On Tour with The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic by F.T. Lukens (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)


The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic
by F.T. Lukens

Duet Books, the YA imprint of Interlude Press

Purchase Links:

Interlude Press |  AmazonBarnes & NobleApple  | Target |  Kobo  | Smashwords |  Book Depository | Indiebound 



Hi everyone! This is F.T. Lukens, author of The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic, and today I would like to talk about my upcoming release and highlight the roles of two of my favorite supporting characters in the novel.

The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic is a young adult urban fantasy novel that features Bridger, a bisexual protagonist who is struggling with changes in his life that come with being a senior in high school. Bridger is also struggling with decisions around his crush, Leo, and if he wants to be in a relationship and subsequently come out to his friends and family. Amid his romantic drama, Bridger also finds a job working as an assistant to an intermediary between the human world and the world of myth.

Accompanying Bridger on this journey is his best friend, Astrid. Astrid is also a senior and she’s a field hockey star. She’s described as being almost as tall as Bridger, athletic, and muscular. Astrid was one of the last characters I created, but she is easily one of my favorites. I wanted to give Bridger a best friend to comfort him when needed, but also to call him out. Astrid does both throughout the book. (Bridger refers to Astrid as the Bucky to his Captain America.) But Astrid isn’t just defined through her relationship with Bridger.  She has her own life and her own needs. She has a group of friends outside of Bridger and she has goals and dreams that don’t include him. Through Astrid, I wanted to show two things. One is that teenagers of the opposite sex can have close relationships with each other that aren’t romantic in nature. They are platonic best friends and that friendship runs very deep, to the point that Bridger confides in Astrid things he doesn’t tell others. And two, that being best friends doesn’t mean that things are always perfect in the relationship. Just as any other relationship, friendship has its ups and downs. And being a best friend means being honest and telling the other person what you need from the relationship to ensure its equal, fair, and no one feels taken advantage of.

Also on this journey with Bridger is Pavel Chudinov—his employer and mentor. Pavel is tragically dressed and a few decades behind on pop culture. He’s bookish, claims he’s bad at comforting people in distress (he’s not), and is just an all-around good guy. He spends his time immersed in folklore and myths and helping cryptids navigate the human world to stay hidden. His relationship with Bridger was one of my favorites to write. At first, Pavel resents that he even needs Bridger as an assistant, but warms to Bridger over the course of their adventures. Pavel is the adult that accepts Bridger’s sexuality first. He’s the one who assures Bridger that he is loved and wanted by his friends and family after a nasty run in with a malicious myth. His response to Bridger’s fears about coming out and losing people close to him is the reason Bridger is able to tell the other important adult in his life—his mom. Bridger remarks that he’d heard that it was okay to be different from tv and media, but being accepted by an adult he trusts was wholly different and life changing. Bridger needed that acceptance to be more confident in himself and his decisions.

Astrid and Pavel are just two of the supporting characters in The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths & Magic. There are also meddlesome pixies, a lesbian werewolf, a charming hero, and a rampaging unicorn. I hope readers enjoy these characters as much as I enjoyed creating them.



Desperate to pay for college, Bridger Whitt is willing to overlook the peculiarities of his new job—entering via the roof, the weird stacks of old books and even older scrolls, the seemingly incorporeal voices he hears from time to time—but it’s pretty hard to ignore being pulled under Lake Michigan by… mermaids? Worse yet, this happens in front of his new crush, Leo, the dreamy football star who just moved to town.


When he discovers his eccentric employer Pavel Chudinov is an intermediary between the human world and its myths, Bridger is plunged into a world of pixies, werewolves, and Sasquatch. The realm of myths and magic is growing increasingly unstable, and it is up to Bridger to ascertain the cause of the chaos, eliminate the problem, and help his boss keep the real world from finding the world of myths.



* * *

Leo laughed. He had trudged out to where a few of the braver football players and cheerleaders bobbed in the water. Leo turned and spread out his arms and fell backward, disappearing under the water before emerging, sputtering, with his dark hair plastered to his head.

“It’s not that bad!”

“Are you kidding? I’m turning blue.”

Leo circled back and splashed Bridger. Then he swam away, laughing as he kicked enthusiastically and doused Bridger with lake water.

Bridger wiped the droplets from his face. “Oh, I see how it is. Splashing then running. Very brave there, Leo.”

Leo stood in the water to his shoulders and beckoned to Bridger with a sly smile. “I’m right here. Why don’t you come get me?”

That was flirting. Wasn’t it? That had to be flirting. Right?

“Oh,” Bridger said flushing, warming internally at the thought of Leo flirting with him. “It is on. It is so on.”

He waded in until the water was at his chest and pushed off from the bottom. He swam after Leo and splashed and laughed. The rest of the group in the water were dunking each other, and the football players were throwing a few of the lighter girls and guys around, creating froth and waves.

Bridger and Leo circled each other, splashing and diving. A beach ball landed nearby and Leo grabbed it and flung it in Bridger’s direction. It plopped near Bridger’s outstretched arm.

“What kind of pass was that?” Bridger said, gliding toward the ball. “I thought you played football?”

Leo laughed. “I’m not the quarterback. I just catch and run.”

Bridger hit the ball back. “Good to know. I’ll lower my expectations.”

“Has anyone ever told you that you’re funny?”

“Yes,” Bridger said. “Usually accompanied by crossed arms and a frown, though. Not many people appreciate my kind of humor.”

“I do. It suits you.”

Bridger blushed to his hairline, and it wasn’t from the sun beating down on them. They hit the ball back and forth before Bridger sent it sailing into a group of the others. A girl squealed.

“Sorry!” Bridger called.

Then there was a panicked shriek. Leo looked over his shoulder and called to his friends.

Bridger felt something brush his leg. He flinched and kicked away, startled. He looked down in the water and realized he was surrounded by lake weed, dark and light green blending together in a swirl. Long tendrils of it undulated around his legs.

His heart caught in his throat, and he shuddered. Who knows what could’ve touched him. Ugh. Creepy. Another weed swiped along his waist, and he violently brushed it off. He started to move away, to untangle himself from the slimy vines.

Bridger looked up to find Leo with the big group. The commotion reached a crescendo, and Bridger realized it was no longer playful yells, but turmoil and fear.

“There’s something in the water!”

* * *

Connect with author F.T. Lukens at authorftlukens.wordpress.com on Twitter @ftlukens, on Tumblr at ftlukens.tumblr.com and on Goodreads at goodreads.com/ftlukens.

About the Author

F.T. Lukens is an author of Young Adult fiction who got her start by placing second out of ten thousand entries in a fan-community writing contest. A sci-fi enthusiast, F.T. loves Star Trek and Firefly and is a longtime member of her college’s science-fiction club. She holds degrees in Psychology and English Literature and has a love of cheesy television shows, superhero movies, and writing. F.T. lives in North Carolina with her husband, three kids, and three cats. Her first two novels in the Broken Moon series, The Star Host and Ghosts & Ashes, were published by Duet Books.


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In the Spotlight: Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack (excerpt and giveaway)


Grrrls on the Side by Carrie Pack
Interlude Press
Publication: June 8, 2017


Purchase Links:

Interlude Press |  Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |  Apple Target 

Kobo |   Smashwords |Book Depository |   Indiebound 


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Carrie Pack on her Grrls on the Side tour. Welcome, Carrie.



The year is 1994 and alternative is in. But not for alternative girl Tabitha Denton; she hates her life. She is uninterested in boys, lonely, and sidelined by former friends at her suburban high school. When she picks up a zine at a punk concert, she finds an escape—an advertisement for a Riot Grrrl meet-up.

At the meeting, Tabitha finds girls who are more like her and a place to belong. But just as Tabitha is settling in with her new friends and beginning to think she understands herself, eighteen-year-old Jackie Hardwick walks into a meeting and changes her world forever. The out-and-proud Jackie is unlike anyone Tabitha has ever known. As her feelings for Jackie grow, Tabitha begins to learn more about herself and the racial injustices of the punk scene, but to be with Jackie, she must also come to grips with her own privilege and stand up for what’s right.


The club is dirty and small, and I have to stand on my tiptoes to see the stage, but I don’t care because these are my people: the hardscrabble freaks and losers who are angry at the world for their lot in life. Dramatic? Sure. But no one here looks at me like I’m some sort of zoo animal. An elephant with too much hair. A rhinoceros missing her horn. Here I am just a girl with cool boots, who maybe looks like she could kick your ass.

Mike seems in his element, too, and taller somehow, protective almost. When a guy with a safety pin through his left eyebrow bumps into me during the opening act, Mike shoves him back. At first I think we’ve won, but Eyebrow Piercing continues to thrash. I step to the side and let him go crazy. Who cares? This band is shit anyway. Mike lifts his brow as if to say, “Want me to kick his ass?” But I shake my head. No point in getting kicked out before the good bands start. We make our way to the other side of the venue where I can see the stage a little better.

We stand there for a while, taking in the scene. The opening band continues to suck. I’m not even sure the bass player’s amp is on. Their sound is top-heavy, like a car stereo with the speakers blown out. Mike nods in the direction of the merch tables. Looks like all the bands are selling CDs and a couple of girls are handing out flyers. We sidestep the thrashing masses to get a better look. I pass up the CDs; I don’t get my allowance until Monday, and I already blew my savings on the boots. A girl about my age catches my eye and smiles. Her brown hair is barely past shoulder length and much shinier than mine. Bright pink barrettes frame her pale face near her forehead. It should make her look childish, but instead she looks cool. I smile back.

“Hey, you interested in doing some shit?” she asks. Her pale green eyes sparkle with determination.

“Like what?”

“About all the bullshit in the world that girls have to put up with.”

Thinking she’s joking, I laugh. “That’s ambitious.”

“Just because we’re girls doesn’t mean we can’t change things. Here.” She hands me the flyer I’d noticed her passing out. “We meet on Tuesdays.”

About the Author

Never one for following the “rules,” Carrie Pack is a published author of books in multiple genres, including Designs on You, In the Present Tense and the forthcoming Grrrls on the Side (2017). Her novels focus on characters finding themselves in their own time—something she experienced for herself when she came out as bisexual recently. She’s passionate about positive representation in her writing and has been a feminist before she knew what the word meant, thanks to a progressive and civic-minded grandmother. Coincidentally that’s also where she got her love of red lipstick and desserts. Carrie lives in Florida, or as she likes to call it, “America’s Wang.”

* * *

Connect with Carrie Pack at carriepack.com, on Twitter @carriepack, and on Facebook at facebook.com/mscarriepack.


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INTERLUDE PRESS Presents The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember (excerpt and giveaway)


The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
uet Books (YA Imprint of Interlude Press)

Purchase Links:

 Interlude Press | Amazon |Barnes & Noble   | Target | iTunes |  Google Books 

Smashwords | Book Depository  | Indiebound


Having long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

* * *


Taking a deep breath to steady myself, I poked my head above the waves. My hair, gone limp and heavy with the air weighing it down, instantly flopped across my face. I pushed it aside and looked at the human through a parted curtain of wet blue locks. Its rippled form came into focus, and, even under the animal furs, I could make out a tapered waist and curves. A female. She stared back at me; her brown eyes widened. Her crystal breath came fast behind her mask. Then, she screamed.

I froze in the water. The high-pitched sound chilled me worse than the cold sea. The human’s gaze drifted skyward, as if she prayed to Odin. Her scream grew louder and louder. I laid a hand on the edge of the ice, ready to hoist myself out and try to calm her, but her harpoon whizzed past my ear. I shrank back. The human still howled, but her eyes had taken on a predatory focus.

I grabbed the weapon by the shaft. The tip of the spear grazed my palm, making a shallow cut. I ignored the pain. Easing back into the water, I stopped kicking my fins to stay afloat. My body sank deeper, and I kept my grip on the weapon.

With nothing to grab, the human couldn’t steady herself on the slick ice. She let the harpoon go, and I dropped it into the ocean; I hissed as salt water lapped against the wound on my palm. As the weapon sank, the relieved whales rose. Each of them gently brushed my hip as they took a breath, thanking me in their soft, dignified language of touch.

The belugas’ leader swam under me and nudged me up over the ice’s lip. The sudden weight of my body as the whale pushed me into the air made me groan with exhaustion. The human girl scurried backward. Even though her feet slipped clumsily on the ice, she put distance between us as fast as she could.

I wanted to study her, but glorious sunlight coated my scales. I tilted my head back as the heat seeped into me, making me drunk and dizzy with pleasure. The human watched me silently from twenty feet away. My body gleamed from my head to the tips of my fins; each of my scales glistened like gemstones. I should have been concerned about the human, but the blast of heat inside me blocked fear. As soon as I ate, all would be well again.

When my scales reached their absorption capacity, the fog in my mind started to clear. Usually, I might crawl inland and look for foxes to watch. But today, I didn’t dare stray too far from the water. If the human was brave enough to hunt a whale, I didn’t want to leave myself too vulnerable. I lay back on the ice and kept my eyes trained on the girl.

I’d never seen a female among the drowned bodies that littered the northern seafloor. How had she survived the shipwreck? She looked so small and fragile compared to the sailor I’d tried to save. How had she made it back to the surface and through the cold water when he could not?

She continued to scoot backward across the ice. My gaze followed her to a makeshift cave of splintered wood and wet furs. She must have saved some things from the ship, which might explain her survival. Crawling inside the shelter, the human braced another harpoon across her knees and squared her shoulders as if daring me to come closer. But the hostility in her posture didn’t quite hide the look of wonder in her wide brown eyes.

* * *

About the Author

Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks was published by Harmony Ink Press.

* * *

Connect with Julia Ember at Julia-ember.com, on Twitter @jules_chronicle, and on Facebook at facebook.com/juliaemberwrites.


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Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of Hold // Five winners receive Storm Season eBook.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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A Stella Review: Set Me Free by Kitty Stephens


RATING  3.75 out of 5 stars

Set Me FreeAaron Ledbetter’s future had been planned out for him since before he was born. Each year, the Ledbetter family vacation on Tybee Island gave Aaron a chance to briefly free himself from his family’s expectations. When he meets Jonas “Lucky” Luckett, a caricature artist in town with the traveling carnival, he must choose between the life that’s been mapped out for him, and the chance at true love.

Set Me Free is Kitty Stephens‘ debut novel, in my opinion a very well done young adult story. Two things conquered me, the characters and the writing.

Lucky is eighteen years old, his highschool teacher found him a summer job to a carnival off the coast of Georgia. He is nervous, knowing this is a great chance for his future in an art college but it can’t wait to start enjoying a summer doing what he can do best.

Aaron is looking forward his three months on the Tybee Island to live without his parents’ expectations to go to Harward, take over their company and marry his bestfriend, Lyn. He wants nothing of that.

Aaron and Lucky come from two very different words, being together is hard,  for Aaron, deeply in the closet with no intention of coming out due to parents that have planned his life without asking for their son’s dreams. And for Lucky too, out and proud, with no money and only his talent and a supporting (except for distracting boyfriend) mum. It was a pleasure to see their relationship bloom, Aaron let go of his fears and open up to Lucky. At the same time it was painful too, especially when Aaron and Lyn kept things from each other, afraid of the implications their actions and with who they fall in love, could have on their lives.

I found the writing very good, the reading flew easily and I get to the end without even realizing it. I particularly loved the descriptions, I really felt myself in the carnival, on the beach, at Lucky’s booth waiting for him to draw me in. The author did an amazing work, she sucked me into the MCs’ lives and it was impossible to let them go.

At the end what I got was a story about freedom, summer loves and finally achieve your wishes. It is sweet, emotional and lovely. I feel I can recommend it. I can say I’m curious to read more by Kitty Stephens.

The cover design by CB Messer is what caught my attention first. It’s so cute and sweet, I simply couldn’t resist. And it perfectly portraits the story of Aaron and Jonas.

Sales Links: Interlude Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition,192 pages
Published June 6th 2016 by Duet, an imprint of Interlude Press
Edition Language English