Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Excerpt’ Category


My visitor today is Sean R Robinson, author of More than Starlight, More than Rain in the Rainbow Bouquet anthology.

Welcome Sean and thank you for answering my questions.

For how long have you been writing?

I think I wrote my first book in elementary school, about four pages long and colored with crayons. Professionally, my first publication was in 2015.

What attracted you to the brief for Rainbow Bouquet?

When I was in graduate school at the University of Southern Maine, I read Farah’s Rhetorics of Fantasy and it really changed the way I thought about the genre — from something that was kind of “fluff” into something that mattered, and could be considered academic. The opportunity to share a story in an anthology she was editing made me really excited, and after looking through my work, I thought I had a piece that would be a good fit. So here we are.

What inspired your story?

My story is about a space marine, Gavin Rourke, who is at the end of his life looking back. These themes have always appealed to me: hyper masculinity juxtaposed against genuine emotion. Gavin has loved and lost, and that’s another place that I like to mine creatively. Beyond that, I want love stories that are about love rather than labels. Gavin is in love with a person who happens to be another man, and that’s the story, and it provides visibility without turning it into a story other than a love story…or a ghost story.

Please tell me about your current work in progress.

I’m working on a novel with a writing partner. After a few faltering stops, I think we’ve started building momentum. It’s high fantasy, and I’m just trying to enjoy it as I go, regardless of how silly it may sound.

Could we see an excerpt?

The coach was a grand thing, all gilt and gold, pulled by a pair of matched horses. Mathilde would have known what their color was called, and what breed they were. I almost asked her, but as we rolled down the drive, she had pulled the curtains open, looking at anything but the rest of us.
“Shut that window,” Housekeeper said. “do you want to be robbed?”
Mathilde blinked her eyes slowly. “Yes?”
I laughed, because there was no other answer. My sweet, violent sister.

Where may we follow you online?

On Twitter @Kesterian or my website http://www.seanryanrobinson.com

#####

Stories of love in the past, present and future…

book title



Read Full Post »

I’m delighted to welcome Garrick Jones – author of O, Canada in Manifold Press’s latest anthology Rainbow Bouquet – to my blog today.

Thank you, Garrick, for so kindly answering my questions.

For how long have you been writing?

I retired from an active performing career in 1999, taking up the position as Lecturer in Music at CQUniversity in tropical northern Queensland. Always having been a keen letter writer (remember those days?) and having done three university degrees while performing (two in research) I found academic writing right up my alley. I retired six years ago and started to explore the LGBT literature, finding very little dealing with Australia that wasn’t angstful. While much of it was excellent (Holding The Man, Head On, etc.) there wasn’t anything about gay men and our history, other than non-fiction. So I decided to see what came from my fingers. I happened to run across some very helpful professional writers, who steered me in the right direction. Having my first professional edit was an eye-opener. I suddenly realised it was something I could do, and I haven’t stopped since. I’ve only, in the past seven months had the courage to submit to editors, with a deal of success. What is it about us writers and self-worth?

What attracted you to the brief for Rainbow Bouquet?

I wanted to try my hand at writing a Romance story. Romance is not really my thing; my books have romance in them, usually as a thread throughout the story, but it’s not the focus.

What inspired your story?

A combination of two real-life stories. Canada, because I went there on an exchange program in 1963 at the age of fifteen, and was mesmerised by the handsome airline pilot sitting at the tour desk in the lobby of the Hilton Hawaiian Hotel. He became a fantasy as I gradually grew into my sexuality. The roses? Ah, my wonderful Craig, who remembered every occasion, whether real or imagined with flowers and gentle whispers in my ear.

Please tell me about your current work in progress.

I’m at an interesting crossroads right now. One work ready to go to the editor, another just come back from betas, the third with a theatre historian to check details, and the fourth a book I half-finished over a year ago, but found it too confronting to continue with. I’m currently looking at it to see if I can go on. However, the next book you might see in print is The Cricketer’s Arms, a book beta-read by the wonderful British author, Charlie Cochrane. It’s an old-fashioned, pulp-fiction style detective novel, set in 1956, involving cricket match fixing (and written before the dreadful controversy this time last year, how prescient of me) gang wars, and sex trafficking. It’s a cracker of an action mystery story, even if I say so myself.

Could we see an excerpt?

I’ve attached the first section, with the knowledge that it may not end up word for work in the final version once the glorious Victoria Milne has had her way with it.

I’d just put a fresh sheet of paper in the typewriter, typed the date at the top of the page, “Tuesday, 17th of January, 1956,” lit a cigarette, and stretched back while I got the first dozen or so words sorted out in my head, when someone thumped at my front door.
“Who is it?” I called out, as I walked down the hallway.
“It’s me.”
“Fuck off!” I said.
“Come on, Clyde. Open the door. It’s business.”
I turned and leaned against the wall of the hallway, out of sight of the ripple-glass panels of the door, and ran my hand through my hair. I didn’t want him here—not now, not ever. He began to pound at the door, and I began to worry about the neighbours.
“Clyde! I’m not going anywhere. Open the fucking door!”
I strode to the door in a fury, pulled it open, grabbed him by the tie and one lapel of his jacket, and then dragged him into my hallway, slamming the door shut behind us with my foot. Something in the kitchen rattled. We stood for what felt like five minutes, but which could only have been the same number of seconds. But, in those five seconds, I’d inspected every square inch of his face, fought the feeling of his body pressed up against mine, and taken a deep lungful of his breath in my face—he still smelled the same. Damn him.
“Hello, Clyde,” he said, cheekily, and then ran his hands up between mine and forced them apart. I let go of his tie and jacket. He took my cigarette from my mouth and took a puff. “Still smoking this shit?”
“What’s it to you, Sam?”
“You used to call me Sammy, Clyde.”
“You used not be to be an arsehole.”
He laughed in my face. We hadn’t moved, the toes of our shoes touching, our knees the same. I cursed myself inside. I had no self-control. I tried to move away from him, but he grabbed my shirtsleeve.
“Let go,” I growled.
“Or what?”

Where may we follow you online?

Website – https://garrickjones.com.au

Sign up for monthly newsletters about LGBT history, and interviews with well-known authors.

#####

Stories of love in the past, present and future…

book title



Read Full Post »

I don’t have a for certain cover or blurb yet but I’m delighted, and very anxious, to say that Midnight Flit, the sequel to Eleventh Hour, is due to be released on March 14th this year. This, of course, is assuming there are no meteorite strikes and that the editor doesn’t point out an enormous plot hole that demands a rewrite.

It is set in 1931, Miles and Briers have continued their relationship at long distance, which isn’t particularly satisfying for anyone, and their reunion is complicated by the presence of Miles’s mother and that she has come into possession of information that puts her life at risk. Full steam ahead to get back to London before the bad guys do her in! Millie is back too. I do enjoy writing Miles as Millie.

And while I wait to hear what needs to be done to Midnight Flit I am playing around with the 30k words I have so far of Close Shave, the sequel to The Bones of our Fathers.

This one is set a few months after the end of Bones and, while Mal and Rob are very much in it, follows the activities of a different character, Terry Skidmore the barber, his large and rather unruly family and the little gang of lads who meet on Fridays at the White Horse.

Writing Pemberland and its satellite villages is like going home. Relaxing and comfortable but oh so easy to be self indulgent!

But anyway, here’s a snippet from Close Shave, because I like sharing snippets:

Phil Rother’s plans to convert the gentle curtain twitching members of Pemberland’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme into a legally armed fighting force was the talk of the White Horse on Friday evening. Terry settled in his usual seat with a pint and joined in the bitch fest with delight.
“While one has to admire the fighting spirit that manned the decks at Trafalgar and stood firm in the lines at Balaclava to further our abhorrent colonial practices all over the globe, there’s a time and a place for everything.” Rodney Merrick, ex-Major, RE, raised his g&t and took a sip. “Fighting crime is a young man’s game. Or at least a trained man’s game. When you get to my age, you must be aware of your limitations. Keeping my eyes open and having a cell phone to hand is about the limit of my usefulness.”
They all made the appropriate rubbishing noises and Rodney smoothed his pale pink cashmere sweater over his belly and gave them an approving nod.
“Not sure I want to be in the same county as Phil Rother with a taser,” Dai Beynon said.
“Hear hear!” Harry Farriner’s well-bred yelp caused Dai to eye him with suspicion. “What? I can agree with you, can’t I?” Tonight Harry was wearing pink too, was sporting the world’s curliest man bun and had big silver hoops in both ears. Dai was leaning away from him in case some of the fabulous transferred.
Rob Escley waved his pint glass to draw attention to its emptiness. “Phil’s always wanted to be Action Man. He’s got about the same amount going on in his pants too.”
“Oh, that’s harsh. None of us can help how we’re made.” Mal Bright got up, reaching for his wallet. “My round. Terry, Rodney? Leo, can I put another slice of lemon in your tonic?”
“No, this is fine, thank you.” Once Mal was at the bar Leo picked up his almost full glass and nodded to Rob. “I hope the security at the museum is good.”
“It is but Mal said Brian told him that all the robberies have been after cash, jewellry, phones — stuff you can sell down the pub, or booze and fags. One place they took a pack of chocolate digestives.”
“Kids then?” Terry scowled. “So even if we caught ’em there’d be nothing much that would happen to them.”
“If they are kids, you’re probably right.” Leo frowned. “Someone must know who they are. They’ll be caught out eventually.”
“Better we did and gave the little buggers a hiding,” Rob said, “than they get caught by the police and get a record and decide it’s not worth trying to go straight any more.” That was pretty much what had happened to Kevin, and Terry suspected that Rob blamed himself. Terry blamed other people far more. When you came right down to it, it was usually the parents’ fault.
“Even so,” Leo spoke softly but with authority, “being tased by some wannabe vigilante isn’t going to get anyone back on the straight and narrow.”
“Hear hear,” Rodney said.
“Swipe me.” Harry made big eyes. “Leo said “wannabe”. The man can be taught.”
“Who can?” Mal put a tray on the table and began to distribute the drinks.
“Leo said ‘wannabe’. Right context and everything. I’m so proud.”
“Stop teasing Leo.” Mal sat down again. “Are we still destroying Phil Rother’s reputation?”
“Yes,” Harry said. “He was giving your apprentice a hard time yesterday, Terry.”
“Adrian? What the fuck?”
“I think Adrian must have bumped into him or something and he was shouting at him. I had Grandpa with me and we “accidentally” walked between them. Phil couldn’t do anything without looking bad and it gave Adrian a chance to make a break for it. Talk about using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. And the things Phil was saying. Okay, Ade probably shouldn’t wear those skinny jeans with those legs. He looks like a croquet hoop. But all the same…”
“I saw that, but was on the other side of the street.” Mal scowled. “Rother is such a shit. Surely I heard Adrian’s got a girlfriend?”
“He has,” Terry said. “Nice little thing, lives over by the church. Name’s Sarah and she’s doing her A Levels. I’ll have a word with Ade and if necessary I’ll have a word with Phil. I kicked his arse when we were twenty and he knows I can still do it.”
“I’ll hold your coat,” Rob promised.
“And I’ll defend you in court,” Leo added, “when you’re arrested for assault.”

Read Full Post »

DAY OF WRATH

 

The award-winning Taking Shield series comes to its shattering conclusion in Day of Wrath.

About The Book

In less than a week, Bennet will finally return to the Shield Regiment, leaving behind the Gyrfalcon, his father, his friends… and Flynn. Promotion to Shield Major and being given command of a battle group despite the political fallout from Makepeace the year before is everything he thought he wanted. Everything he’s worked towards for the last three years. Except for leaving Flynn. He really doesn’t want to leave Flynn.

There’s time for one last flight together. A routine mission. Nothing too taxing, just savouring every moment with the best wingman, the best friend, he’s ever had. That’s the plan.

Bennet should know better than to trust to routine because what waits for them out there will change their lives forever.

Title: Day of Wrath

Author: Anna Butler

Series:  Taking Shield

Necessary to read previous 4 books? Yes

Wordcount: c106,300

Category: Sci Fi, Gay mainstream.

 

eBook Publication Date: 28 June 2018

Paperback: Available now from Amazon or direct from Anna’s website

Publisher: Glass Hat Press © 2018

Editor: Val Selby-Wolfe at Scarlet Tie

Cover Artist: Adrian Nicholas

book title

 

More information and background on the Shield Universe here

 

Buy Links

Day of Wrath is available at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords and iBooks.

Link to a digital bookstore near you

 

Giveaway

 

Rafflecoptor giveaway to win one of three prizes:

– 25$ (or equivalent) Amazon gift card

– signed copy of Gyrfalcon, the first Taking Shield book

– your pick of an eBook from Anna’s back catalogue

 

Rafflecoptor code

Rafflecopter giveaway

https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct link: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/a6cd544710/

 

Excerpt

The sharp ringing of the bell on the bar cut through all the conversations and laughter. The bartender could yell too. “Quiet! Lieutenant Flynn has an announcement to make!”

Bennet turned his head and jack-knifed to sit upright. Oh, the bastard wasn’t—

“All right, boys and girls!” Flynn was almost bouncing on his toes, grinning. He always did like being the focus of everyone in sight. “We’re here tonight because of mindless military tradition—in our case, getting traditionally mindless on good liquor as we welcome our newest ensigns—but I don’t think they’d mind if I crash their party for a few minutes. Everyone got a drink?”

A host of glasses were waved at him. Bennet tried to choke down a sigh. The bastard was, damn him.

“Excellent! I like to see our old customs embraced with such fervour. We have another custom, if you remember. If someone gets promoted they buy drinks for the entire OC, am I right?”

Flynn was completely at his ease, the damned treacherous sod.

“You all know that we’re kicking the captain off the ship at the end of the month and sending him back to Shield. But what you don’t know is that Fleet’s put such a polish on the man, such a lustre, that when Shield gets him back they’re punting him up a rank. I reckon that’s worth at least two drinks each. What do you say?”

Bennet put his head in his hands. Someone’s hand connected painfully with the area between his shoulder blades as surprised silence fractured into cheers, yells and foot stamping. Pilots jumped up and down, waving their glasses at him. Another thump to the back and Carson was pulling him to his feet and into the most astonishing hug, yelling in his ear.

Bennet had to laugh. It was that or commit murder.

Flynn let it go on for a moment or two, before getting the bartender to ding that bloody bell again.

Bennet was half-enveloped in hugs, half-deafened by shouted good wishes. Yelling her delight, Cruz flung her arms around his neck, and the smacking kiss to the cheek had his ears ringing. His face felt as if it were on fire.

“Flynn, I am going to hurt you for this.” He smiled in a way that he hoped suggested pleasant anticipation. It was hard to stop grinning and laughing, but he tried. “I’m going to dangle you out of an airlock by your favourite appendage.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Flynn waved a dismissive hand to a chorus of laughter and catcalls. “You always promise me that and so far, you’ve never delivered. There’s only so long a man can hang around waiting. Point is, while we’re sad to see you go, Bennet, we’re delighted that you’re getting promoted. We’ll miss you, and Shield are damn lucky to get you back. Right, people?”

More cheers and yells that died only at the insistent ringing of the bell. Flynn raised his glass. “Charge your glasses, and let’s hear it for the captain—no! For the Shield Major elect. Shield Major Bennet!”

The roar should have split open bulkheads. Bennet yelped and fell back in a scrum of a couple of dozen pilots and more were heading his way. The breath was knocked out of him with a whoosh that could probably be heard parsecs away.

Gods. He’d kill Flynn when he got hold of him. Kill him.

At least, that’s what he promised himself until Flynn fought his way through the scrum to deliver his own bone-crushing hug, and Bennet saw Flynn’s eyes were bleak and that his mouth was drawing down, just as his own wanted to do, and he said nothing. There really wasn’t anything he could say.

 

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 lives with her husband in a quiet village tucked deep in the Nottinghamshire countryside. She’s supported there by the Deputy Editor, aka Molly the cockerpoo, who is assisted by the lovely Mavis, a Yorkie-Bichon cross with a bark several sizes larger than she is but no opinion whatsoever on the placement of semi-colons.

Website and Blog | Facebook | The Butler’s Pantry (Facebook Group) | Twitter | Sign up for Anna’s occasional newsletter

 

Read Full Post »

My guest today is an old friend and a fabulous writer of gay fiction.

I remember posting about his very first book – seems like yesterday, Hans, and I’m delighted to say that his writing has gone from strength to strength.

Welcome Hans Hirschi!!

~~~~~

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

Right now, and for the past five years, I’ve been lucky (?) enough to work as a writer full-time, interspersed with some consulting gigs for my own company, looking after our son when he’s sick and doing some parenting-light for my dad. Right now, I’m working on a side-business as tour guide here in Gothenburg, sort of custom made tours for visitors, to earn some money, because my writing isn’t anywhere near paying any invoices. Quite the contrary.

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

Great question. I wish I could say that I do. I’m useless at painting/drawing, my voice cracks the tiles in my shower and just about the only thing I’m good at is listening to music. My husband and I are regulars at our local opera house, and that is something I’ve written about in, tada, The Opera House. More from a construction point of view though, as my dad has a past as architect. I guess I’m stuck with writing. 🙂

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

Oh, I love to read mostly contemporary fiction, great stories who deal with the difficulties of life and how to deal with them. Not as an offer of solutions (I don’t see the point of self-help stuff except to rip people off), but to provide perspective. I like happy or at least hopeful endings in the books I read, simply because there’s so much misery in real life. I try to write what I read. I’m probably (ashamed to say) my biggest critic and fan.

There are a great many books I could recommend, but oddly, I don’t think there’s one I wish I’d written, too. Question never even crossed my mind until you asked me, Elin. It’s just a bit of a foreign concept. But in terms of recommendations I’ve come to think of a couple of Indian stories that really resonated with me, “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel being one of them, “Chef” by Jaspreet Singh another, and finally “Cry, the beloved Country” by Alan Paton. Martel’s story is about the inner struggle, and I loved the twists it provides. Singh’s and Paton’s stories deal with real-life conflict, Kashmir and Apartheid, and ways to deal with such adversity. It’s been a while since I’ve read them, which means I have to get back to them, but they always linger. Great books are like that.

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

Never plot, at least not for me. It’s always a picture (still or moving, “situation” as you call it.) That’s what it was like for each and every one of my novels. I never know where I’ll end up, even though I sometimes might know the ending (Disease could only end in one way), or I’ve decided early on what the ending should be (e.g. Jonathan’s Promise.) In the new book Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm, it began with that first chapter, and Martin chatting to the nurse on duty. It’s that image I had in my mind, an old man living in a retirement home. I had no clue it would take me all the way to Korea (literally!)

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 think that depends greatly on the character and what role they play. But they usually develop, and as they tell me their stories, I get to know them better. I sometimes get questions about my characters, how they would react to this or that, what they’d feel about something, and my answer often is “I don’t know, they never told me.” As for their looks, I rarely know what they look like, with Willem from Willem of the Tafel being the one exception, but that’s due to the cover model, so that image developed long after I was done with the manuscript. But the model fit my image of Willem to the dot.

I remember when I first submitted my very first manuscript to some beta readers and one of them wrote back and complimented me for not fleshing out the characters in detail. He said that many characters were depicted as handsome or beautiful, that they were tall or muscled etc. In not doing that, I had made it easier for this fellow to picture the characters in his own image. He felt he wasn’t very handsome and that normally, books wouldn’t speak to him.

Ever since, I’ve tried to be as vague as possible when describing my characters. And therefore I have a fairly clouded picture of what they look like. I’d be of no help in creating a facial composite for the police for instance…

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

Hmm, that’s a difficult one. I’ve considered fantasy, but the whole world building seems like such a strenuous task, and I’d have to remember so many things. Not sure I could do it. I forget easily. As for avoiding? Probably romance. Not that there’s anything wrong with rattlesnakes, but the genre just doesn’t interest me. Oh, and crime. I tried the latter and failed miserably. LOL

I think it’s safe to say that the gay heroes we most usually see tend to be buff twenty-somethings. What inspired you to write about an octogenarian?

Oh my. I had been asked to write a short story about a fifty plus year old person in the LGBTIAA++ spectrum for an anthology my publisher wanted to put out, and I quickly wrote a story about a fifty year old woman who’s asexual and a-romantic. But the way the story was structured made it a bad fit for the anthology, so I wrote a story about a gender-fluid elderly woman, Clara, which became a critics’ favorite. After that, I simply wanted to continue to explore the lives of the elderly and I had this image of this ‘really’ old (older than Clara) African-American man in a retirement home in upstate New York. Somehow, Martin didn’t shut up, and the short story grew into a novel.

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?


What an awful thing to compare alligators (and muggers) to fundamentalists… ROFL And a difficult question. I think I’d let Lucifer Morningstar, his favorite demon Mazakeen, and Lucifer’s mother from the TV show Lucifer deal with the fundamentalists. And I’d want front row tickets to that show. As for the alligator? What about Peter Pan? He seems to be into charming that sort of beast and feeding them appropriately. 😉 The mugger? My friend Debbie McGowan has a character in her Hiding behind the Couch universe who’d be able to take care of him, DCI Gray Fisher. I really suck at crime… I never read that genre, except under duress.

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?


The human ones. I think my books include some pretty awesome villains. Self-praise, I know. But look at Jonathan’s dad, or the pedophile Charles in The Fallen Angels of Karnataka, or even Eugene’s (one of the characters in the new book) sister. I try to stay clear of painting them as pure evil, because it’s not realistic. Sometimes I even go as far as to provide them with redemption. But yes, I also see society, or a government as the villain. Certainly the case in the new book, or a disease such as Alzheimer’s, in Disease. Very rarely have I let a villain be ‘pure’ evil, or not flesh them out enough. Those are usually tertiary characters who don’t really matter other than to act as catalysts in the story for a moment before they disappear into the background. Casper’s mother in Last Winter’s Snow is a good example for that. She’s modeled after my husband’s aunt… There just wasn’t anything to redeem her with. LOL I killed her off. So readers, don’t you piss us off…

Inner demons also work wonders. I think Haakon, Charles’s assistant, is the best example. But even in the new book, Martin, the main character has quite a few of them, even though it’s a fairly easy-going story. I gather from early reviews and comments that there is a lot of growth in him, despite the fact that he’s eighty-five.

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.

I’m working on a children’s story. I just don’t think there are enough books about LGBT characters out there, and I want to provide our son with a bit more meat on the bone. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever tried. Three pages of text, but I’ve already edited it countless times and I’m still not happy! I may never finish it.

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

Here you go:

When Martin got to his room on the seventeenth floor, he was exhausted. He stepped up to the window and looked out over the city. The sun had set, and the city lights brightened the sky in the twilight hour before complete darkness fell over Seoul. He could barely believe he was back. He hadn’t said anything to the others, but the ride had been nerve-wracking, to say the least.
It wasn’t until they’d reached the inner city that he had recognized anything, and even then, it was only when he saw Mount Namsan that he felt they’d actually arrived in the right place. Even that hill looked different, with the tall television and communications tower on top of it and all the skyscrapers at its base. Yes, he’d recognized an ancient gate and a statue here and there as they’d approached the hotel, but it felt as if he were in a dream somehow, or was it a nightmare?
He remembered being told that, traditionally, no house in Seoul was to be taller than the king’s or, later, the emperor’s palace buildings. Those were hardly higher than a three-story house. Lots of them, lots and lots of them, but they were not very tall. To see modern Seoul with all the concrete, steel, and glass skyscrapers was a shock, and Martin was acutely aware of the physical impact it had on him.
He felt as if he had aged a decade, and he desperately clutched his cane for support. The long trip, as comfortable as it was in their big business-class seats with all the wine and food served by attentive flight attendants, it was still tiring, not to mention walking through the huge Incheon International Airport. Yet it was the cab ride to the hotel that had taken the biggest toll on him. The endless images, the countless visual impressions crushing down on him in wave after wave had exhausted him.

~~~~

Blurb:
Martin is eighty-four years old, a Korean War veteran, living quietly in a retirement home in upstate New York. His days are ruled by the routine of the staff, but in his thoughts and dreams, Martin often returns to the Seoul of his youth, and the lost true love of his life. Two close friends urge him to travel back to search for his love. What awaits Martin in Korea, more than six decades after he left the country on a troop transport back to the U.S.?

Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm is a story of friendship, love and family, in all its many shapes, across time, generations and cultures.

book title

Available from the publisher, from various Amazons, from Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iBooks.

You can follow Hans on his website, on Facebook, on Youtube, on Instagram and on Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Snippet!

I’m ping ponging between tasks today, because I have a child unexpectedly returning to the nest for a couple of days before he goes to see a friend. I’ll have to feed him up so he can build up his strength before the two of them spend 72 hours straight playing Skyrim, or whatever the cool kids are playing now.

Anyhow, though he’s most welcome, my mind isn’t really on my work. But I am trying so, to show good faith, here’s a little bit of Midnight Flit:

“Have you a light?” Falk leaned against the window at Briers side. He withdrew a cigarette from his silver case and tapped the end on the edge of it. Briers grinned at the familiar affectation and offered a box of matches.
“Thank you,” Falk said and lit the gasper then continued in smooth unaccented Serbian. “I hope your young lady has taken no harm from her experience?”
“None at all,” Briers said. “Though I believe she may be a little more wary about whom she allows into the compartment in future.”
“That’s hardly fair,” Falk’s protest was quiet but earnestly meant. “He was lying in wait for them. I’d heard someone enter the compartment before they did and I thought it was you.”
“Ah, yes, well.” Briers grimaced. “Possibly I’m being a little over-protective.”
“You?” Falk snorted. “I don’t believe it. No truly.” He snorted again. “And your companion is chafing at your concern? I can imagine how galling it might be to be with someone who treats one as a child.”
“That’s not fair!” Briers scowled at him, then whispered, “And she’s already given me a right ear-bashing about it. Bless her. And how are you getting on with the other people in your compartment?”
Falk grinned. “The young Russian reminds me of a weimaraner I had when I was a child. The least graceful creature I have ever met but filled with boundless and genuine goodwill. The musician … interests me.”
“I what way? Professional or personal?”
Falk met his eyes with the smallest of smiles. “In every way. He is wary, I feel he has something to hide. I would like to find out whether it is the same secret we share or something more reprehensible.”
“And what do you plan to do?”
“Cultivate an aquaintance, of course. ” Falk blew smoke towards the window.

It’s nice spending time with old friends.

Read Full Post »

Communication

 

They say communication is key but all too often in daily life our communication skills let us down. We can’t find quite the right words to express ourselves, or we find we’re talking at cross purposes with the other person or the emotional barometer of the other person suggests that we’d best go along with what they want because, at that moment, their needs are more important than ours. Language doesn’t help. I remember my feeling of the world turned on its ear when I discovered that in America a frown is this facial expression:

Whereas for us frowns happen above the nose and can signify anything from extreme displeasure to puzzlement to concentration. It’s perfectly feasible for someone to frown and smile at the same time, on this side of the pond. Put this in a book and Brits will understand but you’ll have loads of confused American readers. Now I understand about American frowns when I see it in a book rather than a dignified little crease forming between the eyebrows I’m imagining this sort of expression:

 

Probably not what the writer intends, but how do I know? Human interaction makes misunderstanding inevitable and it’s a very useful weapon in the writer’s arsenal.

How many books have you seen that have, as the major crisis, a miscommunication between the protagonists? Perhaps due to a misunderstanding or just, as one reviewer put it, “because they just can’t talk to each other like fucking adults”. I like my characters to communicate like fucking adults, maybe because it’s such a hard thing to achieve in real life, but it can be fun to let themselves wind themselves up a lot first. I’ve been winding up Briers and Miles like nobody’s business and, while they are prone to talk through their problems, conditions aren’t ideal for a heart to heart. Eventually,they have to grab their moment:

Briers expression was tense and there was a crease between his brows that made Miles frown in response. He didn’t feel any need to ask what Briers was talking about but this was a bad place and a bad time.
“I don’t feel it’s appropriate in present company,” he whispered with a nod towards his sleeping mother.
“No,” Briers shook his head. “We need to clear the air and this is probably the only opportunity we’ll have. Miles, I love you like a rat loves Cheddar but I’ve got an inkling that, right at this moment, the feeling isn’t reciprocated. What have I done to upset you.”
“Done? Nothing,” Miles drew a deep breath. “Nothing in particular. I’m horribly on edge. This whole situation is very uncomfortable, and frankly I’m worried sick. So when you talk over me, or patronise me or – in short – behave like most men do with their wives – it is a little … irking.”
Miles became aware that Briers jaw had dropped. “Talk over – I don’t.”
“Yes, you do. Think about it. When we were at dinner–”
“That’s just playing a role!”
“See! You did it then.”
Briers rocked back in his seat. “Oh heck. So I did!”

See I used frown there. >:| Lets turn one upside down

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »