*waves* Hi all! Today we're welcoming the wonderful and talented Mathilde Watson to the blog - the first stop on the Shrug It Off Blog Tour! Stay with us for details and be sure to visit the next stop at Iyana Jenna's blog tomorrow!
Hello everyone, Mathilde Watson here--
Today, to celebrate my latest release, SHRUG IT OFF, Angel Martinez has been kind enough to host me for the kick-off of my very first blog tour!
So here I am!! And here’s how this works…
I’ll be making seven stops between today and next Saturday, and I’ll be giving away seven e-books from my backlist to randomly selected individuals who comment on my posts—one for each day!
And, at the end of the tour, I’ll be giving away two $10 gift cards to All Romance e-books to two randomly selected commenters. All you have to do to be entered into the grand prize drawing is leave a comment at any of the stops I make along the way! Just be sure to include an e-mail address in your comment so you can be contacted if your name is drawn!
SHRUG IT OFF is my very first solo release through Mischief Corner Books.
Actually, it is my first solo release in well over a year and I’m very excited to be back on the virtual shelves!
* * * *
SHRUG IT OFF
M/M Contemporary Fantasy
by Mathilde Watson
For Stephen, dating is more than a challenge, it’s a nightmare!
All he wants is a man he can talk to, someone he can laugh with and be himself around. What he’s got instead is an incessant running commentary on everyone and everything. The meddling guides posted on his shoulders each have their own ideas of what Stephen should be looking for. From the right he’s urged to find a man like himself: confident, successful, and upwardly mobile. The little devil on his other shoulder is only interested in a guy’s face and what he’s got below the waist.
The two can never agree on anything—until Stephen meets Connor—and then things get really interesting…
* * * *
And now, without further ado, I’d like to share just a little peek between the covers so you know what all the fuss is about.
* * * *
“Can I refill that for you, sir?”
The overeager server was back, hovering over Stephen Rouse’s shoulder with a fresh pot of coffee. Stephen didn’t look up. He could feel the expectation charging the air; he didn’t need to see it on the man’s face, too. Stephen wasn’t trolling for a hookup and he didn’t want to give the guy the wrong impression. He seemed nice enough, but Stephen had other reasons for being there.
“Yes, please,” he replied instead, before downing the last, cold mouthful from his third cup and holding the mug out to be filled again.
“Can I get you anything else?”
His tone suggested he was on the menu.
Stephen shook his head and the waiter made an exasperated sound, then sauntered off to check on his other tables. Stephen glanced at his watch and heaved a disappointed sigh.
8:39 pm. The waiter had every right to be annoyed. Stephen had been sitting there nursing his cup of coffee for more than an hour now without ordering anything else. What was the guy supposed to think?
Stephen wanted to wait for his date, Connor Williams, a sweet if average-looking guy he’d met on an online dating site two months earlier. He went back and forth between being hilariously feisty and endearingly shy, an intriguing combination to say the least, and it had taken Stephen forever to coax him into meeting in person. And now, sitting alone a full hour after their date had been scheduled to start, Stephen wondered if perhaps it was still too soon.
“Give it up, Stevie-boy. He isn’t coming. He stood you up, the prick!”
Stephen frowned and glared out of the corner of his eye at the little devil perched on his left shoulder. Seeing he had Stephen’s attention, the devil continued, “And really, you dodged a bullet with this one. I don’t know what you were thinking. He was pudgy and plain and boring as hell. He was damned lucky you even e-mailed him in the first place, if you ask me. Now come on, let’s get out of here!”
Stephen resisted the compulsion to get up and do as his devil commanded, preferring to make his own choices. He picked up the menu and tried to decide if he should stay and order something to eat for himself or just head on home. It didn’t make sense to wait much longer, and he already felt like a fool for holding out as long as he already had.
“He’s right. There’s no point in torturing yourself any further. Tip the poor waiter and let’s go home.”
The angel yawned in Stephen’s other ear, his tone one of bored relief. Neither of his spirit guides had been particularly impressed by Connor’s profile or his e-mails. Especially the first one…
* * * *
So, there you have a brief introduction to Stephen and his troublesome entourage.
SHRUG IT OFF is available for sale through Mischief Corner Books!
You can find me online at:
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this with us, Mathilde - I can't wait to see what trouble the shoulder companions cause. :) Don't forget to leave a comment folks - seven ebooks and All Romance gift cards on the line!
All My Crimes
by Tal Valante
(A repost of my review on Goodreads)
I know what the objections will be to this story. No need to read other reviews. There will be complaints about the lack of romance, the lack of sex and the length.
If I read those reviews, I will react badly. So. It's quite simple.
This is how a short story is meant to be written. THIS. Every movement, every detail furthers the action, the characterization, the central themes. Every word is there for a reason. Every scene is necessary.
We're given glimpses and hints of world building, through the action, through the surroundings, but the details are so integral that you know there's a complete world behind this story, not simply a few Scrabble-word, fantasy realm names and such sprinkled around. There's a system of magic. There are rules. You FEEL them.
I often despise first person and loathe present tense even more. They distract me. Pull me out of the story. Here. Oh, here...it makes the story raw and immediate and painful. We discover the back story and the answers as the character does and it's awful and painful and flipping terrible things have happened. There's violence, but not long-drawn out gore fests. There's sex, but off screen because it's not important to go into detail.
It was short. Yes. It was intense. I took maybe an hour and a half to read this and won't be able to forget it. Perhaps ever.
The author's name intrigued me. It's one of my own favorite character's names, after all. But I'll be looking for longer work from this author. Write more, Tal. Write epics. Because I want to see what you do when you give yourself room to roam.
Wait, Angel - who's that? Is this another guest blog?
Um, no. Sandra Stixrude is my given name. Really. I couldn't make that one up. It's a Norwegian name with an 'e' added on the end, but that's another story. Those of you who've seen me know that I look typically Norwegian anyway - tall, blonde, blue-eyed...stop laughing!
Fine. So I'm short and not blonde (though you can't tell anymore since the hair is white - ha!) but Sandra is still me and writes the all-ages, non-romance Science Fiction. I keep the two names separate because you could safely give the Anchorage novels to your 10 year old to read, and read along with them, while the Angel Martinez books are decidedly not for minors.
Anyway...I started the first Anchorage novel fifteen years ago (dear gods, has it really been that long?) and have spent a good few years getting them published in a happy place. One publisher closed before it was even released. Two subsequent publishers turned out to be bad ponies. Best not to linger.
My lovely colleagues at Mischief Corner Books have urged me to republish there - and so I have. The new cover was a bit of a puzzle. I've had a couple of covers before that worked - but always envied SF writers who could actually have illustrations done for their works. The beautiful renderings of ateva for C.J.Cherryh novels. The marvelous dragons for the Pern novels. Oh, to have an artist understand the story...
I saw Catherine's Dair's work first through Facebook. She was working on a special project for Josh Lanyon and had just changed her profile pic to the cutest little dragon in an eye-catching scarlet. Her Tumblr page had more fun stuff - she draws mythical critters! My heart rejoiced and I sent an inquiry. Do you take commissions? And so on. It turned out that Yes! she had time in her schedule for me and yes, it was more than a photo-manip cover would have been but it was a fair price. And yes! She wanted to read the work first! (Oh, joy of joys!)
The result, above, is positively stunning. Catherine understood the characters and so was able to capture their essences in portrait. She asked and asked and asked again about harduks and how I envisioned them and - behold! The word's first accurate harduk drawing (isn't Windflower beautiful?)
Marya: Anchorage 1
releasing 3/8/14 from Mischief Corner Books
by Sandra C. Stixrude
cover art by Catherine Dair
Traveling has always frightened Marya, but when the Ktar chooses her to protect the heir on his confirmation journey, she fights panic. A prophecy concerning the heir's death, ominous dreams of a mysterious city, and news that one of the heir's companions will betray him all point to disaster.
Unfortunately, the discovery of the assassin's identity is only the beginning. His menace pales in comparison to the ancient evil lurking in the mountains. When Marya is trapped and the men with her enslaved, she is faced with two choices: surrender to the alien being who offers her power, or ally with the handsome assassin she sought to thwart. One way she loses her soul, the other she may lose her heart.
Our guest today here on EFFTHM is the lovely and talented Sam Singer :) A bit on the inspiration for To Know Your Wild Heart:
Fairy tales are a great source of inspiration for me, but when I began my newest novella, I found inspiration from another source.
While watching the 1942 version of Jungle Book my mind began to wander and “what if” scenarios churned in my brain. I had been reading books with Were-animals in them recently and the idea came to me “what if the animals in the jungle were Were-animals and what if Mowgli fell in love with one?” From that simple question came the idea for To Know Your Wild Heart.
In my newest release with JMS Books you’ll find all the elements of the Kipling classic but with a fresh new take. I hope readers enjoy it.
Blurb: Orphaned in the forest as an infant, Kai grows up as the only human among a pack of werewolves. His parents were killed by Marcellus, a renegade Skinwalker with an insatiable thirst for carnage and an unreasoning hatred for humans. Though the pack has raised Kai as one of their own, he knows he’s an outsider. He’s different.
When Marcellus returns to finish what he started, the pack decides Kai must leave his forest family and be taken to a nearby human settlement, both for Kai’s safety and that of the pack. The task of seeing Kai to the settlement falls on his friend Adair, an aloof and amiable werecat.
Kai isn’t told where they’re going, and he enjoys Adair’s company. But soon the attraction between the two becomes too difficult to deny, and the more time they spend together, the closer they become. With danger bearing down on them and their attraction growing, can human and werecat survive with their lives -- and hearts -- intact?
“The Adair I know would never hurt me like this. Never use me. He was my friend.”
“I am still your friend.” Adair closed the distance between them. He looked down at Kai with soft eyes. He had no right to look at him like that. Like he knew what was best for Kai, like he cared. He reached out and cupped Kai’s cheek. Kai wanted to push him away but he found himself leaning into the touch.
“I’m trying to protect you, Kai. There is a Skinwalker after you. A very bad and very dangerous one named Marcellus and he hates humans. He knows there is a human in the forest and he will not stop until he finds and kills you.”
Kai was more confused than ever. “What? Why? I don’t even know anyone named Marcellus.”
“It doesn’t matter if you know him or not. You’re human. That’s enough. I’m sorry you got the wrong idea about us. If you calm down and think rationally, you’ll realize that the best place for you in the human village. They can protect you. You’ll be happy.”
Kai shook his head and looked up at Adair. How was he supposed to calm down? His entire life was crumbling around him. “I’ll die there.” It was true. Kai wouldn’t know anyone. He had no idea what it meant to be human. In the pack, in the forest, he was free. The village would be a prison.
“If you stay in the forest you will die. The pack won’t protect you. Even I can’t protect you. In all probability Marcellus is the one responsible for the deaths of your birth parents.”
How dare Adair bring his natural parents into this? He knew how much Kai thought about them, how much he missed them sometimes. Just when Kai thought Adair couldn’t sink any lower.
“I hate you!” Kai screamed in helpless anger and pain. He saw Adair blanch before he turned and took off running as fast as he could, tears blurring his vision and hurt tearing his heart to shreds.
* * * *
Adair stood there stunned as Kai ran away. He had never seen Kai look the way he had. Heartbroken, devastated. The fact that he had put that expression on Kai’s face left him gasping. He wanted to go after him, knew that he should, but he couldn’t seem to get his feet to move.
I hate you! The words echoed in his ears, slicing into him like a blade. He just wanted to keep Kai safe from Marcellus. He should have also kept Kai safe from himself as well.
He should have realized what Kai thought was happening between them when he used the words ‘mate me’. Kai had been raised with pack values and would see their coupling as a sacred rite, not as an act of mutual pleasure as Adair did. He was a damn fool. He knew better, yet gave in to his baser instincts and desires to have Kai just one time. He let his judgment be clouded and now all hell had broken loose.
“Kai!” He called heading off after the human. It felt awkward to walk on two legs. “Kai! Come back here!”
Worry clawed at him. Kai was alone. Marcellus was somewhere in the forest. Marcellus who hated all humans and was hunting Kai. Adair had to find him. He stopped and sniffed the air, trying to pick up Kai’s unique human scent, but Kai had just bathed and his scent wasn’t discernible. Kai could have run in any direction. With no hint of scent, Adair had no clue which way to go. Any way could be the wrong way taking him farther away from Kai and bringing Kai closer to Marcellus.
“Kai!” Adair called cupping his hands to his mouth. “Kai!” He was scared to death. If anything happened to Kai it was on his head. He would never forgive himself. “Kai!” he screamed at the top of his lungs but either Kai couldn’t hear or chose to ignore him. “Kai! Please!”
Adair was desperate and he felt wetness on his cheeks. His heart thudded painfully in his chest. Vivid images of Kai with his belly slashed open, insides spilling out, skin pale, eyes wide and staring, flashed through his mind. “Kai!”
His mind raced. He couldn’t go back to Kai’s pack and try to get help; the den was too far away and they had expelled Kai because of this very reason. He was alone and he would have to find Kai on his own.
Find him before Marcellus did.
Buy Link: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29&products_id=1068
Angel writes (mostly) Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around queer heroes. Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head, she has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.