Wednesday 31 December 2014


2014 – The year so many things changed


Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to blog some more, but I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. You see I’m already good at feeling guilty for things I haven’t done, so adding failing to achieve my resolution isn’t something I want to do. Therefore, I hope I will put some of my thoughts down more often, but maybe I won’t.

This year has brought major changes in my life. After being made redundant because my school, where I’d worked for 28 years, was being closed, I applied for early retirement because my arthritis made many things impossible. My old school had worked around me, but I argued, successfully, that another school wouldn’t want to be so generous to an old and expensive history teacher, no matter how good her references. To begin with my application was refused, but many things changed for me in March. As well as my retirement, I also was offered a contract for my first novel by Totally Bound Publishers.

Sporting Chance, the story of teacher, Iestyn Jones and out, gay, rugby player, Dan Morgan, came out in November and has done reasonably well, hitting the top 100 in gay romance in the UK and Australia. Looking back, I’m amazed the publisher took on such a raw manuscript. I’ve learnt a heck of a lot since then about editing and, indeed, writing. Reviews of my fanfiction had told me I could tell a tale, but I’ve discovered there’s so much more to this writing lark than the story, and my admiration for writers has grown immensely. I’ve read over 150 books this year, mostly mm romance to find out how other authors do it. Now, instead of just reading the story, I look at how the story is told, even down to the placing of commas.

In March, buoyed by the success my first contract, I submitted another story, Rainbow Connection, the tale of Mick Flanagan, a social outcast and Ceri Llewellyn, his knight in not so shining armour, who persuades him to step out into the world, to MLR Press. They turned it down, but suggested some revisions, so I did as they asked and sent it back and heard nothing. Then, out of the blue, I received an e-mail offering me a contract. More editing and several months later, the novella comes out next February.

Since then, I’ve written a short story for Goodreads, and discovered the no-no of adultery in mm stories, and had another short story rejected for an anthology. My experience of editing has taught me why, and I’ve rewritten the story intending to submit it again somewhere as a ‘light bite’ story. I’ve finished writing the sequel to Sporting Chance about Aron, Dan’s first boyfriend, which is called Comfort Zone, and written another story about two older men, entitled No Place Like Home. I’m hoping someone will take a chance on John and Jamie’s story of finding love after over thirty years apart, as they deserve to have their story told, and older people need love too.

I have other ideas waiting to be made into stories; Emlyn Williams is particularly keen to tell me about himself, usually at around five in the morning. His story will be the third, after Comfort Zone, and already has the provisional title Half Full, because he’s that sort of a guy. In the meantime, I have another Scottish story to finish, but it’s been tough going.

All of this hasn’t been achieved without the help of others. My friends and family have put up with me going on about the men in my head. They’ve listened to and read my words and not batted an eyelid at my choice of genre. My online friends, both authors and in fandom, have also given me invaluable encouragement and advice. My editors have done the same. It’s been a real team effort.

So, that was 2014. My arthritis has good and bad days, and so does my writing. It's funny, when I was young I used to walk home from school day dreaming about what life would be like in the year 2000; now, we’re fifteen years into the new century. One thing I never dreamed was that I’d be able to call myself an author, but, finally, in 2015 I can give myself that description. 2014 was indeed a year of changes. I wonder what 2015 will bring.



Saturday 15 November 2014

Prism Book Alliance Give away

The winner pulled out of the TARDIS mug

- and when you read the book you'll find out why that's relevant IS .........

So Lisa G if you let me know if you want an EPUB, PDF or signed print version let me know and thanks for entering the draw.

Friday 14 November 2014

Giving Generously

Every year when I was writing fanfiction I used to write a story for Children in Need. This is one of those stories. Now I'm retired I don't have the fun day anymore in school. I thought I'd just put this on my blog. It is the story of where the idea for Pudsey came from according to Torchwood.

Giving Generously


“Please tell again why I’m doing this, Jack,” Ianto asked rather plaintively.

 “It’s the best way of fooling them and the general public, Ianto,” Jack replied.

 “And it gives the rest of us a day off and a good laugh,” Owen added sarcastically.

 “Aww, doesn’t he look cute?” Tosh added.

 “I do not look cute! And you can say goodbye to any coffee today, all of you. I can’t use the machine wearing this.” Ianto waved his paws.

 “Rift alert, Jack. Looks like it’s beginning. I’m getting spikes all over Queen Street. It seems we’ve got about twenty this year, spread across several shops.” Tosh kept her eyes on the screen logging the exact locations.

 “Come on, Ianto; time to go and round them up. Owen, are you ready to fix their eyes before we send them back?”

 “Yeah, here are the bandages to put over them until you bring them back here. Why you used spotty ones the first time I’ll never understand.”

 “We had to improvise. Spots were in that year and you know it’s a nasty eye injury. And talking of spots, what d’you all think?” He slipped the braces from his shoulders. “These were so worth the over £3000 I paid for them.” Jack pulled off his trousers to reveal his spotty boxers. “Now, I can be a John Barrowman look-­­­­a-like and nobody will bat an eyelid when we take the bears. Gwen, as a special treat, you can drive the SUV. We’ll let you know when we find one and you can bring it round. The container is in the back with the food. The pesky blighters are always hungry. Just let the police know we’ll deal with them.”

 Gwen nodded. “I’ve already alerted Andy and he’ll let us know if any of them go rogue. We can’t have a tiny cuddly Pudsey running rampant through M&S again like last year.”

 “You should have been here the year they got into the Woolworth’s canteen,” Jack said.

 “Not to mention when they raided the Brains brewery. You really don’t want to ever see what they’re like when they’re drunk!” Tosh added.

 “But that still doesn’t explain why I have to dress like this,” Ianto pleaded.

 “Look, you know the ones who come through the Rift are infants. You’ll look like their parent and it’ll keep them quiet. You know they’re dangerous if they get the smell of food in their nostrils. And, anyway, you look cute. I promise I’ll make it worth your while later.” Jack winked.

 Ignoring him Ianto began to feel about the fur. “I’d like to know how as there are no zips in this thing. And how do I go to the loo?”

 Jack reached towards Ianto. Finding an opening he hadn’t realised was there, Jack released him from the confines of the suit. From behind, the others just saw Ianto lurch as he whispered, none too quietly to Jack: “We are so using that later on.”

 “I don’t believe it,” Owen snarked. “Please don’t let me be anywhere near here for that!” Jack just grinned and took Ianto’s paw. “Come on Ianto, work to do.”

 It took them all day to round up the bears. Jack was mobbed several times by women who thought he was a certain well known entertainer. Ianto lost count of the kids he had to cuddle, not to mention small bears who cooed in his arms. The kids loved it when the bears moved and parents kept asking where they could buy such a toy because they were so lifelike. They also made a shed load of money in their collection tins. By late afternoon all the bears were gathered in the SUV and returned to the Hub.

 Ianto collapsed onto the sofa totally exhausted. He didn’t even have the energy to remove the suit. Owen had repaired all the bears and checked them over. They were all sitting happily in the cells, waiting for the next day when the Rift would open for them to return home, as it did each year.

 Tosh put a coffee in front of Ianto, who took off the bear’s head so he could drink it. Jack came down from his office.

 “Right you three, you can go now. Ianto and I have plans, and I’ve a promise to fulfil. I don’t think you want to be around for that!”

 All three left as instructed. Tosh knew she and Gwen would be able to watch later, if they chose to and nudged each other, giggling as they left.

 A short time later Jack sat astride Ianto, who was making the growling noises Jack had suggested.

 “Sorry, Jack,” he gasped. “I know you wanted me to but I can’t do this with the head on.” He looked down and wondered how he was going to explain those stains to the dry cleaners. It would probably cost a fortune to get the suit cleaned. Jack put his hands together and licked his lips.

“Oh well,” Ianto said. “I’ve always believed in giving generously to a good cause. How much did you say you’d donate, Jack?” he asked.  “Wanna give it another go?”



Saturday 18 October 2014



I put all the names into my furry wolf hood and glove combo and then pulled out one name.

And the winner is

So tea58 if you'd like to let me know if you want an e-copy or a print copy or an Amazon voucher for when it is released I'll sort something out. You can contact me on here or on the blog post with your e-mail address or I'm quite happy to send you a signed copy after 7th November wherever you are.

Thanks again


Friday 26 September 2014

Sporting Chance now on pre-order

Fancy giving a new author a chance? My first novel, Sporting Chance, is now available for pre-order at Totally Bound.
You find a bit about me and an except from the book on my page. Here's the description
Sometimes keeping hold of love is just as hard as finding it.
Dan and Iestyn are looking for romance. A school trip, a love of history, a wedding, a tango, the game of chess, and their friends and family all help the two men to realise that they’ve finally found true love with each other.
Iestyn thinks that he’s completely ordinary and that Dan is the only out and currently gay rugby player anywhere. Being gay can be difficult enough. Being famous also has its problems. But being gay, famous and a sportsman can make finding love complicated. So when Dan Morgan meets Iestyn Jones and gives him his phone number, their road ahead has more than a few bumps to overcome.
Will Iestyn and Dan overcome the obstacles thrown in their paths? Or will fame destroy their lives as well as their love?
Or if you'd like to ask me anything I'm here or on Goodreads.

Monday 18 August 2014

A beginners experience of editing

Experiencing my first professional edit

 It’s funny. I was checking yesterday how many words of fanfiction I’ve written according to the various sites my on which my work appears, and I’m guessing it’s somewhere around 700,000 words. I started writing, mostly Torchwood fanfiction, in 2009 after the death of the popular character Ianto Jones. Now, when I look at the first story I wrote, which was one called Consequences, I cringe at many things, especially the punctuation, but I have to admit, that until I started writing my original stories, I never considered such things as point of view or show not tell. I wrote what I wanted to write. I wanted people to like my stories and many did. I made friends among the Torchwood community on such places as and I found a great group of people who encouraged me to continue, and I know I wrote some stories, both canon and au, that resonated with my readers. There are some I’m very proud to have written.

In 2011 I had an idea for an original novel. Naturally, as I’d been writing gay m/m romance in my fanfiction, I decided this was going to be my genre. I suppose my beta saying that I was rubbish at writing het sex may have had something to do with my choice. I only know it felt right for me. I set my story in Wales because I know the area, having been born there, and much of the fanfiction I’d written had been set there too. Also, one of my MCs was a rugby player and we Welsh are obsessed by the game. My other MC is a teacher because again that’s what I know, and he became a history teacher as I was for thirty years. And so I began writing Sporting Chance with no real idea what I was doing – I simply wrote before work, after work, during holidays and even at lunch time, if I managed twenty minutes without interruption. It took me nearly three years to finish. I remember the elation I felt when I wrote THE END. I’d written a story with 80,000 words.

I’d written in the third person, with most of the story from the point of view of either Dan or Iestyn, but other characters had opinions at times. I also, although I didn’t know it, slipped into omniscient point of view. I will admit to not knowing what this was until my editor pointed out when I’d done it. The first lesson I’ve learnt is very much about how to keep my writing so the point of view is clear. I read other stories to see how they do it, and I know from my current WIP that I’m learning to do this much more accurately.

Another thing I’ve learned is about active v passive voice, combined with show not tell. No more he blushed, now it’s heat spread across his cheeks and no more he felt tired, ill, fed up, scared. Felt is a no-no word, and I’ve learned more how to show these emotions. My editor gave me a few examples and I took it from there – I hope. Now, I look for the ‘was’ in my writing. I also look for ‘that’ and cull them where I can. I have lists of other words that should apparently be used as sparingly as possible, such as all, own, just, really and wonder. My characters often used to wonder or realise. I’ve also learned about repeating words too closely together and now have a whole host of alternatives for ‘look’ and ‘pull’.

Next discovery was that different publishers have different rules about punctuation and the sort of thing you can include. I have to admit punctuation and grammar have never been my strong points. I failed my English language ‘O’ level on my first attempt, and my first essay at university was thrown back at me; I was told to go away and learn how to write. I bought Roget’s Thesaurus, but I was lucky to be sharing a room with someone who did English language ‘A’ level, and I owe my roommate for teaching me how to use a semi-colon. Over thirty years on and she still reads and beta checks everything I write. Ironically, my publisher doesn’t use semi-colons. I’ve yet to find if this is the norm.

Lastly, the aspect of editing or revising I found the most difficult. It is rather intimidating that my publisher gives each story gets a heat and sexiness rating. I have no idea where my story will come of the publisher’s scale, but my editor very gently pointed out areas where I needed to add sexiness because this was, after all, supposed to be an erotic romance. I’m still not sure what this means. I know I’ve read some books which I find erotic, but writing these scenes can be like walking a tightrope. You have to make sure you don’t fall into the purely mechanical part A slots into part B, or the purple prose of a “throbbing love muscle”. At one point in the revision process, I was trying to imagine what I was writing about and suddenly realised moving my hands in that particular fashion might have got me some strange looks. Maybe it’s a good excuse to ask “can I touch you in this way and you tell me how it feels to you”. Obviously, don’t do this to passing strangers on the high street! I hope in the end that these scenes were ‘improved’. I know one morning I had to rush downstairs to get the perfect sentence I’d written at three in the morning as part of my MCs first kiss down on paper. I also know I could have kept tinkering with one word here or there for ever. I groaned much like Dan or Iestyn at times – well perhaps not exactly in the same way! Oh dear, I used an exclamation mark – not supposed to use them either.

Overall, my first professional edit has been exhausting, but worthwhile. I did thirty six hours of work, over four days, sat in front of my computer, as well as numerous other minutes and hours when I was thinking about how I could improve certain passages. I think years of marking essays and pointing out where my students could improve their work has helped. I know I will be a better writer, and I also know my next editor will hopefully feel the benefit.

Writing is a learning curve, a steep one. You can learn to write well, but you do need a story to tell. I suggest buying a few books about writing. Hopefully Sporting Chance is a story people will enjoy reading as much as I loved creating all the characters. At least now, it’s certainly a better story than the one I finished writing over a year ago.

Sporting Chance by Alexa Milne and published by totally Bound will be available as follows

Pre-orders:  29th September 2014
Early download: 10th October 2014
General release: 7th November 2014

Amazon UK -

Amazon US -


Cover art for Sporting Chance

Just thought I'd share this with you. Dan Morgan and Iestyn Jones. I especially love the Welsh dragon.

Sunday 15 June 2014

My first piece of original writing

I wrote a couple of short original stories to get me going. This was my first ever story.

The Other Man

 I’d been the other man for twenty years. Always alone at Christmas and New Year, although that wasn’t quite the truth; I wasn’t really alone, I just wasn’t with him. Sometimes, if there wasn’t a family crisis, I got a birthday treat and we spent it together. Occasionally, we’d even gone out together, to a restaurant, if he was in Leeds and didn’t need to worry who might see him. We’d make love all night in an anonymous hotel room, lying between Egyptian cotton sheets, and I’d allow myself to pretend that we were together for real. I’d scream out his name just because I could, for he was mine for now, not theirs.

People knew I was gay. My family knew, my friends knew, and my work colleagues knew. I didn’t hide it; I just hid him, because that’s what he wanted. Today though, everything was different: I hoped it was the start of something new, and that I’d made the right decision. I starred at the only photograph we’d had taken together and thought back to the moment we’d met.

It was Fresher’s Week at a red brick university in the north of England, 1992. I’d been sent to the bar by the lads from my house. There were five of them, definitely a mixed bunch, and we’d decided to come out to the university bar to see what it was like. It felt strange being away from home for the first time. I was eighteen and gay, facing a whole new world of possibilities. As I tried to balance five lagers on a tray, my elbow was knocked from the side and I nearly dropped them all.

“For fuck’s sake, watch what you’re doing,” I’d said. Then I turned and found I was looking into pale green eyes; I wasn’t even sure that eyes could be that colour. The face was freckled and the hair the brightest red I’d ever seen.

“Sorry,” the redhead replied in a broad Scottish accent. He said something else as well but I hadn’t managed to understand any of it.

“That’s alright,” I shouted. “No harm done. I’d better get these back to the others before they send out a search party. Is it always this crowded in here?”

“No idea, this is the first time I’ve been in. My girlfriend said that we needed to mingle, and it’s cheaper in here than the pub.”

I remember that I’d sighed to myself. He was straight, obviously. But I couldn’t work out why I was disappointed, because there was no way this bloke could be considered to be my type. I preferred them to be tall, dark and handsome, but I’d been known to settle for short, blonde and presentable, but ginger, no, I’d never been there. So why was I wondering if this boy’s cock was surrounded by hair the same colour as that upon his head?

“My name’s Lewis,” I said. “I’m sharing a house with those four over there, just off campus. I’m doing English and Drama. What are you doing?” This all came out in a rush.

“Mechanical engineering, and I’m Hamish, by the way.” He was shouting over the noise in the bar. “We’d better get away from here. I think we’re blocking access. I’ll make a path for you to follow.”

I grabbed the tray and followed. Hamish was about my height, but stockier. I tried to get a look at his arse, but we were so close I couldn’t. We reached a clearing and parted company. I went back to the others. Every so often I saw him again through the crowds. The girl he was with was short and dainty, with blonde hair cut into a fashionable, and probably very expensive, style. She looked as if she’d never eaten anything that contained more than a few calories in her life, and as if she should have a designer dog tucked into her oversized handbag. Once or twice our eyes met across the room and I realised that Hamish must have been staring at me first. I smiled at him, and he turned away.

It was a big campus, and there was no reason we should meet again. The Arts building was at the opposite end of the campus from engineering, and yet there I was, sitting on a bench outside the union building, eating a pasty, when I saw him again a few days later.

“Hi! Getting some lunch then?” Hamish said. He was on his own.

“Sorry, I didn’t get all of that. Your accent; it’s a bit broad. Where are you from?” I replied.

“Small town called Oban, on the North West coast. I’ll try and speak slowly. Mind you, you’ve got a bit of an accent yourself.”

I suppose I was a bit ooh ar. “I’m from a small town too, small town Somerset, in south-west England, a place called Cannington.” I explained.

We sat and talked until Hamish had to get to a lecture. I watched him leave, and decided that he did indeed have a nice arse.

Somehow, we began to meet regularly from then onwards. If Hamish was alone, we’d get a coffee and something to eat before either of us had to go to a tutorial or lecture. If Hamish had Chloe with him, he’d just smile and walk past, and I’d watch him go and wonder why he never introduced me. Only a few weeks later, I found out why.

“Chloe’s gone home for the weekend,” Hamish said a month into the term. We were in the Refectory, as was usual for a Friday. “D’you fancy seeing “Reservoir Dogs”?” he’d asked. It wasn’t the type of film I usually bothered to watch, but this way I could kill two birds with one stone, do a review for my course, and get to spend time alone in the dark with Hamish.

“Yeah, why not?” I replied casually.

We met outside the cinema. I enjoyed the film, despite the fact that I’d never really been a fan of violence. Afterwards, we went back to the flat Hamish shared with Chloe, buying fish and chips on the way. Somehow, I knew what would happen, so when Hamish kissed me I kissed him back. Clothes were removed at record speed, and I discovered pretty quickly that the red hair extended everywhere. He pushed face me down on to the bed and I let him. I wanted this as much as he appeared to do.

“God, you’re gorgeous,” he said into my ear. “I want to fuck you.” I managed to turn my head and say, “Please, just get on with it”. I felt Hamish kiss down my spine and then into my crack. My cheeks were parted and I felt his tongue heading towards my hole. I know I shivered in anticipation. Hamish delved further. I remember that I tried to regain a level of calm, but failed miserably as he continued to probe. Instead I whimpered, actually whimpered, which was something I rarely did.

“Like that. do you?” Hamish had asked.

“Uh-huh,” I managed to say. I heard a drawer open and then a cap. Suddenly a finger was pushing inside me. I pushed back to meet it, desperate to feel more. Another finger followed and then a third. It burned a bit but, as Hamish found that bundle of nerves inside me, I cried out. All at once the fingers were replaced by a cock. It was glorious, feeling so full, feeling the weight of someone on top of me. Hamish spoke constantly, telling me how good this was, how tight my arse was, and how he was going to make me come. I raised myself up so I could pump my own cock. We quickly developed a rhythm until I found myself spilling all over my hand and the bed. Hamish made a whooping noise as he came inside me. He stayed there for a little while as we both tried to regain our composure, then I heard him cross the room and turned to look where he’d gone. When he returned with the wet wipes he began to clean up immediately, in silence. I wondered what to say; what was going on here? Was Chloe really his girlfriend? Did she know that Hamish was bisexual? Was I going to have to put this down to experience? And the biggest question of all I found myself thinking was,  what were these feelings my brain was shouting at me about, because I remember it seemed to be telling me that this wasn’t just about the sex, good though it was. There was more to this; I knew then and there that I wanted more, much more. I wondered if we were going to sleep together after this, or if he’d expect me to go. In the end we stayed in all the next day and I discovered that Hamish had some imagination. He was obviously a binge eater when it came to sex, which is why I was completely flummoxed, when at ten the following night, Hamish asked me to leave.

“It’s dark now so you can get out without anyone seeing. Chloe will be back tomorrow, and I need time to clear up,” he said, matter-of-factly.

“Remove the evidence, you mean?” I replied tersely.

“Look, I didn’t promise you anything,” Hamish retorted.

“No, you didn’t, that’s true.” I turned round to face him. “What the hell is going on here, Hamish? You and Chloe? Does she know that you fancy men? Or is this some deep dark secret?”

“I’m not gay, if that’s what you think! I love Chloe, and we’re going to get married. This is just something I have to do every so often when I’ve an itch to scratch.”

So that’s all I was, and it’s who I became. I let it happen. We’d meet and have incredible sex whenever we could. Occasionally, this was at their flat or, more accurately, Chloe’s flat. Her parents had bought it so their daughter didn’t have to slum it. Sometimes I’d get a text and we’d have a frantic fumble in some pub toilet. We also used the bathrooms at the union building. We’d hire one each and then share, checking no-one saw us. He’d take me over the bath and then we’d get in the tub together. I suppose I knew it killed two birds, because he wouldn’t go back to her smelling of me. For a while it was rather exciting. I know I should have found someone else, but I was an addict; I needed him. In between the sex, I told myself I could live without him; I managed to put him off for six months when I hit thirty. I told myself I needed a life without him. I even had sex with other people occasionally, but when he called, I came running. Any name anyone could call me, I’d called myself, hundreds of times, believe me.

After university I got a job teaching in the same area. Hamish married Chloe and they had two beautiful children, Alexander and Eleanor, twins. He worked all over the country, taking over his father-in-law’s firm and so I saw him every so often, and I became the other man. If I’d been female I’d have been the ‘mistress’, I suppose, but there’s no name for me. I was hardly ‘the master’, like something out of “Doctor Who”.

And that brings me to today, when he knocked my door unexpectedly and informed me that Chloe had been killed in an accident three weeks before. He cried himself to sleep in my arms. Today is my fortieth birthday. When I hadn’t heard from him for over a month, I’d come to yet another decision. There was a new man at work. He was there on long term supply. He was tall, dark and handsome, and he’d invited me out to dinner. He’d been good company and I was interested, so I’d decided that twenty years was enough, but now, as he lay in my arms in the early morning light, I knew that any resolution to leave him was never going to stick. I couldn’t abandon him, not when he needed me. I watched him until he woke up. He smiled and my heart skipped a beat. Even after twenty years his smile could still do that to me.  I stroked his forehead. His hair wasn’t as red anymore, but his eyes were still that strange pale green colour. Over the years his accent had softened, but I still loved the burr at the back of those words; the way he rolled the letter R every time he spoke.

“I told the kids about you,” he said quietly. My reaction was so sudden I nearly fell out of bed.

“What! Everything?” I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. “Why? Why the hell would you do that to them, while they’re grieving for their mother?”

“Because they asked. It seems that Chloe knew; that she’d always known about you. She didn’t die right away, and she told them to tell me it was alright to see you. She told them not to hate me, that I’d never betrayed them, or her. She’d had a great life, and they were wonderful children. I think Ellie will be alright; Alex might take a bit longer. So what d’you think? I’m going to sell the house. The kids are off to university when they’ve done their Highers. They’re off to At Andrew’s, and I’ve bought them a house already. I don’t want to rattle around there. And I love you, Lewis; I’ve always loved you, from the first moment I saw you, when I knew that my carefully constructed life was never going to be the same.”

I’d waited twenty years for this moment. It was the first time he’d said that he loved me. He was giving me a choice, and a chance to change my whole life. Could we do it? Could we be together? I had no idea, but when I looked at him, I knew with all my heart that I wanted to try.


Tuesday 29 April 2014


This may seem like an unusual topic but I'm a fan of many things and will be telling you about them over the next few months. Today the topic is football.
No-one appears to be exactly sure about Bill Shankly’s oft-quoted words when he was manager of Liverpool from 1959 to 1974, but this version is widely quoted.  ‘Some people believe that football is a matter of life and death ….. I can assure you, that it’s much more important than that.’

When I was writing the blurb to describe myself for the publisher of my first novel, Sporting Chance, I put that I could usually be found crying about my favourite football team – well, this afternoon that was certainly true as Cardiff City went down 4-0 to Sunderland and will now probably be relegated back to the Championship. It is hard for anyone who isn’t a football fan, or sports fan in general, to understand how being a fan can get under your skin but it can and when they lose it hurts, especially if they’ve been unlucky.
The picture shows Cardiff in happier days when they were promoted last year.

I wasn’t always a Cardiff City fan despite having been born only a few miles away, but I‘ve always loved watching the beautiful game. One Saturday, back in 1977, I went to a FA Cup match with my friend Linda and her dad. It was the 4th round and Cardiff were at home to Wrexham. I went vaguely supporting Wrexham – anyone but Cardiff – but by the end of a thrilling game, which Cardiff won 3-2 in the last minute, I was a fan and for the next two years I went to every home game, come rain or shine until I left to go to university. Cardiff, along with Leeds United, became the team I followed. At this stage I should point out that one of the main reasons I went to Leeds University was so I could go and watch them at Elland Road!
This is the day Leeds won the FA Cup in 1972. I started supporting Leeds around 1968/9. Then, and during the early 70s, they were the best team around. The men in the picture are Allan (Sniffer) Clarke who scored the only goal, David Harvey, Billy Bremner (Captain) and Jack Charlton, brother of Bobby.

If you’re a real fan you stay with your team come hell or high water and supporting Cardiff and Leeds means I’ve seen a lot of both. From your seat you play every ball, shout at the referee, point out the man on his own out to the left or right ready to make a run down the wing, put your head in your hands when the ball hits the post or the bar and generally live every moment.  Today isn’t the greatest of days to be a Cardiff fan but deep in my heart I know that someday soon there will be a better time. This is what keeps you hanging on – the hope, no matter how small that things will be better.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Why I started writing

When I was very young – primary school age – I used to make up stories, usually involving me and the team from Scooby-Doo. We were encouraged by one particular teacher – Mrs Hicks – to tell these stories to each other. I also used to go to other classes with younger pupils when the teacher was absent and tell the stories there to keep the children amused. Can you imagine a ten year old being left in charge of a group of seven year olds today? Well, back in the 1960s and early 70s it happened and that experience informed my career choice.

As a teacher I also loved telling stories. It is not surprising that I chose History as my subject. I loved stories of people and events from the past, especially those amazing coincidences that happened that changed the world – Martin Luther putting his 95 complaints on a door and creating a new religion even though that was never his intention. Gavrilo Princip choosing to get a coffee and sandwich at the same time as the driver took Franz Ferdinand the wrong way and the two meeting on that corner changing the world nearly one hundred years ago.

I’d also tell stories about my own family to illustrate various things – especially the effects of poverty in the early twentieth century. The effects of early death, illegitimacy, having no contraception, suicide and infant mortality all affected my family They say that the past is another country but for me the past has always been endlessly fascinating.

Anyway, as usual I digress because that is a habit of mine. So I told lots of stories about things that had happened to myself and my family over the years and to other people I knew. The students said I had a story for every occasion, which was largely true and if I didn’t have one, I could make one up!

That brings me to the writing and what made me start. On 9th July, 2009 at around 9.45 pm someone died. This was not a real person; his name was Ianto Jones and he was one of the leading characters in Torchwood, a BBC science-fiction programme created as a spinoff to Doctor Who. The main character was Captain Jack Harkness who I’d fallen in love with from the moment he uttered the words ‘excellent bottom’. Jack and Ianto were lovers. You’ve got to understand that this was a programme on BBC1 at 9pm, the top slot, and the story wasn’t about them being gay, it was about the Earth being attacked by aliens.
I loved Jack and Ianto and then they killed him, just like that. I wasn’t one of those people who complained to the BBC, I decided to write instead. You see I’d discovered fanfiction for the first time and thought I can do that. So I wrote my first story, what became known as a CoE fix-it story. My story was called Consequences. I put it on and people read it. I wrote two follow up stories – The Gift and The Returning. I found I couldn’t stop. Now I’ve written somewhere between fifty and sixty Torchwood stories. I started to post on livejournal and began to make online friends amongst the other writers. These people encouraged my writing for which I will be eternally grateful. I also discovered other forums at this time and made more online friends who became very important to me, as they are today. Then I decided to try my hand at writing original stuff. I began writing a story in my spare time that I called Sporting Chance. It took me three years to finish it and now it is going to be published which is very exciting. Writing has now become my full time job – sometimes it’s a joy and sometimes it’s very hard work but it is totally addictive. So thank you Russell T. Davies – I wouldn’t have said that at the time but killing Ianto Jones led me to here. Now, if you ever fancy making a drama about a gay rugby player who falls for a teacher I know a good story you could adapt!

Monday 31 March 2014

New beginnings - Why

So why did I choose this name for my blog?
Choosing a name is really difficult. I wanted something that wasn't just my name so I started looking at the stories I write. Oh I should mention that I'm a writer and that there will be a lot about that on this blog. Sorry I digress - I do that a lot!
Back to this post. When I looked at my stories it struck me that a lot of them are about new beginnings for my characters. They are entering into new relationships for various reasons just a writing represents a new beginning for me.
For the last thirty years I've worked in education. Leaving was tough but sometimes these things are necessary. I've been writing for nearly five years. I'll tell you more about what and why in another post. Recently, I've started writing my own stories, with my own characters and you'll definitely be hearing more about them.
So this is a new beginning all around.
My name is Alexa Milne. I'm a writer. This is my blog.