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Snippet!!

It’s a while since I’ve posted one of these.

I’m just finished a rewrite of The Lunar Imperative, which first appeared in the Foolish Encounters anthology, making it a LOT longer and adding back in all the fun world-building stuff I thought people wouldn’t want. That’s with my betas and there will be snippets of that another time.

 

But for now I’m trying to get my head back into the 1930s with Miles Siward and his mother, Emily, wife of the British Ambassador to Bucharest. Miles is visiting the Embassy:

“Since you are without dear Pritchard,” she said, “I thought I would come to see how you are getting on. I see you are having problems with your cuffs. Please allow me.”

“You’re a life saver, Ma.” Miles offered her the box with the cufflinks.

“Platinum?” Ma said. “And dark nacre. I don’t remember these, dear?”

“A gift from a friend,” Miles said, and couldn’t help smiling. Briers had presented him with the small package after a fleeting but mutually satisfying meeting in Paris. Miles hoped that Briers had been equally pleased with the gift he had hidden in his bag before they had left their hotel.

“A friend?” Mother raised her artfully darkened eyebrows – odd how Miles had never noticed the little tricks used by females to enhance their beauty until he had to master them. “I must hear more about this friend at some time. Such good taste Now, give me your hands.”

After so many years helping his father achieve the effortless elegance required of members of His Majesty’s diplomatic service, it was the work of a moment for Ma to fit the links through the stiff linen cuffs.

“Thank you.” Miles shot his cuffs and inspected himself in the mirror. “Will I do, Ma?”

“Beautifully.” Ma linked her arm through his and guided him towards the door. “I don’t know what I did to be blessed with two such handsome sons.”

“We don’t know what we did to be blessed with such good genes.” Miles squeezed her arm gently and opened the door for her.

More later 🙂

 

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I hope you have been enjoying the stories in this great event as much as I have. You really don’t want to miss any so it’s a good idea to join the Facebook Group where links to each new story will be posted.

There are so many more than 24 authors each posting a little something to thank the readers who have done so much to support them over the past year. Never be shy about letting an author know what you enjoyed about their work – they might write more of it!

Today it’s my turn to provide a story but first little word about the charity I support.

The Albert Kennedy Trust is based in Manchester. For the past 28 years it has been providing comfort and support for homeless LGBT+ teens around the UK and has fantastic links to similar charities in other countries. It’s astonishing the difference a few pounds can make to a kid who might otherwise be sleeping rough. I’ be supporting them again this year, especially important at Christmas.

But …. I guess you’re here for the story.

He’s Behind You

A pantomime dame taking liberties with the chorus line? Sounds like a job for Millie Carstairs!

Download He’s Behind You HERE

Since the links are apparently not working click below for the whole story

(more…)

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New RE-releases!

Such good news this week as various authors begin to recover from the various upsets in the publishing world!

Charlie Cochrane’s wonderful Cambridge Fellows books are once more available, in paperback too this time!

We have a schedule for the re-release of JL Merrow’s Plumber’s Mate books, including exciting news of a brand new one.

And – like lightning – KJ Charles has got her self pubbed titles out of defunct Pronoun and back up with D2D.

I can’t believe that anyone who reads this blog is not as much of a fan of the above authors as I am but if you have missed out do yourself a favour. There’s nothing quite like the rush of warmth you get when reading something excellent for the first time.

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Snippetry

Time for another totally random snippet of a work in progress – because there always in a work in progress even if the progress is sometimes veerrrryyy veeerrrryyy sloooooow.

Here’s a bit – rough as a badger’s – of Close Shave, book 2 of the Pemberland series, in which barber Terry plies his trade:

Market day in Pemberland was always a crush. The market hall, echoing abode of pigeons on most days, was cleared out and stalls set up. Cars lined the streets, many of them genuine off road jobs with mud to the hubcaps and dog hair, binder twine and sheep shit on the back seats. If the farmers, their kids and spouses only came to town once a week they had a lot to fit in and hair-cuts were popular.

Typical of bloody Kevin, Terry thought. Why did he have to pick now to play the family card.

Not that Kevin was family – not any more. Julie had fled their grim little flat in Pemberland and had returned to the family home with her kids and just what they had stood up in. Terry and his Dad had to go to the flat to collect her clothes and the kids’ things and Rob had come along to, as he put it, provide some muscle. The state the place had got into, just in the week since Julie had left it, had been shocking. Kevin just didn’t seem to be able to see that being a layabout might hurt his family but the final straw for Julie was when he’d forgotten, again, to pick them up from school and their six year old twins had been found trying to walk home in the rain. Terry could have killed Kevin for that alone, but Julie had admitted that was the least of it.

“I don’t mind working,” she said, “and I don’t mind being the responsible one, but he drinks every penny and his friends – oh dear lord, his friends make me sick and that Wiggy… He’s just not normal and Kevin thinks the sun shines out of his arse. I don’t think Kev’s normal either, not when he’s on the cider.”

“Like father like son,” Dad said. “Though I guess you wouldn’t have had this trouble with Rob.”

Terry thought wistfully of Kevin’s brother who had led the tweedy little museum curator astray and seemed to have moved into in the flat upstairs. Not that Terry and Rob had ever… Not really each other’s type. And not that Mal was little – everyone seemed a bit on the small side to Terry – but their blissful domesticity sounded so nice.

He made one last sweep of the razor across Gary’s gleaming scalp and wiped the blade with a towel.

“You’re done,” he said. “If you could settle up with Lil on the way out?”
They all drew back as Gary called Morris and the mountain of fur got up and padded after him to the door. “Rugby practice Monday?” Gary asked.

“Usual time, usual place,” Terry said. “Next.”

“That’d be me.” Kevin began to get up.

“No it wouldn’t.” The heavy set farmer next to him nodded to the other room. “It’s that young bloke in there, then me, then Alwyn, THEN you.”

Terry, who knew exactly who was where in the queue but had been giving Kevin a chance to do the decent thing, leaned into the doorway of the ladies’ salon. “Mal, your turn.”

Mal was perched on a stool by Lydia Garth and seemed to be showing her photos on his phone. He grinned at Terry, murmured to Lydia, making her laugh again then got up and hurried in.

“Lydia’s going to London to see Kinky Boots,” he said as he got into the chair. “Lucky lady. She’s offered me a lift to Hereford.”

“Meeting at County Hall again?” Alwyn Derry looked up from his copy of the Chronicle. “What’s it about this time?”

“Budget cuts, as usual.”

“What do we need a museum for anyway?” Kevin muttered, levelling a poisonous look at Mal. “It’s shameful the way they’re wasting our tax money and cutting benefits to people who need ’em.”

“Since when did you need them?” Alwyn turned a page in the paper. “When I was in Rowbottom’s he said he’d given you a job clearin’ out those old garages.”

“Yeah? So? That’s why my back’s bad now, isn’t it?” Kevin rolled his eyes then went back to glaring at Mal. Terry caught his eye in the mirror and Kevin flushed and turned away.

“Now Mal,” Terry ran his fingers through the fine brown hair still holding its shape well from the last cut but a little shaggy around the ears. “Just a trim is it or do you have something more ambitious in mind.”

“Oh God no, just a trim please.” Mal grimaced. “Got to look smart and professional if I’m going to beg, haven’t I?”

Terry snipped away at the fine brown strands until he felt Mal passed muster – smart but not too traditional – then rubbed some product into the hair and combed it into a rather racier shape than, he knew, Mal could be bothered to achieve on his own.
“There,” he said. “Knock ’em dead.”

“I’ll try.” Mal grinned his thanks as he got out of the chair. “I’ll go keep Lydia company, she must be almost done.”

“Cool, and can you send Adrian in to sweep up?” Terry waved him out of the way. “Next.”

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Snippetry

I’m out of the habit of posting snippets. Mostly because I don’t write as much. But here’s a little bit of Midnight Flit [working title], a sequel to Eleventh Hour set in 1931.

Miles and Briers are back together after six months apart:

Miles felt squashed and sticky, breathless and bruised – because the cushions weren’t that thick despite the layer of bedding and the carefully positioned towels Briers had laid down. He also felt bloody marvellous.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
“No – thank you,” Briers said. “Can’t remember the last time I came that hard.”
“I do,” Miles said grinning at the street lamp light on the ceiling. “It was in that meadow above Chamonix when we were having a roll in that haystack and those hikers came along and had a picnic round the other side of it and we were both already too far along to stop. You said the same then. I think danger must sharpen the sensation for you or something.”
“You think?” Briers shifted enough to bite Miles’s ear. “I didn’t notice you being a shrinking violet. I didn’t notice you saying “no, no stop it immediately”. I mean, if you’d really wanted me to stop I would have done.”
“Oh, but when would we have got another opportunity. Perfect haystack, perfect view of Mont Blanc. There were even goats.”
Briers snorted. “And you acted out a fantasy you’d had ever since reading Heidi, you lovely little pervert, you.”

More another time.

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This will be available on November the first but is up for pre-orders now. Personally, I can’t wait for my copy.

Seventeen stories, thirteen authors, a second war. Once again Manifold Press’s writers explore the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their war-time experience in cities, towns and countryside across the world.

Amidst war and peace, in the thick of violence or in an unexpected lull, these stories of the Second World War take the reader far and wide: through Britain, Europe, Asia and South America, from loss and parting to love and homecoming. As for home, it may be an ordinary house, or a prison camp, or a ship: but it is, in the end, where you find it, however far you have to go. Read this book, and make the journey yourself.

An anthology edited by Heloise Mezen and featuring authors:

Julie Bozza – Barry Brennessel – Charlie Cochrane – Andrea Demetrius
Adam Fitzroy – Elin Gregory – Sandra Lindsey – JL Merrow – Eleanor Musgrove
R.A. Padmos – Michelle Peart – Megan Reddaway – Jay Lewis Taylor

94,500 words/TBC pages
$6.95

Please note: All proceeds will be donated to the British Refugee Council (Registered Charity No. 1014576).

Publication 1 November 2017 but the book is available for pre-order now

Amazon US pre-order link | Amazon UK pre-order link | Smashwords link
Barnes & Noble pre-order link | Kobo pre-order link

More information, including a complete line up of all the stories, is available from the Manifold Press website.

Can’t wait to get my hands on this book!

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Plot bunnies

I’ve been out of bed for half an hour – awful night thanks to the cat who spent several hours thundering around the house and is now curled up on my lap sleeping the sleep of the totally knackered. And in the half hour I’ve been up I’ve been very severely plot bunnied. Normally the stealthy little so and sos creep up on me over months so i get multiple ideas that coalesce into something useful but often I’ve forgotten where they come from. Bt today they all happened so fast that I thought I’d share the thought process.

It’s all Nigella Lawson’s fault.

Photo from BBC iChef

Yes you can smile, you baggage!

So there I was under the cat, cwtched up to the dog, zombily sipping tea with Saturday Kitchen on the telly when Nigella said something about not wanting something to come to a ‘rollicking boil’.

Wham! There was a title AND a character. Rollo Boyle, Irish, of course, a groom turned off by his last master who moved up in the world and wanted someone posher and more servile to run his stable, so, totally pissed off, Rollo heads for home but ends up – wrong place, wrong time – hunted as a highwayman.

Charles Keeping of course, from his illustration series for Albert Noyes rollicking poem

Thump – now I’ve got that damned ‘riding riding riding’ hoofbeat rhythm running through my mind.

Naturally Rollo is a gentleman highwayman, rather than the reality which were mugging bastards who’d smash the fillings from your teeth if they saw the flash of gold. Maybe something along the lines of Jack Carstares in Heyer’s Black Moth?

There are better covers but this is the one on MY copy.

The Black Moth reads like the ecstatic outpourings of a dedicated fangirl – and that’s about right because it’s Heyer’s first book and she was only 19 when it came out. So much angst and passion!!

*considers* naaaaah I cant do that but I can have a bit of fun with the trope. Naturally Rollo must have a great love and make an amazing ride to save him but who could that be? Working on the principle of Sellar’s and Yeatman’s adage that history is what you remember, how many highwaymen do people know about – errrrrrmmmmm – YES Swift Nick!

So Swift Nick was Dick Turpin’s apocryphal sidekick and I don’t see why Nick, Dick and Rollo can’t be a love triangle. Come to that Turpin can be the villain, Rollo’s past employer be a receiver of stolen goods, and at the end Rollo and Nick embark on a ship from Bristol to the Indies where they can enter into happy matelotage.

Believe me when I say that if you read the Newgate Calendar some of the REAL guys did things that the average m/m reader would say ‘no too far fetched’.

And highwaymen were popular subjects of popular songs:

Did you ever hear tell of Rollicking Boyle,
A hero of great renown,
Who boldly bestraddled a galloping nag,
Eastward of London Town

Now when he rode on the highway,
He always had money in store.
And whatever he took from the rich
He freely gave to the poor.

He ne’er robbed a poor man of tuppence
And he ne’er took innocent life.
But the militia took to the road in his wake
Because he’d ne’er take a wife.

And probably a whole load more verses but my head is spinning now and I need another lie down.

Anyhow, yeah – that sort of violent invasive plot bunnying happens to me frequently.

So remember today, because if ever a book called The Ballad of Rollicking Boyle comes out you’ll know you can blame Nigella Lawson.

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