It’s Whistle Stop Time On the Riptide/L.A. Witt Noble Metals Book Tour (contest)

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Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Noble Metals! Thank you to Scattered Words and Roque Thoughts for hosting me.

Contest: Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Noble Metals) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on July 19th, and winners will be announced on July 20th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. 

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L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her website, blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt).

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NOBLE METALS Blurb:
NobleMetals_500x750Ever since Robert Belton gambled away the money to stake his claim in the Klondike gold fields, he’s been stranded in Seattle working as a prostitute. When an attractive customer needs help hauling provisions to the frozen north, Robert eagerly volunteers.
Dr. John Fauth is only searching for one thing, and it isn’t gold. He needs platinum for the prototypes of his revolutionary inventions, and if he doesn’t find it in the Klondike, his university career—and his research—is over.
Getting to the Klondike is a grueling, dangerous journey, and just hours after leaving Seattle, John and Robert find themselves in over their heads. John is carrying an invaluable device that his competitors will do anything to get their hands on. And as the cold nights and mutual desire pull John and Robert closer together, they discover that they have much more to lose than gold or platinum.

(Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)

Noble Metals is available July 7th from Riptide Publishing. Precious Metals, a novel set in the same steampunk/Klondike Gold Rush world, comes out this fall.

 

NobleMetals_150x300(2)Visit here for all the Noble Metals Tour dates and websites.

Buy here at Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

Author: L.A. Witt
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-143-4
eBook release: Jul 14, 2014
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-144-1
Print release: Jul 14, 2014
Word count: 52,500
Page count: 204
Type: Standalone
Cover by: April Lee

This title is part of the Metals universe.
– See more at: http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/noble-metals#sthash.ISolyTFN.dpuf

 

Review: Noble Metals by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

NobleMetals_500x750When  Robert Belton and his brothers left home  to make their fortune in the Klondike gold fields, they never imagined where their gold fever and poor judgement would take them.  Amid betrayals and gambling debts, only Robert is left to survive in Seattle and he does so by becoming a prostitute.  Robert hopes to save enough money to make it over the Chilkoot Trail into the Yukon and join the hunt for gold.

Dr. John Fauth is on sabbatical from his teaching post at the university in Chicago.  Dr. Fauth carries a precious machine with him to Seattle, one he developed and built himself.  With it, John hopes to find the platinum deposits he needs to further his experiments.  But first he needs to hire someone to help him make the journey into the Yukon, for where there is gold, there is also platinum.

When the only room available in Seattle happens to come with an attractive young man attached to it, John hires Robert for the evening and finds more than he expected.  In the morning, he offers Robert a job.  One man cannot haul the equipment needed for mining by himself, so when John offers Robert a job to join him on the trail going north, Robert eagerly accepts.

Even in ordinary conditions, the gold trail into the Yukon and Canada is fraught with dangers.  But John’s machine and the purpose for which it was built is drawing predators of its own.   The long nights, tough journey, and common enemies bring John and Robert together in passion and friendship.  As the danger mounts, both must decide what is more important to them…noble metals or love.

L.A. Witt takes a gripping period in history and gives it a steampunk twist in Noble Metals.  Just the mention of gold rush brings all manner of images and references to mind.  A huge human migration built on greed, adventure, and the hope of a quick fortune to be made saw towns and small cities spring up around the locations near to the mines or close to the heads of the trails into the gold fields.  Those towns quickly filled with  the unfortunate, the desperate, the opportunists, dreamers, the predators that fed on them, and everything in between.  L.A. Witt brings that Seattle to life here in Noble Metals.

Seattle is the center of the mining explosion.  A port bringing in supplies, hardened men and the unwary, people are arriving by boat, horse and carriage and airship if you have the money to afford it.  Yes, airship as in blimp.  For in this universe, its the blimp or zeppelin or airship that is the highest mode of transportation.  Electricity is still largely undiscovered with Edison, Tesla, and Fruth in the race to develop semi conductor technology.  Until that happens, everything mechanical runs on steam.

I love the ingenious twists and inventions that L.A. Witt brought into her Steampunk Gold Rush.  The Golden Staircase, the fifteen hundred steps carved into the ice from Chilkoot’s base to its peak, a treacherous ice stairway that all and their provisions had to climb if they wanted to reach Dawson City and the Yukon.  Vivid descriptions of the biting cold, sliding mechs, and a slow climb upwards in pain, fortitude, and numbness makes this trail feel like the hell it would have been to all those that attempted it.  Right down to the cannibalized structures of abandoned, broken down machinery that littered the landscape around the Golden Staircase, Witt’s scenes immediately bring to mind the litter and dead bodies left on Mt. Everest, making the connection to each climb clear.

Ah, the mechs.  Steam powered, eight legged, mechanical beasts of burden.  What a great contraption for L.A. Witt to invent for her story!  A new fangled piece of equipment used to convey supplies needed by the miners to dig for gold, they are a quixotic wonder.  Here is L.A. Witt’s description of the beasts:

“…mech, a spidery brass machine that would carry the ton or more of gear over the rugged terrain…I watched an empty mech limp past us. The valves on the front-mounted engine coughed little puffs of steam out the top, and the whole thing rattled as one leg landed badly with every step. I couldn’t tell if the leg was bent or if one of its joints was damaged, but something was definitely wrong.”

Amazingly, lives depended on such a strange walking machine.  And the fight to get it to function and walk properly is as nearly entertaining and fraught with peril as is the rest of Robert and John’s journey.  I really loved those mechs and could picture them quite clearly in my mind as I read.

Then there is the romance between Robert and John.  It found them endearing and their relationship moving.  While unequal in social status, John recognizes a kindred mind in Robert’s.  John values Robert’s intelligence and honesty as much as Robert’s good looks.  They bond over books, and the cold solitude of their tent along the trail on the slow journey to Dawson City.  Nary a case of instant love in sight, I loved how slowly their feelings for each other grew. Not only do they question their feelings for each other but what future, if any, was possible for them.  Great job by the author on making this element feel as real as the situation they find themselves in.

The story is told from Robert’s point of view but John’s side of the story is inserted here as well via journal entries in the diary John is keeping.  I loved seeing Robert and the trail from John’s perspective.  It also widened our view of the universe the author created by getting glimpses of John’s life in Chicago and the world in general.

My only wish was that the journey had gone further and the story continued on longer.  I’ll say no more.  But the world that L.A. Witt build with its tent city at the border, filled with miners, mechs and run efficiently by the North West Mounties (instead of the Royal Canadian Mounties today), along with the rough and tough city of Seattle made me want more of the stories of the people passing through and what if any fortunes they found along the way.

I love Nobel Metals and highly recommend it to all lovers of steampunk, m/m romance and adventure.

Cover art by April Lee.  Love this cover, perfection in every way and one of the best of the year.

Buy Links for Noble Metals:               Riptide Publishing                     ARe (All Romance)                Amazon      Noble Metals

 

Bool Details:

ebook, 1st Edtion
Published January 2nd 2012 by Carnal Passions
ISBN139781926996752
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.loriawitt.com/Books_by_L.html#nobleanchor

Publisher’s Note: This book was previously published by a different press; it has since been edited extensively and expanded by over 10,000 words.)

Review: It’s Complicated (Tucker Springs #7) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

ItsComplicated_500x750Brad Sweeney and Jeff Hayden, after much soul searching and separations, have finally decided to give their relationship another try. Now living apart, they have just had their first date on the path to a newer, more healthy future and things look promising. Then Jeff gets a call from his ex wife and business partner that will change everything. She says she’s pregnant and that Jeff is the father.  One late booze fueled hookup while Brad and Jeff were separated results in a pregnancy that threatens Brad and Jeff’s relationship on every level.

Brad has always feared that Jeff would leave him for a wife and kids and now his worst nightmare seems to be coming true.  Brad has never felt like a priority to Jeff because of the time Jeff spends on his business.  Now with a child on the way, what time will Jeff have left for him and their relationship?

For Jeff, his carefully created plans for getting back together with Brad are falling to pieces.  Even worse is the announcement from his ex wife that she will be leaving Tucker Springs and returning to Denver with their child.  If he wants to be a part of the baby’s life, and he does, he will have to somehow juggle her part of their business while traveling to Denver to see their child.  Or move everything to Denver, including himself.  Neither plan seems reasonable or  even possible if his and Brad’s reconciliation is to work.

Everything has gotten so complicated.  What happens when sometimes not even love is enough to hold a couple together?

It’s Complicated explores the decision that separated couple Brad Sweeney and Jeff Hayden, friends of Nathan, made at the end of After the Fall (Tucker Springs #6).  In After the Fall, Nathan listens to the problems Brad is having with his relationship with Jeff and it impacts Nathan’s rationale about the events occuring in his own romance.  It’s a secondary element but we gather that the constant fighting between Jeff and Brad has caused them to separate after years together.  By the end of the story, Jeff and Brad have decided that their love is deep enough that it merits one last effort to stay together and that’s where It’s Complicated starts.  And its also where it almost immediately starts to fall apart again.

This conflicted and deeply in love couple have just gone on their first date towards a new healthier relationship,  It went well even with both of them on their best behavior and ended up in bed at the end of the night. Jeff and Brad’s sex life has always been fantastic, its everywhere else in their relationship that the couple has problems.  Most readers, no matter  their current romantic status, can relate to this couple because they have been there or know people who have.  The stress, the communication problems, the prioritizing of time between business and family and above all the insecurities…these are issues that plague many a modern couple.  And from the caustic comments and arguing to the tentative steps back towards each other, L.A. Witt’s couple travels a realistic and well worn path.

Tucker Springs and its inhabitants have a way of growing on you as you travel through each of the Tucker Springs couples stories.  People pass in and out of each others lives much as you would do in any small town.  And whether or not they are germane to the story at hand, the reader absentmindedly takes note of who and what is trying to get together or who needs a new romance in their lives because we know they are sure to surface later on in the series. So I was prepared to meet up with Brad and Jeff to see what had happened since After the Fall and the answer is nothing less than a couple melting down under the pressure and stress of their lives and not knowing how climb out of their relationship rut.

Every bit of dialog, every painful argument and painful silence feels authentic.  L.A. Witt knows how to write relationships and real people in trouble.  It feels every inch as stressful and sad as a couple who you happen to be acquainted with would look if they weren’t going to make it.  You feel extraordinarily bad for them, wish you could help them in some way and you would hope for the best.  I just am not sure you would want to be there for the daily struggle, the disheartening conversations and the hair pulling when nothing else is working.  Only your affection for this couple will keep you reading through the mess they have made of their relationship and their own personal well being.

I do like that Jeff’s ex wife is not made out to be a cardboard villain here.  She has her excellent reasons for moving away from Tucker Springs and yes, she wants her family back together.  All reasonsible, all very realistic.  Jeff too is believably human.  He is being pulled in every direction by his obligations, his wants and desires as well as the people he loves.  Did I want to give him a shake every now and again? Sure, but you could relate to Jeff as he tries to balance things in his life too weighty to be neatly boxed up and compartmentalized.  It doesn’t work and he ends up paying for it.

And then there is Brad, everyone’s last priority, even for himself.  Brad has finally realized that he deserves more but what he wants is Brad, a conundrum to be sure given the current circumstances and overwhelming issues. Here is a character who cries out for your compassion and gets it. His is the character most people will relate to as he questions just how much he is going to endure to keep Jeff in his life.  He asks the toughest questions here. And Jeff’s answers to those are sometimes problematic, making Jeff a less than sympathetic character. The angst swirls mightily here as does the love.  But do you really want to be in the middle of it?  That’s a question each reader will have to ask for themselves because there is some truly heartbreaking aspects to this story.

What pulled it all together for me and made this a read to recommend?  In addition to the wonderful writing and characters? That would be the Epilogue.  L.A. Witt’s epilogue does what  every great epilogue should,  Pull together the final story elements and let the reader in on how it all turned out.  It is here that many of the satisfying and happy parts of Brad and Jeff’s relationship that I wanted to see earlier in the story are displayed.  Where all we had before was strain and unhappiness, now we get to see why they were so great together and what made them a couple worth saving.  And it was after reading the Epilogue that I could then go back and reread parts of the story with a new perspective that gave me a great appreciation for this couple and their story.  It made everything work and let me enjoy the re-coupling of two more of Tucker Springs uncoupled inhabitants.  Tucker Springs is a wonderful series and this story is just one more example why.

Cover art by LC Chase is gorgeous and pertinent for this story and series.

Book Details:

ebook, 196 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2014 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626491342
edition languageEnglish
url http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/its-complicated
seriesTucker Springs #7

Buy  ARe  Amazon Riptide Publishing

Here are the stories in the Tucker Springs series in the order they were written, and is recommended that they be read:

Where Nerves End (Tucker Springs, #1) by L.A. Witt
Second Hand (Tucker Springs, #2) by Heidi Cullinan
Dirty Laundry (Tucker Springs, #3) by Heidi Cullinan
Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs, #4) by L.A. Witt
Never a Hero (Tucker Springs, #5) by Marie Sexton
After The Fall (Tucker Springs #6) by L.A. Witt
It’s Complicated (Tucker Springs #7) by L.A. Witt

More Winner Announcements, DC’s Wanda Alston Foundation, and the Week Ahead

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The winners of Jim Provenzano’s giveaway for his Lambda Literary award winning stories are:

Every Time I Think Of YouMessage of Love coverWinner of  Every Time I Think of You is aegger.echo @yahoo .com
Winner of Message of Love is a.sphinxes@gmail.com

Congratulations to both winners.  My thanks to Jim Provenzano for stopping by with his wonderful guest post and for his donation of his books for the contest.  If you haven’t picked these stories up, please put them on your TBR pile, they are not to be missed!

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Trout LilybloodrootOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASpring Beauties

Here we are sliding into May, one of my favorite times of the year, neither too hot here in the DC Metro area or too cold (normally).  Time to get dirty, plant flowers, take walks by the water and just be outside enjoying nature and the Spring Ephemerals before they disappear like so many cherry blossoms.  Some of my favorites in this area include the Trout Lily and Spring Beauties, the Bloodroot and the round lobed Hepatica.  I especially love coming across a carpet of Spring Beauties, with colors that run the gamut from sparkling white to a lovely shade of lavender.  But you must catch them quick, or they are gone, making way for the flowers and pollinators of summer.  From left to right.  Trout lily with its liver mottled leaves, Bloodroot whose single leaf embraces its flower and whose roots weep red when cut, the round lobed Hepatica, and the Spring Beauties in white and pink.  What Spring flowers are your favorites?

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Now for the Week Ahead in Reviews, Author Guest Blogs and Book Tours, and Contests:

Monday, 4/28:         A Reason To Stay by RJ Scott
Tuesday, 4/29:         L.A Witt’s It’s Complicated Book Tour & Contest
Wed., 4/30:              It’s Complicated by L.A. Witt
Thursday, May 1:    Author Spotlight/Giveaway: Meet Chase Potter
Friday, May 2:          The Race For Second by Chase Potter
Sat., May 3:              Stealing The Wind by Shira Anthony

A week full of must read stories and I still need to find room for my April Book Review Summary and Best Covers.  Le sigh, again.

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One last thing this lovely Sunday.  The Wanda Alston Foundation, Washington, DC’s only LGBTQ shelter is in trouble.  It (like all the other shelters) needs funding and donations are desperately required for them to stay open.  Here’s the scoop from Gwendolyn Harter, who sits on the board of the foundation:

GH: Hey guys. as some of you may know I am on the board of The Wanda Alston Foundation who operates the only LGBT Youth Homeless Shelter in Washington DC. We are in need of some assistance to keep our doors open. We are starting a fundraising drive to make $25000 by October 2014 to keep our doors open. I know some of you have offered to get the word out and do other things. We can always use Costco gift cards, other small $25 gift cards for rewards for the kids, and other small thinss like that. IF you guys have any ideas please let me know I can give you our paypal donation page.

Also,We are having a fundraiser on May 12 from 6-8 at http://www.numberninedc.com/ on P St in DC. $25 suggested donation which gets you the 2 for 1 Happy Hour Specials. Directly following the fundraiser stick around for a live viewing of Ru Paul’s Drag Race party.

Short notice for those in the area I know but it’s a great cause and this sounds like a heck of a party!  Check out  NumberNine, gay bar extraordinaire, at their website above.  And if you can’t attend, there is a list of donations needed at The Wanda Altston Foundation’s website.  There is a link to it on ScatteredThoughtsandRogueWords home page.  Any donations, no matter the size are needed.  Please help if you can!

That’s it, my peeps.  Have a wonderful Sunday and week ahead.

Melanie

Review: Static by LA Witt

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Static coverDamon Bryce and Alex Nichols have been together for two years and while things have not always been easy, they remain deeply in love.  But Alex has a secret, one that she has been afraid to tell Damon because she is sure it will cost her his love.  Alex Nichols is a shifter, one of  a small percentage of the population able to switch genders at will.  Shifters are discriminated against, considered less than equal by the rest of the “static” population.  Being known as a shifter could cost Alex not only Damon but her job as well so Alex kept silent.  Then she is drugged and a black market implant surgically inserted to prevent her from shifting.  Now Alex has become a static, a one gender person,  but in her male form. The truth is out and the ramifications for Alex are crushing.

Damon is deeply in love with his girlfriend Alex.  Then he finds out that Alex is a shifter in the worst way possible for them both, when he confronts a man in his girlfriend’s apartment and finds out that man is Alex. Not only has Alex lied about who she is but now that Alex is male, Damon feels bereft of his fiance and best friend too.  Damon has always thought of himself as straight.   He still loves Alex, just not in the same way he used to.  Damon won’t abandon Alex to face the decisions ahead of him alone.  The surgery to remove the implants is both costly and dangerous.  And Alex’s insurance won’t cover the procedure.  Damon gives Alex the support he needs but can Damon give Alex all the support in every way possible that Alex wants?

Alex must decide to accept being forever a static male or to try for the expensive surgery and the slim chance that he will be able to shift once more. As Alex faces an uncertain future, Damon must decide if he is able to love Alex, the person inside the body Alex is in, including a male one.  So much about their future is risky and unpredictable.  Can their love surmount all obstacles including gender?  Alex and Damon are about to find out.

LA Witt’s Static is not only one of the best stories I have read this year, it is also one of the most timely.  We live in an era where gender issues, especially those of transgender people, are prominent both in the media and the judicial system.  New laws are being written daily to promote equality for transgendered people and those of gender fluid identities.  And for every new law written and steps forward, there is an equal number legislated to oppose those measures and gender equality.  In my opinion, the most important weapons in the battle for equality for LGBTQ community are knowledge, education, and awareness.  Static by LA Witt brings that knowledge and awareness home in a story that renders the reality of gender and gender based issues beautifully, factually and emotionally.

I have always admired the author’s ability to create living, breathing characters that resonate with her readers but in Damon, Alex, Jordan, Sam,and Tabby, shifters and trans characters, LA Witt has gone farther, delved deeper with her characters so as to give us such fully actualized people, depicted so psychologically and physically real that we never question not only the authenticity of a shifter gender but their universe as well.

Just the beginning of the book is so emotionally devastating as Damon confronts a stranger in his girlfriend’s apartment, already assuming the worst about the situation. The reader is thrown into the anguish of the moment along with Damon and Alex.  All the fear, anger, hurt, betrayal, confusion of both people is revealed in painstaking detail leaving the reader transfixed by their anger as well as love for one another.  Witt uses alternating points of view from Damon and Alex to  pull the reader into their thoughts and feelings as the characters change and adapt to the events around them.  This format forces us to look at the situation with the emotions and perspective of both characters.  As the implant and it’s ability to freeze Alex into one gender impacts each person, we see not only Alex reeling from the reality of a one gender existence but also Damon’s (and  ours) inability to truly understand what that means for Alex mentally, physically as well as emotionally.  Can anyone who is “static” ever truly understand the both the physiological and psychological dynamics of  the transgendered or gender fluid community?  I am not sure but the author’s narrative goes a long way towards furthering that understanding and acceptance.  Here is Jordan, a shifter friend of Damon’s trying to help him see a part of the situation that Alex is going through:

Most statics have no frame of reference.  No way to understand what its like putting on high heels when your minds wants to be male or getting a hard-on when you are itching to be female.  And don’t even get me started on the body having a period while the brain is male,” She tapped her thumb on the blotter a few times, then went on.  “It’s hard to explain, but….well, you know that feeling when you’ve been wearing a pair of dress shoes half the day, and they start getting uncomfortable? And then they get to the point where they’re so fucking miserable, you can’t think of anything except taking them off?”

I nodded.

“Now imagine that pair of shoes is your whole damned body, and now there’s an implant that won’t let you take off those shoes.  If I had to guess, that’s what this is like for Alex.”

That is an accessible and useful way to start Damon and the reader along the path to understanding part of terrible pain the implant is inflicting upon Alex.  And although Alex is focus of the implant’s destructive design, we also feel Damon’s pain and confusion as he tries to accept that his “female” fiancé is now and perhaps permanently male, something  this very straight man never thought he would have to deal with.  All the internal  arguments, all the justifications and excuses he offers himself when he thinks of jettisoning his relationship with Alex are laid out for us to examine and work through ourselves.  Is the person the body they inhabit?  Is it their body we love?  Or do we love the person inside no matter what exterior they present to us.  It is an old and yet relevant argument.  And we watch as Damon has to find his own answers to that question, something that Alex realizes as well:

“I knew full well this was a lot for him.  It was quite possibly as difficult for him to accept that I was a shifter as it was for me to accept that I was now static.”

Just one of many powerful moments in a story full of them, strung along like pearls on a necklace that only gets more exquisite and individually unique upon closer observation and inspection.

Witt also brings in different elements of society to reflect the current status and  society’s perceptions of shifters within that culture.  Alex’s implant is the result of her mother’s and her mother’s pastor’s actions.  Just like those ministries who believe that they can “de gay” a homosexual through interventions and horrific ex gay therapies (now being banned in certain states), Alex’s mother and stepfather are members of a radical fundamentalist faith who believe they are doing “God’s will”.    If these characters come across as horribly real, it’s only because we have heard them in our media espousing their beliefs with nauseating fervor. Their actions and beliefs are chilling whether they are in fiction or on our cable news.

This is a love story, where one’s perception of love undergoes as fundamental change as one does transforming from one gender to another.   The romance is slow, sweet and absolutely rewarding.

I loved this story and cannot recommend it enough.  Consider Static and its great cover one of Scattered Thoughts Best Books of 2014 in a year that has just gotten started.

Cover by LC Chase.  What an incredible cover, it’s riveting and gorgeous. Perfect in every way.  One of the best of 2014.

Book Details:

ebook, 283 pages
Published January 20th 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published June 17th 2011)

Scattered Thoughts Hosts Boys In The Band Blog Tour and Contest

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is the latest stop on the Boys in the Band blog tour, with authors L.A. Witt, Paula Coots, Rowan Speedwell, and Cecilia Tan. Each of these writers has brought a rock star to life in a recent romance release, so they got together to talk about music, musicians, love, and good old “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” Today they answer the question: “What’s the biggest challenge when writing about a rock band or rock star?”

Scroll down for the answer and a chance to win a prize pack of all four books!

You could win:

LAW_WiththeBand_coverin_200tHard rock band Schadenfreude is finally on the verge of the success that’s eluded them for the last several years. With Aaron McClure as their new lead singer, nothing’s going to stop them…except maybe a steamy, secret relationship between Aaron and bassist Bastian Koehler. Aaron knows all too well what can happen when band members get involved with each other. After all, his last band was a casualty of his last relationship, and Schadenfreude forbids band members from dating for that very reason. But Bastian is too hot to resist, and besides, it’s just sex, so what’s the harm? Their passion in the bedroom is rivaled only by their ambition as musicians, though, and pretty soon, it’s going to tear them, and Schadenfreude apart, if they can’t get back to playing with the band.

Music is the driving force in Reed Lang’s life and he’s hit the jackpot when it comes to signing a major label deal and scoring a hit single oranother_rock_star_200t two. It’s never an easy task and certainly not for an out and proud gay man, even in this day and age. Now, it’s time to hire the backing band, shoot the videos, do all the promotion work and get out on the road. But what happens onstage is only half the show. When the wild energy onstage can’t be contained some become more than just hired hands. Friends. Mentors. Tormenters. Lovers. Surviving the circus of the music business, the rigors of the road, staying true to your art and discovering your heart show Reed that maybe there is more to life than being just another rock star.

????????????????????????????????????????It’s the 1980s, the era of MTV, AIDS, and Just Say No. Daron Marks is trying to make it as a guitar player in an industry where the whole world is the closet. Keeping his sexuality a secret would be a lot easier if he hadn’t developed a huge crush on his band’s lead singer, Ziggy Ferias. In fact, everything would be a lot easier without his crush on Ziggy… except for fame itself. In the latest volume of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles (volume 5), Moondog 3 are on the road. Is the tour bus the pressure cooker that will meld them together or will the pressure blow them apart?

Adam Craig is burned out. Lead singer of the hard rock band Black Varen, he’s tired of the empty life ofIllumination cover groupies, paparazzi, and hotel rooms. Worse, a life in the closet. Miles Caldwell is a brilliant artist, tied by agoraphobia and social anxiety to his family’s lodge. Alone but for his parrot, he spends his days illuminating manuscripts and hiding from the complexities of life. Somehow, the man who’s never home and the man who never leaves it must find the strength to fight for a future together.

Today’s question for our four authors: “What’s the biggest challenge when writing about a rock band or rock star?”

L.A. Witt: Song lyrics. Dear lord, song lyrics. I cannot write lyrics to save my life. With the Band has some lyrics in it, but those were actually written by Lia Wolff, my beta reader, who has considerably more talent in that department than I do. If I tried to write them, they’d come out sounding like something dreamed up by One Direction after some bad peyote.

Paula Coots:Trying to write about music itself is like trying to describe color to someone who has never seen it. You can evoke the essence of it–you can never quite capture the sound with words.

Rowan Speedwell:  Pretending to know anything about contemporary rock and roll. While I still listen to contemporary music, it’s not my overriding interest, the way it was when I was younger. I cherish quiet now, so I can go days without listening to music. Most of what I catch is in a movie or when one of my friends or nephews sits me down and poke earbuds in my ears and say “Listen to this!” I like music, but my taste is very eclectic, so it was very hard to sit down and imagine one specific kind of music, one “sound” that would belong to Adam’s band. I finally focused on the music of U2, which spans not only decades but musical styles. Then I had people who know much more about contemporary music read what I’d written and tell me where I went wrong.

Cecilia Tan: For me the biggest challenge has been keeping the details of rock and roll life realistic without overwhelming the reader. Daron narrates in first person, and sometimes he really wants to go into technical aspects of touring or of playing guitar. Sometimes I have to rein him in. Fortunately most readers are at least a little fascinated by details, like how difficult it is to park tour buses near certain venues. It’s necessary to do a lot of research to get those details right, though, and sometimes the answer can’t be found. Since my book takes place in the 1980s, a lot of these venues have been torn down. I invent when I have to, but I like using as much real detail as possible!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a prize pack including all four ebooks below!

About the Authors:

  • Paula Coots:After seeing David Bowie and his lead guitarist, Mick Ronson, when she was eleven, Paula knew what she wanted to do with her life. Her plan was to play lead guitar in a band and hopefully make it big, and then after that focus on writing. Well, she didn’t “make it big” as a rock star, but she has had her share of traveling band adventures as a lead guitarist over the past twenty five years. And now she writes!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaulaCootsBooks
Twitter:@PaulaRCoots

  • Rowan Speedwell lives in a tarpaper shack in the North Woods, without so much as cable TV to keep her warm. She is allergic to publicity and loathes marketing, so her books only sell one or two copies. If you have one, she thanks you, as your purchase enables her to buy cat food for her diabetic feline companion, Kimball O’Hara.

Website http://www.rowanspeedwell.com
Twitter: @RowanSpeedwell

  • Cecilia Tan mostly writes erotica and science fiction/fantasy, but she started writing Daron’s Guitar Chronicles back in the eighties and is still writing it today. She is the author of Slow Surrender, The Prince’s Boy, the Magic University books, and many other novels and stories. She was inducted into the Saints & Sinners GLBT Writers Hall of Fame in 2010 and is currently a nominee for the RT Magazine Career Achievement Award in erotic fiction. She lives in the fantasy utopia of Cambridge, Massachusetts with her three cats and her partner of 23 years.

Daron serial website: http://daron.ceciliatan.com
Blog: http://blog.ceciliatan.com
Twitter: @ceciliatan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thececiliatan

  • L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.

Website: http://www.loriawitt.com
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com
Twitter: @GallagherWitt

Visit to enter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/38252b1/, a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other stops on the Boys in the Band Tour:
Dec 4  Sinfully Sexy Books
Dec 6 MM Good Book Reviews
Dec 10 Pants Off Reviews
Dec 11 Mrs. Condit Reads Books
Dec 12 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Dec 13 Chicks After Dark
Dec 14 Sid Love
Dec 16 Em Lynley’s Literary Love Shack
Dec 19 Joyfully Jay
Dec 18 Boys in Our Books
Dec 23 Elisa Rolle’s Reviews and Ramblings

A Wintery Mix, Favorite Childhood Books, and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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We are expecting a wintery mix here in Maryland, rain, sleet, ice and snow all mixing together to create an equal mixture of beauty and angst.  Trees with limbs that glisten like diamonds to go along with downed power lines and people lost in the cold.  Joy mixed in with a little quiet reflection, softened by the grey skies of winter and clouds laden with snow.

Days like this bring back memories of winters past and winter stories I loved reading to my daughter and the children later at the nature The Winter Bear book Covercenter.  Stories like  The Winter Bear by Ruth Craft and Robert Frost’s Stopping Through The Woods On A Snowy Evening were a perfect way to convey the feelings and emotions brought on by the first snow or a cold, blustery day in winter.

The Winter Bear especially is still so close to my heart.  It’s simple story and the illustrations that hark back to the style of the original Winnie the Pooh never fail to move me.  A lost stuff bear is tangled up in a shrub looking worn , a little dirty and so very alone.  Its winter and the landscape is cold and barren.  Then a small group of children, siblings, finds the bear, gets him down and takes him home where they clean him up, Robert Frost's Stopping By Woods on a Snow Eveningdress in warmly and give that little bear a home with them.  It’s a spare, elegant and concise little story and yet it is so moving that it can still bring tears to my eyes as that last page as the children and little bear are snug  and warm in a little living room with the fire blazing and snow falling outside.  It was first published in 1976 and is hard to find.  But once found and added to your bookshelf, it will become a family treasure to bring out generation after generation no matter your religion or location.  Much like the other book that I love so well, Robert Frost’s Stopping Through the Woods on a Snowy Evening.  The illustrations are in black and white, with a splash of red in places, just glorious and perfect for this poem.  Children and adults alike love looking at them, watching the sleigh travel through town and into the woods with a surprise for the animals that live there.  And then there are those words….such memorable, wonderful words.  The last stanza is the best known..”.The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep,And miles to go before I sleep.”  I have the entire short poem  at the end of the post today.  But those words and those illustrations together paint a memory portrait that draws adults and children into those woods time and again, a magic that is never lost.  Pick those books up and add them to your holiday collection.

Now I have a very special week ahead starting with a book that made my Best of 2013 within the first ten pages.  That’s when I started sobbing copious tears, a phrase perfect for the floodgate that opened upon reading Amy Lane’s latest book, Christmas Kitsch. Never have I been so moved by a character that quickly had me forgetting he wasn’t real.  Rusty, a wounded, glorious man child, whose open heart and mind is so transcendent that his story pulled me in not to release me until 3am, red eyed, snotty, and happy beyond belief that I had met him.  Amy Lane is running a contest and her author spotlight is Monday with my review of Christmas Kitsch is on Tuesday.  Thursday is a 4 book, 4 author Boys In the Band Blog Tour (and contest).  And Friday and Saturday…well if you have been reading the Pulp Friction authors and their combined series (City Knight, Triple Threat, Wicked’s Ways and Chances Are) then you are in for another treat.  The last book in all their series is a combined effort.  Odd Man Out wraps up all the stories of all the characters and is written by all 4 authors.  They have written a guest blog for Friday to talk about the last book and what’s coming in 2014 for Pulp Friction.  My review of Odd Man Out follows on Saturday.  And there is an amazing giveaway associated with this Pulp Friction Season Finale as well.  What a week ahead!!!!  Don’t miss out on a day of it!

Monday, Dec. 9:    Amy Lane’s Christmas Kitsch Blog Tour, Contest and Author Spotlight

Tuesday, Dec. 10:  Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Wed., Dec. 11:          Tag Team: Fais Do Do by BA Tortuga

Thurs., Dec. 12:       Boys In The Band Blog Tour and Contest, Authors  L.A. Witt, Paula Coots, Rowan Speedwell, and Cecilia Tan

Friday, Dec. 13:       Pulp Friction Author Blog, Contest and Odd Man Out release

Sat., Dec. 14:             Odd Man Out by Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, TE Webb, and Laura Harner, a Pulp Friction 2013 finale!

Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Review: After the Fall (Tucker Springs #6) by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

After The Fall coverNathan has pursued a dream of owning his own dressage horse and now after years of saving, Nathan has finally bought one.  His  Trakehner mare, Tsarina, is young but Nathan hopes to show her after they spend some time training together.  But all Nathan’s hopes and work of 15 years is shattered in one moment.  On Nathan and Tsarina’s first trail ride, a motorcyclist on the wrong trail causes a horrendous fall that breaks several of Nathan’s bones and sees him on his way to the hospital and Tsarina loose in the woods, his summer and hopes in ruins.

Ryan has always traveled where his wanderlust takes him with nary a thought of settling down in one place.  His current travels have brought him to Tucker Springs, Colorado on his way to Texas and a job for the winter.  But one wrong trail ride on his motorcycle changes his path after he causes a rider to fall after his horse shies when Ryan veers into their path.  The rider, Nathan, has  a broken leg, and a broken hand that resulted from a mean right hook after Nathan punched Ryan in his fury and pain.

Feeling guilty, Ryan offers to look after Tsarina while Nathan is incapacitated.  Before each man realizes it they have fallen into an easy friendship that soon turns into something more.  But each man has his own insecurities and issues to deal with that starts to throw up obstacles to love.  Can Ryan and Nathan put aside the past in order to make a future together?

After The Fall, Tucker Springs story#6, brings back a character, Nathan, that we first met in the very first Tucker Spring novel, Where Nerves End.  In that story, we come across Nathan as Michael’s young assistant in his shop Tucker Springs Acupuncture. He is introduced as a young, college age, nattily dressed gay man but we lacked a larger picture as to who Nathan was.  Now L.A. Witt fills in the portrait she started a while ago and we get to see his depth of character and his dreams for himself.  I found it startling that Nathan aspired to own a warmblood and show in dressage, a lovely quirk for a western  town where the style of riding is so different.  That is an unexpected and marvelous side of Nathan.  And by its inclusion, the author gives Nathan a layer that lets us know that he is a serious, disciplined and caring young man all at once.  Owning his own horse is a goal Nathan has spent “ten years of dreaming, three years of saving, and almost a full year of searching for the perfect horse”, so his happiness and anticipation on the first day he is going to get to ride his horse is palpable. And it makes what happens next scary and heartbreaking in vivid and authentic detail.

But the author has also given Nathan more than his share of past problems with men and those issues as well as watching his friends in the act of demolishing their own relationship has caused Nathan to pull away from any romantic relationships of his own at the moment.  As Nathan reasons it out for himself, he has a full life and schedule and a  romance would only add its unwanted complications at the moment.  I think we have all been there at one time or another and this makes Nathan a character we can certainly relate to.

The character of Ryan (no last name) is more of  an enigma.  We learn little of his past, some about his family and a smidgen about what prompted his tumbleweed lifestyle.   But frankly his personality is overshadowed by that of Nathan, who is telling the story.  That lack of fullness to his character leaves the resulting romance between the men lacking as well.  True, there is a sweetness to the manner in which they fall in love, a startling contrast to the way in which they first met.  I certainly enjoyed watching them become first friends and then lovers but it could have felt so much more real had Ryan been more fleshed out as a person and Nathan’s equal.

There were a few other quibbles for me in this story. One, for Ryan to learn how to push a dressage horse into a collected trot or canter using his seat with no training is a tad unrealistic, considering the amount of skill and training that goes into a dressage horse and it’s equestrian partner as well.  Yes, there are natural riders out there who just seem to “get it”.  They have a great leg and a natural seat that just sticks to the saddle, flowing along with the rhythm of their partner.  But Ryan doesn’t even know how to hold the reins in an English style, having learned the western method of riding which is completely different.   Beginners usually saw on the reins or pull too hard,   The subtle tickling of a braided rein, the slight tension required takes time, more time than Ryan had.  My other quibble is the lack of last names.  I don’t know why but this drives me crazy.  If you want us to believe in characters fully give them a complete name.  Unless they are Cher of course.  Stepping off my quibble box now.

For most readers the last two issues won’t be a problem with them.  It’s just nitpicking on my part.  But Ryan’s character and the swift resolution of their commitment issues might be more problematic.  I think another chapter or two would have seen the ending more drawn out and given the author more time to paint a more realized picture of a man who finally finds a place and person to call home.

I really enjoyed After The Fall and I think you will too, especially if you are already a fan of the Tucker Springs series.

Here are the stories in the  Tucker Springs series in the order they were written, and is recommended that they be read:

Where Nerves End (Tucker Springs, #1) by L.A. Witt
Second Hand (Tucker Springs, #2) by Heidi Cullinan
Dirty Laundry (Tucker Springs, #3) by Heidi Cullinan
Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs, #4) by L.A. Witt
Never a Hero (Tucker Springs, #5) by Marie Sexton
After The Fall (Tucker Springs #6) by L.A. Witt

Cover Art by L.C. Chase, lcchase.com/design.htm.  Love the cover but ack…that posture, those flying elbows…tuck those babies in.   Shakes head.

Book Details:

ebook, 202 pages
Published October 7th 2013 by Riptide Publishing

Falling Back Into November and the Week Ahead in Reviews

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fall-back-clockOnce again, for most of us in the United States, its time to change the clocks,  As any kid (and adult could tell you), that twice a year, we go through the upsetting ritual of changing our clocks.  In autumn, we “fall back”.  And in Spring,, well, of course, we “spring forward).  Rhymes that help us remember which way to go on the clock face just in case this is too tough to remember.  Remember those clocks that were actually clocks and not timepieces?  That had hands that went ’round and ’round?  No?  Time to feel f)(&)king old again, I guess.

My circadian rhythm is all important and this stuff messes with it big time. While some may live by the Mayan calendar or the Chinese but if you live in the US and abide by the Gregorian Calendar, then you know that on Sunday, we all change our clocks.

Why you ask?

Well, its because of Daylight Savings Time.  Unless of course,, you live in Hawaii, Arizona, or in the  Navajo Nation.   Or even  overseas territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the United States Virgin Islands.  Then of course, you are exempt from this nonsense.

But for the rest of us, its time to screw up our sleeping habits, mess with our dogs schedules and in general, feel unsettled and out of sync. And while I never minded “falling back” as a kid because it meant sleeping in an hour longer, “springing forward” always sucked.  School came an hour early, plus in the winter it got darker earlier too!  *I know I know, but i was a kid*

Why, the nonsense you say?  Well, it’s history, man.  Going all the way back to 1918 and The Standard Time Act which brought daylight savings time into our lives.  Here’s a glimpse into our not so distant past:

Daylight saving time was primarily started in the United States for the sake of conserving energy. The Standard Time Act was passed in 1918, which officially established time zones and incorporated daylight saving months into federal law. This was during World War I, when national efforts were made to conserve materials for the war effort. It was believed that if daytime hours could correspond better with natural light, fewer tasks would need to be done at night. Homes would need to use less energy to stay lit.

After the war “Peace Time” was back in effect and the issue of daylight saving time was handled on a local level. This led to a great deal of confusion as different locations were constantly operating at different times. The Uniform Time Act was passed in 1966 to solve the problem. States were given the option to opt out of daylight saving time if they passed proper ordinances.Copyright AccuWeather.comDaylight-Saving-Time-Ends-Wallpaper-Card-of-Bear-Sleeping

After WWI, we got rid of it.  But WWII saw a return of conservation of energy and our resources and, voila, Daylight Savings Time returned. And now while it’s no longer a law, most states still go by DST including Maryland.   So today I will be just that little bit disgruntled, my timing out of whack and my dogs out of sync of their normal routines. And I will glare at that clock and say “at least it isn’t spring and I am springing forward”.

And here is the week ahead in reviews, so many great books from beginning to end:

Monday, Nov. 4       Lessons for a Suspicious Mind by Charlie Cochrane

Tuesday, Nov. 5:      Good Boy by Anne Tenino

Wed., Nov. 6:             Hat Trick by Chelle Dugan

Thurs., Nov. 7:           Illuminations by Rowan Speedwell

Friday, Nov. 8:           The Blight by Missouri Dalton

Saturday, Nov.9:       After The Fall by L.A. Witt

Scattered Thoughts Summary of Reviews for October 2013

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October 2013 Summary of Book Reviews

It was a terrific month for books.  Sarah Black came out with her sequel to The General and the Horse-Lord titled The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari.  In my opinion it is the best book she has written to date, wide in scope with subtly nuanced characters that stay with you long after you have finished the story.  Also the Pulp Friction group of authors, (Lee Brazil, Havan Fellows, Laura Harner and T.A. Webb) start to bring their interconnected series to a close with 4 outstanding stories to equal the memorable characters to be found within. S.A. McAuley also brought us the second novel in The Borders War series, Dominant Predator.  I love those men, and need more of their history and complicated relationship.  Sue Brown gave us The Isle of Wishes, second in the Isle of Wight series, plus Ariel Tachna’s Lang Downs series (one of my favorite) expanded to five with Conquer The Flames, a “must read” book for all.

Well, I will let this list speak for itself.  So many great books here that there is sure to be something for everyone.  Grab up your notepad, IPad or paper, and write down the titles for those stories you might have missed.  I have linked my reviews to each book.  Happy readings!

Lady Reading Book in Chair 50 style    


5 Star Rating:

Conquer The Flames (Lang Downs #4) by Ariel Tachna, contemporary
Chance In Hell (Chances Are #5) by Lee Brazil, contemporary
Darkest Knight (City Knight #5) by T.A. Webb
Dominant Predator (The Borders War #2) by S.A. McAuley
Duplicity (Triple Threat #5) by Laura Harner
Knights Out (City Knight #4) by T.A. Webb
The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari by Sarah Black (contemporary, military)
Wicked Truths (Wicked’s Way #5) by Havan Fellows, contemporary
Wild Onions by Sarah Black (supernatural)

4 to 4.75 Star Rating:

Enigma by Lloyd A. Meeker (4.25)(contemporary, paranormal)
Goblins, Book 1 by Melanie Tushmore (4.5 )(fantasy)
Home Team by Jameson Dash (4)(contemporary)
Isle of Wishes (Isle of Wight #2) by Sue Brown (contemporary)
Knightmare (City Knight #2) by T.A. Webb (4.75)(contemporary)
Northern Star by Ethan Day (4.25)(contemporary)
Playing Ball Anthology (4.75)(contemporary, historical)
Starry Knight (City Knight #3) by T.A. Webb (4.75)(contemporary)

3 to 3.75 Star Rating:

Burning Now by A.R. Moler (3)(fantasy, supernatural)
Fool For Love by Cassandra Gold (3)(contemporary)
Strange Angels by Andrea Speed (3.75)(supernatural)
The Night Visitor by Ewan Creed (3 stars)(contemporary, supernatural)
Wireless by L.A. Witt (3.5)(science fiction)

2 to 2.75 Star Rating:

Justice (Leopard Spots #10) by Bailey Bradford (2)(shifters, supernatural)
The Unwanted, the Complete Collection by Westbrooke Jameson (2.5)(science fiction)

1 to 1.75 Star Rating:

None this month

Other Blogs:
Author Spotlight: Havan Fellows on Wicked’s Way Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Lee Brazil on Chances Are Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: T.A. Webb on City Knight Series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Laura Harner on Triple Threat series and Pulp Friction
Author Spotlight: Sarah Black on Wild Onions
Author Spotlight: Sarah Black on Writing Old Men and the second General release