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2017-10-17 07:32 pm

Making Porthkennack connections and an interview with me

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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2017-10-17 12:27 pm

Reviews for books old and new

 

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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2017-10-16 09:01 pm
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Cover reveal - the relaunched Lessons in Love

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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2017-10-16 11:49 am
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Count the Shells - review and blog tour

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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2017-10-15 08:26 pm

Rainbow snippet - Count the Shells

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.

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2017-10-13 08:56 pm
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Newsletter 185

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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2017-10-11 08:29 am
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WWI commemoration - the poetry isn't just Owen's and Sassoon's

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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2017-10-10 01:09 pm

Special offer on Best Corpse for the Job!

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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2017-10-10 11:42 am
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I couldn't have been more wrong!

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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2017-10-06 07:49 pm
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Count the Shells Blog tour

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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2017-10-05 03:53 pm
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WWI commemoration - a tribute to Hedd Wyn

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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2017-10-03 11:12 am
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First review for Count the Shells - and it's in Publisher's Weekly!

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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2017-10-01 03:42 pm

Rainbow snippet - Better to Die

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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2017-09-29 08:46 pm
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Charlie's latest newsletter

Summer 2017 has finally gone. Nothing to do with the equinox, or even the weather—which has been glorious on and off this week—but the end of the cricket season. Yes, cricket is the sport in which you can have a single game that lasts five days and in which there isn’t necessarily a winner. How quintessentially English can you get?

News

There has been a flurry of reviews. (Better than a slurry of reviews!) First of all for Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour,  in the Mystery People e-zine, reposted at Promoting Crime Blogspot.

There are many deft touches of humour, as when Orlando and Jonty individually experience the salutary realisation that the members of ‘the college next door’ are, in the main, pleasant and intelligent people, and that many of them regard St Bride’s with the same degree of disdain as the St Brides’ Fellows have always felt for them.

Jury of One got a 4.25 star review at Joyfully Jay.

I’d highly recommend this series to readers who love both mysteries and British colloquial English

I’ve set up a page for The Right Chair Press, which is my imprint for my new and re-released self-published stories. I’ve got three titles so far, although that represents five stories, as I’m putting out the older titles as double-ups, to provide best value for my readers.

Here’s a snippet from Wild Bells,  my first foray into “DIY”.

Benjamin Swann couldn’t sleep at all. Dinner, excellent as it had been, lay heavy on his stomach, while thoughts oppressed his mind. He looked out over the fields, their thick coating of frost resembling snow in the moonlight. He loved winter, the white and grey tones, the clear light and sharp air all helping to bring his life into a clearer focus. Not that it needed to be brought much further into focus after tonight. He wandered down to the library, where a fire was always kept burning low on cold nights. He coaxed it into life, laying another log on, then found his favourite pack of cards, dealing out hands without thinking.
Queen of hearts. He considered the ladies sleeping in houses and cottages all over the parish, lost in dreams of suitors and admirers, then held the pack to his head in an attempt to cool his restless, guilty thoughts.
Queen of clubs. His sister too, not thirty yards up the stairs and along the corridor of the big house, asleep and no doubt dreaming, like the other maids who frequented St. Archibald’s, of a pair of blue eyes and a flashing smile.
Jack of hearts. The only decision William Church could make which wouldn’t disappoint any of them would be the offer of his hand.
disappoint any of them would be the offer of his hand.
Jack of spades. Well, whatever the man chose to do, there would be many a long face in the parish. Everyone with any sense had seen the risk of that eventuality from the moment the curate had arrived and swept the spinsters off their feet, and the likely number of potentially broken hearts seemed to increase weekly.
King of hearts. Only one person could win the man’s lasting affection—Benjamin was sure William was no cad and wouldn’t seek to play the field. Whether he’d be brave enough to go where Benjamin felt his conscience might lead him was another thing.
Joker. Why did life have to be so ridiculously complicated?

And finally, thinking of autumn days ahead



 
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2017-09-25 04:48 pm

Don't forget to get involved in the conversation

Over at The International Thriller Writers' Big Thrill site, where all this week we're discussing humour in thrillers. To joke or not to joke, that is the question...

I'll be sharing my wisdom (?!) on and off during the week, including replying to the comments already cropping up. Very thought provoking.
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2017-09-24 03:31 pm

Rainbow snippet - Promises Made Under Fire

Keeping up the recent historical theme with a bit of Promises Made Under Fire. This was the first bit I ever drafted of the story and it remained exactly the same all the way to publication!

First light. A distant sound of something heavy being moved. A thin curtain of rain—the sort of misty, drizzly rain that soaked us through to the skin. Prospect of something for breakfast that might just pretend to be bacon and bread.
Good morning, France. An identical morning to yesterday and bound to be the same tomorrow. Tomorrow and tomorrow, world without end, amen.
I looked up and down the trench. The small world I’d become bound in was now starting to rouse, stretching and facing a grey dawn. The men were stirring, so I had to get out my best stiff upper lip. If I showed how forlorn I felt, then what chance had I of inspiring them?
“Morning, sir.” Bentham, nominally my officer’s servant but in reality a cross between a nursemaid and a housemaster, popped up, smiling. “Breakfast won’t be that long. You and Lieutenant Foden need something solid in your stomachs on a day like this.”
“Aye.” I nodded, not trusting myself to say anything else until I’d got my head on straight.
“Tea’s ready, though.” He thrust a steaming mug into my hands. Add telepathist to the list of his qualities. Maybe when I’d got some hot tea into me then the world might seem a slightly better place. “Quiet, last night.”
“It was.” I was going to have to enter into conversation whether I wanted to or not. “I don’t like it when they’re quiet. Always feel that Jerry’s plotting something.”

More excerpts at the Rainbow Snippet Group.
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2017-09-22 07:47 pm

Thriller roundtable - starts Monday

If you're interested in "Comedy and Humor in the thriller genre: Is it difficult to write comedy or humor into thriller novels? Is it necessary, desired, or just a tool to release the tension in some needed spots?" I'll be one of those discussing it from September 25th at the ITW roundtable. See you Monday for initial thoughts and looking forward to answering your questions.

 
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2017-09-20 04:45 pm

Shell Shocked - free story

"Shell Shocked" - a shifter story with a twist - is available to download free and gratis from my free stories page.

The lights, the recording equipment, the lairy looking rozzer.
I’ve never experienced anything like this before, never been in trouble with the police. Honest Billy, that’s me, always kept my nose clean; I even declare every one of my tips on my tax form. So, what’s Mrs. Zanderson’s best boy doing being formally interviewed under caution?
Doing his best to explain just how he’d got into this mess in the first place, only I can’t tell them the whole truth, for reasons that will become apparent.
“How and when did you meet Jonny Telfer?”
“A couple of months ago, in a bar. The Happy Return.”
“Had you gone there to pick up a fare?”
“No. It was pleasure, not business.”
And what a pleasure it had turned out to be, at least at first...

Read more