Gene Gant on Why He Writes and his new book Borrowed Boy (guest interview)

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Borrowed Boy by Gene Gant 

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and  Rogue Words is happy to host Gene Gant here today on tour with his latest story, Borrowed Boy.  Welcome, Gene.

~ A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Gene Gant ~

 

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

I write mostly because I have a passion for it, the same as I do for reading. I enjoy telling a story as much as I enjoy reading one. But my writing is often driven by events and situations occurring in the world around us. The Battle for Jericho, as an example, grew out of my concern that religious belief was (and still is) having far too much influence on our country’s laws and public policy. Child exploitation is a recurring theme in many of my works because someone dear to me was sexually abused as a kid and left with permanent, debilitating emotional scars.

Division, intolerance and hatred are on the rise in our country. Police shootings of unarmed black people; Trump’s use of racism, xenophobia and blatant lies to set his administration’s agenda and stoke the ire of his supporters against “the other side”; the steady erosion of civil rights protections for people of color and those on the LGBTQ spectrum; the woefully under-addressed crisis of climate change; these are all things that weigh on my mind. Writing about them is a way of coping for me.

But I don’t see only the dark and ugly aspects of human nature. There is still beauty, hope, joy and love in the world, and those things find their way into my writing as well. We need to nurture them, hold onto them, because they will ultimately see us through the chaos and bring us together.

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

The artists at Harmony Ink Press design multiple covers for my books using my input. Among other things, they ask what I’d like to see in a cover, if there are any objects or images I want included, and if there is any particular thing I don’t want in the cover. The result is that I’m usually presented with several cover versions that are all so good it’s hard to pick one.

It comes down to feeling. Which cover comes closest to the overall mood of the story? Which one do I feel best represents the characters and situations depicted in the novel? Which one pulls at me and makes me wish I could walk right into it? The cover you see on Borrowed Boy pushed all my buttons. In my humble opinion, it effectively captures the emotion and the hope of the story.

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

That would be a nice little house with a covered patio that looks out on a private beach. Why? Well, I love the ocean for one thing  And for me, writing is a necessarily solitary venture. I have to let my mind settle into the world I’m building, have to inhabit the souls of the characters I’m bringing to life. To do that I need an environment that is quiet and without distraction.

Those conditions that can be hard to come by when you have a family, as I do. That means there’s usually someone watching TV or talking on a cell phone or listening to music, all at the loudest of volumes. It’s hard to hear the voices in your head with that kind of distraction going on. (Voices in my head…hm. Does that make me sound unwell?)

Sometimes I write in the midst of the hullabaloo because I have no choice; my novels would never get finished if I didn’t. Fortunately, I live in an area that’s fairly rural, so in temperate times I can retreat to the patio, which looks out on a spread where a neighbor has horses and chickens, for a bit of quiet isolation in which to write. There’s also the rare occasion during the day when I have the house all to myself, allowing me to turn off everything except my laptop and let my imagination run free. Of course, push come to shove, I can always wait until the wee hours when everyone is asleep and do my thing.

What’s next for you as a writer?

Next I have a companion piece to Borrowed Boy titled Golden Like Summer, which will be published by Harmony Ink Press in 2019. This second book is not a sequel or part of a series as it doesn’t involve any of the characters from Borrowed Boy. But they both grew out of the same general idea of a kid discovering that he’s been living under a false identity.

Beyond that, I’m working on a new adult novella/novel (not sure yet how long it’s going to be) about a young man starting his freshman year of college. He’s been homeschooled and sheltered and is eager to jump into all the things he thinks he’s missed out on, including parties, drinking, drugs, and losing his virginity. He’s going to quickly discover that adult life is a lot more complicated than he thinks. The working title is Mannish. So far, I haven’t run into the dreaded writer’s block on this one. Keep your fingers crossed for me.    

Blurb:

An entire life can be snatched away in an instant.

Thirteen-year-old Zavier Beckham is an average teen living in Memphis. He has great parents and a quirky best friend named Cole. He’s happy, and he thinks his life is totally normal… until an FBI agent shows up and informs Zavier he was stolen as an infant and sold to an adoption agency.

Now his biological parents want him back.

Forced to confront his distant past, Zavier faces an uncertain future. He may be taken from the only home he’s known by parents who are strangers living in Chicago. He may have to deal with a brother who hates and torments him. He meets Brendan, an older boy who offers him friendship and wakens a strong, unsettling attraction in Zavier. Brendan has secrets of his own, and he’ll either be the one ray of light in Zavier’s tense situation or the last straw that breaks Zavier under the pressure.

 

 

About the Author

Gene Gant grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. After living for a time in Missouri and Illinois, he now makes his home on a quiet country lane outside Memphis.

Website

Cover Reveal for Nomad’s Dream by August Li

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Title: Nomad‘s Dream

Author: August Li

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Category: Paranormal

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback
Blurb:
Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine?
Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach.
In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.

Pages: 200

Author Bio:
August Li plays every game as a mage. He thinks the closest thing to magic outside of games and fantasy is to bring things into existence from nothing, which he does in words and images. As a proud trans man, he hopes to bring diversity and representation to all those who want to see themselves in the art and stories they enjoy. He’s a perfectionist, travel enthusiast, and caffeine addict.
Gus makes his home on the coast of South Carolina, where he spends his days in search of merpeople, friendly cats, and interesting pieces of driftwood. He collects ball-jointed dolls, tattoos, and languages. He believes in faeries and thinks they’re terrifying… but still wants to meet one.
Fox-Hat’s Den on Facebook: www.facebook.com/FoxHatsDen/
Twitter: @Ninja_Gus

Release Blitz for Seeking Solace (The Walker Boys #3) by Ari McKay (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 55,188 words
 
Cover Design: Alexandria Corza
 
 
Walker Boys Series
 
Book #1 – Striking Sparks – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Breaking Bonds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

All hands on deck for a shipboard romance—with a secret.


Like his cousins, Devin Walker aspires to be a chef, but he wants to indulge his wanderlust while feeding his customers, and working a cruise ship seems like the solution. Since he can’t find an opening in the kitchen, he’s happy to start out in a position behind the bar.


While onboard Poseidon’s Pearl, Devin is assigned to shepherd a visiting executive. Paul Bailey is quiet and unassuming, and a car accident that cost him his leg also shattered his confidence. He doesn’t think he’s attractive to other men anymore, and Devin is eager to show him just how wrong he is. Paul has a surprising secret that might sink their passionate affair before it even leaves port.

 
Excerpt
 
PAUL MERCER stood in front of the full-length mirror mounted on the closet door and checked his tailor-made navy suit for lint or wrinkles before he left his cabin, which was more like a small hotel room than he’d expected. But Triton Cruises prided itself on being one of the more upscale cruise lines, and Poseidon’s Pearl was one of their top ships.


The suite was luxurious enough that Paul could have spent the entire trip inside, maybe reading on the private deck, which was big enough for two lounge chairs with a small table between them. But Paul wasn’t on vacation.


He’d been sent by his father, who was the CEO of Triton Cruises, to assess the ship and its crew and to report on whether the crew was adhering to company standards. To do so, he was posing as Paul Bailey, a new executive with the company who needed to learn about the cruise line. He was using his mother’s maiden name to help avoid anyone making a connection between him and the company’s founding family.


He glanced down at his pants, which were loose enough to hide the fact that he wore a prosthetic on his left leg below the knee. He’d covered the prosthetic foot with a shoe, and looking down at his dress shoes made him feel almost normal again. He had a slight limp, especially at the end of the day when he was tired, but most people were tactful enough not to ask about it, if they even noticed.


The other reason Paul had been sent was because he’d never been on a Triton cruise before. Hell, he’d never been on any cruise before. The cruise line was strictly eighteen-plus so Paul was never allowed to go with his parents when they took their annual trip while he was growing up. Then he’d gone away to college, and after graduation he went straight into grad school for his MBA. After that, he’d started working his way up the ladder at Triton and hadn’t taken much time off except for a few long weekends here and there. Then the accident happened. So the trip was a way for him to experience a Triton cruise from their guests’ perspective. It was also the last trip Paul would take anywhere in a while. Andrew Mercer was ready to retire, and he had put Paul on a fast track to taking over after Paul finished rehab and was cleared to return to work.


Focusing on his reflection, Paul smoothed his hand over his dark brown hair, which was cut short and neatly styled, its natural wave tamed with product. It was too early to go to the dining room, so Paul decided to visit the bar for a while instead.


While most cruise lines these days seemed intent on going the megaship route—huge vessels that could accommodate almost seven thousand passengers—Triton catered to a different clientele. Ships like Poseidon’s Pearl and her sisters carried a maximum of nine hundred passengers, with a crew of nearly six hundred, and every stateroom on the ship boasted a private balcony. The decor in the common areas was just as posh as it was in Paul’s cabin. As he left his cabin on Deck 7, it was only a short walk to the Seafarer’s Lounge.


He heard soft piano music—live, not recorded—as he entered the two-story lounge, which was set in the fore of the ship. It had glass windows from floor to ceiling on three sides that offered a magnificent, panoramic view of the Gulf of Mexico and the serenely blue sky above. The room was large, with stairways on the port and starboard sides giving access to the second level. Small clusters of loveseats and chairs were set around low tables, allowing for intimate groups to engage in conversation, while the rear of the room was lined in bookcases housing the ship’s library, which was large enough to cater to almost any taste. The plush carpet underfoot was patterned in tones of deep blue and gold, which set off the cream of the upholstery.


In the center of the room was a semicircular bar topped with polished mahogany, surrounded by comfortable high seats. As with everywhere else on the ship, the trademark of the line—a three-pronged triton—was subtly worked into the decor, such as the patterns of tile fronting the bar and the fabric covering the seats. There were no more than twenty or so people in the bar, broken into groupings around the room. Everyone was well-dressed, and conversations were muted, giving the room a relaxed and welcoming feeling.


As Paul approached the bar, he caught sight of the bartender, who was tall with broad shoulders tapering to a narrow waist emphasized by his tailored uniform vest. He had high cheekbones, a square jawline that looked sharp enough to cut paper, and skin with a rich copper glow that seemed to result from a combination of genetics and sunshine. His dark, thickly lashed eyes were crinkled at the corners as he flashed a dazzlingly white smile and handed an olive-garnished martini to his customer. His midnight-black hair was pulled back from his face and hung in a thick braid that reached all the way to his waist.


As soon as the bartender had scanned the customer’s cruise card and returned it, he turned to Paul, who had claimed a seat at the end of the bar, and Paul got the full effect of his smile. “Good afternoon, sir. I’m Devin. How can I make your day even better?”


The intense charisma behind that smile made Paul almost believe Devin meant the greeting for him alone, but he sternly reminded himself that the ship employees were supposed to say such things to all the customers.


“I’d like a glass of Malbec, please,” he said.


“Excellent choice,” Devin replied. He retrieved a bottle from the wine rack, and after uncorking the wine, he placed a crystal wineglass on the bar, then held an aerator over it as he poured a stream of the rich, dark wine from the bottle through it, making a bit of a show of the process. Then he set the bottle and aerator aside, placed a gilt-edged paper napkin in front of Paul, and served the glass of wine.


“Thanks.” Paul picked up the glass and took a sip, and he was pleased by the quality of the wine.


After cleaning up and recorking the bottle, Devin returned to Paul, favoring him with another smile. “How do you like it? Triton prides itself on the quality of the wines it serves, even the ones they use in the kitchen.”


Good to know, Paul thought, making a mental note for his report. “It’s good, thanks.”


Devin glanced around the nearly empty lounge, but he must not have seen anything that needed his attention, since his gaze returned to Paul. He tilted his head to one side, looking at Paul with a slightly puzzled expression. “If I may ask, sir, have you cruised with us before? You look familiar.”


Paul smiled as blandly as possible and shook his head. Full-sized portraits of Andrew Mercer and Abraham Mercer—Paul’s grandfather and the founder of Triton Cruises—hung in the atrium, so Paul wasn’t surprised one of the employees had picked up on the family resemblance.


“No, this is my first cruise,” he said, assuaging the slight pang he felt over deceiving the crew with the fact he was telling Devin the truth.


“All right, then. I’m very good with faces, and I’m sure I would have remembered you.” Devin grinned. “Especially since you’re almost as tall as I am.”


“Almost?” Paul raised one eyebrow. “I’d say we’re about even.”


“I’m six-foot-five,” Devin said. “In the lower areas of the ship, I have to be careful not to smack my head on the conduits.”


“Then we are in fact even,” Paul said. “I was in high demand for basketball teams all through school.”


Devin chuckled. “If that Charleston accent hadn’t already told me you weren’t from Texas, the basketball comment would have. I was in demand too, but as a wide receiver.”


“I’ve heard rumors that football is the state religion of Texas, but I’ve never played it myself,” Paul said, taking a sip of his wine. “I was on the varsity basketball team in high school, and I played intramural in college.”


“Nice,” Devin said. “I played in high school, then was offered a scholarship to Texas A&M, but football was never more than a hobby. I wanted to go to culinary school, and they don’t have football teams.” He lowered his voice. “Although we often played badminton with food that didn’t turn out very well. It’s amazing how much overdone chicken Kiev resembles a hockey puck.”


Paul chuckled. “How did you go from culinary school to tending bar on a cruise ship? Have you worked here long?”


“Six months, and it was a matter of opportunity,” Devin said. “My best friend and I took a cruise after… well, after I went through a bad breakup, and it was just what I needed. I fell in love with the ship, and the sea, and the travel. I’d never even been out of Texas before, and the travel bug bit me hard. I did some research, and Triton is far and away the best cruise line to work for. They have people lining up for jobs, and it took me almost two years to get my foot in the door, and then it was because I’d also trained in bartending. Of course I hope to work in the kitchen someday, but when they offered me a position I jumped on it, and I haven’t regretted it for a second.” Devin’s smile was rueful. “I hope I haven’t bored you to death.”


“Not at all.” Paul thought it was helpful for the staff to be friendly, especially on longer cruises like this one. It would promote the family atmosphere that Triton Cruises wanted to cultivate. “I don’t want to monopolize your time, though.”


Devin glanced around the nearly empty lounge. “It’ll be slow in here until after dinner,” he said. “The action right now is up by the pool. But once the sun goes down, everyone will come into the Seafarer to socialize and listen to the cruise director’s talk about our ports of call.”


“I should probably come back for that,” Paul said. “I don’t know much about the ports we’re visiting, and I don’t want to wander off without a plan.”


“There are some great shore excursions,” Devin said, his brown eyes shining with interest. “They have some for people who like to be physically active, like diving trips and hiking tours, and some for people who prefer to relax on the beach and play in the waves. They also have activities for people who want to experience the culture of the various islands. And if you’d prefer to be on your own, they’ll have maps to help you out.”


“Sounds like I shouldn’t have any problem finding something fun to do.”


“I’m sure you’ll have a great time,” Devin said. “If I may make a suggestion, there’s something you can do tonight. Just before midnight, go up on Deck 9. They have an open area to do outdoor yoga. The captain always turns off all the extra lights on the ship for several minutes, and we’ll be well away from land by then. You’ll be able to see more stars than you ever thought the sky could hold. It’s beautiful and humbling at the same time.”


“If I’m still awake, I’ll check it out.” Paul glanced at his watch, then slid off the bar stool, taking his wineglass with him. “I should probably head to the dining room.”


“Be prepared for a real treat,” Devin said. “I recommend the beef Wellington, and the triple chocolate torte with Chambord for dessert. Although you won’t go wrong with any of the selections. The food on the Pearl is fantastic.”


“You had me at triple chocolate,” Paul said, lifting his glass to Devin. Then he headed out of the lounge. He wanted to get there in time to take a few notes about what he had observed so far before dinner, but if the rest of the ship had the same kind of staff and atmosphere as the lounge, his assessment would be a glowing one.

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.


Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.


McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


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Cover Reveal for Unfamiliar Waters by Andrew Grey

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Title: Unfamiliar Waters

Author: Andrew Grey

Release Date: January 8, 2019

Category: Contemporary

Pages: 200

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

 Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback
Blurb:
With the pressures of the job bearing down on him, police officer Garrett Wreckley needs a vacation—in fact, he isn’t given a choice in the matter. Since the water has always soothed Garrett’s soul, he heads to the Caribbean, hoping some time alone sailing on the open water will help him pull himself together.
But even though he’s taking a break from law enforcement, Garrett can’t get rid of his cop’s instinct so easily.
He meets Nigel, a young man as innocent as he is beautiful, who grew up sheltered from the world, exploring the beaches and tropical forests with only the company of his aunt, his brother, and the wildlife and sea creatures he befriended.
As sweet, passionate love blooms, their time in paradise feels too good to be true… and Garrett’s gut and training tell him that might be the case. As he investigates, he quickly realizes everything is not as it seems. Will his snooping destroy not only their romance, but everything Nigel believes about his life?
About the Author
Andrew Grey is the author of more than one hundred works of Contemporary Gay Romantic fiction. After twenty-seven years in corporate America, he has now settled down in Central Pennsylvania with his husband, Dominic, and his laptop. An interesting ménage. 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 is a recipient of the RWA Centennial Award, has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and now writes full-time. 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.

Cover Reveal for The Devil’s Breath by A. Nybo

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Title: The Devil’s Breath

Series: The Devil’s Breath

Author: A. Nybo

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Category: Contemporary, Perchance to Dream

Pages: 200

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback 
Blurb:
Henri’s stalker has left him with a paradoxical legacy: his mind rebels at the thought of being touched—the very thing his body craves.
For three years Henri has fought to overcome the horrors of the past. Now on the other side of the world—after leaving Australia for Canada—Henri’s nemesis is hunting him with maniacal focus. Trying to escape, he meets Birch, a kind horse trainer, who’s confounded by Henri’s idiosyncrasies even as he is drawn to him. But when Birch discovers the truth, he encourages Henri not to just survive, but to live.
Maybe even to love.
About the Author
A. Nybo has tried conventional methods (a psych degree and a GC in Forensic Mental Health) but far prefers the less conventional, such as the occasional barbecue in the rain, four-hundred-kilometer drives at 1:00 a.m. for chocolate, and multiple emergency naps in any given twenty-four-hour period. Favorite things to do include that which can be seen (e.g. reading, writing, drawing, walking the dogs, traveling) and that which can’t, such as dreaming (both awake and asleep).
Western Australian born, she has been spotted on the other side of the planet several times—usually by mosquitoes. She’s also discovered Amazonian mosquitoes love her just as much as they do in her home state.

Renae Kaye on Writing, Characters, Covers, and her new release Knowing Me, Knowing You (Loving You #4) (author guest blog)

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Knowing Me, Knowing You (Loving You #4) by Renae Kaye
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press |   Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |   Kobo  |  Barnes and Noble

:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Renae Kaye here today on tour with her new Loving You story, Knowing Me, Knowing You.  Welcome, Renae!

Thank you for having me on your blog.  I’m here to excitedly tell everyone about my new book – Knowing Me, Knowing You.  This is the fourth book in the Loving You series, and yes, I want to reassure everyone that Liam and Jay are back along with the rest of the gang.

This book concentrates on the quiet one of the group – Shane.  Shane isn’t really one to shout out his love for people from the top of his lungs.  He’s not into the public declarations and the fireworks.  Shane’s love is deeper and has been there for a long while.  He has tried to ignore it.  He has tried to make it go away.  And when he finally thinks he’s over his obsession with Ambrose Jakoby, the damn man comes back and thrusts himself back into Shane’s life.

You’ve given me a couple of questions to answer about myself, my writing and my new book.  It saves me rattling on and gives me a lot of scope.  So here goes:

How much of yourself goes into a character?

It’s an interesting concept and one that has been studied by people.  There’s a school of thought that the first character you ever wrote is the most like you.  The first character I ever wrote was in a MF-romance, and actually she shared a lot of my life experiences – she has yet to be published yet, but I’m working on it.  She went to the same university as me, worked in the same job, likes the same TV shows and has the same sense of humour, but she’s also very much unlike me too.  She’s a lot stronger.  Maybe, as writers, that’s why we write that first character?  It’s that person we hope to be?

My first two published characters are Jay and Liam from Loving Jay.  There is certainly a lot of my personality in each of them.  I also have been known to suffer from – uh hm – verbal diarrhoea? One of the things I love about Jay is nothing gets him down for long.  That’s also something that comes from me.  Despite trying to be an angsty, edgy author, I end up unrestrainedly perky.

Liam is also like me.  He tried to conform to a family that doesn’t fit him, tries to make everyone happy, and is rather accepting of people who are different to him.  That’s me.  While it took Liam about twenty-odd years to say, “This is me! Accept me or not,” it took me a little longer.  I was thirty-four before I could tell my large extended family that I wasn’t going to fit into that box they had set.

However, Shane and Ambrose are further down the track in my writing career.  They have their own personalities and I’m now comfortable in writing someone unlike me.   Shane is certainly a bookworm like I am, but he’s also an introvert.  He’s happy with who he is.  He’s happy to float along in the supporting role.  Shane’s a great character and I loved writing him, but he really isn’t me.

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

Oh yes!

I was about 10 or 11 years old when I discovered “Dolly Fiction” at my local newsagency.  They had a box of cheap books and I bought as many as my pocket money would allow.  For the next couple of years I devoured teenage romance until my older sister loaned me one of her Mills and Boon books.  Then I was set.  I’ve read romances since then.  I’ve gone through phases of liking different genres within the romance set – I’ve done shifters and settlers and pirates and Vikings and Victorian eras and vampires and cowboys and comedies and cyborgs and erotica…  It seems I’ve tried them all.  I tend to binge read on a sub-genre for a while.

I was like that when I started reading M/M.  I binged for a long while before branching out into different sub-genres within the romance umbrella.  Sometimes I attempt to read a non-romance, but I don’t get very far.  They just don’t hold my attention.

Romance all the way.

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

With great difficulty!

Knowing Me, Knowing You is published through Dreamspinner Press and they have some wonderful cover artists working for them.  The two hardest aspects of the cover for me is finding a theme that represents what is inside the book, and finding models that suit the picture in my head.

The Loving You series is a light-hearted and slightly comedic storytelling.  The covers need to reflect that and I like the use of light colours and smiling models.  The font used in the title is a bit crazy, which also shows the reader it will be light-hearted.  My Safe series is less humorous and has a higher descriptive sex level which is reflected in the use of naked torsos and block lettering.

I have the added complexity of the fact I like to write characters who are not the norm you find in romance novels.  I write flamboyant twinks like Jay, or tubby, short characters like Shawn, or even men with long plaits like Harley. Trying to find models for these are hard.

In Knowing Me, Knowing You I once again wrote characters that are not necessarily easy to find.  Shane describes himself as wallpaper – he blends.  There is nothing about him that makes him stand out.  He’s Mr Average.  This is not the usual type of person photographers prefer.  But then I wrote a character of Ambrose who is part-Aboriginal.  Trying to find an available photograph of an extremely fit man (Ambrose is a top-level sportsman) who is only part-Aboriginal and who is smiling….  Needle in a haystack!

As for the layout of a cover and all the parts that come together, that’s what makes a cover artist an artist.  As an author you just have to trust them.

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?

Of course.  I started writing Knowing Me, Knowing You over two years ago.  It’s been thrown aside so many times because I didn’t think readers would be interested in the story between a bookworm and a football star.  I also had doubts about the reality of their love – would the readers understand?  Ambrose and Shane have one of those loves that doesn’t need fireworks and public declarations.  Neither of them want that.  It’s a love that has stood the test of time, separation, and hurt.

I’m a chronic WIP (work in progress) starter – I have half-completed stories all over the place.  Two of them belong to The Tav series.  Another belongs to The Shearing Gun. 

With the stories for The Tav, the reason I threw them aside was the community changed.  You can write a story that fits a trope or even a world event, but soon after something sours that theme and I’ve found it too politically incorrect to continue to write a story on a theme where people feel outraged.  The story may reflect real life, but sometimes people don’t want to read about reality, they want the fantasy.

As for The Shearing Gun #2, I want to make sure the character is unique and not just a carbon copy of Hank from the first story.  Sometimes an author needs a little distance for that to happen.  So poor Mickey is still waiting for me to finish his story.

I’m hoping that one day I can pick up their stories again and finish them off.

 

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?

That’s how the first Loving You book started.  I know someone who is very much like Jay – obviously gay, flamboyant, twinkish, and damn proud of it.  With all the homophobia that is around in RL, I always found it amazing how people flocked to his side – drawn to that person that IS him.

I wondered how a guy who was from a very masculinity-orientated world (like fishing, football, mining, drinking) would react if they were drawn to this person.  It was me exploring that situation that led me to writing Loving Jay.

I’m what they call a “pantser” – I write by the seat of my pants without a plot line or story draft to follow.  All of my work comes from throwing two characters together into a situation and then working through it by writing it out.

 

What’s next for you as a writer?

As a writer I’m always working on the next story.  I’ve just finished writing another novel that is not related to the ones I’ve published, but I’m proud of it and love it to bits.

Publication-wise I have a novella Christmas story coming out in December as a part of the Dreamspinner Advent Calendar (link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2018-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-warmest-wishes-10067-b).  You will receive my story if you’ve paid for the whole series, or you can buy it separately from December.

In 2019 I will hopefully be releasing a couple of non-gay romance books under another pen name, so that will be a wonderful challenge for me.

 

 

Knowing Me, Knowing You

Loving You #4

By Renae Kaye

Blurb

Can friends turned occasional lovers move beyond past mistakes and wrong assumptions to build something that can last?

Quiet bookworm Shane has a big secret—one he’s kept for fifteen years. AFL superstar Ambrose Jakoby grew up next door to Shane. They were close friends, and Shane supported Ambrose through school.

One night, everything changed.

Before Ambrose left Perth as a scared eighteen-year-old to head to Melbourne and take up his new footy career, Ambrose and Shane slept together.

For the next nine years, they continued a secret friends-with-benefits situation whenever Ambrose was in town. Shane never knew exactly where he stood or how to define Ambrose’s sexuality—and Ambrose didn’t know either. Then last Christmas, everything changed again, and a disagreement strained their friendship. Shane vowed to get over his unrequited love.

But Ambrose is back, recovering from an injury and hoping to make amends. He claims he’s ready for a real relationship. But Shane has to decide whether Ambrose means it and whether his Hufflepuff soul can take the chance.

About the Author

Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back.  She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since.  After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted.  It hasn’t stopped her though.  She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever.  So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.

Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden.  She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.

How to contact Renae:
Email:  renaekaye@iinet.net.au
Website:  www.renaekaye.weebly.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9
Twitter:  @renaekkaye
Instagram: @renaekayeauthor

David C. Dawson on story location, writing, and his new release ‘For the Love of Luke’ (author guest blog, excerpt and giveaway)

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For the Love of Luke by David C. Dawson
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host David C. Dawson here today on tour for his latest story For the Love of Luke. Welcome, David.

Thank you so much to Scattered Thoughts and Words for letting me stop by!

For the Love of Luke is a story of love, and has been a work of love for me. Not just the wonderful heroes Rupert and Luke, but also the British locations they visit in the book.

One of them is Middle Claydon, a village in Buckinghamshire where Rupert’s parents live. The village actually exists and I live about fifteen miles away from this beautiful spot. It’s a very romantic area to go walking, and there are three other Claydon hamlets nearby; Botolph Claydon, East Claydon and Steeple Claydon.

As described in the book, Claydon House was the ancestral home of the Verney family since 1620.

In the nineteenth century, Florence Nightingale’s sister Parthenope married the then Lord Verney and lived here. And that’s why Florence Nightingale often stayed at Claydon House. She wrote her seminal book Notes on Nursing here. Historians say she preferred the company of women to men, but lived a chaste life. According to her own writings, there were three women she loved dearly in her life. In the nineteenth century, there was no understanding or belief that a woman could be a lesbian.

If you ever get to visit Buckinghamshire, go find this beautiful spot. The surrounding countryside is lush and green, and the pretty church of All Saints is in the grounds of Claydon House.

 

About For the Love of Luke

A handsome naked man. Unconscious on a bathroom floor.

He’s lost his memory, and someone’s out to kill him.

Who is the mysterious Luke?

British TV anchor and journalist Rupert Pendley-Evans doesn’t do long-term relationships. Nor does he do waifs and strays. But Luke is different. Luke is a talented American artist with a dark secret in his life.

When Rupert discovers Luke, he’s intrigued, and before he can stop himself, he’s in love. The aristocratic Rupert is an ambitious TV reporter with a nose for a story and a talent for uncovering the truth. As he falls deeper in love with Luke, he discovers the reason for Luke’s amnesia. And the explanation puts them both in mortal danger.

EXCERPT:

The leathers Rupert brought for Luke were a snug fit. They clung tight to almost every part of his body. Luke admired himself in the full-length mirror. He turned side on. They felt good. He had to admit it. They looked damn good. Tight, black leather jeans enhanced the bulk of his thighs and the narrowness of his waist. They sagged a bit in the ass, but Rupert explained that was necessary to allow Luke to sit comfortably on the motorbike. Luke turned up the collar of the black leather jacket and closed the zips on both sleeves. Kevlar protective panels in the back, sleeves, and shoulders of the jacket filled out the upper part of his torso, adding bulk to his hours of work in the gym. He crossed to the bed and sat to pull on the reinforced bike boots, fasten their zips and Velcro covers.

Luke smoothed his hands across the surface of the leather stretched tight across his thighs and grinned at a stirring in his groin. The sensation both surprised and pleased him. He stood, and the rigid shape of the boots forced him to lean forward, like a skier about to descend a black run. He attempted to stand straight, the upper part of his body compensating for the enforced bend in his knees. The jeans pulled tight against his crotch, and his cock rose to the stimulation of the leather hugging his body.

“Sexy man.” Rupert’s voice came from the doorway. Luke turned. Rupert wore a one-piece racing suit made of red leather. White leather panels stitched into it enhanced the shape of his torso and legs. He crossed the bedroom to stand behind Luke at the mirror and placed his hands on Luke’s thighs. “I’ve not worn those leathers for a long time.” He studied Luke’s reflection in the mirror with an admiring grin. “They fit you really well. How do they feel?”

Luke took Rupert’s hands in his and pulled them to wrap around his waist. “They’re making me horny,” replied Luke. “I was getting a hard-on just standing here, even before you came in.”

Rupert slipped his hand down and caressed the front of Luke’s leathers. “And now you’re rapidly outgrowing those jeans. By the second, it feels like.”

He placed both hands on Luke’s shoulders and pulled him gently forward. He bent his head and kissed the side of Luke’s neck, slowly and tenderly, his tongue warm and moist against Luke’s skin. “I want you right now, the way you look and feel,” breathed Rupert. “But we’ve got to get moving. It should take us only an hour and a half to get there. Come on.”

About the Author

DAVID C. DAWSON

David C. Dawson writes contemporary thrillers featuring gay heroes in love. His debut novel The Necessary Deaths is published by DSP Publications and was described as “a real page turner”. It won Bronze for Best Mystery & Suspense in the FAPA awards. Rainbow Reviews called it “an exciting read with complex characters”.

The Deadly Lies is the second book in the series and came out last December.

For the Love of Luke is David’s third book. His fourth comes out in 2019.

David lives near Oxford in the UK, with his ageing Triumph motorbike and two cats.

LINKS:

Website: www.davidcdawson.co.uk

Dreamspinner Press book: http://bit.ly/ForTheLoveOfLuke

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/david_c_dawson

Giveaway

Answer this simple question and you’ll have the chance to win a digital copy of For the Love of Luke! Email your answer with your name to: david@davidcdawson.co.uk. Competition closes on midnight October 16, 2018.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Question: In For the Love of Luke, what’s the name of the English village where Rupert’s parents live?

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Lone Wolf by Anna Martin

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Length: 70,000 words approx.
 
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb



Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.


So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.


But he’s human. And a man.


Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.


While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.


Author Bio


Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the southwest of England and now lives in the Bristol, a city that embraces her love for the arts. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.


Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, and reading anything thatís put under her nose.


Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, prereading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.


https://www.annamartin-fiction.com/
http://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
http://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/
http://instagram.com/missannamartin
http://www.twitter.com/missannamartin

Giveaway

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Sean Michael On LIstening to His Characters and his new release ‘The Librarian’s Ghost (The Supers #2) *guest blog*

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The Librarian’s Ghost (The Supers #2) by Sean Michael

Dreamspinner Press
Dreamspun Beyond Title

Cover Art: Alexandria Corza

Buy links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble |  Kobo 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Sean Michael here today on tour for the latest in his The Supers series, The Librarian’s Ghost.  Welcome, Sean.

♦︎

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

When I started writing this story, I knew in my head what in general was going to happen. I knew there was a house the Supers would be called in to see, that this one was going to be the real thing, and that they were going to save the day, of course. I also knew this was Will’s story, and I had Payne slowly taking shape in my head as Will’s guy.

That’s usually about what I have in my back pocket when I start writing. Bare bones because I’ve learned that anytime I plan too much, the characters laugh at me and take off in their own merry direction.

So I start writing. The guys wrap up their latest case, they talk about their new case. They get to the MacGregor House where everything is supposed to be going down, they meet Payne. And Will turns into this huge asshole. I’m writing it and going WTF, Will? This is your forever man, why are you blowing it like this? And I’m focussed on how Payne is taking Will and it isn’t great, but then I notice that the other characters are also all going WTF, Will?

I keep writing, I try and turn Will around. I think I finally have when I get to a scene at a restaurant and Will is suddenly his usual self again and is being nice to Payne. Okay, cool. Back on track. And then they get back to the MacGregor House and Will turns into an big time jerk again. So I go, WTF, Will?

Then, of course, it dawns on me that Will is not being himself for a reason. At that point I stopped trying to fight it and let the characters do what they would, because clearly, they knew better than me. And in the end, they totally did!

I hope you enjoy The Librarian’s Ghost and if you haven’t read The Supers yet, you can still enjoy it, just know that Will is not usually a first class butthole.

Sean Michael

smut fixes everything

Blurb:

Can love survive the perils of MacGregor House?

The Supernatural Explorers are back and looking for their next big paranormal case. They might’ve found it in a plea from Payne, a mild-mannered librarian who has inherited the family mansion—MacGregor House. Since moving in a few months ago, Payne’s exhausted the list of ghost hunters and experts in his quest for help. The Supers are his last chance.

So why does normally good-natured cameraman Will take an instant dislike to Payne? For that matter, why has he felt irritable and angry since they arrived at the site? It soon becomes clear that the answers they seek will be found in the basement—where nobody has gone since Payne was a little boy. As the haunting grows deadlier, things get sweeter between Will and Payne, but all hell’s about to break loose when they breach the basement door.

Will they be ready?

About the Author

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

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

Sean Michael on the web:

WEBSITE: http://www.seanmichaelwrites.com

BLOG: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca

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

TWITTER: seanmichael09

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

Kim Fielding on Coffee and her new release ‘The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) (author guest blog)

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The Spy’s Love Song (Stars from Peril #1) by Kim Fielding
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Bree Archer

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

 

 

 

Hi! Kim Fielding here, and I have a new book out. Yay! The Spy’s Love Song is the tale of a jaded rock star and a State Department operative who end up in deep trouble in a country with a repressive totalitarian government. And there’s romance.

Today I’d like to discuss a topic beloved to many an author’s heart: coffee. Otherwise known as Writing Fuel and, on particularly tough mornings, Nectar of the Gods. Now, generally speaking, my favorite way to consume coffee is as espresso—unsweetened—preferably while sitting at a sidewalk café and gathering plot bunnies from passersby. During the summer, I also like iced coffee with sugar. Or better yet, eiskaffee as served in Vienna, which is cold coffee topped by vanilla ice cream and unsweetened whipped cream.

My other favorite is Bosnian coffee. This strong drink is served in a decorated copper pot called a džezva (that z with a hat on it is pronounced like the second g in garage). The pot comes on a tray—usually also copper—with a small ceramic cup and some sugar cubes. There’s always a glass of water on the side, and usually a piece of rahat lokum (Turkish delight) as well. Although I’ve heard variations on how to drink this, the easiest way is to put the sugar into the cup and carefully pour in the coffee. I say carefully because the džezva contains the fine coffee grounds. Basically, Bosnian coffee is like Turkish coffee, which makes sense since Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire for hundreds of years. But in Bosnia, it’s always called Bosnian coffee. [4409]

In Sarajevo, a cup of Bosnian coffee will run you two marks, which is about US$1.30. Sitting with friends and enjoying this beverage is an intrinsic part of the culture. During my recent visit there, not only did I drink plenty of the stuff, but of course so did the locals. I particularly enjoyed wandering the old part of the city and watching the coppersmiths chatting with each other outside their shops, a džezva and cups always close at hand. Their ancestors were probably doing exactly the same thing four centuries ago.

The Spy’s Love Song takes place not in Bosnia but in a fictional Eastern European country, but coffee is still important. A critical plot point centers on a café called the Black Cat. Do you have favorite coffee memories or associations?

***

The Spy’s Love Song by Kim Fielding

For a singer and a spy, love might be mission impossible.

Jaxon Powers has what most only dream of. Fame. Fortune. Gold records and Grammy awards. Lavish hotel suites and an endless parade of eager bedmates. He’s adored all over the world—even in the remote, repressive country of Vasnytsia, where the tyrannical dictator is a big fan. The State Department hopes a performance might improve US relations with a dangerous enemy. But it means Jaxon’s going in alone… with one exception.

Secret agent Reid Stanfill has a covert agenda with global ramifications. Duty means everything to him, even when it involves protecting a jaded rock star. Jaxon and Reid’s mutual attraction is dangerous under Vasnytsia’s harsh laws—and matters get even worse when they’re trapped inside the borders. Romance will have to wait… assuming they make it out alive.

Dreamspinner:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-spys-love-song-by-kim-fielding-9882-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spys-Love-Song-Dreamspun-Desires/dp/1641080558/

***

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com