Don’t Miss Out on the Blog Tour for Art of Death (Lychgate #1) by Bob Appavu (excerpt and giveaway)

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Art of Death

Bob Appavu has a new gay urban fantasy out: “Art of Death.”

Starving artist Riley Burke refuses to be dependent on his rich older boyfriend—hence his second job as a nude model at the local art school. When the famous artist Coliaro requests him for a private modeling session, he jumps at the chance to earn some real cash.

But then Westwood, a mysterious stranger, warns him to steer clear—it’s said Coliaro is undead. That his worshippers perform rituals to fill him with life energy. That every time he paints a male nude, the painting transforms to depict a gruesome murder. And that shortly after, a young man turns up dead.

Riley dismisses the rumors—until they start to play out before his eyes. When he becomes a target, Westwood comes to his aid. But Westwood is secretive and dangerous himself… which just makes him more attractive to Riley. Riley is in over his head, and even his tenuous alliance with Westwood might not save him.

Series Blurb:

A young artist’s life changes forever when he stumbles upon the secret society of the undead… and those who defend humanity from the depravity of their brethren. Lychgate protects the innocent from the monsters stalking the shadows, and Riley and his undead lover, Westwood, must fight together or lose each other.

DSP Publications | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Amazon CAN | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Giveaway

Bob is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter:

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Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4779/?


Excerpt

Art of Death meme

Upon reaching Nick’s house, Riley turned off his headlights, eased into the driveway, and parked outside the garage. He’d been racked with guilt throughout the drive, unable to think about anything but the future murder he’d failed to prevent. He tried to tell himself that maybe he’d at least saved Levi from a trip to Coliaro’s bedroom, but it was no consolation.

He wasn’t doing any good for anyone. When had he everdone good for anyone besides himself?

You’re wallowing, he told himself as he sat, stalling, with his hands on the wheel. He gave his head a brisk shake to break the string of invasive thoughts.

But shutting down his thoughts didn’t mean he’d ceased to believe them. As he climbed out of his car, he felt crushed by the weight of the guilt he couldn’t ignore.

He’d leave his car in the driveway. He didn’t want to wake Nick with the squealing of the garage door. After sliding out of the car, he gently pushed the driver’s side door shut and turned toward the house.

Westwood stood at the hood of the Corolla, his face hidden in shadow. Riley cried out and stumbled back against the side of the car. “Shit, Westwood!”

Westwood didn’t speak. Riley waited for his heartbeat to return to a normal pace, and Westwood continued to stand without offering any explanation.

“What are you doing here?” Riley asked at last, his voice hushed. “My boyfriend is inside.”

Westwood hesitated. Then, softly, he whispered, “I had to make sure.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Coliaro told me he was going to… do things to you. Did he?”

“He didn’t do anything.” Riley crossed his arms over his chest. “Why do you care? After our phone conversation, I was under the impression you were pissed at me.”

“I am. You were an idiot going after Coliaro like that. But that doesn’t mean I want you maimed or tortured. I’ve known Coliaro for a long time, and he doesn’t make empty threats.”

Riley looked past Westwood toward the house. The curtains were drawn over all the windows, and he couldn’t tell if Nick had waited up for him. “Listen, I just want to go to sleep.”

Westwood reached out without warning, tilting Riley’s chin back. His eyes appeared oddly reflective in the dark as he examined Riley’s neck. His gaze traveled down, pausing on Riley’s wrists. Riley pulled back, bracing himself against his car. “It’s only a couple rope burns on my wrists and a few scratches from falling into the bushes. No big deal.”

Riley had a feeling he would have been more convincing if his voice hadn’t cracked on the last few words. Westwood narrowed his eyes, and Riley felt himself begin to tremble. He’d been so trapped in his guilt that he hadn’t realized how shaken he was. Now, in front of Westwood, was not the time he’d wanted to make that discovery. Swiftly he turned away, cursing under his breath as his tremors intensified.

He could feel Westwood’s gaze on him, scrutinizing him. “I’m tired,” Riley told him, his voice choked. “That’s all.”

A warm hand on his back snapped him into awareness. His muscles went rigid and he turned, meeting Westwood’s eyes. Westwood ran his hand slowly up and down Riley’s spine, easing his tremors. Riley shuddered, alarmed at the potency of Westwood’s touch and dismayed by how badly he wanted more.

He reveled in the warmth of Westwood’s soft caress, closing his eyes and breathing in deep. This was exactly what he needed—a calm, reassuring hand.

###

Westwood could barely stand to keep his hand on Riley. Riley’s tormented energy crackled under his fingers like static electricity, shooting through his veins and jolting him to his core.

Riley had fooled him. He’d stepped out of his car wearing a shell so stoic and emotionless he could have passed for undead. But the moment Westwood had touched him, his ruse collapsed. Riley had been concealing a hurricane of emotion just below the surface, and with a single touch, it flooded the dams.

Riley’s emotion poured into Westwood. It filled his heart, shooting upward and tightening his throat, sparking wetness behind his eyes. He blinked, and a tear fell from his eye. Not his own tear—the tear Riley refused to shed.

Shit, this was painful. He couldn’t bear it. But if he let go….

If he let go, then Riley would have to face the hurricane alone again. Right now, Westwood’s touch seemed to be the only thing calming the storm. He couldn’t withdraw.

Bracing himself, he blinked out another of Riley’s tears and tightened his grip.

###

Riley didn’t want Westwood to let go—ever. Westwood’s touch calmed his heart in a way he hadn’t felt in years.

Why? How? This was Westwood, the same man who barely had a grasp on empathy or emotion. Yet he was somehow capable of freeing Riley from the prison of his stress and panic. Riley wanted to say something to him, but he had no idea what to say.

After a long, shaky pause, he opened his mouth to speak, and Westwood immediately withdrew, as if assuming Riley was about to protest. Westwood took a couple of steps back, giving Riley space, and Riley almost groaned with disappointment. More than anything, he wanted that hand on him again. He wanted that surprisingly gentle touch.

Westwood lingered. If Riley didn’t know better, he would have thought Westwood didn’t want to leave him alone. When Westwood finally spoke, it seemed to take him considerable effort. “I only came to make sure you made it home alive,” he said gruffly. “Go inside and sleep.”

Riley considered calling back to him, asking him to stay awhile. But by the time he managed to find his voice, Westwood had already disappeared into the shadows.


Author Bio

Bob Appavu is an author, illustrator, and creator of the long-running LGBTQ+ webcomic Demon of the Underground. Born and raised in a conservative Chicago suburb to South Indian parents, Bob turned to reading at an early age to find the inclusive, illuminating worlds that couldn’t always be accessed in real life. Bob recalls spending most of the 90s at the local bookstore feigning interest in the poetry anthologies that were conveniently shelved next to the LGBT fiction.

As a queer writer who enjoys challenging conventions and pushes creative boundaries, Bob has a passion for crafting the types of stories she can’t readily find on the shelf and the types of characters who are often denied the spotlight. Bob is a lover of suspense, speculative fiction, and deep world building, but her greatest joy is portraying the full scope of her queer characters’ humanity.

Bob is an incurable workaholic whose preferred fuel is tea. When not at work, she enjoys caring for rescued ferrets.

Author Website: https://www.bobappavu.com

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/bobappavu

Author Tumbler: https://bob-artist.tumblr.com/

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Blog tour for Surviving the Shadows (The Bearer of Truth #2) by Miranda Turner (excerpt and giveaway)

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SurvivingTheShadows-Tour Banner

Surviving the Shadows

The Bearer of Truth – Book 2

Miranda Turner

Genre: Gay Urban Fantasy

Release Date: June 14thSurviving the Shadows Cover

Cover Design: Lou Harper

BLURB

Gabriel has been gone longer than predicted, and Evander is growing increasingly worried each day that passes without his return. Confounded by their leaders’ lack of answers, Evander and the team begin to fear the worst.

In the midst of fruitlessly searching Miami for clues to the Daemon Abaddon’s whereabouts, Evander begins to have disturbingly vivid dreams. With a little help from a newly-returned and empty-handed Michael and Barabbas, Evander discovers Gabriel has been calling out for help across their nascent bond. With a little backup from an unlikely source, they set off to rescue Gabriel from the depths of the Underworld.

Gabriel is old friends with torture, and his captors haven’t been gentle. Despite growing weaker every day, Gabriel resolves to survive long enough for rescue, or to die fighting, until a Dark Seer begins to dredge up the terror of Gabriel’s horrific childhood, threatening to destroy his mind and soul. Nearing the end, Gabriel manages a last-ditch effort to contact help, reaching out to Evander in his dreams.

Against all odds, Evander and the team fight through the Underworld to reach Gabriel and come face to face with mortality. Sacrifices made for the bonds of brotherhood nearly break them, and Gabriel learns the hard way that embracing the darkness while fighting for the light may be the only way to survive.

From the underbelly of Reno to the glitz and glam of Vegas, Gabriel, Evander, and the men they call family will be tested, and the final confrontation with Gabriel’s maker may be the end of everything they hold dear.

http://getbook.at/SurvivingTheShadows

SurvivingTheShadows Teaser 1

SurvivingTheShadows Teaser 3

EXCERPT

“His aura has indicators that he practices or has practiced dark magic, but his underlying nature is fighting against it. Right now, his aura resembles an ouroboros.”

“A what?” Delsin asked.

“It’s a circle made out of a snake that is consuming itself. It’s supposed to symbolize wholeness or infinity, but in this case, our young magical friend over there is in trouble. If his magic continues to consume itself, there won’t be a renewal of life but a loss of something good and right as his magic perverts into something dark and unrecognizable.”

A visible shiver moved down Delsin’s body, causing him to wrap his arms around himself; clearly he’d been shaken by Nico’s words. “Can we help him?” Gabriel asked Nico.

Nico sighed. “Your savior complex is raising its ugly head again.” Delsin snorted, but Gabriel just stared Nico down. “Aren’t we supposed to be looking for your dad?” Gabriel stayed silent and lifted one eyebrow. “Ugh…fine, geez.” Nico stomped toward the teenage magic user with Gabriel and Delsin following close behind him, Gabriel’s face breaking out in a shit-eating grin.
Miranda Turner Logo

Miranda Turner is a single mom of eight living outside a small, hippie town in the middle of Ohio. She’s surrounded by children, chickens, and one temperamental editor kitty who is silently judging her on a daily basis. She is a voracious reader and an editor who decided she had different stories to tell. She firmly believes a happily ever after is there for everyone, but she likes to make her characters earn it.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormturner

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author.miranda.turner/

Email: author.miranda.turner@gmail.com

GIVEAWAY

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JS Harker on Romance, Writing, and her new release Soul Bond (author guest blog)

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Soul Bond by J.S. Harker
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press |  Amazon  | Barnes and Noble  | 

Kobo  | iBooks   |   Google Play 

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have JS Harker here today talking about their new release Soul Bond, from Dreamspun Beyond series at Dreamspinner Press.  Welcome, JS.

♦︎

Hey there, I’m JS Harker. I’m on my first blog tour ever for my book Soul Bond and I’m thrilled it’s release day! Getting published has been a dream for a long time and I’m in a bit of shock I finally get to say those magic words. I thought I’d answer a few interview questions so you could get to know a little bit more about me.

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

I started reading romances a few years ago. I will totally own up to being one of those people who didn’t see the awesomeness of the genre for a long time. I have a degree in English which only focused on Literature, and my college friends were snobs about what was “art” and therefore worthy of time and discussion. Romance wasn’t really encouraged. I came to the genre through fanfic after college. A majority of fanfic seems like it should be considered a Romance subgenre, and I realized I liked reading and writing about people falling in love. The last few years, I’ve needed a place where I can reliably find hope. Romances are great at that.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Both! Both are good. I like reading a series, which usually means the ending is more of a HFN. If it’s a long, standalone novel, then I need it to have an HEA if it’s a romance. Stories should have satisfactory endings and for romance that means happy relationships.

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

Media as a whole definitely plays a part in my writing. My projects tend to start as a reaction. I’ll see a trope overused or a plot device that agitates me and I just have to toy with it. With Soul Bond, part of the inspiration was the love at first sight trope combined with the fated mate trope. Choice doesn’t always get to be as big of a factor as it should be in those stories, so for this world there’s actually a range of magical compatibility. I wanted to see something different, and thus got inspired.

As for my style, I have to admit Joss Whedon and Buffy the Vampire Slayer played a major influence on how I learned to tell a story. There are some major flaws in his storytelling, especially concerning the treatment of women, but with BtVS and Angel the monsters were monsters and the heroes were heroes. A few characters were in more of a gray area (Spike and Faith come to mind). It was one of the first shows I truly loved and remember having feelings for. As an adult, I can look at it and see what I liked, but see what I wish was done better too.

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

Hidden intelligence. The way someone smiles and lights up when they get excited. The ability to empathize and listen, to understand. These main traits tend to get split between the protagonists of my stories. My plots tend to shy away from the miscommunication trope for that reason. In Soul Bond, Ben has most of these traits. But then I adore Noah because he lies to everyone in sight (and to himself). Mostly, people are most interesting when they’re being human and have a willingness to grow.

What’s next?

I have a few WIPs. I tend to bounce around until a character grabs me by the hand and leads me into their world. (Okay, in Noah’s case, he kept coming into my mind and crashing into a chair and going, “So let me tell you about my absolutely SHIT day.” He was pushy and demanding and I loved him for it. And as I’m finishing up this blog piece, another character is knocking at the door loudly.)

I am working with Dreamspinner on a holiday paranormal novel. A young man working holiday retail falls for one of the guys playing an elf at Santa’s workshop—who turns out to be an actual winter fey. It’s charming and sweet and if you’d asked me a few years ago, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write it. I’m happy I challenged myself. The more I write and share my work, the more I see where I can grow and the more stories I want to try. Hopefully you’ll enjoy what I have to share!

Blurb:

Stealing his heart.

As a thief and a warlock, Noah survives by using his wit and charm to prey on the privileged. His dangerous criminal boss wants an enchanted dagger belonging to a family of wealthy mages, including their pampered—but handsome—son, Ben. Failing to complete the job will be hazardous to Noah’s survival.

Noah bumps into Ben at a lavish party, and as soon as they meet, the connection’s undeniable, and it goes much further than ordinary attraction. Their bond reaches into their souls, entwining and changing their magic.

Which Noah thinks he can use to get to the dagger. After all, he isn’t sure this soul bond Ben seems so obsessed with is even real.

He also doesn’t count on being caught red-handed…. Or falling in love.

About the Author

JS Harker loves stories. She was one of those kids who always had a book in her hands and spent many hours adventuring with her siblings. These days she wanders into her imaginary worlds and conjures up tales of magic, passion, and happily-ever-afters. She currently lives in the part of the Midwest that makes Tatooine look interesting by comparison (not that she’s ever obsessively thought about becoming a Jedi or anything).

Find me on social media:

www.jsharker.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/j_s_harker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/js.harker.169

A MelanieM Review: Wytch & Prinze by Kassandra Lea

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Medium Jacob Wytch lives in the forest with his fluffy dog Gruff and his ghostly fairy godmother Amelie. When he gets a call from his friend Renwick Prinze, he panics. Jacob has been pining for Renwick longer than he cares to admit. Instead of admitting, however, he listens to Amelie and begins to sabotage Renwick’s beds in hopes of inviting his dashing friend to sleep with him.

Wytch & Prinze by Kassandra Lea is a retelling of the Princess and the Pea fairytale turned M/M romance and it’s a fun one. Successful medium Jacob Wytch and his dog Gruff live alone in the forest, an outcast in town due to the nature of his gifts and his name which is of no comfort at all to his superstitious townspeople.  His best friend, living that is?  Renwick, a chef gaining favor and success, due in part to Jacob’s help.  But there’s more to it, Jacob’s fallen in love with Renwick but is too scared to change the status quo of their current friends relationship.

In a cute turn, Lea has his fairy godmother be a ghost, Amelie, a young girl killed during a fire at a Rave.  I really loved the character of Amelie.  She’s quirky, determined and I honestly wanted to know so much more about her.  I could actually see an entire series built around Amelie and the people she decided to help.

Which brings me the reason why a story I found so charming wasn’t rated higher.  I loved the premise, the setting, the dog, and absolutely adored Amelie.  Jacob Wytch, who was a wreck when we meet him, I liked him too.  Not adored, liked.  Ditto Renwick.  I wish I had more of a feeling of them together, their friendship prior and who they really were as people.  As characters, the author didn’t give me enough of a connection to them as I would have liked to have had.

There are some missed opportunities to do just that here.  The author brings the characters together, but the readers only get a few scenes (not talking of sex but connectivity) to see any chemistry.  Instead it’s more conversations with Amelie or internal arguments with themselves, which would work if the story itself had been much longer.  Which it isn’t.

Those are the places where I feel the author missed the mark.  Overall, the story is a sweet, cute, romantic fairy tale.  I enjoyed it and wish the author would revisit the characters and universe again to give us an update on them and of course, Amelie!

Cover artist Natasha Snow: Cover art tells us immediately we’re in fairy-tale land.  I liked it.

Sales Links

Less Than Three Press LLC

Book Details:

ebook, 10,000 words, 20 pages plus
Published April 19th 2017 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781620049969
Edition LanguageEnglish