Heartbreak, Hearthounds, And A Tale of Two Winstons. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Heartbreak, Heartterriers, And A Tale of Two Winstons

My heart is breaking this Sunday.  On Friday, after what was supposed to be a routine visit to the vet, for annual shots and to check out a cough, I found out that my redoubtable terrier, Winston has an aggressive tumor in the spleen, a cancer that’s already metastasized to his lungs. Prognosis is most likely one week.  This from a boy who was after a skunk, and racing the fence with a deer only days ago.  I’m in complete shock and utterly devastated.  He’s my heart terrier, my boon companion.  I was sure I would have him for at least 10 more years as I had the Winston before.  But its not to be and by this time next Sunday, my Winston will be gone.

So, because I’m in pieces and I need to spend as much time as I can with him, I’m re-posting this morning A Tale of Two Winstons, the journey of how this magnificent Winston came into my life.  Oh, he will always be a part of my heart. He’ll be so missed.

WinstonII home

 

A Tale of Two Winstons

 

Somethings are just meant to be, no explanation, no rational reason, they just are.  Somewhere a song is sung, a ripple forms in the water, a door closes, a window opens, and a dog finds its way back to its forever home.

It’s been a week to the day that Winston died, and this household has been a very changed, quiet place.  The dogs have been upset and grieving as have I.  Then this morning we woke to the smell of gas.  Flinging open the windows, we called the gas hotline and quickly the emergency crew arrived to locate the source and shut down the gas line.  It was a small issue, one quickly resolved but it meant that we were all home for the day, an unlikely occurrence. We had food we intended to donate to the local animal shelter and now had the time to do it. I checked the computer for address and hours of operation for the Montgomery County Humane Society.

There on the website was a picture that riveted me.  Up for adoption, dog 151 who looked remarkably like Winston.  I tucked that picture into my head, gathered up the food and we left for the shelter.  I checked in and we waited for our name to be called to state our business.  Upon hearing my name, I approached the desk and they gave me a slip, asked what dog I wanted to see and directed me to the back towards the kennels.  I didn’t correct them.

Through the door, past kennels full of dogs needing homes.  I averted my eyes, my heart sore.  We approached a cage, I looked down and nearly fainted.  There he stood, tail waving, face open and smiling, his entire body shaking in happiness – Dog 151.  He looked just like Winston, almost identical.  The attendant hooked him up to a leash and we took him outside, all the while telling us he just came in yesterday.  He was neutered, 4 years old, and had been rehomed twice.  We looked at him, he looked at us, and I heard myself saying “we want him, we want to adopt him”.  There was never a moments hesitation.

She handed us a slip of paper.  How can something so flimsy carry such weight?  It meant that he was taken.  How I hated leaving him there in the kennels while the routine paperwork had to be filed.

There were pages to fill out, and pages of information about him to be received.  Instead of having to wait for an interview, somehow someone was available to interview us immediately instead of the usual waiting period.  We sat and waited for our name to be called,  looking over the paperwork.  I was focused on the staff,  when I heard my name called out.

“Melanie, his name is Winston.”

“What?”

“His name is Winston!!!!!”

Disbelieving, I looked at the paper she was holding up.  There, plain as day, next to the name for the dog being given up was the word Winston.  Dog 151 was Winston.   The tears that had been threatening from the moment I saw him spilled over.  The staff asked about the tears and the story of Winston poured out.  Even they thought the series of events unlikely.  The wonderful person who was our adoption counselor. Addie Soares who interviewed us had Winston brought in and he was as much a part of the interview process as we were. Sitting at our feet, body wagging a mile a minute, it was clear to all we were a family.  We talked some more and then she asked if we wanted to take him home today.  The answer was a resounding “yes”.

We had been warned he would likely bolt because of past issues so they gave us all new tags, harness and collar.  We keep a leash in the car just in case a dog needs to be rescued.  Out to the jeep we went.  Winston took one look at the car and leaped for the seat.  The ride home was a breeze as he sat safe and interested in my lap.  Then we were home.  Questions formed in my mind.  What would Willow and Kirby think?

I shouldn’t have worried. Willow kissed him, and Winston kissed her back.  Kirby came running up, happy to greet him.  Turns out Winston was just as overjoyed to see Kirby.  We employed the usual tactics to introduce new dogs to each other but really we needn’t have bothered.  Much sniffing ensued, much licking ensured, much peeing ensued, and they were fine.  So were we, again.

Now we are all ensconced on the bed, watching The Voice, and the dogs are sleeping peacefully next to us on the bed as well.  This is why king sized beds were invented.  Winston’s feet are moving in his sleep, his brows moving in tandem.  His slumber is full of dreams. Willow is curled up on her pillow and Kirby is doing his normal imitation of a teenage boy, unmoving and splayed out.  We are at peace, and we are whole once more.

There are certainly differences between them as it should be.  One is not the other.  One is not the replacement for the other, and their differences are to be celebrated.  This Winston has a long undocked tail, and a wide open personality.  This Winston lacks the arduous back history of my other Winston.  That Winston was wary of new circumstances, never taking treats or unfamiliar food.  This Winston took two treats immediately and then looked for more.  But there are also similarities.  The huge personality that says I will not give in, that persistent nature, hearty spirit and indomitable soul.

He is sleeping on his back now, at ease in posture and attitude.  Winston knows he is home.

They had asked us if we intended to keep the name Winston.  I looked at him, and thought of all the things that came together for us to become a family, and replied “yes, that is his name.”  He is Winston, a different Winston but Winston none the less.  Different but equal.

A song is sung, a wing beats on the wind, a direction is chosen, ripples form and a dog comes home just as another leaves.  Who is to say how these patterns are formed, and the paths chosen?   Somehow I know this was meant to be and Winston is smiling down upon us.  I will always love my Winston and miss him.  I will celebrate and welcome this Winston’s homecoming.

One is mourned and one is found.  A home is made whole as is a heart.  I swear I hear a song and a bark in the air…..

Here is Winston finally in his forever home.WinstonII asleep

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 14:

  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Cover Reveal for LOVE TIMES FIVE by Lily G Blunt

Monday, January 15:

  • Review Tour – Lost In Time – A.L. Lester
  • BLITZ Beneath the Surface by Rebecca Langham
  • BLITZ Life After Humanity by Gillian St. Kevern
  • A Caryn Review: Lost In Time by A.L. Lester
  • A Stella Review: Friends and Lovers by Tinnean
  • An Ali Review:  A Purple Winter by Mel Bossa

Tuesday, January 16:

  • Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks Tour
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Jeff Adams and Will Knauss VIDEO
  • DSP GUEST POST BA TORTUGA ON Fighting Addiction
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fighting Addiction (Fighting Addiction) by B.A. Tortuga
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Beneath This Mask (Enhanced #3) by Victoria Sue
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Ghost of a Chance (Requiem Inc. #1) by Kris T. Bethke

Wednesday, January 17:

  • Cover Reveal for Selina Kray’s In Wild Lemon Groves
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway for Tribute Act by Joanna Chambers
  • Blog tour for Resist and Triumph charity anthology
  • An Ali Review: Two Man Station (Emergency Services #1) by Lisa Henry
  • A MelanieM Review:  Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers
  • A Stella Review:The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee

Thursday, January 18:

  • DSP Promo Amy Spector
  • Release Day Blitz A Way with You by Lane Hayes
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Romantic Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Julia Review :Thirteen Mercies, Three Kills by Liv Olteano
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Spun! by JL Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)
  • A Stella Pre Release Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and J.H. Knight

Friday, January 19:

  • Book Blast – The Loss of Self – An Intimate Autobiography by Alek Martin
  • Release Blitz – The Station – Keira Andrews
  • Review Tour – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) – V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review: Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey
  • An Ali Review: An Amy Lane Christmas by Amy Lane (bundle)

Saturday, January 20:

  • A MelanieM Review: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker
 

Of Polar Vortexes. Bombogenesis and Thundersnow. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Polar Vortex. Bombogenesis. Thundersnow!

Yes, this is the week the weather took over Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words!  So cold my keyboard (ok, my fingers) just about froze!  Six degrees here and they are calling for much colder weather to come!  Nope, Maryland is officially known as The Temperate State.  Nothing temperate about these temperatures!  In fact the whole East Coast is frozen from Niagara Falls to Tallahassee, Florida.   Snow is falling in Texas to Florida. Iguanas are dropping like hail near the Everglades.  And the Meteorologists are having a field day, either defending or denying the use of some of the words I’ve used above.  Especially bombogenesis!  That one caused a howl!

Nice to see language and words with the power to make things pop on a daily basis!  You can find the definitions of these terms and others like seiche and haboob here.  Terrific article but I’m more interested in the way these words flew about the media.  People got downright Twitterpated!  There’s a polar bombogenesis coming! RUN!!!!!!! To the grocery store or the liquor store or wherever one runs.  But run!  Not sure where they thought we were going?  Alaska?  Because it’s downright warmer there then here.  How about “bomb cyclone”?  Heard that one too!  What terms have you been hearing?  How have you been coping with the cold, if at all?  Maybe you are one of the luckier ones and live outside the “frozen zone”, what advice, other than “Let It Go” (runs and hides) would you have for us?

I’ve been taking the cold by staying inside with the dogs and reading (and binging Netflix I confess).  The cold (a 2 degree morning today) is good for that.  Luckily I’ve had some wonderful stories for company.  Charlie Cochrane’s Lindenshaw Mysteries (a cozy if ever there was one) is on it’s third installment.  Just terrific.  Plus I have some old favorites I’m discussing below.  What are you all reading during this “bomb cyclone”? Or winter hurricane?  What tales are keeping you warm? More about that later….

Now, onto this week.  There are some very special books we are reviewing this week, some with starts that go way back! This week I’m finishing up a trilogy that started in 2009.  That would be Astrid Amara’s wonderful Bellskis series.  One came out in holiday season 2009, then another during the holiday in 2011, and then…nothing.  I was bereft!  I loved this series and couple!  Then the news that Loose id was closing and the final story arrived.  Wedding Bellskis!  Be still my heart.  All three are reviewed this week.  Astrid Amara’s trilogy combines  murder, mystery, Hanukkah, a sometimes rocky romance, and a couple to remember.  Check them out!

Next up?  Another story  with it’s start years ago.  That would be Laura Baumbach’s Genetic Snare.  How many of you science fiction lovers remember the first story?   That would be Details of the Hunt (Details #1) by Laura Baumbach published back in 2006 (2007).  Honestly I can’t remember which year I read but I think it was 2006.  A long time!  Anyway, then she announced there would be a sequel….which never came.  Which because she was busy establishing MLR Press among other things.  Now, years later, we are finally getting that story!  There’s a time traveled pirate, a huge alien who talks like a film noir gangster, suspense, and alien tentacle sex..sort of.  Yes, it works but you really need to read both books.

Finally there’s Amy Tasukada’s Yakusa Path series.  The third book is out and I’m reviewing it this week.  It was one of my Best of 2017 and it looks as though it will be on my 2018 list as well.  Just amazing.  So if you don’t mind gritty, brilliant, bloody fiction, check out One Thousand Cranes (Yakuza Path #3) by Amy Tasukada.  Again you will need the entire series.

All that and so much more!  There’s a few more holiday stories and audiobook reviews and everything in between.  Plus giveaways, author interviews, and guest posts!  Stay with us, stay warm, and stay safe….

More about the giveaway at the end of the post.

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, January 7:

  • Of Polar Vortexes. Bombogenesis and Thundersnow.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • A MelanieM Review: Carol of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #1) by Astrid Amara

Monday, January 8:

  • Hannah Carmack on Seven-Sided Spy
  • Blog tour *Bleeding Like Me by Riley Parks
  • DSP Promo Ari McKay
  • A Stella Review: Like a Gentleman by Eliot Grayson
  • A MelanieM Review: Beyond The Tunnel by Dan Mitton
  • An Alisa Review: Tangled Up in You by Emily Carrington
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists by Angel Martinez and Michael Pauley (Narrator)

Tuesday, January 9:

  • Release Blitz – Lost In Time – A.L. Lester
  • DSP Promo Logan Meredith
  • DSP Promo Z. Allora on The Great Wall
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Bleu Balls (Balls to the Wall #7) by Tara Lain
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Southernmost Murder by C.S. Poe
  • A MelanieM Review: Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black

Wednesday, January 10:

  • Release Blitz – Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey
  • Release Blitz – Forever With You by Londra Laine
  • Review Tour – Amy Tasukada’s One Thousand Cranes
  • A Stella Review: Mended With Gold by Lee Welch
  • A MelanieM Review: A MelanieM Review:  One Thousand Cranes (Yakuza Path #3) by Amy Tasukada
  • An Alisa Audiobook Review: Freckles by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)

Thursday, January 11:

  • DSP Promo Andrew Grey
  • Harmony Ink Promo Gene Gant
  • Riptide Tour & Giveaway: Relay by Layla Reyne
  • A MelanieM Review: Genetic Snare (Details #2) by Laura Baumbach
  • An Alisa Review: Christmas Kisses at the North Pole by Jessie Pinkham
  • A MelanieM Review: Miracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2) by Astrid Amara

Friday, January 12:

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour for Rebecca Cohen’s Not All Chocolates & Cuckoo
  • Review Tour for Sam Burns’ Blackbird In The Reeds
  • Riptide Tour and Giveaway: Two Feet Under by Charlie Cochrane
  • A MelanieM Review: Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane
  • A MelanieM Review: Not All Chocolates & Cuckoo Clocks by Rebecca Cohen
  • A Stella Review: Composing a Family: A Mannies Incorporated Novel by Sean Michael

Saturday, January 13:

  • A MelanieM Review: Magical Rescue (Shifting through the Snow Book 8) by Laura Baumbach
  • A MelanieM Review:Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis, #3) by Astrid Amara

 

 

 

 

 

Best of 2017 Giveaway

Who has made an impact on you this year?  Start thinking about it.  This week starts our Best of 2017 Giveaways.  We need your Best of in whatever Categories you would like to submit.  Have a Best of Covers?  Great!  How about a Bests of Supernatural Romance? Perfect! Best Historical Romance? Love it!  Getting the idea?  So what’s your Best of 2017?  I will be gathering mine for the next 2 weeks and will trot them out at the end of the month.  Prizes will be offered up! Gift certificates, more than one, for participations and more.

Our Winners are:   Purple Reader, H.B., and Ana!  A $10 Gift Card will be yours.  Happy New Years to all of you and a huge thank you to everyone that provided us with all those lists.  I will be putting up a page with everyone’s 2017 Lists this week so   be on the lookout for that too!  New Giveaway up next week! Yep the Polar Vortex Giveaway!

So Long 2017! Hello 2018! It’s Our Final 2017 Best of Lists. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.

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So Long 2017! Hello 2018! It’s Our Final 2017 Best of Lists.

Well, today as we usher out 2017 (and I can’t say I’m entirely sorry to see it go), I will say it’s been a wonderful year in terms of stories, at least for me, and as far as I can tell, for some of you too.  So buckle up, my buttercups, grab something to make lists with, whether it be old fashioned paper and pen or your smartphone or pad, and prepare yourself for some marvelous Best of Lists from readers, reviewers, and myself!

♦︎

There have been series that ended this year (and I’m including trilogies here) that were just outstanding, new discoveries made of authors both established and newly published, great stories that cut to the heart of why we read, and series that either started or continued that made us laugh, cry, blew our minds with the author’s creativity and wild imaginations!  Oh the joy of it all!

♦︎

Plus the happiness that we here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words have been able to share it all with you and have heard from you in return.  It’s been a very rich year indeed.

Best of

From Our Readers

Lennis:

My Bests:
Best Contemporary is tough. I liked How To Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall, Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell, and Rule Breaker by Lily Morton.
Best Fantasy for me would be The Heart of The Lost Star by Megan Derr, Lord Mouse by Mason Thomas, A Destiny of Dragons by T.J. Klune. I wasn’t sure if I should add Broken by Jex Lane to this, or have it be Best Paranormal? Let’s go with that.
Best Science Fiction would be Moro’s Price by M. Crane Hana and Dali by E.M. Hamill.
Best Cover. Natasha Snow has had an awesome year! Controlled Burn and Adrift are some favorites. The Foxling Soldati cover by L.C. Chase and One Last Try cover by Lou Harper are also eye catching.

suze294

My 5* reads from this year
The Executive Office series, Tal Bauer
Sins of the cities series, KJ Charles
Forever Haunt (Jimmy McSwain 5), Adam Carpenter
This Fire Inside, Jordan Nasser
What It Looks Like, Matthew J Metzger
Wolfsong, TJ Klune
Priddys Tale, Harper Fox
Bitter Legacy, Dal Maclean
Switched, NR Walker
The Definitive Albert J Sterne, Julie Bozza
Reaping Fate, AJ Rose

From Ana:

My Bests:
Best Mystery: Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge and Risky Behavior by LA Witt & Cari Z
Best Audiobook: Femme by Marshall Thornton
Best Cover:Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan
Best Contemporary (this is hard to choose, so many good ones): Becoming Kerry by Lynn Kelling, The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin, Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaugh, Manic Pixie Dream Boy by KA Merikan and Disease by Hans M Hirshchi
Best Dark Theme: Backdoor Politics by CL Mustafic

Amy:

Favorite On-Going Series in 2017

Hexworld by Jordan L. Hawk
Aberrant Magic by Lyn Gala
Offbeat Crimes by Angel Martinez
Bad Behavior by L.A. Witt and Cari Z
Rainbow Cove by Annabeth Albert
Scoring Chances by Avon Gale

and more from Didi:

I’m adding two more lists of mine here, for PNR and May/December (or Age-Gap as one MC’s not into his December yet 😉 ).

Best Paranormal Romance:
– Spectred Isle by KJ Charles
– Hexslayer by Jordan L. Hawk
– Undertow by Jordan L. Hawk
– The Well by Marie Sexton
– Fraud Twice Felt by JT Hall

Best May/December Romance:
– Off the Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn
– Spun! by JL Merrow
– Trust the Chaser by Annabelle Albert
– Risky Behavior by LA Witt & Cari Z (I cheated, it’s more age-gap than May/December, I think)
– Permanent Ink by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn

Best of Lists from STRW

 More from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Reviewers:

 From Lila:

Looking back on my shelves, The Best of 2017 (according to me) are:

January – Chosen Pride by Mary Calmes
February – Red Dirt Heart by N.R. Walker
March – Borrowing Trouble by Kade Boehme
April – Tell Me the Truth by Lisa Oliver
May –  The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
June – The Palisade by Rosalind Abel
July – That Alien Feeling by Alessandra Hazard
August – The Heart of the Lost Star by Megan Deer
September – Strange Bedfellows by Cardeno C.
October – Locked in Silence by Sloane Kennedy
November – The Hideaway by Rosalind Abel
December – An Omega for Christmas by L.C. Davis
And some extra mentions:

·         Best Read for STRWBonfires by Amy Lane

MelanieM Best of 2017

Here are my lists, many and long as I warned everyone.  What a year and I still mourn the books I hesitatingly left off.  These are listed in absolutely no particular order excerpt that I was scrambling to look at my notes and books kept popping up here and there….

♥︎Best Contemporary Fiction with Romance

Ghost (Executioners #1) by J.M Dabney
Joker (Executioners #2) by J.M Dabney
Watermelon Kisses by Freddy Mackay
There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt, #2) by Heidi Cullinan
Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan
Switched by NR Walker
Late in the Day (The Vault #2) by Mary Calmes
Micah Johnson Goes West (Get Out #2)
by Sean Kennedy
House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh
Foxglove Copse (Porthkennack #5) by Alex Beecroft
Fair Chance (All’s Fair #3) by Josh Lanyon
Hawaiian Orchid (The Hawaiians 2) by Meg Amor
Snowblind by Eli Easton
Who We Are by Nicola Haken
Fishy Riot by Lindsey Black
Rhino Ash by Lindsey Black

Bonfires by Amy Lane
Catch and Release (The Release, #3) by B.A. Tortuga

♥︎Best Contemporary Fiction (not a romance)

Blood Stained Tea (The Yakuza Path #1) by Amy Tasukada

♥︎Best Science Fiction

The Stark Divide (Liminal Sky #1) by J. Scott Coatsworth
Sūnder (Darksoul #1) by Lexi Ander
The Jackal’s House (Lancaster’s Luck #2) by Anna Butler – steampunk

 ♥︎Best of Fantasy:

His Mossy Boy (Being(s) in Love#8) by R. Cooper
Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford
The Heart of the Lost Star by Megan Derr
Ravens (Inheritance #3) by Amelia Faulkner

♥︎Best Supernatural/Paranormal:

Bitten by Design (Regent’s Park Pack #2) by Annabelle Jacobs
Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes #3) by Angel Martinez (actually all the books in this series)

♥︎Best Series:

Aisling Trilogy by Carole Cummings (high fantasy)
The Hawaiians by Meg Amor (contemporary romance)
Offbeat Crimes by Angel Martinez (humor, fantasy, supernatural)
Nicky and Noah Mysteries by Joe Cosentino  (high camp, high humor, mystery)
Inheritance by Amelia Faulkner (fantasy, supernatural)
The Kingdom Series (Vol 1 & 2) by RJ Scott (fantasy)
Rainbow Cove by Annabeth Albert
#gaymers by Annabeth Albert
Being(s) in Love by R. Cooper
The Release series by BA Tortuga
The Sin Bin by Dahlia Donovan (contemporary)
The Yakuza Path series by Amy Tasukada (contemporary fiction) violent, bloody, brilliant, not romance)

 ♥︎Great Series Ending:

Sanctuary Series by RJ Scott
Texas Series by RJ Scott
Mahu by Neil S. Plakcy
All’s Fair by Josh Lanyon
Werecat series by Andrew J. Peters
Holiday with the Bellskis by Astrid Amara
End Street Detectives by RJ Scott (supernatural)

 

♥︎Holiday Series ~ special mention:Holidays with the Bellskis Series by Astrid Amara (final story just out)
Carol of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #1) by Astrid Amara
Miracle of the Bellskis (Bellskis, #2) by Astrid Amara
Wedding Bellskis (Holidays with the Bellskis, #3) by Astrid Amara

♥︎Best Covers:​

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Destiny of Dragons (Tales From Verania) by TJ Klune, Artist Paul Richmond
Red Fish, Dead Fish (Fish Out of Water#2) by Amy Lane, Artist: Reese Dante
Sunset at Pencarrow (World of Love)
by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell, Artist: Reese Dante
An Island in the Stars by Susan Laine, Artist:  Anna Sikorska
Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan, Cover art by Natsukoworks, Cover design by Kanaxa Designs.
The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn, Artist Natasha Snow
Manny Get Your Guy (The Mannies #2) by Amy Lane, Artist: Paul Richmond
Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) by Anne Barwell, Artist: Reese Dante
A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael, Artist: Anne Squires
The Glamour Thieves by Don Allmon, Artist: Simone
Conned
By Jana Denardo, Artist: Melody Pond
Sūnder (Darksoul #1) by Lexi Ander, Artist:Kirby Crow
The Blacksmith Prince by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus, Artist:  Lady Tiferet
Foxglove Copse (Porthkennack #5) by Alex Beecroft, Artist: G.D. Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

♥︎

Well those are my choices and I’m sure I’ve even left a quite of few out.  How did all of your lists come out?  Did you all find some new books to add to your TBR lists on everyone’s Best of Lists?  Winner Announcements to come next week as they would get lost and we need to have something to look forward to!

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!  See you all in 2018!  Happy Reading from Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words to all of you!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, December 31- Happy New Eve’s:

  • So Long 2017! Hello 2018! It’s Our Final 2017 Best of Lists.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.
  • A Stella Advent Release Day Review: Eugene and the Box of Nails by Jaime Samms

Monday, January 1:

  • Book Blitz: Blackwelder 2164 by Christopher D. J
  • BLITZ The Calling by MD Neu
  • RIPTIDE TOUR Reckless Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Operation Green Card by GB Gordon
  • A Kai Audiobook Review: Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt and Dominic Carlos (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Review: Hurricane by BA Tortuga

Tuesday, January 2:

  • Cover Reveal for Shae Connor’s Teaching Ben
  • DSP Promo K.A. Mitchell
  • RIPTIDE TOUR On Solid Ground by Quinn Anderson
  • Tour: A Different Light by Morningstar Ashley
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Prelude to Love by Anne Barwell
  • A MelanieM Review: Bound by Thorns (Dragon Soul #3) by Sean Michael

Wednesday, January 3:

  • Blog Tour *Won’t Feel A Thing by C.F. White
  • Release Blitz – Bonnie Dee – The Fortune Hunter
  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Anne Barwell
  • A VVivacious Review: OBSESSION by Theophilia St. Claire​
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Outside the Lines by Anna Zabo
  • A MelanieM Review: Wait For Me by Kris Jacen

Thursday, January 4:

  • Release Blitz & Review Tour Request – Sam Burns – Blackbird In The Reeds
  • Sin and Saint by J.M. Dabney RDB, Tour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Sin and Saint by J.M. Dabney
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Reckless Behavior by LA Witt and Cari Z
  • A Stella Review: The Best Gift by Shawn Lane
  • An Alisa Review Wolf’s Kiss by Siryn Sueng

Friday, January 5:

  • Dreamspinner Promo: Alix Bekins and Connie Bailey, authors of Song and Key
  • Release Blitz – Vows Box Set – Addison Albright
  • RELEASE BLITZ Felix and the Prince by Lucy Lennox
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Smitty’s Sheriff by Cardeno C
  • A Stella Pre Release Review: When the Devil Wants In by Cate Ashwood and JH Knight
  • An Alisa Prerelease Review: Forever With You By Londra Laine

Saturday, January 6:

  • A MelanieM Review: Ghoulish by Kat Bellamy

 

 

 

 

A Stella Review: If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology

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RATING 4 out of 5 stars

During the holidays, anything is possible—a second chance, a promised future, an unexpected romance, a rekindled love, or a healed heart. Authors Killian B. Brewer, Lynn Charles, Erin Finnegan, Pene Henson, and Lilah Suzanne share their stories about the magic of the season.

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Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree
By Killian B. Brewer
Determined to make his first Christmas with his new boyfriend magazine-perfect, Marcus seeks the advice of lovable busy bodies, the Do-Nothings Club. When he learns that his boyfriend, Hank, may have ordered a ring, Marcus’ attempts to transform his home into a winter wonderland get out of hand.

Shelved
By Lynn Charles
When library clerk Karina Ness meets a new patron, lonely business owner, Wesley Lloyd, she puts her own love life on hold and begins a holiday matchmaking mission to connect Wes with her uncle Tony.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille
By Erin Finnegan
As the one-year anniversary of his lover’s death rolls around on Christmas, Jack Volarde finds himself at their old haunt—a bar called the Casa Blanca, where a new bartender helps him open up about loss, and see brightness in a future that had grown dim.

True North
By Pene Henson
Shay Allen returns to her hometown in Montana for the holidays with her best friend Devon with the intent to return home to L.A. by New Year’s Eve. Instead, the weather traps them in the small town, but the there’s a bright spot: her old crush Milla is still in town.

Halfway Home
By Lilah Suzanne
Avery Puckett has begun to wonder if her life has become joyless. One night, fate intervenes in the form of a scraggly dog shivering and alone in a parking lot. Avery takes him to a nearby shelter called Halfway Home where she meets bright and beautiful Grace, who is determined to save the world one stray at a time.

I’m a fan of holiday stories and I’m a fan of this publisher o I soon jumped at the chance of having this collection of LGBT shorts on my hands. I have to say some titles worked better than others but it still was a pleasurable reading.

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree By Killian B. Brewer 5 stars

I was waiting for new works from this author since I read Lunch With The Do-Nothings At The Tammy Dinette on January and I was so happy to meet Marcus again here in this short. Marcusa has moved to Georgia six months ago, he’s now working at the Tammy Dinette. He got new friends, new job and a new lover, Hank, the hot mechanic. Since I adored the novel, I was over the moon the author filled my wish to know more about Marcus and his new life. I found them ready to spend their first Christmas together, but most of all, ready to take baby steps toward a real future side by side. And a little misunderstang added more spice to the plot. I loved it!

Shelved By Lynn Charles 3 stars

this is not the first story I read by this author and although I was able to see her amazing writing style, I didn’t loved Shelved as I loved the other books Lynn wrote. Maybe cause there is a “double story”, one with a ff couple and one with a MM couple. And I would have preferred to have just Wes and Tony romance, simply cause I’m more interested in mature MCs. That said, I liked this short story and the amazing people and athmosphere the author created.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille By Erin Finnegan 3,5 stars

This was the first time I read this author’s work and it was a surprise. To be honest, I’m actually not sure why, cause the writing was really good and intriguing, but I soon at troubles with the reading and I found myself pretty bored, I didn’t understand where the author was going to lead Jack. I was hoping something was going to happened and the story to take a new energy. And then I got an answer, and everything fell into the right place. It gave me hope and faith. A touching short about love and grief.

True North By Pene Henson 4 stars

I like the author writing and I was expecting this to be a FF story, it didn’t go exactly how I was hoping and fearing, the usual fake boyfriend clichè was ignored and the plot went versus the friends to lovers theme. I liked how both girls slowly approached each other after years of being apart. And I adored the ending, the promise of a plan to actually be together, gave the short some reality.

Halfway Home By Lilah Suzanne 3 stars

This short warmed my heart, if you are a dog lover, you can’t not like it and cheer for Avery to come out of her shell and open her life to Grace and to the world. I hoped for her to find some happiness and joy in the arms of a beautiful woman and in the sweet Rudy.

The cover art by CB Messer is adorable.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

ebook

Published December 1st 2017 by Interlude Press

ISBN13 9781945053481

Edition Language English

INTERLUDE TOUR If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology (excerpts and giveaway)

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If the Fates Allow: A Holiday Anthology

from the Authors at Interlude Press, an LGBTQ Publisher

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host the tour for If the Fates Allow: A Holiday Anthology from Interlude Press.  If you love holiday stories, check out all the wonderful stories the authors have for you below, read the excerpts and don’t forget to enter the  giveaway at the bottom of the post!

SHELVEDLYNN CHARLES

Libraries are honored and respected institutions in our communities. From providing free literature for pleasure and information, to offering quiet work space and free Wi-Fi, a town’s library can be a sanctuary for anyone who wants or needs it.

In large metropolitan libraries, resources can seem limitless: musical scores; complete medical encyclopedia; drawers of historical maps; comic books; movies; books stretching in themes from fundamentalist Christianity to Paganism, from science fiction to horror to westerns to bodice ripping romance. Meeting rooms are available for community businesses, children have their own spaces where they can read, learn and engage their creativity. Some have cafes, most hold free classes for computer usage, job and careers, adult learning, or business and finance. The options seem as endless as the available materials. And their focus is on the entire community: young and old, rich and poor, all races, nationalities, sexual orientations and religions.

The Library Bill of Rights—yes, it’s a thing—requires it. It states that libraries should provide services for all people, present all points of view, challenge censorship, honor privacy of inquiry, and make the library and its full facilities available to all.

What happens, however, if you live in a smaller town, a conservative town? What happens when the administration who runs your library carries strong opinions about certain sectors of their own community? When they refuse to post a Pride display in June, or a collection of books celebrating Ramadan or Diwali? When even finding such books in circulation is difficult or downright impossible?

In “Shelved,” my short romance in the holiday anthology, If the Fates Allow, the story is told by Karina Ness, a library clerk who works in such a library. She has made it part of her mission at this small county library to diversify the catalog, to expand the offerings for her community who aren’t all white, straight, Protestant folk. She, and her new patron friend Wes, talk about the challenges of getting proper library materials when you’re not like “everyone else” in your community.

“Minions don’t have to provide résumés,” Karina explained. “We have to prove we can spell our names and recite the alphabet.”

Wes patted the seat next to him, and she took the invitation. “Not your dream job, I take it?”

“It’s a step. I was an annoying patron who wants to be an annoying librarian, so they gave me an opening.”

“You’re helpful, not annoying.”

“Well, you’re not the conservative circulation manager. Her, I annoy. Regularly. Because this is a library, not a Christian bookstore.”

“See, now. You proved it. You’re the kind of librarian I liked.”

“You were a library kid too?”

“I read like a fiend. Still do, but the books at school didn’t include many people that looked like me.”

“Sadly, they still don’t.”

“No. And once I was a teenager, I couldn’t find books that helped me understand why I thought boys were much cuter than girls.” He smiled. “No offense.”

“None taken. I mean, you’re wrong; girls are much cuter than boys.”

Wes smile broadened. “See? I needed librarians like you. Mom would take me up to the city library where they had more options. Once I could drive, I’d go and find the deepest stack and read everything I could.”

“Because you couldn’t take them home…”

“Nope. Especially with Dad.”

Which brings up another concern. Kids and teens want to see themselves in books—queer heroes fighting for a cause, boys who fall in love with boys, girls who think the girl in her math class is so incredibly hot, trans or enby kids who struggle to find their identity in our binary world. They don’t dare buy the books at the Scholastic Book Fair, or use allowance money to get them at the closest book store. Without a supportive family, bringing materials like that into their homes can be dangerous. Libraries are a safe haven to read, to steal away, to allow their imaginations run wild and to see themselves as their hero in their own story. And for kids in small towns, the haven isn’t as available if the books aren’t there.

In my story, having those types of books available might have made a huge difference to Karinas Uncle Tony, who didnt come to terms with his bisexuality until his 40s.

But it’s not hopeless. Karina Ness might be a fictional character, but she is in every town. Clerks and librarians like her regularly annoy acquisitions managers, some of whom would rather fill the shelves with Christian romance novels, and speak up for kids like Karina by doing what they can to get the materials in the hands of the readers who need them.

When I worked at my small county library, even though our situation was much like what Ive just mentioned, I quickly learned that if you request a book to be added to the circulation, a librarian will do their best to get it for you. Go equipped with titles or themes and talk to the people on the floor. If one person doesn’t seem helpful—or if she’s your Sunday School teacher or your next-door neighbor and you just cannot ask her—find someone else. If face to face isn’t something you’re comfortable with, even the smallest libraries have an online presence where you can make requests via email or an online form. I have never had a request rejected on premise of theme, character nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. If the administration of that library isn’t interested in diversifying its circulation, then help them out by letting them know that their community wants it. Your on-the-floor librarian should be glad to help you. If not, ask another.

Characters like Karina are on staff all over the country. Libraries, big and small, are truly for everyone.

*****

Lynn Charles is an author of queer contemporary romance novels. She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and daughter where a blind dog and his guardian cat rule the roost. She holds a bachelors degree in music education, worked at her county library, and absolutely never judged you for what books you checked out. Her novels Chefs Table (2014), Black Dust (2016)a finalist for the Foreword Review Indie Award in Romance, and Beneath the Stars (2017), can be found at Interlude Press, and most online book retailers. Keep up with Lynn at lynncharles.net.

IF THE FATES ALLOW  ~ SUMMARIES & AUTHORS

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree by Killian B. Brewer: Determined to make his first Christmas with his new boyfriend magazine-perfect, Marcus seeks the advice of lovable busy bodies, the Do-Nothings Club. When he learns that his boyfriend, Hank, may have ordered a ring, Marcus’ attempts to transform his home into a winter wonderland get out of hand.  Featuring the characters from Lunch With the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette.

Killian B. Brewer lives in his life-long home of Georgia with his partner and their dog. He has written poetry and short fiction since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Brewer earned a BA in English and does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry. He has a love of greasy diner food that borders on obsessive. Lunch with the Do-Nothings at the Tammy Dinette was published in January, 2017. His debut novel, The Rules of Ever After, is available from Duet Books, the young adult imprint of Interlude Press.

True North by Pene Henson: Shay Allen returns to her hometown in Montana for the holidays with her best friend Devon with the intent to return home to L.A. by New Year’s Eve. Instead, the weather traps them in the small town, but the there’s a bright spot: her old crush Milla is still in town.

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Her first novel Into the Blue (Interlude Press, 2016) received a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Romance. Her second novel, Storm Season, was published by Interlude Press in 2017.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille by Erin Finnegan: As the one-year anniversary of his lover’s death rolls around on Christmas, Jack Volarde finds himself at their old haunt—a bar called the Casa Blanca, where a new bartender helps him open up about loss, and see brightness in a future that had grown dim.

Erin Finnegan is a former journalist and a winemaker who lives in the foothills outside Los Angeles. Her novel Luchador was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2016, and along with her 2014 debut novel, Sotto Voce, received both a Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year award and a PW starred review. 

Halfway Home by Lilah Suzanne: Avery Puckett has begun to wonder if her life has become joyless. One night, fate intervenes in the form of a scraggly dog shivering and alone in a parking lot. Avery takes him to a nearby shelter called Halfway Home where she meets bright and beautiful Grace, who is determined to save the world one stray at a time.

Lilah Suzanne has been writing actively since the sixth grade, when a literary magazine published her essay about an uncle who lost his life to AIDS. A freelance writer from North Carolina, she spends most of her time behind a computer screen, but on the rare occasion she ventures outside she enjoys museums, libraries, live concerts, and quiet walks in the woods. Lilah is the author of the Interlude Press books SpicePivot and Slip, and the Amazon bestselling Spotlight series: Broken Records, Burning Tracks and Blended Notes.

Shelved by Lynn Charles: When library clerk Karina Ness meets a new patron, lonely business owner, Wesley Lloyd, she puts her own love life on hold and begins a holiday matchmaking mission to connect Wes with her uncle Tony.

Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates to her childhood, when thoughts, dreams, frustrations, and joys poured onto the pages of journals and diaries. She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and adult children where a blind dog and his guardian cat rule the roost. When she’s not writing, Lynn can be found planning a trip to New York or strolling its streets daydreaming about retirement. Her novel Black Dust (2016) was named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year award. Her other novels include Beneath the Stars (2017) and Chef’s Table (2014).

Excerpts

Gracious Living Magazine Says It Has to Be a Live Tree by Killian B. Brewer

Hank ran his hands down Marcus’s back and tucked them into Marcus’s back pockets. He pulled Marcus tight against his body. “So how was it today?”

“It was a good day, Baby.” The warmth of his boyfriend’s body soothed Marcus’s tired muscles, and he relaxed into the embrace. Marcus breathed in deeply at Hank’s collar bone. The smells of the home-cooked food reheating upstairs that lingered in Hank’s cotton shirt mixed with his cologne and filled Marcus with two types of hunger. He satisfied one by turning his face and placing his lips on Hank’s. The other man let out a low hum of pleasure as they kissed. Marcus pulled away slightly and looked into Hank’s eyes. “I’m going to want seconds of that later, but right now I’m starving.”

“Let’s get upstairs and get to rectifying that.” Hank stepped toward the stairs and pulled Marcus along behind him, only letting go of his hand when they reached the narrow stairway and had to ascend single file. “You can tell me all about how the dinner went. Was it a big crowd?”

“Big doesn’t even begin to describe it. I can’t count how many plates I fixed today.” Marcus concentrated on Hank’s backside, which was accented by worn spots on his tight blue jeans, as it bounced up the stairs ahead of him. The sight of Hank’s firm body inches away and the scents of food wafting from the apartment set Marcus’s two hungers warring inside him. As he clomped upward, a loud rumble from his stomach signaled which desire would win this time.

“Was that your stomach?” Hank paused on the stairs and turned to shoot Marcus a concerned look.

“Yeah,” Marcus’s answered as he pushed Hank up the stairs into the apartment, “we need to get some food into me.” Remembering the Do-Nothings admonition not to ruin Hank’s surprise, he added, “I’m so tired I can barely climb these stairs. I don’t think I can cook another thing today. Maybe we should just make a frozen pizza.”

Hank spun around and grabbed Marcus by both wrists. Excitement danced in his eyes, and he shook his shoulders. “I’ve got a surprise for you! I made us a whole Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey and everything!” He pulled Marcus into the apartment and gestured toward the folding table beside the kitchenette along the wall of the large, open loft. “You don’t have to cook any more today!”

The table was covered with a russet tablecloth and had orange tapers burning in the center of a spray of autumn leaves and berries. Two plates sat on brown placemats embroidered with yellow leaves that Marcus recognized from Helen’s kitchen table. He was sure the tablecloth, napkins, and centerpiece belonged to the Do-Nothings as well.

“Oh, Hank. It’s beautiful. You shouldn’t have.” Marcus turned and kissed Hank on the cheek. His stomach interrupted the kiss with a loud grumble. “But, clearly, I’m so glad you did.”

“I wanted to make our first Thanksgiving together a special night.” Hank beamed as he stepped over to the counter and pointed out bowls of food arrayed there. “And I made all your favorites. Cathead biscuits. Creamed corn. And look!” Hank picked one bowl and thrust it toward Marcus. “Real mashed potatoes. Not from a box!”

True North by Pene Henson

Milla Dalya. Shay stopped worrying about the crowd of neighbors and her mom introducing Devon as her girlfriend. She stopped breathing too.

“Old crush,” she’d said to Devon in the car. “Nothing important.” That might not have been the whole truth.

For the first six months of high school, Shay had been first on the school bus each morning. Halfway through freshman year Milla and her twin brother Luka and uncle Ilie had moved into the dilapidated horse ranch up the hill. From then on, Milla and Luka were first on the bus; Shay was second. The three of them rode twenty minutes around the mountain before collecting anyone else.

That first frosty day, Milla had smiled at Shay.

“Oh, no,” Shay had thought as she pulled off her thick gloves and shoved them in her backpack. Milla’s smile was sudden and waywardly infectious. It balanced the seriousness of the girl’s pale, freckled face and silvery eyes.

Shay had managed to smile back and sit four seats away. Not too close, not too far. That was the trip to school. On the way home, Milla had asked Shay’s name. By week two they were sitting at the front of the bus sharing Shay’s iPod and a set of earbuds. When the bus swung around the mountain, Shay’s black, puffy jacket pressed against Milla’s sky-blue one.

They weren’t friends exactly. Shay didn’t have friends. She spent any time that wasn’t a class training in the gym or on the football field. She had goals.

Anyway, they’d never shared a class or a lunch break. Milla was a year older and a grade above Shay. She was soft-spoken and horse-mad, but so were lots of girls in Big Timber. She was quickly surrounded by people. Shay understood that. Milla was pretty and seemed easy with herself—graceful. She fit.

They weren’t friends, but however many other kids Milla could have sat with on the bus, she always saved a seat for Shay. They were bus allies. They ignored Luka and his friends and their never-ending noise. With the help of her iPod, Shay took on the development of Milla’s musical palate. Now and then, between Aaliyah and Amerie, Milla talked about her horses and the farm. Shay talked about fishing and basketball.

They weren’t friends, but every time Shay took the court, home or away, she scanned the bleachers to find Milla among the spectators before the starting whistle blew. And most afternoons Shay would run up the hill beside her house, testing herself on its uneven slope. At the top she’d look down on Milla’s blue-roofed farmhouse. Sometimes she’d see Milla walk across to the stables.

She didn’t jog down the hill to visit. It was simply reassuring to see the place, always there under the huge, blue bowl of the sky.

The whole brief time they’d shared here in nowhere, Montana, every single time Shay had seen Milla, it was as if she was the only person in the room.

Last Call at the Casa Blanca Bar & Grille by Erin Finnegan

Taking a seat at the Casa Blanca was like stepping out of a time capsule in Morocco circa 1941, by way of Hollywood. Located on the ground floor of an aging hotel, it greeted patrons with the sound of big band music on the stereo and framed photos of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman on the walls. Cast on crimson and gold accents, the warm, dim lighting suggested a permanent midnight.

A comfortable oddity compared to its five-star competition up the hill, the Casa Blanca’s style was part homage to the classic film, part tequila bar. The owner insisted on a sense of classic style— no jeans or T-shirts for its bartenders, who wore crisp, white dress shirts and black slacks, though he capitulated on the bow ties when the bartenders rose up against wearing the constrictive neck ware.

Admittedly, the Casa Blanca hadn’t always been Jack’s idea of a great bar. It had been an acquired taste, born of devotion and a willingness to follow. To some, it came across as fashionably ironic: Kasbah décor-meets-Mexican restaurant to a soundtrack from the American songbook. Jack would protest that it was a hipster joint, would try to default to something fashionably modern atop Bunker Hill, an elegant spot with a view, but the Casa Blanca’s quirks and contradictions grew on him over time.

Like a fungus, he would say.

Like love, he would be admonished.

Maybe it became so much a part of his routine because it was where they had spent many of their best moments together, and a few of their worst.

The Casa Blanca was a habit born out of a relationship, a routine that died of unnatural causes one year ago.

Rattan fans swirled overhead, casting erratic shadows across the depths of the near-empty room. Televisions at opposite ends of the bar echoed the play-by-play of ESPN in hushed and reverent tones; the voice of the broadcast team usurped by Peggy Lee.

At the far corner, his back to the entrance, a solitary bartender wiped glasses while glancing at the game.

“You open?” Jack asked.

“So long as you’re thirsty,” he answered without so much as a glance in Jack’s direction, as if anticipating the interruption. “But the kitchen’s closed.”

“That’s all right,” Jack said. He made himself comfortable at a table a few feet from the bar and adjusted his chair to face the television. It might not have been sociable, but he wasn’t here for conversation.

A napkin floated to the table. A bowl of Chex Mix settled in front of his fingertips. “What are you drinking?”

Jack glanced at the bartender’s hands without looking up—the prominent veins hinted at athleticism and the nails were buffed to a soft sheen.

He drank beer at games, but beer was a drink for the sociable, to be consumed among friends. Whiskey had an appropriately solitary feel, but seemed out of place for a warm evening.

“Tequila,” he said. “Casa Dragones.”

“And here I had you figured for bourbon.”

Halfway Home by Lilah Suzanne

She drives to Grace’s house next, even more anxious than she was about staging Rudy’s escape. “Just be glad you don’t have to date,” she tells Rudy, scooping out a bite of drippy ice cream. “You’d be dead inside after a while of that too.” Avery holds out the ice cream lid for Rudy to lick. Can dogs eat ice cream? It’s probably fine. “See? Who doesn’t like vanilla ice cream, right? It’s like all other ice cream owes vanilla its existence. Rocky road. Cookie dough. Moose Tracks. Cookies and cream.” Rudy looks plaintively up at her, so she sets the now-empty carton down on the seat for him. “Okay, yeah. I’m stalling.”

Covering him with the blanket again, Avery cuts the engine, promising to be back quickly before the cold seeps in, then runs up Grace’s driveway before she chickens out. Grace answers with two of her dogs at her heels.

“Hi,” Avery says, clouds of steam puffing out as she speaks. “Sorry to drop by.”

“It’s okay, I’m glad you did.” Grace smiles, and Avery shivers.

“I um, had a weird, yet inspirational, talk with Santa. I mean not real Santa. I don’t think he’s real; you know what I—”

Grace laughs. “I get it, yeah.”

Avery exhales a cloudy breath. “Okay. The thing is, I’ve been settling for feeling nothing because it was safe, or I thought it was, but I don’t want to feel numb anymore. Even though my nose and fingers do actually feel numb right now.” She rubs at her nose. It’s so cold; she has to wrap this up and get back to Rudy. “I just wanted to tell you that I really, really like you a lot. Like I haven’t liked anyone as much as you… ever, actually. Yes, including the person I lived with because— because I was afraid to speak up and say how I really felt. But I’m not anymore. Grace, meeting you was fate. And I don’t even believe in fate, but I don’t know what else it could be. If you need time, then I can give you time. But this is real, and it’s worth the risk to me.” Avery turns and jogs down the steps, not giving Grace a chance to respond. She said what she had say, she did what she needed to do and she’s proud of that, whatever happens or doesn’t happen. “Merry Christmas, Grace.”

Grace calls her name, just once, soft and hesitant. Avery doesn’t turn. The timing isn’t right, and that’s okay. It will be. Avery tucks this moment away, an ember warm and steady in her chest: hope.

Shelved by Lynn Charles

He put the car in drive, cranked up the heat, and grinned. “Point the way!”

She chewed on her bottom lip as she gathered the courage to mention the daydreams that had kept her mind occupied that afternoon. “I’ve been thinking,” she said. She kept her eyes on the road ahead in case her next sentence flopped like a basket of rotten tomatoes. “You might like my Uncle Tony.”

Wes remained quiet; his finger, softly tapping to the music, never paused. “Huh. What’s so special about Uncle Tony?”

Karina dared a glance Wes’s way. He seemed cautiously interested. “Well, he’s… I mean, he’s—” She was not going to say Uncle Tony’s interest in men was the main impetus. That was absurd and wrong, but— “He was married to my Aunt Jodi.”

“Your Aunt Jodi.” Wes pulled up to a traffic light. “If he was married to your aunt—what makes you think he’d be interested in me?”

Karina rolled her eyes. “There are such things as bisexuals, you know.”

“I—I do know, yes. I’m sorry.” He looked at her with a pained smile. “I’m so out of the dating game that I—yes.” He continued to tap his steering wheel to the music. “You said ‘was’ married—is that why it’s past tense?”

“Yeah. He didn’t come to terms with it until later and… she wasn’t keen on the idea.”

“That’s a shame,” he said. “Thing is, I’m not too sure I’m keen on getting back in the dating game.”

“But it’s Christmas!”

“What does that have to do with—” Before taking off from the light, he shot a look at her. “Your love bomb and your Christmas spirit are still tangled.”

She ignored him; of course they were tangled. That was the point. “But, Wes… walks in the snow and packages with pretty bows and eggnog under the tree.”

“You know, some people like being alone at Christmas.”

“Oh, come on. No one likes it; they put up with it. You said you were my age when—look, it was a long time ago, and maybe it’s time—”

“How old do you think I am?”

“You’re forty-six. Turn right up here.”

“Huh. Someone did more than fix my résumé, I see.” The smile he’d been visibly fighting this entire conversation finally broke free.

“Look, Uncle Tony is lonely, and you seem—”

“Lonely?”

“Well. Yes? And I think he’d make you laugh, and he loved James and the Giant Peach as a kid too…” She lingered and hoped that revelation would spark the ultimate flame. When he didn’t flinch, she rushed on. “And he makes the most amazing pasticiotti that should never go unshared.”

Pasticiotti?”

“It’s these custard-filled pastry… pie… things, and they take forever and a day, and he destroys his kitchen and my waistline. He shoves them off on his clients because—” She stopped rambling. Wes was laughing, and they’d driven right by her house. She directed him around the block.

“Does Uncle Tony know you’re trying to hook him up with a failed businessman?”

Giveaway

Book Tour Rafflecopter Giveaway:
Grand Prize $25 IP Gift Card + Multi-format eBook of If the Fates Allow// Five winners receive the multi-format eBook

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December,Time to Say Goodbye, Time to Remember the Best of 2017. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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It’s December.

Time to Say Goodbye, Time to Remember the Best of 2017

At the end of the year, it’s time to look back and reflect on everything and everyone that made an impact on us this year.  Instead of remembering what was lacking in 2017, better to remember on those things and people that made life better for us…all of us in 2017 and make note here.

I’m not talking just books this year but people too.  This year saw the passing of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words reviewer Paul Berg, someone who’s lively presence here in his reviews and in my emails telling me about his backgammon tournaments I still miss. This  year we also lost author Eric Arvin after a long illness, thankfully his amazing stories ensures his incredible mind, heart, and imagination will always be with us.  Those two people were just the main two that I was thinking of when writing about those that have made such a lasting impact on me this year.

And not just people.  Many of the older LGBT publishing houses closed or have announced they are closing.  That includes Loose ID on Friday after 13 years in operation.  They join Samhain Publishing, Torquere Press, Musa Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Wilde City Press, ARe (All Romance eBooks), and others that temporarily escapes me.  All gone or on the way out.    That represents a hosts of authors, editors, cover artists….so many people working to bring LGBTQIA stories to us where before our choices were slim to almost zero.  I don’t think I need to tell you that the competition is the primary reason.  I know they will tell you the same.

I think of all the first time authors who were cared for by these presses, helped to craft their stories and then given a place for us to find them long before Amazon ever cared about our niche fiction and its readers.  How they will all be missed but what an amazing impact they left behind. For that alone, they should be remembered.

Who has made an impact on you this year?  Start thinking about it.  Next week starts our Best of 2017 Giveaways.  We need your Best of in whatever Categories you would like to submit.  Have a Best of Covers?  Great!  How about a Bests of Supernatural Romance? Perfect! Best Historical Romance? Love it!  Getting the idea?  So what’s your Best of 2017?  I will be gathering mine for the next 2 weeks and will trot them out at the end of the month.  Prizes will be offered up!

Now, this week more Advent Release Day Reviews and holiday stories, along with our regular release day reviews, tours and giveaways.  Something for everyone!  Happy Reading.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

 

Sunday, December 3:

  • Time to Say Goodbye, Time to Remember the Best of 2017
  • Romeo Preminger on Thiago
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Advent Release Day Review: The Peppermint Schnapps Predicament by Clare London
  • A Lila Release Day Review: Thiago by Romeo Preminger
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Laugh Cry Repeat by John Inman

Monday, December 4:

  • Dyeing to be Loved by Aimee Nicole Walker Audio Tour
  • Review Tour – Joanna Chambers’  Merry & Bright
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Regret Me Not by Amy Lane
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Hope Is the Thing with Feathers by Brandon Witt
  • An Ali Review:  Merry & Bright by Joanna Chambers

Tuesday, December 5:

  • Dreamspinner Press Promo Tara Lain on Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6)
  • INTERLUDE TOUR If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology
  • Spotlight on Only With You by JD Chambers
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Junkyard Heart by Garrett Leigh
  • A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: Salvaging Claus Day by J. Alan Veerkamp
  • A MelanieM Review: The Botanist (The Sin Bin #3) by Dahlia Donovan
  • A Stella Review: If the Fates Allow Holiday Anthology
  • An Alisa Review: My Choice, My Chance by Taylor Rylan

Wednesday, December 6:

  • DSP Publications Promo David C. Dawson
  • Release Blitz for Love Happens Anyway  by RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz for Raven by HJ Perry
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: ​Snow Balls (Balls to the Wall #6) by Tara Lain
  • A Stella Advent Release Day Review: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change by Chris Scully
  • An Alisa Review: Corey’s Christmas Bundle (Atherton Pack 5) by Toni Griffin

Thursday, December 7:

  • DSP Dreamspun Promo Julia Talbot
  • Spotlight on Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz for Jesus Kid by Kayleigh Sky
  • Release Blitz for On Your Knees, Prospect by KA Merikan
  • A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: An Open Window by Rick R. Reed
  • A MelanieM Review: Hurricane (Stormy Weather #3)  by B.A. Tortuga
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator)

Friday, December 8:

  • Amy Lane on Writing, Books, and her release Regret Me Not
  • Solstice Prince by SJ Himes Blog Tour
  • Review Tour : Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • A MelanieM Review:Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) by RJ Scott & VL Locey
  • A MelanieM Advent Release Day Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris
  • An Alisa Review: Once Bitten (A Darker Hollow #2) by Shannon West and T.S. McKinney
  • A Lila Audiobook Review: Fool of Main Beach (Love in Laguna #5) by Tara Lain and K.C. Kelly (Narrator)

Saturday, December 9:

  • An Alisa Advent Release Day Review: Pining for Perfect by Ki Brightly
  • Blog Tour Snow Falling by Davidson King
  • Release Blitz for Ruby Moone’s The Mistletoe Kiss 

 

 

A Free Dreamer Review: Olympia Knife by Alysia Constantine

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Born into a family of flying trapeze artists, Olympia Knife has one small problem: When her emotions rise, she becomes invisible. Everyone in the traveling circus has learned to live with this quirk; they banded together to raise Olympia in a loving environment when her parents vanished midair during their act, never to return. But the same fate befalls Arnold, the world’s shortest man, followed by one act after another, until the show is a crumbling mess of tattered tents and terrified troupers. Into this chaos walks Diamond the Danger Eater. Olympia and Diamond forge a friendship, then fall in love, and, together, resolve to stand the test of time, even as the world around them falls apart.

The first word that comes to my mind when I think about Olympia Knife is strange. Closely followed by sad. And kind of creepy. I’ve never read anything like this and I was a bit unsure whether I liked it or not. But it’s so unusual and memorable, I just had to give it the full five stars.

First things first: This is classified as literary/genre fiction and as such doesn’t have much of a love story and definitely not your run-of-the-mill HEA. The ending is very open and leaves many questions unanswered. I’m not always a fan of open ends, but in this case it fit the tone of the whole book perfectly.

I love circus settings, especially historical ones. They give you so many possibilities. It can be utterly magical and charming or it can be utterly terrifying and creepy. Olympia Knife was definitely more creepy than charming, though it did have a bit of a magical air.

People keep disappearing in the middle of their acts, Olympia keeps turning invisible and there are some other otherworldly things going on, so I guess this would qualify as Fantasy. The circus acts, especially those in the sideshow, are all fakes and don’t have any magical abilities. The correct genre correct is probably magic realism, combining reality with some fantastic elements. It’s an unusual genre and I really enjoyed it.

There isn’t all that much action but I didn’t mind. This was a very slow book and it was all about the atmosphere of the book. I was completely immersed into the world and it sometimes took a while for me to resurface.

At times, this book does get pretty brutal and very intense. It was a hard read and it really took a lot out of me. “Olympia Knife” is such a gritty, intense and heartbreaking read. It’s one of the most extraordinary books I’ve ever read.

If you’re looking for an easy, magical romance, this is definitely not the book for you. I think this is a case of love it or hate it. And I loved it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for future releases by this author. If you’re easily triggered, you might want to check out the content warnings on the publisher’s page.

The cover is utterly gorgeous. It’s the kind of cover that I’d love to have in my physical bookshelf, just to show it off.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press | Amazon

Book details: ebook, 212 pages

Published November 2nd 2017 by Interlude Press

Sharing What We Are Thankful For In Books Month – Part 3. This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sharing What We Are Thankful For In Books Month – Part 3

Here we are closing in on Thanksgiving (for those of us who live in the U.S. or for U.S. expats everywhere).  As we rush to gather up our makings for our Thanksgiving dinners, head out to join our loved ones, or however you intend to enjoy the holiday, our month long look at things we are thankful for, things we love in books may it be authors, narrators, books, or series is coming to a close as well.

I have several more thoughts from two of our readers as well as some from myself.  In April of this  year, Dreamspinner Press published a debut novel from author Lindsey Black titled Fishy Riot, the first in her Saturday Barbies series.  I found it funny, suspenseful, and downright amazing. I love it when that happens with a new author.  Then just last week, the author released the second story in the series herself Rhino Ash.  And you always wonder if the sequel will live up to the first…and it did.  So I contacted the author, needing to know more about her (Australian), the series, and what makes her write (something I’m very grateful for).  Look for that author discovery coming soon.  Here’s a taste of her bio because I’m grateful for new authors like Lindsey Black:

LINDSEY BLACK lives in Darwin, Australia, where the weather report permanently reads ‘humidity at 100%, only going to get worse’ for ten months of the year and ‘monsoon at 4:00 p.m. for exactly fifteen minutes’ for the remaining two. Between teaching and studying full-time, she escapes this oppressive environment to bushwalk for weeks on end wherever the mobile phone reception has zero bars for as long as possible and the weather report reads something along the lines of ‘blizzard likely.’ …

Free Dreamer also reviewed a new book last week, again another debut novel from Gaia Sol. Echoes of the Gods by Gaia Sol.  She gave it 5 stars.  Did you read that one?  If you love fantasy and mythology as much as F.D. does, there another novel to put on your TBR list.  Ah, how our lists and recommendations lengthen at this time of the year….

So much to be grateful for including our wonderful readers….and we even have another month to go before the year is over.  Here are some of the thoughts of our readers….

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

From

Melanie, Stella, and all the reviewers at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

H.B.:
Thanks for the recs. I’ll have to check them out. I posted my recs last week but going back to check the comment I see it did not take. Here’s a few I would rec:
The Alpha and His Ace by Ana J. Phoenix
Strike Up the Band by Sam Burns
How To Be A Normal Person by TJ Klune
Flaunt by E. Davies
Lessons on Destroying the World by Gene Gant
Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote
Purple Reader:

Thanks for the post and honored you posted my recs. I tend to be lengthy, but there were just so many I was thankful for. As for new authors, I’ll keep this to one:
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. About a gay couple\family in mid-1800s in midst of Civil & Indian Wars. It’s more historical western than m/m romance, and has gotten major literary recognition – Man Booker Prize nom, and won its sister award, Costa Book of the Yr.

What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are

Thankful for Giveaway

What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are grateful for?  Write in and let us know.  Short, long, recommendations, however, you would like to tell us.  Let’s hear from all of you.  Leave us your comment of what you are grateful for in books (author, series, books, narrator, cover artist, whatever it may be, along with your email address where you can be reached if chosen. Multiple gift certificates will be handed out the last week of November!  Must be 18 year of age or older to enter.

Apparently I’m thrilled about Australian writers period because N.R. Walker sent me her latest and I’m reviewing it this week

We still have plenty of time left in this month.  So keep those wonderful comments and lists coming.   Now onto this week’s schedule.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, November 19:

  • Sharing What We Are Thankful For In Books Month – Part 3.
  • This Week At Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • Blog Tour – Vampire Clause by Robert Winter

Monday, November 20:

  • Cover Reveal Short Order by Pat Henshaw
  • Dreamspinner Dreamspun Desires Promo Felicitas Ivey
  • BLITZ For The Love of Samuel by RP Andrews
  • Review Tour – Chris Ethan’s Jingle Spell
  • A Jeri Review: Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
  • An Ali Review: Psycho Romeo (Ward Security #1) by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Tuesday, November 21:

  • A Rumored Affair Tour RABT Book Tours
  • Dreamspinner Dreamspun Desires Promo Kim Fielding
  • Release Blitz Tour for  DJ Jamison’s  Yours For The Holiday
  • A MelanieM Review:The Wanderer (The Sin Bin #1) by Dahlia Donovan
  • A VVivacious Review: A Sniper’s Devotion (Cuffs, Collars and Love #5) by Christa Tomlinson
  • An Ali Audiobook Review: ’Tis the Season​ by Alex Jane and Michael Fell (Narrator)

Wednesday, November 22:

  • Audio Review Tour: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake
  • Dreamspinner Press Promo for BA Tortuga’s Hurricane
  • Release Blitz for Eli Easton’s Desperately Seeking Santa
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Smoky Mountain Dreams by Leta Blake and John Solo (Narrator)
  • A Julia Review: Ardulum: Second Don by J.S. Fields
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Hurricane by BA Tortuga

Thursday, November 23 – Happy Thanksgiving

  • Dreamspinner Press Promo: Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2) by Andrew Grey
  • Release Blitz – Joanna Chambers – Merry & Bright
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: All of the Above by Quinn Anderson
  • A Caryn Review: Safety Protocols for Human Holidays by Angel Martinez
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Olympia Knife by Alysia Constantine
  • A MelanieM Audiobook Review: Out! (The Shamwell Tales #3) by J.L. Merrow and Mark Steadman (Narrator)

 Friday, November 24:

  • Dreamspinner Promo Sean Michael
  • Release Blitz Tour – Jackie Keswick’s Undercover Star
  • RIPTIDE TOUR & Giveaway: Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Katie Porter
  • A Jeri Release Day Review: Tried & True (THIRDS #10) by Charlie Cochet
  • An ALi Review: Watch Point by Cecilia Tan
  • A MelanieM Pre Release Review: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker
  • An Alisa Review: My Forever, My Always (Men of Crooked Bend #1) by Taylor Rylan

Saturday, November 25:

Release Blitz – Make The Yuletide Gay – Various Authors

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing What We Are Thankful For In Books Month. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Sharing What We Are Thankful For In Books Month

It’s mid-November, plenty of time for reflection before the year is out.  I’ve been thinking about all the books I’ve read, the authors, the narrators and cover artists.  There is still weeks ahead for new writers, new stories, and new discoveries to arrive and make their impact on us before 2018 appears!  Such a grand time for looking back and to look forward.

I’ve been starting several series at the end and then scrambling to pick up the stories that came before.  Turns out that journey is one that agrees with me, something I’m grateful to find out about myself.  A sort of literary excavation that I enjoy, tumbling backwards to an origin of characters, couples, and even series arc.  It’s fun, informative, and often gives me insight into the author’s evolution as well as a writer.

This has  happened with J.M. Dabney, now Dahlia Donovan, and RJ Scott, to name a few.  Series are definitely my thing.  I love to sink into a group of stories with a single arc or connection between them.  This year saw several of my favorite series say goodbye (you never really know) with series finales.  I’m grateful for the wonderful way they went out.  More on those towards the end of the month.  Yes, my own list just keeps getting longer.

So for now, let’s hear from some of you….

♡From Ana:

Too Close by R. Phoenix (about domestic violence, really good one)
The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin
Diary of a Teenage Taxidermist by K.A. Merikan
Femme by Marshall Thornton (the audiobook)
Manic Pixie Dream Boy by K.A. Merikan (lovely characters)
Disease: When Life takes an Unexpected Turn by Hans M. Hirschi (this one made me cry like no book had ever done it)
Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge
Off the Ice by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn
Backdoor Politics by C.L. Mustafic
Greenwode by J. Tullos Hennig

♡From Didi:

This year has been a good one for me book-wise. Many of the titles I read agree with me, such LA Witt’s & Cari Z’s Bad Behavior series, Cordelia Kingsbridge’s Kill Game, Cat Sebastian’s The Ruin of A Rake, Neil S. Plakcy’s Angus Green series, Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexslayer, Avon Gale’s & Piper Vaughn’s Off the Ice and Permanent Ink, KJ Charles’ Spectred Isle, Astrid Amara’s Trustworthy, and those (only) to name a few. Not only that, I find awesome books with new-to-me authors like Tal Bauer, TA Moore, Layla Reyne, SA Stovall, Meghan Maslow, and Santino Hassell (I heard praises of their books before but just wasn’t convinced enough to give it a try. Then obviously smack my own head and muttered: how did I miss these for so long!! 😀). With less than two months left on 2017, I’m optimist there are still wonderful books for me to read. Fingers-crossed my good fortune (on reading) extends to next year! 🙂

♡From Jen:

I am thankful for the broad spectrum of sub-genres and diversity of characters.
that are available to read. I am also thankful for audiobooks. I really started listening to them more this year because my job moved my office and I have a long commute now. Audiobooks make it easier to get through.

What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are

Thankful for Giveaway

What have you discovered or have found this year in books that you are grateful for?  Write in and let us know.  Short, long, recommendations, however, you would like to tell us.  Let’s hear from all of you.  Leave us your comment of what you are grateful for in books (author, series, books, narrator, cover artist, whatever it may be, along with your email address where you can be reached if chosen. Multiple gift certificates will be handed out the last week of November!  Must be 18 year of age or older to enter.

We still have plenty of time left in this month.  So keep those wonderful comments and lists coming.   Now onto this week’s schedule.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, November 12:

  • Sharing What We Are Thankful For In Books Month
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, November 13:

  • Tour: Walking on Water by Matthew J. Metzger
  • Review Tour – Sue Brown’s Alpha Chef (JT’s Bar #2)
  • Tour: Blood Drop (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #5) by Jacob Z. Flores
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Braving the Rapids (Rocky Mountain Boys #2 ) by Brandon Witt
  • An Ali Releases Day Review: Broken Sun (City to City #2) by B.D. Roca
  • A Julia Review: Changing Colors by Elyse Springer
  • A  Caryn Review : Alpha Chef (JT’s Bar #2) by Sue Brown

Tuesday, November 14:

  • Breaking Free by A.T. Brennan 3 day release Tour Blitz
  • Wrapped with Love by Beth Bolden Release Day Blitz
  • In The Spotlight: Citywide by Santino Hassell (tour and giveaway)
  • A Free Dreamer Review: Echoes of the Gods by Gaia Sol
  • A MelanieM Review: Wrapped with Love by Beth Bolden
  • A VVivacious Review: How to Domesticate a Russian Bear: A Russian Bear III (Russian Bear #3) by C.B. Conwy

Wednesday, November 15:

  • Cover Reveal: Coach’s Challenge (Cayuga Cougars #3) by V.L. Locey
  • Release Blitz Tour – RJ Scott – TBA
  • Release Blitz – A.T. Brennan – Breaking Free (All In #3)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Ante Up by Kim Fielding
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Secret of the Sheikh’s Betrothed By Felicitas Ivey
  • A MelanieM Review: Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) by  RJ Scott & V.L. Locey

Thursday, November 16:

  • DSP Publications Promo Lyn Gala
  • TOUR Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden by Cheryl Headford
  • Tour for Reservations by Kindle Alexander
  • A VVivacious Review: Testing the Limits (Daniel and Ryan #9) by Tamryn Eradani
  • An Alisa Review: Vampire Claus by Robert Winter
  • An Ali Audiob00k Review: Buried Bones (Bones #2) by Kim Fielding and John Solo (Narrator)

Friday, November 17:

  • Embrace the Fire by Felice Stevens Audio Tour
  • Harmony Ink Promo Tom Early
  • Leta Blake’s Smoky Mountain Dreams Blog Tour
  • A MelanieM Review: Rhino Ash (Saturday Barbies #2) by Lindsey Black
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2) by Andrew Grey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Wild Wild Hex (Hexworld #3.5) by Jordan L. Hawk

Saturday, November 18:

  • Tour for Heart Unheard by Andrew Grey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come on, Muse! Give Me a Break By Nancy Stewart (author of Beulah Land) (guest post and excerpt)

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Beulah Land by Nancy Stewart

Duet Books, an imprint of Interlude Press
Release Date: November 16, 2017

Cover Artist: CB Messer

Purchase Links:  Duet | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Nancy Steward on her Beulah Land tour. Welcome, Nancy!

✒︎

 

Come on, Muse! Give Me a Break 

By Nancy Stewart, author of Beulah Land

What is it about muses? I know they take their work seriously, and yet conjuring up mine can be quite a chore at times.

I almost always search for her at the computer. She’s usually there, but not today. Sometimes she hides in my Favorites List. But not today. How about the Homepage? Nope. One more try my lists of guest posts. Occasionally, she will transform herself into a bright new post from an old one. Today, no such luck.

Not one to give up, I go to the gym. Strangely enough, she hangs out there quite a bit. And usually her gym ideas are good ones, full of life and vigor. She particularly likes the elliptical.  Actually, so do I. But after 25 minutes of trying to coax her to visit, I give up and move to other machines where I’ve never seen her ply her magic. One lives in hope.

On the way home, I stop by the bookstore and congratulate myself on a stroke of genius. She can’t not be there. It’s a muse kind of place, after all. She’s not there. Not even in the Young Adult books section. She’s always in the Young Adult books section. “Getting great ideas,” I usually tell her, but she sometimes rejects that notion.

Ah, well. I give up. I’ve learned there’s no future in sleuthing after a muse that does not want to be detected. So, home I go.

I consider the computer a lost cause, so I opt for a glass of iced tea and a comfy chair. And then, like a tiny bee buzzing in my brain, my muse appears. She speaks of Violette Sinclair, the brave and determined, and single-minded heroine of my new Young Adult novel, Beulah Land. She worries over Junior McKenna, Vi’s best friend, who puts himself in harm’s way to keep her alive in her own home town. My muse whispers the book’s ending to me, then smiles and says she loves it.

My muse is such a tease. But when she gets down to business, there’s no stopping her! Today, I’m only happy she visited, threw out a couple of notions then left me to ruminate. 

What is it about muses? I still haven’t figured out that answer. But though they are fey and capricious creatures, this author is grateful to have one.

If you haven’t met yours, don’t worry!  Give her the time and opportunity to make an appearance. Carry that little notebook. You know. The one that everyone says to take with you?  It’s crucial for dealing for a mischievous muse emergence. Read lots of books, particularly the genre you’re most interested in writing. It’s amazing how she can virtually pop off the page to infuse you with a brilliant idea.

Above all, while you wait for her, keep writing. I’ve found that most muses appear when one writes and writes and doesn’t give up. Taskmasters they may be, these little creatures know their stuff. You’ll be delighted when yours finds you.

Beulah Land Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Vi Sinclair’s roots run deep in the Missouri Ozarks, where, in some areas, it can still be plenty dangerous to be a girl who likes girls. Her greatest wish is to become a veterinarian like her boss, Claire Campbell. Fitting in at school wouldn’t be so bad, either. Only one obstacle stands in the way: She may not live long enough to see her wishes ful lled.

With help from her only friend, Junior, Vi unravels a mystery that puts her in con ict with a vicious tormentor, a dog ght syndicate, and her own mother. Vi’s experience galvanizes her strength and veracity as she overcomes the paradox of mountain life, in which, even today, customs and mores seem timeless, and where a person can wake up dead simply because of being who she is.

Excerpt

“I don’t buy it,” my sister says, after not interrupting for a change. “There’s no way some random guy would be after us. I mean, for what reason? I don’t even know this Dale whatever his name is. You sure, Violette?”

“After listening to his rant? Yes, and that means you gotta be extra careful. I don’t want to scare you crazy. Don’t go places alone. You hear?”

Her gaze shifts away from my eyes, and she gives a tiny nod, but I’m not convinced she believes me or I believe her. “I have a suspicion there are secrets, Jessie, dark ones. And you and me? We’re being dragged in because of Mama.”

She picks up a plastic cat that Seth won for her at the county fair, examines it like it’s a priceless treasure and gently sets it back on the table. “So what can we do?”

“First, we gotta work out the real reason Dale’s after us.”

Jessie puts a smirky smile on me. “He’s after you because you’re not like us. Lots of folks around here’s downright vicious about it.”

I’m gonna ignore her nasty attitude. “Don’t think it’s that simple anymore, Jess. I got a pretty big notion what’s going on circles right back to Mama.”

My sister sighs, gathers her hair in a hunk, and moves it to her other shoulder. “If what you’re saying is true, Vi, we gotta go to the police.”

“Won’t do any good. I hear Sheriff Fletcher’s real close to the Woodbines. Best friends and all. If that’s true, nothing’s going to touch Dale.”

“Then we need to talk to Uncle Gray. With him being the clan head of us Sinclairs, it’s his sworn duty to protect us.”

“Not Uncle Gray. No. Not yet.” “Vi—”

“NO! I can take care of this on my own.”
“Why are you so stubborn if we’re in this much danger, Violette? People in these parts get

dead for a whole lot less than being gay. But since you are and everybody knows it, you got a real head start. You want that?”

“No, I don’t. But Uncle Gray, he’s got no respect or liking for me. Don’t you understand that, Jessie?”

“Yeah, and dead’s dead a long time. And you’re saying my life’s in danger now, so that’s something you should understand.” She flounces her hair back on both shoulders; a punctuation mark for being through with this conversation.

“I’m going out to get some air, Jess.”
She doesn’t answer, even when I slam the front porch door.
A lightning bolt zigzags between Bald Knob and Scoggins Ridge, as I settle on the top porch

step. Thunder growls like those Greek gods we studied battling over some old-timey feud, and a few fat raindrops splat on my head, chilling the tops of my legs.

Jess and Junior are pretty much right about me taking too many risks. I almost wish for once Mama would caution me on that. I long hard for her to love me for who I am. Mama, she always lays heavy on my heart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A professor of education specializing in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Nancy Stewart is also the award-winning author of several bestselling books for young readers. The original manuscript for Beulah Land received the 2015 State of Florida Rising Kite Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives with her husband and an adopted Bichon/Shih Tzu pup, Louie, in Tampa, Florida.

Beulah Land will be published by Duet Books on November 16, 2017. Connect with author Nancy Stewart at nancystewartbooks.com and on Twitter at @stewartnancy.