In Our Spotlight with An Author Interview: Zane Riley and his release ‘With or Without You’ (Excerpt and Giveaway)

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With or Without You by Zane Riley
Sequel to ‘Go Your Own Way’
Release Date: July 21, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Artist: Colleen M. Good

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very happy to be interviewing Zane Riley author of With or Without You. Hi Zane, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi! I’m Zane, and I’m a queer transgender writer from northern Virginia. Currently, I’m in the process of packing up to move to Washington state, so I’m pretty busy at the moment, but also very excited. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, although I didn’t get truly serious about it until college when I switched my major to Creative Writing.

With or Without You is my second novel and a sequel to my first. It continues Will and Lennox’s story as they finish up their senior year of high school. As they begin to learn how to navigate their growing relationship, Will plans for his future in college while Lennox struggles to accept that his future is more than surviving until the next day. They each begin to forge their own paths only to realize that the futures they each want may lead them away from each other.

  • Do you have any strange writing habits?

I used to, but in recent years the strangeness has melted away a little bit. When I first started writing daily I would change my location often to keep myself inspired. I once wrote from my bathtub, fully clothed with a bunch of blankets and my cat. Besides that, I can pretty much write anywhere at any time, although I prefer to be alone or at least to not have a bunch of people sitting next to me or looking over my shoulder.

  • Just as your books will inspire others, what books have inspired you?

A few recent ones were Tales of the Madmen Underground and The Book Thief. It’s sort of a constant revolving door for me. I read a book and it inspires me with its world and characters, it has an impact on how I look at different ways I write or words I use. Then I read another book, and it shifts again. I really like the books that I read and alter how I’m looking at my own work.

  • What do you consider to be your best accomplishment (writing or life)?

It’s a toss up between graduating from college and moving out of Virginia. I’m the first in my family to make it to college and to graduate, so it’s a big deal to them and to me. My mom’s one of six and only one of them graduated high school, two went back for their GEDs, and the other three dropped out. I’m pretty proud of getting my degree, even though it took a few extra years because I was working and trying to pay for as much of it as I could while in school.

Moving out of Virginia is my other big one since that’s happening right now. I’ve been saying I want to move away from the congestion of northern Virginia and D.C. since I was twelve, so I’m hyped to finally make it a reality.

  • Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Traveling the world would be amazing, but I’ll settle for student loan free and with a steady income to afford to live. That’s the dream, ha ha. I’d like to have a cat or dog, probably a cat, once I’m settled and out on my own.

  • If you had a super power, what would it be?

I always think super speed would be nice, but then I stop and consider how slow the rest of the world would seem in comparison. It’d be cool to be able to run across water or to just pop over to Europe whenever, but I don’t think I could handle the fallback of that power. I’d finish things so much faster, the world would literally be inching along compared to the speed I was running at, because I can’t see how super speed wouldn’t also affect your mental speeds and the way you experience the world. Everything would be so slow, and I would get bored very fast.

Thank you, Zane, for that  wonderful interview.  Now more about With or Without You.

Blurb

In the much-anticipated sequel to Go Your Own Way, high school seniors Lennox McAvoy and Will Osborne pick up right where they left off—navigating the tumultuous waters of a new relationship and dealing with Will’s disapproving father.

When a violent incident forces Lennox to give up his independent ways, he must come to terms with his past just as Will is grappling with his future. As Will’s college plans become reality, will Lennox have the courage to go after the opportunities he doesn’t think he deserves?

 

Pages or Words: 348 pages
Should be read in order to appreciate the books

Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult

Excerpt

The band room was empty when he pushed the door open, but the piano was set up like it was almost every afternoon these days. Only Mr. Robinette and a music stand littered with sheet music was absent.

“Hello?”

The silence struck Lennox as odd, but as he sat down he also realized how strange it was to announce himself. So much had changed since the first time he’d snuck in here to play on his own. Now he was auditioning for some college he still couldn’t fathom.

To make Will happy. And maybe a little bit for himself.

“Ah, I wondered if you were going to show up.”

Mr. Robinette was behind him, the door to his office now wide open. He’d taken off his tie and undone a few buttons on his shirt like he did most afternoons when they practiced.

“You just want to play it through a few times or mess around with something else?”

Lennox took a seat at the piano, but didn’t both opening his bag. He’d memorized the piece he was playing by Valentine’s Day and now, almost two weeks later, he could write it out measure for measure on blank sheet music. But playing it was becoming repetitive. For two hours, three times a week, almost nonstop with the same four pages and nothing else.

“I’d rather try something new. That piece is getting a little old.”

Mr. Robinette smiled and pulled a chair up beside him. “I had a nightmare the other night and it was the theme song while I ran around a haunted house Scooby Doo style.”

“You didn’t catch a ride in the Mystery Machine, did you? I’ve always wanted that van.”

“I’ve got a lunch box version of it. It doesn’t fit much though because it’s too narrow. Anyway, play what you want. I’ll be here until about four-thirty, so it’s all yours.”

As Mr. Robinette returned to his office, Lennox pulled what had become his music notebook out of his bag and opened it to the latest page. He’d taken to composing during class when he should have been taking notes, especially calculus where he had no reason to pay attention anyway.

The latest page was a tune he’d come up with while the other kids had been tapping their pencils and erasing answers. Every moment of his life carried a rhythm, a melody, and an emotion he could create with, and his notebook was becoming a testament to that. He played through everything he’d jotted down over the past few days, but after several rounds he kept coming back to one. It was a piano version he’d tried—and mostly failed—to create of one of the songs Will had played on a loop a few weeks ago.

“I’m getting ready to lock up!”

Mr. Robinette’s voice carried out of the office and into the band room. A few minutes and several jingles of Mr. Robinette’s keys later, the office door was shut and Lennox was closing the cover on the keys.

“That last piece you were playing, was it a cover?”

Lennox shrugged as they headed for the door.

“It was supposed to be. Didn’t sound much like the song.”

“Well, the others did. They were all really good, even the ones that weren’t covers.”

“Uh, thanks.”

Lennox watched him at the door to the parking lot for a moment. He’d been a great help over the last month—all year if Lennox was honest. Mr. Robinette had believed in him in his own way since school had begun, and thanks to him he had a decent shot at this audition.

“Thanks for… all of this. I actually feel like—just thanks.”

Mr. Robinette gave him a genuine smile and patted him on the shoulder.

“You’re very welcome. Let me know how it goes when you get back, okay? I’m rooting for you. Got all of my fingers and limbs crossed. You deserve the chance. Don’t doubt that or yourself.”

“I-I won’t.”

It was funny to have so many people believing in him after so long. Happiness was a strange feeling as well. Until he’d let Will into his life he couldn’t remember how to capture such a feeling in his chest and keep it there.

Buy the book

 

Meet the author

Zane Riley is a transgender writer who wrote his first work of fan fiction in the fourth grade. He is a recent transplant to Vancouver, Washington where he spends his time watching long distance baseball games, hiking, and exploring the musical depths of the internet. His first novel, Go Your Own Way, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

21-Jul: Parker Williams, Unquietly Me, Louise Lyons, Joyfully Jay, Velvet Panic

22-Jul: Bayou Book Junkie, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Outrageous Heroes

25-Jul: Havan Fellows, Gay Media Reviews, Nephy Hart, Happily Ever Chapter

26-Jul: Oh My Shelves, Kirsty Loves Books, Dawn’s Reading Nook

27-Jul: MM Book Escape, My Fiction Nook, Prism Book Alliance

28-Jul: MM Good Book Reviews, Book Lovers 4Ever, Open Skye Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog

29-Jul: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Inked Rainbow Reads, Boys on the Brink Reviews

1-Aug: Alpha Book Club, Love Bytes

2-Aug: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter

3-Aug: V’s Reads, Molly Lolly

 

Giveaway

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In the Contemporary Spotlight: Second Skin by Alex Whitehall (New Adult Release and giveaway)

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Second Skin by Alex Whitehall
R
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

Hello, everybody! I’m Alex Whitehall, and I’m here today touring for my New Adult story, Second Skin, which is about Jay and Roswell, who are on a journey of love, acceptance, and self-discovery.

About Second Skin

When Jay heads to the university’s learning center for help with his math class, he doesn’t expect his tutor to be tall, dark, and handsome. But Roswell is all that and more, and their instant connection over cult movies, books, and TV shows quickly evolves into dating.

That’s when things get tricky.

Roswell might claim he doesn’t have issues with Jay being trans, but when he’s constantly insisting they “take it slow,” Jay’s not so sure. He’s been hurt before, and he’s not going to let it happen again.

But then Roswell reveals that he, too, has a few secrets under his skin.

About Alex Whitehall

If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious evenings laughing with friends.

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerge from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, reading, and tending after their aloe plants.

Connect with Alex:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Second Skin, Alex is giving away $25 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

In the Contemporary Spotlight: Jude Sierra’s ‘What It Takes’ (author interview, excerpt and contest)

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What It Takes by Jude Sierra
Release Date: January 14, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Interlude Press
Cover Art: Nelli I, Cover Design: C.B. Messer

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Jude Sierra, author of What it Takes. Hi Jude thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • Tell us something about your character’s friends. They’ve grown up in a small town, so they have a small group of friends that Andrew keeps in touch with as an adult – that Milo reconnects with when he comes back home. Ted is a fun guy. He’s kind of the class clown but in an irreverent ways. Their other friend Sarah is a steady, down to earth girl. She’s a good friend who is honest and direct and also a really steady presence in their lives.
  • What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food? Milo has a soft spot for baked goods, particularly any made by Andrew’s mother. He loves snickerdoodles and macaroons. Andrew loves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Even as an adult, they are his go-to food. He takes some ribbing for it, but nothing can come between him and his lifelong love of a good old-fashioned sandwich.
  • What activity does your character absolutely hate? Andrew isn’t a huge fan of exercise for the sake of exercise, particularly things like running or biking. He likes being outside in nature, but at a slower pace.
  • What other author’s book do you think your character would be good in? Selfishly, I wouldn’t mind seeing them in Courtney Lux’s Small Wonders. Although I think as kids, their particular dance might leave Trip eyerolling hard core and perhaps not biting his tongue.
  • What’s your favorite decade and why? Well I’m a fan of the 80’s, but that’s because I was born in the 80’s which gives that decade a leg up automatically. I kid. I think that nostalgia can make decades we weren’t alive for seem awesome but the realities are more complex than that, which makes me want to name a decade I know, which limits my answer. I have to say that the late 90’s were brilliant though. Pop culture wise, you had Friends, the X-Files, the rise of boybands and some great alternative rock as well. Lots of great books – including the first half of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Good stuff.

Blurb

The connection was instantaneous.

Mere moments after Milo Graham’s family relocates to Cape Cod, he meets Andrew Witherell—launching a lifelong friendship built on a foundation of deep bonds, secret forts, and plans for the future. When Milo is called home from college to attend his domineering father’s funeral, he and Andrew finally act on their mutual attraction. But doubtful of his worth, Milo severs all ties with his childhood friend. Years later, the men find themselves home again, and their long-held feelings will not be denied. But will they have what it takes to find lasting love?

 

Pages or Words: 274 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Excerpt

Andrew gladly lets Milo drive his car; he hates driving, especially when he can play radio DJ and watch the scenery go by. He looks at Milo: the way the fading light before dusk changes the tone of his skin; the way the muscles of his arms stand out and his lips curl as he sings along, awfully, to the radio. Milo smiles at him and Andrew flashes a brief one back, wonders how obvious he’s being, and looks back out the window at the slipping sand that spills onto the road and the ramshackle businesses along the road.

“So what got this bee in your bonnet?” he asks suddenly.

Milo shrugs. “You sound like my grandma.”

“Awesome; I like her. Let’s focus.”

“So… okay.” Milo clears his throat and his fingers tighten on the wheel. “I um, think I have something to tell you. But I’m—”

“Is everything okay?” Andrew interrupts, scanning his memory for any signs of additional distress Milo might have displayed in the last few months.

“Yeah. Well. I mean, um… whatever. But I—”

“What? You’re worrying me.”

Milo sighs and pulls into the parking lot of a restaurant with a giant crab on the roof. “I can’t do this and drive.”

“Okay,” Andrew says slowly, then unbuckles his belt and turns to face him. Milo’s face is a little drawn.

“So, I think I might be gay,” Milo blurts. “I mean, I know. I know I am.”

There’s a full minute of silence in the car while Andrew tries to work the words out. Static screeches in his ears, fleetingly numbing his reaction. Focus. He has a few seconds to control his face, to tamp down that sprout of irrational hope seeding despite the chaos, and be ultimately supportive.

“Um.” Andrew licks his lips and tries to pull himself together. That seedling wants to grow into something bigger, and he can’t let it. He looks at Milo’s face, which has morphed into something more vulnerable and worried. Hope is a hollow bell in his chest, ringing loud and dissonant; he wants to vibrate out of his skin with the inappropriateness of his own reactions. This is about Milo, not him. “You aren’t worried that I’m mad or something, are you?” he manages to say.

“I don’t know. Um, your face is doing… a thing,” Milo replies.

Reflexively Andrew puts his hands to his cheeks. His fingers are cold. Okay, so he definitely doesn’t have his face under control. “No, I… wasn’t expecting it, that’s all.” Andrew’s brain, sometimes faster than his mouth, is careening backward. “Maybe I should have had a clue.”

“Oh?”

“Well, for starters, you kissed me back.”

Buy the book:

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Meet the author:

Jude Sierra began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv.” She first began writing poetry as a child in her home country of Brazil, and is still a student of the form.

As a sucker for happy endings and well-written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband’s dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room. She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive and many that have found a home in the fanfiction community.

She is currently working on her Master of Arts in Writing and Rhetoric and managing a home filled with her husband, two young sons, and two cats. Her first novel, Hush, was published in 2015 by Interlude Press.

Where to find the author:

What It Takes will be published by Interlude Press on January 14, 2016. Connect with author Jude Sierra at JudeSierra.com, on Twitter @JudeSierra, on Goodreads at goodreads.com/Jude_Sierra, and on Facebook at facebook.com/JudeMSierra.

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

14-Jan: Book Lovers 4Ever, Lee Brazil, Inked Rainbow Reads

15-Jan: Havan Fellows, Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire

18-Jan: Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, A.M. Leibowitz

19-Jan: Velvet Panic, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

20-Jan: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, The Novel Approach, Kirsty Loves Books

21-Jan: Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews

22-Jan: BFD Book Blog, Happily Ever Chapter

25-Jan: Nautical Star Books, My Fiction Nook

26-Jan: Emotion In Motion, Bayou Book Junkie

27-Jan: Full Moon Dreaming, Alpha Book Club, QUEERcentric Books

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Interlude Press web store gift card + WIT ebook; plus__5 eBook editions of WIT.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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Cover Reveal for M. Leanne Phoenix’s The Covenant ( Covenant Series #1) (excerpt and giveaway)

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The Covenant ( Covenant Series #1) by M. LeAnne Phoenix
Release Date: January 15, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: CoolDudes Publishing
Cover Artist: Kellie Dennis

Blurb

When love is forbidden, who can you trust?

Seventeen year old David has been best friends with Jonathan for as long as he can remember, but the day he sees the pastor’s daughter press a soft kiss to Jonathan’s cheek everything changes. Overcome by jealousy, his explosive reaction reveals a deeper connection that sends their relationship spiraling down into dangerous territory.

When their clandestine love is discovered, they have nowhere to turn for help. The brutal circumstances of their parting test David and Jonathan’s covenant to each other in unimaginable ways. Forced to face their fears, it is in their darkest moments that the two young men discover that the courage, hope, and strength they need to to fight for their love, has been the foundation of their covenant all along.

 

Pages or Words: 280 pages, 71,000 words
Categories: Gay fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Poetry, Romance

Excerpt

David opened his locker to get out his Biology, History, and Music History books and shoved them into his backpack, swallowing hard against the lump in his throat. Jonathan’s comforting hand lit on David’s side as he came to lean on the locker to the right of David’s own, holding up in one paint-besmeared hand, a small piece of black cardboard. On it, David saw symbols, ones he thought might be Greek. Remembering the foreign exchange student from Thessaloniki shared Jonathan’s sixth period art class, he smiled and turned to his boyfriend as he took the proffered gift.

“What does it say?” David couldn’t help but smile at the joy lighting Jonathan’s eyes. “This has to be something that Kallias helped you make—”

“You aren’t wrong,” Jonathan interjected. “That is Greek writing and Kallias even taught me how to say it.”

“Enlighten me, please!” David rasped, focusing wholly on Jonathan’s gift. “Say it and then tell me what it means.”

“If I say it right, it’s agape menomou—”

David furrowed his brow, repeating, “A guppy man oh moo?”

Jonathan slid down the locker in a giggle. “Noooo! I must have said it wrong because your face… oh my gosh, your face!”

Blushing and biting his lower lip, David sank down to his haunches in front of Jonathan. “Then say it again, slower, and tell me what it means!”

Jonathan looked around, and seeing no-one in their locker bank, leaned up to whisper the Greek in his ear, the sounds slower… thicker. “Agape menomou means O love of my heart.

Buy the book:  links to come

 

RC

 

Meet the author:

M. LeAnne Phoenix would tell you that the worst time of her life was the two years that she attempted to take off from writing. If you asked her to explain exactly why she did such a thing, you would most likely get the mad attempt to arch an eyebrow like her dad and then a shake of the head as she told you it was unlucky to speak of such things. Suffice it to say, it will never happen again!
Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas in the mid-1970’s, Ms. Phoenix was young and wild (and even free!) during the crazy wondrous decade known as the 1980’s and the even crazier but now grungy decade of the 1990’s. Music is second only to the muses that live and breathe to fill her mind with beautiful men, and music always helps them to tell their stories. She is never without her iPod or her computer no matter where she goes, although, she does like to hike and take pictures of the sky and the moon, and even the occasional shot of the sun through the branches of a tree.
An avid cat lover, Ms. Phoenix has been owned by many throughout her life, though her current owner is one Lily-Rose, who really would like for her to step away from the keyboard and pay her some attention! After all, hasn’t she earned it?

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Bayou Book Junkie, BFD Book Blog, Gay Book Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, The Hat Party, Happily Ever Chapter, Divine Magazine, Love Bytes, Carly’s Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Nephy Hart, MM Good Book Reviews, KathyMac Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, A.M. Leibowitz, Velvet Panic, Alpha Book Club, Moonbeams Over Atlanta, Mikky’s World of Books, Book Lovers 4Ever, It’s Raining Men, Michael Mandrake

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: A signed print copy of ‘The Covenant’.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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