Category Archives: Books

Shadow of the Wind

1232I realised earlier today that I’d never got round to putting a review of this wonderful book on Goodreads.  So, to put the damage right I’ve now added a review and given it five very well-deserved stars.

As I mention in the review, it did take me a while to ‘get into’ the book and I had a couple of false starts where something jarred and I got stuck.  However, the third time the author’s style or voice spoke to me; I got over the sticking point, kept going, and never looked back.

The book is quite simply stunning.  I love the whole idea of a library for forgotten books so much I think I’d want to spend all my time in there!  And the mystery of the book that’s selected, and the danger it brings for the young hero, is really compelling.

As with many of the best reads, this one is by no means quick or easy.  The whole thing clocks in at a whopping 500+ pages and the narrative style is quite slow, even ponderous.  But that and the beauty of the prose just add to the overall atmosphere.  I ended up loving it, and want to doff my virtual hat to both the author and the translator who seems to have done an excellent job transferring ‘Shadow’ to English idiom while keeping the lyricism of the original Spanish.

Oh – and if you want to read my rather more concise review on Goodreads, it’s here!

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Bookshop Trail

The other day I picked up a leaflet somewhere about a bookshop trail.  Not just any bookshop trail, but specifically the ‘Dales & Lakes Bookshop Trail’, which is a collective of secondhand bookshops in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District national parks and their surroundings.

I’d never come across this before, and was delighted to find that there are twenty-six participating stores, including several in the small “book town” of Sedbergh, which is situated roughly half way between Kendal and Yorkshire.  We visited the town for the first time last year and I was amazed at the number of book shops lining the streets.  Now, apparently, there are six – not bad for a town of around 3,000 people!

And it’s not just Sedbergh.  The shops listed cover a vast area from Hawes and Hebden Bridge in the Yorkshire Dales, to Keswick and Penrith in northern Cumbria, Whitehaven on the far west coast, and Cartmel and Grange-over-Sands in the south.

It’s an impressive cooperative project.  And I’m really looking forward to trying to visit every bookshop on the list!

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Last chance for Necessity’s Door

100NecessitysDoorA quick update – my gay crime/erotic romance novella Necessity’s Door comes out of contract from Riptide Publishing this coming Tuesday (1st November).

If you’ve been meaning to get yourself a copy and forgetting, then this weekend is pretty much your last chance.  Hurry along to my website for more details on where to get hold of a copy, before it vanishes from the shelves and you miss it forever!

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Raincheck for Roses

The sharp-eyed amongst you may have spotted that April has come and gone with no sign of ‘Roses in December’ being republished.  Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten – it’s just that when I came to look at the manuscript I found it needed a lot more work than I’d realised to bring it up to my current standard of writing (whatever that might be…!)  Little things like matching quote marks, bigger things like removing the endless dialogue tags, even bigger things like making sure it all makes sense.

It’s going to take longer than I bargained for, and will have to be fitted in alongside other writing projects and General Life TM, but I’m still hoping to get something viable at some point during the year.  It may just be a case of ‘Roses in December’ after all!

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Roses in… April?

Those of you who’ve known me for ages might remember my first novel, Roses in December, a gay paranormal romance set in a beautiful English garden.

Well, the good news is that I’m seriously considering republishing the book.  I now have a working cover, and once I’ve got to grips with all the conversion software, uploading to Amazon etc etc that’s involved, I’m hoping it’ll be available soon after Easter.

Do make a note in your diaries, and keep watching here for further updates on when/whether the book is coming – or whether I’ve torn all my hair out and hidden under the sofa for the foreseeable future!

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It could never happen…

Could it?  After all, police officers are there to uphold the law, not bend it to their own devices or desires.  However, the more often I read about cases like this, where an undercover officer had a relationship with a woman, whilst operating undercover using an assumed identity, the more I realise that that ain’t necessarily so.

100NecessitysDoorAnd this is exactly the sort of background I was thinking of when I wrote Necessity’s Door, just over three years ago now.  Back then, details about cases like this were only just beginning to creep out of the woodwork, but they were there if you knew where to look.  I didn’t reproduce them exactly (my hero is gay, where this case involves a heterosexual relationship) but they provided suitable inspiration for all sorts of ‘what if’ scenarios involving undercover police and just how far they would/should go to maintain their cover.

Including, it seems, lying to the people they were sleeping with about the fact that they were police.

It all goes to show that however outlandish a writer’s plots, real life almost always manages to be another shade darker, and to surprise us in all sorts of ways.

If you’d like to read Necessity’s Door for yourselves and see where I took the inspiration and ran off with it to, then it’s still available as an e-book on Amazon US or UK.  Happy reading, and don’t forget – however unlikely it sounds, the book is based on fact!

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New from Fox Spirit

I’ve been remiss lately in reporting on new books from various friends, colleagues, writers and publishers.  Top of the list are two new releases from Fox Spirit – African Monsters, and Things in the Dark.

The latter is the latest in the Fox Pockets series – a wonderful 51boyxxrd7l-_sx307_bo1204203200_collection of small, beautifully produced volumes containing some excellent stories.  You may remember my own Boyfriend From Hell turning up in the Fox Pockets Shapeshifters anthology.  Things in the Dark looks set to continue the trend with “a collection of strange, scary and sometimes humorous tales considering all manner of … things in the dark” – eighteen stories involving the weird and wonderful.  You can find it on Amazon and if it’s anything like as good as Shapeshifters was, it’ll be well worth the effort.

 

51kpemsmi2l-_sx491_bo1204203200_African Monsters is “a fantastic anthology featuring many African writers at the forefront of the new wave of Speculative Fiction tapping directly into the deep and rich mythology of African cultures…” according to Ivor W Hartmann, the editor of another of Fox Spirit’s Monsters series.  This collection also features a heap of stories from authors including Margret Helgadottir and Joan de la Haye.  And the cover is simply gorgeous.  Get a copy here and see for yourself.

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