Monday 28 November 2016

Weekly roundup, Monday 28th November.

Monday morning again and Christmas is getting nearer.
Last week I wrote those special words - THE END - my Scottish cowboy story came in at 66K. I like to leave stories for a bit before editing. I also set up my new computer and discovered I had lost the latest version of While You See a Chance, my older men story now set in Wales. I was a bit pissed off to say the least.
As for reading I'm hooked on Jordan L. Hawk's Hexmaker series. I have such admiration for world builders. I've always loved fantasy and now I can combine with historicals. I've also downloaded Heidi Cullinen's Minnesota series so they'll be next. I also listened to the latest Torchwood story on Big Finish set before CoE with lots of Jack and Ianto called Outbreak which was wonderful.
On the injury front the leg is a lot better. I'm not back sleeping upstairs yet but I can get up there now despite being scared stiff every time just in case I aggravate the injury again. My main problem is not using the muscles means I'm a bit shaky.
Oh and lastly this week, thanks to Santino Hassell, I discovered Eyewitness, and after bingeing six episodes, I'm hooked.
This week I'm going to tinker with While You See a Chance before resubmitting and maybe research a publisher for A Matter of Timing. I also have a completed story I've not opened for several months so maybe I'll take a look at that and decide if it needs more or a sequel.
Have a good day, everyone. And the photo is a reminder that the Call of Home series is on sale at All Romance and Pride Publishing today.
Have a good week everyone.

Thursday 24 November 2016

The Call of Home Giveaway Blog

To celebrate the publication of Staying Home, I’m going to give away e-copies of all three books in the series so far. To enter all you need to do is comment below or retweet the post on twitter.

About the series

I’d written two and a half of the stories in this series before I realised what they had in common. The first story, originally called There’s No Place Like Home didn’t become part of the series - it seems older men aren’t the thing. But I got permission to rewrite and I’m hoping to find a new home for Phil and Sion’s story – but I digress.

Choosing Home started life as a Torchwood fanfiction, which I planned but didn’t write. I had the idea for a story with an ex footballer driving down the A1M from Northumberland. Why is it that ideas always come when you’re driving or in bed? Luckily, I had someone to write down my thoughts and, by the time we got home, I had the characters and a basic story. It’s why Seth is Welsh and Zac Scottish. I decided to set the story in one of my favourite parts of the world, on the Moray coast, and there is an old, now empty house, on the coast that provided the perfect inspiration for the hotel Zac owns.

I chose football for two reasons. Firstly, I’m a lifelong fan of the beautiful game and secondly, I’d watched a documentary about the lack of out gay footballers made by Amal Fashanu, the niece of Justin Fashanu, and  the daughter of John Fashanu, both footballers.

For those of you who don’t know, Justin Fashanu came out while playing, but ended up committing suicide. With this background, it’s hardly surprising no footballer has come out while playing since, especially when you consider the speculation around some players. In that documentary, the only current footballer who agreed to speak to her was Joey Barton, who, for all his faults, has always been a someone who’s supported LGBT in sport. Another documentary is coming out soon made by Stephen Byrne for Irish television, and again it appears people were reluctant to talk to him.

 The idea for Zac’s experience came from the first documentary. His coming out, and helping Seth deal with his own issues around self-worth and guilt, not to mention dealing with his physical issues, form the core of their story.

Returning Home started as a separate story, based on a photograph showing a thin, bare-chested, tattooed man, holding a big, long haired cat up in his hands while lying in a bed, with flowery covers and tiny trolls and gonks on the window sill. I wrote a turning point scene at midnight, one day, and didn’t go back to it for a while. Originally, I intended to place it in another part of Scotland and then, having been asked for a series, worked out how I could move it and link the main characters in this story - who became Darach and Brice - to the first story. The link is admittedly tentative for that reason. Darach was always going to be a policeman, and had a sister who ran a cafĂ©. He’d returned home after breaking up with his boyfriend, and the story was set near Plockton, in Hamish Macbeth country. Now, moved to the Moray coast, this is where Bryce parks to watch the seals.

Brice’s mysterious back story came out of that scene. I needed him to be flawed. I needed him to be in danger, but not merely a victim. Writing someone who uses a wheelchair, but is independent, was challenging. Although, I have some understanding of physical limitation, and have had to use a chair myself in hospital, I did have to do more research. I discovered there were pottery wheels specifically made for people in wheelchairs as well as discovering more about spinal injuries. This story was always going to have a death, as Brice’s danger had to be real.  The link to the third story only came after the story had been completed. I had to write in more about Sam Carmichael, in the redraft.

It was when I’d finished this second story, that the fact they dealt with men coming home struck me, as well as the tag line, that even if you tried to escape, you brought your baggage with you – hence you couldn’t escape from yourself.

Staying Home features Sam Carmichael, the middle of the five Carmichael brothers who is a Church of Scotland minister. I took a risk writing about someone who is closeted and religious. Religion fascinates me. I’m not a believer myself, but I love religious history, and was head of Religious education. I wanted to show how the Church in Scotland has been forward thinking – they have had women ministers since the 1960s and this year voted to allow same-sex marriages for ministers. Sam’s belief is central to his character and his experience. He derives strength from his God. As well as that, he threw me a huge curve ball I wasn’t sure I could tackle in the middle of one night. His choice not mine. Tosh was simpler, but again I worried about writing a romance for someone who had lost his husband in tragic circumstances. I know some people won’t like this, but life goes on, and I like to think Harry, Tosh’s husband, would have approved.

Will there be a fourth book? I have an idea for Hamish and Cameron so we’ll see.

So, my giveaway. I have a set of all three stories to give away in PDF or EPuB. All you need to do to enter the competition is comment below. Only those who comment on this blog or retweet my blog post tweet, will be included.

I hope you enjoy the series and, if you don’t win, give the stories a try. Thanks to everyone who have already bought, read and commented, whatever your view.


Monday 21 November 2016

Weekly round up 21st November

Morning - it's Monday again. 
Last week I managed to write about 3000 words on my Scottish cowboy WIP and did some tinkering on A Matter of Timing and While You See a Chance. I need to work out what to do with these two stories. 
Read and enjoyed Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg and the 13th Hex by Jordan L. Hawk so started on The Hexmaker. I so admire worldbuilders.
This week I have to face getting a new computer set up as my main one has bitten the dust and is so slow it keeps sticking. I hate having to lose my favourite sites built up over time and working out all my passwords.
Finally this week - tomorrow in fact - the 3rd part of the Call of Home series is out on general release. Staying Home has Sam Carmichael and Tosh Mackintosh as the MCs. I hope you'll give it a try.
Have a good week everyone.

Monday 14 November 2016

Weekly round up 14th November, 2016

Monday again. Well the last two weeks haven't been brilliant for anyone. I thought Brexit was bad but electing Trump has made me fear for the world. I don't understand hate. Maybe I've never had enough energy to hate - I don't know. Students used to sometimes say I hated them but I used to assure them I didn't because I didn't want to use so much energy or thought in a negative way. I was also taught to dislike the behaviour not the person but I'm finding that more challenging of late.
I've done hardly any writing in the last fortnight. I've been ill and too sad to write a happy ending for my Scottish cowboy story. I did begin another story and wrote the first chapter and have another plot bunny based on a dog walking story in my home town - not Walnut which had me crying buckets - but walking certain breeds of dogs on Sundays on Barry Island beach. Maybe I'll feel inspired and also resubmit my older men story when people have read it and I've tinkered some more - computer willing. I'm having trouble with it again so bought a new one. Setting up everything again is such a pain though.
I've read a few books and enjoyed them but not as much as usual. I finsihed The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick, Interborough by Santino Hassell. The Soldier's Scoundrel by new to me author Cat Sebastian, and have now started Drawn In by Barbara Elsborg.
New watching for me - Frequency on Netflix which I'm enjoying and Class the Doctor Who spinoff on BBC3 which is great.
Targets for this week are flexible. Any writing would be good. I've a blog post to do for Female First magazine as well.
Lastly, the winner of the signed PB copy of Sporting Chance is Sula Holland so if you PM me an address I'll get that sorted ASAP.
Oh and Staying Home is out on general release 22nd November.
Have a good week everyone.