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New release – On A Lee Shore

I have the final version of the cover for “On A Lee Shore”, designed by Mina Carter!

No fixed release date yet and no official blurb but here’s what I put on my CAM form:

“Give me a reason to let you live.”

Beached after losing his ship and crew and with England finally at peace, Lt Christopher Penrose will take whatever work he can get. A valet? Why not? Escorting an elderly diplomat to the Leeward Islands seems like an easy job until the morning their ship is attacked by pirates and Kit’s world is turned upside down. Forced aboard the pirate ship Kit soon finds himself juggling his determination to stay true to his honour with the requirements of the crew and the alarming yet enticing requests of the captain. Kit has always obeyed the rules, though sometimes it has been painful, but now the rules have changed and Kit feels himself to be adrift in a chartless ocean.

As the pirates plunder their way across the Caribbean, Kit finds much to admire in their freedom, while deploring their lawless ways, and is drawn into their way of life.  He finds friendship with Saunders, the acerbic doctor, Denny the elderly cabin boy, and Lewis and Protheroe, genial rapscallions who are often hand in hand. He makes powerful enemies. He finds a purpose – the greatest robbery ever committed. Dare he dream of finding love, too, or would loving a pirate take him too far down the road to ruin?

Coming soon from Etopia Press

New release on Friday!

Only 3 days now until my latest release is available in a Halloween themed anthology from Etopia Press. “Halloween Heat IV” also contains stories by Tara Lain and A C Fox.

“Set in Stone” tells what happens the night that Joe, the newest member of the Brecon Mountain Rescue team, is sent by his team mates to spend the night alone high in the hills. Beside a standing stone he dreams of times past and wonders what bearing it might have for his future.

A new story

Maen Madoc against a stormy sky.

I’m very pleased to be able to say that I’ll have a new story available in October from Etopia Press to be published in an anthology of Hallowe’en stories, title to be confirmed.

My story, Set in Stone, is set in Mid Wales and features Maen Madoc – Madoc’s stone – one of the more enigmatic ancient monuments with which Wales is so plentifuly supplied. This massive slab of sandstone was set in place during the Bronze Age. Later a Roman road, Sarn Helen, was laid out nearby and the slab was reused as a grave marker. Layer upon layer of history – fertile ground for a storyteller.

UK Meet 2012

Everything is coming together beautifully for UK Meet 2012.

This – our very own British readers/authors/fans convention for LGBQTT fiction –  will take place on 15th September at the Mercure Hotel in Brighton.

We are planning a full day of entertainment on Saturday 15th with optional events on Friday evening and Sunday morning. Click on the picture for the website and full details.

The keynote speaker will be Jordan Castillo-Price, of Psycop fame though those wonderfully plotted stories are only part of the good stuff she has written.

There will be panels, signings, a book stall, swag bags and competitions plus a brilliant chance to meet with friends and heroes. I plan to spend a good part of my weekend being a very respectful fan girl. 🙂

Oh – I mentioned prizes! One of the sponsors – Silver Publishing – has kindly donated no less than three [three!] Kindle Touches, one of which will be raffled in support of our charity of choice The Albert Kennedy Trust. The other two? Big secret. I guess we’ll all find out on the day.

There’s still time to book.

Just click that picture up there and have a look at what’s on offer. It will be FUN. Come and join us.

“How to be a Writer”

I see a lot of  How To Be A Writer posts and they always cheer me up.

The internet is full of other people who seem just as anxious as I am to nail down the process into a series of simple instructions. Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be super if you could buy “On Writing” by Stephen King, follow it page by page and end up with a novel, very much as one might follow a recipe to make apple crumble [peach cobbler if you come from a place where apple crumble does not exist].

Sadly it doesn’t work like that. There are two many variables. Every single writer has something about themselves that nobody else can quite manage to emulate. Every single writer NEEDS to work in their own particular, unique and sometimes peculiar way.

Yesterday on the Women and Words site I saw a brilliant illustration of this. Jack Kerouac provided 30 ‘How To’ tips for people who wanted to know how to be a writer. Here they are in no particular order of importance:
  • Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
  • Submissive to everything, open, listening
  • Try never get drunk outside yr own house
  • Be in love with yr life
  • Something that you feel will find its own form
  • Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
  • Blow as deep as you want to blow
  • Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
  • The unspeakable visions of the individual
  • No time for poetry but exactly what is
  • Visionary tics shivering in the chest
  • In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
  • Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
  • Like Proust be an old teahead of time
  • Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
  • The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
  • Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
  • Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
  • Accept loss forever
  • Believe in the holy contour of life
  • Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
  • Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
  • Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
  • No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
  • Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
  • Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
  • In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
  • Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
  • You’re a Genius all the time
  • Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Elmore Leonard’s “10 Rules for Writing”

So now you know! I bet that’s a sure fire recipe for writing something that looks a bit similar to Jack Kerouac.

Sure you can follow Elmore Leonard’s advice and that will be fine if you want to write stuff set in the same kind of places and periods as Elmore Leonard  enjoys writing about. But the tight terse laconic style that is fine for hard bitten PIs investigating contemporary crime capers is going to look a bit odd if you apply it to Regency romances.

I’d be inclined to read the advice – some of Elmore’s ten are spot on – but how the hell do you guess which bits readers skip? I know that I often skip the bits that other readers say are the best parts.  What do you think?  Sing in your own voice or try and lip synch to one of the great operatic tenors who write ‘how to’ books?

Editing and Pirates

An Illustration by Howard Pyle who drew the BEST pirates.

I’ve been busy for the past month editing and revising my pirate novel “On A Lee Shore” and, wouldn’t you know it, the damn thing has got bigger instead of shrinking. This is because as I read it through I’ve realised that I have missed out bits that I knew about the characters that the reader has no way of knowing.

I’m at a bit of a loss to know what to do with it when it’s finished because I don’t think it’s sufficiently romantic and certainly not erotic enough for the M/M market. M/M readers do seem to require plenty of explicit boinkage laid out in finely detailed black and white. Maybe it’s a skill I should acquire or maybe I should get a writing partner who is good at that kind of thing? Meantime, the story is what it is – an action adventure romp – and there’s no helping that.

Here’s an excerpt from close to the beginning:
Continue Reading »

Carrying the Torch

Ben Ainslie, Olympic gold medallist, the first of the relay runners with his newly lit torch.


The Olympic Torch relay came through my town on Friday, closing all the main streets and causing a brilliant rash of parties. It was wonderful weather too, so well worth celebrating.

Some of the British LGBT authors have got together to write their own Relay. As the Torch is carried through the country a daily post will be made featuring information about the area and, where possible, excerpts of stories that are set there. These posts may be found here and my first offering went up on Saturday. I wrote about the things everyone knows about south east Wales – miners, castles and rugby – and posted a link to a section of a WIP on my own blog [since it’s nowhere near ready for publication].

I’m really enjoying the relay posts and I think the other authors are doing a cracking job of showcasing the country.

Please Note:

Until Sunday the Hop Against Homophobia posts and contests will be open. May 17th was International Day Against Homophobia, but I think it’s something to bear in mind every day.
Every day there are people who have to hide who they are, have to meet loved ones in secret, have to lie about – well almost everything. It’s not quite that bad now in the UK but there are still attacks, from careless asides to casual but cutting comments to directed sneers escalating into outright hate crime violence.
It needs to stop and only way to do it is education – people need to learn that the ‘other’ [race, sex, sexual orientation, religion] is not the enemy but a potential friend. It’s going to be a hard journey but a step at a time we’ll get there.

Update and upgrade.

After the problem I experienced at the beginning of the month with hacking – you really don’t want to know what happened, believe me – I decided to do my day to day blogging at a WordPress site. This can be found here and I will mirror posts on this site if I think they are sufficiently interesting.

News:

I’m continuing to juggle home life, work life, writing life and marketing. most of the time I drop the balls!

However I have had a submission accepted for the UK Meet anthology Lashings of Sauce which will be published at the end of July.

I’m writing the second draft of On A Lee Shore, and worrying over appalling my betas.

I’m using A Fierce Reaping for the Six Sentence Sunday text. Excerpt below.

Cynfal arrives in Din Eidin under stressful circumstances and sets about making an impression.

Continue Reading »

Interviews and meme

I’ve been lucky to have been entertained most royally by some kind friends over the past few days. Firstly, Sue Roebuck interviewed my character Philon. Then Kiran Hunter interviewed me!

Thanks folks for a good deal of fun.

Now here’s that meme.

This has been everywhere over the past few days so I thought I’d have a bash at it.

Rules

1. Go to page 77 (or 7th) of your current ms
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other authors. {Yeah like that’s going to happen.This is a strictly voluntary game.}

And because I’m cruel like that you get not one Ms but two.

Firstly I’ve chosen 7 paragraphs from Page 77 of A Fierce Reaping – Cynfal, an experienced but down on his luck soldier, has struck lucky and is leading one wing of Troop Three in a cavalry force sent by Marro, King of Din Eidin, to drive the Saxons out of Northumbria. Here they are just setting out:

Cynfal laughed and turned to Gwion. “Let’s get this misbegotten bunch moving. Can’t you play us something more cheerful?”
Gwion tilted his head. “How about your favourite?” he asked. “When father went to the mountain?”
Cynfal leaned to slap the back of his head, but Gwion was already playing the catchy little tune and voices were chiming in with “Giff, Gaff, catch catch, fetch fetch.” Cynfal shrugged, laughed and began to sing as well.
The song was a good choice. Just as father called to his dogs Giff and Gaff, so Marro was sending them out on the hunt, “catch catch, fetch fetch”, hoping they would return with a border set beyond which the Saxons wouldn’t venture. Maybe Marro appreciated that too? He was smiling, frail and bony in the watery sunlight, and his lips moved in time to the words.
“Dear gods,” Cynon swept up and spun his horse to Cynfal’s side. He glared across at Gwion. “Couldn’t you have come up with something more dignified than that nursery rhyme?”
“Dignified?” Cynfal said. “I didn’t realise you wanted dignified. I thought you wanted ponies packed, whores wrangled, ditches dug, tents put up and general dying done. Nobody mentioned dignified.”
“Well it’s too late now,” Cynon said and grinned. “Everyone likes this song!” And he joined in loudly with “Catch, catch, fetch, fetch” as he rode back to the head of his troop.

And secondly here’s a section of page 77 of On A Lee Shore. During a dreadful storm Kit Penrose had to spend many long hours on deck and doesn’t quite remember how he got to bed.

Few wakings were as warm and comfortable as this one though confusing in many respects. From the even swing of his hammock he had supposed he was in his usual place in the foc’sle until he opened his eyes and saw white painted boards swimming with reflected light a couple of feet above his head. Kit frowned. He remembered laying down on a damp blanket on the floor and looking up to see the captain slumping back into his cot looking utterly exhausted and beaten. Denny had been holding their drenched oilskins away from his body with an expression of disgust on his wizened face, while Saunders was busy pouring a measure from a bottle into a small glass.
Now the room was, as far as he could see, empty. The cot was neatly made, the floor clean and dry. The Africa was leaning over a little, rising and falling evenly over the swells. There was no sound or sign that could cause any alarm but Kit was uneasy. There was something very wrong. He yawned, deciding that he would work out what it was in just a few moments. He stretched, groaned as strained muscles protested and dropped his hand to rub ribs bruised by the tiller.
Ah – so that was the problem. He had gone to sleep at least partially dressed. Now – he made a quick inventory – he was wearing drawers that he did not recognise, the waist tie done in a firm and seamanlike bowline.
Kit scowled, hating the idea of having been exposed and vulnerable and having known nothing about it. There was only one thing to do – get up and dressed as quickly as possible.
The hammock creaked as he left it and he stood on the oilskin and looked for his clothes. They were nowhere to be seen but neatly folded on the table was a shirt and a pair of the breeches that the captain favoured. Kit hesitated to pick them up, feeling it was a bit of an imposition, so looked out of the window instead. Another shock. Unless they had got horribly turned around it was morning, not long after dawn – a clear bright one too with a sky filled with racing clouds.
Behind him the latch clicked and he looked around. “OH!” Denny was staring at him. “Get your breeches on you ‘orrible soldier!” he said, his wheezy voice a sharp parade ground bark.
Kit grinned at him. “My breeches are gone,” he said. “Where did they go Denny? They can’t have walked off by themselves.”

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