In The Spotlight Tour and Giveaway:Counter Culture by JL Merrow.


Counter Culture by J.L. Merrow

Riptide Publishing
Published November 4th 2019

Cover Art: LC Chase

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | Kobo


Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate the release of my new rom-com, Counter Culture, which features a clash of cultures between a socially conscious steampunk and a stressed-out department store retail worker.

About Counter Culture

Customer service has never been this personal.

Robin Christopher, beleaguered retail worker, isn’t having an easy November. His boss is raising stress levels planning a Black Friday to end all Black Fridays, his family doesn’t understand him, and his best friend thinks his new crush is a hallucination brought on by watching too many episodes of Doctor Who.

Archie Levine dresses in Victorian style and divides his time between caring for his young son and creating weird and wacky steampunk gadgets from bits of old junk—when he’s not looking after his mum and trying to keep on good terms with his ex. The last thing he’s got time for is a relationship, but the flustered young man he met while disembowelling a fridge is proving very tempting.

When his mum’s social conscience is roused by a local store with a cavalier attitude to the homeless, former rough sleeper Archie shares her anger. Little does he know that Robin works for that same store. When Archie finds out he’s sleeping with the enemy, things could cut up very rough indeed.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!



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. 

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at:, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at




To celebrate this release, one lucky person will win a $10 gift card to Riptide. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 9, 2019. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

Spotlight Blog Tour and Giveaway for Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall


Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall

Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Hello, everybody! I’m Alex Whitehall, and I’m here today touring for my contemporary m/m romance, Hard Truths, which is about Isaac and Logan’s whirlwind romance, as well as coming out and what family means. But it’s not all angst and drama. In fact, I hope you’ll have as much fun watching these guys fool around as I had making them be goofs.


About Hard Truths

He can’t have the family he wants, but he may get the love he deserves.

Isaac didn’t expect to find love at his family’s Christmas dinner, but that was before he met his sister’s new fake boyfriend. Tall, muscular, and tattooed, Logan is what Isaac would love in a partner—and also everything his parents would hate in one. Not that they know Isaac’s gay.

That doesn’t stop him from dating Logan—unbeknownst to his parents, and with his sister’s approval after she fake dumps him. The pair dive into a whirlwind romance of motorcycle rides, cheesy puns, and hot sex. They meet each other’s friends and fill their time with happiness and laughter. It’s all perfect.

Until Isaac suggests they move in together, and Logan asks Isaac to come out to his parents. Isaac wants to, but he’s scared; he doesn’t want to lose his family. Unfortunately, he can’t see that his real family has been right beside him all along.

Available from Riptide Publishing.


About Alex Whitehall

If there are two types of people in the world, Alex Whitehall probably isn’t one of them, despite being a person. Their favorite pastimes include reading, horseback riding, sleeping, watching geek-tastic television, knitting, eating, and running. And wasting time on the internet. And spending glorious evenings laughing with friends.

While Alex prefers sleeping over doing anything else (except maybe eating), sometimes they emerge from the cave to be social and to hunt for food at the local market. They can be found blogging, reading, and tending after their aloe plants.

Connect with Alex:


Commenting below will give you a chance to win this mug:

This mug appears in Hard Truths as one of the first presents that Isaac buys Logan. It’s similar to a mug I have myself (that my friend bought me and that might have inspired the gift)! The order will be shipped directly from the buyer, so you have to be willing to share your physical address with the buyer and myself. You can choose either size and any of the fox images.

Due to prohibitive shipping costs, this prize is only open to within the US. For international readers, indicate as such and you’ll have a chance to win a digital copy of your choice from my backlist.

Contest closes October 6. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave a means of contact!


Cornelia Grey Sharing Pinspiration and More About ‘The Empty Hourglass’ by Cornelia Grey (giveaway and guest blog)


The Empty Hourglass

The Empty Hourglass (Deal with a Devil) by Cornelia Grey
iptide Publishing
Cover Art by Jay Aheer



Hello! I’m Cornelia Grey—welcome to the Empty Hourglass blog tour! At various tour stops, I’ll be sharing some secrets about my writing process, sources of inspiration and future projects!

Comment on each stop to be entered in a drawing for a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card and the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series— Devil at the Crossroads and The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice. Thank you for joining me on the tour!


Authors are often asked where they find inspiration. Among various sources, I find what works best for me is visual inspiration… I studied fine arts and history of arts for several years, so I’m very fond of paintings, incisions, photography, digital art and comics—and I find they do wonders to fire up ideas and storylines in my brain!

On some occasions, seeing a single image has been enough to spark a chain reaction that ended up in an entire plot somehow pouring out of my brain. Other times, a picture of a potential character intrigues me enough that I start wondering who they might be, what their story could be like, and end up with a protagonist on my hands in need of an adventure.

One of my current favorite sources of visual inspiration is Pinterest—I used to scour the internet and save tons of pictures on my hard drive, neatly divided in settings, characters, props, various historical eras… but, unfortunately, they ended up getting lost in the mix when the folders became too big and it was time-consuming to keep them all properly organized.

With Pinterest, I find the feature allowing to mimic a corkboard ‘pinning’ the pictures and having them all available at a glance much more convenient. So when I started working on The Empty Hourglass, I spent some time browsing through the website looking for inspiration for the characters, the setting and the general atmosphere of the story (Just a word of caution… gotta be careful that a bit of browsing for inspiration doesn’t accidentally turn in hours of procrastination 😉 )

So, allow me to introduce you to a few of The Empty Hourglass’s characters!

If you have read the previous installments in the Deal with a Devil series, you might have noticed that our resident devil, Farfarello, looks different in each one. Discovering what he’s going to look like in the current story is always one of my favorite aspects when working on this series. And usually, I come across a particular image that just strikes me—you know, the ‘there! That’s him!’ feeling! And this is what he looks like in The Empty Hourglass:


As for our protagonist, toymaker Thomas Escott, who grew up on the streets of the capital, I was rather charmed by this fellow:


Our reclusive inventor, Jethro Hastings, was instead inspired by Algerian actor Tahar Rahim—please notice the curly inventor hair!


This lovely lady and her spiders were the inspiration for Dragana, the blind inventress, although my character ended up looking fairly different, with dark hair and skin:


And as for Mina, the little ghost girl inhabiting Jethro’s garden, I found this picture absolutely lovely for her:


I hope you enjoyed this little introduction to The Empty Hourglass’s characters! If you’d like to see more pictures—of Jethro’s mansion and laboratory, for example, or of his prosthetics and, of course, the devil’s hourglass, please feel free to have a look at the Pinterest board for this novel!

About  The Empty Hourglass

Thomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.

Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.

The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.

About Cornelia Grey

Cornelia Grey is a creative writing student fresh out of university, with a penchant for fine arts and the blues. Born and raised in the hills of Northern Italy, where she collected her share of poetry and narrative prizes, Cornelia moved to London to pursue her studies.

After graduating with top grades, she is now busy with internships: literary agencies, publishing houses, and creative departments handling book series, among others. She also works as a freelance translator.

She likes cats, knitting, performing in theatre, going to museums, collecting mugs, and hanging out with her grandma. When writing, she favors curious, surreal stories, steampunk, and mixed-genre fiction. Her heroes are always underdogs, and she loves them for it.

Connect with Cornelia:


To celebrate the release of The Empty Hourglass, Cornelia is giving away the two previous titles in the Deal with a Devil series—  Devil at the Crossroads and  The Circus of the Damned—in an e-book format of your choice, plus $15 in Riptide credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 16, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following  the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Marie Sexton Talks Images and Inspiration And ‘Trailer Trash’‏ (author guest post and giveaway)


Trailer Trash

Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
iptide Publishing

Cover Art by Jay Aheer

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here


Hello, everyone! I’m Marie Sexton, and I’m here today to talk about my New Adult novel, Trailer Trash. Trailer Trash is about two high school seniors in small-town Wyoming in the mid-1980s. I thought I’d share a few pictures that helped inspire book, and a few that might help illustrate the setting.

Trailer Trash was born from this image:Cody

I’ve since learned that this picture is of actor Nicholas Hoult, but this picture has always been Cody in my mind.

This is the picture I have for Nate, although it isn’t perfect.

NateTrailer Trash is set in the fictional town of Warren, Wyoming, along the I-80 corridor. If you look at a map of Southern Wyoming, and find the spot about midway between Rawlins and Rock Springs, then go ten or fifteen miles north into nowhere, you’ll have the approximate location of Warren. This area of Wyoming is so windy that there aren’t many trees, but many of the ones that grow in that area look like this:


Now, I’ve driven I-80 across southern Wyoming many, many times, and it’s hell. It’s windy and barren and goes on forever, mostly flat and straight as a ruler. On a good day, that section of I-80 looks like this:


On a bad day, it looks like this:I80_BadDay


The wind along this stretch of interstate is so bad, it’s been known to blow semis over:

I originally started this story back in 2011. I put it on hold for years, but I always knew I’d finish it someday. But this is the collage I used both times around (I’m pretty sure Heidi Cullinan made this for me back in 2011).Trailer Trash Collage

The setting for Trailer Trash may look depressing, and to a large extent, it is. But I love Cody and Nate so much, I just had to tell their story, and I promise, these boys do earn their happy ending.

About Trailer Trash

It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

About Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along.

Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

Connect with Marie:


To celebrate, Marie is giving away a $50 gift card to either Amazon or All Romance Ebooks, winner’s choice. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Its Love and War with ‘Between Ghosts’ by Garrett Leigh (Giveaway)



Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh
iptide Publishing
Cover art by Garrett Leigh

Read an excerpt/buy it here

About Between Ghosts

In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.

Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.

Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.

But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.

About Garret Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

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. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit

Social media:
Cover art enquiries: – See more at:



Leave a comment for a chance to win $20 in Riptide credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 19, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Special Inside Look at ‘Y Negative’ by Kelly Haworth (Guest Post on Genetics, and Giveaway)


Y Negative cover

Y Negative by Kelly Haworth
ublished by Riptide Publishing
Cover art by Jay Aheer

Buy it here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Kelly Haworth here today to talk to us about her  latest novel Y Negative and give us a little insight into the inspiration and science inside the story. Welcome, Kelly.


Hi guys!  I’m Kelly Haworth here with my debut release Y NEGATIVE.  At various stops on this book tour, I’ll be sharing with you what it’s like to live in Ember’s world: where mascs rule and a guy’s gotta fight for his right to live and love freely.  Posts will range from what the difference between a masc and an andro is, to what on earth a guy does for fun in a dystopia.  Hope you come along for this in-depth look. You’ll also have a chance to win a $20 Riptide voucher!

Please follow the tour to check out all the stops.

Counting all the little X’s – The Genetics of Y Negative by Kelly Haworth

Okay guys.  Here’s the deal.  I have a degree in genetics, and a big inspiration for Y Negative involved me completely geeking out over weird genetics and rare genetic disorders.  I’ll be discussing those in this blog, and things get a bit technical.  You have been warned!

Ember lives in a world that has been rebuilt from the ground up.  Everyone knows something happened to mankind to make the world the way it is now, but only the scientists really care to investigate what that event may have been.  Nuclear bombs?  An asteroid?  A volcanic eruption? Whatever happened, I figured that the human population dipped so low that there could be some truly science-fiction-esque changes.  Essentially, the Y chromosome is gone.  Instead, the genes that make a biological male fully functional, what I call the “Y-gene cluster,” have relocated to an X chromosome.  What this means is that Y Negatives (biological females) have the genetic make-up of “XX”, and mascs (biological males) are “XXY”.

It turns out that “XXY” actually exists in our world.  It is called Klinefelter syndrome, and is a genetic disorder that occurs randomly in the human population.  These males are sterile, and only sometimes are there other symptoms, which can include weaker muscles and breast tissue.  Occasionally, the symptoms are severe enough to warrant testosterone injections.   You can read more about this disorder here:

The variation of symptoms in Klinefelter syndrome is due to a process called “X-inactivation.” This is the same process that allows a female calico cat to have her distinct markings.  In all individuals with two X chromosomes, each cell randomly turns off one of them.  Cats happen to have fur color genes on their X chromosomes. So the patterns of a calico’s fur are due to different parts of her skin turning off different X chromosomes, and thus displaying different colors.  Think of it like each part of her skin threw dice to determine which color fur it’d grow.  All female humans also undergo X-inactivation, though there’s no convenient color difference for you to see it happening (thank god.).  But in Ember’s world, all females and males have two X chromosomes, and as we just learned with Klinefelter syndrome, males have a hard time with two X chromosomes.

When I learned about Klinefelter syndrome, I knew it applied to my boys and that I wanted it in the book.  Though, I did take liberties to fit my science fiction world, seeing as every male would be at least XXY.  Namely, my males aren’t sterile, and fewer males show symptoms than we would expect to see.  The guys who do show symptoms are called exins. Get it?  “X-in”activation? Hah!

Exins are usually in the same social circles as mascs; they’re just one of the guys. But if they are known to have particularly severe symptoms, or if they need to inject testosterone, they will most likely be ridiculed by their peers. Also, in Ember’s world, exins tend to be shorter, though in the real world, Klinefelter males tend to be taller.

Now I want to look at the bigger picture.  In Y Negative, homosexual relationships are the norm.  Given the quirky genetics I mentioned above, this leads to a pivotal rebalancing of society.  Technology exists that allows two biological males to father a child through the use of in-vitro fertilization.  So when young Y negatives (biological females) have their eggs harvested, the genetic material in the eggs is discarded, so that the genetic material from two masc fathers is used instead.   The resulting child is a biological descendent of both fathers (I actually call them “dad” and “father” because using the same name would have been totally confusing, right?).  So let’s look at the percentages using a diagram called a Punnett Square:

table Y negative

Assuming each male has one regular X chromosome, and another that carries the Y-gene cluster, he has a 50% chance of passing either chromosome to his offspring.  You may notice that only one of the above 4 boxes is going to be female (XX).  That means there’s only a 25% chance of these two mascs having a female child.
What this means for Ember is that he’s living in a world where at the very most, only 1 in 4 people are female.  And Ember points out to the reader that the percentage is a bit less—it’s closer to 20%.  With so few females in this world, so few Y negatives and andros, is it any surprise that they have become second class citizens?  That their voices have become so quiet as to not be heard?  This gives you a glimpse at some of the prejudice that Ember faces as an andro, a biological female, in this male-dominated world.  It’s a good thing that he is stubborn as hell and isn’t going to take that kind of shit lying down.
Thanks for joining me on this rather technical post, I hope to see you at the next stop of the tour!

About the Book

In the last surviving cities of a ruined world, the concept of “woman” has been forgotten to history. Those unfortunate enough to lack a Y chromosome live as second-class citizens in a world dominated by mascs.Y Negative cover

Ember is Y negative. He is scorned, bullied, abused by every masc he encounters, at work and at the gym. Not even his Y negative roommate cuts him any slack. He wants so desperately to be accepted as a masc that he’d rather buy black market testosterone than food. Something’s gotta give—he needs a change in his life, but has no idea how to find it.

Jess is a masc with a passion for studying the recovery of their devastated world. His boyfriend is pressuring him for more commitment, and his father expects him to take over the family business. He can’t wait to get away from civilization for his seasonal research out in the wild.

When Jess offers Ember a job, their lives collide in the isolated wasteland, and their initial attraction turns into a relationship that horrifies those around them. Soon their struggle to stay together and to be who they are turns into a fight for their lives.

Buy It Here: “

About the Author

Kelly Haworth grew up in San Francisco and has been reading science fiction and fantasy classics since she was a kid. She developed way too active an imagination as a result, thus, she started writing. Being genderfluid and pansexual, she loves to write LGBTQ+ characters in genres such as science fiction with diverse aliens, and urban fantasies with shifters and fire sorcerers. With degrees in both genetics and psychology, she works as a project manager at a genetics lab. When not working or writing, she can be found wrangling her toddler, working on cosplay, or curled up on the couch with a good TV show or a good book.

Connect with Kelly:

Y Negative_TourBanner

The Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Y Negative, Kelly is giving away $20 in Riptide Publishing credit! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 21, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.