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Archive for the ‘Excerpt’ Category

My guest today isn’t just a blinkin’ good author but also a dear friend and mentor, a fellow UK Meet Committee member, a stalwart of the writing community and an all round good egg.

Charlie is here today to celebrate her brand new release – In the Spotlight. a bundle of two stories about men who tread the boards.

Charlie, what inspired you to write these stories?

My love of sport and the theatre. In the case of All That Jazz, I was once going to a rugby match at London Irish and I saw two blokes having a row in the club car park. My mind went into overdrive and by the time I’d considered all the possibilities why they’d been arguing, I had the makings of a character. At a similar time, the all-male productions at the Globe made me wonder if an all male Chicago would be a goer – so when these two ideas conflated I had the germ of a story. (Any more detail would give it away.)

If Music Be came from another mixing of ideas. I love Will Shakespeare’s work, especially Twelfth Night; the sexual politics and gender bending in that play are mind boggling. It’s something I’ve explored before and no doubt will do again. When hubby got given a Military Wives CD, it made me wonder about military husbands and – again – these two seemingly disparate things came together to make a tale.

Have you tackled the theatre in other stories?

Oh, yes. The Cambridge Fellows found themselves embroiled with an all male production of “The Scottish Play” and “Awfully Glad” concerns a WWI officer who appears in a concert party dressed as a woman (do I detect a theme here?) I guess it’s a matter of writing about what I enjoy watching or reading about!

“The Roosters”, an army concert party started in 1917 with the donation of a 100 drachma note by a Surrey wicket keeper and continued to perform for over 30 years

There’s something comfortably camp about the behavior of theatrical types, including the straight ones. They certainly seem happy touching each other when being interviewed on the television. Any thoughts?

Plenty! Cultures develop around professions and settings, so the language and interactions in the theatre will be different to those in accountancy. I’m sure the fact that actors spend a lot of time pretending to be someone else in an artificial setting must have an influence, too. Perhaps it loosens the inhibitions or something.

Mind you, that relaxed physicality can be seen in my beloved rugby, too. One of the factors must be the close contact on the pitch (hands and heads go places in scrums and rucks that they don’t go in other sports). But it isn’t just during the game – the lads are very tactile when celebrating a try, or after the match. I also see tweets from them along the lines of, “In bed with my pal x, watching TOWIE”. They’re clearly sharing a bed in the way Morecambe and Wise platonically shared a bed, as has been customary through time, but you can’t imagine a footballer making that sort of tweet, for fear of snide comments. I wonder if it’s because rugby players have nothing to prove in terms of their masculinity? After all, the world’s top rugby referee is “out” and nobody bats an eyelid.

What are you working on at the moment?

Something rather different and a bit daft, about which I’m giving no more details as I don’t want anyone else to nick the idea. J

Can we have an excerpt?

Of course! Here’s a bit from All That Jazz:

“Are you looking for someone?” An incongruously quiet voice sounded beside him.

Hardly the most original chat up line. Francis eyed the stranger warily. He’d got past the point of being impressed by smooth lotharios sporting smarmy clichés although this bloke didn’t seem like one of them. If Francis had been a betting man he’d have put twenty quid on the remark being genuine and heartfelt.

“Not really.” Francis used his huskiest tones, ones belying the clothes he wore, tones intended to impress. Whoever or whatever the bloke with the clichéd lines was, he had a stunning smile to accompany them. And an honest fresh face—as complete a contrast to Rhys fucking don’t trust him as far as you can throw him Mannering as you could get.

“Sorry, you just looked a bit lost.” The stranger turned face on, his smile now shy and losing some of its lustre.

“Maybe I am. Not sure I know anyone here.” Francis couldn’t believe he was uttering the words, and in such a bashful manner. He was used to being the confident, pushy one in these sort of joints. Or at least he’d been good at acting that part once Mannering had gone. He’d had to learn to make the running, determined not to let that poncy sod ruin any more of his life than he already had done. So why was he now admitting to some beddable bloke that he was anything less than Mr. Confidence? Especially tonight when a beddable bloke and a bottle of beer were top of his shopping list.

“You do look a bit out of place.”  Another devastating smile. Why the fuck did beddable bloke make you feel like you’d never been in a bloody gay bar before?  “It’s not your average pub, this place. Most of the team hang out here and it’s coloured the atmosphere.”

“The team?” Francis cast a quick glance around. The rainbow flag over the door might well have been false colours, given the butch, well built appearance of the bar’s clientele. It looked more like your average suburban local than a haunt of the spenders of the pink pound. Perhaps the flag had actually been flying over the Brasserie next door and he’d missed it in his foul temper? No, the looks and nudges he’d had were genuine enough, and he wasn’t so dragged up that he could really be mistaken for a bird.

~~~~~~

In the Spotlight

Blurb:

All That Jazz
Francis Yardley may be the high kicking star of an all-male version of Chicago, but bitter, and on the booze after the breakdown of a relationship, he thinks that the chance for true love has passed him by. A handsome, shy rugby player called Tommy seems to be the answer to his problems, but Tommy doesn’t like the lipstick and lace. Can they find a way forward and is there still a chance for happiness “nowadays”?

If Music Be
Rick Cowley finds himself taking up am-dram once more, thinking it’ll help him get over the death of his partner. He’d never anticipated it would mean an encounter with an old flame and the sort of emotional complications the Bard would have revelled in. Still, old Will had the right word for every situation, didn’t he?

Link: Amazon UK Amazon US

Bio and links: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes.  Romances, mysteries, sometimes historical and occasionally hysterical. Rumours that she has written about weresloths are true.

Charlie’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, and regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

You can reach Charlie at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com (maybe to sign up for her newsletter?) or catch her on Facebook, twitter, goodreads, her website or her blog.

 

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I really don’t know how short story writers manage it. They must have incredible focus.

I was recently offered the opportunity to write a piece of short fiction for a blog event – “Just use your own characters, whichever you like, and oooh, anything over 500 words would be great” – so yeah, between 500 and 1000 words would probably be enough.

Can I? Can I heck as like! But it’s fun anyway. Id forgotten how much I enjoyed writing Briers.

office

Early February and things were pretty much dead on the espionage front. It was bitterly cold and there was a lot of snow, just the time to steal the march on one’s opponents, one would have thought, but the reports that came in from outlying agents were sadly lacking in action. Briers Allerdale could only assume that his various opponents were doing what he was doing – following orders to sit in an office pretending to work and be bored out of their minds. He had even sunk so low as to tackle the filing.

“God, what I wouldn’t give for a nice juicy assassination attempt,” he muttered as he slammed the filing cabinet. He shuffled over to the fireplace and made more fuss than necessary over adding a few lumps of coal to the already blazing hearth.

“You’ll set the chimney on fire.” Basset muttered. He was rocking in his chair, balanced on the two back legs of it, and had given up all pretence of looking busy in favour of making paper aeroplanes. “But then we’d be warm and have something exciting to do, so go ahead.” He launched his missile and missed the waste paper basket by inches. Briers picked it up and threw it back.

The phone rang and they both lunged for it, Basset beating Briers by a short head.

“Hello, International Trade and Exchange,” Basset said. “Oh – right. Allerdale, it’s for you.”

“Hah!” Briers grabbed the handset from him. “Yes, what?”

“Politeness doesn’t cost anything, you know.” The bureau chief sounded harrassed.

Aaaaand the game is afoot. Watch this space for more info on the blog event. I think it’ll be a really cool one.

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comfy chairMy guest today is an author that I first met at this years UK Meet, and I most most intrigued to hear about his first release, The Necessary Deaths, which came out on the first of November and which I, for one, am gagging to read.

Please join me in welcoming David Dawson.

~~~

Hello, David. Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

I work as a documentary film maker. I was with the BBC for about twenty years, firstly as a trainee journalist then in television making documentaries, before going freelance. I’ve filmed all over the world, as a director and a producer, most recently making educational and charity videos.

I’m still producing videos, but my son is steadily taking that over from me, although I do some camera operating for him sometimes; it’s great being directed by your son!

When you aren’t writing, is there any other creative activity you enjoy? Have you ever written about it?

I sing bass with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. They’re a great bunch of guys and they’ve been my strength and support over the last few years. We’ve sung in all sorts of places including: at Sandi Toksvig’s wedding to Debbie, at the West London Synagogue for World Aids Day, in St Paul’s Cathedral for Age UK and outside the House of Lords when the House debated the Equal Marriage Bill. Next year we’re off to New York and Chicago to sing alongside the Gay Men’s Choruses there. No, I’ve not written about the Chorus – yet. Look out for their appearance in a future mystery!

What are you reading? Can you recommend something that you wished you’d written yourself?

I’m re-reading Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave. I’d read it a few years ago, and when I saw they’d made a film of the book, I worried they’d spoil it. Not at all. If you see the film, or read the book, be ready to weep buckets!
I aspire to the beautiful prose style of Armistead Maupin. He just gets better and better. His more recent books surpass the early Tales of the City books. Those early books were great fun, but it’s clear that with maturity, comes reflection and insight.

In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Oh that’s a tricky one, because they’re like Siamese triplets. They’re inseparable. I suppose for me the plot and core characters are born pretty well simultaneously. That is, I know who’s going on what journey and where they’re going to end up. Once I’ve fleshed out the characters in my head and on paper, I invent situations for them to deal with, on the journey through the book. Then the supplementary characters evolve, as the plot evolves. Sometimes I’ll experience a situation with someone in real life, then I’ll work out how to write it into a book.

Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?

I like to spend time on developing histories for all my characters, I use pictures a lot for that, and names are very important. Once I set those, I’ll go for a ride on my motorbike, or cycle somewhere, and think about the character and about what has already happened to them. It helps so much in creating their motivation for doing things, or explaining why they react in a certain way to new situations. Once I’m writing the story, I’ll add to that back-story as events unfold. I have a spreadsheet full of character descriptions and images, to remind me when I forget what colour their hair is!

Is there any genre you would love to write, ditto one you would avoid like a rattlesnake?

I’ve got an idea for a series in the science-fiction/supernatural genre, which I’m developing at the moment. There was a BBC drama series many years ago called “Out of the Unknown” which had a huge influence on me.

It took ordinary everyday circumstances, and then twisted them slightly, creating daytime nightmares. I think they’re far spookier than the usual night-time stuff.
I don’t think I’m cut out for historical drama/romance. My son’s the historian, not me! That said, I’ve been thinking about a thriller series set around The Chilterns during the Second World War. The Ministry of War had some very interesting places tucked away in this countryside, including what was called “Churchill’s Toyshop”, where boffins invented all sorts of amazing devices to defeat the enemy.

Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?
Pretty well all decent novels are relationship driven. Even Tom Hanks, the lone survivor in Castaway, had the inanimate volleyball Mr Wilson to talk to!

The Necessary Deaths has a strong romantic plotline in the developing relationship between Dominic and Jonathan. The extraordinary circumstances that they’re plunged into test their relationship and develop it further, in a way that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. I give the romantic story plenty of room to breathe, because it’s integral to the thriller. The romance between Dominic and Jonathan is what motivates them to react in the way they do.

When writing series, what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye colour, car type, name of ex-spouse’s dog – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about?

Yes, I have acute OCD on this! I have a spreadsheet full of detail and photographs about every character, even the minor ones. As soon as I write a new piece of description in the story, I add it to the spreadsheet. Photographs of people also help me imagine their back-stories, and how they might react to situations. One of my favourite tasks is to spend an evening scouring the internet for photographs of gorgeous men who might fit certain characters! It can be very distracting…

Put together your ideal team of men/women – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?

George Clooney can come to my rescue! Every time. He’s been a hero of mine ever since he rescued the boy from the storm drain in episode seven, season 2 of ER. In fact, I’m such a big fan, he’s a major character in a short story of mine that Dreamspinner Press is publishing in its Love Wins Anthology for Orlando this December.

But you want a team? Well, I think Dame Maggie Smith would stand up to any mugger, any day! She and George would make a fabulous team. In fact, I wonder why they haven’t been paired on screen already!

clooney-smith

Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

Villains have got to be credible, so they need reasons for being bad. No one is all good, or all bad.

In The Necessary Deaths, the principal villain is motivated by ideology, and is very bad. But they still have a seductive side, which makes them intriguing and even appealing. Everyone has the capacity to be a villain, circumstances and back-story dictate whether the transformation to the dark side happens or not. In the second Dominic Delingpole Mystery I’m tackling this whole issue, which I think is fascinating.

What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.

The Dominic Delingpole Mysteries will unfold over five books. I’ve plotted the overarching story, and I’m just finishing the second book in the series. I’m also working up the World War Two science fiction tale in the background, it’s quite a juggling act I can tell you!

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

From The Necessary Deaths:

“Mrs. Gregory,” said Dominic. “I would be very happy to have you as a client, but I’m not sure in what way I can act for you.”

Samantha smiled. “And neither am I just at the moment. Let’s call you a professional friend. I have no one else who I can turn to, and your legal mind will help me to see things a little more clearly. As you can tell, I’m a little emotional just now.” She turned away to wipe a tear from the corner of her eye. Then she looked at him steadily.

“Simon and I are very close. Ever since Richard, his father, died in a climbing accident, we have been a very tight family unit. I’d like to think Simon and I can tell each other everything.”

Dominic wondered if she was keeping up a brave front, or whether she really believed Simon told her everything. Her comments clearly contradicted what Simon’s housemate Jay had said an hour ago. Dominic decided that, as she was his client, he owed her the duty of honesty, and he should tell her about what he had learned in the last few hours.

“Samantha, I’m afraid I believe Simon may not have confided everything in you in recent times. I went to see John this morning before coming here. He told me about their relationship and how Simon was not yet ready to tell you.”

Samantha smiled.

“Dominic, I’m his mother. Do you think that I didn’t know?” She sighed. “I knew he was finding it difficult to tell me, and I was waiting for him to pick the right time. I didn’t want to rush him.” She paused. “But yes, you’re right, and I am wrong. Simon hasn’t confided everything to me; I merely know and am waiting for him to tell me. John is a lovely boy, and I was just pleased to know that Simon is happy.”

Samantha narrowed her eyes slightly as she asked, “But why do you think that means he must have kept other secrets from me? Surely you of all people must know how difficult it is to come out?”
Dominic blushed briefly. “Everyone’s circumstances are different, of course, and for young people it really is much easier….”

“Oh nonsense! Can I just say that I think it’s a bit rich for you to judge Simon when you’re so secretive about yourself? We spent nearly three hours in the car together last night, and I still don’t know whether or not you have a boyfriend!”
This time Dominic’s face turned crimson.
“Samantha, could we just get back to—”

“Well, do you?”

Dominic sighed. “I think it’s my turn to acknowledge that I am wrong. Yes, I do have a partner, and no, I am not very open about it. In this day and age, it probably is unnecessary for me to be quite so discreet. But after a while, it gets to be almost a habit.”

Samantha giggled. “Oh, Dominic, how delightfully bashful you are! I imagine that it’s rare you have a conversation like this with your clients.”

Dominic smiled. “Samantha, I can tell you truthfully that I have never had a conversation like this with my clients. You must meet Jonathan some time. I think you two would get on like a house on fire.”


A young journalism student lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Brighton, England. His life hangs in the balance after a drug overdose. But was it attempted suicide or attempted murder? The student’s mother persuades British lawyer Dominic Delingpole to investigate, and Dominic enlists the aid of his outspoken opera singer partner, Jonathan McFadden.

The student’s boyfriend discovers compromising photographs hidden in his lover’s room. The photographs not only feature senior politicians and business chiefs, but the young journalist himself. Is he being blackmailed, or is he the blackmailer?

As Dominic and Jonathan investigate further, their lives are threatened and three people are murdered. They uncover a conspiracy that reaches into the highest levels of government and powerful corporations. The people behind it are ruthless, and no one can be trusted. The bond between Dominic and Jonathan deepens as they struggle not only for answers, but for their very survival.

Buy Links:
Dreamspinner | Amazon UK | Amazon US | B&N | iTunes

BIOG:

David C. Dawson is an author, award-winning journalist and documentary maker, living near Oxford in the UK.
He has travelled extensively, filming in nearly every continent of the world. He has lived in London, Geneva and San Francisco, but now prefers the tranquillity of the Oxfordshire countryside.
David is a Mathematics graduate from Southampton University in England. After graduating, he joined the BBC in London as a trainee journalist. He worked in radio newsrooms for several years before moving to television as a documentary director. During the growing AIDS crisis in the late eighties, he is proud to say that he directed the first demonstration of putting on a condom on British television.
After more than twenty years with the BBC, he left to go freelance. He has produced videos for several charities, including Ethiopiaid; which works to end poverty in Ethiopia, and Hestia; a London-based mental health charity.

David has one son, who is also a successful filmmaker.

In his spare time, David tours Europe on his ageing Triumph motorbike and sings with the London Gay Men’s Chorus. He has sung with the Chorus at St Paul’s Cathedral, The Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall, but David is most proud of the time they sang at the House of Lords, campaigning for equal marriage to be legalized in the UK.

You can follow David at the following sites:
Facebook | Twitter | Website | Blog

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comfy chairHappy Thursday!
Today I have a brand new-to-me author in my Comfy Chair. Alyson Pearce is an American transplant currently living in London, where she works full time in publishing and as an author of M/M romances. She fell in love with romances after discovering her grandmother’s library and hasn’t looked back. As a member of the LGBT community, she believes that everyone deserves their chance at a happily ever after.

She has recently released a new series set in the Regency period that follows the adventures and misadventures of a group of gentlemen who are artistically inclined.

Welcome Alyson

Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?

I’m an American by birth, currently living in London while I finish up a masters in Publishing. My passion is romance, of course, but I also love crime, fantasy, and historical fiction. I came to the M/M romance genre through a mix of M/F romance and M/M fanfiction. I found the subgenres of romance I enjoyed (mainly historical, with some paranormal as well) and the tropes I enjoyed in fanfiction. Then I decided to combine the two, both in reading and in writing, which opened up a whole new, exciting world. After reading Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon’s Seducing Stephen and The Gentleman and the Rogue, I tried writing my own novel, and that became The Viscount and the Artist.

In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Normally I’ll get a glimpse of characters in a situation. For Andrew and Jeremy, it was “what if this peer who didn’t want to be a peer fell in love with an artist?” I had the roughest picture of who Andrew and Jeremy were as characters—kind of like looking at one of those pixilated Classical art works. You know more or less who they are, but not the specifics. Before I write a single word, though, I flesh them out and get to know them as well as possible, that way I know how they would react to a certain situation.

The Viscount and the Artist is the first of what will surely be a long series. When writing series, what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye/hair/skin colour, preferred mode of transport, rank or profession, quirks or mannerisms – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about but will be needed in the next book?

I keep a story bible with all of the series information in it. All of my characters have multiple pages of character sheets, down to the smallest quirk. I also include setting details, historical details, timelines, family trees, and so on to try and keep everything organised. With each book, I add to the story bible.

Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

I love sympathetic villains. In The Viscount and the Artist, the main villain is absolutely society, but that leads to two physical villains—one you see coming and one that’s a bit of a surprise, so I won’t give too much away. With each of those villains, I did my best to make them more than just the ‘bad guy.’ Lady Dersingham isn’t just the woman who’s trying to wed Andrew. She’s also a widow who’s trying to find some source of stability in a world that doesn’t cater to women. And the mystery villain I won’t spoil also battles with their own inner demons, although I have to admit this villain is far less sympathetic. Writing villains you can identify with and sympathise with is just more fun for me, and I think it adds another great element to the story.

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

Instead of remaining in the library, Jeremy explored the house. He hadn’t had much of a chance to the day before, and since this was to be his home for the next two weeks, he wanted to be able to find his way around. When he had accompanied his father on the many dinners Richard had invited them to, he only saw the ground level. There was much left to explore. Making his way through the drawing room and past Andrew’s study, he paused outside the parlour. The door was partially closed, but he could hear voices from inside.
“…can’t ask that of me yet. I’ve only just come into the inheritance.” The voice was unmistakably Andrew’s.
“Even so, as it stands, there is no heir. What if something happens to you?” Phoebe asked.
Andrew scoffed. “Nothing is going to happen to me.”
“We thought nothing would happen to Nathaniel. We thought nothing would happen to Papa. You need to be married, and soon. I suggest by the end of the Season.”
Married? Jeremy couldn’t see Andrew as the marrying kind. Even if he preferred the company of women to that of men, he didn’t seem like the type to settle down.
“And I suppose you already have a candidate in mind?” Andrew asked.
“Lady Dersingham.”
“Lady Dersingham?” Andrew’s voice was sharp. “You would have me—your own cousin—marry that harpy?”
“That harpy happens to be one of my closest friends. I see nothing wrong with her,” came Phoebe’s haughty tone. “It’s common knowledge that she fancies you. She’s already invited you to her ball. It would be the perfect chance for you to get to know her.”
“I don’t want to get to know her! Besides, she’s only just come out of mourning.”
“Which makes this the perfect time for her to seek another marriage.”
“And what of the fact that she’s a scheming, self-centred excuse for a woman?”
“Again, I will remind you that she is a dear friend. If you really feel that way about her, I suggest the two of you go your own way after your marriage is consummated. As long as you produce an heir, I see no problem.”

###

The Viscount and the Artist

Andrew Cardwell is a man driven by duty to his country and to his family. After the death of his uncle, he’s determined to provide security and stability for his family as the new Viscount Cardwell—even if that means marrying and producing an heir. Surprising himself, Andrew decides to sponsor a young artist named Jeremy for the season, to help him find a patron. What he doesn’t anticipate is how well Jeremy fits in his bed…and his life.

Jeremy Leighton knows what it’s like to be a disappointment. The only son of a vicar, he’s refused to follow the path his father set for him, choosing his passion for art, instead. He accepts Andrew’s proposal, hoping to prove to his father—and himself—that he can succeed as an artist. After spending time with Andrew in and out of bed, Jeremy struggles not to fall for the damaged viscount, knowing the season will likely end in Andrew’s engagement.

Between a meddling cousin, a widow on the hunt for a new husband, and their own doubts about the relationship, how can Andrew and Jeremy shed the expectations of others to find true happiness?

Buy Links:
Amazon – http://bit.ly/ViscountandtheArtist
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1535207388
Are – http://bit.ly/TVATAARE
B&N – http://bit.ly/TVATABN

About Alyson

Dear reader,

Allow me to tell you a bit about myself. I fell in love with stories at the tender age of five. With a librarian for a grandmother and an English and History teacher for a grandfather, I suppose it was fated. My first stories were records of my time spent at their house, embellished here and there when I felt the need. I soon moved on to re-writing pop culture classics like Star Wars. Unsurprisingly, those were abandoned as soon as I learned what copyright was.

Over the next few years, I developed a love of fantasy and historical fiction, and tried my hand at writing both. During that time I also picked up my first romance in the basement of my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t until I started writing fanfiction, though, that I actually started writing romance. That was also where I discovered slash fiction. I quickly added in m/m fiction to my reading, and eventually decided to give writing it a go.

The Viscount and the Artist is my first novel.

Links:
Website – http://www.alysonpearce.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AlysonPearceAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/pearce_alyson

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My guest today is one of the driving forces behind the Summer’s Day anthology, Rian Durant.

Welcome, Rian, and thank you for answering my questions.

What led you to pick your source material for your story?

The idea to write an MM version of a Shakespeare play has been nagging me for a long time and when the idea of an Anthology struck me I already knew which would be the play. I can’t say it’s my favorite per se but there are lot of things which fascinate me in there. Like the character of Iago.. 😉 Also it explores many intriguing topics. Jealousy for example. It’s a weird thing, Jealousy. We want want it and yet we don’t, some perceive it as a sign of love, some as the opposite, it can be a driving but also a destructive force. There’s also exploration if the attitude to the foreign, provoking appeal for some and repulsion to others.
By the way, my Othello (Olvin) is Cuban. I’m crazy about Cuban music so it just clicked.

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage/? Which bit do you wish you had written?

Insult? Hmm It’s “vile owl”. 😀 Old Will has much more imaginative insults but I laughed so much the first time I saw it and it stuck with me. As a matter of fact everything that comes out of Thersites mouth in “Troilus and Cressida” is a favorite insult of mine.
As far as endearments go, I’m not much into them but everything in the “Fair youth” sonnets kind of makes me melt. That’s why I chose the title of the Anthology from there.

What are you working on now?

I have a lot of passion for writing but not as much discipline as I would’ve liked. Consequently I have a heap if WIPs that I’m working on.
The main one is a novel that might be contemporary or paranormal and it has something to do with dragons that might or might not be real. I know the truth but as things are at 60 k, it’s still a guessing game for anyone who reads it.
There’s another one completely outlined in my head and in my pretty notebook. I can’t bring myself to start it yet but the guys are getting really insistent.
However, In the coming month or so I’ll have to concentrate mainly on the promo work for “A Summer’s Day”.I’d like to use this opportunity to tell you a big thank you for the wonderful interview idea and for helping us promote this Anthology.

Could we please have an excerpt?

“Hey, was that Michael talking to Des in the garden?”
Ian had managed to take Olvin right on time to a spot where he could see the two talking, but it seemed Michael had seen them as well and promptly took his leave. Which, of course, made him look even more guilty.
“Yes, I think it was but why would he steal away like that? “Hm!”
The sound made the Cuban turn around and stare at him.
“What was about?”
He paused dramatically, and gazed again at Desmond who had taken his book and looked as innocent as new fallen snow.
“Tell me, did Michael know you had an affair with Des before the… you know, before everybody found out?”
Clearly, the man didn’t like being reminded of this and winced before replying.
“Yes, he knew. I even asked Michael to give him a present and chocolates from me once or twice as he lives closer to their house and could see him more often while we were hiding.”
“Really?”
“Yes, really. Why?”
He looked at the Cuban who seemed utterly confused. He’d never seen him like this with the meanest experts in negotiations, with those who were capable of convincing you to sell yourself by the small print in their contracts and make you tie a ribbon around your head for their pleasure. He was swift and efficient in curbing their desires to trick him, but now he was lost.
“Why, think for a minute.”
“I can’t think, damn it!” He slammed his fist in the nearby wall. “I don’t have an assistant now, some fuck made a video of the fight last night and we are again on YouTube. Branson shouted at me for half an hour this morning, which is something he’d never done before. And now you and your riddles!”
Ian waited for him to take a few deep breaths and tried his best to look a tad offended. Which, by the reaction of the Cuban, he had done quite well.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to shout at you. If you’re my friend, you’ll tell me without torturing me further.”
“I am your friend but maybe I’m overreacting. Just in case, watch how they behave when they are together. Like last night.”
Olvin’s expression changed, only for a second, but it was enough for Ian to see he’d fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
“I hope you are overreacting, my friend, otherwise he’d wish he’d never been born.”
The Cuban turned around and walked in the direction of his lover.

Bio:

RIAN DURANT is one of those who are both blessed and cursed by the insatiable desire to write
stories. Short stories, sometimes longer stories, and yeah, primarily M/M (you can insert more Ms if you like) romance stories.
Always having a plot in mind sometimes proves being hard when having a daytime job but Rian manages
them both for the time being assisted by the priceless support of her soul mate, large amounts of coffee,
and pure obstinacy.
What makes Rian smile is a sunny day, a beautiful flower, a piece of chocolate, a nice song, a good book
and anything that could be the reason for that spark in the eyes, accompanied by the exclamation “Oh my,
I just saw something!“

Website: https://riandurants.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rian.Durant
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rian_durant

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links:
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310
A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-banner2

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Today, I’m delighted to welcome the next author to be featured in the A Summer’s Day anthology – Nephy Heart who is not only a fantastic writer but also a lovely person.

Welcome, Nephy, and thanks for answering my questions.

What led you to pick your source material for your story?

I chose to write about The Taming of the Shrew. Why? Because I have a bee in my bonnet about the way Petruchio treats Katherine. When this anthology was suggested, I first thought about my three favourites – Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest, but I kept coming back to Taming of the Shrew and wondering how Petruchio’s actions would translate to today’s society. At first I was intending to make Petruchio (Pete) the bad guy by exploring his actions in a modern context but the more I wrote, the more the story and characters took over and the story went in a different direction. This often happens to me as my stories are character led and they lead me in all kinds of unexpected directions. The title comes from the 1950’s Hollywood version of the story (With Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson) Kiss me Kate

Shakespeare definitely has a way with words. What is your favourite insult/endearment/inspiring passage/? Which bit do you wish you had written?

I have a particular liking for Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. I love his banter and how rude he is. Of course, we’ve lost a lot of meaning now of some of his lewd comments because we don’t recognize them in the language. This is one of my favourites when he and Benvolio are looking for Romeo when he’s gone lusting after Juliet. Mercutio is not impressed with Romeo’s posturing over his love for Rosaline and teases him mercilessly. He is even less impressed with the speed Romeo switches from Rosaline to Juliet.

I conjure thee by Rosaline’s bright eyes,
By her high forehead and her scarlet lip,
By her fine foot, straight leg and quivering thigh
And the demesnes that there adjacent lie,
That in thy likeness thou appear to us!

Sticking with Mercutio, the bit I wish I had written was his Queen Mab speech which is so imaginative and rich in language, and also innuendo 😀

What are you working on now?

This year I have two books out with Wayward Ink (at least I hope so as the second one is only tentatively accepted). I am also trying to promote my back catalogue. I am terrible at promotion which is reflected in sales figures I’m afraid. Still, my publishers seem to be putting up with me 😀

My writing is extremely diverse and is suffering, I think, because it isn’t romance. Although there are romantic pairings in my stories there is very little (or no) sex and they are pretty much all YA/NA. My latest, “Lab Rat”, is about a young man who, at fourteen, was forcibly experimented on in a government experiment to release latent psychic talent. The experiment was a failure and Gabriel finds himself let loose without ceremony (dumped on his parents’ doorstep)

Angry and bitter, with bad memories, disastrous and deadly relationships behind him and increasing intrusive voices in his head Gabriel really doesn’t want a relationship. When he meets a sexy stranger in a bar Laurie has other ideas and relentlessly pursues Gabriel until he relents.

When he becomes aware the government are trying to track him down he first tries to run from Laurie then runs with Laurie but he can’t escape what’s inside his head.

When the scientist catch him what ensues is dangerous and deadly but with Laurie and Elena, one of the scientists) at his side he struggles the come to terms with what has been unlocked inside his head also his growing feelings for Laurie which prevent him from doing what he really wants to do – walk into the lake and let the water close over his head.

When he’s taken again he finds out the true extent of what the scientists are trying to achieve and blows the whole thing apart with shattering consequences.

That’s quite a lengthy summary but it’s quite a complex book. It’s also angsty, inspirational and tugs at the heartstrings.

Ohe two books coming out this year

One is about a rent boy with heart troubles on the run from a murderer being protected by a cop with an attitude who seems to hate him.

The other is about the coming together of two boys, one from an ultra conservative background, one from a very unconventional one (four children with four fathers all of whom share each other and the mother in a curious relationship that transcends the norm) and what happens when a third is added to the mix, against a background of rock stardom, mental health issues and a madman who will stop at nothing to protect his political career

Could we please have an excerpt?

From Kiss me Kade, my Summer’s Day story

Before he could say a word, Pete had sunk into the chair next to him and started eating his chips.
“Hey. Those are mine.”
Pete grinned. “Don’t get your knickers in a twist. You can share mine when they get here.”
“I don’t want to share yours,” Kade growled.
Pete shrugged and helped himself to another handful of chips. “Suit yourself. Go hungry if you want.”
A yell tore Kade’s eyes away from Pete, and his thieving hands. His heart fell when he spotted the rest of the crowd from the play. Bea was already surrounded by boys. Kade was torn. Should he get up and go to her? Should they leave? But she seemed so happy, practically glowing under all the attention.
“Chill,” Pete said, around a mouthful of Kade’s burger. “It’s not as if they’re going to get up to anything here.”
“What the hell are you doing?” Kade snatched the burger from Pete, and drew the remainder of the chips protectively close to his body.
“I’m doing you a favour. I’m stopping you getting fat.”
“I’m not going to get fat. I’m hungry. Why are you here? Go away and leave me alone.”
“News flash! I don’t spend my time following you around. Some lunatic stopped the rehearsal early so the boys decided to grab a Maccy D. Nothing to do with me.”
Kade’s cheeks warmed, and he turned his face away, leaving Pete an opening to snatch more chips.
“Stop it,” Kade snapped, slapping Pete’s hand. Half his meal had gone already and that in itself was enough to bring tears to his eyes.

Bio

Nephy Hart was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Nephy has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Nephy became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Nephy lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon (called Smaug of course) and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art

A-Summers-Day-Customdesign-JayAheer2016-finalcover

 

Release Date: 12th of August

Cover Art: Jay Aheer Simply Defined Art

Genre: MM Mixed*

We have modern retelling of some plays, interpretations of others and one of the sonnets, and delightful referencing of anything Shakespeare.

There is gentle YA romance next to very hot 18+ stories and all kinds of relationships – first love, May/December, interracial, second chances, happy endings and even a tragic one.

We’re travelling from Ancient Rome through Renaissance England to modern day UK, Venice Beach and other places in USA, Vancouver and Havana.

There’s fun, drama, tears, angst, joy and, above all, lots of true love.

Note: All proceeds of this collection go to the It Gets Better Project™.

Buy Links:
amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.co.uk:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.de: https://www.amazon.de/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-English-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.com.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/Summers-Day-Shakespearean-Anthology-Twist-ebook/dp/B01JH97LVA
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/655310
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Synopsis

Fleeing the questions and horrific memories in Miami-Dade, Trevor Garrett accepts a deputy position in the small town of Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Plagued by anxiety attacks and an abhorrence to being touched, Trevor rebuffs his best friend’s attempts to set him up. He has no desire for any type of relationship; until the local golden boy strolls into his line of sight at the neighborhood dive…

Logan Andrews just wants to take care of his mama. After years of serving his country in the Army Special Forces, Logan resigns when he learns his mother is suffering from advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. A night out with old friends turns heated when the newest deputy in town catches his attention…

When a sexually deviant killer sets his sights on the gay men in the area, Trevor is assigned the case. In a wicked twist, all evidence points to Logan. Can Trevor’s past be repeating itself? In a race against a killer, Trevor struggles to overcome his own insecurities and clear the man whose touch sets him on fire. Will he succeed or will their budding relationship become Collateral Damage?

Excerpt

Excerpt
Spray painted names decorated the walls, but none of the gang type graffiti he was used to seeing back home. Footprints tracked the dusty floor. Most of them overlapped heading for the short hallway. A few stray ones meandered off to either side indicating three, possibly four different shoe types.
“Careful where you walk, we don’t want to disturb the unmarred prints,” he said, indicating the intact ones to the left and right. Will huffed in annoyance. “Right, you already knew that. I’ll stop sticking my shoe in my mouth; it tastes like shit.” Will laughed and clapped a friendly hand on Trevor’s back.
“When you’re being an ass, believe me I’ll let ya know. Let’s just get this done so we can get back to the air conditioning,” Will said.
“Gotcha,” Trevor answered and realized as he moved toward the hall, he’d made his first new friend in Rolling Fork. Well except for Logan, and he wasn’t sure if friend was the right word for the man. Fuck buddy? Certainly not a lover; that implied too much intimacy. Trevor hastily shoved his thoughts aside when his cock took notice. He cleared his throat. “How did we catch this?”
“Couple of kids hunting a make out spot came in this morning, maybe an hour ago. While the boy was laying out a blanket and pillows, girlfriend went investigating. When she went to screaming, he thought she’d found a rat or spider. He called 9-1-1 when he finally got her to shut up and moved her outside,” the deputy answered from behind them.
“And, you got their names and statements, right?” Trevor left the question hanging and looked over at the younger man.
“Yes, names and statements. Contact information too, though Krissy wasn’t keen on daddy knowing she was out with Beau. She was supposed to be at Laney’s with her best friend.” Mike answered.
Trevor took several photographs of the hall and then walked carefully down the middle. In a room to the right, Trevor spied the abandoned love nest. The blanket lay stretched across a cleared expanse of bare wooden floor. The pillows lay scattered where the boy had dropped them. A few snaps, including several of the wide array of footprints and he moved deeper into the structure.
A postage stamp bathroom with peeling tile opened on the left. Mold and God only knew what else grew in the bathtub. The toilet had been completely smashed and the sink hung drunkenly from the wall.
At the last door, he found the corpse. He paused in the doorway and winced. Flies buzzed around the bloated body. The smell stole his breath for several seconds. Behind him, Mike again struggled to keep his breakfast down, but he didn’t bolt that time. Will waited for Trevor to survey the scene.
Male, mid to late thirties, dark brown hair, possibly well built beneath the distended, gaseous flesh. Maybe six foot, sprawled on his stomach and naked. Trevor lifted the camera and took a few dozen shots before moving into the room.
“No blood.” Will murmured as he came around Trevor’s left shoulder. “Interesting.” The man circled the body mumbling quietly, but was careful to avoid any clear footprints.
Trevor did his own look-see. The medical examiner was right. No blood marred the scene, but that wouldn’t have been the case if left for another day. The skin was dangerously close to rupture. Breathing through his mouth, Trevor took more pictures and then donned gloves to start the collection of evidence. Will Davis went to his knees beside the body.
Trevor found jeans, a Polo pullover, underwear and socks folded and stacked neatly by the door. He assumed, they belonged to the vic. Wallet, including seventy-five dollars in cash, and cell phone were both tucked neatly into the back pockets of the jeans.
The front pockets disgorged loose change and keys. With his finds, Trevor easily ruled out robbery as a motive. The young deputy bagged each item separately as Trevor handed them to him. Before the wallet was sealed, Trevor checked the I.D.
“Joseph S. Rutledge.” He read aloud.
“Scottie?” From the doorway, Deputy Vann spoke up. Trevor glanced up at him. The kid held the evidence bags against his chest like a shield. Disbelief wreathed his youthful features.
“You know him?” Trevor asked.
“Yeah, he went to school with my cousin, David. He owns the flower shop down on Main. Who the hell would want to kill him?”
“That’s what we have to find out,” Trevor said and rose to his full height. “He have any arguments with anyone in town? Unhappy customers? Old girlfriends?” Trevor paced away from the body and bent to pick up a flash of silver in the corner. Some type of coin, he bagged it and carried to Vann.
“Nah, he’s a homo,” Vann blurted and turned scarlet. His fair complexion lit him up like a Christmas tree. Trevor bristled at the slur.
“He was a man who didn’t deserve to die,” Trevor bit out. “It’s clear he wasn’t here alone.”

Collateral Damage Cover

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01FRM38RW
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01FRM38RW

Giveaway

Prize: 5 ecopies of Collateral Damage by J.T. Cheyanne

 

About the author

#1 Best Selling Author of Grand Slam, J.T. Cheyanne is a genre crosser who writes romance and paranormal in the m/m and m/f genres. J.T. Cheyanne resides in the beautiful state of Alabama. J.T. lives with her two sons and daughter. An avid reader since fourth grade, she has only just started writing her own stories. She also has several works published with her co-author, V.L. Moon.

Social Links:

Website: http://www.lazandlachi.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jtcheyannestories
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JTCheyanne
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6534660.J_T_Cheyanne

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