Sunday, 21 September 2014

Sunday Sunday

It's a beautiful Sunday morning, and I'm crashed out on the sofa instead of out enjoying it. I will move my lazy carcass soon. Honest. I've been reading a YA book, swigging coffee, and ignoring the grumpy looks on my doggies' faces. In a few minutes I'm off to Sunday lunch with family and friends and even better, I don't have to cook it!

I'm going on a writing retreat to the Isle of Wight tomorrow. I'm visiting the lovely K.C. Wells and using her 'office' to get some writing achieved without the day to day distractions of being at home. Her office is halfway down a cliff and serves endless coffee. Pictures to follow.

Enjoy your Sunday, my lovelies.


Book News:

The Lyon Road Vets series is now out in paperback. Read Hairy Harry, Bob, Hazel and Norman all in one shiny paperback, thanks to Lisa Worrall and the cover by Meredith Russell.





Hissed as a Newt is out this week, the second book in the With A Kick series with Clare London. Details to follow soon.


Blurb: A drunk clown rolling around in the gutter is not what David Wright expects to find as he walks to With A Kick, his favourite ice-cream shop. David has had a lousy day. A literary agent has crushed his dreams and all he wants is the consolation of alcoholic ice-cream. He’s about to walk away when he realises the clown has been dumped by his boyfriend. On a whim, David takes the clown into With A Kick before he gets arrested. Underneath the smeared make-up, he meets Stan, who has just discovered his boyfriend and best friend getting more than friendly. Over ice-cream, David and Stan discuss their problems and discover maybe they can help each other.





Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Falling for Ramos is here at last

I'm thrilled to say Falling for Ramos is out now. I adore this story and I hope you enjoy it too,


Buylinks for Falling for Ramos

A glimpse of a group of businessmen in a newspaper tells Colin Hess his old love, Alejandro Ramos, is back in London a decade after they split up.
They met by chance as students, when Colin was pushed into Ramos’s lap at a party. Despite the disapproval from Ramos’s parents, Colin and Ramos were inseparable from that moment and settled in their own place as soon as they finished university.
But when Ramos’s father fell ill, Ramos was forced to return to the family vineyard, leaving Colin behind. When Colin joined him for a holiday, the plans Ramos’s parents had for their son became painfully clear—and those plans did not involve Colin.
Colin knows it would be stupid to rekindle their old love after the devastating end to their relationship. Still, neither can deny that they still have feelings for each other from the minute they meet, and Colin learns the meeting might not be as random as it seemed.

Excerpt

January 23, 1998
COLIN LOOKED dubiously at the house. “It looks like a squat.”
The venue for the party was a three-story crumbling monstrosity hidden behind a huge overgrown hedge. Compared to the rest of the street, this house looked unloved and definitely out of place.
“So? It’s not the first time we’ve been to a squat.”
Tim dragged Colin to the front door. It was open, and without hesitation Tim went in, swallowed up by the crowds in the hallway. Inside was a pleasant surprise compared to the unprepossessing exterior.
For a split second, Colin was tempted to bail on his friend, but as he hesitated on the doorstep, Tim emerged, grabbed his hand, and dragged him into the maw of the house. Tim didn’t stop until they reached the huge lounge heaving with people. Then he let go of Colin’s hand. “Where is she?”
“Who?”
“Rita, of course.”
Rita was Tim’s current girlfriend. Colin hadn’t met her. He never bothered unless they lasted longer than a week, which was rare for Tim.
“What does she look like?”
“Short, blonde, and stacked.”
No change there, then. Tim had a type.
Colin looked around. “What about that girl over there?”
“Where? Oh yeah, that’s my girl.”
“She’s kissing someone else.”
“What?”
Tim ploughed through the crowd toward Rita with Colin following reluctantly. By the time they arrived, Rita had stopped kissing the other guy and launched herself into Tim’s arms with an ear-piercing “Timmy!”
Tim responded by shoving his tongue down her throat. Colin supposed it was more hygienic than pissing on her leg to claim possession. Still it was gross to watch and went on for a long time. Rather than watch them play tonsil hockey, Colin took the opportunity to survey the room. The usual suspects from his year were there, a couple waving at him as he caught their eye. He was mainly known as the person to call when Tim got out of hand. Colin decided to grab a beer before he settled into a long evening entertaining Rita’s friend. The beer was in large kegs along one wall.
As Colin reached for a plastic tumbler, someone went for the same one and their fingers collided.
 “Sorry,” he muttered and pulled back.
 “No worries.”
The rolling accent caught Colin’s attention, and he looked up to see the man of his dreams smiling at him. But before he could say anything, Tim appeared, dragging Rita behind him.
 “Hey, dickwad. You haven’t met Rita. Beer, great.” Tim reached between Colin and the other man to take the tumbler and filled it up.
Rita caught Colin’s eye and smiled. “Hey, you must be Callum. Great to meet you. Come and meet Kyla.”
“It’s Colin,” he corrected.
She shrugged, obviously uninterested.
Colin smiled apologetically at the guy—who, Christ, pushed every one of his buttons—and let himself be dragged away without a beer, wishing he could touch the other man’s hand again because that brief touch had set all his nerves afire.
Once Kyla established that Colin wasn’t going to be interested in her no matter how much she thrust her cleavage in his face, she huffed and went off to find a guy who knew where to stick his dick. Her words, not Colin’s, who already knew perfectly well where he’d like to stick it. Tim was all over Rita, and that left Colin bored witless and wishing he’d stuck to his guns and stayed on the sofa. His stomach growled every so often to remind him that Tim hadn’t allowed him to finish his dinner. He eventually found a tumbler, filled it with cheap beer, and retreated to a corner so he could drool over Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous in peace.
Whoever the guy was, he was popular. He’d got a seat on the sofa, and a crowd of people had gathered around him. Colin wished he could be one of those people. He stared down into his half-empty glass. He needed enough alcohol to survive the evening but remain sober enough to get Tim home.
Heading over to the dustbins, the unexpected shove between Colin’s shoulder blades lurched him forward, right into the people by the sofa. They scattered, and he ended up in the lap of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Gorgeous. Normally he wouldn’t mind sitting in the lap of any gorgeous man, but he did prefer it to be consensual, and this man looked anything but happy. Then Colin realized his glass was now empty, the contents emptied down the man’s T-shirt.
The guy looked down at his soaked shirt, and his lips twitched. “I like to drink beer and have my men plastered against my chest. Not the other way round.”

Thursday, 11 September 2014

The Day the World didn't Stop

I’m writing this on 9/ll. My Facebook and Twitter are full of pictures of New York in the darkest of hours. I’ve tried to think of something to say that is jokey, sparky and funny, but I just can’t. But that’s okay. We can’t always be shiny, happy people. Sometimes we have to mourn for our own loss, sometimes we mourn with millions of other people, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we shout and scream at life for being so bloody unfair.

Today is one of those days.

Today is also the day my neighbour buried her mother, I've learned how much it costs to develop a game, there was positive news from a Facebook friend about his cancer, my sister is feeling better after a worrying health scare last week, I’m waiting for the Oscar Pistorius verdict, and I’ve been editing a book that I wrote five years ago and musing on the way my writing had changed.

Today is one of those days.

The world hasn’t stopped today (so far) as it did in 2001. The world kept going today, and I’m very grateful for that. I hope it kept going for you too.

With all my love,

Sue Brown xx

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Last Wolf

I am thrilled to say that The Last Wolf, published by Love Lane Books, is now out and generating comments like "I can't believe you did that!". *hangs head* * I did. I really did.




The only good predator is a dead one, as far as Joe Lowther is concerned.
That is until the day he shoots a wolf, only to watch the animal turn into a naked Callum Pope. Cal is being hunted by a group of humans who eradicate shifter packs for sport.
Joe makes a decision to help Cal and discovers a deeper connection with the young shifter. One which he’d like to explore. If they live that long.

Buylinks: Love Lane Books
Amazon.comAmazon.co.ukARe 

Come over here for a blog tour and giveaway.

Excerpt:

The barn door was ajar, and from Joe’s position just inside, he had a good view of the whole yard. He sighed and shifted restlessly, his ass already dead, and he’d only been there an hour. It was gonna be a long night. It was hot and stuffy inside the barn, and he sipped at iced tea in the vain hope of cooling down.

“Show your face, you son of a bitch, and your hide will be gracing my floor come fall,” he muttered. Joe hated wolves for the sheep they stole. The ranch was making little enough profit as it was. He couldn’t understand his father’s soft attitude to wolves. It didn’t extend to other predators.

Two hours gone, and his back, still sore from the hospital visit, was aching even more. He was rubbing his lower back in a futile gesture and contemplating seeking his bed when his attention was caught by the whisper of movement in the far corner of the yard. Without hesitation, he aimed and fired. The animal hit the ground with a startlingly human cry.

Worried that he’d shot a person instead of a wolf, Joe approached cautiously, keeping the gun trained on it, intending to dispatch the creature if it wasn’t dead. To his shock, the animal, definitely a wolf, rolled over to look at him, its eyes glowing in the half-light. The almost human expression of fear and pain in the wolf’s eyes made him uncomfortable, but it had to be done. If it came back once, it would come back again, and Joe couldn’t have it hunting the livestock. The wolf wriggled, futilely trying to get away from the gun.

Joe took aim. “It’ll be all over soon, bud.”

Before he could pull the trigger again, Joe heard a metallic clink. He paused, unable to place the sound, then he took aim again, only to be confronted by a naked man on the ground and no sign of the wolf. Joe blinked rapidly, convinced he was hallucinating, but the man was still there. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. Hell, every hair on his body stood on end. He squinted into the darkest corners of the yard, expecting to see the predator slinking away.

“What the fuck just happened, Lowther? Where the hell’s the wolf gone?” Joe tugged at his hair in confusion as he looked around. What had he seen? A wolf? A man in a wolf suit? His subconscious told him he was being stupid. He’d shot a damn wolf, not a man in a freaking furry suit.

“Here!”

Joe blinked at the unknown voice in his head. “Now I know I’m going insane. Voices in my head? Where’s the wolf?”

“Bleeding at your feet!”

The voice was more urgent that time. Joe’s attention snapped back to the young man at his feet. Shit, he’d forgotten that he’d shot him. But he’d shot a wolf! Brain whirling at what the hell he had shot, Joe dropped to his knees. There was a bullet hole although it didn’t seem to be bleeding that much. He turned him gently and cursed when he saw the bullet hadn’t gone straight through.

“I’ve got to get you to a hospital. You need a doctor.”

Joe was shocked when the man grasped his wrist with surprising strength, staring at him with huge eyes. “No.” In the dim light, he looked lean, and, Christ, Joe’s mind had to be playing tricks on him, he looked wolf-like. What the hell did a human/wolf—werewolf—look like?

“You need a doctor to get the bullet out or the wound will get infected.”

“Wolf. Don’t… need… a doctor.” The boy gasped as he tried to get the words out.

“Don’t be fucking ridiculous. You’ve got a bullet inside you.”

The man sounded so young. Joe looked at him closely for the first time and mentally downgraded him from man to boy. Joe was twenty-eight. This kid looked barely old enough to scratch his own ass, so smooth and slim Joe was pretty sure he could easily span his waist with both his hands.

“We’ve got to get the bullet out or…” Joe didn’t finish the sentence, figuring the boy was smart enough to know what he meant.

The boy flopped weakly back onto the dirt. “It’s already out.”

“What?”

“Bullet. Out.” He fumbled around by his side.

Confused, Joe pushed the boy’s fingers away and searched in the same area. His fingers closed around a wet, sharp object. Joe squinted at the mangled bullet in his palm. How the hell had the boy managed to get the bullet out?

“Hurts.” The boy let out a groan.

“Gotta stop the bleeding now. It’s gonna hurt.” Joe ripped off his shirt to pack against the hole.

The boy coughed. “Already fuckin’ hurts.”

“You need to see a doctor.”

“Healing. I’ll be ’kay soon. Need to rest.”

Joe couldn’t leave a stranger bleeding and alone in his yard, so, much against his better judgment, he worked his arms around the boy and got to his feet, staggering against the unaccustomed weight. The boy snuggled against Joe’s chest like a small child as Joe carried him into the one-story ranch house. Joe hesitated between the sofa and the bed—the only available bed—and eventually decided the boy’s need was greater.

Joe pulled back his mother’s comforter and laid his burden down on the sheet. The boy didn’t even open his eyes. He was a mess, but it was the wound Joe was more interested in.

The bullet hole that wasn’t there.

Joe frowned and poked at the boy’s side. “Uh, the hole. It’s gone.”

“It’s healed?” The boy didn’t sound surprised. “I heal fast.”

“Nobody heals that fast.”

“I do.” He yawned and closed his eyes.

“Do you need anything?”

“Just sleep.”

“Well then…” Joe ran out of things to say. He stood and pulled the cover over the boy, mentally apologizing to his mama for soiling her nice comforter. The boy appeared to be asleep before it covered his shoulders.

Joe took his time to look at his unexpected visitor. He was slim, with dark, tousled hair, and filthy dirty. He looked so young but had a hint of a dark shadow on his chin that saved him from looking about twelve.

“Who are you?” he asked out loud. “What the fuck are you?”

“Werewolf!”
“What did you say?”

But all Joe got was a choked-off snore and the boy smacking his mouth a couple of times.

Joe retreated to his kitchen, poured a tall glass of tea and took it to the table. He took the bullet out and placed it on the table. “How did you manage to expel this motherfucker all by your lonesome?” He rested his forehead on the heel of his hand as he pushed the crushed piece of metal around the table. What the hell just happened? He swore he’d heard the boy say “werewolf”, which was fucking ridiculous, even if Joe had thought the same thing earlier. Werewolves were mythical creatures. He’d done his share of reading about mythical creatures for his history degree, but they were fantasy, not real creatures. Wolves didn’t turn into men—naked men—and a bullet didn’t push out of flesh—animal or human. Yet he’d seen it with his own eyes. The boy should be dead, or at least seriously wounded and in agony, not sleeping the sleep of the young in Joe’s bed.

How the hell was he going to explain this to his daddy? How the hell could he explain it to himself?

Monday, 1 September 2014

A Twist and Two Balls: a new book by Clare London

Clare London and I have started a new series together, With A Kick, based around an ice-cream shop. Clare kicked off the series with A Twist and Two Balls.



When Sue and I first chatted about the idea of setting up our virtual ice cream shop, and writing about the customers passing through, I was immediately struck not just by the thrill of creating boozy ice creams - which my whole family is fascinated by now LOL - but also by the wide range of characters living and working in central London, around that area of Soho. What a great place for us to help them find romance in our stories!

Eddy the not-so-successful actor was a character created from a lot of people I know in the business. It's tough enough to get a break, and unless you're the right type / age / size that fashion requires ... well, you've only got to live through the meeting Eddy has with his tell-it-how-it-is agent Andy to realise that things have to change! 

Lucky for him, Eddy meets Nuri the taxi driver, who helps him come to terms with all of it. Nuri seems to start off as a threat to Eddy, but ends up far from that. I've travelled London with a lot of taxi drivers in my time. They're the representatives of the streets, the amateur comedians, the voice of city politics - and perfect for asking the way if, like me, you have no sense of direction. And, like Nuri, many of them have other ambitions and achievements as well as their day job. What about Nuri's boisterous and heartwarming Turkish family? Well, they just followed in his wake - there was no keeping them in the background!

Then all I did was let Eddy and Nuri come together over a wickedly delicious ice cream or two - and watch the performance :).

Blurb:

Eduardo Mancini is going to be a star of the London stage and screen. Or that was the plan. His alter ego Eddy March hasn’t got further than the chorus and a bit part in a TV series. His parents aren’t supportive, his agent can’t place his particular skills, and he’s finding it hard to hang onto his young dreams. Things go from bad to worse when he’s late for an important audition, hasn’t got enough money to pay the taxi fare, and is chased across the streets of Soho by the irate driver.
Eddy reaches what he believes is sanctuary – With A Kick, a store where ice creams are blended with alcohol and imagination, and where his friends can help him. But Nuri the taxi driver is persistent in his steady pursuit, above and beyond the money he’s owed. Despite their very different characters and background, Eddy and Nuri’s relationship goes from a complete unknown to a wary balancing act. There are still mistakes to be made, and hurdles to clear. And both of them have to admit that their life so far hasn’t gone the way they planned.
But maybe being caught by Nuri was just what Eddy’s career needed – both for his job and his heart.
Buy Links:  amazon.com / amazon.co.uk / all romance ebooks / smashwords
     button-smashwords
EXCERPT
© Clare London
He thrust his handful of money at the driver with all the confidence he could muster, and scrambled out of the cab. The uneven cobbles tripped him, and he bumped into a couple of tourists as he tried to right himself. Now he needed to scarper, and fast, before the cash was counted and the shortfall discovered. In his mind, he saw himself turn and run like the wind, like the Chariots of Fire opening sequence, though not in slow motion, of course, and without the benefit of proper sports clothing because he was in his audition gear, that is, trousers a little too tight since Christmas, and his favourite jacket that was always going to be too hot for this time of year—
A hand landed on his arm before he’d taken the first leap forward from the imaginary sound of the starting pistol.
“It’s not enough,” the cabbie said. He’d followed Eduardo out of the cab.
Eduardo looked into deep, dark brown eyes set under heavy brows. The man’s skin was dark, his jaw line and upper lip covered by similarly dark hair. Eduardo couldn’t get away from the dark theme, and he wasn’t thinking of his preferred type of boyfriend. The grip on his arm was tight and the cabbie obviously wasn’t letting him go.
“I’m late for an appointment,” Eduardo said. That wasn’t a tremble in his voice, was it? “You must let me go. At once.”
“No,” the cabbie said. His voice was strangely calm, but the deep tone made him sound so much more assertive than Eduardo. Eduardo felt a warm, roiling feeling in his gut. He was trapped! It was like one of the new breed of police thrillers, the hero chased to the end of a dank, pitch black alley, then turning to face his erstwhile attacker with nothing to defend himself except…
Eduardo tightened his grip on his messenger bag. As if that were going to protect him, as if his copy of The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit could be used as a club, as if a selection of emery boards or his smartphone stylus could possibly morph into his own personal lightsaber. No, he was trapped, alone, defenceless, and hidden in the depths of gangland—
Except, actually, he was pressed back against the side of a London black cab in broad daylight in one of the most populated tourist areas. Even so, the trappedfeeling persisted. The cabbie’s chest was broad and his biceps bulged out from under a tee shirt that had presumably shrunk in the wash. His throat was sinewy, and hair from his chest curled up and over his low neckline. With a further frisson of shock, Eduardo realised he was forced back against a flat surface by a positive bear of a man. Delicious. His libido was liable to wake up and lick its lips, although Eddy would have kicked himself at this inappropriate reaction if he thought his legs could work normally. Instead, his whole body was shaking and he felt more than a tad nauseous.
“Please,” he said. “I must go.” How long did he have until the audition closed its doors? Would they still see him if he were beaten and bruised, maybe even bleeding? He wasn’t sure that was acceptable for a revival of one of Noel Coward’s mannered social commentaries.
“What’s your name?” The cabbie’s voice was a soft growl in the back of his throat.
“Eduardo Mancini.”
“Spanish?”
“Excuse me?”
The cabbie frowned. “You’re Spanish?”
What? “No.”
“Yet you have a Spanish name.”
Eduardo tried bluster. “I hardly see why it’s any business of yours what my name is.”
“I will need it for the police,” the cabbie said, quite coolly.
Eduardo gaped. “You’re calling the police?”
“You owe me my fare. I cannot allow passengers to cheat me.”
“I’m not cheating you! I mean, I know I’m a little short of funds right at this exact moment, but I assure you I can find you fair recompense if you give me a little time.” Eduardo wondered why, when he needed to blush to order for a particular role, he always found it so bloody difficult. Right now, he felt as hot as if he’d stepped into the Sahara. Lawrence of Arabia, anyone? He must salt this ghastly experience away for future reference on the stage.
“Fair recompense?”
There was a strange rumble underlying the cabbie’s reply. Eduardo took a moment to recognise what the noise was, drowning out the ticking of the cab’s engine and a screech of chatter from a passing group of teenagers. He waslaughing. Laughing at Eduardo!
“You are an actor, yes?”
Eduardo blinked. “Yes. I mean, how—? But yes, I am.” For a brief, bemused moment, his courage returned. He wasn’t above using his public exposure for private gain, let alone defence. “Maybe you’ve seen me act? I was in the chorus ofBlood Brothers for a few weeks.” Until the proper cast member returned from his drying-out spell, that was. “What about TV? I was in an episode of Casualty last year.” He felt his head go up, instinctively showing his better profile. “And that advert for toothpaste? I’m the man who crunches the apple at the end.”
“I have not seen you on TV.” The cabbie leaned in harder, his arm across Eduardo’s chest, effectively cutting off his words. All Eduardo could do was take shallow gasps, breathing in the aroma of warm skin mixed with the hint of spicy flavoured breath. “I don’t watch TV. I work.”
Eduardo suspected that criticism was aimed at him, but was damned if he was in any position to complain. He huffed and pushed ineffectually at the strong arms, and rather surprisingly, the cabbie let him go and stepped back. But only one step.
“You hurt me,” Eduardo croaked. “That’s assault!”
The cabbie started to laugh again. The sound was loud and uninhibited, his chest shaking with it. “But yes, of course you’re an actor! You are so melodramatic.”
Well, duh. But Eduardo didn’t explain that came with the territory. He didn’t say anything, in fact, just started to back into the busy street behind him. He could cut across into Charing Cross Road and then sprint up to Shaftesbury Circus, and just maybe he’d be in time to catch the tail end of the audition and no one would know he’d only just arrived. He turned and started walking briskly away.
Two streets later, he was starting to wheeze with the effort of rushing but trying to look as if he wasn’t, when a warm, cumin-flavoured smell wafted across his senses again. He whirled around and found himself nose to nose with the cabbie. “What the hell? Why are you following me?”
The cabbie raised his eyebrows. “What do you expect me to do? Not only do you not pay the fare, but now you try to run away.”
“Of course I’m not trying to run away!” A young couple on the pavement glanced quickly over at the two men arguing, and a rickshaw cyclist wobbled on his seat as he passed. Eduardo knew his voice was too loud. He sounded borderline hysterical, too, as if he were in the last act of a Tennessee Williams play. Well, anyact, to be honest: he’d always played them at drama school rather close to the emotional edge.
He turned abruptly, deciding to cut through Chinatown, but the cabbie still followed. Eduardo imagined he could hear the steady footsteps on the pavement behind him, despite the babble of other street noises. He swerved around two more corners and suddenly lost his already precarious sense of direction. Bloody hell. He realised he was heading back towards the original place where he got out of the cab. Yes, there it was, parked neatly at the kerb, lights and engine off as if there’d never been any problem at all.
And his pursuer was still behind him.
~//~
My first book in the series, Hissed as a Newt, comes out on 29th September.



Sunday, 24 August 2014

Artist: Nebojša Zdravković

This painting is from Serbian artist, Nebojša Zdravković. I found these paintings here. The plot bunnies are chewing furiously at this beautiful painting.

Morning Model
I found a little bit about him here.

Nebojša Zdravković is a creative artist of powerful temperament, noted for his precise drawing skills and dynamic and expressive colour range. Born in Belgrade in 1959, he trained in the best art schools and graduated with a Masters Degree. He is now a member of the Association of Serbian Fine Artists. He was granted a scholarship by the Spanish government for post-graduate studies in Madrid.
He has won many prizes for his work in his own country and abroad. His work has been exhibited in many group shows, and he has had several solo exhibitions in London, Paris, Belgrade, Athens and Cyprus, including at Adonis Art in 2002 and 2003.
His paintings are strikingly original. He paints mainly from life. He is captivated by the play of light on his subjects and their settings, and this is evidenced in the energetic colours he uses to create his effects. Overall, his paintings have a unique brilliance and atmosphere that make them highly distinctive.

Eight Sources of Light


Windy Day





Sunday Drabble

Plot bunnies are rolling around in my head, and rather than do something useful, I've written a drabble. So this might end up in a new story if the rest of the plot comes together. If....



Colin sat in the corner of the room, his head in Marie’s lap. They were both drunk and tired, and although the party was almost over, neither of them could be bothered to move.
Marie stroked the bangs off his face. “Where’s Brad? Did he come to the party?”
“We broke up last night.”
“You don’t sound all that bothered.”
“I’m not.”
“Is there someone else?”
“Kind of.”
Her eyes narrowed. “You’re deliberately holding back, aren’t you?”
Colin shrugged, not an easy thing to do lying on the floor. “Dan’s back home, and anyway, he’s never going to be mine.”