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Up in the Air 2: West Coast

Max Cooper has never known love and uses drink to numb the feelings of rejection he’s faced with. It doesn’t help him in his career as an air steward when after a very drunken night his best friend swaps their flights over so Max can keep his job.

When Max flies out to Los Angeles, his patience is tested when he offers to help fellow air steward and rising drag queen, Dai Zee, with her costume changes at the best drag club in LA, Flamingos. While he watches Dai Zee perform, he catches the eye of a guy in the corner, but fails to find him when the performance ends. An ill-timed text message sends Max back to the bottle, and into the bed of a man he doesn’t know, and doesn’t want to be with.

The next night at Flamingos he finds the man he was searching for, but it’s not as easy as he’d hoped. Antonio Baldini isn’t interested in a drunken Max and rejects his advances until another drag queen, Miss Crystal, plays a hand in getting the two of them together. As Max and Antonio step past the initial confusion, they tread carefully with each other, neither one wanting to get hurt.

Even when Max is back in London, the late-night video calls don’t stop, but it’s when they are reunited in Las Vegas that things turn serious.

Max can’t shake his past, and someone is out for him and his job – trying to stop him from flying altogether. He’s worried about what it will mean for his new relationship if he can’t fly; and whether he can stay away from the drink long enough to be with a man who seems to care for him.

Available now from Amazon.

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Returning to the Land of the Morning Calm

Release date: May 21, 2018
Series: N/A, stand-alone
Genre(s): Contemporary fiction, LGBT, Feel-good
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing, UK
Pages: Approx. 200

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. 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 that 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.

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My guest today not only wrote one of my top reads in the past 12 months but also, I’m happy to say, is a jolly good person to have a giggle with via Messenger! But that doesn’t tell you a whole lot about her so here is her author Blurb:

“Dal Maclean comes from Scotland. Her background is in journalism, and she has an undying passion for history, the more gossipy and scandalous the better. Dal has lived in Asia and worked all over the world, but home is now the UK.

She dislikes the Tragic Gay trope, but loves imperfect characters and genuine emotional conflict in romantic fiction. As an author, and a reader, she believes it’s worth a bit of work to reach a happy ending. Agatha Christie, English gardens and ill-advised cocktails are three fatal weaknesses, though not usually at the same time.

Her first book, “Bitter Legacy”, was a 2017 Lambda Literary Award Finalist for best Gay Mystery and was chosen by the American Libraries Association for their 2018 Over The Rainbow Recommended Books List.”

Welcome Dal. so pleased to be your host today!

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

Gardening, which is very boring of me. But it can be really creative, as well as energetic and nurturing and a bit of a puzzle sometimes. So great all round. But no I haven’t written about it.

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

I’m re-reading The Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer. The conceit is that you’re going to travel there as a tourist and this is like a Rough Guide to help you fit it, like… the cultural dos and don’ts, and the importance of a chicken and what the concept of time meant then, and where to go to the toilet. It’s not a new book but it’s absolutely brilliant and yes, I definitely wish I’d written it

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

Probably plot, though character is close behind. I don’t have a complete picture of the plot when I start out – just a general one – and the twists and turns often come or change as I go. But a lot happens on instinct or by accident. I didn’t know for example that Object of Desire was going to be so much faster paced than Bitter Legacy, or a psychological thriller as well as mystery. But that happened I think because OOD takes place over a number of days (maybe that’s what makes it a thriller); BL’s plot covered months. That in itself changes the feel of a book I think. The faster and more urgent the plot, the less time the characters have for contemplation and thinky things, and in depth analysis of relationships etcs.

Sometimes it does become incredibly complicated writing largely as you go – trying to make sure multiple strands intertwine and all make sense and don’t leave holes. Trying to ensure every character has logical and believable motivations that fit who they are. And alibis. I talk to myself a lot. I’m very embarrassing to be around.

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?

When I start, main characters generally have basic characteristics, but as I write, nuances develop on their own. I didn’t know when I started to write, for example, that Tom Gray used to play football (soccer) recreationally before he modelled and then had to stop. Or that Ben and Jamie in Bitter Legacy both did martial arts.
I find that when any of my characters face particular situations, I do have a very definite idea about what they each would and wouldn’t do.

Tom the POV character in Object of Desire is a more astute observer of human nature than James Henderson in Bitter Legacy. They’re both definitely unreliable narrators of course, and Tom is even fooling himself a fair amount of the time. They both get a lot wrong. But James’s upbringing has made him a bit more of a Visitor To Planet Earth than Tom at times.

The side characters are probably less formed at the start and their little peccadilloes grow on the page, for example Alec Scrivenor’s devotion to Costa coffee in BL and Pez’s gimlet eye for trends in OOD.

All my characters do come to feel real to me though, so I get protective of them. Which is a bit disturbing when I think about it.

What inspired you to write about modelling?

An article I read about the realities of male modelling which was fascinating – both male and female attitudes to modelling and male models were very different. And the attitudes of men and women to being models was different. As I read, Tom and a basic plot began to form. I could seriously bore the arse off you with the realities and the psychology behind it. Elin,where are you going?

Just kidding! 🙂 Male models are lovely but my rather atrophied mothering instinct makes me want to give them soup and a roll. Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?

Well I think what I write is a kind of hybrid. Neither fish nor fowl. It’s not a romance and it’s not a mystery so I’m not sure what it is exactly. A romstery? A mysmance? I imagine, with some longing, that it would be easier to write one or the other, than try both equally at the same time. But I follow both basic structures – mystery and romance — and sometimes they do fight with each other. I’ve learned a lot about it from working with Nicole Kimberling at Blind Eye Books who has a lot of knowledge and astonishing instincts.

I write far too much as well and I’m going to try to do better on that score in my next effort. I wrote 25% too much for Object of Desire including a sex scene that lasted for more than 20 pages. (My editor tried to save it but alas… ah, the guys were probably chafing by then anyway)

20 PAGES!! What would they even … no, never mind, I don’t need to know. But I would like to know what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye colour, car type, name of ex-spouse’s dog – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about on the next book in the series?

I’ve only done two books so far so I don’t have very much to keep track of. But I’m very anal about details so I’ll go back and check whenever a date or description comes along. I actually have to admit I have detailed timelines of each book and the characters entire histories, most of which never get near the actual story- that’s how anal I am. Sometimes I mess up, but up until now, its been caught in the edit thankfully.

Maps *nods* I spend far too long drawing maps. 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?

Complicated ones. Human ones. Ones who don’t twirl the ends of their pantomime moustaches. Occasionally ones you can understand and even sympathise with – though that’s not something you can do often as a writer I think. I especially like villains who care – who have some personal stake in the story and the hero/es be it positive or negative. I think when you’re talking about an inanimate villain like the sea as you said, that’s one thing, but I need three dimensions if the villain’s human.

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 starting the third book in the Bitter Legacy universe set after Object of Desire and the POV character this time is Will Foster, now back in the Met. I think there are still some legs in his relationship with Tom and there are loose ends all over the place. So we’ll see how it pans out. There’s a large cast of main, secondary and tertiary characters though over both books so it’s going to be a challenge deciding who and what to put in. And an established relationship is new ground for me. I may run away to sea if it gets too tough.

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Title: Object of Desire
Genre: Gay, m/m, thriller, psychological thriller, mystery

Blurb:

Tom Gray is one of the world’s top models – an effortless object of desire. Self-contained, elusive and always in control, he’s accustomed to living life entirely on his own terms. But when Tom comes under suspicion in the gory death of his employer, his world spirals into chaos.

Someone’s framing him. Someone’s stalking him. And as old secrets come to light, Tom finds his adversary always one step ahead.

Will Foster is the only man Tom trusts to help. But Tom brutally burned all bridges between them two years before, and Will paid a bitter price. If he wants to survive, Tom must prove his innocence to Will–and to the world.

Buy links:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/807492

Print: $18.95
Digital: $6.99

You can follow Dal on these social media links:

Author: Dal Maclean http://www.dalmaclean.com
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15408926.Dal_Maclean
Author Twitter: @MacleanDal – Dal Maclean
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Dal-Maclean/100010371585020
Author Insta: dalmaclean

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Thoughts

I’ve been having a whole load of very confusing thoughts lately. Part of it is due to recent terrible upsets amongst the group of people I see most frequently online, some of whom are friends and most cherished. Part of it is due to my own rather uncomfortable mental health issues, where on any given day I yoyo back and forth between the numb apathy of depression and the hyper-awareness of anxiety. Neither are helpful when trying to create entertaining fiction.

This could be why I’ve written myself into a plothole in no less than THREE separate stories and I am REALLY  struggling with the temptation to pack it all in and write fan fic instead.

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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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