Focusing In On Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming by Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga (contest)

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Welcomes Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga

and their latest anthology,

Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming!

Rope, wolves, leather, vampires, demons, hats, bears.

Rodeo.

 

Kiernan Kelly, BA Tortuga, and Julia Talbot have combined their wild imaginations and talent to come up with the Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming Anthology.  It’s an irresistible combination of “rope, wolves, leather, vampires, demons, hats, bears”…and the rodeo!

When offered an interview, I grabbed at the chance to float some questions by these terrific authors.  My interview with them follows directly.

Today there’s a contest to enter, an excerpt to read and much more.    The link for the Raffecopter contest can be found here and at the bottom of today’s post.  Winner receives an eBook copy of Midnight Rodeo:Homecoming.  So don’t forget to enter to win.  As always you must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Good luck and Happy Reading!

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Contest:  Rafflecopter Prize: E-Book of Midnight Rodeo.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Visit this link or the one at the bottom of the post to enter.

Book Title: Midnight Rodeo: Homecoming

Authors Name: Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga

 

 

A ScatteredThoughts Interview with Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot and BA Tortuga! 

 

 

STRW:  You all have been friends/SOs (congratulations to B.A. and Julia on their wedding) and co-authors for a long time. Has that affected each other’s writing styles, do you think?

  • Julia Talbot: Thank you! I think it definitely affects our writing. I mean, for one thing, we were all kinda pioneers in taking m/m from online chats and boards to mainstream fiction, so we set our own “house style” if you will. Then there’s the fact that we’ve all co-written and been critique partners for years. Bound to spill over some in each author’s work.
  • BA: Oh, lord yes. There isn’t a single thing that Julia has written that I haven’t read as she worked on it and vice versa. I get to see Kiernan stories chapter by chapter. We all listen to each other talk and visit together. We all share a part of the brain. 😀
  • KKelly: think our writing styles are naturally similar enough to blend nicely in an anthology, yet still remain distinct enough for a reader to recognize the author’s voice in each one.

STRW:   Which comes first? The anthology idea or similar stories you are all working on?

  • KKelly: I usually work on stories simultaneously, with preference given to whichever deadline is looming.
  • BA: I would say that the anthology idea almost always comes first. We go…Ooh! Shiny idea! And then we go… Oh, look. Look at this boy! 😉
  • Julia Talbot:  The anthology idea, generally. We get together at cons and someone says, what if there was this bar…

STRW:  Between the three of you, you all have written about a multitude of professions. Which is your favorite profession to assign a character and why?

  • BA: Well, I’m a cowboy fan, for sure. Rodeo cowboys, working cowboys, country western singers in Stetsons. Honestly, I love a blue-collar working man.
  • Julia Talbot:  Mine is pretty broad. Someone pointed out recently that I like uniforms. Military, cops, doctors, skinwalkers. I like the trappings of a false skin.
  • KKelly: That’s a good question. I like blue collar workers (I find something inherently sexy about a man who works with his hands), but I’ve written lots of white collar professions as well. My favorite (even if I’ve only done it in one story, Change of Heart, and its sequel, Change in Attitude) was to make a shifter a veterinarian. In Change of Heart, the shifter is hit by a truck while in wolf-form, and ends up in his own vet clinic. That was a great deal of fun to write.

STRW: BA, Bullriders or wolf shifters?  Do you have a favorite?  I have been waiting for a wolf shifter bull rider to arrive (although I am not sure that would work due to the predator prey nature) and it looks like I will get my wish along with other supernatural beings.  How did that come about?  Did it involve alcohol or a yarn binge?

  • BA (only):  Well, the funny thing is that the whole idea happened because I couldn’t decide between bullriders and werewolves. They tell you, as a writer, you have to pick a genre, and I was stressing it. Do I write cowboys or werewolves? Cowboys? Werewolves? Ack! Then I went…Oh.

OH!

PARANORMAL COWBOY BUTTS OMG.

And then I may have sparkled. 😉

STRW:   Historical fiction (westerns included) is among the hardest genres to write. Supernatural fiction probably the most fun. Do you each have a favorite type of story to write?

  • KKelly: I write in every genre, but I love to write paranormal romances because the usual laws of physics don’t necessarily apply. My particular favorite are shifters, although I tend to favor unusual creatures over the more familiar wolves. My “In Their Own Skins” trilogy features just about every type of animal-form I could think of – hawks, horses, bear, T-Rex, velociraptors… You just can’t do that in a contemporary romance. LOL
  • Julia Talbot:  I have a long love of historicals. They’re not hard to write for me as I love research. They are a harder sell, though, because they’re so much more subjective. What if someone really hates 16th century Spain? I also love paranormals, because I love the animal nature of shifters, the alien apex predator nature of a vampire.
  • BA: I love my westerns, modern and historicals, but it’s very very difficult for the paranormal elements not to creep in. I also adore writing horror. 😀

STRW:   Cowboys and rodeos are a real passion for many, including myself. Can you all explain why they act as a muse for your writing? Is there a particular bull rider on the circuit today you root for? Or even a bull for that matter?

  • KKelly: I was introduced to bullriding back when I wrote “Riding Heartbreak Road.” I knew next to nothing about the rodeo, but I had this image in my head of a hunky cowboy wearing nothing but his hat and chaps. I knew if I wanted to write the scene, I needed to do research about the rodeo, and since I liked the idea of cowboys trying to stay on the back of a two-thousand pound monster for a mere eight seconds, I narrowed my research to bullriding. I began by watching PBR (Professional Bull Riding) on television, and became so involved in the sport that I began to go to local PBR events. I’ve always been a fan of Guilherme Marchi and Mike Lee, and little Gage Gay is just so darn adorable, I’d like to pick him up and carry him around in my pocket.
  • Julia Talbot:  Oh, my grandpa was a cowboy, and to some extent so was my mom. I married into a family of them. I tend to root for the Brazilian bullriders now, but my all-time favorites are Chris Shivers and Mike White.
  • BA: I grew up with cowboys – my daddy’s a cowboy, my brothers are cowboys. Those are the people I know and love. I can’t imagine choosing another muse. I am totally old school, and currently I’m rooting for the Brazilians in the PBR. Guilherme Marchi makes me fluttery. Will Lowe is my favorite PRCA rider. My all time favorite cowboy is Ty Murray. No, Jim Shoulders. Wait…

STRW: (for BA) I find the older bullriders/bronc riders especially poignant.  It’s such a young man or woman’s sport.  I know and love BA’s Rough Stock series that has some retired cowboys.  But any plans for a story or series about the bull riders or rodeo riders who are forced to retire or leave that lifestyle behind?

  • BA: I actually do have a series in the works called Out to Pasture featuring the ‘old guys’ – old guys in Roughstock are, what? 25? 😉

STRW:  . The PBR and Gay Rodeo circuits…any overlap that you see these days? Has the PBR gotten any more LGBTQ friendly? Or is your writing a way to bring that element to the mainstream?

  • KKelly: I’m not sure if the doors are open yet on the PBR circuit. You don’t hear about gay riders. They’re probably there, but they keep it on the down-low. I’m afraid the PBR isn’t the most open operation, and definitely not as welcoming to everyone as the IGRA (International Gay Rodeo Association). I think the PBR is still very much a “good ol’ boys” network.
  • Julia Talbot:  I wouldn’t be able to speak for any organizations with any certainty. My writing of cowboys in particular is a fantasy of how I would love people to react to all things LGBTQ.
  • BA: All I’ll say on that subject is that, once Julia and I came out the closet, our attendance has gone from 10-12 events a year to maybe 1 a year. I write a fantasy world wherein love is accepted.

STRW:   Vampires or werewolves? Do you all have a favorite and why?

  • Julia Talbot:  Werewolves. I mean, I am a vamp fan since Dracula at 11, and later, Anne Rice and Poppy Z Brite. But I adore writing werebeasts and exploring how their animal side makes them react to human situations.
  • KKelly: Again, I’ve written both, but I do favor werewolves over vampires.  I think there are many reasons for my preference – I’m an animal lover (no, not in THAT way, thank you very much), so the wolves play into that. I like that wolves mate for life, and I enjoy exploring the pack mentality. Wolves are affectionate with each other, strong, agile, and noble creatures. Vampires…yeah, not so much. Vampires are by nature solitary, decadent creatures, usually interested solely in their own survival. Plus, with vampires, unless their love interest is also a vamp, you need to worry about the whole immortality-watching-your-love-age-and-die thing. Werewolves need to worry about three things: the full moon, silver bullets, and wolfsbane. That’s about it. Vampires, on the other hand, need to watch out for garlic, crosses, running water, sunlight, holy water, crucifixes, wooden stakes, etc. In other words, vampires are high maintenance.
  • BA: Werewolves. I mean, I love vamps, but werewolves!!! 😀 I love animals and the whole concept of pack structure and being driven by instinct makes me incredibly happy.

STRW:  Next projects up for each of you?

  • Julia Talbot:  A menage novella called Georgia Knights out in September from TQ. I have the third Elemental Ops book with Changeling Press out in August and a long novella contemporary out in January or February with Dreamspinner. Find all the things at my website, http://www.juliatalbot.com
  • BA: I am working on a m/m contemporary about kids and cowboys tentatively titled “Ever the Same”, Brazilian bullriders, the next story for the Cereus universe, and a contemporary m/m about a redneck musician and his bodyguard. I’m also finishing up a f/f YA novel currently titled, “Stealing Bases”.
  • KKelly: I’m currently working on an m/m YA titled “Mad About the Hatter,” a short story for the next book in the “Butt” series, Butt Babes in Boyland, which I’ve tentatively titled, “Elf Esteem,” and an m/m novel about a vampire (I know, I know – high maintenance) and an angel/vampire hybrid titled “Riding Lucifer.”

 STRW:  That was a butt load of questions and the answers from all three of you were wonderful.  Thank you so much for taking the time to spend a little  time here with us today!

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Author Bios:

  • BA Tortuga:

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds, getting tattooed, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing porn sites in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has answered the call of the high desert mountains. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.

Links:
Website: http://www.batortuga.com
Twitter: @batortuga

  • Kiernan Kelly:

Kiernan Kelly lives in the wilds of the alligator-infested U.S. Southeast, slathered in SPF 45, drinking colorful tropical, hi-octane concoctions served by thong-clad cabana boys.

All right, the truth is that she spends her time locked in the dark recesses of her office, writing gay erotic romance while chained to a temperamental laptop, drinking coffee, and dreaming of thong-clad cabana boys.

Sigh.

To date, Kiernan has over a dozen novels in print and ebook, and a plethora of short stories in both formats.

Links:
Website 
Email:  KiernanKelly@KiernanKelly.com
Facebook

 

  • Julia Talbot:

Julia Talbot lives in the great Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Torquere Press, Ellora’s Cave, and Changeling Press. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved.

Find Julia at:
Twitter  at @juliatalbot
Website  
Facebook

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Midnight Rodeo Homecoming coverMidnight Rodeo: Homecoming
Authors: Kiernan Kelly, Julia Talbot, BA Tortuga

Cover Artist: Anne Squires
Publisher: Torquere Press

Buy Links:    Torquere Press

Blurb(s):

What happens when rodeos start to get too tough for humans to compete in? Midnight Rodeo, of course, where supernatural creatures like shifters and vampires work for the prize money, and for the awe of their audience.

In Welcome to the Pack by BA Tortuga, when head bullfighter Denton is killed by a demon bull, his twin, Denver, comes back to take his place. Denver was gone for years, working mundane rodeos and missing his twin. He’s not sure the pack can heal him since the other bullfighters challenge Denver at every turn. All except Blaine, who’s an outcast himself, and who knows Denver is like no one he’s ever met.

In Oklahoma Rain by Kiernan Kelly, psychic Blaze scouts locations for the rodeo company, Darque and Knight, where he finds another psychic talent, Zack, who’s hot as the Fourth of July. Zack is complicated, though, thanks to his sidekick, Mikey, a damaged kid. Blaze invites the pair back to the rodeo, but not everyone is as happy as Blaze to have them there.

In Big Bear, Little Bear, by Julia Talbot, bear shifter Ben is returning to the rodeo after a long injury recovery. Big bear shifter Ozzie is the barrel man and clown, and he’s been waiting for Ben to come back to the big show. But is Ben ready to ride again, let alone be the lover Ozzie is ready to take on?

Excerpt:

Denver was– wow.

Denton had been stunning, making Blaine stare a lot. A lot. Still, Dent had been off-limits, and he’d bet Denver was, too. No one could be that hot and be like Blaine.

He was the weird one, the one brought into the pack by a she-wolf who had already had a single pup. Blaine figured he was lucky no one had killed him when he was a kid.

Everyone else was broad and wide, shaggy headed with eyes like green glass. All of them came from the same line. Denver was the spitting image of Denton, really. A little harder around the edges, a little more wild. A shit ton more bruised.

The guys had been taking turns. Two a night, just like clockwork, they’d come and challenge Denver. One at midnight, one at three a.m. Greg and Vince went, then Carter and Caul, and finally Hank and Mike. Boom.

He supposed Denver was waiting for him, now. Blaine sighed. He had no intention of trying to take the pack. God, the very idea made his head hurt.
The real question was, were they going to just start over, or was Denver going to get a night off, a chance to sleep before they settled in town for tonight’s show?

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Tour Dates/Stops: 7/28 – 8/22

 

BadgeMR Homecoming Rev
7/28: Prism Book Alliance
7/29: Parker Williams
7/30: Up All Night, Read All Day
7/31: Amanda C. Stone
8/1: LeAnn’s Book Reviews
8/4: Love Bytes
8/5: Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Jade Crystal
8/6: The Hat Party
8/7: Night Owl Reviews, Because Two Men Are Better Than One
8/8: The Novel Approach
8/11: Decadent Delights
8/12: Wake Up Your Wild Side
8/13: Tara Lain
8/14: MM Good Book Reviews, Emotion in Motion
8/15: Iyana Jenna, Rainbow Gold Reviews
8/18: Fallen Angel Reviews, Velvet Panic
8/19: Hearts on Fire
8/20: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Dawn’s Reading Nook
8/21: Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Kimi-Chan
8/22: My Fiction Nook, Smoocher’s Voice
Contest:   Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopter Prize: E-Book of Midnight Rodeo

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Review: A Chip in His Shoulder (Falling Sky #1) by LA Witt

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Rating: 4.5 stars

A Chip in his ShoulderWhen assassin Liam Lansing receives the name of his next target, he sees the chance for not only a big monetary pay off but a chance for revenge as well. The name of his next victim is Daniel Harding, heir to the Cybernetix empire and the reason for Liam’s descent into hell and his life as a contract killer.  A formerly wealthy vampire, Liam now lives in The Gutter, the place where all the earth’s industry and refuse (material and human)  is consigned. Liam once lived in The Sky, with the clean air and fantastic skyscraper towers where the wealthy live and play, where Liam’s family still live.  All lost because he took a human lover, Daniel Harding.

Daniel Harding hates his father and Cybernetix, the modification empire his father founded.  The firm exists on the exploitation of it’s workers, the environment, and Daniel hates that the modifications are turning people into more machines than human beings.  Even the vampires has been seduced into the modification frenzy that Cybernetix promises.  But Daniel has been imprisoned by his father in his condo in The Sky and waits his father’s next move in their war between them.

Liam’s hatred for Daniel runs to the father as well.  So taking money from Harding to kill his son seemed like a wonderful idea until he finds out that Harding doubled crossed him and has laid a trap for Liam, with Daniel being the lure.  But when Liam and Daniel comes together again after years apart, will Liam’s hatred hold true or  can he put it aside long enough for them to work together and escape the trap planned for them both.

It is hard for me to believe that A Chip in His Shoulder is a mere 78 pages, as it is such a densely packed vision of a vividly described dystopian world.  Witt really makes both The Gutter and The Sky come to life, especially the torments of life in The Gutter.  I had visions of Victorian England in the worst parts of the city, blackened by coal, air dense with sooty particles.  The Gutter has much the same acrid flavor and the author makes you feel the grimness of life there and the poverty of spirit acutely.  The Gutter is contrasted beautifully by The Sky with its dwellings, sleek structures of steel and glass that shine brightly in air that is being constantly cleaned to the detriment of all who live beneath in The Gutter.

Dropped into this setting are just wonderful characters that will find you craving more of their backhistories.  Liam, the reluctant contract killer, who once was an idealistic young man in love with the wrong person.  Liam was then, like many a fallen hero, thrown out of heaven or in this case The Sky for his impudence and life choices and lands in hell.  During his confrontation with Daniel, we get glimpses of just how far Liam fell but nothing further.  Perhaps that will come in future books.  But it all adds up to a marvelous, multilayered character who captures our empathy and imagination from the start and never lets it go.

Daniel Harding is that recognizable erstwhile well off idealist whose privileged background has given him the reason as well as outlet for his pent-up anger and outrage.  He is perhaps not as immediately emotionally accessible as Liam, but as their confrontation continues, it becomes clear that the author has given just as much thought to Daniel as she has Liam, and that there are hidden depths waiting to surface in him.  Daniel really grew on me in this story and one of it’s major frustrations is that the book stops just when you feel you getting a handle on him as a character.

The plot is tightly woven and intense, the swift-paced action  moving the story forward at a clip.  Really, parts of this story will take your breath away.  Had this been a movie, the popcorn would have been munched at as rapid a pace as the story unfolded.  The au;thor really knows how to build the suspense and keep it balanced right on the edge, before she drops you  over.  L.A. Witt does such a great job that when the end does come, you are not quite prepared to let this couple and their story go.

And that is my major and only quibble with this story – the length.  The author just did not seem to complete the picture she started painting.  The outline and major elements are brilliant, the swatches of paint bold and applied with fervor but just a little more detail was needed to complete this portrait of a couple and world in the first stages of revolution.  I just loved it and am moving on quickly to its sequel,  Something New Under The Sun (Falling Sky #2).  Really, what an amazing start to a new series.  A Chip in His Shoulder is another example of why L.A. Witt has become a “must read” for me and many others.  Don’t pass it by.

Cover:  Cover art by L.C. Chase.  I find the cover very dramatic.  I only wish there had been some way to convey some of the modifications on the model that are so central to the characters and the story.