Sunday, December 30, 2012

Coughing at Christmas

Life News:

Um, not much life news this week, I fear. I've been ill since last Sunday so everything else has sadly passed me by, alas. Christmas? Has it happened yet?... A lot of coughing, snorting and nose-blowing has happened however, so I've not been entirely idle. Haven't managed to get into bed to sleep (it's worse if I lie down, on the whole) but the plus side is I am now engaged to the living room sofa, hurrah. And I've read a hell of a lot of free Kindle books and solved (or, more accurately, failed to solve) a lot of crossword puzzles. K has been a total saint and really should be on the local New Year Honours list for Services to Sick Wives.

Astonishingly, I'm still not over it, and I'm told it may last another week - but hey at least that means I'm likely to enter 2013 in exactly the same way that I leave 2012, so top marks for consistency. Hey ho.

In the meantime, over at The Angry Anglican, I'm waxing lyrical about peculiar priests and same sex marriage. As ever.

Book News:

Here, there is good news, well gosh! I'm thrilled to announce that psychological thriller Thorn in The Flesh will be republished in 2013 by Untreed Reads, so I can't wait for that. Plus I gained my first 5-star review for Christian novella The Prayer Seeker at Amazon UK (thank you, Claire!), where it's described as:

"thought-provoking, helpful, interesting and (dare I say it) inspirational ..."

Well, gosh.

Not to be outdone, gay religious short story The Heart's Greater Silence gained a 4-star review at Goodreads (thank you, Edina Rose), so the season is evidently making its influence felt, ho ho. Apparently, Edina is making me one of her favourite authors on the basis of the story, so that's lovely too.

Happy New Year to you all - hope you have a healthy one!

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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas!

Book News:

I'm very happy to say that I've now completed the final read through of the second in my fantasy trilogy, Hallsfoot's Battle, and sent it back to Bluewood Publishing. So it should be published in 2013 at some point, but I don't know a date yet. Watch this space!

From now up until Christmas Day, there's 25% discount on ALL my Dreamspinner Press books, so shop early shop often. If you need some encouragement, one of them, gay romance Two Christmases, has just received a 4-star review at Goodreads, plus a lovely review at On Top Down Under Reviews. Thank you, both readers! I particularly appreciated this section of Karen's review, which definitely fits the season:

"If you have the ability to enjoy a story where one person has done the wrong thing but sets about bettering themselves. And if you can understand why someone might just love a person enough to give them a second chance, then this is a nice Christmas short about the power of love and forgiveness. I think it's a great little Christmas read." 

Finally, I'm slowly stumbling on with completing the last of the gay menage Delaneys series, The Delaneys, My Parents and Me, and am now at c12,000 words. I've had to leave them in the middle of a sex scene to do other things, but heck I think they might enjoy that, ho hum ...

Life News:

This week, the boss and I have moved offices again and are now safely installed on the 6th floor of our building instead of the 5th. We're slowly climbing up the ladder to the top, don't you know, though soon we will run out of floors ... Our new location has a great kitchen and a fridge with space (hurrah!) so I hope we'll be staying for a while. Being the true genius that I am (coughs shyly ...) I had unpacked all my 50,000 crates in a day and now apparently look as if I've never been anywhere else. It's all done by smoke and mirrors, you know ...

Meanwhile, over at The Angry Anglican, I have (once again) been in defiant mood. Hang on to your hats, my dears.

I have also been preparing for Christmas by having a seasonal haircut and watching my husband as he nobly put up the Christmas tree and the lights. What a superhero. I absolutely can't bear doing it myself as I get seriously stressed when confronted with a bauble (careful, people, careful ...) of any description, but I'm fine when it's all done. Well, we do all have our little peculiarities, and I am definitely more peculiar than most.

Yesterday, K and I happily attended a lovely Christmas dinner party at our neighbours' house - many thanks for a fantastic time, L&J. But, sadly, I now seem to have come down with a nasty sore throat, sniffles and the inability to talk at all - a blessing, some would say, apart from the fact that the only way I can actually communicate is through the medium of liturgical dance. And no (Hilary, I'm looking at you!...), you can't buy tickets for it. I must needs save you from yourselves.

As a result I have unfortunately had to skip the planned get-together for Sunday lunch with K's family, and had to squeak my best wishes for the season down the phone like a helium balloon on speed. Ah well.

However, I've delighted in Lynne Truss's definitive answer to those dreadful Round Robin letters, and I'm still chortling over them, as much as I can with a throat like mine, that is.

It only remains for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and I'll catch you on the other side.

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

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anger and animals

Book News:

I'm currently taking part in a Christmas Blog Hop, and if you leave a comment on the blog below this one, you're in with a chance of winning a FREE ecopy of gay romance Two Christmases - which is of course suitably seasonal. The competition lasts until tomorrow (17 December) so there's still time to enter ...

In the meantime, surreal comedy Not a Shred of Evidence was briefly at No 79 in the Amazon UK Business Humour Charts (hurrah!) and the lovely Karen gave a great review to gay erotic short story The Heart's Greater Silence over at On Top Down Under Reviews. Many thanks, Karen.

Life News:

This week, K and I attended the Elstead Theatre Group Christmas Revue and party, which was great. I particularly enjoyed the Old Hookers' Lament, which proved beyond doubt what fine legs our local menfolk do indeed have. Say no more ...

I also had great fun at the Elstead Writers' celebratory lunch yesterday at which there was some gorgeous soup and a veritable plethora of chocolate cake, one of them made by my good self. We also has some fantastic pieces of writing to comment on, so a suitable end to our writing year.

Not only that but I have blogged about the local Guildford response to the women bishops' crisis over at The Angry Anglican, with a whistle-stop tour through the gay marriage debate also. My anger rating is currently 9 out of 10, hey ho.

I've also managed to upset the local RSPCA who for some reason known only to them came round during the week on a door-to-door visit asking for support. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Opens door, says "hello".

RSPCA Man: "My, you look lovely and cosy there."

Me: Thinks how rude and personal this idiot of a man is. Says (with my usual courtesy to unwanted callers), "what do you want then?"

RSPCA Man: "Do you like animals?"

Me: (truthfully) "No, not really."

RSPCA Man: "But you wouldn't hurt one, would you?"

Me: "If one was badly hurt, I'd kill it. It's the kindest thing."

RSPCA Man: Backs off and disappears without further comment, thank the Lord ...

Hmm, I doubt he'll be back, though I suspect the RSPCA might be keeping a close eye on me from now on.

And today, K and I have made our official Christmas visit to Mother and exchanged the required amount of gifts. Phew.

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Blog Hop 14-17 December

Christmas Blog Hop

A happy Christmas to all! From today until 17 December, I'm taking part in the Christmas Blog Hop along with a range of other authors, and there are prizes galore to be won.

To keep in line with the season, I'm offering a FREE ecopy of gay romance Two Christmases to one lucky commenter on this post. The blurb is:

Danny Brigson makes a serious mistake when he sleeps with Marty, an old boyfriend, one Christmas. He tries to cover it up, but Marty tells all, and the love of Danny's life, Jake, throws him out.
Over the next year, Danny tries to sort his life out with the hopes that when the next Christmas comes around, Jake will give him the chance to put things right ...

Here's an extract of the scene where Danny first meets Jake at a business party he's helping to arrange. Hope it gets you in the mood!

I’d only just finished sorting out the crisis when the first of the guests started arriving, all management, out and ready to party. Couldn’t say I blamed them. A day’s worth of high‐maintenance team building would be a day’s worth too long for me. I clocked Jake at once, appreciating his long lithe body and that swept‐back hair. Eyes to sink into as well, I remember thinking, if I ever got close enough. I allowed myself the privilege of a few more glances on my way out and, to my surprise, at the last of them his eyes caught mine and he gave me a slight but unmissable smile. The heat flared in my skin and my heart beat faster. I didn’t pursue it though, not in front of a roomful of strangers and when attempting to look professional in front of a client. The boss would have killed me otherwise.

At the door though, my luck proved to be in. One of the waiters came racing toward me, his bow‐tie askew and his hair looking like it would need a good comb before the evening was out.

“Danny? Danny Brigson?”

“Yeah? That’s me. What’s up?”

“Chef says we’re still short of staff. Would you mind giving the barman a hand with the drinks? We’ve got two parties in tonight. We’ll pay you.”

I nodded. Frankly I could do with the cash and, even then, the chance to see a little more of Jake had brought the smile to my face.

I worked like a dog that evening. The crowd were eager to celebrate, and the empty glasses kept on coming back. And back. Every now and again, I saw Jake and, once, our hands touched when I refreshed his wine. A good Pinot Noir, which made me smile. He didn’t strike me as a Chardonnay man.

It was way past midnight when he finally gave me the eye. God knew I’d been making what I wanted obvious enough—serving him first when I could, even though that was a real no‐no in the secret Barman’s Code. Anyway, at a quarter past midnight, I looked across at my fellow barman, a bloke called Arnie who seemed like he’d been around the block a few times. And some.

“Is it okay if I...?”

He grinned. “Sure. It’s easing off now. I think I can cope. Besides, it looks as if you’ve got business to attend to.

I smiled back. “Yeah, if I’m lucky, but for God’s sake, keep it quiet.”

“My lips are sealed. Not my bag, but live and let live, eh?”

I made my way out of the bar, only needing to glance back once to make sure Jake was following. I wondered how long it would take him to talk to me and what he might do or say, whether I would need to take charge to get things moving.

I needn’t have worried.

In the corridor between the hall and the Gents’, I found myself being pushed back against the wall, and then warm fingers on my face, and Jake’s tongue in my mouth. He tasted of wine and lemons. I kissed him back. No, I did more. I pulled his shirt free and ran my hand up his spine, desperately seeking skin. I groaned into his mouth as if I’d been waiting for this for a lifetime and had almost given up hope it would ever happen, even though I’d only seen him for the first time tonight. I pulled his body toward mine and pressed my straining dick against his legs, feeling his answering hardness against my own.

I swear it was the best kiss I’d ever had up until that point. Better than any sex I’d had or even dreamed of. It lasted forever. It was way too short.

When we finally pulled apart, we were both gasping. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. While I wiped my mouth, my fingers trembling, still relishing the taste of him on my lips, he recovered enough to speak.

“Jesus,” he said, and his voice was shaking too. 

Don't forget - leave a comment here between now and December 17th and you're in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Meanwhile, there are lots of other prizes to be won in the rest of the blog hop. Happy reading!

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Painting, Prayer and Anger

Life News:

Moved to existential rage by all the recent nonsenses perpetrated by the Church of England, I have started a blog called The Angry Anglican, so if you wish to find out my views on women bishops, gay marriage, the church and what's currently happening in it all, please do feel free to visit. You'll be more than welcome, whoever you are.

In the meantime, I have also been utterly horrified by the terrible death of that unfortunate nurse cruelly hoaxed by people who don't seem to have many brain cells between them. Honestly, if I were in charge, all public hoax calls would be illegal and the idiots who perform them would be forced to endure hard labour for some considerable time. I was therefore greatly heartened by Lord Glenarthur's strongly-worded yet polite response. Well said, sir. It does however annoy me that the radio presenters are said to be having counselling for their trauma. Trauma schmauma. I don't believe any of their family members have just died in very sad circumstances. It's not them who should be having the ruddy counselling, but the nurse's family (says she in a very unChristian manner, I know, but at least I'm being honest). I hope they're paying for the sessions but I suspect they don't possess the decency ... RIP Jacintha Saldanha.

Turning to other sad news, I'm sorry to see that Sir Patrick Moore has just died - I really liked him and he was one of a kind. RIP also Sir Patrick then.

It's not been all sad this week though. I've made an Apple and Cinnamon Cake, which turned out well, but doesn't look exciting enough for a photograph. Sorry. Maybe next week! I've also begun to receive the usual drift of Christmas cards from elderly relatives, quite a few of whom ask if "I'm still carrying on with my funny little hobby of writing." Deeeep sigh and bless, eh. As the question evidently portrays an overwhelming lack of interest in what means such a great deal to me, I wonder why they bother asking at all. I'm tempted to send said elderly relatives copies of my latest gay erotic work, but I don't really want to be responsible for a whole stream of RIP reports ...

It's also amused me that our local Citizens' Advice Bureau is apparently now over £40,000 in debt. Snort! Maybe they should make an appointment with themselves to try to sort it out? Hmm. Or maybe not.

Oh, and is it me or is it now compulsory to have a criminal sexual past if you want to be famous? The mind boggles ...

Book News:

Through the whole of this month, there's a 25% discount on all my gay erotic fiction at Amber Allure Press. So do feel free to stock up for Christmas - it'll be too cold to go out.

My new Christian novella The Prayer Seeker is now available very cheaply indeed at Amazon UK and Amazon US. Also ideal for Christmas! It was even briefly at No 58 in the Amazon UK Religious Fiction charts, so that was quite pleasing.

Gay literary short story Painting from Life has now been republished and is available at a far cheaper price than previously from Amazon UK and Amazon US. Interestingly, it has no sex in it, but a lot of hidden passion and paint. Happy reading.

I was also very pleased indeed by a lovely new 5-star review of fantasy novel The Gifting over at Amazon. Many thanks, Lynn - it's much appreciated. Meanwhile, I'm secretly rather thrilled that over at Musa Publishing, they're going to be taking on the work of the bestselling Roger Rabbit author, so I'll be sharing a publisher with someone famous, well gosh! They're lucky to be in the same publishing stable as me, of course ...

Finally, the cover art for the upcoming gay Office Affairs anthology from Amber Allure Press can now be revealed. My offering is comic story Who Moved My Holepunch? and is scheduled to be published in March.

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

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Prayer Seeker and Angry Church

I'm happy to say that my spiritual novella, The Prayer Seeker, is now published and available at Autharium. It should be distributed out to other e-retailers over the next few weeks. Here's the blurb:

Michael Woodthorpe hasn’t attended church for many years, not since his time as an evangelical in his early twenties. One winter he decides to take early retirement in order to search for the God he used to know. 

As he comes to terms with his new existence, he must face opposition from both his ex-girlfriend, and his ex-wife, whom he hasn’t seen for years. He must also find a way into discovering the riches of prayer and so he begins a series of religious encounters with a spiritual director. When his journey brings him face to face with the mistakes in the past which had made him walk away from God, he must find a way to resolve them if he is to fulfil his God-given potential at all.

Perfect for Christmas then, hey ho. Not that I actually have much energy for Christmas at all at the moment - the thought of it is giving me a headache and I suspect not many people are likely to get a card this year. I'm sure they'll cope though! It's probably all the angst and shouting about women bishops that's making things worse too. I'm considering starting an Angry Church website and seeing if anyone joins me, well there's a thought, eh. It'll be like Angry Birds, but more prayerful, amidst the existential rage.

What with all this, it was a great relief to skip church today as I thought I'd be better off away from it all. I think I was right too - K and I had a really lovely walk in Newlands Corner instead, which is stunning. Thank goodness God isn't always to be found in the pews.

Anyway, to continue to calm the nerves, I have gone back to cake baking and this week's effort is Smartie chocolate chip cake, which has proved a real success, hurrah. I did have some trouble trying to get the icing to set properly though - strangely, shouting at it and sobbing doesn't seem to help - but K suggested I put it in the fridge for 15 mins and it's fine now, thank goodness. What a superhero husband he is.

I've also had the week off from work this week - and though it's not proved to be the respite I'd hoped for, I have managed to get my National Novel Writing Month book finished in first draft form. So The Apple Picker's Daughter is now at nearly 64,000 words and I've started editing it.

Meanwhile, I've chosen a new cover for comic satire Not a Shred of Evidence, and very lovely it is too. A zillion times better than the old one anyway. Perhaps I'm learning, slowly ...

Finally, and bringing this blog back round to another spiritual note (must be the season ...), I'm pleased to say that biblical short story Dancing with Lions sold another 75 copies at Amazon US last month. Astonishing really for a book nobody talks about, only one person has reviewed, and which hasn't had any marketing at all for several years. The publishing world is indeed a totally mystery to me!

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