UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet 2014

17 06 2014

This year’s Meet was at Bristol and has just finished. The good thing about the ending is that we spend it discussing what was good about this year and what we’d like to see next year. That always makes the ending a positive thing because you can leave with thoughts of next year.

But back to this year.

I was part of a ‘meet and greet’ table on Friday afternoon to allow arriving delegates to register and get together for the Friday evening. I passed on the evening’s entertainment as I knew I would be too tired to appreciate it after a long drive to Bristol. But I did get the chance to say hello to lots of old friends and meet some new ones.

I hung around at the Bristol Marriott Royal hotel until everyone had left for the night’s entertainment and then headed back to my less luxurious lodgings. I was hosting the Torquere LJ on Friday and managed to get in another couple of posts before going to bed.

Cross posted from Dreamwidth and LJ post dated 08/06/14





How many times do you have to open the door…

27 01 2014

… to let three dogs out into the garden and then let them back in?

Obviously the minimum number of times is one – open the door and leave it open until all dogs are back in the house. Unfortunately that is not a good option at this time of year – I fret about the waste of heating money and don’t appreciate the cold draft.

In an ideal world I would open the door and three dogs would go out in an orderly fashion allowing me to shut the door after them. Then I would open it again, three dogs would file in and I could close the door.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed this is not an ideal world so I spend a lot of time opening and closing the back door.

The other night was one of the longer stints of door duty: dog C went out; dog C came in; dog B went out; dog C went out; dog B came in; dog C was going to come in but then changed her mind and ran off when I opened the door; dog C then came in and dog B went back out; dog C went back out in case she was missing anything; dog B came back in; dog C came back in; dog A, who had been watching all the comings and goings from the comfort of his bed, decided that he really ought to go and check that the garden was secure; dog C then had to go out and see what dog A was doing; dog B had to go out because the other two were out there; dog A came back in; dog B came back in; dog C nearly came back in but changed her mind; dog C came back in; dog B stood by the door and looked hopeful. I left the kitchen for the first time in half-an-hour without opening the door.

Ten minutes later I had to let dog C out again; dog B then had to go out and see if dog C had found any food; dog A thought about it but couldn’t be bothered to get out of his bed…

Why not just make them stay in when I know they’ve just been out? Dog C is young has some digestive problems which have trained us to let her out when she barks or suffer the consequences. Dog B is on a diet and is rather high strung – he also has a habit of being sick on a fairly regular basis; he is also frightened that he might miss something that is on the other side of the door at any given time. Dog A is older and has full control of both ends of his digestive system, so does not go out as often as the other two.

Cross posted from Dreamwidth and LJ





2013

31 12 2013

2013. Not one of my better years.

Highlights:

My second full length novel was released – Jobless in January: Johnny Smith – after three years of dithering and fiddling on my part. I’m really happy with the final product and it is available in print as well.

The short sequel, Something Worth Fighting For, followed a couple of months later. I love this angsty little piece – Johnny and Charlie might be in their thirties physically, but they are both a lot younger mentally, especially when it comes to relationships.

 

UK Meet in Manchester – had a wonderful time there and next year we’re going to Bristol. I was thinking about Manchester the other day when Alan Turing was granted a Royal Pardon (more than sixty years too late). I hope that Alan’s statue was suitably turned out for the pardon – gold lippy, eye shadow and a tiara perhaps? Maybe a tinsel boa?

 

Brilliant holiday in Wales – and we’re going back there again next summer!

 

The bad bits:

Employment or lack of it woes. I have been working for most of the year, which is the upside, but it wasn’t in a good contract. At least that finished at the end of October, and I’m job hunting for the New Year.

The work situation wasn’t improved by stress, depression and fluctuating blood sugar – the three are related, but I haven’t figured out any reliable causal order. Hopefully an adjustment in medication will reduce these unpleasant side effects.





UK Meet Manchester 2013

16 07 2013

What can I say? It was fantastic and I spent four days talking to anyone who’d stay still long enough or only walked slowly.

Julie Bozza has written about most of the panels I attended and done it much better than I could so check out what she has to say here

Stevie Carroll, RJ Scott and JL Merrow have all talked about the guided walk many of us went on. The wonderful John Ryan took a group around each evening.

Stevie’s words here
RJ Scott here
JL Merrow here

I went on the final (Sunday) walk and Alan Turing was wearing green eye shadow. I didn’t get a picture of the Beacon of Hope as I was trying not to take pictures of the people and there was a group enjoying beer and conversation sitting at the base of the Beacon. I wasn’t entirely comfortable about going on the guided walk (after I’d booked it) as it felt like going to the zoo or maybe a safari park (where the inmates are in a more natural environment) so I was particularly careful not to get any of the people in the pictures. The walk wasn’t like that at all and was about the buildings, history and the area – not the others enjoying a warm evening by the canal.

Manchester reminded me of London – maybe that was the black cabs – but I didn’t feel uncomfortable walking back to the hotel alone in the evening which I would have done in London. Not that I saw a lot of the city apart from the daily trek to Canal Street for dinner and the view out of my hotel window – it was a very big window with a very big view.

It was great to see everyone again and make new friends. Mara’s gang had a few new recruits outside the main entrance and we provided a service to other Meeters who knew they were coming back to the right hotel because we were there! 
🙂

Cross-posted on Dreamwidth and LJ





Release Day 2

13 06 2013

If you squint a bit and don’t look too closely it’s Wednesday 12th June and “Something Worth Fighting For” (that direct sequel to “Jobless in January: Johnny Smith” I mentioned a while back) is released today!

Blurb
Johnny and Charlie, from “Jobless in January: Johnny Smith”, have enjoyed a casual relationship for nearly a year, meeting up once or twice a month. The trip to Dorset should have been a fun reunion after six weeks apart and it shouldn’t have had Charlie walking out on the first morning. Johnny is left at a guest house with more questions than answers and no Charlie to answer them.

Johnny has to decide if he wants to fight for their casual relationship, and the hope that it might lead to something more, or just crawl away and lick his wounds. Is Charlie worth fighting for even if Johnny knew where to find him?

Excerpt
I rolled over, the unfamiliar bed waking me further as I groped across the cold, empty space beside me. My sleep fogged brain insisted that the space should be filled with hot, hard man and that woke me completely. I sat up and scrubbed my hands over my eyes before looking around the dim room.

The curtains were drawn and the sky was faintly gray with the approach of day. A familiar figure sat hunched in front of the window and I relaxed slightly. Charlie was still here, just not where he should be.

Too many mornings I woke up and Charlie wasn’t there at all, but on those few mornings when he was real and with me, then he should be in bed beside me not sitting across the room staring out the window.

“What time is it?” My voice croaked the words and I fell back on the over sprung mattress, bouncing slightly. I smiled as memories of the night before passed lazily through my brain. We’d had to make some interesting adjustments to make up for the mattress.

“Just after six.” Charlie’s voice wasn’t sleep roughened or happy.

“Breakfast isn’t until seven thirty. Why don’t you come back to bed?” I snuggled under the covers and rolled to my side to watch Charlie’s silhouette. I could think of several ways to pass the time, if only he was here in bed rather than over there in a chair; although the chair had possibilities. I tried to remember what sort of chair it was, but I hadn’t been paying much attention to the room last night when I’d arrived. I hadn’t seen Charlie for nearly six weeks, which was the longest time we’d been apart in nearly a year.

Even if the chair wasn’t up to supporting both of us, and very few chairs could take much more than Charlie’s weight, it still had possibilities if I didn’t mind kneeling on the floor. I was willing to put up with more than a cold floor for Charlie, but that was something I couldn’t say aloud.

“Charlie, are you coming back to bed?” I realized I’d been thinking for a long time and waiting for him to answer my question. Charlie usually put a lot of effort into stopping me thinking because he claimed it was dangerous to me and everyone around me.

“Just go back to sleep, John.” Charlie’s voice rumbled from the chair.

Go back to sleep? On one of our few mornings together? Cold fear settled in my belly. I had kept Charlie’s interest for nearly a year. Had I become complacent? Had I said something clingy or demanding last night? Anything to suggest that I wanted more from him than sex?

I wracked my brain, but couldn’t remember saying anything that wasn’t to do with sex. I’d told him that I wanted him, but I’d said that often enough before. Charlie told me that he wanted my body more often than I said I wanted his.

He’d been to Canada for three weeks, which was why we hadn’t got together for so long. Had he met someone new there? Some lumberjack who could look him in the eye and match his strength? Had he finally realized that he was wasting his time with a screwed up, boring man like me?

I had been afraid of something like that since we started this relationship. Charlie didn’t have relationships, he had one night stands and brief flings, and probably went to clubs where he fucked someone without even bothering to learn their name. Was it a one night stand if it didn’t involve a bed or more than fifteen minutes?

What did that matter? I suppressed the flare of jealousy that such thoughts always produced; I was used to ignoring that particular emotion where Charlie was concerned. What mattered was that Charlie was here with me now and should be ‘mine’ for the next day and a half before we went our separate ways again.

One thing was certain I wasn’t going to go back to sleep any time soon.

***

This is the sequel to “Jobless in January: Johnny Smith” that I’m sure I mentioned before. It’s about 10,000 words (around 35 pages depending on format) and covers just over one day! It is a very busy day for Johnny with plenty of ups and downs to keep him occupied. It should work as a standalone, but it is a sequel so reading the novel first would be better. 

I’m giving away a copy so comment here before 20th June to get a chance to win.

Check out my Torquere page here for more info.





Ereader

25 05 2013

I bought a Kobo ereader from WH Smith a few weeks ago and intended to write a diary about getting used to it. That didn’t happen like a lot of other things because I’ve been too wrapped up in reading. Despite wishing I’d bought a Kindle instead for the first week or so I have persevered and now find it hard to put the thing down.

I’ve been re-reading a lot of books – some old favourites and some I only read last year. I don’t seem to have retained anything that I read last year which is frustrating and depressing. Usually it takes several years for me to forget a story to the extent that it all seems new when I open it again and stays seeming new after the first chapter. The joys of getting old I suppose. The positive side is that I should be able to save a fortune on ebooks if the trend continues!

I got a 32GB memory card to extend the Kobo’s memory so that I could carry my entire elibrary around with me, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I could have bought a much smaller card because it is a pain to search through hundreds of books and seems to take forever with only half a dozen books to a page on the Library list. I’ll be keeping a bare minimum on the card for reading and trying to remember to remove them once I’ve read them. The theory is that the Kobo will just be stocked with “To Be Read” books rather than everything and the kitchen sink.

The Kobo store hasn’t impressed me. They might have millions of books, but the single-level search facility and limited display makes finding things time consuming and frustrating. But that seems to be a signature feature of the device and its interface. I’ve had to learn how to use a touch screen which is sometimes too sensitive and other times unresponsive. AND THERE ARE NO INSTRUCTIONS!!!

I like to read the instructions when I get a new toy. I might not remember everything; they might not make sense; but at least I’ll have some idea how to do stuff or where to look for help. The Kobo instructions are five whole lines and three of those are about downloading the desktop interface. That was when my “wish I’d bought a Kindle” phase started, as soon as I got it out of the box at home.

I have mellowed towards it with time as I’ve figured out how to make it do what I want most of the time, and figured out what I’m doing to make it do weird things. Mainly I’ve just got used to the weird things and the lack of direct ways of doing stuff. And it does have built-in Sudoku so most of the time I’m not even reading just playing.

The battery lasts about a week now if I use the light a lot – that’s just basic reading and playing with no wi-fi or internet. That’s good enough for what I want. I’ve bought a mains charger because it was a pain having to tie the Kobo to the laptop for three or four hours to charge. It only takes an hour or so to charge direct from the mains. It doesn’t come with a mains charger just a USB lead.

I should have gone with the older, cheaper option without a touch screen. I’m probably just being old and grumpy about it and would have found as many irritations with a Kindle. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t tempted by a second-hand Kindle for £25 the other day…

I am enjoying the portability factor and the built in light that means I can read in poor lighting conditions and walk around reading like I used to with paper books only more so. I did read a paper book last month and it took a long while because I couldn’t adjust the font and my eyes needed frequent breaks.

I’m getting withdrawal symptoms since it’s been several hours since I picked up the Kobo…





Where did March go?

2 04 2013

Hmm. A lot happened in March and it has gone by in a flash. The biggest thing in RL was completing the sale of my mother’s bungalow. After many years of clearing it out, repairing things and generally fretting about it I don’t have to worry about it anymore; or worry about the large Care Home debt that had built up. Even after two weeks it still hasn’t really sunk in that I never have to go back there again and open the door to find floods, collapsed ceilings or ant invasions.
I also got another temporary contract for eight weeks work after six weeks without work. Naturally this was at the same time as the sale of the bungalow completed – it was a very stressful two weeks!
“Jobless in January: Johnny Smith” has received some nice reviews on Goodreads, so I should stop looking before the less nice ones show up. The short sequel, “Something Worth Fighting For” will be out in June from Torquere, and I have a Cover Art form to fill in. It is good to have some input into the cover, but it is one of the more difficult things for me to come up with some sort of pictorial idea. At least I can stick with the beach theme for this one!
Three months to the UK GBLTQ Meet in Manchester. If you’ve been dithering about attending then keep an eye on this site: linky. I’ve paid my registration fee at last, but still have to sort out hotel and train. I had to cancel a week away for the end of April when I lost my job in February, so I’m going to splash out on the posh hotel for the Meet. The lovely Elisa Rolle is the keynote speaker this year and she is hosting giveaways from the registered authors; so there’ll be another copy of Johnny Smith up for grabs in due course.
“Smoke” and “Yarotanji” have both had their contracts renewed so they’ll be available for another two years rather than vanishing about now.
As I said, it has been a busy month even if there was very little new writing involved. Maybe April will be more writing friendly.