Tour for An Unlocked Mind (Secrets #2) by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams (Author Interview, Teasers, and Giveaway)

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Title: An Unlocked Mind
Series: Secrets Book #2
Author: K.C. Wells & Parker Williams
Genre: M/M Romance Light BDSM

Release Date: December 11, 2017 

Scattered  Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

  • As you write as a team, what happens with a story?  Does one of you come up with an idea or both?

We each come up with story ideas, then we run them by our betas to see which gets their thumbs up. In our current series, we ran eight ideas by them. Five got a green light, so those are the ones we’ll concentrate on first.

  • With sequels, do you already know where the series is going (plotting it out) or pantzing it?  You throw ideas at each other and see what happens?

KC is an epic plotter. I’m a pantser. We mesh our styles by doing a little of each. In this series, it’s more pantsing, but there are plotting elements as well, since the stories do interconnect.

  • Bdsm is a reoccurring theme/element in many of your stories….why?  Other than you find it sexy of course….

Well, finding it sexy is definitely a plus. But there’s also the stories where the men take care of one another. At the core, our stories are more love with a little BDSM. And yeah, it’s sexy.

  • Did each of you write a character here or is it a combined effort?

Definitely a combined effort. As the stories take place in London, KC is the one who has the say in what we do/don’t do. I trust her judgment and let her lead where we’re going to go with it.

  • What are your favorite things about this story?

Mine personally? Rob. I have wanted a story for him ever since I read An Unlocked Heart. At his core, Rob was mean and sneaky and…vulnerable. I saw flaws in him. When we started Secrets, KC said we could do a story for him, and I was all over that!

  • What grabs at your hearts about your own characters?  What “human flaws” do you find the hardest to write about and the easiest?  If there is such a thing.

No one liked Rob. He didn’t deserve it. We like taking a person who seemingly had no redeemable qualities and making him into something that people didn’t expect. One blogger who reviewed it said she hated Rob going in, and it took her a long time to change her mind. We love our flawed characters, because there is so much of a chance to build them back up.

  • What’s next in the series?

The next book in the series, Threepeat, will be something I’ve never done before. It’s a ménage story, with two Doms who take in a young man they found on the streets. Aaron and Sam show up in books one and two, and now it’s their turn to get a story. Tim, the guy Aaron finds on the street, will fall in love with them before he finds out that there used to be three men in the relationship…

The really weird thing about this book? We both had the same idea for it…on the same day. No, really… And when you know that Parker doesn’t write ménage, that makes it all the weirder…

  • What’s next for each of you as writers?

I submitted a book called ‘Lincoln’s Park’ to Dreamspinner. It’s about a guy who owns a diner and the guy he hires as a server. It starts out as business, but becomes something more, thanks to the machinations of their friend. This one also has light BDSM elements, but they should be fun. (Think Noel wearing a sex toy while he’s working…)

And KC submitted her first ever murder mystery, Truth Will Out. We’re both waiting to hear!

Rob Daniels is determined to prove to himself that his brother Alex got it wrong. Alex believes he found love through BDSM; Rob is certain that’s not possible. He even makes several visits to a London club to prove his point. But when he attends the grand opening of Secrets, Rob gets a shock, one that has him fleeing, vowing never to return—until he does… and runs into the brick wall that is Dom Vic Prentiss. As first meetings go, theirs is a disaster.

The more time he spends around Rob, the more convinced Vic becomes of two things—one, something is eating away at Rob, and two, he’s looking for something. Every instinct tells Vic to help him, but trying to unlock the secrets hidden in Rob’s mind requires a key. All Vic has to do is find it. Because maybe then he’ll get to see the real Rob, the man who’s scared to let go….

 

K.C. Wells started writing in 2012, although the idea of writing a novel had been in her head since she was a child. But after reading that first gay romance in 2009, she was hooked.

She now writes full time, and the line of men in her head, clamouring to tell their story, is getting longer and longer. If the frequent visits by plot bunnies are anything to go by, that’s not about to change anytime soon.

Parker Williams believes that true love exists, but it always comes with a price. No happily ever after can ever be had without work, sweat, and tears that come with melding lives together.


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S.A. Stovall on Writing Influences, Characters Traits and her story ‘Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven #2) (guest blog)

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Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven #2) by S.A. Stovall
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press  and Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.A. Stovall here today.  Welcome, S.A., and thanks for answering our author questions!

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with S.A. Stovall

 

Hello Internet! It’s me, SA Stovall, here to have an interview with the great STaRW team! Happy holidays, and remember to check out my romantic Christmas novella, Thirty-One Days and Legos!

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

I’m not sure what you mean by “wild” but if that means “craziest thing” then I once wrote a scene were a girl cuts her own heart out with a jagged dagger. It was a high fantasy novel, and the girl was immortal (so she wasn’t killing herself) but the pain was real, and the symbology was great.

I’m a lover of adventure and epic moments, so I could list a million instances, but that one still takes the cake as the wildest.

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

Two people played a major role in influences me as teenager: Stephen King and Robert A. Heinlein. I loved that Stephen King wrote in so many genres and with so many characters. My favorite parts of stories are the characters themselves, and while King seems to have a stock of similar character architypes that shows up in most of his books, I still love them all.

Heinlein, on the other hand, explored Mars and beyond, widening my imagination to places beyond Earth. He wove philosophy perfectly into his narrative, and I loved every instance. His characters were also very compelling—Jubal Hershaw is still my favorite.

I want to write memorable characters, like both King and Heinlein. I also want to write in every genre, and explore places far beyond Earth, be it fantasy or Alpha Centauri.

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

I find self-control, intelligence, and honor to be interesting traits. And I write them all the time into my characters! I love subplots of people trying to rein in bad habits (or their temper), and intelligent characters are among my favorite (Jubal Hershaw is a super genius lawyer, basically).

I know honorable characters aren’t always people’s favorite, but I think it takes a lot of stones to know what’s right and stick to it, even if it’s to their detriment. I admire that trait, so a lot of heroes are honorable people.

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, several times. My latest novel, about a space mercenary, basically, was put on hold for quite some time. At first I thought I’d never get it to work, but now that it flows, I couldn’t be happier with it.

I’m sure you’ll see it sometime in the future! Stay tuned!

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?

A lot of scenes and character interactions that happen in my novels have taken place in real life. I’ve had relationships, some unconventional, and I’ve lived in both terrible poverty and comfortable environments. I like rehashing some of the feelings I had in those moments—finding the right words is almost cathartic. Some memories are painful, but they help me write the scene from a genuine place.

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

Yes. Like I said, I read a lot of King and Heinlein, but I also remember the things I looked for when I was searching for books. I try to appease Teenage-Me when I pick plots and characters for books. “What would I want to read?” I ask. It’s helped out in more ways than one. More adventure! More memorable characters! More romance! More rivalries!

Great stuff.

What’s next for you as an author?

Thirty-One Days and Legos (a feel-good Christmas novella) released Dec. 11 and it’s the sequel to Ranger Station Haven! After that, I have Vice Enforcer, sequel to Vice City (my debut novel) and its more action-adventure with some m/m romance! Vice Enforcer releases April 3rd – I enjoyed writing both of them, so I’m super excited to share them with the world.

Keep an eye out for my next few stories! I hope to keep them coming throughout the years!

 

Blurb for Thirty-One Days and Legos

Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.

Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.

But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how….

About the Author

S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.

You can contact her at the following addresses.

Twitter: @GameOverStation

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

Blog tour for The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories #2) by Joe Cosentino (guest post and excerpt)

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The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories #2)
by Joe Cosentino
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Sales Links: Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Joe Cosentino back again with his new holiday release, The Perfect Gift.  Welcome, Joe!

✒︎

Don’t you love holiday romance stories? Since the December holidays are such a magical time of year, I adore MM romances that include elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. So, I wrote one! Let’s backtrack a minute.

As some of you probably remember, I wrote a holiday short novella loosely based on my trip to the magical and gorgeous island of Capri: A Home for the Holidays. Bobby, a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays meets his quaint Italian relatives, and falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo. Readers (and listeners to the audiobook performed by the talented Joel Leslie) loved Bobby and Paolo. They were also enamored with the gorgeous and romantic Island of Capri. However, since the story ends with Bobby and Paolo coming back to Bobby’s home in Pennsylvania, readers wanted to find out their fate as a couple. They also wanted Bobby and Paolo to experience the December holidays in the USA. The Perfect Gift, the second Bobby and Paolo Holiday story, was born.

The two-part novella begins a year after A Home for the Holiday ends. In “December Grooms,” Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding. A year later in “An Unexpected Present,” since it’s again Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in their area. They also exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo?

I hope you all read and enjoy my romantic holiday novella. I also hope you get everything you want for Christmas—and something you didn’t know you needed. Here’s my special holiday gift to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love. Happy Holidays!

THE PERFECT GIFT (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)

by JOE COSENTINO

published by Dreamspinner Press, e-book $4.99

Back in America after finding A Home for the Holidays and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

What Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words said about A Home for the Holidays, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Book 1:

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Excerpt of The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)

A few minutes later, Paolo and I sat across from each other at our cherry dining room table. The scent of Italian cheeses, garlic, olive oil, mushrooms, spinach, and chicken filled the room. Between bites, Paolo asked, “What is it that you wanted to ask me?” The candlelight from our antique brass candleholders made him look incredibly sexy. He didn’t need much help.

I took in a deep breath. Though I had rehearsed my speech a hundred times over the last few months, what came out was, “I bought lemon gelato for dessert.”

He blew me a kiss. I caught it and placed it over my heart. Ready for take two, I took a sip of my herbal tea in a failed attempt at moistening my bone-dry throat. “Paolo, we’ve been living together for almost a year now.”

“Are you tired of me already?” He winked at me.

I slid to the edge of my seat. “During that time, have you… did you ever think about….”

He swallowed his food. “Bobby, I told you before. I look at other men. But you are the only one I want.”

“And you’re the only one I want.”

“Then it is a good thing we live together.” He continued eating.

“Do you miss your life in the villa with your family in Capri?”

“Not when I am with you. Don’t worry; we will never end up like Edgar and everyone else getting a divorce.”

“Why not?”

“Because we do not need a piece of paper to validate our love.”

The lawyer in me surfaced. “That piece of paper would enable us to make healthcare decisions for each other in emergency situations, and to protect our wills from a family member who might want to contest them.”

 

About the Author

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Amy Lane on The Holiday Crafter’s Blues, and her release Regret Me Not (author guest blog and excerpt)

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Regret Me Not by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art: Reese Dante

Buy Links:Dreamspinner PressAmazon  | Kobo iBooks  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amy Lane here talking about the holiday crafter’s blue and her new release Regret Me Not.  Welcome, Amy!

✒︎

The Holiday Crafter’s Blues

By Amy Lane

One of my first blogging idols was The Yarn Harlot, and she was one of the first people I know who put a name to this.

She called it IT.

As in, IT starts in September, if you’re lucky. For some people, the chosen few, IT starts in June.

Took me a few blogs to figure out what she was talking about, but when I did… oh, it hit me hard.

I’ve been a part of IT.

IT of course is the misbegotten idea that, hey! I can craft! I can knit/crochet/cross-stitch/quilt/sew! I shall make something for EVERY family member for EVERY holiday, and I will be known as the knitting/crocheting/crafting cousin/aunt/mother and nobody will ever be able to doubt my place in the holidays again!

Before any of you get any ideas about this, IT can only end in tears.

And terrible, terrible guilt on all sides.

I used to try to craft toys/clothes/whathaveyou for the kids, as well as knit or crochet something for all the members of my family every year. I would start in August, work feverishly for months, and still end up, shotgunning Supernatural for three nights straight while living on coffee and Christmas cookies so I could sustain the holiday pace needed to frolic with four children through on until blissful, peaceful December 26th.

The day we traditionally sit in the rubble of wrapping paper, play with our gifts and sleep like the dead.

One Christmas, I was really into it. I made the little kids these ADORABLE mittens, and my aunts and mom all got these really cool “Impossible yarn” wraps (easiest thing in the world involving Lion Brand Homespun and Dead Muppet of Your Choice—people loved them!) and there were hats and fingerless mitts in between.

I was into it, yes, but late. So late. So late that when Mate took three of the four kids into my aunt’s house to start the revels, I opted to finish a shawl in the minivan while ZoomBoy finished his nap. (It was a rule back then—let sleeping ZoomBoys lie. In fact, we have lots and lots of pictures on the blog of that kid asleep while dangling upside down from six different furniture items, because that’s just where he decided to nap.)

But oh, it would be worth it, I thought. Because I had done my filial duty, and I had showered all of my relatives with love and they would love me and they would appreciate me and they would…

Forget my gift at the gift exchange?

Well, apparently grandma had drawn my name, and she was right at that place where she went from Machiavellian manipulator of family (as are all good Italian grandmothers) to slightly confused elderly woman—and we were not ready for that. Grandma always dealt with her Christmas duties using grace and aplomb.

Except this time when she forgot her exchange gift, and I was the exhausted, addled recipient.

Who, embarrassingly enough couldn’t stop crying.

Yes, I know. It was stupid. I still maintain I didn’t do all that work for a great gift back—it’s not what I was thinking as I was working on stuff, and it’s not how I give gifts now. (Okay—when I was younger, yes, but sometime around the third kid I finally grew the hell up.)

But something about, oh, I don’t know, not sleeping for several weeks and stressing out over the deadline and, you know, four kids, full time job, writing…

Just caught up to me. I spent about an hour feeling like an idiot and trying to explain to everyone that I really wasn’t that fragile a snowflake while falling apart. My aunt ran and grabbed one of her presents—a very pretty green scarf that I still have today—and gave it to me, hoping I would calm down.

I did eventually—and I mean “calm down” in the broadest sense of the phrase. I stopped trying to make everybody all the things—in fact, I started making myself some as well. And I stopped trying to make them by a deadline. Now I just make them and send them to the recipient when they are done. Because a gift from the heart doesn’t have a deadline and it doesn’t have an obligation attached and it doesn’t have expectation of reciprocation.

It’s one of the crafter’s most important lessons.

It’s one of the gift giver’s most important lessons.

And it’s what I wanted for my boys, Pierce and Hal. That they give gifts from the heart. That what they say they mean. And that, if they love each other, their gifts don’t come from obligation, they come from wanting to see the other person happy, the end.

It’s one of my favorite holiday feelings – and it’s a lot harder to achieve than the perfect pair of mittens. 

Blurb

Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.

Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.

As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.

Excerpt

The Morning After….

 

THE EVER-PRESENT shush of the sea echoed in his ears. Even before he was awake, Pierce Atwater knew that sound had haunted him in his dreams.

He yawned and stretched, the familiar aches of healing injuries pulling at his skin and muscles and the unfamiliar ache in his backside waking him up fully. Oh, hey. It had been a while since that happened.

With a heave, Pierce sat up entirely, getting his bearings. The beach house he’d lived in since Thanksgiving glowed as bright and gold as he remembered—too beautiful. Almost pristine.

His body, on the other hand—that felt well-used.

He turned and looked at the bed he’d just vacated, noting that it was rumpled and sex stained; lovemaking and sweat permeated the room.

Oh wow. Oh damn. What had he done?

A piece of paper—the ripped-off corner of a brown grocery bag—caught his attention on the other pillow of the king-sized bed.

 

Please don’t leave without saying goodbye—

 

—H

 

Pierce stared at the note, only marginally prepared for the giant ache that bloomed in his chest.

Aw, Hal—you deserve so very much more.

He looked around the room again, eyes falling on the clock radio. He was supposed to leave in an hour—he’d told his sister specifically that he’d be in Orlando by lunch so he could bake cookies with her kids.

He looked at the note again and tried hard to breathe.

 

 

 

The Month Before

 

“SO YOU have the Lyft app, right?”

“Yeah, Sasha—don’t worry about me, okay?” Pierce regarded his younger sister fondly. She was made to be a mother—even if she came into being one a little young.

Sasha bit her lip, trying not to argue. She’d been such a sweet kid growing up—never saying boo to either of their rather domineering parents. She’d gotten pregnant right out of high school, and even though Marshall had stepped up and married her and they’d both managed to get their degrees, their parents… well, they’d never let Sasha live down what a disappointment she’d been. Or—their words—what a slut either.

Pierce had hated them long before Sasha got pregnant, but the way they’d tried to destroy her for a simple human failing had sort of sealed the deal.

But parenthood had made Sasha—and Marshall—a great deal stronger than they’d been as feckless teenagers, and while Sasha wouldn’t argue with her beloved older brother, she would discuss things she disagreed with.

“Pierce, you almost died,” she said quietly, her thin face suddenly lost in the pallor of anxiety and the cloud of fine dark hair she could never keep back in a ponytail. “I mean… I refuse to see Mom and Dad over the holidays because they’re just… just….”

“Awful,” he supplied with feeling. Yeah. He’d resolved not to put up with awful anymore.

“Toxic,” she agreed, leaning back against her aging SUV. Darius and Abigail were sleeping in the back seat after playing out in the surf under Pierce’s supervision while Marshall and Sasha moved Pierce into the condo. Pierce had worried—he couldn’t move very well without the cane these days, and what did he know about kids and water?

But mostly what they’d wanted to do was run away from the waves and collect shells, and the one time Abigail had been knocked on her ass into the surf, Pierce had bent down and picked her up by the hand before the pain even registered.

The move had hurt—but it had given him some hope. His doctors kept assuring him that he could get most of his mobility back if he kept active and remembered his aqua regimen. Picking Abigail up and reassuring her that Uncle Pierce wouldn’t let her drown gave him some confidence that his body might someday be back up to par. And the condo had a pool, which was why he’d taken his best friend Derrick’s offer to let him use it over the winter months while Pierce got his life together. Pierce was definitely in a position to follow his doctor’s advice.

So now, looking at his sister and thinking about how much self-assurance she’d had to grow to push a little into Pierce’s state of mind, he couldn’t be mad at her.

And he had to be honest.

“I’ll be grumpy and pissed off and bitter,” he said, letting his mouth twist into a scowl of disdain for the land of the living. He’d been fighting it off since Sasha picked him up at the airport. “It’s a good thing you made me get the car app, because seriously, I may have let myself starve to death. As it is, the groceries are going to keep me going for a good long time.”

Sasha’s eyes grew big and bright, and he took her hand and squeezed.

“Don’t worry, sweetie. None of it is your fault. You would have let me stay at your place forever, and I was getting in your way. This is good. I’ll hang out here, find a little peace, and when I go back to Orlando, I’ll be up for getting my own apartment and getting out of your hair, okay?”

“I’d never kick you out, Pierce,” she said miserably. “You know that.” She wiped the back of her hand across her big brown eyes. “You just… you got out of the hospital and—”

“And I was an awful fucking bastard,” he said with feeling. Oh God. The defining moment for calling up Derrick to take him up on his offer was when he’d heard his father’s words coming out of his mouth, telling his sister she was useless because she couldn’t help him off the couch without pain. “Sasha, you deserve better than me. You deserve better, period. I’m not going to hang around you and get in your way again until I’m decent company for human beings, okay?”

Sasha shook her head, still crying. “You were in pain,” she whispered. “And you were sorry right after. And you’ve done so much for me, Pierce. I can forgive you for being mean once when you did so much for me….”

He remembered the night she’d shown up at his apartment, in tears, practically hysterical, because she’d told the parents about an impending Darius and had been read the riot act about what a fuckup she was.

He’d taken her in—let her stay with him for a couple of months until she and Marshall scraped up enough money for rent and a car. She’d gotten a job, and Pierce had paid her tuition as she made her way through school. She had a career now—one she could work from home as a developmental editor of a small press. Marshall had his degree in software engineering, and together they made a good living—good enough to afford a guest bedroom and to put Pierce up for a month after the accident.

Pierce squeezed her hand now. “You listen to me,” he said gruffly. “You don’t owe me a thing. You’re the only family I want to see—pretty much ever. So just let me work shit out in my own head, and I’ll come back for Christmas a whole new man, okay?”

“I like the one you are right now!” she said staunchly, and then she threw herself in his arms and held on tight. “Love you, big brother,” she whispered, and Marshall stood behind her, guiding her away.

“Love you too,” he said belatedly, and Marshall turned and shook his hand firmly.

“Come back when you promised, okay?” Marshall was just as slight as Sasha—two small, mild-mannered people getting along in a bright, brash world. Pierce had always fancied himself their champion knight—he couldn’t be that as he was.

He had to make himself better.

“Christmas Eve,” Pierce vowed. “Don’t worry, Marshall. Nobody likes being alone on Christmas.”

Marshall shrugged. “We wouldn’t be alone, Pierce. We just don’t want you to be.”

With that, the guy Pierce and Sasha’s parents had driven off their property with a baseball bat guided a disconsolate Sasha into the old vehicle and piloted it away.

As soon as they’d left the parking lot, Pierce allowed his shoulders to sag and dragged his sorry ass to the back door of the condo.

He crawled into bed and stayed there until he absolutely had to get up and pee the next morning.

 

 

STAYING IN bed for sixteen hours had consequences—he almost didn’t make it to the bathroom, he was so sore. After he’d taken care of business and washed down a granola bar, he realized he was going to have to be serious about that pool thing, or he really could end up curling into a ball and dying in a beach condo in Florida.

For a moment he contemplated it—he’d always been the kind of guy to consider all the angles—but eventually he decided he wouldn’t go quickly enough and managed a pair of board shorts and a T-shirt. As he walked through the tiled hall of the condo, he realized the tile was going to destroy his body almost as quickly as the inactivity, and made a mental note to buy some rubber mats at the very least, so he’d have some padding for his joints. Derrick had said to make himself at home—ergonomic home decorating was a go!

Just as soon as he got into the… ahhh… pool.

Heated, of course, and a perfect counterpoint to a cool day in the high fifties/low sixties. He’d set his phone on a lounge chair, playing something disgustingly upbeat and perky, and went about doing the exercises he and his physical therapist had worked on.

Actual physical motor activity really did have magical properties—it must have. He was working up a head of steam, the resistance and buoyancy of the water supporting his body as he used active stretching techniques, when a voice cut into his workout Zen.

“If you don’t straighten your back, you’ll be in a world of hurt!”

Crap. Whoever that was, he was right.

Pierce adjusted his form and then looked over his right shoulder, from whence the voice—deep and sharp and young—had issued.

“Thanks,” he said briefly, taking in the sprawled form of what looked to be a teenager wearing board shorts, a leopard-print bathrobe, and giant aviator sunglasses, lounging in one of the chaises. Dark hair, faintly sun streaked, was cut almost Boy Scout short around an adorable frat boy face. His hands were sort of a mess, loosely wrapped in gauze, but other than that, he was as untouched as a virgin’s dreams.

“Dude, what in the hell are you listening to? This shit.” The boy shuddered. “I’m saying. I bet you could work up a sweat if you had decent music.”

“It’s a mix,” Pierce said weakly, feeling old and slow. “I just hit an easy button, you kn—”

“I’ll get you a better sound,” the kid said, picking up the phone. “What’s your password?”

Pierce gave it to him and then stopped dead in the water and almost drowned. He was in the deep end, and he had to work to stay afloat and—

“Don’t spaz,” the kid said on a note of deep disgust. “My phone’s in the condo, and I could give a shit about your passwords. Jesus, if I was a hacker genius, I’d be someplace warm, you think?”

Pierce took a deep breath, and suddenly Katy Perry came blaring out of his phone. Well, okay, so everybody had heard this song; it did make him want to work harder. Pierce was calling it a win.

“Thanks,” he said again, panting now because he was moving faster.

The kid shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. You gonna be here tomorrow?”

“Yeah, but—”

“Same time?”

“Yeah.” ’Cause why not. Nothing better to do, right? No job, no wife, no life?

“Good. I’ll see you here with better music. Now stop doing that water walk thing and do a mountain climber—come on—I know you can.”

Pierce glared at him—and switched the move.

“There you go. Now follow my pace. You can go faster.” The kid started clapping, and Pierce struggled to keep up.

“I can’t… do… that…,” he gasped. He expected attitude back, because the kid had given him nothing but, and he was surprised when the clapping slowed.

“Sorry. You just look younger than this pace.”

Pierce had his back to the kid, but he had the sensation of a thorough visual once-over. He adjusted to the new pace and found his wind again. “Car accident,” he managed, trying not to be offended.

“Aw… aw hell. I’m sorry. I’m being an ass. I should just leave you to your workout.”

“No,” Pierce called out, stopping to tread water and cool down enough to talk. “Sorry—just… I was getting a workout. I suck doing this alone.” He kept his arms and legs moving and found the kid on the side of the pool again—he’d moved from where Pierce had first spotted him to stand right in front of the line Pierce was using to go back and forth.

“Yeah, well, being alone sort of sucks on all fronts,” the kid said philosophically. “I’ll try not to be an ass if you try to do a hard workout, how’s that?”

Pierce found himself nodding, even though he’d only come out to the pool out of what he deemed necessity. “Deal,” he panted.

“Okay, now back to mountain climbers. I’ll set the pace, and if it’s too fast, cry uncle.”

“Groovy,” Pierce breathed, positioning himself to go. “Now shoot.”

The kid put him through a decently difficult workout, adjusting for the things Pierce couldn’t do yet and pushing him hard in the stuff he could. After forty-five minutes, Pierce was starting to cramp up, though, and the kid had him stretch out.

Good stuff, really—the blue freedom of the water, the structure of the workout, and the congeniality of dealing with another human being without bitterness or backstory served as sort of a purge—some of the self-pity Pierce had wallowed in for the past sixteen hours was rinsed away.

But not all of it.

He was getting out of the pool when the damage in his calf and thigh screamed protest, and he groaned and grabbed on to the rail. The kid was right there, though, stepping into the water regardless of his pricey flip-flops and the hem of his leopard-print bathrobe.

“Uh-oh—overdid it. C’mon, let me help you to the hot tub. I’ll give you a rubdown, okay?”

“No,” Pierce grunted, suddenly aware of this kid. Lean and narrow but defined practically by muscle group, his body was a work of art, and Pierce didn’t even know if he was of age. And even if he was of age, he was too damned young for Pierce.

“No hot tub?” the kid asked sharply. “Or no gay guy touching you?”

Pierce’s face heated. “No hot teenager touching me?” he mumbled, limping toward the steamy goodness of the little spa and trying not to lean too much into the kid’s strong arms.

The youngster’s throaty chuckle didn’t reassure him in the least. “I’m twenty-three, old man, so cool your jets. Besides, I’m”—his voice dropped sadly, and the suddenly vulnerable look on his frat boy face made him look even younger—“well, I’d like to become a massage therapist, but I’ve only got half the coursework and hours done. Seriously, though, I’m halfway a professional, and I’m pretty good, so maybe let me work out the cramp in your leg?” He smiled winningly and used his free hand to lift his shades so he could bat a pair of admittedly limpid and arresting amber-brown eyes. “After all, I did work you over pretty hard.”

Pierce rolled his eyes at the double entendre, but as he reached for the rail of the hot tub, he had to concede that having his leg worked on would make the whole working-out thing feel like less of a mistake.

“Yeah, sure,” he muttered, taking the steps creakily one at a time. “Sure, you can squeeze my muscles till I scream.”

The kid chuckled again, inviting Pierce in on the laugh. “So you’re happy to let me rub one out on you?”

Pierce groaned. “God, kid, I can hardly walk. No sex jokes until I can make it out of the pool without collapsing.”

“So there can be sex jokes. Eventually. I just want to make sure.” Very gingerly the kid lowered Pierce until he was sitting. After he straightened, he scampered up the steps and pulled off his sodden robe, laying it out on the chaise to dry, and kicked off his ruined leather sandals.

“Oh geez.” Pierce thought of the massacre of perfectly good shoes and robe and was attacked by his conscience, which he’d assumed was dormant or dead. “Kid, I’m sorry about the clothes—”

“Don’t be.” He shrugged. “They’re my old man’s, and since he kicked me out of the house for Christmas, he can pretty much kiss off his super classy robe and huaraches, you hear me?”

Pierce wasn’t sure whether to chuckle or be horrified. “Just for Christmas?” he asked, making sure.

He lowered the sunglasses over his eyes again, probably to help him look insouciant when he was—in all likelihood—wounded. “Folks were having important political friends over. I’m a gay embarrassment, so I got the beach house. Last year they were in Europe, and I got the beach house with my boyfriend and we fucked like lemmings. No boyfriend this year.”

“The lemmings are safe?” Pierce asked, sympathies reluctantly stirred. Parents who judged their kids for sexual activity? He knew those assholes! Pierce and Sasha had grown up with their very own set.

Kid laughed, sounding young and happy instead of casual and cynical. Pierce liked the sound. “Here, let me rub your leg down—I promised.”

Pierce grunted. “Kid—”

“Hal—”

“Like the computer?”

Hal stared at him, unimpressed. “Oh dear, a Space Odyssey joke. I’ve never heard one of those, given that I’ve had this stupid name since birth. Now give me your leg.”

Pierce complied, startled by the venom. “Well, I could call you ‘Prince Hal,’ like—”

“King Henry the Fifth? Like in the Branagh movie?”

Pierce racked his brains, trying to remember. “I thought Branagh just did Hamlet,” he said, confused.

Hal gasped and wrapped his hands around Pierce’s ankle. “Heathen! How could you not know about the Branagh King Henry? He was young and still faithful and downright adorable!”

As he spoke, Hal worked his capable, agile fingers up Pierce’s leg—between that and the hot, bubbling water, Pierce’s entire body was melting like chocolate in the sun.

About the Author

Amy Lane has two grown children, two half-grown children, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Andrew Grey, Writing Stories with Children and his release Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) (guest post and except)

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Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Dec 8 2017

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

 

 

 

I get asked quite a bit why I write stories with children in them and that used to be a difficult question to answer because that question goes to the heart of something deeply important to me.  First, I believe that gay couples should have the same rights and opportunities as other couples and that means raising children.  For gay couples there are more steps involved because they cannot have children on their own, adoption, surrogacy, etc.  But I believe it important to show that anything is possible and that a couple, or individual who wishes to have children, can do so and that they can build a family of their own.  Secondly, Dominic and I elected early on in our relationship not to have children.  Dominic was the youngest in his family and was never around children younger than him.  Even today, small babies make him nervous.  We once had a party where three couples brought young babies and the only person at the party who didn’t take a turn holding any of the babies was Dominic.  I swear he’d have hidden in the basement of he could.  So Dominic and I chose not to have children.  I’m not saying that I regret that decision or that I resent Dominic for it, but having children is one thing I think I missed out on in my life.    I don’t regret it because I have Dominic and he takes care of me and loves me the way no one else ever has.  But sometimes I think what life would be like if he and I had raised children.  When that happens, I usually end up writing a story with children.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Jordan Erichsohn suspects something is rotten about his boss, Judge Crawford. Unfortunately he has nowhere to turn and doubts anyone will believe his claims—least of all the handsome deputy, Pierre Ravelle, who has been assigned to protect the judge receiving the threatening letters. The judge has a long reach, and if he finds out Jordan’s turned on him, he might impede Jordan adopting his son, Jeremiah.

When Jordan can no longer stay silent, he gathers his courage and tells Pierre what he knows. To his surprise and relief, Pierre believes him, and Jordan finds an ally… and maybe more. Pierre vows to do what it takes to protect Jordan and Jeremiah and see justice done. He’s willing to fight for the man he’s growing to love and the family he’s starting to think of as his own. But Crawford is a powerful and dangerous enemy, and he’s not above ripping apart everything Jordan and Pierre are trying to build in order to save himself….

Will their fledgling romance dissipate like fog in the sun before it has a chance to burn bright?

Excerpt

 

Terry stood and walked to his end of the table. “I hear you got assigned to one of the judges at the courthouse.” He slipped into the empty seat near Pierre.

“Man, word travels fast,” he said a little loudly. He wasn’t angry, but his law enforcement colleagues gossiped like old biddies.

“Tell me about it,” Terry agreed. “It’s a good thing these guys don’t work for national security.” He grinned and looked up for a second, waving to someone who passed.

Pierre followed his gaze and smiled at the familiar face. “Do you know him?”

“Sure. That’s Jordan. He works at the courthouse. He’s a member at the Y, and I see him and his son coming in a few times a week. Jeremiah is four and he loves the water. I’ve given him a few swimming lessons, and Jordan says he’s signing him up for regular swim class.” Terry waved again, and Jordan came over.

“Hey,” Jordan said with a touch of surprise in his voice.

“You know each other?” Terry asked.

“I work for Judge Crawford now,” Jordan said, “and I’m working with Pierre because of the threats the judge has received.” He turned to Pierre. “You should have said you were coming here.”

“I didn’t know until a little while ago.” Pierre caught the attention of the server and ordered a beer. He turned back to Jordan but didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t interested in talking about work, and they didn’t know each other well enough to talk about other things. Pierre also figured it didn’t help that he found himself staring into Jordan’s eyes, forgetting about most everything else. He blinked a few times to pull himself back to the present. Damn, distraction and near blubbering idiot were quickly becoming the norm for him when he was around Jordan. That was going to make his job even harder. He needed to get over this fast.

“Where’s Jeremiah?” Terry asked, to Pierre’s eternal gratitude.

“He’s with my mom and dad. They asked to take him for a few hours, and I needed a night out that didn’t involve chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and spilled milk.” Jordan grinned. “I’m here with Brad and Ricky. They go to the club too. We’ve been meaning to go out for a while, but with Jeremiah, it hasn’t been possible.” Jordan glanced toward the other table, then turned back to them. “I should get back. But I’ll see you at the club. And Pierre, I’ll see you in the morning.” He flashed a smile that showed a touch of perfect teeth and once again short-circuited Pierre’s brain.

“Earth to Pierre,” Terry said, standing up. “Geez, you are really gone.”

“Sorry.” Pierre blinked and shook his head as Jordan sat down. “So, a kid, huh? Is he married?” Just his luck he’d be perving on a straight guy.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Julia Fangs and her latest release ‘Catnip (Dead and Breakfast #1)’ (guest post)

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Fangs and Catnip (Dead and Breakfast #1) by Julia Talbot
Dreamspinner Press

A Dreamspun Beyond Title
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Julia Talbot here today on her tour for Fants and Catnip.  Welcome, Julia!

✒︎

 I’m here to give you a little info about Fangs and Catnip, my very first Dreamspun Beyond from Dreamspinner Press.

Carter is the new manager at the Dead and Breakfast Inn, and he falls for vampire silent partner Fallon, who is sure they don’t need a were-cougar as a manager…

The folks here were kind enough to give me some questions to answer, so here they go!

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

Oh, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado at the Hot Springs Lodge. I would write, then get a massage, then go to the hot springs pool. Fallon, the vampire character in Fangs and Catnip is a writer, and he’s in a B&B in Colorado near where my spot is.

 

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

I write because there has to be good, and fiction makes me happy. Paranormal makes me smile. Sex makes me hot. It’s escapism for sure. Romance is love, and with love I can believe the world will right itself.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m working on another paranormal for the Dreamspun Beyond line for Dreamspinner. None of them are shifters! Gasp.

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

Humor. I love someone who can laugh with me, or laugh at themselves. Wicked smart people fascinate me. Half of my best friends over the years have been Mensa members. I love crafty and arty people. Making things makes me bounce, and I love folks who want to do it. I try hard to write them into my books in some way, like the humor in Fangs and Catnip.

 

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?

OMG all the time. I’m he queen of starting projects I never finish, or that I pick up later because it’s too good or too long to waste. My next story to come out with Changeling Press (hopefully this month) is one of those stories that languished for a year, but I picked it up and dusted it off.

Thanks so much for having me, y’all!

XXOO

Julia Talbot

Blurb

A Dead and Breakfast Novel

A romance worth fighting for—tooth and claw.

Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.

Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels, and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences—for their bodies and their hearts.

About the Author

Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner and Changeling Press among many others. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at http://www.juliatalbot.com “The mountains are calling, and I must go”

Contact Julia through the following:

www.juliatalbot.com

https://twitter.com/juliatalbot

https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

In the Spotlight: The Deadly Lies (The Delingpole Mysteries #2) by David C. Dawson (excerpt)

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The Deadly Lies (The Delingpole Mysteries #2) by David C. Dawson
DSP Publications
Cover art by LC. Chase

Available for Purchase at

DSP PublicationsAmazon Kindle US  | Amazon paperback US.    | Apple iBooks  | Barnes & NobleKobo Books |  

Goodreads 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host DAvid C. Dawson here today on his tour for The Deadly Lies. Welcome, David.

✒︎

The Deadly Lies is the second in the Dominic Delingpole Mysteries series. The first The Necessary Deaths was published a year ago, and won an FAPA award for mystery and suspense.

Blurb

Dominic and Jonathan are on their romantic Spanish honeymoon, and things are perfect… except Dominic has kept a secret from his husband. He’s failed to tell Jonathan that he plans to meet his former lover, Bernhardt, who is speeding on his way from Germany to present Dominic with a mysterious gift. 

But Bernhardt is killed in a suspicious car accident. Shortly before he dies, he sends Dominic a bizarre text message that will take the newlyweds on a hair-raising adventure. 

Lies upon lies plunge Dominic and Jonathan into an internet crime that could destroy the lives of millions of people. What is the mysterious Charter Ninety-Nine group? And will their planned internet assault force Dominic to choose between the fate of the world and the life of his lover?

Excerpt

“What the hell are you two doing down here?”
Steve pushed his head past Sinon’s naked torso, to see a short, red- haired female flight attendant staring furiously at them.
Sinon levered himself up on Steve’s chest and poked his head out from the tiny bunk bed situated eight feet above the floor. It was one of fourteen similar bunks in the compact crew quarters hidden below the plane’s economy deck. “I can explain, really. Charlie said—”
“I don’t for a minute believe Mr. O’Donnell gave you permission to come down here to—” The flight attendant struggled to find words. “— do that.” Her voice, hardened by the edge of a strong Glaswegian accent, seemed to explode across the cramped cabin.
“Right, gentlemen,” continued the flame-haired woman firmly. “You have exactly one minute to put your clothes on and get back upstairs. Otherwise we’ll be getting the flex cuffs out to restrain you two reprobates for the rest of the flight.”
Sinon jumped down from the bunk bed, stretched out his arms to the flight attendant, and grinned. “Flex cuffs? Yes, please. A bit of bondage is always welcome—” He peered at her name badge. “—Margaret. Didn’t know you were such an accommodating airline.”
Margaret looked Sinon up and down with disdain. “I thought that tall boys like you were supposed to be well-endowed. I was clearly misinformed.” Sinon dropped his arms and reached down to pick up his clothes from the floor. Steve jumped down beside him and began to dress. In the cramped space of the crew compartment, he towered over the diminutive woman.
“Well, love,” said Steve, “you should know more than most that size doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with it that counts.” He winked at Margaret, pulled up his briefs and bleacher jeans, and reached for his polo shirt.
“Margaret? Are you all right?” At the sound of a man’s voice, Steve turned. Another member of the cabin crew had joined them. His name badge showed him to be Charles O’Donnell, In Flight Services Manager. O’Donnell looked to be in his early forties, with crew-cut salt-and-pepper hair and a deeply tanned face and forearms. He looked past Margaret, saw Steve and Sinon, and rolled his eyes.
“It’s all right, Margaret,” he said. There was a strong Northern Irish accent in his voice. “I’ll take care of this.”
Margaret looked from her boss to the giggling figures of Steve and Sinon. “If I had my way, I’d tan their backsides,” she said and pushed past O’Donnell to climb the stairs back to the passenger deck.
O’Donnell folded his arms, leaned against a bulkhead, and closed his eyes. “Of all people to discover you, it had to be Margaret the Mouth. I’m really going to be in the shite now.” He opened his eyes. “Couldn’t you two wait a few more hours until you were back on the ground before you got your dicks out?”
Sinon finished buttoning his fly. He stepped forward and clumsily tried to hug O’Donnell. “Sorry, Charlie boy. But you did slip me the key. I didn’t think we’d been spotted.”
“With him dressed like that?” O’Donnell pushed Sinon away and refolded his arms, glowering at Steve. “Shaved head, tattoos, braces, Doc Marten boots—”
“Grinders, Charlie,” interrupted Sinon. “Steve’s got a really smart set of Grinders.”
“Whatever,” Charlie continued. “It might be an attractive look for some people—”
“People like you and me, Charlie,” added Sinon, grinning. “You know it makes you horny.”
“All right, all right.” O’Donnell sighed. “Look, I’ve had several people ask me why we’re allowing a Nazi thug to y with us. He’s been scaring the life out of my passengers. Couldn’t he have toned it down? Just for a few hours?”
“Why should I?” asked Steve, stepping forward. “Why should I be forced to dress like everyone else? I’m Steve, by the way. And for your information, I’m not a Nazi thug. I’ve been a member of Unite Against Fascism since I was sixteen. Just because I like the look—as do you by the sounds of it—”
Charles O’Donnell’s face flushed red.
“—doesn’t mean I like the politics.”
“That’s a bit naïve, isn’t it?” replied O’Donnell.
“No, Charlie boy,” Sinon said. “What’s naïve is judging people by appearances. Just because someone’s wearing a smart suit and tie doesn’t mean they’re a good little boy.” He turned to Steve. “You should have seen Charlie in his leathers during London Fetish Week. On Masters and Slaves night, he had them eating out of his—”

“Enough, you little shite,” said O’Donnell, holding up his hand. “Get up those stairs, the pair of you.” Steve and Sinon squeezed past him, kissing O’Donnell on the cheek as they went. “And keep a low profile, please,” he continued.

When he heard the hatch slam shut at the top of the stairs, O’Donnell leaned back against the bulkhead and closed his eyes. “For my sake. I’ve got a boyfriend and two Yorkshire terriers to feed.”

 

Links to The Necessary Deaths – The Delingpole Mysteries: Book One 

A young journalism student lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Brighton, England. His life hangs in the balance after a drug overdose. But was it attempted suicide or attempted murder? The student’s mother persuades British lawyer Dominic Delingpole to investigate, and Dominic enlists the aid of his outspoken opera singer partner, Jonathan McFadden.

The student’s boyfriend discovers compromising photographs hidden in his lover’s room. The photographs not only feature senior politicians and business chiefs, but the young journalist himself. Is he being blackmailed, or is he the blackmailer?

As Dominic and Jonathan investigate further, their lives are threatened and three people are murdered. They uncover a conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of government and powerful corporations. The people behind it are ruthless, and no one can be trusted. The bond between Dominic and Jonathan deepens as they struggle not only for answers, but for their very survival.

Dreamspinner https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-necessary-deaths-by-david-c-dawson-321-b

Amazon Kindle US https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Deaths-Delingpole-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B073Q86B5Q/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473457953&sr=1-4

Amazon paperback US https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Deaths-Delingpole-Mysteries/dp/1634774507/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1473457953&sr=1-4

Apple iBooks https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/the-necessary-deaths/id1135889190?mt=11

About the Author

David C. Dawson is an award-winning author, journalist and documentary maker. He lives near Oxford in the UK with two cats and his beloved Triumph motorbike.

He writes mystery & suspense, with men in love at the heart of each story. His books have been described as “real page-turners” and “un-put-downable”. His debut novel The Necessary Deaths, won a FAPA award for Mystery & Suspense.

One reviewer for his latest book The Deadly Lies described it as “very sexy”. He campaigns hard for equal rights, and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

SOCIAL LINKS

Website http://www.davidcdawson.co.uk

Blog http://blog.davidcdawson.co.uk/#home

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/david.c.dawson.5

Twitter https://twitter.com/david_c_dawson

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/DavidCDawson

Kelly Jensen’s Counting On You Tour (guest posts, excerpt and giveaway)

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Counting on You (Counting #3) by Kelly Jensen
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Art: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at: Dreamspinner Press |

Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks |

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kelly Jensen here today on her Counting on You tour.  Welcome, Kelly.

 

 

On Dates and Henry and Marc by Kelly Jensen

Disastrous dates have been the hallmark of Henry and Marc’s relationship up to this point. First, they got stuck on the side of the road in upstate New York during a blizzard. On Christmas Eve. Though this wasn’t a date, being trapped together in a rental car gave them the opportunity to finally put some misconceptions aside and actually get to know each other.

Their second date was set for New Year’s Eve and instead of attending the party of a co-worker, they got trapped in the basement of the building. While no one would count that as a good date, Henry and Marc actually had a pretty good time (when they weren’t crawling through duct work).

When it came to writing Counting on You, I really wanted the guys to have an actual, not get trapped anywhere, do relatively normal things and have a good time, date. And they do—or they plan to until Marc takes Henry’s surprise and turns it back around.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt! And if you haven’t met Henry and Marc yet, the first two novellas of the Counting series are discounted through the end of November at all retailers.

Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question. Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address), and complete the Rafflecopter to enter! There are two prizes, both available internationally. One winner will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store. A second winner will receive the entire Counting series in ebook format, gifted through the Dreamspinner Press store.

Q. Suggest a karaoke song for Henry and Marc!

Counting on You

Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington D.C. might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.

Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?

Excerpt

Marc moved into the crowded bar. The place smelled like wet wool and desperation. A damp coat hung over the back of every chair, and everywhere he looked, ties were loosened and buttons were undone as men and women laughed together, eager to put the workweek behind them. After finding them somewhere to lean, Henry melted into the throng. He reappeared moments later holding two tall glasses of effervescent amber liquid.

Marc nearly snatched his. “God, I have never been so happy to see a glass of beer in all my life.”

Henry grinned. “I figured.” He lifted his glass. “Cheers.”

After draining nearly half his drink in one extended swallow, Marc found a smile. “Thank you. I needed that.”

“I know.”

“Three more and I might actually start to feel human again.”

“Go ahead, you earned it.”

“We’ve got a deal to construct.”

“Marc, you did more work this afternoon than we might have done together in two days. You were a machine. We’re good. We have enough information to start structuring a new deal, meaning we can take some downtime.”

Thinking about lunch tomorrow, Marc scowled. “That isn’t exactly good news.”

“I could break your leg for you.”

“You think a broken leg would excuse me?”

“Ah….”

Marc tried to drain the rest of his glass but swallowed awkwardly, catching a large bubble in his throat. Wincing, he forced it down. The tears at the corners of his eyes felt ironic.

“You could just not go,” Henry said. The words were barely audible over the buzz of conversation around the bar, but Marc caught them.

“Not how it works. He expects me not to show up.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Never mind.” Marc tipped his head toward the bar. “Get you another?”

“Sure.”

He elbowed his way through the crowd and ordered another round, this time choosing a darker ale. Henry had emptied his first by the time Marc got back and toasted him with the fresh glass. “We’ve got this, Winnamore.”

Smiling, Marc set about killing his second drink. Somewhere around the middle of the glass, he slowed down. The beer was tasty, and his anger had faded. The bar was cozy, the atmosphere more cheery and less desperate than a beer ago… and the afternoon had been too long. Add in the fact his ire had been replaced by a practiced burn, and he really couldn’t convince himself to spend any more of his free time on it.

When the after-work crowd thinned, they found a table and ordered burgers.

Henry made a game out of sorting the sugar packets by color, volume, and ingredients. “Did you know there are about eighteen thousand grains of sugar in a single packet?” he asked.

“I do now. Please tell me you haven’t counted them.”

“No. I tried once. I crapped out at about seven hundred.”

“Seriously?”

Henry chuckled. “No. I got to thirty before my mother swept the sugar off the table and told me to stop counting things.”

Marc laughed. “I can so picture it. Did you use to get up in the night and count the silverware?”

“Of course not. I always knew how many books and comics and Legos and things I had, though.”

“You’re certifiable.”

“All the best minds are.”

Their burgers arrived and the casual conversation continued, warmed by juicy sirloin and another round of beer.

“This is exactly what I needed,” Marc said, leaning back to pat his pleasantly full belly.

“No, what you need is still to come.”

He brightened. “Sex?”

Henry tipped his head back and laughed. “Okay, yeah. Sex is good. I was talking about this, though.” He tapped the upright placard at the end of the table.

Marc leaned forward to read it. “Kara—no.”

“Aw, c’mon. You know you want to. I’ve heard stories. You rock at karaoke.”

“I really, really don’t.”

“Everyone at B and M has heard you sing but me.”

“That’s because you don’t come to Mulligan’s on Thursdays.”

“Yeah, well, I would have if either of us had been in town at the same time, on a Thursday, over the past couple months.”

“Heh.”

“So tonight’s the night. I want to hear you sing.”

Marc cocked his head with a soft “Hmm,” letting beer-and-beef-softened thoughts slip slowly across his brain. “I’ll do it if you do.”

“What? No.”

“You know you want to.”

“That was my line.”

“It’s a good one. I’m borrowing it. You should be flattered. Now….” He held up a hand to ask for a second to make his case. “I’m going to offer a one-time deal.”

“Deal?”

“If you’re too chicken to stand up there on your own, we can pick a song to sing together.”

Henry’s mouth dropped open. Sound might have escaped, but Marc heard nothing but his own laughter.

Dreamspinner Press

About the Author

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.

Connect with Kelly: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Giveaway

Thanks for following my tour! At the end of every post, I’ll be asking a question. Leave a comment with your answer (and your email address), and complete the Rafflecopter to enter! There are two prizes, both available internationally. One winner will receive $15 (US or equivalent) to spend at the Dreamspinner Press store. A second winner will receive the entire Counting series in ebook format, gifted through the Dreamspinner Press store.

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Follow the Tour!

11/22 Dreamspinner Press Blog

11/27 We Three Queens

11/28 Love Bytes

11/28 TTC Books and More

11/29 The Novel Approach

11/29 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

11/29 Scattered Thoughts

11/30 Joyfully Jay

11/30 Bayou Book Junkie

12/1 Diverse Reader

C.C. Bridges on Writing, Characters, and their latest release Angel 1089 (Heaven Corp. #1) (author interview)

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Angel 1089 (Heaven Corp. #1) by C.C. Bridges

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have C.C. Bridges here today on their Angel 1089 tour. C.C. has agreed to sit in our author interview chair. Welcome, C.C.

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with C.C. Bridges

Thank you for hosting me today! I’m so happy to be celebrating the re-release of Angel 1089! I’ll be answering some interview questions, and stay tuned until the end for a giveaway!

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

Oh definitely. I started reading science fiction and fantasy when I was about eleven years old, right after I discovered Star Trek. The original series started playing in syndication, and I didn’t have cable TV as a child, so I watched a lot of 1960s TV in syndication. Star Trek captivated me. I started reading the tie-in novels (in face, I still own some of those novels!), and then branched out into the wider sci-fi/fantasy world.

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

I do! The first romance novel I ever read was given to me accidentally when I was twelve. The mother of my best friend worked at the airport, and people left books behind all the time. She knew I liked to read, so she gave me a stack from the lost and found. One of those books was a rather steamy romance novel.

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

I think in terms of sc-fi, my major influence is Lois McMaster Bujold. I ate up the entire Vorkosigan books, and absolutely love character driven stories.

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

I know it’s cliche, but Angel 1089 is probably my favorite. I love the characters, the world, and how I managed to somehow put it all together since it was my first novel.

Thank you for hosting me! I’m giving away four $10 Dreamspinner gift cards at the end of the blog tour. Enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/16f80d4e4/?

Blurb

A deal with the devil….

Gabriel 1089 is an angel—an enhanced and cybernetically modified human designed to protect the city in the sky called Heaven. He follows Heaven’s orders and fights its enemies. But when an attack by demons leaves him trapped on the earth below, missing both a metal wing and his network-enabled halo, he’s cut off from his home for good and at the mercy of one man.

Jeff Werth is used to demons in need of his mechanical expertise showing up on the doorstep of the junkyard he runs in Old Trent. However, he doesn’t expect to be stuck with an injured angel. Jeff owes the demons for saving his daughter’s life, so he does what they demand—he nurses the angel back to health and keeps close track of him as a possible pawn in the high-stakes war between Heaven above and the demons below. But he doesn’t expect the effect Gabe has on his heart, or having to choose between his daughter and the man he’s come to love.

About the Author

CC Bridges is a mild-mannered librarian by day, but by night she writes about worlds of adventure and romance. When she’s not busy solving puzzles in an escape room, she can be found diving into comics or binge-watching superhero movies. She writes surrounded by books, spare computing equipment, a fluffy dog, and a long-suffering husband in the state of New Jersey. In 2011, she won a Rainbow Award for best gay sci-fi/futuristic novel.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccbridgeswriter

Blog: http://blog.ccbridges.net/

Website: http://www.ccbridges.net

Kris T. Bethke on Writing, Stories and her release ‘Hearts and Hazelnuts’ (guest blog)

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Hearts and Hazelnuts (States of Love) by Kris T. Bethke
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by Brooke Albrecht

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be hosting Kris T. Bethke here today on her Hearts and Hazelnuts tour.

Thanks so much for hosting me today, and I’m so glad to be here!

How much of yourself goes into a character? A little bit of me always ends up in characters, and some much more than others. Sometimes I find my peculiar speech pattern creeping in, and then leave it as a character quirk. Sometimes characters have my likes and dislikes, or feelings about a particular subject. I find it really hard to completely separate myself from my characters, though I often make a concerted effort to make my character like/do/react differently than I would.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures? There’s never been a book where I didn’t have to research something. In my newest release, which is out tomorrow, I researched extensively about hazelnut farming. I found it way more fascinating than I ever imagined, and spent a good week reading and watching everything I could get my hands on, even though not all of it made it into the book. So I really enjoy research and learning, and use it in everything. Even when I create a new world or culture, it’s always rooted in something I started out researching, then changed and evolved for my own purposes.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why? I like them both, but I find HFN more real. In fact, I think most books end with HFN. You never can know what the future will bring. So having the MCs solidly in love, and moving into the future, satisfies me deeply.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult? Yes! I was reading Harlequin romances years before it was appropriate, but I’ve always been a romantic at heart and romance makes up the bulk of my reading. When I do veer to other genres, it’s usually sci fi or paranormal, and even then, I like a romantic subplot

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going? I love the ebook format, though I will admit I resisted for years. There’s nothing like holding a book in your hand. But once I got on the ebook wagon, I was thrilled. It allows me to having thousands of titles at my fingertips without storage space issues. And they are a bit more affordable. I think it will only continue to grow. Though there are definite issues with piracy and undercutting prices, I think on the whole it’s a health market that will improve as time continues.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part) I don’t always get to pick, but I usually get at least some input. With the ones that I get to hands on for, I mostly concern myself with the feeling of the cover. Does it convey the story within? Of course I want the models (if there are any) to look appropriate for my characters. But I focus more on the aesthetic. The cover for Hearts and Hazelnuts, for example, took a little back and forth with the artist, Brooke Albrecht. But in the end, she brought my vision to life. The rich, vibrant colors really sold it for me.

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? I have! To be honest, if I shelve something, I rarely go back to it. But I have a release in January, Ghost of a Chance, where this exact thing happened. Several years ago, I started writing it, but put it away because it just wasn’t working. A year ago, I pulled it out, dusted it off, reworked some things, and the story flowed from there. It’s even better than the original idea, and I love it.

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? All of these things, really. I write to escape, and to give my own opinions and thoughts and feelings voice. And to project hope. That, especially, I think. That in all the bad and scary going on, there is still love and the happy is still within reach. A lot of my characters are bisexual, too, which is a soapbox I get on. Bi-erasure, and the myths surrounding bi folk, really get under my skin. It hits close to home. So I like to show my bi characters finding love…and use them to educate and dispel some of those myths and fallacies.

What’s next for you as an author? I’ve got a lot coming up, as I’ve had a very productive writing year. A Timely Gift is out in December, which starts on solstice and ends on Christmas. And then in January, the first of my paranormal series releases. Ghost of a Chace is the the first in the Requiem Inc series with the Dreamspun Beyond line, with two more slated for release later next year.

Blurb:

Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.

Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.

About the Author

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long.  An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head.  She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project.  Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time.  A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures.  She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head.  She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her site https://kristbethke.com Facebook https://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852 or on Twitter https://twitter.com/kristbethke