charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
And fancy a story along that theme, why not try Tumble Turn?

Winning isn't everything...except when everything rides on being first.

Ben Edwards is the rising star of British Paralympic swimming, with a medal at London 2012 firmly in his sights. Love isn't going to be allowed to get in the way -- until he meets Nick, who proves to be a big distraction from training. With his times sliding, and a family illness, to worry him, it looks like Ben's Olympic dreams are in tatters. Until Nick comes up with the most outrageous incentive for winning.

Excerpt:

Fate's a cruel mistress. Or master. Or something. I got to my seat-eventually, after battling through crowds and then signing autographs for some real swimming fanatics-and I was settling in when something slapped the back of my head.

"Ben!" It was Matty, of course, looking pleased as punch and plonking his backside in the seat behind mine and two to the left. "That's a stroke of luck. I'd forgotten I hadn't got your number on my new phone."

That made me even more angry. Matty pulling the "long lost friend" thing on me when he hadn't bothered to keep my number. I scowled at him, and at the weasely looking bloke sitting to the left of him, who was evidently the ghastly Nick and every bit as horrible as I'd imagined him. There was another bump to my head and I spun round one hundred and eighty degrees, about to give some clumsy sod a mouthful. There was gorgeous-guy-withthe- coffees smiling at me and being terribly apologetic.

"Sorry, did I thump you?" He smiled, revealing the sort of set of lovely teeth that would have been all the better to eat me with, if I'd been lucky. "My fault. I've always been clumsy. I think it's dyspraxia but Jenny just says I'm a prat. With dys-prat-sia." He grinned.

This horrible hot flush-remember my habit of blushing?- started to clamber up the back of my neck, which is hardly my best look given that there's more than a trace of ginger in my hair.

I managed to stammer something like, "No worries," although I could have been spouting gibberish, for all that I was aware. All I could think of was that I'd nearly gone and cocked everything up with my, "Ring me but I won't answer the phone" ruse. At least fate had saved me, and redeemed itself at the same time.

Unless I was buggering things up again by making an assumption too many, this must have been Jenny's brother, and he wasn't the spotty nerd I'd expected.

"I'm Nick." This gorgeous vision of tall, dark handsomeness stuck out his hand. "You must be Ben."

"Yeah, that's right." I managed to shake his hand without shaking too much myself. Sometimes I get a bit clumsy if I'm overexcited.

"We saw you on the telly-Paralympic World Cup, earlier this year. You won."

"You don't half state the bleeding obvious," Matty chipped in, grinning. "I suspect Ben remembers that for himself."

"Just a little." I was hoping the red flush was starting to subside.

"Matty was so proud of you. Kept pointing at the screen and saying that was his best mate from school days. He started to cry when you won." Nick rolled his eyes. "Great Jessy."

I was starting to well up, too. Maybe Matty had redeemed himself a bit. "We said we'd be here, being a part of it. Even back when we were horrible, spotty schoolboys, we knew we'd have to

make London 2012 happen."

"And you did." Matty ruffled my hair, just like we were fourteen again. "I've got tickets to see you, next month, so you damn well better make the final. And get a medal. No pressure."

"Not much. Only from you, Mum and Dad and the whole bloody street."

"Me as well." Nick had got himself settled into his seat, and given that I was in the row below I got a distinct eyeful of his crotch every time I turned to speak to him. I wasn't sure it was helping my coherence.

"Will you be there to cheer me on as well?" I tried a) not to sound too hopeful and b) not to keep staring at his trousers.

"Try and stop me. If you win I'll be basking in the reflected glory for months. We're sport mad in our house and even the friend of a future brother-in-law would count as one of the family if he had an Paralympic medal."

Future brother-in-law? No wonder Matty had been full of the lovey-dovey talk. "Wear your lucky y-fronts, then. I'll need all the help I can get."

"Gah. False modesty." Matty whacked my shoulder with his programme. I was about to launch into a great spiel about how I was up against a really tough field when Nick got there before me.

"No, Ben's just being realistic. There are some really fast Aussies in his event, and this guy from the US is starting to make a splash. No pun intended."

"Which guy from the US?" Matty pulled the face I remember from school, the one which usually appeared when we did algebra.

"The one who placed fourth in that race we watched. When Ben won." Nick gave me a wink. "Was he this thick at school?"

"Worse." I listened in as Nick gave Matty a comprehensive rundown on the top runners and riders in Paralympic swimming. Gorgeous, knowledgeable, funny; he seemed too good to be true. There had to be a catch and I had an awful feeling the catch was insurmountable. He was going to turn out to be straight and only here for the swimming. All my conspiracy theories about Matty finding out I was gay and engineering a meeting would turn out to be hot air and leave me with just daydreams.

"Rebecca Adlington going to do the double again?" Nick's voice woke me out of my reverie. I'd gone off on a mental tangent-mainly involving him, me, a swimming pool and a double bed.
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
It's the prize I'm offering over at The Romance Room Year End Splash Party. Scroll down the page to find my question but don't forget there are lots of prizes on offer.

untitled
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
The Commonwealth Games start today, leading the way on integrating Paralympic and able bodied sport.

Fitting to find a nice review of Tumble Turn notified in my inbox, even if it's a few weeks old. "Tumble Turn Is a quick, enjoyable, and sweet read that will appeal to fans of sports stories, heroes who overcome odds, or sweet romance." Read more at Joyfully Reviewed.
charlie_cochrane: (wumble)
This is from last year's Speak Its Name Advent calendar. Jonty, Orlando, Rory, George and others, all celebrating Christmas throughout time.

Marley
Christmas 1914
Rory and George from Wolves of the West

Marley was dead. Rory looked at the body and shivered; dear God Almighty, was there to be no end to the slaughter?
“Too late. Again.” George was at his shoulder, ready to help bear the casualty back to the ambulance and thence to the clearing station. “Happy bloody Christmas.”
“Maybe it still will be. There’s another eighteen hours.”
“Were you always so optimistic?” George laid the stretcher down. They’d still need to get this poor soul back.
“What else is there to be? If I believed things couldn’t get better then I’d want to lie down in the mud with this poor sod and have done with it.” They manoeuvred the dead soldier onto the stretcher. “Can we not have one day without the dying? One day when the guns stop and we treat each other like fellow humans?”
“Hun as well?”
“Why not? If it’s true, the bit about the babe in the manger, then it’s true for them, as well.”
“Not just optimistic. Believes in miracles too,” George said, addressing the corpse. “Will he get one? A star over Ypres as well as Bethlehem?”


Christmas past
Christmas 1917
Paul and Nicholas from Home Fires Burning

“You caused a sensation.” Paul laid down his prayer book, slipped off his gloves and rubbed his hands together. “These feel like ice. Cold enough for snow out there.”
“Aye,” Nicholas replied, easing off his coat. “And they deserved the sensation. Will the world end because I didn’t communicate on my own?”
“It’ll be all over the county by Boxing Day.” Paul followed his lover into the drawing room, where a welcoming fire, a decanter of sherry and two glasses awaited them.
“I stood shoulder to shoulder with the ‘base, common and popular’ out in France. I can do so at the communion rail.” Nicholas slid into an armchair—God, his leg hurt in this weather—and rubbed his knee. “They’ll blame it on my wound, and miss the point.”
“Let them.” Paul brought over the glasses, taking his seat at Nicholas’s feet and resting his arm on the good leg. “They miss the point on everything else to do with this bloody war, don’t they?”
“There’s one point I’m glad they’ve missed.” Nicholas ran his hands through Paul’s hair. “Us. If it hadn’t been for France I’d never have summoned up the courage to say anything.”
“I’ll take that as the single shining star to have emerged over the last three years.” Paul leaned into his lover’s touch. “I’m not sure what we did to deserve it settling over our house. But I’ll accept the touch of grace.” He raised his glass. “All our lads far away.”
“Our lads.” Nicholas shared the toast. “Wishing them dry feet and warm hands.”
“This is the fourth Christmas they said it would be all over by.”
“Is it? I’ve given up keeping count. Maybe next year, then? Although I don’t hold out much hope.”
“Neither do I, but I’ll drink to it.” Paul raised his glass again. “To us, here, next year. And them. Home as well.”
“Amen to that.”

Christmas present
Christmas 2012
Ben and Nick from Tumble Turn

“Right. Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Mine for Christmas Day. Yours for Boxing Day. Back of beyond for New Year.”
“Sounds good. Hang on, changing over.” Ben moved the phone into his right hand. Training had gone well today, but it had taken a lot out of him. Or had that been the lingering after effects of the weekend with Nick?
“That’s what you said on Friday night. When you...”
“Shhhh!”
“Why should I? Nobody can hear me. Which is the same as Friday night, too, which is why we...”
“Look, they may not be able to hear, but they’ll see me go red. They’ll think I’m having phone sex.”
“That’s a good idea. What are you wearing? Just your Speedos and your gold medals?”
“This call will terminate in ten seconds if you don’t behave.”
“I can always ring back, though. So is it just a towel and your 2012 goggles? Or just the goggles?”
“Bloody hell. Right, I’m upping the ante. Conduct yourself properly or I’ll take back your ticket to A Question of Sport.”
Nick went quiet and when he dared to speak, his voice had gone unnaturally submissive. “You don’t mean that. Not really.”
“I bloody well do.”
“No Matt? No Tuffers? No Paignton Peach?”
“You’ve got it.”
“You’re a hard man.” Nick sniggered. “Which is what I thought on Friday, too.”
“Nick?” Ben, said, exasperated, “ Tuffers. Remember?”
“Oh hell. Right, I’d better go, before I say anything else. See you on Friday.”
“See you. Oh, and Nick?” Ben added. He’d been planning this line for days. “Remember, behave yourself. Or ‘what happens next’, ‘home or away’, might be a round that’s too ‘quick fire’ for your liking.”
Nick groaned. “If they ever make punning an Olympic event, you’re a certainty for gold...”

Christmas yet to come
The future
Jonty and Orlando from the Cambridge series

“Where are we?” Orlando Coppersmith looked left, right, up and down. Jonty thought he might just bend down and look backwards through his legs in his confusion.
“December 12th, 2014.”
“That’s when, not where.” Orlando rolled his eyes. “And the date was obvious. It said so on the dial.”
“I still don’t know how you persuaded me onto Dr. Panesar’s latest creation. Or how it actually ended up working!” Jonty looked up at the large, handsome building in front of them. “It looks like London. In fact, I could swear that’s the Natural History Museum. I wonder if my glyptodont’s still there?”
“I sometimes think you love that glyptodont more than you love me.” Orlando sniffed. “Why are those women wearing so little to skate? And where did the ice rink come from?”
“No idea and because it’s the twenty first century. Either answer to both. Don’t you remember being here before?”
Orlando groaned. “The disco? With those awful women? I’d tried to forget.”
“The awful women who write?”
“The awful women who write rude stories.” Orlando lowered his voice. “About what chaps do in bed.”
“And in mud puddles and up against a cliff and who knows where else, if half their stuff’s to be believed.”
“Have you read it?”
“I may have done. Might have slipped a few books into the time machine when we went back to 1908.”
“Is it filth?” Orlando hissed, after looking all around him—although whether for eavesdroppers on the ladies in question, who could tell?
“It’s very moving fiction, of the highest quality.” Jonty drew himself up to his full five foot eight and a half. “Actually,” he added, smirking, “Some of it would knock your socks off. Possibly other parts of your clothing, too. Fancy a skate?”
“I’d love to, only what will we do for money? Do remember the debacle over the white five pound note last time? Lucky Mrs Beecroft rescued us or they might have called the police.”
“Money’s all sorted.” Jonty walked over to a clump of bushes, made a beeline for a particular rock which was half hidden in the soil, rummaged under it and produced an envelope. An envelope which appeared to be bulging with notes.
“Where did that come from?”
“Mrs. Cochrane. She suggested that next time we found ourselves here and in need of what she called ‘dosh’, I leave her in trust some small jewellery to sell and instructions about when and where to leave the proceeds.” Jonty waved the envelope. “And here they are.”
“But how did you know we’d arrive here, today?” Orlando’s eyes looked like they were about to launch themselves from his skull.
“I didn’t. I haven’t set up the trust or instructions yet. I’ll do that when I get home.” Jonty grinned at his lover’s discomfiture. “So are we going to skate?”
“We might as well. My head can’t spin any more than it’s already doing.” Orlando had taken three strides when he stopped. “Mrs. Cochrane. The small woman in the short skirt?”
“That’s her.”
“Writes filth?”
“Not really. Sauce rather than smut.”
“About chaps?”
“Um, yes.”
“Which era? Which chaps?”
Jonty grabbed his arm. “Come on or we’ll miss out on the skating.”
“But you haven’t answered my question.”
“I know. And believe me, I’m not going to...”
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
Always nice to have a good review, and especially nice when it's for one of your older warhorses. Joyfully Reviewed said, "Overall, Tumble Turn is a quick, enjoyable, and sweet read that will appeal to fans of sports stories, heroes who overcome odds, or sweet romance."
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
My question's up at The Romance Reviews Sizzling Reads event. It's a nice easy one - why not go and chance your arm?

Winning isn't everything...except when everything rides on being first.

Ben Edwards is the rising star of British Paralympic swimming, with a medal at London 2012 firmly in his sights. Love isn't going to be allowed to get in the way -- until he meets Nick, who proves to be a big distraction from training. With his times sliding, and a family illness, to worry him, it looks like Ben's Olympic dreams are in tatters. Until Nick comes up with the most outrageous incentive for winning.
charlie_cochrane: (promises made)
With the news from Oklahoma, it feels odd to be posting less sombre stuff - thoughts and prayers very much with the victims of the tornado today.

Am blogging over at Britwriters, about the delights of 2012 and how we followed the torch in a uniquely literary fashion!

You can win a copy of Tumble Turn over at Elisa Rolle's, in her UK Meet e-book giveaway.

Talking of which, there are more delegates to "meet" in advance of the big Manchester thrash at UK Meet blog. Lovely lot.
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
If you'd like to know more about my Paralympic swimming star Ben Edwards, he's being interviewed over at Romance Lives Forever.What would he call his biography? What's his favourite guilty pleasure? What was his favourite thing at school? All of those and more get divulged.

And on lucky commenter will win a print book or a goodie bag.
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
In honour of the Paralympics I'm offering a copy of my Paralympics themed story, Tumble Turn. Competition to last as long as the Games do, closing on 9th September. To enter, mail me on cochrane dot charlie2 at googlemail dot com (without the gaps) and name any Paralympic athlete. Simples!

Winning isn't everything...except when everything rides on being first.

Ben Edwards is the rising star of British Paralympic swimming, with a medal at London 2012 firmly in his sights. Love isn't going to be allowed to get in the way -- until he meets Nick, who proves to be a big distraction from training. With his times sliding, and a family illness, to worry him, it looks like Ben's Olympic dreams are in tatters. Until Nick comes up with the most outrageous incentive for winning.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
The eldest Cochrane's boyfriend did well in his finals. Huzzay!

Jamie Marray won the men's doubles at Wimbledon. (Huzzay for Marray and Wiggins and Finn!)

Lovely, 4.5 hearts, review for Tumble Turn at Hearts on Fire. I particularly liked this bit:
I really appreciated how Ben’s CP was addressed. While it wasn’t the focus of the story, his limitations weren’t just glossed over. Sometimes disabilities seem to magically disappear in books after they have been mentioned, but not here.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
I really like it when a reviewer 'gets' a story and that's happened over at Top2BottomReviews.

"To me, England was as just as strong of a character as the two main heroes, and because of the author’s descriptive storytelling ability I was able to transport from the small southern town I live in to the working class way of English life."

Spiffing!
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
Just seen that Badminton Horse Trials has been cancelled because of waterlogged ground. Such a shame; great event.

In other watery news, the Goodreads draw for Tumble Turn was won by Tracey.
charlie_cochrane: (tumble turn)
I'm delighted to say that my 2012 Paralympics themed story, Tumble Turn, has just been released from MLR.

Winning isn't everything...except when everything rides on being first.

Ben Edwards is the rising star of British Paralympic swimming, with a medal at London 2012 firmly in his sights. Love isn't going to be allowed to get in the way -- until he meets Nick, who proves to be a big distraction from training. With his times sliding, and a family illness, to worry him, it looks like Ben's Olympic dreams are in tatters. Until Nick comes up with the most outrageous incentive for winning.

Excerpt:

Fate's a cruel mistress. Or master. Or something. I got to my seat-eventually, after battling through crowds and then signing autographs for some real swimming fanatics-and I was settling in when something slapped the back of my head.

"Ben!" It was Matty, of course, looking pleased as punch and plonking his backside in the seat behind mine and two to the left. "That's a stroke of luck. I'd forgotten I hadn't got your number on my new phone."

That made me even more angry. Matty pulling the "long lost friend" thing on me when he hadn't bothered to keep my number. I scowled at him, and at the weasely looking bloke sitting to the left of him, who was evidently the ghastly Nick and every bit as horrible as I'd imagined him. There was another bump to my head and I spun round one hundred and eighty degrees, about to give some clumsy sod a mouthful. There was gorgeous-guy-withthe- coffees smiling at me and being terribly apologetic.

"Sorry, did I thump you?" He smiled, revealing the sort of set of lovely teeth that would have been all the better to eat me with, if I'd been lucky. "My fault. I've always been clumsy. I think it's dyspraxia but Jenny just says I'm a prat. With dys-prat-sia." He grinned.

This horrible hot flush-remember my habit of blushing?- started to clamber up the back of my neck, which is hardly my best look given that there's more than a trace of ginger in my hair.

I managed to stammer something like, "No worries," although I could have been spouting gibberish, for all that I was aware. All I could think of was that I'd nearly gone and cocked everything up with my, "Ring me but I won't answer the phone" ruse. At least fate had saved me, and redeemed itself at the same time.

Unless I was buggering things up again by making an assumption too many, this must have been Jenny's brother, and he wasn't the spotty nerd I'd expected.

"I'm Nick." This gorgeous vision of tall, dark handsomeness stuck out his hand. "You must be Ben."

"Yeah, that's right." I managed to shake his hand without shaking too much myself. Sometimes I get a bit clumsy if I'm overexcited.

"We saw you on the telly-Paralympic World Cup, earlier this year. You won."

"You don't half state the bleeding obvious," Matty chipped in, grinning. "I suspect Ben remembers that for himself."

"Just a little." I was hoping the red flush was starting to subside.

"Matty was so proud of you. Kept pointing at the screen and saying that was his best mate from school days. He started to cry when you won." Nick rolled his eyes. "Great Jessy."

I was starting to well up, too. Maybe Matty had redeemed himself a bit. "We said we'd be here, being a part of it. Even back when we were horrible, spotty schoolboys, we knew we'd have to

make London 2012 happen."

"And you did." Matty ruffled my hair, just like we were fourteen again. "I've got tickets to see you, next month, so you damn well better make the final. And get a medal. No pressure."

"Not much. Only from you, Mum and Dad and the whole bloody street."

"Me as well." Nick had got himself settled into his seat, and given that I was in the row below I got a distinct eyeful of his crotch every time I turned to speak to him. I wasn't sure it was helping my coherence.

"Will you be there to cheer me on as well?" I tried a) not to sound too hopeful and b) not to keep staring at his trousers.

"Try and stop me. If you win I'll be basking in the reflected glory for months. We're sport mad in our house and even the friend of a future brother-in-law would count as one of the family if he had an Paralympic medal."

Future brother-in-law? No wonder Matty had been full of the lovey-dovey talk. "Wear your lucky y-fronts, then. I'll need all the help I can get."

"Gah. False modesty." Matty whacked my shoulder with his programme. I was about to launch into a great spiel about how I was up against a really tough field when Nick got there before me.

"No, Ben's just being realistic. There are some really fast Aussies in his event, and this guy from the US is starting to make a splash. No pun intended."

"Which guy from the US?" Matty pulled the face I remember from school, the one which usually appeared when we did algebra.

"The one who placed fourth in that race we watched. When Ben won." Nick gave me a wink. "Was he this thick at school?"

"Worse." I listened in as Nick gave Matty a comprehensive rundown on the top runners and riders in Paralympic swimming. Gorgeous, knowledgeable, funny; he seemed too good to be true. There had to be a catch and I had an awful feeling the catch was insurmountable. He was going to turn out to be straight and only here for the swimming. All my conspiracy theories about Matty finding out I was gay and engineering a meeting would turn out to be hot air and leave me with just daydreams.

"Rebecca Adlington going to do the double again?" Nick's voice woke me out of my reverie. I'd gone off on a mental tangent-mainly involving him, me, a swimming pool and a double bed.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
Many thanks to Kay (who lives not three miles from Cochrane Towers and is great fun to meet up with for tea and cakes) for hosting me today. I really enjoyed answering her questions.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
Am posting this ensconced in Ty Rosa, Cardiff’s very own gay (and straight!) friendly bed and breakfast establishment. Breakfasts to die for and the daftest black Labrador in the world.

News:
If you want a sneak peak at two works in progress, you can find them here. As usual, things out of context don’t make a lot of sense, but they’re the next items on my “to be finished” list.

I’ll be participating in the International Thriller Writers’ Inc roundtable discussion, starting April 1st: Comedy and Humour in the thriller genre: Is it difficult to write comedy or humour into thriller novels? Is it necessary, desired, or just a tool to release the tension in some needed spots?

Come and see what I think and add your thoughts – would love to have your opinions.

Talking of April Fools’ Day, there’ll be various short pieces of what can only be described as daft fiction by some very brave or very foolhardy m/m authors appearing at The Macaronis blog that day. I’ve got Toby and Alasdair, the closeted actors, putting in an appearance. The title I got given eas "Apologies for the faint smell of fish"...

And now for news and inspiration mixed! Here’s the cover art for my next release from MLR, Tumble Turn. Lovely stuff.


In a story based around the London 2012 Paralympics, Ben Edwards is the rising star of British Paralympic swimming, with a medal at firmly in his sights. Love isn't going to be allowed to get in the way—until he meets Nick, who proves to be a big distraction from training. With his times sliding, and a family illness, to worry him, it looks like Ben's Olympic dreams are in tatters. Until Nick comes up with the most outrageous incentive for winning.
charlie_cochrane: (charlie)
RNA winter party last night was great. Happened to meet Nicola Slade at the station so wasn't Billy No Mates on the train, and the rest of the evening just went swimmingly from there. Proper report anon, including some news about the rebranding the organisation is undergoing.

The happy dance is being performed because I've got another two short stories accepted. "Wolves of the West" was in the anthology Queerwolf but will be coming out as a standalone short (more details on dates as I have them). And...(this is the really squeeful bit), my London 2012 themed story, Tumble Turn, about a paralympic swimmer, got the thumbs up from MLR, too. I know we're not supposed to have favourites among our characters, but Ben from Tumble Turn might supplant Jonty at top of my list.

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