Andrew Demcak on Writing, Characters, and his new release Darkfeather (The Elusive Spark #3) by Andrew Demcak (guest blog)

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Darkfeather (The Elusive Spark #3) by Andrew Demcak

Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Sales Links:  Harmony Ink Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Demcak here today talking about his latest novel Darkfeather.  Welcome, Andrew.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview  with Andrew DemcakDarkfeather (Harmony Ink Press, 2019.)

Q: 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?

A: I write GLBTQ YA paranormal and sci-fi, but romance always creeps in. Darkfeather has my most romantic storylines yet. My longest standing couple, James and Paul, are going to break up when James meets someone new, someone really different, someone who stepped right from the pages of Abominable Snowman Casebook. Kiera and Lumen are going to add a third person to their relationship and become a throuple. My gay aliens, EBE and UBE, were reunited in the previous volume of this series (The Elusive Spark), Alpha Wave, and it felt so good. I like bringing reality to these very fanciful characters, it helps make them believable. I don’t think a character could be so flawed as to be unlovable. That’s what make characters interesting, their flaws. It makes them more like us.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I love loyalty, even blind loyalty. I also love bumblers. I think it’s really sweet to see a bumbler finally do it right and get his guy.  That’s what I did in Darkfeather with my yeti prince, Falling Star.

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?

Yes – I wrote the beginning of my novel If There’s a Heaven Above (JMS Books) back in 1987, but didn’t look at it again until 2007. It’s a story about my 20-something years in the Los Angeles club/music scene. When I discovered the writing again, I was completely transported to that place and time. I had to write the story and I did.

What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I wanted James and Falling Star’s first kiss to be special. It happens in a lake when they are chasing each other underwater. I think I’m the first person to write an underwater yeti kiss, but I hope I’m not the last.

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

I write because none of these GLBTQ YA characters or stories existed when I was a teenager in the 1980s. I would have loved to have read them. I’m writing to my 17-year-old self, filling in the emotional blanks, and making up for all that lost time.

Blurb:
James, Keira, Lumen, and Paul—teens with special abilities granted by their alien DNA—bonded over hardship, becoming friends and sometimes more. But now they’re held in Fort Bragg and subjected to painful tests by the evil Dr. Albion, and those ties are coming loose just when they need them the most. Budding romances and family relationships are tested as each teen struggles to choose where to stand and who can be trusted. Reunions with lost family members and the possibility of love with new allies strain already tense relationships, and not every heart will survive unscathed. But the Star Children are the only ones who can command an alien spaceship needed to intercept the Nibiru object—an unidentified celestial mass plummeting toward the planet. If they can’t work together, an unimaginable catastrophe will strike the earth, and they’re the only ones who can stop it.

About the Author

 Andrew Demcak is an American poet and novelist, the author of five poetry collections and six Young Adult novels. His books have been featured by The American Library Association, Verse Daily, The Lambda Literary Foundation, The Best American Poetry, and Poets and Writers. He was a *FINALIST* for the prestigious Dorset Poetry Prizethe Gloria E. Anzaldúa Poetry Prize,  The Crazyhorse Poetry Award, and the Louise Bogan Award for Artistic Merit and Excellence in Poetry.

He has a new collection of flash fiction/prose poems coming out from Nomadic Press in 2019 titled Cryptopedia. His newest YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novel is Darkfeather, The Elusive Spark series, Book 3, (Harmony Ink Press, 2019).  He recently released two other YA/Teen GLBTQ2-S novels, How Do You Deal with a Dead Girl? (Big 23 Press, 2018) which Kirkus Reviews called “An eerily amusing horror tale that will have readers rooting for the characters,” and Alpha Wave, The Elusive Spark series, Book 2, (Harmony Ink Press, 2018). About his Teen GLBTQ Sci-Fi Coming-Out novel, A Little Bit Langston, The Elusive Spark series, Book 1,  Kirkus Reviews raved “This book really … takes its place in the marginalized-will-lead-us genre, as popularized by The Matrix and the X-Men franchises.” His first Young Adult (YA) novel, Ghost Songs, was published March 13, 2014. His first literary novel, If There’s A Heaven Above, was published January 5, 2013 by JMS Books, and was nominated by The American Library Association as an “Outstanding” novel for older Teens (17+). His first play, The Inevitable Crunch Factor, won the Cal Arts’ New Playwrights Series and was cast and produced in a multi-week run. His fourth book of poetry, Night Chant, was published by Lethe Press. His other poetry books are: A Single Hurt Color, GOSS 183::Casa Menendez Press, 2010, Zero Summer, BlazeVOX [Books], NY, 2009 and his first poetry book, Catching Tigers in Red Weather, three candles press, 2007, which was selected by Joan Larkin to win the Three Candles Press Open Book Award.

To reach Andrew:

Author website:  www.andrewdemcak.org
Social media: Twitter: @andrewdemcak,
Facebook: Andrew Demcak, Vero: Andrew D

New Release Blitz for Contact (A New World #1) by M.D. Neu (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Contact

Series: A New World, Book One

Author: M.D. Neu

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 21, 2019

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 71800

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Synopsis

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to seven billion people—with all manner of faiths, beliefs, and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding—who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice. Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends, and a husband.

On the cusp of the greatest announcement humankind has ever witnessed, Todd’s personal world is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother shows up on his front porch with news of ships heading for Earth’s orbit. The ships are holding the Nentraee, a humanoid race who have come to Earth in need of help after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld. How will one man bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks, and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age of man or will bigotry and miscommunication bring this small world to its knees and final end?

Excerpt

Contact
M.D. Neu © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Maintenance drones passed the Speaker General’s window as Mirtoff stifled a yawn. How long would they be here this time? The fleet stopped in a holding pattern while repairs were performed, the darkness of space surrounding them. Soft light from the window surround bathed her in a warm glow as she brushed away the few strands of hair that dropped from her tightly braided bun.

The past several months had been difficult, and she’d had little sleep. The suffering of her people weighed heavily on her. Mining Ship 9 had a malfunction in one of its storage bays while on an Ĩ-type asteroid pulling out much-needed water, nickel, cobalt, and platinum. One hundred and fifty people died that day.

She perused her terminal, chairs, conference table, and sofa. At times her office was claustrophobic. It’s bigger than what most of my people have. She gathered her scattered thoughts and sipped from the now warm cup of tuma.

Faa was curled up on the couch. Their gazes met, and a comforting smile filled his face. He closed his big green eyes and nestled his gray, fur-covered head onto one of the sofa’s pillows for a nap. His tail shifted gently back and forth.

He’s calm today.

They’d been inseparable since he was plucked from the wreckage of Agricultural Ship 15 ten years ago when he was a seyas. Perhaps a month old. She had been consoling survivors and reviewing the damage. Twelve people died that day, including her sister-in-law.

Faa still suffered from nightmares, but he had always been a sensitive cádo. If he could communicate his pain and fear better so she might help him, maybe it wouldn’t bother her so much, but the cádo were limited in that manner. She always considered it so unfair to them, particularly Faa.

Sighing, Mirtoff took a final swallow of her tuma, savoring the last of the now warm liquid, preferring it chilled as it should be, but unwilling to cool it again. The sweet, spicy flavors were still there, so the taste was pleasant enough. Turning her attention back to the chaos of her desk and the report-filled datapads, she rubbed her temple. The people and the cádo were weary of traveling through space. It had been too long.

If J’Veesa had intended Mirtoff and the Nentraee people to wander the stars, she would never have created their world, even if it was gone now. They had a home once.

They needed to find somewhere they could build a new life, a new world. They needed off these ships.

She glanced out the window again at the 450 ships carrying her people. How long would it take them to find a home?

Of course, there were other worlds and other civilizations, but none that fit her people and their needs. J’Veesa never meant for the Nentraee to be worshiped like gods; there was only one God, J’Veesa. Many names, yes, but there was only one.

They needed to either find a world void of life or one with a civilization they could work with and learn from. Their first choice was a world with equals on it.

What if they never found one? What if the ships stopped working? What if they were forced to do what some in the military had suggested? What if they had to take advantage of a lesser civilization? Or worse, what if…

“Enough,” she huffed and turned back to the reports.

Faa startled and glanced up at her. “Provider?” he asked in a soft murmur. His speech was poor but understandable.

“It’s nothing, little one. I’m sorry.”

He shook his head and settled back in his chair, his big eyes not leaving her.

She grabbed one of the datapads to review. Agricultural Ship 23 was still under repair, forcing the other agro ships to increase production and require rationing. Again. She sighed.

There was a chirp at the door. Odd. Is it that late? Faa’s eyes didn’t leave her, but his floppy ears perked up.

Her aide, Danu, was gone for the day. The lines of her mouth softened into a smile when the visitor’s image appeared on her desk monitor. She tapped a button on the screen, and then the door opened swiftly and Mi’ko entered.

“Vice speaker, tell me you’ve brought good news,” Mirtoff’s brows raised, and her lips pulled up at the edges. “Would you like a tuma? It’s a little warm, but it’s still good.”

Faa looked at the vice speaker; his eyes softened and his muzzle twitched. If anything happened to her or her family, she wouldn’t be surprised if he chose Mi’ko as his new Provider.

Mi’ko regarded her with his aging, aqua eyes. The wrinkles around his mouth turned up into a smile as he spoke. “No, thank you, Madam Speaker.”

He was still in his traditional gray suit. She wondered if he’d been home yet. His brown hair was neatly groomed and pulled back, past his shoulders. His lopsided tieback was coming loose, which allowed a few wisps of hair to fall free.

“I have news,” Mi’ko said. “The signals we’ve been studying have promise. We locked onto the frequencies, followed them, and found more transmissions.” He typed on his datapad and a three-dimensional holographic image lifted from the screen, revealing a small solar system. He pointed at the third planetoid, and it zoomed in. “I think this might be what we’ve been looking for.”

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

M.D. Neu is a LGBTQA Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man, he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric, his husband of eighteen plus years.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Release Blitz for Saving Jax by L.M. Brown

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Saving Jax

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Sheri McGathy

Genre/s: MM romance, sci-fi, ménage, MPreg

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 79 000 words/ 197 pages

It is a standalone story.

Release Date: December 1, 2018

Tagline

To save his unborn babies, he must put his trust in strangers.

Blurb

Jax has made mistakes in his life, the biggest of which was falling for Lyndon. His love died when Lyndon refused to claim him as his mate after Jax discovered he was pregnant. His feelings turned to hate when his babies were stolen from his care the day they were born.

Reliant on Lyndon for the cream he needs to survive, Jax does everything he can to keep him happy and he lives for the day when he will be reunited with his children.

When Jax discovers he is pregnant for a second time, he is terrified his second litter will be taken from him, too.

Ty is a dual-gendered feline who dreams of carrying his own babies one day. If they are fathered by Cal, the sexy feline he feeds from, it would be even better. Ty’s parents have other ideas. They don’t wish the public to know that their high-born son is dual-gendered, and arrange for a mating festival to take place so Ty can choose a dual-gendered mate of his own.

Although Ty has no intention of submitting to his parents’ wishes, something about Jax draws Ty to him and when he and Cal discover Jax’s secret, they know they must help.

Ty and Cal offer Jax a way to escape Lyndon’s clutches, but Jax knows almost nothing about the two felines who have offered to claim him.

The stakes have never been higher and Jax must learn to trust again, or risk losing everything.

Excerpt

Ty helped Jax into the boat, and once they were seated, Cal joined them and rowed them out to the middle of the lake.

“Privacy at last,” Cal said as he pulled in the oars. “Though you could have picked somewhere away from the water.”

Ty snorted. “And have Lyndon lingering around?”

“Perhaps not.”

Jax frowned. “Are you saying you deliberately ditched Lyndon?”

“We are,” Cal confirmed. “We wanted to talk to you privately.”

“You did?”

“Yes,” Ty said.

“What about? It’s my uncle you’d need to speak to if you wanted to claim me as your mate.”

Ty gave another snort, this one even louder than the first. “Don’t you get a say in the matter?”

Jax trailed his fingers in the water. “Not really.”

“Why not? It’s your life?” Cal said.

Jax sighed, but didn’t say anything. It hadn’t been his life for a long time, but how could these two felines possibly understand that?

Ty took hold of Jax’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Jax, we know you’re in some kind of trouble, but we can’t help you if we don’t know what the problem is?”

Jax finally looked at Ty and saw nothing but compassion in his amber eyes. “You should choose another mate, not me,” he whispered.

Cal slowly inched over from his seat and sat at Jax’s feet. “Ty will choose whoever he wants. Take it from someone who knows. Now, why don’t you tell us what the issue is with Lyndon?”

“There is no issue.”

“I disagree,” Cal argued. “I saw him fucking you in the garden earlier. Does your uncle know you’re not a virgin?”

The world swayed around him and Jax thought he might throw up. Then a strong arm wrapped around his shoulders, and he leaned into Ty, the strong steady heartbeat of the feline next to him helping to keep him calm.

“Yes, my uncle knows,” he whispered. “But he doesn’t know Lyndon is the one who has fucked me.”

“He doesn’t?” Cal asked.

Jax shook his head and toyed with the hem of his kilt. He shivered, even though he had put on his warmer cloak before they’d begun their walk. His uncle did know about Lyndon. He just refused to believe it.

“Tell us what happened,” Ty encouraged. “We want to help you.”

“Why?” Jax asked. “You don’t know me. I’m just a stranger who’s been paraded in front of you because I happen to have both female and male genitals.”

Cal took his hand and gave it a quick squeeze. “Because what I saw in your face when Lyndon walked away this afternoon was not the face of a feline in love with his devoted servant.”

Jax gave a bitter laugh that he quickly tried to suppress. “I haven’t been in love with Lyndon for a long time, if I ever was.”

“Your uncle seems to think a lot of him,” Ty commented.

“That’s because he doesn’t know the real Lyndon,” Jax replied. “If he knew what he was really like… oh, who am I fooling? He’ll never believe a bad word about him.”

“Why not?” Cal asked.

“Because Lyndon is my uncle’s primary food source, too,” Jax said.

“That’s no reason to believe him over his own nephew.”

Jax shrugged. “He won’t hear a thing said against him. Believe me, I learned that lesson the hard way.”

“Talk to us,” Ty urged.

Jax could tell he wasn’t going to get off this boat until he told them what they wanted to know. Perhaps he could give them an edited version they would accept.

About the Author

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances and all male ménage romances.

She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams.

Most of all, she believes in love.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

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A Free Dreamer Review : Comply by Lee Manarte

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Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

“The world is a cruel place…”

No one believes that more than I do. My name is Declan Forester, and I am a Zedian. Part of a different species born with miraculous gifts from the gods, only the humans don’t see it that way. They see us as something to be tamed.
After being captured by the humans and stripped of my abilities, I have little left. With my life in shambles, my thoughts are haunted by my human tormenter. Dr. Adam Davenport. A human male that is everything nightmares are made of.
Now, his unwilling captive in a government-run facility, I am forced to obey his every demand, or be punished. Caught up in a web of lies about gods, the push to help a hot redhead, my high running desires and, oh yeah, the pending apocalypse, I find myself falling apart. And Adam may be the only one to save me…if I comply.

Comply is a bit hard to rate, tbh. There were things I quite liked and things I didn’t care for, so I guess “not so great” is my final impression.

The premise itself is interesting, if not entirely unique. There are people (Zedians) who have amazing gifts and the humans hate and fear them because of those gifts. As the blurb implies, this is a very dark story and that’s something I generally like. And an MC trapped in a facility for inhumane experiments is just the kind of thing that sounds promising to me.

The prologue was the best part of the entire book. It starts off with a very strong Fantasy bang, but the rest of the book didn’t quite life up to that. The bits and pieces of Fantasy were definitely interesting, but too few and far between for me. Also, I found the world building to be a bit lacking. Again, there were bits and pieces, but I kind of missed the bigger picture.

My biggest issue, however, were the relationships in this book. There is no build-up to and suddenly there are very strong feelings involved. I kind of got the feeling that Declan’s feelings for Adam were a Stockholm Syndrome thing. Not very romantic, but understandable.

But what really baffled me were Adam’s feelings. I just didn’t get where they were coming from. I think the author did too good a job of making him seem like an evil jerk at the beginning and then he kind of got a complete change of personality, for no apparent reason. I was convinced Adam was just playing with Declan and that he would betray him eventually.

There weren’t many sex scenes and all but one wasn’t very consensual. And the one consensual scene we do get, was a bit odd. I could have forgiven the lack of condoms, given the circumstances and the fact that Declan isn’t human and has very strong healing abilities, but the lack of lube really put me off. And the time and place they chose to have sex wasn’t very nice either.

Honestly, this book left me confused. There were grammatical errors, which really bothered me, an inconsistent plot and the MCs had zero chemistry. There are a bunch of seemingly useless torture scenes and the relationship was very much dubcon. The idea itself was good and there were some elements I liked, but the ones I didn’t like far outweighed the good parts. I think it definitely shows that this is the author’s first book.

I actually quite like the cover by Jay Aheer, it’s nice and dark. Though I am a bit sick of all those ripped, bare-chested cover models…

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UKExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow in Kindle Unlimited
 

Book details: Kindle Edition, 201 pages

Published November 13th 2018

An Author’s Interview with Gene Gant of In Time I Dream About You (author guest interview/new book release)

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In Time I Dream About You by Gene Gant
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Gene Gant here today talking about writing, books and In Time I Dream About You, the author’s latest release from Harmony Ink Press!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Very little, if anything at all. I strive to make every character as distinct a person as possible. In the process of writing, each character becomes a separate individual to me, with his or her own personality, history, political views and opinions. As such, they often take off in directions that surprise me, pulling the story in an entirely unexpected direction. I always work from an outline of the plot, but I’m forced to be flexible with it when a character takes control of things. There really isn’t much opportunity for me to insert any of my experiences or personal views under such circumstances. (Although a character occasionally likes my favorite food, reads one of my favorite books, or dresses in a style I personally favor.) Besides, I’m not all that interesting. Readers want compelling characters. Unlike Gavin Goode, for example, I’ve so far lived a fairly uneventful life. Or, as Donald Trump might tweet: BORING.

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

My publisher has a team of artists who work with authors to create covers. They begin with a series of questions to get an understanding of the plot, setting and characters along with the writer’s preferences. Using that information, they prepare two or more drafts of what will eventually become the cover. A great cover has to be eye-catching, convey a general sense of the story’s mood and pull the reader in. I usually go for the one that invokes the biggest emotional response in me, the one that makes me want to jump in and inhabit the world it depicts.

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

Yes, definitely. I’ve always enjoyed fiction across a variety of genres, some of my favorites being contemporary, romance, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and horror. The stories I write fall mostly in the genres I love to read. I sometimes combine genres, as in the case of In Time I Dream About You, which is a blend of romance and science fiction/urban fantasy. Ironically, as a teenager, I read mostly adult novels by the likes of Stephen King, Peter Straub, James Patterson, John Grisham, J.R.R. Tolkien, Eric Jerome Dickey and Sue Grafton. Now, as an adult, I find myself reading an awful lot of—some would say far too much—young adult 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?

I’ve had to put stories aside for a variety of reasons. Sometimes I lose interest in the main character, which is never a good sign. Occasionally, I discover that an idea just doesn’t come together in the writing and needs to be revamped

In Time I Dream About You actually began as a tale more heavily tilted toward romance than science fiction, with Cato as the main character who falls in love with Gavin while observing him from the future. He knows Gavin dies in a tragic event and is torn between letting history take its course or violating the law against changing the past and saving Gavin. Perhaps a third of the way into the story, I found myself getting stuck. I’d fire up my computer and sit there staring at the screen, unable to write a word. I moved on to another project, unsure whether the story would ever get finished. After a few months, I read through what I’d written so far and realized I was focusing more on Gavin than Cato, because Gavin’s life was resonating more emotionally with me than Cato’s. Once I shifted the point of view to Gavin, I finished the story rather quickly. Gavin’s tale was less romantic than Cato’s would have been, but for me, the heart of the story was with him.

What’s next for you as an author?

At the moment, I’m working on a young adult novel about a lonely fifteen-year-old boy who gets dumped by his girlfriend and is surprised to find himself falling for one of his male teachers.  It’s more of a coming of age story than a romance, with the kid having to face certain truths about himself and the people in his life. I also have this idea percolating in my head about a boy who discovers he is adopted when his birth parents surface unexpectedly in his life, just as he is settling into a relationship with his new boyfriend. Beyond that, I have no other stories planned…yet, I should add. Ideas for stories tend to pop out of the blue on me, and I’m sure it won’t be long before my mind is conjuring up new characters and situations.

Blurb

Gavin Goode, a promising high school athlete with good grades, forfeited his future when he joined a brutal street gang called the Cold Bloods. The gang’s leader, Apache, discovered Gavin is gay and framed him for murder. Now in prison, Gavin faces rape and abuse on a daily basis as gang members there attempt to break him. When his father is critically injured and Gavin reaches his lowest point, a mysterious ally appears. Cato is much more than the guard he seems. He has come from the future, and he possesses the technology to undo everything that’s gone wrong in Gavin’s life.

But meddling in the timeline has dire consequences, and Gavin faces an impossible decision: sacrifice himself and his father, or let thousands of innocents die instead.

About the Author

‘m Tennessean by birth, a resident of Memphis for most of my life. I tried living in a few northern cities after graduating from college, but I couldn’t take the brutal winters, and I missed good ol’ southern barbecue. Now I make my home on a country lane outside of Memphis. When I’m not reading, working out, watching movies or spending time with family and friends, you can find me tapping away at my computer.

Website

Review Tour for TC Orton ‘s Iudicium (giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Length: 61,000 words


Each Path Choice: 30-40k words


Blurb

After being incarcerated at a prison that leans over the edge of the world, Fayt must do whatever it takes to escape (or simply survive) the horrors that await him. You will take control of Fayt and guide him on his path, but be careful, for not everyone posing as an ally will lead you down the road to freedom.

Note: This is an interactive story, and it is important that you keep a record of your choices close by.

July 3 – Queer SciFi
 
Author Bio


Born January 6th 1993, T. C. resides in the United Kingdom, living with his partner Peter Jones and their dog, Drake.

T. C. has had a passion for supernatural stories from a young age, often scribbling down his latest ideas instead of focusing on whatever task was at hand during the long school days. At the age of twelve, he penned his first romance story featuring himself and the boy he had feelings for set in a fantastical land full of werewolves and wizards. Ever since that day, T. C. has made it his mission to entwine his leading gay protagonists with epic paranormal adventures.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TcOrtonBooks

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Love Sci Fy? Check out The Silvers by J.A. Rock (giveaway tour)

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The Silvers

The Silvers by J.A. Rock
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by Simoné

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.A Rock here today talking about her latest release, The Silvers. Welcome, J.A.

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Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release, The Silvers. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card!

About The Silvers

What humans want from the Silver Planet is water. What they find is a race of humanoids who are sentient, but as emotionless and serene as the plants and placid lakes they tend.

B, captain of the mission, doesn’t believe that the “Silvers” are intelligent, and lets his crew experiment on them. But then he bonds with Imms, who seems different from the others—interested in learning, intrigued by human feelings. And B realizes that capturing, studying, and killing this planet’s natives has done incalculable damage.

When a fire aboard B’s ship kills most of the crew and endangers Imms, B decides to take him back to Earth. But the simplicity of the Silver Planet doesn’t follow them. Imms learns the full spectrum of human emotions, including a love B is frightened to return, and a mistrust of the bureaucracy that wants to treat Imms like a test subject, even if they have to eliminate B to do it.

About the Author

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take the Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All The World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

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To celebrate the release of The Silvers, J.A. Rock is giving away $15 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: Heroes & Villains (Heroes & Villains #1) by Harper Kingsley

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

heroesvillains400Once Vereint Georges realized he had superpowers he dreamed of the day he would become a superhero and help save the world.  He would be adored, famous and hopefully wealthy.  But the reality was far different than he ever could have imagined.  Vereint didn’t like sewing his costumes and he had to keep his day job in order to live. Then his first rescue as the superhero Starburst went horribly wrong.  The person he rescued was badly burned by his superpowers and Vereint threw up in front of the cameras.  To make it worse, his superhero name reminded everyone of the candy and not a hero.  In fact, there were so many superheroes that he was ridiculed by the very people he was supposed to save and mocked by the other superheroes who wouldn’t accept him, especially the superhero Blue Ice.   Vereint hated being a superhero but what else could he do?

Well, he could become a villain and soon Darkstar was born.  Vereint found it incredibly freeing and lucrative to be evil.  He was even good at it!  Soon the populace of Megacity feared and idolized him.  Darkstar even had people wanting to be his minions.  Vereint as Darkstar had finally made it and life was outstanding.

Blue Ice, aka Warrick Tobias, hated Darkstar.  He hated him when he was Starburst and hated him worse now that he was supervillain Darkstar.  Darkstar was all Warrick could think about.  It was almost like he was obsessing over him.  Of course, Darkstar was impossibly gorgeous with that black hair and mesmerizing blue eyes.   Darkstar even invaded his dreams so what is a superhero to do?

When Darkstar and Blue Ice’s clashes turn amorous it leaves both metahumans confused and maybe even hopeful.   A superhero and a supervillain falling in love? Is that even possible?  It’s time for Darkstar and Blue Ice to find out.

I throughly enjoyed this book.  I didn’t know what to expect from the blurb but the reality of the story was so much better than I expected.  In fact, I felt as though I got two books for the price of one.  Heroes and Villains is the story of two metahumans who live in the metropolis of Megacity (of course).  Harper Kingsley starts off the story in a setting than any reader of comic books would recognize.  Those anonymous buildings populated by typical humans going about their business even as superheroes and villains clash in the streets and air all around them.  Disasters and super battles are commonplace and there is such a surfeit of superheroes and supervillains that each has a council to keep them organized.  For the superheroes, it is the League of Superheroes and  for villains it is the League of Ultimate Evil.  There is the Police Commissioner and his Code Black that will summon the superheroes when needed.  It’s all there and accounted for, all the elements we have come to expect, love, and maybe even giggle at when we think of superheroes, supervillains and the cities they live in.  As I was reading, all I could think of was how much fun Harper Kingsley must have had writing this story.

From the names to the costumes and superpowers, Kingsley takes our superhero characters and has fun with them, starting with the position that the reality of being a superhero isn’t what it is cracked up to be.  What if, when a fire happens, not one hero shows up but twenty? And some are great and others? Maybe not so much.  What happens when the superhero isn’t wealthy but just getting by in a Dilbert like desk job?  How do they account for the time they must take away from their jobs to save people and put out the fires?  Like Vereint, they must come close to getting fired because they have used up all their vacation days.  Plus they might not be able to pay their rent on time because they have to spend their money replacing costumes.  It’s a great parody and I loved it.

Kingsley works magic here with the superhero trope.  With their arrogance and position in society, the author’s superheroes act more like a group of mean girls than heroes. Blue Ice in fact is a legacy superhero (five generations of his family have been in the business), and he feels weighed down by the responsibilities he has shouldered since the age of 14.  He lives in the penthouse of Tobias Towers, naturally, and secretly despises the humans he is supposed to protect.   He also resents the  adulation and lifestyle that is Darkstar’s while also being envious of his freedom.  I loved all the details Kingsley brings to the character of Blue Ice.  It’s not only funny, but it also rings with authencity.  Warrick Tobias as Blue Ice really dislikes his job and is in denial about so many things about himself, including his sexuality.  So how does he handle it?  By being a bully.  He is as responsible for Vereint becoming Darkstar than anyone else because of his constant mocking and demoralizing actions towards Starburst.  Warrick is also in his 30’s and now has to follow a Heart Healthy diet. Here is a taste of Warrick Tobias:

It wasn’t like Warrick didn’t understand that he was acting completely insane, but he just couldn’t seem to help himself. There was something about the whole Darkstar situation that just drove him to the verge and maybe a little bit over. The fact that he didn’t really know why he cared that much just made it even worse because the mystery itself was eating away at him.

Warrick spooned up his last bite of maple and brown sugar oatmeal before picking up the plump yellow banana he’d chosen for his breakfast. He squeezed it gently between his fingers, seeing that it didn’t have a single brown spot. It was a singularly beautiful piece of fruit.

As he’d resigned himself to the idea that he was in his thirties— his early thirties, but his thirties nonetheless— he’d had to make a few dietary changes in his life. He’d had to cut back on the sugars, the trans fats, the delicious carbs, and basically everything else that he loved so that he didn’t end up bulging out of his supersuit. He couldn’t have a greasy breakfast of bacon, eggs, and hash browns at his favorite diner anymore, and if he did go there, he had to pick things off the Heart Healthy menu.

I hate egg white omelets and turkey bacon. I want to eat fatty pork bacon and scrambled eggs covered in melted cheese. I bet Darkstar doesn’t have to worry about anything. His super metabolism probably …

“Dammit!” Warrick shouted, flinging the hapless banana across the room to splatter against the wall. Everything in his head came back to Darkstar and he just couldn’t help himself. It wasn’t like he was obsessed or anything. Except that it really seemed like he was obsessed, and not even the self-knowledge that he was out of control helped any.

And Vereint Georges is just as nuanced and believable character as Warrick.  His character changes from a naive, hopeful young superhero to someone who gradually becomes disenchanted with the harsh reality of his dreams.  Nothing measures up.  He’s the new boy, the young “dorky, loser” as the popular kids nee superheroes call him.  Always on the outside, never has the cool clothes, trying to hard to fit in and perpetually disdained for his efforts.  And when he has finally had enough, we are with him 100 percent.

He couldn’t really understand why no one could take him seriously. He tried just as hard as every other hero, so why didn’t he get any kind of respect?

If it was just Blue Ice treating him badly, he might have been able to ignore it, but it was everyone acting like it was a crime that he wanted to save them. They made fun of his name, his ideals, everything about him.

What do I feel about the way everyone treats me?

The answer came in a surprisingly cold voice:   I’m angry.

And of course, they won’t like him when he is angry.

Clenching his hands into fists at his sides, he gritted his teeth and tried to bury his anger deep inside him. He almost had himself back under control and relaxed a little, sure he wasn’t going to completely lose it.

“You know, you’ve got a hole in your shirt,” Blue Ice said, pointing.

“THAT … IS … IT! I have had enough of all this crap.”

Filled with rage, Starburst could feel himself trembling uncontrollably. Violet color began rising around his body and he felt his hair shifting in an unfelt breeze. His eyes felt hot all of a sudden and he was afraid of what was going to happen, but he couldn’t stop it. He was just so frustrated and angry.

Thus Darkstar is born.  But there is so much more to come.  There is the physical attraction both men feel for each other, poseurs who want Darkstar’s attention, more mega explosions and evil doings galore.

Right up until the halfway mark, the story still has the feel of a parody about it.  Then it changes.  An evil deed by Darkstar has profound affects upon his thinking and the story starts to become darker with more real emotions and events that will play with the reader’s empathy and affections.   There were elements of cruelty before but now it fully comes out to play.  All the metahumans really don’t like the regular human beings very much.  They regard them as so much sheep and their actions reflect that.

Kingsley also starts to concentrate on the growing relationship between Warrick and Vereint, the changes in their characters and all the outside influences that effect their lives and potential future.    From the somewhat gentle lampooning of the genre, the author takes this satire to a darker level, bringing a certain amount of grit to the characters and the scenes.  Not everyone will appreciate the loss of the humor and cartoonish takeoff that the first part of the book represents. I liked this element but also understand its lack of appeal to some readers.

I also felt that the story especially the epilogue was a little long.  It certainly could have been shortened without harm to the narrative.   Still, I can say that I really liked Heroes and Villains, it is one of the more unusual stories that I have read recently and I throughly appreciated that.  From every aspect of this novel,  the attention to detail , the inclusion of all the expected comic book elements to the terrific characterizations,  I highly recommend this book to all.  Let me know what you think.

Cover designed by Aisha Akeju.  I am not sure what I make of this cover.  I appreciate the pointillism of the graphics that convey a sense of comic book similarity but I wish it had taken that element a little further in design.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 211 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Harper Kingsley

Review: Spice ‘n’ Solace (Galactic Alliance #1) by KC Burn

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Kaz Deinos knows what it feels to be an outsider, he’s been one all his life.  When his family cast him out at an early age due to his sexuality, he lived in the marginal sections of the space station making his living any way he could.  Now he is the owner of one of the only male oriented brothels on the station and he has worked hard to make sure the sex workers in his brothel are taken care of, paid well and never harassed by any client.  It has made him wealthy and his workers some of the most sought after by people of every station, including the most influential and important government figures.  But lately someone is trying to sabotage his business.  There have been rumors of illness at his place and several of his workers  have been ambushed and hurt.  When his business is placed in isolation due to another rumored sickness, Kaz must figure out what to do when his most famous client  has requested a escort for the evening and none can leave the brothel.

Jathan One Moon is one of the galaxies most famous negotiator as was his father before him.  His father negotiated the treaty that ended the war between the Ankylos and the human race.  A treaty that has to be renegotiated once a year, this time by him.  In addition to the treaty, Jathan One Moon is under pressure to  marry and have an heir to take over from him later in life.  But Jathan is gay and not inclined to satisfy the demands he marry.  Instead he is looking to ease some of his tension by a visit from escort from the brothel owned by Kaz Deinos.  While  Jathan has never met the man, his escorts are the best in the business and he is looking forward to this evening.

When Kaz goes over to Jathan’s suite to let him know that there will be a delay for an escort, he is mistaken for one by Jathan himself.  Kaz takes one look at Jathan One Moon and does something he has never done before, substitutes himself in his escorts place.  One night of passion turns into a week as the negotiations continue.  And both men are wondering how they are going to deal with being separated at the end, as their meetings are less and less about just a sexual connection and more about love.

I read and reviewed the second book in the series, Alien ‘n’ Outlaw, first and I am sorry I did that as the additional exposition you get here makes the second book much clearer, especially concerning the outbreak of the war between the races and why the mineral is so important to  Ankylos. Lesson learned.

That said, I enjoyed reading this book just as much as I did  Alien ‘n’ Outlaw.  Spice ‘n’ Solice introduces us to all the characters we meet in the second with one exception, and the author’s gift of giving the reader realistic characters and backgrounds continues here.  Kaz is beautiful and tough as he has had to be growning up in his religious, conservative family.  Only now is homosexuality being accepted on some of the more  traditional human outposts and Kaz has had to work hard to get his type of brothel and sex worker accepted and respected.  But we also get the idea that the isolation Kaz lives in it also a form of protection against emotional pain and the prospect of love.  Jathan One Moon is Kaz’s equal in everything but background and Burn is sure to make it obvious that their relationship may start off based in sex but deepens based on mental equality and mutual respect.  Yes, there is a huge secret between them, but Kaz is quick to understand that he must be honest with Jathan no matter the consequences.

The Ankylos, the two tiered  race,  is here as well.  I thought the idea of the worker bee/royalty set up intriguing as well as their hive mentality and communication.  And while there is nothing especially “outer spacey” about the space station, the descriptions of a huge city geared around hospitality and the ships that visit are well done.

As I said before, there is also something kind of goofy and endearing about this series.  I just like it and hope KC Burn intends to continue to give us  more installments.  I, for one, will be lined up to get them.

Spice ‘n’ Solice (Galactic Alliance #1)

Alien ‘n’ Outlaw (Galactic Alliance #2) read my review here.

Frankenstorm is Coming and the Week Ahead in Reviews Hopefully

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So, here we are on the cusp of a truly remarkable storm event, a hurricane within a nor easter, something that has never occurred before or so say the  meteorologists.  Over 85 million people will feel the impact of Hurricane Sandy as she heads towards the East Coast as a hurricane 1, taking a dramatic left turn anywhere between Washington, DC and the Jersey shore and heading inland.  From Virginia to Massachusetts, people are getting ready to hunker down and some are already evacuating.

 

Here in Maryland we are expecting  not only huge amounts of rain (could be up to over 10 inches or more), high winds of 65 to 70 mph, but  snow!  That’s right, we could be seeing large amounts of snow as well.  So will parts of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  *shakes head*  So rain, wind, hail, snow, flooding most certainly.  Have the weather gods left anything out?  I don’t think so.  It just seems so unreal.  So of course, we made sure that the dog food was stocked up on, ditto the wine, water, and canned goods and snacks.  So we are good, I think. But then there is my blog.  And while I have a generator, that doesn’t mean the servers and towers won’t be coming down, so if there are no updates after a  while, just nod and say “Well, the Frankenstorm must have got her!”, and know I will be back up and running as soon as I am absolutely able to do so.

I also want to give a shout out to Jay of Joyfully Jay just back from the fabulous GayRomLit2012 in Albuquerque, NM.  She had an outstanding time and so did everyone else who attended. So many great authors, bloggers and readers to meet and party with. I so wanted to be there but the pictures she (and others) took made me some of the joy and fun that was going on. Wow, what a time and great photos to boot.  And she also brought me back a bag of swag!  Naked men playing cards, fluffer lip balm to name a few. Hooray!  Now I am determined to be there in Atlanta for next year’s conference. GayRomLit2013 in Atlanta!  woohoo!

So let’s see what I have planned for this week, shall we?

Monday:            Theory of Attraction by Cleon Lee  (I promise this will happen)

Tuesday:             Risking It All by Lee Brazil

Wednesday:       Tigerland by Sean Kennedy

Thursday:           The F Words by Anyta Sunday

Friday:                 A Mutual Understanding by Caro Soles

Saturday:             MIA Case Files #3: Craving by K.C. Burn

That’s it.  Now let’s see what happens.  Fingers crossed. Kindle charged. Sigh.