Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Hit List - publication day

I'm very happy to announce that my latest novel, m/m romantic comedy The Hit List, is now published by Amber Allure, where you can also read a brief extract.

The blurb is:

Jamie Chadwick is straight. Determinedly straight. Or so he keeps telling himself. His small conference business is doing okay and, even though he looks after his ailing father, he loves living in the countryside and life is good. Sort of. But the arrival of old college friend, David Fenchurch, who’s just come out on the distinctly camp side of camp, together with Lucy Reid, his father’s sexy new physiotherapist, sets Jamie on a path he’d never dreamed of taking. On top of all that, the unexpected return of long-lost family friend, Robert Trevelyan, himself openly gay, means that Jamie can no longer ignore the past he’s kept hidden for six years. When Robert and David get together, Jamie’s feelings begin to surface in surprising ways. Who, amongst the crowd of people set to blow his life apart, will make it onto his fantasy hit list? And in the midst of Jamie’s own emotional battlefield, how can he keep things together at all?

I'm really happy with this one, as it's taken me six years to get it right - which, coincidentally is roughly the amount of time it takes Jamie & Robert to get their very rocky relationship sorted out too. All of which proves that writers do indeed grow to be like their characters, in time. I'm also happy to say it's a very different beast in tone from its distant self-published beginnings, and it's great to feel I can finally let it go, having got it to where I wanted it to be, probably all along.

Anyway, at heart, it's a modern, gay retelling of Jane Austen's Emma, so I hope you might take a chance on it and enjoy the read! The ebook is available now, with the paperback being published in mid-March. There's also a book trailer, featuring some rather good-looking young men, so what could be nicer on a Sunday?

Meanwhile, in other news, Lord H and I saw a chiffchaff yesterday (hurrah!) so another bird to be added to this year's list. And here's this week's haiku:

Words batter like rain.
They soak my skin, infiltrate
blood and aching bone.

Anne Brooke - in romantic and humorous mood
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dancing with Lions

I'm pleased to say that my biblical short story, Dancing with Lions, is published today and you can pick up a copy here - though I'm afraid you'll have to be patient as, for some reason, the links to Smashwords take an age to click through.

While you're waiting, you can read an extract from the beginning of the story and also enjoy the book trailer. Never say I'm not kind to you, and have a truly fabulous Friday!

Anne Brooke

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Books, terror and song

I'm very happy to say that my GLBT erotic short story, The Delaneys and Me now has a hot-off-the-press book cover. As you can see. I'm hugely pleased as it has exactly the right amount of quirkiness and humour that (I hope!) is also in the story. You can read an extract here and it will be published by Amber Allure Press on 18 April 2010. Hurrah!

I've also managed to finish and return the galley proofs for The Hit List so am looking forward to the publication date for that one on 28 February, ie this Sunday. It will come out in eBook first, with the paperback following a few weeks later.

Before that however, I'm equally happy to say that my biblical short story, Dancing with Lions will be published by Untreed Reads Press on 26 February, ie tomorrow! So it's going to be one huge party all weekend, I can tell you!

And I also have some rather nice banners now for How to Eat Fruit, courtesy of Jay at Untreed Reads - thanks, Jay! Aren't they great? Haven't quite worked out how to get them onto the website or how to link them to anything yet, but we're working on it. I am indeed a Banner Virgin ...


In the midst of all this excitement, I am pleased also to say that The Bones of Summer received a 4-star rating from Jonathan at Goodreads - thanks, Jonathan!

Meanwhile, at Vulpes Libris I've uploaded my review of Linwood Barclay's thriller, Too Close to Home - he's a great crime author and I can thoroughly recommend his work.

In my other life (yes, I do still have one, just ...) I've been building up the tension by attending a presentation skills course at work yesterday. Which basically meant 2 whole days of feeling sick beforehand, having an enormous headache and not being able to eat properly and then that blessed feeling of relief now I've got the course over with. Yes, as you can tell, I am not a natural at giving presentations, and tend to try to avoid them at all costs. I live in fear that I have nothing of any interest whatsoever to say to anyone and will be found out to be a fraud and utterly inadequate in every sense. Ah well, same old, same old, eh. Anyway, the course itself wasn't too bad and the trainer was incredibly good. I got through my presentation and actually a part of me enjoyed it - more so when it was over, of course. I told them about the house I live in and its rather peculiar history, how we found it, the disasters of moving in and how much we love it now. So it's true what they say - content, and the passion for the content, is all.

I then treated myself and Lord H by taking him to Opera South in Haslemere to see La Perichole. If you scroll down to the list of altos in the chorus details on that last page, you can see Ruth McLeod (from my office) and Beryl Northam (honorary member of our Student Advice team) in all their glory! Anyway, in spite of having a stomach like a dead sheep from the traumas of the day, it was absolutely fantastic - wonderful opera, wonderful singers, fantastic costumes and a great production all round. The highlight of my week indeed, and I sooo loved Ruth's posh hat.

Anne's website - so well accustomed to bouts of terror and song
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - for those essential moments of quietness

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This crazed writing life

Something of a bullet-point blog tonight, I'm afraid, as I've been hugely busy all weekend - in an exciting way, mainly, hurrah:

First off, I've done the final edits to The Hit List which is due out on 28 February, and am now going through the galley proofs. Making the final tweaks, as it were. And I was sooo thrilled that my editor said this about it: This is an excellent story, Anne!! I thoroughly enjoyed it and really fell in love with Jamie and Robert! I totally felt Jamie's struggles...both with his father's illness, his family in general, and with his feelings about Robert. Well done, my friend!! Thank you so much, Karin - that means such a lot that you wouldn't believe it.

I've also been surprised that a couple of publishers have expressed interest in The Gifting - one would like me to make partial changes to Isabella's sections in the novel, which I'm happy to do, whilst another has said they will look at it in late summer to consider it for their 2011 lists. Well, gosh, on both counts. Perhaps Simon the Scribe's time is finally on its way? You never know.

And for a brief moment of glory, The Bones of Summer found itself at No 53 in the UK Amazon gay romance charts, so good to know Paul & Craig are still out there somewhere, doing their stuff. As it were. I do have a soft spot for those two.

Meanwhile, Michael is telling us how he first became a Christian over at The Prayer Seeker's Journal - a story which may well surprise you. And which is basically how it happened to me - except that his mother honeymooned in France, whilst mine honeymooned in Ireland. So never say I'm not truthful - or as near as darn it - in what I'm trying to write there!

Here's a poem that came from my free writing exercise yesterday:


Clagged earth clings
to my boot

and grey clouds
cover the sky

but I still feel
the air’s deep sparkle:

all I need
to know.

And this week's haiku is this:

Today I set free
the world in my head: vibrant,
magical and strange.

Anne's website - just about keeping up with it all!
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - for some quiet revelation

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lions and Redheads

Don't trust either is what I say ... As you can see though, I now have some glorious cover art for Dancing with Lions, my next short story from Untreed Reads. Which is due out on 1 March, if not earlier. Thanks, Jay! You can also read an extract from the beginning of it here. Enjoy! I've completed a book trailer for it and will upload that nearer the time. Good news indeed.

Keeping briefly to matters Godly (ho ho), my review of Lucy Winkett's Our Sound is Our Wound is now up at Vulpes Libris, in the 17 February slot, ie yesterday. It's a fabulous book and Winkett is one of the few church people I take note of. Being one of the few who makes sense. Besides, how can anyone resist a woman who trained as a professional singer yet sets such great store by silence?

And I've now received my contract for GLBT short story, The Delaneys and Me, for Amber Allure, so have signed that and will get it sent back to them soonest. It's due out on 18 April.

I haven't been deserting the poetry though - here's this week's poetry course offering, which takes a personal view of my own special people:


are fragile
like onions.
You can peel us
down to the heart
if you know how
though we won’t let you
see us cry.

We always carry suncream –
factor 50 – even in winter
but no need for you
to draw our attention
to this:
we already know it.

No, our hair
doesn’t come from a bottle
and yes it is real.
Please don’t pull it.
That applies to the hair
down below too. Why ever
would you expect it not to?

No and, again, no,
we really aren’t ill.
We’re always this pale.
It’s a matter of suncream

and onions.

I was also scribbling around last night with some free writing and came up with this one, in honour of the lovely day we had yesterday:


The first good day
of the year:

bright skies
and somewhere

the almost scent
of blossom.

Off to London tonight to catch up with Jane W (hello, Jane!) and celebrate our good working news. Jane's got a lovely new job (hurrah!) and I now have the grand title of Executive Assistant to the Director of Student Care. Well, gosh - you'd better all start minding your manners. I'm important, at last!

Anne's website - proving you can't put a good redhead down
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - proving there's life in religion after all

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shrikes and Fruit

Great bird news this week! We've finally - after about four or five attempts and many miles covered - spotted a Great Grey Shrike on our trip to the New Forest yesterday, hurrah. Such a beautiful bird and a real pleasure to see. Especially as we'd just given up and were returning to the car when suddenly there it was. Bliss. A lifetime first. Two other lifetime firsts yesterday were the black-throated diver and the scaup. Triple huzzahs then! And we also added to our year bird count with a Dartford warbler, a little grebe, grey plovers, curlews, a Brent goose, sanderlings (hundreds of them) and a ringed plover. Big results all round indeed.

Other nice news is that How to Eat Fruit is now available at Amazon US in Kindle version. Ideal Valentine weekend reading, I'd say.

I'm also very pleased with a 4-star rating of Two Christmases on Goodreads - thanks, Jonathan. Very much appreciated, and so glad you enjoyed the read.

Finally, in Book World, Chapter Six of The Prayer Seeker's Journal is now uploaded and can be found here. In which Michael has his first experience of spiritual direction, which isn't entirely what he was expecting.

And here's this week's haiku:

Hidden amongst trees
crocus shoots point to the skies.
Deep green and slender.

Anne's website - always a fruitful place to be
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - finding its own direction

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Books and birthdays

I'm pleased to say that my review of Lenore Black's GLBT comedy romance, All's Fair in Love and Advertising is now up at Vulpes Libris. A witty, warm and wonderful read, I can thoroughly recommend it for this Valentine Week.

Speaking of reviews, a big thank you to Stephanie for her five-star rating of Pink Champagne and Apple Juice on Goodreads - which is nicely balanced by the one-star review of Champers at Amazon US. I must say I was rather impressed that the reader there called it "horrible" and couldn't even bear to keep the book in her home. Now that's the epitome of cool! After all, you know what they say, when they hate your work with a vengeance, that's when you've truly made it ...

Meanwhile, I've been pleased with a four-star review of Maloney's Law and a four-star review of The Bones of Summer. Thank you, Deanna, for those! Plus I'm also more than happy with Sara Bell's four-star review of A Stranger's Touch - thank you, Sara.

And here's this week's poetry course offering, with special thanks to Clare at the office for the inspiration:

Clare eating an orange in the office

Her slender fingers
break mottled skin
while her eyes focus
on the world’s angled mirror.

A flare of clear droplets
laces the air.
Spangles and sunlight,
crystal and glitter.

She separates each segment
as if lancing a wound.
Slow, steady.

Curved gold pieces
in a silver web
disappear on her tongue.

by one.

But the highlight of these last few days has been Lord H's birthday, which we celebrated with style and champagne, naturally, earlier in the week. Happy birthday to Lord H! What a superstar indeed. And, am I mistaken, but do I detect crocus shoots pushing their way into the light across the county? Spring must at last be on its way ...

Anne's website - truly horrible but strangely stylish
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - celebrating the journey

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sex and religion

At last! Those two great influences in life have finally arrived at roughly the same time (as it were). I'm very happy to say that my gay erotic menage story, The Delaneys and Me, has been accepted for publication on 17 April by Amber Allure Press. It's the first menage story I've ever written and I like to think I've given it a rather interesting twist of dark comedy, but time and readers will have to judge. I'm also equally pleased to say that my literary bible story, Dancing with Lions, has been accepted for publication by Untreed Reads in March, so I'm looking forward to that one as well. Nice, if rather strange, to have two so very different stories accepted in the same week. I'll create web pages for both once the cover art is decided.

Keeping to a spiritual note, I've uploaded the next section of The Prayer Seeker's Journal, in which Michael finds a whole new direction to his search. That completes Chapter Five and we're slowly stepping along.

Yesterday, Lord H and I had an utterly fabulous day at Dungeness RSPB Reserve and managed (hurrah!) to spot the following: red-legged partridges, stonechats, Slavonian grebes, a marsh harrier, smews, a bittern, a little egret and a goldeneye. All of which adds nicely to this year's bird count. The bittern was definitely THE bird of the day, and probably the year - you so rarely see them. Well, this one took off from the water and flew lazily past the bird hide so everyone could get a really close and good view of it. Fantastic! I was very good though and didn't scream and jump up and down whilst hyperventilating with excitement (though I desperately wanted to) - this sort of thing doesn't go down too well with the birding fraternity. It tends to scare the birds ...

So, that brings me to the end of a very lovely week off, and I am attempting to turn my head back to the working world again for tomorrow, sigh. I really love these weeks off where I can just stay at home, chill and write. It's lovely.

I've written a couple of haikus this week and here they are:

Strange dogs haunt my dreams
hunting in the night's shadows.
Dark blood and silence.

Over distant blue,
lapwings spin a cloud of lace
and pearls. Glittering.

Anne's website - with a foot in so many camps ...
The Prayer Seeker - where a spiritual search takes an unexpected direction

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Reviews and poems

I'm pleased to say that my review of Anita Shreve's Testimony is now up at Vulpes Libris. Sex and fragility in school - what more could you want?

Speaking of reviews, I'm also happy to say that A Stranger's Touch has received its latest review at Three Dollar Bill reviews and is also - much to my amazement and utter delight - Number 8 in the January bestsellers list at Amber Allure, well gosh! Thank you to everyone who's bought it and put it there.

Meanwhile, two of my poems have been accepted for the Spring edition of The Mayo Review so that's something to look forward to. It's also interesting as they're the last ever poems I've submitted anywhere, or indeed intend to submit, for the foreseeable future. The rest of my poems I'm simply putting up here as and when I write them or at my Facebook page as part of my meditation series. I'm into the 300s of the meditation pieces now, so quite a body of work, I feel. Can't comment on the quality however - one never can. Talking of poetry, here's this week's poem from my poetry course:

My father’s shirt

hangs large and shabby
in the blue section
of my wardrobe.
I wear it
as an overshirt
at parties
though the neck
is worn
and the sleeves
are too long

You wore it
for the last time
the day before you left
for hospital.

Your gardening shirt:
you were pruning
your beloved roses,
fingers scattering
stray petals
to the earth.

And, if I dare sneak in such a thing, I am frankly astounded that one of the small publishers I sent The Gifting to (sorry about the grammar, but who cares?...) has actually requested the full MS after seeing the first three chapters. Yes, I know nothing will come of it (nothing ever does), but this is the first time this has happened with this book, so I'm having my own private moment of pleasure (as it were). And enjoying it while it lasts ...

Finally, on the writing front, that lovely young man, Jason Shaw, has uploaded a precis version of my interview at Best Gay Blogs, so if you didn't catch it before, now's your chance. Some readers have already enquired (taking the picture at the bottom of the link into account) whether Jason was naked when he interviewed me - but out of professional courtesy, I couldn't possibly say. Jason, your secret is safe with me ...

And, today, I've had a wonderful morning of tea and chat with Jane H (hello, Jane - wonderful to catch up at last!), and an afternoon of utterly blissful reflexology. Plus, I've finished a short story which I hope is suitably spicy as well as being comic, and hope to pitch it to one of my publishers at some point. Ooh, hark at her. One of my publishers!!... Whatever next?

Anne's website - celebrating her small successes
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - getting in touch with the inner man, slowly