The Winners Are Announced for The Tameness of the Wolf Week! Happy Birthday, Kendall McKenna!

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It’s here, our final day with Kendall McKenna and The Tameness of the Wolf Week.  It’s been a great week with terrific prizes and  author insight into a series that is just outstanding and one of Scattered Thoughts Best of Lists for 2013.  I am sure you all are with me when I say I can’t wait for more.

Thank you, Kendall, for the wonderful posts and gifts.

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Whew! It’s been a helluva week! I was already behind on some administrative duties when Strength of the Wolf was released. The reaction was so strong, it was all I could do to keep up with email, Facebook PMs, and messages left on my wall, and on The Tameness of the Wolf’s Facebook page. I’ve been participating in the Suicide Prevention Blog Hop (because as of 2013, more military personnel take their own lives each day/year, than are killed in combat), and I have two new guest blog appearances starting today, and it’s been rough keeping up!

Who am I kidding? I’m even farther behind than I was!

And don’t think any of this is a complaint, because it certainly is not! What it is, is an observation of the escalation of the reaction to the Tameness of the Wolf books as they come out. I think the love of paranormal stories gave Strength of the Pack a good launch, but Strength of the Wolf was met with a perfect storm of paranormal, sequel, and my own slightly higher author profile. From an objective standpoint, it’s fascinating to watch how each series generates its own unique reaction. Each new title generates a slightly more intense reaction than the one before.

So here we are, one week into the release of Strength of the Wolf, it’s topping the bestseller lists, and I’m still behind in admin work! Just in case it’s not clear, when I’m behind in admin work, that means I’m not working on the next book! Yikes!  Today, none of that matters!  We’re celebrating my birthday, today, by announcing the last of the contest winners!  My thanks to everyone who has stopped by, read my posts, read the wonderful reviews for both books, and entered the contests!

A huge thanks to Melanie (aka Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words) who stayed in stealth mode! I knew you were out there, even though you stayed in the background. I appreciate the two great reviews for Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf.

So, to celebrate my birthday today, I’m going to finish giving out gifts to YOU!KM Dog Tags

Jumping back a bit, the winner of Noah and Lucas’ dog tags is Carissa! Congratulations! Drop me an email at Kendall.mckenna3 at gmail dot com with your shipping address.

Next up, the winner of Tim and Jeremy’s dog tags is Fedora! Congratulations to you as well! Be sure to let me know your mailing address.

And for the GRAND FINALE! The winner of the e-book copy of Strength of the Wolf is: Lyra L! Congratulations! I just need to know which format you need!

Once again, my thanks to everyone for participating!  Congratulations to all the winners!  I hope your prizes help you enjoy my birthday!  Now, go run and tell all your friends and family about this wonder series of books you’ve read and how they need to check them out now, before too many of them get released! 😉

Time for me to lace up my LPCs and step off! Kilo-Mike out!Strength of the PackStrengthoftheWolf4

Kendall McKenna

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Strength of the Pack Contest Continues! More from Kendall McKenna On The Tameness of the Wolf Series!

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It’s a very good thing you checked in today!

First, if you missed yesterday’s post, you should go check out. I discussed world building for paranormal stories, and some of the features I included in my books, Strength of the Pack and Strength of the Wolf. There’s still time to enter to win an e-book copy of Strength of the Pack, so jump back and take a read, then throw your name in the hat! The winner will be announced, right here, tomorrow!tim_jeremy_paw

Second, Strength of the Wolf continues to claw its way up all of the bestseller lists!  Jeremy and Tim are winning hearts, and their ongoing struggles are keeping readers engaged! The story expands the werewolf universe, and provides glimpses into the lives and families of the beloved characters.

Strength of the Wolf Dog TagsBEST OF ALL, you can enter to win a set of authentic Dog Tags for the main characters of Strength of the Pack! These are highly coveted dog tags, featuring the vital statistics of Lucas Young and Noah Hammond, from Strength of the Pack.

Here is everything you need to know to get entered for your chance to win! The winner will be announced tomorrow, as well, so don’t wait! Get entered!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1bf30761/

Love and Dog Tags,
Kendall

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Winners of Kendall McKenna’s The Final Line Contest

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Good morning all!  Here are the winners of the e-book drawings from Kendall McKenna and MLR Press are:

The Final Line: Sally -n- Sean (which is perfect!) halliday.sally@yahoo.co.uk
Pick of Recon Diaries title: Ilona F. felinewyvern@googlemail.com

Thanks to all who participated!  We have had wonderful comments and a great time.

Review: The Final Line (Recon Diaries #3) by Kendall McKenna

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5 The Final Line

Staff Sergeant Corey Yarwood returned home after a tour of duty that saw him injured and a case built against the civilian security forces that operated overseas.  Now an instructor at the Basic Reconnaissance Course. Corey is suffering from PTS, and is drinking heavily in his off duty hours to help him sleep through the night and the nightmares that arrive as he falls to sleep.  One night at a local bar, Corey comes to the aid of a woman being targeted by some local drunks.  When her friend arrives to take her home, Corey meets a man that is smart, compassionate and wakes up his long slumbering libido.

Sean Chandler, an actor and a musician, walks into a dive bar expecting to find his neighbor who called for a ride. Instead he finds himself tossed into the middle of a drunken mess with one man standing between his friends and a group of angry drunks. He watches as the Marine easily handles the situation and then helps him walk his neighbor to the car.  One ride home lands Sean squarely into Corey’s life, as friend and perhaps even romantic partner.  Corey is less than communicative, but Sean sees immediately that Corey is having problems, starting with alcohol.  But Sean also sees the remarkable man who is in so much pain and in need of his help that nothing will stop Sean from doing  what he can to see Corey on the path to sobriety and mental health.

Corey is also suffering from memory loss.  Something awful happened during his last tour of duty and an investigation has been opened up to uncover those responsible for civilian deaths and the following coverup. Corey’s memories are the key needed to unlock the truth.  As the investigation draws closer, Corey’s memories gain power.  Will the truth put Corey on the path to recovery and love or will the truth be his downfall?

When is 5 star rating not high enough? The answer is when you have a book like The Final Line in front of you to review.  This is really one of the most exemplary examples of military fiction that I have read in quite some time.  Add to that fact that given the overwhelming number of soldiers returning from their tour of duty with PTS, traumatic head injuries as well as physical disabilities and an infrastructure unable to handle all their needs, it becomes not just a beautifully written piece of fiction but a timely one as well.

Corey Harwood is the focus of this book, unlike the previous stories where Marine Staff Sergeant Jonah Carver and former Platoon Commander, Kellan Reynolds were the main characters. In those stories, Corey was a young soldier just learning the reality of his job, a reality that only comes with the first tour of duty.  This is our first introduction to  “baby Marine” Corey Yarwood in Brothers In Arms:

PFC Corey Yarwood of Slayer-Two-Three sat cleaning his gear, listening to the bullshit his fellow Marines were spouting. He laughed in the right places but didn’t contribute much. Jonah always felt a sharp twist in his chest when he saw Yarwood. The kid resembled Kellan. Jonah had thought Kellan looked young all those years ago, but Yarwood—Yarwood looked so young, he made Jonah feel old. Kendall McKenna. Brothers in Arms  MLR Press LLC.

From baby faced, inexperienced Private, we watch Corey age and grow into a seasoned warrior injured in battle, returned to the States for training in Fire for Effect (Recon Diaries #2):

Jonah’s features split into a grin. “Yarwood,” he greeted, extending his hand.

Corporal Corey Yarwood approached, dressed in full utilities including the eight cornered, billed cover. He’d changed since Kellan had last seen him. Corey was the same height, but he held himself a little taller. He seemed broader in the chest and shoulders. Two years had matured Corey, that much was obvious. He’d still been boyish, when Kellan had met him. Now, he was unquestionably all man.

Corey grasped Jonah’s hand and shook it briskly. They pulled each other in for the ultra-masculine, back-slapping hug of the alpha male. Corey was smiling wide when he stepped back, his eyes shone as he looked up into Jonah’s face. He released Jonah’s hand but now stood gripping his bicep.   Kendall McKenna. Fire for Effect . MLR Press LLC.

By the second book, Corey has returned home a veteran Marine with First Recon getting ready to deploy for his third mission overseas.  Experienced but still young enough to harbor a crush on his idol, Jonah Carver.  This is also where we start to get our first indications that all is not well with Corey, when Kellen asks about his injury:

“How’s your head these days?”

Corey’s fingers lifted to his temple in what looked like an unconscious gesture. “I have a pretty good scar but beyond that, I healed up fine.” Kendall McKenna. Fire for Effect . MLR Press LLC.

But the truth is Corey is far from fine, and he is already drinking to excess.  By the time we meet up with Corey again, he has become Staff Sergeant Corey Yarwood  and is an instructor at the Basic Reconnaissance Course.  He is having difficulty sleeping, he has lost his memory of certain important events, and untreated PTS is steadily pulling him into a downward spiral. And that is just part of the beauty of this series and this book.  Kendall McKenna has given us a powerful portrait of a Marine, honor bound to the Corp and its codes of behavior, from his first tour of duty to a seasoned Instructor.  It’s realistic and its has all the authenticity I have come to expect from a Kendall McKenna story. I believe in Corey,  I believe in his attitudes towards the Corp and service.  And because of that unquestioning belief, I felt every moment of his pain, every second of his despair, and finally his joy as he starts on the path to recovery.

In some respects, this story is less a romance, than a study of a veteran who is dealing with PTS, and that makes it not only emotionally compelling but timely as our media is full of stories of our soldiers returning to society, unable to cope with their physical injuries and emotional trauma. It is not enough that a writer is familiar with military terms and uses them in a story.  It is the understanding of the soldier mentality, or in this case what it means to be a Marine, an identity so indelible that it is written on their cells.   Ask any one on a street in the US, what it means to be a Marine, and you can expect an immediate answer, whether it be “Semper Fi” or “once a Marine, always a Marine”. It is quite simply a never-ending brotherhood.  To understand and be able to ground their stories and characters in the Marine culture is an achievement that few authors manage.  Kendall McKenna is one of those who reach that level of accomplishment in every story she writes.  If you have read her guest blog , then you will understand how her family and past history has contributed to this knowledge.   But I am convinced that it is something more, something else, a special talent that allows an author to go beyond knowledge and history to extend real emotion and a mental framework into their characters that bring them fully alive on each page of the story.  Corey Yarwood is that powerful, compelling creation that moves beyond the page and into your hearts as a real person.  We invest ourselves emotionally in Corey’s situation and yearn for his recovery as much as those around him do.

Another terrific element of The Final Line is the fact that McKenna helps to educate the public about PTS without standing on a soapbox.  This is Corey’s first meeting with a doctor from the Warrior Clinic:

“I’m guessing it’s the nightmares and insomnia that are causing you the most trouble?”

“Yes, ma’am. Doctor Goldman gave me a prescription for that. It’s only been a couple days but so far, things seem better.”

“Good. That’s really good. You’ve reported only one anxiety attack. By taking care of the sleep issues and coming here, you’ve probably headed off more frequent and more severe episodes, so that’s also good.” Doctor Ingram paused and Corey wiped his sweaty palms on the thighs of his jeans.

“You’ve reported no flashbacks and no hyper-vigilance, but I’m willing to bet you have very mild symptoms and just don’t recognize them.” The doctor canted her head as she regarded Corey closely. “Do some of your memories seem more vivid that others? Do you lose time? Several minutes where you don’t know what you were just doing? Are you uncomfortable in crowds? Do you feel aggressive if you don’t have a wall at your back and all exits in view?”

Corey sat in stunned silence for several moments, mouth hanging slack as he stared at Doctor Ingram. “I don’t lose track of time,” he managed through his tightened throat. “But all the rest? Yeah.”

And that is just some of the symptoms associated with PTS and through Corey, we watch as he tries to deal with them first on his own, and then with the assistance of others, including doctors.  It is truly an eye opening experience if you are unfamiliar with the disease, and McKenna gets us right into his head and mind frame. Then multiply Corey by the thousands and you begin to  understand the hurdles the young men and women are facing as their return from duty and try to reintegrate into society.

Along with Corey, McKenna also gives us a military investigation into a war crime where civilians were killed and an coverup of that event at home.  Both Jonah Carver and Kellen Reynolds are back as part of that investigation and Corey’s memories hold the key to exactly what happened overseas and who was responsible.  This portion of the story is as enthralling as everything else going on around our main character.   It just as easily could have been one of those “ripped from the headlines” plot lines, but again this section has the same authentic feel as all other aspects of this story.  Trust me when I say your heart will just ache by the time this book is done, and not just for Corey. McKenna has given this its due diligence and it shows.

Is there a romance here?  Absolutely.  As with all her other characters, McKenna gives us another realistic, relatable character in Sean Chandler.  He is interesting, compassionate and a true equal for Corey.  There is no instant love here but a relationship that has to be built around real issues that have to be dealt with.  Corey has to learn to communicate better and Sean has a front seat in learning what it means to be a Marine, especially a Recon Marine.  It is a wonderful, believable and ultimately loving relationship that McKenna creates between the two men, emotionally satisfying for both the reader and the couple.  How I love them both.  You will too.

From character study to military investigation to war crime to the building of a loving relationship, The Final Line has it all and then some.  It is exemplary as an example of military fiction as it is m/m romance.  I cannot begin to recommend this story highly enough.  It is such a remarkable book, so timely and alive in personality and culture, that I continue to shake my head in amazement.

Run, don’t walk, and pick this up.  If you are new to the series, start with Brothers in Arms and continue forward until you reach The Final Line.  And then spread the word too about a series all will want to read and men that all will want to embrace.

Cover Art by Jared Rackler.  The covers for these books are as powerful as the stories within.

The Recon Diaries books in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters and events taking place: ReconDiariesBanner2 Brothers In Arms (Recon Diaries #1)

Fire for Effect (Recon Diaries #2)

The Final Line (Recon Diaries #3) Book Details:

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Published July 4th 2013

It’s Here! Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for Touch & Geaux!

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Happy Monday everyone!  Today Scattered Thoughts is participating in Riptide Publishing’s Web Hunt for Abigail Roux’s book Touch & Geaux (Cut & Run #7), one of Scattered Thoughts Best Series of…well you name the year and this series will still be at the top of my list.  Scattered Thoughts will be joining the party along with many of your favorite book blogs by posting about the book and including one of my favorite quotes (so hard) from any book in the Cut & Run series. Readers who collect each quote and submit their findings to marketing@riptidepublishing.com will be eligible to win one of two runner-up prizes and one grand prize.  And oh, what a prize it is!!!  But I’m not telling, at least not yet!

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Also on the agenda for today, is Riptide Publishing’s first ever  live chat, with Abi Roux, happening at 12pm EST on April 10, with the RSVP link https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/107747069078430869043/events/crbhmnugf1hbokmj86anv4vaesc?authkey=CLPsidKGwKnvBQ.  I love Abigail Roux (although I will admit I am currently hunting her down with a nerf bat with Ty and Zane’s names on it).  Abigail Roux is a meticulous researcher for her novels, master of memorable dialog, and currently holder of the Evil Queen title, mostly due to Touch & Geaux. Grab the book, read the reviews (yeah, yeah, I know, reverse order but it works for Touch & Geaux), pick up your pitch forks and torches and join me in Scattered Thoughts own hunt.  Those of you who have read the book will understand totally, a toss up between lobbing jewels at Roux’s head or cow plops.  Don’t be left out of the know, you need this book and here is  your chance for prizes too!

For those of you on the hunt, here is the quote I chose:

“Cameron found himself smiling as he thought about the two tough, acerbic FBI agents. “It’s so cute. They’re in love.”
“It’s like watching two kittens fight with machetes,” Julian muttered.
“Julian.”
“What? Its weird!”
“No its not. They’re perfect for each other. Poor Zane though,” Cameron murmured. “In love with Ty Grady.” He couldn’t imagine how frustrating that would be. Then Julian inhaled, and Cameron chuckled slightly. Yeah, he could actually.”
― Abigail RouxArmed & Dangerous

The thing about the Cut & Run series is that there are literally hundreds of quotes that I could have chosen.  Choosing one is like asking which is your favorite child, almost impossible to do.  I did go with funny because to choose the ones where Ty and Zane are emotionally vulnerable is just too close at the moment, more about that later.  I will say that Touch & Geaux is the best of a quality series that keeps improving with each new release.  How that is possible is due to Abigail Roux.  Has she sold her soul?  I know many are wondering…..hmmmmm…how tiny can those horns be?

Later today I wlll blogging about some of my favorite moments from Cut & Run.  Moments that made me laugh like in Fish & Chips (Cut & Run #3) when Ty Grady had to impersonate arm candy Del Porter.  When Ty stepped out after being waxed and bleached, well, my sides hurt just thinking about it. And then there are the moments that had me in tears…so many moments…..starting from the beginning in Cut & Run (book 1) when  we first meet the two men that I have come to care for and follow through tumultuous event in their lives in every book that has been released since.  Touch & Geaux is a milestone among milestones in this series.

Tomorrow I will be posting my review of Touch & Geaux.  You can also find  reviews for the all books in the series included in the links providedCut & Run Book 8 in the review or just look them up. All the books can be found here.

And now for even better news.  You can preorder Cut & Run #8 now at Riptide Publishing.  Here is what Riptide Publishing has to say:

The as-yet-untitled Book 8 of the Cut & Run series, availabe to pre-order for 25% off in ebook and paperback or 30% off in print and ebook combo for one week only as our thank-you to the fans for taking Stars & Stripes into the DABWAHA finals!

Please note that the release date is approximate and subject to change.

On Sunday, April 14, 2013, this page will be taken down. When it returns again in late 2013 or early 2014 for new pre-orders, the ebook will be full price again, so take advantage now of our special DABWAHA celebratory sale!

So those are the details, now let’s get hunting!!!   Touch & Geaux is a “must read, must have” for Scattered Thoughts and you don’t want to be left out in the cold.  Read my review tomorrow and stay tuned for Scattered Thoughts Most Fav Cut & Run moments…..who knew Monday could be so fun?

Here is the buy link for Touch & Geaux http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/touch-geaux ???????????????????????????????????????

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