Tuesday, 31 January 2012

5* Books ~ Jan 2012

I'm a Goodreads obsessive - it's official! This week I'm the #2 ranked reader - beaten only by someone who managed 47 books! Overall I'm the #4 reader this month. But how many of them were any good? Here's the best of the bunch from this month, main m/m, you may just find something that you'll love in this little lot - and many of them are FREE.

Friday, 27 January 2012

There's been a Murder in my Garden!

No, I don't mean that our resident sparrow hawk has nabbed another of the collared doves and made a bloody mess under the magnolia. That happens on a weekly basis. I am talking about my beloved Sequoia, or giant redwood.

What, you may ask, is such a plant doing in Cheshire, England? Well my great-aunt gave it to my father as a scrawny sapling about fifty years ago. Astonishingly, it flourished, and towers over our family home. I spent my childhood climbing it with my cousins. My grandparents (whose house it was originally; my grandfather built it himself) had two parrots who were taken outside to sit in it every single day. When we inherited one of those parrots (who lived to the ripe old age of 50 himself) even in his dotage he could be found sitting in the topmost branches and squawking at the wind. Parrot with altitude.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Gender Neutral Children

There's a story that's been all over the media recently, about a couple who have been raising their child gender neutral. For those who've not heard that term before, it basically means they've refused to tell anyone if little Sasha is a boy or a girl. Now Sasha's five years old and enrolled in school, the secret's out: it's a boy!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Writing a Bestseller

A fellow indie pointed me towards a very tongue-in-cheek website that calculates if your book's going to be a bestseller or not. Just upload 7000 characters of your story, select your genre, and presto! Instant feedback. I stuck in the opening chapters of my WIP and would you look at that, 20/20. Apparently I'm writing the perfect romance.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Hitting the Right Keys: Writing Sex

Yes, I'm going to talk about sex. In detail. If you're prudish, I suggest you click here instead: Fluffy Kittens. (Actually it's worth clicking for a giggle).

In specific, I want to talk about the different ways that men and women write about sex. I write m/m romance, and I read that genre an awful lot. Purely for research purposes, you understand... Now this is an odd genre to be in, both as a reader and a writer, because straight women just love, love, love to read and write this stuff. M/M is not the domain of gay men. Not for the most part, anyway.

That I'm a dyke writing in the genre is, for the moment, irrelevant. Just chalk it up to another of my oddities.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The Name on My Lips ~ Flash Fiction

Life is more tragic than anything that can be written. It is the most fantastic, perplexing, monstrously-beautiful thing. Simply being alive is more frightening than dying a thousand deaths. That’s what you told me, that’s exactly what you said. I know your words so well because after you’d fallen asleep I wrote them down, in pencil at first, but it smudged so when I ran my finger across the lines that I feared they’d become illegible. I re-wrote them in pen, so that when I feel the page I can mark each word by the indent in the paper, and for too long now they’ve been all that I’ve got left of you. You were the indent in my life, you changed me, marked me forever. Sometimes, Heaven knows, I’ve desperately tried to erase you, I’ve tried to rub you out, anything so it wouldn’t hurt as much, but all I was doing was re-opening a wound that healed in time, but still left a scar. Forgive me, my love, for being so young and so, so foolish.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Adoption ~ Flash Fiction

Sofia was of an age where it was cool to hate everyone, regardless of the rights or wrongs of the ways in which they treat you. She couldn’t remember her real mother, the bitch who had abandoned her; her adoptive family were the only one she had ever known. Even though they had always been good to her, treating her better even than if she had been their own, her being a much-longed-for child, it was still considered apt to hate them. She had never considered them as anything less than her parents, and they took her pseudo-angst as the compliment that it was.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Lord Shrivam ~ Flash Fiction

Lord Shrivam woke early, pulled on a mauve dressing robe and made his way downstairs to the breakfast room. The servants brought him his two soft-boiled eggs, three slices of dry toast and a pot of tea, only breaking the silence when he bade them good morning. They agreed and left him with his copy of the Times and the deafening sound of silence that closed down around him and suffocated.

Lady Shrivam woke late and took her breakfast in bed, rashers of bacon, toast with dripping and a fried egg with a copy of the latest romance. It wasn’t just his wife’s crass taste that offended him, but it was high on his list. She chattered nonsense to a maid he paid to listen to it, anything to stop her speaking to him. He hated the sound of her high, girlish voice even more than he hated the silence that accompanied him.

Friday, 6 January 2012

All Romance eBooks

...is my new favourite website.

I have been meaning to publish there since the beginning of December, but never seemed to get round to it. Last weekend I decided to rectify that, and oh my I'm glad I did. As I type, these are my statistics:

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Gay Vets and Other Political Stuff

I would like to share a video. Even if you don't read the rest of this post, watch this. It's brilliant.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Charitable Thoughts

A new year, a new start, and I'm thinking a lot about charity. I've noticed an increase in ads urging me to give to every cause from water for Africa to blankets for the dogs' home, no doubt capitalising on the flush of guilt that usually accompanies Christmas and New Year excesses. For just £1 a month I can put children through school, build wells and villages, prevent a whole host of animals from being needlessly put down, and help the blind to see. (Or buy the short-sighted new glasses, anyway).

It is too easy at this time of year to spend a fortune on tat, eat too much, throw too much food away, and generally feel very self-satisfied with our lot. But this is not a "what are you doing, you skinflint?" post. I hate being told that I should do anything, charity or not. I do a bit of consumer feedback, surveys etc (I get to see all the film trailers months before the film is out!!) and I recall doing one for a major charity about 6mo ago, for a new TV ad. When faced with questions like "What does this advert make you feel?" My first response was something along the lines of "this charity is clearly given too much money". Forgive me, but if I am going to donate £1 a month -- or whatever amount I choose -- then I want to know that as much of that £1 as possible is going to a good cause, not to their next glossy primetime slot touting for even more cash.