Sunday, January 27, 2013

Conferences, covers and sheep

Book News

I'm thrilled with the book cover for my upcoming gay office romance, Who Moved My Holepunch? It's absolutely perfect for the story, which will be published on 24 March. Always good to have something in the spring to look forward to, eh.

Speaking of which, the cover for the last of the gay menage Delaneys series has now come through. Delaneys No 6 is called The Delaneys, My Parents and Me, and will be published on 17 March. That'll be a busy and exciting month for sure.

I'm also pleased to say that fantasy novel The Gifting now has its own BookPulse page, so I'm hoping it makes some new friends there.

Yesterday, I had a great time at the Elstead Writers Group and I for one can't wait till next month's meeting. And, talking of meetings, the UK GLBTQ Conference 2013 group now has its own Goodreads page, so do come along and say hello to us all there, and find out more about our July weekend. It's going to be amazing, I promise you.

Life News:

My lovely husband has repainted our dining room this week - it was previously a colour we can only describe as Prison Cell Grey, and it's now a lovely pale pink and really warms the whole room up. I love it. Moreover, in his mission to achieve sainthood, K also took advantage of the 2 hour nap I just had to have yesterday (well, I was tired, you know, and I'm very delicate. Honest ...) and secretly did the weekly clean by himself. Except for the Hoovering, which he did only after I woke up. I'm expecting the letter of confirmation of glory from the Pope any day now.

Mind you, I have done the ironing, so I'm not really useless in my own home. Not utterly anyway.

Meanwhile, this week, I have struggled with the concept of watches. I've bought 2 cheap ones from Amazon over the last few months and they've both died on me, as well as the straps wearing down. And I absolutely have to wear a watch as I'm obsessed with knowing the time - I feel lost in the universe if I don't know it, sad to say. Anyway, I decided to push the metaphorical boat out and buy a more expensive watch from good old Amazon with a bracelet strap that won't wear down. All very well and good, but I'd forgotten my stick-thin wrists, and it's rather too big for me. Oh well. At least I know the time, even though I can't always tell where on my wrist it is.

Yesterday, we celebrated the departure of the dreaded snow (at last - hurrah!) by tidying up the garden so K and I are both now feeling supremely smug, as there's nothing we need to do in it until February. Which of course is next week, so only a few days' grace.

I also made a Chocolate and Prune Torte which seems to have survived my ministrations very well, and we're both happy with the results. Heck, I can do posh! Whatever next?

And K and I have both been deeply moved by the tale of the Lost Sheep of Heathfield. I'm sure there's a parable there somewhere though I have to admit that if some farmer turned up to collect the sheep I'd been looking after unexpectedly on his behalf, I'd want a damn sight more than a miserly bunch of flowers. Hey ho.

Over at The Angry Anglican, I believe it's just about time for the tide in the increasingly wilted Church of England to start turning. When oh when will we start to be a prophetic voice for the world? Don't wait up, eh.

Finally, I know this is a lone voice crying in the wilderness (once one has these biblical analogies, it's really tough to let them go ...) but I have to say I do find Brian Cox the most irritating man on TV right now. He's just so infuriatingly smug that I can't listen at all to whatever words of knowledge he's trying to impart to me. I just want to push his face in a bowl of lukewarm custard and have done with it. Yes, I am a really bad person, but at least I'm a dab hand at custard. Every cloud, as they say ...

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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Celebrations and snow

Some good news this week as I received the letter telling me my mammogram was clear and I don't have to go back for three years, hurrah. I don't come from a breast cancer type family, but it's still a great relief, so I do encourage all you women out there to go along if you've got the invite. At the very least, it's a trip out, eh.

Earlier on, before the snow arrived, I popped up to London after work and had a few drinks and an Indian with Jane W (hello, Jane!) - we'd missed our pre-Christmas get-together due to illness on both our parts, so it was great to catch up now.

Oh, and we've had snow (did I mention that already?) - which looks very pretty but is really rather deadly if you want to drive or walk anywhere, hey ho. I'm not a great fan of snow, and I fear there's more to come ...

To calm my snow-infested nerves, I've baked a coffee and walnut cake this week. I forgot to add my usual spoonful of mayonnaise to ensure moistness, but actually it's turned out fine, but possibly more by luck than judgement. K's certainly not complaining, anyway.

Today, I was going to go back to church for the first time since the start of December, but snow has stopped play, so instead I've started writing a new gay BDSM story tentatively called Training Thomas. I suspect that title will change later on when I've worked it out however. And always a fun thing to have church and BDSM in the same sentence. Live dangerously indeed.

Speaking of gay stories, I'm happy to announce that all my gay fiction is currently running at a 25% discount at Amber Allure Press until the end of January - do feel free to browse and see if anything takes your fancy. Um, as it were.

I'm also quietly pleased that lesbian short story The Girl in The Painting made it to No 24 in the Amazon UK short story charts this week. Goodness me.

Looking ahead to later in the year, the GLBTQ Fiction Conference 2013 now has a draft programme of events online, all of which look great fun. Can't wait for the summer! Ooh, and K has got a part in the Elstead play in April, which is An Eye For An Eye, Darling. He's playing Colin, the second detective, and rehearsals start this week, so it's all very exciting.

Finally, over at The Angry Anglican, I'm blogging this week about sex, submission and Christ - enjoy!

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

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Possible signs of Spring

Book News:

I've just sent the contract for bisexual thriller Thorn in the Flesh back to Untreed Reads, so am looking forward to getting the edits started on that one.

Meanwhile, lesbian short story The Girl in The Painting was briefly at No 31 in the Amazon UK lesbian short story charts, and office comedy Not A Shred Of Evidence found itself at No 30 in the Amazon UK Business Humour charts. Well, there's a strange blending, that's for sure.

Gay thriller The Bones of Summer gained a 5-star review at Amazon US and is called "an outstanding read", and I'm also pleased to say that the 6th & final part in the gay erotic menage Delaneys series will be published on 17 March.

Finally, to add an essential dash of mayhem, mystery and magic to the start of your week, don't forget the first of my Gathandrian fantasy trilogy, The Gifting, is still available at all good online bookshops near you. One reviewer recently described it as:

"a unique fantasy where mental and physical worlds merge in a flight of unrestrained imagination. Unlike much fantasy I've read lately, this book soars with hope. It's a story of redemption gained through a mystical journey through earth, air, fire and water that tests the deepest recesses of a man's soul."

Really, what more could one ask for? Please do feel free to take a chance and pick up a copy - thank you!

Life News:

This week, I had my NHS call-up papers and have been to have my first ever mammogram. Apparently, Surrey take women up to three years before they hit fifty, and I'm one of those lucky chosen ones. Actually, it wasn't as bad as I'd expected, and the nurses were great. I should expect the results sent directly to me in a couple of weeks or so, which isn't long to wait. And, hey, it's always nice to have a trip out.

Also this week, I've been well enough to get back into playing golf on Friday with M, which was great. A tad chilly, but I was well wrapped up and thank goodness for thermals. I played some pretty hot shots too, but sadly not often enough. Ah well.

Yesterday, K and I went up to London to see the quite magnificent Seduced by Art exhibition, which I can thoroughly recommend, but hurry - as there's only a week to go before it ends. It was also great to wander around afterwards and catch up with all those fabulous works of art we've not seen for a while. Honestly, the place is a riot of riches.

Whilst there, we popped into the equally wonderful National Portrait Gallery to see the first painting of our very own Duchess of Cambridge. Hmm, not a great work of art, by a long chalk, methinks.  I can see what the artist was trying to do and it was a bold decision to have her looking out so clearly directly at the viewer, but it's as if he wasn't really looking at her at all, somehow. The picture is very tense, the smile very false and she looks as if she's about to be sick, bless her. Perhaps it was painted during the early stages of her pregnancy, however? That would explain it ...

Thank goodness then for the fabulously classic Cinema Portraits by Fred Daniels and the ever luminous work of Mario Testino to enthuse us again. Great stuff.

Meanwhile, in the garden, there are veritable signs of Spring, hurrah! The snowdrops that failed us so badly last year have succeeded this year, and are starting to appear. Several shoots are coming up, plus both pots of narcissi are definitely on their way. Just hope they all survive the cold snap we're forecast later this week.

I've also made a Lemon Yoghurt Cake yesterday so am keeping to my Lemon Theme for the year thus far. Suspect I'll change that next week though. K and I had a sneaky slice still warm from the oven and it's not half bad, though I say it myself and shouldn't.

I'm also continuing to hammer away at my beginners' keyboard lessons, and I can now play "Love Me Tender" and "Mary's Boy Child" with two hands - at the same time, well gosh! Book now for the concert of the year - or possibly book tickets to avoid it, which may well be the wiser choice. I'm enjoying it though!

Tonight, I'm trying to psych myself up to watch the increasingly bizarre Ripper Street - there's a lot of vomiting on it this evening apparently, which doesn't really have a Sunday feel to it. I think the series producer might have rather gone overboard on the "no lighting, chaps" and "let's not explain anything of what's happening to the viewers at all" approach - as most of the time, neither K nor I have a clue what's going on. Mind you, spotting the anachronisms is turning out to be a fun game - moving pictures six years before they were invented! Teddy bears before World War One! Whatever next?... Perhaps someone will pull out a mobile phone and text the solution to the police - that would sort them all out.

Finally, over at The Angry Anglican, I'm musing on the question of just how gay a bishop in the Church of England is allowed to be before they stop being a bishop ... The plot, my dears, is indeed entirely lost to the church. Sigh.

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

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Maloney revisited and the keyboard queen

I'm very happy to say that my literary gay thriller Maloney's Law is now available with this lovely brand-new cover at Amazon UK (where it briefly hit No 56 in the gay fiction charts earlier this week) and Amazon US. The blurb plus its credentials are:

Paul Maloney, a small-time private investigator from London, reluctantly accepts a case from his married ex-lover, Dominic Allen. Before he knows it, Paul finds himself embroiled in the dark dealings of big business and the sordid world of international crime. The deeper he pushes, the closer he comes to losing everything he holds dear.
Can he solve the mystery and protect those he loves before it's too late?
Maloney's Law was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2006 (for novels set in London) and the Royal Literary Fund Scheme, and longlisted for the Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Novel Award.

The book has also just gained a 5-star review at Amazon which says the following:

"I don't read that many mystery novels but this one caught my attention and after reading a sample I had to read the entire book ... The plot was great and I couldn't turn my e-reader off."

That certainly put a smile on my face. I hope you enjoy the read.

Following on from that, The Bones of Summer (which is the sequel to Maloney's Law) has been chosen by a book group for their January read and they're enjoying it so far. Well, gosh.

Keeping to nice book news, gay short story Where You Hurt The Most gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, and my biblical short story collection The Betrayal of Birds reached No 82 in the Amazon UK Christian short story charts. So that was nice too.

Meanwhile, I've finally finished the first draft of the last story in the gay menage Delaneys series - so will need to get that edited over the next few days to see if it makes sense at all. Here's hoping, eh.

And I've booked myself into the UK GLBTQ Fiction Conference up in Manchester in July, so can't wait for that. Roll on the summer!

On the home front, I believe I'm at last getting well after about two weeks of cold/catarrh nastiness. I did go back to work on Wednesday last week, but that was a big mistake, and so I was off sick on Thursday. Start the year as you mean to go on, eh. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

The good news is that for the first time ever in my life, an orchid under my care and attention has actually grown two more flowers. Heavens above, this is indeed the Christmas miracle. The trick - at least for me - appears to be to do nothing that the orchid experts tell you to do, but simply to ignore the plant entirely, at which point it produces blooms to prove to you it still exists. Ha. That's my answer then.

Stirred by such unexpected success, I have this weekend got myself back into cake-making and have produced a Lemon Flower Cake. I cheated with the flowers - the recipe calls for me to go into the garden, pick edible flowers and then sugar-coat and dry them, but if you think there's a hope in hell of me ever doing that, then it's time to think again ... so the decorations are shop-bought and all the tastier for it.

Ooh, and my lovely husband has worked out how to make our electronic keyboard function properly - so I can now play When the Saints Go Marching In, The Banks of the Ohio and By The Rivers of Babylon, all with one hand only. How happy the neighbours are! Believe me, these long winter evenings are simply going to fly by, my dears ...

Finally over at The Angry Anglican, I take issue once more with homophobia and discover the real meaning of the TARDIS. You have been warned.

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