Sunday, September 29, 2013

Free books and freshers

Book News:

Romantic short story, Dido's Tale, is now FREE at Smashwords and All Romance Ebooks, and also available at Amazon. Here's the blurb:

When shipwreck brings the legendary Lord Aeneas to her shores, Queen Dido finds herself first puzzled and then enchanted by the mysterious stranger. Enchantment turns inevitably to a passionate love which Aeneas returns in full, and the two different nations begin to merge into one as she teaches him the ways of her people.

When the gods demand Aeneas' return to his mission, how will he respond, and what price is Dido willing to pay to change fate?

There's already a 5-star review at Goodreads (many thanks, Fred) which includes the following:

"What emerges is a remarkable portrait of a woman with a will and sense of duty as strong as any man's, and the complexity of sexual identities and gender roles."

In other news, gay thriller A Dangerous Man is now available as a paperback at Amazon US, and Maloney's Law has become a bestseller at All Romance Ebooks, well gosh.

Gay-themed fantasy, The Executioner's Cane, has also just passed its 100 downloads marker at Free Ebooks, so that's nice news.

Here are some poems of the week:


The morning hums
with spiders,
thick white webs
casting shadows
on damp earth

and I am again
entangled by autumn’s
quiet expectation,
in the air’s soft thrum.


The brush and shuffle
of the working day

dance around me
as I sit and sway

my fingers to the sound
of the keyboard’s call

to make something of nothing
or nothing at all.


The horses returned
just when we thought
they wouldn’t:

galloping hooves
sparked light,
startling butterflies

and flashes of green
from the waiting earth.
They dance

in the sun,
framed by sky
and autumn glow.

Life News:

It's Move In Weekend at the University, so I spent yesterday answering a variety of questions in the Student Services Centre. My colleague Ruth and I are also helping out with the Information Point during Welcome Week from tomorrow, so it's going to be hugely busy. Nice to have a new set of students in though - from yesterday's influx, they seem very keen indeed.

As a result, I didn't have time to make any cake this weekend, but K nobly stepped into the breach and made Victoria Sponge cake, and home-made tomato chutney. What a super-hero!

Have a great week.

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Danger: Giveaways!

Book News:

Literary gay thriller A Dangerous Man is now available at All Romance Ebooks. You can find out more about its dark and dangerous London setting at the Amber Allure blog. There are also a couple of FREE giveaways of the book currently under way at:

1. The Sid Love Blog - where getting what you want isn't always the best thing ... 16 people have already entered this one, and I'd love to get to 20!

2. The Booklikes giveaway - which is proving surprisingly popular. 17 people have already requested a copy (3 are available). I wonder if I can reach 25? You never know ...

Over at my struggling fantasy series, I was delighted to see that - very briefly - The Executioner's Cane reached No 18 in the Amazon US free gay and lesbian fiction charts. Down a lot more today to a position of no ranking, sadly, but I fear that's the way it's going with those three books. Ah well.

In other news, I've decided to try to focus on a little more poetry again, after having written nothing for about a year or so. Here is a selection, only one of which is new:


The crunch under my boot, 
remnants of a faraway summer
golden, brown and crimson
already disappearing
as I kick my way along
in this autumn chill.

Crackle and drag
of blistered sound
while I walk towards winter
is as addictive to my feet
as bubble wrap to my fingers: 
deliciously futile thrill. 


The silence has wrapped me
so long that I forgot
how to make words
dance in the sky

and all I’m left with
is the certain faith
that once I knew
how to fly. 

Scarlet Joy

The rose I find
written in red
beneath the lattice
knows its own glory

and radiates the strength
of this dying sun
into a different life, 
another story. 

TV Heaven

Sunday nights
are for murder, 
something cosy
with a hint of spice
to get your teeth into, 

not gory enough to put you off
your cocoa and cake
but with enough blood
and interesting corpses
to give a certain zest
to the cheese and biscuits.

It’s an essential bridge
from the deep deep peace of the weekend
to the frantic hurly-burly
of the working week

so sit down, switch on
and don’t speak. 

Life News:

A lovely surprise when I returned to work on Monday after a week away to find that my former colleagues in Student Services had bought me a gift of flowers and chocolates to say thank you for my nine years in their team. I was really touched! Many thanks indeed to all of you - the chocolates were lovely, and the flowers look beautiful and are lasting well. On to my new life in the Registry now, which certainly looks set to be an interesting experience - in the best possible sense, of course.

In the garden, we harvested our first home-grown apple, a James Grieve - and it was really tasty. English apples are indeed the best in the world, and I speak as an apple farmer's daughter, so I know it's true. As it's a very small baby tree, there are only 2 more apples left on it, but K and I are looking forward to finishing the harvest soon. It's quality, not quantity, after all ...

Not only that, but last year's hibiscus which didn't flower has now decided to grace us with its glorious presence. And the Harlow Carr roses are having a second autumnal flush. As it were.

Yesterday's cake was Coffee Cake, and I used up the last of the Smarties as the decoration - it's a rather tasty combination, I must admit.

K and I visited the lovely Hinton Ampner yesterday - where the dahlias look stunning - and picked up some more shade plants and autumn bedding (pansies and violas) as we were out. We also restocked on the essential compost as we were running frighteningly low, yikes. Not a good position to be in as garden lovers, believe me.

Today, I'm taking it easy as yesterday was a rather rough night (women's problems - no, don't ask ...) - so I hope to drift around all day with my smelling salts. Hey ho.

Have a great Sunday.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Danger: Men, Cakes and GLBTQ Christianity

Book News:

Gay thriller A Dangerous Man is republished today with a special First Week Discount at Amber Allure Press. Here's the blurb:

Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time hooker, will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Michael becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, the consequences of his uncompromising pursuit leave him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how.

You can read a review at On Top Down Under Book Reviews (thank you, Karen!), which includes the following:

"I recommend this book to those who 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 an individual’s complexities are ... A Dangerous Man is not an easy read, but it is an incredibly powerful and haunting book."

Meanwhile, over at Amazon US (although the new version isn't yet published there), one reader says:

"The complexity of his [Michael's] character fascinated me. He is multi-layered, intense, a brilliant artist desperately trying to pursue his dream. Along the way he meets the love of his life and achieves his dream. Once that happens his life unravels and we the reader unravel along with him. At least, this reader did because by then I had bought into Michael's world and his soul. I hated his moments of self-sabotage but I had come to love him and was rooting for him. I really don't understand why Anne Brooke is not a better known author ... I have used this word before to describe her writing style: luminous."

Many thanks, Gloriamarie - much appreciated indeed.

Meanwhile, in other book news, gay-themed FREE fantasy The Gifting has been downloaded 515 times at Smashwords, so that's nice. This week it's also been showcased at the Awesome Trilogies website, but I'm not sure how much traffic I'm getting from that, to be honest. It's always very hard to say.

Lesbian romance A Woman Like The Sea gained a 5-star review at Amazon UK, from a reader who "discovered" me after reading one of my free novels, so that's lovely to know:

"Anne cleverly uses descriptive prose to help the reader visualise both the physical context of the story and to allow them into the deep, emotional heart of the characters."

And Christian novella The Prayer Seeker also gained a 5-star review at Amazon, with the reader commenting that the book is: "Worth taking the time to read and reflect on."

Many thanks indeed to all reviewers.

Life News:

Many congratulations to K and me as we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on 11 September this week, go us! We had a lovely trip out to The Savill Garden, and then the following day to Wakehurst Place, where I have to say I ate the best chocolate brownie I have ever had in my life. Total bliss.

Speaking of cake, this week's is Death by Chocolate Cake, which is scarily large and hugely rich and is surely cutting several years off our lifespans just by looking at it. Still, what a way to go, eh, and I can vouch for its sheer tastiness. Heck, there's nearly 1 lb of pure chocolate in the icing alone, goodness me.

Yesterday, we spent a day with Mother, and everyone survived the experience, phew. Though I did have to have a double gin when I got home, but hey that's usually the case. I made sure to make it a strong one.

This week I have also made a video in support of NALT Christians - which is a group of Christians keen to demonstrate that we're actually entirely welcoming of GLBTQ people and very enthusiastic supporters of equal marriage. I'm not the greatest film maker in the world, I freely admit, but the more GLBTQ-friendly Christians make a video, the more the general assumption that Christianity and homosexuality are enemies can be shown to be the utter baloney that it is. So if you are a Christian supporter of GLBTQ rights, may I encourage you also to put your support online for all to see. Thank you.

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

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Danger in sight and the work of the devil

Book News

I've now finished the final edits for upcoming gay thriller A Dangerous Man, due out from Amber Allure on 15 September, and just have the proofs to come this week.

Meanwhile, Christian novella The Prayer Seeker managed to get a 4-star review from a reader who still considered it to be the Work of The Devil (which makes me feel doubly proud indeed!). And it also gained a 1-star review from another reader who dislikes my homosexual agenda, so I'm even prouder than I was before (hurrah!) as I love my homosexual agenda and will flaunt it with huge pride wherever and however I can (see below for further explanation of same).

Just so you know and to avoid further confusion and horror on the part of the Christian traditional evangelical reader: the gift of being GLBTQ is just as great a blessing from God as the gift of being straight, so if you are about to read The Prayer Seeker, which features a bisexual man setting out to seek God, please do bear my Christian beliefs in mind. Thank you.

Continuing with the subject of gay-themed fiction, fantasy novel The Gifting was briefly at No 1 in the Amazon France Foreign Epic Fantasy charts, well double gosh and put out le bunting. I've never been No 1 in anything, apart from the person at work (in my old job, I hasten to add) most likely to turn out to be a serial killer and a member of the Townswomen's Guild - there's a happy combination indeed.

And, joy of joys, fantasy novel The Executioner's Cane gained its first reader review, for which I am very grateful indeed:

"An interesting novel that makes us rethink many of our prejudices and ideas. Reading recommended for its depth and seriousness." (in translation)

The Executioner's Cane also turned up at No 20 in the Omnilit Books Free Fiction chart, so many thanks to those readers downloading the book.

Life News:

Much to my delight, I have found out this week exactly what that mysterious beast, the Homosexual Agenda, actually is (see also above!), which I am frequently accused of having. The placard in the picture sounds marvellous to me and I am happy to offer this agenda to all indeed.

I have at the same time been delighted to discover a new website dedicated to those of us who are Christian and believe (because of, not in spite of, our Christianity) in equal rights for all. It's called Not All Like That - as most of the media seem to believe Christians hate homosexuality and we're frankly fed up with that image - so please do visit and find out what it's all about. You can also find a very helpful Facebook page about it as well.

Which leads me to this totally delightful image, which again says it all. Perfect!

This week, I've had fun at the dentist with a filling (groan), so thank goodness that's over. At least this dentist seems rather more competent than my original one, hurrah - she takes pain away, rather than creating it, so that has to be a step forward. I also squeezed in a visit to the doctor to try to cure my deaf right ear (what's that you say? Sorry, must have missed it ...) and now have some sodium bicarbonate drops which is supposed to solve the problem. I hope this will do the trick.

In the garden, we've been planting out autumn bedding, including violas, pansies and some late chrysanthemums, which has cheered everything up for sure. And we've also visited the Wisley Flower Show, and the Crocus Nursery open day event, where I picked up a few more heucheras to put in our shady areas, and a couple of packets of narcissi for the spring. Oh, and much to our delight, we spotted a Speckled Wood butterfly in the garden today, so that was lovely.

I'm in my Lemon Phase (like Picasso's Blue Period, but sunnier) at the moment as this week's cake is Lemon Sponge, and very tasty it is too. How I do love a recipe where you can just shove everything in, mix and bake. Simplicity is all.

Finally, I've said a sad farewell to my wonderful boss, D, who left the University this week for a new and very exciting job elsewhere. I've worked for him for over 9 years, so I do feel very sad indeed, but we gave him a very good send-off on Thursday afternoon and evening and he seemed to enjoy it all, which was great. And K showed his usual Star Husband Quality by being utterly sympathetic and lovely when I came home (having been really strong and totally together all week!) on Thursday night and wept on his shoulder over ... um ... how much I'll miss another man. Hey ho. Good luck to D in his new career, and a big Gold Star to K.

Happy Sunday to all!

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

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Prayer and Chances

Book News:

Christian novella The Prayer Seeker gained some 5-star reviews this week, which was most welcome. First off, at Amazon UK, where it was "absorbing and moving"; then at Amazon US where it was "an unexpected delight"; and, last but by no means least, at Goodreads (thank you, Karen!):

"The Prayer Seeker had me glued to the Kindle from the first page and I read it in one sitting. A lovely gentle Christian read for those who believe in a loving all encompassing God."

Gay-themed epic fantasy, The Gifting, has continued to be popular at Amazon US, with another 1000+ downloads in August (similar to July's downloads). It also passed its 1000 downloads marker at Free Ebooks, so that was a nice boost.

Over at Untreed Reads, there's a 40% discount on all my books until Monday 2 September, and in addition if you buy bisexual literary thriller Thorn in the Flesh, you can get another book for free. Happy shopping!

I've also finally finished the first draft of gay fantasy The Taming of The Hawk (hurrah! It's certainly taken me long enough ...) but there's a fair amount of editing to do, but I'm going to have a break before I get started on it, I think.

And I'm happy to say that gay erotic BDSM romance Taking a Chance will be published at Wilde City Press on 25 September. No final cover art as yet, but I love the mock-up I've seen. Am looking forward to doing the edits with my new editor there over the next couple of weeks.

Finally in this section, there's a new interview with me over at Smashwords, so do pop by and have a read to see what I'm up to - all visitors welcome, of course.

Life News:

This week, I attended my last staff meeting as a member of Student Support before I move across to the Registry next week. I'll miss Student Support as I've worked there for over 9 years now, but it will certainly be interesting to see the University from a different perspective. I was very touched at the meeting too as they actually gave me a round of applause which was lovely. Thank you, all! Though whether that meant they were sorry to see me go or overjoyed to get rid of me has yet to be ascertained ... Mind you, K said that when they started clapping, I should have told them to just throw money instead - ah, think of the fortune I might have made!

On Friday I have to say I played a stonkingly good game of golf - and actually won, which is very rare! I even got a par on the last hole, which was astonishing. Honestly, I have no idea why I was playing so well - and it definitely won't last till the next time - but I felt I could have spat at the ball and it would have gone in the hole. I shall bask in the glory while I can, hey ho ...

Yesterday's cake was Limoncello Cupcakes, which are very nice indeed and surprisingly light - but surely with the amount of cream and alcohol in them they are probably taking at least 5 years off our lives. Still, what a way to go, eh. I shall be making them again in the not too distant future, that much is certain.

And yesterday afternoon, K and I popped into Guildford to see a Peter Shaffer double bill at the theatre. We didn't think much of the first offering - A Private Ear - as there wasn't much to it and it was something of a one-trick pony. But the second offering - A Public Eye - was just brilliant and well worth the money. Witty and wise and zany, it was Shaffer at his best.

Happy Sunday!

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