Posted in excerpts, LGBT, romance

Rainbow Snippets: a discarded broom…

This week’s offering for the #RainbowSnippets Facebook group is from my dystopian time travel m/m romance Just Visiting, which I’m also featuring on today’s #silver #agegap feature on the Small But Mighty FB group. The excerpt is from where Madoc first meets time traveller Josh, as Josh trips over his discarded broom!

Here’s a reminder of what’s going on: “Down-trodden dock worker Madoc expects trouble when a traveller from the future trips over his discarded broom. What he doesn’t expect is to fall head over heels in love with a man who insists he’s only visiting. But Josh’s arrival is the spark Madoc needs to fight the terrible discrimination in his world. When he finally catches up with his own future, will Josh be waiting there for him?”

And if you fancy trying the book, it’s available on Kindle for only $1.20 or 99p, or free on Kindle Unlimited.

Madoc didn’t even stop to think. That was a caste member floundering around down there. A caste member who’d tripped over his discarded tools. If anything bad happened, guess who would get the blame? And the penalty for causing the death of a caste member? He couldn’t remember offhand, but it wouldn’t be good. He kicked off his boots, laid his glasses on top of them and leapt straight in. The water was freezing. The cold cut through his clothes so fast he could feel the shock setting in. He couldn’t succumb to it, though. He was used to these conditions. The stranger might not be so hardened to the elements. He took a deep breath, thrashed his way to the man, then supported his head while he paddled both of them awkwardly back to the dock.

By the time he got there the overseer had hurried over to help. Between him and Madoc they hauled the stranger out onto the dock, where he stood dripping and shivering so hard Madoc could hear his teeth knocking together. The overseer took one look at him and ran, mumbling something about alerting the proper authorities. Knowing the way things worked, Madoc thought it was more likely he was putting as much space between himself and potential trouble as possible. Something he himself would quite like to do. It was tempting to simply grab the broom and hide out in one of the store-rooms until someone else took control or the stranger took care of himself.

Posted in Books, LGBT, romance

Rainbow Snippets: a bit of archaeology

This week’s #RainbowSnippet is from my paranormal romance Trench Warfare, which is set on an archaeological excavation that seems to be jinxed. Not only is the weather foul, but the site owners want the archaeologists out of the way so they can build an apartment block and their agent isn’t above trying to help Steve and Jon on their way…

The smile was getting thinner all the time. ‛That’s a pity. I was hoping you had a magic wand.’

            I raised both my hands and waggled them. ‛Sorry. No wand. But while you’re here, why don’t I give you a tour of the site? We might not have managed much progress since I last spoke to you, but there are a few finds coming up that strongly suggest it was a religious site.’

            ‛I think the board would prefer it if there weren’t.’ He examined his fingernails as though they were the most interesting thing on earth.

I featured this book’s characters in my short story ‘Combustion’ which I blogged about earlier today, so it made sense to pick an excerpt from the book for a snippet. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you want to read more about strange staircases, an unknown temple, a broken leg and something nasty in the undercroft, then why not have a shuftie at the book. It’s available on Kindle (and KU) for only £2.99 (or your local equivalent).

Posted in Books, News, romance

‘Run Wild, Run Free’ due out soon!

Great news everyone – I have a new book coming out from JMS Books this coming Saturday, 11th March!

‛Run Wild, Run Free’ is a sweet romance set in a mining village in 1950s England and features Joey, a neuro-diverse young man, and itinerant worker Billy, both ‟outcasts” from society in their own way.

Here’s the blurb. (Apologies in advance if anyone finds the term ‛gypsy’ offensive. It was used extensively in the 1950s and here in the UK it isn’t seen as an insult, and is in fact the title used by one of the main traveller communities to describe themselves.)

Growing up in a 1950s mining village in the English midlands is hard for someone like Joey, who’s known he was different since he was a kid. All he wants to do is run wild on the hills, watching nature and indulging his love of art. All his parents want is for him to settle down: marriage, a home of his own, a steady job down the mine, and not so much as a whiff of art college. But none of that appeals to him.

Everything changes the summer he turns eighteen, when the gypsies come to town. They’re here for the local farmer’s beet harvest, but the villagers resent them and Joe’s Mam won’t even let him speak to them. Dirty, lazy, good-for-nothing layabouts, she calls them. But when Joe meets Billy on the hill behind the village, the man isn’t dirty at all, just good-looking, good-humoured and surprisingly kind. Best of all, Billy shares his love of the natural world.

Unbeknown to his family the two become friends, and then more than friends. But when the farmer’s barn burns down and Joe’s brother Rob puts the blame on Billy, Joe must decide whether to stay loyal to his family, or grow up fast and risk everything he’s familiar with to help the man he’s come to love.

And here’s the gorgeous cover JMS Books have designed for me. We initially struggled to find a model who wasn’t too modern for the 1950s setting (mobile phones, plastic cups of coffee, gah) but this young fella works perfectly – in fact I think I’m just a little in love with him myself!

I’ll be having some fun over at the Small But Mighty M/M Romance group on Facebook on Saturday to celebrate the launch – and will be giving away one copy of the book. Why not pop in and join me so you don’t miss your chance of winning it! Of course I’ll be posting as soon as the book is available with some more details and where you can, um, you know, buy it. 😉 Until then, happy ogling. 😉

Posted in romance

Rainbow snippets – a Valentines story

I’ve been so busy lately I’ve been completely forgetting to join in with the weekly Rainbow Snippets thing, where members post (about) six lines from their latest work and then pop a link on the Facebook group page. Today I’m slightly less busy, so it seems like a good time to put that right with a little excerpt from the last story I had published.

Coffee For a Kiss is a sweet, slushy little number with a Valentines Day theme which appeared in RoM/Mantic Reads magazine last week. If you like your m/m fiction like a good cappucino – sweet and frothy – then you might just like this! Here’s the snippet:

He watched as the barista turned his back, measuring coffee, banging things, squirting hot milk. The guy had nice hands, too, with long deft fingers that made art of the ordinary tasks. Too soon the performance was over, and a steaming mug appeared on the counter.

            ‘Cheers.’ He fished in his pocket for small change, enjoying the pressure on his newly-awakened cock. ‘What do I owe you?’

            ‘Well, the coffee’s two pounds fifty.’ The barista winked. ‘But I wouldn’t mind if you gave me something else.’

Needless to say all is not quite what it seems, but you’ll have to read the rest of the short story to find out what happens and why. I hope you enjoy it every bit as much as you enjoy a good cup of coffee! And while you’re at it, why not check out some of the other great stories, articles and reviews at the zine – and don’t forget to check out the other excerpts at Rainbow Snippets.

Posted in romance, short stories

Another free story…

I finally got my December newsletter written and sent yesterday. This month it included details of our recent trip to Sizergh Castle, a few thumbnail reviews of books I’d read and enjoyed and a bit about my latest project – a longish story involving a neurodiverse young man and a gypsy, which I’m hoping to submit to a publisher early in the new year.

On top of all that, there was a wee Christmas gift of a free m/m romance short story. I first wrote Masquerade many years ago when I was still dabbling in sci fi and fantasy. It features a young temple novitiate who idolises one of his Order’s slave warriors, and resorts to hiding his own identity in order to set up a meeting between them. The theme of, er, masked balls seemed oddly appropriate for Christmas!

Here’s the blurb (and you can see the cover art at the top of this post):

Ket idolises warrior-slave Lorcan so much he’s prepared to change his own identity to try to engineer a meeting between them. But using the priceless mask handed down through his family brings risks of its own. Will Lorcan realise he’s not the girl he pretends to be? The result might just surprise both of them!

If you fancy reading Masquerade or seeing any of my other news, you can sign up for my newsletter here. Although the newsletter has already gone out, if anyone new signs up I’ll make sure you get a copy as soon as possible. And I hope you enjoy the story.

Posted in LGBT, News, romance

Coming Soon: a Brand New Zine!

Many years ago I ran an online m/m romance magazine called Forbidden Fruit. Some of you might even go back far enough to remember it! It became quite successful in its own slightly naive way but it was also a ton of work, and after just over eight years I regretfully abandoned it.

Now, though, the wonders of modern technology – and the input of over fifteen of my fellow m/m romance authors – means I can put something similar together once more. New name, new contributors, new style, but hopefully the same blend of great short m/m fiction, reviews, articles, book news and general fun.

And it’s coming soon! Very soon, in fact, with the welcome post already in place and the first story due out tomorrow (Friday 12th August). New technology equates to a blog format rather than a standalone website which is so much easier to administrate. New contributors include the likes of Kaje Harper, Addison Albright, Anne Barwell, Jackie Keswick and Jay Mountney, to name just a few. And, er, me. Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

We’ll be introducing the entire team over the next few weeks and posting some amazing short stories, so why not hurtle over to the zine and bookmark it so you don’t miss out? You can find RoM/Mantic Reads right here. I hope you like it!

Posted in Books, Holidays, LGBT, romance

Rainbow Snippets: Night Music

Yesterday’s webring blog post was about the influence of music on our writing, and I realised after I’d posted it that I’d completely forgotten to include the short story I wrote that was entirely inspired by music. So, for today’s #RainbowSnippets entry, here’s a little burst of Night Music.

The story is set in Salzburg, where the main character has won a music-themed holiday from a music-themed magazine and invites the man he fancies along. Trouble is, the course of true love and all that… Ben is sullen and doesn’t seem to enjoy anything, not even the Mozart concert that’s part of the prize. But then they discover an ancient, shrine-lined street up to a monastery, and the music of Salzburg in a thunderstorm works its magic after all.

We’re near the top now; the hill’s crowned by a monastery of some sort, remote and forbidding behind stone walls. It reminds me of Ben: the way he hides what he really thinks, the way he retreats inside himself. He’s been retreating from me long enough.

Fretting about it won’t help. I turn aside, onto a path that winds beneath the monastery wall to a viewpoint hidden among the trees. And there beneath, lit by a sudden lightning strike, the city spreads out like a jewelled tapestry.

The street, and the viewpoint, really exist – we discovered them ourselves during a stay in Salzburg a few years ago. It was broad daylight when we visited, though, so we didn’t get up to the things that happen in the story, *cough*.

Night Music is available, along with a bunch of other summer/heat-themed short stories, in my Heat Haze collection on Kindle, or free on Kindle Unlimited. If you try it, I hope you enjoy all the stories, which are a little steamier than my usual fare and mostly written with my tongue firmly in my cheek!

Posted in Books, Music, paranormal, romance, Writing

Read Around the Rainbow: Music, the Food of Love?

It’s time for the monthly Read Around the Rainbow post again and this month it’s all about music. More specifically, whether we write to it, whether we have playlists for our books, and whether music is important to our characters. The quick answers are no, occasionally, and yes, but that’s not telling you anything! So here’s a bit more detail.

Do I write to music?

No, pretty much never – my brain can only cope with one or the other. If I have music on, then either I listen to the music, in which case I can’t write, or I focus on writing, in which case I’m not listening to the music. And if I’m not listening, there doesn’t seem to be much point playing it, so I don’t bother. Some background noise is fine – I can cope with traffic, trains, and even, unless it’s overwhelmingly loud, the racket of building work. But I find voices and the insistent beat of music incredibly disruptive. So no TV, no radio, no streaming, no YouTube. Just as much ‛golden’ silence as I can get in this modern world, then head down and write.

Do I have playlists?

Mostly I don’t, but occasionally music suggests itself while I’m writing, because it chimes with the action, or the atmosphere, or the characters themselves. The only book I ever had a specific playlist for, though, was my ghostly novel Gleams of a Remoter World. Although it had its flaws, it was an intensely atmospheric book and these tracks fitted the spooky and at times rather bleak mood.

Delerium: Innocente: Falling in Love
Mary Black: Leaving the Land
Japan: Ghosts
Gregorian Chant: Procedamus in Pace
The Specials: Ghost Town
Abba: The Day Before You Came

Although Gleams of a Remoter World is no longer available, I have plans to rewrite it at some point and it would be lovely to include the playlist at the back of the book so everyone could listen to it and see what I had in mind!

Is music important to my characters?

In some cases, yes, very much so. In Trench Warfare Jon’s learning the guitar, mostly so he can play the Beethoven music Steve keeps whistling on their archaeological site. He’s hopelessly, helplessly in love with Steve but doesn’t think he stands a chance; the music is just a way of coping and perhaps reaching out without appearing to.

And Richie in December Roses is a musician, who longs for a career playing the local clubs, but who’s having to comply with his father’s wishes to become a land agent instead. I could probably have made a lot more of the actual music in that plot thread, but there’s an important reason why Richie is a very enigmatic character, and why I didn’t want to give away too much about his life. I can’t say more than that without spoiling the surprise, so if you want to know more you’ll just have to grab a copy of the book!

So yeah, although I don’t actually write to music it’s still really important to my writing in one way or another. And if you follow the links you can find out how important it is to the other webring members and how they fit it into their writing lives.

Ellie Thomas :: Ofelia Grand :: Addison Albright :: KL Noone

Pic credit: Mike Giles on

Posted in archaeology, Cumbria, History, romance, scenery

Taking the High Road

Oh, how fascinating: there’s going to be an archaeological excavation along High Street – the mountain and the presumed Roman road that runs up and over it – this August.

I mentioned this road in my vampire novella Echoes of Blood, where main character Daniel is lecturing on Roman history at Liverpool University. Researching the subject on the excellent site, I found that thanks to new Lidar surveys there’s considerable doubt over whether the road is really Roman. I’ll be keeping an eye on any results this excavation unearths to see whether that’s the case or not.

I’d quite like to take part myself but the thought of climbing to over 2,700 feet above sea level before I’ve even wielded a trowel is slightly off-putting. And the dig organisers can hardly lay on buses to take everyone to the top! But there is a call for volunteers for the project if anyone is interested. The scenery is spectacular, and there’s that puzzle over Roman or not Roman to help solve…

If you can get past all the annoying ads and pop-ups, there’s a piece with more details in the Westmorland Gazette. At least, I’m assuming there are more details. I’m on the naughty step there for having read too many articles so I can’t actually tell!

Posted in Books, LGBT, romance

Rainbow Snippets: Just Visiting

It’s that time of the week again – Rainbow Snippets calling for six lines from one of my books and a link back on the Facebook group. This week, having just had a super new review on the book (see yesterday’s post), I wanted to share Just Visiting, my m/m time travel romance set in a dystopian future where people are discriminated against from birth.

Here’s a brief excerpt from near the beginning, where Madoc first meets Josh, the mysterious traveller who will change his world.

The traveller, though, had other ideas. Maybe he wasn’t lost at all. Instead of stopping and looking around or even calling for help, he headed straight for the spot where Madoc stood. He had his mouth open—to ask for directions, perhaps, or more likely to yell at Madoc for not moving out of the way. Whatever it was, Madoc never knew, because at the last minute the man tripped over Madoc’s discarded broom, wavered on the dock edge, then swooped arse-over-elbow into the greasy waters below.

Like it? The book is a longish short story, available on Kindle for only 99p (or your local equivalent) and free on Kindle Unlimited. Get it here!

And why not visit the Rainbow Snippets FB group for more snippets from lgbt books aorund the world?