Sunday, December 30, 2012

Coughing at Christmas

Life News:

Um, not much life news this week, I fear. I've been ill since last Sunday so everything else has sadly passed me by, alas. Christmas? Has it happened yet?... A lot of coughing, snorting and nose-blowing has happened however, so I've not been entirely idle. Haven't managed to get into bed to sleep (it's worse if I lie down, on the whole) but the plus side is I am now engaged to the living room sofa, hurrah. And I've read a hell of a lot of free Kindle books and solved (or, more accurately, failed to solve) a lot of crossword puzzles. K has been a total saint and really should be on the local New Year Honours list for Services to Sick Wives.

Astonishingly, I'm still not over it, and I'm told it may last another week - but hey at least that means I'm likely to enter 2013 in exactly the same way that I leave 2012, so top marks for consistency. Hey ho.

In the meantime, over at The Angry Anglican, I'm waxing lyrical about peculiar priests and same sex marriage. As ever.

Book News:

Here, there is good news, well gosh! I'm thrilled to announce that psychological thriller Thorn in The Flesh will be republished in 2013 by Untreed Reads, so I can't wait for that. Plus I gained my first 5-star review for Christian novella The Prayer Seeker at Amazon UK (thank you, Claire!), where it's described as:

"thought-provoking, helpful, interesting and (dare I say it) inspirational ..."

Well, gosh.

Not to be outdone, gay religious short story The Heart's Greater Silence gained a 4-star review at Goodreads (thank you, Edina Rose), so the season is evidently making its influence felt, ho ho. Apparently, Edina is making me one of her favourite authors on the basis of the story, so that's lovely too.

Happy New Year to you all - hope you have a healthy one!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Book News:

I'm very happy to say that I've now completed the final read through of the second in my fantasy trilogy, Hallsfoot's Battle, and sent it back to Bluewood Publishing. So it should be published in 2013 at some point, but I don't know a date yet. Watch this space!

From now up until Christmas Day, there's 25% discount on ALL my Dreamspinner Press books, so shop early shop often. If you need some encouragement, one of them, gay romance Two Christmases, has just received a 4-star review at Goodreads, plus a lovely review at On Top Down Under Reviews. Thank you, both readers! I particularly appreciated this section of Karen's review, which definitely fits the season:

"If you have the ability to enjoy a story where one person has done the wrong thing but sets about bettering themselves. And if you can understand why someone might just love a person enough to give them a second chance, then this is a nice Christmas short about the power of love and forgiveness. I think it's a great little Christmas read." 

Finally, I'm slowly stumbling on with completing the last of the gay menage Delaneys series, The Delaneys, My Parents and Me, and am now at c12,000 words. I've had to leave them in the middle of a sex scene to do other things, but heck I think they might enjoy that, ho hum ...

Life News:

This week, the boss and I have moved offices again and are now safely installed on the 6th floor of our building instead of the 5th. We're slowly climbing up the ladder to the top, don't you know, though soon we will run out of floors ... Our new location has a great kitchen and a fridge with space (hurrah!) so I hope we'll be staying for a while. Being the true genius that I am (coughs shyly ...) I had unpacked all my 50,000 crates in a day and now apparently look as if I've never been anywhere else. It's all done by smoke and mirrors, you know ...

Meanwhile, over at The Angry Anglican, I have (once again) been in defiant mood. Hang on to your hats, my dears.

I have also been preparing for Christmas by having a seasonal haircut and watching my husband as he nobly put up the Christmas tree and the lights. What a superhero. I absolutely can't bear doing it myself as I get seriously stressed when confronted with a bauble (careful, people, careful ...) of any description, but I'm fine when it's all done. Well, we do all have our little peculiarities, and I am definitely more peculiar than most.

Yesterday, K and I happily attended a lovely Christmas dinner party at our neighbours' house - many thanks for a fantastic time, L&J. But, sadly, I now seem to have come down with a nasty sore throat, sniffles and the inability to talk at all - a blessing, some would say, apart from the fact that the only way I can actually communicate is through the medium of liturgical dance. And no (Hilary, I'm looking at you!...), you can't buy tickets for it. I must needs save you from yourselves.

As a result I have unfortunately had to skip the planned get-together for Sunday lunch with K's family, and had to squeak my best wishes for the season down the phone like a helium balloon on speed. Ah well.

However, I've delighted in Lynne Truss's definitive answer to those dreadful Round Robin letters, and I'm still chortling over them, as much as I can with a throat like mine, that is.

It only remains for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and I'll catch you on the other side.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anger and animals

Book News:

I'm currently taking part in a Christmas Blog Hop, and if you leave a comment on the blog below this one, you're in with a chance of winning a FREE ecopy of gay romance Two Christmases - which is of course suitably seasonal. The competition lasts until tomorrow (17 December) so there's still time to enter ...

In the meantime, surreal comedy Not a Shred of Evidence was briefly at No 79 in the Amazon UK Business Humour Charts (hurrah!) and the lovely Karen gave a great review to gay erotic short story The Heart's Greater Silence over at On Top Down Under Reviews. Many thanks, Karen.

Life News:

This week, K and I attended the Elstead Theatre Group Christmas Revue and party, which was great. I particularly enjoyed the Old Hookers' Lament, which proved beyond doubt what fine legs our local menfolk do indeed have. Say no more ...

I also had great fun at the Elstead Writers' celebratory lunch yesterday at which there was some gorgeous soup and a veritable plethora of chocolate cake, one of them made by my good self. We also has some fantastic pieces of writing to comment on, so a suitable end to our writing year.

Not only that but I have blogged about the local Guildford response to the women bishops' crisis over at The Angry Anglican, with a whistle-stop tour through the gay marriage debate also. My anger rating is currently 9 out of 10, hey ho.

I've also managed to upset the local RSPCA who for some reason known only to them came round during the week on a door-to-door visit asking for support. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Opens door, says "hello".

RSPCA Man: "My, you look lovely and cosy there."

Me: Thinks how rude and personal this idiot of a man is. Says (with my usual courtesy to unwanted callers), "what do you want then?"

RSPCA Man: "Do you like animals?"

Me: (truthfully) "No, not really."

RSPCA Man: "But you wouldn't hurt one, would you?"

Me: "If one was badly hurt, I'd kill it. It's the kindest thing."

RSPCA Man: Backs off and disappears without further comment, thank the Lord ...

Hmm, I doubt he'll be back, though I suspect the RSPCA might be keeping a close eye on me from now on.

And today, K and I have made our official Christmas visit to Mother and exchanged the required amount of gifts. Phew.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK
Lori Olding Children's Author

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Blog Hop 14-17 December

Christmas Blog Hop

A happy Christmas to all! From today until 17 December, I'm taking part in the Christmas Blog Hop along with a range of other authors, and there are prizes galore to be won.

To keep in line with the season, I'm offering a FREE ecopy of gay romance Two Christmases to one lucky commenter on this post. The blurb is:

Danny Brigson makes a serious mistake when he sleeps with Marty, an old boyfriend, one Christmas. He tries to cover it up, but Marty tells all, and the love of Danny's life, Jake, throws him out.
Over the next year, Danny tries to sort his life out with the hopes that when the next Christmas comes around, Jake will give him the chance to put things right ...

Here's an extract of the scene where Danny first meets Jake at a business party he's helping to arrange. Hope it gets you in the mood!

I’d only just finished sorting out the crisis when the first of the guests started arriving, all management, out and ready to party. Couldn’t say I blamed them. A day’s worth of high‐maintenance team building would be a day’s worth too long for me. I clocked Jake at once, appreciating his long lithe body and that swept‐back hair. Eyes to sink into as well, I remember thinking, if I ever got close enough. I allowed myself the privilege of a few more glances on my way out and, to my surprise, at the last of them his eyes caught mine and he gave me a slight but unmissable smile. The heat flared in my skin and my heart beat faster. I didn’t pursue it though, not in front of a roomful of strangers and when attempting to look professional in front of a client. The boss would have killed me otherwise.

At the door though, my luck proved to be in. One of the waiters came racing toward me, his bow‐tie askew and his hair looking like it would need a good comb before the evening was out.

“Danny? Danny Brigson?”

“Yeah? That’s me. What’s up?”

“Chef says we’re still short of staff. Would you mind giving the barman a hand with the drinks? We’ve got two parties in tonight. We’ll pay you.”

I nodded. Frankly I could do with the cash and, even then, the chance to see a little more of Jake had brought the smile to my face.

I worked like a dog that evening. The crowd were eager to celebrate, and the empty glasses kept on coming back. And back. Every now and again, I saw Jake and, once, our hands touched when I refreshed his wine. A good Pinot Noir, which made me smile. He didn’t strike me as a Chardonnay man.

It was way past midnight when he finally gave me the eye. God knew I’d been making what I wanted obvious enough—serving him first when I could, even though that was a real no‐no in the secret Barman’s Code. Anyway, at a quarter past midnight, I looked across at my fellow barman, a bloke called Arnie who seemed like he’d been around the block a few times. And some.

“Is it okay if I...?”

He grinned. “Sure. It’s easing off now. I think I can cope. Besides, it looks as if you’ve got business to attend to.

I smiled back. “Yeah, if I’m lucky, but for God’s sake, keep it quiet.”

“My lips are sealed. Not my bag, but live and let live, eh?”

I made my way out of the bar, only needing to glance back once to make sure Jake was following. I wondered how long it would take him to talk to me and what he might do or say, whether I would need to take charge to get things moving.

I needn’t have worried.

In the corridor between the hall and the Gents’, I found myself being pushed back against the wall, and then warm fingers on my face, and Jake’s tongue in my mouth. He tasted of wine and lemons. I kissed him back. No, I did more. I pulled his shirt free and ran my hand up his spine, desperately seeking skin. I groaned into his mouth as if I’d been waiting for this for a lifetime and had almost given up hope it would ever happen, even though I’d only seen him for the first time tonight. I pulled his body toward mine and pressed my straining dick against his legs, feeling his answering hardness against my own.

I swear it was the best kiss I’d ever had up until that point. Better than any sex I’d had or even dreamed of. It lasted forever. It was way too short.

When we finally pulled apart, we were both gasping. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. While I wiped my mouth, my fingers trembling, still relishing the taste of him on my lips, he recovered enough to speak.

“Jesus,” he said, and his voice was shaking too. 

Don't forget - leave a comment here between now and December 17th and you're in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Meanwhile, there are lots of other prizes to be won in the rest of the blog hop. Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Painting, Prayer and Anger

Life News:

Moved to existential rage by all the recent nonsenses perpetrated by the Church of England, I have started a blog called The Angry Anglican, so if you wish to find out my views on women bishops, gay marriage, the church and what's currently happening in it all, please do feel free to visit. You'll be more than welcome, whoever you are.

In the meantime, I have also been utterly horrified by the terrible death of that unfortunate nurse cruelly hoaxed by people who don't seem to have many brain cells between them. Honestly, if I were in charge, all public hoax calls would be illegal and the idiots who perform them would be forced to endure hard labour for some considerable time. I was therefore greatly heartened by Lord Glenarthur's strongly-worded yet polite response. Well said, sir. It does however annoy me that the radio presenters are said to be having counselling for their trauma. Trauma schmauma. I don't believe any of their family members have just died in very sad circumstances. It's not them who should be having the ruddy counselling, but the nurse's family (says she in a very unChristian manner, I know, but at least I'm being honest). I hope they're paying for the sessions but I suspect they don't possess the decency ... RIP Jacintha Saldanha.

Turning to other sad news, I'm sorry to see that Sir Patrick Moore has just died - I really liked him and he was one of a kind. RIP also Sir Patrick then.

It's not been all sad this week though. I've made an Apple and Cinnamon Cake, which turned out well, but doesn't look exciting enough for a photograph. Sorry. Maybe next week! I've also begun to receive the usual drift of Christmas cards from elderly relatives, quite a few of whom ask if "I'm still carrying on with my funny little hobby of writing." Deeeep sigh and bless, eh. As the question evidently portrays an overwhelming lack of interest in what means such a great deal to me, I wonder why they bother asking at all. I'm tempted to send said elderly relatives copies of my latest gay erotic work, but I don't really want to be responsible for a whole stream of RIP reports ...

It's also amused me that our local Citizens' Advice Bureau is apparently now over £40,000 in debt. Snort! Maybe they should make an appointment with themselves to try to sort it out? Hmm. Or maybe not.

Oh, and is it me or is it now compulsory to have a criminal sexual past if you want to be famous? The mind boggles ...

Book News:

Through the whole of this month, there's a 25% discount on all my gay erotic fiction at Amber Allure Press. So do feel free to stock up for Christmas - it'll be too cold to go out.

My new Christian novella The Prayer Seeker is now available very cheaply indeed at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Also ideal for Christmas! It was even briefly at No 58 in the Amazon UK Religious Fiction charts, so that was quite pleasing.

Gay literary short story Painting from Life has now been republished and is available at a far cheaper price than previously from Amazon UK and Amazon US. Interestingly, it has no sex in it, but a lot of hidden passion and paint. Happy reading.

I was also very pleased indeed by a lovely new 5-star review of fantasy novel The Gifting over at Amazon. Many thanks, Lynn - it's much appreciated. Meanwhile, I'm secretly rather thrilled that over at Musa Publishing, they're going to be taking on the work of the bestselling Roger Rabbit author, so I'll be sharing a publisher with someone famous, well gosh! They're lucky to be in the same publishing stable as me, of course ...

Finally, the cover art for the upcoming gay Office Affairs anthology from Amber Allure Press can now be revealed. My offering is comic story Who Moved My Holepunch? and is scheduled to be published in March.

Anne Brooke
The Angry Anglican
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Prayer Seeker and Angry Church

I'm happy to say that my spiritual novella, The Prayer Seeker, is now published and available at Autharium. It should be distributed out to other e-retailers over the next few weeks. Here's the blurb:

Michael Woodthorpe hasn’t attended church for many years, not since his time as an evangelical in his early twenties. One winter he decides to take early retirement in order to search for the God he used to know. 

As he comes to terms with his new existence, he must face opposition from both his ex-girlfriend, and his ex-wife, whom he hasn’t seen for years. He must also find a way into discovering the riches of prayer and so he begins a series of religious encounters with a spiritual director. When his journey brings him face to face with the mistakes in the past which had made him walk away from God, he must find a way to resolve them if he is to fulfil his God-given potential at all.

Perfect for Christmas then, hey ho. Not that I actually have much energy for Christmas at all at the moment - the thought of it is giving me a headache and I suspect not many people are likely to get a card this year. I'm sure they'll cope though! It's probably all the angst and shouting about women bishops that's making things worse too. I'm considering starting an Angry Church website and seeing if anyone joins me, well there's a thought, eh. It'll be like Angry Birds, but more prayerful, amidst the existential rage.

What with all this, it was a great relief to skip church today as I thought I'd be better off away from it all. I think I was right too - K and I had a really lovely walk in Newlands Corner instead, which is stunning. Thank goodness God isn't always to be found in the pews.

Anyway, to continue to calm the nerves, I have gone back to cake baking and this week's effort is Smartie chocolate chip cake, which has proved a real success, hurrah. I did have some trouble trying to get the icing to set properly though - strangely, shouting at it and sobbing doesn't seem to help - but K suggested I put it in the fridge for 15 mins and it's fine now, thank goodness. What a superhero husband he is.

I've also had the week off from work this week - and though it's not proved to be the respite I'd hoped for, I have managed to get my National Novel Writing Month book finished in first draft form. So The Apple Picker's Daughter is now at nearly 64,000 words and I've started editing it.

Meanwhile, I've chosen a new cover for comic satire Not a Shred of Evidence, and very lovely it is too. A zillion times better than the old one anyway. Perhaps I'm learning, slowly ...

Finally, and bringing this blog back round to another spiritual note (must be the season ...), I'm pleased to say that biblical short story Dancing with Lions sold another 75 copies at Amazon US last month. Astonishing really for a book nobody talks about, only one person has reviewed, and which hasn't had any marketing at all for several years. The publishing world is indeed a totally mystery to me!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Monday, November 26, 2012

Life beyond the church

Thankfully (see the blog below this one), there were other things beyond the traumas associated with the Church of England that have happened in the last week, and here, in no particular order, is a brief round-up of them:

1. The Heart's Greater Silence gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, and a 5-star review at Amazon US.

2. Martin and The Wolf gained a 5-star review at Goodreads.

3. The Delaneys At Home gained a 4-star review at Goodreads.

4. Not A Shred of Evidence was briefly at No 48 in the Amazon UK Business Humour rankings.

5. The Betrayal of Birds was briefly at No 84 in the Amazon UK historical religious rankings.

6. I made a Victoria sponge cake, go me!

7. I enjoyed a lovely afternoon with L & R at Wisley Craft Fair and bought two beautiful pictures and a nice bag of chocolates. Bliss.

8. I became a Winner (hurrah!) in the National Novel Writing Month, and am now at c 58,000 words. I hope to make it to 60k by the end of the week, and I have 9 scenes to go.

9. Sadly, the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill looks set to be made law, which is horrific. I can only draw your attention to the Petition, which I urge you to sign, if you've not done so already.

10. The Origami Nun is being sold at a good discount at Amazon UK and Amazon US for today only.

11. All my books are half-price at Untreed Reads, also only for today.

12. All my books are also half-price at All Romance Ebooks for today.

Thank you.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Women Bishops: grief, anger and emptiness

I honestly don't know what to say at this point in the week, and it's going to be very hard to express how I feel. As most of you probably know by now, the vote for women bishops in the Church of England was lost by a narrow margin in the House of Laity on Tuesday last.

Before I heard, I hadn't realised how much it meant to me, and how devastated I would be, and indeed still am. When I heard, I cried, then I was angry at the injustice, and then I cried again. I was working late on Tuesday, and when I came home, I had another bout of tears, angry ones, and then I had two stiff gins (a rare event for me these days) and half a large bag of chocolate.

I think the worst thing was the deep sense of betrayal. I've been a Church of England Christian since I was 17 years old and I'm now 48. In spite of the bickering the C of E often indulges in, I've always at heart trusted it to do the right thing in the end. It did the right thing by women priests twenty years ago, and I assumed that, after the usual shouting matches, it would also do the right thing by women bishops. It hasn't. So I don't feel I can trust it any more.

On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, I gave some thought to leaving the Church of England and worshipping God elsewhere. The United Reformed Church, or the Quakers came to mind. And I'm still not entirely letting those thoughts go. And, yes, I appreciate that many people are saying that the vote wasn't actually a vote against women bishops as 42 out of our 44 dioceses are for them - it was just our antiquated voting system that was at fault. The fact still remains, however, that today, women are not allowed to be in a position of spiritual or public managerial leadership in the church, and it continues to  feel like a punch in the stomach. No matter what the arguments are.

What have I done since Tuesday? A lot actually, for someone as uncommitted to action as I usually am.

I've listened to the parliamentary debate, found some good news about women bishops in Africa, joined Women and the Church's Facebook Group, and wondered what would happen if all the women who have worked so very hard for the Church of England over the years simply downed tools and didn't do anything at all for even a week. I've written a letter to the Church Times (as has my husband), and another letter to our Diocesan Bishop. His letter about the news can be found at the Diocesan website, and yes I will go to the Emergency Meeting on 11 December in Guildford to discuss the way forward. I'd like my voice to be heard too, thank you.

I have read and agreed with articles about the mess of it all, God as a lover of equality, the need to stop exempting our church from equality laws in all areas, the feminism of Jesus, been ashamed to be part of the Church of England, and rejoiced at the potential knock-on effect in the demand for the justice of same-sex marriage.

I have signed a petition asking for another vote in Synod, and another one asking for the unconditional ordination of women bishops in the C of E (which I can only encourage you to support).

And today and tomorrow, I am proud to be part of the Purple Protest for Women Bishops which is taking place on Facebook.

This morning, to crown the end of a hugely difficult spiritual week for me, I felt very hurt this morning when our vicar said nothing at all about the women bishop vote. Yes, there was a note in the pew slip drawing our attention to the Bishop's letter to the diocese (see above), but it's not the same as just a few words acknowledging the pain and praying for a way forward. It wasn't mentioned in the notices, the prayers or the sermon. As a result, I was near to tears for most of the service and - though I appreciate some people will be shocked - I'm glad that when the vicar came down into the body of the church to shake everyone's hands during the Peace, I refused, politely, to do it. I'm still glad I did that - if I'm not allowed a voice during the service and there's no opportunity to acknowledge pain at the end of a traumatic week, then, no, I'm not at peace with the man making that decision.

At least, however, I did go up for Communion - I think K was pleased that I didn't spit the wafer out onto the vicarly stole (in a Christian manner, of course ...) and I have to admit I was tempted, oh yes. In the end, K and I left during the last hymn as I couldn't face any more confrontation. Though, actually (hush my mouth), anything by the pesky Graham Kendrick doesn't really count as a hymn, does it? When I'm bishop, I'll have Kendrick stopped, as well as providing chocolate (gluten-free if desired) wafers and champagne at Communion. You heard it here first ...

However, in spite of all this, it's nice to know God isn't actually in the habit of kicking people to the side and leaving them (or indeed kicking them at all) as when I got home after church, fuming, there was some lovely words from the wonderful Revd Claire's blog which is, as always, definitely worth a read. Thank you, Claire

Finally, thank you for reading this far (if you have) and this delightful poem says it all:

When I am Ordained, I shall wear Purple

by Mia Smith 

With acknowledgement to Jenny Joseph's original poem

When I am ordained, I shall wear purple
with killer heels and bright red lipstick
And I shall go round preaching from the Bible 
...The liberating truth that Jesus calls women
and tell those who say otherwise that it is they,
not I, who are bad theologians.

I shall sit down with fellow clergy
when we are tired of fighting for equality
and going the extra mile with grace when we are put down,
And we will make up for it:
by encouraging one another as Scripture says,
and praying for those who abuse us,
and rejoicing that we are suffering
(but just a little bit) for Jesus,
And we might even eat some chocolate.

I will adopt the ordination name “Junia”,
and remind those who object,
that there may be a boy named Sue somewhere in the world,
but there probably isn’t.

But now we must face the world,
Who think we are traitors to our sex
For working for the Church
And face our brothers and sisters who think
We are being unbiblical
And face those in our Churches
who have failed to notice the pain this week has brought.
And we will go in the strength of Christ.
We will not turn our backs on our calling
Because God is not finished with the Church,
And He is faithful.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am ordained, and start to wear purple.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Nigeria Anti-Gay law proposal and novel writing

Life News:

Some very difficult and frightening things going on in Nigeria at the moment, particularly concerning the imminent possibility of hefty gaol sentences for gay people and supporters of gay people over there, so do please consider signing the petition before such a sad measure can become law. It includes:

  • 10 years in prison for living with someone of the same sex
  • 10 years in prison for supporting the idea of a pride march
  • 14 years in prison for trying to have a wedding

I've signed it and hope some of you out there can see your way to signing it too. Thank you.

Turning to more mundane matters, it's been a very stressful week at work - I really find it challenging enough to deal with one meeting a week, and this week I've had four, so I haven't coped at all well. As I knew I wouldn't really, but it's still been tough. Plus there are one or two deadlines for projects I need to finish, or as near as, this next week, as I'm taking some days off the week after - which I greatly need! Still at least there aren't any meetings this week, which is a blessing, phew.

Some nice social outings though - on Thursday, K and I went to see Twelfth Night at Guildford theatre - and it was wonderful. One of the best productions I've seen for a long time, hurrah. And yesterday, K and I had a great pizza lunch at our friends, R&D, in Haslemere, so thank you, both, for that. On the way back, we popped into Rake Garden Centre and bought some Blackthorn with my vouchers so will need to get that planted during the week - K's job, I'm sure of it ...

Today, we've planted 50 alliums and 6 new lavender plants - the latter to replace the old scraggy lavender which needed clearing, so I feel I'm at one with the garden again, or at least my knees are. Hey ho.

And church was fun - we're thinking of prisoners this week, and the themes of belonging to God's church and the requirements to change, both ourselves and the small corner of the world we're in - so much food for thought for sure. The prayers - all written by prisoners or prison staff - were incredible.

Book News:

I'm pootling along with National Novel Writing Month and now have 48,448 words written of The Apple Picker's Daughter, with more to come. So I should get to the required 50,000 words over the next couple of days, and I think the book is going to be longer. It's a very satisfying feeling, I must say, and proves if only to myself that I can write novels fast on occasion.

Elstead Writers' Group was fantastic yesterday, with some brilliant extracts and lots of inspiration for us all - can't wait for the December meeting, which will also be our Christmas Writers' celebration, thank you, Sue!

Some nice book news this week has been that biblical collection The Betrayal of Birds was briefly at No 93 in the Amazon UK historical religious charts. And my free giveaway of lesbian erotic collection The Truth About Butterflies earlier in the week resulted in 95 copies being downloaded, so that was nice. Thank you.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Apples, loos and erotica

I'm ploughing on with my attempt at NaNoWriMo 2012 and I now have 35,202 words in my new novel, The Apple Picker's Daughter. So, with a bit of luck and the wind behind me, I should reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Here's hoping.

Talking of wind (as it were) and as someone who was actually born in a toilet - a scene which appears right at the start of my NaNoWriMo novel - I'm thrilled to read about the new South Korea Toilet Park and I very much hope to pay it a call one day. Toilets are hugely important to me and I always judge a place and its inhabitants by the state of its loos. The best ones ever are in Cambio's Restaurant in Guildford and in the main square of Exeter town. Pure bliss, my dears, pure bliss.

Most of this week, I've been doing brave battle with a bit of a tricky cold, but thankfully it's not fully developed into the usual catarrh nightmare and I'm now over it, thank heavens. So I've been able to enjoy Erotica Week at Vulpes Libris, which kicked off with a rerun of my own article about The Secret Life of Sex Writing, before moving on to a surprisingly erotic British film, our take on Fifty Shades of Grey (which, in my view, is actually Jane Eyre with sex - innocent yet determined young gal meets older sexually powerful man and changes his life, anyone?...), and going for the big finish with robot porn. Yes, you heard it here, or rather there, first. Could be the next big thing, you know ...

All this has taken my mind off the disappointing news of the appointment of the next Archbishop, sigh, which I personally think is a real backward step for the cause of women's and gay marriage rights in the church, even deeper sigh. Mind you, as the Anglican church has been - dare I say it? - institutionally homophobic and sexist for many a long year, I'm not really sure what else I expected, hey ho. Despite all that, and putting the minefield of church politics to one side for a moment or two, it's good to be part of Remembrance Sunday today, and to think about our heritage and how we got here for a while. The Anglican Church may not be a terribly worthy example to follow at the current moment, but we do know how to do ritual damn well. Which is at least something.

Finally, a lovely trip to Wisley cheered both K and me up yesterday - the autumn trees were glorious, and I bought a new shrub - a cowberry - for the garden. The red berries are lovely.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Lori Olding Children's Author

Sunday, November 04, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

Book News

Well, it's National Novel Writing Month in November and for the first time ever, I'm having a go. I'm supposed to produce 50,000 words by 30 November, which is 1,667 per day. So far I've got about 12,000 words, but I'm storing some up as I won't be able to do that many next week. The novel I'm aiming for is a fictionalised account of my early childhood and is called The Apple Picker's Daughter. If you'd like to follow the ups and downs of my efforts or be my writing buddy if you're also taking part, my NaNoWriMo profile is here.

I'm pleased to say I've sold 80 copies of biblical short story Dancing with Lions in October, which is astonishing really. So far this welcome enthusiasm hasn't rubbed off on my self-published biblical fiction collection The Betrayal of Birds, but I'm hoping it will at some point as, to be honest, the cash would be welcome!

Meanwhile, gay short story Tommy's Blind Date gained a 4-star review at Amazon US, for which I was grateful. And my review of Anna Cheska's Drop Dead Gorgeous has recently been published at Vulpes Libris.

Life News:

Haven't been so well this week, but it's just been a cold which is still hanging on - so more annoying than totally debilitating, hurrah. I attended the church contemplative prayer course on Wednesday evening and that was actually pretty helpful - it's carrying on from the recent day course we had, and hopefully we'll be able to carry on for longer after the "official" six-week course is over. Will have to wait and see.

It's also been a week of very enjoyable social outings, which is most unlike us (have we been switched?)... We thoroughly enjoyed the ballet of Beauty and the Beast on Thursday at Woking, and had a much better time than expected at the Elstead production of Beyond A Joke. Which is a rather nifty little play really. I've also managed a haircut (goodness, so soon after the last one too), and K and I had a very enjoyable coffee & chat on Saturday morning with L&J, and also with R&G - so great to catch up all round.

This afternoon, we've planted the rest of the tulips and daffodils for spring, as well as sorting out the spare wallflowers and keeping the dahlias warm. Mostly I think the garden is "put to bed" now, so roll on spring for lots of lovely colour.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Competition, Carlos and cake

Apologies for the bullet point format but I've spent some time writing the post and now Blogger has just lost it all, grr!!

Anyway, here are the key points:

1. I've planted 200 winter pansies this weekend, well gosh.
2. The Delaneys, My Parents and Me is now at 7000 words
3. If you scroll down to my previous blog entry, you can enter a competition to win a free ebook.
4. Yesterday's cake was Victoria Sponge - and very nice it is too!
5. I played my best game of golf all year, hurrah, and also got my flu jab.
6. I've been signed off on Carlos the Cyst.
7. Our paper-white winter narcissi are blooming well and the scent is lovely.
8. Oatibix Bitesize are coming back with no wheat in them, hurrah.
9. My review of Robin Black's short story collection can be found on Thursday's entry at Vulpes Libris Reviews.
10. We had 5 wasps in the bedroom this week, but K fought them off bravely.
11. I had a lovely review of Where You Hurt The Most at Rainbow Book Reviews
12. The cold has begun and I'm wearing my thermals - scary thought ...
13. Had a great time in London with Jane W having drinks and a curry
14. Church seemed to have the longest hymns in history - are they preparing us for Christmas?

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Howloween Blog Hop (Adult content)

So sorry I'm late with being part of this blog hop - entirely my own fault. I hope everyone has a very good All Saints' Eve and All Saints' Day (as we in the Anglican community actually prefer to call it!), and as a special treat, here's an extract from my gay werewolf story, Martin and The Wolf:

So Lucas and I were left alone.
I thought what would happen was that we’d chat for a while, politely and about nothing in particular, and then he’d make his excuses and move on. Leaving me to get another cocktail—non-alcoholic this time—and drive home at an appropriate moment. On my own. To my empty house and my single lifestyle.
None of that happened.
Instead, Lucas reached out and gripped my arm. The heat of his fingers seared through my thin cotton shirt and into my flesh. Or at least that was what it felt like. It felt like being branded. I gasped and opened my mouth to say something—though, God alone knows what—but didn’t get a chance. Because the next second the man’s lips were crushing mine, and his tongue was ravishing my mouth. He tasted of wine and spices. For another heartbeat, I simply stood there, taking the sudden assault, then my body woke up. For real. I dropped my drink on the grass. I didn’t intend to, but it slipped out of my grasp. Luckily, it didn’t break. Then I wrapped my free arm around his shoulders—my other arm was still imprisoned in his grip—and held on. I realized I was moaning, but I couldn’t help it. It was just so damn good, and so unexpected.
He growled a response into my mouth, but I didn’t want to hear what he had to say. I just wanted him to keep on kissing me. I didn’t need to worry. His body pressed against mine, all muscle and purpose, and he walked me backwards until we were deeper into the trees, away from the light. I came to an abrupt halt against the rough stonework of a wall. It was then that he ended the kiss.
I was panting, hardly able to catch my breath at all. My glasses were half on, half off, and my lips felt bruised and swollen. God, but I missed his tongue.
His hand caught my chin, held it firm. He shook me, not so it hurt, but as if wanting to make sure he had my complete attention. Which he did. No question. Without a word, he removed my glasses, folded them up and dropped them into the grass. I prayed they wouldn’t break either.
Then he spoke.
“I want to mate with you,” he said. “Are you willing?”
I almost laughed. Maybe I would have done, if my cock hadn’t been straining against my briefs and my skin searing at his touch. For a second I told myself he couldn’t be serious. Not here, so near the house, though we were, I think, protected by the trees, and in Frank and Miranda’s garden to boot. Then I understood how serious he was.
“Are you willing?” he said again, his tone low, urgent. “Tell me.”
Unable to find any words for this situation, I nodded and made a sound of assent. Almost a whimper.
“Good,” he said, letting me go. “Then turn around and take your trousers and pants off.”
I obeyed. It didn’t even cross my mind to do anything else. Almost immediately, I heard the sound of a zipper and the hard slickness of his cock against my arse. It felt delicious, but there was something we had to do first.
“Please,” I managed to whisper. “Condoms…”

If you leave a comment on this blog, then you're in with a chance of winning one free copy of any ebook from my backlist. And for other chances of winning, don't forget to visit the rest of the blog hop tour! Winners will be drawn on October 30th. Happy reading!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Betrayal of Birds and Hokey Pokey Cake

Book News

I'm very happy to say that my short Biblical fiction collection, The Betrayal of Birds, is now available at Amazon UK for 77p and Amazon US for $1.24. The blurb is:

In A Small Betrayal, Samson’s betrothed tells the story of her doomed wedding feast: when love is mixed with secrets and lies, the riddles which are born make all things bitter, and Samson’s new wife must face a terrible decision between saving her family and saving the man she loves …

In Little Bird, Zipporah’s marriage to the travelling herdsman Moses produces two fine sons, but nothing lasts forever. Soon, the call of Moses’ God and the ultimate sacrifice He demands from her husband unleashes reserves of strength and cunning Zipporah has never known. But is it enough to keep Moses at her side? 

It briefly made No 12 in the Amazon UK Historical Fiction charts last week too, so that was nice.

Currently I'm working on a follow up to my spiritual novella, The Prayer Seeker, which I'm calling The Silence Seeker. No hint of a publisher for that first one yet so I'll probably self-publish it on Kindle later in the year or early next year.

We also had a good meeting of our Elstead Writers' Group yesterday (thanks for the inspiration, all!) and, having taken their advice to heart, I've made some changes to my literary short story Painting from Life, and hope to republish that over the next month or so. I'm working on a suitable cover right now.

Throwing caution to the winds (huzzah!), I've also joined in the November National Novel Writing  Month project this year for the first ever time, so hope to go some way towards a new writing project next month. Though I doubt I'll get as far as the whole 50,000 words, it'll be a start. I hope.

Meanwhile, it's a very happy birthday to the Book Foxes who were 5 years old last week - and by clicking on the link you can find out what we all think about each other. Many congratulations to us all and it's great to be part of it!

Life News:

Carlos the Cyst (Gawd bless 'im) finally came off my collarbone on Wednesday, hurrah. Yes, it was horrid and no, I'm not going to talk about it really. So that was something - but sadly, his influence has spread rather further than they anticipated, and they planned another follow-up op on Friday last. When it came to it, they decided to let him calm down further, so my follow-up op is now scheduled for this coming Wednesday. I really hope that'll be the last of him - it'll be so great to have a scar rather than the beast himself weighing me down, hey ho.

Having had the 1st op on Wednesday and then getting rather shakily back to work on Thursday, I wasn't really in a fit state to cope with the fact that it appeared to be Make Personal Comments About Anne's Appearance Day, as well as Let's Be Snippety about Anne's Work Day, in the office. I laughed off the 1st (but still felt rather upset) and was snippety back to the 2nd - but I am much taken with a Facebook Friend who suggested I make next week Anne Slaps People At Work With Good Reason Week. I'm all for that one, to be sure!...

Turning to happier experiences, yesterday's cake was Coffee Hokey Pokey Cake, though I fear I didn't really understand how to make the walnut praline part of it. So I ended up with icing which has sweetened walnut pieces in it rather than actual praline, hey ho. However, it tastes good and I'm sure is much better for our teeth. So every cloud does indeed have a silver lining. Phew!

Anne Brooke
Biblical Fiction UK
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Lori Olding - Children's Author

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Banana cake and prayer

Life News:

Tricky news on the medical front as Carlos the Cyst (AKA Barry the Boil) is back in force on my collarbone, darnit. So far it's not as painful as last year's episode, but a trip to no less than two doctors last week means that I'm going under the knife on Wednesday afternoon. Hurrah, can't wait - as I'm really fed up of carrying around my own personal necklace. As it were. Trust me, it's not a pretty sight and, no, there definitely won't be pictures. Not even of the post-op scars. Apart from those used for training purposes, hey ho. How I always enjoy startling the medical profession.

Turning to more pleasant subjects, this week's cake was St Lucia Banana Cake and I'm very happy with the way it turned out even though I really didn't have enough bananas, oh well. So it's probably more accurately called St Lucia Pineapple Cake, but hey I've got no complaints.

Other pleasant discoveries this week include my washing machine's handwash option which works magnificently and means I don't have to spend hours elbow-deep in suds sorting out my woolly hat, scarf and gloves, hurrah. I also had a very inspirational day at church yesterday looking at Centering Prayer and have learnt a lot which I hope to put into practice in the future. The joy of it was that it was broken down into a series of simple methods rather than having a huge change of lifestyle to take on board, so it might just be do-able. You never know.

Meanwhile, today, K has gained a whole tranche of Husband Points by getting rid of the absolutely enormous wasp which flew into my study. I tell you, it was at least eight feet long, with weapons, and I ran screaming from the room when it arrived with my habitual bravery. Mind you, I was impressed that K's method of dealing with it initially consisted of rushing in with the mallet from the garage. His plan, apparently, was to smash the window and let the wretched beast escape. However, we both came to the conclusion that this might be something of an over-reaction and the mallet remained unused. Phew.

Finally, call me old-fashioned and I do entirely accept that Sir Jimmy Savile might well have been a Very Bad Man AND that any victim of definite abuse needs support, but do not we as a society rely on something along the lines of "Innocent Until Proven Guilty"? Yes, I also accept nothing can ultimately be proven as the man is dead, but surely one should at least wait for a full report from the police?? I do find it rather shocking that people have dropped the word "allegations" and are now acting as if it's been proven beyond all doubt, but actually that can't ever happen. Sorry. And I have to admit that one of the allegations of yesterday when a young handicapped girl said that Savile had abused her by resting a hand on her shoulder, arm and leg "for too long" did make me laugh. Sorry, love, but that ain't abuse. If it were, then surely half the men in the UK would be up before the judge ... Please, people, keep it real ... There may yet be some unfortunate women in England who have been abused by someone other than Savile.

Book News:

This week, I've finally started on the final book in the Delaneys series, which is called The Delaneys, My Parents and Me, and am now about 2,000 words in. Well, gosh.

In the meantime, gay erotic short story Where You Hurt The Most gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, and lesbian erotic collection The Truth About Butterflies received a 4-star review at Amazon US. Thank you to both readers.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK
Lori Olding Children's Writer

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Book News Update

I'm splitting the blog today, so book news is separate from family news, as that seems right. I'm conscious that I possibly need to update the book news, however, as I've been busy elsewhere for a while, and some offers are coming to their end, though others are starting.

Here then is a bullet point list of what's going or has gone on:

1. Musa Publishing is 1 year old and you can find prizes to be won for today only on my specific blog post.

2. There's a 4-heart review of Angels and Airheads at MM Good Book Reviews.

3. Riptide Publishing is also 1 year old, and is offering prizes in a wide variety of places. These include: an interview with me at Book Brats; and 50% discount on the Perfect Prose collection, which includes Where You Hurt The Most.

4. All my Riptide books have a 15% discount throughout October.

5. Where You Hurt The Most gained a 5-cup review at Books and a Short Latte Reviews.

6. There's a 25% discount at Amber Allure off gay comedy The Hit List during October.

7. The Gift of The Snow has a 40% discount at Untreed Reads throughout October. It gained a review at On Top Down Under Reviews and also at Long and Short Reviews recently.

8. Finally The Gifting is now included in the Book Club Reading Lists and, I hope, might gain some attention from that. You never know.

Many thanks for reading.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy

Sad news

We've spent the last few days attending an unexpected family funeral in East Anglia, and trying to help out where possible. I'm not going to say very much, except that 58 years old is way way too young to go, and I'm going to miss B's gentleness and wonderful sense of irony.

It was however also nice to catch up with K's family, but I'm just sorry that the circumstances were what they were. I'm also glad that we managed to spend a day with B and his family only a month ago, when they were holidaying in the area - I didn't know it would be the last time. Of course you rarely do.

Enough said, really. So, RIP BWJ.


Monday, October 01, 2012

Happy anniversary to Musa Publishing!

Many congratulations to Musa Publishing who are 1 year old today and are holding a special blog hop celebration - with prizes - from now until 7 October. Hurry on over there and leave a comment to enter the competition!

You can also leave a comment here to enter the main competition if you prefer. And as a special extra, any comment on this blog also means you are in a draw to win ONE FREE EBOOK from my backlist - winner will be announced on 8 October. Good luck!

As an added incentive, here is the blurb for my short story published by Musa, Angels and Airheads:

Ricky has been secretly in love with his best friend Jez forever, but he's never dared confess his feelings because he thinks Jez is too high-class for him. One evening, while sharing a quiet evening with Jez, a mysterious angel, Madred, appears and tries to persuade Ricky to take a chance on love.
Too bad Ricky doesn't believe in angels. Madred is forced to take desperate measures in an attempt to show the reluctant Ricky the truth. When the angel leaves, can Ricky find the courage to declare himself to Jez, and what will happen to their friendship if he does?

Happy blog visiting! You can find the rest of the Musa Anniversary blog hop posts here or in the link below.

Anne Brooke

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Book tours and honey cake

Children's fantasy book The Origami Nun has been on tour this week and there's a giveaway which lasts until 30 September, so there's still lots of time to leave a comment on the tour and be in with a chance of winning. Here is a list of the tour stops for you:

An excerpt at Reading A Little Bit of Everything

A review at The Cover Reviews

A post about Lori's favourite children's authors at Reading Away The Days

A promotion at My Devotional Thoughts

A 5-star review at My Devotional Thoughts

A post about the background story behind the Nun and my own bullying experiences (together with some really lovely and thoughtful comments)

A review at Fire and Ice Reviews

Do feel free to pop in and leave a comment, and I'd like to say a VERY big thank you to the lovely Megan at Reading Away the Days for arranging the blog tour, and to all tour hosts and participants. It's very much appreciated.

Keeping to the subject of giveaways, though of a more adult nature in this case, you have until tomorrow (23 September) to enter the giveaway at Hearts On Fire Reviews. Good luck to all entrants there!

Other items of book news this week include:

Lesbian paranormal story The Girl in The Painting is at No 17 in the Amazon UK Lesbian stories chart.

My Sunday Haiku collection made it to No 8 in the Amazon UK Haiku charts, well gosh.

And gay BDSM story Give and Take gained a lovely review at KazzaK Book Reviews and Therapy (many thanks, Karen).

Meanwhile, over at Vulpes Libris, I revisited that long hot UK summer of 1976 with a review of Judith Allnatt's A Mile of River. A book that was flawed, in my opinion, but with heartening moments of genius. If she could hang on to the genius moments, I'd certainly be interested in reading more.

For the rest of this week, I've been falling asleep in front of the TV more times than I care to remember - though in my defence, I've apparently been working up to the bad cold I currently have (groan) - and which I'm desperately trying to kick into touch before I need to go in to the University tomorrow to help with Move In Weekend. Plus it's Freshers' Week next week and I really do need to be in for that!

Speaking of work, I've managed to take on more hours, which will be great for the household budget, so I'll be working 3.5 days (or 4 shorter days depending on work schedules) from the start of October, rather than the standard 3 days. Many thanks to the boss for letting me do that.

Oh, and I've really enjoyed the latest episode on TV of the documentary Vikings. At last - I've found my people ... I always knew we'd only come across for the shopping and social life. All that pillage stuff is just bad PR, hey ho.

And today I've made Devonshire Honey Cake, and I'm really rather pleased with it. I think that's about as energetic as it gets today as I need to conserve my strength (such as it is) for tomorrow and the rest of the week. Wish me luck.

Anne Brooke
Lori Olding Children's Author
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK