charlie_cochrane: (Default)
this recent one for Awfully Glad made me very happy:

The amount of information and the depth of plot in this short story is remarkable--a Charlie Cochrane specialty that draws you in an doesn't let you go.

Awfully Glad final cover small

 
charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
This was the only one if my stories which mentions the Queen of the May, although that passing reference would make no sense in an excerpt. So I'm carrying on from the last snippet from Awfully Glad, where the female lead in the WWI forces entertainment show turned out to be not so female...

“Lieutenant Samuel Hines, gentlemen. Female impersonator extraordinaire. And a very old friend of the family,” Corry added, maybe in case his officers thought he spent all his off duty hours hanging around with men wearing lipstick.
“Not so much of the old,” Sam replied in a voice which had gone down an octave since he’d last spoken. He began to wipe the make-up off his face. “Sorry to shatter any illusions,” he said, addressing Cole, who was clearly trying to give the impression he’d known all along. “Better you know now before we get to the estaminet. A bit of footsie under the table might have ended up with you getting your shins raked.”
Corry laughed. “You should have seen Sam on the rugby pitch. Usually played hard but fair, except when the ref wasn’t looking!”
“That’s the point of the game, surely?” Browne said. “Always used to be the point at Rosslyn Park, anyway.”



Always more excellent tidbits to be found at the Rainbow snippets group.
charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
One of my girls gave me a copy of Weird World War One for my birthday. Smashing little book, full of "Well, I'm blowed" moments.

Also, if I can have a little WWI indulgence, Awfully Glad got a smashing little review at Monday's Quick m/m bites.

"This short historical is just perfectly pitched to my somewhat picky ear."
charlie_cochrane: (lil audio)
A little bit of Awfully Glad, which centres around the star of a WWI concert party.

“Sorry if we’re being forward, but we wondered if you would join us for a drink, afterwards? There’s a little estaminet…” Hampson’s words petered out under Madeleine’s piercing blue gaze.
“But of course. Once I’ve changed out of my working clothes.”
“Oh, yes. Come on chaps, let’s leave the lady to it.” Whether Hampson was in a hurry to leave the room to spare Madeleine’s modesty or hide his own blush, who could tell. The blush deepened to an ugly red at her reply.
“Oh, no need for that.” She favoured Corry with a wink. “Stay and keep me company.”
“I…ah…we…oh!” Hampson’s eyebrows shot up as Madeline unpinned her wig and removed it, to reveal short cropped hair, a couple of shades darker than his, dark auburn with sweat. She smiled, but not her usual coquettish smile; this one was masculine, the lines of the mouth suddenly hardened. The illusion had been broken.

Awfully Glad final cover

Find more snippets over at the Rainbow Snippets group.
charlie_cochrane: (lil audio)
Not only are the Cambridge Fellows books at Samhain on special offer at present, there's also a 10% off sale at BSB for their romances, if you use the special coupon code LOVE16.

And Lessons for Survivors got nominated for both Best m/m and Best Historical at Love Romances Café!
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
And as an opening offer, it's 10% off everything. Fancy a cut price Awfully Glad or Don't Kiss the Vicar?
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
Am sharing one with a rugby reference over at The Delighted Reader. Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a book.

I seem to remember the first thing I ever said to Mr C involved rugby...
charlie_cochrane: (old time winter)
Awfully Glad came out almost a year ago - where has 2014 gone?

To start the review of my releases of the past year, here's an exclusive snippet:

A knock on the door and the arrival of the tea eased them past an awkward, potentially mawkish, moment.
“We met. Out there,” Browne said, when the secretary had left, closing the door behind her. “You won’t remember, I suppose.”
Time to get the guard up again. “I thought your face seemed familiar, but I couldn’t pin down a place or a time. Not the same regiment, I think.”
“No. And no reason you should remember, either. You must have seen lots of us.” He tipped his head towards the
photo of Madeleine. “We only saw one of you.”
Guard reinforced. “Some people would say that was just as well.” What next? Ask Browne to be discreet? Or would that be taking the first step down the risky path towards exactly why he was hiding his full war record from his colleagues? No, play it light. “She’s hung up her corset, now.”
“Shame. No, I take that back.” Browne raised his hand in apology. “She was of her time, a great shining ray of light against a dark background. I can understand why she’s not for peacetime, but I hope you’d never feel ashamed of
her.”
Too perceptive by half.
“Not ashamed, no. In some ways they were the happiest days of my life. Band of brothers, pals all looking out for each other. But she doesn’t go with the image, does she? People here think she’s my cousin. I haven’t seen fit to put
them straight.” As near the truth as he wanted to go at present.
“Probably wise. People make the most stupid assumptions.” Browne didn’t expand on what those assumptions might be. “Still, I’m grateful to you. And my fellow officers would say the same, if they could. Unfortunately I’ll have to say it for them. Some will never be able to say it to your face.”
“Ah. Many a good man never made it home. I’m never sure whether to think I was lucky or accomplished to have
survived.” Luck, surely. The same luck which hadn’t blessed either Miles or Harry, the boy he’d loved at school
and the man he’d loved at university, now neither of them lying in his bed but both under the turf of France. And one
of them probably in myriad pieces, given that his body had never been recovered. That beautiful, lithe body seen by the
dappled golden light filtering through a magnolia and piercing a college window, back in the days when war seemed to be something which happened to other people.
Sam realized he was being spoken to and had no idea what had been said. “I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I was miles away.”
“No need to apologize. I was just saying that one of the lads I was with when I met you wasn’t so fortunate. Captain Corry made it home, although you’ll know that.”
“He always had the angels’ luck—or the devil’s.” The last number in the combination fell into place and the door to the mystery opened. “Of course, I remember now. Backstage at that god-awful place, near Saint-Quentin, was it? Corry had three of you in tow. One had the most astonishingly ginger hair.”
“That would have been Cole,” Browne said sharply. “Have you seen him since?”
“Not that I’m aware of.”
Browne still seemed on his guard. “How extraordinary that you remembered him then.”
“It was that thatch. Never seen anything like it.” He’d say nothing, of course, about the daydreams he’d had concerning two of those officers afterwards, especially as one of the pair was sitting not three yards from him. And
nothing about the note—maybe no chance, now, of finding who sent it. “Cole never came home?”
“No, he was the lucky one.” Browne’s eyes narrowed, as though in pain. “It was the other lad, Hampson, who didn’t make it into the next month. Sniper.” He reached towards his inside pocket, evidently feeling the need of a smoke, then stopped himself. “Sorry. I’m taking up your valuable time. I suppose you’ll send me a bill if I run over my allocated slot.”
“You know us too well.” Sam laughed.
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
Lovely article from the old alma mater. Innocent landscape or coded message? Artists under suspicion in the First World War.

Am reading "Fighter Heroes of WWI" by Joshua Levine, which is brilliant. It mentions concert parties, and has a lovely picture (see naff scan of same, below) of the Royal Flying Corps practicing for their production of Cinderella.

cinders 001
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
"Charlie Cochrane is a quintessential English writer and I honestly don’t know of another author who could have written a story like Awfully Glad. I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves historical stories that make them think."

Read the rest at Mrs Condit Reads Books.

Mrs Condit & Friends Read Books
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
So I started a post for Joyfully Jay that was supposed to be about writing WWI and the challenges of historicals, and ended up being about the very personal reason I find WWII so hard to write about.

It's another chance to win a copy of Awfully Glad, BTW.
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
I was going to blog at The Novel Approach about "relationship marketing" in the context of readers as customers, but I ended up talking about how WWI has got me as a customer author. It makes sense, I promise. Come and see.

You can win a copy of Awfully Glad!
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
Wonderful to see it on the Publishers Weekly Blog.

And here's another wee snippet:

Wine drunk, a convenient pause in the conversation found. Sam decided it was high time to go and find some food before the rumbling of his stomach raised complaints from the rest of the clientele. He rose from his chair, then realized some damn fool must be making the room move around like it was the deck of a transport ship. Presumably nobody was shelling central London, and everyone else seemed to be carrying on as normal, so the problem must have been in his head.
“Are you all right?” Jonny’s voice sounded dull, as though coming through layers of cotton wool.
“I hope so. Maybe I shouldn’t have had the second glass before dinner. Not got the constitution for it anymore. Disgrace to the rugby club.”
“Sit down.” Jonny tried to take his arm, but Sam eluded his grasp.
“No, I’ll make even more of a spectacle of myself, then. I need to get out into the fresh air.”
“Really? Won’t you end up flat on your face? You’re not going anywhere but the restaurant.” Jonny took his arm, intending to steer him in the direction of food.
The next few minutes became a bit of a blur, probably due to the rate at which Sam was being marched, but when his head decided to clear, he found himself at a pleasantly situated table for two, with a solicitous waiter hovering, and Jonny ordering water—lots of it—as, or so he confided, Lieutenant Hines was feeling the effect of his wounds.
Sam thought about arguing, but pragmatism won out. Jonny seemed a capable sort of chap—if he wanted to overegg the pudding and make sure they didn’t end up getting slung out for being drunk and disorderly, then he’d play along.
“Here.” Jonny tapped the menu. “Find something that’s not at risk of coming straight back up again.”
“Since when did you become my nurse?” Sam asked, although he perused the menu as instructed. “I’ll have the steak. Well done. Will that fit the bill?”
“Sounds spot on.” Jonny grinned, neat little white teeth flashing. “Just as well for you that I came along or where would you have been?”
“In another restaurant, probably. I was about to leave when you appeared.”
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
Sam's the hero of Awfully Glad and has a lot to say for himself over at the Romance Lives forever blog. I managed to get a word in edgeways, on issues like what made me the most happy/sad when I wrote about him.
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
There was a sale on at Romsey Library today. I love these things because you pick up all sorts of books you might not have tried. I got "How to Paint a Dead Man" by Sarah Hall (no idea what it'll be like - will give it a punt), The Killing of William Rufus (definite local interest) and Flights of Passage, recollections of a WWII aviator. When I got them home, I noticed the last one was written by Samuel Hynes. How I love coincidence! Sam Hines is the soldier hero of Awfully Glad!
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
I'm delighted to announce that Awfully Glad is available exclusively for early purchase via the BSB webstore.

WWI hero Sam Hines is used to wearing a face that isn’t his own. When he’s not in the trenches, he’s the most popular female impersonator on the front, but a mysterious note from an anonymous admirer leaves him worried. Everyone realizes—eventually—that Sam’s not a woman, but has somebody also worked out that he also prefers his lovers to be male?

When Sam meets—and falls for—fellow officer Johnny Browne after the war, he wonders whether he could be the man who wrote the note. If so, is he the answer to Sam’s dreams or just another predatory blackmailer, ready to profit from a love that dare not speak its name?

Excerpt:

Sam couldn’t resist unfolding the note; he’d had these sorts of things before and they were always good for a laugh. The invitations would range from the innocent to the knowingly experienced, although nobody ever suggested something entirely obscene—Miss Madeleine gave an air of always being above such things. This would probably be the usual "Might I buy you a drink? I know this little estaminet…"

It wasn’t.

“I’m awfully glad you’re not a girl. J.”

Sam read it again, not trusting the evidence of his eyes, but they’d been right the first time. J? Which of the officers had that been? Jimmy, Jeffrey, Jonathan…Sam had forgotten their names already, even if he’d been told them.

But when had the note been written? After he’d taken his wig off and burst the little lieutenant’s bubble, he supposed, although if he had no memory of the thing being lodged in its hiding place, he equally had no recollection of somebody scribbling the thing—there’d been very little time for it, anyway. And how much more courage would it have taken to do such a thing in plain sight? It wasn’t the sort of note which could be easily explained away if discovered.

He closed his eyes, trying better to picture the scene. There’d been Corry, whom he’d known since he was a lad. Not him. Not his writing, anyway. And the ginger-haired officer hadn’t been anywhere near those pots. So it had to be the quiet, dark-haired chap or the tow-headed one. He wouldn’t have said no to either of those if they’d met in a certain bar in London. Decent-looking lads, a bit of life about them, and clearly with some spark of interest that was more than platonic. But which of them had written it? And how to find out?
charlie_cochrane: (awfully glad)
I'm not sure if it's thrilling or scary to look in the diary and see all sorts of events coming up, not least book launches. Awfully Glad will be on sale very soon (watch this space for buy links) and also there's another release in the pipeline, of which more anon.

I'll be guest author at Kayelle Allen's group and blog next Wednesday, and over January and February I'll be popping up all over the shop. Before then, I'm taking part in Angel Payne/Tara Lain/Kay Berrisford's New Year Kisses party.

I picked up a copy of Is Heathcliff a Murderer? in a second hand book store. Read it, enjoyed it, but it's not a keeper. Will send free to a good home.
charlie_cochrane: (lessons for survivors)
Lovely to see it on the coming soon page. Now back to cover art stuff...
charlie_cochrane: (lessons for survivors)
I've been sitting on my hands, desperate to blab about this, and now I can. Am delighted to say that Bold Strokes Books will be publishing my WWI romantic short story, Awfully Glad next year.

WWI hero Sam Hines is used to wearing a face that isn’t his own. When he’s not in the trenches, he’s the most popular female impersonator on the front, but a mysterious note from an anonymous admirer leaves him worried. Everyone realizes—eventually—that Sam’s not a woman, but has somebody also worked out that he prefers his lovers to be male?

When Sam meets—and falls for—fellow officer Johnny Browne after the war, he wonders whether he could be the man who wrote the note. If so, is he the answer to Sam’s dreams or just another predatory blackmailer, ready to profit from a love that dare not speak its name?

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