Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hop Against Homophobia winner

The name out of the hat was Yvette!

I've been in touch to send a .mobi of Alike As Two Bees and the AKT are better off by a donation plus gift aid!

Many thanks to all the people who took the time and trouble to comment on my blog. I was surprised to see so many of you! I just wish I could have made a donation in each and every name but we have managed to send enough to take one young person off the street and give him or her a safe and welcoming place to stay.

Thanks also to Erica and her team for setting up the blog hop. Maybe see you next year?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Proper Six Sunday

Last week I forgot to register but this week I remembered! Pasting the 6 here, as usual, for the people who don't like Wordpress.

Last weeks neglect was useful because it introduced Moried, no friend to the scruffy bunch in Troop Three.

This weeks Sunday Six is from my WIP A Fierce Reaping, a story of the Gododdin, set in Scotland and Northumbria in the 7th century AD. A reminder of the premise – King Marro of Din Eidin is alarmed by the encroachment of Saxon forces lead by Aethelfrith upon the lands just south of his borders. With the help of Gwlygad, his steward, he devises a plan to drive the Saxons back to the south. He gathers a band of heroes, trains and feasts them for a year and unleashes them on the Saxons in the spring. But at this point in the story Marro has three hundred young men packed into a small space with energy to spare and nobody to fight apart from each other.

“And how goes the training?” Moried asked. “I hope that Cynon is providing instruction in baggage handling and camp fire cookery because we won’t be able to take non-combatants and one can’t expect real soldiers to sully themselves with domestic chores.”
“You mean you kill it and we’ll cook it?” Cynfal snorted. “Spit roast Saxon with horseradish might put some hair on your chest.”
Moried glanced at the front of Cynfal’s shirt, unlaced in the heat of the hall. “Speaking from experience, I see.”

Click to go to the Six Sentence Sunday site and see the list of participating authors. There’s something there for everyone!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hop Against Homophobia - no place like home

At the end of the day it's brilliant to be able to go home, shut the door and relax. Home is where you are safe. Home is where you are sure of a welcome. Home is the place, as the poet said, where if you have to go there they have to let you in.

But what if that isn't the case. What if home suddenly becomes a place of danger - somewhere that isn't welcoming - what if the door is shut in your face?

That is the situation faced by hundreds of LGBTQ teens when they pluck up the courage to come out to their parents. Some are lucky and are taken in by friends or other family members but some are left homeless and have to go into the care system or onto the streets, with all the dangers that implies.

This is where the Albert Kennedy Trust comes in. The following is reproduced with permission of the organisation.

AKT’s Mission is:

To ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people are able to live in accepting, supportive and caring homes, by providing a range of services to meet the individual needs of those who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment.

We aim to do this by:

• Providing appropriate homes through supported lodgings, fostering and other specialist housing schemes.
• Enabling young people to manage independent living successfully.
• Improving attitudes within society towards lesbian, gay and bisexual young people.

To support our work all our staff, trustees, carers, mentors & volunteers are committed to:

• Delivering flexible and responsive services centred on the needs of LGBT young people.
• Engaging, supporting and nurturing LGBT young people.
• Providing accessible, safe and positive environments that are respectful of difference and diversity.
• Pioneering and innovative services to meet real need.
• Good communication and participation throughout the organisation and valuing and encouraging the contributions of all those involved. Excellence and best practice.
• Working in an open and honest manner, where trust is earned and given.
• Working as a team.Challenging perception both internally and externally.

And doing the above with passion, energy and enthusiasm.

I think they are doing a grand and important job - one really worth supporting. They have suggestions on their website, which I hope you will visit.

Since this blog hop requires a giveaway, I'm offering a copy of Alike As Two Bees to one commenter, but I will also make a donation to AKT on his or her behalf.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the Hop.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Too late and too long

I’ve been so sick this week that I forgot to register for Six Sentence Sunday! then I forgot to link to my regular post from this one.

I have just about got a working brain again so sincere thanks to everyone who commented last week and apologies for not replying individually to you. Next time, I promise I will do better.

Six Sentence Sunday – lots of opportunities to sample a range of works from sci fi to paranormals to action adventure to historicals by way of masses of red hot het erotica.

But I’m not doing it this week so I can post a longer than usual excerpt from A Fierce Reaping.

Cynfal arrives in Din Eidin under stressful circumstances and sets about making an impression.

The sun was behind the rock by the time they reached the edge of the dun.

“Luath!” One of the lads on guard greeted Cynfal’s companion with a broad grin. “What have you brought us this time?”

“Fine young pigs, Cipno,” Luath said, waving to the cart. “Fat and ready for the slaughter.”

“Five young pigs?” Cipno stared boldly at Cynfal. “I’d have said the one in the cloak is a bit long in the tooth to make a good meal.”

Cipno had a shield and a spear. The first gloss wasn’t yet off the blade. Cynfal shrugged his cloak back from his shoulders to display his own battered weapons and scarred forearms.

“How does your commander feel about brawling on duty?” he asked. “Because we can go at it now and you’ll be in trouble as well as getting hurt, or we can meet up later and I might go easy on you.”

Cipno flushed and took a step forward. “When I’ve finished my duty then. Down by the shore. It’ll be easier to wash your guts off my blade.”

Cynfal couldn’t fault the lad for pride, but he clearly hadn’t the sense of his fellow who tugged at Cipno’s arm urging him back. Or perhaps the sound of hooves approaching, soft on the damp ground, meant more to them than it did to Cynfal?

“Cipno, Rhys.” A dappled horse pulled up at Cynfal’s shoulder, the rider looking down his nose at him. “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be greeting visitors not brawling with them?” His cloak was richly dyed, chequered green and gold, his hair dark, his expression alive with malicious amusement. Everything about him gleamed.

“We weren’t,” Rhys protested. “Cipno made a joke’s all. This one,” he nodded to Cynfal, “just didn’t think it was funny.”

“No sense of humour?” The rider glanced at Cynfal again. “That’s a pity. What is your name and business in Din Eidin?”

“My business in Din Eidin is my own, “Cynfal replied. “My name is Cynfal everywhere.”

Rhys was a lanky lad covered in freckles. He snorted a laugh and nudged Cipno.

“Cynfal Everywhere,” the rider said, “my name is Moried. Perhaps I can guide you on your way? I assume that you want the butchers rather than, say, the tannery or the church?”

“I can find my own way to the barracks,” Cynfal said. “Please, don’t let me keep you.”

Moried chuckled and kicked his horse into a walk. “It’s no trouble. I will wait for you at the gates,” he promised. Cynfal nodded and followed Luath’s cart up the incline towards the hall. He didn’t spare a glance for either of the boys.

Moried was as good as his word. As Cynfal approached the gate to the hall he spotted the horseman, his bridle over his arm, talking to two other men. “Ah here they are now,” he called when he noticed the cart. “Luath and his six little pigs.”

“That joke’s a bit old now,” Cynfal called. “Old and stinking. Can’t you come up with anything new?”

“This is Cynfal Everywhere,” Moried performed the introductions. “He wants to see someone at the barracks.” His raised his eyebrows suggestively.”

“Dear me,” one of the other men sighed, “we’re not as badly off for girls as all that. On the march though …”

Cynfal nodded. “And who are you?” he asked. “I like to know a man’s name before I carve his lights out.”

“Cynon ap Clydno.” He was tall – almost as tall as Cynfal – with a thick brush of dark hair and a beard that came well up his cheeks. His weapons were clean but they too had a scar for every visible inch. A worthy opponent, Cynfal thought, but the man’s smile seemed more amused than aggressive. He obviously knew the game inside out – that half laughing half intense banter of threat and joke that men used to test each other for weakness and strength. It was a game Cynfal had excelled at once.

“I am a man of the barracks,” Cynon added. “Come and see me. Moried – I think you were wrong. I think this one is answering our sovereign lord’s summons, not hoping for a job in the butchers.”

“My mistake,” Moried said with a grin and bowed Cynfal and the cart past.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Today in the Comfy Chair - Stevie Carroll

Today my guest in the Comfy Chair is my friend Stevie Carroll, author of ‘The Monitors’, in Noble Romance’s Echoes of Possibilities, which was longlisted by the Tiptree Awards in 2010. She has also written short stories that appeared in British Flash and Tea and Crumpet, anthologies published by the UK Meet organisation. Her first solo collection of short stories, A Series of Ordinary Adventures, is published by Candlemark and Gleam in May. Read more here.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

New Comfy Chair post

My guest today is Sue Roebuck, author of Perfect Score, who is chatting about her latest release - Hewhay Hall, a horror novel about good, evil, cowardice and courage - also bog wights!! Please drop by and say 'hi'.