In Our New Release Spotlight: The River City Chronicles by J. Scott Coatsworth (excerpt and giveaway)



J. Scott Coatsworth has a new queer magical realism book out:

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other’s lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out.

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Matteo stared out the restaurant window into the darkness of Folsom Boulevard. It was getting dark earlier as summer edged into fall. Streetlights flickered on as cars drifted by, looking for parking or making the trip out of Midtown toward home.

The sign on the window read “Ragazzi” (the boys), lettered in a beautiful golden script just two months old. Investing in this little restaurant his uncle had left to them when he’d passed away had been their ticket out of Italy. But now with each passing day, as seats sat empty and tomatoes, pasta, and garlic went uneaten, the worry was gnawing ever deeper into Matteo’s gut.

Behind him in the open, modernized kitchen, Diego was busy cooking—his mother’s lasagne, some fresh fish from San Francisco, and some of the newer Italian dishes they’d brought with them from Bologna. The smells of boiling sauce and fresh-cooked pasta that emanated from the kitchen were entrancing.

They’d sent the rest of the staff —Max and Justin—home for the evening. The three customers who had shown up so far didn’t justify the cost of keeping their waiter and busboy on hand.

Matteo stopped at the couple’s table in front of the other window. “Buona sera,” he said, smiling his brightest Italian smile.

“Hi,” the man said, smiling back at him. He was a gentleman in about his mid-fifties, wearing a golf shirt and floppy hat. “Kinda quiet tonight, huh?”

“It always gets busier later,” Matteo lied smoothly. “Pleasure to have you here. Can I get you anything else?”

“A little more wine, please?” the woman said, holding out her glass so the charm bracelet on her wrist jangled.

“Of course.” He bowed and ducked into the kitchen.

He gave Diego a quick peck on the cheek.

His husband and chef waved him off with a snort. “Più tardi. Sto preparando la cena.”

“I can see that. Dinner for a hundred, is it? It’s dead out there again tonight.”

Diego shot him a dirty look.

Matteo retrieved the bottle of wine from the case and returned to fill up his guests’ glasses. “What brings you in tonight?” Maybe they saw our ad.…

“Just walking by and we were hungry. I miss the old place though.… What was it called, honey?”

Her husband scratched his chin. “Little Italy, I think?”

“That’s it! It was the cutest place. Checkered tablecloths, those great Italian bottles with the melted wax… so Italian.”

Matteo groaned inside. “So glad you came in” was all he said with another smile.

Author Bio

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott lives with his husband Mark in a little yellow bungalow in East Sacramento, with two pink flamingos by the front porch.

He spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.

He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.

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Spotlight on Pack Up Your Troubles Series by Charlie Cochrane (special guest post)


Pack Up Your Troubles


Charlie Cochrane

Published May 9th 2018 by Williams & Whiting

Available at Amazon | Goodreads

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host  Charlie Cochrane here today talking about her new collection of stories, Pack Up Your Troubles.  Welcome, Charlie!



My interest in World War One – and more specifically, the service men and women whose lives and deaths were intertwined with the conflict – goes back to school days. The war poetry of Wilfred Owen was part of the syllabus for English secondary schools (it still is) and it really got to me. The power in the words was stunning and the sad, almost romantic story of a poet who died within weeks of the war ended was enthralling.  I’ll admit that I have almost no interest in the details of the action, which regiment fought where and when; it’s the people and their stories that continue to fascinate me.

That sense of the pity of war (and the ‘poetry in the pity’*) heavily influenced the first of the three stories in this anthology. I suspect This Ground which was Secured at Great Expense is one of the most sombre stories I’ve ever written, although I promise it has a happy ending. You could say that the story arc itself mirrors that of war – a sudden call to action, mistakes made and wrong strategies employed, times of inaction and false dawns, a move made at a venture that brings success. And – this is a really big confession – it’s the only story I’ve ever written that I planned out in advance and then wrote against that plan. (I’ll never do it again. Agony for a pantser like me.)

Hallowed Ground is much less intense in style, if no less serious in subject. It was inspired by the Museum of Army Chaplaincy just outside Amport. I have no idea why I hadn’t come across the place before, because it’s relatively local, to me but as soon as I found out about it I made an appointment to visit (you have to make an appointment because it’s on army land.) I spent a lovely hour there, having a private tour from the curator. Not long afterwards the words for Hallowed Ground just started to flow, as though my sub-conscious had been crafting the tale all the time. The story ends with the promise of a happy ending to come, even if that isn’t outworked in this tale: the two characters reappear as minor players in Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour.

The third story in Pack up Your Troubles is the joker in the pack. I’ve amalgamated my interest in the war poetry of one hundred years ago with my interest in modern war poetry (check out the work of Danny Martin) to create the two leading characters. So how can a WWI soldier and a modern one be thrown together? When they’ve both died in combat and are sent back to earth to be part of terrestrial special opps. It was fun to play with the boundaries between this life and the next, and even more so to explore the tension between obeying orders and being true to one’s heart. True love wins in the end, of course, but the path is a tricky one to tread.

Footnote:  my fascination with poetry appears in the three story titles. They’re all taken from WWI poems. The “pity” quote comes from Wilfred Owen himself.  “”My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”

About Pack Up Your Troubles

Pack up Your Troubles features three stories of love – won, lost and regained – against a backdrop of war.


An officer thinks he finds love in the trenches, but is it really waiting for him on the home front?


A doctor and an army chaplain spend the night in a foxhole and discover there’s hope even in the darkest situations.


And an old soldier discovers that there are romantic problems to solve even after you’ve cashed in your chips.


About the Author

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Endeavour and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

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Get A Bundle of Love with the ‘Love Off the Radar Collection’ by A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly (excerpt and giveaway)



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Title:  Love Off the Radar Collection

Author: A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly

Publisher:  Torquere Press

Cover Artist:

Release Date:  6/8/16

Heat Level: 5

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 119K

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Love off the Radar features fourteen tantalizing, otherworldly tales of love, romance, passion, and mystery, by the best-selling team of A.J. Llewellyn and D.J. Manly. In Chaos, a fallen god looks for love at a truck stop. A young man hovers between love and death in Hardsex. Before Morning is an erotic, romantic, volcanic vampire tale set in Feudal Japan – with a serious twist. Mojo Rising is a scandalous tale of same-sex love set in the South Seas.

D.J. Manly addresses BDSM in Disciplining Baron, and the two authors join forces for the paranormal title story Love off the Radar. Which will kill Mo Dingley first? Love, or a curse? Speaking of curses, Have you ever read the personal journals of a werewolf, or a vampire? Now’s your chance! We’ve also got two very different love stories set in the time of Atlantis, and the sad but sweet Clean Monday, a coming-out story with a surprising hero. There are sexy, spicy tales involving zombies, where boys meet boys and almost…eat them. We have it all because love is love, and can’t always be wrapped up in a neat little bow.


From the title story Love off the Radar:

Mo should have suspected the universe was about to hose him when he arrived at the office and found the receptionist sniveling over her laptop. He’d assumed she was having some personal crisis. He felt a little guilty now that he’d uttered a brusque “Good morning” and had walked right by her.

When Jonathan Sampson personally buzzed Mo and invited him into the conference room for coffee, he’d assumed—again, stupidly—that he was about to be given a raise. He’d played the imaginary conversation in his mind as he quickly combed his thick, sandy-colored hair, straightened his bolo tie, and had run his fingertips over his unruly eyebrows.

He’d walked in, full of smiles, hoping to be commended for the brilliant job he’d done designing and overseeing a synagogue completely built out of recycled materials and powered by solar energy. It had appeared on the evening news, and Architectural Digest was featuring it next month.

Mo suspected that the big-bucks job hadn’t impressed Buckley and Sampson because the synagogue was a GLBT one. And gay didn’t go down too well in the company, even though their lone gay architect had, in three short months, brought them almost four million dollars in revenue.

No. What he got was a year in fingle-fangled Japan. It beat his last job where he’d spent a year in Kentucky designing the same ergonomic office spaces over and over again.

Mo stared into his still full cup of coffee, prepared for him by the sniveling receptionist. He wondered if she’d wept into his cup.

“Well?” Sampson asked.

“May I think it over tonight?”

Mr. Sampson looked disappointed. “I’ll give you twenty-four hours. You’ll need to leave by Monday.”

Mo swallowed. Hard. “What about the accounts I’m working on?”

Mr. Sampson couldn’t look at him. “We’re going to hand them over to some of our junior executives.”

“But those are my accounts. My relationships brought in those deals.” Asshole. I just figured it out. They used me to get the contracts, now their straight account executives are going to complete the projects. They’ll never do the job I could do.

He left the office for the meeting he’d scheduled with the rabbi. He adjusted his black Stetson on his head, straightened his bolo tie and used a bristle brush to clean his black suit. Not that he needed it.

It was always good to make sure though. Sometimes when he morphed back into human form, he forgot himself and wolf hairs stuck to him.

Damned curse.

He stared down at his black cowboy boots. He’d come to California with three pair and these were his favorite, lucky boots. Well, they weren’t so lucky this morning.

Mo drove to West Hollywood in a daze, trying to imagine not being here anymore. He was surprised when he hit the turnoff on the ten for La Cienega Boulevard and headed south. On Pico, he found street parking and almost didn’t pay for the meter. Just out of spite. But it would be just his luck if a parking ticket haunted him across the Pacific.

He slid his credit card into the meter, paid for two hours, not that he thought he’d need it, then stood back to survey his golden beauty. From the outside, the synagogue looked very utilitarian. Inside, it was cozy, temperate, and gorgeous. As he strode into the building, he admired once again the carpet that had been fashioned by his ex-lover, Andrew, out of recycled jeans.

Each and every item used in the construction of the Temple Ruth Center had been a labor of love for Mo, and the artisans he’d brought in to help him with the project. Though not Jewish, he admired the rabbi, Beth Cohen, and the synagogue’s motto of ikkun olan (repair the world).

He believed in beautiful spaces. He believed in being responsible and being accountable. Even as he shook the rabbi’s hand and greeted the reporter from Architectural Digest, he knew his time in LA was short. He could sniff it out, like a coming Santa Ana wind and knew.

Mo Dingley was going to Japan.

He slept badly, falling into a restless snooze on the sofa whilst watching a design program on HGTV. He awoke to canned laughter and raised his head from the cushions tucked under his arm. Somehow he’d rolled over onto the remote and he’d hit an obscure cable station. An old episode of Seinfeld was playing. He’d never seen this one before, but in it, Kramer was renting out drawers in his bedroom bureau to stranded Japanese tourists. He watched as Kramer tucked them into their makeshift beds, wishing them a good night’s sleep.

I can’t sleep in a drawer! Are beds really that small there?

He hit the Internet and checked the address that Sampson had written down for him. He was astonished at how wonderful it seemed. The apartment, located in the neighborhood of Akasaka (Red Hill in English) in the Minato-ku district, was right near his new office, and two blocks from the American Embassy. According to the blogs he read, foreigners gravitated toward this area because of its international supermarkets. Almost everybody spoke English. During the day, it was a hard-working business area. At night, its restaurant and clubs ensured a busy evening, as well. Weekends, according to his research were much quieter, because the working men went to their own neighborhoods.

The ancient streets featured some geisha houses, which tickled him. He wondered if there were gay ones. How far was it from the gay district? And what was it called, anyway? He checked. Shinjuku Ni-ch?me. Popularly known as Nich?. Now that looked really cool. Saunas, coffee shops, bars. Beautiful men.

As long as he could escape into solitude each full moon, he’d be fine.

I think I could live there. He studied the apartment building. The Akasaka Tower building was so tall it made him dizzy looking at him.

This ain’t no mustang ranch, sport. He took a deep breath. He was able to view an apartment via virtual tour. It looked very modern and clean, with granite countertops in the kitchen and surprisingly huge windows overlooking the city.  The bedroom looked  big enough. It sure beat the heck out of being unemployed.

He eyed the time on his VCR/DVD player. Ten fifteen P.M.

On the TV, as Jerry and Elaine acted shocked about Kramer renting the Japanese tourists his bedroom drawers, Kramer defended himself by saying, “Have you ever seen the business hotels in Tokyo? They sleep in tiny stacked cubicles all the time! They feel right at home!”

He sighed at the racist overtones to the plotline. Maybe this was his opportunity to offer his input into ikkun olan. Maybe he could help in some way make a contribution to repairing the world.

Mo picked up the phone and called Jonathan Sampson. He wasn’t surprised when the man answered.

“I’m in,” was all Mo said. And then he started to pack.


Torquere Press

Euphoria SquareMeet the Author


A.J. Llewellyn

A.J. Llewellyn’s obsession with myth, magic, love, and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.’s days are spent writing, reading and dreaming up new worlds. A.J. has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste test every cupcake in the universe to produce over 200 published gay erotic romance novels.

A.J. wants you to read them all. A.J. can be found lurking on Facebook and Twitter—part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.’s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding, and spending a fortune buying upgrade apps for Pearl’s Peril and Farm Heroes Saga.

D.J. Manly

I write not only for my own pleasure, but for the pleasure of my readers. I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t written and told stories. When I’m not writing, I’m dreaming about writing. Eroticism between consenting adults, in all its many forms is the icing on the cake of life but one does not live by sex alone. The story of how two people find love in spite of the odds is what really turns me on.


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Take a Journey Into the Darker Side of Life with ‘Stealing Innocents’ by Cari Waites (Lisa Henry) (giveaway)



Stealing Innocents by Cari Waites, Lisa Henry
Published by Riptide Publishing
Cover Artist L.C. Chase

Purchase/Read An Excerpt Here at Stealing Innocents

About Stealing Innocents

Those who dare to scratch the surface of ordinary, everyday life may be horrified to find a sick underbelly beneath—a nightmare world populated by villains and victims, predators and prey, where the rules of society no longer apply.

Where you’ll find people like Danny, the boy who sells himself to pay for his father’s gambling debts and ends up in a situation more twisted than he ever imagined. Or Troy, the cop whose obsession with saving a brutalized human trafficking victim turns deadly. Or Drew, the mental patient who begins to suspect his nightly delusions of abuse by his doctor are actually real. Or David, the cuckolded husband who decides the best way to get revenge is to seduce his wife’s barely legal son.

Stealing Innocents is an exploration of our darkest human impulses, where sex is power, love is horror, and there’s no such thing as a happy ending.

This collection contains three edited second editions stories that were previously individually published, plus one all-new story, by Lisa Henry writing as Cari Waites.

About Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

She shares her house with too many cats, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.

Cari Waites is her much darker alter ego.

Connect with Lisa:

  • Blog:
  • Twitter: @lisahenryonline
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To celebrate the release of Stealing Innocents, Lisa is giving away a $20 Riptide credit and an ebook of your choice of title from Lisa’s backlist.  Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 16, 2016. 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 Lisa can reach you if you win!