Posted in Fun, Writing

Read Around the Rainbow: Romancing the Romance Author

I was a bit dubious about this topic when it was first suggested, because in spite of the fact that I write romance, I’m not the most romantic of people myself. That might sound odd, but I guess writers don’t necessarily practice everything they describe in their books. If they did, there would be a lot more murders than there actually are, and as for aliens and vampires and elves… well, I shudder to think!

Anyway, getting back to the romance. I don’t really go in for champagne and chocolates* and trips to Paris. In fact, my only trip to Paris was as a schoolgirl aged fourteen, when I got vertigo on the stairs coming back down the Eiffel Tower and nearly passed out. Luckily, my other half is just as prosaic as I am. He’s only ever bought me flowers once, and within five minutes of me putting them in a vase, a load of small black beetles scuttled out of them and I spent the rest of the day chasing those (and possibly him) out of my flat.

All of which perhaps explains why my characters, even in the most romantic of my books, tend to be a more pragmatic, down to earth bunch. There isn’t a great deal of quoting poetry or weeping on each others’ manly chests, just the quiet, reserved, everyday way of getting on with life that’s second nature to most British people.

That’s not to say my characters can’t be romantic when they want to be. In Christmas Roses, my free short story that follows on from December Roses, Nat has chosen a sweet and fitting gift for his lover Richie and has to deal with the emotional consequences when it comes back to him in a way he didn’t expect. And in Trench Warfare, archaeologist Jon is learning the guitar just so he can play the Beethoven tune his boss Steve keeps whistling.

I guess in the end that’s more what my writing is about – the small, intimate gestures that make a real life relationship between two people so special. Anyone can hire a jet or book a Caribbean trip or shower someone with letters or red roses, but it doesn’t necessarily speak of the characters’ own personalities. It’s those little touches, and the love they show, that I really enjoy writing about. And I hope that shows in my books.

You can download Christmas Roses, completely free, from Prolific Works here. And you can find out more about Trench Warfare, my paranormal/archaeology/romance/romp, on my website here.

*Although (cough) if someone were to send me a surprise box of expensive chocolates, I wouldn’t say no…

Why not take a peek at what the other webring authors have written about this month’s topic? You might find out how to best romance them, too!

K.L. Noone :: A.L. Lester :: Nell Iris :: Ofelia Grand :: Holly Day :: Addison Albright :: Ellie Thomas :: Amy Spector

Pic credit: Thula Na on

Posted in Books, short stories

Christmas gift – Christmas Roses

As a little Christmas pressie I’ve made my short story sequel to December Roses, which I just had to call Christmas Roses, free on Prolific Works. I previously shared the story with my newsletter readers, but wanted to let more people have the chance of reading it.

Nat is coming to terms with his new life working in the garden at Frogmorton Towers, and with the strange on-off relationship he has with elusive musician Richie. Until one particular sentimental Christmas gift comes back to haunt him, in more ways than one…

You can find the story here:

I really hope you enjoy it. And Merry Christmas! xx

Posted in Cumbria, News, paranormal

January newsletter – ghosts galore!

My regular monthly newsletter is due out in the next couple of days and this month it includes lots and lots of ghosts.

For starters there’s a snippet from the book I’m currently editing, a new m/m version of my paranormal romp/romance Got Ghosts? with the working title of The Happy Medium.

Then there are reviews of a couple of ghost story dramas/adaptations that were on TV over Christmas.

Then there’s an account of the ghost hunts happening at the newly-reopened Ring O’Bells pub (above) in Kendal.

And lastly there’s a link to my free Christmas ghost story, Christmas Roses, in case you missed it in last month’s newsletter.

Want a slice of all that paranormal activity? Then why not sign up for my newsletter, absolutely free, right now? You never know what you might find in it!

Posted in fiction, History, LGBT, paranormal, romance, Writing

Free Christmas story

I spent yesterday putting the finishing touches to a new, free Christmas short story set in the world of my paranormal romance novel ‛December Roses’, involving Nat, a former soldier turned gardener, his elusive musician lover Richie, and a cigarette case with a story to tell.

Nat’s been living at Frogmorton Towers for four years. He’s content with his life, working in the garden and slipping away to see his ghostly lover Richie every now and again. This year, though, he wants to give Richie a present, to say thank you for everything Richie has given him. He chooses to pass on his engraved silver cigarette case, but forgets that time doesn’t work the same at Frogmorton as it does everywhere else. The gift finds its way back to him unexpectedly, bringing its own story of loss, but also of hope and homecoming at this magical time of year.

His breath hitched at the surprise of it, even after all this time. The change was silent and happened without him noticing, even when he was half-expecting it. One of these days he’d understand how it managed that: what processes were at work to turn a perfectly ordinary garden into something so unique and magical. Not today, though. Today he had other things on his mind. Because there, a few yards away, was Richie, propped against his favourite apple tree. His hands were thrust deep into the pockets of his flying jacket and his face half-hidden behind an impossible scarf in shades of sepia and mauve that did nothing for his skin.
‛You startled me.’ It wasn’t entirely true—he’d been hoping for exactly this—but it was still hard, sometimes, to admit those feelings out loud.
The full lips tilted up into Richie’s customary impish smile. ‛Come over here and I’ll do more than startle you.’
Nat took a step, then several more, until he was close enough to reach out and touch the other man. It was pure temptation. He wanted nothing more than to kiss the corners of those lips, to poke his tongue into the soft, yielding space between them, to feel the rasp of rough stubble under his fingertips. But that wasn’t why he’d stayed out here, or wished that Richie would come. He had something else to do, and needed to distract himself before every last thought flew out of his head. ‛Like the scarf,’ he said.
Richie’s eyes danced. ‛Hideous, isn’t it? I have to wear it though. Elsie knitted it for me.’
The last sentence was imbued with brotherly pride. Hardly surprising, Nat thought. Since the thing was about three miles long, it was no mean achievement for a nine year old. ‛Good for her.’
‛Yeah. Gave it me for Christmas. It’s ghastly but it keeps the cold wind out.’
And cold it certainly was. Nat shivered, suddenly. The day had begun sunny and quite mild; he’d been working in a sweatshirt with the sleeves rolled up. Suddenly, with the sweat of his labour drying on his skin, his clothes were no match for the bladed wind.
‛Ah, look at you, you’re freezing. What were you thinking coming out dressed like that?’ Richie unwrapped a couple of loops of scarf and dropped them over Nat’s head, then used the ends to draw them close…

Want to read more? The story will be available to readers of my monthly newsletter, completely free, so why not sign up now? You’ll also get another free m/m romance, Monster in the Maze, when you do.

Thanks, hope you enjoy the stories, and have a lovely Christmas!