Lost in Time

Lost In Time is now available from  JMS Books and all major booksellers. (Typing that is never going to get old). You can find the right format for your eReader on the Queeromance Ink page, including Kindle, ePub, B&N and Google Play.

Lew’s life is pleasantly boring until his friend Mira messes with magic she doesn’t understand. While searching for her, he is pulled back in time to 1919 by a catastrophic magical accident. As he tries to navigate a strange time and find his friend in the smoky music clubs of Soho, the last thing he needs is Detective Alec Carter suspecting him of murder.

 London in 1919 is cold, wet, and tired from four years of war. Alec is back in the Metropolitan Police after slogging out his army service on the Western Front. Falling for a suspect in a gruesome murder case is not on his agenda, however attractive he finds the other man.

 They are both floundering and out of their depth, struggling to come to terms with feelings they didn’t ask for and didn’t expect. Both have secrets that could get them arrested or killed. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures, and illegal sexual desire, who is safe to trust?


Read an excerpt:

He parked the department’s Model-T on the small lane off Hackney High Street where Tyler indicated and followed the man up a flight of steps from a small courtyard, behind what looked like a laundry. Tyler unlocked the door and looked at him. “Come in. You can wait in here.” He threw his damp cap and ‘cycle goggles onto a table that clearly served for kitchen and dining, shucked his coat and gestured to a battered settee in front of a cold grate. “Would you like a drink?” He was un-stoppering a half-full bottle of whisky and sloshing it into two glasses as he spoke.

Alec shut the door and leaned back against it, his arms folded. “How did you know him?”

He kept his gaze uncompromising.

The hand holding the bottle froze in mid-air and then very carefully replaced it on the counter. “I didn’t know him.”

The stopper of the bottle was replaced with deliberation.

“Rubbish.”

Silence.

“Do you want me to take you down to Wapping for questioning?”

More silence. Tyler lifted the glass and took a long slug. He turned to face Alec and Alec suddenly realized that he could have read the young man incorrectly and that he was face to face with the killer. He wasn’t as young as he had initially thought, now Alec was looking at him with a professional eye, and his hands and arms were sinewy and muscled where he’d undone his sleeves. His eyes were dark-chocolate colored, shot through with lighter hazel — almost gold — hooded and wary; and there was a smear of what looked like blood on his fingers where he was gripping the glass and another on his cheek. He told himself that Tyler couldn’t have killed the man — he’d have been covered in blood, the way the throat had been ripped out. But he knew the victim. Alec was sure of it.

Tyler raised the glass again and tossed the rest of the contents back; then turned and went to refill it. Alec caught himself watching the play of his shoulders under his shirt and a little frisson of desire shivered through him. Hell. That was the last thing he needed.

Tyler turned back to Alec, both glasses in hand and caught him looking. He held one out to him, clearly dismissing what he’d seen. “Do you want this?”

Alec unfolded from the door and took it. He gestured to the other man’s fingers. “You touched him.”

He said it flatly, not a question.

“Yes.”

Another pause. Tyler stared into his glass and Alec drank some of his. The bite of the spirit steadied him a little.

“Why?”

“Just as I was setting up the shot. Not deliberately.”

Again, he was lying.

Alec stepped toward the small table where Tyler had put down his camera kit and placed his glass down with a deliberate clunk on the surface. Then he took off his hat and his coat and threw them over the chair-back of one of the mismatched wooden dining chairs before he took another drink.

“Get going with the pictures, then.”

Let it play out, he told himself. Wait. Just let it play out.

He sat down on the battered settee, crossed his arms, and stretched his legs out, tilting his head back against the cushions and keeping eye contact with Tyler all the time. Tyler threw back the remains of his second drink and picked up his kit.

“Dark room’s through there,” he muttered, gesturing at a door. “Not much space in there.”

“I’ll wait here.” Alec was laconic.

He was more tired than he thought — a long day followed by two hours sleep, then being woken again by Grant when the call came in. It was pleasant sitting in the relatively warm flat, listening to the rain outside. It was proper rain now rather than the dank drizzle of earlier and he thought absently to himself that anything left at the scene would be washed away by the time he could get back there to have another look. His eyes started to droop and he let them, lulled by the sound.

You can find the right format for your eReader on the Queeromance Ink page, including Kindle, ePub, B&N and Google Play.

The Gate

My 7,500 word freebie short story “The Gate” is now available for download ALL OVER THE PLACE! You can find the right format for your eReader on the Queeromance Ink page, including Kindle, ePub, B&N and Google Play.

It’s 1918, and Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks it might be cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it’s connected to the mysterious books his brother has left strewn around the house.

Matty confides his suspicions in his friend Rob, a hired hand on the farm and potential lover. Rob has found something that looks like a gate of some kind, something Arthur referenced in his papers which may rest at the heart of his illness. But a gate to where?


Read an excerpt:

The tap at the kitchen door took him unaware and he carried the bottle of brandy out with him to answer it. It was Rob. Matty stepped back in silent invitation and let him in. “All right?” Rob asked, quietly.

“Not really. Do you want a drink?” Matty gestured to the bottle he’d set on the table.

Rob looked at him with narrowed eyes and nodded. “I’ll join you.” He’d been promoted up to sergeant in the Signal Corp, Matty remembered, in a disconnected sort of way.

“Come on through. I was in his study.”

Rob hesitated. The farm men never came any farther into the house than the kitchen. But it was an unusual day. In front of the sideboard, Matty slopped some more out of the bottle into another dusty glass and proffered it. Rob took it and sat where Matty gestured, on the worn leather settee. Neither spoke. It was a comfortable kind of silence.

He and Rob had always got on, in the way of single men. They’d gone to the pub together sometimes and taken a couple of local sisters on Courting Walks through the bluebell woods as a pair, a long time ago. Matty hadn’t been particularly interested in Marie Booth and he didn’t think Rob had been much interested in her sister Clemmie, either, probably for the same reason. Matty had made sure never to look at him like that, though. He didn’t need that sort of trouble on his doorstep.

But now he really looked at the other man, comfortably sprawled opposite him. Looking back, they’d been inseparable. Four years of muddling through in the trenches and taking soldier’s comfort in a few minutes here and there, furtive and messy behind the lines, had snapped something in him. He didn’t really care overmuch what people thought of him, not anymore. And he suspected a lot of other people were the same. When you’d had boys too young to be away from their mothers die in your arms, you learned to grasp for any comfort or happiness when it appeared and damn the consequences.

“I was just checking on you.” Rob said quietly. “I can go if you like.”

“No, don’t go. I appreciate the company. I just haven’t got much talk left in me.”

“No need to talk with me, Matty, you know that.” Rob’s smile was slight but genuine. He turned to small talk. “Cows are milked. I left the churns in the dairy, though. It’s too warm to put them out tonight. We’ll need to do something about the back of the barn before the winter. There’s gaps of light coming in through that red stone wall. The brick’s crumbling away.”

They made desultory conversation for a half hour and Matty’s eyes started to droop. “You need to sleep, lad.” He could hear a small, genuine smile in Rob’s voice.

“I do.” He stood and put his glass on the sideboard. “Thank you.”

“Any time. Just ask. Whatever you need.” Rob stood quietly beside him, stalwart and solid and so very comforting. They faced each other. Rob raised his hand to the back of Matty’s neck and Matty stepped forward into the embrace. Rob’s other arm came around him and settled him, forehead against that broad shoulder, smelling of hay and good sweat. It was such a relief to have someone else take his weight for a little while. Neither moved. After a little while, Matty felt Rob press a soft kiss against the top of his head. He was hard in his corduroys, against Matty’s hip, and Matty felt himself stirring in response. “Get some sleep. It’ll all look different in the morning.” The arms fell away with a passing caress to his nape and they stepped apart.


You can find the right format for your eReader on the Queeromance Ink page, including Kindle, ePub, B&N and Google Play.

a thousand holly wreaths

This morning I planned a morning of rosy-cheeked, family fun. So we loaded our two children and the powered wheelchair, an additional borrowed child, Morris-dog The Dachshund and my friend who is visiting for the weekend to help with the children in to two cars. And we drove the three miles down the hill to Ma’s smallholding for a Nice Run Round. We also had a cage with four superannuated chickens that were going to retire to there.

We were greeted by Ma’s two young sheepdogs, extremely excited to see us all. There was barking and a football and Joyful Shennanigins.

Then my friend and OH got the chicken cage out of the car and started to carry it down to the hen house. A combination of dogs knocked the top off the chicken cage. Three of the hens exploded out of it. Two of them ran out the gate and turned left, chased by a barking dachshund. One of them flew up on to the top of one of the commercial greenhouses and leaped down in to the farm next door.

The children started yelling at the dogs. I started yelling at the children. The children and OH pelted out of the gate and up the lane after the hens. OH was wearing his knitted hat with the Viking plaits that bounce as he runs. My friend threw herself on the chicken cage to prevent egress of the cockerel, who was pretty pissed off by this point.

The Pursuit Party returned with one hen clutched under OH’s arm and Morris clutched in the Child’s. We finished unloading Smaller Child and the wheelchair and took the two birds down to the hen house. In the pen of the hen-house were the seven more or less feral guinea-fowl, partaking of a little nourishment as is their habit at that time of day. We put the chickens in with them and they immediately attacked them. The chickens lodged themselves right in the corner of the pen behind an old feeder to get away. This made it quite hard to get hold of them again.

We shut the pop-hole to the hen house with the guinea-fowl outside and went to put the chickens inside. First we had to remove the corpse of a large rat that was lying on top of the straw. OH then stapled the pen-roof netting that was sagging and we shut the guinea-fowl inside. My friend had found the hen that had jumped the greenhouse by this time and we went to try and help her catch it.

This did not happen.

The Postman arrived and we asked him to keep an eye out for the missing hen as he went on up the lane. He asked what colour it was and my friend produced a handful of feathers from a pocket … “These were what I took out of the dog’s mouth.”

The Postman left.

By this time, Larger Child had been told off so many times for shouting, they were sobbing. OH took the children to get groceries and my friend and I stayed to walk the dachshund around Ma’s field to see what his recall was like with no children around.

His recall is very, very bad.

Luckily, Ma’s sheep are extremely tame and very robust and have FUCKING LARGE HORNS. I will not be letting the dog off the lead near sheep ever, ever again. Although he’s probably terrified of them now.

We went to say goodbye to Ma. Ma was in her shed, making holly wreaths. Last December she made a thousand. A thousand holly wreaths. A. Thousand. Holly. Wreaths. Ma is eighty-one and she does not enjoy December. She makes sure that no-one else enjoys it either and this is the reason why I didn’t come home for the four weeks before Christmas for twenty years.

Ma said she didn’t want the guinea-fowl shut in, because they tell her when there is anyone or anything about, so my friend and I went and let the guinea-fowl out of the pen.

And then we went home.

This Christmas Fun Infovert has been brought to you by the family of A. L. Lester. Please send us your good wishes for the holiday season, as we send you ours. Or gin. You could send gin.

Kintsugi

I have small children and things get broken. And I tell myself that this is why we can’t have nice things. However, I have a tiny, tiny bit of spare brain space at the moment. And I decided to use that to make a couple of broken things beautiful again. I researched the Japanese art of Kintsugi – repairing pottery with gold leaf. I found lots of incredibly pricey repair services and some articles about DIY faking it. The best faking it article I found was this one from A Cozy Kitchen. So this morning I have done this. And yeah, I won’t be able to actually drink coffee out of my lovely coffee bowl again; but I can put Important Things in it, instead.

It’s a life-lesson, too. Just because we are broken and repaired, doesn’t mean that we can’t be beautiful again, just in a different way. Cherish those breaks and cherish those repairs, because they make us who we are. Individual, different from each other. Stronger, perhaps. And covered in beautiful, shiny gold.