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mueum storage facility stacked with boxesI’ve been trying to thin out some of our stuff mountains at work. See the photo to our left – that’s well ordered museum storage. Some of our museum is very like that with dexion shelves stacked with neatly labelled boxes. But there are other parts where we have boxes, bags, envelopes, and brown paper packages tied up in string of donated items that we are processing and finding safe homes for. Since we went over to lone working, had our hours cut and our volunteers only come in one morning a week, we have a bit of a backlog. Add to that the normal detritus you get with a business where we are ordered to keep all correspondence for 2 years and everything financial for seven years AND the museum mindset that says “OMG you can’t throw that away, it might be important” and we look a bit more like hoarders than collectors.
So I’m chucking out masses of bits of paper, snipping relevant articles out of newspapers – all the usual – and sometimes come across things that are baffling. For instance, a scrap of paper with a transcription of what appears to be part of a probate inventory:

Bookes
Imprimis bookes in folio about fower scores
Item of semi-folio about seven and twenty
Item of Quarto large and small about one hundred and [hole in page]
Item of sixto and octavo large and small and severalle others of duodecimo about three hundreds and sixtie
Appriased at thirtie eight poundes and fifteen shillinges

And there’s a squiggle that I think might be 1748. A pretty good library for the time, I think. And now I have recorded it here I can throw the bit of paper away.

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Put a star in your diary by 22nd February, 2020.

This is when the next ShiMMer event will take place. A whole day dedicated to just MM Romance, with various entertainments and a wide variety of authors, from the very biggest UK names in the genre to – well – me. I’ve booked a table too. Just need to get some books to put on it and oodles of the type of swag that readers are less likely to bin 😀

So if you’re in Birmingham on the 22nd and have time to spare, come along to Jury’s Inn and join the fun.

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book cover showing young man with ripped torso
You can read this as a stand alone but there will be a lot of referral back to previous books

Title: Aria 

Published By: eXtasy Books

Authors: Cheryl HeadfordS.L. Danielson

ISBN: 978-1-4874-2523-4

Page:344

Word Count: 114271

Estimated Publish Date: 12th July 2019

Series: Upstaged #4

Heat Level:

Categories: ContemporaryLoveStoryGayGLBT,

 

You think you’re holding someone close, but if you’re not paying attention, they could slip right out of your arms and fall.

Asher and Erik are getting married, but Asher isn’t happy about the pressure being put on him by their families and unwittingly by Erik himself. Issues that have plagued him for a long time come bubbling to the surface and threaten to overwhelm him. Although he cries out for help, no one hears; instead they write it off as Asher throwing a tantrum again. Only Angel sees the cracks, but it’s too much for him to handle on his own, although he tries.

The pressure builds, and even though there are breakouts, still no one sees the extent of the problem until the night before the wedding, when Asher is confronted by Erik in front of all their family and friends, and bolts.

Fortunately, Asher is rescued by Vince’s Uncle Tony, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse.

The Band heads off to London for a three-month tour, and not everyone is happy about it. Vince is stressed out and worried that Angel is not being entirely faithful. Should he say something? Then Connor meets an old friend, just when he starts having doubts about his relationship with Angel, and the fur starts to fly.

Will any of the couples survive?

 

Excerpt

The sunset over the fields was a breathtaking sight. Asher couldn’t help but appreciate the wonderful view of the surrounding countryside, such as it was, from Vince and Billy’s home. Three sides consisted mainly of houses with large gardens. On the fourth side, however, there were woods and fields all the way to the horizon, and over them, the sun was going down.

He had never watched a sunrise or sunset and failed to be moved. He loved everything about those times. There was a different quality to the light that appealed to his artist’s eye, and a feeling of clarity that calmed his mind. Tonight, however, he wasn’t calm. Not even the drawing pad on his knees and the charcoal pencil in his hand could bring him the peace he usually felt when he was immersed in his art.

Truth was, he hadn’t been able to find peace for a long time—weeks, maybe more. He was blaming it all on the wedding, convincing himself that when it was all over the peace would come again, but the truth was, he didn’t know if it would. Another clearer, more honest corner of his mind was telling him the wedding wasn’t the problem at all.

Asher sighed and put down the pencil, hugging the book to his chest, and stared out into the gathering dusk. He thought about his other sketchbook, the one he always left at school. He thought about all the sketches he’d been working on so feverishly, more and more and more. What was he thinking? What the hell was he thinking? He was playing such a dangerous game, and sooner or later he was going to get caught. Then what? He should stop. He knew he should stop. He should never have started, but—

Erik coughed to announce himself. “It’s gorgeous out here, isn’t it? They chose the perfect spot. The yards are so manicured…the meadows, the woods…a beautiful backdrop.” He stepped closer. “Billy and Vince make such great decisions together…they always have. Do you know what the best decision I ever made was, Asher?”

“No, but I know what the worst one was.” He looked up at Erik, taking in the tall figure with his broad shoulders and long blonde hair. Erik was his Viking, his Nordic god. He was too good for him, way too good. Asher was nothing but a screwed up emo freak, with a mind so twisted it was only a matter of time before it imploded. What the hell was Erik even doing with someone like him? “We should never have got together in the first place. You’re too good for me. You deserve someone who isn’t a fucked-up nutjob.”

Erik shook his head and sat down next to him. “Wrong. The correct answer was asking you to marry me. As for you being a fucked-up nutjob and me being too good for you, are you kidding me?” He laughed and picked at the grass. “Asher, you’ve driven me crazy since the beginning, and granted, I didn’t know how to handle a lot of it, but we got through it. We survived the insanity in London all on our own. Look at me.” He tipped Asher’s face to look at him. “You’re the love of my life, and nothing you say will persuade me otherwise. Do you even realize that? You can’t get rid of me.”

Biographies

S.L. Danielson began writing at the age of six. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens, she began writing alternative works, and the genre stuck. She also wove more elaborate tales and finally, in her college years, began to weave her new love of male romance into long novels.

She is classically trained in business, accounting, and education, holding both undergrad and graduate degrees. Her other hobbies include painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Contact S.L. at:

ladyauthorsld@gmail.com

or follow her blog at:

http://www.ladyauthorsld.blogspot.com

Cheryl Headford was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was sixteen, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden, and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry, and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews, and cousin, and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller, the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.

Website: http://cherylheadford.com/

Blog: http://nephylim-author.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nephylim.author/

The Upstaged Series also has it’s very own Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/Upstaged-153971548762625/

And if you want exclusive snippets, gossip, more information about the group and what our boys look like as Sims then you can have an exclusive Backstage Pass

 

 

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Title and cover: The Nature of the Game

 Series: Stick Side #2

 Publisher: self-published

 Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 7, 2019

 Length (Print & Ebook): 87,000 words / 330 pages

 Subgenre: m/m contemporary romance

 Tropes: second chances

 Warnings: N/A

 All buy links or pre-order links:

Amazon: https://geni.us/NatureoftheGame

iBooks: https://geni.us/NatureoftheGameApple

B&N: http://bit.ly/NatureGameBN

Kobo: http://bit.ly/NatureGameKobo

 

Book synopsis: Six years ago, an ultimatum forced Dan Greyson to make a choice that cost him everything he loved most. One of those things? His boyfriend, hockey player Ashton Yager. Now that they’ve crossed paths again, Dan isn’t about to let the opportunity slip away. Ash’s reappearance in his life is just the catalyst Dan needs to escape the rut he’s fallen into…and win back Ash’s trust and love.

Ashton Yager, once burned and now a little bit shy, didn’t mean to publicly come out as bisexual. But now that he has, he’s got to deal with the consequences, including the fact that it might’ve cost him his NHL contract. With his job on the line, he needs to keep his head down, work hard, and play the best hockey of his life. Rekindling things with Dan? That’s not exactly keeping a low profile. It’s also never going to happen, not after Dan walked away once without an explanation.

When a hurricane forces Ash to seek shelter out-of-state, he and Dan find themselves in the same B&B, where old feelings resurface. But with everything Ash has on the line, does he dare play with fire again?

The Nature of the Game is a second chance romance between an NHL player who’s recently publicly come out as bisexual and a suncatcher maker stuck in a job he’s indifferent about. It features making amends, reconnecting over a late-night baking session, and proving that second chances are sometimes worth the risk.

 

Excerpt:

Running a hand over his face, Dan glanced over to the hallway Ash had disappeared down, and then kept staring, waiting for Ash to reappear again like some smitten teenager who couldn’t control his hormones.

He was so very cool.

Tearing his eyes away, he scanned the restaurant, his gaze snagging on a woman sitting with a group of friends. In her early twenties, she had brown hair to her shoulders and purple glasses were perched on her nose. She sunk into her chair with a grimace when Dan caught her ogling him, her lips twitching up in embarrassment. Dan smiled back at her despite the across-the-room flirting doing nothing for him. All he could think about was Ash. Ash’s arms streaked with dust; Ash’s muscles straining as they moved furniture around; Ash’s laughter when Dan nearly swallowed a dust bunny; Ash’s mad scramble to the other side of the apartment when Dan came down the stepladder with the spider colony; Ash’s expression when he talked about hockey; the emotion in Ash’s eyes when Dan had shown up earlier.

It was Ash. It had always been Ash.

Dan’s smile grew when the man himself reappeared next to him.

“Who are you smiling at?” Ash stood next to the booth, hands on his hips. His scowl would scare small children away.

“Um, you?”

Assuming they were leaving, Dan stood . . . and ran into a wall of muscle when Ash didn’t budge. Ash was warm and big and strong, and Dan forgot all his words. He swallowed hard and told himself the shiver was from the air conditioning.

Ash looked over his shoulder, scowled some more, and growled, “We’re leaving.”

They left. The walk back to Ash’s apartment was silent but for Ash’s stiff shoulders proclaiming his unhappiness with Dan, dinner, or the world at large. Who knew.

“Are you okay?”

“Just…” Ash gestured wildly, arms flying. “I’m trying to sort some stuff out. In my head.”

“O…kay.” Whatever that meant.

Reaching Ash’s apartment, Ash slammed the door behind them and whirled on Dan, hands on his hips. “Do you want to date women?”

“Like, right this second?” I only want to date you. “Not particularly.”

“What about the woman from The Tavern?”

“Who?”

“You know.” Ash’s gestured. “The one you were smiling at.”

“Why are you being weird?”

“I’m being weird.” Ash huffed and paced away. “You were the one eye-flirting while I took a two-minute bio break.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“No idea what I’m…” He trailed off, jaw ticking, his eyes fire and fury. Pacing back to Dan, he clamped a hand behind Dan’s head, pulled him forward, and kissed him.

Ash kissed him.

Ash kissed him.

Ash kissed him.

Dan stood shocked and immobile.

“Gonna kiss me back?” Ash murmured against Dan’s lips, walking him backward until his back hit the wall next to the door. “Or just stand there like a corpse?”

 

Author Information:

Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking. She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario.

 

Website: https://amyaislin.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyaislin/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/amyaislin

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/amy-aislin

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amy_aislin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amy.aislin

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyAislinAuthor

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ddvWFv

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amyaislinauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16693566.Amy_Aislin

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/amyaislin

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/amy-aislin/

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I’m delighted to be hosting RJ and VL today as a celebration of their ice hockey series about the Railers team. It’s always sad when a series ends, but it’s something to celebrate too as the authors go on to explore the lives of new characters. So let’s hear how the Railers stories came to be and wish all the beloved characters well.

hockey team logo, locomotive and Harrisburg Hockey Railers

Building the Railers

Building any kind of team for a writing project, be it hockey players or a SEAL team, or a group of friends, can be approached in so many ways. Believe me when I say Vicki and I have learned a lot about building a team in our hockey writing, mostly by trial and error, and always with a lot of fun.

For example when we created the Railers, we didn’t really have a sense of who the team were. We knew that the Railers were a fairly new expansion team, and we knew what our storyline was for book 1. Other than that the team itself was a blank slate.  As new to each other co-authors we were literally flying by the seat of our pants for Changing Lines (Railers 1) and the May/December, best friends little brother, story, just fell out of us in only three weeks.

We had our star, we had a coach, we even had a Russian goalie who didn’t speak very good English. What we didn’t have was the rest of the team, and for the Railers series, that happened very organically after book 1. We kept a google doc that we could both access with names, relationships, positions, age, and most importantly country of birth.

A hockey team is made up of guys from all different countries. From the big contributors like Canada and the USA, there are also swedes, Finnish, Russian, Norwegian… the list goes on. As the team grew, so did the spreadsheet of information, and the spread of countries we represented in our writing. Then not only did we need our players, but we required a person in marketing, another to control social media, even the name of the security guard that became a focal point in a couple of the books. Not to mention we had to name an arena!

For the spin-off, Owatonna U (NA series), we created a team of character names to start with. Sitting in Vicki’s house in Pennsylvania we came up with characters and the positions they played first. We already had Ryker, he is the son of Jared Madsen in book 1 of the Railers, but the rest were all new to us. As we wrote names down we got over excited with small character sketches – “his dad drives the bus!”, “He’s lost his brother”, “He gets to be in the NHL draft!” and just by sitting together and coming up with names we also came up with the stories we wanted to tell.

Slowly but surely our teams have become more, and with the release of the final Railers novella we not only have teams, but we created family.

The seven bookcovers of the Railers series, plus information that it will be available on Kindle Unlimited for 90 days.

Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) – Jared & Tennant

Can Tennant show Jared that age is just a number, and that love is all that matters?

First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) – Layton & Adler

Layton wants success, Adler wants family, how can love made both these things possible?

Deep Edge (Harrisburg Railers #3) – Trend & Dieter

One man’s passion, another man’s lies. Can love fix even the darkest of hearts?

Poke Check (Harrisburg Railers #4) – Stan & Erik

One scorching summer in each other’s arms could never be enough.

Last Defense (Harrisburg Railers #5) – Max & Ben

A hockey player with a medical secret, meets the owner of a no kill shelter. Two men afraid to feel have to make choices that could end up breaking down their defenses and leading them back to love.

Goal Line (Harrisburg Railers #6) – Gatlin & Bryan

Fear and sadness mark Bryan’s life, can Gatlin show him that you have to trust before you can love?

 

There’s a giveaway too, which you can enter by clicking the Rafflecopter Link 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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book cover showing water liliesI haven’t actually had time to read this one yet, but I have a copy and am looking forward to it enormously.

Constantinople, Byzantium or Istanbul, is one of the places I would love to visit but probably never will, so I’ve made a habit of seeking out stories set there – from Russia with Love and Pawn in Frankincense for instance. I’m very excited to add this one to the bookshelf.

Title: Scent of Lillies

Author: Sarah Ash

Publisher: Manifold Press.

Genre: M/M historical set in Byzantine Constantinople

Rating: Sweet.

Gabriel wants to be an artist. His father wants grandsons. His teacher wants refuge. And the ghost of a young woman who drowned for love of one of his ancestors wants revenge. When events spiral out of control Gabriel heads to Constantinople, but his past is not far behind.

Damien isn’t sure what he wants. He doesn’t want his father’s business, whatever his stepbrother thinks. He doesn’t want his betrothed even though she may still want him. But he does want beauty, and he may find that in the yet to be consecrated church of Saint Thekla, a personal project of the Emperors.  But is it in the painting he will find beauty, or the painter?

Author:

 Sarah Ash read music at New Hall, Cambridge for four years, studying with Robin Holloway and John Rutter for her finals. Her interests in music and drama led her into teaching where she has been lucky to work with many dynamic and talented young people.

 

Extract:

“Full moon.” Old Marta clicked her tongue disapprovingly and closed the shutters with a bang, crossing herself as she did so.

“Why shut out the moonlight? It’s so beautiful.” Gabriel had been dozing but his nurse’s voice brought him back from the edge of sleep.

“Has your mother never told you? But then she’s not from these parts, she knows nothing.” There was thinly disguised resentment in Marta’s voice as she came waddling back to tuck him in. The reek of ale on her breath mingled with the green scent of the parsley stalk she had been chewing to freshen her mouth.

“Told me what?”

“You’re eight, old enough to know these things. Old enough to be warned where not to go.” She plumped herself down on the bed beside him like a hen settling itself on its clutch of eggs. “Haven’t you ever heard tell of the Ninufarim?”

“Never.” He was fully awake now.

“Pretty child.” She leaned forward and smoothed down his wayward curls, murmuring. “Such pretty hair, even if it is the same colour as your mother’s.”

He shook his head free of her hand, hating to be touched.

“You must never leave your shutters open when it’s full moon.” She wagged a finger at him. “And you must never, never go walking by the lake. For that is when the ninufars rise to the surface and the Ninufarim are abroad.”

From Amazon USAmazon UK, Kobo and Books2Read from April 14th

 

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A notable day

Blue pink and white striped flag with the words "March 31, International Transgender Day of Visibility"

By clicking on the picture above you will be taken to the website of the Human Rights Campaign and a page of information, resources and interviews for and by and about transgender people worldwide. Some of it is very interesting and uplifting, some of it is heartbreaking, all of it is worth watching/reading. And it’s a really good reminder that, while today is THE day to look across at our transgender friends and say “I see you and you’re admirable”, we should be putting the suggestions for how to be a good ally into practice EVERY day. Of course there will be times when we fall short, through ignorance or thoughtlessness, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try again to do better.

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