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On tour!

So that lovely lady at Signal Boost Promotions is running a Blog Tour for me right now with a nice little Rafflecopter giveaway attached. The winner will get a paperback copy of the book and there may possibly be another special gift too.

Check out the list:

August 21 – Love Bytes
August 22 – The Way She Reads, BooksLaidBareBoys, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Nerdy Dirty and Flirty
August 23 – The Novel Approach
August 24 – Love That’s Out of This World
August 25 – MM Good Book Reviews
August 28 – Sinfully MM Romance
August 29 – Zipper Rippers, Sexy Erotic Xciting, Padme’s Library, Bayou Book Junkie, The Geekery Book Review, Louise Lyons
August 30 – Rainbow Gold Reviews
September 1 – Making It Happen
September 4 – Bayou Book Junkie
September 6 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
September 8 – Diverse Reader
September 11 – My Fiction Nook

Some of the posts are blog posts, some are reviews. I’m filled with my usual mix of curiosity and trepidation about what people will think!

Meantime, many thanks to Signal Boost!

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Today I’m more than delighted to welcome my very good friend guide and mentor, Charlie Cochrane, who is celebrating the release of her latest Cambridge Fellows story – Lessons in Loving Thy Murderous Neighbour – by sharing some thoughts about how the technological progress of the 20th century opened up all kinds of exciting possibilities for novelists.

There’s also a giveaway so read on:

People say the world is changing fast nowadays, but there have been periods in the past where the same would be true. One innovation happens—the steam engine, the internet, powered flight—and it opens the gates for a flood of inventions or changes to lifestyle that utilise that new technologies. Imagine when cavemen invented the wheel and all the possibilities that opened. (I wonder if the older generation of cave people shook their heads, tutted and said, “It’ll never catch on.”?)

The late 19th and early 20th century saw many changes to both technology and society, and even the University of Cambridge and its colleges had to move with the march of time. In St John’s college, for example:

  • 1892 Electric light installed in hall, chapel and undergraduate reading room.
  • 1901 First Indian Oxbridge fellow elected (had to mention him as he was one of the inspirations behind my character Dr. Panesar.)
  • Also 1901 Telephone in the porters’ lodge!
  • 1911 Electric light installed in the rest of the college.
  • This may seem small beer to us, but gas/electric lighting had huge implications in terms of how buildings could be constructed. No longer did the layout have to make the most of natural light and no longer did readers have to squint over their books, struggling by the illumination of a candle or gaslight. The arrival of the telephone not only gave instant communication (assuming the person you wanted to talk to also possessed a connection, naturally) but would have been a boon to my gentlemen sleuths. No more waiting for a reply to a telegram, and having to accept its stilted format. Being able to hear the voice of someone miles away, to read into their intonation and words the subtle information that no abbreviated telegram or letter could convey. Making appointments to see people with an ease not available a generation before.

    Transport—the arrival of the internal combustion engine and man taking to the air—also changed life greatly, although maybe too late for the huge number of horses who were employed (and often died) in WWI. The horse drawn carriages of Jonty’s childhood have given way, at least on his driveway, to the automobile which doesn’t need stabling or grooming or feeding with hay. It also meant that he and Orlando had the freedom to go investigating at will locally, without relying on the train to get them there. And indulge in car chases, too, which adds excitement for their official biographer (me).

    I’m no Luddite, so I’m all for innovations that make a difference to people’s lives. People sometimes yearn for “the good old days” but would we really want to live in a time before antibiotics, heart bypass surgery, washing machines, equal rights and all the other things which make modern life great? However, modern technology makes things difficult for the writer. I have much more of a challenge producing a believable storyline for my contemporary series (Lindenshaw Mysteries) than I do for the Cambridge Fellows because I continually have to get around problems like, “Why doesn’t he just use his mobile to ring for help?” It’s much easier in the days when there was no CCTV, DNA profiling or internet databases.
    I wonder what Orlando would have made of those…

    Giveaway:

    Comment below for the chance to win an audio copy of Lessons in Love. One winner to be drawn from total comments from all blog tour stops.

    Other stuff:

    Biog: 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. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Lethe and Bold Strokes, among others.
    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.

    Title: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour (m/m mystery)

    Blurb: Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

    Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

    Excerpt:

    Cambridge 1922
    “Owens? Owens?” Orlando Coppersmith’s voice sounded louder, and clearer, from his chair in the Senior Common Room at St Bride’s than it had ever sounded before. And with good cause.
    “Steady on, old man. We’re in enough of a state of shock without you making sufficient noise to wake the dead.” Jonty Stewart smiled at his friend’s uncharacteristic outburst. Although friendship would hardly be the most accurate way to describe their relationship. Even the description “lovers, companions, colleagues and partners in solving crime” didn’t quite cover the depth of the bond they’d build up in nigh on twenty years. If their hair bore the odd silver thread, their ardour hadn’t cooled.
    “Wake the dead or, harder still, wake some of the dons,” Dr. Panesar agreed, mischievously.
    “Good point, Dr. P.” Jonty sniggered. “Some of them give the impression they’ve been asleep since 1913.”
    A quick glance around the oak panelled room supported his assertion. St. Bride’s may have been one of the most forward looking of the Cambridge colleges, embracing the fact the year was 1922 rather than pretending it was still 1622, but some aspects of the university, including crusty old dons, seemed to be an immutable fixture.
    “In which case,” Orlando pointed out, “we’d have ten years of history to explain to them, much of it unpleasant, let alone this latest scandal. St. Bride’s men being asked to defend Owens. What is the world coming to?”

    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/

    This one is a bit edgy for me because it’s my first proper try at a contemporary story so I tried to write something I knew about – life in a small town – with a profession I knew a bit about – working in a small cash-strapped museum.

    It was sheer self indulgence to make the love interest a heavy plant operator because I do love the big machines. In the archaeological world those huge scary things can be used with considerable finesse. They are also appealing on their own account – all that power!

    It’s also an edgy release day because the book is supposed to be the first of a series set in the fictional town of Pemberland which, if it existed, would be just off the A465 and alongside the River Monnow about where Ewyas Harold is now.

    So, a big new project that’ll keep me going for a good few years, I should think. Book 2, Close Shave, is about half written!


    Available today from Manifold Press

    THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS

    Blurb:

    “The bones of our fathers cannot lie.”

    Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.

    Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?

    Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.

    Buy Links:

    Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073JM29TD/
    Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073JM29TD/
    Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-bones-of-our-fathers
    Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/733184

    book title

    Now available – a cracking action adventure from Lisa Worrall.

    Looking For Jesse

    Blurb:

    Life is full of decisions and it’s the split-second ones that change your world forever.

    Nick Shepherd made such a decision on the day his son, Jesse, was taken from a Christmas market in Naperville. The woman looked normal and had a son of her own, and he was only going to be a minute. But that minute was all she needed. His son was gone.

    A year later, the task force is being downsized and they are no closer to finding Jesse than they were the day he disappeared. At his wits end, Nick is given a number and a name by the lead on the case.

    Ex-detective Frank Ford has issues, several of them. Two steps shy of a full-blown alcoholic, all he wants is to bury himself in the bottle. He’s doing a pretty good job of it, too, when Nick Shepherd asks for his help. Does Ford want to help? No. Is Ford going to help? Hell no. Until four words resonated deep within him.

    “She took my son!”

    Excerpt:

    Tapping the woman in front of them on the shoulder, Nick made an executive decision.
    “Excuse me,” he said as she turned around. “My son left his mitten at the seating area over there but I don’t want him to miss his turn. Would you mind watching him for a minute while I run over and find it?”
    The woman’s kindly brown eyes took in Jesse’s tear-soaked face and the length of the line then smiled. “Of course,” she replied. “But be quick, I think they’re rushing the kids through so they get in as many as they can before closing.”
    “Like there’s fire coming out of my as—sorry, butt—sorry.” Nick stumbled over the words but she only laughed and waved her hand.
    “Go!”
    “Thanks,” Nick said gratefully and quickly hugged Jesse to him. “I’ll be right back, buddy, okay? You just stand here with this nice lady and I’ll be so quick you won’t even notice I’ve gone.”
    Jesse looked at him warily but the woman smiled and said, “He’ll be fine with me and Marcus, won’t you?” Jesse gave a hesitant nod and Nick hit the ground running.
    The mitten Gods must have been smiling down on him because he found it under the table where they’d been sitting almost immediately. He heaved a huge sigh of relief and dashed back to Santa’s Grotto, mitten held high like a victory torch so Jesse could see.
    Nick made good on his promise, he was back in just over a minute, if a little out of breath. Promising himself he’d tell Daisy to stop bringing in donuts to work, he headed to the front of the line. He smiled as he slowed his approach, not wanting to slip on the frozen ground. Nick was surprised to see Jesse still held the woman’s hand. Although Jesse was an affectionate kid, he was also very cautious and took a while to warm up to new people. A hand tightened around Nick’s heart. It had been a long time since Jesse had felt a motherly touch. Even when they’d sat on the couch watching TV, Jesse’s hand had always been curled around Anna’s.
    “I got it, dude!” Nick said jubilantly, putting his hand on Jesse’s shoulder. “It was right whe—”
    The words caught in his throat as the boy turned and so did the woman holding his hand. “Hey!” she yelled, pulling the boy toward her.
    “I’m sorry.” Nick held up his hands. “I thought you were… my….” He spun on his heel, his gaze flitting all around him. “Jesse!” His name echoed on the cold evening air. “Jesse! My son? Where’s my son?” Nick grabbed the woman’s forearm and her eyes widened in horror. “My son!” he repeated. What was wrong with her? Why was she looking at him like that?
    “Hey, man, take it easy.” That came from a big, bald man a couple of spaces down the line.
    Nick ignored him and shook the terrified woman. “My son, he was here. Right here. Where is he? You must have seen him!”
    “Sir, is there a problem?”
    Nick looked at the woman dressed in a short-skirted elf costume and the burly security guard behind her. He dropped the frightened woman’s arm and ran shaking hands through his hair. “My son,” he said again. Why was no one listening to him? “He was right here! Where is he?” He turned back to the dark-haired woman who now clasped her son to her tightly. “You saw him. You must have. He was with the other woman and the boy. I just went to find his… his mitten.” Nick waved it pathetically, the woolen mitten still clutched firmly in his fingers. “I found… it.”
    “The little blond boy?” the elf asked.
    “Yes!” Nick tried not to scream but panic, raw and heavy bubbled deep within him. He tried to push it down, but he could taste it in the back of his throat. “He was here. Right here. I was only gone—”
    “She left.”
    “She left?” Nick shook his head. “What do you mean she left? Where. Is. My. Son?”
    The elf turned her concerned gaze on the security guard, who stepped forward and put a firm hand on Nick’s shoulder. Spots dotted Nick’s peripheral vision as his brain tried to force him to accept what she was saying.
    “Sh-she said there was an emergency. That they had to go.”
    “Go?”
    “I-I thought you were together,” she stuttered. “Oh, my God. I didn’t know. I thought you were toge—”
    “Where is my son?” Nick knew what the answer was going to be, but he had to hear it. “Where is my son!”
    “Sh-she took him.”

    Looking For Jesse

    Buy Links:

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.co.uk

     

    Author Bio:

    Lisa in her own words:

    I live in Leigh on Sea, a small seaside town just outside London on the coast of Essex, about ten minutes from Southend, which boasts the longest pier in the world. I live with my husband and two ever-growing children, who I let think are the boss of me; along with two dogs who actually are.

    As the wonderful Beatrix Potter said, “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a new story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” I know exactly what she means.

    Website: http://lworrall.blogspot.com/

    Facebook: Lisa Worrall Author

    Twitter: Lisa_Worrall

     

    What’s Up, Pussycat?

    Release date: July 7, 2017
    Length: 24,300 words
    Cover Design: Simon Searle

     

    Blurb
    Finley Harrington despairs of ever being able to move on after the death of Andrew, the love of his life. When he spots an advertisement for auditions for Cats, the last musical Andrew performed in, Finley acts on the spur of the moment and calls for an appointment to audition.
    Much to Fin’s surprise, he gets the part he hopes for, but during his struggles with stage-fright, and the teasing of a fellow actor, Karl Rogers, he wonders if he’s made a huge mistake. But Karl’s irritating persona hides a different person inside, and when Fin gets to know him, he develops a surprising attraction to him.
    Could Karl be the person to help Fin move on from the past, or is he destined to remain alone?

    Free Download Links

    Amazon UKAmazon USSmashwordsBarnes & NobleKobo

    Excerpt:

    The members of the cast began arriving half an hour later when the three of us were warming up, and my impression of the first man through the door was one of shock. I’d seen Karl Rogers who played Rum Tum Tugger from a distance a few times when I attended the shows in Leicester, but never without his cat costume. He was tall—at least six feet—and his shock of peroxide hair and startling green eyes drew everyone’s attention. His lycra leggings emphasized a large package, and a bright orange cropped T-shirt and matching ballet shoes completed his outfit. He charged into the room like a whirlwind.

    “So! Who do we have here?” he shouted, looming over Annette and me, where we stood stretching our hamstrings. “You look weirdly familiar.” He jabbed a finger in my direction, before turning his attention to Annette. “What a pretty kitty. What’s your name, then, darling?” He pronounced the endearment “dahling” and I cringed. I hoped the rest of the cast weren’t like Karl. I’d met a couple of them, but I preferred to keep my distance and monopolize Andrew when the shows were over.

    “Annette,” the girl said. “And that’s Finley. The other guy is James.”

    Karl spun around to look at James, gave him a cursory nod, then turned back to me. He took a step closer, forcing me to look up.

    “Cute!” Karl exclaimed. “Cat got your tongue?” He proceeded to shriek with laughter at his lame joke, and my face heated under the scrutiny.

    “I’ve not had the chance to get a word in,” I blurted, and immediately cringed. My voice tended to sound more refined when I was irritated. I couldn’t help my parents or the school I’d gone to, but for the past few years I’d done my best to shake off the accent and sound more like everyone else. I knew Karl would say something, even before he opened his mouth again.

    “Ooh, someone swallowed a silver spoon, didn’t they? Wait. Finley? Finley Harrington? Golly, I’m surprised Mummy and Daddy let their little boy do something as lower class as performing on the stage. Shouldn’t you be a lawyer or a doctor or something?” Karl spoke in an exaggerated tone, and my face burned.

    “Wow, someone loves himself.” James moved to my side and cocked an eyebrow at Karl.

    “I have a sense of humor. You should try it some time.” Karl laughed, and James scowled at him. The boisterous dancer ignored him, and draped an arm around Annette’s shoulders. “You never told me your name, Kitty.”

    “Yes, I did. It’s Annette.”

     

    Author Bio

    Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

    Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

    Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

    Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

    Social Media

    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/louiselyons013
    Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013
    Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/louiselyons013
    Blog: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com
    Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

    And just to put a cherry on it, here’s the brand new and utterly charming release from Lillian Francis.

    Just Hanging Out

     

    Only 99p

     

    The Blurb

    “Come and honour the Oak King.”

    The countdown to the company solstice picnic is one of Shawn’s favourite times of the year. The scents of sage, mint, basil, sunflower, and lavender fill the air as the workshop mixes up the final batch of Litha, their solstice soap. It’s celebration time! This year, Shawn has an extra spring in his step, and it’s all for the new buyer, Tim. Shawn’s fine having a crush on the gorgeous new straight guy. Until he isn’t.

    As the clock ticks down to Picnic-Day, Shawn’s confidence and Tim’s sexuality become mired in doubt and second guesses. It’s a minefield of embarrassed glances and missed opportunities. Seems like they’ll never get together…

    To cap it all, Shawn’s drawn Tim in the secret solstice gifting. What to get for the quiet man who turns Shawn’s legs to jelly and has the best underwear hanging from the washing line in his garden? And will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?

    Word count: ~16700

    Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press

    Buy Links:

    // Payhip // Smashwords // Amazon UK // Amazon Universal // Amazon US //

    Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here.

     

    About the Author

    Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.

    http://lillianfrancis.blogspot.co.uk/

    Twitter @LillianFrancis_

    Facebook

    Facebook Author Page

    Goodreads

    Sign up for my newsletter

    Email: lillianfrancis@rocketmail.com

     

    Excerpt

    “Come on, everyone. Time to honour the Oak King.” Miriam stood in the centre of the office and jiggled a deep wooden bowl, exquisitely carved with the face of the Green Man. “Come and pick your giftee.”

    Yes, I did say Oak King. Miriam’s a new-age hippie, whose 100% natural soap has taken her from cooking the stuff up in her kitchen and selling it from a stall at various markets, to a thriving shop and workshop with a staff of twenty plus. We’ve branched out into candles in the last few years, but it’s the soap, especially the seasonal range, that brings in the punters. Oh, and she’s a Pagan. Hence, the honouring the Oak King statement.

    Don’t worry. There’s no sacrifice involved. We have a massive picnic on the Downs on Midsummer’s Eve, drink too much local ale, and the Oak King—normally Ali from Packaging, in a headdress made of antlers and a myriad of leaves, flowers, and herbs—hands out our jokey gifts. Then we settle in to watch the sunset and bid the Oak King farewell for another six months. In other words, it’s a chance to eat well, drink better, and have a laugh, all the while showing appreciation for an amazing boss and honouring her beliefs, even if we’re a mix of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists. Dunno why the atheists can’t have their own capital letter. Me, I’m probably an agnostic with Taoist leanings.

    “You too, Shawn,” Miriam called over to me. “Stop hogging the copier and grab a name.”

    I glanced at my watch and then flicked my gaze surreptitiously out the window. Still time. If I was quick, and Miriam didn’t choose that moment to chat, I could be back at my station without missing a moment of the action. Shaking a leg, and my impressively pert behind, I slipped in between two of the admin clerks and plucked a slip of paper from the pot. Without bothering to even glimpse at the name written on it, I stuffed the folded slip into the front pocket of my jeans and returned to the photocopier. One more glance at the time—8:52—and I pressed the button to start my items printing.

    There were enough pages in this print run to keep me at the copier for a good few minutes. I saved up all but the most urgent for these five minutes just before nine. It was a routine I’d been keeping for the last few months. As the copier warmed up after a night of inaction, with the gentle whirr of reanimated machinery, I took a moment to enjoy the view from the window. The azure blue of the sky contrasted with the white blossom on the tree just on the edge of the company’s land at the rear entrance. Beyond, a neat row of cottages caught the eye and drew the gaze of anyone who had time to stop and watch.

    As I appreciated the view, a door of one of the cottages opened and a tall, broad man stepped out onto the path that led down a well-kempt front garden to the road. Yeah, I know that kempt means well cared for, so the well is redundant. I work in communications and I’ve a Desmond in English Lit and Environmental Science. That’s lower second class honours for those of you not in the know. Not bad for a lad from Saath London. Of course, four years at Canterbury, another four living in this small Sussex town, coupled with some conscious effort, have more or less knocked that accent out of me.

    Less about me, back to another thing that was kempt and well put together. The object of my voyeuristic tendencies stepped through his gate and out onto the pavement then turned in my direction. A happy sigh escaped me as the early morning sun caught his wavy hair just right; fiery copper reflected back to me in reds and gold. His eyes were green, and flecked with amber. Not that I could see his irises from this distance—I could barely make out the strong features that made up his ruggedly handsome face. And the freckles that gave him an oddly incongruous boyish look were filled in from memory at this point. I sighed again, far too dramatically for my own liking.

    Rather than concentrate on the parts of him that required my imagination, I studied the visual feast in front of me. Now he’d cleared the obstruction of his neighbour’s privet, I had an uninterrupted view, where I could drink my fill without the risk of getting caught.

    Chinos—the russet pair today—encased long legs, and heavily muscled thighs bunched beneath the material with every determined stride that brought him a step closer. Finally, the man disappeared below my sight line. The photocopier whirled to a stop, spitting out the last few pages of my weekly comms report and a stack of sample leaflets for Miriam’s perusal. I had about five minutes to school my features and get back to my desk, or get caught tongue-tied. Again.

    A flash of colour caught my eye as I turned away from the view and I spun back to the window expecting to see the swoop of ring-necked parakeets. The birds were becoming a more common sight in local gardens these days. Maybe the green bastards thought I was homesick and followed me from London.

    Instead of the expected flap of wings, my gaze found the source of the flashes of colour: a washing line strung in the back garden of one of the cottages. Clothes hung from the line, fluttering in the gentle breeze of a pleasant June morning. Not just any clothes, though.

    Nope, a whole line full of bright, skimpy, tight underwear. Underwear that I’d seen advertised in Attitude that very morning as I read on my bus journey to work. And by seen, I meant studied. Intently. Double-page spread. Three all but naked guys getting handsy with each other and appearing to love every minute of it. Hell, I’d even stuffed in my headphones, thanked any deity who wanted to listen that I was sitting in the back, and watched the ‘making of’ video. Those models were having fun, no doubt about it.

    Get A Grip. Flamboyant, colourful, crotch-cupping, butt-caressing underpants. With a marketing campaign that focused on the gay man. Ask a straight guy about GAG and 95% wouldn’t know what you were talking about.

    Not only that, but the garden the washing line was located belonged to—

    “Morning, Shawn. Printing again?”

    Now I was close enough to see the green of his eyes. The deep rumble that came from his broad chest caressed the vowel sound in my name and threatened to turn my legs to jelly.

    Stupid! Answer him. All I could do was echo the greeting, anything else was beyond me, the sight of those pants hanging in a neat rainbow of colour seared on to my brain. “Morning, Tim.”

    Tim faltered as though expecting there would be more forthcoming, but I had nothing. Nothing workplace appropriate, anyway. Asking your colleague to model his undies for you was probably frowned upon, even for a liberal employer like InScents, and Tim was still comparatively new and seemed kinda shy for a big guy. I wouldn’t say we were friends yet but I hoped we were getting there. So I kept my mouth shut.

    The moment stretched on but it could have lasted no more than a second or two, then Tim carried on past, heading for his desk. I thought I’d detected a dusky flush of rose under his freckles but I was easily distracted and couldn’t quell the urge to watch the tight pull of Tim’s chinos as he walked away from me.

    Not an unfamiliar feeling any time Tim walked in front of me.

    But now I couldn’t stop myself from imaging his muscular arse cheeks enclosed in a pair of GAGs.

    * * * * *