Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cake, bunting and a giveaway

Life News:

Yesterday's baking extravaganza was a brave attempt at Grasshopper Cake - i.e. chocolate cake with a peppermint fondant icing. As my cake mixture has been proving a little dry in the new oven, I added a dessert spoon of mayonnaise, and it's worked a treat. All perfectly moist now. Mind you, with one small success comes a little failure - the icing didn't really work, and what you see in the picture isn't at all how it looks in the book. Not sure what I did wrong - but at least it tastes okay. The peppermint gives a nice edge to the rich chocolate cake, which I like. Next week it's the turn of Boston Cream Pie, so watch this space ...

Other excitements of the week are that we're planning a Jubilee party in the road, so I've ordered a job-lot of Jubilee bunting for the occasion. Hey, maybe I should make a cake, but goodness knows what.

Yesterday, I was planning to attend a day's Introduction to Contemplative Prayer with the local church, but sadly that had to be cancelled, but I'm hoping we can still get to do it later on. Silence is so wonderful. Instead K and I visited the Festival of Tulips at Dunsborough Park Gardens. I don't think it was as good as the last time we went - I suspect the weather has held the poor tulips back, but some of them were out, at least.

On the way back we popped into the Wisley plant shop and bought two skimmias, four wallflowers, six chrysanthemums and one monkshood - which, dodging the raindrops, we've planted out this afternoon. I also took the opportunity to prune (i.e. hack down to manageable proportions) the forsythia against the front fence as it was utterly out of control. Much to our delight we found a plant underneath it we hadn't known was there as it was hidden in the forsythia branches. Goodness knows what it is, but at least it will get some sunlight now. Um, if there is some ...

And, oh joy and rapture unforeseen, the azalea in the shrubbery has a wonderful scattering of pink buds on it so can't wait for those to come out. It's going to be quite something, I think.

This morning, K and I attended our first Mattins at church and very nice it was too. I could have done with one or two fewer hymns, frankly, but chanting the psalms is really the perfect way to start any day. In my opinion.

Meanwhile, I've grasped the technological nettle and linked my Nectar card to my British Gas account. Mind you, the amount we appear to be paying British Gas, we should be able to earn enough Nectar points to get a Caribbean island any day now.

Book News:

Don't forget - today is the LAST day to enter the FREE giveaway LibraryThing competition for fantasy novel The Gifting. So far 67 people have entered, and I'm hoping that somehow we can get to 70 by the end of the competition. Only three people to go. All help with this is greatly appreciated!

This week, I've also sent back the first round of edits for gay menage short story The Delaneys at Home to Amber Allure. It's due out on 3 June, so not long to go now. At the same time, I'm working on an office-based gay short story I'm hoping to submit to Riptide Publishing by the summer. Trouble is it seems my main character, Alan, has a mind of his own - I wanted him to be dark and dangerous, but he's fighting back as he'd rather be quirky and wry. Goodness knows how I'm going to work that into my planned-for plot line, but I'd best go along with it for the moment and see where he takes me. Ah, the joys of writing, eh. The author is always the last person to know just what the heck is going on, dammit.

My most recent meditation poem is:

Meditation 647

This morning sun
and silence

are a setting
and a space

for the cuckoo’s
soft call:

the promise of spring
and its dying fall.

Which is cunningly linked with my Sunday haiku:

The cuckoo's soft song
drifts over these morning fields,
announcing the sun.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nuns, pens and plants

Book News:

Great news today! My children's book, The Origami Nun, has been accepted by Scottish Press, Karabeth Publishing, and I've sent the contract back to them just now. I'm really pleased about that, and am very much looking forward to working with them.

At the same time, I've returned the final proofs of gay short story Where You Hurt The Most to Riptide Publishing, and ARCs (Advance Review Copies) will be sent out to a variety of places over the next few days. I hope people enjoy the read.

And don't forget it's the LAST FEW DAYS of the five ebook giveaway of fantasy novel The Gifting at LibraryThing. The final day is 29 April, so don't miss out. There are now 63 people entering - for which many thanks - and I wonder if we can make it to 65. That would be great. Thank you. Other nice news is that literary paranormal short story The Girl in The Painting was earlier this week at No 11 in the Amazon UK short story charts, so thank you for that as well.

Meanwhile, there is still 30% discount off ALL my Untreed Reads ebooks direct from the publisher - so shop early shop often. Because there's only ONE DAY left on that offer ...

At Vulpes Libris Reviews, I find little to keep my attention in P.D. James' mishmash of a novel, Death Comes to Pemberley. Sigh. It just doesn't work, and I was really rather hoping it would. Oh well.

This week's meditations are:

Meditation 644
All that we are and do
recorded in the unchanging
book of our lives,
written on the skin

when our greatest need
is an interpreter
to measure with grace
the truth which lies within.

Meditation 645
There are times
when the seduction
of sin

is more than enough
to tempt
the devil in

but when the joys
we grasped at
are no more

then we are left
in a far worse state
than before.

Meditation 646
The slow grace
of returning
to the place
we started

is a gift
to make the birds sing
and all the stars
take wing.

Life News:

Happy St George's Day for 23 April! I hope you all had a great day and were kind to the dragon. As it were. In celebration, here's a rather scary photo of me and my fluffy pens at the office. Always the professional, that's me, eh ... Well, maybe in my dreams.

Lots of nature news this week. I've spotted a couple of sparrows on our apple tree, which is wonderful - as they're the first sparrows I've seen in Elstead. I hope they come back.

Plus we've taken delivery of another set of plants for potting on and then getting into the garden as and when. This time, we have five cuphea ignea (which I love) and five opium poppies (which K loves). So the perfect combination for something - but who knows what!

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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The joys of jasmine and the wonder of weeds

Life News:

This weekend saw my second attempt at cake making, and this time it was the turn of chocolate fudge cake. Not too bad an effort, I think, though I did cheat a bit and use shop-bought icing, but the rest of it is real. I do need to find a way to make my actual cake a bit moister however - here we have a really hot oven so I'm going to need to work with shorter timings or the alternative is a teaspoon of mayonnaise, which has worked wonders in the past. So I may well get some of that.

I also had a lovely time as usual at Elstead Writers (hello, all!) and came away inspired, as well as full of leftover Easter chocolate. Thank you, Sue ... Sorry if I ate too much though. Also yesterday, K and I visited Wisley to pick the brains of their weeds experts and work out which weeds we have in the garden. Well, ground elder we knew about (I've beating the damn stuff to a pulp every 5 minutes, I swear it ...) but we also have couch grass, which I didn't realise before. So we've got rid of that today too. Plus  we've got a riot of a wonderful weed known as sticky willy (no, I am not making that up ...), so I've been pulling all that out too, but at least it comes out fairly easily (as it were), and yes, it is highly sticky. Anyway, whilst there, we got a load of more plants, including violas, pansies, a pink carnation, pulmonaria, etc etc, so need to plant those up at some point - between the weeds. Not only that, but we bought a lovely indoor jasmine, which today is making the whole house smell utterly beautiful, so that's pretty amazing. When I got up this morning to fetch tea for K (ah, a woman's work is never done ...), I could smell it at the top of the stairs, even though the door to the dining room where we'd put it was shut. Wonderful.

This morning we've been to church followed by the Annual General Meeting, which wasn't too bad actually. We managed by sheer force of will and pizzazz to avoid ending up on the PCC (thank the Lord!), but I am happy to volunteer for sidesperson duties, so have put my name down for that. Heck, I can do smiling, you know - I just have to practise it first.

Book News:

This week my most popular book on Amazon UK was gay romance Tommy's Blind Date, and on Amazon US it was gay menage story, Dating The Delaneys. So a subtle difference in tastes there really, though there's humour in both. I'm also very happy indeed to showcase the book cover for the upcoming Rentboys Anthology from Riptide Publishing - ain't it grand! Lovely to be in such distinguished company too.

Meanwhile gay comic romance Angels and Airheads gained a 4-star review at Goodreads, so thank you, Rachel, for that.

And don't forget that there's only ONE week left of the LibraryThing giveaway of fantasy novel The Gifting. So far I have 58 people entering the competition, and I'd really love to make it to 60, at least, so if you can sling your hat in the ring, I'd be really eternally thrilled and for ever in your debt - thank you!

A recent meditation poem is:

Meditation 643
So many storehouses
for so much wealth –
a blessing, he says,
from above –

but the only things
the rich man needs
are air and water
and love.

The Sunday haiku is:

Glorious sunshine
sweeps away all memory
of this endless rain.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rentboys, boardrooms and hope

Book News:

I was very happy to see that the upcoming Rentboys Anthology from Riptide Publishing,  which includes my own story Where You Hurt The Most, was mentioned on Top 2 Bottom Reviews this week - very exciting indeed.

I've also just caught sight of the book cover for gay short story The Delaneys At Home (Delaneys *5), which will be available on 3 June and very happy I am with it too. Just the right amount of humour and cheekiness that I hope people get from the series, ho ho.

In the midst of all this, I've started a gay short story/novella set in a boardroom battle scenario which I'm hoping to submit to Riptide Publishing over the summer. Very early days at the moment and definitely no title as yet, but hopefully that will turn up at some point ...

Meanwhile, you can find an interview about me and gay short story The Heart's Greater Silence over at Blak Rayne's Blog, where you can discover my favourite colour, my favourite film and who I'd really like to be. Could be in for a surprise then ...

And at Vulpes Libris Reviews, I find myself a little disappointed with Ken N Kamoche's short story collection, A Fragile Hope. Rather more fragility than hope there, in my opinion, ah well.

This week's meditation poems are:

Meditation 640
Following the party
the riot –
it’s the way
after far too much wine.

So stick to the safety
of bread
and beware
the fruit of the vine.

Meditation 641
In the face of disaster
and a vast sea
of enemies and fear

it’s a powerful act
to step back and trust
that somehow God is near.

Meditation 642
Every word we say
and decision we take
are ripples on the pond
of the whole world

for we cannot measure
by tongue or hand
the secret influence
of our life unfurled.

Life News:

Fabulous news from work this week! We've been shortlisted for the second year running for the Times Higher Education Student Services Awards, which is really thrilling. I'm hoping we'll win this year as the awards ceremony takes place on my birthday, and of course because the University of Surrey Student Support team is obviously the best there is, by a long chalk. Wish us luck!

At home, we've now spotted goldfinches in the garden (hurrah!) and now K and I have both heard the first cuckoo of the year, well gosh. I did actually hear it a few days ago on 12 April, along with several other people in Elstead, so it's arrived earlier than last year when (in case you're interested ...) you might like to know that the first cuckoo in 2011 arrived in our parts on 17 April. So a week early this year - must be the call of the countryside.

Had a great time last night catching up with some friends from the company I used to work for during dinner and chat in Guildford (many thanks, J, M & A!) - though much amusement arose from the fact that somehow A and I managed to miss J & M in the restaurant/bar, and we were only united by the fact that J could hear my voice from a whole room and a dividing wall away and eventually realised it wasn't some kind of auditory nightmare, but was in fact me ... Well, who ever said I needed a phone? I just open the window and shout.

Tonight, K and I are out at the theatre to see Wife Begins At Forty. Which is rather curious as we originally booked tickets for Two Into One, also by the same playwright. So we've been bamboozled for a while as to which alternative universe we are currently in, but the theatre have rescued us from our displacement anomaly by explaining they couldn't get the actors for the original one so had to replace it. Apparently the letter telling us all manner of thing would be well in spite of us having the incorrect tickets never arrived, alas. Good job I looked it up then (I usually don't) though whether we would actually have noticed is anyone's guess. Well, one farce is much like another, isn't it? Hush my mouth.

Finally, I've been impressed by the NHS's First Steps for Emotional Wellbeing site, which has been set up to help us all with our wellbeing. Some interesting stuff there, and as I'm facing scaling down my antidepressants over the next month or two, then I'm sure it will come in very useful indeed.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Gathandria Fantasy Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gardens and Gifting

Book News:

I've sent back the second round of edits for Where You Hurt The Most to Riptide Publishing now, so I think we're nearly there, hurrah. I'm really pleased with the improvements made, that's for sure.

I'm also happy to say that Angels and Airheads received a nice 4-star review at Goodreads, (thank you, Cole!) and The Heart's Greater Silence has been my bestseller this week at Amazon UK.

Meanwhile, 45 people have so far signed up for a FREE copy of fantasy novel The Gifting. Five copies are available and the offer ends on 29 April, so don't forget to put your name down to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

The Sunday haiku is:

Past a certain age
it strikes me that more nights in
are the new nights out.

Life News:

Exciting news! I have baked my first real cake for a long time - from scratch, without the aid of any cake mixes, well gosh. There was a slight existential crisis with the amount of baking powder the recipe insisted on, but all worked out in the end, phew. So my Victoria sponge which, although not as light and fluffy as I would have liked, is going down a treat. Whatever next? I am indeed the Domestic Goddess of Elstead. Nigella: eat your heart out ... She just can't wear an apron like I can, you know.

There has also been a heck of a lot of gardening going on over the weekend. K has made a good start on his White Garden, and I have planted up some of the pots, added pansies to my Happy Corner, sowed a "quick flower" section for some late spring colour, sprinkled wildflower seeds in places I couldn't think what else to do with, and also sowed my Jubilee sweet peas (i.e. red, white and blue) at the front. Honestly, at this rate, we'll be starting our own TV programme. But, of course, the real question is: will anything grow? We can only hope ... Oh, and our strawberries are growing flowers, so that's a good sign. And I saw my first orange tip butterfly today, so that was wonderful too.

On Friday, I also had a very enjoyable morning with a good friend of mine at the Museum of Kent Life, so great to catch up and admire the donkeys and pigs, as you do.

Finally, we had a moment of drama in the downstairs bathroom today when I heard a fluttering sound, and then realised a starling had somehow worked its way into the loft, then down the disused flue and through the cupboard into the bathroom. Brought back happy memories of my life on the farm, that did - we were always having to sort birds out or send them quickly to the Great Nest in the Sky, depending on how lucky they were. K and I gave the starling every chance by leaving the window wide open and the door shut, but in the end - starlings being just too damn intelligent for their own good - I think it tried to go back the way it came in. So I expect that glorious smell of dead bird to be floating round the downstairs area at some point over the next few days. And how that will bring back those farmhouse memories too. There's just nothing on earth like the smell of dead bird! Ah well.

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

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blog tours and bestsellers

Book News:

I'm busy working on the edits for Where You Hurt The Most, due out on 7 May from Riptide Publishing - the first round has now gone back to them, so am looking forward to responding to the next edits fairly soon. At the same time, I'm hard at work drafting two interviews and six articles for my upcoming blog tour (with giveaways!), and now have one more article left to write, but I think I'll leave that now to another day. Subjects so far have touched on facial disfigurement and our attitudes to it, the sex industry, the joy of parks and what my two main characters really think about their story - so hopefully something there for everyone indeed.

Speaking of blogs, I've now signed up for the blog hop in July for Independence Day as the Easter one was so successful. So keep an eye out for details to come for yet another prize-giving extravaganza to keep you in a sunny mood over the summer, ho ho.

I'm also really excited to be a part of the upcoming GLBTQ 2012 Meet in Brighton, and you can now find a fabulous list of participants here (including myself - *cough*) and that's only the first third. Can't wait to finally be in the same event as so many other GLBTQ fiction writers and readers - it's going to be wonderful.

Over Easter, I'm proud to say that gay comic romance The Hit List was my bestselling book on Amazon UK, so that was a pleasant surprise, and I shall definitely be celebrating with a good dose of chocolate. Somehow I feel Jamie my main character would approve.

And for this week only you can find my gay thriller The Bones of Summer has a 20% discount directly from Dreamspinner Press, so don't miss out on that one!

This week's meditation poems are:

Meditation 637
Truth is never expected
and rarely welcome.

It is the fiercest ray
of sunshine dividing

the dark we cling to,
dispelling the comfort of night:

the heat of the day’s desire,
an almost unbearable light.

Meditation 638
Prayer’s steadiness
in our drifting
is like
the strongest rope:

it is simpler
than we imagine
and surer
than we hope.

Meditation 639
Joy’s too precious
to shut down

your week-long party
when it’s going so well

so why not
make it a fortnight

and damn the work
and its sorrows to hell.

Life News:

This week, I've been busy in the garden, and have managed to plant tiger lilies, phlox, cosmos, osteospermum and a chrysanthemum that's really on its last legs, just in case it might somehow survive. In fact it was so on its last legs that I initially thought it was a geranium but my lovely husband soon put me right, bless him. I do not pretend to be a proper gardener indeed. Anyway, I've labelled up almost everything so we know what it is (except the husband - I recognise him without help, you know ...) - although I've made a bargain with the chrysanthemum that I'll only label it if it survives. So it's a battle of wills from now on in ...

Today, I was lulled into a false sense of security by a sunny spell and put the washing out to dry, hurrah. Alas, an hour later I was cosily sitting inside watching the hail and thunderstorm that has suddenly burst upon us and feeling smug - when I remembered the washing. Whoops. But hey, at least there's no need to attempt the ironing tonight.

Speaking of weather disasters (well, sort of), hush my mouth, but I'm really really bored with the Titanic right now. Yes, I know it's an historical event of great importance and we must commemorate it as such, but do we have to with such obsessive glee? After all, one wouldn't wish to make so much of a to-do about 9/11, and it does smack of Victorian freak show voyeurism that we have to watch so many people die horribly over and over again, and then talk about it ad infinitum afterwards as well. Sigh. The absolute last straw has been the recent advert for an interactive child's toy of the Titanic. Where I assume they can make it sink as much as they wish until there is nobody left at all. My husband did wonder if it came complete with a recording of the screams and sobs of the drowning, but the advert didn't specify. Thank goodness, eh. Really, I despair ...

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

Monday, April 09, 2012

Post Easter Extravaganza

Book News:

Congratulations to Rain who has won a copy of gay romance Angels and Airheads in the weekend Easter Blog Hop. I was amazed at how popular it was - my stats have never been so good - and will definitely be taking part in the next one in July. I can't wait!

Other exciting news this weekend is that literary gay short story Where You Hurt The Most (I do so love that cover!) is now available for pre-order at Riptide Publishing - and if you do pre-order, then you're in with a chance of winning a year's supply of free books, so don't miss out! Not only that but later in the year, the story will be appearing in the Rentboy Anthology due out in paperback in August, so a double whammy of delights indeed. Happy reading!

Also over the weekend, I had several very nice reviews of a variety of books:

Gay thriller A Dangerous Man gained a 4-star review at Goodreads, and a 5-star review at Amazon. At the same time, gay erotic short story The Delaneys and Me gained a 5-star review also at Amazon, gay romance Angels and Airheads received a 4-star review at Goodreads, and gay erotic short story For One Night Only gained a 5-star review at Amazon. So joy in abundance indeed - many thanks to all who've read and commented so kindly.

Meanwhile don't forget that there's still 25% off biblical short story Dancing with Lions until 15 April, and the free giveaway competition of fantasy novel The Gifting continues to run at LibraryThing with, so far, 36 people requesting the 5 ebook copies available. Good luck to all!

The Easter Sunday haiku was:

Single red tulip:
the beginning of Easter
brightly acknowledged.

Life News:

I hope everyone has had a very happy Easter and the chocolate hasn't yet run out on you. I have to admit mine's been a bit up and down as I was ill on Thursday night and the whole of Friday with some quite nasty stuff, so that was a bit of a pain. I had to reschedule Mother for Easter Saturday instead of Good Friday, but at least I do feel more normal now, hurrah. And I did manage to make banana bread which K loves - though I'm not so keen, I must admit - not sure whether that's the fallout of being ill or whether I'm just not in the mood for it, but there you go. All the more for K!

Church was okay - my voice gave out during the first hymn so that was probably better for everyone else really, but I did enjoy the mini eggs and champagne afterwards. Ah, they do things differently here in Elstead, you know.

Yesterday, we spent a lot of time slumped on the sofa enjoying the Masters Golf tournament - loads of thrills and spills along the way and some hugely gripping sport. Fantastic to watch the South African guy getting an albatross - i.e. scoring 2 shots on a par 5 hole for those of you not into golf-speak. I was cheering like a banshee.

Today, we've spent a very rainy Monday at Hinton Ampner, and then shopped for Britain at Rake Garden Centre - we've bought loads of bedding plants and seeds, so will be busy in the garden for the next month at this rate. K is going for soothing elegant white and I am the ditzy colour queen. Ah, 'twas ever thus.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandria Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK

Friday, April 06, 2012

Angels at Easter: Easter Blog Hop & Contest!

Because angels aren’t just for Christmas, I’m very excited about my latest release with Musa Publishing, Angels and Airheads:

I had great fun creating my off-the-wall angel, Madred, who’s rather different from other angels in his approach to humanity but, like me, he’s a big softie at heart. His mission in my story is to somehow get together long-time friends, Ricky and Jez, even though other angels have tried and failed before him. His job is made even more difficult as Ricky can be a bit … well … emotionally dense and definitely can’t see what to everyone else is obvious.

Ricky and Jez’s situation as good friends was one I could really sympathise with too – as I was friends with the man who became my husband long before it dawned on me he might possibly fancy me and was quite hot too! Like Ricky, I’m a bit slow on the uptake, you see …

Here’s the blurb for 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?

And here’s an extract for you:

From the kitchen, Ricky heard the faint clunk of the fridge as Jez closed it, and it was then that everything stopped.

The radio stopped, the sounds from the street outside stopped, including the low hum of cars and buses, the faint chatter of people, and even the hint of the breeze. They all stopped, so all he could hear in the whole of London at that moment was his own breathing. He sprang to his feet at once. “Jez?”

At least he hadn’t gone deaf then; he could hear himself well enough. So what was happening to Jez?

As he turned towards the kitchen, a light flared up in front of him and he raised his hands to his face to avoid being blinded by the sheer brightness. It was weird—whatever it was didn’t diminish. Instead it kept on burning, but not like fire, no, not like fire at all.

“So, you don’t believe in angels?” A voice echoed in the sparkling light, surrounding him with a sense of golden tranquility. Almost as if whoever was speaking was actually singing, but with a kind of melodic harmony Ricky had never heard before. Like a stream in summer. “It’s a good thing we believe in you then, isn’t it?”

Because the strange being’s voice had lifted him off his feet and tumbled him back down on the sofa again Ricky had no immediate answer to that. Besides, there was something else he needed to know that was far more pressing.

He took a deep breath. “What have you done with Jez?”

The being in front of him laughed. As the light took on a softer hue, Ricky could see the shape of a man within it, though with something rather odd about him.

“No need to worry,” the man said. “Jez is perfectly all right. The only reason you can’t hear him is that I’ve stopped time. Oh and, by the way, my name’s Madred. I’m your guardian angel. Your fifth, to be precise.”

“Fifth?” Ricky swung his legs round on the sofa and pushed himself upright. “What are you talking about? Stop saying crazy stuff. Nobody can stop time. Look, I don’t care who you are or what kind of game you think you’re playing, but my advice is to get out and leave us alone.”

The man calling himself Madred laughed again and, at the same time, the light he was somehow producing dimmed. Ricky gasped and stared. The bloke definitely had wings. And not delicate gossamer ones either. These wings were made up of great quivering feathers, in a myriad of colors Ricky had seen and some he had not: deep green; sea-blue; yellow; orange; red; and everything else in between. They began at Madred’s shoulders—lean but muscular—and ended somewhere around his ankles. They looked as if they could pack a fair wallop too, should the need arise; more psychotic swan than baby duckling. Just in case, Ricky took a step back as he really wasn’t that brave.

It was then Ricky realized Madred was naked. Not a scrap of clothing on him. How the hell he’d managed to walk the streets of downtown Muswell Hill to get here without being mugged, or worse, was anyone’s guess. This planned evening of chilling was not going at all how Ricky had hoped.

Madred frowned and glanced downwards.

“Oh, so sorry,” he said. “I forgot the clothes. I knew there was something.”

With a rustle and a swoosh, the wings swept forward and covered Madred’s modesty. Though, to be honest, in the brief glimpse he’d had of the man’s physique, Ricky didn’t feel that modesty was the word he was looking for at all.

“Is that acceptable now?” Madred asked, once everything was suitably covered up.

Again, unsure exactly what response was needed, Ricky simply nodded.

“Good. Then we’ll begin …

Don’t forget, anyone who adds a comment on this blog will be entered into the competition to win an ecopy of Angels and Airheads, so don’t forget to leave your email address! And remember to visit the other exciting contests in the Easter Blog Hop!

Happy reading!

Visit Anne at:

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Angels, Lions and Death

Book News

There's a definite religious theme in the latest book news, which is surely very appropriate for the season, hurrah. First off, biblical short story, Dancing with Lions, is being offered at a 25% discount directly from Untreed Reads until April 15th, so don't miss out on that one.

Plus four copies (four, gosh!) of my other biblical story, A Little Death, have just been purchased by Northern Ireland Libraries, so that's definitely put a smile on my face. Not to be outdone, gay romantic comedy Angels and Airheads is now a bestseller at All Romance Ebooks, and has just received a 4-star review at The Novel Approach (so many thanks for that).

And as a very special Easter treat for you, I'm giving away FIVE ecopies of my fantasy novel The Gifting until 29th April at LibraryThing. So pop across there now and add your name to the list and you'll be in with a chance of winning - good luck!

Meanwhile, I'm continuing to work on a set of interviews and articles for a variety of bloggers and review sites, so many thanks for those requests. Further details to follow ...

Life News:

I've spent the last three days at the AUA universities conference in Manchester. I enjoyed it as usual and it was really lovely to be up there with my wonderful colleague Carol C, but I'm not sure it was as good as previous conferences. I think that was probably due to a number of factors, including me still getting over being ill last week, the hugely long drive up in the rain there and back (groan ...), and possibly also the fact that we were in hotels rather than student accommodation, so it didn't have quite so much of the fun/community factor, to my mind. That said, I'm sure that once I get to grips with my notes, I'll find a thousand and one useful ideas to take away - it's just that I can't quite get my head round them at the moment.

Back home, K has planted a bed of pansies next to the sweet peas at the front, and our back garden tulips are going to be red (hurrah!) though they're not out yet. Plus we have one bluebell just out in the back, so I'm hoping there'll be more soon. We do so love bluebells.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian fantasy trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Angels and Airheads

Book News:

I'm happy to announce that my gay romantic short story Angels and Airheads has just been republished by Musa Publishing, and is available at Amazon UK for 77p and Amazon US for $1.22. You can also find out more at the Musa Erato blog, and I've already received two 4-star reviews, here and here. Many thanks to both commenters.

The blurb is:

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?

So if you're in the mood for a little light romance, then Angels and Airheads is the one for you - enjoy!

Gay erotic short story For One Night Only also received a 5-star review at Goodreads, so many thanks to Melissa for that.

This week, I've edited an upcoming interview and written two articles about male prostitutes, but from different angles. Um, as it were. I've also start a new gay short story about an unusual romance with a boardroom setting but it's very early days and there's certainly no title yet.

And, much to my delight, I've now signed the contract for literary short story The Gift of The Snow, which will be published later this year by Untreed Reads, hurrah.

The Sunday haiku is:

Sunlight and birdsong
infiltrate my sleepy eye.
The day begins. Soon ...

Life News:

Have had a mercifully short bout of the usual catarrh illness this week, but the mix of drugs recommended by people during my last session (for which many thanks), plus the early downing of a regular supply of Mucron tablets and Manukah honey, all seem to have meant it's not been either too bad or too long drawn-out. So I had to have two nights on the sofa but I did manage some sleep on both occasions, and I wasn't actually sick, hurrah.

Neither has it stopped me keeping busy on the domestic and garden front. We cleaned all the windows during the week so we can actually see out of them after the roofing work. The builders were supposed to do it, or so I believed, but have sadly disappeared, ah well ... but at least we can see out now. K and I have also weeded the garden thoroughly, planted the sweet peas, potted up some more plants and seeds, and put the chitted grass seed on the lawn. So nearly set for summer then. Oh, and the Paris heuchera now has three flowers on it, well gosh.

Yesterday, we spent a lovely day entertaining some old University friends and their tribe, which was great - though the weather could have been a tad better, I have to say. Obviously, the Universe didn't get my email about it ... I then spent most of the evening searching for where on earth I put the Vick's vapour rub (so good for the catarrh, don't you know), before giving up - and discovering it in my handbag this morning where I'd obviously put it for safekeeping. Sigh. I swear I looked TWICE in my handbag yesterday night and it definitely wasn't there. I blame the gremlins.

Today was the Palm Sunday service at church, and we even managed to process the entire way round the church building singing an appropriate hymn and keep so much in time with the organist who remained inside playing the tune that we were only half a note in front when we all came back in again. Gold stars to us, I believe! Hey, we rock.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian fantasy trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK