S.A. Stovall on Writing Influences, Characters Traits and her story ‘Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven #2) (guest blog)

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Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven #2) by S.A. Stovall
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press  and Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host S.A. Stovall here today.  Welcome, S.A., and thanks for answering our author questions!

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with S.A. Stovall

 

Hello Internet! It’s me, SA Stovall, here to have an interview with the great STaRW team! Happy holidays, and remember to check out my romantic Christmas novella, Thirty-One Days and Legos!

What’s the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I’m not sure what you mean by “wild” but if that means “craziest thing” then I once wrote a scene were a girl cuts her own heart out with a jagged dagger. It was a high fantasy novel, and the girl was immortal (so she wasn’t killing herself) but the pain was real, and the symbology was great.

I’m a lover of adventure and epic moments, so I could list a million instances, but that one still takes the cake as the wildest.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Two people played a major role in influences me as teenager: Stephen King and Robert A. Heinlein. I loved that Stephen King wrote in so many genres and with so many characters. My favorite parts of stories are the characters themselves, and while King seems to have a stock of similar character architypes that shows up in most of his books, I still love them all.

Heinlein, on the other hand, explored Mars and beyond, widening my imagination to places beyond Earth. He wove philosophy perfectly into his narrative, and I loved every instance. His characters were also very compelling—Jubal Hershaw is still my favorite.

I want to write memorable characters, like both King and Heinlein. I also want to write in every genre, and explore places far beyond Earth, be it fantasy or Alpha Centauri.

What traits do you find the most interesting in someone? Do you write them into your characters?

I find self-control, intelligence, and honor to be interesting traits. And I write them all the time into my characters! I love subplots of people trying to rein in bad habits (or their temper), and intelligent characters are among my favorite (Jubal Hershaw is a super genius lawyer, basically).

I know honorable characters aren’t always people’s favorite, but I think it takes a lot of stones to know what’s right and stick to it, even if it’s to their detriment. I admire that trait, so a lot of heroes are honorable people.

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

Yes, several times. My latest novel, about a space mercenary, basically, was put on hold for quite some time. At first I thought I’d never get it to work, but now that it flows, I couldn’t be happier with it.

I’m sure you’ll see it sometime in the future! Stay tuned!

Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

A lot of scenes and character interactions that happen in my novels have taken place in real life. I’ve had relationships, some unconventional, and I’ve lived in both terrible poverty and comfortable environments. I like rehashing some of the feelings I had in those moments—finding the right words is almost cathartic. Some memories are painful, but they help me write the scene from a genuine place.

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

Yes. Like I said, I read a lot of King and Heinlein, but I also remember the things I looked for when I was searching for books. I try to appease Teenage-Me when I pick plots and characters for books. “What would I want to read?” I ask. It’s helped out in more ways than one. More adventure! More memorable characters! More romance! More rivalries!

Great stuff.

What’s next for you as an author?

Thirty-One Days and Legos (a feel-good Christmas novella) released Dec. 11 and it’s the sequel to Ranger Station Haven! After that, I have Vice Enforcer, sequel to Vice City (my debut novel) and its more action-adventure with some m/m romance! Vice Enforcer releases April 3rd – I enjoyed writing both of them, so I’m super excited to share them with the world.

Keep an eye out for my next few stories! I hope to keep them coming throughout the years!

 

Blurb for Thirty-One Days and Legos

Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.

Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.

But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how….

About the Author

S.A. Stovall grew up in California’s central valley with a single mother and little brother. Despite no one in her family having a degree higher than a GED, she put herself through college (earning a BA in History), and then continued on to law school where she obtained her Juris Doctorate.

As a child, Stovall’s favorite novel was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. The adventure on a deserted island opened her mind to ideas and realities she had never given thought before—and it was the moment Stovall realized that story telling (specifically fiction) became her passion. Anything that told a story, be it a movie, book, video game or comic, she had to experience. Now, as a professor and author, Stovall wants to add her voice to the myriad of stories in the world, and she hopes you enjoy.

You can contact her at the following addresses.

Twitter: @GameOverStation

Website: https://sastovallauthor.com/

Blog tour for The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories #2) by Joe Cosentino (guest post and excerpt)

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The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories #2)
by Joe Cosentino
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Sales Links: Pre-order from Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Joe Cosentino back again with his new holiday release, The Perfect Gift.  Welcome, Joe!

✒︎

Don’t you love holiday romance stories? Since the December holidays are such a magical time of year, I adore MM romances that include elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. So, I wrote one! Let’s backtrack a minute.

As some of you probably remember, I wrote a holiday short novella loosely based on my trip to the magical and gorgeous island of Capri: A Home for the Holidays. Bobby, a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays meets his quaint Italian relatives, and falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo. Readers (and listeners to the audiobook performed by the talented Joel Leslie) loved Bobby and Paolo. They were also enamored with the gorgeous and romantic Island of Capri. However, since the story ends with Bobby and Paolo coming back to Bobby’s home in Pennsylvania, readers wanted to find out their fate as a couple. They also wanted Bobby and Paolo to experience the December holidays in the USA. The Perfect Gift, the second Bobby and Paolo Holiday story, was born.

The two-part novella begins a year after A Home for the Holiday ends. In “December Grooms,” Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding. A year later in “An Unexpected Present,” since it’s again Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in their area. They also exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo?

I hope you all read and enjoy my romantic holiday novella. I also hope you get everything you want for Christmas—and something you didn’t know you needed. Here’s my special holiday gift to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love. Happy Holidays!

THE PERFECT GIFT (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)

by JOE COSENTINO

published by Dreamspinner Press, e-book $4.99

Back in America after finding A Home for the Holidays and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

What Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words said about A Home for the Holidays, Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories Book 1:

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Excerpt of The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)

A few minutes later, Paolo and I sat across from each other at our cherry dining room table. The scent of Italian cheeses, garlic, olive oil, mushrooms, spinach, and chicken filled the room. Between bites, Paolo asked, “What is it that you wanted to ask me?” The candlelight from our antique brass candleholders made him look incredibly sexy. He didn’t need much help.

I took in a deep breath. Though I had rehearsed my speech a hundred times over the last few months, what came out was, “I bought lemon gelato for dessert.”

He blew me a kiss. I caught it and placed it over my heart. Ready for take two, I took a sip of my herbal tea in a failed attempt at moistening my bone-dry throat. “Paolo, we’ve been living together for almost a year now.”

“Are you tired of me already?” He winked at me.

I slid to the edge of my seat. “During that time, have you… did you ever think about….”

He swallowed his food. “Bobby, I told you before. I look at other men. But you are the only one I want.”

“And you’re the only one I want.”

“Then it is a good thing we live together.” He continued eating.

“Do you miss your life in the villa with your family in Capri?”

“Not when I am with you. Don’t worry; we will never end up like Edgar and everyone else getting a divorce.”

“Why not?”

“Because we do not need a piece of paper to validate our love.”

The lawyer in me surfaced. “That piece of paper would enable us to make healthcare decisions for each other in emergency situations, and to protect our wills from a family member who might want to contest them.”

 

About the Author

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Amy Lane on The Holiday Crafter’s Blues, and her release Regret Me Not (author guest blog and excerpt)

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Regret Me Not by Amy Lane
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art: Reese Dante

Buy Links:Dreamspinner PressAmazon  | Kobo iBooks  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amy Lane here talking about the holiday crafter’s blue and her new release Regret Me Not.  Welcome, Amy!

✒︎

The Holiday Crafter’s Blues

By Amy Lane

One of my first blogging idols was The Yarn Harlot, and she was one of the first people I know who put a name to this.

She called it IT.

As in, IT starts in September, if you’re lucky. For some people, the chosen few, IT starts in June.

Took me a few blogs to figure out what she was talking about, but when I did… oh, it hit me hard.

I’ve been a part of IT.

IT of course is the misbegotten idea that, hey! I can craft! I can knit/crochet/cross-stitch/quilt/sew! I shall make something for EVERY family member for EVERY holiday, and I will be known as the knitting/crocheting/crafting cousin/aunt/mother and nobody will ever be able to doubt my place in the holidays again!

Before any of you get any ideas about this, IT can only end in tears.

And terrible, terrible guilt on all sides.

I used to try to craft toys/clothes/whathaveyou for the kids, as well as knit or crochet something for all the members of my family every year. I would start in August, work feverishly for months, and still end up, shotgunning Supernatural for three nights straight while living on coffee and Christmas cookies so I could sustain the holiday pace needed to frolic with four children through on until blissful, peaceful December 26th.

The day we traditionally sit in the rubble of wrapping paper, play with our gifts and sleep like the dead.

One Christmas, I was really into it. I made the little kids these ADORABLE mittens, and my aunts and mom all got these really cool “Impossible yarn” wraps (easiest thing in the world involving Lion Brand Homespun and Dead Muppet of Your Choice—people loved them!) and there were hats and fingerless mitts in between.

I was into it, yes, but late. So late. So late that when Mate took three of the four kids into my aunt’s house to start the revels, I opted to finish a shawl in the minivan while ZoomBoy finished his nap. (It was a rule back then—let sleeping ZoomBoys lie. In fact, we have lots and lots of pictures on the blog of that kid asleep while dangling upside down from six different furniture items, because that’s just where he decided to nap.)

But oh, it would be worth it, I thought. Because I had done my filial duty, and I had showered all of my relatives with love and they would love me and they would appreciate me and they would…

Forget my gift at the gift exchange?

Well, apparently grandma had drawn my name, and she was right at that place where she went from Machiavellian manipulator of family (as are all good Italian grandmothers) to slightly confused elderly woman—and we were not ready for that. Grandma always dealt with her Christmas duties using grace and aplomb.

Except this time when she forgot her exchange gift, and I was the exhausted, addled recipient.

Who, embarrassingly enough couldn’t stop crying.

Yes, I know. It was stupid. I still maintain I didn’t do all that work for a great gift back—it’s not what I was thinking as I was working on stuff, and it’s not how I give gifts now. (Okay—when I was younger, yes, but sometime around the third kid I finally grew the hell up.)

But something about, oh, I don’t know, not sleeping for several weeks and stressing out over the deadline and, you know, four kids, full time job, writing…

Just caught up to me. I spent about an hour feeling like an idiot and trying to explain to everyone that I really wasn’t that fragile a snowflake while falling apart. My aunt ran and grabbed one of her presents—a very pretty green scarf that I still have today—and gave it to me, hoping I would calm down.

I did eventually—and I mean “calm down” in the broadest sense of the phrase. I stopped trying to make everybody all the things—in fact, I started making myself some as well. And I stopped trying to make them by a deadline. Now I just make them and send them to the recipient when they are done. Because a gift from the heart doesn’t have a deadline and it doesn’t have an obligation attached and it doesn’t have expectation of reciprocation.

It’s one of the crafter’s most important lessons.

It’s one of the gift giver’s most important lessons.

And it’s what I wanted for my boys, Pierce and Hal. That they give gifts from the heart. That what they say they mean. And that, if they love each other, their gifts don’t come from obligation, they come from wanting to see the other person happy, the end.

It’s one of my favorite holiday feelings – and it’s a lot harder to achieve than the perfect pair of mittens. 

Blurb

Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.

Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.

As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.

Excerpt

The Morning After….

 

THE EVER-PRESENT shush of the sea echoed in his ears. Even before he was awake, Pierce Atwater knew that sound had haunted him in his dreams.

He yawned and stretched, the familiar aches of healing injuries pulling at his skin and muscles and the unfamiliar ache in his backside waking him up fully. Oh, hey. It had been a while since that happened.

With a heave, Pierce sat up entirely, getting his bearings. The beach house he’d lived in since Thanksgiving glowed as bright and gold as he remembered—too beautiful. Almost pristine.

His body, on the other hand—that felt well-used.

He turned and looked at the bed he’d just vacated, noting that it was rumpled and sex stained; lovemaking and sweat permeated the room.

Oh wow. Oh damn. What had he done?

A piece of paper—the ripped-off corner of a brown grocery bag—caught his attention on the other pillow of the king-sized bed.

 

Please don’t leave without saying goodbye—

 

—H

 

Pierce stared at the note, only marginally prepared for the giant ache that bloomed in his chest.

Aw, Hal—you deserve so very much more.

He looked around the room again, eyes falling on the clock radio. He was supposed to leave in an hour—he’d told his sister specifically that he’d be in Orlando by lunch so he could bake cookies with her kids.

He looked at the note again and tried hard to breathe.

 

 

 

The Month Before

 

“SO YOU have the Lyft app, right?”

“Yeah, Sasha—don’t worry about me, okay?” Pierce regarded his younger sister fondly. She was made to be a mother—even if she came into being one a little young.

Sasha bit her lip, trying not to argue. She’d been such a sweet kid growing up—never saying boo to either of their rather domineering parents. She’d gotten pregnant right out of high school, and even though Marshall had stepped up and married her and they’d both managed to get their degrees, their parents… well, they’d never let Sasha live down what a disappointment she’d been. Or—their words—what a slut either.

Pierce had hated them long before Sasha got pregnant, but the way they’d tried to destroy her for a simple human failing had sort of sealed the deal.

But parenthood had made Sasha—and Marshall—a great deal stronger than they’d been as feckless teenagers, and while Sasha wouldn’t argue with her beloved older brother, she would discuss things she disagreed with.

“Pierce, you almost died,” she said quietly, her thin face suddenly lost in the pallor of anxiety and the cloud of fine dark hair she could never keep back in a ponytail. “I mean… I refuse to see Mom and Dad over the holidays because they’re just… just….”

“Awful,” he supplied with feeling. Yeah. He’d resolved not to put up with awful anymore.

“Toxic,” she agreed, leaning back against her aging SUV. Darius and Abigail were sleeping in the back seat after playing out in the surf under Pierce’s supervision while Marshall and Sasha moved Pierce into the condo. Pierce had worried—he couldn’t move very well without the cane these days, and what did he know about kids and water?

But mostly what they’d wanted to do was run away from the waves and collect shells, and the one time Abigail had been knocked on her ass into the surf, Pierce had bent down and picked her up by the hand before the pain even registered.

The move had hurt—but it had given him some hope. His doctors kept assuring him that he could get most of his mobility back if he kept active and remembered his aqua regimen. Picking Abigail up and reassuring her that Uncle Pierce wouldn’t let her drown gave him some confidence that his body might someday be back up to par. And the condo had a pool, which was why he’d taken his best friend Derrick’s offer to let him use it over the winter months while Pierce got his life together. Pierce was definitely in a position to follow his doctor’s advice.

So now, looking at his sister and thinking about how much self-assurance she’d had to grow to push a little into Pierce’s state of mind, he couldn’t be mad at her.

And he had to be honest.

“I’ll be grumpy and pissed off and bitter,” he said, letting his mouth twist into a scowl of disdain for the land of the living. He’d been fighting it off since Sasha picked him up at the airport. “It’s a good thing you made me get the car app, because seriously, I may have let myself starve to death. As it is, the groceries are going to keep me going for a good long time.”

Sasha’s eyes grew big and bright, and he took her hand and squeezed.

“Don’t worry, sweetie. None of it is your fault. You would have let me stay at your place forever, and I was getting in your way. This is good. I’ll hang out here, find a little peace, and when I go back to Orlando, I’ll be up for getting my own apartment and getting out of your hair, okay?”

“I’d never kick you out, Pierce,” she said miserably. “You know that.” She wiped the back of her hand across her big brown eyes. “You just… you got out of the hospital and—”

“And I was an awful fucking bastard,” he said with feeling. Oh God. The defining moment for calling up Derrick to take him up on his offer was when he’d heard his father’s words coming out of his mouth, telling his sister she was useless because she couldn’t help him off the couch without pain. “Sasha, you deserve better than me. You deserve better, period. I’m not going to hang around you and get in your way again until I’m decent company for human beings, okay?”

Sasha shook her head, still crying. “You were in pain,” she whispered. “And you were sorry right after. And you’ve done so much for me, Pierce. I can forgive you for being mean once when you did so much for me….”

He remembered the night she’d shown up at his apartment, in tears, practically hysterical, because she’d told the parents about an impending Darius and had been read the riot act about what a fuckup she was.

He’d taken her in—let her stay with him for a couple of months until she and Marshall scraped up enough money for rent and a car. She’d gotten a job, and Pierce had paid her tuition as she made her way through school. She had a career now—one she could work from home as a developmental editor of a small press. Marshall had his degree in software engineering, and together they made a good living—good enough to afford a guest bedroom and to put Pierce up for a month after the accident.

Pierce squeezed her hand now. “You listen to me,” he said gruffly. “You don’t owe me a thing. You’re the only family I want to see—pretty much ever. So just let me work shit out in my own head, and I’ll come back for Christmas a whole new man, okay?”

“I like the one you are right now!” she said staunchly, and then she threw herself in his arms and held on tight. “Love you, big brother,” she whispered, and Marshall stood behind her, guiding her away.

“Love you too,” he said belatedly, and Marshall turned and shook his hand firmly.

“Come back when you promised, okay?” Marshall was just as slight as Sasha—two small, mild-mannered people getting along in a bright, brash world. Pierce had always fancied himself their champion knight—he couldn’t be that as he was.

He had to make himself better.

“Christmas Eve,” Pierce vowed. “Don’t worry, Marshall. Nobody likes being alone on Christmas.”

Marshall shrugged. “We wouldn’t be alone, Pierce. We just don’t want you to be.”

With that, the guy Pierce and Sasha’s parents had driven off their property with a baseball bat guided a disconsolate Sasha into the old vehicle and piloted it away.

As soon as they’d left the parking lot, Pierce allowed his shoulders to sag and dragged his sorry ass to the back door of the condo.

He crawled into bed and stayed there until he absolutely had to get up and pee the next morning.

 

 

STAYING IN bed for sixteen hours had consequences—he almost didn’t make it to the bathroom, he was so sore. After he’d taken care of business and washed down a granola bar, he realized he was going to have to be serious about that pool thing, or he really could end up curling into a ball and dying in a beach condo in Florida.

For a moment he contemplated it—he’d always been the kind of guy to consider all the angles—but eventually he decided he wouldn’t go quickly enough and managed a pair of board shorts and a T-shirt. As he walked through the tiled hall of the condo, he realized the tile was going to destroy his body almost as quickly as the inactivity, and made a mental note to buy some rubber mats at the very least, so he’d have some padding for his joints. Derrick had said to make himself at home—ergonomic home decorating was a go!

Just as soon as he got into the… ahhh… pool.

Heated, of course, and a perfect counterpoint to a cool day in the high fifties/low sixties. He’d set his phone on a lounge chair, playing something disgustingly upbeat and perky, and went about doing the exercises he and his physical therapist had worked on.

Actual physical motor activity really did have magical properties—it must have. He was working up a head of steam, the resistance and buoyancy of the water supporting his body as he used active stretching techniques, when a voice cut into his workout Zen.

“If you don’t straighten your back, you’ll be in a world of hurt!”

Crap. Whoever that was, he was right.

Pierce adjusted his form and then looked over his right shoulder, from whence the voice—deep and sharp and young—had issued.

“Thanks,” he said briefly, taking in the sprawled form of what looked to be a teenager wearing board shorts, a leopard-print bathrobe, and giant aviator sunglasses, lounging in one of the chaises. Dark hair, faintly sun streaked, was cut almost Boy Scout short around an adorable frat boy face. His hands were sort of a mess, loosely wrapped in gauze, but other than that, he was as untouched as a virgin’s dreams.

“Dude, what in the hell are you listening to? This shit.” The boy shuddered. “I’m saying. I bet you could work up a sweat if you had decent music.”

“It’s a mix,” Pierce said weakly, feeling old and slow. “I just hit an easy button, you kn—”

“I’ll get you a better sound,” the kid said, picking up the phone. “What’s your password?”

Pierce gave it to him and then stopped dead in the water and almost drowned. He was in the deep end, and he had to work to stay afloat and—

“Don’t spaz,” the kid said on a note of deep disgust. “My phone’s in the condo, and I could give a shit about your passwords. Jesus, if I was a hacker genius, I’d be someplace warm, you think?”

Pierce took a deep breath, and suddenly Katy Perry came blaring out of his phone. Well, okay, so everybody had heard this song; it did make him want to work harder. Pierce was calling it a win.

“Thanks,” he said again, panting now because he was moving faster.

The kid shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. You gonna be here tomorrow?”

“Yeah, but—”

“Same time?”

“Yeah.” ’Cause why not. Nothing better to do, right? No job, no wife, no life?

“Good. I’ll see you here with better music. Now stop doing that water walk thing and do a mountain climber—come on—I know you can.”

Pierce glared at him—and switched the move.

“There you go. Now follow my pace. You can go faster.” The kid started clapping, and Pierce struggled to keep up.

“I can’t… do… that…,” he gasped. He expected attitude back, because the kid had given him nothing but, and he was surprised when the clapping slowed.

“Sorry. You just look younger than this pace.”

Pierce had his back to the kid, but he had the sensation of a thorough visual once-over. He adjusted to the new pace and found his wind again. “Car accident,” he managed, trying not to be offended.

“Aw… aw hell. I’m sorry. I’m being an ass. I should just leave you to your workout.”

“No,” Pierce called out, stopping to tread water and cool down enough to talk. “Sorry—just… I was getting a workout. I suck doing this alone.” He kept his arms and legs moving and found the kid on the side of the pool again—he’d moved from where Pierce had first spotted him to stand right in front of the line Pierce was using to go back and forth.

“Yeah, well, being alone sort of sucks on all fronts,” the kid said philosophically. “I’ll try not to be an ass if you try to do a hard workout, how’s that?”

Pierce found himself nodding, even though he’d only come out to the pool out of what he deemed necessity. “Deal,” he panted.

“Okay, now back to mountain climbers. I’ll set the pace, and if it’s too fast, cry uncle.”

“Groovy,” Pierce breathed, positioning himself to go. “Now shoot.”

The kid put him through a decently difficult workout, adjusting for the things Pierce couldn’t do yet and pushing him hard in the stuff he could. After forty-five minutes, Pierce was starting to cramp up, though, and the kid had him stretch out.

Good stuff, really—the blue freedom of the water, the structure of the workout, and the congeniality of dealing with another human being without bitterness or backstory served as sort of a purge—some of the self-pity Pierce had wallowed in for the past sixteen hours was rinsed away.

But not all of it.

He was getting out of the pool when the damage in his calf and thigh screamed protest, and he groaned and grabbed on to the rail. The kid was right there, though, stepping into the water regardless of his pricey flip-flops and the hem of his leopard-print bathrobe.

“Uh-oh—overdid it. C’mon, let me help you to the hot tub. I’ll give you a rubdown, okay?”

“No,” Pierce grunted, suddenly aware of this kid. Lean and narrow but defined practically by muscle group, his body was a work of art, and Pierce didn’t even know if he was of age. And even if he was of age, he was too damned young for Pierce.

“No hot tub?” the kid asked sharply. “Or no gay guy touching you?”

Pierce’s face heated. “No hot teenager touching me?” he mumbled, limping toward the steamy goodness of the little spa and trying not to lean too much into the kid’s strong arms.

The youngster’s throaty chuckle didn’t reassure him in the least. “I’m twenty-three, old man, so cool your jets. Besides, I’m”—his voice dropped sadly, and the suddenly vulnerable look on his frat boy face made him look even younger—“well, I’d like to become a massage therapist, but I’ve only got half the coursework and hours done. Seriously, though, I’m halfway a professional, and I’m pretty good, so maybe let me work out the cramp in your leg?” He smiled winningly and used his free hand to lift his shades so he could bat a pair of admittedly limpid and arresting amber-brown eyes. “After all, I did work you over pretty hard.”

Pierce rolled his eyes at the double entendre, but as he reached for the rail of the hot tub, he had to concede that having his leg worked on would make the whole working-out thing feel like less of a mistake.

“Yeah, sure,” he muttered, taking the steps creakily one at a time. “Sure, you can squeeze my muscles till I scream.”

The kid chuckled again, inviting Pierce in on the laugh. “So you’re happy to let me rub one out on you?”

Pierce groaned. “God, kid, I can hardly walk. No sex jokes until I can make it out of the pool without collapsing.”

“So there can be sex jokes. Eventually. I just want to make sure.” Very gingerly the kid lowered Pierce until he was sitting. After he straightened, he scampered up the steps and pulled off his sodden robe, laying it out on the chaise to dry, and kicked off his ruined leather sandals.

“Oh geez.” Pierce thought of the massacre of perfectly good shoes and robe and was attacked by his conscience, which he’d assumed was dormant or dead. “Kid, I’m sorry about the clothes—”

“Don’t be.” He shrugged. “They’re my old man’s, and since he kicked me out of the house for Christmas, he can pretty much kiss off his super classy robe and huaraches, you hear me?”

Pierce wasn’t sure whether to chuckle or be horrified. “Just for Christmas?” he asked, making sure.

He lowered the sunglasses over his eyes again, probably to help him look insouciant when he was—in all likelihood—wounded. “Folks were having important political friends over. I’m a gay embarrassment, so I got the beach house. Last year they were in Europe, and I got the beach house with my boyfriend and we fucked like lemmings. No boyfriend this year.”

“The lemmings are safe?” Pierce asked, sympathies reluctantly stirred. Parents who judged their kids for sexual activity? He knew those assholes! Pierce and Sasha had grown up with their very own set.

Kid laughed, sounding young and happy instead of casual and cynical. Pierce liked the sound. “Here, let me rub your leg down—I promised.”

Pierce grunted. “Kid—”

“Hal—”

“Like the computer?”

Hal stared at him, unimpressed. “Oh dear, a Space Odyssey joke. I’ve never heard one of those, given that I’ve had this stupid name since birth. Now give me your leg.”

Pierce complied, startled by the venom. “Well, I could call you ‘Prince Hal,’ like—”

“King Henry the Fifth? Like in the Branagh movie?”

Pierce racked his brains, trying to remember. “I thought Branagh just did Hamlet,” he said, confused.

Hal gasped and wrapped his hands around Pierce’s ankle. “Heathen! How could you not know about the Branagh King Henry? He was young and still faithful and downright adorable!”

As he spoke, Hal worked his capable, agile fingers up Pierce’s leg—between that and the hot, bubbling water, Pierce’s entire body was melting like chocolate in the sun.

About the Author

Amy Lane has two grown children, two half-grown children, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Andrew Grey, Writing Stories with Children and his release Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) (guest post and except)

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Fire and Flint (Carlisle Deputies #1) by Andrew Grey

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Dec 8 2017

Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

 

 

 

I get asked quite a bit why I write stories with children in them and that used to be a difficult question to answer because that question goes to the heart of something deeply important to me.  First, I believe that gay couples should have the same rights and opportunities as other couples and that means raising children.  For gay couples there are more steps involved because they cannot have children on their own, adoption, surrogacy, etc.  But I believe it important to show that anything is possible and that a couple, or individual who wishes to have children, can do so and that they can build a family of their own.  Secondly, Dominic and I elected early on in our relationship not to have children.  Dominic was the youngest in his family and was never around children younger than him.  Even today, small babies make him nervous.  We once had a party where three couples brought young babies and the only person at the party who didn’t take a turn holding any of the babies was Dominic.  I swear he’d have hidden in the basement of he could.  So Dominic and I chose not to have children.  I’m not saying that I regret that decision or that I resent Dominic for it, but having children is one thing I think I missed out on in my life.    I don’t regret it because I have Dominic and he takes care of me and loves me the way no one else ever has.  But sometimes I think what life would be like if he and I had raised children.  When that happens, I usually end up writing a story with children.

Blurb/Synopsis:

Jordan Erichsohn suspects something is rotten about his boss, Judge Crawford. Unfortunately he has nowhere to turn and doubts anyone will believe his claims—least of all the handsome deputy, Pierre Ravelle, who has been assigned to protect the judge receiving the threatening letters. The judge has a long reach, and if he finds out Jordan’s turned on him, he might impede Jordan adopting his son, Jeremiah.

When Jordan can no longer stay silent, he gathers his courage and tells Pierre what he knows. To his surprise and relief, Pierre believes him, and Jordan finds an ally… and maybe more. Pierre vows to do what it takes to protect Jordan and Jeremiah and see justice done. He’s willing to fight for the man he’s growing to love and the family he’s starting to think of as his own. But Crawford is a powerful and dangerous enemy, and he’s not above ripping apart everything Jordan and Pierre are trying to build in order to save himself….

Will their fledgling romance dissipate like fog in the sun before it has a chance to burn bright?

Excerpt

 

Terry stood and walked to his end of the table. “I hear you got assigned to one of the judges at the courthouse.” He slipped into the empty seat near Pierre.

“Man, word travels fast,” he said a little loudly. He wasn’t angry, but his law enforcement colleagues gossiped like old biddies.

“Tell me about it,” Terry agreed. “It’s a good thing these guys don’t work for national security.” He grinned and looked up for a second, waving to someone who passed.

Pierre followed his gaze and smiled at the familiar face. “Do you know him?”

“Sure. That’s Jordan. He works at the courthouse. He’s a member at the Y, and I see him and his son coming in a few times a week. Jeremiah is four and he loves the water. I’ve given him a few swimming lessons, and Jordan says he’s signing him up for regular swim class.” Terry waved again, and Jordan came over.

“Hey,” Jordan said with a touch of surprise in his voice.

“You know each other?” Terry asked.

“I work for Judge Crawford now,” Jordan said, “and I’m working with Pierre because of the threats the judge has received.” He turned to Pierre. “You should have said you were coming here.”

“I didn’t know until a little while ago.” Pierre caught the attention of the server and ordered a beer. He turned back to Jordan but didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t interested in talking about work, and they didn’t know each other well enough to talk about other things. Pierre also figured it didn’t help that he found himself staring into Jordan’s eyes, forgetting about most everything else. He blinked a few times to pull himself back to the present. Damn, distraction and near blubbering idiot were quickly becoming the norm for him when he was around Jordan. That was going to make his job even harder. He needed to get over this fast.

“Where’s Jeremiah?” Terry asked, to Pierre’s eternal gratitude.

“He’s with my mom and dad. They asked to take him for a few hours, and I needed a night out that didn’t involve chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, and spilled milk.” Jordan grinned. “I’m here with Brad and Ricky. They go to the club too. We’ve been meaning to go out for a while, but with Jeremiah, it hasn’t been possible.” Jordan glanced toward the other table, then turned back to them. “I should get back. But I’ll see you at the club. And Pierre, I’ll see you in the morning.” He flashed a smile that showed a touch of perfect teeth and once again short-circuited Pierre’s brain.

“Earth to Pierre,” Terry said, standing up. “Geez, you are really gone.”

“Sorry.” Pierre blinked and shook his head as Jordan sat down. “So, a kid, huh? Is he married?” Just his luck he’d be perving on a straight guy.

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

Ken Harrison on Writing, Books, and his latest release ‘Linear Park’ (author interview)

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Linear Park (States of Love) by Ken Harrison
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Kobo |  iTunesGoogle Play  

✒︎

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ken Harrison here today on tour with his latest novel Linear Park.  Welcome, Ken, and thanks for sitting in our author’s Interview chair.

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Ken Harrison

How much of yourself goes into a character?

I tend to write about what I know, so a good amount of myself goes into everything. In Linear Park, Sean’s backstory comes from a few people I know and my own experiences living with a person with alcohol issues. A lot of Nick’s personality comes from my husband.

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

What I’m working on now is contemporary and takes place in New York City and Rhode Island. The main character is an artist, and I know a few artists and have a slight understanding of how things work. Still, I needed to do some research to get specific aspects of painting right. I think for any story that takes place in the real world, there’s a certain amount of research that needs to be done. Nobody knows everything.

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

Yes and no. Back when I was writing erotica, what I read sometimes influenced my stories. I wrote a few stories that were inspired by Jim Thompson and two from cyberpunk fiction. I’m new to romance, so we’ll see what happens.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?

Although I’ve never had to put a story aside because I was too close to it, I need to have some type of emotional response to know that what I’m writing is worthy of my time.  If I don’t laugh or cry, then I’m not attached to it enough to continue.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I like realistic endings. If an ending isn’t believable then the entire story can be ruined for me. It’s nice to have everything work out, but not all stories can end that way.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I’ve always read a wide variety of fiction. When I was a kid it was horror and sci-fi. Throughout my twenties, it was mostly women’s fiction. I love Margaret Atwood, Erica Jong, Alice Walker and a few others. I also read a lot of gay and lesbian fiction. I didn’t seek out romance until I was in my forties.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

I love language and the use of words. A book needs to have a tone or strong voice to catch my attention. When I read Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood, I was in love with her prose and sense of voice. Steven King has a way of using the omniscient voice to pull the reader into the story. Jim Thompson has a grittiness to his prose that works with his edgy fiction. I remember reading Ann Beattie and falling in love with the simplicity of her language. She can tell so much in so little. I believe that the best writing uses an economy words.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I’m a tech guy, so I like ebooks. With that said, I also believe in ebook standards and the ePub format. Proprietary formats drive me bonkers, which is why I was pleased when Amazon allowed kindle users to upload ePub files. All ebook readers should use a single file format, IMHO.

What’s holding ebooks back right now is pricing. Small presses, especially romance presses, understand how to price ebooks. Sometimes I look at the price of books coming from the larger publishing houses and cringe. Why would I pay for an ebook that costs as much as a hardcover? An ebook is a file the publisher pays to set up once, then sells worldwide without the cost of printing or shipping; there’s very little overhead. Ebooks are the new mass market paperback and should not be priced the same as trade paper or hardcover.

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

I considered asking to design my own cover for Linear Park, then decided to relax and let somebody else do it. I’m glad I did. It was great to see another person come up with a cover and give input.

What’s  the wildest scene you’ve imagined and did it make it into a story?

I think the most outrageous story I’ve written thus far was the title story for Ten Thick Inches. A man is hired by a mobster to steal a gold replica of his penis. The entire story is a bit out of control.

If you could imagine the best possible place for you to write, where would that be and why?

Someplace quiet with natural light and a stereo. I sometimes play music in the background, usually Brian Eno or the Cocteau Twins.

What’s next for you as a writer?

I’m working on another contemporary romance now, but have an idea for something much more fantastical when it’s finished. I would also like to write something glitzy, like a gay Scruples or Valley of the Dolls. I’m a sucker for a good glitz novel. I love both those books so much.

Blurb

Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.

When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?

About the Author

Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.

When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.

Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.

Goodreads Author Page

Release Blitz – Secret Santa by Jay Northcote

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 38,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
 
Blurb
 

Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship

Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.

Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.

Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

Website: https://jaynorthcote.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jay_Northcote
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/dellamere
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/jaynorthcotefiction
Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/JN-readers
Jayís books: http://author.to/JayNorthcote

 
 
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Release Blitz for Hunter by HJ Perry (excerpt)

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NEW RELEASE

Title: Hunter
Author: HJ Perry
Publisher: LoveLight Press
Length: approx. 45k
Genre/s: erotic gay romance, fantasy
Release Date: November 23, 2017
Buy Links:
Blurb:

Some are born as prey.

Small-town orphan Pip is stuck in a rut. Life just turns in circles. He can’t even escape his old school bullies, it seems… Until a hunk of a guy with magic fingers steps in and saves him.

Others are born to hunt.

The stranger who seduces Pip is an immortal god, sworn to him for all of Pip’s lives. God in the forest and between the sheets, Hunter will have his prize. Again and again.

Destiny lies with Hunter.

After experiencing his first kiss, Pip discovers their fates are bound together for all eternity. Hunter has access to a world of magic and wonder, and the changes in Pip’s life are almost too much to take. Now he’s faced with an impossible choice…

Hunter is a hot and steamy gay fantasy with a guaranteed Happy Ever After and no cheating.

It is book one in the new Elsewhere series featuring powerful men who are not of this world.

 

Excerpt:

Chapter Four

A warm fire crackled close to Pip’s head, and he woke with a start. He rolled back as his eyes focused. A fire burned in a carefully dug pit in the center of the room. Hearthstones surrounded it. Pip lay on what appeared to be a bed, much larger than any back home. A framework of wood, the center piled high with soft fur pelts, the bed dominated the room. Next to him, a dozing wolf-dog lifted its head lazily, looked at him with amber eyes, then dropped its head back onto the furs. A second lay curled at the end of the bed and didn’t wake when Pip stirred.

What the hell was going on?

The animal at Pip’s side rolled over, exposing his belly and pressing up against him. Pip decided they must be dogs, and exceptionally well-trained ones at that, as he recalled their behavior when they’d found him bound to a tree. He ran his hands through the animal’s coarse, thick fur. Its tongue lolled from the side of his mouth, and it panted happily as Pip scratched his stomach.

Wherever this place was, it wasn’t home. Nothing like.

A pelt hung over the entrance to the room in place of a door, and the walls were a rustic makeshift combination of exposed logs and a type of plaster. The room contained very little furniture, apart from the bed. A rickety shelf held some used copper cookware and a few ancient-looking dishes. It was as if this were a temporary camp with no evidence of commodities, no overhead lighting, no electricity, no… no nothing.

Despite how very strange and basic it appeared, it felt warm and cozy, with a homey familiar scent about it.

Pip settled back onto the bed and nestled against the wolf-like dog, finding strange comfort in being so close to such a strong animal.

Where did the rest of you go?” Pip asked as he stroked its belly. “There were so many of you before.”

They came with me.” The voice from the doorway made Pip’s heart skip a beat.

He lifted his head. The man who rescued him came through the doorway carrying a bag over his shoulder, his antlers gone and skin free of anything that resembled bark. Free of anything at all, actually.

He stood near the fire pit completely naked.

The rest of the dogs trailed in after him; some of them climbed into bed with Pip, others settled across the room, creating a comfortable-looking pile of warm animal fur. The temperature in the room rose by many degrees, quickly. It must’ve surely been from the warmth of all those bodies.

Not only was the man naked, but gorgeous, too. Pip pulled one of the fur pelts over his lap, hoping to conceal his reaction to the man’s presence.

 

 RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

About the Author

HJ Perry is a 49 years old mother of three school aged children. They live by the English seaside and from her hometown she can see France. Helen loves reading. If it were possible, she’d do nothing else. She reads science fiction, fantasy, young adult, all types of LGBT fiction, and, of course, gay romance. Aside from reading she likes walking and watching films, most often science fiction or thrillers.

HJP has written many books about men falling in love in England where, for the most part, LGBT people are treated with the same respect as anyone else. Having worked in the construction industry for years in real life, she has written many fictional characters working in similar macho, male dominated environments.

Despite reading American books and watching American shows, writing American characters has been a huge challenge for her. With a lot of help, Rescued from Paradise is her first novel featuring Americans and set in the US.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website
Facebook Author Page

 

Andrew Grey on Writing Characters and his latest release ‘Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2)’ (author guest blog)

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Heart Unheard (Hearts Entwined #2) by Andrew Grey
Dreamspinner Press
Cover artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Andrew Grey here today talking about the challenges of writing a hearing impaired character.  Welcome, Andrew.

 

 ~ Andrew Grey on One of the Challenges of Writing a Hearing Impaired Character ~

There are so many things I want to say about this story.  When I decided to write a deaf characters I expected a number of challenges, but the hardest one wasn’t what I had anticipated.  What I needed to do after Scott’s injury, was develop an entire communication system for him.  He didn’t have a way for people to communicate with him other than through the written word.  I found that stifling and it made me realize just how difficult the hearing impaired have when interacting with the world around them.  I grew up with an aunt who was very hard of hearing.  Most people she barely understood, but the tone of my voice was able to get through to her.  But it took extra effort on my part to make sure she understood what I was saying.  It was that same kind of effort that I had to put into the story to build Scott’s methods of communicating.  The whole process helped me better understand just how hearing loss can cut a person off from the rest of the world and how a little extra effort and care can make all the difference.

Blurb/Synopsis

The attraction between Brent Berkheimer and Scott Spearman peels the wallpaper, but Brent is Scott’s boss, and they’re both too professional to go beyond flirting. Their priorities realign after Scott is badly injured in an accident that costs him his hearing, and Brent realizes what is truly important… he wants Scott.

Scott first pushes Brent away, fearing a new romance will just add to his problems, but perhaps he will find unexpected strength and solace in Brent’s support as he struggles to communicate with the world in a new way.

Just as they decide the chance of a happy future together is worth the risk, Scott and Brent discover darker challenges in their way—including evidence that the “accident” Scott suffered may not have been so accidental.

Excerpt

Scott was in a small room, the bed surrounded by monitors with a number of tubes and cords hooked to him. His usually robust cheeks were sallow, his normally intense eyes closed, his pouty lips pale.

“Please remain quiet.”

“Of course,” Brent said as he pulled forward the small chair and sat next to the bed. He didn’t ask her a bunch of questions about how he was doing because Brent knew she couldn’t really tell him anything without specific written permission.

The nurse checked Scott over and left the room.

“Hey, Scott. It’s Brent. I wanted to stop by and see you.” He blinked as Scott’s chest slowly rose and fell. “I read somewhere that people can sometimes hear things when they’re out like this. So I hope you get better.” He turned to make sure no one was around to hear him, then leaned closer. “I should have told you how I felt.” He sniffed and took one of the tissues from the box on the tray table. He reached for Scott’s hand and slid their fingers together. Brent probably didn’t have a right to do that, but he wanted Scott to know he was there.

To his surprise, Scott’s fingers squeezed his just a little. At first, he wasn’t sure it was real, but Scott did it again. Brent gently rubbed the back of his hand but received no further movement in response.

“Are you Brent?” a man who had to be Scott’s dad asked. He looked so much like him, only an older, more weathered, and very worried version, with touches of gray in his hair.

“Yes,” Brent whispered, setting Scott’s hand back on the blankets, his cheeks heating. “I was just trying to make a connection with him. I think he might have squeezed my hand a little.” He wondered what Scott’s dad—and then his mom as she followed him inside—must be thinking with him holding Scott’s hand.

“He did that last night before we left. It’s the only indication that we’ve had that he’s there and knows we’re here.” Scott’s mother approached, and Brent stood to give her the chair. She sat, gently stroking Scott’s hand. “Is there something between you and my son?” She lifted her gaze, and it was like she was looking deep into his soul. It was immediately evident where Scott got his amazing eyes, even if hers were red and definitely filled with concern. “I heard what you were saying to him before we came in.”

“Don’t mind Carolyn. She has bat-like hearing sometimes.” Reggie stepped to the other side of the bed, looking at Scott. If Brent were to hazard a guess, Reggie was willing his son to wake up. The worry and sheer willpower were written on the lines of his furrowed brow.

“Reggie,” she said gently, then turned to Brent. “Scott talked about you all the time. I think he may have a crush on you.” She looked him over. “I can see why, but aren’t you a little old for him?”

Brent nodded. “That’s why nothing ever happened.” He turned back to Scott, not believing he was having this conversation. “I’m his manager and….” There were so many reasons why he’d never said anything to Scott, though all of them seemed too stupid now. Scott lay on the bed, largely unmoving, and none of Brent’s reasons mattered. All that did matter was that Scott would recover and get better again.

“I see,” she said, as though there were some great meaning behind Brent’s words. “He told me about the time the oil gun sprang a leak and he got sprayed. You got the oil shut off and him out of there and cleaned off so fast, before it could get in his eyes.”

“He told you that?” Brent closed his eyes, stifling a groan, as his cheeks had to be turning beet red. He’d cleaned Scott off and had damn near kissed him just because he was relieved Scott was all right. Just as he’d gotten close, Scott had opened his eyes and their gazes had met, but Brent had backed away. His cowardice had taken over the way it usually did.

Carolyn nodded. “He said you were gentle and made sure he was okay before everything else. Then you apparently took apart the equipment, fixed it, and made sure that didn’t happen again.” She smiled. “Scott tells us stories about work all the time, and many of them featured you.”

What was he supposed to say to that? Brent wanted to hide and lick his wounds somewhere. It seemed that the teasing and flirting Scott had done was more than just playing. Brent had never been sure, but now he knew. Scott had cared and might have been truly interested, but now it might be too late.

“That’s so nice to know.” Brent couldn’t help looking at Scott and wondering what might have been if he had just had the guts.

 

 

About the Author

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.

Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing)  He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Author Links

Amazon Author Page

Barnes and Noble Page

Dreamspinner Press

Facebook

Facebook Group All the Way with Andrew Grey

Goodreads

Twitter @andrewgreybooks

Website

For Other Works by Andrew Grey

(Please Be Sure To Stop by His Website to See All of His Works)

The Titles Below Are for the Heart Unseen Novels Only

Links go to Amazon

Heart Unseen Book 1

Heart Unheard Book 2

In Our New Release Spotlight: Hurricane (Stormy Weather #3) by B.A. Tortuga (special excerpt)

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Hurricane (Stormy Weather #3) by B.A. Tortuga
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have B.A. Tortuga back today on her tour for Hurricane, the third Stormy Weather story.  Welcome, B.A.!

✒︎

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and lover of all things cowboy.

Hurricane is the third in the story of Galen and Shane, and I’ve included a novella set quite a few years later called Bartender Rescue. I hope you enjoy this teaser.

Hurricane, Excerpt

***

“I swear to God, y’all. If you don’t watch your pours, I’m going to start ripping faces off. I can’t afford to run specials if you’re pouring triples on every drink.”

Christ on a sparkly crutch, Shane had a headache. He’d spent the last four days studying the books on his latest project, trying to figure out why the busiest club of five bars was the one losing fucking money.

“But boss….”

He shook his head at Greg, his so-called manager. “Don’t. I don’t care. Fix it, y’all. Now. Or you’re all fired.”

“I’d like to see him do it perfect every time,” one of the little barbacks was muttering, and Shane saw red, right about the time Greg winced.

“Give me a bottle of Bacardi,” he snapped, one hand held out. “And four glasses.”

He poured the four shots—boom, boom, boom, boom—without even bothering to look. Each one of them perfect, right on, and he knew it. “Any questions?”

“Yes.” The newest bartender, a shrewd little redhead with bright green eyes, raised a hand. “Do you do it by count or with the bubble or what?”

“I used to count. Now I know it by heart. It’s practice. Y’all have to get, if you’re getting them fucked-up with two drinks, that’s ten bucks to the till, what? Two bucks to you? Three if you’re lucky? With four or five drinks? That’s twenty-five bucks to the till and more than five in the tip jar.”

“Can you show me one more time?” She was taking the initiative, at least. So he bit back his frustration and showed her.

Four pours. Four shots. Four perfect glasses.

Christ, his head hurt. Bad. And he still had to put out fires at Mickey’s, run deposit at the Spotted Kitten, and approve proofs for the new menus at Bell.

The bar business was booming, even if other things were sliding, like the old bait shop. Galen could run that with one hand tied behind his back and still do all the weird financial shit the man was into. Hell, they’d had it for more than ten years.

He wasn’t sure how he’d ended up like this—how he had ended up owning five clubs. He didn’t even drink hardly anymore.

Hell, right now he was tired enough that he didn’t want anything but caffeine and energy drinks by the case.

“Cool, boss. Thanks.” What the heck was her name? Allie? She winked. Winked at him. Lord.

“I’ve got to go. Greg. Work on this, man.”

“I will. I swear.” Greg could do earnest. Shane just hoped there was follow-through.

He grabbed his laptop bag and headed out. Time for the next stop on his rounds….

Someone stood right in front of his new, sparkly blue Jeep. Leaning on the hood in fact.

He stopped, took a second to admire. Damn. Damn, his Len was fine as frog’s hair. Those long legs went on and on, the ripped jeans and tight polo shirt just right. Galen’s shoulders still looked like they might block the light.

***

Much love, y’all.

BA

Blurb

Hurricane

Stormy Weather: Book Three

Galen and Shane are back in the final installment of the Stormy Weather series, and a tempest of epic proportions is brewing. Once they couldn’t get enough of each other, but now Galen’s long hours are driving a wedge between him and Shane. Lonely and starved for his lover’s attention, bartender Shane falls in with a new crowd that doesn’t have his best interests at heart, and Galen struggles with a workload he can’t manage and an unscrupulous partner who wants to eliminate Shane. He can barely keep his head above water, let alone chart a course home to Shane.

While they’re floundering and trying to hold their relationship together, a hurricane heads for the Florida coast—and they’re directly in the path of the storm. It’s a crisis that will either finally break them apart or remind them how much they stand to lose if they don’t hold on to each other.

Also included is the free novella Bartender Rescue.

Second Edition

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, 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 Pinterest 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 heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. 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. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

Release Day Blitz For The Love of Samuel by RP Andrews (excerpt)

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Title:  For the Love of Samuel

Author: RP Andrews

Publisher:  Self-Published

Release Date: 11/20/2017

Heat Level: 5 – Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 50,500

Genre: Romance, Erotica, Fantasy, eroic gay romance, erotic gay fiction

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

New Yorker and aging gay man Billy Veleber who abhors growing old has lost Jim, his former meth head lover, to his habit, and Gus, the older man in his life and mentor, to despair, when he is confronted with the chance to become 21 all over again, through the magical prowess of the dog tag of a long dead Civil War soldier, Samuel Evans. Young again, Billy abandons Manhattan for Fort Lauderdale where he meets Dare, the love of his life, whose clever quick rich venture first bonds them, then threatens to end their idyllic lives together forever. Billy also faces the reality of having to tell Dare the truth about himself.

Excerpt

Billy Veleber, a 51 year old aging gay mam living in Manhattan, after a number of heartbreaks, decides to put on the dog tag of a Civil soldier given to him by Travis, a clerk in a thrift shop in Boystown, Chicago, who tells him it will give him eternal youth if he has had or has love in his life.  The dog tag had been handed down for generations since it was given to Walt Whitman by a dying soldier he nursed in the Washington, D.C., Armory Hospital in 1862. Over the intervening weekend, Billy begins his transformation to 21, the same age as the soldier, Samuel Evans, whose dog tag he wears, died …

I leave the baths around five, and after a coma nap, a quick Smart Choice Fettuccini Alfredo 400 calorie dinner and a good hot shower – I notice with cocky satisfaction in the bedroom’s full length mirror that my love handles are history, my stomach is flatter, my receding hairline is unreceding, and most of the gray on my head and in my beard and and on  – yes! – my chest is going or gone, I head over in my leather vest, no shirt, and levis and boots for The New Eagle off Tenth Avenue. It’s almost one – a.m. – but as one of my fuck buddies before Gus and even Jim, said, “That’s when they stop window shopping.”

Now it’s called The New Eagle because the old Eagle, along with the Spike and the Lure, the leather triumvirate of my youth and my years with Gus, were gone. They had become the victims of the real estate boom at the turn of the millennium, and had been brutally and sacrilegiously torn down for shiny, gleaming condos and spankingly clean baby carriages.

In the crappy bathroom at the Spike they had stenciled on the black wall in cheap white paint, “Don’t flush for piss.” That said it all. I only hoped some gay historians had saved that piece of the wall before it too became history. Now all we have left is the hole on Tenth Avenue, what us hardcore leathermen sarcastically brand as Genuine “Vi-nel.”

I strut in, my goose-step no longer adopted but my own, and find the same Chatty Cathy cliques – different faces, same old shit – going on like the last time I was here with Gus just after we’d  gotten back from our first class holiday excursion to Athens and Rome and a few weeks before his stroke.

In between the groupies are some of the oldest members of our clan, The Old Guard, usually alone because most of their cronies are already dead, and usually with enough keys hanging from their belts to rival a night watchman at the Chrysler Building, the fucken handkerchiefs hanging from their pockets, so Twentieth Century, or the best of them in faded, stretched out jock straps that should be on Antiques Road Show along with their owners. Yea it’s true, the older some of these guys got, the less they wore. For attention I guess.

Admired or ridiculed, it doesn’t matter; the greatest sin is to be ignored.

I order my nine dollar screwdriver with fifteen cents of vodka in it, and head up the stairs to the second level where just a year before Gus and I had had our leather marriage ceremony.

As I’m going up the stairs some twink in a super short Tux jacket, Bermuda shorts and floppies and one of those Abe Lincoln top hats – I guess he thinks he’s in the Garment District because anywhere else he’d be tire-ironed – and his angelic girl friend, a vision in pink, dressed in a fluffy chiffon skirt, low cut blouse and sneakers, are waltzing down the stairs. They give a funny stare but I stare them right back.

“You,” say I, pointing to the bitch, “don’t belong here.”

“You can’t discriminate against us, fucker,” replies her boyfriend who sounds like he shoots up with estrogen in the morning.

I give him a frumpy look back. Yea, buddy you’re right. The days when a leather bar could stop you from coming in if you weren’t dressed “in code” are over. With the leather scene fading faster than an Atlantic City “Wish You Were Here” postcard, it’s all about selling the liquor.

Period.

There’s less people upstairs, the same Chatty Cathy shit going on or guys on their fucken phones GPSing you but never making a move beyond that, when I see HIM.

He’s tall but not too tall, hairy but not a gorilla like me, older but not old, with an open leather camouflage vest showing a tight, lightly furry chest and six pack out of one of Men’s Fitness cover stories, “Dynamite Abs in Just Six Weeks!”, a scrawny beard and face of a felon who did hard labor, and leather gloves and biker’s cap to complete the whole Neo-Nazi look.

Plus a pair of furry, honey melon buns deliciously hanging from his chaps begging to be tongued.

Fuck!

He’s standing at the other end of the bar, surrounded by clones though he is far and away the pick of the litter. I lock my eyes on him like a laser for a good ten minutes but I get hardly a glance.

Now in the old days before Jim and Gus when I was free as a bird but as timid as a spinster, I would have just moved on. Oh, but this was the new Billy, the ballsy Billy. I walk over and stand two feet away from Mr. Hot Shit and his court jesters and just keep staring.

Finally I get his attention.

“You got a problem, bud?” he says returning the stare of a killer. His cronies do the same.

“Well, I’ve been cruising you for at least ten minutes now and I didn’t even get a fart back.”

“And…”

“So what are you looking for, some fem, or fat boy, or maybe some tough guy with whips, chains and razors hanging from his belt?”

His buddies begin to little girl giggle, but not a muscle moves in Hotshit’s Stone Mountain face.

“I’m not into watching your pubic hairs grow in, buddy.”

“How old do you think I am?”

“Thirty, thirty two maybe.”

Fuck, dude, I’d suck your dick all night just for that. But I continue to play it cool.

“So you get your kicks changing some old man’s Depends, I guess.”

Now Hotshit is the only one that’s laughing.

“Okay, smart ass, buy me a beer.”

He follows me to the bar and after collecting our beers, we move to the other side and sit down on the wood bleachers.

“I gotta tell you buddy -”

“Billy, name’s Billy.”

“Hank, in from LA. Hell, Billy, you’re the first guy I’ve met in a long time that’s got balls for real.”

“Hey, I know what I want, so why waste one another’s time?”

“And you want me?”

“If you can deal with all this.” I glide my hand over the fur on my chest and abs when Hank puts his hand over mine and pushes it further down to my crotch.

And squeezes.

“I dig the fur big time. And most younger guys are so used to deleting and blocking everybody, they don’t know how to talk, Christ, they don’t know how to fart in public. But you – you sound pretty mature for a kid old enough to be my son.”

“You don’t have to be old to have your shit together.”

Hank raises his razor chin. “So how old do you think I am, stud?”

Now with that hard core felon face, I took him for fifty but PR taught me to tell people what they wanna hear.

“Forty.”

“Good answer,” he replies. “I’m 46.”

“l just threw a guy out younger than you,” I say smugly.

“Oh?”

“High maintenance. Wanted it all the time. Hey, what do I look like, some fucking machine?”

“You must be pretty tough.” He smiles for the first time since we connected, a tough guy’s, controlled, but a smile nonetheless.

“Yea, I’m a trust fund baby, do what I wanna do, when I wanna do it, with whoever I wanna do it with.”

It’s refreshing to create whatever past the moment calls for when you know, chances are, you’ll never see the guy again.

“And you?” I ask. “You’re not one of these aging hotties who live off those of us with money are you?” This time I place my hand on his chest, rubbing it slowly back and forth from nipple to nipple. He’s got a nice succulent set.

“You know something,” with his own smart ass grin. “I’m going to really enjoy hearing you howl while I fuck you.”

I get up, pat my ass for his benefit, then sit down again.

“This ain’t yours yet.”

“Okay, fair enough.” He takes my hand, places it on his crotch, a respectable bulge at that. “I’m a set designer in Hollyweird, between gigs which is why I decided go visit New York and see some old buddies …”

“…who you’re free loading off of.”

“If you mean, I’m staying with one of them the answer is yes.”

“Current trans-coastal lover, present or former fuck buddy, auditioning sugar daddy, which is it?”

“None of the above. Just a buddy’s couch and a lumpy one at that.”

“Well then, that makes it easy.” I get down off the bleachers and wait for him to follow. He does.

“Remember.” He taps on the chrome and leather armband on his bulging left bicep.

“So two tops can have fun,” I say matter of factly, taping on my neoprene version, also on my not quite as bulging as his left bicep. “Who ends up on the bottom bunk is a matter of luck and timing.”

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

RP Andrews spent most of his life in New York City as a public relations executive before relocating to Fort Lauderdale in 2002, where he enjoyed a brief second career teaching writing at a local university.

All his works of erotic gay fiction and non-fiction are available at amazon.com.

His first work of erotic gay fiction, a collection of edgy short stories called “Basic Butch,” was originally published by San Francisco-based GLBT Publishers in 2008. Basic Butch features characters who go down life paths that, in the end, they wish they had never explored.

His latest works of serious gay fiction include:

“The Czar of Wilton Drive,” the story of Jonathan Antonucci, a twenty-one-year- old, barely-out-the-closet gay man from suburban New York who overnight finds himself a multimillionaire, thanks to a bequest by his late gay uncle. Uncle Charlie has unexpectedly died of a heart attack, leaving him the sole owner of several of the most successful bars in Wilton Manors, Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto, making Jonathan the Czar of Wilton Drive.

Flying down to Lauderdale to claim his bequest, Jon encounters Uncle Charlie’s dubious friends and business associates, and is immediately submerged in Lauderdale’s scene of unbridled sex and heavy drugs. He also discovers his great uncle’s memoirs which reveal truths not only about Jon’s own past but also what may have really happened to his uncle. In the end, Jon is torn between avenging Uncle Charlie’s death or loving the man responsible for it.

“Not In It For The Love,” set at the turn of the new millennium. Josh, a young street-smart Florida drifter is snatched from his dead-end existence as a male hustler in a cheap Key Largo motel by Bishop, a Wall Street power broker who sets him up as his trophy boy in Manhattan society. There, Josh, after leading a promiscuous lifestyle within New York City’s gay sub-culture, meets Hylan, a young, bi-racial, down-on-his luck, wheelchair-bound musician who awakens in Josh what love can be between two men. But their chance at happiness and the lives of those around them are forever changed by 9/11.

“Buy Guys,” published in 2015, is the story of Blaze and Pete, two handsome young drifters with nothing and nothing to lose. Blaze convinces Pete, who is falling in love with him, to leave dreary New Jersey and lead free and easy lives as male prostitutes in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Blaze, however, soon pulls Pete into a much larger, more dangerous scheme, a scheme that eventually threatens to destroy them both.

RP Andrews’ daily social commentary blog on gay life in America has been running since 2010 at str8gayconfessions.com, and a second edition collection of these commentaries is available as an e-book on amazon.com. Confessions of a Str8Gay Man is RP Andrews’ unvarnished, unorthodox views of Modern Gay America which are often counter to today’s political correct gay media.

In addition, there is “Furry Man’s Journal,” his erotic memoirs as a hirsute gay man as told through his experiences with the dozen iconic men in his life.

For more info, visit eroticgayromancebyrpandrews.com.

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