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As I imagine everyone in the genre knows by now, April is Autism awareness month, and therefore time again for R J Scott’s amazing Blog Hop event. Click on the image to the left to go to her masterpost.

We start with a fact:

34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.

Children can be very unforgiving of other children who don’t conform to the world view that they are just beginning to formulate for themselves with the help of parents siblings and relatives. The trick is to catch that early one and stop it before it can turn into picking on, or even bullying. And for that adults need to be educated as well. We’re never too old to learn.

The subject we have been given for our posts is “Childhood Toys”.

Obviously my mind went straight to history – in fact prehistory – and I wondered what is the oldest child’s toy to be found.

This is quite hard to establish. Children’s toys need to be small, portable and, usually, organic – soft and cuddly with no sharp edges. Sadly organic things tend not to survive for very long so we are left with more robust materials, ie harder to work, more valuable, more highly prized. Such valuable items in metal, stone or wood have usually been attributed either to use or ritual.  If one digs up a human figurine painstakingly carved from stone or bone can one say for certain that it’s a votive offering to the gods – or a dolly?

Tiny depictions of kitchenware found in tombs – an expression of what one will need in the afterlife or dolls tea party?

Sometimes we’re lucky and not only find objects, but also find illustrative material. It seems that grooved clay discs that were initially assumed to be parts of a loom are actually yoyos.

Wheeled objects are very popular – chariots of course, and Scythian children appear to have played with little facsimiles of the wagons they lived in.

But you can put wheels on anything – horses, lions, even hedgehogs!

 

This stone hedgehog was made in Iran some 3000 years ago. But older toys have been found including the item below. This bone disc has a hole in the middle and on each side is an incised image of an antelope. It is 30,000 years old.

This may have been a thaumatrope – the toy made by spinning two images on a string so they appear to be one.

In the image on the reverse the antelopes legs are drawn up. Twist the string and it appears to twitch its ears and jump.

Was this a toy to amuse a child, or a religious ritual? We don’t know for sure but I can’t see any reason why it can’t have been both.

Time for a giveaway – I will pick a commenter to win a novel from my books page. 

If you would like to donate to a charity that does sterling work in providing for the needs of autistic young people, I don’t think that you could do any better than RJ’s charity of choice – Lindengate.

Lindengate is a Buckinghamshire-based registered charity that offers specialised gardening activities to help those with mental health needs in their continuing recovery
Operating from a 5-acre site adjacent to the Wyevale Garden Centre in Wendover Lindengate offers a wide range of gardening/horticulture activities so that users can spend time in a managed and calm and safe environment, either singly or in small groups, working towards recovery.

You can donate here.

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I feel as though I’ve been waiting for this book for ages but now it’s finally here!!

 

THE JACKAL’S HOUSE

 

 

About The Book

Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy…

Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.

Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?

Title:    The Jackal’s House

Series:    Lancaster’s Luck: Book II.   Sequel to The Gilded Scarab

Publisher:    Dreamspinner Press

Publication Date:   30 October 2017

Genre:    Steampunk adventure m/m romance

Wordcount:    c111,600

Cover Artist:    Reese Dante

Illustrator (Map):    Margaret Warner

Goodreads

 

About The Series

 

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The Gilded Scarab The Jackal’s House

Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.

So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.

Find out more about the Lancaster’s Luck books and the world of Rafe and Ned

Excerpt

I like kissing.

Like Ned, I’d spent years in hiding. His constraint had been matrimony and the sense of honor and duty that would never have allowed him to be unfaithful to the mother of his sons. Only her untimely death had released those bonds. Mine had been less noble: I had no desire for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from Her Imperial Majesty’s Aero Corps. Most of my encounters over the years had been quick and furtive, but I’d taken every chance I could to practice my technique.

I not only liked kissing, I was good at it.

Fast little kisses to start with, kisses that barely made contact with the skin of Ned’s throat, kisses meant to tease. He tilted his head back to let me in, closing his eyes. His mouth opened on a soft sigh. I hoped he was giving himself up to the pleasure, losing himself in it, that nothing mattered to him at that moment except the feel of my mouth on his throat and lips. I hoped so. I wanted to please him.

I kissed and licked the delicate skin under his ear until he choked with laughter at the tickling. He tightened his grip on my hands and tugged at them until I raised my head. Ha! He’d lulled me into trusting him there and took full advantage of it. He swooped to capture my mouth with his, cutting off breath and thought, bringing a dizzying warmth with his hot tongue, and making me moan.

Of course, they were very manly moans.

 

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press ebook  |  Dreamspinner Press paperback

Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  Apple iBooks

B&N  |  Indigo  | Kobo

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter draw for

  •  1st prize—$25 or equivalent Amazon gift card
  •  2nd prize—a signed paperback of the first Lancaster’s Luck book, the Gilded  Scarab.

About Anna

Anna was a communications specialist for many years, working in various UK government departments on everything from marketing employment schemes to organizing conferences for 10,000 civil servants to running an internal TV service. These days, though, she is writing full time. She recently moved out of the ethnic and cultural melting pot of East London to the rather slower environs of a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside, where she lives with her husband and the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butler’s Pantry | Pinterest | Twitter

Sign up for Anna’s quarterly newsletter

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So that lovely lady at Signal Boost Promotions is running a Blog Tour for me right now with a nice little Rafflecopter giveaway attached. The winner will get a paperback copy of the book and there may possibly be another special gift too.

Check out the list:

August 21 – Love Bytes
August 22 – The Way She Reads, BooksLaidBareBoys, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Nerdy Dirty and Flirty
August 23 – The Novel Approach
August 24 – Love That’s Out of This World
August 25 – MM Good Book Reviews
August 28 – Sinfully MM Romance
August 29 – Zipper Rippers, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Padme’s Library, Bayou Book Junkie, The Geekery Book Review, Louise Lyons
August 30 – Rainbow Gold Reviews
September 1 – Making It Happen
September 4 – Bayou Book Junkie
September 6 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
September 8 – Diverse Reader
September 11 – My Fiction Nook

Some of the posts are blog posts, some are reviews. I’m filled with my usual mix of curiosity and trepidation about what people will think!

Meantime, many thanks to Signal Boost!

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I was asked to post this by F E Feely in case anyone who sees this might be interested in joining in.

prg-valentines

This contest is brought to you by the Paranormal Romance Guild!! Click the graphic below for details.

proof_prg_wordpress_3-0-copy

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Blurb:

Matthias Reynolds loves his life. He’s starting to make it as a graphic artist at last and has a job he really likes at a local café that pays the bills. When a night out clubbing leads to an awkward morning after, he’s embarrassed and more than ready to forget all about it. When Talani Enforcers show up at the café, he doesn’t know what to make of it all as he’s led away in restraints.

Standing accused of crimes he struggles to understand, he finds he has an unexpected champion: the Talani warrior and war hero J’nah Quislin. J’nah knows that Matty is his. All J’nah has to do is keep Matty safe from those who engineered Matty’s charges and sentencing. That, and get Matty to accept that universe always intended them to be together as one. All it requires is for Matty to return J’nah’s devotion and offer his willing submission. Can Matty do it, with all that it will mean for his future?

Buy from Amazon

Shelve it on Goodreads

Author Bio:

Leona is a longtime staunch supporter of human rights and environmental causes. Her favourite genre to read is M/M fiction and she particularly enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and action/suspense subgenres—especially if they have a nice seasoning of romance. She has far too many books on her Kindle, has overloaded her phone with even more and, when not reading, writing, being driven to distraction by her children, or being overlorded by her three cats, can be found trying to locate the portal that the sock monster uses to steal socks from her dryer.

Recently head-reeling news for her included her novel Jared:Urban Wolves #1 being nominated for an Indie Award from Metamorph and placing as a finalist in the 2016 Rainbow Awards, earning an Honorable Mention. She’s still suspicious that it’s all been a dream, but as long as her readers are happy and she can find at least one of the missing socks, she’s happy.

You’ll find her books on Amazon, including on Kindle Unlimited. You’ll also find her on Facebook at Leona Windwalker, where you can keep up on news regarding current, new, and upcoming releases.

Click the graphic below to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Rainbows!

Deri, Skirrid Fawr, Skirrid Fach and rainbows.  Photo by Tony Dandridge

Deri, Skirrid Fawr, Skirrid Fach and rainbows.
Photo by Tony Dandridge

We all love a rainbow, don’t we, and this week we have even more reason. The annual Rainbow Awards always releases their results the first week in December. For those who don’t know, the RAs are a peer judged contest that raises large amounts of money for LGBT+ charities worldwide. The contest and find raising are organised and administered by the peerless Elisa Rolle, author, blogger and reviewer, who must have a thing for herding cats as well because this can’t be an easy job.

This year Manifold Press entered several books, including my Eleventh Hour. I was delighted and gobsmacked to find that it was not only a runner up in Best Gay Historical Romance but also in Best Gay Book, placed joint fifth and joint seventh respectively. The winner in both categories was, of course, the amazing Broken Blades by Aleksandr Voinov and L A Witt – if you haven’t read it you really must – with Tracefinder by Kaje Harper in second place, and Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr and The Innocent Betrayal by Victoria Sue in third.

Runners up include such luminaries as J L Merrow, Jay Lewis Taylor, Jordan L Hawke and K J Charles, whose books I had read and a whole list of others that I’m really looking forward to. You can find the full list of great books here. I’m astonished my book was in such company and am going to display my runner up badge with pride.

ra-runner-up

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More blog tour!!

I’m visiting Prism Book Alliance today, to answer interview questions and offer an opportunity to enter a contest to win a prize. Additionally, Prism offers a fantastic prize to one lucky commenter each month. Got to be worth a go, right?

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