Saturday 31 December 2016

My Favourite books of the Year

These books are chosen from the novels I’ve read this year, not from those published this year. After not reading any historical romance, I’ve discovered it in a big way. The list is in no particular order.

Eleventh Hour by Elin Gregory

I loved this book set in 1920s London. It is the story of spies Briers Allerdale & Miles Siward who have to play a married couple. I loved Millie, Miles’ alter ego and am looking forward to more.

What it Looks Like by Matthew Metzger

This is a character driven story and I especially fell in love with former bad boy Rob. Without I hope spoiling anyone, Eli is transgender. His relationship with Rob is central to the story and there is an interesting and unexpected dynamic between the two. Eli’s relationship with his parents is difficult to say the least and it is Rob who finds the money to allow Eli to have further surgery. It isn’t a perfect read but it is a powerful one.

Hexmaker 1&2 by Jordan L Hawk

Great worldbuilding. I’ve never been a shifter fan but these stories of witches and familiars grabbed me straight away.

Dirty Angel by Barbara Elsborg

I love Barbara’s stories for the angst. I’d just written an angel story so thought this one would be fun. It is a redemption story. Can Aden save himself from hell? He gets run over on a snowy night by Brody. Can they get their HEA?

Reaping Havoc/Reaping Fate by A J Rose

Another paranormal story. As a Supernatural fan, I was drawn to this by the idea of having reapers for characters. Reapers collect the recently dead and help them on their way. These are part murder mystery as well as romance between Nate and Mitch.

A Gentleman’s Position by K. J. Charles

I could have chosen any of the Society of Gentlemen series but I especially fell in love with David Cyprian the brilliant ‘servant’ of Lord Richard Vane who has contacts all over London. Being an historian by training, I’d shied away from historical novels but I couldn’t get enough of these. I might mention Silas as well, my other favourite character.

I love Dan’s writing and Memorizing You will always be a favourite. On the face of it this story sounds shallow but it’s anything but. Bill takes Ted on the road to discovery and goes on one himself over one summer. I always say Dan makes me read like an adult and this is no exception.

Playing with Fire by Avery Cockburn

This could be any of the Glasgow Lads series. I read them all because I love football and I love Scotland. It is set around an LGBT football team but also reflects political and religious divisions in Scotland. Great writing and great characters.

First and First by Santino Hassell

Part of the Five Boroughs series set in New York. Santino knows his subject well. He writes flawed and sometimes annoying characters. This is the story of Caleb and Oliver. Santino writes great emotional sex giving more insight into each character as lives are woven together.

Damaged Goods by Susan Mac Nicol

I looked forward to getting Jax’s story. This was a more gentle read in the Men of London series. I loved Dare and together they made a lovely couple.

Fallow by Jordan L Hawk

Oh, how jealous I am of this wonderful series. Whyborne and Griffin are such great characters. Add in Christine as well and you have the perfect threesome going on adventures mixed with magic and mythical creatures set in the past. I’m so looking forward to Undertow

Straight Jacket by Matthew Todd

This is a non-fiction book subtitled How to be Gay and Happy written by the editor of Attitude. Todd uses his own and other experiences to deal with issues facing gay and bisexual men.

There were many others I could have chosen but in the end I had to decide. Happy reading in 2017

Friday 30 December 2016

2016 - A True Annus Horribilis

I hesitated about writing this blog as 2016 has not been a good year for me or for the world. Don’t get me wrong, there have been many positive things, but the negative has been overwhelming. In politics, it started with Brexit and then Trump, and I’m still wondering if the world is going mad as it seems to be moving apart when it needs to pull together.

Secondly, so many people died. The year started with the loss of Terry Wogan and David Bowie, through to Prince, Muhammed Ali, Victoria Wood, ending with George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but including so many others. I should point out when I wrote this a week ago, I ended with Greg Lake.

Personally, 2016 has been a bit of a non-starter. At the beginning of the year, I was recovering from injuring my knee – I have arthritis in both knees which limits my mobility – but this had been worse and stopped me driving. Gradually, it got better, and I got more confident until I could drive more than locally, then, out of nowhere, and I’ve still no idea why it happened, I got an ache in the back of my left thigh, got up one morning in late July, took a few steps and something pinged. The pain was extraordinary. Somehow, I got back to my bedroom and ended up staying upstairs for over three weeks. I managed to get downstairs and cope on my own for a few weeks and then in September I pulled it again – not as bad – but ended up stuck downstairs. Every time I think it’s going away, it comes back. I’ve been stuck inside, not able to drive and I’m thoroughly pissed off and scared I’ll do it again. It’s been easy to feel sorry for myself.

Plan for next year – find a bungalow. I’m told it’ll be better when it’s better, which isn’t much comfort. Also, my only sibling has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. We all have our fingers crossed as well as everything else.

On the writing front, I’ve had four books and a short story published. Comfort Zone came first. I love this book. It was my payback to Aron to give him a happy ending after I’d split him from rugby player, Dan Morgan in Sporting Chance. Aron and Joe get their HEA, via a bit of angst, with the help of their friends and families and one special little girl called Ellie. It’s now cheaper on Amazon as well.

Next came A Bell Rings – the sequel to Not Every Time, my Christmas short story – a bit of paranormal inspired by It’s a Wonderful Life, my favourite Christmas film.

Finally, came the Call of Home series set in Scotland, on the Moray coast, a place I love. In Choosing Home, Zac, an ex-footballer, who retired rather than be outed, meets troubled Seth Pritchard and helps him overcome events in his past. In Returning Home, Darach, a policeman, arrives home after breaking up with his cheating boyfriend and meets a beautiful cat and her mysterious owner, Bryce. Darach is immediately intrigued by the man in the wheelchair and gradually uncovers his past, leading to danger for them both. In the third story, Staying Home, Sam Carmichael, a minister in the Church of Scotland, finds himself falling for Tosh, but Sam has more secrets than being gay. Will there be a fourth? I’m not sure, but Hamish and Cameron may get their story, eventually.
 You can find links to all the books at the side of this blog.

Writing has been slow this year as I’ve found it hard to keep focused, and I’ve done a lot of rewriting and editing. Starting the year, I rewrote a fanfiction which was mostly original anyway, and featured a character from one of my favourite shows. A Matter of Timing gave him a whole back story set in late 1960s America. Maybe someone will publish it, or I’ll put it on Wattpad for free – I’m not sure. I also rewrote my older men story. This has gone through four revisions and finally been accepted for publication. I am so thrilled to get a romance between two sixty year olds published, and there’s a subplot as well. While You See a Chance will be out sometime next year with Manifold Press.

I’ve also written a story based in Norfolk currently called Half Full. It’s currently around 60K. I was thinking of writing a sequel, but now I’m planning to extend it next year. My Christmas story didn’t happen. I had nearly 10K of a cat shifter story started and I may try again next year, or maybe do a car sharing story. Editing here to add the other story completed which I'm now editing - see concentration nil. This is the meeting of two opposites, Duncan who owns what could be called a dude ranch in the highlands of Scotland and Connor, a designer who lives in London. At the moment, I’m 8000 words into a story about two men who meet at a bus stop. I’m not calling it a gay for you story, more of a finding out more about yourself story, and opening yourself to possibilities you’d never considered before.
When I read this, I realise I've done more than I thought so that's good. Writing has been slow and concentration has been an issue for me, worrying about my leg and practical issues of dealing with even more mobility. Well, that and my other obsession of watching great programmes and reading great books. Maybe I’ll write a blog about my watching and reading recommendations for 2016. (The book blog is complete)

So, that’s it. Not much being published so far next year, but you never know, if I get things finished…

If you’ve had a great 2016, and I know people did and may be thinking I'm being over dramatic with the headline,  I hope next year is just as good. For everyone else, let’s hope 2017 is better.

Monday 19 December 2016

Weekly Round-Up 19th December

Morning from a dark and overcast Lancashire. Missing my SAD lamp as it stopped working last week. I'm all ready for Christmas with everything bought, posted and food ordered. All I have left to do is wrapping a few presents. My little tree went up Saturday with help from a cat or two. Thankfully, neither seems interested in playing with the baubles. 
             I continued writing WIP which has the title Meeting on a Bus so far, and I'm 7000 into that. The MCs in this one have definite ideas of their own. I also began the long task of editing my Scottish cowboy story with removing those naughty words - always do that first and then begin the structure edit to check on continuity with a bit of punctuation as I go along, and then the proper punctuation edit. After that it's handed over to betas. 
              Last week started with the wonderful news that Manifold Press have taken a chance on my older men story. I have the contract ready to sign and I can't tell you how thrilled I am. In fact, over the weekend, I was assured it's possible to be erotic when over 60!
              I watched Dirk Gently which was wonderfully mad like the books which I love. I've read a few books. The charming and lovely Merry Christmas, Mr Miggles by Eli Easton -I'm currently reading Falling Down, Santa Baby by Heidi Cullinan, which managed IMO to pull off the threesome, and From Out of the Cold by Lori Gallagher Witt, a great free book.
              This week will be more writing and editing, and no doubt some watching. We have the last series of Game of Thrones for over Christmas.
               I'd like to wish everyone a happy Christmas and New Year. Let's hope 2017 is better. I'll be doing a round up blog at some point. And if you've shopping left to do - good luck.

Monday 12 December 2016

Weekly Round Up, 12th December.

Monday again - only one more before Christmas and I've bought all the presents and posted all the cards. For me, this is unusual. 
I started a new story this week and got over 3000 words done as well as my feeble attempt at planning, which consists of writing any ideas down then crossing them out. I've already changed my initial ideas about the MCs and these two are a bit younger than my usual pairings. The story is set in Leeds. This week I hope to add more words and see where Danny and Mark go. This one is going to be a slow burn.
Last week, I had a Heidi Cullinan fest and read the Minnesota series. I love reading linked in stories. Next up is Merry Christmas Mr Miggles by Eli Easton as I continue Christmas stories and a new author, Jerry Cole.
On the watching side, thanks to Heidi and Jordan L. Hawk, I ended up watching Yuri on Ice in a day. I've never watched anime before. Some characters are a bit shouty, but I love the central story of Yuri and Victor, and I've been a skating fan for years. Yesterday, Dirk Gently appeared on Netflix, so that'll be on my binge list as well as continuing Eyewitness as the rest of my watches are now on holiday hiatus.
Watching Countryfile yesterday, it was lovely to see the Moray coast, the setting for my Call of Home series. 

And a little edit to say my older men story, While You See a Chance, has been accepted for publication. I am thrilled.
Have a good week everyone. Next week I'll be writing my round up for 2016 - oh dear.

Monday 5 December 2016

Weekly round up 5th December

Monday morning again. It's a cold and frosty one here this morning in north west England. 

I didn't get any writing done last week but I did do the last edit of While You See a Chance and resubmitted. For me, there aren't enough stories about older people in the romance genre so I've fingers crossed. Now, I'm not sure what to do. I have a few ideas including the first chapter of a story written. I also have two completed stories which are in first draft so perhaps I'll go back to them. I do have to finish off writing up my research on a family tree for someone.

This week I've read through all of Jordan L. Hawk's Hexmaker books and loved them and read the first two stories in Heidi Cullinen's Minnesota stories. On a recommendation, I'm now reading Documenting Light by E E Ottomen which is really interesting, especially as my older men story has a subplot involving finding photographs from the past.

A couple of TV shows to recommend - Eyewitness which I've watched all episodes of so far and loved and Class, which is a Doctor Who spin off on BBC3.

Anyway, that's me for the week, but finally, I'd like to mention the Christmas story and its sequel I did last year Not Every Time and A Bell Rings.…/…/B017XZUSWY

This post will also be on my blog.