charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
Riptide have been doing exciting things, reducing price on some of their back catalogue. Fancy a bit of Second Helpings?

Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try?

Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.
charlie_cochrane: (kiss the vicar)
It's moved into the nominations round and needs enough peeps to nominate it to progress further. Nominations open now to end of September.

Thanks!
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
It's available for only $2.99 in the blowout sale!


Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try?

Then he gets a phone call from Isabel’s son, Paul, who wants to check out whether or not Mr. Collins is good enough for his mother. During dinner together, though, they end up checking out each other. Trouble is, Paul’s got a boyfriend—or maybe he doesn’t, since the boyfriend’s supposedly giving Paul the push by ignoring him. Or maybe Paul just wants to have his cake and eat it too.

Honesty with each other is the only way to move forward. But maybe honesty with themselves is what they really need.
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
My lovely friend Sara wanted to hear more about the Second Helpings boys. I promised her an epilogue type scene for her birthday.

“Since when have you had an interest in King Arthur?” Paul sniffed and stamped his feet. The English winter had done its usual trick of being warm one day and perishing cold the next and, Sod’s law applying, the weather had turned cold the day they were out and about, rather than being snuggled up at home. But Stuart had insisted they come and freeze their arses off in Winchester.
“Isn’t every boy interested in King Arthur?” Stuart produced his usual charming smile.
“I preferred Robin Hood.” Paul sniffed again. At least the Winchester Christmas market—in the cathedral close—had been compensation for the semi-Arctic temperatures and the mulled wine had warmed him up for a while. The comforting heat had waned about halfway up the hill to the Great Hall, when a chill east wind came driving down, probably straight from Siberia and directly in their faces.
“Bit chilly round the Trossachs,” Stuart said, with another cheeky grin. “But it’ll be worth it, I promise.”
“Hm.” Paul had never really had an interest in history, or old buildings, so this place he was being dragged to was going to have to be something pretty special to really be worth the trip. Even the promise of an early dinner at one of the many enticing restaurants he’d been hurried past wasn’t quite incentive enough to wear a smile. Stuart wouldn’t have been able to see it, anyway, given that Paul was swathed up in a scarf, so it wasn’t worth the effort. “So it’s an old hall. What’s so special about it?”
“It’s not just old. It goes back eight hundred years. Raleigh was tried there.”
Paul rolled his eyes. “Nutty Walt doesn’t impress me, either. And the round table isn’t the real thing, is it? Later repro.”
“Yeah, well 1290 is later, but it’s hardly modern day Disney style repro.” Stuart sounded remarkably patient, given the provocation he was under and given that patience wasn’t necessarily his strongest suit. Maybe this table really was something special.
“Do you want to go down and look at the old tunnels on the way? No, don’t reply, it was a silly question.” Stuart puffed out his cheeks. “Here, we’ll go up by the old gatehouse, save facing the steps.”
They’d reached the top of the hill, where the old walls reached their westward limit, although little was left of them, when Stuart grabbed Paul’s shoulders and turned him to see the view.
“Impressive, isn’t it?”
Paul had, grudgingly, to agree. The main street marching down the hill and up again the other side of the river valley; even without the Christmas lights it looked a picture.
“And now...” Stuart spun him round again, to face an impressive building, more ecclesiastical from the outside than regal. “That’s impressive, too, I think.”
“Let’s look at the inside before I commit myself.”
Stuart grinned a third time—that had to mean trouble—seemed like he was going to say something, then just grabbed Paul’s arm to drag him up to and through the door.
He hadn’t been lying. The place was stunning, from the stained glass to the family tree type decoration on the walls, to the table itself, hanging imposingly on the west wall.
“Okay. You’re right. It’s great.” Paul patted Stuart’s shoulder. “I’m glad you brought me.”
“I’ll resist saying ‘I told you so’,” he replied, although the smug expression plastered on his face said it for him. “Come on, let’s be tourists.”
There was plenty to be touristy about. Not just the incredibly detailed embellishments of the hall itself, but the repro medieval garden to go with the repro Arthurian table, which must have been stunning in the spring.
“Maybe we should come here again,” Stuart said, once they were back in the main hall and admiring, for maybe the third time, the board around which Lancelot and Galahad and all the boys in the band supposedly sat, only not really. “In the summer or spring, when that garden’s going to be looking at its best.”
“I’d be up for that. There must be plenty to see here. Maybe make a weekend of it.”
“Great minds think alike.” Stuart nodded. “There are some lovely hotels round and about.”
Paul stopped, turning Stuart to face him. The bloke was up to something. “Was that your plan all along? A sprat to catch a citybreak mackerel?”
“Nearly. This isn’t just a tourist trap.” Stuart fished in his pocket, bringing out a brochure, which was a bit crumpled from being hidden away. He thrust it in Paul’s hand. “They do other stuff.”
Paul unfolded the paper, blinked, looked at it again, then broke into a grin. “You sneeky bugger. Is this a proposal?”
“I think so. I mean I could go down on my knees if you want, but there’s a party of old women over there who might get offended.” Stuart couldn’t hide his delighted smile.
“They’re from Manchester. I overheard them. They’d love it.” Paul drew his partner in for a hug. “I can’t think of anywhere better to do it. Have a civil partnership, I mean. Do anything else and even the lasses from “Oop north” would be offended.”
“I do love you, you great plonker.” Stuart squeezed him, then slipped out of the hug. “And is this a ‘yes’, by the way? I’d hate to assume anything.”
“It’s a ‘yes’. Your Aunt Catherine can get herself a brand new hat.”
“I suspect she’s been planning a wedding outfit since she met you.” Stuart smiled. “She seems to feel we were meant for each other.”
“Best please the old bat, then.” Paul looked up at the table again. “I read a quote somewhere, once. Can’t remember who said it nor the context, but it was something like, ‘Arthur without Excalibur was still Arthur’.”
“Right.” Stuart looked puzzled.
“She probably thinks that Stuart without Paul isn’t quite the Stuart he should be.” Paul stopped, surprised by the expression on his partner’s face. “Are you okay?”
“Yes, of course. Only don’t say anything else or I might just burst into tears.” Stuart took a deep breath. “My Lancelot.”
“Lancelot was a pillock. I’d rather be your Galahad or somebody with a bit of spine.” Paul ploughed on, aware that Stuart might well up at any moment. “But at present this knight just wants to say, ‘yes, I will’ then go and crack open a bottle of something.”
“You’re on. We’ll make a ‘knight’ of it.”
Paul groaned. Was this what he was going to shackle himself up to? He looked at Stuart’s deliriously happy, if slightly soppy smile, and thought, “Yeah. Why not?”
charlie_cochrane: (old time winter)
The third story I had out in 2014 was also a shorter one, the contemporary novella Second Helpings.

Excerpt:

“Hey.” Paul cut him off with a wave of his hand. “That’s enough apologies. Do you want to see if dessert is as good as the tapas?”
“No, thanks. I’m defeated.” Stuart rubbed his stomach in small, satisfied circles. “I could do a coffee, though.”
“I’ll catch blondie’s eye.” Paul grinned as he looked over at the young waiter. No more than nineteen—eking out his student grant, maybe—blond to the point of albinism and camp as a whole New Forest tent site. He sashayed across to take their order wearing a gushing smile.
“I’ll tell your Ben,” Stuart said, after the waiter had left them. “I saw you looking at his backside.”
Paul raised both hands. “Now you’ve got me bang to rights. Don’t tell me you never window-shopped.”
“Mark and I did it all the time. Eye candy, that’s all.” Stuart’s smile faltered.
“You’re back in the market to buy, now,” Paul said, gently. Maybe he was going to be soon, as well, but he could cross that bridge later. A pint and a half of beer and a belly full of good food and the radio silence seemed just a touch more bearable. He hadn’t even checked his phone this last hour.
“Maybe,” Stuart said. “It feels too soon, you know?”
“Will it ever be time enough?” Paul regretted his words as soon as they’d left his lips. Stuart looked like he’d been slapped. “Oh hell, just when we’d said we’d have no more apologies. I have no right to lecture you.”
“You’re right, you don’t.” Unexpectedly, Stuart smiled. “But I do appreciate the advice. It’s another voice to add to the debate I’ve been having with myself. Dad looked so bloody happy when your mother came to lunch, I was starting to get envious. Made me wonder whether I should be dipping my toe in the water. But it scares me . . .” He spread his hands in a helpless gesture.
“It doesn’t have to be scary,” Paul said, ignoring the fact that his own love life wasn’t currently an advert for happiness. What might it have been like to run across Stuart last year, pre-America, pre-Ben? “Although I’d avoid going into internet chat rooms if you want to find honest, decent men who turn out to be the Jonny Wilkinson types they said they were and not fat, flatulent old queens.”
“Are you speaking from experience?”
The coffee arrived, the waiter bearing a huge white pot, two cups, and a knowing smile. Pinged gaydar, or just jumping to conclusions? Paul returned the smile, amused to see the lad turn red from blond hairline to fluffless chin.
“You scared him,” Stuart said, once the waiter was out of earshot. “He’s probably not done it with anybody over twenty.”
“If he’s looking to remedy that, it’s no good his looking at me. I don’t cradle snatch. But,” Paul added, mischievously, “I’m sure he could grow to like a nice, older—slightly older—man to meet up with once his shift ends.” He rolled his eyes in the direction of the welcome desk, where the waiter was bending over, trying to reach something. “I think he’s doing that deliberately. For your benefit.”
“Get away with you,” Stuart said, although he didn’t look displeased. He took a surreptitious ogle at the guy’s shapely backside then wrenched his eyes away, as if caught doing something wrong. “I can’t see myself ever being desperate enough for trying your theory out. Nor for cruising the internet. I wouldn’t even try The Sunday Telegraph magazine.”
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
"This book was a different book, and more filled with a slow exploration of what it takes to heal, and it is wonderfully written and definitely worth a visit! Definitely recommended."

Read more at watch and Word.
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
Not sure how I missed this first time round!

"Consider Second Helpings comfort food for the romantic soul: a sweet, read-it-in-one recipe, a relatively angst-free love story between two men who need each other more than they could’ve imagined. If you’re looking for a book that will make for an effortlessly entertaining summer read, this book is precisely that. "

Read more at The Novel Approach.
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
One of the key plot points in Second Helpings is the ability (or inability) of Stuart and Paul to move on from their exes. Although in Paul’s case he isn’t even sure if his ex is ex. For Stuart, it’s about finding a second chance after the death of his much loved partner Mark. In the story, we hear a lot about Stuart’s viewpoint on Mark, but what about vice versa?

So here’s a posthumously posted ‘interview’ with Mark about the man himself.
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
And therefore almost the last chance to enter the draw! Hie thee hence to the Rafflecopter but not before dropping in to:

Anne Barwell's live journal to find out what superpower I'd like to have and where/when I'd like to go back to in a time machine.

Pen and Muse to see, among other things, what my two unbreakable rules for aspiring authors are.
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
If you've missed any, (or more likely I've missed some!) they can all be found at the Riptide site. Don't forget to enter to win.

Some highlights: Being reviewed by the lovely Josie at Prism Book Alliance. "Charlie Cochrane has a way with words that never fails to hit the spot, and she always leaves me wondering about the characters long after I’ve finished the story."

Featuring at Words of Wisdom where it was rated as an "intensely emotional read".

And look what I nicked off the lovely Macky!

SH_thumb[1]
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
I've been musing about a thorough going over edit wise (don't be so smutty!) at Erotica for All.

Nice review at Rainbow Gold - 8 pots of gold!

Also stopping by mm good book reviews and All I want and more.

Enter the draw at any tour stop or via the rafflecopter.
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
Today I'm:

At the Novel Approach, revealing, among other things which of my characters I'd date.

Musing about the perils of modern communication at Sinfully Sexy Books.

Being reviewed at TTC Books and at The Delighted reader.

You can enter the prize draw at any of the official blog tour stops or via the rafflecopter. I have some great seaside goodies to share with one of the winners!
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
If you fancy a "missing scene" from the story, hie thee to The jeep Diva.

Penny Dreadful Books thought, "Second Helpings was an enjoyable literary respite that leaves the reader happy and thinking that a cuppa and a Charlie Cochrane is an ideal way to spend an afternoon."
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
And the blog tour has begun! I'm all over the place like a well behaved rash, bearing gifts (book from the backlist or a bag of seaside goodies). Comment at any of the stops or enter the rafflecopter (linked from the posts) for a chance to win.

For starters you could find out what my favourite quote is, over at 3 chicks after dark. Maybe you might drop into Book reviews and more. Or you could find out why Dirty girls books thought Second Helpings is 'Just the kind of book I love to sink into!'

SecondHelpings_150x300
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
This week is madness (in a good way). Second Helpings release tomorrow and blog tour starting, Sand release on Friday, random blog posts unrelated to either, and some general stuff going on.

Will post some more Penzance stuff in a minute, but in the meantime, another review for Second Helpings, from All About Romance.

"...the lovely British atmosphere of the piece."

Maurice

Jul. 8th, 2014 12:51 pm
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
It may surprise you, but I hadn't seen the film Maurice in its entirety until yesterday. First thoughts are that it's very sympathetic to Clive Durham, perhaps too sympathetic. More reflections on that when I've re-read the relevant bit of the book. James Wilby is stunning, though, if the wrong build and hair colour for Maurice.

Oh, and another review for Second Helpings.
charlie_cochrane: (horns)
From the Because two men are better than one blog.

"There is a depth and honesty to this story that sucks you in, making you want more. I know that I definitely want more. More of Stuart and Paul and more of this author."
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
And it isn't even out until July.

"A must read for those that want to spend all their time with the characters, wrapped up in their conversations and emotions." See the rest at TTC Books and more.
charlie_cochrane: (horns)
Anybody mentioning rugby in general or S_r_c_ns in particular will be getting a stern talking to. Suffice to say have wrung out my hankie and am looking forward to *UK Meet this weekend in Bristol. Got my hugging muscles ready for action.

News

I’ve got two releases lined up for late July, just after I get back from being a pirate – sorry, going to the Litfest – in Penzance. Second Helpings, of which you can read an extended excerpt here and Sand, from MLR.

Sand was in the anthology Last Gasp from the new defunct (and not much lamented) Noble Romance and has been titivated for release as a standalone story.

Here’s a snippet:

I sat and tried to eat, even though my appetite had gone, watching the life of the camp go on around me.
A local lad passing by with a bundle of wood had that look of intense concentration only seen on the young, absorbed in their task. He suddenly gave a shrill, terrified cry, dropping his burden and flinging something from him, something small and dark that landed near my leg. I remember coolly thinking that whatever had been thrown had been affronted at both its unexpected flight and the hard contact with flesh.
It was a scorpion, and it rapidly took its brief revenge.
Strange how time expands at a time of crisis. I also remember thinking how Mother Nature must have known how I felt about her beasts of burden and had become determined to take her vengeance on me, proving she really was red in tooth and claw. Or rather in sting and telson. I must have cried out in pain, because everyone’s attention was on me in an instant, including the attention I most craved.
“What’s happening?” Andrew had appeared almost out of nowhere, pushing his way through the small knot of onlookers which had gathered around me.
“The boy had this in his load.” One of the conservators pointed at the small, possibly deadly creature, now smashed into an almost unidentifiable heap. The curve of the tail was still recognisable, although everything was beginning to look peculiar.
“Sorry about this, Charles,” Andrew drew his knife and efficiently cut out a piece of my flesh, clearing all the area surrounding the bite. I hardly noticed the pain, too shocked to understand fully what was going on. Nothing felt real any more. “Think it’s a scorpion sting, old man. Needed to attend to the wound as soon as I could.” His usually happy face was clouded with worry.
Some part of me couldn’t help being delighted that he cared, just as another part of me thought, Poison. This is serious.
The knife had done its work when the wave of real pain hit. I felt faint, all perception of what was happening around me fading and returning as in a dream. I was vaguely aware they’d called for the resident doctor and that someone was preparing a makeshift stretcher, to take me back to the camp. The one thing I saw most clearly was Andrew’s face—full of fear and trying very hard to hide the fact.
Just how bad was this bloody sting going to turn out to be?

Inspiration:

Because in the summer one’s thoughts turn to other sports. Sometimes.

DSCF7890

Charlie

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