character sketch: Rob from Inheritance of Shadows

Rob is a farm worker on Matty’s farm. He was born in 1884 and started working there when he was about thirteen. He’s now about thirty-five. He’s gentle and good with animals. He’s clever, thoughtful and quiet, a steady sort of person who likes to think things through before acting. If I had to use one verb to describe him, it would be stabilize.

He joined the army in 1914 when Britain first went to war with Germany and was promoted to Sergeant in the Signals by the time he was discharged in 1919. He’s largely self-educated, very eclectically. He’s a regular library user.

His wartime experience involved a lot of communications tech and he happens to find ciphers and codes fascinating and breaks them for fun. (This is extremely handy for my story, I have no idea how it happened, honest!).

Rob has been in love with Matty for years, but Matty was oblivious. Neither of them said anything to each other before they went off to the war, but afterwards, Rob decided that life was too short and fragile not to take a chance at happiness and made his feelings for Matty clear.

Their story begins in The Gate, which is free on the various ebook platforms and when you sign up for my newsletter; and it continues in Inheritance of Shadows.


I am trying to serialize IOS free, monthly for newsletter readers (not always successfully because of life-chaos). The following month, episodes then go to my Ko-fi for subscribers and hopefully when I finish the whole thing I’ll be publishing it as a novel.

flowers of time is out to beta

So! The Flowers of Time has gone off for beta readers to run their eyes over and I’m left working on the blurb. This is the bit I hate the most. I don’t think I’m alone in that, but so far it’s a bit of a struggle.

Jones is determined to find out what caused the unexpected death of her father whilst they were exploring ancient ruins in the Himalayas. She’s never been interested in the idea of the marriage bed, but along with a stack of books and coded journals he’s left her with the promise she’ll travel back to England for the first time since childhood and try being the lady she’s never been.

Edie and her brother are leaving soon on a journey to the Himalayas to document and collect plants for the new Kew Gardens when she befriends Miss Jones in London. She’s never left England before and is delighted to learn that the lady will be returning to the mountains she calls home at the same time they are planning their travels. When they meet again in Srinegar, Edie is surprised to find that here the Miss Jones of the London salons is ‘just Jones’ the explorer, clad in breeches and boots and unconcerned with the proprieties Edie has been brought up to respect.

A non-binary explorer and a determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountains passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way. Will Jones discover the root of the mysterious deaths of her parents? Will she confide in Edie and allow her to help in the quest? It’s a trip fraught with dangers for both of them, not least those of the heart.

My issue now is what to work on next!

an interview with Elizabeth Noble

Welcome to Elizabeth Noble, who has pitched up today to chat about her re-released series, Sentries!

Hello, and thank you for having me today! Recently I decided to find a new home for my oldest series, Sentries. I was lucky enough to place it with JMS Books. The first book, Marked Yours, will be released October 12, 2019. I seriously re-evaluated the book and the series and made some changes, particularly to the first two books. The story remains the same, but they needed a good re-edit. I also added some information that ties the series together in a much better way (I hope).

Tell us a bit about how long you’ve been writing and what inspired you?

I think I started writing before I could even read.  I can remember telling stories to anyone who’d listen since a very young age.

I write pretty much anywhere. I do have an office at home that’s my comfy space. I also have what I refer to as my outdoor office—I take the laptop to the patio when it’s nice outside. When I’m away from home I’ll make notes about whatever chapter I’m working on at the time.

I belong to a few online writing groups. I really enjoy it and these groups are a great source of information and support. There is always someone who knows something about a topic I’m researching, or has good marketing tips. No matter what a person’s profession, it’s always nice to be able to interact with others who do what you do.

Do you read the same things as you write?

I’m a reader of scifi, mysteries and sometimes horror (never watch horror, though). The romance books I read are usually in those sub-genres or BDSM. I also enjoy nonfiction subjects of canine history, archeoastronomy and geology/meteorology.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I have a day job (sometimes I work it at night), I’m a veterinary nurse. As for hobbies I garden and am an amateur astronomer. My younger dog, Finn, and I take obedience classes and we hope to begin competing at the novice level in Rally Obedience this November. Oh, and I LOVE my Netflix!

Tell me a little bit about your most recent release. What gave you the idea for it? How long did it take to write? What did you enjoy about writing it? What did you hate?  

A little more than a decade ago I was reading through a Live Journal—anyone remember that?—board where people looked for books or online stories with certain plots. There was one request for stories about arranged marriages and the very next was a request for two people who’d know each other all their lives but didn’t really get to know each other until they were adults.

I had one of those “aha” moments and the kernel of a story formed in my brain. That kernel turned into a gigantic plot bunny that evolved into Sentries.

In book one, Marked Yours, the two main characters, Todd and Nick, are bound to each other as children. They spend the time between then and when Nick turns twenty-two exchanging letters. It’s not until Nick is old enough that they are physically together. So, in a way they’ve known each other all their lives, but their pre-arranged bonding doesn’t take place until each man is an adult.

Marked Yours

When one society fell, assaulted by natural disaster, in its place rose another, molded into something entirely different. Protectorates were divided by beliefs and distance. Slavery was accepted and threats both natural and supernatural were commonplace.

This became a world where sentries were needed. Trained almost from infanthood, these tough men and women lived in a society within a society. They were warriors and protectors, ferreting out evil and defending the citizens of New Colorado Protectorate from inhuman terrors and, on occasion, human ones.

Todd Ruger was born into life as a sentry. Raised by a hard father into a hard life, Todd becomes the consummate sentry, tough, dangerous, and good at what he does. When he wasn’t quite into his teen years, he was bonded to a special young slave named Nick. For years their only interaction was through letters. Friendship turned to a sort of courtship between them. Todd lived for the day Nick became of age and Todd’s ownership would take effect. That was the day Nick would leave the village with Todd. They’d begin a life together. They’d make a difference.

Raised as a slave, Nick never wanted to be special, but nature had other ideas for him. He grew up in a village with other slave children and was taught to be useful to his future master because he a gift … or curse. The tutors responsible for his upbringing didn’t understand what Nick could do, what he was; they were afraid of him. If sentries hadn’t bought him, it was likely he’d never have lived to see the age of five. All that changes the day Nick leaves the village with Todd. He’s cared for and shown a new, better life with a man who loves him honestly and wholly.

But after being together barely a day, Nick is brutally attacked and injured. Though he recovers without incident, Todd’s heart fills with revenge. The guardian in him turns into a dangerous, driven assassin, a wolf on the hunt.

Todd’s obsession with tracking down the men who hurt Nick and making them pay could very well get them both killed. Can they survive and build the life together they’ve both dreamed of for years?

NOTE: This is the third edition of Marked Yours. The first and second editions were released by another publishing house. This story has been revised and re-edited with the end result being a better, stronger story.

Find Elizabeth

Website : Amazon Page : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads

Mystery, action, chills, and thrills spiced with romance and desire. ELIZABETH NOBLE started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fan fiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M fiction. Being able to share her stories is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess, a spunky Cardigan Welsh Corgi and their sidekick, tabby cat. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening, winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!). When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

Elizabeth has received a number of amateur writing awards. Since being published, several of her novels have received Honorable Mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Jewel Cave was a runner-up in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category in the 2015 Rainbow Awards. Ringed Love was a winner in the Gay Fantasy Romance category of the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

Website : Amazon Page : Facebook : Twitter : Goodreads

A big thank you to Elizabeth for submitting herself to my questions!

Fashion Museum, Bath

Firstly apologies for the lateness of this post. However, I’ve been collecting blog material! We’ve been on holiday near Bath and we went to the Fashion Museum earlier in the week. I was primarily focused on looking at clothing from the 1770s and 1780s for Edie and for Jones.

The trouble with collections of historical clothing is that you only get the really expensive things or the things their owners didn’t like much that survive. And you don’t get a great deal of working people’s clothing, because they literally wore it until it had holes and then it got cut down and repurposed. Clothing was so much more expensive and energy-intensive than it is today. Everything was woven and sewn by hand.

These gowns and petticoats from the 1770s and 1780s are much more Edie’s sort of thing than Jones’, although I do imagine Jones stuffed in to the one with the blue quilted petticoats when she was visiting her aunt in England. And perhaps the one with the yellow gown and stomacher for more formal occasions. I can definitely see Edie in the pale pink effort with all the embroidery on the front when she first meets Jones at the ball. (High waists a la Jane Austen only came in around about 1794 as far as I can make out).

Once the pair of them are travelling, they revert to much simpler clothes. I imagine Jones wearing something like this… it’s based on a working man’s coat from about 1780, made of wool.

I am still in debate with myself over whether Jones would wear local clothing once she gets home to the mountains. I think she might need to stay in western garb because I am not confident enough to write about regional clothing without getting it wrong and that seems disrespectful.

Edie doesn’t feel right going for breeches, however comfortable they might be. So she compromises by wearing ‘stays’ or ‘bodies’ (which is what she calls them) that lower class women, who had no help getting dressed, wore. They lace up the front rather than the back, so you can do them yourself. This is really interesting little video of a working woman getting dressed.

The little things… how you deal with menstruation, what pins you use in your hair, how often you change your stockings… those are all things that tend not to get referenced in contemporary texts because it was all such normal stuff that you didn’t need to. Everyone knew about it. There’s a good blog post about Georgian personal hygiene by the Word Wenches and I think I may have mentioned Madame Isis’ blog before.

Next week I am back to regular scheduling and I am interviewing Naomi Aoki!


PS: As we came out of the museum and went to find the old fashioned sweetshop, we fell over a coach and four. Netflix are filming the Bridgerton series of books by Julia Quinn.

reading roundup: July

I’ve been oxer-deep in reading this month and have seven books to share.


The Cricketer’s Arms, Garrick Jones

A gay romance/murder mystery set in 1950s Sydney. I loved this. I’ve probably said before that I think Garrick Jones’ historical detail is second to none. The combination of a murder mystery and romantic shenanigans is basically my ideal read. Hard recommend. I understand there is a sequel in the wind in the future.


Thrown to the Wolves, Charlie Adhara

The third in Charlie Adhara’s wolves series. Cooper finds out a lot more about wolf pack behaviour and Oliver Park’s slightly bonkers family. I have a complex relationship with shifter books – some I love and some don’t grab me at all. This trilogy falls in to the ‘love’ category!


Tournament of Shadows, S. A. Meade

I went looking for Tournament of Shadows because I met S. A. Meade at an Author Thing a couple of months ago.  Published in 2014, this ticks all my ‘historical detail’ boxes. Set in the mid-nineteenth century in what is now Uzbekistan, it follows two minor characters in the Great Game played between world powers during that period. It has gay romance, political intrigue and journeying through locations I knew nothing about and had to research. A definite re-read.


Hither Page, Cat Sebastian

Set just post-WW2 Hither Page features a shell-shocked country doctor and a spy who need to team up to solve a murder. Of course, they fall in love in the process. There is beautifully realized historical detail with vulnerable and emotionally wounded main protagonists and a richly sprinkling of well drawn supporting characters.  Also, lady assassins. *taps nose meaningfully*


Outbreak, Melissa Olson

This is the final book in the Nightshades trilogy which is a vampire power-struggle-cum-straight-romance with the FBI thrown in for good measure. Vampires have been hidden from humanity until very recently. Hector is still trying to manipulate both vampires and humans for his own nefarious, control-grabbing purposes and the Bureau of Preternatural Investigations is still trying to stop him. But the FBI are also investigating Lindy and Alex. It’s a really good end to the trilogy.


Rebellion, Naomi Aoki

Intricate historical detail about the Boxer uprising from Naomi Aoki in this gay romance set at the end of the nineteenth century in Singapore and China. Alfred falls in love with a Chinese soldier he meets in the public gardens. The tension in their love story is entwined with the rising of the political and eventually military tensions. Neither my historical period or my geographical area, I really, really enjoyed this. Recommend.


Owl and the Japanese Circus, Kristi Charish

The first in the Owl series. Owl is an archaeologist-thief in a world where magic is real and digging up ancient artifacts can get you killed. Obviously the authorities suppress all this knowledge from the general public. Owl doesn’t do supernatural jobs, but this time she gets sucked in to something that she can’t avoid. There are dragons, vampires and (straight) romance. I have got second one in the series on my TBR list but haven’t got to it yet. I thought this was brilliant – really good world-building.


That’s all! Next week, an interview with Nell Iris.