Sunday, May 30, 2010

Happy books and bitchy songs

All the doom and gloom I've been reading lately has recently become a bit too much for me, so if anyone knows any happy books out there they can recommend, please do let me know. The only rule is that it can't be your own, for obvious reasons. Many thanks to those who've offered suggestions so far - I'm really grateful.

Speaking hopefully of happy things, Lord H is loving his new iPad, even though it can't quite pick up the GPS signal to make the SatNav work. The good thing though is that the SatNav works on his iphone, even though it's not the quickest of connections, and the blessed Mary (the SatNav voice) sometimes gives you directions that she's already given you or that you've already done. So I think it works only as long as you do actually know your way anyway. Or simply take a map. The choice is yours.

I'm also pleased to see a good couple of episodes being broadcast in the latest Dr Who series - a brilliant two-parter, though I deeply mourn (SPOILER ALERT) the loss of Rory just as he was shaping up nicely, dammit. And I have to say I don't like the pesky Amy - Spoilt Brat Alert springs to mind ... Still, laughing at Eurovision and Graham Norton's wonderfully snide commentary cheered me up big-time. How wonderful to be so gloriously last! And another middling career for a young hopeful UK singer gone for ever (say she, bitchily) ... You think they'd have more sense than to enter, really. It only ends in tears. Theirs.

In writing news, I've uploaded the last part of chapter twelve to The Prayer Seeker's Journal and in my offline writing of it I've reached the big milestone of 30,000 words, hurrah. Yes, I appreciate hardly anyone is reading it (thank you to the happy few, the very few who do) and so that experiment has been something of a glorious failure, but it's still a big thing for me and I shall therefore continue until it's done. Plus, as it's a novella and I don't expect will go beyond 50,000 words, tops, that cheers me greatly in terms of reaching my goal. Still, the mysteries of how exactly blogged fiction gets an audience remains as ever beyond me.

Meanwhile, at Untreed Reads, there's a discount in operation over this bank holiday weekend, so if you put MEMDAYSALE in at the checkout stage for any of their offerings, you'll make a nice lot of savings. Including on some of my books, so that's double nice.

In terms of reviews, The Delaneys and Me gained a 4.5 star review at Rainbow Reviews and is also now available for purchase at Amazon Kindle.

Today's meditation poems are:

Meditation 362
Victory balanced
by sorrow,

success matched
with loss

proving beyond
all reasonable doubt

that the worst gift
is to get what you want.

Meditation 363
When love is more overpowering
than the man
who contains it

then he will be happy
only if all else should die
and the lover live.

Meditation 364
It all comes down
to this:

after the war
the politics

and nothing
really changes.

And the Sunday haiku is:

Cool air bites my skin
and though morning comes too soon
the birds are silent.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Branded Words

Lordy, but this week seems to be hugely difficult - I'm really way too tired to cope with it and goodness knows when I'm going to get any sleep, but we struggle bravely on. The Empire Spirit, don't you know.

Anyway, I'm pleased to say that you can now find all my romantic fiction at 1Romance Ebooks and, with romance in mind, I now have a brand-new web page for upcoming gay short story, Angels and Airheads, (plus extract) due out from Torquere Press on 12 June.

Meanwhile, a new anthology of prose and poetry, Branded Words, is now out at Amazon UK and Amazon US and contains a poem from me, so buy early, buy often. As they say.

I've also send the final edits for Martin and The Wolf back to Amber Allure, and that's due out 13 June. So that's going to be an exciting weekend for sure! Though, as I'm away on holiday then, I'll have to catch up with marketing when I get back. I've also sent back the contract for straight and slightly naughty short story, The Boilerman and The Bride, to Amber Quill Press, and that's due out on 4 July.

Ooh and I'm delighted to see my author details are now at Cheyenne Publishing, hurrah!

Finally, here are this week's meditation poems so far:

Meditation 358
The first act
the new leader performs

is sleeping
with the old leader’s women.

I wonder how much
that would liven up politics

if it happened today.

Meditation 359
To defeat the one
you hate
and fear

bring twelve thousand men
and as many ropes
into the city.

Leave behind
not a single stone,
not a single breath.

Meditation 360
On a day like this
the only thing to do

is hide in a well
covered with gravel

and wait.

Meditation 361
It’s not the words
that speak

but the pictures:
a young man

hanging from a tree
in a wild uproar

of life;
an old man

waiting quietly
as death holds out

its gentle
unavoidable hand.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Dangerous Man, books and interviews

Lots of exciting news this week, so hang on to your hats! I'm thrilled to say that Cheyenne Publishing will be publishing a new edition of A Dangerous Man later in 2010, so more news to follow shortly on that front. A big thank you to Mark for saying yes!

I'm also happy to say that all my Untreed Reads eBooks are now available at Books on Board and Powell's so thank you to Jay for sorting all that out. It's much appreciated.

Other writing news is that my GLBT fantasy short story, Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle, will be published by Amber Allure on 18 July and you can also read an extract here. Love the cover too! In terms of reviews, it's been a nice week also: The Bones of Summer gained two reviews at Goodreads, which you can read here and here - two very different reactions, but thank you to both readers for sharing their comments. At the same time, Maloney's Law gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, and Painting from Life also gained a similar review at Goodreads - so many thanks to those readers also.

Astonishingly, and thanks again to Jay at Untreed Reads, I've been interviewed twice this week, once talking mainly about The Delaneys and Me at Author Offerings, and once more generally about my writing life by Kipp Poe. I hope you enjoy finding out my little never-before-revealed secret in one of those! Ah, the shame ...

Meanwhile, GLBT Week at Vulpes Libris comes to a stonkingly riproaring finish (oo-err, missus ...), with my review of Clare London's wonderful PI novel, FreemanSam's review of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; and last but by no means least, Rosy's amazing article on Brideshead Revisited - a big thank you to everyone for taking part and for reading. We've all had a fabulous time! Let's hope we can do it all over again next year.

Speaking of things fabulous, Lord H and I had a great time out at the Guildford Theatre on Thursday seeing Headlong Theatre's production of Oscar Wilde's Salome. I have to admit I wasn't hugely looking forward to it, as I've studied the play in the past but have never seen it - it's rarely performed, and though the poetry is rich and lush and amazing, it's always been hard for me to really "get" it in my head. Well, Thursday was a revelation and it completely opened up the whole thing for me as a play rather than as a poem-drama, proving once again just what an astonishingly good playwright Wilde was, in whatever genre he was writing in. I loved the passion, the humour, the teenage angst, the hugely complex adult relationships shown, the setting and the actors. Everything really - especially that marvellous scene at the end where Salome drinks the blood pouring from John the Baptist's head. Oh, yes, bring it on - I'm a Jacobean tragedy girl at heart and really can't get enough of that sort of thing on stage - Lord H said when that happened I was the only one in the audience smiling and sitting up. Ah well - the more blood and death and drama, the better really ... Anyway, the play was amazing - if you get the chance to go, for heaven's sake do, as it may not be an opportunity we'll see again in our lifetimes. And kudos galore to Headlong Theatre for having the balls to revive it when the audience can be counted on the fingers of one hand - hell, we may have been small in number, but we loved it.

But, keeping to the theme of poetry, I'm pleased to say that two of my poems have just been published in the spring edition of Mayo Review. And there's been 3 meditation poems in the latter half of this week, plus the Sunday haiku:

Meditation 355
Just when you thought
everything you held dear
was lost,

someone you hardly know
steps forward
to stand with you,

taking with him something
of the pain and making
everything clearer:

even the wilderness journey,
even the wild river crossings,
even the grief.

Meditation 356
If you want to steal
your master’s life,

take as much
bread, raisins, fruit

and wine
as you can carry

to your master’s master
and wait

for your ship
to come in.

Meditation 357
Sometimes it’s necessary
to endure the stones

and insults,
knowing the truth

that lies
within them.

This week's haiku:

A silent poem
drifts across the page, seeking
the margin's embrace.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

GLBT Week at Vulpes: halfway through ...

We're now halfway through GLBT Week at Vulpes Libris and I hope everyone's enjoying it. I certainly am! So far we've had a look at: Sarah Waters' Fingersmiththe love affair between Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland; and a rollercoaster ride through gay teen fiction. It's all go, my dears, and there's still so much more to look forward to!

I'm also pleased to say that Amber Quill Press have accepted my (straight) erotic short story, The Boilerman and The Bride, for publication on 4 July - and a special thank you to Ruth at work for the title. But, trust me, the story behind her boilerman and bride is entirely different and very proper. Honest! I'm also at the 40,000 word marker in The Executioner's Cane, so about one-third through, which is nice. Heck, there's almost hope there. Almost ...

This week's meditation poems have so far been:

Meditation 352

If in doubt
send for a clever woman:

they’re much better
at fooling a man

into doing the right thing
than a thousand messages

from God
would ever be.

Meditation 353

Never trust a man
with beautiful hair

and don’t respond
to a neighbour

who burns your fields
to get your attention:

it’ll all end in tears.

Meditation 354

His promise
becomes a betrayal

and kisses
are nothing but scars

in the making
while it’s best not to mention

his deceitful web
of words

drifting through the air
to catch you.

Meanwhile rejections this week: 1
Under serious consideration: 1

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, May 16, 2010

GLBT Week and Sunday haiku

I'm happy to announce that Vulpes Libris is holding its first ever GLBT Week next week, so do pop in as there'll be loads of good stuff to read about during the week.

Meanwhile I've uploaded the next section to The Prayer Seeker's Journal, and I'm also quietly pleased with an Amazon review of The Secret Thoughts of Leaves.

Here's my most recent meditation poem:

Meditation 351

Revenge is best taken
at mealtimes

after years of thought
and careful planning:

a modern and acceptable

to after-dinner chat.

And here's this week's haiku:

A chaos of cracks
dances across the pathway,
imitating life.

Anne Brooke
Vulpes Libris

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nightingales and Fruit

Life news:

Lord H and I went for a group evening walk in Bookham Common earlier in the week, and were lucky enough to spot - and hear - our first nightingale of the year, hurrah! We also spent some time attempting to track down a cuckoo - often heard but rarely seen - but sadly it proved elusive. Ah well, you can't win 'em all.

It made up for the fact that work has seemed to drag on and on this week - I swear I'd be beavering away for hours and when I looked at the clock it would be only 9.30am, sigh. Mind you, yesterday wasn't helped by the fact that I had a headache all ruddy day, and a tricky two-hour long meeting to minute over lunchtime, so I really wasn't in a good mood at all. At the end of the day, I could barely concentrate on anything anyone was saying, and I collapsed on the bed when I got home and slept for an hour and a half. And the headache was still there. Despite the fact that I'd taken the upper limit of headache pills, deep deep sigh. At least, I managed to wake up in time for Midsomer Murders on TV though - it's my mid-week brightener. And today, thank the Lord, the headache has gone. Still hugely tired however.

The other thing about last night was we had a three-hour power cut starting at 10.30pm - when I was about to go to bed anyway, but Lord H lost some stuff from his computer but he can remember what it was, thank goodness. However, when we rang Southern Electric, there was a recorded message saying that our planned power cut would last until 1.30am. Planned???!! Surely, if it was planned, they should have told us? I noticed the whole street was dark and some of the neighbours were wandering around with torches, looking confused. None of us knew a thing about it. What if we'd had people round for dinner? (Okay, a rare event, but you get my meaning ...). The Water Board at least have the courtesy to leave us a note when there's a planned loss of service - you would think that Southern Electric would have the sense to do the same! Anyway, Angry of Godalming has sent a snippety email to them setting out my complaints, and I await their response. Which apparently takes 3 days to arrive. What are they up to over there? Filing their nails? Waiting for inspiration?? Perhaps they can't find the ruddy electricity socket to turn on the computer ...

Thankfully, today is proving rather better - Jane H has popped round for coffee this morning and so we've had a delightful chat & catch-up. And tonight, I'm out in London to see Jane W. So many Janes, so little time!

Ooh, and I'm utterly delighted we now have a Conservative PM again - honestly it surprised even me (a dyed-in-the-wool and deeply instinctive Tory) how much it felt like coming home and how very pleased I was. By the way, I apologise in advance for this very honest statement, as I know how very left-wing most of my friends are, but actually I do feel that as I'm very happy for everyone around me to follow what politics (or religion) they wish without me making a big fuss about it - or indeed any fuss at all -  then I hope they'll show the same courtesy back to me ... It's also delightful to see such a rainbow cabinet and I do hope it makes things better for the country - but of course the main and extremely pressing issue, and one that the nation deserves an answer to, is now that we're Tory-Liberal, will they be combining the party uniform so the men can wear blue-and-yellow striped ties instead of the one-colour options? We wait with interest for this issue to be resolved ...

Writing news:

All very quiet on this front. I'm beginning to feel I've been forgotten by any publishers that might be out there. Ah well. However, I'm carrying on with The Executioner's Cane, and also delighted to see this review of How to Eat Fruit.

Meanwhile, the lovely Kirsty McCluskey and I have published a review and article about Haiti at Vulpes Libris. Food for thought indeed.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Parties and politics

Life news:

Am gradually getting to feel a bit better, hurrah, though I'm still dosing up on catarrh remedies and blowing my nose for Britain. How delightful. I've taken to carrying wads of tissues and 2 handkerchiefs everywhere with me, just in case. A girl in her prime can enjoy several.

Still, I did manage to get round the golf course fairly unscathed with Marian on Friday - we haven't played for ages, what with Easter and conferences and holidays and such like, so it was nice to get back on the course. Neither were we as bad as we'd feared we might be. Also lovely to see two beautiful song thrushes on the course. Talking of which, Lord H and I enjoyed seeing a deer in the garden yesterday evening, and we also spotted a garden warbler (a lifetime first!) at Pulborough Brooks on Saturday. Huge excitement but really what a dull bird. It has absolutely no distinguishing features except a very lovely voice. Almost like a template for all other warblers, which at least have more interesting markings, poor thing.

Meanwhile, the election excitements continue. Lord H and I were rather bemused when watching the film of David Cameron going home after election night to see that he had to ring the doorbell of his own house in order to get in. What???!? Is he just too posh to carry his own key? Or does he expect the butler to open for him? Or perhaps the lovely Samantha doesn't allow him to carry housekeys? The plot thickens indeed ... Perhaps, Lord H says, it's because he and Nick Clegg got on so well during their first date that Dave gave his keys to Nick so he could call round "for a quick chat" later? Lordy, but then people wonder where I get my book ideas from?? I fear Lord H is not as innocent as he seems ... Best to keep a close eye on the "Dave & Nick talks" and see if they exit their meetings with their hair messed up and wearing each other's ties. You heard it here first.

Anyway, this weekend's favourite headline comes from The Sun: Squatter Holed Up in Number 10. Yes indeedy. Say no more.

Today, we've helped our friend Liz celebrate her 60th birthday party with a buffet lunch and flowing champagne. Though I did think it was probably best not to let the champers flow my way, what with the drugs. As it were. We didn't stay too long due to (a) illness, and (b) a deep-seated terror of parties. But happy birthday, Liz, and here's to 60 more of the same!

Writing news:

Not much to report this weekend. I'm carrying on writing more to The Executioner's Cane, and I'm also continuing with my erotic straight short story, The Boilerman and The Bride. 3000 words and rising. Ho ho. I've also sent out a couple of submissions, one of which is the possibility of a haiku chapbook. We'll see how that goes, but it would be nice to have a poetry collection out somewhere, however small, that I haven't had to produce myself. I don't think I'm as bad a poet as my poetry sales actually indicate, hey ho.

Talking of which, I've written two haikus this week and here they are:

All that voting angst,
tremors of expectation -
and no-one in charge.

Suddenly the sky
is filled with swifts: boomerangs
piercing silent clouds.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bitterns and bunting

Life News:

Am still sick, groan. I did manage to get into work on Tuesday to deal with my 90 or so emails I'd gathered over the weekend, but the boss sent me home at 3.30pm saying how awful I looked. Can't say I blame him really. I just couldn't stop sneezing and my eyes were red and raw. Nice. I didn't go in yesterday as I felt so shattered with it all. Though I did feel better around lunchtime. False dawn however, as I fell into a significant relapse yesterday afternoon, and haven't got myself out of it yet. How I wish the sneezing would come back - it might take this terrible catarrh nausea/exhaustion thing away. Ho hum.

So I've cancelled my planned Clarins massage this afternoon (lying on back with catarrh - not a good idea ...), but I have gone to my Alexander Technique lesson, which surely must have done some good. Oh, and I've voted. I desperately wanted to vote for the Pirate Party, but decided I wasn't quite dressed for it. I'm the only one out there wearing a fleece and a woolly hat, but hell I have to keep my ears and neck warm somehow.

However, some nice things have happened. There's a lovely video clip of a booming bittern and the John Lewis ad remains its utterly gorgeous self.

Writing News:

I must first of all say how utterly gobsmacked I am at getting my first quarterly royalty statement from Amber Allure. Ye gods, but I swear they've managed to sell more of my books with them in three months than I've managed with all my publications in three years. And more. I actually have decent royalty money, for the first time ever - so a heartfelt thank you to Trace, Karin and the team, and let's hang out the bunting. Amazing stuff! Not only that, but I'm told that they've already sold 200 copies of The Delaneys and Me (which is at No 6 in the Amber Allure April Bestsellers chart) and it only came out in April. Which just goes to show the old adage that Sex Sells is undoubtedly true. As Lord H says, best try writing some more of it then! I do hope those of you who've been kind enough to buy any of my stuff have enjoyed the read, and a special thank you to you.

In other book news, I'm pleased to say that you can read an excerpt of The Girl in the Painting and get a 25% discount till May 9th - but be sure to follow the instructions in the link. I've also gained a 4-star review of The Secret Thoughts of Leaves at Goodreads and a 5 star review of Give and Take at TwoLips Reviews, so all that excitement is making up for any health issues, hurrah.

Ooh and the free download of my gay romance story, A Serious Business, is now available at the Queer Magazine Online bookstore, along with a variety of other lovely free e-reads - enjoy!

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Tea and sympathy

Life News:

Lordy, but I'm sick. As the proverbial. My bank holiday weekend has been spent coughing pathetically, trying to be brave (ho ho, as if), quaffing Lemsip, Sudafed and Echinacea as if they're all going out of business, and trying to breathe through the catarrh. Whilst smearing castor oil on my throat. Odd but it does help, I'm sure. Oh joy abounding. Not much sleep has been going on, but I've done a heck of a lot of reading and crosswords. There's indeed a silver lining to every cloud. And, as Lord H tells me, at least we're not missing out on the glorious weather.

I only hope I haven't infected my friend Pauline who came for tea yesterday with her family - lovely to catch up, but I just wish I hadn't done quite so much snorting. Um, in an innocent way, I hasten to add ... We had scones, jam & cream - which I did eat, hurrah! Very bad for me, but what the heck, eh.

All this is, I'm sure, playing merry havoc with my Alexander Technique exercises, but I did manage to make it to Reflexology on Friday. Oh Lordy though, I hope I haven't infected these good people - I wasn't quite so bad on Friday ... I don't want to be known as the Bringer of Misery in the local area. No more so than normal anyway.

Writing News:

I've finished the read-through of A Dangerous Man and am sending very slow feelers out to see if there might be any reaction, but I don't want to rush into anything. Not this time. The Delaneys and Me has managed to gain a 4-star review at Goodreads and is graded Very Good at the Well-Read Book Blog - scroll down to see the review.

I'm also pleased that Give and Take gained a 5-star rating at GoodreadsHow To Eat Fruit gained another 5-star review at Smashwords - thank you, Padraig! - and for one brief moment of glory Maloney's Law found itself at Number 90 in the Amazon UK gay fiction charts. Sadly, not any more but it was nice while it lasted.

Meanwhile, I'd like to draw your attention to this wonderful source of independent e-reading - from our newest and most exciting independent ePublisher, Untreed Reads. It's definitely one of the best places to be seen in on the Web, and not just because you can find some of my books there. Go explore!

You can also read an interview with me, and find out more about my approach to writing at the Midnight Seductions site - many thanks to Cassandra for posing the questions. And my GLBT Hot Fiction Tip for May can now be found at Queer Magazine Online - it's a great book from one of our best known GLBT authors, Josh Lanyon, and it's a story I just couldn't put down. Wonderful stuff, Josh!

Finally, the latest chapter - about the spiritual hot potato of speaking in tongues - can now be found at the Prayer Seeker's Journal, so never let it be said I bypass the difficult issues at least. And here's this week's haiku:

Summer clogs my throat
as the air spills out tulips,
bluebells, memories.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker's Journal