Leigh Dillon on Writing, Characters and her new release ‘Raising the Bar (States of Love) by Leigh Dillon’ (guest post, and excerpt, )

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Raising the Bar (States of Love) by Leigh Dillon

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner PressBooks2Read

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Leigh Dillion here today talkaing about her new novella Raising the Bar. Welcome, Leigh.

 

 

Hello, and thank you for stopping by to check out my new novella, Raising the Bar! This story started out as a story about horses and, oh yeah, a couple of guys. To my surprise, it quickly turned into a study of two men with completely opposite character traits. Every story I write becomes a meet-and-greet at some point, with characters who started out as vague concepts suddenly taking on personalities I never planned for them. In this case, what started out as a simple contrast of conservative character vs. outspoken character morphed into Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object. Only this time, it turns out the irresistible force secretly longs to be stopped, and the immovable object needs a good boot to the rear to wake him up! Speaking truth is bad manners in some circles, but sometimes it’s good to clear the air and decorum be damned. Tonio Benedetto turned out to be quite the advocate of speaking one’s mind, as you can see in the excerpt. But do you think it was wise, or is it just one more way to blow up a promising love affair?

Blurb:

Destin Bellingham has inherited a problem. Thanks to his late playboy father, Destin faces putting a For Sale sign on his family’s historic horse farm. Getting his talented stallion, Black Sambuca, into the Grand Prix show ring would put Bellmeade back on the map—if only someone could make “Sam” behave like a show horse.

Disgraced top rider Tonio Benedetto has his own problems, but he can work magic with difficult jumpers, so Destin hires him despite his bad-boy reputation.  The street-smart, openly gay loudmouth from Miami and the closeted, buttoned-down son of Old Dominion Virginia make a rocky pairing, but time is running out to save Bellmeade from bankruptcy.

Opposites attract, sparks of tension grow into flames of passion. But if Tonio fails to tame Sam, will true love become a lost cause too?

 

Excerpt:

“Why so grim?” Tonio asked.

“Probably because I’m feeling pretty grim right now.”

“Uh-oh. Bad news?”

“Just the usual.” Destin shook his head. “If Sam doesn’t jump, this farm is going down the toilet. Not today, not tomorrow, but next year, if something doesn’t change, it’s going on the auction block.”

“Hey, I’m trying, okay?” Tonio wrinkled his forehead. “Whatever’s going on with Sam, it’s different than stuff I’ve dealt with before. I know I’ll crack him, but right now I just haven’t figured out what direction I need to come from.”

“I understand, and I’m not blaming you.” Destin paused, practicality battling with panic. “I know you’re trying. I appreciate what you’re doing more than I can put into words. It’s just that I’ve been thinking about things, and I’m starting to wonder—” He broke off, not sure he could trust his voice to stay calm.

Tonio’s face tightened, and he pressed his full lips into a razor-thin line. “Hey, I’m still fighting,” he said. “You gonna quit on me?”

“I don’t want to, but what am I going to do? It’s a mess. It’s all just a huge….” Destin raised his arms and dropped them again.

“So yeah, you’re giving up.” Tonio released the girth and jerked the saddle off, his disgusted expression deepening.

“I am not giving up! I just don’t know what to do anymore.”

Tonio stopped stripping Sam and glared at Destin over the horse’s sweaty back. “Well, you sure as hell aren’t going to listen to me, are you?” he snapped. “I thought I had some pretty good ideas, but I guess Miami answers don’t cut it for Virginia problems, do they?”

Destin rubbed his eyes. The barn floor felt like it was spinning under his feet. Everything was spinning—out of control.

“I need to think,” he said, his voice oddly faint in his own ears. “Just give me time to think.”

“You know what?” Tonio’s eyes burned in the shaded light of the aisle. “You think too fucking much. You wanna keep this farm? Stop thinking. Stop blaming your dad. Get real and do something.”

“I am doing something. That’s what I brought you here for.”

“Yeah, and you’re sinking because you put all your eggs in one stupid basket and did. Not. Listen. To. Me!” Tonio punctuated each word with a finger-jab in Destin’s direction. “You’re not going to fight to keep this farm. You’re not gonna fight to keep me, either. You’re so used to people handing you things, you’re gonna run out the clock on our contract and let all of it swirl down the shithole, and that’s a fucking shame because I love Bellmeade, I could really get used to being with you, and unlike some people, I don’t feel like dumping everything in the garbage and walking away.”

 

About the Author

Leigh Dillon is a native of horse-happy North Central Florida but has deep family roots in the Virginia and West Virginia areas. Coming of age in the dinosaur days of cable television, when fledgling channels filled their empty blocks of programming time by airing entire equestrian competitions, Leigh’s young brain became infected with a lifelong mania for show jumping, three-day eventing, and other exotic horse sports. Though tragically denied a pony of her own in childhood, Leigh has wreaked her revenge by including equine characters in almost everything she writes.

A bookbinder and librarian by trade, Leigh has also worked on local thoroughbred horse farms. Leigh’s short fiction has been featured twice in the Florida Writers Association annual story collection, and one of her book-length works received Book of the Year honors at the 2017 Royal Palm Literary Award.

Social Link:

https://www.facebook.com/Leigh-Dillon-Writes-229520631184036/?modal=admin_todo_tour

 

Julie Lynn Hayes on Writing, Influences and her new release ‘No Way Out’ (author interview)

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No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:  Christine Coffee

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Julie Lynn Hayes here today talking about writing, influences, and her new release No Way Out. Welcome, Julie.

 

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Julie Lynn Hayes

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think it depends on the character, some of them are more me than others. And some are nothing like me at all. With some characters, it’s more like playing a part than being myself.

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

I don’t believe Mary Sues/Gary Stus are based on a person’s experiences as much as on what the author wishes were there experiences. I believe those types of characters typify an impossible perfect ideal which is utterly realistic and has a tendency to get on the reader’s nerves, at least in my experience. They know everything, can do everything, and never fail. Plus they have no redeeming qualities that would make you love them. So, just ugh.

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

I wouldn’t say research plays a role. I write whatever genre calls to me at any given time. However, I do have to admit I love research, being a history major, so that is never a problem. Although I do have to look up things that are not historical as well, just to make sure I have my facts straight. For example, a particular geography or botany or food. I love creating worlds as well and building them from scratch.

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

No, because when I was a teenager, there was no m/m romance like there is now, and if there had been, without the Internet, there would have been no way to find it.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I prefer HEA to HFN, I have to admit. An HFN feels incomplete, like my characters are settling instead of finding true happiness. But sometimes it happens, especially in a series. However I do try to rectify that in the next book. I don’t do HFN very often.

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

I started reading teen-age level romances when I was still in grade school and loved them. I read romances throughout my teen years, and when I was older, I was introduced to the “bodice ripper” romances. I don’t read romances as much any more, usually m/m, but I do enjoy a good Regency.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

I still write fanfiction from time to time, and lately I’ve been playing in the world of Hamilton. I’d like to write some stories about a young Burr and Hamilton, because I love history, and do something with that. I also have a number of WIPs to work on, as well as more books in my Rose and Thorne series.

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

As a writer, I think my major influences have been William Faulkner and PG Wodehouse. As a result, I’m wordy and have a dry sense of humor lol Growing up, I read a lot of the classics, so maybe my influences would be Emily Bronte and Jane Austen.

  • 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?

To say someone is so flawed that they cannot be considered a love interest is to say they aren’t worthy of being loved. I would never say that. Besides, we all know people, whether friends or relatives or people we see on TV, who are with partners that makes us shake our heads and ask what they see in that person? Love works in mysterious ways.

  • 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 think my love of writing grew from my love of reading. I started reading when I was two. Even now, I read constantly, whether it’s a book, or my computer screen, the back of a box of cereal or billboards on the highway. My head is populated with characters, some I haven’t met you. I like to look around me and observe, or sometimes I’m inspired by something I hear, whether a bit of conversation or a song lyric. My mind asks what if, and I begin to imagine a story where none existed. I enjoy exploring these characters and their lives, I enjoy putting just the right words together, even if I have to polish the same scene over and over to get it right. I love words and stories, and there are a million of them out there, if not more. I can’t imagine not writing.

Blurb

Wyatt Findley is an up-and-coming artist, attending a prestigious art institute in St. Louis. His mentor, Lukas Callahan, has snagged a sweet house-sitting job for him in a gorgeous home in a well-to-do part of town. Wyatt notices two men who live just across the street. They make an odd couple, since there must be a good twenty years difference between them. And yet there is something about the younger man that calls to Wyatt 

Shylor Lind has been living with Randy Grant for fifteen years, ever since Grant hired Shy’s mother as his live-in housekeeper. But five years ago, their relationship changed when Shy’s mother sold him to Grant and took the money and ran. Since then, Randy has been training Shy in how to be his submissive, dominating him in every way.  There is nothing Shy can do about the situation, and he has nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

And then Wyatt enters his life… and nothing will ever be the same, as Wyatt engages in a battle for Shy’s very soul.

The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit nokidhungry.org for more information about this organization.

Buy link

Dreamspinner https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/no-way-out-by-julie-lynn-hayes-9831-b

 

About the Author

Julie Lynn Hayes lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah, who is a grad student at the University of Illinois. She first began to write over fifty years ago, and doesn’t see that stopping anytime soon. She likes to write in different genres, to stretch herself in order to see what is possible. When someone tells her something can’t be done, she feels compelled to do it. Much of her writing is in the m/m romance category.

When she isn’t writing, or working at her day job with a third party elevator inspection company, she enjoys crafts, such as cross stitch and crochet, and watching her favorite programs. Her favorite chef is Geoffrey Zakarian, and her favorite historical character is Aaron Burr—she is obsessed with all things Hamilton!  Never say never is her motto!

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Xenia Melzer on Writing, Romance, and her new release A Dom and His Artist (Club Whisper #2) (author guest blog)

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A Dom and His Artist (Club Whisper #2) by Xenia Melzer
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Xenia Melzer here today answering questions and talking about her new release A Dom and His Artist.  Welcome, Xenia.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Xenia Melzer

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

Yes, I do have a favorite and even though I’m supposed to be promoting my new book here, the favorite is Ummana, the third in the Gods of War series. For the series, that book is a turning point plot-wise, and for me it’s important, because one of my favorite characters, Sic, finally reaches calmer waters after a tumultuous journey.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?

Actually, I had that problem with the previous book in the Club Whisper series, A Dom and His Writer. Some people complained that the way Richard behaved toward Dean after they got Emily made him a jerk, and that they couldn’t understand how anybody could act that way, and how Dean could forgive him. The problem was that I used some incidents I had experienced as a new mom to show how a baby could overthrow one’s life completely and how difficult it is to deal with all the change. So in a sense, Richard’s character – and by extension the whole situation – were too real. Though I do want to mention that other readers found this realism one of the strongest points of the book – because they could relate to the situation. The problem here (if you want to call it a problem) is, that different readers have different definitions of ‘too real’ or ‘not real enough’. I think it depends on what one expects. Personally, I, as a mother, always feel a bit mocked if having a baby is depicted as pure bliss and a walk in the park, because I know better. (Boy, do I know better…). I also can understand if other parents or people who plan to become parents, want a bit more romanticism in their stories about babies.

  • Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?   

This question relates to the previous one. Many readers hated Richard, because he reacted so negatively to baby Emily in his life. I made him act the way he did because I knew – and had experienced – that this is a perfectly normal reaction with some people. It doesn’t say anything about their character, more about their ability to adapt to change. I know a lot of people, mostly women, who have decided to not have children because they simply don’t like them. This is still not a very popular opinion for a woman to have, but it’s valid. Not everybody likes children and that’s okay. And sometimes people come around and realize having children isn’t as bad as they feared, or they don’t. For the sake of the story, Richard did come around, but the fears he had in the beginning mirror what many people think about children. Which relates back to the ‘too real’ part of the first question. I surely didn’t want to make a statement or tut the horn of how wonderful children are. That’s a very personal decision for everybody to make on their own. I just wanted to show a realistic situation, with realistic fears that are overcome by romance.

  • 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?

Funny you should mention that. When I still was a teacher, my pupils asked a lot of questions about how I write my books and how I come up with plotlines and characters. One day, they were really getting on my nerves, not concentrating at all, and I looked at them and told them I had just come up with a whole battle scene in my head, thanks to them. (They were all fifteen or older at that point and found my comment hilarious.) Of course they wanted to know who I killed how and believe it or not, that discussion turned into a very productive lesson about using writing as an outlet. They all came up with scenes of their own and we guessed what real-life situation they were referring to.

So, yes, I sometimes do work issues in RL out in my books. Sometimes I let my characters act exactly like I acted, sometimes I let them react differently, in a way I wish I had reacted. Writing never happens in a vacuum. Even if we aren’t aware, our daily lives do interfere a lot with our plots and characters.

  • 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’m a firm believer in Escapism. I do my best writing when I’m stressed because of things happening in my personal world. Writing helps me to establish a distance and look at things from a new perspective, even if what I’m writing about isn’t directly related to my real life problems. It also helps me to work through my own issues. Sometimes things get clearer once I wrote them down and let’s be honest, with the way the world is at the moment, it’s nice to escape once in a while.

As for the knowledge part… there’s a lot to be known about BDSM and my research for the sake of the Club Whisper series still leaves me blushing in front of the screen more often than not. But I will continue to sacrifice my innocence to bring my readers realistic, yet romantic stories about the wonderful world of kink 😉

Blurb

Sometimes the perfect man can be found in the most unexpected place….

 

Martin Carmichael owns a security firm and is part owner of Club Whisper. He’s a Dom in search of the right guy, and when his car breaks down on a lonely stretch of road, he thinks he might have found him.

 

Artist Collin Malloy is talented, easygoing, but somewhat insecure. Still, he has a big heart and is quick to offer help when he sees Martin in need. To thank him, Martin invites Collin to dinner, where the attraction between them becomes harder to resist.

 

But what will become of their budding relationship when Martin reveals that he likes his men bound, submissive, and in pain? Is it something Collin can accept… and possibly enjoy exploring? Even if he can, Collin has a secret of his own—a secret he doesn’t even realize he’s keeping.

About the Author

Xenia Melzer is a mother of two who enjoys riding and running when she’s not writing stories. She doesn’t like beer but is easily tempted by a Virgin Mojito. Or chocolate. Truffles are especially cherished, even though she doesn’t discriminate. As a true chocoholic, she welcomes any kind of cocoa-based delight.

Visit me at www.xeniamelzer.com or contact me at info@xeniamelzer.com

Or befriend and follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/xeniamelzer/

  

In Our High Fantasy Showcase: The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia #2) by Mason Thomas (author interview)

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The Shadow Mark (Lords of Davenia #2) by Mason Thomas
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reamspinner Press
Cover Designer: Maria Fanning

Available for Purchase from

           
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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Mason Thomas here today to talk about writing, characters and his latest release, The Shadow Mark. Welcome, Mason.
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~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interviews Mason Thomas~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

An intriguing question, and the answer isn’t easy to peg down since character development doesn’t always occur on a conscious level. It’s impossible to not put yourself into your characters to some extent since it is your own experiences that you draw from. You cannot escape your own brain, and little aspects of yourself are going to infiltrate your characters. None of my characters are ever “me” per se. They just tap into various facets of my personality.

At times, you need to be deliberate about it. To generate authentic reactions to the events in your story, you have to draw from your personal experiences and extrapolate what the feelings and responses would be. Auraq Greystone, the main character in The Shadow Mark, is the least like me in terms of personality. He’s brooding and ill-tempered, and isn’t into talking about his feelings. This made him a challenge to write—in a good way. I had to dig deep into some dark history at times to channel him properly.

I will say there are times however that a character comes onto the scene and I have no idea where he or she came from. They arrive fully formed and announce who they are with utter certainty. It’s as if they’ve already received an early draft and are merely showing up to perform their part, and I’m only there to record them in the scene. I’ve even tried to direct them, and say, no I’d like you to be more “this.”  They grin back at me, and then do what they’re going to do anyway, whether I like it or not.


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?

You have to be mindful of that line, certainly. I’m very intentional when creating a character not use myself as a template. Like I said in the previous question, you can’t escape your thoughts and your own experiences, but characters also take on their own distinct traits and personalities through the writing process. They evolve their own identities, and you cannot fight against that.  You are not the character—you are only channeling them, recording their words and actions.

You also have to embrace the weaknesses and negative qualities of your characters. It’s good if your main character makes a mistake, or says the wrong thing, or makes a mess of something. Readers have to see that a character can fail. There’s a looming fear that bad behavior will make your character unlikeable, but what it can do is makes them believable—and if the reason behind the bad behavior fits their history or circumstances, it makes them sympathetic too.

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

I enjoy the world building aspect of writing speculative fiction. I like the “sandbox” nature of being able to construct the world and establish the rules that exist within it.  I pull from real world events, cultures and experiences, but since the world is of your own design, there isn’t a danger of getting the facts wrong. You just have to make certain that your world make sense, and you don’t break your own rules. This means that much my research is for generating ideas.

Sadly, I cannot escape real research, however. Do I enjoy it? No. But it’s a necessary evil. Smaller details—like how a barrel is constructed, or how a mill works to grind flour—have to be right. A detail you’ve gotten wrong is an insipid little imp that can easily escape your notice if you’re not careful, and it can turn your reader against you if they catch it. Combat is the area that I probably invested the most time researching a topic. I’ve even taken longsword classes to learn how to move, and how the body feels and reacts during combat. That was my favorite kind of research. If you’ve never taken a sword-fighting class, it’s seriously fun and I recommend it for everyone.

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

The irony is I wasn’t always a great reader as a kid. I have a slow reading speed, and being ADHD, I had a difficult time remaining focused long enough on a book to finish it. I lost interest very easily. The very first novel I read on my own from cover to cover was The Hobbit. I was in sixth grade. I was instantly hooked. Something about the escapism of fantasy (and science fiction as well) and the notion of a completely different world, connected with my overactive brain and dynamic inner life like nothing ever had before. I’ve been obsessed with speculative fiction ever since.   

Today, I write the stories I wish had existed when I was growing up—fantasy adventures with gay heroes.

 

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?

More the opposite. I use my own emotional connection to a story as a barometer. If I’m not feeling emotional as I write it, then it’s not connecting for some reason and I have to shelf it until I figure out what it’s missing. I’ve not yet reached a topic that cut too deeply, as it were, that it forced me to put it aside.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

This entirely depends on the story being told and the characters that occupy it.

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

I tend to not pick up novels that identify as “romance” alone. I choose the ones that overlap into speculative fiction. For me, as both a writer and a reader, I like it when the love story exists along with a larger context, and the two work in concert. The speculative elements shouldn’t be just a backdrop for the romance, but play a part in bringing the people together.  And speculative stories without a romance feel incomplete. The romance brings an authenticity to the story because connecting with others is a part of life that shouldn’t be ignored.

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

Hard to narrow this one down. I’ve been influenced by so many amazing writers over the years. Tolkien, of course, since he was my first introduction to speculative fiction. Anne McCaffrey, Brain Jacques, Piers Anthony and Stephen King to name a few more. Each of these authors has a magic about them that I’ve always revered—the ability to pull me so completely into their world. However, my primary influence as a writer has been Isaac Asimov, a writer from the golden age of science fiction. He was incredibly prolific, writing five-hundred books in his lifetime—but still took the time to type a personalized note to a thirteen-year-old fan boy who wrote him a letter with a pointless and annoying question. Twice.  I’ve always thought that was incredibly gracious of him. I have always been drawn to his intellect, and his humor, and his devotion to his craft. Many of his quotes are on my favorites list, but one quote has had a great impact on me as a writer: “I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be clear.”

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

Choosing a cover is terribly difficult and stressful for me. I want it to emote the tone of the book, I want it to be visually striking, and I want it to be sexy. I also want it to be original and stand out. That’s a lot of boxes I need it check off. I perseverate on the tiniest details, because once I’ve chosen the cover, it is forever connected to that work. I’m sure I drive the artist a little insane. Can you change the font? Can you move my name up just a little? Can you bring a little more color into it? I applaud their patience. 

The cover of The Shadow Mark, which was designed by Maria Fanning, is astounding and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It has everything I wanted. I think it exudes the strength of my main character, Auraq Greystone, it has a compelling look that draws you in, and it connects well to my previous cover as well.

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

Short answer—no.  They are all deeply personal to me for different reasons, and to select one over another is impossible. If I’m not fully drawn in to my own story, I’m not compelled to write it and it doesn’t get finished. My favorite project tends to be the one I’m currently working on.

What’s next for you as an author?

Juggling quite a few projects right now. I’ve recently finished a new young adult fantasy novel that I’ve very excited about. It’s the first in what I hope to be a series, with multiple young LGBTQ characters. My goal for this was to create a world where the LGBTQ characters are admired and respected, and are the heroes of the kingdom.  I’m in the process of editing it now, and hope to send it out this summer. I’m writing another romance/fantasy that takes place in a different world than the Lords of Davenia series. I’m also in the planning stages of creating a sequel for Lord Mouse.

Blurb

Auraq Greystone, once a military officer with a promising future, exists on the fringe of society. Accused of murder, Auraq is on the run from the ax—until two fugitives crash into his solitary life. One is a young man named Kane. The glowing marks on his arm pulse with an otherworldly power, and they have made him the target of a sinister organization called the Order of the Jackal. When the old man protecting Kane dies in an ambush, Auraq swears an oath to take his place.

But the runes are far more significant than they realize. They are a message from the shadow realm, a dark memory of the past—one holding evidence of a bloody massacre and its savage architect; one that will shake the kingdom to its foundation. Risking arrest and execution, Auraq fights to get Kane to the capital city where the cryptic marking can be unlocked.  And with assassins close on their trail, Auraq might never get the chance to show Kane what’s in his heart—or the way their journey together has changed him.

The Shadow Mark is an epic tale of magic, murder, conspiracy, betrayal, and—for the two men tasked with unraveling the mystery—love and redemption.

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Mason Thomas AUTHOR BIO:

Mason Thomas began his writing journey at the age of thirteen when his personal hero, Isaac Asimov, took the time to respond to a letter he wrote him. He’s been writing stories ever since. Today he is ecstatic and grateful that there is a place at the speculative table for stories with strong gay protagonists.


Mason, by all accounts, is still a nerdy teenager, although his hairline and waistline indicate otherwise. When his fingers are not pounding furiously at a keyboard, they can usually be found holding a video-game controller, plucking away at an electric guitar, or shaking a twenty-sided die during a role-playing game. Mason will take any opportunity to play dress-up, whether through cosplay, Halloween, or a visit to a Renaissance Faire. He pays the bills by daring middle school students to actually like school and encouraging them to make a mess in his science classroom. He lives in Chicago with his endlessly patient husband, who has tolerated his geeky nonsense for nearly two decades, and two unruly cats who graciously allow Mason and his husband to share the same space with them.

 
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In the Spotlight: Bonnie Dee on The Mighty Have Fallen (guest blog, exclusive excerpt)

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The Mighty Have Fallen by Bonnie Dee
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Here are the links for The Mighty Have Fallen. Bonnie Dee doesn’t have one for Itunes yet.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Bonnie Dee here today as she shares a little about herself and her upcoming release, The Mighty Have Fallen.  Welcome, Bonnie.

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I’m glad to be here at Scattered Thoughts blog to share a little about myself and my upcoming release. I’m Bonnie Dee. Some readers of this blog might know me as half of the writing team of Devon and Dee. Alone and with my co-author, I’ve written a number of gay historical romance novels. The pattern of those stories, although set in different locations and time periods, were becoming too familiar so I decided to take a break and write a contemporary. The mode of speech is quite different. I had to correct myself when I’d slip into the cadence and formality of an earlier time. Writing in modern parlance was a really nice change of pace.

Although I have written a couple of contemporaries in the past, The Mighty Have Fallen is my first one in quite a while. It was particularly rewarding because Dreamspinner Press included my story in the launch of their new Perchance to Dream line, which is written from a UK perspective. My UK editor helped me with expressions, customs and general Britifying of the manuscript, particularly Jack’s heavy East End accent.

Of course the sorts of difficulties historically faced by gay men were much more immediate and dire than the problems posed in modern romances. The possibility of jail time and social disgrace add a heightened element of danger to historicals. Still, I gave my protagonist Trevor plenty to overcome as he loses his sight, fame, money and lover all at once and has to discover his will to go on.

The perfect counterpart to this devastated and justifiably moody man is Jack Burrows, a hard-working East Ender with an easy-going temperament. When the two men become flat mates, Jack prods Trevor out of his gloom and back into life by suggesting his days on the stage don’t have to be over. As Trevor prepares to perform a one-night-only act at a local drag club, the men grow closer, moving from lust to love.

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More about The Mighty Have Fallen

Theatre headliner Trevor Rowland is at the peak of his career when disaster strikes. In one fell swoop, he loses his eyesight, his fame, and his boyfriend, who absconds with most of his money. Trevor must take on a flatmate, hardworking East Ender Jack Burrows, to afford the rent. Anger and bitterness have taken up residence in his heart—but Jack shines light into the shadowy corners with his relentlessly sunny disposition.

Jack introduces Trevor to a local drag club and convinces him he can enjoy the stage again. Trevor’s defences slowly come down as Jack becomes much more than a barely tolerated roommate.

But will Trevor’s fragile trust be destroyed when it appears he’s been manipulated yet again by a man he’s come to care for? Will he reclaim his life or crawl back into a shell of defeat? Trevor must learn to trust not only a man, but himself, once more.

 

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from The Mighty Have Fallen.

While his body responded to Jack’s masterful kisses and touches, part of Trevor’s brain kept replaying his words: I’ve wanted to do this for a while now. That meant during the little over a month they’d roomed together, Jack had watched Trevor. He’d thought about him, maybe fantasized touching or kissing him, without ever letting on.

Imagining Jack silently watching and desiring him felt good, but it was also rather disconcerting. He could no longer read the visual cues that would have told him of Jack’s attraction. Heated looks and body language weren’t signalled through a voice.

The taxi ride ended and Jack pulled away, leaving Trevor’s lips bruised and his brain whirling. Jack paid and tipped the driver, who thanked him in a foreign accent Trevor couldn’t identify, and they got out of the car. He wondered if the driver had been disgusted by their canoodling, but he supposed the man had witnessed lovers who’d gone much further.

Slammin’ in the back seat. A phrase from some song he couldn’t recall played in Trevor’s head.

Jack grabbed his hand, dragged him into the flat, and shut the door behind them. What had started on the pavement and carried on feverishly in the back of the taxi came to a frantic, fumbling head there.

“Should we—?”

Jack cut off his words with a kiss and clasped the back of Trevor’s neck, holding him steady while he devoured his mouth. Trevor dropped his cane with a clatter on the hall floor. After backing him against the door, Jack pinned him there, chest to chest, groin to groin, erection rubbing against erection, only a little denim and cotton between them. When their clothes came off, there would be warm, satin flesh to stroke and slide against. No use pretending they’d stop at a little kissing and then go to their separate rooms.

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About the Author

You can learn more about me, Bonnie Dee, and my back list of many romance books at http://bonniedee.com. Find me on FB at Bonnie Dee Author or Bonnie Dee. My Twitter handle is @Bonnie_Dee. I’m not the most active social media person but I turn up occasionally. Most importantly, please take a moment to sign up for my newsletter to learn of upcoming releases. Newsletter signup form