Coming on Feb 22nd – Twenty Review Copies of Mortal Peril Available on DBML!

The redoubtable M/M Romance Group on Goodreads will be featuring my vampire romance Mortal Peril as part of its Don’t Buy My Love Programme on Feb 22nd.

The idea of the programme is that interested readers can request a free digital copy to be emailed to them on the understanding that they will post an honest review of the book within an agreed timescale.

I will be giving out twenty free copies of Mortal Peril on the day, so if you think you might enjoy reading a gay romance about an angsty 18th century vampire called Martin and a 21st century history student and fairly cheerful goth Anthony set in contemporary London, then make your way here on the 22nd February, 1pm EST- (that’s 6pm, UK people!)

The Education of Gaius – Free Short Story Now Available

In the early hours of this morning, I published The Education of Gaius on Smashwords.

It’s a free short story of around 14 000 words and it explores the early days of Gaius’ relationship with Tiberius and Gaius’ growing realisation that the fantasies of pain and domination that have haunted him since adolescence can be acknowledged and fulfilled without turning him into a monster or compromising his instincts

Set against the backdrop of the poetic demi monde of the Late Roman Republic, this story combines Gaius’ erotic exploration with a glimpse into everyday Roman life.

Writing Plans for 2015

A Belated Happy New Year to you all!

Back home and getting settled after a pleasant and peaceful festive break with my family, it’s time to start thinking about some of my plans for writing and publishing in this still new and shiny 2015.

Perhaps as soon as  the end of this month, I hope to be bringing out yet another installment of my Gaius and Tiberius urban epic.

Palaistra_scene_Louvre_G457 Distracting Boy

I’m tempted to use this image for the cover, even though it’s Greek not Roman. Somehow, I don’t think that poor bearded man is going to get any work done today….

The Education of Gaius is a substantial erotic short story (I am anticipating about 12 000 words at this stage) set in the early stages of Gaius’ complicated relationship with Tiberius and the role this played in advancing his erotic education.

This story will be available as a free e-book and will hopefully entice new readers to the series as well as please those who’ve already met the protagonists and would like to renew their acquaintance.

In February,  I’m delighted to say, my vampire romance Mortal Peril will be featured in the M/M Romance’s Don’t Buy My Love event. Twenty  free copies of the novella will be offered  on a first come first served basis, with the understanding that the recipient will offer an honest review of the book in exchange, to be posted on the Goodreads site and elsewhere. I will give a reminder with the exact date nearer the time.

Beyond February, my plans grow a little hazier. One project I will definitely be working on is turning The Assassin of Laurentium, the short story I essayed back in May for the Loves Landscapes Anthology into a full length novel.

Tonight, glancing at an intriguing looking volume on my boyfriend’s bookshelf called Oscar Wilde’s London,  sparked in me the idea of writing another extended short story starring Martin of Mortal Peril and set in 1890s’ London. This is the germ of an idea – we shall see what comes of it.

Other than that, we shall see what other inspiration springs forth throughout the coming year!

Review of Blonde

BlondeBlonde by Joyce Carol Oates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, I certainly found the book compulsive reading, which has to count for a lot. There was an intense, dreamlike quality to the writing as perspective shifted constantly from Marilyn herself, to that of bystanders and others in the drama of her life, so that as reader, one felt deeply implicated in the narrative.

This same dreamlike quality also had an oddly dissociative, hallucinatory effect. One glimpsed Marilyn from so many angles, both internal and external, yet one never felt one truly grasped her or knew her. This seems fair enough; after all one can never truly know and grasp another person, even one’s nearest and dearest in real life. There is always part which remains unknowable, shifting.

However, this effect also gave the impression that Marilyn never really knew herself, but drifted through life in an odd dreamlike state, even before the last tragic period of her life when she was permanently addled on drugs. She never seemed in conscious control of events.

This brings me on to the presentation of Marilyn in general.

In the forward, the author warns us clearly and explicitly that this is a work of fiction, not a biography, and shouldn’t be read as such. I began reading the book knowing very little about the life of Marilyn Monroe and, as I became immersed in the tale, curiosity prompted me to read at least the Wikipedia entry on her life. I was surprised quite how much it differed, how names had been changed such as the name of her first husband or the family that had fostered her. This, of course, gives the author more licence to invent. She is not claiming to tell the truth about Marilyn’s real first husband, only a fictionalised version of a first husband. Whole major episodes and themes are apparently entirely invented such as an account of a relationship between a son of Charlie Chaplin which is an important factor in the book.
It was quite a curious feeling reading about the travails of a real person and even feeling sympathy and indignation on her behalf and then remembering that this was all invention.

Ultimately, this became uncomfortable. The novel presents Marilyn consistently as a victim of cynical male exploitation and objectification. She is a wide eyed lamb to the slaughter, much of the time. Marilyn’s intelligence and keenness to educate herself are emphasised, but it is also emphasised that this side of her was always met by amused contempt and incomprehension by the men in her life, that her thoughtful remarks were treated as being as freakish as if suddenly uttered by a big doll.

There must have been times surely in Marilyn’s life when she was shrewd and strong, when she was a supportive friend to other women, when she was clear-headed and self-aware? If so, little of this is allowed to come through in Blonde. A book that seeks to illustrate how Marilyn Monroe was exploited, objectified and reduced to meat somehow becomes part of that very process.

View all my reviews

NaNo Update: The First Third

Ten days in and I’m only just getting into my stride with NaNo after a slow start.

Currently, I am just shy of 6 000 words and with a projected completion date of 6th February, 2015. Most of those words, however, appeared in the last three days or so and that’s notwithstanding a loss of around 600 words when my writing programme crashed (yes, I should have some sort of backup for my files…).

Why has the impetus only kicked in at this comparatively late stage of the game?

Part of the reason is simply that I have reached a stage in the narrative of A Laurentine Education where events are moving fast and I’m drawn along with them. The initial scenes were all about character and background, requiring more time and patience to write. They can be revisited in the post NaNo period.

A possible lesson for the future is to begin writing at a narrative high point where the action is flowing and the lines seem to write themselves in willing waves of prose. The slower, more subtle scenes can be blocked in later.

It has also been a matter of schooling myself to sit and write consistently day by day. Hitherto, writing was what I did when I felt like it. A couple of long nights of writing when I had a gap between working shifts, and then perhaps only a couple of paragraphs to show for the following week. NaNo is already showing itself helpful in inspiring a steady daily output rather than erratic feast and famine.

Well, NaNo’s counter says it will take me an average of 2 207 per diem to finish on time – I can still do this!

Gay vampire romance, Mortal Peril, published 31st October 2014 is now available as an e-book from outlets including  Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Ibooks and Barnes and Noble as well as with a subscription to Scribd or Oyster e-book libraries.

My First NanoWriMo this Year!

For the first time this November, I’ve signed up to National Novel Writing Month. The aim is to write 50 000 words of a novel within a month.

On previous years, I avoided it, muttering something about not wanting people telling me when to write, that I can do things at my own pace, thank you. I don’t want to be jollied along.

Why is this year different?

A big difference is that I have recently become a full-time writer, so, ‘I’ll write when I feel like it, I’ve just worked a ten hour shift actually’ doesn’t cut it any more. Now, every month should be yielding 50 000 words at least, allowing for research, editing etc.

Taking part in Nano should hopefully give me a kind of kickstart into that level of literary production with lots of others in the same boat.

I really enjoyed creating the world of The Assassin of Laurentium earlier this year for the MM Romance Group’s Love’s Landscape’s Event and I plan to expand my work on that world into further works. By the end of Nano, I hope to have the working draft of a novella to polish which would be satisfying.

So, I hope this plunge into the world of NanoWriMo will prove fun and productive, and I shall be updating here on my progress…

Happy Halloween – Mortal Peril is Now Available!

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Vampire romance Mortal Peril is now published – the story of Martin, a vampire who finds himself alone for the first time in over two hundred years after his lover mysteriously disappears. Martin finds solace with Anthony, a flame-haired lover of all things medieval and gothic. Unfortunately, in order to secure their survival in secrecy, the vampire community has strictly forbidden all fraternisation with mortals…

You can download Mortal Peril either on Smashwords or Amazon, priced $2.99. It will shortly be available in a wider range of ebook outlets, including Kobo, Apple, and Barnes and Noble, as well as subscription libraries Scribd and Oyster.

 Mortal Peril 2