Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hedges and haiku

Life News:

Had a great time yesterday at Elstead Writers' Group and got some wonderful ideas about a story I'm struggling with about a widow and a very special library - loads to think about so thank you to all! I've also continued with my baking extravaganza and this weekend's delight has been chocolate fudge cake. There were one or two dodgy moments with the icing but it was a lot better if I didn't follow what the packet said, sigh. Anyway, I think I managed to salvage it and there've been no complaints, hurrah.

And, with thanks to Jacqui at Elstead Writers, I have rushed to Waitrose and bought gingerbread porridge. Mmm, can't wait to try this. Apparently it's amazing. For most of this weekend, K and I have been planting our red dogwood hedge in the front garden - we did half yesterday and have just finished it off today, and it looks pretty good. Mind you, it's certainly heavy work so I don't think we'll be doing another hedge for a while.

We've also obtained a second quote for our roofing problem from another recommended chappie and are now even more confused than we were before, sigh. I'll try to chase up the third company tomorrow and see if I can get them to come round at some point. It might be a little clearer after that - I'm hoping so anyway as it's totally messing with my head at the moment, sigh ...

I've also just completed this weekend's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, and have spotted 2 great tits, 4 blue tits, 2 long-tailed tits and 2 redwing, so have submitted those to them, and will look forward to seeing the results for the UK later this Spring. It's great to be able to take part in this for the first time ever, as of course we've never had a garden to do it in before (as it were). Hell, it's almost like being grown-up, you know.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, having a big packet of Giant Chocolate Buttons in the house does make the days seem brighter, double hurrah and hang out the bunting. Plus there's even some left for tonight, mmm.

Book News:

Just a reminder that in case you're looking for something to read that'll take you to places you've not been to before, then I'm happy to point you in the direction of the first in my fantasy trilogy, The Gifting. The Kindle ebook is only £1.91, and the paperback only £7.68 with free delivery worldwide so buy early and buy often! Don't forget you can browse the reviews and read an extract to whet your appetite. Thank you.

And the Sunday haiku is:

A pair of buzzards
master the sky, their wingtips
caressing bright cloud.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Author of The Week and Daughter of The Year?

Book News:

Gosh, indeedy, but I appear to be in the running for Author of The Week over at Pants Off Reviews - which, you may remember, recently gave me a rather nice review for upcoming gay literary short story The Heart's Greater Silence. Well, if you like, you can even pay them a brief visit and vote for me - and many thanks if you do. Honestly, I'm blushing ... No, really.

I'm also pleased to see that gay erotic short story Dating the Delaneys is now finally up at Amazon US, and Amazon UK - and for a while it was even at Number 69 (no, please, say nothing, people!...) in the Amazon UK charts, so that was very heartening.

Meanwhile my Twitter ebook giveaway fortnight went quite well (it ended yesterday) and I had nearly 40 new followers and gave away about 20 ebooks, so I hope everyone enjoyed their reads. I know some did, as they were kind enough to comment - thank you! I'm planning another giveaway in February to coincide with the advertising campaign for fantasy novel The Gifting - so watch out for that one too. 2012 is the Year of the Giveaway, that's for sure.

Finally, I'm thrilled to announce that the final part of The Gathandrian Trilogy, The Executioner's Cane, has been accepted in advance by Bluewood Publishing (many thanks, Paulette and David), so I need to get the edits sorted out and submit it properly to them by the summer. Am very much looking forward to getting my teeth into that one, hurrah.

Here are the latest meditation poems for you:

Meditation 615
The ocean of blood
connecting a family
cannot be denied:

it’s a wild current
where strange feelings
dance or hide

and when the wind shifts,
the waters press down
in this overwhelming tide.

Meditation 616
The clash of great armies
swallows up the air
and is never silent.

Its echo sings
in the sky
and drifts

across the treetops,
tainting all ages
and people to come:

a memento of pain
when the fighting
is done.

Meditation 617
Perfection lies
not in the wanting
but the waiting

as the whole universe
from the brightest star
to the smallest

blade of grass
lies in grave

knowing one day soon
it will come
to pass.

Meditation 618
Out of the quiet shadows
into the full light
and noise of the day

you creep blinking,
with hands which stutter
for a safer way

and you know
the path is always forward
so you cannot stay.

Life News:

Great excitement once more on the garden front as our dogwood hedge has been delivered, so we'll need to plant that in over the weekend. I'm praying for sunshine then, as I no longer have a working brolly, alas. Not that a brolly would be useful when planting a hedge, but there you go, eh.

Yesterday's girly fun was finding one of my colleagues in automobile distress in the car park after work, as her battery was flat. Heck, I've been there so often that I had every sympathy (K and I still wake up screaming at the memory of the time the battery on our rickety old removal van died on the main roundabout linking the A12 to the M25. My, what joy that was ... though the mention on the Radio 4 traffic news was nice). Anyway, as I'm the only person on the planet who actually has jump leads in the back of her car, we managed to get it started though I admit we did have to Ring A Man to ask how to put the jump leads on. Yes, I hear you laughing, but probably not as loudly as the Security staff were as they watched us on the CCTV, hey ho ... Girl Power "R" Us, but only after we've powdered our noses.

And today we've had a recommended builder round to give us a quote on our loose tiles and guttering at the back of the house. Ah, what innocence there is in that statement. After getting to the top of a very tall ladder (me - please admire my courage at this point ...) and crawling round and over the roof (him), it is fairly obvious that the roof of our lovely new house is Not A Happy Place. The cement is disintegrating, hence the falling tiles and damaged guttering and, actually, none of the roof tiles are fixed to anything as a result and can be lifted off without any effort at all. Meanwhile at the front of the house, someone has done a veneer cementing job to fool the casual passerby (a category which, evidently, included our surveyor, sigh) and added chicken wire to keep the tiles on. Chicken wire! Whatever next?... There'll be no damn eggs from that, I fear. Ah, Carruthers, I foresee trouble ahead and a Very Big Bill (as it were - and please excuse appalling Use of Capitals, but really it's that kind of a day). Ah well, we  hadn't planned on having a holiday this year - and maybe best to make that two years. Groan.

Add to that a bit of a Tricky Moment with Mother (TMM for short) last week during our regular phone call and all is jolly interesting indeed in Elstead this week. Mother was telling me all about a woman she met on the bus into Colchester who visited her dying father every day at the hospital, come rain or shine, and then came out with the fatal thought (Note to people: never ever say this phrase or anything like it to anyone if you don't really want to know the answer ...): I don't think any of my children would ever do that for me, would they? Ah, Manipulation, you are indeed a dying art. My less than kind answer to this was: No, probably not, but isn't that what nurses are for? Hmm, I suspect I'm not in the running for Daughter of The Year this year, or any other year indeed ... Situation normal, then.

Finally, as I come from a family of both victims and survivors of this disease and am on the Hit List for testing when I reach 50 (always have something to look forward to, is what I say), I'd like to bring to your attention that this week is Bowel Cancer Awareness Week - so don't forget to get involved and save a life, maybe even your own, especially as it's one of the easiest cancers to cure if it's caught early enough. Keep well and keep going, as they say!

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hellebores, Haiku and Heart

Book News:

There have been two really lovely 4.5 stars reviews of The Heart's Greater Silence late this week - one at Pants Off Reviews (many thanks, Darien) and one at Between the Covers Reviews (thanks, Alex).

I've also been more than happy to receive a 4.5 star review for Dating the Delaneys at Jessewave Reviews. So many thanks to Raine for that one, and of course apologies that you'll never be able to watch Four Weddings and a Funeral in quite the same way again. Such a great film too, ah well!...

Not only that, but I was pleased to see that Tommy's Blind Date has received two interesting reviews at Goodreads - one from Mandy, and one from Victoria who thought the story was "sweet and spicy". Many thanks to both of you!

Meanwhile I've now had the fully signed contract for upcoming gay short story, Where You Hurt The Most, returned by Riptide Publishing, so that's great. The likely publication date is sometime in May, I gather, but this has yet to be confirmed.

And there's only THREE DAYS left for my Twitter Giveaway - so if you follow me up to and including 25 January, you'll receive a FREE ebook of your choice - happy tweeting!

I've also updated my meditation poetry page so you can find all the latest poems there, but in any case here's Number 614 for you:

Meditation 614
All that secret
wisdom hidden
in the heart
of books
we no longer

the mysteries
of the sea
waiting deep
beneath the waters
which playfully
kiss the sand.

The Sunday haiku is:

My grandmother's voice
in its electronic soul:
the satnav's secret.

Life News:

Great excitement in the garden this week: we've trimmed the red dogwood stems at the back and brought them in for display in the dining room - and very beautiful they look too. With any luck we'll get new and even more colourful growth this coming year, so something to look forward to indeed. Plus our dogwood front hedge is due for delivery this week so K and I staked out the position of each plant today. They'll be fifty of them and it looks like a pretty good fit to us. The excitement's certainly mounting.

Plus we now have one snowdrop in the back garden, with its friend looking like it will make an appearance very soon (hurrah!), the crocuses at the front are pretty much in bloom, and the hellebores we planted last year are definitely on their way. The miracle of nature - if you plant things, sometimes they actually grow, ye gods and little fishes. Whatever next?

Meanwhile, further miracles abound - yesterday's baking opportunity was blueberry muffins and they're very tasty indeed. However, I must really get a proper muffin tray (as it were) and an apron to avoid potential disasters (blueberries are very ... um ... blue, aren't they?). Perhaps soon it will be time for my new book, Cooking by the Skin of Your Teeth. Any buyers? Hey ho ...

This morning was church, and the greeting of the wedding couples due to get married in Elstead or our sister church in Thursley throughout the year, and very jolly it all was too. Always good to practise those old wedding favourites just to see what they sound like - it's almost as if Spring were here in truth.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Biblical Fiction
Gay Reads UK

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crocuses and crime

Book News:

I'm pleased to say that crime does actually pay, hurrah: my most borrowed library book over this last year has apparently been psychological thriller Thorn in the Flesh, so that's very pleasing, I must say. Good for my heroine, Kate!

At the same time, gay crime thriller A Dangerous Man garnered a 4-star review at Goodreads this week - thank you, Suzette! I particularly enjoyed the phrase about "sifting through the darkness to find the light." Ah, as in writing, so in life, indeed ...

This week, I've written three more blog posts for my upcoming book tour, including articles on bullying and the call of the dark, and have reviewed Jane Gordon-Cumming's novel, A Proper Family Christmas, for Vulpes Libris. So, I've not been idle, you'll be pleased to hear.

At the same time, I've decided to bring to a close my experiment with thoughtful blogging at The Thoughtful Corner for a variety of reasons, not least because the year is set to continue to be busy in writing terms so I don't believe I can spare the time for it. But many thanks to those of you who did pop in for a visit, and I hope we can all keep up the rather slower approach to life in the months ahead. Thus making this paragraph something of a contradiction in terms, I know, but there you have it. As it were.

I've also been rather wickedly amused with a couple of recent articles about the state of publishing: one on the different approaches of the big publishers and Amazon; and one on how local independent bookstores aren't really local and don't do much to encourage reading. Do take a look and see what you think - when it comes to it and even though Amazon don't appear to be that keen (still!) on gay literature, my sympathy is actually with Amazon on both counts as I don't think much of the attitudes of the big publishers or agents, and I've long since given up on the concept of the local bookshop - even though I appreciate that's distinctly not what I'm supposed to say, it is when it comes to it what I really think. My writing and reading life has, after all, long since gone online and that's where my heart lies.

Recent meditations are:

Meditation 611
We live in the balance:
floating somewhere between
our wrong decisions
and the occasional good
we do

whilst far beyond
our understanding
the planets turn
and ancient stars
still shine.

Meditation 612
When the measured dance
and glance of time

meets the wild light
of bright eternity

then the strong harmony
we long for

will like a forgotten chord
finally be restored.

Meditation 613
In each life
there’s a time

for silence
and a time

to speak.
The wisdom

is finding
the difference.

Life News:

We now have a crocus that is actually in bloom in the front garden, well gosh! It's absolutely beautiful and I hope it manages to hang on in there somehow. Almost a miracle to find such a sign of spring in the middle of winter. We do indeed have to grasp the small hopes when we see them, eh.

And it's back to my normal working routine so that's a relief - I feel much more settled than I did last week anyway. Plus I had a lovely lunch with a writing friend of mine at the University, Ali, yesterday, so it was great to catch up there. Keeping to the socialising theme, I invited a couple of neighbours round for coffee and shortbread this afternoon after I'd finished writing my blog articles, so that's been fantastic too. Heck, I'm almost sounding like a normal member of the community - whatever next?...

Tonight, K and I are off on our first theatre trip of 2012 to see Alan Ayckbourn's new play, Neighbourhood Watch. It looks more sombre than his earlier offerings, so I'm interested to see how it goes. Recently I think he's been taking a more serious tone in his plays and I've really enjoyed it, so I have high hopes. But the best joy of the week is certainly the news that crime drama Whitechapel is coming back to our screen on 30 January for a series of 3 two-parters, hurrah! Bliss. I can't wait.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Biblical Fiction UK
Gay Reads UK

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Signs of Spring?

Book News:

Have been very industrious this weekend and written up 5 interviews/blog posts for the upcoming book tour for The Heart's Greater Silence and for other sites who've requested one too (thank you!), so feel I'm gradually getting on top of that. One more to go at the moment, and I must say I'm enjoying it. It's certainly making me think - which can surely only be a good thing.

Speaking of which, I'm delighted to see that the 5-star review for The Heart's Greater Silence is now up at Top 2 Bottom Reviews - so many thanks for that!

Life News:

Friday was a work day due to a big morning & lunchtime meeting involving all departmental staff - thankfully it seemed to come off well, and things went smoothly. The only thing was afterwards I was utterly shattered and my stomach was hellish, darn it, so I struggled through the afternoon. I think part of the issue is that, lovely though everyone is, I'm not my best with a lot of people, so I think I've probably done all my social inclusion for the next three months - at least. A nice quiet week ahead to recharge those batteries is what I need ...

Mind you, Saturday was great, as our good friends, Pauline, Tony & their son Darren came for the day, so we had a wonderful time catching up. As they're keen gardeners, that was pretty dang useful too - we now know the names of some of the plants we weren't sure about and, thanks to Pauline, we've noticed that there are actually mauve crocuses coming out into bloom in the garden. Gosh, indeed! A sign of Spring already, perhaps ... but it's the first ever Spring flowers we've had, so we're hugely chuffed indeed.

Whilst they were with us, we also paid a visit to Watts Gallery, which was great, and I picked up another couple of good but cheap pictures for the house, hurrah. The only thing is I need to sort out the frame for one of them, and buy a new frame for the other before I can actually hang them. Might have to wait until next weekend then.

This morning, we paid our first visit to church for 2012, and very nice it was too, though I was puzzled by the hymns and their tunes - I'm not sure I quite understood where some of the notes were going, my dears. I was also delighted to hear that the vicar has some further group workshop plans up his sleeve for Lent and beyond, so will be looking forward to that, for sure. Roll on Ash Wednesday (um, 22 Feb, since you're asking ...).

Afterwards, we strolled round the monthly Farmers' Market at Secretts Garden Centre and managed to pick up some essential organic and local provisions, as you do. The cakes were nice too, though I suspect they won't last long. And tonight, it's the utter joy of the glorious Sherlock on TV - I can't wait, though my happiness will be tinged with a bitter grief (as it were), seeing as it's the last one, sob ... When oh when will we see the like again?

The Sunday haiku is:

Morning's icy start.
The field outside my window
vanishes in mist.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Trilogy

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More January sales and a new publisher

Book News:

Much to my delight, gay comic romance Angels and Airheads, which was originally published by Torquere Press but went out of print last year, is to be republished by Musa Publishing, so I'm really excited by that. I've just now sent the signed e-contract back so it's great to be part of their line-up.

At the same time, the January book sales are still here, so don't miss out! You can get 40% off ALL my Untreed Reads books, provided you enter the coupon code NEWYEAR at the checkout.

Plus you'll find 25% off ALL my Lulu Books, so long as you search for my name and enter the code LULUBOOKUK305 at the checkout. Hurrah!

In terms of books yet to be published, I've now uploaded the first chapter of children's book The Origami Nun onto the Biblical Fiction website, so I hope you enjoy the beginning of that story.

Over at Vulpes Libris Reviews, you can see my opinion on Nicci French's novel Complicit - a book which at the very least does tell us what not to do at a crime scene. You never know - this could come in useful one day ...

Here are meditation poems so far this week:

Meditation 608
That deadly correlation
between holiness
and possessions

makes those of us
who don’t quite
have enough

appear distinctly second-class
just for the lack
of brass.

Meditation 609
Truth is not found
in the great number
of people who tell you
a thing.

It is as small
and delicate
as a bird
about to take wing;

therefore be still
and wait, trusting
for its magic
to sing.

Meditation 610


All day he waits
for death,
that single pointed fire
in the joints
singing him to darkness

and when it comes
at last
its accompaniment
is the flash and wild flame
of the fast fading sun.

Life News:

I'm working odd days this week due to an important meeting at work on Friday, so I do feel rather unsettled. Really, the only thing lying between me and complete lunacy is my familiar routine, ah well.

Still, it was utterly lovely to meet Jane H (hello, Jane!) at Costa Coffee in Godalming for a few drinks and a chat yesterday. Though we were both rather overcome by the sheer size of the large cappuccino I ordered - makes mental note to go for the medium sized one next time. Really, what with the amount of caffeine in my system, I didn't manage to scrape myself entirely off the ceiling for hours, hey ho.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Biblical Fiction
Gay Reads UK

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Delaneys, cake and FREEBIES!

Book News:

I'm astonished and indeed delighted to tell you that I've received the first royalties for gay literary short story, The Heart's Greater Silence, even though it's not out till 6 February. Well, gosh, thank you to those of you who've preordered it and don't forget those of you who haven't yet still have a chance to win a year's supply of free books if you do! What could be nicer?

Speaking of which, there was a fascinating pre-publication review of The Heart's Greater Silence this week at Amos Lassen Reviews. One of the things he wrote was:

"Since I began reviewing some five years ago, I have noticed that there are certain authors that continuously deliver good reads. Anne Brooke is one of those and she never disappoints … Brooke has created an unforgettable character in Mark and in his despairs and conflicts. His desires ruled his decisions and the fact that he has two very different boyfriends shows that he is searching for himself. When the story is over, we are still not sure of what he plans to do but whatever it is, if Anne Brooke lets us, we will be there to find out."

Many thanks, Amos - really appreciate your comments.

Turning to other books, I'm very excited that fantasy novel The Gifting has won a week's free advertising at the Kindle Users UK Forum from 1 February, so I'm hoping people might catch the advert as they pop in and out and be tempted to give it a whirl. You never know!

I'm also rather chuffed with a 4.5 star review at Goodreads for gay short story Martin and The Wolf, many thanks, Jerry. That one's been around for a while so it's nice people are still reading it now and again. And I've also stared on Number Five in the gay erotic Delaneys series, The Delaneys At Home. I'm a thousand words in now, so only another 9,000 or so to go. It's nice to be back with them, I must say. I've rather missed them over the Christmas and New Year break. I suspect that, contrary to my original expectations, this won't be the last we see of them either, as I still have the idea for the final story, The Delaneys, My Parents and Me in my head. We'll have to see, eh.

Plus there's FREE GIVEAWAY news I must tell you about, hurrah! Anyone who follows me on Twitter between now and 25 January is entitled to one FREE ebook from my backlist, so spread the word, and a very happy new reading year to all of you!

This week's meditation is:

Meditation 607
God is not

to be seized in alarm
from the air
as he passes by

but like a butterfly
enticed by prayer
let him rest on your palm:

something we forgot.

The Sunday haiku is:

Three little robins
on my tree; I smile at them
and they chirp at me.

Life News:

Ah, the dangers of Christmas have come upon me. There was I tidying up the decorations we put up (minimal but elegant, I like to think ...) and wondering vaguely where the holly was that I put on the windowsill when I ... um ... trod on it. Goodness me, but holly's quite sharp, isn't it ... Hey ho. Next time, I'll keep my eyes to the floor.

And I've made another cake, well gosh, and shake out your aprons! This time it was Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle cake mix and very nice it is too - though I had a moment of panic when I put it in the oven and realised I'd forgotten to add the water, and it might therefore turn out to be a lemon brick. However, either the good Lord was smiling upon me or my use of three medium eggs instead of two large ones (possibly both ...) saved the day and all was well, thank goodness. I might seriously get into this cake mix lark - but I'll definitely get an electric hand whisk if that turns out to be the case.

Today, K and I have rehung the gate in the back garden - which was rather more challenging and ... err ... fun than we anticipated, but we got there in the end. Part of the issue is that the end of our garden backs onto a drainage ditch so the only way to do the job was if K got into his waders and stood in the stream while I held onto the gate - for dear life. What fun we have in the country, my dears ...

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Hearts, webs and daffodils

Book News:

I now have the dates and stops for my upcoming book blog tour for literary gay short story The Heart's Greater Silence, which takes place from 6 to 16 February. Hope to see as many of you there as possible - there will be loads of competitions, goodies, giveaways and some big prizes so well worth putting it in your diary! So far this week, I've completed and sent off a couple of interviews for it, and the questions have been very searching indeed - so watch this space.

Meanwhile, on the first day of the new year, I sold a copy of fantasy novel The Gifting, which is very heartening news indeed - as sadly it's not one of my best-selling works, I fear, ah well. So if anyone would like to double this quarter's numbers and make it 2, I'll be your friend for life! Scary thought there ... Mind you, I'm thrilled that The Gifting has won free advertising on the Kindle UK Users' Forum in February, so perhaps I might persuade a few others to take the plunge too. You never know.

In other book news, I now have a website purely for my gay and lesbian fiction which I hope will enable readers and visitors to find what they're looking for more easily. So now, I have a gay fiction site, a Biblical fiction and poetry site (which includes my latest meditation poetry) and a fantasy site for The Gathandrian Trilogy. I'm thinking about a literary fiction site as well, but I'll have to see how things go for that.

Over at Untreed Reads, lesbian short story The Girl in the Painting was their no 3 International bestseller for last month and also reached No 22 in the Amazon UK charts earlier this week, which was nice. Surreal short story The Secret Thoughts of Leaves was purchased by a Canadian library, and literary short How To Eat Fruit gained a 4-star review.

Not to be outdone, literary short story Painting from Life also received a 4-star review, as did erotic gay romance Dating the Delaneys. Many thanks to you all for your comments. And over at Preditors & Editors, you can vote for romantic comedy Rosie By Name in the Short Stories (Other genres) category and historical fiction Dido's Tale in the Romantic Short Stories category. Many thanks indeed if you do!

During the week I've also found this wonderful website which combines internet book shopping with support for your local independent bookstores so I've ordered a couple of books and am looking forward to seeing how it works. Well done indeed to the Hive Network.

Here's this week's meditation poems:

Meditation 604
The whisper of silver
and glittering gold

is a siren song
to make men bold

but the gentler whisper
of God’s redemption

is never a thing
they like to mention.

Meditation 605
The understanding
that God sees all

is both a promise
and a threat;

it makes our good deeds
just a little better

and our bad ones
a far greater debt.

Meditation 606
At the end of life
the only mementos

are the shadow
of the deep encroaching rock

and the whisper
of spices.

Finally in this section, I'm delighted to announce that if you follow me on Twitter up to and including 25 January, then you win a free ebook of your choice from my backlist. Happy New Year to you!

Life News:

This week, I've been back at work for a couple of days and I must say it's rather satisfying to get back into my familiar routine - what a creature of habit I am, eh. It's also been very useful to catch up before the students return next week, as now I feel I'm prepared for them, hurrah. So nice to get in and get acclimatised again before the rush - always a wise move.

We've also finally bought the curtains we wanted and have put them up in the reading room (as we like to call it). They look amazing and cosy up the place no end. Lovely. Now we're planning to get matching cushion covers (how very Surrey!...) and then at last we'll be a really grown-up couple ...

Today, I've also done battle over the phone with Tesco Bank, groan. All I wanted to do was change my address, but I had to go through a whole rigmarole of personal questions, including a list of former jobs I've had etc etc, before they'd accept I was who I said I was, sigh. They then said that as I wasn't on telephone banking and didn't have a pin number it wouldn't be official, and please could I set up telephone banking and get a pin number in order to make it so. Deep sigh. Call me old-fashioned, but I actually don't want to - on the grounds that by the time I've gone through the list of questions to make telephone banking work, then I might as well have got into the car, driven into Guildford and spoken to my main bank directly. It would at least be quicker. Hmm, I don't think they took kindly to my saying that, nor to the moment I reassured the call-handler that I knew we were both nothing more than pawns in the capitalist system but could he please just update my address before we both imploded? Oh well, who knows where my next Tesco letter will end up? If you find it, just pass it along, will you? Many thanks ...

The day was however considerably lightened in its existential suffering quota when I saw there were actually daffodils in bloom on the Research Park. Gosh indeed! Is it Spring already? What fun.

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads
The Gathandrian Trilogy

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Book News:

Happy new year to you, and I hope you're all having a great 2012 so far. I certainly am. There are several items of book news today so hang on to your hats. First off, I'm thrilled that literary gay short story The Heart's Greater Silence has received its first review of 5 stars at The Novel Approach, prior to publication on 6 February. Many thanks, Lisa, for that! If the review stimulates your interest (as it were), then don't forget you can preorder a copy at Riptide Publishing and thereby (a) get the book early and (b) be entered into a competition to get free books for one year - so happy shopping!

Here's a quote from Lisa's review:

"Anne Brooke has written a somber and beautiful story of a man who had everything and lost it all because he coveted two very different men. It is dark and solemn and resonates with a sense of conflict and despair that wove the ideal atmosphere. It was moving and played beautifully against the knowledge that sometimes free will and human nature simply don't leave room for happy endings."

Meanwhile, gay comedy The Hit List also gained a 4-star review at Goodreads (thank you, Fynn) and romantic comedy Pink Champagne and Apple Juice received a 5-star review also at Goodreads (thanks, Nell!). 

I'm also thrilled to say that fantasy novel The Gifting received a fascinating and lovely review from Sharon Bidwell on Facebook (thanks, Sharon!), which certainly made me think. It's great that you loved Simon the Scribe so much as he appears from reader reaction to be a "Marmite Man" - like many of my fictional heroes, I suspect. I was also fascinated by the connection to Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant in the Thomas Covenant Chronicles, as he was who I had in mind when I was writing Simon. That was certainly a fantasy series that had an extremely powerful effect on me when younger, and how I do love a wounded hero ...

I couldn't let New Year go by without some sales news, hurrah! So for today and tomorrow only, you can find 25% off ALL my Dreamspinner Press books, so happy shopping to you.

And, much to my delight, gay thriller A Dangerous Man was one of the Top 2011 Picks at Top 2 Bottom Reviews. Well, gosh, and a big thank you.

Finally (well, sort of ...), I've now created a website for my biblical fiction, where you can find my bible-based short stories, the latest news, and a list of Christian links I've found useful or consider to be interesting, amongst other delights. Enjoy!

The New Year haiku is:

The year eases round
until it begins again.
Slow epiphany.

Life News:

I must say a HUGE thank you to our friends and neighbours, L & J, with whom we spent a wonderful New Year's Eve yesterday. Just a few of us for dinner, drinks and chat so perfect really. I'm afraid I was therefore too tired to make church this morning, but I suspect God can manage without me for a week or so ...

It's been a strange couple of days though - yesterday I actually baked (baked!! Whatever next?...) chocolate buns which aren't bad really, though I say it myself. Mind you, I did use a cake mix and an icing mix from the shop, so yes it's cheating but hey life's too short to get flour under my nails. That's sooo last year ... And K isn't complaining. In fact I'm having trouble keeping him away from the tin. I hope he doesn't think this is going to happen again for at least another year, ah well ...

We also attempted to have a morning at the sales on Friday, but it was rather a disaster. We couldn't find the curtains we wanted in the size we needed them in and the shop assistant told us they weren't going to make them any more (groan), I couldn't remember how to buy books from an actual bookshop where I can't click onto what I want, and then the art gallery we wanted to buy pictures from was shut. Deep sigh. I don't think I'll be doing s-commerce again for a while. Still, at least K ended up with some garden stuff he wanted and a new computer desk which looks lovely, so some joy was salvaged from the morass of gloom. As it were.

And today, we find our narcissi are starting to sprout shoots in the pot we put the seed in, so nature does work, hurrah! Is it Spring yet?...