Sunday, April 28, 2013

Eternal nuisance and flowers galore

Book News:

Still no news from the elusive Eternal Press/Damnation Press about the rights recovery letter they owe me. Not that it surprises me much as it took them 5 months to respond to my first email, so I'm not holding my breath. I do, however, take note that when I posted yet another query, this time on Facebook, and linked my plea to their CEO, the equally elusive Kim Richards, it didn't take her long at all to block me and remove my post from my page. So at least we know Kim is still alive out there somewhere, hey ho.

No matter, as I added the message to my fan page instead, and now just on 900 people have seen it. Might have been easier for the lovely Kim to simply send me the rights recovery letter in the first place, rather than to have all this extra publicity, but people should certainly be allowed to respond as they wish, naturally. In the meantime, I've now posted a comment on her blog (which, astonishingly is still there at the moment of typing, but for how long - who knows!), just to see if I can make any kind of contact with "the other side". Go on, Kim - write that letter! You know you want to, really, and at least it'll mean you'll get rid of me. Besides, I'm not actually that scary, so you don't have to hide, as you've done on Facebook ...

However, more positive news about this situation is that Preditors and Editors have added my unfortunate and continuing experience to their apparently growing database on problems associated with this particular publisher, so will continue to advise writers against them. Hurrah indeed.

Meanwhile, gay thriller The Bones of Summer (Maloney *2) is due out from Amber Allure Press on 2 June, so I'm very much looking forward to that.

And, speaking of Maloney, the first in the series, Maloney's Law, is now out in paperback at Amazon US, so do feel free to pop a copy in your online basket when you're next shopping. Thank you.

I'm also happy to say that this week, I've received two reviews for gay comedy, Who Moved My Holepunch? The first is from Rainbow Book Reviews, who comment:

"If you're wondering how moving a holepunch can possibly lead to an exciting story, you're not the only one. When I saw this book for the first time, I thought the same thing. So, I picked up the book, so to speak, and read with great interest what wonderfully quirky characters Anne Brooke has come up with now. With that title the situation was promising from the very start. And, let me tell you, I wasn't disappointed … If you like stories with a touch of humor, if you enjoy reading about quirky, somewhat unusual characters, and if you're looking for a hot read that contains just a touch of kink and a lot of office sex, you will probably like this book."

And the second review is from Joyfully Jay Reviews, who says:

"Who Moved My Holepunch? First of all, what a great title for a book. I'm not sure if I would've been so compelled to read it had I not seen the catchy title and cover. For this, I must say thank you, Anne Brooke. I figured, if anything, I'd be getting a story outside of the norm and I have to say that was true. Who Moved My Holepunch? was a quirky little madcap adventure within the framework of a budding workplace romance."

Many thanks, both, for reading and reviewing!

Finally in this section, I'm thrilled to announce that my gay erotic short story The Beginning of Knowledge, as endorsed by actor and model Charlie Harding, will be published by Wilde City Press on 1 May. Here's the blurb:

When University administrator Alan Castleton meets temporary worker and talented pianist Luke Milton, he doesn’t expect to become obsessed with the handsome young blond. But soon he is heavily involved in a passionate and angry affair, and exploring the dark shadows of his own personality in a way he’s never encountered before.
The more Alan tries to break free from his obsession, the deeper it entangles him. The dangerous split between his reason and his sexual desires threatens his peace of mind and, when the crisis point comes, he must decide once and for all the kind of life he should lead.

I for one can't wait. The week ahead is certainly going to be fun, that's for sure.

Life News:

Lots of excitement in the garden this week, as spring really settles in. I've planted out our Mrs Bradshaw geums, and the spare heucheras we had lurking in the vegetable patch so at least they all have a home now. Plus our camellia is also fully in bloom, as are our gorgeous red tulips in the back garden. Fabulous.

I've also been busy in the kitchen (I'm such a Domestic Goddess, you know ...) and made a Cappuccino Coffee Cake. Which tastes pretty good, I have to say, though I appear to have broken my electric food mixer in the process (how? How?!) and had to resort to the faithful standby of Husband Food Mixer in the last ten minutes. What a hero, eh.

K and I have also booked our 3D (3D!!! How alluring we will look ...) Star Trek Into Darkness tickets for the first time, and I'm wondering if I can take my Klingon Guide to Tourism dictionary ("Buy or die") along for an airing. Hmm, probably not, but a girl can dream.

I also have to say I was really disappointed by the ending of Broadchurch - what rot, we say. All highly unlikely, so a plot with more holes in than a Swiss cheese, but the acting was spot-on and deeply alluring, and made the whole laughable journey somehow worthwhile. Hey ho.

And, over at The Angry Anglican, I take a much needed break from Anglican Leadership Homophobia World (AKA The Church of England) and find respite (phew!) with the local URC church ...

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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Naughty publishers and happy pills

Book News:

Sigh. Here we go again. I'm having enormous trouble getting the Rights Recovery letter for my literary short story Painting from Life back from Eternal Press/Damnation Books. Last year they removed it from their website without telling me, and then when I asked for the return of copyright in October 2012, they either ignored me or emailed back saying they were "working on it". They've been "working on it" ever since and in March I actually received an email from Kim Richards, the CEO, saying she was planning to send me the RR letter in two weeks' time. Well, two weeks came and went, and still nothing.

So it gives me great and heartfelt pleasure to see that Eternal Press and Damnation Books are both mentioned on Preditors and Editors as a Publisher To Avoid. Heck, wish I'd known that a while back - might at least have saved myself all those emails I've been sending. Still, I've sent more information to Preditors and Editors so they can add my sorry tale to their information on this particular company. Are you out there, Kim? I quite understand your organisation is noted as being rather dodgy but if you need something to draft a letter on in the midst of your troubles, I'm happy to send you a typewriter ... Fellow writers out there - be warned!

Turning to more cheerful writing matters, I've found a review of gay science fiction story Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle at ARe Cafe Reviews. It included the following:

"Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle by Anne Brooke is a short story with a light comic touch that may appeal to many readers, even those who tend to avoid science-fiction. The fast pace, comical details, and the single viewpoint from an appealing hero make for an immediately engaging reading experience."

Also at ARe Cafe was a lovely 4-star review of gay thriller A Dangerous Man, which included the following:

A Dangerous Man is not a gay romance with a traditional happy ending, but it is a compelling work of gay fiction and a real page-turner. Things to praise include the flawless writing and the subtlety with which Michael's tragic past is revealed. The London setting is vivid and three-dimensional, and the author has a perfect ear for dialogue.

I'm also very happy to announce that my author page is now up at new gay fiction publisher Wilde City Press. While you're there, have a good look round the site, and I hope you enjoy the visit. My story with them will be published in May and I hope to let you know the details very soon.

Meanwhile, the FREE giveaway of fantasy novel Hallsfoot's Battle is still on over at Goodreads until 23 April, so don't miss out. As a reminder, here's the blurb for you:

"In the second book in The Gathandrian Trilogy, Gelahn the mind-executioner begins his campaign. His powers are sublime, unmatched – even without the mind-cane in his possession. Using fear and pain he enslaves his victims, but next he will break and possess the Lammas Overlord.

Recently appointed Acting Elder and left in sole charge of her people, Annyeke Hallsfoot draws on all her mind-skills and courage as the fight for Gathandria rages. The precious ancient Legends are her bedrock and she begins teaching their wisdom to the scribe, Simon Hartstongue, who must quickly learn to work with the mind-cane’s strange powers. But Simon is distracted by his own demons and only fears the artefact. Supported by Johan and Talus, her young charge, Annyeke plots a desperate strategy to defeat the enemy.

As the Gathandrians rally behind their new leader, Gelahn strikes at the heart of the city."

It includes one rather tricky gay couple, a feisty redhead and an obstinate raven, so what more can you want? Good luck with the competition.

On another writing tack, children's fantasy story The Origami Nun now has its own video on YouTube, so do pop along and enjoy at any time.

Life News:

This week, the reduction of my Happy Pills has hit home for the first time, and it's all proving harder than I thought. Felt very depressed mid-week and couldn't seem to do or think anything at my usual speeds. Possibly that may be a good thing, however, as I tend to live life at full throttle. So have spent a lot of spare time napping and am feeling a bit more normal now, phew.

Also in the week, I watched my recording of Maggie Thatcher's funeral, which made me both rather sad and also immensely pleased at how well done it was. It was also good to see so many people out supporting and sending her on her last great journey - rather than the national bitchiness and downright misogyny that's been taking over our social networking and media for the last week or so. I have to say that hearing so many times about how Maggie was so terrible because she was so divisive has made me smile though. Um, isn't being divisive what good leadership is all about?? It was that terrible consensus and trying to agree with everyone that got us into the s**t in 1979 anyway, for those of us who remember those dreadful days prior to Maggie turning up and sorting out the mess. She was simply the right woman for the right time, and I'll not forget it.

This weekend, spring has also really sprung, hurrah. We heard our first cuckoo of the year, and our apple blossom and dwarf tulips are now in all their full glory.

I've also made Double Chocolate Mint Sponge cake, which was terribly easy and tastes divine. Will definitely be making this one again.

And yesterday we had a glorious day at Petworth House, followed by a trip to Rake Garden Centre - which is always worth a visit and where they had a sale of tulips so we went a bit mad really. But you can never have too many tulips, to my mind. So a lot of planting has been done in the glorious sunshine we've had.

Meanwhile, over at The Angry Anglican, I put the case to you, folks, that despite what the Church of England would have us believe, gay marriage is actually God's great plan after all. Is the CofE listening though? Hmm, I doubt it ...

So, because of the fact that K and I are fed up to the back teeth with Anglican Leadership Homophobia World, we took a week off from battling the beast, albeit quietly, and attended our local United Reformed Church service instead. Very nice it was too - we'll be going again for sure.

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bestsellers and bargains galore

Book News:

Goodness me, lots going on this week. I'm pleased to say that gay thriller Maloney's Law is now available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and All Romance Ebooks, where it's already one of their bestsellers.

It's also received a couple of reviews, one from Rainbow Reviews, which comments:

"Maloney’s Law by Anne Brooke is a gay romance and mystery. It’s also a dark, deep, and poetic gay romance and mystery. I confess I love novels written in the first person and present tense, but I also know it’s quite difficult to write them well. But not, apparently, for Brooke. Her Maloney’s Law is exceptionally well-written."

And there's another re-released review from Well Read Reviews, so thank you to Jen for that.

Meanwhile, over at Brief Encounter Reviews, The Delaneys, My Parents and Me are also having their turn in the sun, where Jen says:

"If you haven’t started the series yet, and you like m/m/m stories then I would recommend that you read this series, as I’m sure you’ll love the Delaneys and Liam as much as I have."

Not to be outdone, Where You Hurt The Most also had a review from ARe Cafe Reviews which I've only just picked up on. They say:

"I am always glad to snap up the latest fiction from Anne Brooke because the writing is flawless – clean, crisp, minimalist, and elegant – and her insight into the interactions between people is profound. This story fulfills both expectations."

Gosh, that's nice. Thank you!

Over at Amber Allure Press, gay comic romance, Who Moved My Holepunch? appears, alongside The Delaneys, My Parents and Me, in the March bestsellers charts - so it's really lovely to have two in the charts at once. Many thanks to those people buying my books, and I hope you're enjoying them.

This week, my surreal comedy Candy and Catharsis - about the love-life of a dictionary - has also been published by Untreed Reads. Here's the blurb:

"Love is possible even in the most surprising of settings. When dictionary-dweller and word-about-town Catharsis falls madly in love with good-time-gal Candy, it changes everything he ever thought he knew about the literary life.

Helped by his closest word-friends and neighbours, Catharsis sets out, determined to meet the word-woman of his dreams and declare to her his undying passion. However, in a journey beset with difficulties and dangerous detours, will he ever find Candy? And, even if he does, can the course of true love ever really run smooth?"

And, at the moment, if you buy this book, then you get another one FREE. What could be nicer?... Not only that, but if you buy bisexual thriller Thorn in The Flesh direct from Untreed Reads, then you can pick another story up for FREE. Happy reading!

Life News:

During the week, I was sorry to hear about the death of Maggie Thatcher, one of the great women and great politicians of our time. You can read my reactions, written with a literary focus, here. RIP Our Maggie.

Closer to home, K has been involved with the Players of Elstead Theatrical Society, making his debut performance in their very funny farce, An Eye For An Eye, Darling. I went twice, and it was fantastic - a star is born, I'm sure! I can't wait for the next play, later this year. Though I have to admit it's nice to have our living room artwork home - as they were used for the set!

Meanwhile, the barn owl is back (hurrah!) and after five weeks of having the goldfinch food on the bird-feeder with nary a goldfinch, we finally have two goldfinches who are making regular visits, double hurrahs. It's lovely to see them here.

Over at The Angry Anglican, I achieve a full Anger Rating in my response to the Church of England telling me that Equal Marriage is the Work of The Devil, harrumph.

On a far nicer note, this week's baking endeavours were Maple Syrup and Pecan cupcakes which actually worked, and very tasty they are too.

And the dwarf tulips are coming up in the garden and look absolutely stunning. Spring has sprung at last!

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

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Maggie Thatcher - a non-book book review

I’ve been meaning to read a biography of Baroness Thatcher for some time now, and the sad news of her death yesterday (8 April 2013) has crystallised this urge into a definite intention.

Because, let me admit it first – before the brickbats start flying in - that I’m very much a fan of the Iron Lady. I don’t usually get too upset about politicians or public figures. But yesterday I shed a few tears when I heard the news of her death – just as my mother and I both shed tears when Maggie lost the premiership and had to leave Downing Street all those years ago. Most of our Essex contacts did back then, but I grew up in the farming community in rural Essex and we make our women tough. We like ’em that way, even when the rest of the world doesn’t. Of course, Maggie wasn’t an Essex Gal like me, but interestingly she did spend some time in Colchester, my home town, in her youth. And somehow she felt like one of us. We thought of her as an honorary Essex Gal in a lot of ways: mouthy, tough, take-no-nonsense, passionately holding on to beliefs when everyone else thinks we’re crazy, and deep down not actually caring what they think at all. All she really needed was the white stilettos (she already had the handbag) and nobody could have told the difference.

So, as I look at the vast range of biographies or autobiographies I could read, there are those that stand out and those I might like to give a try some day.

Having heard Gillian Shephard stand up for Maggie on Radio 4 yesterday evening (and whilst I was shouting my approval at what she said as set against the whining complaints of the other two politicians present), Shephard’s The Real Iron Lady is top of my list. I’m drawn to finding out a woman’s eye view of the Thatcher years, and see if my impressions and admiration, and indeed downright affection for the lady, remain the same. This book apparently also focuses on the behind-the-scenes humility and kindness often showed by Maggie – a character trait which seems sadly often ignored by the press. It’s a snippet at 288 pages only.

On the heftier side is John Campbell’s Margaret Thatcher: From Grocer’s Daughter to Iron Lady, which is a whole 576 pages long. Goodness, that’s a lot of words, but it’s the title that attracts me. When I grew up in the 60s and 70s, my only careers talk focused on how I could be a secretary, a teacher or a nurse. And I remember clearly my (actually surprisingly liberated) father presenting me with a book called “Careers for Women”, which also included Petrol Pump Attendant and Veterinary Assistant (never the Vet …), in case none of the other three careers worked out. Yes, you’re laughing, but for me it was totally wonderful when a woman came from nowhere, was laughed at by all the men for her ambition (though they’ll deny it now, if they’re still with us) and became the first (and so far only) female Prime Minister this country has ever had. Whatever you may think of Maggie’s character and politics, this is not an achievement to be sniffed at, coming from where she did, and indeed now. In any case, because of her, everything – at least for me – felt different. There were other career choices after all.

Another aspect of Maggie’s life and power I’ve never forgotten is how, under her, we kept the Falklands. Well, my dears, it is ours, and other countries should keep their hands to themselves, harrumph. I remember this period of British history very well as it occurred in 1982 when I was taking my A level French exams – so there are a whole generation of people my age who know that the Falkland Islands in French are Les Malouines – as naturally we all discussed our opinions of the War in our French oral exams. I know I sound middle aged and very Conservative (but really I’ve never made any secret of either, so why not, eh?…), but she did us proud, and we couldn’t have asked for better political leadership during that time. So, I’d like to read the account of the Falklands War in the words of Maggie herself – Thatcher’s War: The Iron Lady on The Falklands, even though it’s only a part of the larger and more encompassing autobiography, The Downing Street Years - which is definitely another one for my list, albeit a vast tome at a grand total of 832 pages.

Still, if my father can read the whole of Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples, I really shouldn’t be whinging about page counts. And today, having listened to Radio 4 again on the way home from work, I've another to add to my list - Damian Barr's Maggie and Me. I was very impressed indeed by Mr Barr's interview today about Maggie and his book (only 256 pages, you know). I particularly keyed into the fact that because of her he realised it was all right to be different and to be an individual, something I personally feel very strongly about - and which is perhaps her best legacy after all.

So five books for me to get my teeth into over the coming months to commemorate the passing of a figure whom I believe to have been a great leader, a great Prime Minister and a great woman. A little bit of history for us all.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Time, justice and love

Book News:

I'm delighted to announce that today my gay thriller Maloney's Law is republished by Amber Allure Press and available for the first time in ebook format. The blurb is:

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.

Over at the Amber Allure blog, you can find out more about my borderline autistic Private Investigator and the major issues he has with time, justice and love, as well as enjoying an extract from the novel. And don't forget that Amber Allure will be discounting the book for the first week only, so it's the ideal time to buy! Thank you.

Meanwhile, gay comedy Who Moved My Holepunch? is now available at Amazon UK and Amazon US. During the week, it gained one review at Brief Encounters and another at Hearts On Fire. Many thanks to both reviewers for these.

Not to be outdone, gay erotic menage story The Delaneys, My Parents and Me was briefly in the Top 100 Erotic Gay Fiction charts at Amazon UK, so that gave me a nice little lift. As it were.

I've also completed a brief interview about my latest fantasy novel, Hallsfoot's Battle, and you can discover more about danger, destruction and mind-reading here. Enjoy!

Finally in this section, I'm very happy indeed to be one of the authors signed up with new gay fiction publisher, Wilde City Press, which launches later in April. Don't forget to sign up on their new website and be part of one of the best presses in town! And how I love their new Anne Brooke branding - hey I look almost fashionable, don't you know ...

Life News:

This weekend, spring has been out in almost full force, hurrah. Yesterday, I potted up cornflowers, marigolds and pinks, weeded everything and watered all the rest of the pots too. I even sat in the garden and read my book, well gosh. Today I've spotted two wagtails and a chaffinch, the crocuses are at last fully in bloom and the bees are humming around the heather as if it's the only food in the garden. Which, bearing in mind the apple blossom's not yet out, it probably is.

Also yesterday, I attempted to make Fudge Cupcakes, which was something of a disaster, my dears. Alas and alack. The cake part is fine - though I'm sure the inclusion of fudge in the mixture makes it stickier than it should be - but the icing is terrible. I followed all the instructions to the letter, but sadly it just looks like a cement mixture exploded on my buns (if I'm allowed to type that in public ...). Still, K assures me they taste nice - and as long as we remember to lift the icing off and tackle it as a side dish, all remains well. Ho hum.

This week, I've also played some exceptionally chilly golf where even the fairways (on the rare occasions I'm on them) had ice in places. But it was still wonderful to be out as I don't seem to have been able to get on the course for weeks. I do hope it's a tad warmer next time though.

Meanwhile, I'm under doctor's orders to cut down on my Happy Pills, so now I'm taking one every other day, rather than one a day. So far so good, though I must admit to being a bit nervous about it. I've got a telephone appointment with the doctor in two or three weeks' time, so hope things remain well for then.

Speaking of health, as I come from a family who are very prone to bowel cancer (we tend to die from either that or diabetes - but hey it's great to have a choice!...), may I draw your attention to the wonderful and very useful Beating Bowel Cancer website. April is Bowel Cancer Awareness month, so be sure to join the excellently named Bowel Movement to support the fight against what is one of the deadliest cancer in the UK, as well as being the least talked about. Thank you.

Turning finally to movements of a less physical and more spiritual nature, this week the Angry Anglican takes on Romance, Religion and Retirement - which is quite a mix really. Happy reading.

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

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Hallsfoot's Battle: Fantasy Rediscovered

Hello, all! Thought you might like to know more about my latest fantasy novel, Hallsfoot's Battle, so here's a quick interview!

1. What is the title of your book(s)?

Hallsfoot’s Battle.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s the second book in the Gathandrian Trilogy, so is a follow-up to The Gifting, also published by Bluewood Publishing. I’ve always been fascinated in how someone who’s a loner by nature responds to social and cultural demands, as my main character, Simon Hartstongue, has to do in the series. I’ve also always loved the thought of being able to read minds, so that’s an important part of Simon’s character and culture too!

3: What genre does your book come under?

Epic fantasy.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Loner and scribe Simon would definitely be played by Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd, but he’d have to dye his hair blond! I’d love Colin Firth to play the mysterious Ralph Tregannon, Simon’s enemy and some-time lover. As for the people of Gathandria, lovely redhaired Karen Gillan – who played Amy Pond in the recent Dr Who series – is a must for feisty redhead and would-be elder, Annyeke Hallsfoot. Finally, I mustn’t forget the powerful and dangerous enemy of them all, Duncan Gelahn; the only actor who can do evil and threatening well enough for that role – as well as being very sexy indeed – just has to be Alan Rickman. So there you go – the perfect casting all round!

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When your whole country is under threat of destruction, just where can you look for a saviour?

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

The trilogy is published by independent press, Bluewood Publishing.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It’s taken me about 18 months or so to write and edit each book of the series, although that’s a flexible estimate, especially as work and life often get in the way.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The first book in the trilogy, The Gifting, has been compared to the fantasy work of Stephen R Donaldson, especially his books involving the chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever. There are definitely echoes between the two stories, for instance in the inclusion of a damaged loner (in my case, Simon Hallsfoot) and the epic journeys to other lands. I’m definitely thrilled to be compared to such a writer, that’s for sure!

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

See above – Stephen R Donaldson’s work is a definite inspiration! I devoured the Covenant stories when I was younger, and they’ve always stayed with me.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The trilogy has a strong spiritual theme, where the characters are searching for salvation and a sense of identity – as a long-term Christian, I find religious or spiritual themes often appear in my fiction in some form or other. I also keep returning to the themes of love in all its guises, and how that can be a force for good or bad. There are two couples in the series – Annyeke and her companion Johan, and the far more difficult relationship between Simon and Ralph – and it’s been interesting to see how these two relationships have developed. And the psychology of revenge is always fascinating too, as evidenced by the actions and state of mind of Duncan Gelahn. A good enemy is always vital! I do hope readers enjoy the story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

While you're here, don't forget to catch up on the latest information about two Bluewood Publishing stalwarts - David Bowman and Paulette Rae. Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy

Monday, April 01, 2013

Blog hops and bestsellers

Book News:

Just a quick reminder that I am taking part in the Scorching Blog Hop until 6 April, and there are loads of giveaways, as well as a grand prize. Leave a comment at my below blog and you'll be in with a chance to win a FREE ebook of gay romance Who Moved My Holepunch? Don't forget to visit all the other participants too. Good luck!

Indeed, already Who Moved My Holepunch? has received a lovely review from On Top Down Under Reviews, which included the following:

"I find Anne Brooke writes a mean short story … If you are looking for a witty, sexy, M/M office romp, then I highly recommend Who Moved My Holepunch? It is a great title and the content matches the cover, sexy and interesting." 

Thank you, Karen! Another review, this time a 4-star one, can also be found at MM Good Book Reviews, and this includes:

"It was a fascinating read. I laughed. I gasped. And I felt the exquisite chemistry this author achieved between her characters. The world they were put into was not something I anticipated, but even college administrative jobs can be fascinating with a creative mind. A lovely novella not to be missed."

Other reviews can be found at Goodreads, including a 4 star one and a 4.5 star one. Many thanks to all readers there for your comments. You can also now find this book at All Romance Ebooks, if that's your preferred shopping venue.

In addition, another prize giveaway that's running at the moment is for fantasy novel, Hallsfoot's Battle, the second in my critically acclaimed Gathandrian series.

At Goodreads, you have the chance to win one FREE paperback of this novel if you add your name to the list by 23 April. Whilst at LibraryThing, there are two FREE ebooks up for grabs (scroll down to view) if you request it by 7 April. Good luck to all!

I'm also happy to note that I was the No 5 bestselling author at Untreed Reads for 2012, well gosh. A BIG thank you to everyone who has bought a copy of my books there and put me in those charts.

Finally in this section, I'm thrilled to be included in an interview about gay romance and religion over at the Lambda Literary magazine. It's a pleasure to be there.

Life News:

Last week, I spent three fascinating days in snowy Edinburgh at a work conference, and got a heck of a lot out of it, I must say. Some very thought-provoking seminars indeed. The only down side was the pesky weather, but Edinburgh is of course still a beautiful city.

K and I also spent a day with Mother on Good Friday, accompanying her to the Hour of Remembrance as usual. And the Easter Service was of course packed and very enjoyable. I particularly appreciated the champagne and chocolate eggs after the service, but fear we're possibly not getting those every week, alas.

Over the last couple of days, K and I have visited Clandon Park, along with their lovely garden centre, where I succumbed to two gorgeous Senetti plants. And today we've visited Hatchlands, and come away with two very reasonably priced lupins. Sadly, though, both K and I are battling with a cold/flu-type thing, so haven't done as much gardening as we'd have liked. That said, I took out most of the wretched ground elder yesterday - a weed which I'm sure will survive a nuclear winter, should it ever come upon us. Hey ho.

Hope you're all having a glorious Easter week!

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

Scorching Book Reviews: LGBT Blog Hop 1-6 April

I'm really thrilled to be part of the Scorching Book Reviews LGBT Blog Hop which starts now and lasts until 6 April. There's a lot of fun and giveaways, so do be sure to visit the rest of the blog hoppers. You won't regret it!

On this post, I'm giving away a FREE e-copy of gay office romance Who Moved My Holepunch? to one lucky commenter.  Here's the blurb:

Darren Fording works as a Senior Timetabling Officer for his local college. When Max Sheldon arrives to take over as Acting Registrar, Darren finds himself consumed by lust for his new boss and making the kind of decisions he as a stuck-in-his-ways administrator has never made before.

When Darren initiates a full-on kiss during a meeting with Max, the enthusiasm of the Registrar's response takes him by surprise. Max is reluctant to pursue a relationship with an employee, but Darren is equally determined not to take no for an answer. Can he prove his worth to the man he's beginning to love and show him he's a dab hand at educational politics as well?

And here's an extract to warm up your day:

Max looked pretty darn good. Darren hadn’t seen him all day, as he’d been neck-deep in last-minute inspection preparation, whilst Max had been out sweet-talking local schools and parents. He wore a dark blue suit matched with a soft cream shirt, his jacket slung over his arm. No tie, but Darren imagined he’d taken that off for tonight. Who wore ties on a date? He’d ditched his in the drawer a couple of hours ago.
If he’d expected Max to say something, he didn’t. Instead, he simply gazed at Darren, his eyes wide and unblinking. It wasn’t the look of a man who planned a few drinks with a colleague before making his way home unaccompanied.
Darren rose to his feet, not even bothering to put his trusty holepunch in its usual position. For once, it could fend for itself.
“You’re the sexiest sight I’ve seen all day,” he said, and watched as Max’s eyelashes flickered.
“I hope so,” said Max. “Bearing in mind where you work.”
They both laughed, but then the laughter faded as they continued to look at each other.
“Take your shirt off,” Darren said, as he strolled round his desk to half-perch on the front.
“Not even a drink first, as we agreed?”
“Later. Not now.” Darren walked right up to Max and stroked one finger down his face. “I want to see your chest.”
He didn’t know where this new demanding person came from. He didn’t know why taking the lead felt so natural when it came to Max. The man was his boss, for heaven’s sake. He really shouldn’t be ordering him to strip. It certainly wouldn’t look great at his next review, but Darren couldn’t help himself. Neither was Max objecting. He nodded, as if what Darren had asked was the most logical instruction possible.
Then he stepped back, dropped his jacket onto the desk and began to unbutton his shirt.
Darren couldn’t have stopped gazing if the whole of the international catering contingent had charged in, waving a variety of freshly baked baguettes and a dozen bags of bagels. Thank goodness they didn’t because the sight of Max’s chest, slowly revealed, required all his attention. He was smooth-skinned and lightly tanned in a way that spoke of outdoor life rather than the demands of the gym. His nipples were dark, with a slight framing of hair, which Darren longed to run his fingers across.
Not yet, though, not yet.
When he’d fully unbuttoned his shirt, Max shrugged it off, not even bothering to glance backward at where it lay crumpled on the lino.
Darren smiled. “That’s nice. Very nice. I like your body. I knew I would. Thank you.”
Max opened his mouth to speak, but Darren laid one finger on his lips, feeling the soft hush of his breath against his skin.
“Please,” Darren said. “We’re not in our office roles tonight. I don’t want you to speak at the moment. I just want to admire you.”
He did so, walking around Max as he stood, panting a little and with the light from the window making his shoulder muscles gleam. Darren leant forward and puffed a hot breath over the nape of Max’s neck. A small groan and a shiver rewarded him. “I think I’ll close the blinds. I don’t want people looking in and seeing us. This is private.”
After he’d shut the blinds, Darren locked the office door. The security teams were on site and, although they’d never bothered him when he’d worked late before, he didn’t want to take any chances. It would be Max’s career as well as his own on the line here if he weren’t careful. He didn’t want that kind of guilt.
“We’re safe,” he said. “I’d love it if you took off the rest of your clothes.”
Max swallowed and closed his eyes briefly. Darren could almost see the struggle written on his face between professional pride and personal need. He stepped closer and touched his arm.
“Whatever happens,” he whispered, “it doesn’t go anywhere other than between the two of us. And it won’t affect how we are at work. I’m not that kind of a man.”
Max glanced at him, and half-smiled. “I know you’re not,” he whispered. “I know.”
The way Max looked at him almost made Darren lose control and kiss him for a second time, deeply and with feeling, but that wasn’t what he'd come here for. Whether Max had known it or not when he strolled into the office a few minutes ago, he hadn’t been searching for someone indecisive, but someone with control.
Darren hoped he could provide it. “I’m waiting,” he said.
Max licked his lips. He hunkered down and unlaced his shoes, drawing them off and placing them side-by-side next to him. Next his socks and then the trousers. He took more care of these than he had with his shirt, folding them before laying them on the floor. Finally, he stood, catching Darren’s gaze again. He could see the outline of Max’s cock through his Calvin Klein’s and the very fact of the label made him smile. Darren was happily a Marks and Spencer man himself.
“Take them off,” he said, but already Max was slipping his briefs down his legs and pushing them away.
At last, he was fully naked.

Don't forget - to be in with a chance of winning a copy, just leave a comment on this post, together with how I can get hold of you, and the winner will be chosen on 7 April. Good luck!

Sorry that I can't make my special links work, but here are the rest of the Easter Hoppers, with loads more chances to win, plus a Grand Prize!

Happy Easter!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK