Tag Archives: My books

My 2014 in review: the writey stuff

image

2014 has been a pretty good writing and publishing year for me. I published two novels, two novellas and a (very short) short this year which is a pretty good output for me given my work and family commitments.

The stories were:

  • Enlightened, the final novel in my Enlightenment trilogy (my most ambitious writing project to date)
  • Introducing Mr Winterbourne, a novella in the Another Place in Time charity anthology organised by Susan Lee
  • The Dream Alchemist, my first, um, paranormal-y novel (I struggle to label this story – it doesn’t *feel* like paranormal or fantasy to me, but something else)
  • Rest and Be Thankful, a contemporary set novella in the Comfort & Joy Christmas anthology organised by Josh Lanyon
  • Seasons Pass, a very short story in the Enlightenment series. Although this is only 5k, it’s one of my favourite things I wrote this year

In terms of next year’s output, I have notebooks full of ideas for future projects – some of those are stories I’m desperate to write and others are stories I’m interested in more for the challenge they pose.

When I think about it, pretty much everything I’ve published has had something in it that’s been some kind of challenge. My first book featured a woman masquerading as a man – I began writing that book after reading a few blogs that talked about this being a trope readers struggled with because they found it difficult to believe a woman could successfully pass as a man. My second book featured that most loathed of romance characters, the philandering husband (I genuinely love the hero of that book but he’s been roundly despised by many readers). With the first book of the Enlightenment series, I wrote a romance with no HEA or even an HFN and that really bothered some readers (but I genuinely felt it had to be that way) and across the broader arc of all three Enlightenment books, I set myself the challenge of creating an ultimate HEA for two Regency men that readers could really believe in and have the same sense of pay off as from a het historical. With my more recent stories – The Dream Alchemist and Rest and Be Thankful – the challenge has been in the change of genre. I’ve discovered that paranormal and contemporary genres present vastly different challenges than historical… and that no genre is easy…

In terms of what I’m writing right now, I’m in the luxurious (I think) position of writing something that is both a real book of my heart and a new challenge. This is Captain Iain Sinclair’s book. Readers of Seasons Pass will have briefly met Iain and his love interest, James Hart. James and Iain have known each a long time so I’m trying to tell their story in two interwoven narrative strands – the ‘present’ strand (1824) and a second strand which shows how their relationship has developed between 1808 and 1824. This is not an easy way to write a story, but it gives me lots of opportunities to set up satisfying emotional pay offs – if I can get the tension and the pace if it right (I’m a firm believer that so much in romance is about pace and timing). That novel will come out late 2015.

Enough of 2015 though, what else happened in 2014?

Well, I was nominated in Dabwaha which was very cool, though I went out after round 2 (albeit respectably, to the eventual winner, Captive Prince 2). Oh, and I attended my first conference, the UK GLBT Fiction Meet in Bristol where I met some fabulous people, such as Susan Lee, K J Charles,  Sam Higson, Liz Whinder, Helena Justina,  Rachel Maybury, Clare London, Jo Myles, Elin Gregory, Johanna Ollila, Jordan Castillo Price, LA Witt, Aleksander Voinov, Charlie Cochrane, Calathea, Jay Northcote – the list goes on! It was a great meet and I hope to be at the next one in September next year, all going well.

I loved doing my two anthologies. It was a thrill to see my stories published with other writers I highly rate. In both cases, I felt very much like the ‘junior partner’ in the line up (which felt quite a luxurious place to be in all honesty). Hopefully, these anthologies have introduced my stories to a few new readers.

Another new-to-me for 2014 has been self publishing, which I dipped a toe into the water of with the Comfort & Joy anthology. Having had my hand comprehensively (and generously) held through that process, I plan at least one self pubbing venture in 2015. I have to say, I love working with my publishers, Samhain, but I would like to put something out before the Iain and James book, hopefully around summer time and self pubbing is the best way to achieve that, given the timetable I’m working with.

Is there anything you’d particularly like to see from me? Genre? Characters? Tropes?

 

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Noo book… an excerpt

image

Bryn took a deep breath, then rose smoothly into the air. Flying took a lot of concentration—flying slowly and hovering were even harder. These were impossible feats in the real world, and undertaking the impossible in Somnus required a dreamwalker to achieve a complete disconnection from his real-world self. It took huge mental effort, and that was not something Bryn had ever really excelled in. While he had a certain natural ability that had put him ahead of other new dreamwalkers when he’d first arrived in Somnus,  he’d later found it difficult to develop those natural abilities to the higher level Dylan and Finn had achieved.

Today, though, Bryn’s elevation was smooth, and he managed a controlled glide over the treetops as he carefully scanned the ground below.

At last he came upon Laszlo, sitting on the ground in the middle of a clearing, his head bowed, his hand worrying at something round his neck. The man was like no dreamwalker  Bryn had ever seen, nor any drone. He sat there, alone, seemingly without purpose, without desire. He looked to be all at sea, at the mercy of tides he could not control and didn’t understand.

Bryn had just been telling Dylan he’d been an emotional, impulsive kid, and the truth was he was still like that, still lacking in control. His impulsiveness hadn’t come to an end that day with the dogs. No, he’d continued to make stupid decisions all through his adult years, both here and in the real world. The only difference now was that, these days, he was more consumed by regret afterwards.

Now that stupidity came on him again, and instead of shifting away when he saw the man who’d tried more than once to capture him in Somnus, he lowered his body a few feet from above the treetops to a lower elevation, coming to a halt on one of the stout upper branches of a sturdy tree.

Sitting himself down on that broad wooden limb, Bryn waited for Laszlo to notice him.

At first, Laszlo didn’t react to his presence at all, but after a while, his dark head lifted, in the way a dog’s head lifts when it scents something, and in one fluid movement, he stood up, unfolding his long limbs, and looked around.

Then up.

When he spotted Bryn, his expression transformed. One moment it was no more than vaguely curious, the next it was intensely yearning.

“It’s you!” he said, and his voice cracked on the words.

“Hello, Laszlo,” Bryn said, mouth dry, heart thudding with fear and something else—anticipation, maybe. “Do you remember me today?”

Laszlo Grimm regarded him unhappily. Then he shook his head.

“No,” he said. “Do I know you? I feel as though, perhaps—”

His gaze locked with Bryn’s, and something flickered in his eyes. The next instant, his expression went strangely flat and he was launching himself at the tree, grabbing the lowest branch and swinging himself up before reaching for the next one, climbing so quickly that panic sent Bryn soaring upwards again, scratching himself on the branches above in his hurry to get way.

He only slowed when he was well above the canopy, wondering sickly if Laszlo could fly too, and if he did, how fast he would be.

He knew he should shift away now, be done with the man.

Instead he watched Laszlo climb ever higher, swallowing against his own dread but helpless to avert his gaze as the man balanced on a branch that looked far too flimsy for his bulk, then bent his knees with the plain intention of launching himself into the air at Bryn.

Shit, he’s actually going to do it!

And he did.

Laszlo leapt into the ether, his vivid blue gaze fixed on Bryn, electric bright with determination. For the briefest instant, Bryn thought the man was going to succeed. His body rose far beyond what any drone could ever manage, and for an instant, he hovered, reaching his hand towards Bryn, who floated ten or more feet above him.

Then he dropped.

He fell backwards, his face morphing from triumph to shock in the moment before it disappeared into the canopy of leaves, and then there was only the thwap and crack of branches as he crashed through the upper boughs, and the final sickening thud as he hit the ground.

In the eerie silence that followed, Bryn could only hear his own panicked breaths.

He knew he should shift away right now, while Laszlo was incapacitated, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Slowly, carefully, he lowered himself through the trees, stopping a few feet from the ground to hover anxiously above Laszlo, who lay very still on his back, his eyes open but unfocused.

“Laszlo,” Bryn murmured. The other man stirred a little, then moaned as though in pain, and Bryn had to suppress the urge to move closer. Instead he forced himself to stay where he was and watched, his anxiety only beginning to ease when, eventually, Laszlo slowly sat up. When he spotted Bryn, he tried to rise, only to fall back with a groan.

“Do you recognise me now?” Bryn asked. “Do you know who I am?”

Laszlo frowned, thinking hard, but didn’t answer immediately. “I think I’ve been waiting for you,” he said at last. “For a long time, maybe.” He struggled to his knees.

“We’ve met before,” Bryn said, his voice a little pleading.

“I don’t remember,” Laszlo replied. He was back on his feet now and looking up, his vivid gaze growing determined. He’d leap again, Bryn knew. And again and again. He would just keep coming.

Time to go.

The waves began to shush in Bryn’s ears.

“I wish you could remember me,” he said, barely able to hear his own voice.

He saw Laszlo’s mouth move as he answered, but the waves drowned out the words…

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I’m talking about David and Murdo’s journey…

Over at Joyfully Jay’s today. Pop over for a chance to win all three books and a gift voucher!

Leave a comment

May 10, 2014 · 7:56 pm

Enlightened is finally out! Today!

So exciting…

Enlightened300

You can buy it at:

Samhain

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes & Noble

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Stop 2 on the Enlightened mini tour…

Lovely lovely review from Laura at The Tipsy Bibliophile and a fab looking recipe for buckwheat, blueberry and maple scones (which I know for a fact David and Murdo would greatly enjoy for breakfast).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Stop 1 on my compact and bijou Enlightened blog tour

Enlightened300

Heavens to Betsy! Is it 4th May already?

The third and final book, Enlightened, in my Enlightenment trilogy releases on Tuesday 6th May!

The luvverly Susan Lee has organised a small but perfectly formed blog tour to mark the occasion and the first stop is The Blogger Girls, where you can:

– read a lovely review by Heather C;

– read my take on Scottish romanceand

– be entered to win all 3 books and a gift card!

So many good things!

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Enlightened – blurb and excerpt

I’m excited to share the blurb for the final book in the Enlightenment series along with an excerpt!

Enlightened300

Blurb

Five months ago, David Lauriston was badly hurt helping his friend Elizabeth escape her violent husband. Since then, David has been living with his lover, Lord Murdo Balfour, while he recuperates.

Despite the pain of his injuries, David’s time with Murdo has been the happiest of his life. The only things that trouble him are Murdo’s occasional bouts of preoccupation, and the fact that one day soon, David will have to return to his legal practice in Edinburgh.

That day comes too soon when David’s friend and mentor takes to his deathbed, and David finds himself agreeing to take on a private mission in London. Murdo is at his side in the journey, but a shocking revelation by Murdo’s ruthless father leaves David questioning everything they’ve shared.

As tensions mount and the stakes grow higher, David and Murdo are forced to ask themselves how far they’re prepared to go—and how much they’re prepared to give up— to stay together. And whether there’s any chance of lasting happiness for men like them.

———-

Excerpt

While David undid the buttons of his breeches, Murdo moved to sit beside him, shouldering his way out of his coat and wadding it up to make a cushion of it, careless of its fine elegance.

“Put that at your back and lean against the wall,” he said, handing the wadded-up coat to David. “Then lay your leg over my lap, and I’ll see to you.”

With another sigh, a more contented one this time, David obeyed. Just changing the position of his leg helped ease the pain, letting Murdo take the aching weight of it across his powerful thighs.

“Can you get your breeches off from there?” Murdo asked.

“Perhaps if I leave one leg on—”

Murdo made a huffing noise of frustration, cutting him off without words, and leaned over to grab hold of David’s borrowed breeks and tug at them, forcing David to arch his hips off the seat. A moment later, Murdo had drawn them off altogether and tossed them unceremoniously onto the opposite bench. The next moment he was rolling down the stocking on David’s right leg and peeling that off too.

David watched, unprotesting now, as his injured limb, pale and somewhat wasted still, was laid bare. Despite regular exercise, his right leg remained slightly thinner than the left. The knee looked wrong to David too, a bit off centre somehow. He made a face, not liking the sight of his weakness. It wasn’t just how it looked. It was the physical reminder of everything he couldn’t do. Walk, climb, run. The things he’d always loved and, until now, had taken for granted. Abilities he may never fully recover.

“What’s wrong?” Murdo asked. He missed nothing, damn him.

“I hate the look of it,” David said shortly. “It’s ugly.”

Murdo’s brows drew together in a puzzled expression. He turned his head to the offending limb, caressing the length of it with his hands while David watched. Murdo had strong, capable hands that could rub the pain in David’s leg away, gentle hands that could wring such sharp pleasure from David’s body he couldn’t stop himself crying out from it.

David watched, mesmerised, as Murdo went through the now-familiar motions of opening the liniment jar, dipping his fingers in to get a bit of the dense, waxy stuff, then rubbing it between his hands, releasing a scent that David would associate forever with soothing comfort and relief. And then Murdo’s hands were on David, slowly sweeping up the length of his thigh, his thumbs digging into the wasted, perennially tired muscles, the blunt heels of his hands kneading and working over the damaged architecture of David’s injured limb.

David closed his eyes, giving himself over to the singular pleasure of pain relief, letting himself have this, take this. This freely offered gift.

“It’s not ugly,” Murdo murmured. “Nothing about you could ever be ugly to me.”

His voice was soft and deep, as free from laughter as David had ever heard it, and David’s heart clenched in the cage of his chest to detect the sincerity in it. He swallowed, embarrassed to realise that Murdo had probably seen the bob of his throat and correctly read its meaning.

This vulnerability seemed to grow deeper each day, in direct proportion to the depth of his feelings. The two were linked, quite inextricably, his affection for Murdo exposing him in ways that horrified him. The protective barriers he’d spent a lifetime building up felt like they were crumbling away in the face of emotions he was helpless to deny. There would be no protection left to him when this ended.

And the end was coming.


 

20 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Coming 6th May 2014…

Enlightened300

4 Comments

December 27, 2013 · 10:13 pm

New release crimbo giveaway

image

I am very excited about the release of Beguiled on 24th December. Perhaps I am particularly excited because I have literally just finished and submitted the third and final book in this series, so I’m at the point of saying goodbye to David and Murdo, something I feel both happy and sad about.

Anyway, in anticipation of release day, I will be doing a giveaway! Hurray!

Two prizes are on offer: first prize is a copy of Beguiled and a $20 Amazon gift token, and second prize is a copy of Beguiled. I will also throw in a copy of Provoked if either of my randomly selected winners haven’t already read book 1 in the series.

Leave a comment to enter. I will randomly select the winners at 5pm GMT Saturday 21st December (which means you could get your hands on a copy of Beguiled a whole three days before it releases…)

Best o’ luck, m’lovely friends! Please tweet/ pass on etc.

28 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Imminent release….

Oh, good lord! Beguiled comes out in one week (Christmas Eve!) and really – is it really upon me? Already?

It’s been an extraordinarily busy few months for lots of reasons, one of which has been that I have been busily writing the final book in this trilogy. I can confirm (at least) that Enlightened has been submitted on time and will release as scheduled in May next year. And yes, it is a final book. No false endings.

At some point I’d like to blog about some of the thoughts and ideas that have driven this series, but now probably isn’t the time.

I will, however, do a Beguiled giveaway later this week!

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized