Friday, 23 June 2017

Planning to write: Magic Whiteboard

I wouldn't normally rave about a product, but I often get asked how I plan my books. Mainly I launch into my story and hope for the best, but usually about 10k in, I come to a grinding halt. I haven't made friends with online planning software, and prefer to map the story out away from the screen.

And this is where Magic Whiteboard comes in.


I buy it from Amazon and it's on a roll, I slap up a sheet on my nearest wall and start plotting. I would show you the epic one for Hello My Angel, but then I'd give away all my secrets.


I go through several of these per book, and keep them afterwards for reference. I start with a spider plan, then get down to timelines, chapter planning and the nitty-gritty details. 

We use a lot of whiteboard sheets in the Brown house. My son has revised for his A-levels with chemical formulas on his bedroom walls, my daughter uses them for her shift times, I use them for shopping lists. We recommend the product to everyone. Yes, I could buy a whiteboard, but I'd need many of them around the house.  

This is probably my number one product that I find useful to plan my stories. 


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Just Hanging Out by Lillian Francis

Just Hanging Out


I was very lucky to read this gorgeously sweet tale as a beta, and now you can too. Only 99p!


The Book

This midsummer there’s not just the scent of soap in the air. It smells like temptation.

“Come and honour the Oak King.”
The countdown to the company solstice picnic is one of Shawn’s favourite times of the year. The scents of sage, mint, basil, sunflower, and lavender fill the air as the workshop mixes up the final batch of Litha, their solstice soap. It’s celebration time! This year, Shawn has an extra spring in his step, and it’s all for the new buyer, Tim. Shawn’s fine having a crush on the gorgeous new straight guy. Until he isn’t.
As the clock ticks down to Picnic-Day, Shawn’s confidence and Tim’s sexuality become mired in doubt and second guesses. It’s a minefield of embarrassed glances and missed opportunities. Seems like they’ll never get together…
To cap it all, Shawn’s drawn Tim in the secret solstice gifting. What to get for the quiet man who turns Shawn’s legs to jelly and has the best underwear hanging from the washing line in his garden? And will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?

Word count: ~16700

Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press


Buy Links: Amazon // Kobo // Payhip // B&N // Smashwords

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here.

About the Author
Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.


Excerpt
“Come on, everyone. Time to honour the Oak King.” Miriam stood in the centre of the office and jiggled a deep wooden bowl, exquisitely carved with the face of the Green Man. “Come and pick your giftee.”
Yes, I did say Oak King. Miriam’s a new-age hippie, whose 100% natural soap has taken her from cooking the stuff up in her kitchen and selling it from a stall at various markets, to a thriving shop and workshop with a staff of twenty plus. We’ve branched out into candles in the last few years, but it’s the soap, especially the seasonal range, that brings in the punters. Oh, and she’s a Pagan. Hence, the honouring the Oak King statement.
Don’t worry. There’s no sacrifice involved. We have a massive picnic on the Downs on Midsummer’s Eve, drink too much local ale, and the Oak King—normally Ali from Packaging, in a headdress made of antlers and a myriad of leaves, flowers, and herbs—hands out our jokey gifts. Then we settle in to watch the sunset and bid the Oak King farewell for another six months. In other words, it’s a chance to eat well, drink better, and have a laugh, all the while showing appreciation for an amazing boss and honouring her beliefs, even if we’re a mix of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists. Dunno why the atheists can’t have their own capital letter. Me, I’m probably an agnostic with Taoist leanings.
“You too, Shawn,” Miriam called over to me. “Stop hogging the copier and grab a name.”
I glanced at my watch and then flicked my gaze surreptitiously out the window. Still time. If I was quick, and Miriam didn’t choose that moment to chat, I could be back at my station without missing a moment of the action. Shaking a leg, and my impressively pert behind, I slipped in between two of the admin clerks and plucked a slip of paper from the pot. Without bothering to even glimpse at the name written on it, I stuffed the folded slip into the front pocket of my jeans and returned to the photocopier. One more glance at the time—8:52—and I pressed the button to start my items printing.
There were enough pages in this print run to keep me at the copier for a good few minutes. I saved up all but the most urgent for these five minutes just before nine. It was a routine I’d been keeping for the last few months. As the copier warmed up after a night of inaction, with the gentle whirr of reanimated machinery, I took a moment to enjoy the view from the window. The azure blue of the sky contrasted with the white blossom on the tree just on the edge of the company’s land at the rear entrance. Beyond, a neat row of cottages caught the eye and drew the gaze of anyone who had time to stop and watch.
As I appreciated the view, a door of one of the cottages opened and a tall, broad man stepped out onto the path that led down a well-kempt front garden to the road. Yeah, I know that kempt means well cared for, so the well is redundant. I work in communications and I’ve a Desmond in English Lit and Environmental Science. That’s lower second class honours for those of you not in the know. Not bad for a lad from Saath London. Of course, four years at Canterbury, another four living in this small Sussex town, coupled with some conscious effort, have more or less knocked that accent out of me.
Less about me, back to another thing that was kempt and well put together. The object of my voyeuristic tendencies stepped through his gate and out onto the pavement then turned in my direction. A happy sigh escaped me as the early morning sun caught his wavy hair just right; fiery copper reflected back to me in reds and gold. His eyes were green, and flecked with amber. Not that I could see his irises from this distance—I could barely make out the strong features that made up his ruggedly handsome face. And the freckles that gave him an oddly incongruous boyish look were filled in from memory at this point. I sighed again, far too dramatically for my own liking.
Rather than concentrate on the parts of him that required my imagination, I studied the visual feast in front of me. Now he’d cleared the obstruction of his neighbour’s privet, I had an uninterrupted view, where I could drink my fill without the risk of getting caught.
Chinos—the russet pair today—encased long legs, and heavily muscled thighs bunched beneath the material with every determined stride that brought him a step closer. Finally, the man disappeared below my sight line. The photocopier whirled to a stop, spitting out the last few pages of my weekly comms report and a stack of sample leaflets for Miriam’s perusal. I had about five minutes to school my features and get back to my desk, or get caught tongue-tied. Again.
A flash of colour caught my eye as I turned away from the view and I spun back to the window expecting to see the swoop of ring-necked parakeets. The birds were becoming a more common sight in local gardens these days. Maybe the green bastards thought I was homesick and followed me from London.
Instead of the expected flap of wings, my gaze found the source of the flashes of colour: a washing line strung in the back garden of one of the cottages. Clothes hung from the line, fluttering in the gentle breeze of a pleasant June morning. Not just any clothes, though.
Nope, a whole line full of bright, skimpy, tight underwear. Underwear that I’d seen advertised in Attitude that very morning as I read on my bus journey to work. And by seen, I meant studied. Intently. Double-page spread. Three all but naked guys getting handsy with each other and appearing to love every minute of it. Hell, I’d even stuffed in my headphones, thanked any deity who wanted to listen that I was sitting in the back, and watched the ‘making of’ video. Those models were having fun, no doubt about it.
Get A Grip. Flamboyant, colourful, crotch-cupping, butt-caressing underpants. With a marketing campaign that focused on the gay man. Ask a straight guy about GAG and 95% wouldn’t know what you were talking about.
Not only that, but the garden the washing line was located belonged to—
“Morning, Shawn. Printing again?”
Now I was close enough to see the green of his eyes. The deep rumble that came from his broad chest caressed the vowel sound in my name and threatened to turn my legs to jelly.
Stupid! Answer him. All I could do was echo the greeting, anything else was beyond me, the sight of those pants hanging in a neat rainbow of colour seared on to my brain. “Morning, Tim.”
Tim faltered as though expecting there would be more forthcoming, but I had nothing. Nothing workplace appropriate, anyway. Asking your colleague to model his undies for you was probably frowned upon, even for a liberal employer like InScents, and Tim was still comparatively new and seemed kinda shy for a big guy. I wouldn’t say we were friends yet but I hoped we were getting there. So I kept my mouth shut.
The moment stretched on but it could have lasted no more than a second or two, then Tim carried on past, heading for his desk. I thought I’d detected a dusky flush of rose under his freckles but I was easily distracted and couldn’t quell the urge to watch the tight pull of Tim’s chinos as he walked away from me.
Not an unfamiliar feeling any time Tim walked in front of me.
But now I couldn’t stop myself from imaging his muscular arse cheeks enclosed in a pair of GAGs.
* * * * *



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Morning My Angel Audiobook is OUT!

Morning My Angel audiobook is now available on Amazon and Audible, narrated by the very talented Joel Leslie.

Buylinks:

Ebook: Amazon - on Kindle Unlimited
Print: Amazon
Audiobook: Amazon : Audible
Now on Goodreads here

Blurb:
Josh Cooper, top US security field agent, is sent on an inter-agency assignment to London, when a partner in his firm goes missing in suspicious circumstances. Used to working in sole charge of his well-honed team, he clashes heads with the handsome, but pompous Cal, his UK co-operator and superior. Josh’s gut tells him something is wrong. He’s being kept out of the loop and Cal’s agenda is running on a different path.

He also has a personal issue to deal with. He’s involved in a cyber-relationship with “Charlie”, an unknown man who connected with Josh by accident. Their banter has led to deeper respect and a sexual interest, but now Josh is faced with a growing attraction to Cal. Between this conflict and the tension of the mission, Josh’s heart and head are overworked and confused. Things can’t get much worse.

Then Josh discovers the enemies he’s seeking have a new target: him.


Excerpt

The message popped up as soon as Josh Cooper logged on.

“Morning Angel.”

Josh blew the message a kiss and typed a greeting in return.

“Morning Charlie. Need coffee.”

Any further communication would have to wait until Josh found caffeine. After two years Charlie knew Josh wasn’t in the mood to talk until his blood stream was eighty per cent caffeine.

Of course, Josh wasn’t really Angel and Charlie was… whoever he was… but if they wanted to greet each other like relics from a seventies TV show then it was no one’s business but their own. Their relationship—if IM could be called a relationship—had started two weeks after Josh began at CDR, when CDR053 had messaged Josh by mistake. When he wouldn’t give his name, Josh had dubbed the mysterious stranger Charlie. The minute Charlie had called Josh his angel; Josh knew Charlie was sent by his goddess, Farrah Fawcett, to brighten his existence. But he didn’t hear from Charlie every day. Sometimes weeks would go by without a word but, when he’d log on and receive a “Morning Angel”, Josh would send up a thanks to Farrah for making his day golden.

Josh blew one more kiss at the computer even though Charlie couldn’t see it, and wandered off to find life-saving coffee. It was just after nine in the morning and he was about to drink cup number four, which would elevate him from zombie to almost human. He was unashamedly addicted and if he encountered one of those ‘green tea plucked from the Himalayas only on a full moon in a month beginning with Z’ types he wouldn’t apologize for what came out of his mouth. He liked his coffee black and strong, just like his… dog. Josh didn’t have a dog either.

Whenever he said that people would smirk at him and he’d smirk back. He didn’t care what they thought he was going to say. Josh didn’t give a fuck if his men were black, white, built or tiny. When a guy tried it on, Josh stabbed a finger in his chest. “If you think picking me up and banging me against a wall is a sign of a real man you can think again. ‘Sides, I can probably put you on the floor before you lay on finger on me.” And then he would demonstrate. Josh was a show-not-tell man, and the guys who picked themselves up and ran away weren’t worth his time of day. Enough of them dusted off their butt and stayed to make the demonstration worthwhile.

Josh filled his mug with fresh brewed coffee, took a huge swallow, topped off the mug again and returned to his desk at a leisurely pace, waving to the receptionist as he rounded the corner. She blew him a crimson lip-sticked kiss and he caught it, slapped it to his ass and grinned as she giggled. He sat at his desk, pleased to see the cursor still flashing, and typed a quick “Back again.”

“Been caught by Dominic yet?”

“Not yet.” Josh had slid past the operations manager’s office in the hope of being undetected. He couldn’t cope with Dominic Cook prior to being caffeinated. Charlie found Josh’s fractious relationship with Dominic endlessly amusing. Josh had another word—many words— for their working relationship. Amusing wasn’t one of them.

“Did you hide from him?”

Josh pulled a face at the screen. Charlie knew him far too well. “It’s too early to deal with him.”

“Coward.”

“Sensible.”

It was all right for Charlie to fling random accusations around when he didn’t work for Dominic. Josh wasn’t entirely sure what Charlie did for CDR and Charlie was annoyingly closed-mouthed.

CDR, named after its founder, Callum David Ross, provided security for anyone who needed it; whether they were celebrities, big companies, or wealthy individuals who could afford CDR’s resources.

Two years ago, Josh had been head-hunted from his former company after he saved one of CDR’s high profile clients from an assassination attempt. Josh always maintained he was just in the wrong place at the right time but, after a cutting interview with Dominic which felt like he’d had the close hairs shaved off his balls; Josh was employed as part of a field team dealing with low profile but high risk clients. The rest of his team were currently two floors up in the gym beating the living shit out of each other. They were the muscle; Josh was the brains. At least in theory. Josh didn’t want to test it out. He had a feeling both men were more than capable of beating him in both brains and brawn.

Charlie left a new message. “You’ve got a new assignment.”

Josh frowned at the screen. “How do you know that?”

“You know I’m not going to tell you my sources.”

“Fuck. I’ve just got back from the last one. Mr. Truffles is gonna be pissed.”

Josh had recently been adopted by a chocolate brown cat who’d moved in one day and showed no signs of leaving. So far his neighbor had seen more of Mr. Truffles than he had.

“You know Eileen will love to have him again.”

“That’s what I’m worried about, Charlie. I swear one day she won’t give him back.”

“Angel.”

“Yes?”

“Be careful.”

Josh didn’t think Charlie was talking about the potential loss of a cat. He huffed and stabbed at his keyboard. “I’m always careful. You know that.” He’d built his reputation on protecting his clients and his team.

“I know, Angel. But this isn’t like your usual assignments.”

Josh could almost hear Charlie trying to sooth him but he was still feeling huffy. “I’ll do my job. You know. What I’m paid for.”

“I know you will. Just watch your back. Sorry, Angel. I’ve got to go.”

Josh stared at the screen for a long moment. He’d always suspected Charlie was high up in CDR’s ranks, but for Charlie to know about the assignments before he did only confirmed Josh’s suspicions.

“Cooper!”

Josh looked up to see his flame-haired operations manager waving from conference room one. “You yelled, oh great one?”

“Cut the crap,” Dominic growled. “It’s too early.”

“Yes, sir!” Josh saluted him smartly.

Dominic growled again. “Get the boys down here now!”

Josh sent a text to both members of his team and then sat back in his chair to finish his coffee. There was no point in rushing. They would take six minutes and forty-five seconds to shower and arrive from two floors up. In the meantime, he wondered whatever the hell was so serious that it had stuck a bug up Dominic’s butt and worried Charlie. He pulled out his notebook and logged this crisis under number 5440. Josh definitely had OCD tendencies, although not many people noticed until they discovered he never forgot anything, invariably to their cost.

After six minutes Josh headed into the conference room, a full mug of coffee in his hand. Dominic was staring pensively out of the rain-lashed window. He didn’t turn around as Josh entered so Josh took his usual seat and waited for Dominic to acknowledge him. Forty-five seconds later when the rest of the team arrived, Dominic was still staring out of the window.

Landry and Gil Grover, the so-called muscle of his team, took the seats flanking Josh. Twins, six-foot-four, dark skin and dark eyes, they were basically sex on legs. Josh had entertained more than one fantasy about being the filling in that particularly muscled sandwich. Unfortunately, they were both straight, laughed hysterically at the idea of being in the same bed and rejected the offer of Josh’s dick on numerous occasions. He kept trying though, for form’s sake. At least now they rejected him without threatening to rearrange his face. Josh didn’t take it personally. He was born to flirt. Sometimes he got lucky.

Gil raised an eyebrow at Dominic’s preoccupation and Josh shrugged in response. Aside from Charlie’s comment he knew no more than they did. Eventually, Dominic dragged himself away from the window to sit down at the table.

Josh leant back and stuck his feet up on the polished surface, crossing them at the ankles. Landry automatically knocked them down before Dominic exploded. Josh thought about doing it again but decided against it. He gazed around the table, flitting from one face to the other. Josh was sure none of the three men were Charlie. Landry and Gil had girlfriends. Landry’s girl was half his height and twice as scary and Gil liked to date stunning models. Dominic had a wife—supposedly. No one at CDR had ever seen her. He kept his personal life well away from the office.

“If you’re ready to do your job, Mr. Cooper?” Dominic snapped.

Josh slurped his coffee loudly and gave him a condescending wave. “Please, go ahead.”

His red brows almost knitting in the ferocity of his scowl, Dominic tapped at the iPad on the table. The screen on one wall sprang into life showing the round face of a man, his hair thinning on top and grey around the edges, but handsome enough, with a slightly crooked smile and teeth to match.

“Who is he?” Landry asked. Six minutes older and half an inch taller than his twin he was shy in a public situation but was always the one with the questions. It was easy to underestimate Landry. Josh didn’t make that mistake.

“Jonathan Michaels, thirty-eight,” Dominic said. “An entrepreneur who’s now a hedge fund investor in London. He’s gone missing.”

Gil tapped the table. “So why do we need to know about a missing Brit?”

Josh was equally confused. CDR focused on bodyguard work for celebrities and politicians. The agency never touched missing persons’ cases.

“Because he’s a friend of a friend,” Dominic replied. “We’ve been instructed to find him before Scotland Yard’s Serious Fraud Office does. You’re booked on a flight to London this evening. Details of which, along with the hotel information, have been forwarded to your emails.”

“We don’t do cases for friends,” Landry said in a flat tone. “Company policy.”

Dominic inclined his head. “Normally yes, but not this time. He’s insisted.”

He was the boss. Josh had never met Callum David Ross but he wasn’t in any hurry to rectify that situation. From office gossip CDR could snap people in half if they crossed him, pull out their intestines and fry them up for dinner. The stories may have been exaggerated but Josh had never met the guy. What did he know?

“When did he disappear?” Josh asked.

“Three weeks ago. October 30th,” Dominic said. “He left the office at 7.00 p.m. and never arrived home. The journey from his office to his house in Chelsea takes thirty minutes.”

“And we’re only just getting involved?” Josh knew in K&R three weeks was a lifetime.

“The local law enforcement, the Metropolitan Police, thought he was a jumper as his car was found by the Thames. His body’s not been found, although that’s not unusual. Sometimes they get stuck in the mud but the bodies usually turn up downstream after a few days. If he didn’t jump and he’s still alive, no ransom demand has been made.”

So no kidnap and ransom. “Why us?”

“Because money has gone missing,” Dominic said. “A lot of money, from his clients’ accounts.”

“And Michaels is the prime suspect?” Landry asked.

“That’s the general belief, yes.” Dominic’s frown intensified. He seemed personally pissed off about this case.

Landry leaned back in his seat and slurped his coffee, ignoring Dominic’s glare. “This sounds more like a job for the insurance company than us. An executive skipped off with the cash. Why isn’t their white collar division dealing with it?”

“What are you not telling us?” Gil demanded.

Dominic took a long time to answer but finally he said, “Jonathan Michaels is a partner in this agency. If he isn’t found this agency is at risk.”

Josh snapped his fingers. He knew that name sounded familiar. Before Josh had interviewed for his post, he’d found out all he could about CDR. Jonathan Michaels was the silent partner of CDR. An old college buddy of Callum David Ross and an extremely successful businessman, Jonathan had lent him the money to start the business eight years ago. Now he was in trouble and therefore, potentially, so was the agency. Josh tried not to process the thought that his job was at risk. He loved working at CDR. “Where do we start?”

“I’ve sent you everything we already know about Michaels,” Dominic said. “I’m going to follow the trail this end. There’s no record of him leaving the UK but that don’t mean jack. You coordinate the London operation and report back to me. Darryl and I will stay here and focus on his financials and his movements. Nothing else matters until we find Michaels, dead or alive.”

Josh waited for Dominic to say something else but the operations manager stood and scowled at them all. “Why are you still sitting here? You’ve got a plane to catch.”

Gil looked at Josh. “Meet at your desk in ten?”

“Yeah.” Josh finished his coffee and headed for a refill. He had a ton of phone calls to make before they left. Not the least of which was roping in his neighbor to look after his cat while he was away.

London in November. Christ, why couldn’t Michaels live somewhere hot?

The Great North by J. Scott Coatsworth


The Great North Playlist


I thought it would be fun to put together a playlist for my new fantasy novella, The Great North, a fantasy tale about Dwyn and Mael, two men who find each other in the midst of chaotic change. So here it goes:

First, for Manicouga – Life in a Northern Town, by The Dream Academy:


For Mael after the storm that destroyed his village - Go Down Easy, by Dan Fogelberg:


For the storm that threatens Manicouga – Bachlorette, by Bjork:


For Dwyn and Mael, when they first fall for each other – Change Your Mind, by Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio:



And finally, for Mael near the end – Meet Me in the Woods: Lord Huron:


Hope you enjoy the playlist!


Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Length: 34K
Format: eBook
Release Date: 6/14/17
Pairing: MM
Price: 3.99
Genre: MM, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Romance, Myths, Legends, Gods, Post-Apocalyptic

Blurb:

Dwyn is a young man in the small, isolated town of Manicouga, son of the Minstor, who is betrothed to marry Kessa in a few weeks’ time.

Mael is shepherding the remains of his own village from the north, chased out by a terrible storm that destroyed Land’s End.

Both are trying to find their way in a post-apocalyptic world. When the two meet, their love and attraction may change the course of history.

—————

The Great North was inspired by St. Dwynwen's Day, also known as Welsh Valentines Day:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dwynwen

Excerpt:

"We celebrate Dwyn's Day as a testament to true love and sacrifice. It's a remembrance of the way things were and the way they've come to be. In the end, let it be a reminder that every one of us has the power to change the course of events through love."
—Dillon Cooper, New Gods and Monsters, Twenty years After Dwyn

The gray clouds scudded by overhead, blowing in quickly from the east.
Dwyn shivered and pulled on his woolen cap. It was cold out, unusual for so early in the fall. The rains had been heavy this season, the wettest in a generation, and Circle Lake was close to overflowing its banks. If he stretched to look over the rows of corn plants, he could see the waters lapping at the shore far below, as if hungry to consume his village of Manicouga.
His father had consulted the elders, some of whom had seen more than fifty summers, and everyone agreed things were changing. Whether that augured good or ill was anyone's guess.
He shrugged and moved along the row of plants, breaking off ears of corn and throwing them into the jute sack that hung from his shoulder.
Ahead of him, two of his age-mates, Declan and Baia, were working their way down the next two rows.
Dwyn frowned. He got distracted easily, and he'd let the two of them get a jump on him. That wouldn't do.
He redoubled his pace. He moved with focus and purpose, and soon he was closing the gap with his friends.
"Someone's being chased by a lion," Baia said with a laugh.
"Or a tiger." Declan grinned, his nice smile only missing one tooth, lost to a fight with one of the Beckham brothers the year before.
Dwyn grinned. "Or a bear?" Dwyn only knew lions and tigers from the fairy tale his mother used to tell them, "The Girl and the Aus." He had no idea what an Aus was, either.
Bears he knew. The hunters occasionally brought one home, and old Alesser had a five-line scar across his wrinkled face that he claimed came from one of the beasts.
A shout went up from ahead of them. Dwyn craned his neck to see what the ruckus was, but he couldn't make out anything. "What's going on?"
Declan, who was half a head taller, looked toward the commotion. "Hard to tell. Something down by the road."
Dwyn laid down his sack carefully and ran up the hill to one of the old elms that dotted the field. He climbed into the tree, scurrying up through the leaves and branches until he had a clear view of the Old Road. It ran from up north to somewhere down south, maybe near the ruins of old Quebec if the merchant tales held any truth. Hardly anyone from Manicouga ever followed it, but occasionally traders would follow it to town, bringing exotic wares and news from the other villages that were scattered up and down its length.
They swore it went all the way down to the Heat, the great desert that had consumed much of the world after the Reckoning.
"What's going on down there?" Baia called from below.
Dwyn tried to make sense of it. "There are three wagons coming down the pass. They're loaded up with all sorts of things. They don't look like traders though."
The first of the horse-drawn wagons had just reached the field above the main township. It stopped, and someone hopped off to talk with the villagers who had gathered from the fields.
"We need to get down there," Dwyn said, scrambling down the tree trunk. "Something's happening." Nothing new ever happened in Manicouga, and he wasn't going to miss it.
He grabbed his sack and sprinted toward the Old Road, not waiting to see if Declan and Baia followed.

Buy Links Etc:

Publisher (no orders until release): http://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/the-great-north.html
Amazon
Barnes & Noble: Coming Soon
Kobo
Smashwords: Coming Soon
iBooks
Goodreads: Coming Soon

Review: ⭐⭐⭐

I firmly believe J. Scott Coatsworth could never write a bad book if he tried. He has a skill of world-building I envy and he always writes exceptional characters. The Great North is no exception in the description of the landscape and politics, and it was good tale of the conflict between two disparate groups of people. However I had two issues with the books, which is probably more about me, than the tale itself. It didn't appeal to me on an emotional level, and I wish it had. I didn't connect with Dwyn at all, although I did like Mael. I had more feelings towards the secondary characters than the main couple. The other is the religious element. I struggled with the not-Christian-but-is-really-very-bad-faith. I wasn't too sure about the sexual politics of Mael's people, but it was a very practical solution. Also this sounds like I didn't it, I did. I just wished I'd connected more.


Author Bio:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com


Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Review: The Mystery of Nevermore by C.S. Poe

Buylinks: DSP Publications, Amazon, Audiobook

It’s Christmas, and all antique dealer Sebastian Snow wants is for his business to make money and to save his floundering relationship with closeted CSU detective Neil Millett. When Snow’s Antique Emporium is broken into and a heart is found under the floorboards, Sebastian can’t let the mystery rest.

He soon finds himself caught up in murder investigations that echo the macabre stories of Edgar Allan Poe. To make matters worse, Sebastian’s sleuthing is causing his relationship with Neil to crumble, while at the same time he’s falling hard for the lead detective on the case, Calvin Winter. Sebastian and Calvin must work together to unravel the mystery behind the killings, despite the mounting danger and sexual tension, before Sebastian becomes the next victim.

In the end, Sebastian only wants to get out of this mess alive and live happily ever after with Calvin.

Book Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Audiobook Review: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I bought the audiobook of The Mystery of Neverwhere because the title intrigued me, and I've been anxious to find a new amateur sleuth to keep me entertained on long journeys. I am unfamiliar with the narrator, Derrick McClain, but once I'd got my head around his voices, I happily settled into the story. He doesn't 'act' as much as other narrators, but his style suited this plot.

The protagonists are an antiques dealer and a sexy homicide detective. Sebastian Snow has a condition which is fascinating in the way it affects his life and how he sees Detective Calvin Winter. It made an interesting twist on a standard premise. I'm not going to give it away as it's not in the blurb, but it kept me intrigued throughout the book. I was pleased on how the author handled the boyfriend issue.

I usually have an issue with plots that use literary references. Sometimes I feel the author is so pleased with their cleverness, it loses me as a reader. In this instance I think the author handled it well.

I liked the secondary characters, particularly Sebastian's dad, and the world-building. We don't really get much snow where I live, so I sighed a little at the thought of snow at Christmas.

I'm going to have to mention Josh Lanyon's Adrien English series. Yes, there are similarities. No, it didn't bother me. Nerdy sleuth and homicide detective is a common trope. C.S. Poe has a strong enough voice to make this series all her own.

A thoroughly enjoyable book with enough twists and turns to keep me coming back for more.




Saturday, 17 June 2017

Books based on... the Ugly Duckling

Have you read the Ugly Duckling? This is a tale by Hans Christian Anderson, about a homely little bird born in a barnyard, abuse by those around him until the day he matures into a beautiful swan. 

I have read two books based on the Ugly Duckling trope and both of them are firm favourites.

One of the first books I read in the M/M Romance genre was Duck! by Kim Dare, and is still one of my all-time favourite books.

Blurb: Raised among humans, Ori Jones only discovered he was an avian shifter six months ago. Unable to complete a full shift until he reaches his avian maturity, he still can’t be sure of his exact species. But with species comes rank, and rank is everything to the avians. When a partial shift allows the elders to announce that they believe Ori to be a rather ugly little duckling, he drops straight to the bottom rung of their hierarchy. Life isn’t easy for Ori until he comes to the attention of a high ranking hawk shifter. Then the only question is, is Ori really a duck—and what will his new master think when the truth eventually comes out?

What I love about Duck!… actually, I love everything about the story. The relationship between Ori and Raynard and the way they learn from each other. The beautiful shifter tale interwoven between the Master/submissive relationship. What happens when Ori finally shifts… I ache for them both at this point. And the point I want to thump Raynard for being so blind. If there is a truly perfect fairytale in this genre, this is it. This is a story to cuddle up to with hot chocolate and a roaring fire. If you’ve never read it, now is the time.

By complete contrast, one of the newest books I’ve read in the genre is Romancing the Ugly Duckling  by Clare London, and I’m equally giddy about this one.


Blurb: Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.
Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.
Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

This is a tale of a man who’s never truly looked at himself until someone special shows him the truth. Grab that hot chocolate, chuck another log on the fire, and prepare to be entranced by Greg and Perry. Entranced is not a word I’d usually employ in an M/M book, but this is gorgeous and gentle, and just wonderful *sigh*. I wanted to cuddle them both. The Scottish island setting just gives it a little twist too and the islanders made me giggle.

Both books take the Ugly Duckling tale and make it gloriously their own. Read them, love them, enjoy.





Thursday, 15 June 2017

Sue's Newsletter 1

I have my first newsletter, Sue Brown - South of Big Ben, out today which you can catch here. I have news of two free reads and two releases from two of my favourite authors, A E Ryecart and Clare London.

Next month, I will be offering an exclusive story just for subscribers, and a chance to read Alpha Chef before it goes live on Amazon.

You can subscribe to my newsletter here.