Lina Langley On the Inspiration Behind Her Characters and her release Welcome to Crash (DSP Publications Promo Tour)

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Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley
DSP Publications
The cover artist is Anna Sikorska
Available for purchase at DSP Publications

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Lina Langley here today on her Welcome to Crash tour.  Welcome, Lina.

✒︎

Sam Riordan is a minor but important figure in Welcome To Crash. Part of the reason for that is the frame of reference that he provides for Damien as a character. When Damien gets a job at Crash, he’s ridiculously excited. It’s the equivalent of getting a job at Andy Warhol’s studio. Of course, Sam Riordan is supposed to be long dead, and everyone around Damien acting as if he was still alive and simply around is completely dismissed by Damien. It’s just something that artsy people that he doesn’t get would do. And Damien is, in effect, right. That is absolutely the kind of stunt that Sam Riordan would pull off, if he wanted to. Damien isn’t wrong in thinking that. Sam Riordan is more than just a painter, he’s an artist (and an artiste), hugely influential in Damien’s worlds in ways that don’t simply influence the story, but rather the entire cultural framework that encompasses it.

Sam Riordan is an amalgamation of various artists who were hugely influential, mostly in the twentieth century. He’s heavily based on both David Bowie and Salvador Dali.

The thing about these artists is that not one of them was perfect as people, but they were both hugely influential in their mediums. In Welcome to Crash, Sam’s presence is seen as something of a myth. Even when people speak about him, even in the studio, they do so in hushed tones. Long after Riordan is supposed to be dead, his presence lingers–John has a job at his studio, Damien thinks he’s extremely lucky to have landed it, and Levi is writing a book about it.

Sam Riordan’s relationships closely resemble those of Salvador Dali’s. He’s married, to someone who he considers the love of his life, but unlike Dali, he’s openly bisexual. While Salvador Dali denied that he had any homosexual inclinations, it was rumoured until the end of his life that he had a passionate love affair with Garcia Lorca. Federico Garcia Lorca was a legendary Spanish playwright and he was openly in love with Dali. While Dali denied claims that the two were involved romantically, many of his peers contend this. Whether or not the playwright and the artist were involved, Dali and his wife were deeply in love and they had a long, fulfilling marriage. Their relationship, first as artist and muse, and then as artist and wife, was complex and often complicated, but they were madly in love. The relationship with Sam Riordan’s wife, while only briefly touched on in the book, is extremely similar to the one that Dali had with his wife. When it’s looked back within an academic and historical framework, Sam Riordan’s relationship with his wife is matter-of-fact, just another facet of a modern art genius who dared to break the norms of what society dictated a marriage between a man and a woman had to be at the time. Unlike John, however, Sam Riordan is not a punk in the slightest. His convictions are a lot more whimsical and he’s only anti-establishment when it serves a purpose. He is who he is, and he’s proud and unapologetic, but he’s also shy and prefer to communicate through his art.

Which brings me to the second artist that Riordan was based on: David Bowie.

David Bowie’s influence on modern pop music cannot be understated. He told the world that he was gay, then as bisexual, in the 70s, and he pushed performance boundaries with androgynous make-up, dresses and other concepts which weren’t as accepted at the time. He was firmly part of gay culture while he was at the top of the charts in the 70s, releasing songs like “John, I’m only dancing”. Bowie’s sexuality was thoroughly questioned at the time and he spoke publicly about it through the years, often changing what he said. Bowie pushed hard against the boundaries of gender representation and what gender was. Some academics argue that it was done carelessly, in ways that only hurt the queer community (especially the gay community, which at one point, believed they had found an ally in the huge rock star and just as quickly lost it), but the influence of David Bowie’s androgyny and cross dressing in more mainstream pop culture remains far reaching to this day.

His sexuality–or the public persona surrounding his sexuality–wasn’t what influenced Sam Riordan’s character the most. David Bowie’s personas weren’t designed only to push boundaries, they were there because he was famously shy. David Jones could never perform in front of an audience, but Ziggy Stardust was the kind of star that would announce he was quitting to a packed stadium at the very height of his career. This is the kind of artist Sam is, famously shy and willing to adapt as long as he gets to push boundaries.

Sam is a background character through the story, but his existence is complex and he plays an important role, both for Damien’s story and in the context of his cultural framework. That’s the reason that Damien thinks, well, if anyone is alive even though they’re supposed not to be, of course it’s Sam Riordan.

Blurb

At first, Damien feels lucky to land a job at an influential art studio, but it soon becomes obvious that something’s not right. His gorgeous boss, John, is interested, and he’d be the perfect man for Damien—if Damien wasn’t already in a relationship. It isn’t long before Damien is at the center of a love triangle, forced to choose between hot, punk John and his secret affair with his professor, Levi. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because something impossible is happening to Damien—and it’s having a drastic effect on his health as well as his perception of reality.
Each time Damien goes to work, things grow more bizarre, starting with Sam—an artist who has been dead for years and now somehow… isn’t. Damien’s unusual circumstances also free him from the restrictions of monogamy—or so he thinks. Levi, who cannot believe Damien’s claims, fears for his sanity. John also has strong doubts when Damien reveals knowledge of a catastrophic event looming in John’s future. Whether the men he loves believe his wild claims or not, neither can deny Damien is languishing, and if they cannot save him, he’ll be lost. More importantly, they must convince Damien to save himself.

About the Author

Lina Langley is a first-generation immigrant. She currently lives in sunny Florida and spends her time slashing hot strangers while getting coffee.
Her past is haunted by spies, thieves, tyrants, and murderers. A resident of the world, she’s lived on three different continents. She first saw a radiator when she was twenty-two years old, and one time she followed a cat instead of going to a house party.
She likes to read, watch TV, and play video games when she’s not developing them. The rest of her free time is spent recreating her own characters in The Sims and hoping that people don’t look at the back end of her games.

Mark David Campbell on Writing, Characters and his latest novel ‘Eating the Moon’ (author interview)

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Eating the Moon by Mark David Campbell
DSP Publications

Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska

Buy Link:  DSP Publications

Release Date:  August 29, 2017

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Mark David Campbell today. Welcome, Mark!

♦︎

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Mark David Campbell ~

 

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I am inspired by people I know and with each character I discover qualities that are admirable and sometimes shameful but in the end, I suspect that all my characters come from somewhere deep inside me.

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

I never set out to create a character, as such. I imagine a situation or reflect on an experience or fantasy and sooner or later a character appears and begins a conversations. Before I know it other characters have joined in the conversation and that’s when I feel a story is emerging.

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

After so many years studying anthropology, I have to say that everything I write is shaped and informed by that rare and wonderful way of looking at humanity and the human experience.

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

Yes, but in a very convoluted way. I have a learning disability and reading was very difficult for me as a child, so I became a day-dreamer and invented my own stories and adventures in my head. I developed an effective strategy for reading academic texts but this was far from pleasurable. It wasn’t until I was living in a small village in the jungle of Central America doing research that I learned to read for pleasure and discovered the joy of fiction.

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

Not unlike many LGBTIQ people, I lost my family a number of years ago and I still have, and probably always will have, many issues that are just too painful for me to explore in my writing.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I don’t know what they are, but if they’re an acronym for a brand of beer or type of pizza I probably like both of them.

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

I confess, my first love affair with romance fiction was with Danielle Steel, when I was an adult.

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

Easy. Margaret Atwood, E. M. Forester, Somerset Maugham and of course the old adventure classics like R. L. Stevenson, Joseph Conrad and Jules Verne. I also love short stories. I especially like collections of gay short stories.

What do you read, mostly.

I’ll read anything that’s good. I particularly look for adventure and character development with a strong storyline. I prefer books which have an original perspective or take on a situation. I’m not attracted to books which are sensational, over technical or celebrity worship and I don’t read books with graphic violence and explicit torture scenes, even if the book is generally well written.

Of course, I’ve always been drawn to books and stories with a queer perspective because I’m gay and I can relate to them. The heteronormative perspective can be like a tsunami, pretty much drowning out everything else; TV, radio, advertising, the internet… Reading a queer novel, is like holding my head up out of the water and taking a breath of fresh air.

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

The future will be ebooks. They are convenient, portable and cheap. But ebooks are less intimate and can’t completely replace the feel and experience of reading through the pages of a classic paper book.

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

I wanted the cover to reflect the mystery and melancholy of the story and it needed three elements; the moon, the sea and a lone figure.

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

I have many favorites. As far as characters go, I think most writers teeter on the edge of insanity where we often have trouble distinguishing between our characters and real life people. So for me, my favorite parts are when Guy is on the island, hanging out with Nando and Pico or fishing with Kizo, Luca and Pico, amongst his friends who love and accept him.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’ve just finished the first draft of my next book which is a tale of a little biobot (part biological, part mechanical), aged thirteen years old, named Sonny Boy, who learns to understand what it means to be loved and to love.

What are your hopes for this book?

I want this book to be the kind of story that stays with the reader on a very intimate level. I want to reader to feel like the island is their personal escape that they can return to, time and time again.

Eating the Moon

What if there was a place that nobody else knew about – a secret place – where everyone was queer?’ That’s the question Guy, a 70 year old, lonely gay anthropology professor asks Richard, his 32 year old psychiatrist. During their twice weekly sessions, Guy tells Richard a fantastic tale of his experience as a young man bound for Cuba on a cargo ship which sinks in the Bermuda triangle. Guy and the first mate Luca are washed up on the shore of an uncharted tropical island and discover a complex society where almost everyone is homosexual.

Eating the Moon takes you on an erotic tropical vacation to a place where all your fantasies of homosexual love and sex can come true, but as both Guy and Luca soon discover, even paradise comes with a cost.

About the author

Mark David Campbell is a Canadian who has lived in Italy for the past seventeen years where he teaches, writes and paints, moving between Lago Maggiore and Milan with his husband. Prior to moving to Italy, he spent twenty years studying and working in archaeology and anthropology in Canada, Central America, Jordan, Egypt and Greece and earned his Ph.D. in social cultural anthropology from the University of Toronto where he taught as a part-time professor.

In addition to writing, he has shown his paintings at numerous individual and group shows in Toronto, Canada and throughout Italy. In his spare time, Mark David Campbell likes scouring second-hand stores, boating on Lago Maggiore and eating pizza and drinking beer with friends.

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Guardian (Aisling #1) by Carole Cummings

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Aisling Trilogy: Book One

As he pursues a man who is not what he seems, Constable Dallin Brayden learns the lines between enemy and ally, truth and deception, and conscience and obedience are not only blurred, but malleable.

 

Constable Dallin Brayden knows who he is, what he’s about, and he doesn’t believe in Fate. “Wilfred Calder” has no idea who he is or what he’s about, and he’s been running from Fate for as long as he can remember. When Wil flees after witnessing a murder, it’s Dallin’s job to pursue him. Along the way, he’s pulled into a maelstrom of ancient myth, fanatical religion, and the delicate politics of a shaky truce between two perpetually warring countries—all of which rests on the slender shoulders of the man he knows is not Wilfred Calder.

 

Even Dallin’s success proves a hollow victory. Wil is vengeful, rebellious, and lethal, and his tale of magic and betrayal rocks the carefully constructed foundations of Dallin’s world. Suspicious and only half believing, Dallin must question not only his own integrity and his half-forgotten past, but the morality and motives of everyone around him—including those who hold his own country’s fate in their hands.

I’m going to come out and say I gave this 5 stars despite the ending.  Guardian is just that good.  The first in Carole Cummings’ Aisling Trilogy, it doesn’t so much end as stop, clearly waiting for the next story to take over.  No cliffhanger, just a cessation more or less in the storyline.  Argh as they say.

But everything that comes before that ending? Just outstanding!  From the incredible world building to the nuanced characters full of anguished pasts and unimaginable pain to a present to comes with a slow buildup of suspense and a flight of terror against faceless enemies, this story is one you cannot put down.

And it starts off  so calmly with our introduction to Dallin Brayden, an orphan whose fate is tied up with the man he’s about to meet.  All the characters here are densely layered,  with revelations about who they are peeled back over the course of the story. Dallin’s character is imminently likable and that only increases the more we get to know him.  His own doubts and confusions let us understand him while the innate goodness Cummings has written into his personality makes him an anchor for us to connect with.  Then there’s Wil. Oh, my, there are hardly any words for Wil.  You must meet him, go along the journey here with him to begin to understand why you will fall in love with him so.  And fear for him.

Cummings is building a complex mythology here along with her relationships and cultures.  It all works to a stunning detail.  I’m so tempted to wait until the last two books are out and read through the entire trilogy to the end.  I don’t think I can handle another ending like that.  Just too frustrating as this story is that good and I want to know how it  ends!  You will too.  You decide what sort of reader you are.  Can you handle a story one book at a time?  If so, then pick this up and get started on the Trilogy and a couple you’ll want to meet.  If you are someone who wants to know how it will all end, you might want to wait until all three books are out and read them all together.  Either way,  I’m in line for the next one to come out!  This author has me hooked on Aisling!

Cover Artist: Anne Cain.  I’m not sure I’m a fan of this cover.  It fits in a way, just a matter of taste.

Sales Links:  DSP Publications | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 285 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by DSP Publications
ASIN B073Q8GV1G

Ravon Silvius on Characters, Writing and The Storm Lords (DSP PUBLICATIONS Author Guest Tour)

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The Storm Lords by Ravon Silvius
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Where you can find the book 

DSP Publications |  Amazon  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ravon Silvius here talking about writing, characters and their latest fantasy release, The Storm Lords. Welcome, Ravon.

♦︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview With Ravon Silvius

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here! Thanks so much for interviewing me! I’m here to promote my newest book as well as talk about my career as a writer!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Honestly? Very little. My life is rather boring and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, so nothing much of my life makes it into my stories. The one thing that might make it in is my curiosity–I’m a researcher in my day job, so some of my characters will likely have a healthy scientific interest.

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

Interesting question. I think sometimes having real life experiences influence things is for the better. In The Storm Lords, Rowen is mute, and if I was also mute I maybe could have written him even more accurately. Having real experiences to fall back on can often make those experiences feel more real and tangible to the reader. But I could also argue that you don’t necessarily need real life experience to write about something, especially in fantasy. After all, I’ve never summoned a storm, but I can still write about Kristoff using his power. It depends on context, I think.

Of course, the Mary Sue/Gary Stu question comes up if you write a character based entirely on yourself, and never portray the character in a bad light. Think of self-inserts in fanfics. I’ve never done that, thankfully. Like I said above, if I wrote a character based on myself, it would be a really boring character.

 

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

A bit of both. Writing fantasy is fun because you can do anything, but things also have to make sense within the world. For The Storm Lords, I made up the cultures and geography and magic system and everything about the world, but I did do research on weather systems and how they could conceivably work. There’s a lot of fantasy, but I think having the most fantastical things (summoned storms) feel somewhat real (like using the proper terminology and the basics behind how hot and cold fronts work) makes the story more immersive. I think the general rule with fantasy, though, is that you can do and make up anything as long as its consistent within its own world. 

For science fiction, a bit more research is usually required, of course. For my sci fi stories, I did a lot of research on space travel and what sort of cybernetic enhancements might make it easier. I also looked up a lot of information on the theory of a space elevator for my upcoming anthology collection featuring cyborg erotica. 

 

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

As a kid, I read a lot of animal fantasy–things like Watership Down or TailChaser’s Song. I liked the fantasy aspect and the uniqueness of the animal world. As I got older, I started reading more traditional fantasies–things like Wheel of Time and Valdemar. I got into science fiction even later than that, with books by Ben Bova. I enjoy reading almost anything, but my favorites have always been genre. Its both escapist and gives people a caricatured look at the world, with genre writing sometimes able to tackle subjects in an oblique, interesting way. The Enforcers series is like that, a look at inequality in a world with those who can use magic and those who can’t. Plus, who wouldn’t want magic to be real?

 

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

I always have a rough idea in my head of where I want a story to end up, so I don’t often run into a problem where I don’t know where the story is going to go. I did have a slight problem while writing the Storm Lords where Rowen’s motivation for a while was to ignore his memories of his old home and strive to forget it. It was an unhealthy way to deal with what he had lost, and it had to come back and bite him–but that part was hard to write!

 

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?


I prefer Happy For Now over Happily Ever After. With HEA, I always wonder “What’s next,” especially with younger characters. Nothing stays happy forever. Maybe that’s a cynical way of thinking, but HFN feels more realistic, like the story we see is a part of a character’s life and not their entire existence. It makes the characters feel more real.I think the saddest story I wrote was Remembrance–it was very much a HFN, with the characters finding love, but the reader knows the world is going to end sooner rather than later. But I liked  ending it that way–the characters’ story was complete, but they and the world they live in had more in it to experience. I like leaving things a bit open for readers to imagine the future.

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


Ebooks are the future! In all seriousness, though, I love Ebooks. As a child and teenager, my only options were the hardcover books in book stores, and while I found a lot of my favorites this way, I also began noticing quite early on that a lot of them were very derivative. You’d see a lot of the same stories over and over, and what was worse, books came out so slow, and I read so fast, that I often couldn’t find new books in my favorite genres! 

Ebooks changed all that. I can go to Amazon and find unique works, either self-published or put out by publishers like DSP, who cater to my exact tastes (like genre with healthy doses of romance!). Ebooks can be released more quickly, and give authors who may not have been discovered traditionally a chance to shine. Of course, I still like paperback, but I am very glad Ebooks have made their mark. 

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


It depends on the cover. I am not a visual person, so I usually just fill out the cover art form and let the artist do their thing. Most of the time I’m happy with whatever they provide–cover artists are good at their job! I will usually provide a sentence or two of things I’d like to see–with the Enforcers series, for example, I usually request steampunky-type things, and for The Storm Lords I requested a storm somewhere in the art. I think it turned out great! 

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

This is a tough question! I love all of my work, from the shortest of the cyborg erotica stories to my longest work, the entire WaterLord trilogy. If I had to pick an absolute favorite, it would likely be Remembrance, which was discussed above. Its a science fiction story set in the future of a dying world, and it follows Aldric, a soldier who’s been traveling since the war ended. Its very bleak, but I think its a beautiful story.

Of course, I also love The Storm Lords, my most recent book from DSP. I love Rowen and Kristoff, and I hope others do too!

 

What’s next for you as an author?

 I have a few things coming out soon, and a few other things in development. Book 8 of the Enforcers Series, Allies, is coming out soon. Coming in October is an anthology of erotic short stories featuring cyborgs–there are 6 stories, all very hot. And of course, The Storm Lords has just come out! Check it out if you like fantasy with M/M romance. 

In the works I have book 9 of the Enforcers series, which will likely finish the series. I’m also working on a paranormal story feature a vampire. And finally, I hope to write the sequel to Freshman Blues, my first book with Dreamspinner.

Book Blurb:

The Storm Lords

The heat took everything from Rowen: his parents, his voice when the local cure for heatstroke poisoned him, and the trust of his fellow villagers, who branded him a water thief. It would have claimed his life when he was deemed unworthy of precious resources and left in the sun to die, had not a strange man named Kristoff ridden in on the wind and told Rowen he had power. 

Rowen works hard to become a Storm Lord, one of a secret magical group that brings storms to break the heat waves overtaking their world. But Rowen is starting his training at a disadvantage since he cannot speak and is much older than the other novices. The desire to please Kristoff inspires him to persevere even more than the threat of being sent back to his village to die should he fail. Still, he cannot gather rain, and when his abilities manifest, they are unlike anything known to the Storm Lords. Unless Kristoff can help him control his deadly powers, the entire world will be in danger.

Kristoff might be among the mightiest of the Storm Lords, but he’s never been a mentor before. For a chance to be with Rowen, he’s willing to risk everything.

About the author:

Ravon Silvius lives in a tiny apartment with two tiny cats in a tiny town in the United States. Despite the cramped living quarters, Ravon enjoys coming up with big ideas for novels, with some plots coming from Ravon’s findings as a neuroscience researcher and others coming purely from Ravon’s imagination.

Where you can find me:

My website: ravonsilvius.blogspot.com

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ravon.silvius

I’m on twitter too, sometimes: https://twitter.com/ravonsilvius

And please check out my goodreads page!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4897217.Ravon_Silvius

Mourning the Loss of Summer Doldrums. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Mourning the Loss of Summer Doldrums

Ah, mid August.  Usually, that boring time of the month when the temperatures are heating up, vacations may be winding down, school is only weeks away…a time of calm, normally before things start up again.  The heat makes you slow down, the winds are becalmed, leaving ships drifting in the seas….

But all now seems in turmoil around us, I shy away from the news, the media (living in the Metro area makes this almost impossible) making want to cringe or more from what I hear being relayed daily.  Never did I think our country would come to this.  I admit to feeling incredibly disheartened these days.  Enough to long for those boring summer  doldrums of old.  And it wasn’t even that long ago that things seemed so promising.

Like the fresh start of summer every year.  Those days are always so full of promise, things we want to do in our time off, places to visit, things to accomplish maybe, or just relaxation, perhaps.  By mid-August, reality sets in as Autumn starts to peep around the corner, bringing another season, the arrival of Fall, and the closure of another summer.  Was it everything we hoped for?  Like a summer romance, it rarely is but the memories can remain golden if looked at in the right light.  So I’m wondering how we will remember this summer?  In what light, will we hold up these memories?  It’s too early to say.  I do know that now I’m looking forward to fall, to clear away the summer doldrums for the briskness of the fall air and the promise of a new clarity.  We can hope, can’t we?

In the meantime, Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words accumulations of lists go on!

We are still working on our Fantasy Rec lists.  You all know?  I forgot the Supernatural/Paranormal lists, so those may have to come next.  But for now, lets concentrate on the Fantasy ones.  Our Giveaway runs until August 26~

(Extra note:  We are still looking for reviewers, please contact us if you know of anyone or want to review for us yourself.  Write to us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com)

Fantasy Titles to be Added To:

Purple Reader starts off our recs with this from last week’s rec list (I stuck it here, because it seemed to fit):
Readers Recs:

Fantasy Fiction Rec Giveaway

Send in your recs  for your favorite fantasy book/ or series!  Don’t forget to add your email address where we can reach you if chosen to receive our gift certificate of $10.

Again, gift certificates to a reader chosen at random who left a comment along with their email address where they can be reached if chosen.
Contest ends at midnight on 8/26.  That’s two weeks to get your recommendations in!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, August 13:

  • Mourning the Loss of Summer Doldrums.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, August 14:

  • Cover Reveal Blitz: Cataclysmic Shift by Tara Lain
  • DSP PUBLICATIONS TOUR: Ravon Silvius on The Storm Lords
  • Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour by Charlie Cochrane Blog Tour and Giveaway
  • Review Tour – Amy Aislin’s As Big As The Sky
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Bone to Pick by TA Moore
  • An Ali Review: As Big As The Sky by Amy Aislin
  • A MelanieM Review: Lavender by Xavier Axelson
  • A MelanieM Review: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour by Charlie Cochrane

Tuesday, August 15:

  • Dreamspinner Promo: Yvonne Trent on Coasting (States of Love Story)
  • TOUR: The One Thing I know by Keelan Ellis
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway for Three Player Game (Bluewater Bay) by Jaime Samms
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review:  Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:  Guardian (Aisling #1) by Carole Cummings
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Wednesday, August 16:

  • Book Blitz – Misha Paige – Beast of a Time (Hellbound Hound #1)
  • TOUR King of the Fire Dancers by S.T. Sterlings
  • Review Tour – Clare London’s Peep Show
  • A Caryn Review: Peep Show by Clare London
  • A Free Dreamer Pre Release Review: Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke
  • A Lila Release Day Review:  The Foxling Soldati (Soldati Hearts #2) by Charlie Cochet

Thursday, August 17:

  • Cover Reveal for Mel Gough’s A World Apart
  • Review Tour – RJ Scott – Gabriel (Legacy #2)
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Controlled Burn by Erin McLellan
  • Andrew Grey on Ebb and Flow (Guest Post)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Gabriel (Legacy Ranch #2) by R.J. Scott
  • A MelanieM Review: Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon

Friday, August 18:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Tara Lain’s Fool of Main Beach
  • Tour: Becoming Andy Hunsinger by Jere’ M. Fishback
  • Release Blitz & Review Tour – Jay Northcote’s Tops Down Bottoms Up
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review:  Northern Star by Ethan Day and Jason Frazier (Narrator)
  • A VVivacious Review: Weekend Getaway (Daniel and Ryan #7) by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Alisa Review: Grounded by Aidan Wayne

Saturday, August 19:

  • Release Blitz – Getting Through – J.S. Finley
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Shax’s War (Brimstone #3 by Angel Martinez and Vance Bastian (Narrator)

 

 

An Alisa Release Day Review: The Storm Lords by Ravon Silvius

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

 

The heat took everything from Rowen: his parents, his voice when the local cure for heatstroke poisoned him, and the trust of his fellow villagers, who branded him a water thief. It would have claimed his life when he was deemed unworthy of precious resources and left in the sun to die, had not a strange man named Kristoff ridden in on the wind and told Rowen he had power.

 

Rowen works hard to become a Storm Lord, one of a secret magical group that brings storms to break the heat waves overtaking their world. But Rowen is starting his training at a disadvantage since he cannot speak and is much older than the other novices. The desire to please Kristoff inspires him to persevere even more than the threat of being sent back to his village to die should he fail. Still, he cannot gather rain, and when his abilities manifest, they are unlike anything known to the Storm Lords. Unless Kristoff can help him control his deadly powers, the entire world will be in danger.

 

Kristoff might be among the mightiest of the Storm Lords, but he’s never been a mentor before. For a chance to be with Rowen, he’s willing to risk everything.

 

This was a wonderful and well thought out story.  This story takes place in a well thought out world that sounds similar to earth but with some very big differences.  Rowen’s life has been very harsh when Kristoff rescues him and hopes that he may finally be able to help out his home village, if even from a distance.

 

Rowen works hard to master his abilities but what he feels isn’t quite what Kristoff and the other Storm Lords describe.  His lack of ability to communicate easily causes some of the problems and also keeps himself separate from those around him.  Kristoff isn’t sure what to do with his new charge but is willing to do his part of being a mentor.  Their feelings grow but both don’t want to cause any problems and don’t let their feelings known until it’s almost too late.

 

This story is told from both MCs points of view so we are able to understand their thoughts and emotions.  Rowen works so hard to become what Kristoff said he was but when they find out how his powers really work his safety and that of those around him is put at risk.  Kristoff tries to deny how he is feeling about Rowan and can’t help but be even more protective of Rowan as he works with him.  I felt for Rowan when he was suddenly taken from his home and all he has ever known to a new and foreign place and when he fears that he will cause harm to others with his powers.  I loved seeing Kristoff actually learn about how the choices for their world are made but he wants to make it better with Rowan.

 

Cover art by Aaron Anderson is absolutely perfect for this story.

 

Sales Links: DSP Publications | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 254 pages

Published: August 8, 2017 by DSP Publications

ISBN-13: 978-1-63533-668-9

Edition Language: English

Anne Barwell on Bidding Adieu to her series and her release Comes a Horseman’, Sequel to Winter Duet (guest post and giveaway)

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Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) by Anne Barwell
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Available for Purchase at DSP Publications

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Anne Barwell here today talking about the writing the series finale, and her latest release Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3).  Welcome, Anne!

✒︎

 

Bidding Adieu by Anne Barwell

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.  DSP Publications also have the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) on sale from 17th July-August 4th.

Although I started writing this series with a clear overall story in mind, part of me still can’t believe I’ve finished the final book.  I first began writing the early draft of Shadowboxing in 2002, but shelved it when the thought of all the research got a little daunting.  After my first novel with Dreamspinner Press, Cat’s Quill, was published in 2011, I dusted off the manuscript for Shadowboxing and started writing again. This time the research felt more doable, and hoping I might have a home for it, I went back to the beginning, edited it heavily, and finished the story.  I was delighted when Dreamspinner wanted to publish it, and ecstatic when it and Winter Duet, book 2 of my renamed Echoes Rising series, were republished by DSP Publications in 2016. 

Although this story wasn’t my first published book or series, it was the first thing I’d written that I knew was going to be a novel.  That novel quickly became a three book series, when I realised the story I wanted to tell either needed to be split into a series, or would be one very long book.

I’ve grown attached to these characters, as they’ve been a part of my life for nearly twenty years, and although I’m happy I’ve finally finished telling their story, I’m going to miss them. Despite writing in series, Echoes Rising is the first I’ve finished—although I’m working on completing my others in progress too.  The characters—much like myself—have changed and grown over those years, to the point where I had to rethink some of the scenes in this last story.  They might have worked at the beginning of the series, but these men are no longer the same as they were when they started on this adventure.  They’ve endured many hardships, lost people they cared about, but through it all they’ve built friendships which have impacted their lives. I figure that’s quite an achievement considering that—apart from Matt and Ken—none of them knew each other before the pieces moved into place leading into their mission into German in 1943.

I suspect—considering the strong personalities of these men—that although Echoes Rising is finished, that they’ll find another way to sneak into my writing.  I’m gearing up to set up an author newsletter and will be writing free fiction as a part of that, and Liang is making noises about sneaking into a 1950s murder mystery I want to write.  Matt already has a blink and you’ll miss it cameo in an upcoming release, so watch this space.

After all, these guys are spies, and very practised at getting into places they’re not to be.  I’ll miss the 1940s and WWII as well. I’ve learnt a lot more than I ever thought I would, so maybe other characters from that period still have stories they want to share. Only time will tell.

Finally, I want to thank the readers who have enjoyed reading about my characters’ exploits in WWII. I’ve loved being able to share this series with you. 

Blurb

Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

Excerpt:

Matt nodded, his lips moving although he did not speak. He was counting, Michel realized, as they pulled away from shore, and using the rhythm of his movement to distract himself from the darkness.

The moon’s light highlighted the waves lapping around the boat—the water seemed to reach toward them before diving back again. Ken and Matt quickly settled into a unified motion, both focused on what they were doing, although Ken glanced at Matt a couple of times.

Frej signaled for Matt and Ken to change direction slightly and rest the oars. They did that for a few moments, letting the boat drift with the current. If Michel squinted, he could see the outline of the bridge in the distance and several shapes moving at either end of it. The guards on duty would hopefully stay focused on the bridge itself and not notice a small rowboat sneaking over the border. The area was well guarded, but as it had been secured for quite some time, they would not be expecting trouble.

On the other side of the boat, Liang quickly turned and leaned over the side. As soon as he started to make a gagging noise he shoved his hand over his mouth to silence it. If his seasickness got any worse, it would be difficult to mask the noise of him vomiting over the side of the boat. He was doing his best to silence his dry heaving, but his hunched posture suggested he felt miserable and unwell.

Frej leaned toward Ken and gestured. Ken nodded, rested the oars again, and then he and Matt changed direction. Matt was still counting under his breath, and he gripped the oar tightly.

“Who’s there?” The shouted question shattered the silence.

Kristopher glanced around, an expression of panic on his face.

Michel put a hand on his arm to calm him but didn’t dare whisper the reassurance he wanted to. He turned around and strained his eyes, trying to find the source of the disruption. Matt and Ken stopped rowing, the boat drifting back the way they’d come, caught by the current.

He heard boots against wood in the distance—the unmistakable sound of men running, probably over the bridge crossing the Rhine south of their position. “No farther or I’ll shoot,” one of them yelled.

Frej got down on the floor of the boat. Michel and Kristopher followed, then Liang. Matt kept hold of his oar, trying to keep it as still as he could. He leaned down into a crouch, as did Ken.

Gunfire sounded from the bridge. A couple of shots in succession before stopping. Michel heard an engine, a vehicle approaching. A door slammed, and then everything went quiet again. Logically he knew the bridge was a good few kilometers away, but Frej was right about noise carrying on the water. If felt too close for comfort.

Frej waited a few minutes. “Row,” he whispered urgently. “While they are distracted.”

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Rafflecopter giveaway:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/96bb1f281/?

You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here: https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/comes-a-horseman-blog-tour

July 25 –  MM Good Book Reviews

July 31 –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 1 – Two Men Are Better Than One

August 1 – Top to Bottom Reviews

August 1 – Genre Talk at The Novel Approach Reviews

August 2 –  Love Bytes Reviews

August 3 –  Andrew Q. Gordon

August 3 –  DSP Publications Blog

August 4 –  Nic Starr

August 4 – Alpha Book Club

August 7 –  My Fiction Nook

August 8 –  Divine Magazine

August 9 – Aisling Mancy

August 10 – Lucy Marker

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Really? Can it Be Almost August? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

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Really? Can it Be Almost August?

Really? Can it Be Almost August? Hard to believe and yet, we’re into the dog days of summer clearly with our temperatures rising into the near 100’s and the muggy’s hitting early this year.  It’s hot and oh so steamy outside.  Sirius is rising in the morning, the Dog Star bright in the skies if you’re up early enough.  That’s the brightest first magnitude star we can see and the one that the Dog Days of Summer are named for. Sirius is one star in a group of stars that form the constellation Canis Major, meaning “Greater Dog.” It’s no surprise, then, that the nickname of this big, bold star is Dog Star.

Sirius signaled the beginning of the hot season, which brought drought, disease, and more. Some people believed that the summer swelter was due to the combined heat from Sirius and the Sun. These uncomfortable, unhealthy days were called the dog days, named after the (innocent) Dog Star. It makes sense that the name of the Dog Star, Sirius, means “scorching” in Greek.

How fitting then, that the first weekend in August brings another smaller celebration. That of International Beer Day on the 4th,  which is quickly followed on the 5th by International Hangover Day.

What are you going to do  going into August?

Don’t forget we still have our contest going on to rec our fav science fiction and historical warrior/soldier stories….

Part II – Soldiers/Warriors ~ Historical and Science Fiction Recommendations

There are so many wonderful stories that involve the past and the future with warriors and soldiers.  Let’s start our next series of lists.  Whether the author is Charlie Cochrane or Aleksandr Voinov, their stories will have you under their spells of soldiers past and future.

Some of my recommendations:

Memory of Scorpions series by Aleksandr Voinov (Science Fiction)

Song of the Navigator by Astrid Amara (Science Fiction)

The Borders War (5 books) by S.A. McAuley (Science Fiction)

Promises Made Under Fire by Charlie Cochrane (historical)

The Devil Lancer by Astrid Amara (historical/fantasy)

More on mine later…..more coming!

Comment with recommendations and your email address and  two readers will be picked to receive a $10 gift cert from Dreamspinner Press or Amazon, your choice.  Giveaway ends next Saturday, August 5.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Also Again….

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is still looking for reviewers.  If you want to review or know of anyone who reviews, please let us know.  Contact us at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

Sunday,  July 30:

  • Really? Can it Be Almost August?
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!
  • An Alisa Review: Stormy Nights by Jonas Duffy

Monday, July 31:

  • Audiobook Review Tour for Personal Secrets by KC Wells
  • DSP PUBLICATIONS TOUR: Anne Barwell on Comes a Horseman Sequel to Winter Duet
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Heat Wave, Seasons of Love book 3, by Elyse Springer.
  • Tour: The Garden by Rosalind Abel / Brandon Witt (exclusive excerpt)
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Personal Secrets (Personal #3) by K.C. Wells
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Chase the Ace (London Lads #1) by Clare London and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)
  • An Alisa Review: Resistance by April Kelley

Tuesday, August 1:

  • DSP GUEST POST Julia Talbot on Sparkle and Shine
  • RELEASE BLITZ Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: Out of the Ashes (Asheville Arcana) by Ari McKay
  • A Melanie Release Day Review: The Teddy Bear Club (The Teddy Bear Club #1) by Sean Michael
  • A Stella Review: After the Sunset by Lilah Suzanne
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Wrapped in Chains by Cindy Sutherland and Narrator: John Anthony Davis

Wednesday, August 2:

  • DSP GUEST POST Parker Williams on The Runner
  • Release Blitz and Giveaway – RJ Scott’s Gabriel (Legacy #2)
  • DSP GUEST POST Ari McKay on Out of the Ashes
  • A Caryn Review: All Wheel Drive (Bluewater Bay #18) by Z.A. Maxfield
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Plaid Versus Paisley (Fabric Hearts #2) by KC Burn and Narrator: David Ross
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden

Thursday, August 3:

  • Susan Mac Nicol “Revival” Tour and Giveaway
  • Review Tour: The Necromancer’s Dilemma by S J Himes
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Spectred Isle (Green Men #1) by K.J. Charles
  • A MelanieM Review: Knight Errant (Legends of Osaire Book 2) by T.A. Creech
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: Unbreak My Heart (Unbreak My Heart #1) by K-lee Klein and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: The Necromancer’s Dilemma (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #2) by S.J. Himes and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

Friday, August 4:

  • BOOK TOUR Crimson Storm by V.L Moon & J.T Cheyanne
  • DSP GUEST POST Sean Michael on The Teddy Bear Club
  • DSP GUEST POST TJ Nichols
  • Blog Tour When Heaven Strikes by F.E Feeley Jr
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Red Fish, Dead Fish (Fish Out of Water#2) by Amy Lane
  • An Alisa Review: One Heart, One Destiny by Pelaam

Saturday, August 5:

  • Release Blitz for Amy Aislin’s As Big As The Sky
  • A MelanieM Review: Christopher Wild by Kathe Koja

In Our Spotlight: The City of Rocks (A BJ Vinson Mystery #3) by Don Travis

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The City of Rocks (A BJ Vinson Mystery #3) by Don Travis
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Don Travis today, here with a new BJ Vinson Mystery, The City of Rocks.  Welcome, Don.

 

 

Many thanks to Stella and Melanie at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for hosting this guest post, the third they’ve been kind enough to publish. This one is for The City of Rocks, the third in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series. The first two were for The Zozobra Incident and The Bisti Business. Get ready, Stella and Melanie, The Lovely Pines is coming down the road next March, and Abaddon’s Locusts is burning up my desk top. May I also give a tip of the hat to DSPP, my publisher.

They tell me I’m now supposed to bore you with a few facts about me. Okay, here goes. I’m an Okie who contracted tuberculosis at the tender age of six years, which meant I grew up thinking I couldn’t do what other youngsters my age usually did. Therefore, I took refuge in a library. I was a 100-pound private in the army toting a machine gun up and down the mountains of southern Germany when I discovered I could do anything any other GI could do, but by that time It was too late. My life was cast. I was hooked on reading. I turned to painting to satisfy a creative urge but ultimately returned to penning short stories… and then novels.

I do a weekly blog about my writing and recounting some of my personal peccadillos on dontravis.com. A member of SouthWest Writers, I give back to the community by teaching a free writing class at Albuquerque’s North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center.

City’s blurb reads as follows: investigator B. J. Vinson thinks it’s a bad joke when Del Dahlman asks him to look into the theft of a duck… a duck named Quacky Quack the Second and insured for $250,000. It ceases to be funny when the young thief dies in a suspicious truck wreck. The search leads BJ and his lover, Paul Barton, to the sprawling Lazy M Ranch in the Boot Heel country of southwestern New Mexico bordering the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

A deadly game unfolds when BJ and Paul are trapped in a weird rock formation known as the City of Rocks—an eerie array of frozen magma that is somehow at the center of the entire scheme. But does the theft of Quacky involve a quarter-million-dollar duck-racing bet between the ranch’s owner and a Miami real estate developer, or someone attempting to force the sale of the Lazy M because of its proximity to an unfenced portion of the Mexican border? BJ and Paul go from the City of Rocks to the neon lights of Miami and back again in pursuit of the answer… death and danger tracking their every step.

For a look at the book, I chose a scene in Chapter 17 where BJ and Paul take a horseback ride out to the Lazy M’s City of Rocks. This is Paul’s first visit to the Boot Heel ranch abutting the Mexican state of Chihuahua. We pick up the scene when they first spot the formation.

*****

“Is that it?”

“Yep. The Lazy M’s own City of Rocks.”

“Man, that looks weird out there all by itself. Even weirder than the big one up at the state park.”

“New Mexico’s full of weird. You think you’re standing on the moon at the Bisti Badlands. And then there’s Carlsbad Caverns, Tent Rocks, White Sands, and those eerie lava beds in the Malpais.”

“I gotta get out of Bernalillo County more often,” he said.

We went silent, falling increasingly under the spell of ghostly monoliths as we approached the City. The horses plodded between the first two hunks of mute rock on the north-northwest side. The “street” that opened up before us was a broad avenue strangely devoid of plant growth. I saw no human footprints, but wind whistling through the alleyways raised weak, wispy dust devils. Footprints in the sand would not last long out here. Our mounts’ hooves no longer clopped; now they made a huffing sound. We could have passed through a portal separating two worlds.

“That big boulder in front of us looks like a hotel. An old western hotel.”

I stared at the hulking mass. “Why? It’s just a big rock.”

“Come on, where’s your imagination? It’s a couple of stories high. It’s kinda square. It looks like those pictures of a frontier hotel minus the balcony that runs around the second story. And that’s Muldren City’s saloon over there.” He pointed to the right.

I fell into the spirit of the thing. “Okay, then that’s the bank. And the telegraph office.”

He laughed, obviously delighted I played along. “Let’s go see if we can find the freight office. Then the town’s complete.”

“Oh no. Not without the jail, it isn’t.”

“Right. I forgot the sheriff’s office and the jailhouse.” He twisted in the saddle and pointed. “There it is, right across the square from the hotel.” Paul dismounted and looked for a place to tether Streak. “They forgot the hitching rail. No western town’s complete without a hitching post.”

He tied his reins to the only bit of green in sight, a small mesquite bush. “Hope that holds. I’d hate to walk back to the ranch house.”

I joined him on the ground and dubiously tethered Lucy to the same puny plant. While he scrambled up the side of the “hotel,” I searched for evidence of human habitation.

“Watch out for snakes,” he yelled, already out of sight atop the boulder.

In a natural alleyway at the side of the jailhouse, I found impressions like miniature buffalo wallows. The small lane was sheltered from the worst of the wind. People had rested here, smoothing out the dust and dirt to make a bed, probably for an overnight stay. A pile of debris and tumbleweeds lay against the end of the small passage where the rock walls met again. I nudged the garbage with my boot… all food related: greasy sandwich or tortilla wraps and crumpled Styrofoam containers for coffee or posole.

The human coyotes probably hid illegal immigrants here while they stocked up on water from the windmill in the distance. Then, before the morning light came, they would spirit their charges across the desert onto the highway where someone waited to pick them up. A natural—and obvious—spot. I was willing to bet the smugglers had not remained with their human cargo during that long, anxious wait. They probably camped somewhere in the near vicinity, realizing the Border Patrol would be aware of the City’s potential for hiding illegal aliens and other contraband.

A muffled shout from Paul drew me out of the mental drama playing out in my head. I walked back to the plaza but found no sign of him.

“Vince,” he said from above me. I looked up to find him squatting atop the hotel. “There are people out there.”

“Where?”

“Walking across the hardpan. I think they’re headed here.”

“Keep out of sight. I’m coming up.”

He guided me to a fold in the rock that provided easy toeholds. When I pulled myself to the top, he lay prone, holding his hat in front of him to shade his eyes. “There’s ten, fifteen dudes out there. All on foot.”

I lay on my belly beside him and looked where he pointed. The distant figures walked one behind the other, Indian style. The column spread out like a military unit. I wished for my binoculars. The man in front carried something I thought to be an automatic rifle. As we watched, he turned south, heading directly for the City. Two of the men separated and made north toward the windmill. The group probably planned on remaining here overnight.

I rolled onto my back and took out my cell phone. Dialing 911 reached the emergency operator, who put me in contact with the Border Patrol in Deming. Within a minute I was speaking to an agent named Ramirez. He heard my report and ordered me to get out of there—without being seen, if possible. As I turned to tell Paul to get back to the horses, he grunted.

“Uh-oh. They got company.”

Two mounted outriders came in from the east, passing on either side of the column and halting to speak with the point man. After a brief conversation, they galloped straight for the City.

*****

As you can imagine, their casual, exploratory horseback ride rapidly becomes deadly.

Here are some links to me and my writing:

  • Blog: dontravis.com
  • Email: dontravis21gmail.com
  • Facebook: dontravis
  • Twitter: @dontravis3

And here are DSP Publications buy links:

Thanks again Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!

SA Stovall on Writing, Books and her novel Vice City (author interview)

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Vice City (Vice City #1) by S.A. Stovall
DSP Publications
Cover art by Aaron Anderson

BUY LINKS FOR VICE CITY

DSP Publications: https://tinyurl.com/ycumb5d2
Amazon:
https://tinyurl.com/yagll39f
Barnes & Noble:
https://tinyurl.com/y7tuowhk
Google Play:
https://tinyurl.com/yajyrwt9
Kobo:
https://tinyurl.com/ycu3wnl6

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.A. Stovall here on tour for her debut novel, Vice City.  Welcome, S.A.!

 

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with SA Stovall~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

13%

Nah, I’m joshing.

For the most part, I try not to put a lot of myself into a character. I’ve never written a character that was an author, gamer, or attorney (the three life roles I identify with) and I have a lot of odd mannerisms that I never write into my stories (saying kooky things, living a hermit lifestyle, talking to myself, etc.).

That being said, I use my life experiences to shape characters, and sometimes an odd phrase of mine will slip through. 

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

No, not really.

From my understanding, a Mary Sue/Gary Stu character is a self-insert that lacks flaws, is admired by their peers, and is often the key to solving the story’s dilemma (either by being the chosen one, or by being soooo much smarter than the villain, you guys).

Like I said above, I try not to write myself as a character, but if I did, I would need to write several flaws. I’m somewhat awkward, a little too literal, and if I don’t eat something after I wake up, I tend to get hangry (hungry + angry).  Not the Mary Sue type.

And I imagine that’s the same with everyone. Everyone has flaws. If an author is using their own experiences (honestly) there’s no way they can avoid their flaws, which would defeat the definition of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

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

Even if I make up my own world and cultures, I still end up doing a lot of research. I like my fantasy/speculative fiction to carry some real-world parallels. Additionally, I’m not an expert on everything (though that would be cool) and I tend to read a fair deal of information, even for minor scenes, just to make sure I get them accurate.

That being said, research isn’t all parties and confetti. It’s like editing—I’ve got to do it, no matter how soul-draining it can be. I know it’s all worth it in the end, however. I can be proud of the finished product, and that’s what matters.

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

The first book I read and fell in love with was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. It sparked my imagination like no other books had—to this day I remember the impact it had on my thoughts.

After that, I read a ton of fantasy and science fiction, especially anything with animals (Rats of NIMH, Watership Down, Plague Dogs) or with darker themes and characters (Black Jewels Trilogy, Dune, Ender’s Game, 1984).

I would definitely say these novels have an influence on my work. I love dark, gritty themes, and one day I’ll write my own animal novel, just you wait and see!

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I prefer Happily Ever After. That being said, I also like a few stories that end in straight tragedy, but those two aren’t as dissimilar as some might think.

I like definitive endings. It’s good, or it’s bad, I don’t want wonder.

Happy For Now endings are filled with uncertainty. Will the future be okay? Will it all fall apart? I don’t want to think about that. I like knowing!

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

Well, my publisher was gracious enough to hire an artist, and I sent said artist a written out description of what would be my ideal cover. Then the artist got back to me with a few mock-ups.

When I look at the mock-ups, I go with my first gut reaction. Did I like it? Did I trust it? Then I focus in on the details. What’s going on here? Is it clear? Does it get the tone across?

The cover for my novel, Vice City, captures the tone to a T. It’s dark, atmospheric, and it’s set in a gritty cityscape. I fear it may scare people away, in all seriousness, but I want people to know Vice City is a noir-style thriller, not a light-n-fluffy crime drama.

What’s next for you as an author?

Lots and lots! The sequel to Vice City, titled Vice Enforcer, is already set for publication April 2018. Additionally, I have several novels with my agent, and three more in the works. I wouldn’t want to disappoint my adoring fans (*waves to the two people on twitter* – Vice City is my debut novel – doesn’t mean I can’t pretend).

BLURB FOR VICE CITY

After twenty years as an enforcer for the Vice family mob, Nicholas Pierce shouldn’t bat an eye at seeing a guy get worked over and tossed in the river. But there’s something about the suspected police mole, Miles, that has Pierce second-guessing himself. The kid is just trying to look out for his brother any way he knows how, and the altruistic motive sparks an uncharacteristic act of mercy that involves Pierce taking Miles under his wing.

Miles wants to repay Pierce for saving his life. Pierce shouldn’t see him as anything but a convenient hookup… and he sure as hell shouldn’t get involved in Miles’s doomed quest to get his brother out of a rival street gang. He shouldn’t do a lot of things, but life on the streets isn’t about following the rules. Besides, he’s sick of being abused by the Vice family, especially Mr. Vice and his power-hungry goon of a son, who treats his underlings like playthings.

So Pierce does the absolute last thing he should do if he wants to keep breathing—he leaves the Vice family in the middle of a turf war.

AUTHOR BIO

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