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.

Sunday 11 June 2017

More Reviews for My Highland Cowboy

What started as a vacation fling quickly turns to more, more of something neither man is in a place to have or work around. There was a lot of push and pull between Duncan and Drew but none was drama filled. The chemistry within the months of them trying to figure things out was off-the-charts hot! Not many writers are this good at writing this type of push and pull and keeping the level of heat without letting the struggle overwhelm the storyline.

The writing was beautiful along with the world she created for us in the Highlands of Scotland; from the warm days of summer to the snowy days of winter.

I loved the story, the characters, and their families and I’m hoping to read a story about Lachie and Cormac, please!!

This is a very enjoyable read – and manages to combine the classic cowboy romance in the setting of the Highlands of Scotland – and the cowboy falls for a London based fashion designer who, amongst other things, makes lacy male underwear! SO much opportunity for hotness, in and out of clothing.

Ms. Milne has created a story which hangs together really well; it deals with the real issues of being gay in a remote community, and the ‘impossibility’ of someone wanting to uproot their life and move to such a remote location – however much they may care for the person. The issues of Duncan’s preferences for men or wmen were not looked at in any depth, even though I thought they might be. But there was no doubting the chemistry between them. The pragmatism of both men was interesting and usually not one examined much in romance, so I liked the issue being considered.

Overall, a good read, with some lovely scenes and fabulous side characters – thank you, Ms. Milne.

The Way She Reads
… the attraction is undeniably there, from the very first moment Drew and Duncan set eyes on each other, and Duncan’s feeble attempts to keep his distance really don’t stand a chance against Drew’s charms.

And thus starts a very sexy story about two men finding their way towards each other and a happily ever after despite the apparently insurmountable obstacles they face. To the say the journey is a shock to poor Duncan’s system is a gross understatement. He goes from almost completely innocent and closeted to discovering a kinky and horny side he never knew he had, literally almost overnight. And it was a delight to watch.

With two endearing protagonists, a fabulous and colourful cast of secondary characters, a potential sequel already lined up, lots of steamy scenes, and plenty moments to make you smile or laugh out loud, this story will keep you entertained from start to finish. Not to mention that the vivid and glorious descriptions of the Scottish Highlands may well tempt you to plan a visit of your own.

My Highland Cowboy is an interesting twist on the usually-American-set ranch story.  Taking place in the Scottish Highlands, the ranch is owned by Duncan, who has turned it into a dude ranch.  A successful ranch, but a lonely rancher, until he meets the indomitable Drew.  Drew is a fashion designer whose sister is marrying Duncan’s best friend at the ranch, and it’s his job to make the ladies beautiful.  He is full of swish with not a shy bone in his body, and he is catnip to Duncan’s inner feline.

The plot was a curious mix that shouldn’t work, but did.  The two men tried hard to find some semblance of balance in order to make their attraction work itself into something more.  A few days together read like a great many more, so while there was basically insta-love, which I normally don’t like outside paranormal books, it didn’t actually feel like insta-love, but rather like they had plenty of time to feel each other out, learn about themselves, and then come together as a pair.  The chemistry is strong, and their intimacy was very hot!

There is a decent size peripheral cast of characters, and I enjoyed watching their antics as well as those of the protagonists while dealing with the peripherals.  Written in third person past tense, the dialogue is engaging, the humor is strong, and the story pulls you deeply into their world.

A solid, fun read, I am rating this at four stars and recommending it for anyone on the lookout for depth and humor with love woven throughout.  I’m fast becoming a fan of Alexa Milne, and this is just another shining example of why!

Joyfully Jay said

Confession time; cowboys aren’t my favorite thing, but Scotland was the draw here. Plus, the premise sounded promising, and I was looking forward to reading this book. Milne gives a sweet love story that, while could have benefitted from some more depth in places, was ultimately a feel good read I enjoyed.
The plot itself is wonderful in its simplicity. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but Milne makes it work. Just two guys who are attracted to each other, trying to navigate their worlds when they are so very different from one another. Add in kilts, lacy men’s underwear, and some Highland cows, and you have a nice story. And if there is a sequel in the making with two secondary MCs, then I’ll definitely read it.

We see both of these characters’ points of view which allows us to understand these characters better.  I could feel Duncan’s confusion about his feelings that contradicted how his grandfather raised him but knowing that he can’t leave his ranch he resigns himself to nothing more ever happening.  Drew has never felt this strongly for a lover before and can’t seem to get Duncan out of his head, not even able to move on as he planned when he got back to London.  I loved that Drew realized he couldn’t live without Duncan and was able to adjust his life to make their dreams possible.

Cover art is beautiful and gives a great visual of Duncan and background for the story.

Between the two guys, Duncan was clearly the more innocent one even though he was a decade older than Drew. Based on how he described himself and his past sexual encounters, it sounds as if he's on the asexuality spectrum, but hey, I could be wrong. His hesitance didn't have much to do with wanting to keep his sexuality quiet but more about his lack of experience and knowledge about what it was he was feeling towards Drew. That bit of naivete made Duncan a very interesting character, especially as he experienced self-discovery once he was with Drew.
Speaking of Drew, I admit that there were moments that I wasn't too thrilled with how he was pushing Duncan. Then there was the whole way he handled their last day together over the summer and then proceeded to not do anything about his feelings when he returned to London. The fact that it was Duncan who made the first move--not just once!--to want to spend time together made me want to smack Drew. Then there was the Sebastian situation. Argh! But by the end, Drew won me over, and My Highland Cowboy turned out to be a four-starred read.

This is a sweet and sassy romance, with Drew bringing the sass as well as the sweetness. Duncan’s a great guy, and has a lot of love to offer, but his devotion to his heritage is holding him hostage in a place where there aren’t a lot of options for gay partners. I liked how they worked through things, each man making a plan to carve time for the other. These guys have so much love to give, and recognize that connections like theirs are special and shouldn’t be denied just because they aren’t 100% convenient.

There are really nice side characters here, who are supportive and loving of both Duncan and Drew. We get to meet some other closeted men or Duncan’s acquaintance, and the stage is set for new romances down the road.

Tuesday 6 June 2017

Reviews for My Highland Cowboy

I've had some lovely reviews so far for My Highland Cowboy, but don't just take my word for it. Here are some of them.

An out and proud fashion designer and a somewhat in the closet and shy Scottish cowboy were that backdrop for Alexa Milne’s newest tale, My Highland Cowboy.

Drew and Duncan lit the scenery and pages with Ms. Milne’s eloquent writing and creative story telling. I was transported into the Highland ranch and felt a part of their lives.
The shy and unimposing mannerisms of Duncan elicited a tug at my heart and I adored Drew’s take charge attitude – especially his relentless pursuit of Duncan. Together the men radiated beauty and affection.

The secondary characters added depth to the story and I hope to see many more books transpire form this one.
My Highland Cowboy was a lovely read and should not be missed.

MM Good Book Reads said

This is a great story that I found intriguing, the idea of a Scottish cowboy was just fascinating and having a fashion designer as his love interest was delicious.

Both Duncan and Drew are great characters; although it took me a short while to warm up to Drew (he was a little brazen at first). Both Duncan and Drew proved to be a match made in heaven, even though they do have a bit of angst as they try to work out what they both wanted and how to get it.

The story is perfectly written with it being a sweet romance with just an added dash of angst, the relationship is fast paced but it felt natural. Duncan and Drew just fit perfectly together making it seem natural for them to fall for each other so quickly.

I enjoyed this story and thought that it was a great read; it’s perfect for a lazy afternoon in the sun where we get a huge dose of romance shot through with hot sex.   

The Geekery Book Review said

These two don’t get off to the best start, Drew is out and proud and will flirt with anyone while Declan has led a much more sheltered life, not really admitting his sexual preferences to anyone. Drew comes on a bit strong for him but eventually these two get passed that awkward beginning. They can’t deny their connection and their chemistry and set out on what is only supposed to be a week of fun. But when it’s time to leave, it certainly isn’t easy for either man. I think Alexa Milne does a fantastic job with this part of the story – so much emotion and feeling! My heart hurt for these two during their time apart! But is does make for a great story.

Drew and Declan have to earn their happy, both men figuring out what is really important in life and if that can make that happen together. This book made me laugh, made me swoon and yes there were a few tears, it really had it all. I loved both of these men, Drew with his sass and strength and Declan with his sweet heart and innocence! They fall in love and find a way to make it work! I definitely am looking forward to reading more from Alexa Milne!

On the surface, Duncan McLeish and Drew Sinclair could not be more opposite than their country vs. city lives they live.  But, as in life, not everything is as it seems.  Duncan's upbringing wasn't as country as his ranch now and Drew didn't always live in the city but now their lives are very different.  Will their chemistry be enough to overcome the location logistics? Well, for that answer you will have to give My Highland Cowboy a read for yourself but I can safely and honestly tell you that you will not regret it.

The old adage sometimes you have to give to get, well that is what Duncan and Drew are facing if they want to be together and watching them deny what they feel is more than a fling is a bit heartbreaking but seeing their family and friends rally around them, or at least try to, is heartwarming.  Having a story that can both break your heart and warm it on the same page is not easy and shows real talent by the author, as is having just the right amount of angst mixed into a lighthearted read.  

My Highland Cowboy is not my first Alexa Milne read and it has proven that I'll be looking at her backlist to add to my TBR list.

Bayou Book Junkie said

I loved Duncan and I really wanted him to get his HEA, especially with all he'd lost already. His grandfather had really done a number with him, but it was nice seeing him come out of his shell eventually. I liked Drew, but it took me a while to warm up to him. He was too brash at first and that put me off. He did get better and there was no denying the sparks that flew when Duncan and Drew were together. I adored that there wasn't unnecessary angst in their relationship, aside from the long-distance thing. It was refreshing.

I loved the secondary characters and overall, the story was very enjoyable, fun, hot, with just enough angst to keep things interesting and very well-written. I do hope the author writes us Lachlan and Cormac's story next, because I'd love to read it!

Very recommendable!

The Keysmash Blog said

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.

I got attached to Duncan immediately; as he came out of his shell more and more, shedding the feelings of not being accepted, of repressing who he really is, my emotional investment grew. I loved Drew as well, with his confidence and his preference for lingerie, but it was Duncan’s heart that I felt most protective of.
There’s just enough angst and pining to offset the sort of idyllic ranch moments, so it doesn’t ever veer into too-fluffy territory. It’s the perfect mix of quiet and sweet and sad, with a lot of hotness thrown in.

Who doesn't love a cowboy....

I haven't read a book for ages about a rugged man in a cowboy hat and some tight fitting jeans and this definitely hit the spot.

When fashion designer Drew meets ranch owner Duncan, both men are surprised at the mutual attraction. A family wedding means that they will be bumping in to each other and neither of them want this to be just a fling but their lives are so far apart they don't know if it will ever work.

This is the sort of book that I couldn't put down and honestly some of the moments these two shared were amazingly hot!!!

Shame it's a standalone as I would love more of their story. 5 out of 5 stars.

Making It Happen Book Blog said

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 intimate scenes thrown in for good measure.  This is definite re-read material, and though this is the first book I’ve read by this author, I’m now adding a whole bunch more of her books to my TBR list!

As I mentioned previously, this story really does have a perfect balance.  It is very well written with a good hook to keep your attention, and the chemistry between Duncan and Drew is quite obvious and definitely sizzling.  I felt their emotional pain as they tried to work through not being together, and could feel their want when they were apart.  To me it was evident who would need to be the one to make some concessions, it was just the “how” of it that needed to be sorted out.  Getting to that point while feeling their love as well as their aching from being apart was what kept me riveted to the pages.

My Highland Cowboy was a lovely 4.5-star read for me, and I do highly recommend it to all M/M romance fans.  If you’re a fan of the Scottish Highlands or cowboys, you’re going to love it even more.


Monday 5 June 2017

Weekly Round Up 5th June

Monday morning and blog writing time. Last week was a bank holiday over here so I had a week off. Today, I’m writing from a very wet and windy Lancashire. Cat the younger very sensibly declined the opportunity to go out and is currently playing tig with cat the elder.
The last couple of weeks have been difficult ones here in Britain but we go on as always. I’m old enough to remember the terrorism of the 1970s and 80s. I didn’t think all Irish people were terrorists then, and I certainly don’t think all Muslims are terrorists now. The concert last night showed more about this country of mine – a country I love for its diversity. I read an idiot yesterday had said something about his people conquering Britain. I think the only time I’d heard of him before was when he was punched in the face. The funny thing is that this nation is made up of conquerors – Romans, Saxons, Jutes, Angles, Vikings, Normans. All came here and some stayed. We’ve welcomed others from all parts of the world, and I’m proud of that. We are stronger together.
Okay, time for me to get off my high horse. On the writing front, I’ve written a few blogs and reached 103K on WIP, so far called Half Full. I have one more scene left to write on this story and then it’s hopefully time to get my short Christmas story done. I’ve had some lovely reviews for My Highland Cowboy which is out on general release tomorrow. This is more of a fluffy story for me, but sometimes we all need a bit of fluff. I also blogged about older characters in m/m romance. While You See a Chance has MCs who are sixty. I hope people will give it a read as this story is very special to me.
I haven’t managed much time for reading, but can recommend Goodnight My Angel by Sue Brown and Tease, with more Tate and Logan, from Ella Frank. I’m really excited to be reading Draakenwood now, the ninth in the Widdershins stories by Jordan L hawk. My TBR list is growing thanks to joining The League, a sports romance based FB group. Continuing with the box set watch, we finished S2 of Fargo and are watching S3 week by week. Also completed S6 of Supernatural which picked up a lot at the end according to my fellow watcher who hasn’t seen the show before. Our next series is State of Play – the original BBC production.

So, this week is the final round of review posts for My Highland Cowboy and finishing this WIP. Outside it looks like winter again and I’m feeling a bit chilly.

Have a good week everyone.