A MelanieM Review: One Under (Porthkennack #9) by J.L. Merrow

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

 

London Underground worker Mal Thomas is staying in Porthkennack to recover from a traumatic experience. Getting some more bad news from home is the last straw—until big, blond museum curator Jory Roscarrock steps up to offer some comfort.

A doctor of English Literature, Jory should be in a prestigious post at a top university. But a youthful indiscretion has led him to abandon academia to come back to his home town, Porthkennack, and the controlling family he’s never really felt a part of. He’s delighted to find a kindred spirit in the young Londoner.

But Jory’s family hurt Mal’s best friend deeply, and while Jory’s desperate to repair the damage, his own mistakes threaten to keep them apart. Meanwhile Mal’s torn between his feelings for Jory and his duty to his friend—and his fears that a failed relationship could be more than his shattered confidence can take.

The Porthkennack universe is one that I deeply love.  A seaside small town in Cornwall, with a long history of smuggling and sea bourne carnage in its past, it’s behind the facade of the pleasant shops, pubs, and yes, even a museum or two, the stories here show that some haven’t entirely left that way of life behind.  With each new tale, some historic, most not, the town’s people, the culture of the place, the “society’, and the dynamics continue to unfold.  Aren’t’ we lucky!

In One Under by JL Merrow, the angst driven characters are Mal Thomas and Dr. Jory Roscarrock, each with elements in their past their are trying to recover from and move past.  For Mal, his are far more recent.  A man committed suicide in front of the underground train he was driving and it’s left him traumatized, unable even to get into a car.    For Jory, it’s his family and their past.  From a father who committed suicide, a mother’s death, to older siblings who seem to hate him and relationships that don’t work out, his issues too seem buried in his past.

I love these men, especially Mal.  What a wounded soul he is.  And Jory too, a solid, intellectual giant who is so clueless at times you wish you could shake him.  I thought the characterizations were terrific.  Mal as the traumatized train driver suffering from PTSD was easily a sympathetic figure.  His “dithering about” his relationship with Jory over it’s impact on his best friend honestly irritated most of the time.  You wished the communication was far better between these two men.  However, taken into consideration the mental and emotional state of Mal, I kept coming back to the idea that anyone who was suffering from PTSD as bad as he was and in the shaky emotional frame of mind, wasn’t going to be making the most rational of decisions.  So yes, perhaps, Merrow was (whether I liked it or not) right on target here too.

Same goes for Jory, his relationship with his frankly appalling older siblings and his willingness to remain static in parts of his life.  Odd but again  given his weird background, perhaps not.  It takes these two men coming together to get them moving forward again in both of their lives,  first separately and then finally as a couple.

 

Cover by: Garrett Leigh.  The covers by Garrett Leigh are amazing.  From the composition to the color tone, she captures the heart of the characters and the location.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Expected publication: March 19th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleOne Under
ISBN 1626496862 (ISBN13: 9781626496866)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Porthkennack #9

Tour and Giveaway: One Under by JL Merrow

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One Under (Porthkennack #9) by J.L. Merrow

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: Garrett Leigh

Purchase Links:  Riptide Publishing  | Amazon

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow here today to talk about her latest story, One Under. Welcome, JL.

✒︎

 

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of One Under, the second of my contemporary MM romances in the multi-author Porthkennack series. One Under features a romance between two characters readers of my first Porthkennack book, Wake Up Call will have already met: Mal Thomas and Jory Roscarrock—although you’d be forgiven for not recalling Jory’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance in Wake Up Call!

 

About One Under

 

London Underground worker Mal Thomas is staying in Porthkennack to recover from a traumatic experience. Getting more bad news from home is the last straw—until big, blond museum curator Jory Roscarrock steps up to offer some comfort.

 

As a doctor of English literature, Jory should be in a prestigious post at a top university. But a youthful indiscretion led him to abandon academia to come back to his hometown, Porthkennack, and the controlling family he’s never really felt a part of. He’s delighted to find a kindred spirit in Mal.

 

But Jory’s family hurt Mal’s best friend deeply, and while Jory is desperate to repair the damage, his own mistakes threaten to keep him and Mal apart. Meanwhile, Mal is torn between his feelings for Jory and his duty to his friend—and his fears that a failed relationship could be more than his shattered confidence can take. Jory must convince Mal it’s worth risking everything for their love.

 

About JL Merrow

 

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

 

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and the paranormal, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novella Muscling Through is a 2013 EPIC ebook Award finalist. She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

 

Connect with JL:

Giveaway

 

To celebrate this release, one lucky winner will receive their choice of a book from JL’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 24, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

A MelanieM Review: Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Nathan Bridges hadn’t intended to settle down in his home town of Porthkennack—he just ended up staying after saving the family business from ruin. The truth is, Nathan can’t stop himself from stepping in when problems arise. He’s a fixer, the man everyone turns to. But even fixers can’t solve everything.

When Nathan’s sister needs an organ transplant, it’s his stepbrother, Mack, who the family turns to as Rosie’s only potential living donor. Nathan’s curiosity about the stepbrother he’s never met turns to shock when he realises that Mack is his latest—and hottest ever—one-night stand.

Nathan and Mack agree to forget their single night together, but that’s easier said than done. When Mack moves in to Nathan’s place to recuperate after surgery, it’s not just the sexual tension between them that keeps growing. Against all the odds, and despite Mack’s wariness of intimacy, the two men grow close enough that Nathan begins to wonder what it would take to mend the rift that’s kept Mack and his father estranged for over a decade . . . and whether Mack might consider staying with Nathan in Porthkennack for good.

Sometimes, when the writing, the themes, and, the characters all come together, then a place comes alive for a reader.  You feel like you can walk down the pathways, watch the wild seas, look in through the glass windows into the pubs and storefronts of a place and feel you know it intimately because it’s now real for you.  Porthkennack is now that place or me.  Which is more amazing because the series isn’t written by one author but by five (at least for the moment).  Each one adding to the mythology, the foundation of the place, it’s people and its history.

Some are stand alone novels, such as this one, others are not.

All make you wish with all your heart that Porthkennack was a place you can grab a plane or bus to.  Tribute Act is just another reason why.

Tribute Act opens with music from songs from Nathan’s father’s band, one he walked away from, along with his marriage when he married Nathan’s mother in Porthkennackk, giving up music, settling down to have a family and fun a ice cream store.  That’s where we meet Nathan Bridges.  Home to rescue his Dad (awful businessman), his Mom, and sister.   It’s Nathan who is the rock of the family, always giving, sacrificing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the family.  Nathan’s character is so well defined.  We see how much it takes out of him to continually be the giver, leaving little for himself, including dreams for his future.

Nathan’s sister is in need of a transplant which introduces Mack to the family and a series of startling revelations for all, especially Nathan who’d hooked up with Mack the night before not knowing he was his stepbrother.  Mack also was shocked by that little surprise.  Mack is a torn, bitter young man, hurt by seeing the family before him he never had as he was abandoned by Nathan’s dad.

Ah, that’s the huge weakness at the center.  The roaring musician, the dad who’s basically a coward but still loves his family.  This story is full of flawed people.  Some you will love, some you’ll understand, some you might despise…but all of them feel downright authentic.   They act, talk, yell, and react from places that you expect….deep wells of pain and anguish.  Childhood abandonment and loss.  Lack of familial love.  That’s very powerful stuff and it flows from the very heart of the narrative here.

And when hesitatingly, it all  starts to find a way to  come together, in forgiveness and as a family?  Well, you can’t help but feel joy and love for them all.  And another story and group takes its place in your Porthkennack corner of your heart.  How I love this place.

If you aren’t familiar with the Porthkennack series, Tribute Act (Porthkennack #8) by Joanna Chambers works fine on its own.  I highly recommend it and the others.  Check out the entire series here.  You might find me waiting on the bench by the bus stop waiting to walk with you into town.   You never know what magic can happen there.

Cover art by Garrett Leigh is spectacular.  Moody, it captures the tone, location, and character and pulls you in.  I love it.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Published January 15th 2018 by Riptide Publishing (first published January 13th 2018)
ISBN139781626496842
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #8

This title is part of the Porthkennack universe.

Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack #7) by Garrett Leigh

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Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack #7) by Garrett Leigh
Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist: GD Leigh

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Garrett Leigh’s Junkyard Heart tour. Thank you for such a wonderful interview.

~ Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Garrett Leigh Interview ~

  •  House of Cards featured Calum Hardy and Brix Lusmoore, and Kim Primrose was a part of their story.  Now we have Junkyard Heart, Kim’s story.  How much of that cast returns?

Pretty much all of them. There’s Kim and his BFF/Ex Lena, Lee, Brix, and Calum. Plus new character Jas, and his family. It was a lot of fun to bring them all together again, and add the new faces to the mix.

  •   Since Porthkennack is such a small, ancient village with tight connections everywhere, will those be as visible as they were in the previous story?

Yes. Kim is a Porthkennack native, and Brix’s oldest friend, so he has the same connections and links that Brix had, as well as some unique to him. For example, much of the furniture that comes out of his woodshop is made from materials scavenged on the beaches.

  •    What draws you to write where such a location is as much a character in the story as Porthkennack is?

I was super excited to be invited to write for the Porthkennack series. I’ve never written about a location such as Porthkennack, and unraveling its mysteries was a complex task, especially when there were four other authors to consider. Pulling all our ideas together was awesome.

  •   Would you or do you live in such a small tightly woven community as Porthkennack?  If you don’t, would you like too and why?  If not, why?

I like the idea of a tiny community like that, but I don’t think I’d want everyone knowing my business! That being said, Porthkennack turned out to be far more diverse and welcoming than you might imagine of a small English town.

  •   When you write a character such as Kim who’s a carpenter, how much research do you do into his profession?  Or the professions of all your characters?  Or does sometimes it work in the reverse?  You get interested in a profession and then assign it to a character?

My partner is a jack of all trades, so the carpentry thing wasn’t too hard. He’s also a pro photographer, so that was Jas covered. I usually to pick professions that I have a good knowledge of beforehand. I worked as a chef for many years, and know a lot about tattooing. My brother was in the military, and I know a lot of nurses who work in various hospital departments. I think it’s a dangerous game to set a book in a profession/location that you know nothing about, and getting bogged down in research can really affect your word flow.

  •  How many more stories do you intend to write in this Porthkennanck series?

No more, I’m afraid. To the best of my knowledge, the Porthkennack series is complete.

 

 

About Junkyard Heart

Tired of the London rat race and the heartbreak that comes with it, photographer Jas Manning returns to Porthkennack, the Cornish seaside town where he spent every childhood summer on his father’s farm. Resigned to year-round rain, wind, and homemade jam, he’s sorely unprepared for the impact that artsy carpenter Kim Penrose has on his heart.

Kim’s free-loving reputation precedes him, and he’s as generous with his inked-up body as he is with his time. The sex is hot, the easy friendship even better, and Jas’s time with him building his family’s new farmhouse canteen is everything Jas was missing in his empty city life.

But Kim’s carefree existence isn’t as simple as it appears. He’s worked hard to vanquish his demons and build his dreams, but the devil on his shoulder is ruthless, and when it comes to call, their happy bubble bursts like it was never there at all. The canteen opening looms, but Kim is gone in more ways than one, and it’s down to Jas to shore up Kim’s soul and convince him that he deserves his place in Jas’s heart.

Available now from Riptide Publishing.

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.

Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.

Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.

Social media:

Website: http://garrettleigh.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighbooks

Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Junkyard Heart, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 9, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

In Our Historical Spotlight: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane (RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway)

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Count the Shells (Porthkennack #6) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it here at Riptide Publishing

 

Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

About Count the Shells

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

Available now from Riptide Publishing

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Website:charliecochrane.co.uk/

Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/

Twitter: @charliecochrane

Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Pre-Release Review: House of Cards (Porthkennack #4) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.

Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.

Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.

There’s a phrase that get’s uttered here whenever Brix or someone feels that a person has been charmed or perhaps conned even by a Lusmoore’s abilities to sway you over, they say “you’ve been Lusmoored”.  That I have by this place and people, this story. Everything about Garrett Leigh’s House of Cards resonates with me.  From the cornish seaside town of Porthkennack (mythically created for this series yet so believably alive), the harsh sea that calls to the residents, bringing them home, the characters Leigh created that I’ll not forget, or their love story that I’ll soon return to, House of Cards is one of those stories that I’ll always love.

In Calum Hardy and Brix Lusmoore, Leigh has created two damaged men that life tore apart and now ten years later throws back together just when each will need them the most.  On the surface, it’s Calum, so desperate for a life raft.  The author makes his pain, his feelings of low or no self esteem vivid, his vulnerability real and aching.  Years of  domestic abuse under the influence of his bullying, dominant boyfriend has reduced him to the point he’s turned everything over to him, finances, beloved tattoo shop…life choices to the event that breaks him and sends him fleeing.  Garrett has us with him every step of the way.

Switching perspectives, we get Brix Lusmoore, in demand tattoo artist and owner of his own shop in the village.  Brix is as full of complexities as they come, with the depth of the sea behind him.  I adore this man and his family.  The Lusmoores are an ancient Cornish family, their roots almost as old as the island rocks, some still carrying on the old ways that have served them so well in the past, ways not terribly legal.  It’s a fine line that Brix walks here with them.  Then there are the chooks, the rescue hens that are a vital element for the story and a tie for the villagers too.  A rescue line that works both ways for more than one person in this story.  Brix has his own pain and secrets to reveal as the title of the story indicates.

There is no quick romance here.  There can’t be under the circumstances.  Both men are too heavily damaged, too much needs to be revealed, too much healing needs to be done.  But it happens, quietly, beautifully and as it should.

The writing is so wonderful, the storytelling flows so naturally that it went by far too quickly in my eyes.  I could have stayed within this universe, within Porthkennack,  helping to rescue more chooks for many more stories.  A book you take to heart will make you feel that way.  House of Cards is one of those.  I highly recommend it!

Cover art by GD Leigh is gorgeous and perfect for the character and setting.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Published July 17th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleHouse of Cards
ISBN 1626495440 (ISBN13: 9781626495449)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #4

A MelanieM Review: Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A Porthkennack novel

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two hundred year old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

I’m such a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane that I rush to pick up anything she writes and this sounded full of elements she could put her unique spin on.  It had historical aspects up the wazoo!  A wreck of the Troilus on the Cornish coast that seems to haunt this one family and village.  So modern times and the past combined, plus a romance between two unique spirits (something Cochrane thrives at – see Jonty and Orlando) and this ought to have been a smash hit.  But after I finished reading it, even the clever parts, I was left feeling a bit let down.  That’s so unusual after one of her stories.  And I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I think it all comes down to a build up that never happens.  It all centers around that unlucky frigate the Troilus and the Capell family.  Cochrane builds up the suspense of what exactly is happening to Morgan (his headaches, nightmares, etc), the dementia of his mother, the past dementia of his maternal line as the story continues.  Dominic, a lovely character btw, adds to the tension with his disbelief yet need to further pull Morgan into more investigations into past history of the wreck and the dead…making things worse.  Things ramp up….until…violins at a pitch ala Hitchcock style…Cochrane then proceeds to narratively undo everything she’s just accomplished.

To say I was astonished was putting it nicely.

What Cochrane did was clever.  But not satisfying.  I went ‘huh, so that’s it?’.  Utterly disappointed and sort of sad.  And you’re left sort of up in the air about Morgan in some matters.

So what to say about Broke Deep?  Its well written, clever certainly.  The village and setting comes alive in the story as does the people who live there as well as Morgan and Dominic.  The mystery needed to be better clarified and for me, I wish my original thoughts about the blurb had been the right ones.  On to the next Charlie Cochrane story!

Cover by: G.D. Leigh.  Dramatic and works for the  story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Published June 5th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626495424 (ISBN13: 9781626495425)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #3

Charlie Cochrane on Titles, Inspiration and her Porthkennack series title ‘Broke Deep’ (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing

Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane here today talking about titles, inspiration and her latest story Broke Deep. Welcome, Charlie!

🌊

Where did the title “Broke Deep” come from?

by Charlie Cochrane

I’m not very good at coming up with good titles for books. I usually end up picking the brains of friends or colleagues or editors or anybody I can get my paws on. When we brainstorm a good, catchy title it feels like my team winning a game by fifteen points and on the rare occasion I come up with a name for the book all on my own it’s like I won the lottery!

So I am truly Smuggerella about “Broke Deep” which is my idea and mine alone and which works for this story on two levels. My protagonist Morgan is feeling broken, in terms of relationships and his own health but there’s also the story of a shipwreck which plays a pivotal part in the plot – a ship literally broken on the rocks – and it’s from a reference to a famous real shipwreck the title comes. I’ve always enjoyed the music of Gordon Lightfoot, and in 1976 I bought the atmospheric single “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, which I played and replayed until I almost wore the grooves out. I had no idea at the time it was a story about an actual wreck.

There is something eerily fascinating about the loss of a ship; we all know tales of the Titanic or the Mary Rose. I’ve seen the latter on exhibit in Portsmouth and she’s like a time capsule. Who walked those decks? What were they thinking as they set out? Whether a ship is made of oak (one of the “wooden walls” of old England, maybe) or metal, as the Edmund Fitzgerald was, it’s still at the mercy of wave and weather and the loss of vessel and crew is tragic.

In Lightfoot’s song there is a line that the ship “may have broke deep and took water”, which interested me. Break is an old word for a ship being wrecked; it also means to part the surface of something, so a ship moving through waves will break the surface of the sea. If it breaks deep, that must mean the bow dipping so far into the water that the waves pour over it. Such a powerful image of a mighty vessel being overcome by the power of nature. One day I was listening to the song and I realised that image was redolent of Morgan being overcome by the circumstances of his life. Unlike the ship, though, he finds hope and safety.

 

Broke Deep is the story that refused to sit down and take no for an answer, a tale that waited patiently in my works-in-progress folder for a setting and a context to do it justice. When the Porthkennack universe opportunity came along, Broke Deep bounced into my mind like the most insistent plot bunny, saying, “That’s my home! Write me there!”

 

Reader, I did.

 

About Broke Deep

 

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two-hundred-year-old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

 

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

 

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

 

Now available from Riptide Publishing

 

About Porthkennack

 

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

 

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

 

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

 

About Charlie Cochrane

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

 

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Broke Deep, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag containing postcards, a notebook, a tea towel, candy and more, all from Charlie Cochrane! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 10, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

My first story by Joanna Chambers, and I was struck by what a lovely romance she created with her two incredibly endearing main characters. Some of my reviewer friends have called it beautiful, but whatever synonym one uses, be it lovely, exquisite, superb, striking, or another term, it is certainly one well worth purchasing.

It’s the mid-1850s, and Nicholas Hearn is perfectly satisfied with his life as the land manager of the Roscarrock estate—at least that’s what he tells himself. His mother was Romany, and he’s the illegitimate son of the Roscarrock family patriarch, Godfrey Roscarrock. Godfrey is a tough old man, who refuses to acknowledge their relationship, though most people suspect that’s why Nick was hired there.

When he meets new neighbor, Sir Edward Fitzwilliam, he’s struck first by the man’s very rough tone of voice—a result of a childhood case of diphtheria—and second by the man’s very good looks. Sir Edward, aka Ward, comes to the local tavern seeking volunteers for an experiment for one of his scientific projects. He plans to speak to spirits who’ve passed away by recreating storm conditions present when he himself heard his twin brother speak to him just as he died. Ward convinces everyone, including himself, that his motives are scientific and altruistic, but we find later in the story that Nick’s perceptive insight is correct—Ward simply can’t let go of his twin and wants more time to converse with him before he can truly say good-bye.

The story is by no means simple, nor is it short, but it’s packed full of character development and relationship-building between the two MCs. The author delves deep into their hearts and then twines the two tightly together. And she managed to ensnare this reviewer along the way, as well.

I highly recommend this story of love, passion, heartbreak, and heartwarming triumph that ends with a very satisfying HEA. Though part of the Porthkennack series, it simply uses that setting but is a standalone novel. Don’t miss a chance to enjoy the depth of feeling this story evokes. It is beautiful, indeed.

~~~~

The cover by LC Chase features a handsome man in 19th Century dress standing before a landscape complete with cliffs and stormy sea—perfect for this story.

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

Book Details:

ebook, 309 pages
Published April 17th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626495602 (ISBN13: 9781626495609)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #2

In the Historical Spotlight: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers (giveaway)

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A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack #2) by Joanna Chambers
R
iptide Publishing
Cover by: L.C. Chase

Read an  Excerpt/Buy It at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Joanna Chambers here today.  Welcome, Joanna!

📚

Hello, reader friends! I’m Joanna Chambers and this is the blog tour for A Gathering Storm, my new Cornwall-set historical romance. I’ll be sharing thoughts on my experience of writing about eccentric Victorian scientists, pragmatic Romany land stewards and unscrupulous mediums – come and comment to win a copy of the book and a $25 Riptide gift card!

About A Gathering Storm

When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother. 

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it.

Now available from Riptide Publishing

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex BeecroftJoanna ChambersCharlie CochraneGarrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack

About Joanna Chambers

Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. In between studying, finding a proper grown up job, getting married and having kids, she spent many hours staring at blank sheets of paper and chewing pens. That changed when she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna’s muse likes red wine, coffee and won’t let Joanna clean the house or watch television.

Connect with Joanna:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of A Gathering Storm, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit and a copy of A Gathering Storm! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 22, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!