Bye bye 2013

We’re back again. Hope you all had a great Christmas, and weren’t flooded or stranded by the bad weather.Yesterday was frosty and sunshine and today I walked the dogs in the howling wind and rain. We came back very soggy. By the time we’d dried out the rain had stopped and the sun was out. So very typical of British weather!

A reminder that submissions to the ukgayromance anthology, Not Quite Shakespeare, are due by 25th January 2014.

Edited by Sue Brown and Anne Regan

Dreamspinner Press and UK Gay Romance are looking for romantic stories set in contemporary Britain. Let your imagination run riot through the British countryside, from the bleak beauty of the Scottish mountains to the rolling hills of the South Downs. Don’t just think of London but let your men find romance in the strangest of places. This anthology is to celebrate life in the UK, both the quirky and the mundane.

Examples:
• Two men on opposite teams playing football (soccer) on a Sunday morning in the pouring rain.
• The trains are delayed – again – but for two men it’s a chance encounter on the station concourse.
• Lost in the middle of the countryside, when a grumpy but gorgeous stranger appears to help.
• Being stuck on the motorway is not so bad with the hot man in the next car to look at.
• Buying ice cream day after day just so you can ogle the man behind the counter.

Editor’s Note: Because of the packaged nature of the anthology, all stories need to stand alone. No sequels to or spin-offs of previously published works, please. Dreamspinner’s American English spelling editorial policy will be waived for this publication.

Anthology is open to authors of all nationalities and locations – the only requirement is that the story is set in the UK.

Submission Deadline: January 25, 2014

Publication Date: June 2014

Single-book anthology story length: 3,500 – 12,000 words
Manuscripts shorter or longer will be considered but will have to be extraordinary.
Follow general Submission Guidelines for instructions and formatting.

Send all submissions to ukgayromance@gmail.com. Please list the anthology title in the subject line of your e-mail: Not Quite Shakespeare anthology submission.

~~

I thought I’d remind you of some of the posts from the first six months of ukgayromance.

David Connor: questions I wish I could have asked my father.

S.J. Cooper: why late night informercials happily cost me far too much money.

Jamie Fessenden: the pitfalls of writing and the British don’t eat scones for breakfast.

KJ Charles: Victorian England, not boring.

Liam Livings: why I went to Brighton Pride 2013 although I’m not proud to be gay

Sue Brown’s A Cock in the Window Blog Tour

Sue Brown’s A COCK IN THE WINDOW Blog Tour

Cock-redo-1 (2)

So this is the final stop for Sue Brown’s A Cock in the Window and Sue has promised me I can take a rest for Christmas. Thanks for that Sue. I’m Kit Stone, the eponymous hero of the first Kit Stone mystery, A Cock in the Window and I’m running back to boyfriend as soon as Sue lets me go. Think of Steve and me as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (I’m Brad, Steve is Angelina. Oy, stop hitting me, Steve!). I own a shabby gift shop in a seaside town which hasn’t made it into the twentieth century and I hand carve the cocks of gorgeous porn stars for a hobby. That’s how I met Steve. He spotted his dick in the window of my shop and the rest is history.

Are you ready for Christmas yet? I’d love to say I have everything ready but no, I’ll be rushing around on Christmas Eve to buy the food. Our mothers are coming for Christmas Day. They’ll eat our food, tell us how we could have done it better, and bitch about their useless sons to each other. I can’t wait. This is my first (of many) Christmases with Steve.

I was looking for a suitable Christmas cartoon and I came across this fab piece of advice from Graham Norton to a woman at the end of her tether about her mother-in-law’s bah humbug attitude.

When all the book sellers started yanking books with erotic covers and content left, right and centre (thanks to the storm in a teacup created by the Daily Mail) the gorgeous Alexa Corza made several covers for Sue as alternatives to the ‘cock’ version. This is going to be the new cover. *fingers crossed the title can stay the same*

Cock-redo-1

Because Sue’s almost at the point of picking the winner, she’s told me to point out that the winner gets the ‘cock’ cover, rather than the ‘chicken cover’ but you can ask for the tamer version if you’d prefer. 

A-Cock-in-the-Window-1-for-Amazon

Buylinks: Amazon.com All Romance eBooks Amazon.co.uk

Blurb:

Kit Stone hides away in his shabby gift shop, supplementing his income by editing romance books. In his spare moments Kit carves wooden cooks but he never expects the model of one of his carvings to step into his shop. Steve Mullins is gorgeous and pushes all of Kit’s buttons. For a few days they get to know each other and Kit is the happiest he’s been for years. Then one of the local businessmen is murdered and Steve discovers the body. When Steve becomes the number one suspect, Kit discovers his friends and family have been hiding a dark secret.

Excerpt:

I take the opportunity to do another half an hour on the edit from hell. A couple of potential customers come in and I smile briefly, leaving them to wander around.

“Sweetheart, you can’t buy one of those for Grandma. Why don’t you buy her a Union Jack ashtray?”

In the middle of trying to make a paragraph resemble English, my attention is distracted by a woman and her late teenage daughter standing near the cocks.

“Because she doesn’t smoke and she’d much rather have one of these.”

“It’s a… it’s a….”

“Penis, Mum. You can say the word. You won’t explode. Gran’ll love it. She’ll put it on the mantelpiece next to the picture of Liam and Sam.”

“Kylie Owens, you shut your mouth. Grandma is a good woman.”

I watch the teenage roll her eyes and bite my cheeks not to giggle.

“Mum, you want to make Grandma’s day, buy her one of these. She’s got a room full of dusty crap. Buy her the big black one. Sam’ll find it hysterical. He’ll probably want to borrow it.”

The woman went so red I thought she really was going to explode. I kept my head down whilst they carried on bickering.

“I brought you a cuppa,” Steve said, handing me a cup of tea.

“Cheers.”

“Are you okay? You’re kind of red in the face.”

“I’ll explain later,” I say, tilting my head towards the customers.

The teenager stares at me and then at Steve, and then her eyes open and they shoot to the sandalwood cock. Christ, what was she doing watching gay porn?

“We’re getting this one,” she says, ignoring the black cock in favour of Steve’s.

Embarrassment and conflict is clear on Steve’s face. Oblivious to the byplay, Kylie’s mother continues to fuss until Kylie stomps over to Steve, not me, and asks sweetly for it to be wrapped, staring at him so predatorily, I want to get between them and tell her to back the fuck off.

Steve thrusts it at me and flees back up the stairs. I wrap the cock in tissue paper, making sure the shape is very obvious.

Kylie is obviously disappointed at Steve’s rapid exit but she beckons to her mother. “Pay the man, Mum. I’ll search for something for Dad.”

“Dear God, buy the bloody ashtray for Dad. If you get him anything like this he’ll have a heart attack.”

“Ewww, gross. I’d never buy anything like this for him. He can have the ship in a bottle.”

I felt rather sorry for the man, thinking he was going to be short-changed in the deal.

After they left I went to the bottom of the stairs.

“You can come down now. It’s safe.”

Steve appeared at the top, relief on his face. “I made a tit of myself, didn’t I?”

“Yeah, but don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.”

“It was just… she’s a girl.”

“Yeah? So?”

“She knew it was mine.”

I pat his arm. “Steve, I hate to break it to you but girls watch porn too.”

 

~~~~

Sue can be found at her website, http://www.suebrownstories.com/; her blog,http://suebrownsstories.blogspot.co.uk/; Twitter, https://twitter.com/suebrownstories; and her Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/suebrownstories.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The blog tour finishes at https://ukgayromance.co.uk/ on Friday 20th December and prizes will be drawn at 10pm GMT. Leave a comment with your email address here or anywhere along the blog tour to take part.

Thank you to everyone who hosted me and commented.


My previous stops on the tour were at:

 PRIZES

 1st Prize – Wooden Cock

Plus a copy of A Cock in the Window with original cover (mobi, epub or PDF)

Plus $10 Amazon gift voucher

2nd prize – Wooden Cock

Plus a copy of A Cock in the Window with original cover (mobi, epub or PDF)

3rd Prize x3

A copy of A Cock in the Window with original cover (mobi, epub or PDF)

Disappear with Me by L. Dean Pace-Frech

Thank you for having me today! I am new author, L. Dean Pace-Frech and my second novel, Disappear With Me, was just released on December 6.

disappearwithme-510 (1)

In 2006, a co-worker shared with me that one of her bucket list goals was to write a novel. That comment awakened a desire in me that had been buried since I was in the fifth grade. After a visit to Pea Ridge National Military Park near Pea Ridge, Arkansas, my characters and their story revealed themselves to me and I started writing.

I have always loved history. I grew up reading the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The Young Adult category didn’t exist when I was growing up, so I graduated from those books and went on to read historical dramas like Roots, The Blue and the Gray, the Kent Family Chronicles, and the North and South Trilogy.  It’s inevitable that I write historical fiction.

Disappear With Me is the story of the search for love and acceptance. First of all, orphaned Reverend Leander Norris searches for self-worth and unconditional love. Once he discovers unconditional love, he gains the courage he needs to fight the accusations against him.

Although my characters are gay, the book is classified as LGBT fiction, and I am gay, my goal was to make the story universal.  Frank and Gregory could be any couple facing parental influences, natural disasters, or societal prejudices.

My goal was never to create an allegorical story or political statement with my novel. I started out writing what I wanted to read:  historical fiction with strong LGBT characters.  With our current political climate and the issue of marriage equality, it’s difficult to deny that there are some thematic elements that support equal rights.  I read in the mid-1990s that just being an out gay man at the time was a political statement.  I think it’s hard not to be an LGBT writer right now and avoid any thematic messages about marriage equality or other civil rights issues.

As a writer, I try to create stories that are interesting to different types of people.  If just one person who doesn’t understand the fight for LGBT equal rights is persuaded by my novel to be open to those discussions, then I have done my job.

Thanks for having me.  You can join the discussion on social media using the hashtag #disappearwithme and I will join in.

Here’s a little more about Disappear with Me:

Love is greater than hope or faith, but can Reverend Leander Norris convince a jury that the love he shares with another man is natural?

In 1910, the United Kingdom was in turmoil. King Edward died after only nine years on the throne. The social class system that upheld British society for centuries was being chipped away by social, political, and economic unrest across the Commonwealth. Amidst this backdrop, Reverend Leander Norris is accused of sodomy. After discovering his own self-worth and unconditional love, Leander finds the courage to stand up for what he believes is right and pleads not guilty to the charges. Throughout the trial, Leander’s past is revealed, including the temptations that bring the accusations against him. By the end of the trail, Leander is once again reunited with a romantic interest from the past, but it may be too late to rekindle any love that might remain, given the circumstances of the era and Leander’s likely sentence.

Excerpt:

“Are you not a scholar?” Weeks asked. “Do you not know the Bible that you preach from each Sunday?”

“I know it very well,” Leander answered. “But the Bible has many interpretations. I think you can guess that mine might be a little less than conventional.”

Weeks reclined back in his chair. He made a steeple with his fingers and rested them on his pursed lips. “You’re actually sitting here telling me that, as a man of God, you’re all right with buggery and feel you’ve done nothing wrong?”

“Mr. Weeks, do you realize you keep asking me the same question over again, using different words?”

“As your counsel, I need to be sure that I understand your position, the one you expect me to defend.”

“You sound shocked that I would suggest such a thing. I can’t have you defending me if you don’t believe it yourself.”

“Reverend, my beliefs about the situation are irrelevant; it doesn’t matter what I believe. I need to be able to defend our position in court and hope our defense can refute what the prosecution will present.”

“I have to have conviction in my sermons each Sunday morning. I think you also know you need to have conviction when defending your clients.”

“And I can assure you that I have that same conviction to make sure that you receive a fair trial. I will do my best—”

“Do your best to what? Go through the motions and make sure that the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed so it looks like I’ve been given a good defense?”

Weeks didn’t answer and that was all the answer that Leander needed. After a moment, Weeks tried to start again. “Look, Reverend, I am your assigned counsel for this trial. I am on your side. I want to see you get a fair trial, but you must understand what we’re up against is quite overwhelming.”

“I know; I’ve never done anything the simple way.”

“Sir, you must understand that we are going up against laws that are rooted in two thousand years of Christian tradition and about as many years of British attitude.”

“Mr. Weeks, do you love your wife?”

Weeks let out an impatient sigh. “Of course, but here you go asking intimate questions about me that have no bearing on my defending your case.”

“Humor me, sir. Do you love your wife?”

“Yes, I very much love my wife and family.”

“What if you woke up tomorrow and a constable showed up on your doorstep and arrested you because they said the love you share with your wife was illegal?”

Weeks didn’t answer him. Instead, in a quiet voice, he said, “You know you and I are just two people. We’re not going to change these laws overnight.”

Buy Links:

Directly from Musa Publishing

Check my Author Page at Amazon US for availability here.

Check my Author Page at Amazon UK for availability here.

Check Barnes and Noble for availability here.

 About the Author:

New bw headshot (1)

With inspiration from historical tourism sites, the love of reading, and a desire to write a novel, L. Dean Pace-Frech started crafting his debut novel, A Place to Call Their Own, in 2008. After four years of writing and polishing the manuscript, he submitted it for publication and Musa Publishing offered him a contract in early 2013. Disappear With Me is his second novel.

Dean lives in Kansas City, Missouri with his partner, Thomas, and their two cats. They are involved in their church and enjoy watching movies, outdoor activities in the warmer weather and spending time together with friends and family. In addition to writing, Dean enjoys reading and patio gardening.

Prior to novels, Dean did some technical writing in his career. He plans to write a sequel to both A Place to Call Their Own and Disappear with Me.

aptcto thumbnail

 

Email deanfrech@aol.com

Blog:  Dean’s Web Site

Facebook:  Dean Pace-Frech, Author page or send me a friend request Dean Pace-Frech.

Twitter: @deanpacefrech

Google+: +deanpacefrech

Goodreads: L. Dean Pace-Frech

Pinterest:  Dean Pace-Frech

Check out Dean’s first book, A Place to Call Their Own, at Musa Publishing, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other great sites!

A Place to Call Their Own on Musa Publishing

A Place to Call Their Own on Amazon US

A Place to Call Their Own on Amazon UK

A Place to Call Their Own on Barnes and Noble

 

 

The Charioteer: My Favourite Book by Charlie Cochrane

Blurb:

After enduring an injury at Dunkirk during World War II, Laurie Odell is sent to a rural veterans’ hospital in England to convalesce. There he befriends the young, bright Andrew, a conscientious objector serving as an orderly. As they find solace and companionship together in the idyllic surroundings of the hospital, their friendship blooms into a discreet, chaste romance. Then one day, Ralph Lanyon, a mentor from Laurie’s schoolboy days, suddenly reappears in Laurie’s life, and draws him into a tight-knit social circle of world-weary gay men. Laurie is forced to choose between the sweet ideals of innocence and the distinct pleasures of experience.

~~~

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that my favourite book is The Charioteer by Mary Renault. I re-read it all the way through at least once a year and dip in and out of it, reading a few pages or scenes, on an almost weekly basis. “Charlie, you’re a sad woman,” you cry, and I might have to agree with you, but it’s like listening to a favourite piece of music. You listen again and again so why not read a particularly pleasing piece of prose as many times as you still find it pleasing?

But there’s more to it than that. I admire hugely Ms Renault’s ability to say so much in so few words. She inspires my writing, challenging me to say in one or two sentences what most writers take three pages to state. (Not just in this book – The Persian Boy and The Mask of Apollo are other examples of a brilliant author in action.) Her economy of prose and description is dazzling, and her characterisation matches one of my other author heroes, Patrick O’Brian. She doesn’t need to explain endlessly about somebody: a few words and snatches of dialogue and you picture them entirely.

Those “minor” characters are fascinating. You could write another full novel just about Alex and Sandy or Ralph and Bunny. Ms Renault is almost extravagant (like O’Brian again!) in giving us wonderful players on her stage, but using them in bit parts. If I had any complain about this book it would be that I’d like to know more, for example about Alex and Ralph’s relationship.

Of course, the setting – a barely disguised Bristol – is an attraction, it being a city I know and, incidentally, the venue for UK Meet 2014. http://ukglbtfictionmeet.co.uk/ Perhaps when we’re there we could walk around the old waterfront, retracing Ralph and Laurie’s footsteps, or try to find where some of the flats were located.

I’ve recently been listening to the abridged version, read by Anton Lesser, which has been the Radio 4 book at bedtime. It’s been a bit frustrating at times, its abbreviated nature meaning that some of my favourite scenes were cut, but overall it was a revelation. How could I find so many fresh nuances in a work I thought I knew so well? But that’s like hearing Shakespeare given life by an excellent actor – you re-interpret all sorts of things.

One last thing: I’d like to know what happened next. Happy ever after for Ralph and Laurie or only happy for now? And what becomes of Andrew? I have my own theory as to where the story goes after the last page is turned but I’ll keep my powder dry on it for now. That could be a whole other blog…

~~~~

Author bio:

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice–like managing a rugby team–she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries, but she’s making an increasing number of forays into the modern day. She’s even been known to write about gay werewolves–albeit highly respectable ones.

She was named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name but her family still regard her writing with a fond indulgence, just as she prefers.

Happily married, with a house full of daughters, Charlie tries to juggle writing with the rest of a busy life. She loves reading, theatre, good food and watching sport. Her ideal day would be a morning walking along a beach, an afternoon spent watching rugby and a church service in the evening.

Lessons for Suspicious Minds

An invitation to stay at a friend of the Stewart family’s stately home can only mean one thing for Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith — a new case for the amateur sleuths! With two apparently unrelated suicides, a double chase is on.
But things never run smoothly for the Cambridge fellows. In an era when their love dare not speak its name, the chance of discovery (and disgrace) is ever present — how do you explain yourself when a servant discovers you doing the midnight run along the corridor?
The chase stops being a game for Orlando when the case brings back memories of his father’s suicide and the search for the identity of his grandfather. And the solution presents them with one of the most difficult moral decisions they’ve had to make…

The Inhabitants of Essex

Essex, Essex, Essex, the land of the free and the home of the brave—well, not quite.

download (1)

Most people who are not from Essex, have a pre-conceived idea of what our glorious county is like. Most of which are not helped by the ridiculous ‘reality’ TV show called ‘The Only Way is Essex’, which would have you believe we are all a bunch of morons who chase designer labels, don’t pronounce our T’s or H’s, have breast implants to rival Lola Ferrari and are as thick as two short planks. Maybe I’m old, but I can promise you I have never said “well jel” in my entire life—and have no intention of doing so. But then I guess it’s like everywhere else in the world, there are some areas of Essex that probably are a lot more like the way the typical Essex-er is portrayed than others.

The Essex Boy: The male of the species can usually be found in their natural habitat which is a large building with a sign outside bearing a painting of various animals, or even members of royalty from ages gone by. Such examples are, The Shepherd and Dog, The White Hart and the King’s Head. These “establishments” sell beverages of an alcoholic nature known as “lager” which is not to be confused with the slightly more expensive “bitter”. Of course, we are at a loss to know why these are the beverages of choice because they taste like crap which can be verified by the ‘wince’ displayed after each sip.

The younger male can be found in attire such as low hanging trousers that show most of their underwear. The reason why has yet to be established because there is a strip of leather made in Essex called a ‘belt’ that can be purchased for the sole purpose of keeping said trousers around the waist they were intended for. The trousers are usually topped off by a ‘hoodie’, which obscures the wearer’s face and makes them look more ‘hip’—which is odd, because as far as the writer is aware, a hip is what you find your legs attached to – so why they’d want to look like one is beyond me. Oh, and the baseball cap is often in place at various angles on the head. Backwards, forwards, sideways, on the front of the head, on the back of the head and, sometimes, inside the hood of the ‘hoodie’ itself – which is baffling.

They can also be found on Southend seafront in their Ford Escorts with giant exhaust pipes driving up and down on what used to be known as ‘the circuit’. Unfortunately, residents became unappreciative of the ‘vroom-vroom’ antics of these individuals and several years ago they cut off the circuit, forcing the drivers to congregate outside the Westcliff Casino and lean on their bonnets in an attempt to attract the female of the species… with their trousers around their hips, baseball caps on their heads and a gormless look on their face (which most of them are born with).

The Essex Girl: Now, the Essex Girl comes in many varieties. Firstly, there is the interesting sub-species, the “yummy mummy”. These are a miraculous breed who attend the school drop-off and pick-up in full make-up, with skinny jeans, high heels and pushchairs that resemble something from outer space.

I, unfortunately, am more “scummy mummy” than “yummy mummy”, having been known to take the children to school with no make-up on, hair un-brushed and still wearing my pyjamas. Am I ashamed? Good God no! The world would be a better place if more of us just turned up with last night’s mascara under our eyes and bed-head so bad it would take a flame thrower to sort out. Once they hit 8, the little sods won’t let you in the playground anyway in case their friends see you, so what’s the point of even getting out of the car?

What can we say about the teenager? She is never without her mobile phone, which has every application known to man open AT THE SAME TIME. She is ambidextrous, which in this case means she can Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Text and Whatsapp without flinching, getting confused or breaking a nail. She wears skinny jeans or short skirts that, in my day, would have made a nice belt. Her nails are manicured to a high standard… or should I say, stuck on and then manicured to a high standard. Every time I see a set of nails like them, my first thought is… “How do they pick their nose with them on?” What else…. ah, yes, she will say “well jel” at every opportunity and frequent Lakeside on an almost daily basis, teetering around on heels so high they don’t need to take the elevator to the next floor, and with fake eyelashes so big it’s a wonder they can see where they’re going.

As I said, the idea of Essex is pre-conceived. I was on holiday in Cornwall once and popped into a hairdressers to get my fringe cut. The girl asked me where I was from and when I told her she said, “But you’re not wearing white stilettos.” Of course, the old adages of what’s an Essex girl’s favourite wine – “I wanna go Lakeside!” and how do you know when an Essex girl’s had an orgasm? – She drops her chips, probably don’t help give others a very kindly view of our county.

download

Essex is actually a beautiful piece of English countryside, filled with stately homes and country parks. In the summer when I was a kid, my dad would pack us all into the car with sandwiches and a big bottle of lemonade that we used to pass around between us (desperately hoping we weren’t last and got the mouthful with the bits of sandwich floating in it) and take us to marvellous places such as Audley End, or Frinton-on-Sea and my favourite, Walton-on-the-Naze. Places with beautiful beaches and family days out to delight the young and old alike.

I love Essex, am an Essex girl born and bred and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. So forget the stereotype, get in your motor and pootle up the M25 to check out Southend. Let me know when you’re coming and I’ll put the kettle on and defrost the cheesecake… I’m sure we’ll have lots to talk about 😉

download (2)

Lisa’s Bio:

Lisa Worrall lives in a little seaside town on the south coast of England that boasts the longest pier in the world. She is the single mother of two children of the hair-graying ages of nine and seven and is currently petitioning for there to be more hours in the day, because there never seem to be enough.

She has been reading and writing romance since she was awarded a gold star in composition by her head teacher (Mr. Croucher) some… erm… years ago and has been listening to the voices in her head on a regular basis for the last few years, once she realized they were not going away. She likes nothing more than bringing together two people in interesting and sometimes bizarre ways, and hopes that her readers enjoy her characters’ journeys as much as she does.

You can contact Lisa through:

E-mail: lisaworrall69@gmail.com
Website: http://www.lisaworrall.com

New York Cowboy

New york new

It’s been six months since Vance Wolf buried his father. Driven to an early grave by the constant harassment of the new owner of the neighboring property, Andrew Blackwell. Now Vance’s cattle are disappearing faster than he can replace them and their cash flow has been wiped out by the new barn they had to build after the other one mysteriously caught fire. The local sheriff’s pockets are being lined by Blackwell, so Vance knows they’re on their own and is at his wits end. Then his mother suggests they open up the ranch to business types as a cowboy camp.

Adam Prentiss arrives at Wolf Creek Ranch on a team-building exercise with the four colleagues in his department. He is not the cowboy type, but has no choice as his boss, and father, has sent him to Wolf Creek with instructions to delve into the financial status of the ranch and report back to him. Falling for Vance Wolf had not been part of the plan, but the connection between them had been instant. But what was he more afraid of? Disobeying his boss or Vance finding out Adam’s father was in fact Andrew Blackwell and he’d been sent to help him appropriate Vance’s land by any means necessary?

N.B: 20% of the royalties for each copy sold will be donated to The Friends of Roxburghe House in memory of my friend, Keith Donald, who lost his battle with cancer in September. Roxburghe House is the hospice who cared for Keith and continue to care for those who wage their own war with this barbaric disease – thank you.

Welcome to Lillian Francis

Welcome to Lillian Francis on the ukgayromance blog.

How did you discover the MM/gay romance genre?

Fanfiction, what else. Then I stumbled over Josh Lanyon’s Snowball in Hell and I could not devour that book fast enough.

What made you start writing in the genre?

My fandom left me with serious wrongs that needed to put right, so I started writing fanfiction. However I realised all the longer stuff I posted were actually AUs and with each subsequent story I was fighting my characters to keep them true to the characters on the show. A published friend of mine, Christine D’Abo, had been nagging me for years to send something to a publisher, so I changed tack and wrote something original. I submitted that story to Ellora’s Cave and that story became Lesson Learned.

Where do you base your books?

I have no set location, or even country. Often the location is dictated by the story content. Lovers Entwined is set in Boston for reasons that would be considered spoilers. My current submission piece, a story about an elephant sanctuary, is based in South Africa, and my working manuscript is set in a submarine under the waves.

Both my short stories and Lesson Learned are set in the UK, though. And, so far, I have always had at least one British MC.

So, in reality, three of my four published works have been set in the UK. Wales, the West Country and London.

Tell me about your current/forthcoming novel.

As you can tell from my output, I write really, really slowly. Consequently, my latest novel is already a year old.

Lovers Entwined is set in modern day Boston for the main part, and even I, as its creator, struggle to define it.

Is it contemporary? Yes.

Is it historical? Yes

Is it paranormal? Maybe

You decide:

Ewan is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.
Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past…

And the cover, it’s one of my favourites and sums up the book completely.

What are you writing at the moment?

While my contemporary story set in an elephant sanctuary is trying to find a home, I’ve been working on a story set on a submarine during WW2. Allegedly a mystery, it is really an excuse to explore one man’s discovery of his sexuality and another’s uneasy acceptance that being gay doesn’t mean he can’t be happy. All wrapped up in a time period when the very nature of their relationship could get them thrown in gaol. With spies. And high-tech gadgets, 40’s style. And hopefully a few red herrings.

Author Bio

An avid reader, Lillian Francis was always determined she wanted to write, but a ‘proper’ job and raising a family distracted her for over a decade. Over the years and thanks to the charms of the Internet, Lillian realized she’d been writing at least one of her characters in the wrong gender. Ever since, she’s been happily letting her ‘boys’ run her writing life.

Lillian now divides her time between family, a job and the numerous men in her head all clamouring for ‘their’ story to be told.

Lillian lives in an imposing castle on a wind-swept desolate moor or in an elaborate ‘shack’ on the edge of a beach somewhere depending on her mood, with the heroes of her stories either chained up in the dungeon or wandering the shack serving drinks in nothing but skimpy barista aprons.

In reality, she would love to own a camper van and to live by the sea.

Back Catalogue

Novels

Lesson Learned (Debut Novel) published by Ellora’s Cave

Lovers Entwined published by Ellora’s Cave

Short Stories

Waiting for a Spark published by JMS Books (previously appeared in the Lashings of Sauce anthology)

When Love Flue In published by Silver

Find Lillian

At her blog

On Goodreads

And occasionally on Twitter

Lesson Learned

lessonlearned_msr

Blurb

Tired of having been constantly on the move, Drew is determined to make Cardiff his home. When Drew starts his new job as teacher in Cardiff, he strikes up an immediate friendship with Nathan Morgan, a young History teacher.

Nathan is instantly attracted to Drew, but doesn’t want to risk their fledgling friendship by declaring the extent of his desire. Completely oblivious to Nathan’s quandary, Drew doesn’t realize the true nature of his own feelings for Nathan until accusations from a student force both men’s hands.

But Drew has spent his life running away. Running away from his mistakes, his desires and a secret-filled past. Drew is forced to choose between running away once more and a possible future with Nathan.

Excerpt

Yet another long corridor punctuated by wooden doors. The smell of paint still lingered, indicating the pale-green walls had been recently spruced up for the start of a new school year. The color also told Drew Jackman, as he glared at the floor plan in his hand, that this should be the humanities department and consequently not only was he in the wrong corridor, but almost certainly the wrong block.

Damn his male pride, if he had accepted the assistance the principal had offered, he would be safely ensconced in his new teaching domain by now. Instead he was wandering the corridors, lost. Yep, there was no other word for it, he was well and truly lost and this floor plan of the school made no sense whatsoever.

And, of course, there wasn’t a student or teacher around anywhere to point him in the right direction.

The slap of rubber-soled shoes on the staircase to his right caught his attention and Drew moved through the double doors toward the sound. Maybe he wasn’t completely out of luck. There was a brief flash of denim as the sneakers carried on up the stairs and then Drew could hear the unmistakable sound of the doors above as they swung back on themselves.

It was the only movement in an otherwise silent building, so he followed it, but even as he did, Drew frowned, wondering who was prowling the corridors. The principal had stated that all the students in school today, which was only the new intake of year sevens and the senior years, would be in orientation for the first two lessons, meeting tutors and student advisors.

Coming out into another green corridor at the top of the stairs, Drew spied his intruder at one of the notice boards that graced the walls in this particular part of the building.

Maybe he could get directions and exert a sense of authority at the same time. It wouldn’t hurt for the student body to get the impression that whilst he was a new teacher at the school, he was not going to be a pushover. And who better to start with than one of the senior students who, from the way he carried himself, looked like he would command respect and possible adoration from his peers.

“Shouldn’t you be in lessons?” Drew spoke clearly as he strode toward the young man.

Dark wavy hair flicked out as the young man’s head whipped round. Drew got the impression of amusement in gray eyes and a raised eyebrow in the blur of movement, but his face had been schooled into a deferential expression by the time his gaze settled on Drew.

“Actually, I’ve got a free period—” the young man started. A local boy, Drew realized. That was definitely a Welsh accent, and after four years in South London, it was a like a gentle caress to his eardrums.

“Still, library or sixth form center,” Drew interrupted the young man and saw that brief flash of amusement once more. “No hanging around the corridors.”

This time a grin split the young man’s face and he appeared to be struggling to get it back under control. “You must be Andrew Jackman.”

“That’s Mr. Jackman to you,” Drew reprimanded, although he was curious as to how he was already known when so far he had only met Shirley Hartley, the principal. “What’s your—”

“I’m Nathan Morgan.” The pause was barely a heartbeat. “History teacher.”

He rarely got embarrassed, but Drew could feel his cheeks start to heat under the amused gaze of the other teacher. “Ah. Oops?”

In a desperate bid to bring this uncharacteristic blush under control, he glanced over the other man’s broad shoulders at the poster he had been pinning to the board. “Join the History Detectives”, it proclaimed, the remainder of the text disappearing behind a solid biceps that flexed as Drew focused on it, if the shift of material was anything to go by. This movement dragged his attention back to the unwavering gaze of the young history teacher.

Turning on the charm to save face—it had been his way of avoiding trouble and awkward situations since he’d been a boy—Drew grinned. “Aren’t you a little young to be a teacher?”

“I’m twenty-four. I’ve been told I have a baby face,” Nathan confirmed with a shrug.

The gray irises were flecked with blue, and despite the nonchalant roll of his shoulders, Nathan had yet to look away. A sloping snub nose led down to full, but masculine lips and a strong chin, the skin smooth now, but Drew could imagine it would already be darkening with stubble before the school day was over.

He wondered how he could ever have mistaken this man for an adolescent. The baby face was an illusion, Drew decided. He glanced at the low-slung jeans, the wide belt barely holding them up over narrow hips. A casual shirt, sleeves rolled up to expose the pale flesh of muscular forearms, was unbuttoned far enough to reveal an obscure band t-shirt.

“The clothes don’t help,” Drew teased, feeling almost instantly at ease in the other man’s company. Nathan, Drew reminded himself. His name is Nathan.

“What should I wear? Corduroy and tweed?” Gray eyes twinkled mischievously, the azure flecks multiplying until Drew would swear Nathan’s eyes were blue now if anyone had asked.

“You did say you were a history teacher.” Drew grinned, relishing the easy banter that they had slipped into. Relaxing against the wall, Drew crossed his feet at the ankles, the leather of his new boots creaking as they rubbed against themselves. He rolled his shoulders experimentally. The knot of tension that he had been carrying in his neck since he’d woken up that morning had disappeared at some point in the last ten minutes.

“And you teach science, but I don’t see a lab coat or test tube in your pocket,” Nathan jibed.

“How do you—?” Drew asked, his confusion at being recognized once more reasserting itself. He pushed himself off the wall and thrust his hands into the pockets of his trousers, the paper map of the school crushed in his fingers.

“The American accent,” Nathan confirmed. His eyes narrowed and it appeared he had picked up on Drew’s discomfort. “Shall we start again? Hi, I’m Nathan Morgan, a history teacher here at Everwood Community College.” Nathan thrust out his hand.

Slowly, Drew tugged his hands from his pockets, the paper map catching on the thin lining.

“Andrew Jackman. But everyone calls me Drew. I’m new here, in case it isn’t obvious. In fact, I’m new to Cardiff, just moved here from London.” Drew grasped the offered hand, noting the firm grip, and shook it vigorously. “Do I call you Nate?”

“Hell no. Nathan’s short enough, but Nathaniel’s a bit of a mouthful.”

“Nathan then.”

The intensity of Nathan’s grin was blinding, but Drew suspected it matched his own. Warm skin pressed against his palm. Drew felt the apprehension that always accompanied yet another fresh start slip away.

Nathan indicated the crumpled plan of the school Drew was still holding in his free hand. “You’ll get lost using that. I’m doing nothing first period. Want me to show you around?”

“Thanks.”

Nathan’s gaze flicked down to their hands. “You might want to let go of my hand first. The kids do like to tease.”

Lovers Entwined

loversentwined_msr

Blurb

Ewan is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.

Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past…

Excerpt

“Your ten o’clock is here, Mr. Matthews.”

“Give me two minutes and then send him in. Thanks.” Releasing the button, Ewan pushed his ergonomic computer chair away from the solid oak desk and stood up. He wheeled it over to a dark-stained wooden door in the corner, which he opened to reveal a larger, more imposing chair in black leather.

“It’s all about the perception,” he muttered to himself as he swapped the chairs and wheeled the leather recliner back to the desk.

People expected a certain air of the old and antiquated when they researched their past and that was what Ewan’s office was designed to provide. From the oak paneling in reception, the row upon row of leather-bound books which were never opened—most of his research was done online and the books he did use were old and treasured and safely stored at home—to the solid antique—secondhand—furniture in dark woods, the company screamed “trust me with your past”.

If Ewan could have aged himself to look older than his twenty-eight years, he would have, but despite the glasses and the somber suit, with vest, Ewan could do nothing to disguise the quiff at his forehead. It pinged back into place however he cut his hair, making him look similar to a dark-haired Tintin and giving him a look of perpetual youth.

The knock on the door came at the same time as his computer blipped a notification that a search had yielded results.

“Come in,” he called out, his attention distracted by the list of available marriage certificates that met his criteria, and without looking up, he waved in the direction of the comfortable high-backed chair on the other side of his desk. “Take a seat, Mr. Capell.”

With several strokes across the keyboard, Ewan narrowed the search, already speaking as he depressed the enter key. “Sorry, I had a result on the search for your sister’s…” His gaze finally fell on the subject of his latest project, and he looked nothing like the provided photograph.

A casual three-button polo shirt in turquoise-blue covered broad shoulders and was tucked into navy slacks. Light ginger hair, almost a golden copper in color, flopped in a mess across his forehead, just long enough to irritate piercing blue eyes. Tanned skin flashed in his vision as Mr. Capell raised a hand to push the hair from his face.

Ewan was struck by a blinding sense of recognition, and even though he was certain he had never seen this man before, it was strong enough to suck all the air from his lungs. He gasped in a ragged breath and couldn’t stop his gaze from roaming the length of his new client. Berating himself for his unprofessional attitude, however unintentional it had been, Ewan attempted to collect his scattered composure and get the appointment back on track. What had he been saying? Oh yes, work. “Um, yes, I just got a hit on your sister’s marriage certificate.”

“I get that reaction a lot,” Trey Capell said, drawing attention back to Ewan’s faux pas in the most inappropriate way. He dropped into the chair Ewan had indicated, his limbs splayed languidly, thighs spread almost as if in invitation.

“I—” Ewan was struggling to regain his composure, partly because he almost choked on his tongue at the blatant display from his new client, but mainly due to the perplexingly familiar blue eyes that watched him from the body of a stranger.

Talking over Ewan’s attempt to come up with a reasonable excuse for his unethical behavior, Trey Capell continued to extol his virtues. “Admittedly it’s normally from girls these days. Guys just assume—”

“That you’re a prat,” Ewan said, muttering angrily under his breath.

“Eh.” Trey Capell actually did a double take before obviously deciding he’d misheard. “Guys just assume I’m straight since I’m with Paige. You being gay isn’t a problem. I’ve been known to surf that side of the beach on occasions myself.”

“I was going to apologize,” Ewan said, interrupting Trey Capell before he had the chance to insult Ewan further. The inane chatter coupled with his embarrassment at being caught ogling his client already had Ewan fighting the temptation to lean across the desk and slap that condescending pretty face.

He straightened his pen on his blotter and attempted to regain some semblance of control. His “Oxford” English accent became more pronounced, adding an aloof edge to his voice in the process. “I simply had the most overwhelming feeling of déjà vu when you walked into the office. But since you have unnecessarily brought my sexuality into question, let me assure you that you are perfectly safe with me. I certainly wouldn’t associate with such a self-centered idiot, even if you were the last man on Earth.”

Okay, so much for regaining control. That wasn’t quite where he’d intended to go when he’d started speaking. What the hell was the matter with him today?

“I— What?” Wide-eyed, Trey blustered, huffing out a breath and pushing himself up straighter in the chair. “You can’t talk to me like that. I’m your client. Don’t forget who is paying your wages.”

The retainer check was still in among the documents in front of him. Dragging the check across the blotter on his desk, Ewan picked it up and studied it.

“Not you, it appears,” he said, keeping a straight face. “The initial consultation has been paid for by a Ms. P. Black.”

Gripping the check between the thumb and forefinger of both hands, Ewan held it out over the desk between them. He’d already made an awful impression on this client, and quite frankly, he didn’t care, the man was insufferable.

“I don’t need your business. I have clients lining up around the block. Yes, I’m gay. I’ll be asking you lots of question to which I will expect direct and informative answers. I don’t have the time to deal with an arsehole. If any of these points are going to be a problem for you, then I can tear this check up now and we can both get on with the rest of our lives. Without ever meeting again.” And if those last words coincided with Ewan’s stomach clenching in a painful cramp, well, he put it down to the two cups of coffee he’d had since breakfast.

“No.” Trey Capell looked almost panicked at this proposition. “That’s fine. I don’t have a problem with any of that. Could we start again?” He stood and extended a hand. “Trey Capell. Nice to meet you.”

Ewan pushed himself to his feet and took the offered hand. It was firm and strong, and awareness prickled at his palm.

“Ewan Matthews,” he said with a brief nod of acknowledgement.

He resolutely ignored the sensation of relief that swept over him as the tight band relaxed its grip on his stomach.