Sunday, 31 July 2011


I hope - possibly.

My story "Alike as Two Bees" is finished apart from being sent to my beta so she can tell me what I still need to do. It is almost twice as long as the first draft and I'm expecting to have to cut some of it. I'm sure there are bits I've put in out of nervousness.

But anyway, it's DONE and I'll celebrate by posting a little bit I haven't posted before:

Philon had been kissed before, once by a girl, once by another youth, but never like this. At first a gentle pressure of lip against lip - they were of a height so it was no effort at all, no reaching up or bending of the neck. Philon heard Hilarion take a deeper breath so did so too, scenting warm clean sweat and horses and olives and perhaps a tang of thyme honey. It was a good honest smell and he sighed and took another breath. Hilarion’s lips moved against his - a smile? - then the strong hand on Philon’s jaw tilted his head, and he felt the flicker of a tongue against his lips. The heart under his hand was racing now as they moved further into the shade.

That shallot - as my grandpa used to say. :D

Now I'd better get on with my pirates, though I have nine tenths of a contemporary short partly written with a friend that could be finished with a bit of effort.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Write or Die

Not as drastic as it sounds! I mean this thing  - which I find very useful for giving me the much needed kick up the pants to get my brain into writing mode. Last night I shut myself in the spare room and managed 1600 words in 3 20 minute sessions.

Much needed too. Now I have my little Greek lads on the move again and the end of the story is in sight.  I'll be glad when it is done. I've put in a theme that I need to run past someone so they can whack it with a shovel if necessary. I don't know if a] it works or b] it would work but I've been far to tentative about it and should describe it in all its squelchy glory or c] what was the question again?

Just for the hell of it - here's a snippet of something completely unrelated to what I'm working on from a time when I had nothing to do apart from pretend to be Georgette Heyer on crack:

The large room had once been a place of splendour, a suitable setting for the refined pursuits of elegant lords and ladies with powdered hair and paint and patches upon their faces. Now its few remaining beauties were obscured by the poor light and drifting clouds of blue smoke from the pipes and cigarillos of the players at the tables. It was hot, very hot, and the air was thick with fumes of wine, candle grease and harsh tobacco.
Sir Aubrey Stanton-Rivers, but a month past his twenty-first birthday and newly come both to his inheritance and its attendant responsibilities, crowed gleefully as he counted up his tricks.
“Waiter, another bottle,” he cried. “My luck’s turned at last. Stick with me, Cholmondeley, my boy, and I’ll make your fortune!”
The red-faced young subaltern opposite just grinned and continued to shuffle the deck.
“Another game?” Aubrey suggested. His coat was off, his neckcloth was on the floor and his blond curls were wildly dishevelled. With his wide-set blue eyes and ingenuous grin he looked like a youthful seraph that had strayed into an antechamber of Hell and found it much to his taste.
“Dammit, you’re too lucky for me,” one of his companions grumbled. “I’m not having you make Chum’s fortune at the expense of mine. I’m for the dice table. Coming, Charles?”
The other man grunted and drained his glass and they both disappeared into the howling throng at the other end of the room. Aubrey gave a crack of laughter.
“You’ll play. Won’t you, Chum?”
“Of course. Your luck never lasts,” Chum pointed out. “Besides, once the drink is in the sense is out and here comes our third bottle.” He grinned and placed the deck squarely upon the table between them.
“I’ll cut with you,” Aubrey offered. “Your grey hack against my chestnut.”
“Oh no,” Cholmondeley shook his head, “not that ewe-necked nag, Put up something worth having for pity’s sake.”
Aubrey laughed, Chum’s affection for his grey was well known. He scribbled a few words onto a piece of paper and passed it to his friend.
“There’s my stake,” he declared, “take it or leave it.”
Cholmondeley shouted with laughter.
“I’ll take it by all means. You go first …Oh, very good Aubrey…But not quite good enough. I’ll keep this,” he waved the piece of paper, “next to my heart.”

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mea culpa

Mea culpa maxima - or rather the bug I've had is culpable for making me feel like I've had a head full of soggy weetabix.

For the past couple of weeks I haven't done much writing at all. :( But I've read a lot [Perfect Score by Sue Robuck *nods* try it, it's very good, and Harry Potter and Flashman] and I've watched a lot of half films, sleeping through the rest of them.

So - I haven't really got much to offer at the moment. I feel I should at least post a bit of fiction if I can't be entertaining on my own account. So - something old.

A few years ago I started writing a story about a gardener who accidentally [it makes sense in context] used the Victorian Language of Flowers to communicate with his employer :

That evening Gwyn dragged himself home and slumped in front of the telly, biting his thumbnail and replying to Dad's attempts at conversation with ill-tempered grunts. He needed this job badly. He had done what he could to the best of his ability, given the time. The flower beds around the house looked good. The drive was weed free. The lawn by the conservatory and the one at the front of the house was neatly mown, though sadly mossy. Either Thornton would be happy or not, so there was little point in worrying about it. But that night he spent more hours fretting than he did sleeping.

He was up first – up with the sun – and had the milking bail clean and ready to go before his father was even dressed. Taking the dog he went to the meadow where the cows grazed, knee deep in the morning mist, and smiled to see their surprised looks. The cows knew he was early as well as he did but they ambled across to the gate readily enough and so he was ready that bit earlier than normal.

“Don’t care what that agent says,” Dad murmured as Gwyn passed him under one of the pear trees, going to take the short cut to the Court across the bottom meadow. “Thornton ain’t gonna find anyone better than you, not round here. He’d be mad to let you go.”

Gwyn sighed and held up crossed fingers, then jogged down the dewy slope. He skirted the torn-up patch of mud where the tractor had turned turtle, hurdled the stream in the dip and ran across to the hedge that separated the farm from the grounds of Old Court. He climbed the stile and walked quietly through the vegetable plots, uncultivated now, past the greenhouses and through the open door in the wall surrounding the kitchen garden. The house looked quiet and dark so he decided that edging the lawns would be the best bet. He walked quietly around to the sunny side of the house but stopped short still in the shadows.

Someone was brightly lit by the early sun, standing on one of Gwyn’s meticulously planted flower beds, probably crushing the calla lilies. Gwyn gulped, his attention completely fixed on this person rather than what he might be standing on. A tall, blond haired man with striking facial features partially obscured by hornrimmed spectacles, he stooped to do something to one of the plants. Gwyn stepped forward into the sun, suddenly anxious.

At the crunch of his boots on the gravel the man turned sharply and looked towards him, hair glinting, and Gwyn stopped again. They looked each other over then the man held out a beckoning hand. “You must be Gwyn Derry,” he called and smiled as Gwyn moved towards him. “I must say I am most impressed with what you’ve done here and,” the smile broadened and Gwyn found himself flushing for no reason at all, “and if it was your choice of flowers for the house, I found them most interesting. American Starwort in the hall, sage in the kitchen - and the bedroom …”

“Um,” Gwyn said, puzzled. “I’m – um – glad you liked them.”

The man tilted his head then nodded. “Very much,” he said and laughed a little. “I’m sorry, it’s early and I’m still a little jet lagged. My name’s Thornton, David Thornton.”

Gwyn took his hand and shook it. “Pleased to meet you,” he said and stood there confused as Thornton gripped his hand searching his eyes as though waiting for something more. Gwyn’s colour deepened and he tugged his hand free. “I – er – better get on,” he said. “If it’s all right with you I’ll make a start on felling the south lawn.” He offered an appeasing grin.

For a moment Thornton frowned then he nodded, his handsome face relaxing into pleasant but bland lines. “I’ll make tea in a while and bring some down to you,” he promised. “White? Sugar?”

“That’d be grand. Two please,” Gwyn said. “Thanks.”

He didn’t look back until he had reached the shed, brushing past potted marjoram and releasing a faint waft of its sweet scent, but Thornton was still standing amongst the lilies watching Gwyn as though he had expected something – something he had been disappointed not to get.

I got to 20K words reached a crux and had one of those "why am I bothering" moments. Possibly I ought to get back to it.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Interview and freebie!

The editors of Tea and Crumpet were interviewed recently and the whole text is posted on Jessewave's Review Site. Comment there and you could win a free copy of the ebook! :D Honestly it's a really good read, and I'm not just saying that because one of the stories is mine. There are REAL writers amongst the contributing authors. Great stuff.

I'm planning Nanowrimo 2011 and wondering just how much work one can do beforehand. At the very least I need to read all the available translations of the Gododdin and read up on my 6th century AD archaeology, though I suspect I'll make up a lot of stuff as usual. I'm coming to the conclusion that it's better to just write the story and worry about the historical aspects of it later, especially when dealing with a period where the Otherworld was just a step away and any valley could hold the entrance to Annwfn. I have my characters and I have their situation. I just need to spend a lot of time thinking about the story arc and how to make it tense when everyone [everyone who know Y Gododdin] already knows how it ends.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Sometimes there's a story just waiting to happen

I noticed this picture on Tumblr and was struck immediately by two of the figures. See if you can spot them.

The picture was taken in a bar in New York in 1933. I'd so like to write this story but perhaps it would be better to leave it to Lucius Parhelion?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Tea and Crumpet anthology

Tea and Crumpet is released today by JMS Books both in ebook and print.

Enjoy this enchanting, entertaining and thought-provoking collection, a heartfelt expression of what it means to be queer in Britain, past and present. All these stories reflect the iconic sights and national character of the British Isles: a taste of our idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, but also an unashamed representation of the love, loyalty and laughter of our people.

Including a wide range of style and subject, this is the perfect way to sample different authors and to find both existing and new favourites. Follow the British way of life from historic villages to modern cities, from the countryside to the sea, through history and with a fantasy twist, in gardens, churches, campus and the familiar, much-loved local pub.

The stories cover universal themes of romance, desire, remembrance and reconciliation. The authors range from multi-published to up-and-coming, and they all share a passion for their characters, whether through great drama, erotic excitement, humour -- or a combination of all three!

Contributors include: Alex Beecroft, Jennie Caldwell, Stevie Carroll, Charlie Cochrane, Lucy Felthouse, Elin Gregory, Mara Ismine, Clare London, Anna Marie May, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Zahra Owens, Jay Rookwood, Chris Smith, Stevie Woods, Lisa Worrall, and Serena Yates. Edited by: UK MAT (UK Meet Acquisitions Team).

This anthology is a souvenir of the 2011 UK Meet, an occasion for GLBTQ supporters to get together in a relaxed setting to celebrate and chat about the fiction community they love. Funds from the sale of this anthology will go towards future UK Meets, to which all are welcome. Please visit the website for details, or contact UK MAT through the publisher.

Excerpt of 'On The Pull' by Me!

This was a ritual they all enjoyed. The first pint off a new barrel had to be pulled just right; there wasn’t a man there who would rush him or complain about the delay. They would watch, their eyes fixed on the glass as the rich, dark brew trickled then gushed from the spigot, the creamy swirl separating as the head formed. Tom enjoyed putting on the show. He didn’t think anyone there realised he had an agenda of his own.

Glass in his left hand, he wrapped the long fingers of his right around the satiny mahogany handle of the beer engine. He pulled, enjoying the resistance of it, knowing that the taut muscles of forearm and bicep were shown off by the motion.