What’s going on with me…writing and reading and hygge

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I’ve been awful at keeping this blog updated with what I’ve been up to this year.

So far in 2016, I’ve released a grand total of 0 books and… well, that’s going to be the 2016 total. Which is not to say I haven’t been writing. I have. I wrote and completed a new novel, am in the middle of a second novel AND am co-writing a third with Carolyn Crane, but none of those will come out till 2017. So this is the lowdown:

  • In April 2017, I’ll be releasing A GATHERING STORM with Riptide, part of the Porthkennack series. The Porthkennack universe, devised by the wonderful Alex Beecroft,  will feature stories by me, Alex, JL Merrow, Garrett Leigh and Charlie Cochrane. It will be a mix of contemporary and historical titles. I’ll be publishing one of each – A Gathering Storm is my historical, a Victorian-set novel that focuses on the twin Victorian obsessions of science and spiritualism. One of my heroes is an aristocratic scientist, the other the half-Romany by-blow of the richest family in Porthkennack.
  • In August 2017 (I think), my contemporary will release. This one doesn’t have a title yet. I actually wrote a whole song for his book, words and music–because I needed to hear it in my head for a key scene. This one is about abandonment and forgiveness.
  • In October 2017, I’ll have a short vampire story out in a charity anthology.
  • And finally, I’m hoping that in addition to the above, Carolyn and I will manage to get our co-written story out too. It’s a …God, how to describe it? It’s MM spies basically. I love our two characters, American Will and British Kit. I adore adore adore Carolyn’s writing (we’ve been CPing for each other’s stuff for about 7 years, I think) and I feel like we both bring something of ourselves to this book.

So, yeah, 2016 has been a publishing famine, but 2017 will be (more of) a feast.

And after that? Well… 18th century werewolves in Scotland. I’m planning a pair of books on that. It’s been brewing a long while.

So that’s my writing news. In other news, I’m all about the hygge at the moment. God knows, we all need a bit of hygge in the face of 2016’s horrors: Brexit, Trump, terrorist atrocities, the rise of right wing nationalism and… well, I could (sadly) go on. But I won’t. Instead, I’m trying to be aware and outspoken during the day (in person) while finding a little kindness and sanity for myself and my family at night.

In the hygge spirit, I’m greatly enjoying my newly renovated front room, complete with new fireplace (which glows beautifully orange, even if it does look purple in the picture above).

And on the reading front? I’ve read some great stuff these last months that I’ve been very remiss in talking about. Most recently, Josh Lanyon’s fabulous Murder Between the Pages, a number of Keira Andrews’ books (both zombie apocalypse ones, Kick at the Darkness and Fight the Tide and the fab new baseball one, Reading the Signs), JA Rock’s latest two Subs Clubs books, 24/7 and Slave Hunt.  Oh, and Kim Fielding’s Rattlesnake. And then, of course, there’s audiobooks. Right now, I’m listening to Josh Lanyon’s The Mermaid Murders and enjoying it all over again. Murder in Pastel was another treat. My book listening has slowed down a bit recently though, as not every author I enjoy reading translates well to audio. As ever, any reccs gratefully received.  Part of my personal hygge is the time I spend walking to work each day in coat, hat, gloves, soaking in the city I love while listening to stories, or music.

I should go to bed now, but the husb just put another log on the fire…

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### means The End

… At least it does to me.

I have been working very hard on my latest novel for basically all of 2016, a Victorian-set story based in Cornwall, part of Riptide’s new Porthkennack series.

I love this story now but it was a ‘difficult birth’, so it was a big relief to type that final ‘###’ and submit the thing at last. All this week I’ve felt like I’ve had a weight lifted from me – I’ve been walking lighter, looking about myself and feeling like I have time to do something other than work, write or sort out domestic stuff for the first time in ages.

I haven’t blogged in forever, haven’t spoken about the books I’ve read or the audiobooks I’ve listened to or the new authors I’ve discovered – all stuff I love doing.  And over these last months, there’s been a thousand times I’ve thought, oh, this is so good! I totally want to blog about this, or at least chuck a paragraph on facebook, but then I haven’t, because my Victorian men have been frowning at me and tapping their elegantly-shod toes and I’ve had to sigh and get back to the grindstone.

Now most of those thousand little moments are gone and in the past and I can’t remember them. But here’s one I do remember.

Ghost TV by Jordan Castillo Price, narrated by Gomez Pugh is my current audiobook. It’s number 5 in the series, I think, and one of my favourites. When I read this series a few years ago, I ate them up so quick, but I can’t do that listening to them because the pace is fixed by the narrator. Other stuff too. In short, same story; different experience.

With an audiobook, the characters are less fluid because you’ve got the narrator’s interpretation layered on the words (so, Pugh’s Vic isn’t quite my reader-Vic). Plus you aren’t able to perform those nimble reader-gymnastics you can utilise on a standard read e.g. reading some parts quicker than others, editing teeny details as you go – stuff you (or at least, I) do instinctively as a reader without much thinking about it.

The more fixed nature of audiobooks has drawbacks and benefits. Drawback: you’re not as in control with an audiobook. Benefit: the slowed down pace means you don’t miss any gems and on a reread, you get a new slant on the book.

Anyhoo, Ghost TV opens with a chapter set in a fairground: Vic, Jacob, Jacob’s sister and her kid. Jacob in uncle mode, Vic in ever-present awkward mode. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed that chapter a good bit when I read it first time round, but on this listen it was just great, and so memorable. As a piece of writing, it’s full of fantastic, satisfying details, character clues and fabulous turns of phrase, like this zinger:

A big-kid ride roared past us and the wall of scream trailed along in the wake of the metal cage full of freshly flung people.

That’s dazzling.

I remember exactly where I was when Gomez Pugh drawled that sentence to me. Walking up to school on a day off work to pick up my boy (always a little exciting, that, even now) on a typical Scottish summer’s day – grey  but fine, with a few outbreaks of blue. Then, turning a corner from the main road onto a more meandering lane, that slow, deliberate voice in my ear ~

…freshly flung people.

Kind of a perfect moment, that.

 

 

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Shakespeare and senses – the Five Senses Blog Tour

Thanks to RJ Scott for inviting me to be part of her “The Five Senses Blog Tour” for autism – go have a look at the master post here. Today I’m talking about Shakespeare and senses! Why, you ask? More on that below – and a chance to win one of my books (your choice of an eBook or a signed paperback).  First check out the fascinating fact below about autism:

Autism Fact: A Singapore scientist, Dr James Teh, has invented the T-jacket, a vest that provides deep pressure that simulates the feeling of a hug. “Deep pressure is a form of calming agent,” said Dr Teh. “So it basically helps to provide a sensation which an individual with autism, for example, can focus on. It helps to shut out all the other sensory inputs from the environment.” A smartphone app controls the intensity of the hug that the T-jacket gives, with the maximum being akin to a bear hug.

http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/how-technology-that/1998210.html

So why Shakespeare? Because it’s only the dude’s freaking birthday! Yes April 23rd, as well as being St. George’s Day, is William Shakespeare’s birthday *throws rainbow confetti*.

This man, this writer above all writers, who invented new words and coined phrases that have become part of our everyday language and wrote exquisite beautiful lines – he above all writers endlessly revisits the idea of the senses being our gateway to the world and to understanding ourselves and everything around us – such as in this well-known speech..

I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that…

Shylock, The Merchant of Venice

He uses this idea – of all the senses together – again and again when he writes of what it is love, whether because everything about the beloved is delightful…

Had I no eyes but ears, my ears would love. That inward beauty and invisible;
Or were I deaf, thy outward parts would move each part in me that were but sensible: Though neither eyes nor ears, to hear nor see, yet should I be in love by touching thee.
Say, that the sense of feeling were bereft me, and that I could not see, nor hear, nor touch, and nothing but the very smell were left me, yet would my love to thee be still as much; for from the stillitory of thy face excelling comes breath perfum’d that breedeth love by smelling.

Venus and Adonis

…or, because nothing is, yet still he loves.

In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes,
For they in thee a thousand errors note;
But ’tis my heart that loves what they despise,
Who in despite of view is pleased to dote;
Nor are mine ears with thy tongue’s tune delighted,
Nor tender feeling, to base touches prone,
Nor taste, nor smell, desire to be invited
To any sensual feast with thee alone:
But my five wits nor my five senses can
Dissuade one foolish heart from serving thee…

Sonnet 141

Even his comic characters muse on the senses, though in Bottom’s case, in a rather muddled way:

The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was…

Bottom, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

And actually, this last, comic quote is the one I’m thinking of today as I muse on the purpose of this blog hop. Because what are our senses, really? They are like a shared language – blue is this colour, sour is that taste – and through this shared comprehension, of the world, we connect to others. But sometimes – as with language – our experiences are not the same. Sometimes our sensory language diverges. That doesn’t mean I can’t connect with you – it just means I need to take the time to understand what your experience is. And that’s what RJ’s blog hop is all about really.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a book – the winner can select either any eBook from my backlist or a signed paperback (paperbacks only available for Provoked, Beguiled, Enlightened, Unnatural, The Dream Alchemist or Unforgivable).

autism

 

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My year in books

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One of my actual bookshelves featuring no books I bought or read this year

My year in books encompasses both books written and books read.

I can take the first category quickly. As ever, time is shorter on the writing front than I would like.  This year I wrote and published a full length novel, wrote and self-published a novella, revised and re-released a short story for an anthology, co-wrote the first part of a new story with my CP, Carolyn Crane, and (mostly) planned out my next book.  Not bad. Not as productive as I’d like, but considering work and family commitments, not bad. Part of the challenge for me is to try to keep my focus on what I can reasonably achieve, rather than on what other people are doing and comparing myself unfavourably to them in terms of output. I don’t find that easy so that’s going to be an ongoing challenge in 2016. I’ll blog separately, perhaps soon, about the queer joy of co-writing.

So far as reading is concerned, I’ve been conscious that I’ve read less – and probably with less excitement – this year than for the last few years. Even so, I was surprised when I checked to find that I’ve bought less than half as many books in 2015 (c.80) than I did in 2014 (c.170). In 2014, I read a lot of books I liked. This year, as I scrolled through my kindle, I reflected that there seemed to have been nowhere near as many, a fact that made me wonder, a little anxiously, whether romance is losing some of its appeal for me.

That would once have been unthinkable to me but not so now. Also, though, it’s not the whole story. Not when I realised I was forgetting something important: 2015 was the year of the audiobook for me. I’ve bought and consumed 30 titles/200 hours of audiobooks this year (almost all of which I’ve previously read). A huge highlight of that process has been working through Josh Lanyon’s audiobooks, both revisiting old pleasures and finding new things to love in them. They really are all good, but my particular recommendations would be Come Unto These Yellow Sands, The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks and a superb value collection of shorts stories, In Sunshine and in Shadow. Right now – today – I’m listening to, and painfully loving Lovers and Other Strangers. So, so good. Other audio favourites have included Jordan Castillo Price’s Psycop series, Mary Calmest’ Frog and Eli Easton’s The Mating of Michael.

I’ve been fascinated by the experience of audio *reading*. It’s a curious thing. In a normal reading experience, the only filter between author and reader is the reader’s mind. With an audio experience, you get another layer, the narrator. That voice in the dark brings a lot to the table:  tone, inflection…judgment. You find that the tiniest things change meaning. Sway you. Curious to reflect that the Victor Bayne of my reader’s mind is somehow sadder than the man Gomez Pugh gives voice to. Pugh’s Vic is not the Vic I first met, in my head. He is another Vic. A wonderful Vic, to be sure – Gomez Pugh is an incredible narrator – yet he’s subtly different from my original Vic. You get another dimension, another, different experience.

My audio consumption will be likely diminish in 2016. I’ve discovered I need my audiobooks to be high quality reads. The pace of reading aloud is slow – listening to a book takes 3-4 times longer than reading it – and there’s no place for an author to hide at that speed. In my view, it’s only a medium for books you can savour every word of.

There have been some outstanding regular reads this year too. When I finally got round to reading them, I loved Keira Andrews’ Amish trilogy, starting with A Forbidden Rumspringa. I’ll be checking out some of her backlist in 2016. Other new-to-me authors I’ve enjoyed this year include Leta Blake, Megan Erikson and Sarina Bowen. The final book in S P Wayne’s werewolf series, Everything Carries Me to You was a bit of brilliance. Alexis Hall’s For Real was fantastic, and did something I felt like I’ve been waiting for for a long time – brought BDSM plausibly into the real world for me. A massive reading treat of 2015 was glomming Mary Calmes’ Matter of Time series (Sam! Jory!) albeit it left with me something of a book hangover. More recently, I loved Santino Hassell’s Sunset Park -Raymond is one of those rare characters you Actually Fall In Love With – Josh London’s gorgeous A Case of Christmas, and LB Gregg’s With This Bing, a pacey romp with characters I love. LB does great older guys. Dan – I mean, just, uhnnn. (sorry, but Dan!).

I also have to give a shout out to Lisa Henry (aka Discontented Winter) for her amazing fanfic – some of her stories transfixed me this year. Gorgeous, emotional writing…and free. So good, it doesn’t seem right to not be paying for it. There’s something here about the sheer joy of storytelling, untrammeled by writing to market/promo/performance anxiety etc. Something to ponder for 2016. I also need to read the sequel to Dark Space which I only just realised is out. Incredible book. That’s one I’ll pay for at least.

There’s undoubtedly a pile of books I’ve forgotten to mention that I ought to have, but this is  only an impressionistic glance at my booklife in 2015. I’ve spent too long on this post already. Why look back when I could be slipping in my earbuds, sinking into the final chapter of Lovers and Other Strangers?  I’m sorry , reading friends, to be lax with my praise, and uncomprehensive. But the need to read is calling me, so I must away.

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12 days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – Day 12

And so it is the final day of my 12 Days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – I feel quite sad!

Today, I’m not featuring any particular book, just giving you the chance to win whatever book you’d like: today’s prize is a $20 ARe voucher plus your choice of any eBook from my backlist.

Just tell me what book you’re absolutely burning to read right now – I have an ulterior motive of course – your comments will serve as inspiration when I come to add some books to my Kindle for the Christmas holidays (when I plan to read, read, read. Bliss!) They don’t have to be Christmas Stories, and they don’t have to be current releases, just something you really want to read. I look forward to reading your comments.

Oh, and Happy Holidays!

EDITED TO ADD – THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS D TORINI – CONGRATULATIONS!

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12 Days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – Day 11

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Oh my gosh! I’m almost at the end of my big Christmas giveaway ! Yes, it’s day 11 – just one more day to go after this (and tomorrow’s a doozy, so stay tuned)!

Today’s giveaway is the fabulous RJ Scott’s Love’s Design. As has become traditional, let us begin with the blurb😀

Can Christmas be the time when Kirby finally stops running and allows himself to fall in love with the man who saves his life? CIA Agent Stefan Mortimer is cooling his heels in the UK until he can go home. Taking on easy assignments with Bodyguards Inc. seems like a good solution to keep him sane. He’s used to life throwing him curveballs, and it’s just another day at the office when he rescues Kirby Devlin and his niece and nephew. Now he has to keep Kirby and the kids alive and stay professional.  Kirby Devlin has one priority; keeping his small family safe. On the run, and facing danger at every turn, Kirby finally runs out of places to hide on a snowy December day at Edinburgh airport. Stefan comes to the rescue, saves him and the children. Is it possible that Kirby finally has someone to trust?  Now, if only it would be as easy for Kirby to trust Stefan with his heart.

This is the story of Stefan, one of the bodyguards in Bodyguards Inc. and  Kirby. Kirby is a young guy who’s already had a pretty hard life, has recently been saddled with a niece and nephew he didn’t know he had and who now finds himself on the run from the nasty guy who may have killed his brother. Kirby’s a lovely character. He’s had to learn to get by without support or help from anyone, and he’s suspicious of all forms of authority and officialdom. You feel for him so hard. There’s a great scene where he nabs all the toiletries from a hotel bathroom because he just can’t pass up free stuff and then he’s all embarrassed when he sees that Stefan has noticed (*swallows hard*). As for Stefan, he’s big and tough and reliable and basically everything Kirby needs but has never believed he could possibly have. Watching the tentative growth of trust between these two is satisfying and heart warming and it’s all that PLUS a bag Santas because this is happening with snow falling and Christmas trees being decorated and reindeer cupcakes being made :-) Go forth and read!

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment about your favourite Christmas song. The winner will be decided at 8pm on 13th December 2015.  If you can’t wait to read it, you can find buy links here!

And do makes sure to come back tomorrow for the final giveaway which will be in the nature of a star prize, naturally🙂

About RJ

RJ Scott has been writing since age six, when she was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies. She was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader herself, she can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, her first real true love will always be the world of romance where she takes cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and writes dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men.

With over seventy titles to her name and counting, she is the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway. She is also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

Her goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

Email rj@rjscott.co.uk

Website www.rjscott.co.uk/

Twitter https://twitter.com/Rjscott_author

Facebook www.facebook.com/author.rjscott

EDITED TO ADD – THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS MARI CARDENAS – CONGRATULATIONS!

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12 days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – Day 10

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Just three more days of this giveaway event left, and in the final countdown, we have the fabulous Twinkle Twinkle by Josephine Myles. As ever, let’s start with the blurbz:

When old schoolmates meet again, sparks fly!

It’s Christmas Eve, and down in Accident and Emergency Dr. Tom Berriman really hasn’t got into the festive spirit. Newly returned to his home town, he’s missing the big city he left behind and can’t get enthusiastic about a holiday he’ll be spending on his own. That is until he catches sight of the attractive electrician fixing the lights—who promptly crashes down out of the ceiling and becomes Tom’s patient. Tom can’t believe his luck…until he realises he knows the man already.

Electrician Vince has changed out of all recognition since they were at school together, where Vince was the butt of all the bullies’ jibes—and worse—while nursing a hopeless crush on Tom.

If the newly-hunky Vince can forgive his former tormentor, and Tom can get over his lingering guilt, maybe their Christmases won’t be quite so lonely after all.

I really loved this story. It’s short but it packs a punch, and as with many of Jo’s stories, it manages to be both earthy and touching at once. It also features one of my very favourite things – MCs who share a difficult history. Here we have A&E doctor Tom and electrician Vince, who haven’t seen each other since they were at school, where Vince was bullied by Tom’s group of friends.

I loved how Jo showed that the character that was diminished by this history was not Vince but Tom. Of the two of them, it is Vince who has moved on, Vince who shows Tom how to find the courage to overcome the past. And how Vince does that – bravely, boldly – is so very entertaining to read.

I’ve got to add that one my favourite things about this story is how thematically pleasing it is. It’s about, I think, sparks and jolts. Sparks of attraction, and of life and vitality. Jolts of recognition and  reality. The text is sprinkled with flashes  and sparks and electricity, twinkles and fairy lights and sparkles. So richly enjoyable. So wonderfully, gorgeously satisfying.  Highly recommended.🙂

To win a copy of this lovely story, leave a comment about your favourite Christmas decoration. The winner will be decided at 8pm on 12th December 2015. And if you just can’t wait, you can buy a copy here 🙂

Oh, and remember, there’s still 2 more days of giveaways to go!

About Jo:

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo publishes regularly with Samhain, and now has over ten novels and novellas under her belt. Her novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She has also been known to edit anthologies and self-publish on occasion, although she prefers to leave the “boring bits” of the ebook creation process to someone else. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and a soon-to-be toddler.

Website and blog: http://josephinemyles.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/josephine.myles.author

Twitter: @JosephineMyles

EDITED TO ADD – THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS LEE TODD – CONGRATULATIONS!

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12 Days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – Day 9

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It’s day 9 of the giveaway! How can it have gone so quick? Today’s book is Clare London’s Nice and Snow (With a Kick), a little Christmassy sequel to A Twist and Two Balls. Here’s the blurb:

 Nuri’s expecting a quiet Christmas, driving his cab, doing some studying, enjoying good food and drink – and devoting some serious loving to boyfriend Eduardo. Occasionally he misses his homeland of Turkey, but he’s content to share the London celebrations with Eddy.

But what with Eddy’s distress over his new role at the local comedy club, interference in their love life from Nuri’s irrepressible brothers, a disturbing number of costumed Santas on the street, the dangerous slush on the roads, and then the portly, bearded man dressed in red, in need of an urgent cab ride…

It doesn’t look like things will be that quiet after all!

This is a really fun little story featuring one of my favourite Christmas staples: the could-he-be-real? Santa figure. The story starts off in contemporary, multicultural London with happy and very together couple, Nuri and Eddy. It’s all very everyday to start with, but the closer we get to Christmas, little oddities begin to appear, then increase in frequency, culminating in a car journey with an old man who might just be Santa. There’s a lovely sprinkling of magic, a briefly lovely detour via Turkey (complete with due acknowledgment of St Nick’s Turkish roots) and, at the end, a little amplification up of our heroes pre-existing  happy ending, as befits a Christmas story. All in all, cute, fun and very feel-good.

You can win a copy of Nice and Snow by leaving a comment about what your favourite wintry mode of transport. The winner will be decided at 8pm on 11th December 2015. If you can’t wait till then, you can buy the book at Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or ARe. Other places too, no doubt.  :-)

Keep coming back till the 12th for more holiday  giveaway goodness!

About Clare:

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.
She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:
Website: http://www.clarelondon.com
E-mail: clarelondon11@yahoo.co.uk
Blog: http://www.clarelondon.com/blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/

THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS JENF27 – CONGRATULATIONS!

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12 Days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – Day 8

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It’s day 8 of my 12 Days of Christmas Stories giveaway!

Today’s giveaway is Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee’s Simon and the Christmas Spirit. First the blurby-blurb:

The holiday spirit has forsaken Simon Harris. A recent reminder of the man who used, then left him, sends lonely Simon on a glum visit to his club to while away a few hours. A breath of fresh air in the form of Christopher Andrews is about to enter his stale life.

Performer of many talents and faces, Christopher gained entrée into the club to win money at cards. Unfortunately, he’s losing. But the evening needn’t be a complete disappointment as he strikes up a friendship with a gentleman which ends in a bedroom.

Simon and Christopher enjoy a few hours of pleasure together, never expecting to see each other again, but Simon’s newfound resolution to change might just transform both their holidays.

A short story, which includes a brief excerpt. Simon and Christopher’s future will appear in our next short: Will and the Valentine Saint.

I’m a sucker for historical Christmas stories. I  don’t know what it is – maybe it’s the sense of continuity, the nostalgia, maybe something about the purity of the festive spirit, untrammelled by the sheer commercial glitter of Christmas these days. I love the pictures historical Christmas stories conjure up: candlelight and oranges and Christmas pudding, the wassail bowl and simple decorations of greenery. The Christmas goose! ALL that. I have a very ancient paperback collection of Mary Balogh regency Christmas shorts that I dig out every year to feed this obsession because there’s NEVER ENOUGH historical holiday stories. Consequently, I was beyond delighted to learn that Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee were bringing one out this year.

In this late Victorian setting we get two deeply contrasting MCs, the lonely, staid, conventional Simon who lives in isolated splendour and poor, generous-spirited, joyful Christopher, an actor who lives hand-to-mouth with a motley collection of family, adopted family, friends and lost souls seeking sanctuary. All in all, a perfect set up for Christmas themed messages around love, family, and what’s important in life.

Christopher is a lovely character – fearlessly joyful in a way that you don’t see often. He wears his heart on his sleeve and disarms Simon with his easy honesty. I really enjoyed the parts where poor, lonely Simon is trying to work Christopher out – he’s so afraid and stuck in his ways, he doesn’t dare take Christopher at face value at first, but when he finally takes that step, and decides to trust him, it’s sweet and heart-warming and I was grinning with happiness.

And guess what? You can WIN this story! All you need to do to enter the giveaway is  leave a comment about your favourite actor in a Christmas movie or play. The winner will be decided on 10th December 2015 at 8pm GMT.

If, however, you can’t bear to wait to read it, you can buy it now, perhaps here at Amazon.com or here at ARe.

Happy reading, and remember, there will be a giveaway every day until 12th December.🙂

About Summer and Bonnie

Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee have co-written over a dozen books. Their historical novels usually feature cross class romances which give the protagonists even greater hurtles to overcome than being gay men in dangerous times. Summer is the racy alter ego of author, Kate Rothwell, who writes gaslight historicals. Bonnie is interested in flawed, often damaged, people who find happiness together. These writers met by chance online, and have actually even met in person once.

THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS CECILLE – CONGRATULATIONS!

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12 days of Christmas Stories Giveaway – Day 7

JOANNA - humbug-f-sml

Day 7 of my big 12 day giveaway features another of my stories, namely my own 2015 Christmas release, Humbug.

Humbug– you may not be terribly surprised to learn – is based on one of my favourite Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol.

Instead of Ebenezer Scrooge, I have a Quin Flint (skinflint, geddit?), a management consultant who specialises in advising businesses on downsizing (aka firing people).

Quin is … driven. He’s determined to progress in his career, and he doesn’t care who he steps on to get ahead. Until one day, his ball-busting boss, Marley Joseph, side-swiped by a sudden family bereavement, tells Quin not to make the same mistakes she’s made over the last twenty five years, confiscates his phone and orders him to take a day off.

Over the next day and night, Quin finds himself confronting his past, opening his eyes up to his present – including good-hearted colleague Rob Paget – and ponders what his future holds if he sticks to his current path.

But can Quin change his life around in just one day?

You can find the buy links here.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below telling me what your favourite Scrooge-inspired movie or book is. The winner will be decided on 9th December at 8pm GMT.

Keep coming back for new giveaways every day till 12th December!🙂

EDITED TO ADD – THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY IS ANGELA – CONGRATULATIONS!

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