to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting me today.

One of the things I really enjoy when writing is being able to create dream homes for my characters. These are places that if I were to design a home for myself, I’d like these things. I don’t always get to do this – in Educating the Professor, for example, the characters were both on a budget and had a tiny studio apartment and a room in a house with a bunch of roommates. However, in Inked Music, both characters had money, so I was able to play.

For Rene, the suave businessman, I gave him the top three floors of a high rise downtown. I don’t even know if such a thing exists, but in my imagination it sure does. Floor to ceiling windows to let in the light – and the view of the city lit up at night, and the “main floor” where the front door opens into is an open concept with large, airy rooms and a fireplace. The floor downstairs is set up like a basement – no windows in this one, and there’s a home theatre, a weight room and a games room. Upstairs, the top of the three floors and the true penthouse of the building, is bedrooms and the playroom. More floor to ceiling windows and the playroom has every amenity and toy you could imagine.

For Gavin, I imagined he lived on the canal, in one of the great big houses that sit there. It’s been renovated inside, with a huge kitchen. My favorite part of Gavin’s house is the sunroom out the back that opens onto a big, lush and green (in the summer anyway) backyard. Tall tress and hedges offer privacy.

The fun thing is being able to make as many dream homes as I have men who can afford them.

What’s your dream home look like?

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

Can a wealthy but bored businessman rescue a tortured musician from his self-imposed purgatory with a scorching kinky romance?

When Rene Conette attends an intimate performance at a local bar, the guitarist moves him enough that he attempts to go backstage but is stymied by the man’s bodyguard. Putting it down as not meant to be, he goes on with his life only to run into the man again, late at night at a bookstore.

Gavin Turner used to be a famous musician until an obsessed fan kidnapped and tortured him. Then it came out that he was into the BDSM lifestyle, and the court of public opinion ravaged him. He lost his Master and his self-confidence. Now he hides behind his ink and his bodyguards, who make sure he doesn’t come into contact with anyone or anything he doesn’t want to. Though it’s been years since he satisfied his needs, he doesn’t think he can trust again.

If Rene can work his way past Gavin’s defenses, they might find they complement each other perfectly.

About the Author

Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.

Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

TWITTER: seanmichael09

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/seanmichaelpics/

A. Nybo on Flawed Characters, HEA’s and her new release The Devil’s Breath {author interview}

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The Devil’s Breath by A. Nybo

Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press |    Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble (Nook)  |   iTunes Google Books 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with A. Nybo

Hello. Thanks to the Scattered Thoughts and Rogue words crew for hosting me and The Devil’s Breath today!

Birch and Henri are characters close to my heart. If readers connect with them even in a fraction of the way I do, I’m sure they’ll enjoy The Devil’s Breath

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?

Main characters just kind of present themselves to me.  When I have tried to invent one, they usually turn out completely different—sometimes everything right down to the colour of their eyes has changed by time they’ve fully emerged. But that keeps them from being ‘text-book’.   I have stories that aren’t going anywhere because the characters aren’t the right ones to highlight a particular storyline. 

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

I’m always researching something—although not necessarily a useful something. For me, it is a fabulous procrastination tool because it steals me away for hours.  I go off to determine what drug is used for a particular disease and find myself reading about the type of adze Vikings used in boatbuilding.  I know I’m not alone in this.

I do like to mix and match between real and imaginary worlds and cultures, and I will on occasion, cross that line when it’s not meant to be crossed. But that’s all part of the fun.

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

I have never put a story aside because I was hurting with the characters.  That is part of the beauty of writing, just as it is with reading.  We want to experience that emotion right along with the characters.  If I can elicit emotion in me, then it might work for others as well—at least I hope I can write it well enough so others can experience it too. 

I wrote a scene once where tears came to my eyes the first few times I read it.  After that, it was just tingles through my body. 

Have I put a story aside because I didn’t know how to proceed?  Yes, yes, and yes.  It’s always a good indicator that something has gone awry earlier in the story. 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m not a HEA kind of person and unless a book states otherwise, I always assume it is a HFN ending.  Anything else is just stretching credibility.  I really don’t know why some people think I’m cynical. 😉 

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

I LOVE ebooks.  I grew up with paperbacks and while I found the transition hard, I couldn’t imagine going back to paperbacks (except with reference books where physical copies are still the preferred). 

I always keep a paperback around in case of power outages, unexpected flat batteries etc.  But the thing I love most about ebooks is you can take an entire library with you…even overseas!  And you don’t have to pay extra luggage, don’t have space shortage, don’t have to lug the weight around. 

On the plane and want to read something else?  Not a problem. You don’t have to disturb those sitting next to you so you can get to your hand luggage. Just click to the menu and you’re done.  No complete rearranging of passengers required.

What’s next for you as an author?

I have another book due to be released mid 2019 through DSP, entitled the Shaman of Kupa Piti.  Although classified as paranormal, it’s more magical realism.  There is a strong blending of crime and culture(s)—not to mention the budding relationship between two men whose core beliefs clash.  It is very different to anything I’ve read in the romance genre.

Writing it was interesting, educational, and entertaining. I hope others have a similar experience when reading it.

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

Absolutely!  If something is too real then it loses its shine.  There’s an art to transmitting enough information to elicit empathy, but not so much that it’s going to wear the reader down.  This is why writing enduring situations or characteristics have to be treated very carefully (e.g. mental illness, addictions, etc).  There is nothing sexy or romantic in those topics, yet a good writer can utilise certain aspects while downplaying the reality, and create something entertaining from it.  People want to experience these situations, not suffer them—which is the reality.

It is even harder when you know everyone’s line is drawn in a different place.  One reader can endure a lot, where the mere mention will send another reader scuttling for cover (i.e delete the book, or throw it across the room). 

 

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I can’t say I have consciously worked through an issue by writing it out in a story, but I’ve felt I have. For example, I’ll be consumed by a story, but I’ll reach a point where I don’t need it anymore.  To me that indicates I’ve moved on from there and whatever was ‘owning’ me has been dislodged. 

 

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

Hmm, I have written in that accursed state that lingers between drunkness and hangover.  And no, it didn’t make it through the next day never mind to the next draft.  The non-sense, the repetition…it was terrible. 

 

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

Right now I’m imagining a sunlit room with floor to ceiling windows that are open out onto a beach.  The water is turquoise, the sand white.  A warm breeze wafts in carrying the scent of frangipani.  A waiter is just now mounting the two long, shallow stairs to deliver the tropical juice I ordered.  He wipes his feet and lays a gentle knock on the window frame to draw my attention.

Why?  Because it is much preferred to the overcast and windy day right outside now. 

  

 

 

Blurb

Henri’s stalker has left him with a paradoxical legacy: his mind rebels at the thought of being touched—the very thing his body craves.

For three years Henri has fought to overcome the horrors of the past. Now on the other side of the world—after leaving Australia for Canada—Henri’s nemesis is hunting him with maniacal focus. Trying to escape, he meets Birch, a kind horse trainer, who’s confounded by Henri’s idiosyncrasies even as he is drawn to him. But when Birch discovers the truth, he encourages Henri not to just survive, but to live.

Maybe even to love.

House Line Perchance to Dream

Genre Contemporary

Words: 65,021 (200pp)

About the Author :

A. Nybo has tried conventional methods (a psych degree and a GC in Forensic Mental Health) but far prefers the less conventional, such as the occasional barbecue in the rain, four-hundred-kilometer drives at 1:00 a.m. for chocolate, and multiple emergency naps in any given twenty-four-hour period.

Western Australian born, she has been spotted on the other side of the planet several times—usually by mosquitoes. She’s also discovered Amazonian mosquitoes love her just as much as they do in her home state.

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anybo5

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/a-nybo-1078

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18395772.A_Nybo

Laura Lascarso on Research, Strip Clubs, and her new novel In the Pines (A Charlie Schiffer Mystery #1) (author interview and excerpt)

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In the Pines (A Charlie Schiffer Mystery #1) by Laura Lascarso

Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date: October 23, 2018V

Cover Designer: AngstyG

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Laura Lascarso here today talking about writing, research, and her new release and series In the Pines (A Charlie Schiffer Mystery #1).  Welcome, Laura.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with  Laura Lascarso

 

The excerpt I’ve chosen to share is a scene from IN THE PINES, where our amateur sleuth Charlie Schiffer, and his love interest, Dare Chalmers, travel to Café Risqué, which is a real strip club just outside of Gainesville, Florida, in search of clues to Dare’s brother’s murder.

For those who are unfamiliar with this particular strip of I-75 in Central Florida, Café Risqué is something of a legend because it’s the only strip club within a hundred-mile radius, and all along the interstate are suggestively graphic signs pointing you in that direction. All throughout my college career at the University of Florida, friends would tell stories about their adventures at Café Risqué. I never made the pilgrimage myself, but I knew that I wanted to include a scene from it in my story, simply because it was such a magnet for local lore.

That’s where my research came in, and to my surprise, the best place to get actual details and information about the club wasn’t from their website, which was pretty sparse, but from their Yelp reviews. Here are a few of my favorites:

The ladies were nice and very sweet to me being a newcomer. I ordered chicken tenders with my side as rice and gravy. Thought it was an oddest thing to put on rice, so I ordered it. The gravy was good, just wish it was a little less than that. Not taking over the plate. Still an enjoyable dinner.

Often times when I’m embarking on a cross country expedition in my big rig 18-wheeler, I try to make Cafe Risque my first stop. Drop-in, take a shower, eat some food, make some new friends, then back on the road again! Definitely would recommend the Tuna Salad sandwich. Britney is also my favorite staff member and often times I think she lets me get in a free song or two.

I’ve been here. It’s amazing. I won’t say whether or not it’s a good amazing or a bad amazing. Just imagine 2 eggs over easy with bacon and toast. Then imagine a Reddick, FL native bringing it out to your table completely nude. I mean naked. If that’s not enough, imagine eating it while that same Reddick, FL native gives the guy next to you a lap dance.

I could go on, but you catch my drift. The most interesting thing to me, was that all of the Yelp reviews really focused on the food, with the dancers only being a second or sometimes third consideration. I suppose part of the reason is because Yelp tends to focus on the restaurant aspect of establishments, more so than the entertainment, but I found it fascinating nonetheless.

So, in this very sexually charged setting, I knew that I wanted for Charlie to be very uncertain and nervous (and a little judgmental) while also worried that he’s going to unintentionally offend one of the dancers. And I wanted for Dare to be cool and collected, and absolutely enjoying Charlie’s discomfort. I think I pulled it off, while also getting at some information important to the mystery itself. All in all, I think this is my favorite scene from IN THE PINES, and a good example of the balance I was trying to achieve between camp and sincerity.

Maybe one day I’ll take that trip to Café Risqué and give their chicken tenders with gravy a try.

The excerpt I’ve chosen to share is a scene from IN THE PINES, where our amateur sleuth Charlie Schiffer, and his love interest, Dare Chalmers, travel to Café Risqué, which is a real strip club just outside of Gainesville, Florida, in search of clues to Dare’s brother’s murder.

For those who are unfamiliar with this particular strip of I-75 in Central Florida, Café Risqué is something of a legend because it’s the only strip club within a hundred-mile radius, and all along the interstate are suggestively graphic signs pointing you in that direction. All throughout my college career at the University of Florida, friends would tell stories about their adventures at Café Risqué. I never made the pilgrimage myself, but I knew that I wanted to include a scene from it in my story, simply because it was such a magnet for local lore.

That’s where my research came in, and to my surprise, the best place to get actual details and information about the club wasn’t from their website, which was pretty sparse, but from their Yelp reviews. Here are a few of my favorites:

The ladies were nice and very sweet to me being a newcomer. I ordered chicken tenders with my side as rice and gravy. Thought it was an oddest thing to put on rice, so I ordered it. The gravy was good, just wish it was a little less than that. Not taking over the plate. Still an enjoyable dinner.

Often times when I’m embarking on a cross country expedition in my big rig 18-wheeler, I try to make Cafe Risque my first stop. Drop-in, take a shower, eat some food, make some new friends, then back on the road again! Definitely would recommend the Tuna Salad sandwich. Britney is also my favorite staff member and often times I think she lets me get in a free song or two.

I’ve been here. It’s amazing. I won’t say whether or not it’s a good amazing or a bad amazing. Just imagine 2 eggs over easy with bacon and toast. Then imagine a Reddick, FL native bringing it out to your table completely nude. I mean naked. If that’s not enough, imagine eating it while that same Reddick, FL native gives the guy next to you a lap dance.

I could go on, but you catch my drift. The most interesting thing to me, was that all of the Yelp reviews really focused on the food, with the dancers only being a second or sometimes third consideration. I suppose part of the reason is because Yelp tends to focus on the restaurant aspect of establishments, more so than the entertainment, but I found it fascinating nonetheless.

So, in this very sexually charged setting, I knew that I wanted for Charlie to be very uncertain and nervous (and a little judgmental) while also worried that he’s going to unintentionally offend one of the dancers. And I wanted for Dare to be cool and collected, and absolutely enjoying Charlie’s discomfort. I think I pulled it off, while also getting at some information important to the mystery itself. All in all, I think this is my favorite scene from IN THE PINES, and a good example of the balance I was trying to achieve between camp and sincerity.

Maybe one day I’ll take that trip to Café Risqué and give their chicken tenders with gravy a try.

About In The Pines

A Charlie Schiffer Mystery

When your high school crush is also your number one suspect, what’s a boy to do?

After the disappearance of Eastview High’s homecoming king, seventeen-year-old Charlie Schiffer must put his detective skills to work to help class heartthrob Dare Chalmers find his missing twin brother. From the gator-filled swamps of Paynes Prairie to the truck-stop strip club Café Risqué, there’s no situation too dicey for this amateur sleuth when he’s on the prowl for clues to this mystery.

Meanwhile, Dare is everything Charlie could want in a boyfriend—charismatic, handsome, polite—but as Charlie’s mother always says, the unlikeliest people can turn out to be criminals. When evidence surfaces revealing his suspects’ hidden motives, Charlie must dig deep to suss out who among them is innocent and who is guilty, even if it means betraying the man he cares for most.

 

Excerpt:

 

We headed out into the inky, starless night, southbound on I-75. All along the stretch of interstate between Gainesville and Ocala, Café Risqué billboards promised great food in a welcoming venue where “We bare all.” The billboards used to have a picture of this blonde woman from the eighties with feathered hair, which could have easily been mistaken for a teen pregnancy hotline or a missing persons advertisement. But in recent years, the business rebranded to feature silhouettes of busty women in provocative poses, and one in particular of a woman gripping a pole in ecstasy.

It seemed we were all chasing some ridiculous fantasy.

A trip to Café Risqué was something like a rite of passage for central Florida teens on the cusp of manhood, and one I’d always assumed I’d happily forgo due to my sexual orientation, and yet, there I was, racing to the famed truck stop with Dare in his sleek silver Jaguar, intent on looking for clues to the identity of Mason’s killer.

We arrived at about 10:00 p.m. Dare gave me Mason’s ID, which could pass for my own if the lighting was dim and the bouncer didn’t look too closely. Still, I was nervous about potentially breaking the law. The first place they’d call was the local police, who would contact my mom. She’d probably send someone to arrest me just to scare me straight.

The bouncer in question roved his flashlight over Dare’s ID and then over his person. Dare’s height made him look older, along with the scruff of a few days without shaving that had accumulated on his jaw. It was pretty sexy, actually, and I scolded myself for even looking at him in that way.

When it was my turn, the bouncer inspected me a little closer.

“You’re twins?” he asked while side-eyeing the both of us. “You don’t look alike.”

“Fraternal,” Dare clarified. He made a motion to move past the bouncer, who held out his hand to block him. The man turned to me.

“What’s up with your hair?”

“It grew out.”

“What’s your sign….” He squinted at the ID. “Mason?”

“Scorpio,” I said easily. I’d memorized that a long time ago.

“Where do you live?”

I recited the Chalmerses’s address. I had a knack for memorization. And riding past their house on my bike when I was at the height of my stalking phase didn’t hurt my recall either.

“You been drinking?” he flashed his light in my eyes, blinding me.

“No, sir,” I answered.

“All right, then.” He passed the ID back to me. “No funny business, and make sure you tip the ladies. They aren’t here for their health.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I entered into the surprisingly well-lit Café Risqué. It was kind of like when you built something up in your mind so much that the reality couldn’t possibly match up to your expectations. I wasn’t disappointed by the interior, not exactly, but it seemed so much smaller than I’d imagined. Other than the poles, it really did resemble a Denny’s or some other greasy spoon. There were booths along one side of the dining area and a bar that butted up to a small empty stage, where I assumed the main event would take place. There was also a side shop that sold ladies’ lingerie and pornographic DVDs, but overall, it was pretty underwhelming.

There were a few truckers in the booths, being served by women in revealing outfits, something like a costume you might pick up on a discount rack after Halloween—naughty nurse or curious co-ed. So far, nothing that lived up to the motto of “We bare all.”

Dare suggested we sit at the bar and soon after, a waitress approached us. She appeared to be in her late thirties, dyed red hair, heavy on the makeup, with her ample, freckled bosom squeezed into a cropped leather bustier. “What would you handsome fellas like to drink?” she asked with a salacious grin.

I knew from the signs out front they didn’t serve alcohol, which seemed a little strange to me, but if this venue really catered to truckers, then I supposed it wouldn’t do to get them liquored up while pulling an all-nighter. In fact, the idea of a place where truckers could get a square meal while also admiring naked women to help pass their long and lonely rides had an almost wholesome appeal.

“Cherry coke?” Dare asked, looking at me. He seemed perfectly comfortable with our situation and not at all put off by the strange mix of fry grease and sex pheromones circulating in the air.

“Coke’s good. Regular for me,” I said as I steered my eyes away from our server’s chest. I’d kind of zoned out there for a minute. She left us with two menus, and Dare scanned his dutifully.

“This is not what I was expecting,” he said in a low voice.

“No, me neither,” I admitted.

“I really can’t believe this.” He studied his menu with a look of deep concentration.

“What is it?” I thought perhaps he’d stumbled across a clue.

“The food’s actually very reasonably priced.”

I laughed out loud at Dare’s practicality. He glanced over with a small smile that acknowledged the sheer oddity of our situation. Our waitress, Cherry, returned soon after and took our order. Mine was a hamburger and curly fries. Dare’s was soup and salad, and I remembered what he’d told me before about how greasy food upset his stomach. As she was leaving, Dare grabbed her arm. “Wait a minute, if you would.”

“No touching, sweetie,” she said in an almost motherly fashion.

Dare released her immediately and apologized. “I was wondering if you’ve ever seen this man.” Dare pulled up a photo of him and Mason on his phone, the one taken from the pep rally with Mason in his singlet.

“You a cop?” she asked with dismay.

“No, ma’am. It’s my brother. He’s gone missing, and he used to come here from time to time, over the summer, I believe. I was wondering when he might have been here last. If you might have seen him?”

His sincere desperation came through in his appeal and Cherry took another hard look. “I don’t recognize him, but one of the late-night girls might.” She pointed to the stage, which was really just an extension of the bar and less than two feet in front of us. “They come on in about a half an hour, if you want to ask them.”

The place had a definite between-shift vibe. Cherry herself said she’d close out our order when she brought us our food. “It’s past my bedtime,” she said, yawning unapologetically as she collected the money for the food and her tip. Dare insisted on paying for my meal, but it wasn’t like we were on a date. More like he was paying my expenses.

We were just finishing our meal when the jukebox kicked on. I hadn’t noticed it before, but it stood in a dim corner of the room. There were a couple of burly men going over the choices with an almost academic fastidiousness.

I recognized the song after the first couple intro bars of a searing guitar riff: “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses. Dare grabbed my arm. “Charlie, look.”

I turned. Onstage, among a cloud of fog and strobe lights, five women of varying ages, ethnicities, and statures entered the spotlights, wearing stilettos and nothing else.

“We bare all,” Dare said with wonder. As it turned out, Café Risqué’s motto was absolutely true. Dare handed me a stack of bills. “Time to splash some cash, Charlie.”

And then with a look of childlike glee, Dare made it rain.

I didn’t realize until after their performance, Dare was baiting the dancers. When they finished their set, the women circulated through the bar, offering up private dances to the patrons. All of them had their eyes on Dare. The first two women he slipped a twenty and showed them his phone, asked them if they’d ever seen Mason. They hadn’t but were happy to take his cash nonetheless. One of the women told Dare she’d give him a deep discount on a private dance on account of him being so easy on the eyes. It actually took quite a bit of the Chalmers’s charm to let her off easy.

The third woman, who was blonde, or perhaps wearing a blonde wig, was the closest to our age. She looked from the picture to Dare and said, “Private dances are forty bucks.”

I thought she was only angling for an upsale, but Dare seemed on board with it. “My friend Charlie here wants a dance. And I want to watch.”

“Each dance is forty. No freebies,” she studied me with a peculiar expression. I wiped my mouth, thinking there might be ketchup on my face.

“Lucky for me, I’m a rich bastard,” Dare replied.

The woman introduced herself as Crystal and led us to a back room where there were booths covered in red vinyl, kind of like a Pizza Hut. Easy to wipe clean, I thought and then shivered with disgust. About five feet away was a video camera recording everything that happened in the room. I prayed my mother never saw this footage.

“Don’t worry,” Crystal said, perhaps noticing my unease. “It doesn’t record sound.” She then gave us a list of rules, which included, among other things, no touching.

“You don’t have to worry about that,” I assured her, sweating profusely. I’d never seen a naked woman this close before, and even after watching Crystal grind and gyrate on the pole, having her practically on top of me felt criminal. Her boobs were everywhere. I didn’t know where to put my hands so I wouldn’t accidentally touch her, so I shoved them between my legs.

“Are you sure this is legal?” I asked Dare.

He gave me an amused look. “You’ll have to excuse my friend, Crystal. Charlie has a girlfriend, but like I told him, so long as there’s no touching, it’s not cheating. Am I right?”

“That’s right, baby,” she said, winking at Dare. A rap song came on, something fast with a deep bass line. Crystal straddled my knees, which were pressed tightly together. “Just relax now, baby. Crystal will make you feel all right,” she cooed in my ear. Her hair tickled my neck, and her heavy bosoms nearly brushed up against me.

“Maybe you should take this one,” I said to Dare, who sat to the side of us, watching with complete rapture. His arms stretched out along the top of the booth like this was an everyday occurrence. Funny thing was, his attention seemed more focused on me than the naked woman on my lap.

Dare shook his head with a huge smile on his face. He was really getting a kick out of this. “It’s your birthday, Bud. Just sit back and enjoy it. Let’s see what turns up.”

I gulped and pressed back as far as I could into the slightly reclined seat. It felt a little bit like being at the dentist’s office when you’re trying really hard not to get any of your bodily juices on the dental hygienist. But the more I retreated, the more Crystal advanced. She gyrated in lazy circles, cupping her boobs and pinching her nipples to perhaps add to the excitement. She moaned a little, trying to sell it. I wanted to squeeze my eyes shut and count in my head until it was over, but I didn’t want to be rude.

“Did you recognize my brother Mason?” Dare finally asked, studying her critically. He didn’t seem aroused in the least by her performance, just deadly focused on getting answers.

“I saw him in the news,” she said. “Is he… dead?”

“Yes, he is.” Dare ducked his head so that she wouldn’t see his face. Still, Crystal seemed sympathetic to his pain.

“I’m sorry. He seemed like a nice guy.”

“He was,” Dare said quietly. “So, you met him?”

“He came in here a couple times while I was on shift.” She reached down to spread my knees open, as though she could force me to relax. She grabbed my hands as if we were dance partners. I probably resembled a very stiff puppet.

“I thought there was no touching,” I said, feeling a little panicked.

“You can’t touch me, but I can touch you,” she said with a teasing smile. It made absolutely no sense to me. Touching was touching, but I didn’t want to argue the point with her.

“Did you see him with anyone else?” Dare asked.

“Yeah, a beefy red-headed kid. Bad attitude. He complained about the girls being fat. He was kind of an asshole, if I’m honest. Not your brother, though. He was a good tipper, just like you.” She dabbed Dare’s nose with the tip of her finger. He went cross-eyed for a moment and then drew his finger along the end of his nose where she’d touched him.

“Did it seem like my brother was just here to enjoy the entertainment, or was he meeting someone?” Dare asked.

Crystal turned around so I could get a full view of her bulbous butt, jumping up and down to the beat with practiced efficiency. At least now she couldn’t see me cower.

“There was another man here with them. Older. White hair and a fake tan. Looks like he works out a lot. He’s a regular.”

Dare leaned in closer. “When was the last time you saw him?”

“He’s here tonight,” she said. “He was sitting next to you at the bar.”

My mind flashed back to the guy she was describing. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt and a red bandana and his arms were grossly huge, like a Hulk Hogan wannabe. I suddenly knew what pills Mason had been taking.

“Steroids,” I said aloud.

Dare slumped back into his seat, realizing my meaning. A speaker piped up in the room. “Crystal, finish up. The cops are here.”

I glanced over at Dare. “It might be GPD.” As I was indisposed, Dare poked his head out of the room to take a look down the hallway. He turned back to the two of us, both of us having given up this charade and awaiting his word.

“One more favor, Crystal. You’ve got to get us out the back.” Dare laid a stack of bills on the red vinyl booth.

“Is it your girlfriend?” she asked with exasperation, as though that sort of thing happened frequently.

“Nope,” Dare said. “It’s Charlie’s mother.”

About the Author

Laura Lascarso wants you to stay up way past your bedtime reading her stories. She aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of storytelling to heal and transform a society. When not writing, Laura can be found screaming “finish” on the soccer fields, rewatching Veronica Mars, and trying to convince politicians that climate change is real. She lives in North Florida with her darling husband and two kids. She loves hearing from readers, and she’d be delighted to hear from you.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lascarso 
Twitter: @lauralascarso

Alan Chin on Writing, Early Influences and his new release Surviving Immortality (author guest interview)

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Surviving Immortality

by

Alan Chin
DSP Publications

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Sales Links:  DSP Publications https://tinyurl.com/y7kffs4a

Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y9mefgad

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Alan Chin here today on tour for his latest novel, Surviving Immortality. Welcome, Alan.  Thanks for sitting in our author’s interview chair today.

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Alan Chin 

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

All my characters come from aspects of my multifaceted personality. I pick and choose different characteristics based on the needs of the plot, but they all come from somewhere inside that gray area I call me. It’s one of the things I love about writing; I’m forced to explore different facets of myself.

  • 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?

Not entirely sure what you’re asking here. I feel that the only way to create a multidimensional, realistic character is to use my own life experiences to define the parameter of feelings and emotions and actions a character will encounter. My own life defines the only guidelines I have to create. Fortunately, I’ve had countless experiences over the last sixty-plus years to draw from and my memory is still sharp enough to recall them.

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

An old friend of mine, Victor Banis, once said he believed that I didn’t choose my stories, my stories choose me. I believe that is true of genre as well. Generally, story ideas knock about my head for years before I finally put pen to paper to scratch out some notes. During that phase I don’t give any thought to which genre to use.

For example, Surviving Immortality started with a question of which is more destructive, man’s greed or his lust for violence, and what happens when you pit those two traits against each other? That premise rattled around my brain for three years before I was ready to get serious about it. It grew in scope and intensity until I had a breakthrough moment of inspiration of how to present it. At first, I had no idea there would be a love interest for the protagonist, let alone where he would end up. I was too engrossed in staging the theme.

I seldom research ideas until I’m ready to start outlining. Once I’m into a story, I enjoy the hell out of digging deep to find the most interesting tidbits for the telling of the story. And I like to keep my stories as factual as possible, even in a fictional world. Once I’m absorbed in a story, information flies at me from all directions and from totally surprising places. It’s part of the fun of writing.

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

No. As a child and young adult, I hated reading. I didn’t take up reading until I was in my twenties, and I didn’t start writing until my fortieth year. I was a late start, but reading and writing grew into a love affair between me and books of all genres. Early on, I read general fiction almost exclusively. I started with the old masters. Lately, I’ve been reading mostly non-fiction and biographies. For the last few months I’ve been immersed in the French Revolution and Napoléon Bonaparte. A fascinating time and man.

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

Once I get hooked on the story and feel connections with the characters, nothing short of nuclear annihilation can keep me from working on it. Even when I’m not at my keyboard or writing notes, I’m always thinking about the story, examining, refining. I can’t wait to climb out of bed in the mornings to get started, usually before sunup. I’m afraid it’s become an overly obsessive passion.

With Surviving Immortality, it took me over a year to write the first longwinded draft. It took another year to edit it down into something I’m exceedingly proud of. In those two years, there were only a handful of days that I didn’t work on it in one way or another.

I do suffer emotional ties with my characters and sometimes that feels painful. But I also experience their joys and their confusion and a whole range of emotions I don’t experience in my non-writing life. And isn’t that why we read? To experience that wide range of feelings and ideas?

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like whatever the plot dictates. What’s important, for me at least, is for the reader to experience emotional satisfaction. There is nothing more gratifying than coming to the end of a story and knowing why it ended the way it did, but also knowing that the ending fit, that it was, emotionally and intellectually, the most suitable outcome.

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

As an adult, oh yes. Romance adds spice to any story. And for me, when it comes to spices, the hotter the better. Romance can make fools or heroes out of the most stable men and women. It adds pressure to any situation and gives us a truer idea of the character’s makeup. Nothing exposes a character’s internal being better than how he/she treats their love interest.

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

There are so many. Colm Toibin and Marguerite Duras for their beautiful prose. Truman Capote for his vivid characters. Christopher Isherwood, Michael Cunningham and Evelyn Waugh for everything. I’m also a fan of Michael Crichton for his solidly entertaining storytelling. And of course, Annie Proulx for her brilliant short stories.

We are so lucky to live in a time where we have so many masters to choose from.

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

You’d have to shoot me to pry my Kindle from my grip. I love it, especially when I travel. I generally travel three months at a time, and up to six months each year. Before ebooks, I loaded my luggage down with a dozen or more books. It was always a fight with my husband, who likes to travel as lightly as possible. Now I take hundreds of books, all on my Kindle. I love it and so does Herman.

Also, I’m getting older (I signed up for Medicare last month), and the larger print really helps. As much as I love hardbacks, ebooks are here to stay and I’m good with that.

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

My publisher, Dreamspinner Publications, has a brilliant staff of artists. We exchange several emails delving into the stories characters, plot, themes, and they present me with several options. I’ve always been blown away by their talent to express ideas in images.

With Surviving Immortality, we agreed it was important to show a protagonist with the weight of the world on his shoulders, for indeed, the future of mankind pivots on his decisions. The first time I saw this cover, I knew they had nailed it. The whole universe is pressing down on him. I love it.

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

My favorite is always the book I’m currently writing. In fact, I get so engrossed in my current work, that I have a hard time remembering the details of my previous stories.

Over the years my stories and characters have become more complex, and hence, more interesting, at least to me. I also feel that with each passing year, I become a better writer. It’s not what you write, it’s how you write it, and I feel I keep improving with each book.


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

I think there is a danger in making a character so complex that the reader will have problems relating to him or her. It’s great to give characters faults, but not just for the hell of it. A faulty trait is there for a good reason. It needs to be a vehicle that relates to the plot, and something the character can overcome or take advantage of in order to complete his or her arc.  

  • What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

Loyalty. E.M. Forster once said: “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.” This, I believe goes to the heart of the protagonists I try to create, and it’s a trait my antagonists seldom display. I’ve always regarded loyalty to friends and loved ones as going beyond admirable to heroic. It represents the best qualities of mankind.

I’m drawn to people who, like me, are outsiders—people who don’t really fit in. These characters are varied: some don’t fit in because of sheer defiance, some because they are terrified of society, some are simply scandalous. There are some, like the protagonist in Surviving Immortality, who have such a high degree of integrity that they don’t fit in anywhere in a world tainted by corruption. Because outsiders are on the fringe of society looking in, they tend to have a much different viewpoint from the norm. They often see things more clearly. All my protagonists are outsiders, hence abnormal, sometimes painfully so. Fish out of water.  For me, it’s what makes them interesting.

  • Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

No. As I said earlier, stories knock about my head for years. I don’t begin to write them until I’m so excited about them that I absolutely must write them. By then, there is no stopping until it’s complete.

  • Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

I’m constantly dealing with my real-life issues in my work. I’ve always assumed that all writers do that.

  • What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I won’t describe the scene because it is the crisis/conclusion of Surviving Immortality, and I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who chooses to read it. But trust me, it is one of the most chilling and exciting and heartbreaking and uplifting scene’s I’ve ever written. It’s a scene that may very well haunt a reader for a good long while. It did me.

 

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

Writing is hard work for me. So I tend to write early in the morning when I’m fresh and alert. I generally start writing at sunup and often work until lunchtime. That’s a little early for me to be drinking. <smile> However, many times I’ve had to work while suffering a horrific hangover, which is no fun at all. These days, I still like my glass or two of wine around dinnertime, but I’ve given up on the hard stuff. When you reach your mid-sixties, you’ll know doubt understand why.

 

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

I’ve travel to over sixty countries over the last twenty-five years, and I write most days when I travel. In all those places I’ve not once found a writing environment more suitable than my own office at home. Here in my workspace, I’m surrounded by the books I love and the quiet I need to concentrate. And even more important, my next cup of coffee is just down the hallway.

When it comes to a work environment, for me, less is better. I need quiet and internet access. And coffee, gallons of it, but that goes without saying.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away? To move past? To widen our knowledge? Why do you write?

I write to first help me understand the world I live in, both my internal gray matter and the external world, and then to present my reaction to those two worlds. And yes, there is a lot going on. Surviving Immortality tackles, among other topics, the epidemic of gun violence in America, the buildup of weapons of mass destruction, and the issues that lead our politicians into corruption. It’s a very topical love story.

I don’t think there has ever been a better time to write. We have such a rich tapestry of culture to draw from. 

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

For the next several months I’ll be promoting my new release, Surviving Immortality.
About a month ago I completed the first draft of my next novel. I’m currently in editing mode on that project, and I suspect that will continue for the rest of the year. Not sure what 2019 will bring, but this year will be busy with those two projects.

I’m very pleased to announce that my latest novel, Surviving Immortality, is now available in paperback and any eBook format, at

Dreamspinner Press Publications https://tinyurl.com/y7kffs4a

Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y9mefgad

This story is purely fictional and not based on real people or true events.

About Surviving Immortality

This is the story of the fountain of youth.

When Kenji Hiroshige discovers a formula that will keep people youthful and healthy for several thousand years, he tells the world he will not divulge his secret until every gun, tank, battleship, and bomb hasbeen destroyed. When the world is free of weapons, everyone can live forever. And then he goes into hiding.

Before he disappears, his son Matt Reece is exposed to the formula. Kenji takes Matt Reece on the run with him, but as they struggle to elude both government agencies and corporations who will do anything to profit from Kenji’s discovery, Matt Reece learns that world peace might not be his father’s only goal. But what can a young man who’s barely stepped foot off his isolated ranch do in the face of something so sinister?

This is the story of human greed and the lust for violence. It’s the story of a world on the brink of destruction, but it’s also a tale of one young man who finds in himself the will, courage, and compassion to stand against the darkness—both outside and within himself.

This is a story of hope.

About the Author

Alan Chin’s books explore spiritual growth through finding the right relationships. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, romance, Eastern religion, and the paranormal, his underlying focus is the power of love.

Alan is the author of nine novels, an anthology of short stories, and three screenplays.

Alan’s first novel, Island Song, won the 2008 QBliss Excellence in Literature award. His novels, The Lonely War and Match Maker won a total of five Rainbow Literature Awards. His book, The Plain of Bitter Honey is a 2014 ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year finalist in the Science Fiction category.

Alan lives and writes half of each year at his home in Southern California, and spends the other half of each year traveling the globe with his husband, Herman Chin.

You can learn more about Alan Chin and his writing at: http://alanchinauthor.com or his blog: http://AlanChinWriter.blogspot.com  

Jaime Samms on Snap Decisions, Attitudes and her release ‘Permanent Ink by Jaime Samms’ (guest blog)

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permanent-ink

Permanent Ink by Jaime Samms
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host author Jaime Samms here today. Welcome, Jaime.

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Everyone has moments in their lives when their eyes are opened to something they never realized about themselves. Eric and Angel have been best friends since middle school. Eric is wealthy and white. Angel is neither of those things. They shouldn’t be friends but the basketball court brought them together, and kept them together for years and years.

The last thing Eric ever thought about himself was that he would stereo type someone who’s skin was a different colour than his own. 

We’re built to make snap decisions about what we see. It’s a hardwired reaction built into our psyche for survival. But it doesn’t really apply to our current lives. It’s a hard thing to overcome, and I find myself having to check my own attitude constantly. It’s hard sometimes, to remember everyone doesn’t look at the world through the same lens.

Its the lesson Eric had to learn before he could let a real love into his life.

Both Angel’s brows went up. He pursed his lips and shrugged. “He’s a pain in the ass, I know. But he’s my cousin. I ain’t kicking him out or sending him off even for you. Might do you some good to get to know him.”

“Don’t need to know him.”

“You think you know so much. What do you have against him?”

“Nothing.”

“Bullshit.”

“I don’t know him, okay?” Eric scrambled. “How can I—”

“You don’t know him. You’re assuming things, and it’s bullshit, because he is a better guy than you or me.”

“Who just happens to freeload on a guy who relies on scholarships to get by. Who sleeps with anything that wags a tail at him. Who—”

“You. Don’t. Know him.” Angel stabbed a finger into Eric’s chest.

“Back off.” Eric brushed Angel’s hand away and turned back to his locker, twisted the lock, and popped it open. He snatched his towel off his waist and began rubbing it over his torso. “We both know guys like him, Angel. We went to school with them. We partied with them, remember? Remember when those parties were busted? When my brother had to sneak us out to avoid the cops? You remember the guys who named names and tried to pin all that shit on us?”

“Sure, and none of it ever stuck to you because Daddy—”

“Hey.” Eric snapped his attention back to Angel. “My daddy protected us both. And Marianne, so do not go there.”

“None of it would have stuck to you anyway,” Angel muttered.

“Because I didn’t do anything. Neither did you.”

“You think that would have mattered?”

“Of course—”

“Because guys like your dad would never have lumped me in with the other delinquents.”

“Angel—”

“I lived next door to those guys, Eric. I grew up in the same neighborhood. I ran the same streets.” He grabbed Eric’s hand and held it up, splaying his own next to it. Dark skin contrasted with Eric’s pale, lightly freckled arm. “I’m the same color as them. Not you.”

“That has nothing to do with—”

“With why you can’t stand Dwayne?”

Eric’s gut twisted. “No. Angel, of course not!”

“Yet you compare him to the thugs you used to slum with and not the best friend you practically grew up with.”

“I—”

“He isn’t like those guys. But you can’t see past the color or the clothes.”

Eric clamped his jaw. It wasn’t like that. He wasn’t like that. Was he?

Buy Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/permanent-ink-by-jaime-samms-8045-b

Blurb:
2nd Edition

Beauty is only skin deep, but some marks—and what they represent—are impossible to escape.

Eric resents his comfortable college life and the restrictions his family’s expectations put on him. Dwayne, his best friend Angel’s cousin, is a pierced and tattooed ex-con trying to rebuild his life. Eric sees only the tattoos and the way Dwayne’s upbringing have dictated his future. It takes a surprising revelation from Angel to force Eric to see past Dwayne’s defenses to the generous heart beneath and to realize it’s time for him to break free of his own instilled beliefs. The men can’t keep apart, and they gradually learn that everything they thought they knew about each other might be wrong.

Opposites attract as two men from very different backgrounds move from enemies to lovers in a story of understanding, compassion, and redemption.

First Edition published by Pink Petal Books, 2011.

About Jaime:

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

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

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

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

Website: http://jaime-samms.com

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

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

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

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

Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms

Brandon Witt on Choosing Book Titles and his release ‘Mapping the Forest’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Mapping the Forest by Brandon Witt
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Anne Cain

 

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Sales Links

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Brandon Witt here today on his Mapping the Forest tour. Welcome, Brandon!

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In the previous blog tour stop, I spoke about a ‘contest’ of good intentions that had very positive results. However, there was another ‘contest’ associated with Mapping the Forest where the results weren’t so grand.

I was struggling with naming this novel.  I had the titles of the following four books of the series already figured out, but, for some reason, the name of the first one simply wasn’t coming. 

So, I had a brilliant idea.  I held a book-naming contest on Facebook.  I listed a few titles and had people vote. 

I don’t remember the rest of the titles, but the winning one was Forsaking the Forest. 

One of my beta readers didn’t hold back after reading the book.  They hated the title.  Hated it. 

It is a little melodramatic if I’m being honest.  But I just really love the word forsake.  I don’t know what my problem is! 

And, the beta pointed out, no one in the book actually forsakes the forest.  They all really like the forest. 

In the contestants’ defense, all the titles I listed were atrocious. 

So, please consider this my apology if you were one of the readers who participated in the contest.  I’m sorry I gave you horrible names to pick from.  I’m sorry that I broke my word and didn’t keep the atrocious title you picked. I did for a while, saying that I couldn’t go back on the contest. More than one person said I was being an idiot.  Thank the lord for them!

It was my fault.  All my fault.  Not yours.  You’re lovely and beautiful and did nothing to deserve such a dark fate as picking between God-Awful titles. 

No one in this book forsaked (forsook) the forest, but I did end up forsaking that title. 

So, where did the current title come from?

In this novel, both of our loveless heroes are lost in their own different mazes of life and both make their living in and around the national forest of Rocky Mountain National Park, in Estes Park, Colorado.  And though the forest is beautiful and magical, it can also be dark and deadly if you’re unclear of how to navigate the twists and turns of its paths.  For Gabe and Luis, that is true of life.  Unlike with the national park, there is no guide to lead you to the safe stations in life or love.  You have to map it out yourself. 

Please join Gabe and Luis as they begin Mapping their ways out of their Forests and towards each other.

(Dear lord, that was cheesy, huh?  But that really is where the new title came from.)

Please join me on November 9, at Love Bytes, for the next blog tour stop.  We’ve mapped our way through this tour to the final posting. (Dear lord, I literally can’t stop.)  I’ve saved the best for last, where I will introduce you to a four-legged friend who plays a very important role in Mapping the Forest.

Blog Tour Stops:

  • October 28- MM Good Book Reviews
  • November 2 – My Fiction Nook
  • November 3 – Open Skye Book Reviews
  • November 4 – Prism Book Alliance
  • November 4 – The Novel Approach
  • November 7 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  
  • November 9 – Love Bytes

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Mapping the Forest Blurb

Happily ever after has no map, but sometimes fate sends a guiding light.

Gabe Rice, a seasonal ranger at the Rocky Mountain National Park, can’t seem to get his life on the right trail. He loves the rugged beauty of the land, and there is no place he would rather live than the mountain community of Estes Park. But after six years, Gabe is beginning to wonder if he’ll ever get a full-time position or find love. When Gabe sees Luis—and hears his gorgeous singing—he’s compelled to meet him.

Luis Martinez, the new owner of a hotel and steak ride business in Estes, left California and a career as a therapist for a fresh start in Colorado. But even the beauty of the mountains can’t help him forget the past or move forward. Unprepared for his strong attraction to Gabe, Luis is ready to run and hide from emotions he never thought he’d have again.

Suddenly the path ahead opens to a future that looks brighter for both of them, if they can find the courage to walk forward—together.

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Brandon Witt’s Author Bio: 

Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….

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Giveaway

Brandon Witt is including a giveaway for a $5 Amazon gift card.  Leave a comment below and one lucky reader will be chosen by Brandon to receive the gift card.  Be sure to leave your email address where you can be reached if chosen.   Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Contest  ends  November 9 at midnight.

Mapping the Forest Links:

Dreamspinner:  http://bit.ly/2dNwokA

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eGfKFF