Release Blitz for Without A Compass by Helen Juliet (excerpt and giveaway)

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Book Title: Without a Compass

Author: Helen Juliet

Publisher: Self Published

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: August 24 2017

Length: Words: 80K

Genre/s: Contemporary Romance, New Adult,

Fish Out of Water, Gay For You, First Time Gay, Opposites Attract

Blurb

Riley Anderson isn’t an outdoorsy guy. He’s a desk jockey, office by day and couch by night. So when his family insists on a camping trip for his father’s 50th birthday he’s hardly thrilled. Things only get worse when Kai shows up, too.

Kai Brandt’s more than eager to go camping with his best buddy, but his buddy’s little brother Riley is all grown up now, and hotter than hell. Kai’s willing to help him pitch more than just a tent… Which is weird, because Kai never swung that way before.

Events conspire to out Riley’s secret AND leave him stranded in Kai’s care for longer than they’d planned for. Trapped together in the wilderness, they’re going to have to face a few hard truths if they’re going to make it back to the world.

But even if they manage it, the experience will leave them forever changed.

Without a Compass is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA and no cliffhanger.

Without A Compass

Excerpt

He’d only just managed to get his boxers on in time when the outer door swung inwards and let in a burst of light. For a moment he couldn’t see and he threw his hand up to shield his eyes. “Hello?” he squeaked.

“Oh, hey,” a deep voice replied.

Riley froze as the door swung back and he was left looking at a sweat-soaked Kai. His vest and very short shorts clung to his damp, muscular body. The vision it offered up made Riley gulp.

The tattoos on his arms appeared to gleam under the sheen of sweat from whatever workout he’d just completed. Amongst the varied designs, Riley could make out a bear and a skull surrounded by roses. The colours were muted. His artist had used subtle shades to create tone. The overall effect was powerful but not overwhelming.

Plus, it didn’t hurt that the arms carrying the decoration were huge and chiselled to perfection. Riley had almost died of happiness the couple of times Kai had casually draped one of them across his shoulders the night before.

He remembered where he was. He needed to do or say something before the moment stretched out any further and became weird.

His natural instinct was to snatch his towel up and cover his body. That would definitely make things awkward though. So Riley used all his self-control to merely pick it up as casually as he could and started drying off his hair. Just like you’re at the gym, he told himself.

“Morning,” he said brightly. “You go for a run too?”

Kai blinked a couple of times. It was obvious he was looking at Riley’s almost totally naked body and Riley tried his best not to shy away in shame. No, he wasn’t nearly as ripped as Kai was, but he knew he didn’t look too bad. This was probably awkward for Kai too, especially after last night. But if they could just move past it, it would be fine.

As if coming out of a daze, Kai shook his head and walked forward. His towel was slung over his shoulder and he had a simple all-in-one shower-gel-and-shampoo bottle clutched in his hand. “Oh yeah mate,” he said cheerfully, answering Riley’s question. “It’s beautiful around here. It would be rude not to go exploring.”

Riley chuckled and thankfully found himself dry enough to pull on his shorts. He felt slightly less vulnerable with that small amount of clothing protecting him.

“I had to sweat out the hangover. How are you feeling?”

He didn’t just mean after the alcohol. But he wondered if Kai would pretend nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He wouldn’t blame him if he did; in fact, it would probably be best for both of them if that’s how they moved forward.

“I’m good,” he said, stopping at the sink next to where Riley’s products were littered. “Can I borrow some of that?”

Riley nodded and offered up his toothpaste. Kai pulled a toothbrush from his back pocket and got to scrubbing.

As Kai was unable to talk for the moment, Riley applied his deodorant in increasingly awkward silence. He should think of something to say, something funny! Something that wasn’t ‘So, do you regret that kiss last night? Because I don’t.’

Instead, he chewed at his lips and began picking up his various tubes and tubs to collect them back into his wash kit.

“Whereabouts did you-”

“How did you-”

They both looked at each other, then laughed. Kai spat out his toothpaste and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “I was just wondering how you slept.”

“Oh, fine thanks, fine.” Riley paused as Kai began peeling off his vest. “Uh, you?”

Kai rubbed his face. He seemed a bit sheepish for some reason. Riley hardly noticed though as he was focusing extremely hard on not staring at his pectorals.

“Yeah, fine,” he grunted. But he offered up a smile that cancelled out whatever had bothered him.

Buy Links

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Link

Author Page

Without A Compass

Meet the Author

Helen Juliet is an M/M author currently living and working in London. She’s been writing stories since she was young, and got her start publishing fanfiction of sites like Wattpad. Fifteen years and over a million words later, she discovered the world of M/M fiction and found it was just as good as the fanfiction she was reading. She fell head over heels in love with the genre and became determined to try her hand at a book herself. On December 31st, 2016, she rang in the new year by publishing her first original novel, and hasn’t looked back since.

Social Media Links:

Blog/Website

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Group – Helen Juliet Books  

Twitter

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five copies of A Ballad of Confetti, Cake and Catastrophes with swag.

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Release Blitz Schedule

WITHOUT A COMPASS SCHEDULE

August 24

Bookaholic & KindleTangents and TissuesDrops of Ink, Making it Happen

Diverse ReaderLouise LyonsLily G. Blunt 

August 25

Kimmers’ Erotic Book BanterThe Way She Reads

Love Unchained Book Reviews,

Millsy Loves BooksWe Three Queens, My Fiction Nook

August 26

Follow the ReaderSmokin’ Hot Reads Book BlogBayou Book Junkie

Sur l’étagère,  Gay Book ReviewsWe Like It Big Book Blog,

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue WordsValerie Ullmer

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

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Release Blitz for IT COULD HAPPEN by Mia Kerick (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: It Could Happen
Author: Mia Kerick
Release Date: June 5th 2017
Genre: New Adult, MMM Romance

It Could Happen

BLURB

Three misfits, mismatched in every way—Henry Perkins, Brody Decker, and Danny Denisco—have been friends throughout high school. Now in their senior year, the boys realize their relationship is changing, that they’re falling in love. But they face opposition at every turn—from outside and from within themselves. Moving to the next level will take all the courage, understanding, and commitment they can muster. But it could happen.

Henry is a star athlete and the son of religious parents who have little concern for the future he wants. Brody is a quirky dreamer and adrenaline junkie, and Danny is an emo artist and the target of bullies. Despite their differences they’ve always had each other’s backs, and with each of them facing a new and unique set of challenges, that support is more important than ever. Is it worth risking the friendship they all depend on for the physical and romantic relationship they all desire?

In this unconventional new adult romance, three gay teens brave societal backlash—as well as the chance that they might lose their treasured friendship—to embark on a committed polyamorous relationship.

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | DSP (ebook) | DSP (paperback)

Find It Could Happen on Goodreads

EXCERPT

That was when Henry forgot all about keeping quiet, jerked at the door handle like a madman, and yelled, “Let us in! Let us in!”

It was like a miracle when the door slowly swung open. Danny stood in front of us wearing this strange, old-fashioned, white-nightgown thing he must have found at a thrift shop, because they sure don’t sell them at the outlet mall where I shop. If he were clutching a candleholder, he would have looked like an orphan in a Dickens’ novel. Danny’s fine black hair was rumpled and stuck to his head, and, like Henry said, his eyes were both blackened and swollen. His bottom lip was puffy too.

“What the fuck?” Henry didn’t shout it. He just asked. Then he rushed to Danny and hugged him. I couldn’t see Danny at all because he was swallowed up in Henry’s embrace, so I used the time to collect myself. I’m the one who’s supposed to keep my act together. I swallowed over and over until the lump in my throat went away, and when Henry finally let Danny go, I closed the door and told them to sit down on the bed.

Danny was oddly obedient. He took Henry’s arm and led him to the bed. While they pushed back the rumpled sheet and blankets and sat down, I stood in front of them and asked, “What happened to you, Danny?”

He said, “Nothing,” flopped back on the bed, and pulled a pillow over his head.

So I asked again, “What happened to your face?”

The pillow muffled Danny’s voice, but it sounded like he said, “It’s not just my face.” Henry reached down and pulled the nightgown up to Danny’s knees. His legs were covered in cuts and bruises, as though he’d been kicked in the shins too many times to count.

“I’m gonna fuckin’ kill him.” I think Henry was the one to say this, but it could as easily have been me.

GIVEAWAY: WIN $10 Amazon gift card

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About the Author

Mia

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

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Christi Snow on Romancing St. Louis and her latest release “Believe in the Wish’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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Title:  Believe in the Wish

Author: Christi Snow

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: May 11, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: ~55,000 words

Genre: New Adult, enemies to lovers, forbidden love, twins, contemporary romance, mourning death

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Christi Snow here today talking about her latest novel, Believe in the Wish. Welcome, Christi.

✒︎

Romancing St. Louis by Christi Snow

I try to write most of my books in places that I’m familiar with, even though I may use made up town names…i.e. Snowcroft is based on a real New Mexico mountain tourist town where we lived when we were first married (many, many moons ago), but that wasn’t the name of it.

For Believe in the Wish, I chose to put the characters in St. Louis, specifically a cross between two of my favorite towns that are suburbs of St. Louis… Kirkwood and St. Charles. I love Kirkwood because it’s filled with the old, big houses like you see in Meet Me In St. Louis. It’s not hard to imagine the carriages driving down some of the roads in that modern-day quaint little town.

Although none of these huge mansions make an appearance in Believe in the Wish, the entire picturesque quality and cozy ambiance of the town does.

Before we moved to Texas when my husband retired from the military, we lived in another suburb of St. Louis…Belleville, Illinois. Our entire family fell in love with St. Louis. 

St. Louis is one of those perfect cities. It has tons of history…the Lewis and Clark expedition came through there, but the Mississippi has been a major waterway for this country the entire time people have lived here. 

When we lived there, they had pro football (Rams, who have since moved), pro hockey (St. Louis Blues), AND pro baseball teams (St. Louis Cardinals). It’s also the home of Budweiser, which means when friends and family come to town, you can go tour the plant and drink free beer. Double win. The same goes for kids theme parks like Grant’s Farm…seriously all kids parks like this should offer free ice-cold beer to parents.

St. Louis is a major city with all the amenities that go with it, but it never felt overwhelming or huge when we visited it. We regularly went into the city…for shopping, entertainment, festivals, and activities. We truly loved it there.

So when it came time for this book, St. Louis was an easy fit for location. Plus it offered lots of options for the tasks that Emma left Ethan and Hawk to do. 

My favorite scene is the two of them going up the Arch. Not only is that scene pivotal to the story…hello, first kiss…but it’s simply fun, because the Arch and the ability to travel up it is something unique to St. Louis. And I promise you, once you’ve gone on that little, weird roller coaster ride up the inside, you will never forget it. There are videos on YouTube about riding the tiny cars up to the top. It’s wild…and yes, sometimes a bit eerie and scary, but it’s an experience everyone should have.

I hope that you see a bit of the city I loved through this book, Believe in the Wish. While the romance is most definitely the focus, I thought the romance of St. Louis provided the perfect backdrop for two of my favorite men and their guardian angel.

Synopsis

I buried my twin sister six months after she found out she had cancer. Her funeral was three months ago. Today is our birthday and it started with delivery of letters from her.

It seems she didn’t trust me to move on after her death. She knows me too well. But how can I go on when my other half is just…gone? That’s not something I can recover from with a snap of my fingers. But I also can’t ignore her instructions even though I’d be perfectly content to cuddle up with my buddy, Johnnie Walker, and call it a year.

She has a list of things for me to do and there are rules attached.

There’s one major problem besides the fact it’s been three months since I left the house. I have to do all these things with her jerk of an ex, Hawk Simmons. He abandoned her shortly after she found out she was sick. If that wasn’t enough to make this a really bad idea, the fact that he makes an appearance in all my nighttime fantasies probably does.

I don’t think I can do this, but I owe it to my sister’s memory to try.

This is a stand-alone male/male contemporary romance novel.

Excerpt

Katya ended her call and promptly pushed the ‘away’ button for receiving phone calls. “I’m sorry. No more calls. They may not think so, but they can survive without me for an hour or so while we have our chat.”

Ethan’s stomach rolled over. That brought them to the question of the hour…chat about what? But he was almost afraid to ask at this point. Instead, he redirected. “Do you have your own firm, or do you work for someone else?”

She raised an eyebrow at him, but with a slight tilt of her head she must have seen something in his expression because she answered, “I own my own firm. When I graduated from law school, I went into a partnership that was later dissolved when I bought my partner out. It’s all mine now, which keeps me very busy.”

He grimaced. “And that’s further complicated by hermits like me who refuse to answer phone calls or mail deliveries. Sorry about that.”

“No.” She shook her head. “It’s time for you to stop apologizing. This is a hard time for you and that’s okay. To a certain extent, that’s the way it should be…”

She hesitated for a moment. “At least for a little while. You’re allowed to grieve. But Emma knew this would be an issue for you, so she made plans.”

“What kind of plans?”

Katya reached into her briefcase and pulled out a file. She reached inside and pulled out an envelope that she handed to him. On the front was his name, written in Emma’s handwriting. Suddenly it was hard to breathe.

“What is this?” he whispered.

“The first of your instructions. You need to open and read it.”

He didn’t want to. He didn’t know why, but he really didn’t want to. “I’d rather wait until I’m at home.” At his house, if he fell apart, he could do it without witnesses.

She shook her head kindly. “No, that won’t work. She was very specific in how she wanted this all to go. I need you to open it now.”

Ethan swallowed against the huge lump in his throat as he tried to find air to breathe. His heart pounded in his chest. Surely, everyone around them could hear that.

“It’s okay,” she said softly. “I promise.”

“That’s where you’re wrong.” He glanced up at her. “It’s never going to be okay again.” His voice cracked.

She lowered her lids, and her lips compressed into a tight line as if his grief was too much for her.

His hands shook as he turned the envelope over, lifting the sealed flap. It had to be his imagination, but he could have sworn that he smelled a faint whiff of the strawberry lotion Emma always liked to wear.

For just a moment, he shut his eyes and tried to calm down his emotions going haywire. He didn’t know whether to be angry that she’d done this to him, sad that she wasn’t here to tell him whatever information this letter held, or scared at whatever Emma had cooked up for him.

Throughout her life, she’d kept him hopping. As the exuberant, outgoing twin, she’d always dragged him into trouble when all he’d wanted to do was stay home. In that regard, this whole scheme of hers was very apropos.

He took a deep breath and pulled out the single sheet of paper and unfolded it. At the very first words on the paper, his eyes filled with tears.

Happy Birthday, baby brother.

He glanced up in disbelief at Katya. “It’s May fifteenth?”

At her silent nod, he gazed down at the paper in his hands, his eyes filling with tears. It was their twenty-fifth birthday. The first birthday he’d ever celebrated without her. She’d only been twenty-four when she’d died. How unfair was that? To her. To him. To the world that missed out on everything she had to offer it.
Emma’s handwriting wavered in front of his eyes, but he continued to read, not knowing what else to do. His other option—sobbing in the middle of the restaurant—would be mortifying.

I’m sorry I’m not there to go out partying with you. Remember when we were little and you didn’t want to share your birthday with me? Now you get your wish.

He’d been a horrible person. The tears overflowed his eyes. He’d made that wish more years than he even wanted to remember. How selfish was that? How could he have wished for a life without her in any way? She’d been his light.

Katya shoved a tissue into his hand.

Right. He was in public. Time to get it together.

My bad. It was probably too soon for a joke like that.

I love you, Ethan.

I know I didn’t say that enough—you know emotional displays and I didn’t mix—but beyond anything else that happens over the next few weeks, KNOW THAT. I love you, and if I could have figured out a way to stay, I would have…for you.

But God obviously had different plans for me, so now I’ll just have to content myself with being your guardian angel for the next seventy-five years. I’ll have your back, bro. I promise.

And in the interest of having your back, that’s why Katya is here.

I know you. You’re stubborn, and right now, I imagine that you’re more than a little sad. I get that, but that doesn’t mean you stop living. My death means you have to live twice as much because you have to do it enough for both of us. I’m counting on you.

But, again, I know you, so I’ve enlisted some help from my friends just to get you going.

Make a Wish, Ethan. Believe in it. It’s time to live.

~Emma

When Ethan finished reading, he took several deep breaths. The sobs had welled in his throat, and it was all he could just to hold them inside.

“You okay?” Katya asked.

“Yeah.” His voice sounded husky, but he’d managed to say the word, so he figured that for a win.

“Then it’s time for step two.”

He looked up just as she held a flaming lighter to the candle on top of a cupcake. She pushed it in front of him. “Make a wish and blow. All you have to do is believe.”

As he sat there, looking at the flickering candle, it occurred to him at just how sad this was. His twin was dead, and he was at some bizarre birthday celebration with someone he’d never even met before. Even from the grave, Emma was working to pull him out of his shell.

So he closed his eyes and blew as he made his wish.

I wish I wasn’t so alone.

But when he opened them, nothing had changed. He was still sitting in a restaurant with a woman he didn’t know, mourning the twin sister who’d died. Not that he expected a miracle, but Emma wanted him to believe.

Believe.

How was that even possible? She’d been the one who believed in the magic of things like wishes and fairy tales. What had that gotten her? She’d died before she’d even had the chance to live. What kind of magic could he possibly believe in with that kind of reality?

Purchase

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

As an avid reader her entire life, Christi Snow always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy she felt when she read. But…she never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When she turned 41, she decided it was time to go after her dream and started writing. Within four months, she’d written over 150,000 words and hasn’t stopped since.

She’s found her calling by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. She’s truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.

Her tagline is… Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. She’s loving this adventure!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Instagram

Tour Schedule

5/11 ~ Hearts on Fire Reviews

5/11 ~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

5/12 ~ MM Good Book Reviews

5/13 ~ Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

5/14 ~ Dog-Eared Daydreams

5/15 ~ Happily Ever Chapter

5/16 ~ Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy

5/16 ~ MM Book Escape

5/17 ~ Book Reviews Janisf & Leisha

5/17 ~ BFD Book Blog

5/18 ~ Dirty Books Obsession

5/19 ~ Reviews for Book Lovers

5/19 ~ Love Bytes Reviews

5/20 ~ Bayou Book Junkie

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A MelanieM Review: Shelter the Sea (The Roosevelt #2) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.

The Roosevelt series by Heidi Cullinan is unusual and quite wonderful to begin with. It’s about young men whose disabilities don’t allow them to live and mostly function in the “mean’, the normal world.  It’s almost guaranteed to make some people uncomfortable enough to not want to pick the books up and read them.  If so, they would be missing out on an astonishing jewel of a series and characters, no people so memorable and heroic I’ve already read this story twice.

The Roosevelt is a special needs living facility, home to Emmet Washington, a highly functioning autistic young man and his boyfriend Jeremey, who has severe anxiety and depression disorders, along with other disabled young adults.  The story alternates between Emmet’s and Jeremey’s pov, a powerful framework.  Cullinan’s strong and moving narrative allows you to delve into each young man’s mind and see how they live with their disabilities, how it affects speech, thinking and even emotions and connectivity to each other.  The commonplace adjustments they make, not only between themselves, but for others within The Roosevelt and visiting friends (this includes making signs that say “silent communication going on”),  well,  time and again, I found my  own preconceptions needing swift readjustments as I was swept more deeply into Emmet and Jeremey’s story and relationship.

There is so much to this  story that the author fits in, easily I must say, that enriches both the characters lives and the story, while letting the narrative progress and flow forward effortlessly.  I found myself learning about service dogs and sensory sacks, about ball pits and great companies but mostly I learned about love, the power of love from Emmet and Jeremey.  Oh, and The Roosevelt Blues Brothers!  I really wish somehow Heidi Cullinan had come up with a pic for that!

Such an extraordinary love story.  Honestly, I think this review is a failing me because I really don’t have the  words I’m searching for to describe how this book made me feel.  The laughter, the tears I shed, the hope it left me with, all the reassessing I’m doing about my preconceived thoughts about disabilities and group homes.  This book shook me up in a good way, in the way books should.

The story starts off with Emmet telling the reader that he accomplished his goals and this is the story of how he did it.  So right away, the tone is one of incredible hope.  That hope carries you through the book, even when things look realistically painful and down, right through to that heartwarming ending. For me, this story is well, perfect in its own way, right up to the title, Shelter the Sea, something that Emmet wants to do. How that works out?  Well, this is a book you should read to find out.  Its one of my Best of 2017.

Cover art is gorgeous and so pertinent to the story.  I love it.

Sales Links

Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo,  Smashwords

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 190 pages
Published April 18th 2017 by Heidi Cullinan
Original TitleShelter the Sea
ASINB06XYT6SNL
Edition LanguageEnglish
URL http://www.heidicullinan.com/shelterthesea
Series The Roosevelt #2
setting Iowa (United States)

Francis Gideon on Tattoos and Transitions and their release Hopeless Romantic (guest blog and giveaway)

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Hopeless Romantic by Francis Gideon
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: Vivian Ng

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Francis Gideon here today on tour for their new release, Hopeless Romantic.  Welcome, Francis!

📚

Hello everyone! I’m Francis Gideon and I’m touring for my new release Hopeless Romantic, a trans rom-com of sorts. Follow along this week as I talk about all thinks romantic comedy, trans identity, and being pretty in pink! I’m looking forward to sharing some serious 1980s nostalgia; be sure to comment with your own bit of nostalgia for a $10 giveaway for Riptide publishing.

Tattoos and Transitions

In an earlier post on my blog tour, I talked about how Nick and Katie–the main love interests in Hopeless Romantic–are kind of like my partner and I. One of the major differences in that regard, though, is that my partner has zero tattoos and I have all of them.

When Nick first meets Katie, he doesn’t quite notice her tattoos because her jacket hides most of them. As the story goes on, and of course as they become more familiar with one another minus clothing, he starts to see just how many she has. Katie is covered in tattoos, and many of them, like my own, mark different stages in her gender identity realization and her transition. Her ‘shitty’ butterfly tattoo on her shoulder represents this the most since the butterfly is often used to describe transition itself; starting out in a cocoon and blooming into something more. But as Katie points out to Nick, that idea is old and outdated, and kinda shitty just like her tattoo. She doesn’t view herself as a butterfly anymore, because it implies that she must wait in order to be beautiful, when in reality, she’s beautiful how she is now. Her tattoos after that point become a way to rebel against the standards of beauty that trans women are often forced to comply with. And of course, Nick finds them beautiful–like her.

I’m not a trans woman like Katie, but nonbinary, so my tattoos communicate slightly different things, but they are definitely a record of my transition. I have two tattoos of Artemis and Orion on my lower back, sketched from woodcuts of the Greek Gods, as a way to communicate a dual my gender identity; I also have a series of tarot cards that represent part of my coming to terms with not transitioning medically (so in many ways, my tattoos here became my transition), and I have several other smaller tattoos that marked particular salient moments–like a boy from a children’s book and a grandfather clock.

Both of those last tattoos are on my inner arm. My tattoo artist told me that what we get on our inner arms is what we most want to protect. So to me, those two tattoos represent the parts of my trans identity that I wanted to keep the most: childhood nostalgia in the kids’ book, and my future legacy–since the clock was an inheritance gift in my family.

For Nick, his only tattoo is his inner arm–and it’s a heart with the city of Toronto inside of it. To him, that’s his legacy and his future. Though he lives and works in a town two hours away from Toronto, the Toronto community is where he got his first degree, where he met his friends, and where he found himself. It’s also where he first kisses Katie, and so the city–and his love for her–become intertwined.

About Hopeless Romantic

Nick Fraser is a true romantic. He wants the guy instead of the girl, but other than that, he wants everything his favorite rom-coms depict: the courtship, the passionate first kiss, the fairy-tale wedding. But after breaking up with the love of his life, Nick wonders if anything fairy-tale will ever happen for him.

Then he meets Katie, who’s just like a rom-com heroine. She’s sharp, funny, sweet, and as into music and punk culture as Nick is. What’s more, he’s incredibly attracted to her—even though she’s a woman. Nick has never considered that he might be bisexual, but his feelings for Katie are definitely real.

When Katie reveals that she’s transgender, Nick starts to see how much he doesn’t understand about the world, queer identity, and himself. He is hopelessly in love with Katie, but this isn’t a fairy tale, and Nick’s friends and family may not accept his new relationship. If he wants it all, he has to have the courage to make his fantasy a reality.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a nonbinary writer who dabbles in romance, mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal genres. Francis credits music, along with being an only child to a single mother, as why they write so much now. Long nights at home were either spent memorizing lyrics to pop-punk bands or reading voraciously. Add a couple of formative experiences in university, a network of weird artist friends, and after years of writing stories Francis never showed to anyone, they now have books to their name.

After receiving an MA in English literature, Francis wanted to do something a bit more fun. They soon found the LGBTQ romance community and fell in love on the spot. Since then, Francis has attempted to balance writing romances with as many different types of couples as possible while also attending school for their PhD. When not writing fiction or teaching university classes, Francis works on scholarly articles on everything from character deaths in the TV show Hannibal, the online archive of Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, and transgender representation on YouTube. Francis is a middle name, used to keep students from Googling their teacher and asking far too many questions.

Francis lives in Canada with their partner, Travis, where they often spend nights disagreeing about what TV show to watch and making bad puns whenever possible. Travis receives dedications in Francis’s novels because he tolerates Francis’s long hours and listens to random story ideas late into the night. Francis also might be a bit of a hopeless romantic—as if you didn’t already guess.

Connect with Francis:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Hopeless Romantic, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 15, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Join Us for the Release Day Blitz for Justin’s Season by S. M. Sawyer (excerpt)

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Title:  Justin’s Season

Author: S. M. Sawyer

Publisher: Ninestar Press

Release Date: August 6, 2016 (print), February 29, 2016 (e-book)

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 101,300 words

Genre: New Adult, historical fiction, redemption, destiny, acceptance, sports, coming out, interconnected, small town, flashback, AIDS

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

The year is 1988, and Justin Davis, a former nationally recruited football prep star, awakens from twelve years of masking his shame with drugs and alcohol to find he has been returned to his former self through what can only be described as a miracle.
Triggered by the confirmation of his closely guarded sexual orientation, his fall from grace of over a decade before sets the stage for his redemption. The fulfillment of his destiny is prompted by Providence and the serendipitous deeds of those who are a part of his new life, as their intertwined lives are likewise impacted. Though his rapid evolvement and acceptance of his homosexuality is countered by setbacks, Justin perseveres and eventually triumphs as fate, he believes, has led him back to the sports arena to recapture past glories.
In a stunning finale, however, he learns his destiny is not what he had envisioned. His calling has been thrust upon him by circumstances beyond his control. Can Justin embrace it and become the man he was always meant to be?

Excerpt

A sliver of light from the early morning sun came through an exposed slit of the basement window blind, creeping its way against the wall until it came to rest upon Justin’s eyes. He lay sleeping in a jumbled mass of musty blankets on an old steel-framed bed. After a few moments of the sun’s focused rays beckoning him to awaken, he flinched and turned his head away, and then rolled onto his left side toward a dark corner in a vain attempt to deny the day’s arrival.

For Justin, it had been another long night, and the reminder of a new day came with a reluctant anticipation akin to that of a prisoner serving a life sentence without a chance for parole. He lay there motionless, holding the sheets close to his chin as he gazed upon an iconic black-and-white poster of James Dean. The actor walked down a puddled street with a cigarette between his lips, hands in his coat pockets, and his collar turned up to keep the cold and drizzle at bay. Marching down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams and into immortality.

Though it had been hanging on the wall for fifteen years, Justin, enjoying a rare and lucid moment of circumspection, studied the poster in silence as if he were looking at it for the first time. You did it right, Mr. Dean, he thought. You died early…frozen in time. Leaving everyone wanting more. Never having to answer for life’s failings.

The unwelcome light from the sun continued to fill the room, exposing the remnants of Justin’s life before the troubles. Dusty citations, press clippings, photographs, scholarship offer letters, and trophies from his high school years. Collected over a decade before, they now served as the remaining threads that connected to past glories.

This is what happens, isn’t it? You peak early and get a little cocky that you’re in control, and instead of leaving on top, you live long enough to mutate into some bad apple that people use to warn their kids. “Don’t get too full of yourself or you’ll turn out like Justin Davis.” That’s right…I’m not remembered for what I was and what I should have been. It’s easier for voyeurs to whisper among themselves about the broken, washed-up, slow-motion train wreck I’ve become—how I let my charmed life slip away.

Justin sat up and swung his legs over as if getting out of bed, but stayed sitting there to give his head time to clear from another all-night bender and to gain a semblance of balance before stepping onto the cold cement floor. His still imposing six-foot-four-inch body, an inch taller than in his high school days, was out of shape and bloated. It served as a metaphor for everything else his life had become, contrary to the Greek god physique he’d had when he was seemingly in total charge of his life and circumstances.

His blond hair was long and greasy, and his face contorted by the miseries of daily self-flagellation through alcohol, drugs, and slovenly habits. His tongue felt thick and dry, and his eyes appeared as if seared on an iron skillet. He did his best to gather whatever strength remained to get up and to live what had become his own recurring Groundhog Day. He wanted water to quench his alcohol-induced thirst and to be bathed by a sympathetic and nonjudgmental geisha, washing away impurities and regret. But again he thought of sleep and of beckoning the dreams to reacquaint him with his previous life. He eased his head onto the pillow with hopes that sleep would allow him to wander back to his senior year in high school—to a time when he was admired by all and treated as the town’s favorite son.

Justin Davis was the class hero and the most likely to succeed. He had excelled at everything—sports, scholastics, popularity—and as the top quarterback recruit in the nation he received offers from scores of college football powerhouses representing the Big Ten and other major conferences. Why then, he continually asked himself, had he let his guard down—putting everything on the line and seeking confirmation from strangers?

Throughout his life he had felt that guardian angels were with him, but they’d abandoned him when he needed them most, so they could steward over someone more deserving…someone who wouldn’t risk all for a taste of what he had been brought up to consider the forbidden fruit. He couldn’t explain it, but life’s confusions made him feel that he no longer fit the role his angels had paved for him. That maybe he’d had a hand in sabotaging it before it went too far; a secret he kept hidden from himself and others with the aid of any mind-numbing substance he could get his hands on.

With his room in the basement of his brother’s home now bathed in full light, Justin drifted back to sleep, and from his sleep he could hear the marching band and cheers from the packed stadium as he led his team, charging onto the field through the gauntlet of cheerleaders. In reliving the moment, he managed a slight smile as his dreams took him back twelve years to the fall of 1976 and the sound of the PA system announcing the starting teams for the state of Ohio’s high school football championship game.

And as the dreams continued and the light of the sun streamed through the basement’s walk-out French door and remaining windows, Justin subconsciously felt a strange and unique sensation upon his dormant soul. The feeling of his angels returning to envelop his body like fresh snow on a blemished landscape—lovingly transforming his unkempt and damaged being. They had come to caress and heal his body and spirit, and renew his faith to trust what lay ahead.

Purchase

Ninestar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author

S. M. Sawyer is a retired military officer. He has also served as a defense contractor and as President for a nationally accredited charity whose mission is to recognize exceptional maritime rescues and assist voluntary search and rescue organizations worldwide. He lives in Virginia with his wife, Natalie. They have five grown children. Justin’s Season is his debut literary effort.

Find S.M. on Facebook or send him an eMail

 

 

 

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Riptide Tour: Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell (giveaway)

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Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell
R
iptide Publishing
Cover  art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

 

 

About Angel Voices

One frigid winter night a week before Christmas, college student Will stumbles into a church during choir practice, bruised by his own father’s hands. He’s out of the closet now—there’s no going back since his fundamentalist father learned the truth—but he’s also out of a home, a family, and a future. Will has nowhere to turn. No one to care.

Except . . . Will’s roommate, Quinn, cares. Maybe too much. He’s been attracted to Will since they moved in together, but never dreamed his crush was gay. With Will’s life in pieces, Quinn doesn’t want to push. He also knows he has more experience than Will, who’s never even been kissed.

Then Will’s father makes a reappearance, and Will has to learn to trust his heart more than the voices of his past. But it’s the season of miracles, faith, and hope, and Quinn is determined to teach Will how to love and be loved.

Available from Riptide Publishing. 

About Rowan Speedwell

An unrepentant biblioholic, Rowan Speedwell spends half her time pretending to be a law librarian, half her time pretending to be a database manager, half her time pretending to be a fifteenth-century Aragonese noblewoman, half her time . . . wait a minute . . .  Hmm.  Well, one thing she doesn’t pretend to be is good at math.  She is good at pretending, though.

In her copious spare time (hah) she does needlework, calligraphy and illumination, and makes jewelry.  She has a master’s degree in history from the University of Chicago, is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and lives in a Chicago suburb with the obligatory Writer’s Cat and way too many books.

Connect with Rowan:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Angel Voices, one lucky winner will receive $15 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with a thoughtful question and your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 3, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Release Day Blitz for You Are Not Me (’90s Coming of Age, #2) by Leta Blake (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: You Are Not Me

Series: ’90s Coming of Age, #2

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Leta Blake Books

Release Date: 11/28/2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100,000 words

Genre: New Adult, coming of age

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Synopsis

Follow Peter into the summer following his senior year to face new beginnings, new friends, and old baggage.

After a tumultuous final year of high school, Peter Mandel needs a break. It’s the summer of 1991, and his secret relationship with his ‘best friend’ Adam Algedi is put on hold as Adam goes away to Italy for the summer. On the cusp of adulthood, Peter has a couple of months to explore who he is without Adam at his side.

Enter Daniel McPeak, a slightly older, out, responsible college guy with a posse of gay friends and an attraction for Peter. Drawn into the brave new world of the local gay club, Peter embarks on a whirlwind of experiences—good and bad—which culminate in a hotel room where he has to make the ultimate choice.

But Adam will come back eventually, and there are promises that have to be kept. As autumn draws near and college awaits, can Peter break free of the binds of twisted first love? And what exactly is Daniel’s role in his life – a brief temptation, or something more?

Join Peter in the second book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

***

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 2 of 4.
Length: 100,000 words, 328 pages

These books contain aspects of: New Adult fiction, ‘90s gay life, small city homosexual experiences, Southern biases, sexual exploration, romance, homophobia, bisexuality, and twisted-up young love. Oh, and a guaranteed happy ending for the main character by the end of Book 4.

Excerpt

The stool next to me wasn’t empty for long. Minty dropped onto it, his purple tutu rubbing against my chinos and his thin, white arms curled up to rest on the bar. He stared at me for a long, curious second. “I’ve met you before, right?”

“Yeah.” I shook off my disappointment and gave him my attention. “Last spring, up on campus.”

“Did we fuck?”

I almost choked on my soda. “No.”

“Right.” Minty frowned. “Did I suck you off?”

I stared at him.

“Well?”

“My car was broken down,” I said slowly. “Daniel helped me.”

Minty grinned. “Oh, right! I remember now. You looked amazing that night. Made of moonbeams. Everyone was made of moonbeams.” He tilted his head. “You look all right now too.”

“Thanks?”

Minty laughed and fluffed his tutu. He turned away from me to hammer his fists on the bar. “Jolly Zima, Barry! Watermelon! Hit me!”

Barry rolled his eyes, but he pulled a Zima out from the fridge and popped the lid, then reached under the counter and came out with a watermelon Jolly Rancher, unwrapped it, and dropped it into the drink. Minty slapped three dollars down and took a dainty sip.

“Ah! Perfection!” He turned to me with his eyelashes lowered flirtatiously. “Anyway, back to what you were saying. We haven’t fucked yet?”

Startled, nervous laughter bubbled out of my mouth.

“Minty,” Barry said. “Drink your Zima and leave Peter alone.”

“Sure thing. You’re the boss.” Minty sighed and leaned toward me conspiratorially. “He won’t fuck me either. What’s a girl gotta do these days? I mean, I look good, don’t I?”

I looked him over—white, though scuffed, ballet slippers, purple tutu, toned, pale, lithe arms, and his made-up face. “Sure. You look really pretty.”

Minty grinned. “Aw, you know how to make a girl feel nice.”

“Didn’t I just see you downstairs with two guys, though?”

“Two? Please. That’s just a warm-up.” He sniffed.

Renée appeared at my side, dropping an arm around my shoulder. “Minty, doll baby, I need you backstage in an hour. You’re my naughty boy tonight.”

“Okay, but I want to wear my tutu.”

“You’ll be gorgeous.” Renée grabbed hold of Minty’s face and looked him over. “We need to put some eyelashes on you too.”

“And red lipstick.”

“Yes! Every man in this room will ache to be in that pert ass of yours.” She glanced at me and then back at Minty. “Except Peter here.”

“He catches?” Minty asked.

“Like Johnny Bench, baby.”

I didn’t like my positional preferences being discussed like it was any of their business, but I was mystified that Renée seemed so certain about it. Was there something about me that screamed loves it up the ass?

“How do you know who Johnny Bench is, woman?” Barry handed Renée a milky-looking drink topped with brown liquor.

“I listen!”

“I’ve never mentioned baseball to you and you know it.”

“Of course not. You’d never do that to me. Earl at Ringo Comics, though, he babbles on and on about it when he’s trying not to come. Earl says I catch like a pro.” She patted her ass.

Daniel was right last spring when he said Robert and Renée were the same but different people. Robert could be sassy and forthright about his sexual shenanigans, but raunchy details rarely left his mouth. My face burned.

“Hear, hear!” Minty cried, throwing back his head to draw a long swig from his Zima.

Barry frowned. It was the first time I’d seen Barry look even moderately unhappy about Renée—or Robert’s—indiscretions.

“What?” Renée asked defensively.

“Earl’s positive.” Barry’s gaze bore into her. “You used a condom?”

“Of course!” Renée licked her lips and shifted nervously to her other foot, her hip cocking out. “I always do. You know that.”

Minty bit his purple-painted thumbnail, eyes going distant. “I’m probably positive. I should get tested. My mom wants me to get tested.”

Barry nailed Minty and Renée with a frustrated glare. He reached under the counter and pulled out two condoms. Then his gaze shifted to me and he pulled out a third. “For fuck’s sake, use these. Every time. Every damn time.”

Renée stuffed the condom in her bra. Minty held it up in front of his face and then gave it a kiss before lifting up his tutu to tuck it into the waistband of his white briefs. Nodding, I pocketed the one Barry handed to me, even though I wasn’t going to need it. Adam was in Italy and the casual sex Minty and Renée played with was something I’d never risk.

Breaking the tension, the two guys Minty and Daniel had come upstairs with shoved into the space between us, ordering beers from Barry and slinging their arms around Minty’s shoulders or Renée’s waist.

“Who’s this?” asked the muscular, olive-toned one, dropping a kiss on Minty’s upturned cheek.

“Peter,” Minty said sweetly, like I was a cat he was fond of. “He knows Renée, Barry, and Daniel.”

“Ah.” The guy was handsome with bedroom eyes. Dark circles smudged beneath them, as if he’d just left a fistfight or he’d been crying his eyes out. Both thoughts twisted something up in me, a hand grabbing my heart and squeezing for a second. He looked like he needed a hug.

Minty caught me staring up at his friend. “He’s smarter than he looks,” he said, out of the blue, and I blinked in confusion. “And he likes to kiss more than fuck.”

“Okay?” I had no idea why Minty was telling me this.

“Oh, and he’s a big pussy cat when he’s in love.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“What?” Minty looked scandalized. “Of course not. That’s gross.” He grinned slyly. “He could be your boyfriend, though.”

I shook my head, and Minty laughed.

“Name’s Antonio,” the guy said, sticking out his hand. “Ignore him. He’s always trying to set me up with pretty bottoms. I keep telling him I’m not a top.”

Minty rolled his eyes. “You have to be a top. Have you looked in the mirror? Those eyes? That mouth? Your tough-guy pout? C’mon. Fuck me.”

Antonio sighed. “I only like to stick it in chicks. I’ve told you.” He tugged their Asian friend a little closer. “This one’s the top.”

I gulped club soda, unsure how to deal with a conversation with complete strangers about who liked what about butt sex.

“I forget you’re bisexual,” Minty said archly to Antonio. “You never bring girls around.”

Antonio snorted. “I love eating pussy, but nothing beats a cock up my ass.”

“Cheers!” Minty cried, toasting the sentiment.

Antonio went on. “Sometimes a man’s gotta make a choice about what he wants to pursue in life, and, well, I’m chasing dick.”

“Can’t blame you for that, man,” Barry said, nodding.

Minty grabbed their Asian friend’s tie and pulled him down close, saying to me, “This is Windy. With an ‘i’ in the middle and a ‘y’ on the end. And he tops like a champ.”

Windy kissed Minty’s cheek and winked at me.

Minty’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t ask where he’s from, it pisses him off.”

“Why would I ask him that?” I said, confused.

“People always want to know. ‘Are you from Japan? Or China?’” Minty rolled his eyes. “He’s from Vietnam.”

Windy shoved Minty hard enough to unseat him from his stool. “I’m from Kentucky, asshole.”

I sipped my club soda. “Kentucky’s nice. Horse farms. Bluegrass.”

Windy laughed.

Once Minty had righted himself, he gripped my shoulder and whisper-yelled into my ear, “Windy’s basically my best friend besides Daniel. We only fucked once.”

Windy corrected him again. “Twice, actually.”

“That’s how I know for sure he’s a great top. You should try him.”

“Um, no. Thank you. I’m good,” I babbled.

Windy laughed at me and then swept in and gave Minty a wet kiss on the mouth. I wasn’t sure if there was tongue or not. Breaking away, Windy grabbed Minty’s Zima and took a swallow from it.

“So, Minty and Windy, are those your real names?” I asked.

“Is your real name Peter?” Minty asked, his eyes narrowed.

“Yes?”

“Well, aren’t you lucky then?” He tossed head, lifted his hand dramatically, and Windy pulled him up from the stool. “To the dance floor!” He grabbed hold of my arm and tugged me up too. “Let’s show this crowd what gorgeous bitches we are!”

Purchase

Amazon

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Meet the Author

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Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Giveaway

Two lucky winners will win an ebook copy of Pictures of You, ’90s Coming of Age #1

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In the Spotlight: Into the Blue by Pene Hanson (excerpt and giveaway)

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Into the Blue by Pene Henson
Release Date: July 7, 2016

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

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to be interviewing Pene Henson author of Into the Blue today. Hi Pene, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

  • What’s the easiest thing about writing?

The easiest part for me is knowing these characters’ hearts and thinking through how they would respond to the world and the things that happen around them. But generally there’s no bad side. 

I love the act of writing enough that my extremely early mornings don’t feel difficult. Not that the work of writing is always easy, but it’s always a joy.

  • Name one author (living or dead) you’d like to write with?

My friend Jo and I wrote a large number of stories together and I’d love to see what we will do if we commit to a novel. She’s a powerful and heart-breaking writer who knows all the odd little quirks of humanity, all the ways people fail others and come good anyway, and I suspect our joint novel will be more complicated than anything I could write alone. 

But she has no idea about tenses and point of view. So I’d be in charge of that.

  • Tell us about your cover and how it came about.

I could talk about this cover forever. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. When our art director, CB Messer, met with me about the cover she had read the book. She’s lived in Hawaii and so connected with the imagery and the subject matter. We instantly agreed on the visuals of that early morning light, the pale golds and shifting blues of surf at dawn. CB suggested we could focus the front cover on the power of the surf and the surfing competition or on the relationship between the characters and the sea. Honestly, either would have been gorgeous but I felt relationships are critical to the book. It’s a gentle book despite their sporting prowess. 

When she sent this drawing through, I loved it even more than I anticipated. I love the light in the sky and reflecting from the water. And the boys, waiting for the next wave, Ollie’s profile and Tai’s strong back visible and recognizably them. It’s the moment before a wave comes in, that waiting time before everything changes.

And then the back. With the warm sunlit deck of the Blue House and the five boards leaning together, one for each of the people living there.

CB is an exceptional artist and really captured the book.

  • Is this book part of a series? Do you have ideas that could make it into a series? If it is a series, tell us a little about it.

No, no it’s not and it was never intended to be. However (is there always a forever) I do have a story to tell about Hannah, who lives with Tai and Ollie. She’s a joy to me. Broad-shouldered and laid back. She’s in love with her best friend but I don’t know that’s going anywhere. I think she could have a whirlwind of a girlfriend who knocks her off her steady perch. And then Tai and Ollie and Sunny would be in the background.

  • Word association. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind when you read these words.

Ketchup – We still call it tomato sauce.

Flakes – Goldfish food

Elastic – Heart ❤

Timer – How to get kids to do anything faster

Google – where all my documents live

Now more about

Into the Blue by Pene Henson

Blurb

Tai Talagi and Ollie Birkstrom have been inseparable since they met as kids surfing the North Shore. Now they live with their best friends in a pulled-together family, sharing life and the saltwater in their veins. Tai’s spent years setting aside his feelings for Ollie, but when Ollie’s pro surfing aspirations come to fruition, their steady world shifts. Is the relationship worth risking everything for a chance at something terrifying and beautiful and altogether new?

 

Pages or Words: 236 pages, 72,600 words
Categories: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, New Adult, Romance

Excerpt

Across from them, one of the Brazilians plays guitar. Ollie doesn’t recognize the song even when a couple of others sing along. The beach is wider and the sand finer than on the North Shore, but every beach is a little like home. Ollie misses the Blue House; he misses the surf and the palms and the shoreline he knows so well. He misses Jaime and Sunny and Hannah. Still, though he’s as far from home as he’s ever been, Ollie’s comfortable. These are his people, too. He leans back on his arms and looks up into the dark.

He’s watched the night sky since he was a little kid, but down here in the Southern Hemisphere he doesn’t recognize the hundreds upon hundreds of stars. The Southern Cross is up there. Ollie tries to orient himself.

Tai shifts toward him, then looks up and follows Ollie’s gaze. The warmth of Tai’s body settles into Ollie’s heart, grounds him. Ollie leans into him a little, and their arms brush to the elbow. The contact simmers in the air between them.

Unexpectedly, Ollie knows what he wants. “Come back to the hotel,” he says quietly to Tai. He pitches his voice low. It hums across the tiny space between them. No one else can hear him over the pounding surf and the sound of the music. It’s easy to be bold in the dark of a beach where Ollie’s never been before. He’s shocked by that same boldness.

Buy the book

 

 

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Meet the Author

Pene Henson has gone from British boarding schools to New York City law firms. She now lives in Sydney, Australia, where she is an intellectual property lawyer and published poet who is deeply immersed in the city’s LGBTQIA community. She spends her spare time enjoying the outdoors and gazing at the ocean with her gorgeous wife and two unexpectedly exceptional sons. Into the Blue is her first novel.

Where to find the author:


Tour Dates & Stops:

7-Jul: Havan Fellows, Louise Lyons, Parker Williams

8-Jul: Outrageous Heroes, Unquietly Me, Dawn’s Reading Nook

11-Jul: Love Bytes, Kirsty Loves Books, Bayou Book Junkie

12-Jul: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, MM Good Book Reviews, Butterfly-O-Meter

13-Jul: Oh My Shelves, Boys on the Brink Reviews

14-Jul: Molly Lolly, Happily Ever Chapter

15-Jul: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Sinfully Addicted to All Male Romance, Prism Book Alliance

18-Jul: MM Book Escape, Making It Happen, Velvet Panic, BFD Book Blog

19-Jul: Book Lovers 4Ever, My Fiction Nook, V’s Reads

20-Jul: A.M. Leibowitz, Alpha Book Club

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Giveaway

 

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Book Blitz – Cinnamon and Cigarettes by Samantha Kate (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Cinnamon and Cigarettes

Author: Samantha Kate

Publisher: Torquere Press

Cover Artist: Kris Norris

Release Date: June 1, 2016

Heat Level: 3

Pairing: F/F

Length: 88,800 words

Genre/Tags: Contemporary, Bisexual, Lesbian Romance, New Adult

Add to Goodreads

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Synopsis

Sara Clarke, recent college grad, is sweet, demure, and cautious in all things, but especially romance—until she meets Moira Estrada, a bold amateur pilot and patron at the library where Sara works. Their intimacy blooms rapidly as they share everything from a sudden medical emergency to Christmas with the Estrada family. With her dashing new girlfriend by her side, Sara learns to overcome some of her greatest fears, whether they be acknowledging her own bisexuality, flying across the sky in a Cessna, or falling in love for the first time.

But Sara’s fear of confrontation is harder to conquer. When asked about her relationship, she finds herself lying to her family, pretending to date a man so she can avoid conflict with her straight-laced and image-conscious parents. But her attempts to please everyone cannot last forever and could result in far worse than her parents’ disapproval: she might lose the respect of her new friends at the library, or become estranged from her sister—or, worst of all, Sara might lose the only person she’s ever truly loved.

Excerpt

Moira pulled her key-ring out of her pocket, plucking out a large silver key from her collection. “Fasten your seat belt. We’re starting the engine now.”

She inserted the key; the plane gave a small lurch as the engine burst to life beneath Sara’s feet, and the propeller began to spin. This engine was nothing like the smooth start of a car; it ignited with a roar, like a motorcycle gunning to maximum velocity, and within moments that sound was pierced with sharp, rhythmic bursts from the propeller’s increasing oscillation. The sound was cacophonous; Sara put her hands to her ears, to block out a fraction of the din.

Amid the noise, she heard Moira speaking into her microphone. “Fairways Air Control, this is Lamassu. Oil pressure gauge is green, transponder is on. Are you receiving transmission?…Okay, thank you. Requesting permission to taxi to Runway Three…You’re the man, sir.”

Sara smiled faintly at her pilot. Moira’s combination of aviation jargon and casual slang was, admittedly, really endearing. So was the way her eyes widened as she scanned the blinking lights and bright monitors in front of her, grinning gleefully, looking simultaneously mischievous and reverent.

“Hang on,” Moira said, removing one hand from the controller and fumbling around by her feet. “I forgot to give you your intercom.” She withdrew another pair of headphones, handing them over. “These will help with the noise.”

Sara put on her headphones; the cacophony was quelled into the distance, now just a background ambiance. In the forefront now was Moira’s voice, smooth and sanguine, every word spoken directly in Sara’s ears.

“Removing parking brake now,” Moira said, a hand reaching out to pull the brake knob near Sara’s knee. The plane slid forward, and Sara gulped, hoping to keep her stomach from lurching as well. “Beginning taxi.”

They slid along the main “road” at a slow crawl. Sara noted each white stripe that passed by until they’d arrived at one of the runways; they did a slow 90-degree turn until they faced the open road. It was barely wide enough to accommodate the plane’s wings, and the forest was perhaps a mile ahead. Was that really enough space for them to take off? Even in such a small aircraft? Wouldn’t it take a massive amount of acceleration to lift them into the air? Was this even possible? Was it—

“Trim and flaps set,” said the voice in Sara’s ear, shaking her out of her fretting. Moira had a more “official” tone now, like one might hear over an automated line, with measured rising and falling inflections. “Engine temperature normal. Wingtip strobes on. Airspeed indicator reads zero.”

Sara fidgeted with the boom mic on her headphones. “That’s a lot of things to know about,” she whispered into it.

Moira turned her head, smiled, and put one hand on Sara’s knee. “That it is. But I’ve had my license for almost four years now, and if I were a shit pilot, they wouldn’t let me waltz back in those doors.” She grinned. “I’m going to bring you home safe, Sara. I promise.”

Sara nodded slowly.

“Okay,” Moira continued, pulling her hand back and gripping the throttle, “Lamassu departing now.

She pushed the throttle in, gradually but firmly, and they lurched forward, slowly at first, but soon they were gathering speed—the pine trees lining the runway lost the detail of their branches and needles, and soon they were a blur of dark teal and mossy green, punctuated by open field—and Sara’s stomach was shoved down and back into the seat; she felt like where she once had flesh and sinew and blood there was now only a void, an empty space filling itself with nothing but the rush of incoming air—

“Okay, Sara, we’re going to lift off—now!

Sara hadn’t known what it was like to lose the ground beneath her until this moment, when Lamassu’s nose flicked up and an anchor tied around her feet her whole life came undone, evaporated, dissipated into the afternoon sunlight—she realized it existed only when it ceased to exist. Suddenly there was space around her in every direction; she was now bound by nothing. The seat belt wrapped snug around her waist, the windshield ahead, the pane of glass a few inches from her right cheek—they seemed trivial, insignificant, incapable of truly binding her when the space beneath her feet was exponentially expanding.

“You’ve taken flight, dear.”

Soon the white lines beneath them vanished as well, as the runway shrank down, becoming a tiny part of a tiny complex that was quickly passing beneath and behind, no longer required, no longer relevant. She needed nothing in the air, only that constant whir of propeller oscillation, the humming of the engine, and the whipping of wind through the microscopic crack between the window and the fuselage. She almost thought she might float above her own seat, no longer subject to earth’s gravitational force.

“How are you feeling?”

Even Moira’s voice was distant now.

“I’m fine,” she said, in a tone that was half hummed, half spoken. She reached one hand up to the windowpane, tracing random curves along the glass with a couple of fingers. “I…I’m flying.”

“That you are.” Moira dropped her professional tone, her voice wrapping snugly around Sara’s head again. “And how does it feel?”

Even the trees were shrinking away now, becoming indistinct clusters of viridian mixed with a soft palette of mossy and earthy hues, separated by strips of gray asphalt drawing mechanical grids along the earth. She looked ahead, and for the first time took in the sky; its cerulean blue spread out infinitely across the horizon, accented with a few wispy cirrus clouds and an occasional burst of gold light reflecting from nearby lakes.

“It’s liberating.”

“Perfect.” Moira pressed a few more buttons, and the plane gently pitched forward, sliding into a consistent altitude. Within a few minutes they leveled off, thousands of feet above the earth, the bustling metropolis a mere memory behind them.

Purchase

Torquere Press

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Meet the Author

Samantha Kate works as a paralibrarian (that’s library support staff) for her day job. In her free time, she tries to pursue more creative projects than is humanly possible. Cinnamon and Cigarettes is her first novel; her short story, “Bottom of the River,” was published in Torquere Press’ Twisted Fables anthology in February 2016.

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