Monday 30 October 2017

Round up, 30th October

Morning everyone from a sunny but cold and frosty Lancashire. Weather forecasts are warning of snow to come so maybe the view from my kitchen might look like the picture above. I like snow as long as I don't have to go out and have plenty of food. I’ve been awake since 4.30 so I’m already hugging my coffee after my usual morning mug of tea. I’ve already put the fire on so cat the elder is a happy puss.

Once again, I’d like to thank all the people who offered love and condolences for my brother. We finally have a date for the funeral and have been spending time picking tunes. My brother loved to dance, usually without too much style, so there are some interesting choices and, when asked, his twenty-six-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter both chose the same song. They knew their father well.

Making arrangements for me has been tricky, and I’ll admit to being nervous depending on others because I can’t do the driving. Thankfully, someone has come to our rescue and is taking us down to Wales and collecting us. Such kindness is truly appreciated, especially as this person doesn’t know us at all except online. I’ve hired a wheelchair which arrives tomorrow so we can practice, booked the hotel, and sorted out the cattery. I know this is going to be one of the most difficult occasions in my life. The physical pressures will be hard enough, but emotionally, I’m all over the place. The venue will be packed. My brother was one of those people who gathered friends and kept them. I’m so grateful that many of them have taken my oldest nephew under their wing. Maybe, I might get chance to visit Barry Island to see the view on the cover of The Matchmaker, my short story.

I have, at least, managed to produce some words over the last week. I’m not sure they are likely to stay, but WIP, Two for the Road, is up to just under 48K words now. I reckon on approximately three to four more chapters so it’s going to reach around 55K words. Once this is complete, I intend to start the third part of a trilogy with the same MCs. I want all three parts complete before I even think of submitting it, so I don’t have deadlines to deal with.
Over the last week, we’ve finished watching S2 of The West Wing which includes my favourite ever episode of anything – Two Cathedrals. I love this show so much, but it makes me so much sadder knowing who is in charge in the US today and the climate we live in. Next on the watch list is S2 of Stranger Things while we continue to watch Star Trek Discovery.

My current reading is The Convenient Husband by Robin Covington, a new author for me. I enjoyed reading The Palisade by Rosalind Abel and Curious by Seth King. Really looking forward to reading Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger.

I think that’s it for now. I could say more about current events but I’m tired. Hopefully, with so much happening, there will be changes in attitudes and behaviour. For now, I feel like I’m in limbo until after the funeral. For those of you who love Halloween, I don't, I hope you have a great time dressing up. My last words again this week are life can be too short so if there’s someone you haven’t talked to for a while, because we all live busy lives, let them know that you care. 

Monday 23 October 2017

Round Up 23rd October

I wasn’t sure whether to write anything this week, but here I am. We thought we’d have more time. As most of you who read these missives probably know, my brother died last Friday. He’d had cancer for over a year. Like they tell you in the adverts, he’d been to his doctor because he had bleeding when he went to the toilet. The doctor dismissed his concerns for months. I can’t tell you how much I want to rage at that man. At first, we were hopeful the cancer was only in his bowel. They operated, and we crossed our fingers, then they found it in his liver. Again, we hoped they’d be able to cut it out, but they couldn’t operate straight away so he had chemo. Our hopes were dashed when they found another small tumour in his lung. Treatment kept it stable, but it had reached his lymph nodes too and he’d started to get pain. 
His friends, and he had many, raised some money for him and the family to go away recently. They had a lovely holiday in France and a couple of weeks ago he was able to go to Old Trafford to see his beloved Manchester United as part of a special VIP package, meeting more of his heroes and watching United win. 

His death came suddenly, with a blood clot, which I’ve found can be a side effect of cancer treatment. He was fifty-four and leaves behind his wife, his three kids, my mum, me, and so many friends. My brother was the sort of person who kept his friends, many from when he was in school. You’d have never have got him out of Barry, unlike me.

I’m not sure how I’m going to get to the funeral. Because of the arthritis and recent injury, I can’t drive very far or walk too well. I’m hoping we can get a car and driver to take us and I can hire a wheelchair maybe. One big problem is my mum’s house has no parking outside, being one of those 60s housing estates, so I have to walk just to get to it. When we have a date, I’ll see what can be organised. Luckily, we have Skype so I’ve been able to speak to my mum and sister in law and discuss what songs he might like. I expect George Michael, he adored him so much, or Paul Weller will be there, with some Bowie as well.
My brother was a lovely bloke who found the thing he did best was being a dad and it breaks my heart to know his little ones aged four and seven won’t have his presence in their lives. For me, although we didn’t see each other much recently, it feels strange to know there’s only me now. He loved the idea of his older sister writing stories with gay sex in them. It amused him to think of me writing those scenes. The world is a worse place for him not being in it anymore.
On to other things. Last week, I managed to write some words and the WIP, Two for the Road, my May/Dec romance, has now reached 45K words. I’m expecting it to be around 50K words, but it may be longer. The Matchmaker, my short story from the Right Here, Right Now, anthology is now available for preorder from the publisher and Amazon. This is a fluffy feel good piece with very little angst and a picture of the beach at Barry Island on the front. It will be out on general release 28th November.

I’ve done some reading over the last few days, especially when sleep has eluded me. Axios, by Jaclyn Osborn, as promised needed some tissues. I enjoyed Rebuilding Together by Kaje Harper and reading the rest of the short stories in the anthology. I’m currently splitting reading between Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman and Curious by Seth King. Not sure what to read next, but looking at a Rosalind Abel story. I haven’t read any of her work before. 

On the watching front, really enjoying Star Trek Discovery. We’re splitting the boxset rewatch between Buffy and The West Wing. With every episode, I appreciate even more the wonderful script and performances in The West Wing and wish someone like Jed Bartlet was President, but don’t get me started on the man in charge now.

That’s it for this post. We survived a battering by storm Brian which brought down all the leaves over the weekend. I hope you are all well, and please tell the people in your life how much they matter to you. One of my main comforts at this time is knowing my last words to my brother were - love you too.

Monday 9 October 2017

Round Up Post 9th October

Morning from a dull and overcast Lancashire where it has just started to rain. Woke up this morning and it was one of those days when you know you’re alive because you ache all over – the joys of arthritis when the weather is damp. It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote a blog so I hope everyone who glances at these things is all right. Recent events in Las Vegas show that you can take nothing for granted. I’m British and I don’t understand the need for guns many people in the US seem to have. Though, having said that both of my neighbours have guns they use for hunting rabbits. It’s not that we don’t have guns over here but that we don’t have automatic assault rifles or own so many guns and carry them around while shopping in Tesco. Even police carrying guns don’t make me feel safer when I see them on the street. I have fired an air rifle a long time again now shooting tins off the fence, but that’s my only experience.

On to other things. Last week Right Here, Right Now came out. This is an anthology of six contemporary gay romance stories by some great authors. Each story is different. Mine, The Matchmaker is quite fluffy and low angst and will be available on its own 17th October. Links to both are on my blog page where you will also find this piece.
I’ve spent most of the last week getting a final draft of the first part of what I’m calling my Half trilogy. Yes, this is the story of three halves. The first is Half Full and introduces the characters of Jonah and Owen as well as their friends and family. I love writing all the secondary characters and the dialogue between them and the MCs. The idea for this story came from a documentary I saw about an athlete who’d been adopted a few years back so you know one of the MCs, Owen is adopted, but he isn’t an athlete. He’s a librarian and mixed race/biracial – I’ve had different opinions about which I should use. The other MC, Jonah, is based on a secondary character from another story, who I wanted to give a story to but it wasn’t possible so I adapted him to fit into this one. I love Jonah. He’s a great believer in paying back, is full of life like Tigger, but has his own insecurities. He produces beautiful things from wood. I’m lucky to have Rebecca, my last editor from Pride, giving it the once over. Part two is written and with my beta, and part three has a lot of ideas and will be next writing when I finish WIP. I need to get back on track with the WIP, now called Two for the Road. It’s at 35K with probably about another 15K to write. At least they’ve got together at last! I’m still grinding it out slowly.
I’ve been reading a bit more lately and my TBR list is growing. I’ve finished Silk by K C Wells. Loved the story as I needed at bit of low angst. Raced through An Unsuitable Heir by K J Charles. Loved the while series and how the ending was sorted. Just started Axios, having read so much about it, by Jaclyn Osborn. I know very little about Sparta but watched all of Spartacus (Nagron needs no further explanation) and have studied Roman history so hoping that will help. I’ve some books by new to me writers, C F White, Annabeth Albert and Robin Covington on my TBR list. I am also eagerly awaiting Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger. I loved the Parasol Protectorate series and two of my favourite characters are Biffy and Lyall. I wrote fanfic. The cover for this new book that brings these two together, is gorgeous – a corseted waistcoat – yum. I wish I could include it here.
On the watching front, I finished Shadowhunters and adored Magnus Bane. We watched World Without End based on the book by Ken Follett, and once again I was thankful not to have been female back then. We’ve started watching Star Trek Discovery. I am a huge fan and as I also love Jason Issacs, this is a must. I first loved Jason when he played Hook – love a pirate in a puffy white blouse or not as below. Our latest boxset watch is Buffy the Vampire Slayer – yes, all seven series which we may mix with Angel. Other excitement is the end of this summer's Hellatus with the return of Supernatural this week.

Right, I think that’s enough from me. Have a good week everyone and happy sales. 

Oh and you can add The Matchmaker to your reading list if you'd like here

Wednesday 4 October 2017

Right Here, Right Now - anthology of contemporary gay romance

I'd seen the call for stories for this anthology from Pride Publishing but didn't have an idea and I was also deep into writing another story, so I ignored it, then I received an e-mail. Could I write 15000 words? I wasn't sure. I mulled it over attempting to find a story, then from nowhere the first words jumped into my head - "I know you like him." I then started to think who might say these words and to whom would he say them and a story was born. 
I'm a pantster but I got out my ideas pad and scribbled down ideas for characters, locations and issues and The Matchmaker was created. The main characters are Simon, a businessman, Tom, his adopted son who says the opening lines, and Josh, Tom's carer. They live in Cardiff and some of the story involves a visit to Barry Island shown on the cover.

There are five other wonderful stories in the anthology, all very different from some amazing authors. I've read them all.

’Undercover’ by Lily Harlem
When two alpha males collide, sparks will fly.
’Never the Groom’ by Samantha Cayto
A cold night turns unexpectedly hot.
’The Soldier Next Door’ by Brigham Vaughn
Sometimes, love is right next door.
’The Matchmaker’ by Alexa Milne
Sometimes you need a little push.
’Throwaway’ by Jon Keys
Garrett escaped the death threat from his family, but the Texas Panhandle is where he may be at the end of any hope.
’The Coach’ by Thom Collins
A routine assignment unlocks the secrets of his past.

So if you love mm romance and need a short story to fill in a boring lunchtime or to read before going to bed or any time really, why not download this collection?


You can use

Universal Amazon link -