Friday, 28 November 2014

My Black Friday: Morning Report




A decade on from their first kiss, Luke Murray is more in love with Simon every day. Running the Lost Cow ranch for Luke’s parents, they keep their heads down and get along with the locals, even if Luke is known for being a hothead. Then one day they discover the local store owners refuse to serve them.

They’re bewildered until Luke’s mom tells them the new pastor has targeted the couple in his sermons. Suddenly Luke and Simon find themselves alienated from people they called friends, and their ranch comes under a series of attacks. As the town’s hatred and homophobia turns on them, Luke and Simon will face a critical choice: give in to the town’s demands and disappear, or stand and fight for themselves and their love.







Excerpt

THE yawn caught him by surprise. Luke stretched his arms and rolled his shoulders, trying to relax back muscles that had tensed up after three hours at the computer. If he was yawning at nine o’clock in the morning, it was time to stop. He squinted at the screen. The spreadsheets were done and the accounts almost up to date. Another half an hour and it would be done. 

He looked longingly out the window. It was still early enough in the year that long sleeves were needed first thing in the morning. Somewhere out there his ranch foreman was riding back to the house to make his morning report, enjoying the early morning sunshine before the heat sucked the enjoyment out of the day. 

Luke pouted at the computer, despite the fact there was no one to see it. He wanted to be out there on Lulu sucking in lungfuls of the morning air, smelling the sweet grass instead of stuck in front of a computer. He was a cowboy, dammit, not a goddamned paper pusher. 

“If you’re not careful, your face will freeze like that forever.” 

“I’ll be chained to this chair forever,” he commented sourly, turning around to look at his ranch foreman grinning at him through the open window. As ever, his floppy, dark hair was covering his eyes, and Luke resisted the temptation to go to the window and push the hair back so he could see the large ocean-blue eyes with their mischievous glint. 

“Not finished yet?” Simon sounded sympathetic, knowing just how much Luke hated to be stuck inside with the books.

Luke scrubbed the back of his neck. “’Nother half-hour, I think. Just got the accounts left.” He grimaced. “Was the fence still up?” 

Simon nodded. “Not for long, though. How ’bout we have our morning meeting, and then I’ll fix breakfast while you finish up. We need to get to town to sort out the feed before Lil arrives with the new stock.” 

“Sounds like a plan. Meet you in the office?” 

“Five minutes for me to hand over to Chuck, and I’ll be there,” his foreman promised. 

Checking the window to see Simon wasn’t still watching, Luke poked his tongue out at the computer. His mood vastly improved, Luke grinned at he made his way up to the “office.” Now it was time for his reward.




Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Cancer: When a pebble sinks to the bottom

I've been writing this for weeks. It isn't perfect. It's angry and selfish in parts But it's from the heart.

My sister died today. Vile, destructive breast cancer. The stubborn woman that she was should have been dead by last Christmas. Instead she almost made it to this one. By the time she got a diagnosis she was given a choice of drastic chemo with no guarantee of survival, or... well that was it.

She chose the or. No chemo. No treatment. She wanted to live the remainder of her life without the agonising side-effects of the chemo. She wanted to visit her kids who had just emigrated in Australia before she was diagnosed. She managed that twice. She got to play with her granddaughter again.

The doctors didn't approve. She ignored 'em, My sister was well used to dealing with doctors. She was a practice manager for a large surgery. She was/had been a lay inspector for schools, one of the people that would be called upon in the event of an emergency in Scotland, a mentor for practice managers, and worked with a campaign against irresponsible driving. 

She was amazing. And stubborn. Did I already say that? No doctor was going to make a decision for her.

But for me she was my big sister. A Brown. I really was a Brown thirty years ago. Part of a family of seven. She was ten years older than me, and the next one to me. My brothers and sister lost their little sister today. I lost my big sister. Seven is now six, and it bloody hurts.

When someone close to you they have terminal cancer, your first thought isn't always 'poor you'. It's much selfish than that. But what about me? How can you leave me? How dare you leave me! I need you. Selfish thoughts. In truth I lost her the day a driver decided not to wait a few extra seconds - but that's another story.

Not long ago I read an article from a cancer patient, who pointed out that she was not responsible for everyone else's feelings, the cancer was hers and her alone. Damn skippy. My sister wasn't responsible for helping me with my anger and grief. But I have those feelings in spades. I've been fortunate enough to have my other sister and friends to talk to.



But her life and her illness rippled outwards. At the centre of the circle is her husband and her family, some of them who live thousands of miles away in Australia, and her son who works in some of the most dangerous places in the world. Her friends on the Scottish island who loved her. Her surgery, responsible for managing the declining health of the 'boss'. My brothers losing their little sister, feeling guilty at the fucking unfairness of life. Feeling it should be them first in the natural order of things. My older sister losing the sibling she lived, loved and fought with (as siblings do) as she grew up. Not now, not ever should it have been her. 

And me, My sister was the one I turned to after my mum died when I was a teenager. For a brief time I became a confidante after her son was killed in a road accident (the other story) and she couldn't talk about it where she lived. I'm so angry today I can barely speak.

She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, a boss and a friend to many. Today her pebble sank to the bottom of the pond. But the ripples of her life will carry on long past this moment.


Ed & Marchant: 1st review





Ed & Marchant (#2 in the Frankie series) got its first review at the Prism Book Alliance. 4.75 stars from Beverley.

Their story is wonderful and the characters are not stereotypical muscle bound hunks. This is a story relating to BDSM, but it is the gentlest and one of the most intelligent BDSM stories you will ever read. This is not the Dom who takes the  broken virgin and whips him into submission, literally. The cover for this story is gorgeous and suits the story perfectly. This is a genuine romance. So many stories are tagged ‘m/m romance’ and romantic they are not. The dancing aspect had me nearly weeping especially when Ed remembers his ‘paso doble’…
 Read more here

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Bodies and gay relationships in drama: Sex Positivity Blog

I did have a giggle at the thought of writing a sex positivity blog. Sex hasn't been on my personal radar for a very long while. But my attitude to sex and the enjoyment of sex hasn't changed, and that's what I want to celebrate. I spend a lot of time writing sex, and I want my characters to love sex, and not be ashamed of their bodies or the act.

I feel the same way about looking at nudity and I've never had hang-ups about watching nudity and sex in drama on the TV,  Although I did grin at myself the first time I wriggled in discomfort when my older kid starting watching those scenes with me. She was oblivious and after a few times, so was I. I derive a lot of my enjoyment not so much from what they're portraying but the light of skin, the looks on faces. I want to see their emotions. I feel like that about written sex. I want to know what they're thinking. You can go through the motions and still be planning what to have for dinner.

When I was *cough* fourteen *cough* I watched Brideshead Revisited on ITV. I was a total fangirl of this miniseries. We used to run into school and discuss it every Monday. In detail. Excruciating details. Like how Jeremy Irons had one buttock lower than the other.

This scene might be one of the reasons. Yes, yes, I like arses.


This was 1981, the year of the Royal wedding, years before the first gay kiss in East Enders. Brideshead was very subtle in its portrayal of a relationship between men. Was there a homosexual element? It was never fully established and to be honest, it really didn't matter. The fact is, as a fourteen year old, I enjoyed their relationship. It was the first time I paid much attention  outside the heteronormative portrayal of relationships.

{One day I'm going to focus my attention on UK soaps. The reason I haven't is that I don't watch any of them.}

Queer as Folk UK.

There was nothing aristocrat about this group of gay guys, based around Canal Street in Manchester. Subtle? No fucking way! But wasn't it exhilarating to watch?. This wasn't sex under the covers. It was dirty (in the best way) and lots of fun.




Sadly, in the UK we've gone from gay TV series and gay moves like My Beautiful Laundrette and Beautiful Thing to Celebrity Big Brother. Gay characters are creeping into shows but there isn't the drive for making shows with gay characters... or maybe there is. Russell T Davies is back with Cucumber and Banana.



 Seeing as he's largely responsible for all the kisses on this post and changing the attitudes to gay lives (not just sex) on Brit TV I am thrilled to see him back. This is from the Radio Times. I can't imagine them writing this in 1981.

From the few scenes we were shown Cucumber is squarely a relationship drama, but one which happens to involve gay people. This feels satisfying as it reflects the way gay life is now incorporated into the mainstream - we don't have to think of Lance and Henry as just a gay couple (or for that matter a multiracial gay couple as Nri is black) but really just as a couple. This seems to nicely bookend Queer as Folk, showing how far gay liberation has travelled – but perhaps also how far it still has to go.

If Brideshead was to coax and QaF was to shock, what was Captain Jack Harkness for? Make gay, sorry omnisexual, acceptable for family viewing? Doctor Who dropped huge hints that the good Captain wasn't fussy about what he screwed. In Torchwood Jack got to kiss the real Captain Jack, and develop a tender relationship with Ianto.




Although in 2011 the BBC cut the sex scene in Miracle Day. What the feck? Have we really not grown up enough to see two men in a 'lewd act' Daily Mail's words, not mine. *rolls eyes*.

My blog has really been an excuse to fangirl my favourite series, but also to show that culture is changing and I celebrate it. Sex is a part of life. We don't need to see tab B going into slot A all the time, but equally well, we don't need to always stop at the bedroom door.



Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work. 

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him. 

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.


The Sex Positive Blog Hop is the brain child of the magnificent Grace Duncan. Please check out all the other posts.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Chance to be King: reissue

I'm really happy about the reissue of Chance to be King. I was always grateful to Silver for publishing my first solo story. Now Dreamspinner have picked it up and here it is, all shiny and new.


I adore this cover. It's making a spectacular banner on my Twitter and Facebook. I had a hard time choosing the cover. No one could pick *the one*. They were all awesome with a different theme.

People have asked me about the title. It doesn't seem to relate to the book. It's from the chorus of Ghosts by 80s pop group, Japan. I think it fits the theme of the book.

Just when I thought I could not be stopped
When my chance came to be king
The ghosts of my life
Blew wilder than the wind



After working nonstop for two years, actor Eric Pawlowski desperately needs a respite from his grueling schedule and the crippling migraines that come with it. Thinking that a few weeks in a secluded cottage is just the thing, his vacation gets off to a rough start when he almost mows down the only other guy who lives on the remote road. Fortunately Thomas is quick to forgive, and soon he, Eric, and Eric's two dogs are palling around like they've known each other for years. 

But when Eric witnesses Thomas coldly order a lost stranger off his property, he starts to question how well he knows him. Despite a mutual attraction that has Eric cursing every time a well-meaning member of the nearby small town interrupts their attempts to get intimate, Eric wonders if acting on his desire for Thomas will get him involved in a situation he shouldn't be in. When his rented cabin catches fire in the middle of the night and the firemen call it arson, it confirms Eric’s suspicions. 

To keep Eric with him, it's up to Thomas to come clean about who he is... and his involvement in a decade-old web of tragedy and revenge into which Eric has unwittingly walked. 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ed & Marchant

Ed & Marchant is out tomorrow.

Frankie & Al was written for laughs. I can't deny it. Frankie Mason is over the top, fun and drives his boss absolutely mad. Frankie is out and proud and everything that Ed Winters despises. Frankie describes his boss as a 1950s Tory poster boy. He dislikes women, black people, anyone from the Indian subcontinent, curry, the French, the Irish, dogs, and particularly hom-o-sex-uals. 

Ed's a total dick, Frankie's arch-nemesis. So why did I want to write about him? I felt sorry for Ed. There had to be a reason he's such an wanker. Of course there is. It just takes a special man to crack the ice surrounding Ed's heart. By man, I mean hard-assed Dom.

In this excerpt Ed has had Coke thrown over him, been forced into having a drink with Marchant and met his arch-nemesis just as he's having a melt-down. 

"Ed reached the end of his patience. “Thank you for the drink, but I have to do my shopping now.”
“We can go around together,” Marchant said cheerfully.
“I don’t want to go around with you,” Ed said, aware he sounded petty and childish. “I have a routine.”
Marchant raised his eyebrow. “A routine? Well, I can fit in with that.”
Ed gaped at him. “What the hell? What don’t you understand? I’ve let you ruin my morning. I’ve put up with you telling me to sit, stay, and come. Now I want to do my shopping and forget this day ever happened.”
To Ed’s chagrin, Marchant didn’t seem at all bothered by his outburst. Instead he leaned forward, and unconsciously Ed mimicked his action.
“I haven’t told you to come yet, but when I do, you’ll obey.”
The breath knocked out of Ed’s chest. He stumbled back. “Leave me alone. Don’t come near me again.”
Ed fled the supermarket as if the hounds of hell were after him, all the time waiting for Marchant to drag him back. He reached his car without intervention, fumbling as he tried to press the button on the keys to unlock the door. Inside the car he clutched the steering wheel, the blood pounding in his ears. He’d been seen for what he was.
Deviant! Abomination! Pervert!"


Ed & Marchant




Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work. 

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him. 

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.







Monday, 10 November 2014

Cover Art

Happy Monday, my lovelies. Hope you are well. I have a number of books coming out with Dreamspinner; a couple are re-issues, a couple translations (which I'll put in a separate link) and a couple new books. I feel it's easier just to put up the covers, blurbs and buylinks where I have them. Much love. 




Ed Winters despises his job and hates everyone he works with—especially out and proud, happily in love Frankie Mason. He spends his days wishing he could dance, rather than work. 

Late to go shopping one day, Ed ends up soaked in Marchant Belarus’s spilled Coke. Ed’s humiliation increases when Marchant, the owner of a BDSM club, realizes Ed is a sub, albeit a very closeted one. Marchant’s attempts to draw Ed out of his shell release years of pent-up anger and hurt over the abuse Ed’s mother and grandmother heaped on him. 

Marchant is patient, but nothing he does seems to help until he discovers Ed’s secret love of dancing—a forbidden passion that might be the key to unlocking the confident, secure man Ed could be.


After working nonstop for two years, actor Eric Pawlowski desperately needs a respite from his grueling schedule and the crippling migraines that come with it. Thinking that a few weeks in a secluded cottage is just the thing, his vacation gets off to a rough start when he almost mows down the only other guy who lives on the remote road. Fortunately Thomas is quick to forgive, and soon he, Eric, and Eric's two dogs are palling around like they've known each other for years.

But when Eric witnesses Thomas coldly order a lost stranger off his property, he starts to question how well he knows him. Despite a mutual attraction that has Eric cursing every time a well-meaning member of the surrounding small town  interrupts their attempts to get intimate, Eric wonders if acting on his desire for Thomas will get him involved in a situation he shouldn't be in. When his rented cabin catches fire in the middle of the night and the firemen call it arson, it confirms Eric’s suspicions.

To keep Eric with him, it's up to Thomas to come clean about who he is... and his involvement in a decade-old web of tragedy and revenge into which Eric has unwittingly walked.



After cheating on and losing the man he loved, Morgan Conway decided get his life right. Now he owns a coffee shop and is engaged to Jase, an actor and rising star. All is perfect in his world until the man he thought was gone forever walks into his shop. His hidden feelings rush to the surface, unfortunately there for everyone to see, including his fiancé.

Shae Delamere was crushed when Morgan cheated on him five years ago. But he has a reason for seeking Morgan out. As Morgan and Shae get to know each other again, they discover the extent that friends meddled in their lives to keep them apart. Morgan cannot deny he is still in love with Shae, but he is engaged. With some hard decisions to make, Morgan struggles not to hurt the men he cares about—again. Shae has secrets he came to share with Morgan, but revealing them now could keep them apart for good.


Mark Grayson volunteers for an LGBT helpline, the same one that helped him through his teenage years. One day he takes a call from “Ricky,” a suicidal man being forced into a marriage he doesn't want. For weeks Mark talks to Ricky and provides support, but he’s frustrated by the lack of information Ricky provides and the decisions he’s making. In the meantime, Mark starts a relationship with another volunteer. Then tragedy strikes and Mark takes time away from the helpline, but when he comes back, Ricky is waiting. Mark realises Ricky is stronger than before and their relationship changes, but Mark isn’t sure what their future holds if their relationship is destined to be at the end of the phone.