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Very excited that the first Cambridge Fellows book is available once more, in kindle format from Endeavour Press. And with a snazzy new cover (see below.) Seems right to share an excerpt from it today:

Jonty had been right. The food at the Bishop’s Cope turned out to be hot, tasty and in splendid quantities. The two men could only manage the barest soupçcon of apple pie for pudding before admitting defeat. They stretched their legs and enjoyed the warmth of the fire.
“Did you have a favourite pub in Oxford, Coppersmith? I always loved this one, and the Mackerel, when we weren’t in disgrace with the landlord.”
“I rarely went to any pubs, Stewart. Always too much studying to be done.”
Jonty slammed his pint onto the table. “And you a rugby player? Surely you allowed yourself a bit of refreshment after a match?”
Orlando sipped his beer, deep in thought. “Sometimes—but not habitually.” He sighed and looked around him at the glowing pots and friendly faces. “Perhaps I made the wrong decision.”
Jonty clapped him on the arm. “Never too late to learn to appreciate life’s pleasures. Let Dr. Stewart lead you astray.” He laughed and finished his beer.
Orlando watched his friend relishing his pint. There had been some scant hint in the last remarks that he couldn’t work out. It reminded him of what had happened the previous evening, before the porter knocked at the door—that fluttering sensation in the pit of his stomach. And he couldn’t fathom that out, either, despite applying all his powers of logic.

There are plenty of other snippets at the Rainbow snippets group.

Lessons in Love
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That's where I am today, and lovely it is. She asks a good question, does our Elin. Like what commemorative event has most encapsulated the tragedy of WWI for me. Pop across to find out the answer to that.

CountTheShells_400x600
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My main feature spot on the blogtour today is at Book Reviews and More - the post is inspired by a question from Elin Gregory. What research didn't make it into Count the Shells? Nip over there to find out.
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Today I'm at Dog Eared Daydreams, discussing the way that authors have to get their minds around being edited.

Then at Two Chicks Obsessed I'm considering how best (IMO) to research the Great War.

You know the form; comment at any (or all) stops to be in the virtual hat to win the goodie bag prize.
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Have you ever considered the way the writer's sub-conscious can influence their stories? Am talking about that at Love Byte Reviews.

Over at Open Skye, I'm telling again the story of how a set of timbers at a mill inspired me to write,

And you know the drill - comment here, there or everywhere to be in with a chance of winning.
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Such a busy week all round - especially for reviews. (Like buses, they all come at once.)

The Novel Approach reviewed Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour: I highly recommend this book for all lovers of good English mysteries. Simply delightful.
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Am at Rj Scott 's blog, answering her excellent interview questions and offering the chance to win an e-book from my backlist. You can find out what book first made me cry and my views on writing about real historical characters.






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Am at the Diverse Reader, thinking about connections between Porthkennack books, and at EroticaforAll being interviewed on - among other things - the best resources for researching historicals.

Comment at any (or all) stops for a chance to win a goodie bag.
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A lovely one for Count the Shells over at The Novel Approach, in which I get a passing comparison to Merchant Ivory (cor!).

Cochrane’s voice lends itself so beautifully to a story such as Count the Shells, as she consistently captures and conveys the time in which her novels are set through little more than the genteel language and gentrified air of her characters.

And a smasher for Lessons for Suspicious Minds at Bookboners & Bibliophily.

how many historical fiction novels can you think of that actually employ the correct form of speech from the time they play in?

Um, I guess the answer is "mine?"

 
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Am interrupting the Count the Shells related posts to share this little beauty. It's the artwork for Lessons in Love which will be coming out from Endeavour very soon.

Lessons in Love
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Count the Shells is out today, and the blog tour starts. Comment at any stop to be in with a chance of a goodie bag, which I will mail to anywhere in the known universe.

First stop is at The Novel Approach, where I discuss how much I love the seaside.

I'm pleased with All About Romance's review of Count the Shells, because they 'got' the hero's nephew Richard, who is integral to the story.

Richard is a precocious boy, but never crosses the line into ‘plot-device moppet’; he’s a charming, inquisitive lad, and it’s clear he adores his uncle and that the feeling is mutual.
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Count the Shells is out tomorrow, although you can download it already from Riptide. Here's an excerpt I haven't shared yet.

Michael shook his fist in the direction of the helmeted and begoggled figure, who was now setting his machine upright. “Why the hell can’t you watch where you’re going? Idiots like you shouldn’t be allowed on the roads.”
“I’m sorry.” The motorcyclist took off his gloves and pointed along the lane. “There’s a patch of oil or something over there. Sent me sideways.”
“Couldn’t you swerve to avoid it?”
“I thought I had. The blo—” the man caught sight of Richard, “The wretched thing spread further than I’d anticipated. Sorry I scared the boy.”
“I wasn’t scared,” Richard insisted. “Only surprised.”
“Then I apologise for surprising you.” The motorcyclist took off his helmet before removing his goggles. His face was ashen, but he held his hand tentatively out to Richard, although before the boy could shake it, Michael’s stifled shout of, “No!” made them both spin round to face him.
Michael raised his hand to his temple. “Forgive me. I thought I’d seen a ghost. You remind me so much of an old friend.”
The motorcyclist opened his mouth, but before he could speak, Richard exclaimed, “Thomas! Is that who he reminds you of, Uncle?”
“Yes.” Michael could barely get the word out.

Plenty more excerpts at the Rainbow Snippets group.

CountTheShells_400x600
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Hoping that Friday the thirteenth is treating you well. It’s a grey day here, but very mild (probably the start of “St. Luke’s little summer”) and I’ve been attacking my grape vine. Alas, none of them made their way into my tummy, having been devoured by the blackbirds – it was fun to see them flying in and out of the vine to feed.

News

Count the Shells is out on Monday – cue the happy dance. It’ll be a busy week with an extensive blog tour and, of course, a bag full of goodies to be won. You can comment at any (or all!) blog stops for a chance to win, and every new comment you make increases your chances of winning. Think of it like raffle tickets…
The first review of the story popped up in Publishers’ Weekly, about which I’m grinning from ear to ear.
Cochrane’s ear for historical idioms and sensitivity to the secrecy of gay life in early-20th-century Britain create a powerful impression of accuracy. This deeply felt work is sure to please fans of historical romance.

It’s been a busy week for me with a local writers’ meet up, and RNA lunch and an ITW interview to start. Can I put in a word for the two latter organisations? Any of you based in the UK who are aspiring writers might consider contacting your local Romantic Novelists Association branch to see if they allow visitors at their events. Ours does, and several of are regulars don’t even write romance! It’s a great networking opportunity. And for those of you who like crime and thrillers, the ITW e-zine, The Big Thrill, has some great articles in it. Well worth a look through.

Also coming out soon (November 1st) is the charity anthology Call to Arms which will support refugee aid. All the stories are set in or heavily influenced by World War Two.

My offering is Better to Die, which is inspired by old soldiers, the war grave I tend in the local churchyard and the Gurkha kukri I inherited from my dad.

Here’s an excerpt:

By a coincidence, my great-uncle had served in World War Two, out in Burma, with the Chindits, though it would have been stretching things to hope Great Uncle Frank had known my captain.
Frank was the black sheep of the family. He'd lived in our village until I was five and my fondest memories of the man were the stories he regaled us with. Snakes in the jungle so thin they'd slip through the eyelets of your boots, Gurkha soldiers as hard as adamant that you thanked God were on your side and not the other. Never anything about the fighting, though; he kept that close to his chest.
I'll never forget the dirty great Gurkha kukri Frank kept on his wall. Mum had kittens when he got it down and let me hold it, but I treated it with respect. Didn't so much as nick my fingers.
"Jamie," Frank used to say, "when you take a kukri out of its scabbard, it has to taste blood before it can go back again. That's why I took this out and keep it out, so it doesn't need satisfying again. My fighting days are long gone. You can have it when I'm gone."
"You'll never go," I'd said, secretly delighted that I'd get the thing one day.
"Better to die than to be a coward," he'd replied, enigmatically. Later I found that had been the motto of the Gurkha Rifles, but I was sure there was more to what he was saying than just that.
Frank moved away not long after, and our side of the family lost touch with him. I suspected Dad knew where he'd gone but he wouldn't even let anyone send Frank so much as a Christmas card. When I was twelve Dad sat me down and told me I was old enough to know the truth: war was hard, and Frank had suffered the worst of it. He'd seen some dreadful things, done some dreadful things, and he found it difficult to live with himself. Dad reckoned Frank had come home with something like shell shock so he acted loopy at times. It was safer for all of us not to be near him when things turned bad.
That changed my mind about being a squaddie – I was going to save lives, not take them. Going off to Bart's meant I stopped grave visiting, although I tried to keep up an interest in browsing war books, although that stopped when I discovered sex. No healthy, testosterone-laden medical student was going to stay at home with 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence' when he could be out getting his leg over. Notice I didn't say "when I discovered girls" and you'll get the picture.

And finally, at the RNA lunch we were discussing my 'non-bucket bucket list' which made me remember getting on that Lancaster Bomber. Appropriate with Call to Arms in mind!



Charlie
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Keeping up the recent theme of lesser known poets of the Great War, here's The Sinai Desert: A Curse by Captain John More.
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You can currently pick up the first Lindenshaw book for less than a quid (or whatever that is in your local currency.)

Go to your local amazon to take advantage of the offer.

BestCorpseForTheJob_200x300
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When we had the planning meeting for UK Meet 2018, I had concerns that we'd peaked. We sold out in 24 hours for the 2016 event and what with the two year gap - and other events cropping up - I was worried that our numbers would go down and suggested we plan around that eventuality.
Was I right? Was I fairy cakes. Yesterday we sold out in 6 hours 30 minutes, and that would have been a shorter time if the mailshot hadn't arsed about. I feel so sorry for people who didn't get a ticket and had to go on the mailing list, but demand is now hugely outstripping supply.
Roll on 2020?
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I'm very excited about the tour for Count the Shells - looks like an epic one. When it starts to go live, you can comment at any stop to win a bag of goodies. The more times you comment the more chances you have.
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Apologies that this is a day later than usual, but yesterday got eaten up with a board meeting and meeting a school inspector.

I love the way that so many of the commemorative events for WWI beautifully combine the old and the new. This video installation in Wales to remember Hedd Wyn looks stunning. It reminds me of the terribly moving Passchendaele events.

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That's me grinning from ear to ear!

Cochrane’s ear for historical idioms and sensitivity to the secrecy of gay life in early-20th-century Britain create a powerful impression of accuracy. This deeply felt work is sure to please fans of historical romance.

Read the whole thing at Publisher's Weekly.

CountTheShells_400x600
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Am delighted to see that the anthology A Call to Arms is up for pre-order, for November 1st release. My offering is set in the 1970's, but shows how the effects of war last long after the fighting stops.

Frank was the black sheep of the family. He'd lived in our village until I was five and my fondest memories of the man were the stories he regaled us with. Snakes in the jungle so thin they'd slip through the eyelets of your boots, Gurkha soldiers as hard as adamant that you thanked God were on your side and not the other. Never anything about the fighting, though; he kept that close to his chest.
I'll never forget the dirty great Gurkha kukri Frank kept on his wall. Mum had kittens when he got it down and let me hold it, but I treated it with respect. Didn't so much as nick my fingers.
"Jamie," Frank used to say, "when you take a kukri out of its scabbard, it has to taste blood before it can go back again. That's why I took this out and keep it out, so it doesn't need satisfying again. My fighting days are long gone. You can have it when I'm gone."
"You'll never go," I'd said, secretly delighted that I'd get the thing one day.
"Better to die than to be a coward," he'd replied, enigmatically. Later I found that had been the motto of the Gurkha Rifles, but I was sure there was more to what he was saying than just that.

Many more excerpts linked at the Rainbow snippets group.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075ZTP785/

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