Now for some updates.
I’ve been really bad about blogging this year, but then I’ve had loads of other things on my mind. 2016 has NOT been a happy year, either globally or locally. But I still managed to finish two stories and get one book published thanks to my wonderful betas and to the stars at Manifold Press.
Eleventh Hour came out on August 1st and I have been delighted by how well it has been received. It did very well in the Rainbows, getting a joint 5th runner-up spot for best Gay Historical Romance and, astonishingly, joint 7th in Best Gay book. It has also been nominated in the Goodreads M/M Readers group polls for best historical, best military/intelligence and best book! I’m so happy about this because I had ideas for sequels but one never knows until the first book is out whether it’s worth devoting the time to write any more, especially when time is so short.
In 2017 I plan to make a start on the second Eleventh Hour book and I hope to finish polishing Calon Lan, a short set in the last year of the Great War and set on a farm in Monmouthshire. What I’ll do with that, I don’t know. It’s not a typical M/M in that while there is a romance in it, it’s written from the point of view of the sister of one of the lovers who has no idea at all what she’s witnessing. The other book is called The Bones of Our Fathers and is a contemporary comedy romance, hopefully first in a series about a small town in the Welsh Marches. This one is about what happens when the local population butts heads with a developer, and Mal, the brand shiny new curator of the town museum, falls for Rob, one of the workmen on the building site.
“Bones” has been out to betas – thank you my loves – and I’m working on the edits now. Here’s a sample just for fun. In this bit Rob turns up at the museum on the flimsiest of excuses and Mal is very happy to play along.
He wasn’t altogether surprised to see someone with a yellow hard hat and broad shoulders in blue coveralls and a high vis jacket climbing the stairs.
“Hey,” he greeted. “Didn’t think I’d see you again so soon. No pool table but I can make you a coffee.”
Rob gave him a beaming smile. “Tea and you’re on,” he said and followed Mal into the little room they had set aside as a staff kitchen.
Mal reached a couple of mugs down from the cupboard and turned on the kettle. “I think I thanked you all for last night, didn’t it? It was good fun.”
“Yeah,” Rob’s grin sounded in his voice but Mal turned to look at him anyway just for the pleasure of it. Rob had taken off his hard hat and put it on the window sill and was leaning against the edge of the window, hands in his pockets and looking out over the patch of grass and shrubs that was all the museum could afford of a garden these days. With his high vis jacket and coveralls undone to show a bright segment of printed tee shirt – the bit Mal could see read “-oun-arm-lu” leaving him to imagine the rest – and with long legs in rigger boots crossed casually at the ankle, he looked both wildly out of place and very much at home. Mal really envied his ease. There was a man, he thought, who knew exactly what he wanted and was fairly confident of getting it.
“And what he wants right now – apart from tea – is me!” Mal found that a very satisfying thought.
The kettle hissed, the water purred into the mugs soaking the special pyramidal bags that Sharon insisted made much better tea than any other variety. Mal stooped to open the fridge.
“Milk?” Malcolm asked. “Sugar?” Rob had stopped looking out of the window and was watching Mal. Mal could feel it.
“I never say no to a bit of sugar. Bit o’ milk too. Just enough to take the edge off.”
Mal grinned and made the tea then turned and offered Rob his mug.
“Thanks,” Rob said then lifted the mug a bit to read the printing on the side. “Museum curators do it meticulously? Oh. My. God. I hope that’s true.”
Mal snorted. “It’s part of the job to keep the paperwork in good order.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”
Mal just smiled his agreement. “Come through to my office,” he suggested. Rob followed, his boots sounding heavy even on the threadbare carpet.
“Blimey,” Rob muttered as Mal opened the door. “Bit of a mess innit?”
“Inherited, I assure you. My predecessor had some health problems the last few years of her tenure and everything got a bit out of control.” Mal went to the desk to put his mug down then took another box, contents comprising two rebate planes, a chisel, a sheaf of papers rolled and secured with a perished rubber band and a couple of ziplock bags of Roman grey ware pottery sherds, off the room’s other chair. At a loss for where to put it, he shoved it into the foot well where the candlesticks had been. By the time he had straightened up Rob was in the chair, ankle cocked on one knee with his mug balanced on the other. “I believe you’ve got something to show me?”
“Oh hell yes. And I brought you some stuff I found to look at too.”
Mal couldn’t help but laugh. “You’re shameless!”
Rob shrugged. “Saves time, doesn’t it? I like the look of you. If you didn’t like the look of me you’d’a told me to fuck off by now.” He grinned and offered Mal a jiffy bag with a scrawl in biro on the front, “Betty’s been after me to bring these in for a while but I never got round to it before.”
“Oh?” Mal eyed the bag feeling the familiar flutter of excitement. There could be anything in there. Could he be blamed for prolonging the moment? “And why would that be?”
“Because the previous curator was a nice enough old lady in her own way but I didn’t want to rip her clothes off with my teeth.”
Mal took a deep breath. “Fair enough,” he said. “Though you don’t actually have to rip. I’m quite capable to taking my own clothes off for the right person.”
“Where’s the fun in that? Come on, take these off me quick before I do something the council might object to.”
Mal took the bag, enjoying the brush of Rob’s fingers against his. Bloody council. Bloody “no bonking on the premises” rules. “Thank you,” he said, “I’ve only just got this job and I wouldn’t like to lose it.”
Check back here on the 30th because I’m hosting a cover reveal for a fantastic sci fi story – Regeneration by Louise Lyons – and in the New Year there will be a free short story featuring Miles Siward, where a simple assignment becomes very complicated when he is assisted by Professor Orlando Coppersmith and Dr Jonty Stewart.
If I don’t see you before 31st December, I wish you all a really happy new year. Let’s hope 2017 is a bit kinder to all of us, eh?