A VVivacious Recent Release Review: His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5

Tuckington Belle believes it is high time to admit that he is gay when scaling the wall of a castle to steal wildflowers sounds like a better plan than talking up a girl. But, on his way down from the wall he gets jostled by a dog and falls unconscious, only to be rescued by a guy who insists that Tuck stay blindfolded in his presence. As Tuck finds himself returning to the castle night after night, he starts to fall for this mysterious stranger. But who is this stranger and why does he insist that Tuck not see him?

It took me forever to finish this book despite the fact that it isn’t all that long. This book just didn’t have me constantly begging to know what happens next.

The book feels very childish. This book is childish not in the sense that it is written for children but written in the way children see the world as one cohesive blob like a person is either good or bad with nothing in-between. I missed the nuance. I actually can’t figure out why this book was written in such a manner because the writing style really detracted from the story. I quite liked the message this book was trying to convey but it lost its impact because I just couldn’t take this book very seriously.

The characters were very black and white and one dimensional. This book is a take on Beauty and the Beast and for a re-telling of one of the most genuinely dark and convoluted fairy tales, this story failed to capitalise on all the aspects that make the original so irresistible.

I really liked the ending and how the curse was broken was truly commendable and I enjoyed the message the story wanted to convey. But, there were certain things that could have used more development. Primarily among them being Tuck and Frederick’s relationship which was accelerated throughout its course and truly these two characters knew very little about each other. Also, the juxtaposition of technology felt rather convenient, I felt like we were wilfully ignoring how difficult it would be to keep such a secret in a world run rampant with mobile technology being a thing. Also, the castle defences were woefully inadequate in comparison to the technology this world possesses or appears to possess because nothing is really clear in that regard.

This story just wasn’t for me though I loved its message I can’t ignore the fact that it took me forever to get through it.

Cover art by L. C. Chase. I liked the cover, it rather succinctly frames the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 98 pages
Expected publication: December 28th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640809253
Edition Language English

Ryan Loveless on Characters, Writing, and her new release His Cursed Prince (author guest blog)

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His Cursed Prince by Ryan Loveless

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Release date: Dec 28, 2018 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Ryan Loveless here today talking about characters, writing, and her new release His Cursed Prince. Welcome, Ryan. 

 

 
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Ryan Loveless

 

 

  • Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?  And how much  of yourself goes into a character?

 Yes, the less research needed, the more likely I am to write it. I can turn anything into an hours long research project, so I like to keep things as lowkey as possible or else I get buried and never get anywhere. Case in point: my home is filled with Victorian history books from about 15 years ago when I had a plotbunny in that era. The research I wanted to do drowned me and the book was never done, even though I finished a draft. On the other hand, I did a lot of research into brain trauma and recovery for Ethan, Who Loved Carter and I loved it. However, I had a strong motivation to write that book because I wanted to do a character with Tourette’s, like me. I didn’t have as much motivation to stick with the Victorian story.  His Cursed Prince is set in a fantasy world mixed with reality. I had to look up the names of some flowers and that’s about it. It was wonderful.  

  • 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 have a story I hope to revisit one day. I put it aside because it is basically my story, of what would happen if I went back where I’m from. I stopped when I realized I was writing my own family. It got too hard to process that and I got uncomfortable with it. I struggled with the character’s motivation for returning home because I kept thinking, “Well, I wouldn’t go back for that reason.” 

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

 I mainly recall my Stephen King phase as a young teen. All my life, I’ll read anything put in front of me. Romance is not my go-to (that would be realistic fiction YA or detective stories), but I do read it. In the last four or five weeks I’ve read Crazy Rich Asians, The Good Neighbor: Fred Rogers’ biography, Nurturing the Wow, about bringing spiritualism from a Jewish perspective into parenting, Fawkes, a magical-realism retelling of the Gunpowder Plot, The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertali (Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda), Dumpling, and a few days ago I started Elizabeth: The Forgotten Years, about the later years of Elizabeth I, and Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, which I’ve had the ARC of forever and decided to read because the buzz is amazing. (Sidenote: I was home sick for 2 weeks. This much reading is rare.) For the record, I recommend all of these books.  

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

Not a person, but a reality: Always having books around, reading as much as I could, and growing up in a rural area where I was isolated a lot. I have siblings, but they were out of the house working on the farm and I was at the house. There were kids my age around, but we all worked and didn’t see each other much, so there was a lot of time to let my imagination go while I was shucking corn or pulling weeds or cleaning. We did some writing contests at school and then I did an english major with a writing emphasis at college. Reading is still a huge influence. I also love talking to my author friends like CJane Elliott and Carolyn Gray who are so passionate about writing. Since I started a job that I love a few years ago, I’m not as intent with writing as I used to be, but it’s still a wonderful feeling to make those words happen. I get a lot of joy out of reading other people’s words too.  

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

Any way you can get words to a person is great. I do wish more people knew that they can probably get ebooks from their library. It will automatically return, so no late fees! And if your library doesn’t have a book, you can request it and they will probably buy it. Ask your librarian or visit your library’s website for more information! 

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

I almost exclusively work with LC Chase now through Dreamspinner, and as far as I can tell, the way it works is she reads my mind.   

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

 I think everyone’s favorite is Ethan, Who Loved Carter (also available in YA adaption!) But my personal favorite is “In Me an Invincible Summer” because it’s exactly what I wanted it to be. It took about 3 years to write, lots of consultations to get the ins and outs of an actor’s life right, and I got to write somewhat unlikeable characters and get myself to fall in love with them.  

  • What’s next for you as an author? 

 Dreamspinner will be releasing another novella in May, called A Cordial Agreement. Edits are all done and once again LC Chase read my mind to produce the cover. I’m trying to write more this year too, and my first project is a prequel to Invincible Summer focusing on Hunter and Chris. There will be some surprises there. I’d also like to revisit Paeder from Pop Life and This is Our Love Song at some point. I love writing him. 

  •  If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest? 

 I think if you love a character, you should write it and not worry. Like Paeder has a lot of issues. Derek has issues. Hunter. Oh my God. Most of my characters do. If you’re going to say that someone is too flawed to be a love interest, I think it sends a negative message because we are all flawed. We are all worthy of love. It doesn’t need to be exclusive of those flaws. It can be including them. We have flaws AND we are worth love. 

  •   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? 

 In Me an Invincible Summer, This Is Our Love Song, His Cursed Prince, Last Chance Charlie, A Cordial Agreement, quite a few fanfics. I had the Year of WIPs in 201X and then 201Y was the Year of Finishing WIPs. I’m hoping this year will be the Year of Finishing Anything I Start.  

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

 I know that the best place for me to write is in the dining hall of Grand Central Terminal with my battery full, wi-fi off, and the noise level at a dull roar. It keeps me focused. Some people want a cottage on a lake, I like hustle and bustle. (But I also want a cottage on a lake for non-writing days.) 

  •  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 read for self-care and I hope that someone will read my stories for the same reason. I am happy to provide a distraction from the real world. If someone reads my books and then feels like they had a little reprieve, I’m glad about that.  

 

 

Here’s the blurb:

 

Three facts about Tuckington Belle:

1. Given the choice between illegally scaling the royal castle’s walls to steal flowers for a client at his family’s dress shop or going on a date with a girl his brother set him up with (“He’s fertile, and he can sew!”), Tuck will scale the wall like a spider after a fly.

2. If, upon knocking himself unconscious when he falls off the wall, Tuck wakes up bruised, blindfolded, and inside the castle, where—based on the unearthly wails heard nightly—the prince no one has seen in ten years is probably a ghost, Tuck would still choose this over a date with a girl.

3. Tuck thinks it’s time to admit he’s gay.     

 

Three facts about Prince Frederick George Deor (Read and approved with great reluctance by Lord “Protocol is Protocol. Stop Being a Pain About It” Todd):

1. He brought a curse upon himself and now bears the skin of a snake. 

2. He can’t take his eyes off the injured thief recovering in the castle.

3. Friendships born from lying and insisting the other person wears a blindfold can blossom into true love—which he needs to break the curse.

About the Author

 
Ryan Loveless is the author of numerous M/M romance novels and short stories. She is honored to be recognized as a Rainbow Book Award winner (several titles), Epic eBook Award finalist (In Me an Invincible Summer), and a Florida Author and Publisher Association Awards bronze medalist (Ethan). She lives in New York with her family, a sentence that brings her great joy to write.

You can contact/follow author Ryan Loveless at:

Twitter: @ryanloveless 

A MelanieM Review: The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

 

Every time something goes missing from the village, Sir Violet makes his way to the dragon’s cave and negotiates the item’s return. It’s annoying, but at least the dragon is polite.

But when the dragon steals a person, that’s a step too far. As Sir Violet ventures out to get the missing baker back, however, he quickly realizes things are not at all what they seem..

Ever read a story that made your heart smile? That left you feeling warm, happy, and with an urge to read it out loud to someone?  Children, adults?  Just because you wanted to spread the joy a special tale had given you?  Well, The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen  is that story.

After I finished it, I wanted to grab onto the author and publishers and beg them to put it out in a hardback version, complete with illustrations.  One I could pick up and read to groups of children, no matter the age or even adults for that matter.

This book is charming, adventurous, and brings out the best in it’s characters.  Perhaps in its readers as well because it speaks to the heart in a gentle, kind, and  humorous way.  It has a dragon that steals things because it’s lonely and wants companionship. And just maybe  because certain things strike it as pretty or downright hilarious.  It has a knight named Sir Violet who’s nature is gentle and home loving.  And a village that suits them both.  I mean really, it’s full of characters who are absolutely a delight to spend time with (as you will) and whose lives will pique your interest (oh yes, they do).

I can’t remember reading any novelette I loved more recently.

I need to find more stories by this author.  This story is beautifully written, concise, and yet it flows just as it should.  The characterizations are perfect for the story.  Would I mind a return?  No.  Do I need one? No.  I think its marvelous as it.

Do you love fantasy?  Here’s a jewel you shouldn’t miss out on.  There is a romance but not the one you might be thinking of. Definitely no sex.  I told you I would read this to children.  There is a F/F couple, a dragon and knight to die for and so much more.  I highly recommend  The Dragon of Ynys by Minerva Cerridwen.  

Cover art:  Kirby Crow.  I love it.  It’s perfect really for the tone of the story.

Sales Links:  Less Than Three Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 94 pages
Expected publication: May 16th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684312863
Edition LanguageEnglish

Matthew J. Metzger on Side Characters and his latest novel Walking on Water (guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Walking on Water

Author: Matthew J. Metzger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: November 13, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88300

Genre: Fantasy, fantasy, mermaids, trans, magic, fairy tales, bisexual

Add to Goodreads

Matthew J. Metzger on Side Characters

My favourite characters are always my side characters.

I know that sounds a little crazy for an author, and I swear I love my main characters as much as anyone else, but—there’s just something special about side characters!

In my latest novel, there’s a whole cast of side characters built out of their own names. The novel is set in a fictional German kingdom. I was learning a bit of German from my helpers at the time, and loved the way a German translation changed the way a word looked and felt. So Doctor became Doktor, but would have been a different word entirely if someone said, “Call a doctor!” Therefore, our hero—who speaks no German at all—takes that to be his actual name. This also happens with a captain and a small child, whose ‘name’ actually means ‘my son.’

I love the visual look of a word, so the switch from Doctor to Doktor made the character for me. His German ‘name’ looks spikier and harsher, so the character became that way as well. By contrast, the long dip of the J in Janez (the prince) made him softer than the original draft, more refined and gentle than I’d originally pictured.

With main characters there’s only so much their name can influence them—they have to be the way they are for the plot, after all—but with side characters, I find there’s more room to mould them into exactly what I see in the name. So Doctor might have been a kindly sort of person—but Doktor is acerbic, harsh, begrudgingly caring, and uses threats and trickery to work his art. The one time he is openly warm in the entire novel is after the queen jabs her brother-in-law in his wounded thigh with a pin to stop him trying to get up before he’s ready. Doktor approves heartily of such methods, and a flash of warmth and even charm is glimpsed. (Then, obviously, it vanishes once more.)

Something similar happened with Captain Kühe. I drew the character out first—this pompous, blithering idiot of a man who’s far too self-important to fit inside his uniform properly—and went straight for an animal I don’t like to name him. Cows. I hate cows. They’re only good for beefburgers, in my opinion. So the name came so beautifully well-packaged: clumsy to pronounce in my accent, difficult to write without a German keyboard thanks to the umlaut, and too short to support its long letters. Gorgeous.

By the time I’d finished the novel, I had a cast of side characters either born from their names, or their names born from them, in a far more raw way than I can do with main characters, who I not only have to like but I have to write their name over and over and over, so it has to be a good one, and a fitting one. That’s much harder.

But my side characters? That’s where the fun really lies.

Synopsis

When a cloud falls to earth, Calla sets out to find what lies beyond the sky. Father says there’s nothing, but Calla knows better. Something killed that cloud; someone brought it down.

Raised on legends of fabled skymen, Calla never expected them to be real, much less save one from drowning—and lose her heart to him. Who are the men who walk on water? And how can such strange creatures be so beautiful?

Infatuated and intrigued, Calla rises out of her world in pursuit of a skyman who doesn’t even speak her language. Above the waves lies more than princes and politics. Above the sky awaits the discovery of who Calla was always meant to be. But what if it also means never going home again?

Excerpt

Walking on Water
Matthew J. Metzger © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

When the sand settled, only silence remained.

The explosion had gone on for what felt like forever—a great boom that shuddered through the water, a shadow that had borne down on the nest like the end of the world had come, and then nothing but panicked escape from the crushing water, the darkness, and the suffocating whirlwind of sand and stones. In the terror, it had seemed like it would never end.

But it did end, eventually. When it did, Calla lay hidden in the gardens, deafened and dazed. She was shivering, though it wasn’t cold. An attack. They had been attacked. By what? Orcas and rival clans could hardly end the world. And what would wish to attack them so?

She took a breath. And another. Her attempts to calm herself felt pathetic and weak, like the desperate attempts of a mewling child. Where was Father? Her sisters? Where even the crabs that chattered and scuttled amongst the bushes? She was alone in the silent gardens, and Calla had never been alone before.

Slowly, she reached out. Slipped through the towering trunks, to the very edge of the gardens, to where the noise had come from. Drew aside a fern and—

Ducked down, clapping a hand over her mouth to prevent the gasp.

A giant beast lay in the courtyard.

Still. Oh, great seas, be still. She held her breath and closed her eyes. It had to be an orca, a beast so huge, and it would see her if she moved.

Yet even in her fear, Calla knew that wasn’t quite right.

Orcas didn’t come this far south—did they? Father had said they would be undisturbed here. Father had said.

She peeked again. Daring. The beast didn’t move.

Nor was it an orca. It was impossible, too huge even for that. Oh, she’d not seen an orca since she’d been a merling, but they’d never been that big. It had squashed the courtyard flat under its great belly, its tail and head—though she couldn’t tell one from the other—spilling out over the rocks and nests that had been homes, once. It would have crushed their occupants, surely. What beast killed by crushing?

Hesitantly, she drifted out of the garden. Her tail brushed the ferns, and she wrapped her fins around them, childishly seeking comfort.

The beast didn’t move.

In fact, it didn’t breathe. Its enormous ribcage, dark and broken, was punctured by a great hole, a huge gaping blackness longer than Calla’s entire body, and wider by far.

It had been slain.

Bloodless. It was quite dead. How could it be dead, how could its heart have been torn out so, without spilling blood into the water? Where was the column of red that marked its descent? Where was—

Oh.

“A cloud!”

It was no beast.

Calla fled the safety of the gardens in a flurry of excitement. No, that great oval shape was familiar. How many had scudded gently across the sky in her lifetime? How many times had she watched their passage from her window? Beautiful, dark, silent wonders. Oh, a cloud!

She rushed closer to look. How could a cloud have fallen to earth? Father had said they were simply things that happened in the sky, and no concern of theirs. But this one had fallen, lay here and near and so very touchable—and now Calla wanted to touch the sky.

It was—

She held her breath—and touched it.

Oh.

Rough. Sharp. Its body was dark against her pale hand. And hard, so very hard. She had imagined clouds to be soft and fluid, to walk on water as they did, but it wasn’t. Huge and heavy, it was a miracle that it walked at all.

And a home: tiny molluscs clung to it. As she walked her webbed fingers up the roughness and came over the crest of its enormous belly, she mourned its death. This must have killed it. Such a deep, round belly—clouds were obviously like rocks and stone, but this one had been cut in half. Exposed to the sea was a sheer, flat expanse of paleness, with great cracks in the surface. A column stuck out from the middle, and two smaller ones at head and tail. It had been impaled by something, the poor thing.

“Calla!”

The hiss reached her from far away, but Calla ignored it. The poor cloud was dead. It had been slain, and whatever had dragged it from the sky must have been immense, to wield spears like those jutting from its body. And it wasn’t here.

Clouds were harmless. Dead clouds, even more so.

“Calla, what are you doing?”

“Meri, come and see!” she called back to her sister and ducked to swim along its flattened insides. Great ropes of seaweed, twisted into impossible coils, trailed from its bones. Vast stains, dark and pink, smeared its ragged edges. When Calla peered up into the sky, at the stream of bubbles still softly rising from its innards, she could see the gentle descent of debris. It had been torn apart.

Orcas? But an orca pack would have followed it down. Sharks? Calla had never seen a shark, but Father had, long ago when he was a merling, and he’d said they were great and terrible hunters. Were sharks big enough to do it?

“Calla!”

That was not Meri’s voice. Deep and commanding, it vibrated through the water like a blow. Calla found herself swimming up the side to answer automatically, and came clear of the cloud’s gut barely in time to prevent the second shout.

Father did not like to call a second time.

“Here. Now.”

She went. At once. The immense joy at her discovery was diminished in a moment by his stern face and sterner voice, and Calla loathed it. She felt like a merling under Father’s frown and struggled to keep her face blank instead of echoing his displeased expression.

“You should stay away from such things. The guards will deal with it.”

“But Father—”

He gave her a look. She ducked her chin and drifted across to join her sisters at the window. The window. Pah. What good was the window, was seeing, when she had touched it?

“What is it?” Balta whispered, twirling her hair around her fingers.

“A cloud,” Calla said in her most impressive voice and then pushed between Meri and Balta to peer out. The guard were swarming over the cloud’s belly, poking more holes in the poor thing’s body. “Something killed it.”

Meri snorted. “Talk sense, Calla.”

“Something did!”

“You sound like a seal, grunting nonsense.”

“I do not!”

“Girls!”

They subsided under Father’s booming reprimand—although Calla snuck in a quick pinch before stopping—and returned to watching.

“Clouds don’t fall out of the sky,” Meri whispered. “It must be a shark. There’s nothing so big as a shark. Father said so.”

“Father also said sharks don’t come this far north,” Balta chirped uncertainly, still twirling her hair.

“That’s a cloud,” Calla said and peered upwards to the sky, her eyes following the great trail of bubbles, “and I bet something even bigger killed it.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Matthew J. Metzger is an ace, trans author posing as a functional human being in the wilds of Yorkshire, England. Although mainly a writer of contemporary, working-class romance, he also strays into fantasy when the mood strikes. Whatever the genre, the focus is inevitably on queer characters and their relationships, be they familial, platonic, sexual, or romantic.

When not crunching numbers at his day job, or writing books by night, Matthew can be found tweeting from the gym, being used as a pillow by his cat, or trying to keep his website in some semblance of order.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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11/13 Love Bytes

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11/13 Erotica For All

11/13 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

11/14 Happily Ever Chapter

11/14 MM Good Book Reviews

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11/15 Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

11/15 A Book Lover’s Dream Book Blog

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11/17 Shari Sakurai

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A MelanieM Review: Death Mask (Black Harbinger MC #1) by Lexi Ander

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

death-mask-by-lexi-anderGrim Misery, the President of the Black Harbinger Motorcycle Club, discovers a wounded warlock and four werepups aboard the club’s LSD shipment. And the news kept getting better and better. Not only is the warlock sitting on the edge of death, he’s illegally bonded to the werepups, which could trigger a war with the werewolves—and he turns out to be Misery’s estranged husband.

Years ago, Griffin turned Misery away to be with another warlock by the name of Marcheso Aldo. Misery left everything behind, even his family, but couldn’t shake the heartbreak Griffin caused. With Griffin thrust back into Misery’s life, he discovers things aren’t as they seem… and everything is about to get much, much worse.

Hard to write a review when so much about the story has twists and turns that contain spoilers for most of the story.  Can’t really talk about much of the plot or even the characters. So lets see what it does leave me with.

Lexi Ander hooked me on both.

Yes, there is so much going on here, enough clearly for two or more stories because of past histories and layers to all the characters you will meet, not just the MCs.  Its the secondary characters and even the levels surrounding those.  Its the world building, that will still leave you asking questions and wanting to know more.  Its those pups that I fell in love with with a heartbreaking  history.  But most of all  its Misery and his husband, Griffin, whose story this is.  Theirs and the evil that’s coming for them.

Ander did a wonderful job filling out both Grim and Griffin while still letting us be surprised when the twists and turns came into play.   The author managed to show us all  sides of their relationship.  Not just the angst, but the anger, the growth each has gone through and the adjustments each realize they need to make in order for any future relationship to work between them.  All while dealing with the pups and unimaginable horrors on the horizon.

This was a very quick read.  I gobbled it up in one sitting and was left wishing for more.  As its the first book in the series, I know I will get my wish.  It includes so many incredible characters that I foresee a long enjoyable run if they are all as good as this one.  Love tales of the supernatural as well as a romance?  Pick up Death Mask and get started.  I absolutely recommend it.

Cover art by Kirby Crow is absolutely perfect.  Love it.

Sales Links

Less Than Three

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: November 9th 2016 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620048849
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBlack Harbinger MC #1