Posted in Books

Rainbow Snippets: A rural idyll

It’s that day of the week again when members of the Rainbow Snippets group on Facebook post a 6 (or so) line excerpt from their book and link back to it on the group.

Today I’m featuring my new book Run Wild, Run Free because I’d already posted a little piece from it on Twitter, so it makes sense to link the two up. The poster (above) shows that particular snip, but I’ll add another couple of lines on here as well.

The excerpt is from near the start of the book, where main character Joey is in his favourite place on the hill at the back of his village, enjoying the nature and the countryside, and the lack of people…

Better off away from the lot of them, he thought. Up here, on his own, with the warm breeze in the grass and the sparrows chirping for company. Who needed family, anyway?Well, you do, his head told him. He didn’t have anyone else, and it wasn’t like he could really stay out all day and all night. They wouldn’t let him even if he could. A few more minutes was all he could get away with, before Mam sent one of the girls out looking for him. A few more precious minutes, until the church bell rang half past five and the shadow of the wall crept towards him across the grass.

Joey loves the natural world and would love nothing better than to stay out there permanently, watching the creatures and indulging his love of art. Will he achieve his dream? You’ll have to read the book to find out!

Run Wild, Run Free is available as an e-book, for only $2.99, from JMS Books. Grab your copy here!

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 short stories

Free Valentines story

I know it isn’t quite Valentine’s Day yet, but this month always seems that little bit more romantic as the big day draws close. And what better way to celebrate than with a cute little Valentine’s themed story, which is up today at RoM/Mantic Reads zine, completely free to read. Here’s a little taster…

‘Skinny latte, please.’ He’d noticed his waistline getting saggy lately. Needed to do something about that.

            ‘Coming right up.’

            Not half as much as what I’ve got coming up…  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.’

Coffee for a Kiss is pure fluff, written a long time ago for a Torquere Press newsletter. Those of you who are signed up to get my own newsletter might recognise it because I sent it out as a freebie this time last year. But for anyone else, I hope you enjoy a little helping of romance with your coffee, as a coffee-shop customer pays for his morning beverage in a somewhat unusual way!

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, 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 Books, LGBT, News

Qi Awards

I’m absolutely bowled over to have been nominated in this year’s Qi Awards from Queer Indie, in two different categories – Queer Lit: Speculative (Echoes of Blood, Just Visiting, December Roses) and Queer Lit: Romance (Echoes of Blood, Just Visiting).

These awards celebrate an author’s entire catalogue rather than individual books, and lack of space means the organisers can’t list every book from every author, which is why not all of my books are featured. December Roses is also romance, of course, and Trench Warfare could easily appear in both lists.

If you enjoyed these or any of my other books and would like to vote for me then follow this link, open up the drop-down menus behind the categories, and scroll down the alphabetical list of author names.

The awards are open until February 7th so there’s plenty of time to cast your vote. And thank you – I appreciate your support!

Posted in Books, fiction, News, romance

Just Visiting excerpt

Those nice folk at Stonewall Writers & Readers have posted another excerpt for me, from my latest book Just Visiting.

This is the gay time-travel romance I published a few weeks ago. Rather appropriately (and completely accidentally) it features a fight against inequality and outright racism, as well as mention of a Great Plague!

You can read the excerpt, which is from the very beginning of the story, right here, absolutely free. I hope you enjoy it.


Posted in Friday Five, Movies, reviews

Friday Five: romantic vampire films

When I mentioned that I was writing a romantic vampire story to a group of writer friends recently, their collective snorts shook the windows. And it does sound like a bit of a weird mix. But in reality it’s a popular genre in its own right, as this collection of favourite movies shows:

  1. Love at First Bite (George Hamilton, Susan St James, 1979). The very first vampire movie I ever saw, and the one that switched me on to the possibility that vampires could be a force for seduction as well as horror. More comedy than romance and probably very cheesy by today’s standards, but at the time I loved it.
  2.  The Hunger (David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve, Susan Sarandon, 1983). Made only 4 years after Love at First Bite but with a completely different look and tone. This is a slick, stylish, erotic yarn loosely based on the Whitley Strieber novel of the same name. I found it rather ‘style over substance’ and ultimately a bit empty.
  3.  The Lost Boys (Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, 1987). Fast forward another 4 years and you get this wonderful tongue-in-cheek action-comedy-teen drama with a stellar cast, terrific one-liners and a thumping rock soundtrack. It was deliberately designed to make the New Romance-style vampires as alluring as possible and I can’t be the only fan secretly wishing they’d stayed alive!
  4.  Interview with the Vampire (Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, 1994). A surprisingly good film version of Anne Rice’s famous Vampire Chronicles with sympathetic performances by the two main leads as Lestat and Louis. The New Orleans setting is heavy with Gothic romance and the books’ homoerotic subtext is nicely portrayed.
  5.  Only Lovers Left Alive (Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, 2013). I’ve seen arguments that this isn’t really a vampire movie in the true sense of the word, but it involves vampires and a centuries-old romance, as well as a sub-plot about the species’ demise, caused by the blood they drank from infected humans. It’s pure arthouse, more a slow dance of death than a coherent plot, and utterly beautiful to look at, and the soundtrack is mesmerising too. One of my all-time favourites.

So, that’s the five I’ve chosen, but there are others too. The Underworld series starring Kate Beckinsale, the Twilight series, which I’ve never seen myself but know to be wildly popular; and of course, the 1992 version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula starring Gary Oldman (a film that has colossal flaws, but is quite possibly the most poignant and romantic of all).


Posted in reviews

‘Fool’s Errand’ by Louis Bayard

The first of the holiday reads…

Fool\'s ErrandGorgeous, just gorgeous! This book is warm, funny, lively, involving and, er, did I mention gorgeous?

It tells the story of Patrick, a gay man living in Washington DC who falls asleep at a friend’s house and sees the man of his dreams. But has he dreamt ‘Scottie’ (so called because he was wearing a cranberry Shetland jumper) or does he really exist? Patrick sets off on a quest to find Scottie again and embarks on a crazy carousel ride of broken relationships, broken down cars, new friendships, new directions, and ultimate happiness – with a houseful of rats and a dog thrown in for good measure.

Bayard’s writing is sheer joy. The words flow so skillfully that you’re hardly aware of them as you immerse yourself in Patrick’s ever-so kooky world. It’s a real slice of life, too, full of intricate detail and the sort of ruefully amusing everyday disasters that happen (all too often) to us all. I didn’t often laugh out loud, but there was hardly a page where I didn’t smile at something. And the romance, unexpected in a book written by a man, is believable and very, very sweet.

If I had to grumble about anything I’d say Patrick’s change of heart at the end is a little too sudden and unexplained. But that’s only a niggle in a simply wonderful book. This is only Bayard’s first novel. I can’t recommend it enough and will definitely be on the lookout for more.

Posted in reviews

‘The Benefits of Passion’ by Catherine Fox

One from the files to keep you going until I have time to report on the holiday reading.  🙂

I started out by loving this book. It tells the story of a thirty-something woman, single and training to be a priest, who suddenly starts to hear her body-clock ticking and to take her mind off it, writes an erotic novel.

The style was both original and fun. The flitting back and forth between real-life Annie and her own heroine Isabella was handled well. Unusually with ‘flashback’ style writing I was never once confused as to whose head or time frame I was in. The characters themselves, whether fictional or fictional-within-fictional, were engaging and there was some nice, sharp observational humour, of the type that has you looking for the candid camera the writer’s hidden in your home. LOL

Sadly, I felt very let down by the ending. Both Annie and Isabella found the answer to all their problems in marriage to Mr Right and childbirth, and left all other ambitions and desires at the church gate. Ugh. I have nothing against marriage or children, but these days surely women (fictional or otherwise) deserve something more in their lives? It all seemed a little too ‘pat’, like reading a novel and finding it was actually a sermon from the Church in disguise. I wasn’t entirely surprised to find that Catherine Fox is herself married to a vicar. But what works in her life isn’t necessarily very relevant to the majority of women today.

It was enough of a disappointment that I probably won’t be seeking out other titles from this author.