bucolic

Beware, this is a bucolic, pastoral post, instead of me doing any actual writing of fiction.

I usually power-down between Christmas and the New Year and this season has been no different. It’s cold and it’s wet and it’s dark and it’s much nicer to spend my time curled up inside in front of the fire watching mildly rubbish TV with the kids than trying to be creative. Or to try and wrest a living from the land, which is is what I attempt to do when I’m not writing.

The children went back to school last week and Mr AL and I spent the time getting our collective heads on straight; putting the decorations back up in the loft; catching the plague of mice that arrived out of the decorations boxes and started eating the tea-towels; and generally taking a breath.

For me it was also a week of heightened anxiety, because Lost in Time was released. I didn’t realise how much boshing up self-publishing early last year had affected me, up until now. I have had to work really hard not to compulsively check for new reviews and get on with the job of writing new words. Mr AL has been looking at reviews and feeding things back to me and that has worked really well as a cushion between me and the world.

This week, then, I feel better about Acting Like A Real Human ™ and despite it being cold and wet and having spent most of the morning standing in my pyjamas shouting things like “WHERE ARE YOUR TRAINERS! HAVE YOU CLEANED YOUR TEETH! TURN ALEXA OFF!” I can feel words bubbling up inside me almost ready to boil over on to the page.

I need to plant lettuce and get the hens back in to lay and decide whether I’m going to mate the rabbits again this year. But for now all that can wait whilst I retreat to 1920s London for a while.

 

 

 

Queeromance Ink

This post is a heads-up about Queeromance Ink. It’s an author-driven directory service that lists books by and for queer authors and readers.

I’ve been a member for twelve months as an author and they are currently having a drive to make more people aware of what a good resource they are, so this is my helping hand.

As an author, I pay them twenty dollars a month.  For readers, it’s free. Categories are very precise and searchable. You search for what you want to read and then click through to buy it either direct from the publisher, or from the eReader platform you prefer. There is a ‘To be Read’ section on the site, and you can also click the star next to any author to ‘like’ them and to be notified when they add or release books. Plus, you’ll get an email if any of your TBR list books go on sale.

To join, just go to the membership page and click on the SELECT button next to ‘Reader’. Then fill out the information on the following page and submit the form. As a sweetener for new joiners, you’ll be sent five free queer fantasy books after February 1st. I hope it becomes a go-to resource for QUILTBAG romance books.

There is also a sister site, Queer Sci Fi.

Here endeth the blatant push!

 

Lost in Time Blog Tour

So, I did a blog tour for Lost in Time and the dates are below.

You can win a $10 Amazon gift voucher by entering the rafflecopter draw. (This is the link to the Signal Boost page for the book, and the draw is near the bottom).

January 7 – Book Review By Virginia Lee
January 8 – The Novel Approach – Blog Post
January 9 – Valerie Ullmer
January 10 – Alpha Book Club – Blog Post
January 11 – Mirrgold: Mutterings & Musings
January 12 – Love Bytes -Blog Post
January 13 – Padme’s Library
January 15 – Drops Of Ink, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, MM Good Book Reviews
January 16 – Diverse Reader – Blog Post
January 18 – MM Good Book Reviews – Blog Post

Because I am a) an introvert and also, possibly b) a really sad British cliche, I am finding promoting myself almost physically painful. So thank you for reading this… and now the new year is here and my writer’s block seems to have shifted, I hope to be polishing the sequel “Holding the Border” soon.

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 when you join my mailing list at Instafreebie!

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 when you sign up to my mailing list via Instafreebie!