Sunday, July 28, 2013

Prayer and the pesky church

Life News:

So, this is the week we find out that Church of England money helped pay for online lender Wonga. Hmmm, good to know that the C of E is more than happy to lead people into greater debt, but not happy about marrying two people who want to make a commitment to each other but happen to be of the same gender. Just saying. Hey ho.

As a result, though I did go to church today, I didn't donate anything at all to the collection for the first time I can remember. I did think seriously about taking money out of the collection plate when it came round instead, if only to help prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people, but thought that would perhaps be a tad too much for the small girl handing round the plate to cope with. Pesky church, eh. Then again, the Church of England does after all have a c£5.2 billion investment portfolio, so perhaps we should all be taking money out of the plate on a more regular basis. Again, just saying ...

On a happier note, the buddleia in the garden is now out in all its glory, and the garden is filled with butterflies of all descriptions. Bliss. And this week's cakes are Maple Syrup and Pecan Cupcakes and very tasty they are too.

Book News:

Much to my astonishment, Christian novella The Prayer Seeker has been downloaded for free more than one thousand times at Amazon UK and Amazon US - so free books are obviously the way forward, at least if I want to be read.

Not only that but I've had a couple of 5-star reviews at Amazon which called the book "a damned good read" and also said: "One word sums up the writing style and that is luminous ... if you are a seeker of something more in life, this novella will resonate with your spirit."

Many thanks to both reviewers for that.

Meanwhile, epic fantasy Hallsfoot's Battle rose briefly to No 71 in the Amazon US fantasy charts, and gay thriller A Dangerous Man gained a 4-star review on Goodreads which included the following:

"If I go by the "traditional" ratings it would be a one star, because, no, I didn't like it. But the problem was it was brilliant. Very well written, with characters that grabbed hold of me and made me feel."

Gosh, thank you, Shaz! That's the kind of problem I do like to feel I've achieved in a book, that's for sure ...

Finally, all my Amber Allure gay fiction currently has a 25% discount, so don't miss out! Have a great Sunday.

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

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gay Christianity and a champagne celebration

Life News:

Wonderful news about the Equal Marriage bill being passed by the House of Lords and signed into law by the Queen this week - such good news indeed! Well done to the Lords and of course the Queen. The right decision made by all, hurrah.

I've managed to make the most of the continuing heatwave across the country this week, though I am heavily dependent on my trusty portable fan. Phew, it's hot. Here are some garden pics to show just how hot it is. These are: scented pink lilies, a black hollyhock, day lilies, an allium, crocosmia Lucifer, dahlias, poppies and the orchid in bloom.

This week I've also played golf with M. and actually won for the first time in absolutely ages, well gosh. I got a par too, which was the icing on the cake, golly hurrah. I've also had a lovely haircut (thank you, Steff, as ever) which has made my neck a lot cooler, and yesterday K and I went to see the livestream cinema showing of Macbeth with Ken Branagh. Macbeth is of course my favourite ever play - so human, so evil, so much lost opportunity - and everyone is raving about this particular version. I'm a great Ken fan, I have to say, but I don't think his Macbeth is his best ever performance. I preferred his Hamlet, and actually I thought Patrick Stewart made a much better, more measured Macbeth a couple of years back. I am the only one saying this however, from my glance at the reviews. I did think the witches in this version were fun though, Alex Kingston nailed Lady Macbeth, and it was the best Macduff I've ever seen - so much so that it made me cry. A great moment.

Oh, and there's cake. When is there not? This week it's Dotty Chocolate Chip Cake, and it's very tasty indeed. Hurrah.

Book News:

This week is the week I receive a 1-star review for Christian novella The Prayer Seeker - not because the reviewer thinks it's rubbish, but because they believe it "cannot be Christian fiction as the main character is homosexual, and you can't be a Christian if you're gay". Or words to that effect. Ye gods and little fishes - did someone transport me back to the 18th century, or am I just living in a time warp?? Those comments certainly brought me up short - made me feel quite ill in fact - and it certainly goes to show how far we in this world must still travel before homosexuality is seen as utterly normal in every way, even a Christian way. Hey ho indeed.

In spite of all that, I'm happy to say that The Prayer Seeker is No 20 in the Amazon UK free Christian Fiction charts, was at No 68 in the Amazon US charts, and also received a more measured 5 star review at Smashwords. Many thanks for that.

I also have an exciting new cover for romantic comedy Pink Champagne and Apple Juice, which is due out from Musa Publishing in September. Can't wait for that one.

Meanwhile, fantasy novel The Gifting made it up to No 15 in the Omnilit Books Free Fiction charts, and gay romance Where You Hurt The Most gained a 4-star review at Goodreads. The reviewer called it "an endearing and poignant little love story" - so many thanks for that.

Finally, I'm utterly thrilled that gay erotica story The Beginning of Knowledge gained a 4-star review at The Armchair Reader who said, amongst other comments:

"The writing here is superb. I felt as if I knew Alan intimately only a few pages into his first person narrative because for all that he's blind to what is going on he's starkly transparent. So I commend Anne for writing a story that is indeed knowledgeable, that is informative but at the same time seductively sexy. I think you should read this one just to see what you take from it."

Many thanks also - that's made my day.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
Free Fiction

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Free fiction and flowers galore

Life News:

We had a stunning day at the Hampton Court Flower Show on Wednesday - glorious weather, spectacular flowers and yet more things for the garden. Bliss indeed! Managed to snag some more heucheras, potentillas and some fabulous bulbs for a blood lily (like a pink allium). Here's hoping we can actually grow them, hey ho.

Meanwhile, the garden is really beginning to come into its own, and here are some pics of a day lily, a peony, lilies, and various roses.

I've also been busy in the kitchen and this week's attempt at vanilla cupcakes has been a great success - though I say it myself and shouldn't.

Book News:

I've had a fascinating and very intense weekend at the UK GLBTQ Fiction Conference these last few days. Great to catch up with people I know in the business and meet new people (hello, Liam!), as well as sell some books, but I have to admit to feeling very overwhelmed by the amount of people there - which is great news for the organisers who did a totally fantastic job, but less good news for those strange sociopaths such as my good self. I think I might give the next one a miss, especially as I'm taking a backward step on the whole writing career anyway, but wish them all the best in the future. They certainly deserve it.

Meanwhile, I've set up a free fiction page at my website for work that doesn't fit anywhere but which I consider good enough for people to take a chance on. In that category, I have my latest fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle, which is now free at Free Ebooks and Obooko Books also. This week it's been lovely that a new reader enjoyed Hallsfoot's Battle so much that he donated $10 to me even though it was a free read - many thanks, Johnny.

I'm also pleased that Christian novella The Prayer Seeker is now at No 93 in the Amazon US Christian Fiction charts, well gosh. This is another of my free books.

Finally, I've had a review of bisexual thriller Thorn in the Flesh at Long and Short Reviews, which says:

"Thorn in the Flesh is a slow burning mystery woven into the ordinary lives of a close-knit group of friends. This is a great choice for readers who prefer to get to know characters well before the plot heats up. The payoff at the end is well worth the initial emotional investment!"

Gosh, that's nice too. Thank you.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Free Fiction

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Hallsfoot's Battle and the invisible woman

Life News:

Am taking some much-needed days off this coming week, and looking forward just to having nice pottering days in the garden and trips out with my loved one. It looks like this will coincide with our promised heat wave so that's good news. This weekend, it's been so good weather-wise that we've had breakfast out on the patio both days. Lovely.

Over the last couple of weeks or so, the lack of medicinal Happy Pills has really begun to kick in - I absolutely don't want to go back to how it was two or three years ago, which was utterly horrid, so have begun taking a Good Mood St John's Wort tablet in the mornings and two Quiet Life pills in the evenings. Not sure if this is making things any better or not, but I'll give it some time and see how it goes. I reckon if things don't improve much over the next couple of months, I'll try to go and see the doctor again, though I don't reckon she's going to be quite as understanding as my Godalming doctor was. Again, I'll just have to see.

So, with all this in mind, it did hugely irritate me during the week when I tuned in to the radio on the way home from work to hear a charming bisexual man talking to the Radio 4 presenter about how terrible it was that bisexuals were virtually invisible in society. I had to laugh (whilst shouting in disbelief at the pesky radio - not a good look on the A3 ...) - he should ruddy well try being an English woman above the age of 45, then he'd really know what being invisible damn well feels like. What a lightweight, harrumph!

Thankfully, this week's cake - Lemon Sponge - has turned out very well and makes up for last week's disaster. Phew.

And the October Elstead play has been chosen - a murder mystery - and the lovely K is going to be the policeman in it, hurrah. More lines than last time (always good!) and a step up from his first role with the drama group as a private investigator. Next stop: Chief Super!... Speaking of which, we had a lovely time at the Elstead drama group's summer BBQ yesterday - excellent food, excellent company and excellent weather. Thank you to Sue et al for organising it.

Book News:

I've decided to downplay the whole writing thing for a while - I don't think it's great for my mental health, frankly, and I've felt for a long time that I'm struggling to even be in the game. Plus a lot of wonderful new people are arriving in the gay fiction genre - which is great news for the market and readership - and I've really been around way too long (14 years now) for people to still be telling me that if I keep on going, I'll be sure to make it one day, ho hum. It's getting to be embarrassing!

So I've decided that, in terms of books I don't sell through my current gay fiction or literary fiction publishers, I'm simply going to make them free on the web. At the very least, people shouldn't complain   about the waste of money if they dislike the work as they shouldn't have paid for it, hey ho.

So, my current free books are:

The Gifting (Gathandria *1 - epic fantasy), Hallsfoot's Battle (Gathandria *2 - epic fantasy) and The Prayer Seeker (spiritual novella).

I hope some of you will take a chance, and maybe even enjoy the reads. You never know!

Meanwhile, over in my gay fiction corner, A Dangerous Man gained a 5 star review at Goodreads, which included the following comments:

"Honestly, this is one of the best books I have ever read. As an American who has visited London and has English friends, I found the descriptions of London to be, for lack of a better word, intoxicating. The harsh, realistic style Brooke writes is incredible, and the story she tells a modern day Crime and Punishment (my favorite book of all time)."

And The Beginning of Knowledge gained a 5-star review at Two Men Are Better Than One Reviews:

"This is dark erotica, a short and intense journey into one man’s self discovery, discovery of something dark and dangerous."

Many thanks, both, for reading.

Anne Brooke

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Wilde City summers and a 4 July sale!

From now until 7 July Wilde City Press are celebrating summer with all our authors and a special summer sale:

Help Wilde City Press celebrate the start of summer and July 4th. Enjoy 25% of your entire cart from Wednesday July 3rd through Sunday July 7th with the coupon code: WildeFreedom.

Here's my own summer memory for you:

My favourite summer memory is my mother’s homemade lemonade. She only ever made it in summer as she said it was an outdoor drink and needed a big dose of sunshine to make the bubbles pop. Apparently winter would make the whole drink go grey and flat, and as I was young I believed her – and in a way I still do. Homemade lemonade only ever appeared about three or four times a year and only when we were very good and she was pleased with us. It wasn’t ever something she prepared for either but, in our family group, she would slip away quietly and after a while one or another of us would realise she was missing. From then on the excitement would mount and then – at last! – half an hour or so later she would reappear with a huge jug of lovely lemony-yellow bubbly drink and a selection of glasses. Drinking it meant you had enough sugar in your system to last you well into the next month, but it was like a blast of sunshine and citrus in the mouth, I can tell you. Sheer bliss!
The night I met Luke Milton, the last thing I was looking for was any kind of relationship …
“What the hell are you doing?” …
“Waiting for you …”
“You’ve not covered up your mark.” … “You must have taken some stick for it from the office.”
“Why should I cover it up? You gave it to me. That’s worth all the stick in the world.”
Read the rest of Luke and Alan’s interactions in The Beginning of Knowledge, available now at Wilde City Press!

And don't forget to read the rest of our Wilde City summer pastimes at the Wilde City blog!
For the rest of our summer memories and to get your discount, visit the Wilde City Press summer sale event now!