A Stella Review: Love & Tea Bags (Pink Rock Series #1) by C.F. White

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RATING 3,75 out of 5 stars

Fate can be written in a tea bag too.

Mark Johnson is hitting his forties and is stuck in a rut.

He’s had the same boring office job for ten years, with no motivation or inclination to change it. The same crumbling house for ten years, with no cash or know-how to fix it. And the same Facebook status for five years—it’s complicated. It isn’t. He’s single. He just doesn’t want to correct it. That would be admitting defeat.

The day a tea bag splats onto his face whilst he’s emptying the dregs of his morning cuppa at Macy’s Tea Shoppe is the one that makes him question each of his current life choices…the tea bag and that the shop is currently being run by one rather friendly, rather hunky, but rather young Australian named Bradley Summers.

Tea has never tasted so good.

I picked this new release because the title and te cover interested me and the blurb sounded good too, plus I’m always on the lookout for new to me authors and I had never read CF white before. I read Love & Tea Bags and liked it a lot.

Mark and Bradley were so different, still from the beginning it was clear they were made for each other. I fell for Mark so easily and quickly, since the first chapter I found his smart mouth so endaring, sometimes a little cynical, moreover too funny.  Instead Bradley was so young and firm in his wish to woo Mark and took him from his boring life.  I appreciated how brave and stubborn at the same time both of them were; when finally Mark understood the amazing opportunity at finding a HEA he had, I had laughed and cheered on them so much, my cheeks hurt. This novel showed how literally life can change when you meet love, it is a dreamy concept, but not so far from reality.

Love & Tea Bags was a great reading, engaging, with interesting characters, with some baggage on their shoulders. I didn’t give it an higher rating cause I didn’t feel satisfied ,I wanted a little more, especially I missed Bradley POV, I think it was necessary to better enjoy the reading. That said, this is just the first installment in a new seris, I can’t wait for more.

The cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill is cute and well done, I like the colors and the font a lot.

Buy Links:  Amazon |  Pride Publishing

BOOK DETAILS

ebook, 307 pages

Published July 16th 2019 by Pride Publishing

ISBN13 9781786517951

Edition Language English

Review Tour and Giveaway for Love & Tea Bags (Pink Rock #1) by C.F. White (excerpt)

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Buy Links: Pride Publishing – To be released wide July 16
 
Cover Design: Erin Dameron-Hill
 
Length: 79,679 words
 
Publisher: Pride Publishing
 
Blurb



Fate can be written in a tea bag too.


Mark Johnson is hitting his forties and is stuck in a rut.


He’s had the same boring office job for ten years, with no motivation or inclination to change it. The same crumbling house for ten years, with no cash or know-how to fix it. And the same Facebook status for five years—it’s complicated. It isn’t. He’s single. He just doesn’t want to correct it. That would be admitting defeat.


The day a tea bag splats onto his face whilst he’s emptying the dregs of his morning cuppa at Macy’s Tea Shoppe is the one that makes him question each of his current life choices…the tea bag and that the shop is currently being run by one rather friendly, rather hunky, but rather young Australian named Bradley Summers.


Tea has never tasted so good.

 
Excerpt
 

The slurp was loud and rather obnoxious, especially when the man was sipping from one of Mark’s grandmother’s dainty china tea cups that Mark saved for special occasions. Since Mark hadn’t had any need for the guest china in quite some time, he’d let Grammy’s cardinal rule slide for the strapping workman clambering up in his loft.


“Yup, I see the problem,” the workman yelled down the open hatch in Mark’s landing ceiling that led to the over-cluttered store of stuff that Mark hadn’t set foot in for…well, quite some time.


Mark wished he hadn’t offered the man a brew. He really hadn’t had the time to wait for the kettle to boil, for a start. But he’d been brought up well, and one must offer one’s tradesmen a cuppa in the hope they’ll knock a few quid off the call-out charge. He suspected he would have to delve deep into his already ravine-like pockets, so anything that could be considered mates-rates would really help at this point in his life. Mark wished he did have mates. Ones that were handy, anyway.


“Oh, yes?” Mark called back, his voice echoing through the square hole in his ceiling. He closed his eyes, for some reason, as if that would soften the blow of what was going to come out of the man’s mouth next.


“Gonna need coupla new roof tiles, mate. A lotta this stuff is gonna get ruined.”


“Bugger,” Mark muttered into his own mug of piping-hot tea. Well, it was rude not to join the man in a beverage.


“What was that?” The man’s round, if somewhat flushed, face appeared at the hole.


“Nothing, nothing.” Mark shook his head. He didn’t much fancy repeating himself. The man might take it seriously and give him a whack. Or, which would be much worse, not take the job of fixing Mark’s leaking roof. “Thank you.” He smiled.


Mark had been told, on occasion, that he had quite a nice smile. One that relaxed people. Mark, however, believed it to be far more useful to allow people to walk all over him. Or pass by him. Through him…


With a grunt, the workman set his steel-toe-capped boots on two metal rungs of the ladder, revealing the tip of his rounded behind popping out of the elastic waistband that appeared to be failing in its one basic function. Normally, on an average Saturday night, Mark wouldn’t have minded the view, as his internet history would evidence. But today was a Monday and the man didn’t look like he would appreciate Mark’s ogling. Not that Mark was ogling. He just had nowhere else to look. Honest.


On reaching the landing, the workman crashed back into Mark. Stumbling, Mark gripped his cup with both hands to prevent the utter travesty of spillage onto the carpet. Not only did he not have time to clear up any stains—not that any would show on the swirling patterns of the seventies-design stitch work—but he also hated to waste a cup of the good stuff.


The workman hefted up his jogging bottoms, his hands empty of the china tea cup he had been avidly slurping from up in the loft. And that meant Mark would now either have to venture up into the space he avoided like the seaside lido on a May bank holiday afternoon, or leave it up there to breed new life. He knew which he would rather.


“Right.” The man scratched his stubbled chin. “See, you’re gonna need a coupla new tiles. Tha’s what the leak is. The rain we been ’avin is comin’ in frou ta ’ole in ya roof. Travelling daan the walls and dripping aaat ya ceiling.”


“Good-oh.” Mark nodded, not letting on for a single second that he had no idea what the man had just said. “Uh, can you fix it?” He mentally crossed his fingers in the hope that he hadn’t just said that he could. Or couldn’t.


“Yeah, no sweat. I can do two tiles at a ton.”


“A what now?”


“A ton.”


“A ton of what? Tiles?


“No. A hundred smackers.”


Mark blanked, shaking his head.


“Paand?”


“Oh, I see. Well, that’s not too bad then.” Mark smiled. And phewed. Mentally.


“But that won’t fix ya problem.”


“Oh dear.” Mark furrowed his brow, which he didn’t like to do all that often as the lines weren’t smoothing out after so much anymore.


“Dunno which bleedin’ cowboy did ya roof last, but they didn’t felt it.” The man tucked a tiny pencil behind his ear. Where he’d got the pencil from was Mark’s first question. Quickly followed by, do I really want to know?


“That cowboy would be my grandfather.” Mark attempted to add a hint of pride to his voice, but the vacant expression of the workman before him just made him slink into a guilty, wincing admission. “He built the house.”


“Ah. Right. ’Nover ’and-me-down was it?”


“Hand-me-down?” More deep-set wrinkles formed on Mark’s brow. He must remember to use that skincare range for men he’d got as a Secret Santa present at work last year, the one that claimed to defy even the deepest-set wrinkles. He had a hunch who’d been bold enough to buy that for him. Bloody Yvonne.


The man waved, indicating Mark’s attire. “The clothes.”


Mark held out his arms, still clutching his mug of tea, and peered down at himself. Trusty grey corduroy trousers, wonderful and comfy, and rather warm considering the current climate, matched with a white button-down shirt. The vest underneath was simply due to the fact that his dark nipples tended to show through the thin material of cheap cotton. He’d discovered that tidbit of information back at secondary school when the popular boys used to poke his nipples through his school shirt, many twisting for added effect. And people say all-boy grammar schools are a safe haven from bullying.


Mark ran a hand through his thick dark hair, sliding it across his forehead in a floppy fringe, ignoring the jibe at his attire and moving on to the pressing transaction at hand. “So you were saying about the roof?”


“Yeah. Gonna need ta replace it.” The man sniffed, his chest rising with the inhale of breath, then shrugged. “Set ya back ’bout five grand.”


The fact that Mark had chosen the man’s pause to take a sip of tea probably summed up his entire existence. It had been, of course, the wrong decision. He spat the tea out, liquid escaping from his nose, and coughed, gasping to get air, rather than the delightful Twinings English Breakfast, into his lungs.


The workman slapped him on the back. Perhaps he thought that would help the situation. It didn’t. It only exacerbated it, knocking Mark off his feet and forcing him to grapple for the banister to prevent a rather tragic tumble down the stairs.


“Better out than in, I say.” The workman did say.


Mark blanked. If only the boys at his delightful modern secondary grammar had believed in that statement back when Mark had been in year ten and announcing to the world he was gay. Not that any of his peers had had any doubt before Mark had made his fabulous speech. But Mark presumed they would have preferred him to stay in on that day, considering many had received detention for the words of “encouragement” they had called out in a perfect display of teenage camaraderie.


“Well, I can do the tiles tomorra,” the man carried on, oblivious to Mark’s inner turmoil. “Fink about the rest of da roof, though. You don’t want it cavin’ in on ya.”


Mark nodded, although, right then the thought of paying out five thousand pounds that he didn’t have made him consider the alternative option.


“Righty-oh. Thank you very much for coming out on such short notice.” Mark ushered him down the stairs.


“No probs. Give me card your granddad, then.” The man handed over a bent business card, a mobile phone number scrawled on the back with black pen along with the words The Man With The Van Who Can. Mark pondered if there was anything that he couldn’t? Or wouldn’t?


“That would be rather futile. Grampy died quite some time ago.”


“Oh.” The man squinted, stepping out into the daylight and onto Mark’s porch. “So you chose this?”


“Chose what?” Mark desperately tried not to furrow his brow.


The man waved his hand, indicating, Mark presumed, the entire house’s internal decor.


“I like antiques.” Could seventies decor be considered antique? He supposed it could.


“You get antique wallpaper these days then?”


Bastard. “Oh, indeed.” Mark nodded. “Worth a fortune.”


Mark slammed the door shut and rested his back against the wall, glancing around at the house he’d lived in coming along ten years now. It was falling apart and no redecoration had been done since probably the last time he’d been up in the loft. He sighed, slammed his mug down on the windowsill and decided now was the time for a decent cup of the good stuff.


Grabbing his black Barbour jacket from the coat hooks, he slipped his feet into the black loafers by the door then ventured out into the morning sun. And what a glorious day it was, perfect to be beside the seaside. And Mark was. He lived directly opposite the pebble beach of Marsby in the south east, a quaint little seaside town that homed more retirees than tourists. Not that Mark was retired. He could only wish for that, although he was leaning nearer to the end of his career than the start. Mid-career, perhaps? Christ, maybe I should think about actually having a career rather than simply a job that barely pays the bills?


Trying to forget that he had left a gaping hole in his roof—and now his ceiling having forgotten to shut the loft hatch—Mark rammed his hands into his jacket pockets and thanked whomever above for the abnormal radiant sun. And that was when the inevitable dark clouds glided overhead and droplets landed with splats on his cheeks. Such was Mark’s luck. So he trotted that bit faster along the pathway beside the beach and into the main High Street, stopping at the welcoming sign of Macy’s Ye Olde Style Tea Shoppe on the corner.


The bell above the door chimed as Mark hurried into his regular haunt. He’d been going there for quite a few years now, since his move back to his home town from the mean streets of London, and still hadn’t figured out why Macy added the extra p and e to the shop. He shook his hair out like a wet dog and nodded at the umbrellas Macy always offered to customers on such regular occurrences as torrential rain, a quick downpour, scattered showers and that really fine light rain that has one believing they aren’t getting wet until they get home and their clothes are sopping.


The shop was empty, which was rather odd. There was usually someone sipping on a decent cup of tea made from the loose leaves in a well-stewed pot. Macy made proper tea, using a strainer, and it tasted every bit of the aromatic leaves that it should. She was also a rather good baker and Mark was horrified that there were no buns, baps or any other derogatory term used for parts of the female anatomy displayed on the counter for Mark to scoff and instantly burn off the calories by breathing. He had a fast metabolism, which was both a dream and a curse.


As Mark slapped a hand down on the counter, he heard shuffling back in the kitchen area. Thank God Macy was there. He needed a chat. And a tea.


“Helloooo? Only me, love. Usual cuppa when you’re ready.”


Drumming his fingers on the counter, Mark swivelled a one-eighty. Vacant seats and no-one in the vicinity looking like they might want venture on in to grab a tea to go, which would be quite difficult as Macy only served tea in porcelain cups. And rightly so.


“So, Macy, love,” Mark called out over his shoulder, thinking it was best to fill her in now or he might not have time to divulge all the details of his eventful morning before he had to head into work. “I’ve decided I’m better off if I just kill myself now.”


He leaned forward over the counter, ensuring his voice would drift to the kitchen. “Turns out my roof might collapse on me anyway. And according to this rather annoyingly beefcaked member of the male species, the sight of whose perfectly rounded behind is now imprinted on me for many a future solo endeavour, and who graced me with a whole other English language making me feel every bit of my—cough—years, it’s going to cost me rather more than my arm and my leg. And I’m sadly going to have to admit it, Macy love, that I’m not sure the fellow would accept an offer of my penis as monetary value. Not that I have a wealth of offers for that part of my anatomy these days anyway. Much like the pound to the euro, I swear it’s shrinking in value.”


He chuckled at his own joke, as he so often did, then spun around to face the seating area. A couple of joggers zoomed past the window, obviously on their beachside run rather than the mad dash for cakes and biscuits that he did.


“You okay, Mace? Need a hand?”


No reply. So Mark leafed through the selection of pre-packed biscuits crammed in the bowl by the till. Macy had one of those old-fashioned registers. No electronic buttons to press. No new-fangled tablet hooked up to the mains. It was basically a calculator with a drawer.


Choosing a packet of chocolate-dipped Viennese shortbread fingers, Mark cocked his head to peer through the open kitchen door. “I mean, Macy, what is the point in filing paperwork for a living just to earn enough money to fix a roof when I have no man to enjoy the comforts of my damp-free living space along with me? And by the time I find a willing participant to snuggle with me on my antique sofa looking at my antique wallpaper in my antique house, I’ll be ready to pop my clogs anyway. So, death by sugar, please, Macy.”


He slapped the counter to finalise his self-depreciative monologue, and nearly threw up the entire contents of his breakfast when a male vacated the back kitchen. Said man was wiping his hands on a rather beautifully stitched gingham tea towel. But that wasn’t the only thing that was a delight for the eye. The man was shirtless—rippling muscles, a glowing sheen of glistening skin and white-wash jeans hanging low on his perfectly sculpted hips. Needless to say, that wasn’t Macy.


“Hello,” Mark said, because, it is the polite way to greet a man, regardless of the lack of shirt and the highly embarrassing fact that Mark had already told his life story, leaving out all, or indeed any, good bits.


“G’day,” the man replied.

 

About The Author

 

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.


Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.


She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.


Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…


You can follow C F on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website.

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Standalone or Part of a Series? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Standalone or Part of a Series?

Ok, all of you know, it’s usually something I’m reading or just read that sets off a topic for my Sunday blog, and that’s the case again today.  Actually I’m surprised this hasn’t come up before now because I feel pretty strongly about it.  And that’s whether a book is labeled a standalone story or is part of a series.  And should a reader know that in advance of picking up a book to read.

My answer is yes, let the reader know.

Give your reader as much information about your story to make an informed guess as to whether to go and read the previous stories or to jump into the middle or, as I just did without any inkling, end up at the end of a trilogy that killed off a main character.  Was I happy?  Uh no.  This while giving happy endings to characters I had no idea who they were but apparently had stories that preceded this one.

How did I find that out?  Because while the title and blurb gave no indication that this novel was part of a series and the finale, when I went looking for  (hopefully) stories or notes that would indicate that the author would have new books coming to resolve this ending (there were ways given the nature of this book), instead I found reviews for the others in the series.  I was flummoxed.  Looking over each title, none indicated it was a part of a series/trilogy.  Yet the two characters in books one and two only get their resolution in the third novel.  One actually dies in his story. So uh, without reading them, what is their ending like? Got to be cliffhangers.

How do you feel about picking up stories you think are standalone only to find  that they are part of a series?

Sometimes it hasn’t mattered.  I have come in many times in the middle of contemporary series that feature multiple couples throughout the stories and pictured up the other books with no problem.  It depends I think on the narrative and overall arc.  I’m trying to think if I have done the same with a fantasy or paranormal series, and the answer is probably given the sheer amount of books I’ve read.  But again, I’ve already noted in my review that said novel or story, unlike whatever the blurb has said, isn’t a standalone, that its a part of a group of tales to be read in the order they were written.

I just did that with a Josh Lanyon book (The Art of Murders series) and a Ana Newfolk book from her Made In series.  The foundation and universe is the series each author has painstakingly created for their stories. Especially in Josh Lanyon’s case where The Art of Murders is a brilliant labyrinth of twisted psychology, deep emotions, and murder mysteries. Separating one out of the mix?  Can’t and shouldn’t be done.  In fact, the number of series where you shouldn’t come into the middle far out number the ones where it probably wouldn’t matter so much.  That’s like falling into the middle of Abigail Roux’s fabulous Cut & Run series with Ty Grady  and Zane Garrett.  You could do it but why would you? Or Amy Lane’s Fish Out of Water Series or or or…

So why do it at all?  Why say standalone if they really aren’t?

Hmmmm. Well, probably to sell stories for one.

People are less likely to commit to a series than they are to one story.  Well not me.  I love series.  But others, probably. Ok poll time let’s find out.

 

I can’t wait to see how this turns out.  How do people really feel about reading one book. One or  three or more?  For me it’s the more the merrier honestly.

Unless I come in on the end and they have killed off a major character with no hope of revival.  Sigh.

But I can see publishers or authors wanting to put their stories out there and making them as accessible to readers as possible, even if (in my opinion)that’s labeling them as a standalone when they aren’t (again my opinion) or lumping them under a bazillion of genre tags.  Ok, how many times lately have you seen a story labeled as a sci fy fantasy paranormal supernatural romance?  It’s a cat and bunny romance, you are already there.

Head desk!

Well that’s a topic for another Sunday.

Anyhoo, back to my topic.  How do you feel about standalones and series?  Write in and let me know.  There’s a $10 Amazon gift card waiting for a lucky reader chosen among the replies. And please take our poll, I’m dying to see our answers!

Oh and as to the book that set this all off?  I’m reviewing it later this month.  See if you all can guess which one it is. lol

Note:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for Reviewers!  We are looking for reviewers for our blog.  If you love to read or listen to LGBT stories and share your thoughts about them with others, consider reviewing with Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Please send all inquiries to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.  We are very flexible about how many reviews each reviewer takes on.   That’s entirely up to each reviewer’s own schedule.

And now onto our week ahead.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, July 14:

  • Standalone or Part of a Series? This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • SALE BLITZ – RYKER – RJ SCOTT & V.L. LOCEY

Monday, July 15:

  • REVIEW TOUR Chef On Top (Sizzling In The Kitchen #3) – MJ O’Shea
  • SERIES REVIEW TOUR – The Series of Fates by C.C. Dado
  • Release Blitz – Alison Temple – Cold Pressed
  • An Alisa Review :Denying Fate (A Series of Fates #1) by C.C. Dado
  • A Lucy Review: Invisible by Iyana Jenna
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Chef On Top (Sizzling In The Kitchen #3)  by MJ O’Shea

Tuesday, July 16:

  • Review Tour Request – C.F. White – Love & Tea Bags
  • Tour for “Serpent’s Teardrop” by Mary Rundle
  • Blog Post – Victoria Milne – Purple Method
  • Book Blitz  – WS Long – Revving It Up Box Set
  • A Stella Review: Love & Tea Bags (Pink Rock Series #1) by C.F. White
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Warm Heart (Search and Rescue #1) by Amy Lane

Wednesday, July 17:

  • Cover Reveal, – Joanna Chambers – Gentleman Wolf
  • AUDIOBOOK REVIEW TOUR – Lucky Town by Morgan Brice
  • PROMO M.D. Grimm
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: Lucky Town (Badlands #1.5) by Morgan Brice and Kale Williams (narrator)
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audio Review: Terms of Service (The Heretic Doms Club #2) by Marie Sexton and John Solo (Narrator)

Thursday, July 18:

  • R GREY PROMO ON Oasis
  • Release Blitz Signal – Sam Burns & W.M Fawkes – Patron Of Mercy
  • Release blitz Beautiful Trauma by Aimee Nicole Walker
  • BLOG TOUR Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice
  • An Alisa Review: Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice
  • A Caryn Review: Dancing with the Lion: Becoming (Dancing with the Lion #1) by Jeanne Reames

Friday, July 19:

  • Release Blitz  – What Lies Beneath – RJ Scott
  • Release Blitz – Hanna Dare – Black Sky Morning
  • Release Blitz – Eli Easton – How To Run With The Wolves
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Kneading You by CS Poe
  • A MelanieM Review: Séance on a Summer’s Night by Josh Lanyon

Saturday, July 20:

  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Craving’s Creek by Mel Bossa
  • A Lucy Review: 9 Willow Street by Nell Iris

Pride Month Continues with Drag Queens! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Pride Month Continues with Drag Queens!

On June 27, 1969 and into June 28 at midnight, the NYC police entered the Stonewall Inn which was tightly packed that hot summer night.  They had been harrassing the clientele before but this time was different.  The night before, the police conducted a raid, arresting employees and taking away the Inn’s illegal stash of liquor.  Now they were back.  This time, arresting now only the regular patrons but targeting the drag queens and cross-dressing clientele because “masquerading” as a member of the opposite sex was a crime.  The objective was to shutdown the Stonewall Inn permanently.

Instead, as we all know, the crowd erupted into a riot.  Accounts differ over what exactly started it.  Some say it was a drag queen who threw the first punch after the  ” police roughed up a woman dressed in masculine attire (believed to be lesbian activist Stormé DeLarverie)”.  Others say it was a cross dressing person of color. Either way, history was made that night and the fight for LGBT rights flew into the spotlight and into motion.

Drag Queens (and drag culture) …those fierce, wonderful, gorgeous magnificent forces to be reckoned with are present everywhere now.  From fiction to tv to Broadway!  From it being a crime to be fabulous and yourself in 1969 to being celebrated on the popular RuPaul’s Drag Race to appearing on Broadway in the terrific show “Cher” and everything in between, Drag Queens in every shape and variety are helping others and LGBTQIA rights move forward just as they did all those years ago.

Now I’m a huge fan of this show.  I love seeing all the different expressions of Drag that the Queens reveal each season.  Some are traditional some are extreme, some fall in between comedy and sultry.  But all are showing us something amazing, something so wonderful and brave about themselves.  Their stories are often as fierce as they are.  And heartbreaking as well.

Love Drag Queens?  Check to see if you have local drag shows to support or if any of your favorite drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race is coming to town in a show! Or check out some of these links below:

12 Types Of Drag Queens – Drag Official

The History Of Drag Queens And The Evolution Of Drag

Diva Royale Drag Queen Show | Drag Shows | RuPaul Drag Queens …


I love to read about them in my M/M fiction too.

Some of my favorite stories feature or include drag queens.  I mean how do you not love Arthur from John Inman’s The Belladonna Arms series?  He’s the heart of the series and that apartment building!

So yes, you know what I’m leading up to .  Drag Queen M/M Recommendations!

Here are some of mine.

Drag Queen M/M Recommendations

The Belladonna Arms (5 books)by John Inman

Queens of the Apocalypse by Rob Rosen

Mary, Queen of Scotch by Rob Rosen

The Queen & the Homo Jock King (At First Sight #2) by T.J. Klune

Bad Dogs and Drag Queens (Rose and Thorne #1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Kev Series by Liam Livings (from Suze)

Freak (The F-Word 2) by E. Davies (all recs from HB)
A Dirty Drag Collection (Dirty Drag 1, 2, 3) by Kyle Adams
What The Lady Wants by D.C. Juris
Sylver and Steele series by Mimi Riser
Le Jazz Hot by Clancy Nacht & Thursday Euclid
Appearing Nightly (Icon Men 2) by Cat Grant
Max & Skyler Series by Acer Adamson
Dressed to Thrill by Kimberly Gardner
Rayne’s Wild Ride by Jambrea Jo Jones
Leather+Lace (Opposites Attract 2) by A.B. Gayle

Embraced in Gold by T.A. Chase (also know by these titles Embrace My Reflection/ Bring Him Gold)
Lucky Starflowers (Steel City 5) by Kate Pavelle
Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain
Finally Fallen (The Dark Angels 3) by Z. Allora
A King’s Ransom by Aislinn Kerry
My Girl (Captivated Lovers 3) by Stormy Glenn
Chyna Doll (Horizons 4) by Mickie B. Ashling

Lola Dances by Victor J. Banis — no longer on MLR, but can get a paperback from Amazon and BnN

Who We Are by Nicola Haken
Let’s Hear It for the Boy by T.A. Webb  (all from our reviewer Chaos Moondrawn)

I know I have left out so many stories.  Please help me fill in that list.  Send me the books and stories I’ve left out and lets see those drag queens represented!

Books on Stonewall: Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, by David Carter

And just in case you missed it from last week, here is the updated list of our

M/M Hockey Recommendations:

Stick Side (2 books) by Amy Aislin

The Harrisburg Railers Series by RJ Scott and VL Locey

Owatonna U Hockey Series by RJ Scott and VL Locey (3 books)

Cayuga Cougars series by VL Locey

Point Shot (3 books) by V.L. Locey

Colors of Love (3 books) by V.L. Locey

Game Changers (2 books) by Rachel Reid

Hat Trick (3 books) by Samantha Wayland*

Thanks a Lot, John LeClair by Johanna Parkhurst
Buzz by E. Davies (tho Cam health prevents him from playing hockey)
Charming as Puck by Pippa Grant
Heart in Hand by Salifiable

Thank you, HB, for the additions to our hockey recs!

Special Note:  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for Reviewers!  We are looking for reviewers for our blog.  If you love to read or listen to LGBT stories and share your thoughts about them with others, consider reviewing with Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Please send all inquiries to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.  We are very flexible about how many reviews each reviewer takes on.   That’s entirely up to each reviewer’s own schedule.

And now onto our week ahead.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 16:

  • BLOG TOUR Melting For You by A.M. Arthur
  • Pride Month Continues! This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, June 17:

  • Review Tour – Garrett Leigh – Kiss Me Again
  • RELEASE BLITZ Change of Heart by KM Neuhold
  • PROMO Ashlyn Kane on Fake Dating the Prince
  • An Alisa Review : Kiss Me Again by  Garrett Leigh
  • A Stella Review: Melting For You (Neighborhood Shindig #1) by A.M. Arthur
  • A MelanieM Review: Tales of Bryant (Tales Of Bryant #1) by V.L. Locey

Tuesday, June 18:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Waited So Long by JM Dabney
  • Release Blitz – Afflicted to the Core (Wielder World, Book 3) by Nat Kennedy
  • Book Blast with Reviews – NoX by Adrienne Wilder
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Fake Dating the Prince by Ashlyn Kane
  • A MelanieM Review: NoX by Adrienne Wilder

Wednesday, June 19:

  • Review Tour –  Nine Small Sips (A Tales Of Bryant Park #2) by V.L. Locey
  • Release Blitz – Who We Used to Be (Do-Over Series, Book 1) by Dara Nelson
  • A MelanieM Review: Nine Small Sips (A Tales Of Bryant Park #2) by V.L. Locey
  • An Alisa Review: Eeli (Brotherhood of Ormarr #3) by Steph Marie and Bobbie Rayne

Thursday, June 20:

  • Release Blitz Tour – Jay Northcote – Nothing Special
  • Release Blitz  – K.A. Merikan – Their Obsession (Four Mercenaries #2)
  • PROMO Andrew Grey
  • An Alisa Audio Review: Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote and Michael Pauley (Narrator)
  • A Stella Review:Close to Home (Sawyer’s Ferry #4) by Cate Ashwood

Friday, June 21:

  • Review Tour for Single (Single Dads #1) by R.J. Scott
  • Release Blitz Signal Tour –  – A Foreign Country (Mr & Mr Detective Story #2) by Alex Jane
  • Release Blitz Impossible Things by Beth Bolden
  • A MelanieM Review: Killer Reunion (Donald Strachey Mystery #16) by Richard Stevenson
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review :Single (Single Dads #1) by R.J. Scott

Saturday, June 22:

  • Release Blitz for – Beyond The Curtain – TL Travis
  • A MelanieM Review:Love in Every Season by Charlie Cochrane

Love Fantasy? Check Out the Release Blitz for Treacherous Seas (Mermen and Magic #6) by L.M. Brown (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Treacherous Seas (Mermen and Magic, Book 6)

Author: L.M. Brown

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Genre/s: Paranormal, Fantasy, M/M Romance

Themes: Reincarnation, Second Chance at Love

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 85 815 words/348 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Publisher

Universal Amazon Link

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

 

 

Blurb

Caspian, the Atlantean God of Justice, has devoted his eternal life to protecting the merfolk. He has no time for romance, not even when the merman he now watches over is his former lover reincarnated.

Phoebus, a merman living in the sunken city of Atlantis before the Atlanteans were banished, never intended to fall for Caspian, the most promiscuous of all the gods. Yet, when Caspian offers him immortality, Phoebus doesn’t know if he can pay the price, even if refusing means breaking the heart of a god.

Back in the present, Marin remembers the love he once had for Caspian, but he’s not the same merman now. Caspian might have loved him as Phoebus, but he knows the god cannot give him what he needs.

Marin doesn’t want Caspian’s protection. He wants revenge, and he is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice to get it, even if it means breaking Caspian’s heart a second time.

 

Excerpt

“Caspian, there you are.” Cari breezed into the room and settled herself onto the chaise. “I’ve been searching everywhere for you.”

Caspian sipped his wine before answering his sister. “Well, now you’ve found me.”

Cari helped herself to a glass of her own. “Since when do you travel to this part of the world?”

“I needed some time alone,” Caspian replied. Rafe’s jealousies had pushed him to his limit today, so he had escaped to a small province in Italia for a little peace and quiet. Hiding from his priest wasn’t difficult, but avoiding his sister was another matter entirely.

“Rafe?” Cari asked.

“You know I don’t like it when you poke into my head.” He managed to block most of the immortals from his mind, but his sister appeared to have the ability to bypass all his defenses. He supposed it came from being the Goddess of Prophecy.

“I didn’t,” Cari replied. “But when I checked your palace, he was ranting about some merman you’d fucked. I simply drew my own conclusions.”

“I didn’t fuck him.”

“Rafe seems to think otherwise.”

Caspian rolled his eyes. “Rafe was present in the room the entire time. He is well aware of what we did.”

Cari huffed. “Did you ever think that your priest might not get quite so jealous if you didn’t make him watch you with other men?”

“The merman was having trouble breaking his mating fever. He came to me for help, we broke his fever and he returned to the ocean. That was it.”

“What was his name?”

“Who? The merman?”

“Yes, him.”

“Phoebus. Why do you want to know?”

“Just curious. I spoke to Mother this morning.”

“And what did she have to say for herself?”

“She told me Medina had slipped you a love potion.”

“Apparently. She added something to my wine, but I don’t know what. She was probably bluffing.”

Cari laughed briefly. “Don’t you know by now that Medina never bluffs?”

“Well, it doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on me. Probably she isn’t as good at brewing up mischief as she likes to think.”

Cari sipped her wine. “You never did figure out the difference between a love potion and one that simply inspires lust.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that if she’d given you the latter, which is what she hands out to most who seek her services, you’d be fucking that young merman right now. A true love potion, on the other hand, takes time to work, just like real love takes time to grow.”

“What are you saying? You think I’m going to fall in love with someone? The merman?”

“Like it or not, you are about to discover what falling in love is like.”

“I think I’ll let that particular experience pass me by, thank you all the same.”

“You seem to be laboring under the mistaken belief you have a choice in the matter.”

“I do.”

Cari finished her glass of wine and poured herself another. “I took a peek into your future after I spoke to Mother.”

“I suppose telling you I don’t want to know about my future would be pointless?”

“It would.”

“Very well. Tell me what you saw, and if I don’t like it, I’ll do what I need to so I can change it.”

“You can’t alter course mid-stream.”

“Says who?”

“Fate.”

“I don’t believe in fate.”

“It doesn’t matter what you believe in. You’ve met Phoebus, and been intimate with him, just hours after drinking Medina’s concoction.”

“He only sucked me.”

“That’s more than enough to trigger the potion. Chances are, if it’s one of Medina’s brews, the touch of your hand to his would have been enough.”

“I’m probably never going to see him again,” Caspian said, even though the thought of a second encounter with the merman made his heart race.

“I assure you, you’ll be seeing him very soon. He’s a nice man and I think he’ll be very good for you.”

“Why are you and Mother so eager to see me settled down with just one man? I’m perfectly happy as I am.”

“Are you?”

“Yes.”

Cari shook her head. “When you’ve fallen for him, when you’re head over heels, desperately in love with him, you’ll know what perfect happiness is.”

“Oh, please.” Caspian rolled his eyes.

“You’ll see.”

 

About the Author 

L.M. Brown is an English writer of gay romances. She believes mermen live in the undiscovered areas of the ocean. She believes life exists on other planets. She believes in fairy tales, magic, and dreams. Most of all, she believes in love.

When L.M. Brown isn’t bribing her fur babies for control of the laptop, she can usually be found with her nose in a book.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook Page

Facebook Group

 

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

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➜Sign up to become a tour host here

 

NHL and Hockey is for Everyone. More of Pride Month. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More of Pride Month

Everywhere I look Pride Month is being celebrated.  It’s in ads on the tv, parades in towns and cities across the world,  and even more incredibly the NHL and  every team, yep all 31 teams are celebrating Pride month.  It’s all a part of“Hockey Is For Everyone”  Pride Month for the NHL and every team is participating in a huge amount of Pride events of their own at games and events everywhere.  I’m thrilled and rainbow astonished!

As someone who both loves hockey (go Caps) and M/M hockey romance fiction, I’m just over the rainbow and heart warmed that this has happened.  Overdue?  Perhaps.  But so amazing and happy to see it occuring now.  because quite frankly the NHL is standing alone in this.  And they shouldn’t be.  Where is the NFL or AFL:? The National League for Baseball?  Nope, it’s the NHL that has stepped forward! And we ought to give them our support for this. The NHL launched a Pride website with videos in an effort to “build and support a community that welcomes and celebrates authenticity and the love of hockey.  Please check out the links.

“NHL alumni and current players will participate in pride parades across North America including 2019 WorldPride in New York City,” said a league spokesperson in a statement.  NHL players can opt to use Pride tape to wrap their sticks and other equipment this month, something normally banned by the NHL (outside team colors), and furthermore are joining forces with the You Can Play Project, expanding its “Hockey For Everyone” campaign so that it will be all inclusive.  Go NHL!

Want to know more about NHL and Hockey is for Everyone?  Check out the links below!

News – NHL and NHLPA to Celebrate Pride … – NHL.com Media Site

NHL, NHLPA to celebrate Pride Month – National Hockey League News

And fyi, the Stanley Cups are in full swing…go watch whether you are rooting for the Boston Bruins or St. Louis Blues!

And for those in need of M/M hockey romance fiction?  Check out the series, in no particular order, I have listed with their Goodreads links below:

Stick Side (2 books) by Amy Aislin

The Harrisburg Railers Series by RJ Scott and VL Locey

Owatonna U Hockey Series by RJ Scott and VL Locey (3 books)

Cayuga Cougars series by VL Locey

Point Shot (3 books) by V.L. Locey

Colors of Love (3 books) by V.L. Locey

Game Changers (2 books) by Rachel Reid

*A shout out to Alexandra Petrokova of the M/M Hockey Romance FB Group for the additions to the recommendations! I’m adding on as I get them!  Three more  series added courtesy of the M/M Hockey Romance Group! Thank you all!
Did I miss out on a favorite of yours?  These are definitely some of mine.  Let me know what I missed and send them in so I can add them in.  Meanwhile, here is our week ahead.  Happy Pride!

 Our Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 9:

  • More of Pride Month. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
  • NHL and Hockey is for Everyone. Hockey Romance Recs
  • Release Blitz Breaking Ground by Megan Lowe
  • BLOG TOUR Puzzle Pieces by JP Sayle

Monday, June 10:

  • Review Tour – MJ O’Shea – Chef vs. Chef 
  • OWL Tour Tales From Ardulum by JS Fields
  • OWI TOUR Malachite Michele Notaro & Sammi Cee
  • An Alisa Review: Azaran (Brotherhood of Ormarr #1) by Jacki James
  • A MelanieM Review:Strike a Chord (Replay #4) by K.M. Neuhold
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Review: By Way of Pain by JM Dabney
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Chef vs Chef (Sizzling in the Kitchen #2) by M.J. O’Shea

Tuesday, June 11:

  • Release Blitz – Treacherous Seas by L.M. Brown
  • PROMO BA Tortuga
  • Release Blitz – Come Play: An MM Erotica Charity Anthology
  • A Melanie Review: Seeing Red (Trowchester Series#4) by Alex Beecroft
  • An Alisa Review :Come Play: An MM Erotica Charity Anthology
  • An Ashlez Review: Master of No One (Masters of Their Domain, Book 1) by Tricia Owens

Wednesday, June 12:

  • Cover Reveal – – Shake The Stars by V.L. Locey
  • Signal Release Blitz Tour – V.L. Locey – Nine Small Sips (A Tales Of Bryant
  • Release Blitz signal – RJ Scott -Single
  • DSP Tour – Tom Early
  • Cover Reveal for Jay Hogan’s Digging Deep
  • An Alisa Review: Zale (Brotherhood of Ormarr #2) by Michelle Frost
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters  and Seb Yarrick (Narrator)

Thursday, June 13:

  • TOUR The Player’s Protégé by CJane Elliott
  • PROMO ZAM
  • BLOG AND REVIEW TOUR Prince of Killers (Fog City #1) by Layla Reyne
  • Book Tour Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert
  • A MelanieM Review: Prince of Killers (Fog City #1) by Layla Reyne
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert

Friday, June 14:

  • Release Blitz Surviving the Shadows by Miranda Turner
  • Series Blitz Series Recap Tour – Elle Keaton – Accidental Roots Series
  • A Stella Review: a Cate Ashwood novel
  • A Lila Audio Review: Hiding the Moon (Fish Out of Water #4) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator)
  • A MelanieM Audio Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister and John Solo (Narrator)

Saturday, June 15:

  • Cover Reveal Lily- Love’s Glory by Janice Jarrell
  • OWL Baja Clavius Tour
  • Release Blitz – Finding Trix by L.M. Brown

Release Blitz – – Love & Tea Bags (Pink Rock #1) by C.F. White (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Pride Publishing – To be released wide July 16
 
Cover Design: Erin Dameron-Hill
 
Length: 79,679 words
 
Publisher: Pride Publishing
 
Blurb



Fate can be written in a tea bag too.


Mark Johnson is hitting his forties and is stuck in a rut.


He’s had the same boring office job for ten years, with no motivation or inclination to change it. The same crumbling house for ten years, with no cash or know-how to fix it. And the same Facebook status for five years—it’s complicated. It isn’t. He’s single. He just doesn’t want to correct it. That would be admitting defeat.


The day a tea bag splats onto his face whilst he’s emptying the dregs of his morning cuppa at Macy’s Tea Shoppe is the one that makes him question each of his current life choices…the tea bag and that the shop is currently being run by one rather friendly, rather hunky, but rather young Australian named Bradley Summers.


Tea has never tasted so good.

 
Excerpt
 

The slurp was loud and rather obnoxious, especially when the man was sipping from one of Mark’s grandmother’s dainty china tea cups that Mark saved for special occasions. Since Mark hadn’t had any need for the guest china in quite some time, he’d let Grammy’s cardinal rule slide for the strapping workman clambering up in his loft.


“Yup, I see the problem,” the workman yelled down the open hatch in Mark’s landing ceiling that led to the over-cluttered store of stuff that Mark hadn’t set foot in for…well, quite some time.


Mark wished he hadn’t offered the man a brew. He really hadn’t had the time to wait for the kettle to boil, for a start. But he’d been brought up well, and one must offer one’s tradesmen a cuppa in the hope they’ll knock a few quid off the call-out charge. He suspected he would have to delve deep into his already ravine-like pockets, so anything that could be considered mates-rates would really help at this point in his life. Mark wished he did have mates. Ones that were handy, anyway.


“Oh, yes?” Mark called back, his voice echoing through the square hole in his ceiling. He closed his eyes, for some reason, as if that would soften the blow of what was going to come out of the man’s mouth next.


“Gonna need coupla new roof tiles, mate. A lotta this stuff is gonna get ruined.”


“Bugger,” Mark muttered into his own mug of piping-hot tea. Well, it was rude not to join the man in a beverage.


“What was that?” The man’s round, if somewhat flushed, face appeared at the hole.


“Nothing, nothing.” Mark shook his head. He didn’t much fancy repeating himself. The man might take it seriously and give him a whack. Or, which would be much worse, not take the job of fixing Mark’s leaking roof. “Thank you.” He smiled.


Mark had been told, on occasion, that he had quite a nice smile. One that relaxed people. Mark, however, believed it to be far more useful to allow people to walk all over him. Or pass by him. Through him…


With a grunt, the workman set his steel-toe-capped boots on two metal rungs of the ladder, revealing the tip of his rounded behind popping out of the elastic waistband that appeared to be failing in its one basic function. Normally, on an average Saturday night, Mark wouldn’t have minded the view, as his internet history would evidence. But today was a Monday and the man didn’t look like he would appreciate Mark’s ogling. Not that Mark was ogling. He just had nowhere else to look. Honest.


On reaching the landing, the workman crashed back into Mark. Stumbling, Mark gripped his cup with both hands to prevent the utter travesty of spillage onto the carpet. Not only did he not have time to clear up any stains—not that any would show on the swirling patterns of the seventies-design stitch work—but he also hated to waste a cup of the good stuff.


The workman hefted up his jogging bottoms, his hands empty of the china tea cup he had been avidly slurping from up in the loft. And that meant Mark would now either have to venture up into the space he avoided like the seaside lido on a May bank holiday afternoon, or leave it up there to breed new life. He knew which he would rather.


“Right.” The man scratched his stubbled chin. “See, you’re gonna need a coupla new tiles. Tha’s what the leak is. The rain we been ’avin is comin’ in frou ta ’ole in ya roof. Travelling daan the walls and dripping aaat ya ceiling.”


“Good-oh.” Mark nodded, not letting on for a single second that he had no idea what the man had just said. “Uh, can you fix it?” He mentally crossed his fingers in the hope that he hadn’t just said that he could. Or couldn’t.


“Yeah, no sweat. I can do two tiles at a ton.”


“A what now?”


“A ton.”


“A ton of what? Tiles?


“No. A hundred smackers.”


Mark blanked, shaking his head.


“Paand?”


“Oh, I see. Well, that’s not too bad then.” Mark smiled. And phewed. Mentally.


“But that won’t fix ya problem.”


“Oh dear.” Mark furrowed his brow, which he didn’t like to do all that often as the lines weren’t smoothing out after so much anymore.


“Dunno which bleedin’ cowboy did ya roof last, but they didn’t felt it.” The man tucked a tiny pencil behind his ear. Where he’d got the pencil from was Mark’s first question. Quickly followed by, do I really want to know?


“That cowboy would be my grandfather.” Mark attempted to add a hint of pride to his voice, but the vacant expression of the workman before him just made him slink into a guilty, wincing admission. “He built the house.”


“Ah. Right. ’Nover ’and-me-down was it?”


“Hand-me-down?” More deep-set wrinkles formed on Mark’s brow. He must remember to use that skincare range for men he’d got as a Secret Santa present at work last year, the one that claimed to defy even the deepest-set wrinkles. He had a hunch who’d been bold enough to buy that for him. Bloody Yvonne.


The man waved, indicating Mark’s attire. “The clothes.”


Mark held out his arms, still clutching his mug of tea, and peered down at himself. Trusty grey corduroy trousers, wonderful and comfy, and rather warm considering the current climate, matched with a white button-down shirt. The vest underneath was simply due to the fact that his dark nipples tended to show through the thin material of cheap cotton. He’d discovered that tidbit of information back at secondary school when the popular boys used to poke his nipples through his school shirt, many twisting for added effect. And people say all-boy grammar schools are a safe haven from bullying.


Mark ran a hand through his thick dark hair, sliding it across his forehead in a floppy fringe, ignoring the jibe at his attire and moving on to the pressing transaction at hand. “So you were saying about the roof?”


“Yeah. Gonna need ta replace it.” The man sniffed, his chest rising with the inhale of breath, then shrugged. “Set ya back ’bout five grand.”


The fact that Mark had chosen the man’s pause to take a sip of tea probably summed up his entire existence. It had been, of course, the wrong decision. He spat the tea out, liquid escaping from his nose, and coughed, gasping to get air, rather than the delightful Twinings English Breakfast, into his lungs.


The workman slapped him on the back. Perhaps he thought that would help the situation. It didn’t. It only exacerbated it, knocking Mark off his feet and forcing him to grapple for the banister to prevent a rather tragic tumble down the stairs.


“Better out than in, I say.” The workman did say.


Mark blanked. If only the boys at his delightful modern secondary grammar had believed in that statement back when Mark had been in year ten and announcing to the world he was gay. Not that any of his peers had had any doubt before Mark had made his fabulous speech. But Mark presumed they would have preferred him to stay in on that day, considering many had received detention for the words of “encouragement” they had called out in a perfect display of teenage camaraderie.


“Well, I can do the tiles tomorra,” the man carried on, oblivious to Mark’s inner turmoil. “Fink about the rest of da roof, though. You don’t want it cavin’ in on ya.”


Mark nodded, although, right then the thought of paying out five thousand pounds that he didn’t have made him consider the alternative option.


“Righty-oh. Thank you very much for coming out on such short notice.” Mark ushered him down the stairs.


“No probs. Give me card your granddad, then.” The man handed over a bent business card, a mobile phone number scrawled on the back with black pen along with the words The Man With The Van Who Can. Mark pondered if there was anything that he couldn’t? Or wouldn’t?


“That would be rather futile. Grampy died quite some time ago.”


“Oh.” The man squinted, stepping out into the daylight and onto Mark’s porch. “So you chose this?”


“Chose what?” Mark desperately tried not to furrow his brow.


The man waved his hand, indicating, Mark presumed, the entire house’s internal decor.


“I like antiques.” Could seventies decor be considered antique? He supposed it could.


“You get antique wallpaper these days then?”


Bastard. “Oh, indeed.” Mark nodded. “Worth a fortune.”


Mark slammed the door shut and rested his back against the wall, glancing around at the house he’d lived in coming along ten years now. It was falling apart and no redecoration had been done since probably the last time he’d been up in the loft. He sighed, slammed his mug down on the windowsill and decided now was the time for a decent cup of the good stuff.


Grabbing his black Barbour jacket from the coat hooks, he slipped his feet into the black loafers by the door then ventured out into the morning sun. And what a glorious day it was, perfect to be beside the seaside. And Mark was. He lived directly opposite the pebble beach of Marsby in the south east, a quaint little seaside town that homed more retirees than tourists. Not that Mark was retired. He could only wish for that, although he was leaning nearer to the end of his career than the start. Mid-career, perhaps? Christ, maybe I should think about actually having a career rather than simply a job that barely pays the bills?


Trying to forget that he had left a gaping hole in his roof—and now his ceiling having forgotten to shut the loft hatch—Mark rammed his hands into his jacket pockets and thanked whomever above for the abnormal radiant sun. And that was when the inevitable dark clouds glided overhead and droplets landed with splats on his cheeks. Such was Mark’s luck. So he trotted that bit faster along the pathway beside the beach and into the main High Street, stopping at the welcoming sign of Macy’s Ye Olde Style Tea Shoppe on the corner.


The bell above the door chimed as Mark hurried into his regular haunt. He’d been going there for quite a few years now, since his move back to his home town from the mean streets of London, and still hadn’t figured out why Macy added the extra p and e to the shop. He shook his hair out like a wet dog and nodded at the umbrellas Macy always offered to customers on such regular occurrences as torrential rain, a quick downpour, scattered showers and that really fine light rain that has one believing they aren’t getting wet until they get home and their clothes are sopping.


The shop was empty, which was rather odd. There was usually someone sipping on a decent cup of tea made from the loose leaves in a well-stewed pot. Macy made proper tea, using a strainer, and it tasted every bit of the aromatic leaves that it should. She was also a rather good baker and Mark was horrified that there were no buns, baps or any other derogatory term used for parts of the female anatomy displayed on the counter for Mark to scoff and instantly burn off the calories by breathing. He had a fast metabolism, which was both a dream and a curse.


As Mark slapped a hand down on the counter, he heard shuffling back in the kitchen area. Thank God Macy was there. He needed a chat. And a tea.


“Helloooo? Only me, love. Usual cuppa when you’re ready.”


Drumming his fingers on the counter, Mark swivelled a one-eighty. Vacant seats and no-one in the vicinity looking like they might want venture on in to grab a tea to go, which would be quite difficult as Macy only served tea in porcelain cups. And rightly so.


“So, Macy, love,” Mark called out over his shoulder, thinking it was best to fill her in now or he might not have time to divulge all the details of his eventful morning before he had to head into work. “I’ve decided I’m better off if I just kill myself now.”


He leaned forward over the counter, ensuring his voice would drift to the kitchen. “Turns out my roof might collapse on me anyway. And according to this rather annoyingly beefcaked member of the male species, the sight of whose perfectly rounded behind is now imprinted on me for many a future solo endeavour, and who graced me with a whole other English language making me feel every bit of my—cough—years, it’s going to cost me rather more than my arm and my leg. And I’m sadly going to have to admit it, Macy love, that I’m not sure the fellow would accept an offer of my penis as monetary value. Not that I have a wealth of offers for that part of my anatomy these days anyway. Much like the pound to the euro, I swear it’s shrinking in value.”


He chuckled at his own joke, as he so often did, then spun around to face the seating area. A couple of joggers zoomed past the window, obviously on their beachside run rather than the mad dash for cakes and biscuits that he did.


“You okay, Mace? Need a hand?”


No reply. So Mark leafed through the selection of pre-packed biscuits crammed in the bowl by the till. Macy had one of those old-fashioned registers. No electronic buttons to press. No new-fangled tablet hooked up to the mains. It was basically a calculator with a drawer.


Choosing a packet of chocolate-dipped Viennese shortbread fingers, Mark cocked his head to peer through the open kitchen door. “I mean, Macy, what is the point in filing paperwork for a living just to earn enough money to fix a roof when I have no man to enjoy the comforts of my damp-free living space along with me? And by the time I find a willing participant to snuggle with me on my antique sofa looking at my antique wallpaper in my antique house, I’ll be ready to pop my clogs anyway. So, death by sugar, please, Macy.”


He slapped the counter to finalise his self-depreciative monologue, and nearly threw up the entire contents of his breakfast when a male vacated the back kitchen. Said man was wiping his hands on a rather beautifully stitched gingham tea towel. But that wasn’t the only thing that was a delight for the eye. The man was shirtless—rippling muscles, a glowing sheen of glistening skin and white-wash jeans hanging low on his perfectly sculpted hips. Needless to say, that wasn’t Macy.


“Hello,” Mark said, because, it is the polite way to greet a man, regardless of the lack of shirt and the highly embarrassing fact that Mark had already told his life story, leaving out all, or indeed any, good bits.


“G’day,” the man replied.

 

About The Author

 

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.


Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.


She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.


Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…


You can follow C F on Facebook and Twitter and check out her Website.

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A Lucy Review: Third Time’s the Charm (Boston Seasons #1) by K. Evan Coles

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Sometimes you have to start over to get love right.

Luke Ryan’s life is too chaotic for romance, what with running his business and being the legal guardian to his ten-year-old niece, but he’s hopeful he’ll find the right man.

Trauma surgeon Finn Thomason recently relocated from Chicago to Boston, where his focus on medicine leaves him little space for a personal life. Making a commitment to find a better work-life balance, Finn hopes he’ll also find a relationship.

Caught in an evening rainstorm, Luke shelters under a sidewalk awning…and encounters a handsome stranger. The two strike up a conversation and Finn offers to walk Luke under his oversized umbrella. Charmed, Luke accepts and asks Finn out for coffee in thanks.

Luke and Finn quickly grow close, but, as the summer draws to an end, Luke struggles to keep his connection with Finn while Finn tries to come to terms with caring for a man whose attention is pulled in many directions. Both men are scrambling to get it right, but only time will tell if they’ll learn there is more than enough room in their hearts to go around.

This is definitely a character driven story.  There is no great misunderstanding that could have been solved with a short conversation between the two MC, no angst for angst sake, no random plot lines to make the story move.  Instead, what we get is Luke and Finn, two adult men who have busy schedules and busy lives who interact as, well, adult men.  Add in that Luke is raising his ten-year-old niece, Ella, and it’s even more real life complicated.  Finn’s job as a trauma surgeon leaves little time for a social life and a lot of that limited time he’s tired.  These two are facing a lot of the issues most of us face in the real world.

I have to take a minute to talk about Ella.  She’s been abandoned by her mother and moved from her hometown to live with uncle Luke and her dad.  Since dad is in the military and is deployed for long stretches, she has uncle Luke.  Ellie talks and thinks like a ten-year-old, not like a mini-adult.  Her fears about being forgotten or overlooked felt true and her bad jokes did as well.  I liked Ellie very much.

I really appreciated how they wanted to make sure of themselves before getting Ella involved. “I’ve never dated a man with a child before, and I’m not exactly sure how.  I’d really love to get to know you, Luke, before we start pulling in family.”  That seemed such a mature thing and so often we don’t get that in books.  I did roll my eyes that Finn felt all put out that Luke hadn’t yet told him about Ella on their first real date.  They shared one face to face conversation under an umbrella, how much time was there!   

We also get to meet some awesome side characters.  Simon and Gillie, Luke’s business partners, are great friends (Pickle, adorable) and they have his back.  Same goes for Paul and Mick with Finn. 

These guys have to work for their relationship and how to make everything fit.  There is a little bit of an issue towards the end but this also is solved with maturity.  I liked this a lot as a well written story that could happen to anyone.

Cover art showing Finn and Luke in the rain under the umbrella is absolutely adorable and perfectly fits this book.

Buy Links

Pride Publishing

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

Book Details:

ebook, 262 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Pride Publishing
ISBN139781786517494
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://www.pride-publishing.com/book/third-times-the-charm
SeriesBoston Seasons #1

An Alisa Review: Love on the Rocks by J.P. Bowie

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Waking up on a pile of rocks with a bullet in his shoulder isn’t something Joe Brady saw coming, but perhaps the cute paramedic who finds him can do more than just help heal his wound.

 

Detective Joe Brady wakes up lying at the bottom of a cliff on a pile of rocks with a blond-haired angel hovering over him. No, he’s not in heaven. The blond is Riley Peterson, and his dog Champ is the one responsible for finding Joe. Fortunately for Joe, Riley is a paramedic and quickly gets him the emergency attention he sorely needs.

Shot by his rogue partner Bob Murdoch when Joe discovered Murdoch was running a protection racket for drug pushers, Joe wants to find Murdoch and bring him to justice, but he’s got a long road to recovery in front of him. While Joe is recuperating, Murdoch is arrested, giving Joe time to get to know Riley, the handsome paramedic. The two quickly bond, but Riley has an ex-boyfriend who wants back in Riley’s life and certainly has no qualms about playing dirty to get what he wants.

Slashed tires, an assault in a parking lot, and a prison break all seem set to doom Joe and Riley’s budding relationship. And when the deranged Murdoch determines to make them pay for his fall from grace—at gunpoint—it seems their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger…

 

Reader advisory: This book contains themes of stalking and harassment. There are references to abusive parenting and an abusive relationship, attempted murder and murder and on-page violence.

This story was okay but I wasn’t able to get into it.  Joe was very confident in his abilities as a detective but didn’t seem to have any faith in his co-workers.  Riley is overly sweet and is not the type of person to intentionally hurt someone.

I did not like how Joe thought he would have to be the one to go after his partner even when his boss told him it would be handled and for him to heal up.  To me Joe and Riley fell into a routine together but didn’t really talk about it and then seemed surprised when the other considered them in a relationship, I mean seriously.  The drama was Riley’s ex was not needed and felt thrown in to have something else going on but was more annoying than it did anything to help the story.  In the end, I just didn’t feel the character’s connection and it felt forced.

The cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill is nice and connects with the title of the story.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 175 pages

Published: April 2, 2019 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-729-6

Edition Language: English

More on Universe Building and Differing Frameworks. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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More on Universe Building and Differing Frameworks

 

More stories and more ideas on universe building and the size of the story.  From the tiny to the novella to the full sized novel that can be staggering in scope and size, universe/world building and its importance in the story has been of key interest to me.  As a reader, the world building, the layers, the richness, the imagination that an author pours into their universe for a story or series can enrapture me.  The details they think of, from the many cultures, languages, down to the clothing and food, pull me deeper into their novels and worlds, making it more real, more alive!

For some stories, it’s not just fantasy or science fiction that the author is building a specific universe for, sometimes it’s a contemporary one.  A certain location or family for example.  There it is still that same factors of language, geography, location, etc, that will hold true for fantasy and sci fi. Only whereas in fantasy and scifi you may be creating them, in contemporary they are there to be pulled from.

While I often think the heavier, longer tomes have it easier in world building because just in length alone, the author has the luxury of pages in which to take the time to include the world minutiae their imagination has created for their  characters and universe.  The problem here is often editing out the wealth of joyous overload the author has produced.  Building a complex universe takes a depth of knowledge and outlining, what to leave out is often as hard as what to put in.

But the other end of the spectrum?  The tiny story.  That itty bitty tale that dares you to put in any world building at all.

How to create a world on the top of a pin?  Or a story in 200 or 300 words?  One that feels so complete that you know the world those characters exist in.

Some authors can do it with just a few choice word placements.  Within a paragraph or page, a man mentions his sore throat, a constant illness, and a feeling settles over the story.  You don’t need to know about his viral loads to know he has AIDS, it has only taken some well chosen words and a location and the reader knows exactly who this man is and what he is going through. In a short story.

I so admire the high quality of writing of both authors that can build such stories, in tiny and huge, that have such ability to pull me in.

I figure that’s a lot of editing and heartbreak at work  in both forms in trying to know what to let go of…narratively speaking and what to hold on to.

But in both, for me at least, world building remains a key to unlocking the characters, their situations, and the storyline.  It’s the foundation it all rests upon, small or large.

 

Thoughts from H.B. on the matter:

I think it’s doable and can be well done using a few sentences or even a paragraph or two maybe a page or two. But I guess it depends on the writer but I don’t think authors have to limit themselves to that so I think it’s needless to think about?

As for small houses I know about them. She sheds have become popular of late and there are insurance commercials for it. I think All State actually did one a year or two ago? In china there’s are living quarters called microapartments where the rooms are only like 65-107 square ft or smaller (so enough for a bed and desk or just a bed).

 

We might come back to this topic and flash fiction later on.  As I said I love the subject.  Meanwhile, next week we go back to HEA or HFN which we never wrapped up.

Until then, happy Sunday, happy reading or listening.  And this is our upcoming week at our blog!

 

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, May 19:

  • A MelanieM Review:  Surprise Groom (Marital Bliss #1) by D.J. Jamison
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera
  • More on Universe Building and Differing Frameworks.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, May 20:

  • Review Tour – – Love Kills (Criminal Delights) by Michael Mandrake
  • RELEASE BLITZ By Way of Pain by JM Dabney
  • PROMO Marie Sexton
  • A MelanieM Review: Modified and Sacred by Jana Denardo
  • A Stella Review:Top Shelf (Seacroft #1) by Allison Temple
  • An Alisa Review: Thirst for You (Beyond the Cove #2) by Jaclyn Quinn
  • An Ashlez Review:Love Kills – Criminal Delights: Serial Killers by Michael Mandrake

Tuesday, May 21:

  • RELEASE BLITZ Torn by Rick R Reed
  • Release Blitz OUT OF THE SHADE by S.A. McAuley
  • BLOG TOUR Seeing Red by Alex Beecroft
  • An Alisa Audio Review: If I Ever (Hell or High Water, #4) by SE Jakes
  • A Stella Release Day Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Redesigning Landry Bishop (Stars from Peril #2) by Kim Fielding
  • A Ali Review : Match Grade – Criminal Delights: Assassins by G.B. Gordon

Wednesday, May 22:

  • TOUR Azaran Jacki James
  • PROMO Kim Fielding
  • BLOG TOUR – The Hierophant’s Daughter  (The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy #1) by M.F. Sullivan
  • An Alisa Review: Lightbearer by L.C. Davis
  • A MelanieM Review Running on Empty (Havoc #3) by S.E. Jakes
  • A Lucy Audio Review Finding Love: The Perfect Size for You by Lily G. Blunt  and Sean Crisden (Narrator)

Thursday, May 23:

  • DSP PROMO Jodi Payne
  • Blog Tour – T.A.G. You’re Seen by A.G. Carothers
  • An Ashez Review: T.A.G. You’re Seen (The Assassins’ Guild #1) by A.G. Carothers
  • An Alisa Review Love on the Rocks by J.P. Bowie
  • A Free Dreamer Review: The Incredible Real Life Monster Man by L.B. La Vigne
  • A MelanieM Review: Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James

Friday, May 24:

  • BLOG TOUR Want Me by Neve Wilder
  • Blog Tour – Eight Lives: (Match Made in Hell #1) by Autumn Breeze
  • Blog Post – DJ Jamison – Surprise Groom
  • An Alisa Review How to Heal by Susan Hawke
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: Barricades by Dem Had

Saturday, May 25:

  • Release Blitz for AE Via – Nothing Special
  • Release Blitz & Signal – Kris Jacen – Always With Me
  • A MelanieM Review:  Always With Me by Kris Jacen