Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hellion

If you're a member of the MM Romance Group on Goodreads, then you should know all about the Don't Read in the Closet event. Each year, people send in prompts, and authors claim them, then write FREE stories to the prompt. This year I picked a regency prompt. BECAUSE I COULD!!!

And I had a blast! 



Here's a little teaser from Hellion


Alderton, Suffolk, 1817

Had Oliver Fitzwilliam ever been asked to give his considered opinion on the matter― and, unfortunately, he had not― he would have stated that the sooner the ton gave up the idea of a Season, the better. Not that Oliver was in any way a moralistic old bore. Quite the opposite, in fact. He loved the balls, parties, theatres, military reviews and masquerades that made up the frenzied London social calendar between late January and early July. He only hated the fact that, as with all good things, it had to come to an end, leaving the once-vibrant capital a veritable graveyard as everyone packed up and went home for the next six months.

Home, in Oliver’s case, was Waverley, a more than modest estate in Suffolk that was so damned bucolic it set his teeth on edge. Even the sounds of the birds twittering in the trees drove him slowly mad. It wasn’t that he hated the countryside― well, perhaps a little― it’s just that he was so dreadfully bored by it. It wouldn’t have been so bad if only he could have been left alone to perhaps read or draw, both of which he enjoyed, but he was a wealthy unmarried baronet, and the damned locals wouldn’t give him a moment’s peace.

There was one wittering on at him at that very moment, jowls jiggling as he talked animatedly about some upcoming ball at Major Clinton’s estate, and how everyone would be delighted if Oliver attended. Delighted.

Oliver smiled and nodded as the Reverend Mr Bletchley buzzed on and on and on, as tiresome as a bluebottle trapped against a windowpane.

“Well, of course I should love to attend,” he lied, pouring himself another brandy and holding the decanter up in question.

“Oh my goodness, I really oughtn’t,” the reverend said, but made no further protestation.

Oliver resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he poured him another drink, then looked up as a figure appeared briefly in the open library doorway. He was gone again, as fleeting as a shadow, but Oliver would know him anywhere.

Unfortunately.

Simon Cavendish.

The estate at Waverley had come with ten thousand acres of prime Suffolk farmland outside the village of Alderton, an income exceeding eight thousand pounds a year, the title of Baronet of Stockdale, and, regrettably, an unforeseen complication who went by the name of Simon Cavendish. 

Complication, perhaps, was an exaggeration.

There wasn’t terribly much that the boy could do to complicate Oliver’s life. His duties to the estate, and to the boy, generally involved reading the correspondence that his manager sent him each month, which, for the first few years at least, had included the increasingly damning reports from the boy’s schoolmasters.

Oliver had inherited the estate, and the boy, from a great-uncle. His uncle’s lack of direct heir had proved extremely beneficial for Oliver, but he hadn’t anticipated inheriting anything like Simon Cavendish.

Whether Oliver cared to admit it or not, the boy was another reason Oliver didn’t spend more time at Waverley. He was fifteen when Oliver had first made his acquaintance. He was nineteen now. In two years he would attain his majority, and, with a more than generous settlement bestowed upon him, would be out of Oliver’s hair for good. It wasn’t that he detested the boy; he was just somewhat confounded by him.

He had been confounded the first time he’d met him, and remained confounded to this day.


*** 

To check out the story, and see the NSFW picture that came with the prompt, here's the link on Goodreads. Enjoy! 

If you aren't a GR member, don't worry! In a few days I'll post the links to a downloadable version of Hellion. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

One Perfect Night - Available May 3

One Perfect Night is a short story (about 9000 words) set in Townsville, Australia, in 1943. 

In 1943, with the Japanese advancing through the Pacific, Townsville was on the front line. In 1942, the population of Townsville went from an estimated 30 000 people, to somewhere between 90 000 to 100 000. Schools were closed, and handed over to the Americans to use, as were businesses, cinemas, hotels and as many as 200 private homes. In one street alone, thirty houses were commandeered by the Americans to use as a hospital.  Slit trenches were dug in the main streets, and air raid shelters built. The airport, still in use today (and the only one remaining in Australia that is joint use between the civilian airlines and the RAAF), was built because of the war. 

Townsville is my home city now, I guess. I mean, there comes a point when you have to admit that if you haven't moved in over a decade, this could be it. When I was a kid, I moved a lot, thanks to my dad's job. One of the places we lived was Bougainville, an island in Papua New Guinea. The war was still evident there, in rusted-out tanks on the side of the road, in roads and bridges built by the military, and, on a jungle hillside, a large red cross marking where Yamamoto's plane was shot down. It was impossible to grow up on Bougainville and not be aware of the war, even if it seemed as strange and mystical to a kid as the tales of the spirits in the volcanos. 

It was in Bougainville that I first learned about the coastwatchers. The coastwatchers were men stationed on islands throughout the Pacific - planters and traders mostly - who, when the Japanese came, spied on their positions and reported back to the Allied Intelligence Bureau, based in Townsville. They were only a small group of men, but their impact on the Allied war effort can't be understated. They were the eyes of the Allies, behind enemy lines, and helped turn the tide of the war against Japan. 


Cover art by Natasha Snow

Townsville, Australia, 1943.

Tanner is a captain in the US Army, stationed at a radio post on an island in the middle of nowhere.

Nick is a coastwatcher, a man whose voice Tanner has only heard before over the radio waves.

They meet in the middle of war, when nothing is certain but this: Tanner and Nick are owed one perfect night.


One Perfect Night is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LGBTQ Push Back Charity Giveaway





Hi guys! 

I just wanted everyone to be aware that I'm taking part in the Diverse Reader: LGBTQ Push Back Charity Giveaway

Want to win a bunch of books? 

It's easy. All you need to do is make adoration to an LGBTQ charity of your choice, then go to Diverse Reader and leave a comment stating you did so. 

As it says over there: 


Changing laws and attitudes takes time, and right now there are LGBT people in need who can’t afford to wait. The sooner we can help them, the better, and the more resources we have, the more help we can offer.


That’s why 224 authors, review bloggers, and publishers have got together to offer something wonderful: a reward for people who do a little bit to give back to charity. Instead of spending $5 on a book in the next two weeks, give that $5 to an LGBT charity of your choice, tell us about it in the comments, and go into the draw to win a book from one of our participating donors. And because it’s not all about money, if you can’t make a donation then please take a moment to share a charity’s links and tell us about that instead.


Three fundraisers have been set up to counter the hateful effects of Indiana’s SB 101. #Pizza4Equality is aiming to match the money raised by *that* pizza parlor, with all donations going to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund. Another fundraiser is aiming to raise $100,000 for Indiana Youth Group. Finally, Planting Peace is trying to raise $100,000 to provide beds for homeless LGBT people.




Please consider giving to one of these deserving fundraisers, or any other LGBT charity anywhere in the world. We’re not telling you where you should donate your time and money, only asking that you do. The smallest things can make the biggest difference, and together, we can do something incredible.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fallout Giveaway!



Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and M. Caspian, the authors of FALLOUT. We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our processes, anything we can think about actually, and even giving you guys a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? Check out the details at the bottom of the post to see what you can win!


Today, Lisa talks about love and romance:

So, the other day somebody asked me what I write. And I said Romance. But that’s not exactly true, is it? I write love stories, I think, but that’s often very different than romance. Love is an abiding connection between people, whether they’re still in your life or not. Romance is something you see on movies, with late night picnics on in rooftop gardens, and tea lights in mason jars. Love is bigger than a gesture. Love is dirty socks and remembering whose turn it is to put petrol in the car, and making room in your life for another person. Love is a smile, and a touch, and your elbows knocking together as you cook dinner in a tiny kitchen.


In FALLOUT, our two MCs, Jack and Bastian, are in love. They never doubt that. They do, though, sometimes doubt that they’ll be together forever. In the years they’ve been together, they’ve also drifted apart. Circumstances have changed. Bastian has a spinal injury that require constant monitoring. His quality of life isn’t the same as it was. And Jack is responsible for that injury. Both of them are secretly wondering what’s still holding their relationship together: love or guilt. Or maybe just habit.


I think that FALLOUT is very much a story about the strength of love, but it’s not romance. There’s nothing sweet about the nightmarish world that Jack and Bastian find themselves in when a natural disaster hits, but it’s love that stops either of them from giving up. It’s love that makes them do things--sometimes terrible things--that they never before thought possible. And it’s also love that engenders the spark of hope that keeps both of them fighting, even when circumstances force them apart.


Love isn’t always pretty, but it’s enduring.

About FALLOUT:



High-school boyfriends Jack Haldane and Bastian Wade thought everything would be perfect once they reunited at college, putting disapproving parents and small-town attitudes firmly in the past. Now Jack’s on track for a PhD scholarship and a career as a researcher, and Bastian . . . well, living inside a broken body and trailing along in Jack’s shadow didn’t feature in his lofty teenage ambitions. A weekend camping trip back home offers a chance for them to reconnect, but an ugly confrontation with the local motorcycle gang is only the start of their problems. When disaster occurs and the world unravels, will Bastian and Jack manage to hold on to each other, or fall further apart as they try to survive? 


You can check out FALLOUT on Amazon or Smashwords.

The Giveaway:


Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a $20 Amazon gift voucher for you to spend on whatever you’d like. Hey, you should buy Fallout, I hear it’s pretty good!

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On April 22, 2015, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Vanuatu

A month ago, Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, and in particular the island of Tanna. Several years ago I was lucky enough to visit Tanna, and it's a beautiful, unique place with some of the most wonderful, welcoming people you could ever hope to meet. I can't even tell you how magical it was to lie in bed at night in total darkness (no electricity after 8 pm) and listen to the roll of the waves on the beach, only metres away, and, in the distance, the constant rumble of the volcano Yasur.  

For most tourists, Vanuatu is a another beautiful tropical destination. For my sister and me, it was a little more than that. Having spent our formative years in Papua New Guinea, sadly not a safe destination to visit anymore for the most part, Vanuatu felt a little like a homecoming. It was listening to a language we hadn't heard in a long time, similar enough to the one we'd learned as kids that we were still able to follow along. It was the smells of the marketplace, of fruit and fish and coconut oil and petrol fumes, that took us straight back to our childhood. It was seeing the Melanesian culture again, listening to the stories, and the songs, and reconnecting with old memories, and with magic. 

Here are some of my favourite photographs from that trip. 

This is a sand drawing of a turtle, done by the guide at the Cultural Museum. He drew this with his finger, in one continuos line, while telling us the story of the turtle.  



This is my nephew Tom, who was delighted to discover that the Tooth Fairy did find him on Tanna, and even paid him in Vatu instead of dollars! 


This is Tom and his sister Meg, forging through the shallows, looking for sand dollars. Collecting sand dollars became a thing for them. Every night we'd line them up in the bathroom, and Meg, who was still learning at that stage, would count them all. 


A red starfish and a green sand dollar. These were both in ankle-deep water in the lagoon, which was only a few metres from the units we stayed in on the main island of Efate. There were thousands of them. The bumps on the starfish were soft and almost velvety to touch. 


This is the view from the verandah of our bungalow on Tanna. The sand, which you can't see terribly well, is actually black, courtesy of the volcano. There was no electricity after 8 pm where we stayed. No television, no phones, and nothing to do except swim in the ocean, watch the horizon, and let the local kids practice their English on you. I was terrified I would be bored, but I have never been so relaxed in my life, and so sad about leaving a place. 



Tanna is a magical place. It's one of the few places in the world where cargo cults still exist, and we were lucky enough to visit a John Frum village and see the people celebrate their faith. 

If you want to know more about how to help the people of Vanuatu, please check out the Red Cross or your preferred charity for information.