Monday, 31 July 2017

Weekly Round Up 31st July

Morning everyone from an unsettled Lancashire – me and the weather. How did we get to the last day in July? Sorry about last week – had a day of feeling tired and irritable and words wouldn’t come. Cat the elder has a yowl that could pierce steel, and she uses it from five in the morning, so lack of sleep has been a problem. She is old and deaf, but since we’ve put her in the kitchen overnight, she’s been okay, and I’m not so worried about the neighbours. Real life has also been rearing its ugly head. Hoping for some more positive news soon.
Writing has been slow. I’ve managed a few thousand on current WIP, but it’s hard going. I think even the voices have been too tired to talk to me. Trouble is, I know where the story is going, I even have a last scene written, but the in between, and getting the pair to that point, is eluding me. Instead, I’ve been editing Half Full, but it is 100K words, so doing my first sweep for certain words is taking time and, as I read, I realise the kitten timeline is totally rubbish. So, plans are to do as much as I can because some words are better than none. I will probably get my short story, The Matchmaker, to edit soon. This comes out as part of an anthology of contemporary stories with Pride Publishing in September/October.

On the reading front, I’ve managed a few including Robert Winter’s Lying Eyes, which I enjoyed except for, the Stoke accent. I find some accents difficult in books, especially if the person has simply looked up the accent and never heard it spoken. I’ve been told off for using typically English, Scottish or Welsh phrases in my books as well as for not including them. Accents work better in some books than others. Avery Cockburn’s Glasgow Lads is one example of getting it right, although I found the Doric in the first book, challenging. I’ve stayed in the North East of Scotland many times, and not understood more than the words Janet, Hoos, Elvis and explosive charge in a conversation. Dialect words are one thing to set a book in a place, even phrases, but sometimes I find they throw me out of the story.

Other reading has included, Atonement by Sloane Kennedy, my first by this author. Took me a while to get into it, but once there, Magnus hit me right in the feels as they say. One of my favourite authors, Gail Carriger, who wrote the wonderful series, The Parasol Protectorate, has a new book out. I discovered I’d missed a couple of novellas set in that world so read and enjoyed Romancing the Inventor. Now, I’m not a lover of shifter books, but I love her steampunk world of werewolves and vampires, so I’ll try her new one set in an alternative San Francisco. Current read is Felice Stevens, The Shape of You. I’ve been putting this off, and I know it’s going to be tough reading for me. I find books where one character is overweight problematic, but I thought I’d give this one a try. Early days yet.
Box set watching continues. We’re up to S11 of Supernatural, so not much left, and now on S3 of Orphan Black. I need to think what to watch after we’ve finished S11. I might try American Gods, but I’m not sure. Lots of current watches are coming to an end on TV now, as we get the summer recess and lots of repeats. I have enjoyed the Gay Britannia season of programmes tying in with the 1967 Sexual Offences Act which partially repealed laws and decriminalised some homosexual behaviour. It was a start, and along the way other obstacles appeared, including the awful Clause 28, which I’m proud to say as a teacher, I completely ignored. No one was telling me I couldn’t tell a teenager that being gay wasn’t normal. I wish I could find a sketch Ben Elton did at the time which questioned how the government then thought teachers were rubbish, but believed they’d be able to make everyone of their pupils gay with a few words. The film, Pride, was on TV last night. If you’ve never seen it, please do. The women in it are fantastic, and want to hope the character played by Bill Nighy finds love after so many years attempting to hide his sexuality.
That’s it for this week. I’ve had some more lovely reviews for My Highland Cowboy, so if you want a low angst, heart-warming read, it might be the one for you. 

And just a reminder that today is the last day for getting 25% off Manifold Press books at Smashwords, including my older MC story, While You See a Chance.

Have a good week everyone.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Change my dears and not a moment too soon – representation and choice.

Or why I write what I write

Sunday, it was announced that the next Doctor would be female – I hesitate to use that word, but it’s what we have. We’ve known Timelords can be female for many years, but that they can regenerate into either gender is a more recent development. This is not a first for SciFi or Fantasy. Those of us who watch Supernatural know that angels and demons can use vessels of either sex. This change has led a lot of people to wring their hands and talk about how Doctor Who has caved in to those who want the programme to be ‘politically correct’. I, for one, am fed up of this. I want to talk about two aspects of what has happened.

1.      Representation

2.      Writing

Little girls need heroes – hell, women need heroes. Even better, they need heroes who look like themselves. On film, a girl can be a Jedi, a vampire slayer, a Wayward Daughter, a starship captain and now, finally, the Doctor. You see representation is important. We all need to see ourselves in others. We all need role models who show us that the seemingly impossible is possible. Our culture and media should reflect those needs hence a Doctor who can be in female form as well as male – though, I am still pissed the Doctor isn’t ginger. Some people, however, feel that this is a step too far and creating change for change sake. As a historian, I’ve heard this message before.

·         Why give the working class the vote? They won’t understand.

·         Why give women the vote? They have husbands and fathers to take care of them

·         Women can’t be lawyers or doctors. They aren’t intelligent enough.

·         Men should go out to work and not stay at home to care for their children. It’ll make them feminine and they won’t be able to cope.

·         Women aren’t strong enough to be superheroes. They have weak bodies and no one wants to see them as the lead in films and who will buy the models?

·         Men shouldn’t cry. Men should be macho and should no signs of weakness.
With this decision, another section of the monolith of what you can or cannot be, or do, has been chipped away. This brings me to the other issue – why writers chose their characters and story lines.
I write gay romance. I’ve been asked why so many times and told I’d sell more if I wrote M/F stories. The simple answer is, because I can, and because I want to. But shouldn’t I be writing about women people ask if I’m such a feminist? Again, the answer is, I do. Yes, my MCs are men, but my stories contain lots of strong women. I wouldn’t write them any other way. Women play vital roles in my books, and maybe, one day, I’ll get the F/F story I have a plot bunny for written. I’ve written about a variety of men because I can. My MCs have been a rugby player, a teacher, a chef, an inventor, a postman, a hotel owner, a minister, a policeman, a rancher, a designer, and a potter, among others. I’ve written characters with anxiety, with a damaged leg, with HIV, needing a wheelchair, with a bad childhood, who are gay and bisexual, parents and not. I’ve written them because I wanted to, because I wanted to explore a variety of issues and not write the same thing over and over again. I’ve written drama, angst, fluff and humour. I’ve given some characters a hard time, and others not. I’ve hopefully given them all some sort of happily ever after because I write romance.

So, when people question choices, and talk about being politically correct, writers will do what they want. They might kill a favourite to stir things up – looking at you here Russell T Davies and my beloved Ianto -  and create drama.
In romance, we have to find a happy ever after, but this isn’t true of all drama. The writers have their plans, their story lines. We may not agree with their choices, but they are the ones at the keyboard, and I, for one, always look forward to what they produce.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Weekly Round Up 17th July

Monday again. This week the sun is shining in my part of the world. I wasn’t sure if I’d write anything this week, as I’m in less than a positive mood. A combination of depressing news from home and reading crap because they dared to give a woman the role of the Doctor, has left me frustrated and annoyed. For the record, I have some reservations about a female Doctor but it’s the stories that matter to me so get those right and I won’t care.

Writing has been slow, only about 3000 words on current WIP. My concentration levels are shot, and my brain keeps coming up with starts for other stories, which isn’t helping. I’m waiting to hear about short story I submitted in the meantime. This morning, print copies of My Highland Cowboy arrived so if I owe you a copy, I will get them out to you in the next week. I would take a photo, but sadly my camera has decided to play silly devils and not accept the memory card. I might go back to editing Half Full for weak words so I’m doing something productive.

Reading has been slow as well, but I have finished The Ruin of a Rake by Cas Sebastian, which got better after a third of the way through but I enjoyed less than the other two. Read and loved Satin by K. C. Wells and looking forward to Silk. Now reading Lying Eyes by Robert Winter which is also a bit of a slow starter for me, but I want to know more.

Finished S8 of Supernatural and now watching S9. In between have watched Orphan Black S1 and remain amazed by Tatiana Maslany. Other than this watching various series such as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Loch, Fearless and Poldark. Will also be trying to stay away from spoilers for Game of Thrones.

That’s it for now. I could rant about the unfairness of so many things, but it won’t make anything better, and I’m not looking for sympathy. Life is just a bit of a bugger at the moment but..

Monday, 10 July 2017

Weekly Round Up 10th July

Hello on a Monday morning from a rainy Lancashire. Noisy banging from next door has accompanied the last week as my neighbour has removed his roof and the whole of the back wall and is now rebuilding. He did warn me. Apologies for loss of blog last week. I could say I was recovering after a birthday weekend of drink and debauchery, but I’d be lying. I did have some lovely presents including a Funko Tenth Doctor to add to the collection, and the Harry Potter version of Trivial Pursuit. I think a complete rewatch may be necessary before tackling them.

Writing has been pretty slow, but I did get the short story finished in time to meet the deadline thanks to my alpha reader giving it a quick once over. Provisionally, it’s called The Matchmaker. I can only wait now to see if they want it for the contemporary anthology. I’ve attempted to get back into my age gap story. Adam and Jason are beginning to talk to me in the middle of the night, so there’s hope. I didn’t intend it to be a long story, and so far it’s around 5000 words at only two chapters in. I am getting to know them though. When the muse is avoiding me, I’ve started to remove ‘weak’ words from Half Full the 100K+ story of Owen and Jonah. I always start an edit with this then do the first read through checking continuity, repetition and punctuation before I hand it over to a beta to read. It does take me time, however, because I have to leave the MS alone for a while. This week, I’m going to continue the current WIP, I hope.

On the reading front, I haven’t done much except download several books so my TBR list is growing. I decided to have a change and read Poppy Jenkins by Claire Ashton, which I liked but did get a bit fed up about some aspects of the story. I did enjoy it being set in Wales. My current read is The Ruin of a Rake by Cat Sebastian. I very much enjoyed her first two books. I’ve also listened to three of the CDS in The Lives of Captain Jack audio series from Big Finish. I love that I can still hear Torchwood stories and these are attempts to fill in what I would call fanfiction gaps. In this case the four stories cover what happened after Jack came alive again after being revived by Rose, visiting Rose’s estate when she was young and meeting Jackie, her mum, what happened when he was introduced to Alonso – so lovely hearing Russell Tovey, and finally what happened with the two-year memory loss which made him leave the Time Agency.

Box set watching for this week, in between the tennis, has consisted of Supernatural S8 – I do love the Purgatory stuff and Benny, and the first series of Orphan Black which we watched in 3 days. How Tatiana Maslany didn’t win all the prizes, I’ll never understand. Now onto S9 of Supernatural again in between tennis depending on how far Murray and Konta get.

That’s it for now. My Highland Cowboy continues to get some lovely reviews which is wonderful. If I owe you a prize, I’m hoping to get the print copies this week as they are on order. Thanks for all the entries in various giveaways. Have a good week everyone. As usual, this can also be found on my blog.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Throwback Thursday - Sporting Chance

Sporting Chance was my first published novel. I began writing it while still in my full-time job of teaching, fitting it in before school, at lunch time, and at night after marking. It took nearly three years to finish, and the first draft was mostly written by hand.

Most people know I started my writing life writing fanfiction, mostly in the Torchwood/Doctor Who fandoms and later in Supernatural. Coincidentally, today is the eighth anniversary of the first showing of Day One of Children of Earth and I’m currently listening to one of the Big Finish Torchwood CDs from the set -  The Lives of Captain Jack—still a fan.

Dan and Aron, two of the characters in Sporting Chance, began life as original characters in one of those stories. In Torchwood High, they were teenage boys who had just realised they loved each other, then I callously split them apart in my first novel. I did feel guilty about that, but then I did give Dan someone else. Dan was always a rugby player and had to be, like me, Welsh. I wanted him to be openly gay rather than this being a story about coming out. Around the time I started writing, Gareth Thomas came out. If you ever get a chance, read his book. Alfie, as he was always known, was a superb player and has become a trailblazer for others. Dan isn’t based on him though. Physically, he’s based on another lock forward – I’ve always had a thing for locks – it’s the height. I decided instead to concentrate the story on what it is like to be famous, gay and looking for love.

Iestyn, the other MC, is a history teacher – yes so was I – who literally falls at Dan’s feet. The romance begins with a dinner date and continues in secret. Iestyn has a great family and friends who can’t quite believe he’s caught the eye of the best player in Wales. Eventually, their relationship is outed and here the problems begin for both men. At the time I wrote the story, there was a lot in the news about phone tapping of celebrities, so I speculated about press intrusion and how people make things up. Then, as the nasty author, I split them up in order to bring them back again. That reunion isn’t easy though, and help comes from surprising places, namely Dan’s ex-boyfriend, Aron. This is, of course a romance, so it had to have a happily ever after.

I submitted the manuscript to a couple of places and no one was more amazed than me that a publisher took a chance on the very raw story. I went on a steep journey learning about all sorts of things, like independent body parts and passive voice thanks to my editor, who was immensely patient with me. Finally, in November, 2014, Sporting Chance was published. It received some lovely reviews and some not so lovely, but such is the life of a writer. It was hard and it still is, dealing with the highs and lows, but a few years later, I’ve had more published and I’m still writing but Sporting Chance was where it began and it still sells double figures most months.

You can buy Sporting Chance in these places. And if you want to know what happens to Aron I tell his story in Comfort Zone.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Weekly Round Up 26th June

Monday morning again, and thankfully cooler after the heat of last week. If only cat the elder would stop yowling in the early hours of the morning I might get more sleep. Now, she is lying next to me asleep as I type. I have just finished writing a short story to submit to Pride Publishing for their contemporary anthology. The idea for this one came from a first line that popped into my head from nowhere.

As you can read above, I did manage to get some writing done last week. Next I have to do a fast edit as it needs to be ready to submit, as well as the usual blurb and synopsis – aarrgghh. Should get it done and then it’s back to my Christmas story. The way that one is going, it might be ready for next year. Of course, really, I’m putting off editing the mammoth 103K words of Half Full.

I’m sure you’re all desperate to know what I’ve been reading and watching over the last seven days. I finished An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles and loved it. Can’t wait for the next one. Nearly finished Femme by Marshall Thornton. I have enjoyed this one as well, although the more than once one MC leaves the other MC in the lurch was annoying. Is it controversial that I like stories that aren’t about two so called alpha males battling each other? I like writing them too, even if I can be accused of writing stereotypes. Marshall Thornton addresses this in the story and as he says, within a stereotype every person is different in some way. Next on the reading list is The Monet Murders by Josh Lanyon, who was one of my gateway authors into mm romance.

I’ve spent a lot of the weekend watching Glastonbury. Being an older person, for me the highlights were, The Jacksons, Chic and Barry Gibb, although I do like Rag and Bone Man. I’d love to see him sing with Gregory Porter and Rick Astley, with maybe George Ezra as well.

This week’s boxset has been Flambards, a series from the late 70s. It’s set amongst the upper and lower classes in Edwardian times. I can stand the story but the theme music makes me want to stick cotton wool in my ears. I don’t think it stands the test of time like some others from that era. I watched How Green was my Valley a while back and still loved it as much as it did as a teenager. Maybe it will improve by the end as we’ve a few episodes to go. After this, it will be back to Supernatural and season 8.

That’s it for this week. I will be giving away a signed print copy of Comfort Zone as I have one come available – more in another post about that. I’ll also be giving away PDF of While You See a Chance this week as well because I feel like it.

Have a good week everyone.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Weekly Round Up 19th June

Monday morning, and once more we are greeted with bad news. It has been a tough week in which I’ve used the word really so many times when questioning what people have done, and said, or not done. I’m lucky enough not to have been affected by recent events in London, except for witnessing the results on the news, but seeing the pictures, and reading reports, has made me both sad and angry. I’ve also been incredibly thankful for the men and women who put other people before themselves – the police, firefighters, paramedics, medical staff, as well as the volunteers who turn out to help every time. Then this morning we have a man who uses a van to try to kill people coming out of a mosque after prayers. I’ve already heard the words mentally ill being used, and no doubt he’ll be a loner, but terrorists hope to inspire terror, so this makes this man a terrorist as far as I’m concerned.

In other news, it is too hot. I am not a lover of heat as high pressure and humidity affect my arthritis. I also have trouble sleeping, though having a cat with the loudest yowl in the world doesn’t help. Cat the elder suffers from pee and poo phoria – a well-known phenomena that cats who have been to the toilet run around like mad things and meow. As she is deaf, she is also very loud. If she’s bored and wants to play, she wanders around crying for cat the younger. As a result, I am tired and a bit tetchy.

Writing – better news here. I started my Christmas story and got 2000 words done then got a plot bunny for a short story as my publisher is looking for entries. I’ve written around 8000 of that so far – the most I’ve written in ages. I’ve scribbled in bed being unable to sleep, and so only have one scene to write from scratch now. This will involve a visit to Barry Island, which has been looking lovely this weekend. It should come in between 10-15K as asked for. That will be this week’s task. I have been buoyed up by the many positive reviews for My Highland Cowboy. If anyone would like to review While You See a Chance, please let me know.

On the reading and watching front, I finally finished Draakenwood by Jordan L Hawk and loved it as always, especially Ival’s reaction to how his sister enjoyed his desk! Now reading An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles, and yes, Justin Lazarus is great fun. Next on the TBR list is Femme by Thornton Marshall, a new writer to me. We finished Supernatural Season 7, and next I’m told is Flambards, because we need something fluffy, and I haven’t seen it.

That’s it for now. Let’s hope there aren’t any more horrific events this week anywhere in the world. I’ll leave you with a link to a blog. It’s a tough read but shows what firefighters do. These are the people who run towards.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Weekly Round Up 12th June

Monday again. It’s blustery here in Lancashire and has been for the last few days, but at least it isn’t raining now. We even had the fire on for a while on one day. Cat the younger, the only one allowed out – cat the elder is deaf and gets lost – doesn’t like the wind ruffling her fur so hasn’t enjoyed the weather recently.

Of course, last week was dominated by politics over here with yet another vote. We stayed up until around five in the morning not quite believing all that happened. Now, I’ll admit I’ve never been much of a Corbyn fan but he’s done well and probably got more of the Labour party to pull together. I mean, who could imagine Labour taking Kensington in London where the average house price is £1.4 million? So now we have a hung parliament with the DUP calling the shots with their bigoted agenda. With many LGBT MPs in the Conservative ranks, and Ken Clarke, not to mention more women MPS than ever before, it’s going to be interesting to see how things go. In fact, two good things came out of the vote - the increase in female, BAME, LGBT and disabled MPS and that so many young people voted. This might help you work out what happened, or not!

On the writing front, I finally wrote THE END on my WIP, Half Full, at 103K words. This is the longest story I’ve written. I think it might split into two stories, and it needs a third to finish it off properly and settle all that’s happened. I’ve made a start on the Christmas story, but need to get more of a feel for my MCs, Jason and Adam. I’m writing a May/Nov story – a bit more than Sep and less that Dec, which could be any length but aiming at about 20K. As I don’t plan, who knows?

Last week saw the general release of My Highland Cowboy. This story has received some lovely reviews. It is quite fluffy for me. After writing lots of angst, I wanted to write a story with less. The problems in this one are practical. It interested me to see comments about the age difference between the MCs. There is one, but I didn’t consider it much like in Sporting Chance. It’s what inspired me to write a real age gap story, I suppose. It has been a busy time promoting books. I’d also like to remind people about While You See a Chance. I’d love if people gave this story a chance. It’s had a few lovely reviews. I know it isn’t a typical m/m romance story as the MCs are old and it has a pretty important back story, but as I’ve said before, it was important to me. Again, I’d like to thank Rachel Maybury and all the bloggers and reviewers as well as anyone who retweeted or shared posts. Now, I need to get on with the next one and let Half Full settle before I edit.

We watched State of Play which held up as a story and now we’re back to Supernatural, season seven which isn’t a favourite – lots of dick jokes and less Castiel, although what there is of him is great. Started watching Orange is the New Black as well as The Handmaid’s Tale and Poldark is back. Really upset that Sense8 has been cancelled. Why seems a bit of a mystery. It is such an awesome show, but maybe it’s simply too expensive.

I haven’t managed much reading as I’m only getting time before I go to sleep. I’m enjoying Draakenwood by Jordan L Hawk, and have added around five more books to my kindle. The TBR list is growing again.

That’s it for this week. Have a good week everyone and at least us Brits have the joy of knowing President Trump isn’t going to visit anytime soon.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

More Reviews for My Highland Cowboy

What started as a vacation fling quickly turns to more, more of something neither man is in a place to have or work around. There was a lot of push and pull between Duncan and Drew but none was drama filled. The chemistry within the months of them trying to figure things out was off-the-charts hot! Not many writers are this good at writing this type of push and pull and keeping the level of heat without letting the struggle overwhelm the storyline.

The writing was beautiful along with the world she created for us in the Highlands of Scotland; from the warm days of summer to the snowy days of winter.

I loved the story, the characters, and their families and I’m hoping to read a story about Lachie and Cormac, please!!

This is a very enjoyable read – and manages to combine the classic cowboy romance in the setting of the Highlands of Scotland – and the cowboy falls for a London based fashion designer who, amongst other things, makes lacy male underwear! SO much opportunity for hotness, in and out of clothing.

Ms. Milne has created a story which hangs together really well; it deals with the real issues of being gay in a remote community, and the ‘impossibility’ of someone wanting to uproot their life and move to such a remote location – however much they may care for the person. The issues of Duncan’s preferences for men or wmen were not looked at in any depth, even though I thought they might be. But there was no doubting the chemistry between them. The pragmatism of both men was interesting and usually not one examined much in romance, so I liked the issue being considered.

Overall, a good read, with some lovely scenes and fabulous side characters – thank you, Ms. Milne.

The Way She Reads
… the attraction is undeniably there, from the very first moment Drew and Duncan set eyes on each other, and Duncan’s feeble attempts to keep his distance really don’t stand a chance against Drew’s charms.

And thus starts a very sexy story about two men finding their way towards each other and a happily ever after despite the apparently insurmountable obstacles they face. To the say the journey is a shock to poor Duncan’s system is a gross understatement. He goes from almost completely innocent and closeted to discovering a kinky and horny side he never knew he had, literally almost overnight. And it was a delight to watch.

With two endearing protagonists, a fabulous and colourful cast of secondary characters, a potential sequel already lined up, lots of steamy scenes, and plenty moments to make you smile or laugh out loud, this story will keep you entertained from start to finish. Not to mention that the vivid and glorious descriptions of the Scottish Highlands may well tempt you to plan a visit of your own.

My Highland Cowboy is an interesting twist on the usually-American-set ranch story.  Taking place in the Scottish Highlands, the ranch is owned by Duncan, who has turned it into a dude ranch.  A successful ranch, but a lonely rancher, until he meets the indomitable Drew.  Drew is a fashion designer whose sister is marrying Duncan’s best friend at the ranch, and it’s his job to make the ladies beautiful.  He is full of swish with not a shy bone in his body, and he is catnip to Duncan’s inner feline.

The plot was a curious mix that shouldn’t work, but did.  The two men tried hard to find some semblance of balance in order to make their attraction work itself into something more.  A few days together read like a great many more, so while there was basically insta-love, which I normally don’t like outside paranormal books, it didn’t actually feel like insta-love, but rather like they had plenty of time to feel each other out, learn about themselves, and then come together as a pair.  The chemistry is strong, and their intimacy was very hot!

There is a decent size peripheral cast of characters, and I enjoyed watching their antics as well as those of the protagonists while dealing with the peripherals.  Written in third person past tense, the dialogue is engaging, the humor is strong, and the story pulls you deeply into their world.

A solid, fun read, I am rating this at four stars and recommending it for anyone on the lookout for depth and humor with love woven throughout.  I’m fast becoming a fan of Alexa Milne, and this is just another shining example of why!

Joyfully Jay said

Confession time; cowboys aren’t my favorite thing, but Scotland was the draw here. Plus, the premise sounded promising, and I was looking forward to reading this book. Milne gives a sweet love story that, while could have benefitted from some more depth in places, was ultimately a feel good read I enjoyed.
The plot itself is wonderful in its simplicity. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but Milne makes it work. Just two guys who are attracted to each other, trying to navigate their worlds when they are so very different from one another. Add in kilts, lacy men’s underwear, and some Highland cows, and you have a nice story. And if there is a sequel in the making with two secondary MCs, then I’ll definitely read it.

We see both of these characters’ points of view which allows us to understand these characters better.  I could feel Duncan’s confusion about his feelings that contradicted how his grandfather raised him but knowing that he can’t leave his ranch he resigns himself to nothing more ever happening.  Drew has never felt this strongly for a lover before and can’t seem to get Duncan out of his head, not even able to move on as he planned when he got back to London.  I loved that Drew realized he couldn’t live without Duncan and was able to adjust his life to make their dreams possible.

Cover art is beautiful and gives a great visual of Duncan and background for the story.

Between the two guys, Duncan was clearly the more innocent one even though he was a decade older than Drew. Based on how he described himself and his past sexual encounters, it sounds as if he's on the asexuality spectrum, but hey, I could be wrong. His hesitance didn't have much to do with wanting to keep his sexuality quiet but more about his lack of experience and knowledge about what it was he was feeling towards Drew. That bit of naivete made Duncan a very interesting character, especially as he experienced self-discovery once he was with Drew.
Speaking of Drew, I admit that there were moments that I wasn't too thrilled with how he was pushing Duncan. Then there was the whole way he handled their last day together over the summer and then proceeded to not do anything about his feelings when he returned to London. The fact that it was Duncan who made the first move--not just once!--to want to spend time together made me want to smack Drew. Then there was the Sebastian situation. Argh! But by the end, Drew won me over, and My Highland Cowboy turned out to be a four-starred read.

This is a sweet and sassy romance, with Drew bringing the sass as well as the sweetness. Duncan’s a great guy, and has a lot of love to offer, but his devotion to his heritage is holding him hostage in a place where there aren’t a lot of options for gay partners. I liked how they worked through things, each man making a plan to carve time for the other. These guys have so much love to give, and recognize that connections like theirs are special and shouldn’t be denied just because they aren’t 100% convenient.

There are really nice side characters here, who are supportive and loving of both Duncan and Drew. We get to meet some other closeted men or Duncan’s acquaintance, and the stage is set for new romances down the road.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Reviews for My Highland Cowboy

I've had some lovely reviews so far for My Highland Cowboy, but don't just take my word for it. Here are some of them.

An out and proud fashion designer and a somewhat in the closet and shy Scottish cowboy were that backdrop for Alexa Milne’s newest tale, My Highland Cowboy.

Drew and Duncan lit the scenery and pages with Ms. Milne’s eloquent writing and creative story telling. I was transported into the Highland ranch and felt a part of their lives.
The shy and unimposing mannerisms of Duncan elicited a tug at my heart and I adored Drew’s take charge attitude – especially his relentless pursuit of Duncan. Together the men radiated beauty and affection.

The secondary characters added depth to the story and I hope to see many more books transpire form this one.
My Highland Cowboy was a lovely read and should not be missed.

MM Good Book Reads said

This is a great story that I found intriguing, the idea of a Scottish cowboy was just fascinating and having a fashion designer as his love interest was delicious.

Both Duncan and Drew are great characters; although it took me a short while to warm up to Drew (he was a little brazen at first). Both Duncan and Drew proved to be a match made in heaven, even though they do have a bit of angst as they try to work out what they both wanted and how to get it.

The story is perfectly written with it being a sweet romance with just an added dash of angst, the relationship is fast paced but it felt natural. Duncan and Drew just fit perfectly together making it seem natural for them to fall for each other so quickly.

I enjoyed this story and thought that it was a great read; it’s perfect for a lazy afternoon in the sun where we get a huge dose of romance shot through with hot sex.   

The Geekery Book Review said

These two don’t get off to the best start, Drew is out and proud and will flirt with anyone while Declan has led a much more sheltered life, not really admitting his sexual preferences to anyone. Drew comes on a bit strong for him but eventually these two get passed that awkward beginning. They can’t deny their connection and their chemistry and set out on what is only supposed to be a week of fun. But when it’s time to leave, it certainly isn’t easy for either man. I think Alexa Milne does a fantastic job with this part of the story – so much emotion and feeling! My heart hurt for these two during their time apart! But is does make for a great story.

Drew and Declan have to earn their happy, both men figuring out what is really important in life and if that can make that happen together. This book made me laugh, made me swoon and yes there were a few tears, it really had it all. I loved both of these men, Drew with his sass and strength and Declan with his sweet heart and innocence! They fall in love and find a way to make it work! I definitely am looking forward to reading more from Alexa Milne!

On the surface, Duncan McLeish and Drew Sinclair could not be more opposite than their country vs. city lives they live.  But, as in life, not everything is as it seems.  Duncan's upbringing wasn't as country as his ranch now and Drew didn't always live in the city but now their lives are very different.  Will their chemistry be enough to overcome the location logistics? Well, for that answer you will have to give My Highland Cowboy a read for yourself but I can safely and honestly tell you that you will not regret it.

The old adage sometimes you have to give to get, well that is what Duncan and Drew are facing if they want to be together and watching them deny what they feel is more than a fling is a bit heartbreaking but seeing their family and friends rally around them, or at least try to, is heartwarming.  Having a story that can both break your heart and warm it on the same page is not easy and shows real talent by the author, as is having just the right amount of angst mixed into a lighthearted read.  

My Highland Cowboy is not my first Alexa Milne read and it has proven that I'll be looking at her backlist to add to my TBR list.

Bayou Book Junkie said

I loved Duncan and I really wanted him to get his HEA, especially with all he'd lost already. His grandfather had really done a number with him, but it was nice seeing him come out of his shell eventually. I liked Drew, but it took me a while to warm up to him. He was too brash at first and that put me off. He did get better and there was no denying the sparks that flew when Duncan and Drew were together. I adored that there wasn't unnecessary angst in their relationship, aside from the long-distance thing. It was refreshing.

I loved the secondary characters and overall, the story was very enjoyable, fun, hot, with just enough angst to keep things interesting and very well-written. I do hope the author writes us Lachlan and Cormac's story next, because I'd love to read it!

Very recommendable!

The Keysmash Blog said

The setting of this book is so vivid I could practically smell the hay. Duncan’s ranch is a lovely backdrop for a sweet but fraught love story.

I got attached to Duncan immediately; as he came out of his shell more and more, shedding the feelings of not being accepted, of repressing who he really is, my emotional investment grew. I loved Drew as well, with his confidence and his preference for lingerie, but it was Duncan’s heart that I felt most protective of.
There’s just enough angst and pining to offset the sort of idyllic ranch moments, so it doesn’t ever veer into too-fluffy territory. It’s the perfect mix of quiet and sweet and sad, with a lot of hotness thrown in.

Who doesn't love a cowboy....

I haven't read a book for ages about a rugged man in a cowboy hat and some tight fitting jeans and this definitely hit the spot.

When fashion designer Drew meets ranch owner Duncan, both men are surprised at the mutual attraction. A family wedding means that they will be bumping in to each other and neither of them want this to be just a fling but their lives are so far apart they don't know if it will ever work.

This is the sort of book that I couldn't put down and honestly some of the moments these two shared were amazingly hot!!!

Shame it's a standalone as I would love more of their story. 5 out of 5 stars.

Making It Happen Book Blog said

My Highland Cowboy is one of those stories that’s just right, with the perfect balance of…well, just about everything.  Wonderful setting, characters I adored and in whom I became invested, just the right amount of angst, and some hot and sexy intimate scenes thrown in for good measure.  This is definite re-read material, and though this is the first book I’ve read by this author, I’m now adding a whole bunch more of her books to my TBR list!

As I mentioned previously, this story really does have a perfect balance.  It is very well written with a good hook to keep your attention, and the chemistry between Duncan and Drew is quite obvious and definitely sizzling.  I felt their emotional pain as they tried to work through not being together, and could feel their want when they were apart.  To me it was evident who would need to be the one to make some concessions, it was just the “how” of it that needed to be sorted out.  Getting to that point while feeling their love as well as their aching from being apart was what kept me riveted to the pages.

My Highland Cowboy was a lovely 4.5-star read for me, and I do highly recommend it to all M/M romance fans.  If you’re a fan of the Scottish Highlands or cowboys, you’re going to love it even more.