Thursday, July 12, 2012

Going slow and a strange lack of magic

Book News:

The review for fantasy novel The Gifting is now up at Awesome Indies so I'm very pleased about that.

There've also been a couple of nice reviews of Where You Hurt The Most at Goodreads, one 5-star one, and one that certainly made me smile. Many thanks, both.

I'm also pleased to say that, with my children's author hat on, I'm going to be interviewed as Lori Olding over at Emma Walker's blog on 12 August. I'm very much looking forward to that one.

Meanwhile, over at Vulpes Libris today, I'm not really impressed with Jane Green's Spellbound. The magic just didn't happen, which is a shame as usually she's a very good author indeed. Oh well, I'm sure the next one will be better.

Recent meditation poems are:

Meditation 677
Where I least
expected it
is a clear voice
amongst the shadows –

a calm expression
of intent that lifts me
from my reality
back to a land

I’ve never known
in a time I cannot reach:
the miracle of connection
from the character of speech.

Meditation 678
Saying yes to God
is saying yes
to discomfort
where nothing seems to fit

but then again
the oyster never made
the pearl
without a little grit.

Life News:

Yesterday evening I was knocked for six by a really vicious if thankfully short bout of depression. Haven't had one like that since before I started taking the pills. It left me drained today, but I've now come down with some kind of flu/virus thing, so maybe it was just the start of that. So most of today, I've spent being asleep or curled up on the sofa with my Kindle or a crossword puzzle, and sipping lots of Lucozade. All those plans I had to get some writing done, ah well.

Nice things have happened in the week too though. I met up with Jane W in London on Tuesday night and that was great. There's nothing like a gin & tonic, or two, followed by an Indian to clear the head. And always wonderful to catch up also. Plus I had lunch with my lovely writing friend at work, A, who looks like she may have some very exciting news soon about her children's book, which is fantastic. Can't wait for the next update!

And things are moving on in the garden. K's sweet peas have finally produced two pale pink blooms, which is very heartening. And the nasturtiums I grew from seed myself have produced one lovely red flower. Bliss! I hope it gets some friends soon, but even if it doesn't I still feel very proud.

Anne Brooke
The Gathandrian Trilogy
Gay Reads UK
Biblical Fiction UK
Lori Olding - children's author

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Flowers and discounts

Book News:

There've been a couple of nice reviews for psychological thriller A Dangerous Man this week, which have really cheered me. One 4 star review at Goodreads (thank you, Sungrave), and one at KazzaK Book Reviews and Therapy, who says, amongst other comments and much to my delight:

"I recommend this book to those that are interested in a well written book about fragile psychology, tenuous control, with real cause. It is an intense (LGBT) book where romance is not the all encompassing theme, rather individuals' complexities are, and how easily tragedy can collide with everyday life. A Dangerous Man is a very powerful and haunting book."

Many thanks, Karen!

Over at Amber Allure Press, throughout the whole of July there's 25% discount on all my books, so do pop over and choose some summer reading. At the very least, it will take your mind off the weather.

Plus if you leave a comment on my article about the power of dreams at Long and Short Reviews, then you're automatically entered in their monthly book competition - so don't miss out. And it will make me look less like Billy No-Mates, so thank you in advance!...

My most recent meditation poem is:

Meditation 676
Biblical lists
have a deadening force
that causes my head
to forget them.

There are so many names
and long ones of course –
I’d have looked like a fool
if I’d met them.

The Sunday haiku is:

In scented sunshine
bright flowers sparkle the air,
making me dance too.

Life News:

Lots more garden excitements this week. Our pink hydrangea is finally in bloom, my Inky Fingered coleus has tiny blue flowers at the top, and we have tiger-striped lilies in one of the beds, well gosh. Not only that but today's trip to the glorious Rake Garden Centre netted us a delphinium, a tray of dianthus, a tray of cosmos, some antirrhinums, a Vanilla Scent nemesia, two Iceland poppies and some blue bedding plants. All these are now in the garden, and it all looks lovely. Bliss. Really, one can never have too many flowers ...

This week's cake is Classic Cherry cake, and I have to say it's much tastier than it looks - what a relief! I think my cherries have sunk though (as it were), but I've never known anyone's cherries actually rise. Hey ho.

Friday was golf in spite of the rain, and I think I was better than last week, but only just. I blame the weather, myself. And yesterday was a big party day - as my lovely friend P came for the day and we had a good look round the Godalming Food Festival. She bought some fabulous soap in the shape of cupcakes, and I indulged in strawberries (now our own harvest is over, I don't want to miss out ...) and also a Japanese picture from the charity shop for K.

Then in the evening, we celebrated our vicar's 25 years of priesthood with a really very good service (where everyone read superbly, I must say) followed by champagne and nibbles. Personally I think every church service should be followed by champagne and nibbles, and perhaps we could even introduce them at the altar rail instead of the wine and wafers, but I appreciate that's probably a minority view, ah well ... Anyway, well done to J and his long-suffering wife V, and here's to the next twenty-five.

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

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Hampton Court Flowers and a very figgy mystery

Book News:

I'm pleased to say that, having been rather let down by my previous blog tour promotional company, my new one, Goddess Fish Promotions, does at least understand the need to communicate with me on a regular basis (hurrah!!) and have an actual tour schedule for fantasy novel The Gifting. This will now take place from 27 August to 7 September, and the grand prize will be a free Kindle, with consolation prizes of ebooks. So it will definitely be worth entering, just as long as I get a few dates in the spaces currently there, hey ho ...

Meanwhile, literary horror story The Gift of The Snow has just been purchased by the South Carolina Low Country library, so many thanks to them and I hope some lovely person might borrow it soon.

I'm also now included as my children's writer alter-ego Lori Olding at the Karabeth Publishing website, so that's nice to see.

In terms of recent competitions, the winners of the Erato GLBT Pride Month Giveaway were Avalie, Jennifer and Trix. Many congratulations to them, and a big thank you to all who took part.  Along the same lines, the recent Independence Day bloghop was great fun and my three winners were MFierydrgn, Marissa and Adila. Congratulations to all!

Plus, for those of you keeping count, there are only five months to go before the rights to my gay crime novel Maloney's Law return to me, so I'm very much looking forward to that.

Recent meditation poems are:

Meditation 674
Our best joys
must be allowed
to leave us

or the dance of life
will become a cloud
to grieve us.

Meditation 675
The true mystery
is how history
works out somehow
to bring us to now

and all we can do,
no matter where or who,
friend or foe,
is join in the show.

Life News:

Yesterday, K and I had an absolutely fantastic day out at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which was totally stunning and we spent six glorious hours in a veritable Flower Heaven. We bought, and have today planted, oxalis, osteospermum (which is rapidly becoming my "go to" plant for reliability and colour), dianthus, ladybird poppies (one of which has already flowered) and white flowering euphorbia. Plus I added to my heuchera city names collection with Shanghai. Next on my heuchera list are Vienna and Hollywood. Watch this space ...

And, much to our joy, just as we arrived at the Show, K and I passed right next to Monty Don (who is Gardening Totty Extraordinaire, to my mind) and Rachel de Thame (whom K is ... um ... quite partial to also), and I came over all Fan Girl, though didn't quite have the courage to talk to them. My gardening heroes - what could be nicer!

Another gardening excitement is that our crocosmia lucifer is now in flower, and gloriously fiery it's beginning to look too. Plus the gardening mystery of the week is the fact that when I left for work on Tuesday morning, my poor dead fig tree was looking terribly sad and bare in its pot but when I returned on Tuesday evening, it was gloriously bushy, with lots of fruit and (interesting this one ...) a much thicker stem ... Hmm, K assures me with an Expression of Total Innocence that this is nothing to do with him, but just goes to show what a brilliant gardener I am. It's a mystery indeed, if I can believe him ...

Finally, it may be just me but I really can't get that thrilled about the whole Higgs Boson thing. Scientists have found something incredibly small. Um, gosh. Give it another 45 years or so and they'll probably find something even smaller. I do wonder if they'd be better off making it easier on themselves by looking for something larger, but I do understand that's a minority view, hey ho ...

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

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Garden and giveaways

Book News:

The Celebrating Independence Blog Hop has started today and lasts till 4 July. You can find my post here, and if you leave a comment on it, you're in with a chance of winning one of THREE ebooks from my backlist - good luck! You can find all the other participants and their competitions at the Celebrating Independence website. Happy browsing.

Yesterday, we had a great session at Elstead Writers, as ever, with lots of inspiration and advice. And it was even sunny enough to sit outside with our coffee & papers, so that was great. Can't wait till the next meeting.

In terms of current writing projects, I've just started an office-based gay romance for Amber Allure Press, which I'm tentatively calling Who Moved My Holepunch? I think I've fairly safe in assuming the title hasn't been used before ...

The Sunday haiku is:

Held within my throat
all the words I couldn't say:
woman's destiny.

Life News:

Had a good time at golf on Friday, despite the wind which I'm sure was invariably against me. All was going swimmingly until the last hole when I lost my ball in a ditch and had to take a shovel in order to retrieve it, metaphorically speaking. Ah well.

Yesterday afternoon, K and I had a trip out to Nymans to admire their rose garden amongst other splendours and very lovely it was too. The smell was gorgeous. Once back home, I flung myself into baking cupcakes from my new cake book, Marian Keyes' Saved by Cake. Hmm, she seems to have an extremely sweet tooth judging by the amount of icing I had for my cakes, yikes. Even K queried it. Plus, bearing in mind the fact that my icing equipment broke halfway through, and there was more of the actual icing on the kitchen work surfaces and in my hair than on the cake anyway, I think her book should be renamed Traumatised by Cake. I wonder if I should suggest it ... Or maybe just write one of my own.

Beyond that, we've done a fair amount of gardening, and popped into church today, so are single-handedly keeping suburbia going. Lordy, I'll be joining the Women's Institute next, God preserve them.

And, finally, K is now looking for another Accountancy role, so if anyone knows of any finance-type jobs out there, don't hesitate to let us know - many thanks indeed.

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

Celebrating Independence Blog Hop

It's the start of the all-singing all-dancing Independence Blog Hop today, which continues to 4 July, so don't miss out. There are loads of free giveaways to be won!

Independence Day is a great celebration for our cousins across the water, and also fun for me on a more personal level too as it's the birthday of one of my oldest friends (happy birthday, Jane M!). Independence means a lot of different things to a lot of people, but I can remember my own first taste of it very clearly indeed. It sounds strange, I know, but when I passed my driving test when I was 17, I felt hugely grown-up indeed, and very excited about being able to get into a car and drive to see my friends rather than wait for a bus. That to me was real independence!
Do you remember your first experience of independence? Leave a comment and THREE lucky winners are in with a chance of winning one ebook each from my backlist - good luck!

In the meantime, here's the blurb and an excerpt from my latest book in the gay menage Delaneys series, The Delaneys at Home:

Liam is ready for a whole new life with the dangerous Delaney twins, and dives into it with great enthusiasm. But when the men reveal they know he's not been entirely honest with them about his previous art career, the scene is set for a rather different experience of punishment. Can Liam rise to the occasion this time around? More than that, Liam's gallery boss appears to be in cahoots with the Delaneys about the talents Liam's convinced he simply doesn't have. Will he find the twins' commitment to his profession rather more than even he can handle?


No sooner had the Delaneys expressed a desire than the act was done. I'd certainly found out how true that was in bed, to my immense satisfaction, and now I was in the middle of finding out how similar they were when it came to domestic arrangements, too.
Only forty-eight hours after they'd made their proposition about living with them, I was outside their front door, my suitcase in one hand and an enormous bouquet of flowers in the other. Behind me, Pedro, the chauffeur I'd already met, was hovering, as if afraid I might do something unexpected. As he'd thought I was attacking him the first time I'd visited the twins, he probably had good reason.
I wondered if “something unexpected” might include bursting into the “confidence” song from The Sound of Music, but thought this might be too much even for me, let alone Pedro. However, to be honest, it's what my arrival here felt like. I only needed a habit and a high soprano and I'd be Maria in the flesh. Thank the Lord the Delaneys didn't have any children.
Before I could ring the bell, the door opened. I'd expected Johnny, but I got Mark.
“You're late,” he said with a growl before pulling me inside and slamming me back into the wall. My suitcase landed with a thud on their tiled floor and the flowers skittered away.
“I needed to fix my hair,” I managed to say before he kissed me.
Though probably devoured would be the better word. His tongue went straight into my mouth, claiming me without any doubt for his own, and I held on and sucked for all I was worth. Always play to your strengths is what I say. The next moment, I felt warm breath in my ear as Johnny made his presence known, licking and nibbling my earlobe. God, I loved being with them, and gave myself up to their attentions as I gripped Mark with one arm and hugged Johnny with the other.
I had no idea what Pedro might be doing, but frankly, as they say, I didn't give a damn.
When the twins finally let me go, I felt as if I'd really arrived. Mark reached out and pushed the front door shut. I think Pedro had already left, but the gesture made me feel safe. Well, almost safe. With the Delaneys, there was always an essential little frisson of danger, which I was well into enjoying by now.
“Good,” Mark said, one hand pinning me to the wall. Not that I was intending to go anywhere. I was having too good a time right here. “It's just the three of us at last. And I've got plans. Liam, go upstairs, turn right and then take the second door on the left. It's my bedroom. Strip yourself and get on the bed. Johnny and I will join you as soon as we're ready.”
“Yes, sir,” I said, unable to stop the smile threatening to make my jaw break. Domestic bliss looked pretty exciting so far ...

Hope you enjoy the rest of the Independence Hop, and don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win one of the THREE ebook prizes!

Anne Brooke
The Independence Blog Hop
Gay Reads UK
The Gathandrian Fantasy Trilogy