Sunday, 22 May 2016

Rainbow Snippets 21/22 May

Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook Group that invites authors to post 6 sentences of their work each weekend. It can be from anything you like, your current WIP, a recent release, the golden oldie that even you had forgotten you had written, or just a scrap of an idea (as long as it has 6 coherent sentences). Nothing of your own work worth mentioning? How about a 6 sentence review of your favourite LGBTQ+ story.

With the first round of edits finished on Resistance I thought we'd have another clip of Rick and Mal. Here's the start of Chapter Two. Whatever had Rick worried, they seemed to be over it.

“Here?” Mal choked out.
Rick pushed his body up against the wall and spread his arms. He felt the pull on his waistband give a little and the pinch in his balls lessened just enough to be enjoyable rather than painful.
“Here.” Mal repeated, in a tone that implied it had been his intention all along. The warmth returned to Rick’s back and Mal’s voice came from right behind Rick’s ear this time, all hesitancy gone. “On the stairs.”


Friday, 20 May 2016

Fiction Friday

Let's recap. My main reading challenge at the moment is to attempt to read a book by every author attending the UK Meet this year.

Best thing to do is start at the beginning or I'll just end up picking my favourites again.

A is for Abigail Roux. Yes, *sigh* I still have the whole of the Cut and Run series to read but I don't have time for that with this challenge needing to be completed by September! So I picked The Gravedigger's Brawl. I expected this story to be historical for some reason. I think it was the cover that gave me that impression. As such I was irrationally disappointed when I realised it was a contemporary.

Then I moved on to an anthology and successfully killed two birds with one stone. 'Seems a bit harsh.' Okay, I ticked Alina Popescu and Lily G Blunt off the list by reading Encore, a Wayward Ink anthology about musicals. A good collection of ten short stories based on or set around the world of musicals. My favourite story of the bunch was A Man who Measures Up, about an AmDram production of Rocky Horror. My review for the whole anthology is here.

Lone Wolf (Bluewater Bay #4) by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt. True I had no need to read this story for the challenge, I have read enough by both these authors, but I couldn't resist. Also it was my next story up in the Bluewater Bay series, so it made a tiny bit of headway in the forever ongoing 'finish all the series you've started' challenge. The writer problem/fandom issues made this story. Some of it felt so familiar.

The Best Corpse for the Job (Lindenshaw Mysteries #1) by Charlie Cochrane, Excellent mystery of the cosy variety with added romance and a distinctly British feel.

I've not just been reading UK Meet stories though.

I once swore I'd never read shifter stories. I lied. Now there are some that I absolutely love. True they are generally quirky or different rather than traditional shifter stories. This one is different.
Wolf, WY by AF Henley. Beautifully written and visual book with an interesting look at pack dynamics from an outsiders POV. Loved this.

And I've literally just finished this one.

Hexbreaker (Hexworld #1) by Jordan L. Hawk. Excellent historical with a magic twist. You don't have to have read The 13th Hex to read this but why would you want to miss out on that short story gem. Book 2 please...

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Rainbow Snippet 14/15 May

Rainbow Snippets is a Facebook Group that invites authors to post 6 sentences of their work each weekend. It can be from anything you like, your current WIP, a recent release, the golden oldie that even you had forgotten you had written, or just a scrap of an idea (as long as it has 6 coherent sentences). Nothing of your own work worth mentioning? How about a 6 sentence review of your favourite LGBTQ+ story.

I've finally remembered to post a Rainbow Snippet. Seemed appropriate to pick the opening lines of Resistance since it has just been sent off to the editor's for spit 'n' polish. All, some of none of these words may make the final cut. So grab 'em while they're still around.

Resistance is the follow up story to Resonance. Six weeks later...

A smile can always be heard in your voice.
He could almost hear his mum uttering those words of wisdom—just nine of many in her repertoire—and for a moment Rick wished his parents still lived in the village. That he didn’t need to travel halfway around the world for a hug from his mum.
Not that she’d entertain his chiping for more than a moment before he got a bannicking. She’d always listened to his complaints, would offer advice where necessary, but stupidity would be followed by a whack upside his head or being chased off with the yard brush. He smiled at the memories the thought conjured up. No, his mum would provide no help in this situation. 

Friday, 13 May 2016

Fiction Friday

It's been a while since I've done one of these so I had to go back and see where I'd got to. in my recommendations. When I finished the ABC challenge I said I'd be going on to author's attending the UK Meet this year.

I started with a UK Meet author but not one I needed to read for the challenge as I have read plenty of her previous work. But I've been waiting for this story since I read A Twist and Two Balls and the rest of the series.
Double Scoop by Clare London. - Finally Lee and Patrick's story. But it still takes a little help from there friends to get their heads out of their arses. Stubborn boys!

I followed that up with a couple of Jane Davitt freebies from AO3. Couched as a Question and The Patient Professor were both formerly short stories published by Torquere and now out of print and made available for free by the author.

Another freebie was It Happened in Vegas. An anthology from five of the authors attending the Romantic Times convention in Vegas. My favourite story in the bunch was Super Juicy by BA Tortuga and Julia Talbot but I'll attach my GR review here because I had a mini rant about the last story in the book which you can chose to read or ignore. I'll leave it up to you.

I'll wrap up for this post before it gets too long with two thoroughly engaging reads.

The High King's Golden Tongue by Megan Derr. It appears gay fantasy is fast become one of my genres of the year. Another smashing addition in the genre as you would expect from Ms Derr. Low in sex, but full of passion, plot and interesting side characters. Damn if I don't have to wait until July for the sequel.

And look away now if fanfiction isn't your thing because I'm gonna rec you one.

The Gemini Affair by manic_intent. Man from UNCLE. The film not the TV show. Slow burn. Carries on from where the film left off. I devoured this fic. Loved it.

I'll catch up with the rest of my current reads next Friday when hopefully I can bring myself right back up to date.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016


I've been fairly quiet on the blogging front.

I blame campnano.

I've worked out that when I put myself under the pressure of aiming for a monthly target and attempting to get words down every day, then other things have to suffer.  Unfortunately the first thing that goes is the blogging.

I try not to feel guilty about this. I know I can't reasonably do everything that I want to. But trying to switch off that guilty worry that you're not doing enough is harder than you’d think. Everywhere you look people are telling you that the only way to sell your book is to get out there and sell yourself on social media. Hah! I’ll happily tell you all about other authors’ books that I've enjoyed but I'm no good at selling myself. My own trumpet remains well and truly puffless.

But I digress. Campnano took place in April and I aspired to write 40k of Smudge’s story. Considering I’m lucky to hit 20k in a month this was a huge task that I set myself. I’m really chuffed that by the 30th of April I was 6 words shy of 32K and well over 75% of my target. And Smudge’s story (the sequel to Resonance’s sequel--confused yet?) now has all its scenes, in varying degrees of completion. Unfortunately they were also written out of order so I now have to fill in the blanks and jiggle everything into its rightful place in the story and hope that the continuity works. I'm thinking another month to tidy this story up and ready to go to the betas.

I should have some news on Resistance, the sequel to Resonance and the continuation of Rick and Mal's story, later on this month.

In the meantime I need to work out when I last posted a Fiction Friday post and what I've read since then (I warn you one of my recs will be fan fiction!).

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Blogging away from home

I'm blogging over at Amy Lane's today talking about what inspired Lovers Entwined and how that story could have been called something else.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Senses working overtime - RJ's Autism Blog Hop

"If you are hypersensitive to touch, you dislike having anything on your hands or feet, and may have difficulties brushing and washing your hair because your head is sensitive. Only certain types of clothing or textures are comfortable."

This year on RJ's Autism Blog Hop the theme is senses. Thanks Rj (or should I blame Janet, her harried assistant) 'cos every time I think about writing this post I get this song on repeat in my head. (Not that I'm complaining, I loved this song back in the day. And how can I still remember all the words to a song that is over thirty years old and I doubt that I've heard more than a handful of times in the last decade?)

Senses working overtime.

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case in writing. It's not unusual (no more earworms, thank you!) for authors to rely on sight more than anything. A mediocre writer will tell us what their characters see and maybe the sound they hear. They'll often tell you what the MCs taste and smell like to each other but not mention those senses in any other context. A good author will immerse you in not only the sights and sounds of a scene but the smells and tastes, all without you realising it. Touch is slightly harder to slip by unnoticed but it shouldn't be ignored as we touch a myriad of different things all the time and each will feel slightly different depending on the conditions and our own personal quirks. (I have trouble touching some types of cloth. They give me a 'nails on a blackboard' sensation.)

Let's try for a senses laden excerpt from my contemporary novel 'Theory Unproven'. Thank whichever deity you follow that this isn't smell-o-vision as this excerpt may contain elephant poo!

Tying a knot at the back of his head, Eric fastened the bandana over his nose and let the triangle of brightly coloured material fall to cover his mouth. Hopefully it would keep out the worst of the smell, although he doubted it would stop it completely. Not that he minded too much, there was nothing like the healthy aroma of elephant dung to clear the sinuses. Although it might get a little oppressive in the enclosed space of the barn where he was working.
Snapping on his rubber gloves, Eric pulled the tray across the workbench toward him. The level of concentration required for searching animal excrement to locate the seed of any food the animals had eaten was practically zero, and it gave Eric plenty of time to replay the events of the previous night. And not just the enjoyable parts.
Eric thought it was cute the way Tyaan appeared to be more concerned for Eric’s safety than his own. To be honest, though, Eric wasn’t worried; he had little contact with anyone from the town, and as far as the locals went, his work was reliant on no one but Tyaan and Akibo.
While he’d been musing on Tyaan’s initial justifications for not starting anything between them, he’d accumulated a small mound of seeds. Many of them still had crumbs of dried dung clinging to them, but that was fine; after all, it was the way they would germinate in nature.
Eric was going to plant the seeds. He hoped the seeds would give him an indication what the elephants on the reserve were eating and if plant life was spread across the research station by the elephant’s faeces. There were certain parts of The Foundation’s land that the elephants didn’t seem to travel to because they were too inaccessible or the elephants considered them to be dangerous, areas like Tyaan’s landing clearing.
He had no idea what each seed was, but there was the possibility that they could grow into something good and worthwhile. A sappy thought struck him, making his stomach flip, and he was thankful that he was alone because he doubted the bandana would be sufficient to hide the soppy look he suspected was plastered across his face. The comparison between the seeds he was about to cover in a mixture of scrubland earth and elephant dung to nurture and grow, and the first kernel of a relationship that Tyaan had finally allowed them to acknowledge was too real to ignore.
If he gave Tyaan enough warmth, encouragement and sunshine, would their relationship grow into something good and worthwhile? Eric rather hoped that it would, but he was more than a little biased. There was a chance he was just a little bit in love with the rugged pilot and the chivalrous way he had of trying to keep Eric safe from harm. Not that Eric needed protection, but the fact that the thought was there… well, the idea left Eric all soft and melty, like a chocolate bar on the windowsill. Or one of those swooning heroines in his gran’s romance novels, all pale heaving breasts and palpitations.
Tyaan had certainly given him palpitations on several occasions the previous evening, but the rapid beat of his heart had nothing to do with either of them being a heroine. Far from it. Male anatomy had been involved on all levels. And lustily put to good, hard use.
But if he had to be the one in their relationship that instigated conversations about feelings and concerns, then he could do that. Tyaan might have opened up in recent weeks, but he was taciturn either by nature or years of self-imposed silence, and words were never going to come easy to him. Apart from when he was whispering them like nonsense into Eric’s skin.
Tyaan had been right about one thing, Masamba was lazy and Eric shouldn’t allow his own unease around the man to stop him from dealing with the matter. The handyman should have been at work hours ago, and while Eric had been pleased Masamba hadn’t turned up earlier to spook Tyaan, he did have a list of jobs that needed doing today. Market day always seemed to be the day he turned up later than normal. Eric assumed it was because Masamba knew Sethunya wasn’t there to provide him with breakfast.
The noises of the scrub life outside the open barn door, which normally drifted over Eric in a gentle murmur, intensified to a level where Eric started to notice the individual sounds.
Maybe that was Masamba now. An arrival at an unusual time would often get the animals chattering and crashing about more than normal, especially the family of rock hyrax Eric had discovered a couple of weeks ago on the rocky outcrop behind the barn. Any disturbance would get the large gerbil-like creatures twittering and whistling excitedly for ages before they returned to worshipping the sun while stretched out on the rocks they called home.
Not willing to be hurried or wanting to lose that chilled-out state of euphoria Tyaan had left him in, Eric finished planting the last of the seeds he had dug out of the elephant dung. He even washed his hands in the old ceramic sink in the corner with caustic soup and hot water he’d brought in from the kitchen. Who knew what manner of bacteria lived in the dung? Actually, Eric did, and that was half the problem. Finally finished, he made his way to the open doorway of the barn and steeled himself for an uncomfortable altercation. If it was Masamba arriving late, he would need to be reprimanded this time.
Nope, there was no sign of a rickety push bike alongside the barn where Eric kept the truck, nor was there any movement along any of the dirt tracks leading to the homestead. Although, there was an elephant lumbering up the slope toward the house. Eric looked closer. Not just any elephant. Jack. Eric scanned the thick bush that Jack had just emerged from, expecting Ianto to appear at any moment. Nothing. He stepped clear of the barn door and into the open to scan the nearby watering hole. No Ianto. That was strange; the two of them were normally inseparable.
Jack changed direction, as if suddenly noticing Eric’s location, and headed straight for him. He kept coming, close enough for Eric to hear the huff and snort of each laboured breath. If he didn’t know better, he’d say Jack had been running a marathon. The elephant stopped just inside Eric’s personal space and nudged him with the bony dome of his head.
“What’s up, boy?” Eric patted the offered head. “Where’s Ianto? You two had a row and you need some comfort, eh?”
Jack nudged him again, more firmly this time, actually managing to move Eric a couple of inches and leaving scuff marks in the dusty ground.
“Hey, calm down. You’re a big lad, you need to be gentle.” Lifting up the large flap of skin, Eric leaned forward. With a smirk, he whispered into the elephant’s ear. “I could have said that to Tyaan last night, but I didn’t need to. I felt like he was worshipping me.”
If there was a little catch in his voice when he admitted that feeling out loud, it didn’t really matter; Jack wasn’t likely to tell anyone. Letting the ear fall back into place, Eric reached out to scratch at the thick skin between Jack’s ears. Something thick and black wedged under his fingernails. “Jeez, you need a wash. It’s not like you guys not to be clean; Ianto’s always grooming you. Where is your boyfriend anyway? Is he as dirty as you are?”

Eric picked the black matter out from under his fingernails and then rubbed his fingers over Jack’s skin. He raised them to his nose and sniffed. “Smells like oil. Where have you two been playing?”

Theory Unproven

Working with elephants in their natural habitat has always been Eric Phillips dream. Getting what he’s always desired introduces him to Tyaan Bouwer, the bush pilot that flies in his supplies, and Eric discovers the allure of South Africa goes beyond the wildlife and the scenery.

But in an area where bushveld prejudices and hatred bleed across the borders, realising their love will be a hard fought battle. Keeping hold of it might just kill them.

Buy Links: Amazon UK  // Amazon US // ARe

Follow the rest of the blog tour here at the masterpost