An Ali Review: The Perfect Whore (Storm and Lightning #1) by Josephine Myles

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot.

Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel.

Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run.

This was a really unique story.  I’ve read a lot of this author’s books in the past but nothing like this.  Even the writing style seemed different.  I wasn’t sure what to think of this at first.  I didn’t care for Jedd until mid way through the book.  He was a bit obnoxious but he grew on me as the story progressed.  Storm was was engaging from the beginning.  I think my favorite part was the snarking at each other that they did.  There were some pretty funny exchanges between the two.
This is pretty fast paced and it ends with nothing resolved.  It is obvious that this is the first book in the series.  I know that is bothersome to some readers but I didn’t mind how it ended.  I’m curious as to how their story and relationship will progress.
My biggest complaint was I would have liked more world building.  We’re thrown into the middle of a world that’s not really explained.  I had a lot of unanswered questions.
 Overall though, it was a very enjoyable story and it was different which is always a positive thing for me.  I will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

This cover was done by Lou Harper and I like it.  I think it is a good representation of how the two MC’s are described and it perfectly captures the vibe of the story.

Sales Links:

Universal Buy Link

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 201 pages
Published April 26th 2018
ASINB07C7H5ZBX
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesStorm and Lightning #1

Release Blitz for Machine Metal Magic by Hanna Dare

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Cover Design: Nastasha Snow
 
Length: 65,000 words approx.
 
Blurb



The galaxy’s a dangerous place. Best not to travel it alone.


It’s been over a century since the AIs rose up and attacked, driving humans from Earth and leaving them scattered across the galaxy. Humanity survives, but always fearful of the technology that allows them travel among the stars, never knowing when it may turn against them once more.


An interstellar fugitive.


For Jaime Bashir, born with the ability to communicate telepathically with computers, his gifts are more of a curse. They also make him a target. On the run, he finds himself among a starship crew, one transporting a mysterious cargo. Even more intriguing is Rylan, the muscled guard watching his every move. Jaime has no reason to trust him, but nowhere else to turn.


A disgraced ex-soldier.


Rylan Slate is looking to leave his past behind. Joining a crew of smugglers is one way to do it. But capturing Jaime is both an opportunity and a danger. He starts out as a prisoner, but then becomes something more, testing loyalties in ways Rylan never expected. Will regaining his honor mean betraying Jaime?

A writer-for-hire for more than ten years, Hanna Dare now writes what she loves to read: well-written, character-driven stories of men exploring their identities and discovering their own unique kind of happily ever aftersů usually through sexytimes.


Find Hanna on the internet enjoying pretty pictures, procrastination and caffeinated beverages!

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Release Blitz for The Perfect Whore by Josephine Myles (excerpt and giveaway)

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Cover Design: Lou Harper
 
Length: 58,000 words approx
 
Blurb
 

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be…

On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot.

Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel.

Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run.

Excerpt

“Stick ’em up, people. This is a raid. I want all your valuables, right now…” The last words trailed away as Jedd took a really good look at the naked, sweaty couple on the bed. His target, the Right Honorable Senator Artaxico Thrublet, was on his knees behind one of the most gorgeous bodies Jedd had ever clapped eyes on. A body on hands and knees. A most decidedly human and male body…

Shit, had he gotten the wrong room? Jedd squinted at the client, trying to work out if it really was the senator. ’He was definitely Talmaki, with his lizard-like body, orange, hairless skin and bulging eyes . But no, he’d studied footage of Artaxico and recognized his large nose and the ridiculous looking rows of diamond studs up both his pointed ears.

“Hold on, just let me finish. Uh!” Artaxico shuddered to a stop, his belly wobbling as he panted obscenely. Jedd winced at the sight. He knew interspecies mating went on—everyone had heard the tales—but intellectual knowledge wasn’t the same thing as having it thrust in your face. Talmaki just weren’t his idea of sexy. Okay, there had been that one time he’d got drunk enough for a fumble in an alleyway, but the alien’s cock had been kind of scary, and things hadn’t got very far. But maybe the gorgeous young whore was used to those luminous, scaly shafts of meat. Maybe he even enjoyed them. Was he enjoying Talmaki cock right now? He was certainly hard enough.

Right now Jedd couldn’t see the expression on the whore’s face as it was buried in the mattress, but maybe that was for the best. There was no way he could be handsome enough to do that incredible body justice. No wonder the senator had decided to try him as a change from the celebrated Divine. The rentboy moaned through his own orgasm, just moments after the senator, and drenched the sheets below him in spunk.

Artaxico withdrew, revealing an intimidating length of glowing scarlet cock, then collapsed back onto the bed. He reached out to pat a perfectly formed buttock. “Run along now, sthweetie. I wouldn’t want you to get caught up in any of this nasty business.” The lad scooted down to the end of the bed facing Jedd, exposing an equally impressive prick which was filling up again in what must be a record-breaking time.

And as for his face… Suns above! Those were lips Jedd would give anything to see stretched around his dick. But no, he had a job to do, and he wasn’t about to get sidetracked by some hyper-sexed rentboy, no matter how astoundingly gorgeous he was.

“The boy stays,” Jedd ordered. Artaxico gave him a puzzled look, but Jedd pressed on. “I want your datapod and passcode, now!”

“Not a chance in hell. That passcode is top level sthecurity,” Artaxico lisped. “I really don’t imagine there’s anything an ignorant monkey like you could do that could force me to sthpeak.”

Okay, just as he’d feared, but Jedd had his back-up plan. “Oh yeah?” Jedd strode over to the bed and grabbed the lithe young man under the arm. There was a brief moment where he was distracted by the sensation of naked skin against his own, but he couldn’t afford to lose any time so he pulled the whore upright, holding the charge gun to his temple. “Your strumpet gets it if you don’t talk. And don’t think this is a bluff. I never bluff.” He pulled the lad tighter to him for emphasis, but this had the unfortunate effect of bringing more of his own body in contact with those taut muscles, and his face even closer to the thatch of chestnut curls. His nose was on a level with the top of the whore’s head, and he pulled in a lungful of the most divine, arousing musk. Feeling a familiar tightening in his pants where he brushed up against those pert buttocks, Jedd cursed his over-active libido. “I’m warning you! The code, now!”

Artaxico just laughed, a mocking bray that wound Jedd up worse than finding a firebug had crawled into his beer. “Utter nonsense! I’ve stheen killers before – by the sthuns, I employ enough of them, and you really don’t have that look in your eyes. You’re just an overgrown wassat, aren’t you?” The senator twitched his nose in a near perfect imitation of one of the pesky rodents.

Jedd fumed. First a monkey, now a wassat. He turned the gun on the senator. “Okay then, if you don’t give me that passcode this instant, you get it. I mean it!”

“Like you’ll ever be able to get it off me if I’m dead. Does that antique piece of crap even have the power to kill? Looks more like something my wife would carry to stun any overconfident admirers.”

Goddammit, how could the man tell? Jedd waved the gun as threateningly as he could. “You willing to take that risk?”

Artaxico laughed again, getting up to his feet. “What risk? There’s security everywhere in this place, you know? I’m just going to stroll out of here and call the guards, and you’re not going to do a thing to stop me.”

Oh, wasn’t he? Jedd aimed at Artaxico’s head and pulled the trigger. “Ha! Not so clever now, are you?”

“Is he going to be all right? That was just a stun, wasn’t it? “ The godlike young man had a voice to match his physique—a rich and sultry baritone that rumbled against Jedd’s breastbone.

The senator snored before Jedd had a chance to answer, and the lad melted back against him, sighing with what sounded like relief. Their close contact made a certain part of Jedd’s body grow stiffer while the rest seemed to want to melt into a puddle.

Would the rentboy mind sneaking in a quickie? Jedd would even pay if he had to, the lad was that gorgeous. Or would the stun charge have set off the internal alarm system? Probably best not to risk dawdling too long.

Still, seemed a shame to waste a moment like this now that Artaxico was unable to interfere. Jedd loosened his hold and let the young man turn in his arms. Holy fuck, Jedd could feel the whore’s massive erection prodding his thigh.

He took a deep breath, forced it out. Focus. Not here. Not now. Just gather information. “Captain Jedd Lightning, at your service. And who might you be, gorgeous creature?”

The man chuckled, stepping away from him and turning to fix him with a pair of intensely soulful deep green eyes. “My working name’s Divine, but you can call me Storm.”

“Divine? But… You’re meant to be a girl!” Jedd spluttered.

The young man gave a maddening, secretive smile. “Divine can be whoever you want, Captain. Divine is simply the title of your ideal lover.”

“So they swap you around depending on what the johns want? There are other Divines?”

“Something like that. But please, call me Storm.” A plaintive note sounded in his voice and his lower lip jutted in an almost-pout. “No one ever does these days.”

Storm. It suited him, as there was a wildness in those eyes that Jedd thought he recognized, something he glimpsed in his own reflection every morning. Focusing on Storm’s eyes proved a challenge, though, when there was all that naked flesh to feast his gaze on. Smooth, bronzed skin, with just enough hair between those dark nipples to make him want to run his fingers through it. Jedd’s gaze followed the trail down all the way to the most majestic cock he’d ever seen. It reached up invitingly, as if seeking Jedd’s hand.

“You have quite an imagination, don’t you?” Storm said, staring down at himself as if in fascination.

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. Sheís beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Joís novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs, an incessantly curious pre-schooler, and a bun in the oven!

Website and blog: josephinemyles.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/josephine.myles.author
Twitter: @JosephineMyles
Newsletter: eepurl.com/hrQ4s
Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=8383406

 

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Aidan Wayne on Writing, Research, and Rule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne (author interview)

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Rule of Thirds by Aidan Wayne
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Jennifer Vance
Sales Links:

DSP PublicationsAmazon |  Barnes & Nobles | Kobo  | iBooks 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Aidan Wayne today on tour for their new release Rule of Thirds. Welcome, Aidan.

 ~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Aidan Wayne~

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Research plays such a huge role, it’s ridiculous. I do enjoy it, but I tend to fall into what I call “the black hole of research.” And for something like Rule of Thirds, wherein my main character, Jason, has crippling PTSD that’s pretty important. But I also am in the middle of a story about a Broadway star. I figured I wouldn’t have to worry too much about research for that. Wrong! I ended up basically mapping out the entire theatre district of New York to make sure I knew where everything was (eateries, parks, urgent care) in reference to where my characters lived. Of course, I also had to find them apartments and make sure that the rents made sense to the location.

On that note though, I’ve had some really neat things come from my need to research topics. For a story where the main character owns an apple orchard, I called up orchards to ask questions about production, cost, etc. I ended up getting on the phone with a 95-year old apple farmer who had planted his trees with his father before WWII. One of the coolest experiences I’ve had as a writer.

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

That’s a tricky question. I was big into a lot of varied genres. I loved fantasy (Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce), historical fiction (L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott), and nonfiction (basically every well-written thing I could get my hands on). But I think that a good link-up is that all of my very favorite books are character-driven. They have solid personalities and stand out as people. In his Discworld books, Terry Pratchett has a number of characters that re-appear as main characters or side characters as the book requires and they’re always interesting and thoroughly themselves. Even the nonfiction books had good narrators. I love that. And yes, I think the influence has carried over into how I write what I do. For me, characters come first. The plot? They might be saving the world but it’s just as likely that the entire story is simply one person teaching the other how to properly cultivate a tomato plant.

I like this tomato idea actually. Hm.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

I’m not a fan of the term Mary Sue or Gary Stu. It first got started in fandom, where people (usually female writers) made self-inserts to interact with characters they like, often as love interests. It was a way for them to play and explore in a world that had already been created, but with a character they’d created themselves. Because so many writers made their characters “unique” (looks-wise, having special skills, etc), coupled with the fact that the character was a love interest, these characters (and thus, often, the authors themselves) ended up garnering a lot of ridicule.

But what’s wrong with writing wish-fulfillment? What’s wrong with creating a character based on your own experiences? Maybe with your own desires and fears? What’s wrong with putting those characters into whatever setting you choose and playing? Creating someone that will love them?

Nothing, in my opinion.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

YES. Yes, yes, so much yes. I’m one of those people that needs a happy or hopeful ending to be satisfied. If I’m going to read an entire story about these characters and watch them grow and change and learn and struggle–If I’ve dedicated my time to caring about them and rooting for them–The last thing I want is for the story to end with them miserable.

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

I’ve been very lucky in that every cover artist I’ve worked with has been willing to take my notes and suggestions. I start by answering some questions about what I want the cover to look like: colors, tone, possible scenery, etc. Then I get a mock-up or three and usually we go from there. Sometimes I’m really pleased with the first choice, or only have a slight adjustment I’d like made, such as changing a font. Sometimes it’s a little more difficult. For Rule of Thirds, I went to a stock photo site myself to find images I thought might work for what I wanted. My very patient cover artist, Jennifer Vance, put up with a lot from me.

 

Have you ever put a story away, thinking it just didn’t work?  Then years/months/whatever later inspiration struck and you loved it?  Is there a title we would recognize if that happened?

I started and stopped my novella Loud and Clear a bunch of times. It is literally a book about communication, and I kept getting stuck on what I wanted my characters to say, even if I knew how they’d say it. I’m glad I ended up with what I did, though. It was one of the first books I’ve ever had published so it’s definitely a little rough around the edges, but I think it really showcases what I believe in writing; communication, consent, and diversity.

 

Ever drunk written a chapter and then read it the next day and still been happy with it?  Trust me there’s a whole world of us drunk writers dying to know.

I’ve never written while drunk, but I have written while Ridiculously Overtired. Those are usually times when I’ll come back to a story with sentences such as “the big was very large.” But once in a while I’ll come back to a scene and –wow, I’ll look at it a bit uncertain that it came from my own brain but very pleased that it did. You know, once I edit out all the typos.

 

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

I once wrote a story because, and I quote, “I am angry and upset.” It was about a trans man starting his own transition and learning more of himself, how he was able to interact with the world and other people, getting a found family, and, eventually, a boyfriend too.

 

I also once wrote a story because I thought of a title so good it needed a story to go with it. (A cupid and a succubus fall in love whoops. Making Love. I’m very proud of myself.)

 

Mostly I write because I like happiness, and figuring out the various ways I can get it to manifest. To make me, my readers, and my characters happy.

 

And shoving in as much wordplay into the titles as I can possibly get.

Blurb:

A traumatic past doesn’t have to mean not having a future.

When Jason Diovardi, military elite, is removed from active duty after failing too many psych evals, he has only one goal in mind: get back into the field. It’s all he knows and all he thinks he’s good for, which is why he grudgingly accepts two live-in AI Companions to help him begin to recover from his severe PTSD. Chase and Shade are a matched pair, and Jason hopes they’ll keep each other distracted enough to leave him alone so he can go through the motions and be cleared for fieldwork.

Jason doesn’t expect to actually get better, and the progress he makes with his patient and caring Companions sneaks up on him—and so do unexpected feelings between the three of them. Now Jason might even be able to admit to being happy. But has he healed enough to allow himself to accept what Chase and Shade are offering?

Hope. Love. A reason to live.

About the Author ~Aidan Wayne

Aidan Wayne has been a jeweler, paralegal, neurofeedback technician, and martial arts instructor; and that’s not even the whole list. They’ve been in constant motion since before they were born (pity Aidan’s mom)—and being born didn’t change anything. When not moving, Aidan is usually writing, so things tend to balance out. They primarily write character-driven stories with happy endings, because, dammit, queer people deserve happy endings too.

Aidan lives with altogether too many houseplants on the seventh floor of an apartment building. The building has an elevator, but Aidan refuses to acknowledge its existence.

Social media links:

Website: https://aidanwayne.com  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/justsayins

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aidanwaynewrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15164017.Aidan_Wayne

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100019083091269

An Alisa Review: Oliris by S. Neff

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Senana Saz Rays has been sentenced to four years of slave labor on prison planet Indiku after assaulting his state appointed psychiatrist. Leaving his lover Rhyan behind on earth, Sena spends his time on the planet Indiku working with the coveted medicinal leeri flowers. Although a slave, he can’t help but find peace in the mundane life he’s lived on the alien planet and the wondrous sightings of the indigenous Zanzi that look so much like mythical earth dragons. Senana is just one year shy of going home and being with Rhyan again when all thoughts of freedom are swiped away as a massive Zanzi takes him from the leeri fields and back to the mountains it calls home.

 

La’el is a proud Zanzi. His only wish was to find a life mate and experience the bond his parents share. When he finally finds him in the leeri fields he doesn’t hesitate to take Sena— even their vast physical differences won’t dissuade the young Zanzi. La’el will do anything to prove to Sena that they are meant to be together, even if he’s unsure how to convince his human mate.

 

Both La’el and Sena are about to find out that there is more between them than either of them could ever imagine. Their bond affects more than just their fate, but also reveals a true evil buried in the heart of Indiku, and all the way back to Earth.

 

This story sucked me in at the very beginning and I loved learning about Indiku from Sena and La’el’s eyes.  However, there was no real indication of the love triangle that would come into play near the end of the book or the large cliffhanger the story ended on.  It wasn’t complete and there isn’t any other indication that there will be another book and if it will come when.  The writing in this story was very well written, it’s just path the story took that I have a problem with.

 

La’el is so happy to find his mate and doesn’t understand why Sena doesn’t feel the same way.  Sena feels a connection to La’el but still thinks about his lover from earth, Rhyan.  When they seek shelter it is Rhyan Sena turns to.

 

I liked the world building in Indiku near the beginning though I didn’t feel like I really learned much about their culture.  La’el wasn’t right just taking Sena the way he did but I could see he was young and very impulsive.  I felt sorry for La’el once they got to earth because now he has to compete with Sena’s previous lover while trying to navigate this new world that Sena has brought him to.  I can’t say I ever really liked Sena, he came off very brash and I never felt he redeemed himself.  Protecting La’el if about the only good thing I felt he did.  We didn’t see much of Rhyan but what I see I didn’t like and then the whole selling dragons thing that was apparently going on, I didn’t learn enough about it but obviously this goes into more problems that are beneath the surface.  I was so upset by the end of the book I’m not sure I will even read it if a follow-up book comes out.

 

The cover art by E Keith and S Neff is nice and I love the two visuals of La’el.

 

Sales Links: Painted Hearts Publishing | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages

Published: March 1, 2018 by Painted Hearts Publishing

Edition Language: English

A Free Dreamer Review: Dusk (Expedition 63 #1) by T.A. Creech

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

When contact is lost with Mission Control, Commander John Dennington isn’t overly concerned. Such hiccups in communication are common. The first inkling of the larger problem occurs when he sees the very shape of the world change before his eyes.

John must ease his crew into a new mission and keep the Station together by any means necessary. The crew jeopardizes their chances by fighting his orders, but Jason Weiss, his mission specialist and the light of his life, makes John’s situation more bearable.

The smallest malfunction to Station or crew would spell the end for six astronauts trapped high above a ruined Earth. It’s their mission to carry on. Random chance of the universe hasn’t operated in their favor so far, but John is determined to see them all safely home.

I’ve read plenty of books set in space but I’ve never read one that’s set on a space station in this day. I think it makes for a very interesting setting.

The blurb made me expect lots of action and suspense. It’s the end of the world, after all! But the plot is very slow to unfold and not all that much actually happens. There was one suspense-filled scene toward the end, but that’s about it.

I really enjoyed that scene but I did wish for some more action and a little more detail. We never really get to see how the six of them make this mess work. There’s quite a big time skip, so we are presented with the final solution very soon.

I didn’t expect a lot of romance from this book. And there wasn’t. That was mostly fine by me, though I would have liked a little more detail again. How John and Jason met, how they came to love each other, how they spent their lives before they went to the space station.

Having said all that, “Dusk” did have a certain kind of pull. It was quietly addicting and I found it very hard to put down. It was a very fast read and I quite enjoyed it. I was sad that it ended so soon.

If you find yourself between two books and need a quick read, “Dusk” might just be the book for you. If, however, you want an action-packed romance with lots of world building, you will probably be disappointed.

Usually, I don’t read sequels of a book that I’ve given less than 4 stars. There are too many potentially brilliant books out there to spend time on a book I’m pretty sure will only be average. However, I do want to find out how this whole mess ends, so I’m definitely interested in the next part. I think this has potential to be really awesome.

The cover is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I do like the general look of it and the colours are really pretty, but I’m not so fond of that man in the stars hovering behind the space station. I think it would look better without him.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book details: ebook,135 pages

Published March 17th 2018 by JMS Books LLC

Kevin Klehr on his character Connor and his new release Social Media Central (author guest blog)

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Social Media Central by Kevin Klehr
NineStar Press

Release Date:  April 9, 2018
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

 

Buy Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Kevin Klehr here today  talking about Social Media Central! Welcome, Kevin!

 

 

INTRODUCING CONNOR – PHOTOGRAPHER AND TROUBLEMAKER

KEVIN KLEHR

 

Connor is smart, so it makes him the perfect troublemaker to get under the skin of the government in my new sci-fi novel, Social Media Central. He is also one of the social media socialites in Astra City, a place where hardly anyone ventures outside because they live their lives in front of a screen.

Connor spends most of his time as the official photographer at the parties he, along with fashion blogger, Madeline Q, and love blogger, Shaun, throw for guests seeking fame on Social Media Central. Uploading a photo from one of these events is sure to help you gain many followers, although nowhere near as many as Connor, Shaun or Madeline Q.

This socialite photographer also knows what’s wrong with the society he lives in and through his fame, challenges the status quo. But he has no idea how much danger he puts himself and his friends in once he criticises the government.

Connor is also gay, but he’s not someone who’s confident enough to stroll up to a charismatic guy and flirt, even with his high social standing. And he’d rather let his photos tell a story once they’re uploaded – it’s just not his story he’s telling.

The novel is actually told through the eyes of Tayler, a loner geek who doesn’t log onto the all-knowing all-seeing social platform. Through a chance meeting with Madeline Q he is thrust into the world of the socialites, finding his own star rising once he hangs around his new associates. But it’s Tayler who has to deal with the dangers posed by Connor’s rebellious actions.

I began writing this novel back in 2015. I know that’s not long ago but much has changed with online media in that short space of time. Small things like live video on Facebook and Twitter are taken for granted now, yet when I wrote the concept of streaming live in this book they were not yet introduced.

But what I find more interesting is the lack of real issues being discussed on Facebook, at least on my feed anyway. A friend admitted she no longer writes about politics as she often ends up in debates she wasn’t expecting. Another person I’ve unfriended complained when I shared a political post. Yet, Facebook was one of the platforms these discussions used to take place on. I know everyone’s personal algorithm is different but I’m going from my online experience.

In a way, Social Media Central is about how the medium has become a celebration of the mundane (cat videos etc.), and how a future society may look that is more influenced by social status and seeking validation, than keeping perspective on what’s going on in the real world.

That’s why Connor, as a character, is important to this story. He is the over thinker that tries to bring balance back to Astra City.

Website – www.kevinklehr.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DramaQueensWithLoveScenes

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kevinklehr

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/klehrkevin/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4298144.Kevin_Klehr

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Julie Aitcheson on Covers and her new release First Girl (author guest post)

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First Girl by Julie Aitcheson
Harmony Ink Press
Cover Art:  Aaron Anderson

Buy Links

Amazon |  Barnes & Noble |   Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Julie Aitcheson here today talking about her latest novel First Girl. Welcome, Julie.

♦︎

“Cover Story”

By Julie Aitcheson, Author: First Girl, Harmony Ink Press, April 2018

I love talking about the cover for my book, because it is exactly how I pictured it. With minimal back and forth and few specifics from me, artist Aaron Anderson (contracted by Dreamspinner Press), hit it out of the park. The image is dark and haunting- a frail female form borne up through murky water in a shaft of iridescent light. It encapsulates the essence of the book in the way every writer surely hopes their cover will.

Water is as much a central character of First Girl as my heroine, Gabi Lowell. Water’s scarcity shapes everything about Gabi’s existence, from her environment to what she eats and drinks to the politics that govern her world. The fear of the distant, unseen ocean permeates the psyche of her community, and her unfathomable connection with it (and the creatures therein) is what ultimately lures her out of her frightened complacency and into the unlikely role of hero. In this passage from the first part of the book, we witness Gabi in her room, her sanctuary, and get a first glimpse of this defining relationship with water:

“Go put on something dry while I put out your pills with some tea and cake. It’s already thirty minutes past time.” Gram’s hair stood out in white shocks from her head, adding drama to the urgency in her voice. When it came to the pills, every minute mattered. Taken as a powder mixed into formula when Gabi was a baby, then swallowed whole with water when she was old enough to manage pills, the medicine was a fact of Gabi’s life. The pills, her father explained, were the only things keeping Gabi’s lungs working. Missing a dose or taking one too late could cause her entire respiratory system to shut down, like sealing a whale’s blowhole shut and holding it deep underwater.

Gabi took her first relaxed inhale since leaving the house that morning and released it on a sigh as she entered her room and shut the door behind her. The walls were painted in blended shades of blue and green, an impressionistic rendering of seaweed-swirled water. Her books, hundreds of them, were crammed into bookcases and milk crates and stacked into wobbly towers that deterred anyone but Gabi from entering for fear of triggering an avalanche. She was not a hoarder, Gabi insisted when her father and brother ribbed her for her trove of books. She was simply starved for information. Sometimes she thought she would rather have words than air.

As she peeled off her dripping socks and leggings, Gabi’s gaze wandered to the carefully marked books on cetacean biology piled within easy reach of her bed. She had been eating, sleeping, and breathing whales in preparation for her presentation that day, certain that if she just knew her subject matter well enough, the words would flow effortlessly out of her. She was wrong.

Whales were a peculiar fascination for a girl who was afraid of water. The mere thought of being close to more than a bucketful of the stuff was enough to make Gabi shake, a phobia her father didn’t discourage. Recreational swimming had been forbidden since before Gabi was born anyhow. Water resources were scarce and every available drop that fell or condensed was immediately sequestered for purification and municipal use. Anyone who violated these practices risked heavy fines and even imprisonment. Immersion in water was illegal. All bathing was done from a small ration delivered in measured containers three times weekly around Alder, just as it was in every other branch of the Unitas fellowship. Precipitation in the form of rain or snow was collected and transported to a treatment facility wherever possible.

There was no real need to deter residents from collecting their own water stores. Thanks to years of unchecked emissions and nuclear meltdowns during The Great Strain, which attacked technologies as well as life forms, no one dared use or ingest water before trained professionals treated it. Though she gobbled up any small morsel of information she could about the mysteries of marine biology, Gabi couldn’t imagine actually seeing the ocean, watching it swell and threaten to consume her. But something drew her back to her books time and again and compelled her to recreate her own dry land version of the sea in her tiny bedroom.”

I wish I had a clear, writerly explanation for how Water showed up as a principal character in my book, but I don’t. I’m just grateful for a cover that shows Gabi in her true element and rising up, as all good heroes must.

First Girl by Julie Aitcheson

Blurb

Some things are worth fighting for: a sense of identity, personal freedom, truth, and new love—even in a society that forbids them.

In the aftershocks of catastrophic climate change, the fundamentalist Christian group Unitas seized the opportunity to grab power in the United States. Gabi’s father, Sam Lowell, is one of the most powerful men on the Unitas council… and his sickly daughter’s hero, until Gabi discovers the horrors being carried out in the name of religion.

Gabi’s mission to expose Unitas will take her into the company of misfits and dissidents and beyond the borders of everything she knows as her life is threatened at every turn. Along the way, she uncovers her true origins and astonishing power, along with a ruthless dictatorship masquerading as a benevolent democracy that will stop at nothing—including playing God—to win the game of survival.

About the Author

Julie Aitcheson began her pursuit of writing as a screenwriter, then realized that a little exposition never hurt anyone and switched to books. She has had articles published in Echo QuarterlyCommunities Magazine (formerly Talking Leaves Magazine), Isabella, and All Things Girl.  Most recently, she received a full fellowship to the 2013 Stowe StoryLabs and won second place in the 2014 San Miguel Writers’ Conference nonfiction writing competition.

Julie lives wherever her bohemian heart takes her, and wherever she can hit the hiking trails when her muse decides to take a personal day. She has worked extensively with young adults as an experiential educator, both across the United States and in India. After spearheading an initiative to assist at-risk youth in becoming trained for green jobs, Julie threw herself into writing stories for young adults that do justice to their intelligence and complex emotional lives. Her debut novel, Being Roy, was released by Harmony Ink Press in October of 2017.

Julie continues to seek out unique life experiences to provide grist for the mill of her imagination, including her work as a medical actress at a simulation laboratory. There, she indulged her love of the dramatic arts and her passion for health education while amassing enough writing material to sink a barge.

Social Media

Author Website: www.julieaitcheson.com

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New Release Blitz for Bank Run (Expanding Horizon #2) by Alli Reshi (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Bank Run

Series: Expanding Horizon, Book Two

Author: Alli Reshi

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: April 2, 2018

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 19400

Genre: Science Fiction, LGBT, science fiction, disability/PTSD/post-traumatic stress, military, hurt/comfort, interracial/intercultural, crime, HFN

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Synopsis

Mark Noland doesn’t know how he always ends up in these situations. All he wants is a few quiet days on Rescon with his new boyfriend Gavnson. But he’s just finished a job, and the rest of his team wants their pay.

A simple trip to the bank shouldn’t be much trouble, and then it’s back to peace and quiet. What could possibly go wrong? The answer to this is apparently robbery, kidnapping, and a foot chase across town. A run to the bank takes on a whole new meaning when you also have to thwart the bad guys.

A simple crime unravels to something much more. Amidst the chaos, Mark and Gavnson not only end up with new friends, but a renewed focus on Gavnson’s ongoing PTSD issues—once they finally have a moment to themselves.

*Bank Run is the second installment in the Expanding Horizons series and is best read after book one, Oops, Caught.

Excerpt

Bank Run
Alli Reshi © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Fire and metal shrapnel rained down, pinging off the roof of my small fighter ship.

“Everian Gavnson— The second Squadron is surrounded by the enemy. They are also advancing against the third. What are your orders?” Caspian Dal’s voice came crackling over the damaged coms line.

“Fourth squadron— Provide support for the second. Come in from the enemy’s right, and you can break up that dogfight. My men with me. We’re going to come in from the low left across the gorge. We can bottleneck the enemy there and stop their advance,” I called the orders across the channels.

A resounding “Yes, sir!” was the answer as the other fighter ships split off in their new assignments.

I angled my ship across the sky, leading the first squadron toward the swarm of ships. Blue mixed with white, though the blue was slowly overtaking the other. The infiltration of Zux pilots was taking its toll on my men. The battle for Rescon had already cost us so much. Our objective was to stop them in the skies so they couldn’t get to Rescon’s surface. Swooping under the belly of a few blue Zux ships, I opened fire on them, ripping through the metal and breezing by the ships as they crashed. The added forces were pushing back the opposition.

“Sir, your six!” the warning whined on the line. Reacting before glancing over, I angled my ship away from the oncoming attack. When I did look, I realized no amount of quick maneuvering would save me. A ship from higher up had collided with those below it, dragging and catching them as the tangled mess of metal fell from directly above me toward my ship.

Pushing the thrusters hard, I moved as far away from the trajectory as I could. I wouldn’t clear the area in time, but if I could minimize the damage, I could make an emergency landing. The wreckage struck the side of my ship, tearing the wing clean off. One of the engines ignited in the impact. Fire spread across the windshield. All I could see was fire. The fire. Fire everywhere—burning, trapping, killing.

I bolted awake, off-balance, and confined. I fought against the restraint, pushing and tugging until I felt cold air against my skin. Then, something was on my shoulder holding me. Pushing me back. I lashed out an arm against it.

“Gav, Gav hold still. Calm down. You’re all right; breathe, Gav. Can you hear me?” a voice said. Mark’s voice. The initial panic slowly faded from my mind. It was Mark’s hand on my shoulder. The sheets from my bed were tangled around my legs. Taking a deep breath, I reached a hand to Mark’s, suddenly realizing how shaky my own was against his steady one.

“Yes, I’m fine,” I said, clearing my throat.

“You sure? You’re trembling. Was it that dream again? You wanna talk about it?” Mark asked, leaning toward me. I shrugged off his hand, pulling away.

“No. Everything is all right, Mark. I’m going to take a shower. You can go back to sleep now.” I pushed off the blankets and forced myself to walk steadily to the adjoining bathroom.

After locking the door behind me, I turned on the shower and sat on the tile floor in the far corner of the room, my back against the wall. Curling in on myself, I was no longer able to fight the shaking of my body. My vision blurred, and I couldn’t focus on any one thing around me. All my senses screamed that everything was too much, too loud, too everything. Hopefully, the sound of the water muffled any sobs that escaped. My chest hurt from phantom pains and how hard it was to breathe. It was as though my lungs had forgotten how to, or not wanting to, would rather stop and close in on themselves.

Worst of all, I could feel the fire burning on my arm, searing through flesh. The cold wall behind me did little to help. The war was over, yet I couldn’t escape it, dogged by fire and failure in my sleep.

I don’t know how long it was before I could focus again and the shivers stopped. The burning on my arm had lost intensity, fading rapidly as I focused on taking deep gulping breaths, even though it stung. Mark hadn’t come knocking at the door, so it couldn’t have been that long.

Stripping off my sweat-dampened clothes, I finally stepped under the freezing spray of water. I found that I much preferred cold showers after the war and the hospital. I also refused to own another sponge of any sort, throwing them and any kind of liquid soap out in favor of bars and rough towels if necessary.

It had been about a month since Mark and I had agreed to start this relationship. Even with the time we spent apart for our respective careers, it was working out well. Better than I could have hoped. My off-planet missions were few, as I preferred to stay close to home. There was more than enough to keep me busy here with Stella Corps, while Mark chose any jobs across the quadrant that caught his fancy. Being that Mark’s starship was his home, when he wasn’t out on a job, he spent most of his time with me at my home. His team didn’t seem to mind the extra time spent on Rescon either.

Having Mark with me was a welcome change from the silence that permeated the building without him to fill it with laughter and conversation, however it didn’t stop the nightmares. I always felt guilty for waking him; it was unfair to him after all the help he gave me. Especially on nights like last night when he came in late, tired from a job, and well-deserving of some rest. He didn’t need me waking him up over something I should have long gotten over. In truth, I had been lucky; I knew that.

I had come home when so many hadn’t. I only had scars where so many had lost limbs. It was pathetic to still be holding onto fears when the danger had long passed.

I quickly finished my shower and turned off the water, not wanting Mark to worry and come investigating.

Drying off, I glanced at my reflection in the mirror. Dark hair plastered against my forehead. A once perfect complexion was now littered with appalling scars. Thankfully, the ones on my face were hardly noticeable if you didn’t know to look. The rest of me had not been as fortunate.

The burn marks were far more distinct over my left side. Trailing from my neck to almost my hip in patchy grooves, they also took up most of my arm and spread across my chest. I turned away from the mirror, tying the towel around my waist.

I should have the mirror removed the next chance I had—a sentiment I always had after a shower, but never managed to go through with. It was too easy to indulge in the shame of what my image now was. In any case, Mark would question it, and that was something I would rather avoid. I paused at the door, listening for any noise coming from the outer room.

Hearing nothing meant Mark must have either left the room or gone back to sleep. I cautiously opened the door, and the sun’s morning light filtering in through the window showed an empty room. Faint voices floated in from the direction of the kitchen.

I dressed quickly, worried that Mark might walk into the room before I was ready. A long-sleeved thin shirt hid the worst of the scars and simple pants covered the few on my legs. Having not yet let Mark see all of my scars, I was careful to always be clothed around him. Mark had said that he wouldn’t mind seeing them, but I was not ready to show more of myself to him. I still worried about his reaction. After combing my hair into something respectable, I walked toward the voices, steeling myself to greet the added guests.

“I’m just saying you don’t even know his first name, man. I’m not complaining about not having to listen to you talk about your sex life all’o the time now. But you sure ’bout this, boss? Relationships ain’t one-night stands—you gotta be serious here. Gotta be able to trust a person.”

I recognized Ken’s voice without having to turn the corner and paused in the shadows. I shouldn’t have to eavesdrop in my own house, yet I wanted to hear the honest conversation that wouldn’t happen with me there. Wanted to know what his teammates thought of me, though it did not appear to be a conversation in my favor.

“Dude, are you still harping on this?” Mark huffed. “Ken, let it go. The name thing is cultural, okay? Lots of Resconians don’t say it until they’re married. It’s like a super personal thing, and I can respect that. Stuff like this takes time, you know. Ain’t like I’m laying all my secrets out on the table either. You gotta build the trust slowly, and I trust him to tell me when he’s ready.” I could imagine the scowl he had as he crossed his arms.

Considering that Mark was more given to casual and informal mannerisms, I had been surprised at how easily he had adapted when I explained why Resconians only used surnames. It was an old social norm that revealing a given name was the truest form of trust and love. It gave me a small thrill to call Mark by his name privately—knowing it was his preference as well as a sign of his trust. I found it endearing how he mixed his habit for nicknames yet considered my preference. Still, our relationship was far too new to tell him my given name, or call him by his while in company.

“I believe what our esteemed mechanic is trying to say, is that we worry about you. You’re not only our boss; you’re our friend as well. As a friend, we want you to be in a healthy relationship. Given your previous lovers, this is a drastic change.” The higher-pitched voice chiming in told me that Tamaroa was here too.

“I know it’s different,” Mark said, his voice strained. “It’s weird for me sometimes, too, you know. Coming back to the same place all the time. And missing him. Lonely is something I’m used to having an instant fix for, but I can’t do that anymore because Gavnson matters. I want it to work with him. So, let me figure it out myself and drop it, all right?”

Knowing he missed me when he was away—same as I missed him—was an odd comfort. And it was reassuring that he would defend me, even though I sometimes thought his coworkers might have a more accurate opinion of me. After a few moments of silence, it was obvious they had dropped the topic. I might as well greet my guests properly.

Rounding the corner to enter the kitchen, I saw Ken and Tamaroa at the table, while Mark was standing by the stove, making something in a pan. Rescon had more than its fair share of interspecies travelers. But that still didn’t take away the strangeness of having others at my table.

I was so often alone in this room that the brightness of the fox’s dark blue fur and the woman’s rich orange skin would take some getting used to.

“You didn’t tell me your team would be visiting this morning, Noland,” I said, not wanting to sound accusing, but a warning would have been nice.

“Sorry, I didn’t know either, and some people don’t know what manners are. So, they invite themselves anywhere.” Mark sighed and gave Ken a pointed look. He momentarily abandoned breakfast to come to my side and give me a hug. His warmth was a welcome balm to my unsettled nerves. “Are you feeling better now? Is it okay for them to be here? I can kick them out if you want, no problem,” Mark whispered and then kissed my cheek.

He had no concern with showing affection any time he wanted. For the most part, I liked the attention too much to scold him for it when there were others around.

“No, it’s fine; I don’t mind,” I said quietly, giving him a one-armed hug in return before letting him go back to the stove. “It’s a pleasure to see you as always, Tamaroa, Ken.” I greeted the two as I sat at the table across from them so I could watch Mark.

“Sorry for the intrusion,” Tamaroa responded, brushing back her hair, a dark red against her skin. “Ken can be quite demanding when he wants something. Mark never said, but how did everything turn out on your end with our last joint effort? Was there any information missing?” It was easy to forget that Mark’s well-spoken navigator was also a highly trained assassin.

“No, you both did admirably,” I said. “As far as our technicians have found, nothing was leaked and all the files were still intact. Thanks to all your efforts, you prevented the potential exposure of a number of secret operatives.” I had assumed Mark would have told them about the successful conclusion of our mission long ago, but this at least gave me the chance to thank them in person.

“I imagine Stella would have just as many enemies as allies, and any information about your movements could go for a high price.” Tamaroa’s tone was far too light for a matter that could have been life or death to many officers. Then again, perhaps I shouldn’t expect differently from a woman in her profession.

“Unfortunately, yes,” I said. “Since Mark is always very vague about his work, I don’t suppose you’d be willing to make a few things clearer?” I could feel Mark’s eyes on me, and even though we’d both agreed that sometimes there were parts of our jobs we couldn’t talk about, it didn’t always stop professional curiosity. Tamaroa’s only response was a small smile that said I would not be getting any answers from her.

“All right, enough chitchat,” Ken huffed, his tail thumping against the leg of his chair. “I want Mr. Domestic over there to hand over our share of the pay from the last job. I ain’t looking to spend the day with no Stella officer in a stuffy house. Just ’cause you’ve turned sweet on the military sort, don’t mean I have. I got shit to do.” Ken had not warmed up to me nearly as much as Tamaroa had. Mark reassured me this was friendlier than Ken got with most.

“Hey, that Stella officer is my boyfriend, and I like his company. So, shut your muzzle. Besides, we just got here, and I’m sorry, but some of us like to sleep. Banks don’t even open until, like, nine anyways—so hold your tail.” Mark slid what was in the pan onto a waiting plate. Ah, he was making those fluffy flat breads he called pancakes. Terran food was odd.

I don’t think I had seen him cook anything that didn’t require some breed of fowl eggs. And he was always complaining they weren’t the same as chicken eggs, whatever those were. Mark had tried to describe chickens to me once, and for as much as I recognized that fauna was different across the galaxy, small flightless birds were not something I could easily conceptualize.

I knew that some planets domesticated their fowl, but the fear of them had been ingrained in me since childhood. It wasn’t an ungrounded fear, as the Ioxerous birds were as large as the average man and viciously carnivorous. They were the smallest breed of bird on Rescon. Thankfully, the mountains were the only place you would find them. These differences had led Mark and me to a have a few circular discussions about the merits of domestication of fowl.

Mark insisted on cooking, going so far as to favor old-fashioned methods of manually making the food, instead of letting the automatic kitchen equipment prepare the dishes for him. I had no love for cooking, so I left him to his strange cuisine.

“Oh, I’m sure you and pretty boy did plenty of sleeping. Then again, you were awful quick to open that door, and all rumpled too,” Ken said, winking at Mark. I tensed at the unknowing reminder that I had awakened Mark this morning. Even though he was still tired from his last mission, he hadn’t said anything about it. Yet, I could see the weariness as he moved about. It appeared I was nothing more than a bother.

“Okay, you’re done. Out. We discussed this— No suggestive or lewd comments that make Gav uncomfortable. So, out now. Before I skin you, and we’ll have a side of fox to go with breakfast.” Mark waved the spatula at Ken, whose fur bristled in offense.

“I think we’ve stayed long enough.” Tamaroa stood. “Enjoy your morning, Mark, and a pleasure to see you again, Gavnson. We’ll be on our way now.” She grabbed Ken by his scruff and lifted the four-foot Vanaska fox easily, ignoring his demands to be put down as they left the house. Mark chuckled at the antics.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Alli has always had a love for just about any story she can get her hands on. Be it from books, TV, or even video games—if there’s a good story, she will love it. Given that, it’s easy to see how Alli moved on to making stories of her own.

Raised in a small Colorado town, Alli also has a love of the outdoors and enjoys hiking. Nowadays she lives in a bigger city and fits in just fine there too, liking how close and comfy everything is. Often at home with her two cats, Alli is never far from her computer whether for work or for play. She believes the truth is a multifaceted thing and always works to write the world, and subsequently the truth of the world, as she sees it.

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Blog Tour for Bones of Belief (The Chronicles of Darius #13) by Jess Thomas (excerpt)

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title: Bones of Belief (The Chronicles of Darius, Book 13)

Author: Jess Thomas

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Jess Thomas

Genre/s: M/M Romance

Length:  111,215 words/645 pages

Release Date: March 1, 2018

Goodreads 

Blurb

The Jewel has many protectors and a large family, but it still isn’t complete. Trend, a white wizard, is in limbo and can be seen only by Vega, Enif, and Darius. Dorian, one of the newest clan members, can only hear him and none of them are able to tell anyone else about him. Darius knows he needs Trend to help complete the family and fulfill his destiny. He desperately wants to have him home, but there is a major problem, Hippson’s timeline. Meanwhile, Trend’s mate, Grendolin, has searched everywhere he knows in order to find him, including some very dark places, with no luck, but he never lost hope, never lost his belief that he will be with his true mate one way or another.

Can Darius beat the timeline? Must he follow the wishes of those in power who think they know better?

Darius’s quest of self-discovery continues as his talents grow to astounding proportions. Even the mighty Hippson and Bunthar don’t know what to make of Darius’s abilities or what the dreaded timeline holds for the Jewel, his mate, and the rest of the clan.

Become part of Darius’s clan and share his continuing journey in Bones of Belief.

Excerpt

For so long, I’d seen myself looking like a gray and leathery alien. In fact, I’ve seen myself looking like this since I was nineteen when I was part of a distant nightmare simply called The Pits. There, Cold Ones lived alongside dark wizards and all manner of evil things that destroyed planets for their own needs. Cold Ones enjoyed destroying anyone with strength and just for the sake of killing generally.

Although the Eiravian people were more advanced, they had sent me to a time on Earth when we lived and died by the sword, where gladiators and slaves had the misfortune to be simply entertainment. My appearance had drifted away to the point that I didn’t know it anymore. Now I tended to look at my appearance as I walked down the hall, the man who walked in the mirror’s reflection wasn’t someone I knew. It had been a long, long time since I’d seen who I really am. I was skinny, but the muscles and weight were coming back on, and the peach skin of my brothers and sisters had replaced the gray skin. My leathery appearance had disappeared in my reflection. The only thing that seemed the same was my blue eyes that appeared to glow power and a large scruffy beard.

Sometimes as I was walking down the hallway, I’d step backward and then forward, to actually see if my appearance stayed the same in the mirrors. The spell was breaking, and we would soon celebrate Finnal’s birthday. I always asked him what he wanted, and he’d always reply he got what he wanted. Therefore, this year I was going to give him what he asked for…me.

Buy Links – Available on KU

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About the Author 

Author Bio: Jess Thomas was born in the mid-west and she has a natural love for nature and animals. A gentle creature born to loving parents who believed in seeing the world for all its beauty, she learned the imperfections in life were something to be treasured and seen as a learning experience. An artist from an early age, she went to art school where she got a degree in drawing and painting, photography, and in Art Education. In 2009 she laid down her paintbrush and she picked up writing and channeling her creative energy in a fresh direction. A new writer, she pours sensitivity and her love of the world she has created into her emotions and the characters who live there.

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