Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gifting news and a 999 call

Book News

Epic gay-themed fantasy The Gifting has finally become a free book at Amazon (hurrah!) and has been reaping the benefits. This week, it's briefly been No 1 in the Amazon Germany Gay & Lesbian charts, No 5 in the Amazon US Sword & Sorcery charts, and No 10 in the Amazon UK Gay & Lesbian charts, well gosh.

It's also gained a 5-star review at Goodreads:

"Wow. Such a good read. Starts out slow, but by the end it's epic":

Goodness, thank you. "Start out slow, but end up epic" is the story of my life, I hope ... Well, I've always been a (very) late developer but I get there in the end. If the wind's in the right direction.

Much excitement, meanwhile, over at Free Ebooks, where The Gifting has now had 999 downloads. I hope some lovely person out there might get me to the grand total of 1000, which will be wonderful - thank you! I will be eternally grateful.

Not to be outdone, Hallsfoot's Battle, the second book in the Gathandrian Trilogy, was at No 48 in the Amazon US Sword & Sorcery chart, so that was quite a boost too. Thank you to all you downloaders out there - it's very much appreciated.

I'm also happy to say that erotic romance How To Eat Fruit gained a 5-star review at Amazon US:

"a truly intimate and wistful experience that remains long after you've finished reading it."

Many thanks for those words, Fred.

Over at Untreed Reads, if you buy a copy of bisexual literary thriller Thorn in The Flesh, you get another of my books absolutely free! So do pop across and grab yourself a bargain or two - happy shopping.

I've also updated the Latest News section of my website, so you can see what's coming up in the near future, including a gay thriller, gay BDSM romance, and a romantic comedy. Never say I don't keep busy, eh.

Life News:

I've had a cold for most of the beginning of this week, but have managed to fight it off using a combination of Lemsip and Echinacea pills, thank goodness. At least I've not had the usual sleepless nights and vomiting combo that traditionally has dogged my heels, so good news there for sure.

And the end of this week has finally brought the official announcement at work that at the beginning of September I'm to move divisions and be PA to the new Deputy Registrar at the university, so I'm thrilled about that. It'll give me a whole new view of what goes on, so should be fascinating. Mind you, I'll miss working in Student Support - where I've been for 9 years, so the longest I've been anywhere really. Actually, I've been "unofficially" working for the new Deputy Registrar for a few weeks now as my Student Support boss prepares to go to new pastures on 6 September, but it's going to be so lovely to stop telling everyone who asks me that I can't tell them anything yet, but thank you for asking! Now I can tell them something, which will be nice.

Yesterday's cake was Victoria Sponge, which has turned out well. I'll definitely be making that one again - though whatever I do it will never ever be as good as those my Grandma and Great Aunt used to make which were heaven on earth.

And I'm very happy indeed with my African Violet which is going great guns, even though it's in the shadiest place in the house. Every time I move it to somewhere sunny that it's supposed to like, it gets upset and I have to move it back. It's obviously got a mind of its own.

Today at church we had the misfortune to sing not one, but two Kendrick numbers - which are always guaranteed to put us in a bad spiritual mood, groan. I have therefore decided to start Tidy Church - where all messy modern scansion will be banned, hey ho. And there will always - always! - be a decent rhyme scheme.

So, I leave you with two lovely cartoons, which - for me - say it all:

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Executioner's Cane and a Midsomer moment

Book News:

The Executioner's Cane, the final part of the gay-themed Gathandrian fantasy trilogy, is now published. It's available at Amazon and also as a free book at Smashwords and Omnilit Books. Here's the blurb:

Simon Hartstongue, accompanied by the mind-cane and the snow-raven, must travel back to the land he came from to offer support to the people he once tried to kill. From Gathandria, Annyeke Hallsfoot endeavours to help him but her attentions are focused on rebuilding the city after the wars.

Alone and faced with the anger of his people and hindered by the fragility of Ralph Tregannon's leadership, Simon has to find a way to bring healing to a dying country and to renew his relationship with Ralph. But the odds and time itself are stacked against him. 

I've also been having some fun looking at picture lookalikes of the characters in the whole trilogy, now it's over and done with. This is my view of Simon the scribe (though of course he would wear more clothes!):

Here is his on-off lover Ralph Tregannon:

And here is my view of the Mind Executioner (evil but strangely attractive):

Hey ho. The whole trilogy has been such a hugely difficult and disappointing time that it's a relief to move on, though of course I do feel sad as I don't think I'll ever write anything that poetic or spiritual again. Which probably explains why a large percentage of readers don't like it much, saying it's too slow. Oh well. A heartfelt thank you to the little band of people who've at least enjoyed some of it - it's very much appreciated.

Interestingly, The Gifting (Gathandria 1) and Hallsfoot's Battle (Gathandria 2) have recently gained some European approval, being respectively at No 73 and No 7 in the Amazon France Foreign Fantasy charts, well gosh. And The Executioner's Cane itself was, equally strangely, at No 3 in the Amazon Brazil Foreign Gay charts, which was nice. Though, possibly, they don't have much of a choice over there - I'm not sure.

"A dark erotic short that isn't my usual type of read … So I started reading this with trepidation and, much to my surprise, I loved it … This is a really well written story about discovery of oneself written in a very sexy way." 

Finally, over at Untreed Reads, we're celebrating the wedding this weekend of our renowned Editor-in-Chief Jay and his partner Luis - so many congratulations to both. As part of the party, you'll find all my Untreed Reads books at a 40% discount until Sunday - happy shopping!

Life News:

This week on the A3, I drove past a police escort who was trying to guide a flock of lost ducks off the road and into safety. Never say we in Surrey are uncaring about our feathered friends, eh. I did think the ducks were actually being very sensible and walking in a line at the side of the road, so may not have needed the help, but never reject the support of a man in uniform is what my grandmother always said. And she was right. Apparently, all the ducks are now in a local farmer's shed, unscathed by the trauma, and the police canteen is perfecting its orange sauce. No, really, those last few words were a joke, honest! But the rest is perfectly true.

And, unbelievable though it may sound, we had a gunman on the village green on Thursday afternoon - which explains the sudden influx of police cars all over the place and the presence of a police helicopter all afternoon and into the night. No harm done though - apparently he just wanted to show everyone his air rifle, hey ho. He was arrested and charged Thursday night, and the rifle duly destroyed. Honestly, Elstead is becoming the new Midsomer. Funny how it used to be a really peaceful place until K and I moved in ...

Anyway, should any stray gunmen be lurking in the shed, I have a plan to distract them with cake. Today's effort is Coffee & Walnut, and very tasty it is too.

Tomorrow, K and I are at Glyndebourne to see Hippolyte et Aricie - which explains the earlier blog. To keep you going, here's an important life rule - trust me, it works like a dream:

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Behold: The Destroyer of Churches

Book News:

Goodness me, but the controversy over Christian novella The Prayer Seeker continues apace. This week, I've received a one-star review over at Amazon US from a reviewer who seems to think I am single-handedly responsible for destroying the church. Golly gosh, I feel even prouder than I did at last week's accusation. I am so definitely going to have "The Destroyer of Churches" added to my gravestone as one of my attributes. I might even get a t-shirt with it on.

According to said reviewer, I also appear to have a secret "hook and worm" gay agenda. Gosh indeedy, they sound like jolly good fun! Please could I have one in green? It'll go with my t-shirt ...

Turning to my gay literary agenda, I'm happy to say that gay thriller A Dangerous Man has a lovely new cover and will be republished by Amber Allure on 15 September.

Over at Riptide Publishing, their Red Hot Rentboys anthology is on sale and includes my own Where You Hurt The Most. It's a 60% discount, so don't delay - buy today! As an incentive, Where You Hurt The Most gained a 4-star review at Goodreads:

"The magic that happens between the two men is special and fills you with hope."

Meanwhile, lesbian short story The Girl in The Painting was briefly at No 8 in the Amazon UK lesbian short story charts - hurrah! - and literary romance How To Eat Fruit gained a 4-star review at Goodreads. Most people seem to hate that one so it was a nice surprise this week. Thank you, Karen, who said:

"Anne Brooke always writes a very interesting short that makes you think."

And, not to be outdone, my haiku collection, Sunday Haiku, gained a 5-star review at Amazon UK:

What is delightful about this collection is the enduring quality; when I reread the haiku I am still moved and captivated by certain feelings that they arouse.

Finally, I received my second fan letter of 2013 - so a BIG thank you to Emily who wrote and said how much she loved gay thrillers Maloney's Law and The Bones of Summer. Hearing from readers who enjoy one's books is always very special indeed.

Life News:

Great excitement and rejoicing this week to hear about the Ginger Pride March which took place in Edinburgh yesterday. I should have been there! At last, I've found my tribe ... Because it would just be so dang wonderful to be with a group of people who don't ever question the fact that - yes - Factor 50 suncream is necessary, even in winter and - yes - even for 5 minutes' exposure. Just saying, you non-redheads out there, hey ho ...

And, in honour of redheads (who are of course the best), I have put some lovely redhead photos up at a new blog, Perfect Redheads. Happy browsing!

I particularly loved this wonderful and oh so true cartoon.

Yesterday, K and I enjoyed a wonderful falconry display at RHS Wisley - and I really and desperately now want to have a peregrine falcon as a pet. They're just so speedy and exciting! But I do accept that we might not have much soft furnishings left, ho hum.

Also yesterday, I tried my hand at Honey Cake, which came out quite well, though lighter than I imagined it would be. And I did get a bit mixed up with the US cake measurements - not to mention the mystery of whether ounces are the same as fluid ounces or not. I still don't know ...

However, the less said about the disastrous garlic bread I made for Friday night dinner, the better ... Um, I forgot to take it out of the oven - which means we now have rock-hard garlic bread which could - without much preparation - be used as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Ah, the best laid plans, eh.

Finally, in the garden, things are still coming along nicely. My orchid now has its full 12 flowers in bloom and the lilies and dahlias are looking good.

Have a lovely Sunday.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandria Fantasy Trilogy for FREE
Redheads Galore

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Beware: The Diabolical Distorter of Truth

Book News:

Christian novella The Prayer Seeker has continued to cause a bit of a stir, I must say. It was No 18 in the Amazon CA inspirational fiction charts, briefly, which was nice. And then I felt immensely proud when an Amazon US reviewer labelled it as "beautifully written but terrible theology", going on to describe the pesky book as something which "distorts truth in a most compelling fashion."

Ah, my dears, my job here is done. My theology has always been terrible, naturally, and my position on Heaven's Naughty Step has been assured for some time, so all this isn't news to me. Apparently the terrible theology stems from my main character's experience as a bisexual man who wants to seek forgiveness from a friend he wronged in the past, and my portrayal of the Evangelical Church as being a tad on the rigid side of rigid. Well, hush my mouth, but I used to be an Evangelical so I have personal experience of said attitudes in the past - and apparently, via some of my reviews including this one, in the present also. Ah well, nothing changes. I am more than proud to be an official Truth Distorter. Always play to your strengths is what I say ...

Still, at least the beleaguered reviewer hasn't cottoned on yet, bless her, to my other life as a writer of gay erotic fiction - Lord alone knows what paroxysms of horror that might produce. In that world, I'm pleased to say A Stranger's Touch received a lovely 5 star review at Hearts On Fire who said:

"A Stranger's Touch was a deeply affecting, elegantly written, ethereal wisp of a story. It haunted me." 

Meanwhile gay thriller A Dangerous Man is to be republished by Amber Allure on 15 September (hurrah!), and The Bones of Summer (including my hero's religious homophobic father, no less) came in at No 8 in the Amber Allure June bestsellers list, double hurrah.

I also have brand-new cover art for fantasy novel The Executioner's Cane which I will publish as a free book in September or October this year. I do love that cover. I have to say it has a gay romance in it, and a lot about religion, so maybe I should make my Naughty Step a lot more comfortable, as I'm obviously going to be there for a while, hey ho ...

Life News:

A session of reflexology this week was total bliss, and I definitely must book more appointments at some stage. Another delight was looking out of my window one morning a couple of days ago and watching a deer and her two fawns crossing the field just beyond the back fence. Pure bliss - well as long as they don't get in the garden and eat our flowers, it is ...

Speaking of the garden, here are some recent pics, including a Striped Beauty canna and a potted hydrangea:

Yesterday, we had a grand afternoon as the Cranleigh Show, and I baked a Chocca Mocha Caramel Cake which has proved very tasty indeed, though definitely a tad rich.

Have a great Sunday.

Anne Brooke
Free Fiction for All
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
The Gathandria Fantasy Trilogy