Friday 26 May 2017

Never too old, or why I wrote While You See a Chance.  


In 1979, my great uncle George got married. He was eighty-seven and his bride seventy-five, proving you are never too old for love—or are you? Recently, I’ve seen campaigns to get more diversity in romance stories, but I haven’t read much about age as an issue. I first thought about writing a story with older characters a couple of years ago. I did some research and among the information I found was this list from Goodreads, now extended from that time.

I will admit I haven’t checked on the ages of the characters in each book, but I did read the comments underneath. Many of these comments point out that the characters are under forty which seems to be the cut off point for being older, and that many of the stories have one older character not two.

Now, maybe it’s because I’m about the hit the wrong side of fifty-five, but forty does not seem that old to me. Where are the stories with characters in their fifties and sixties or higher? My great uncle obviously didn’t consider himself too old at eighty-seven and neither did his wife.

But no one wants to read about older people having sex I hear some people say. Well, okay, I get that we don’t have lithe young bodies anymore. Some of us have put on a few pounds, or developed pains in places, but that doesn’t mean we’d always prefer a nice cup of tea—and I do like my tea!

With all this in mind, I wrote the story that became While You See a Chance – it had a few other titles. I write mm romance so my lead characters are both male and in my story around sixty years of age. Writing a gay romance, or for one of my characters a bisexual romance, has its issues. I’ve been called a writer of erotic fiction and yes, my stories include sex. Would anyone want to read a sex scene with a character who has a touch of arthritis in his knees so isn’t likely to swing from the rafters anymore? I wanted to find out.

In my story, Sion, Phil and Helen were childhood friends growing up in South Wales at a time when sex between men was illegal. Sion knows he’s gay from an early age and that he’s in love with Phil, but he doesn’t tell him. Instead, he goes off to university and then to America, but never quite gets over those teenage feelings. Phil marries Helen because it seems the right thing to do. She has her reasons for her choice. They have two wonderful children, but aren’t happy. As the years go by, Phil becomes more and more conscious of feelings he had long buried but ignored. When Helen, rightly in his opinion, finds love elsewhere, they divorce and Phil returns home to take up a post as head teacher in the town where they grew up.

Meanwhile, over the Pond, Sion has had a good life, found love with Eric, and success with his lecturing and writing career. When Eric dies, he too returns home, and he has a family mystery to solve. When these two men, who haven’t seen each other for nearly forty years meet, long-unexplored feelings are exposed. As they negotiate their way to happiness, the two have to deal with their pasts and consider their futures. Phil doesn’t know whether he can come out at sixty and change his whole life. He feels every year of his age in the creak of his knees and the padding around his middle. He’s hardly love’s young dream. But when these two older men come together, it doesn’t matter – they work it out and love conquers all for them, and in the family mystery Sion finally solves. Usually, I find sex scenes difficult to write but these flowed despite the creaking knees, especially as I love writing humour in bed as well.

Once finished, the story went through a few changes. The finished book contains three same sex relationships, one set at the turn of the twentieth century, and two set now, the oldies Phil and Sion, and a younger couple affected by Brexit. How each manage to love becomes the heart of the story, and I can’t tell you how happy one review made me when it said love poured from every page.

In the end, love conquers fear in this story, and a publisher took a risk to put it out there. I hope more authors will take a chance and show older couples deserve their happy ever afters too.

The images used were found online. I hope the owners will allow their use to illustrate this blog post which celebrates love at any age.
While You see a Chance

Monday 22 May 2017

Weekly Round Up 22 May

It’s just about still Monday morning. The sun is attempting to shine, and apparently, by the end of the week, the temperature will reach the low 20s C – around 70+ F. I am not a lover of being too warm, and my fan is already on at night. It’s hard when the weather is warm because we can’t have the window open to prevent the escape of the elder cat. She is very deaf and got lost the only time she went out here. Mind you, when she yowls like a screaming banshee in the early hours of the morning, I do slightly fantasise about her going out. At the moment, she is positioned at the kitchen door waiting for it to be ham time – but I digress.

WIP continues and yesterday reached 95K words. The final big moment is yet to arrive, but it is getting closer. I have completed another blog post which I think is out tomorrow. This one is about my love for Scotland. My Highland Cowboy has had some wonderful reviews so far, so I’m going to shamelessly add some snippets to this post over on my blog. I thank the bloggers who’ve helped launch both While You See a Chance and My Highland Cowboy. I hope more readers will give my older MC story a try as it’s a story that means so much to me. Once again, I will say I need to get Half Full finished as I’ve a Christmas story to write – arrgghh and another WIP at 20K. Sometimes, the arthritis makes writing for too long rather painful, so I’m trying to do short bursts.

On the watching and reading front, I’ve finished and enjoyed A Bridge over the River Wye by Adam Fitzroy. I won the book in a competition from Manifold Press, and can I say I’m sorry to hear they are winding down. I’m still hoping to work with them on another book though. When Fiona agreed to publish While You See a Chance, it was a wonderful moment for me. I’ve also read Lace by K. C. Wells. Anyone who knows me, is aware of my penchant for men in interesting underwear shall we say. In fact, Drew in My Highland Cowboy designs and wears lace underwear much to Duncan’s surprise when he accidentally walks in on him – well, you’ll have to read the book, but they are bright blue! Another quickie read was Seasons Pass, 3.5 in the Enlightenment series by Joanna Chambers – wonderful books. Now I’m reading Sue Brown’s Good Night My Angel.

This weekend has mostly been spent watching the vids and reading the tweets from JIB8. For those of you not aware of the Supernatural Convention which takes place every year in Rome, this is known to those of us Destiel shippers as Cockles Christmas. It is the only con when Jensen and Misha have a panel together. This year we were treated to a somewhat tired and emotional Jensen revealing his underwear to Misha. Thanks to the person for the image named at the bottom. I hope she won't mind me sharing here.

I’ve just watched the whole panel on YT. I may rant about the show, but I still love these actors. We’ve begun another box set. This time it’s S2 of Fargo which is set before S1. I watched the first episode of American Gods which I found a little bemusing. Julie Bozza mentioned it’s also the 30th anniversary of Maurice. I love that film and have seen it so many times. If you haven’t, it is well worth it.

I think that’s it for this week. I’m on Elin Gregory’s blog today answering her penetrating questions, and talking about Scotland on another blog tomorrow. I will find out which.

But I will leave you with a few pictures not used in the article of this wonderful place.

Have a good week everyone.

 Reviews of While You See a Chance
These men are older, almost retired, but the love they have for each other has spanned their lifetimes and you can feel it coming off of every page. Books Laid Bare Boys
Aww, how could I not like a story two much older men who were best friends only to go their separate ways. This was my first ever Alexa Milne read and I was impressed with her writing and how everything played out and wove together. Dog Eared Daydreams
Reviews of My Highland Cowboy
I haven't read a book for ages about a rugged man in a cowboy hat and some tight fitting jeans and this definitively hits the spot. this is the sort of book that I couldn't put down and honestly, some of the moments these two share were amazingly hot. Books Laid Bare Boys
My Highland Cowboy is one of those stories that's just right with the perfect balance of...well, just about everything. Wonderful setting, characters I adored and in whom I became invested, just the right amount of angst, and some hot and sexy interludes thrown in for good measure. Make it Happen Book Blog
This is a sweet and sassy romance. Drew brings the sass as well as the sweetness. Duncan's a great guy and has a lot of love to offer. I liked hoe they worked things through. V's Reads
The setting of this book is so vivid, I could practically smell the hay. Duncan's ranch is a lovely backdrop for a sweet but fraught love story. There's just enough angst and pining to offset the sort of idyllic ranch moments. It's the perfect mix of quiet and sweet and sad with lots of hotness thrown in. Keysmash Blog

Monday 15 May 2017

Weekly Round Up 15th May

Morning everyone. Monday morning again, and normal service has resumed in my part of the world - it is raining.

Last week, My Highland Cowboy became available on early download from Pride Publishing, and today I’m biting my fingernails because I’m expecting some reviews. I was happy to see it had gone in at number five on Pride’s site. While You See a Chance also had its first review which was five star.

My WIP, Half Full, continues to grow now reaching 92K words, but I have reached the final straight, at last. Too many other plot bunnies are screaming for attention so I really need to get motivated to finish this story, and I think there will be a sequel as it has a HFN feel about it, even after what might be 100K words.

On the reading and watching fronts, I don’t seem to have done much. I’ve nearly finished Bridge over the River Wye by Adam Fitzroy which I’ve enjoyed as I know the Wye area pretty well. In fact, I have ancestors who were boatmen on the river at Tintern. I haven’t had much chance to read but am enjoying JL Merrow’s Wake Up Call. I have taught a student with narcolepsy, so reading a story with an MC who has the condition is interesting, and I love Cornwall having stayed in a few places there, Illogan, Portreath and Sennen. Next read is Sue Brown’s Goodnight, My Angel.

We didn’t manage a boxset watch last week. I’m not sure why. I’m typing up a family tree for someone and continuing my own on ancestry adding to sideways lines which seems to absorb time. We also got hooked on Masterchef which took up evening viewing, as well as the Eurovision semis – yes, I am that sad. I wasn’t impressed with the Portuguese winning song. My favourite was the Netherlands. Eurovision and Doctor Who made for a good Saturday night. I have to say, I’m enjoying Doctor Who more this season. Next viewing will be Fargo season 2, and I’m hoping to get a look at American Gods.

This week, I need to get more words done as time is slipping by to get a Christmas story written.

Finally, I promised to name the winner of an ecopy of My Highland Cowboy from yesterday’s Q&A so the winner is  Tanja. Please PM me with an email address I can send either PDF or EPub version to.

Have a good week everyone.

Monday 8 May 2017

Get Early Download of My Highland Cowboy


Weekly Round Up 8th May

Monday morning again and my weekly update.

Last week, While You See a Chance, my story of older men and second chances went on general release with Manifold Press, and I’d like to say thank you to Fiona for hosting last night’s enjoyable Q&A. I’d also like to thank Rachel Maybury at Signal Boost Promotions for the release blitz. You can read the blurb here
which links to the book wherever you are. The story concerns three friends, Sion, Phil and Helen who meet again after nearly forty years, and has a back story of family tree investigation which leads to a surprise.
I managed to add some words to my WIP, Half Full, set in Norfolk. It has reached nearly 88K now with some still to go so might hit 100K. This is the story of Jonah and Owen, who after poor starts find families who love them, but the past has a habit of catching up with you. Meanwhile, there is am dram, family dramas, local government cuts, and kittens do deal with. I need to pull my finger out and get this one finished so I can get to my Christmas story idea before it’s too late.

On the reading and watching front, last week I didn’t get much reading done, but did finish Priest, Prophet, Beast by Harper Fox. I love the Tyack and Frayne series. Next up to read is Wake Up Call by JL Merrow continuing my Cornish theme. Last week’s rewatch was Supernatural S5 with the first appearance of Mark Sheppard as Crowley. I love both actor and character. S5 has my favourite episode Swan Song.

We’ve also watched S2 of Sense8 over the weekend and it was wonderful. Can we have S3 now please? If you haven’t seen it please watch. I love every one of the eight main characters and the side characters, especially Hernando and Armanita are glorious.

Going to give American Gods a try and not sure which box set is next as it isn’t my choice. And, of course, it is Eurovision week – yay.

This week, My Highland Cowboy is on early download from Pride Publishing and there are more release blogs. This story is set in the Scottish Highlands on a ranch.

Tomorrow’s blog is about plot bunnies and where the ideas for While You See a Chance and My Highland Cowboy come from. Duncan has friends but he’s lonely but into his life walks or rather strides Drew. Can a summer fling lead to more? But how when two men live such different lives? You can preorder My Highland Cowboy here

or get the early download here

That’s it for this week. Have a good one everyoneIHH

Monday 1 May 2017



Morning everyone. It’s May Day here and a bank holiday. Now I’m retired, bank holidays don’t mean anything except the usual TV schedule changes.

Today, While You See a Chance is out on general release. This book has been more than two years in the creating, and is really important to me as a person of a certain age. The two main characters, Phil and Sion, are sixty. They were childhood friends along with Helen, always together and never apart, known as the three musketeers. However, life separated the two men and took them away from their birth place in South Wales. Now they have returned home, and a chance meeting brings out old secrets and desires. There is also a back story involving Sion’s family, based on some old photographs I saw on line, as well as the modern family issues I like to write about. You can find the story here.


In other news, my current WIP has reached 86K. Writing is a slow slog at the moment, mostly because my arthritis is making it hard to sit and concentrate for longer periods of time. I keep leaving Jonah and Owen at important moments. This time, let’s just say their bath water must be getting cold. I do need to get on, but I don’t want to rush the end, so this one might reach the 100K mark before it’s finished.

On the reading front, I’ve finished Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote. I loved Ben and Sid. I have a minor character in the WIP, the best friend of one of my MCs nephew, who is transgender, so I’m reading as much as I can. I’ve no real life experience, although with all the students I’ve taught over the years, I’m sure some of them may have been transgender. By my final years of teaching, we had students who came out as gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning, but being transgender didn’t occur. From what I’ve occasionally seen in the news, schools need to get their act together to offer as much support as possible. But I digress, as usual. Other reading included the lovely sneak release, Red Dirt Heart Imago by N r Walker, and current reads are Bridge over the River Wye by Adam Fitzroy and Preacher, Prophet, Beast by Harper Fox – I love this series.

Last week’s watch was S1 of Fargo. I love the quirkiness. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to love or hate the villain. I am sure I couldn’t live with all that snow. Next, we continue with S5 of Supernatural and the reason I started watching – the wonderful Mark Sheppard. I’d fallen in love with him when he played Canton Everett Delaware III in a couple of episodes of Doctor Who, only to find he has appeared in practically everything. He plays Crowley in Supernatural, now the King of Hell. I wish they could put him and Wentworth Miller in the same programme. The snark level would be off the scale. Going to give American Gods a try as well. Line of Duty reached its climax last night. I won’t spoil the end for anyone, but I will say a writer would never get away with so many plot holes.

That’s enough waffling from me for this week. I’m hoping to get more writing done. Even a couple of hundred words here and there is better than nothing. I’ll also be letting the winner from the autism blog know this week when I’ve picked a random name. Oh, and I may appear on a few blogs with the book.

Have a good week everyone.