Monday, 9 October 2017

Round Up Post 9th October

Morning from a dull and overcast Lancashire where it has just started to rain. Woke up this morning and it was one of those days when you know you’re alive because you ache all over – the joys of arthritis when the weather is damp. It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a blog so I hope everyone who glances at these things is all right. Recent events in Las Vegas show that you can take nothing for granted. I’m British and I don’t understand the need for guns many people in the US seem to have. Though, having said that both of my neighbours have guns they use for hunting rabbits. It’s not that we don’t have guns over here but that we don’t have automatic assault rifles or own so many guns and carry them around while shopping in Tesco. Even police carrying guns don’t make me feel safer when I see them on the street. I have fired an air rifle a long time again now shooting tins off the fence, but that’s my only experience.

On to other things. Last week Right Here, Right Now came out. This is an anthology of six contemporary gay romance stories by some great authors. Each story is different. Mine, The Matchmaker is quite fluffy and low angst and will be available on its own 17th October. Links to both are on my blog page where you will also find this piece.
I’ve spent most of the last week getting a final draft of the first part of what I’m calling my Half trilogy. Yes, this is the story of three halves. The first is Half Full and introduces the characters of Jonah and Owen as well as their friends and family. I love writing all the secondary characters and the dialogue between them and the MCs. The idea for this story came from a documentary I saw about an athlete who’d been adopted a few years back so you know one of the MCs, Owen is adopted, but he isn’t an athlete. He’s a librarian and mixed race/biracial – I’ve had different opinions about which I should use. The other MC, Jonah, is based on a secondary character from another story, who I wanted to give a story to but it wasn’t possible so I adapted him to fit into this one. I love Jonah. He’s a great believer in paying back, is full of life like Tigger, but has his own insecurities. He produces beautiful things from wood. I’m lucky to have Rebecca, my last editor from Pride, giving it the once over. Part two is written and with my beta, and part three has a lot of ideas and will be next writing when I finish WIP. I need to get back on track with the WIP, now called Two for the Road. It’s at 35K with probably about another 15K to write. At least they’ve got together at last! I’m still grinding it out slowly.
I’ve been reading a bit more lately and my TBR list is growing. I’ve finished Silk by K C Wells. Loved the story as I needed at bit of low angst. Raced through An Unsuitable Heir by K J Charles. Loved the while series and how the ending was sorted. Just started Axios, having read so much about it, by Jaclyn Osborn. I know very little about Sparta but watched all of Spartacus (Nagron needs no further explanation) and have studied Roman history so hoping that will help. I’ve some books by new to me writers, C F White, Annabeth Albert and Robin Covington on my TBR list. I am also eagerly awaiting Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger. I loved the Parasol Protectorate series and two of my favourite characters are Biffy and Lyall. I wrote fanfic. The cover for this new book that brings these two together, is gorgeous – a corseted waistcoat – yum. I wish I could include it here.
On the watching front, I finished Shadowhunters and adored Magnus Bane. We watched World Without End based on the book by Ken Follett, and once again I was thankful not to have been female back then. We’ve started watching Star Trek Discovery. I am a huge fan and as I also love Jason Issacs, this is a must. I first loved Jason when he played Hook – love a pirate in a puffy white blouse or not as below. Our latest boxset watch is Buffy the Vampire Slayer – yes, all seven series which we may mix with Angel. Other excitement is the end of this summer's Hellatus with the return of Supernatural this week.

Right, I think that’s enough from me. Have a good week everyone and happy sales. 

Oh and you can add The Matchmaker to your reading list if you'd like here

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Right Here, Right Now - anthology of contemporary gay romance

I'd seen the call for stories for this anthology from Pride Publishing but didn't have an idea and I was also deep into writing another story, so I ignored it, then I received an e-mail. Could I write 15000 words? I wasn't sure. I mulled it over attempting to find a story, then from nowhere the first words jumped into my head - "I know you like him." I then started to think who might say these words and to whom would he say them and a story was born. 
I'm a pantster but I got out my ideas pad and scribbled down ideas for characters, locations and issues and The Matchmaker was created. The main characters are Simon, a businessman, Tom, his adopted son who says the opening lines, and Josh, Tom's carer. They live in Cardiff and some of the story involves a visit to Barry Island shown on the cover.

There are five other wonderful stories in the anthology, all very different from some amazing authors. I've read them all.

’Undercover’ by Lily Harlem
When two alpha males collide, sparks will fly.
’Never the Groom’ by Samantha Cayto
A cold night turns unexpectedly hot.
’The Soldier Next Door’ by Brigham Vaughn
Sometimes, love is right next door.
’The Matchmaker’ by Alexa Milne
Sometimes you need a little push.
’Throwaway’ by Jon Keys
Garrett escaped the death threat from his family, but the Texas Panhandle is where he may be at the end of any hope.
’The Coach’ by Thom Collins
A routine assignment unlocks the secrets of his past.

So if you love mm romance and need a short story to fill in a boring lunchtime or to read before going to bed or any time really, why not download this collection?


You can use

Universal Amazon link -

Monday, 25 September 2017

Round Up Post - 25th September

Sorry, it’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog. This morning, I’m having a bit of a panic about pulling a muscle behind my right leg as it’s aching. Last year, I managed to tear the thigh muscle behind my left leg which led to me being stuck upstairs and then down when I did it again. I don’t usually mention it here, but combined with my arthritis, my movement has been limited. So, here I am sat on a cool pack on this dull and overcast September morning. I can hardly believe it’s October at the weekend.

Right, enough of that. Lots going on in the world. The mess that is Brexit continues to annoy the hell out of me. More stupid in fighting and no one seeming to have any idea what they’re doing. Then there are the ‘mad’ men trying to lead us to war, which reminds me of kids in the playground. I always described world war one as two gangs of boys simply running out of options and then choosing to hit each other. Finally, the earth seems to be trying to tell us something and it isn’t good. Meanwhile, we’re still trying to put three houses into one and had over twenty bags of stuff collected by the British Heart Foundation with no doubt more to come.

On to the writing news. I wrote words last week, around 4500 of them on my current WIP. This is my age difference story which has a title as well. It’s now up to nearly 32K words, but I’m not sure how long it’s going to be by the end. They have finally gotten past the kissing stage, but only just, and it’s going to take a rewrite because the MCs keep telling me things they didn’t mention at the beginning of the story. Book 2 of my trilogy set in Norfolk is ready to be sent to my beta, and I have ideas of what I need to tackle in the third part which I intend to write when I’ve finished this story. I still have an unfinished story which I left at 20K words hoping for inspiration.

In other writing news, the anthology of contemporary gay romance, Right Here, Right Now is out on
general release 3rd October, but can be pre-ordered now from Amazon, Pride Publishing and First For Romance. My story, The Matchmaker is a fluffy piece set in South Wales. The story will be released on its own in November with a wonderful cover from Emmy Ellis. I am in great company in this book, so why not check it out?

And onto watching and reading news. I haven’t managed much reading over the last few weeks, but have completed Yanni’s Story by N R Walker. I’ve enjoyed this series but I have to admit to having an issue with ‘daddy’ stories. I nearly put this down on several occasions, but did finish it. Other than this, which is a personal squick for me, the story, as always, is well written and poignant. It also helped me work out a few things about my own age difference story. I’m currently reading two other books. Firstly, The Monet Murders by Josh Lanyon. I love Josh’s work and I enjoyed The Mermaid Murders, but I am finding Sam’s behaviour annoying. I won’t spoiler. I hope it’s resolved, but then again, my favourites Adrien and Jake had their moments of stupid behaviour too. I’m also reading A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. It’s interesting comparing gay romance and gay literature and how they are structured and written. I keep thinking I wouldn’t get away with that huge section of exposition or that info dump, not to mention the use of adverbs. Still, I have enjoyed it and I’m still hoping for a happy ending. Next read will be Memories by Ruby Moone, followed by An Unsuitable Heir by K J Charles, or Romancing the Werewolf (see the fabulous cover) by Gail Carriger.
On our boxset watch, we have finally finished all twelve seasons of Supernatural before season thirteen begins next month. Sadly, I’ve not managed to persuade my fellow watcher of the existence of Destiel – oh well. We are currently keeping up with Victoria, in which nothing much happens, and the next watch will be World Without End based on the books by Ken Follet set in Medieval England, followed by Buffy which for me will be a rewatch. I’ve also nearly finished watching Shadowhunters which I’ve enjoyed mostly for Magnus the Warlock. Also this starts today and I may be a little excited.
That’s everything for now. I hope everyone is well and happy sales to all my author friends out there.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cover Reveal - The Matchmaker

I'm happy to reveal the cover for my short story The Matchmaker below. This story is one of six in Right Here, Right Now an anthology of contemporary gay romance with great authors. You can get it on early download from Pride Publishing or pre order on Amazon. The anthology will be released on 3rd October.

The cover for The Matchmaker was created by the wonderful Emmy Ellis and the image at the bottom is of Barry Island which appears in the story. Barry is my home town and has recently undergone a transformation which has seen improvements to the beach. You can follow new updates @BarryIsland on twitter. So here is the lovely cover. The story will be available by itself during the last week of November.

If you want to find out more about the story, I've written a blog post for Pride here. It also has some stuff about me and what I'm doing right now.

Hopefully, normal service will return on my own blogging, real life permitting.

I'll be giving away a copy of The Matchmaker nearer the time of general release.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Round Up Blog Post, 4th September

Hello from Lancashire. There has definitely been an Autumnal nip in the air. So, while we wait to see if the end of the world is coming, here’s my update.
Today is an odd day for me. Even though it’s been four years since I had a back to school day, it still seems wrong not to have bought stationery supplies and been mildly excited, that is until the excitement of new classes wore off. My nephew starts infants school this week. I have to say, I’m very glad not to have to worry about education with all the changes to exams as the government tinkers yet again. It is also my brother’s wedding anniversary today. It’s not been an easy year for him and his family so it’s nice to have something to celebrate.
Over the last fortnight, I’ve done the first edits of what are currently called Half Full and Half Time which are 58K and 47K words respectively, though, as I’ve realised I’ve missed a scene, the second one will get longer. I intend to write book three before even thinking of submitting anywhere, especially as my usual publisher is currently up in the air. In other news, I have written some words on my car story – only 4000 but more than I have for a while. It has now reached 21K words and there has been a kiss. I’m sure Riley and Dylan will get themselves sorted at some point.

I’ve managed to read a few books over the last couple of weeks. I enjoyed Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell, although both MCs irritated me at times. Mid Life Crisis by Audra North, a new author to me, was a nice easy read with older MCs, and I enjoyed If I was a Girl by Meredith Russo. This was her first novel about a trans girl. As the author explained, she decided to make the MCs transition much easier than it would have been in real life. I enjoyed the story, although I felt sorry for the character who turned out to be the ‘baddie’, especially when, after her big moment, she disappeared. Now, I’m reading Experiment by Dan Skinner, which is a long read. I’m about 30% through and finding it fascinating, especially with everything going on in the world at the moment.

Next, recent boxset watching has included catching up with the first series of Victoria, which I’ve found to be rather dull, and watching the first series of Dirk Gently. My watching partner found Dirk annoying. It is very quirky, but I’m looking forward to the next series. Next up to watch is Supernatural S12 which arrived today.
Finally, My Highland Cowboy continues to get lovely reviews and tomorrow Right Here, Right Now, is available on early download form Pride Publishing. My story in this anthology is called The Matchmaker in which Tom attempts to bring together his father, Simon, and his carer, Josh. This story will be released on its own in November and I have a lovely cover for it from the wonderful Emmy Ellis who I’d like to thank for all the other covers. I will say this new one has a photograph of the main beach at Barry Island, my home town, on it. I will never forget receiving my first cover for Sporting Chance over three years ago. It was a tremendous moment in my life along with holding my first novel in my hands.

That’s enough for this week. Have a good week everyone and happy sales.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Round Up 21st August

Morning everyone from a cool Lancashire. The weather here has been unsettled to say the least. I’m sorry I haven’t had an update for a while. The truth is I haven’t felt like writing much. Lack of writing and pain have left me feeling a bit fed up, not to mention all the nastiness happening in the world. Still, matters are moving forward in some areas of life.

As I said above, writing has been slow. I’ve added about 8000 words to my May/Dec WIP which now stands at nearly 20K. I have ideas, but find my concentration won’t last more than 1500 words at a time. Instead, I’ve been editing. I have a 100K story which I’m splitting into two. The first half is with my betas, but I’m always looking for anyone else who fancies a read. I’m editing the second half now, and jotting down ideas for the final part. This will be a trilogy with the same two MCs set in Norfolk. Jonah is a larger than life character who produces beautiful bespoke furniture, loves amateur dramatics, and has found a new family after his own threw him out as a teenager. Owen, too didn’t have the best of starts in life, but having been adopted as a toddler, grew up happy and loved. Now a librarian who fosters kittens, like Jonah, he’s not exactly looking for love, but isn’t averse to a little exploration with the man who literally turns up on his doorstep. I plan to continue the editing with more writing when I can.
In other writing news, the anthology containing my short story – The Matchmaker – is up for preorder with Pride Publishing tomorrow. Right Here, Right Now is a collection of six contemporary stories. You can find out more from the link here.

I haven’t managed much reading, but the TBR list has grown. Last book finished was The Bones of Our Fathers by Elin Gregory, who is fast becoming an auto buy for me, as I love her style. Continuing my archaeologist phase, I’m now reading Spectred Isle by KJ Charles. As usual, I am in awe of any author who can create worlds and different realities. After this, I’m not sure whether to read Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell, or something completely different. I downloaded If I was a Girl by Meredith Russo because I have a side character in my long story who is twelve-year-old and announced he wants to be a girl. I’ve read a few stories by FTM authors, but not MTF.
On the watching front, we’ve finished all the available Supernatural until S12 comes out on DVD next month. We’ve also watched all five series of Orphan Black which ended well for me, and is highly recommended. We also rewatched all the Harry Potter films before playing my birthday present – Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit. My next watching choice will be the Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. I loved the books. I’m such a fan of Douglas Adams.
Well, that’s it for now. I hope life is treating you well. Enjoy the eclipse if you are in America, and with any luck the future will be brighter for everyone soon.

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.