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Archive for the ‘Guests’ Category

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.

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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

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It’s always fun to try something new and, for me, this week, it’s a podcast story. I’ve listened before to Night Vale – who hasn’t? – but I’ve never listened to an audio book or heard a story read by an actor in a less formal setting.

This came about as part of a Facebook thread on the Queer Sci Fi group. We were all invited to post about what we wrote – which meant I was completely out of place since the majority of my work is historical – and then the person who made the original post paired off all the writers with the idea that we could read each other’s work and maybe do a bit of cross promotion. I’m delighted to say that I was paired up with Heather Rose Jones whose rendering of the stories of the Mabinogion as Merchinogion are absolutely my type of thing to read.

My favourite edition of the Mabinogion is the one illustrated by Alan Lee

The Mabinogion is a collection of ancient stories that weren’t written down until the 12th century and weren’t properly translated until the 19th century. Lady Charlotte Guest, a friend of our local Welsh loving Lady Llanover, made the first translations expanding upon previous work by scholar William Pughe. These stories contain many of the themes found in British mythology and also some of the oldest references to King Arthur. Just for clarity, in Welsh ‘mab’ means son/boys so Mabinogion is stories of the sons – ‘merch’ = daughters/girls 🙂 and that makes a lovely change.

Heather’s stories also feature a leading lady called Elin who is WAY cooler than I am!

Even more interesting – these stories have been produced as a podcast so you can listen to them or read the text. I particularly enjoyed the bilingual blurbs. I may not know more than basic Welsh but it’s a lovely language to hear spoken. Because it is an ancient language it has had to work hard to catch up with the 21st century. Old words take on new meanings and so the language builds up layer upon layer. The first story “Hoywverch” can be split neatly – hoyw and verch – and could be rendered merely as ‘gay women’ according to the dictionary, but scrape away just a little from the surface and they are also “radiant, illuminated and brilliant ladies” and I find that very satisfying. Book two is entitled “Hyddwen” – the white deer – and that taps straight into a powerful otherworldly celtic motif. These stories are beautifully written, with a wonderful rhythm to them and delicate little descriptions spark throughout the plot.

Here is Hoywverch and here Hyddwen. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Bio:

Heather Rose Jones writes fantasy, historic fantasy, and historical fiction, including the Alpennia series with swordswomen and magic in an alternate Regency setting. She blogs about research into lesbian-like motifs in history and literature at the Lesbian Historic Motif Project which provides inspiration for her fiction. She has a PhD in linguistics, studying metaphor theory and the semantics of Medieval Welsh prepositions, and works as an industrial failure investigator in biotech.

Heather has a page on Facebook and can also be found on Twitter.

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I’m more than happy today to be hosting my good friend and mentor Charlie Cochrane, general good egg and huge fun as well as being the wildly talented author of some of my favourite books. Her latest offering in the terrific Portkennack series was released recently and she has been kind enough to answer my questions about it.

Welcome, Charlie!

I’ve read all the Porthkennack books so far and have been delighted at how they paint a picture of the community, past and present. With each book a little more is added to the portrait. What do you like best about writing in the Porthkennack sandbox?

Where do I start? Playing with other people’s toys is always fun, as is working with their ideas. I confess to having had concerns about writing in a universe that had been invented by somebody else, but it’s been remarkably freeing. I guess all the hard work of world building has been done for us.

It’s also been good working with other authors who are also friends. In the early days be bounced lots of ideas of one another, from where the museum would be and who’d run it, to names for the local beer. These things are vitally important!

What non-spoilery plans do you have to add to the village or, on the other hand, is there anything you feel would be inappropriate to find in such a thriving community?

I’ve been fortunate to write one contemporary and one historical, so the different time settings has allowed me to write in a totally different way about the same place. The storylines haven’t had to interact, although there is a thread of buildings and locations which recur in the two stories. I think I’m the only author – so far – exploring Porthkennack in its immediately post Great War guise.

In terms of inappropriate, the thing which would worry me is if Porthkennack turned into a community where everyone was LGBT, a sort of fantasy land which would not be true to its geographical location. Avoiding that will mean a light touch from all those involved, but I’m sure we can deliver on that.

What one commemorative event do you feel has best encapsulated the tragedy and pathos of the “War to End All Wars”?

Oh, what a question. I’d have to say the poppies at the Tower of London. For me, it captured the sheer scale of the losses; every poppy was somebody’s child. Running those a close second would be the events commemorating the Battle of the Somme and the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendale). Russell Tovey as Tubby Clayton was superb.

What are you working on now and can we have an excerpt, please?

I’m working on the second draft of another Cambridge Fellows mystery novella. This is very rough and ready! Orlando is trying to get two minutes of peace in the college garden.

“I wondered if I’d find you here.” Jonty’s voice sounded through the railings of the gate.

Orlando looked up, as though completely surprised. “Oh, hello. I was trying to find a moment’s peace.” He waved the papers.

“Sorry. Didn’t realise you were hard at work with your sums. I thought you might be sunbathing. Or resting your legs after the cricket.” Jonty plonked his backside two feet along the bench.

“And how exactly did you know I might be here?” Orlando asked, neatly sidestepping the aching legs issue.

“You were seen by Swann, that rather nice new porter. Limping along—you, not him and his words, not mine—in this general direction. I deduced,” Jonty grinned at the word, “that you’d not make it all the way home so would likely seek a few minutes of repose. And what nicer place could a man find to repose in than this?”

“That last point is indisputable,” Orlando conceded. “Although I’ll take issue with ‘limping’. I merely had a stone in my shoe and had to find a suitable place in which to remove it. I have killed two birds with the proverbial stone.” He brandished the papers again, having risked contradicting his earlier statement.

“You’re not very good at telling fibs, so I don’t know why you bother.” Jonty gazed up at the sky. “What a beautiful day. God’s in a very blue heaven and all is right with the world. Have you had a good day?”

“Excellent, thank you.” Orlando slipped the papers back into his briefcase—what was the use of pretence? “You?”

“Pretty good. All set for the arrival of the dreaded dunderheads. I see the college staff are fumigating the rooms and nailing down anything pawnable in preparation.” Jonty narrowed his eyes then sighed. “All we need now is a case. I think I’ve sufficiently recovered from the last one.”

“I’m not sure I’ll ever recover.” Orlando rolled his eyes. Being asked to defend one’s deadliest enemy on a charge of murder, and in circumstances where superficially he appeared to be as guilty as sin, would have tried the patience of any man. “But another case would be very gratifying.”

“And it would stop you moping.” Jonty gave a sly little sidelong grin.

“I haven’t been moping! Have I?” Orlando added, guiltily. He couldn’t deny his thoughts had turned more than once to the intellectual stimulation of a case, and how much he had missed it through the summer months. Even when they’d holidayed on Jersey he’d occasionally wished a nice, juicy mystery might fall across their path. Not a murder, as he wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but perhaps a missing item to be located or a—

Jonty’s voice cut into his thoughts. “Are you listening? What do you think?”

Orlando, who’d learned it was pointless to pretend he’d been listening or to venture something like, “I need time to consider the matter,” said, “I think I’ve forgotten to pick up the post from my pigeon hole. I’ll need to go back to the porters’ lodge.”

About the Book


Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

Buy Links

Riptide Publishing | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes

 

About the Author

Photo by Templedragon


Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries, while her romances feature in the Portkennack series.

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

 

Links

Website: http://www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Blog http://charliecochrane.livejournal.com/ and https://charliecochrane.wordpress.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliecochrane

GR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2727135.Charlie_Cochrane

 

 

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My guest today is that most delightful of things, a brand new shiny author just out of the wrappings. So, if you like, you can view this post as being a bit like one of those unboxing videos?

I certainly ‘unboxed’ the ARC of Golden and found it to be huge fun – pirates, dragons and harem boys – what’s not to like?

Anyhow, here’s RL Mosswood. Welcome and thanks for being such a good sport about answering my questions.

~*~*~

Can you tell me a little about yourself? For instance, do you have to have a day job as well as being a writer?
Oh yes! I actually pay the bills by originating mortgages, which is more than a full time job because people get very keyed up by the process around buying a house. I’m regularly texting with clients at 9 and 10 at night, and working on emergency approvals over the weekend. I also dabble in audiobook narration and my partner and I grow, preserve, and cook most of our own food on our homestead which is a job in itself.

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

Everything. I’m a huge crafter. I crochet, knit, sew, spin, paint a little… I haven’t written about it much, but one of the main characters in my current work in progress is a fiber artist who raises sheep. He’s more accomplished than I am, but the idea wouldn’t have ocurred to me in the first place if it wasn’t something I enjoyed myself.

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

I’ve been so overwhelmed with harvest season and the Golden release that I’ve gotten really behind on my to-be-read list. Your book, The Bones of Our Fathers, is actually what’s up on my e-reader right now. I’ve been working my way through it one chapter a night by reading it to my five year old at bedtime (I stop reading out loud if things get steamy).

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

I often start with a feel. A setting, a mood, a few bits of description that sort of set the tone. From there, I start to get the idea of the kind of story that could happen in that setting and the kinds of characters that would exist there. The story and characters evolve together, informing one another as the whole thing develops.
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?

They definitely develop as I write. For instance, I had an idea of Hathar when I started: strong, capable, devil-may-care with confidence bordering on swagger, but I had no idea he was funny until he started saying things that made me laugh.

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

I love historical, and would love to write historical, but given that I can barely find time to write at all, I feel like I wouldn’t get anything done if I had to add in time to research all the little details that I would want to get right. Some day, when the kid is grown and I have more leisure time, I’ll dig out my list of plot bunnies and start working through the ones I can’t do justice to right now.

What inspired you to write about dragons and harems and treasure?

This is exclusive content I’ll only admit to here: 10 months ago, I was at a queer fiction convention with only the tiniest inkling that it might be fun to try my hand at writing something of my own. There was a call for submissions at the back of the program that became the seed of the idea for Golden. It was all an experiment really, to see if I could even write a story that was more than a couple of pages. Turns out, I can.

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.

It might be a little too strong to say that I’m “working on” it, because that implies that I’m currently making progress, but the next thing in the queue is a contemporary romance that takes place on a permaculture sheep farm. It’s fairly quiet and down to earth, based a lot in my real experiences – pretty much the opposite of the fantasy adventure that is Golden, but I hope readers will stick with me and enjoy it.

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

A sample from Golden:

The baths were unlike anything Hathar had ever seen. Granted, it was a palace, so he had expected luxury, but not on this scale. Large enough to easily accommodate twenty men, the room was completely clad in glowing white marble interrupted only by tasteful, intricate mosaics of fanciful sea creatures. It was filled with warm, diffuse light from windows slatted for privacy and vast domes on the ceiling that seemed to be made of a thick, translucent glass. Past an assortment of platforms and benches for preening and lounging, a steaming pool set into the floor took up a large corner of the room. Constantly refreshed by water bubbling forth from the mouths of carved stone fish that appeared to be eternally leaping from the walls above, the pool overflowed into discreet drains set around its edges. As Hathar gawked at the opulent room, the young man who had taken him from the guard was preparing himself for the baths, removing his shirt and hanging it on one of a series of hooks carved into the stone near the door. Hathar looked back now, just in time to see him shucking off his loosely fitted silken trousers. This was another kind of opulence. The boy’s beauty was at least the equal of the room. His form was slender, but not scrawny. His skin was smooth and full over the contours of his modest muscles, a testament to a life without lack and plenty of tender care. He was fair, but there was a golden undertone to his complexion that was echoed in the burnished gold of his curls and his uncanny amber eyes, which came into view as he straightened. Whoever ran this place had taste, Hathar had to give them that.

~*~*~

Golden

Author: R.L. Mosswood

Release Date: September 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947139-91-6
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Word Count: 33500

Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bisexual, Demisexual, Gay
Identity: Cisgender

Purchase Links:

NineStar Press: https://ninestarpress.com/product/golden/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075DG7WCD/
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/golden-rl-mosswood/1127062192?ean=2940154536094
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/746310/1/golden
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/golden-34

Golden

Book Blurb
Harem boy might not be the most appropriate role for someone who’s never really seen the appeal of sex, but Elin’s status as dahabi: golden in a land of tan and brown, has marked him for The Dragon’s service since birth. He’s content enough with his life of uncomplicated, if restrictive, luxury, until an unremarkable chore becomes a case of love at first sight.
Mysterious newcomer Hathar, a roguish “merchant adventurer” from far-off lands, ignites an exploration of Elin’s first taste of physical desire, as well as a desire to experience life beyond the palace. Now, they must find a way to escape The Dragon’s clutches before Hathar’s ship departs, stranding them forever as dahabi of the haram.

If you’d like to follow R L Mosswood she can be found on her website here.

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A Conversation

To celebrate the fact that we both have relatively new releases Julie Bozza suggested we have a bit of a chat about our work. Chatting is always fun and so is Julie, so I jumped at the chance. This is the result:

An interview that turned into a conversation between Elin Gregory, author of The Bones of Our Fathers, and Julie Bozza, author of A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle.

Experience and/or Research?

Julie: Congratulations on your lovely new novel, The Bones of Our Fathers. I loved reading it and gaining an insight into an area of work that I’m unfamiliar with – though like most jobs it seems a mix of 5% excitement and 95% routine! I understand you were drawing on your own work experience. What was it like to write about something that is ‘everyday’ for you? Have you done that before, with this or any other job?

Elin: Aww thank you so much, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think we all put bits of our own experiences into our writing. Even with historicals there are certain constants. Dogs have fleas, horses will tread on your foot, cats don’t give two hoots whether you’re in 19th century Surrey or 1st century CE Jerusalem. But yes, museum work is mostly very much routine even though TV and films make it look very exciting. I blame Indiana Jones. For every day a museum curator has something wildly exciting to do they have a year where they have to fill in forms, follow policy, beg for money and try to stop the building, exhibits and collection from deteriorating. Writing about it was fun though. To be honest I did it as a complete change of pace from writing about historical matters that require huge amounts of research. I still had to do some research – finds of archaeological human remains have procedures – but not nearly as much as, say, finding out whether there was a local bus service in East Essex in 1925.

How have you managed it? The Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle rang very true to me. Have you ever trodden the boards?

Elin: I wish I’d seen that

Julie: Thank you kindly! I’m so happy and relieved to know it worked for you – because, no, I’ve never been an actor. Except for once in college when I played Jeeves, very badly, in a sketch written by my love interest at the time. My main problem as an actor is that I am way too self-conscious!

However, I love TV, film and theatre, and I’m an utter fangirl about various actors, so I’ve thought a lot about what they do and how they do it. And I concluded a long while ago that actors and writers have much in common along the lines of character analysis and portrayal, and telling a story. Also, the whole behind-the-scenes stuff fascinates me, and I love how the productions are a real team effort. So, no real direct experience but instead lots of love, thought, love, reading, love and research – not to mention encouragement from my sister, who likes me writing about actors.

Obviously Indiana Jones and my sister both have a lot to answer for!

Location, Location, Location

Julie: The Welsh countryside and the village way-of-life seemed absolutely key to your story. I feel it wouldn’t have played out quite the same in any other setting. Do you find the location is always a vital part of your novels?

Elin: It has to be really. The location, in space and in time, gives you the options for what is and isn’t possible plotwise. My hero in the small Welsh border town can’t pop to the opera house any more than a medieval knight could pick up his iPhone to ask what time the joust starts tomorrow or my pirate hero could invite his boyfriend for Netflix and chill. What they do has to be realistic for the place or the period. Also, small communities tend to have their own way of dealing with things, whether it’s a village or the crew of a ship.
You’ve handled this yourself as the contrast between The Apothecary’s Garden and Butterfly Hunter shows. Two utterly different locations that give the characters different stresses and responsibilities.

Julie: Thank you! Yes, I’m really interested in the way that human beings and the environment shape each other – obviously not always in positive ways, alas, in the ‘real’ world. I don’t think it’s something I consciously plan ahead for other than choosing a general time and place, but it’s certainly something I enjoy exploring when writing.

Creativity

Julie: Do you have a ‘Muse’, or do you think that’s just a romantic way of viewing an intellectual/emotional process? How would you explain your Muse (or creative processes) to non-writerly people?

Elin: I sort of do. I have a character – I call him Charlie – who donates different aspects of his personality to other characters from time to time. But mostly he chirps up in response to hearing or seeing something that might make a story. I suppose it might be more accurate to say that Charlie is the bit of my brain that says “Oooh what if …?” Charlie’s a lot braver than I am and suggests things I’m not prepared to write but he’s a load of fun to have around.

Is your muse a help or a hindrance? For instance, is he much help with changes of pace between the romances like Butterfly Hunter and the edgy stuff like The Definitive Albert J Sterne? Do you have a different approach to plotting or does the plot grow organically out of the actions of the characters?

Julie: Three cheers for Charlie! My Muse bears an uncanny resemblance to Ewan McGregor, which means he’s always entertaining and mostly inspirational, even when being contrary. He’s also very … adaptable. Flexible, even. LOL! Which partly answers your question.

But the duller, more serious answer about the differences between Albert and Butterfly Hunter is more about how I’ve changed over the years. I started writing what became Albert about 25 years ago, back in the heyday of Silence of the Lambs. It grew over the years, but I never changed the story’s timeframe, as I liked the ‘low tech’ vibe. Poor Albert couldn’t even do a DNA test – something taken for granted in most crime dramas these days!
Anyway, don’t let me head down that rabbit hole.

Back then, I was way more into writing angst. I’ve mellowed over the decades, or maybe I’ve come to value different things. I’m not sure of the answer there … If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed, it’s that I’ve always been interested in “the power of love”. But perhaps I’m now writing about how that works towards good things, rather than how it can twist into bad things.

Current Projects

Julie: What are you working on now / next?

Elin: I have more Pemberland books in the pipeline – Terry the barber’s book is half written and I have bits and pieces of 3 more – I’m a few thousand words into an Eleventh Hour sequel set in 1931 just as European politics was beginning to get really edgy and I’m doing research for other stories too. When I’ll get them written I have no idea. Even if I retired I have no doubt that I still wouldn’t get much time to myself. I so envy the people who seem to be able to write beautifully even though they are surrounded by their family.

How about you? What are you working on – and when oh when will we have the sequel to The Apothecary’s Garden?

Julie: LOL! I’ve been thinking about Hilary and Tom a lot lately, you’ll be glad to know. I did make a start on the sequel, but then put it on hold when I realised I wasn’t quite ready yet. There’s one more novel I have to write, and then I’ll see if I can get to Hilary and Tom’s little corner of Wiltshire.

The novel I’m just about to launch into is a historical romance set in India. I want it to be my Last Hurrah with Manifold Press, as it feels like such a good fit with the Press’s ethos. I have been madly reading and researching, and feel rather daunted by what I’m taking on. But it’s an idea that has stuck with me for a couple of years now, and (as I’m sure you find, too) when the Muse is that doggedly persistent, it’s a mistake to turn away.

To Conclude

Julie: Thank you so much, Elin, for the conversation! It’s been a great deal of fun – and I’m looking forward to reading all the many wonderful stories you’re working on now.

Elin: Thank you so much for chatting! Also grand news about the book with the Indian setting. Can’t wait to read that 🙂

~~~
I was so very pleased to host Julie today. Please find below links to the details of her fantastic book and her social media sites.

Blurb:
Dale is proud of how his acting career is progressing. Tonight, for instance, is the last night (at the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) of a well-received run of Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, in which he plays Rafe. But his colleague Topher, who plays Jasper, seems to think something is missing in Dale’s life. They’re not really friends, and Dale sees little point in reprising the one night on which they were not-really-friends with benefits.

However! Despite the distractions of performing this chaotic two-plays-within-a-play, Dale is plagued by the niggling doubts prompted by Topher. Dale might be better off paying attention, though – because maybe Francis Beaumont, writing over 400 years ago, already provided the answers to Dale’s dilemma.

38,500 words/150 pages
$4.95

Available from Manifold Press

Amazon US buy link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XXL37SV/
Julie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juliebozza
Julie’s LIBRAtiger Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/libratigerbooks/
Julie’s blog: http://juliebozza.com/

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My guest today is one of my favourite writers in this multifaceted genre and also, coincidentally, one of my favourite people 😀

Chris Quinton is here today to tell us about her book Love in Three Moves and to answer some questions about her writing process.

Welcome Chris.

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 don’t have a day job, which should give me plenty of time to write. Of course, it doesn’t work out that way – I have back problems which mean I can’t sit at a keyboard for long. I’m also a sloooow writer, which doesn’t help.

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

I like to quilt, and to knit, though the latter is only an ongoing supply of fingerless mitts [totally idiot-proof to make]. Back when I was more mobile, I was a 15th century re-enactor, which I loved. I got to spin, embroider, and dance. I have a few ideas to use a re-enacting scenario, but they are too vague to be even a plot bunny for now.

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

Oh, Gods, the list of wish-I’d-written-it books is far too long! Let’s go with anything by CJ Cherryh for SFR and Fantasy, Lindsey Davis for Historical, Dorothy L Sayers for Mystery. On the reading front, I’m rereading CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner series for the umpteenth time. IMO she is right at the top of the list of the best SF writers of all time.

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

Situation and characters first, then the plot grows organically. But with pruning and training as required. I often have to backtrack and add in elements that occur to me as I’m going along – the definitive description of a Pantster…

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 usually have a pretty clear image of them and what makes them tick. Odd quirks might appear as the story grows.

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.

At the moment I’m working on Interface, an SF story set in a distant part of the galaxy…

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

Here’s a short piece from Love In Three Moves, three short stories charting the ups and downs in a love affair… This is from the first one, It Takes Two:

“It’s me,” David Grainger called as he opened the front door and walked into the large studio apartment. “Are you back? Babs has been nagging me again. Did you get the Stravinsky commis – ?” He stopped in his tracks. Yes, Ben was back from Geneva. The room looked like Selfridges at the end of a sale day. Cushions, bedcovers, pillows and odd items of clothing lay scattered over floor and furniture, and the warm air was heavy with an exotic, expensive perfume. But over all hung the scent of sex.

Who was it this time? David wondered, irritated. Roger, Melanie, or both? Not that he gave a damn who Ben took to his bed. No, he was peeved because he’d heard nothing from the man for several days. Phone calls and texts had all been ignored, and Barbara wasn’t the only one pissed off about it. Important matters hung on the success of Ben’s trip to Switzerland. Sometimes the man was an irresponsible pain in David’s arse.

Fastidious as a cat, he picked his way across the room, nose wrinkling as the assorted aromas assaulted his nostrils, and David thanked whichever gods looked after dissolute idiots that the used condoms had ended up in the waste bin and not on the floor.

Ben, the other half of Grainger & Tremayne Antiques, enjoyed a varied love life. Ten years of friendship, five of which included a highly successful working partnership, meant they’d shared keys long ago and had free range of each other’s homes in the same Canary Wharf up-market apartment block. It wouldn’t be the first time David had strolled in at the wrong moment. He was bisexual himself, but his own exploits in the relationship arena were a lot less adventurous. Or numerous.

“Ben? Are you still alive?”

 

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Buy Links

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XTBV4KB

Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/713621

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/love-in-three-moves

 

BLURB

 

Love in Three Moves – Three short stories chart a passionate love affair: yet true love rarely runs smoothly.

It Takes Two

David Grainger and Ben Tremayne are perfect partners in business and friendship – and finally they give in to the temptation of taking that further. Their passionate love has been brewing for a long time, and everything about their new affair is wonderful – until it isn’t.

Breaking Point

Ben hasn’t seen his ex-lover David, for a year. He lives alone with his remorse for breaking up their affair, overwhelmed by his fear of commitment rather than his love for David. When, out of the blue, David asks him for a favour, Ben grudgingly agrees. The simple errand takes a complicated turn.

Clue Game

Once instrumental in reuniting Ben and David, their friend Barbara Curtis now needs the couple’s help with her own love-life. Despite being in Paris on their pre-honeymoon, Ben and David are caught up in the ensuing puzzle, involving a Paris art gallery, the works of Shakespeare, a devious crossword, a pair of precious earrings – and satisfaction for Barbara’s heart.

Chris Quinton – a Bio

Chris started creating stories not long after she mastered joined-up writing, somewhat to the bemusement of her parents and her English teachers. But she received plenty of encouragement. Her dad gave her an already old Everest typewriter when she was ten, and it was probably the best gift she’d ever received – until the inventions of the home-computer and the worldwide web.

Chris’s reading and writing interests range from historical, mystery, and paranormal, to science-fiction and fantasy, writing mostly in the Gay genre. She also writes the occasional mainstream novel in the name of Chris Power. She refuses to be pigeon-holed and intends to uphold the long and honourable tradition of the Eccentric Brit to the best of her ability. In her spare time [hah!] she reads, or listens to audio books while quilting or knitting. Over the years she has been a stable lad [briefly] in a local racing stable and stud, a part-time and unpaid amateur archaeologist, a civilian administrator at her local police station, and a 15th century re-enactor.

She lives in a small and ancient city not far from Stonehenge in the south-west of the United Kingdom, and shares her usually chaotic home with her extended family, three dogs, a Frilled Dragon [lizard], sundry goldfish and tropicals.

Her blog/website is: http://chrisquinton.com

Her Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/chris.quinton.1

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