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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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Jonty and Orlando remind me a little (sometimes a lot) of Nick and Nora Charles from Dashiell Hammet's The Thin Man, they possess similar passion for each other, for life, and definitely appreciate a good mystery.

High praise indeed! Read more at Padme's library.
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"I know it sounds incongruous for murder mystery, but it’s a funny story. The storyline is smooth and evenly paced. The mystery part is well plotted out and characters were surprisingly vivid for such a short appearance."

Read more at Gay Book Reviews.
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Today's blog tour stop is at MM Good book reviews, where I discuss some of the perils you might not have associated with being published. You know the drill by now - comment at any blog stop to go into the virtual hat for an audio copy of Lessons in Love.
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Today I'm at the lovely Elin Gregory's blog, talking about some of the changes and innovations Orlando and Jonty saw either side of WWI. Do drop in (and don't forget to leave a comment to go into the virtual hat for a Cambridge Fellows audio book.)
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Today I'm at Book Reviews and More by Kathy, talking about how the Cambridge Fellows got me out of my 'writing garret'. Comment at any (or all) of the stops to be in with a chance to win an audio book of Lessons in Love.
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And it's a 4.5 star one. "After all these stories, it feels like walking into the drawing room again and seeing old friends. What a joy."

Read more at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
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Comment at any of the blog tour stops to be in with a chance of winning an audio book. If you comment at more than one, you'll have more than one chance in the virtual hat!

Today I'm at My Fiction Nook, talking about my experience of characters stopping talking to their author.  Also at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words, pontificating on my obsession with the years either side of 1900.

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Should be some good news on this very soon. Must stop calling it Lessons in Murdering, etc.

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Lovely to be interviewed by my old pal Carol Westron, especially as she asks such perceptive questions, like: I love the adventures of Jonty and Orlando in the Cambridge Fellows mystery and realise that one of the things that draws me in is the sense of community you create. When a new character appears in their investigations, do you know from the beginning exactly what they are like and the role they are going to play, or do you discover it as you write?

Read the answers at Promoting Crime blogspot.

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To celebrate the launch of the Cambridge Fellows novella, Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour, I'll be giving away an audio copy of Lessons in Love. One winner to be drawn from all the comments at blog tour stops:

August 14th My Fiction Nook
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 15th Book Reviews and More

August 16th Elin Gregory's blog

August 17th MM Good Book Reviews

August 19th The Novel Approach

August 23rd Joyfully Jay
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I'm delighted to announce that Jonty and Orlando have started to talk to their official biographer (me) once more, having been annoyingly silent these past couple of years. And, in their loquacious manner, they've told me one entirely new story and are bending my ear with another. These will, I hope, be the start of a series of novella length mysteries.

The first Cambridge Fellows Mystery short is 'Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour' and it's available for pre-order now with an August 14th release date. I'll be blethering on about it between now and then but for the moment here's the blurb:

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

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Such a sad thing to see, the demise of another press, especially one to which I owe so much. I'll never regret being with them. Have already started the hunt for a new home for the first 8 Cambridge Fellows books, which were all I had at Samhain.

The point of this post, though, is to say that if you need to get any of books 1 to 8 in print or e-book then you've only got 18 days to do so. Some good bargains to be had at the site, too!

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Much of what Jonty and Orlando did during their time in Room 40 is still covered by the Official Secrets Act, and they won't confess the details to me. However, I've been doing some research of my own, in a book called "Code Breakers".

MI1b was a parallel organisation, who guarded their own secrecy by employing a decoy to meet any unwanted visitors who'd got past their doorman, said decoy giving "the impression of a typical British idiot."

I bet the bods at Room 40 did the same and I bet Jonty was on the rota for the role.

charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
Here's a smidge from the mad crossover I did with Elin Gregory (my Cambridge Fellows, her Eleventh Hour spies). You can download the whole story here.

Miles had managed to force his eyes open; there were worse sights to greet a man than Jonty Stewart, even though he must be into his fifties by now. Classically handsome face, high cheekbones, a scar that added rather than detracted from the whole effect. Miles couldn’t deny that he’d fancied his tutor during his years at Cambridge and just hoped he hadn’t made too much of an exhibition of himself at the time. Although wasn’t he making an exhibition of himself now?

“Hello,” he managed. “I don’t think anything’s broken.”

“Only most of the front of your car.” Stewart, grinning, drew out a handkerchief then applied it to Miles’s nose. “And your cover, Miles. Although not as badly as it might have been had I let the farmer perform first aid.”

“Oh.” He morphed Millie’s voice into his own; a more nasal version than normal, although he didn’t think his nose was actually broken. “Is it so obvious?”

“Only to somebody who admired your Rosalind.”

More corking little excerpts at the Rainbow Snippets group

charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
Oh aar and avast me hearties. It be the day the whole world do speak as we pirates do, and Saucy Ms Cochrane - the scourge of the River Test - has been pillaging an old story or two, rigging it up jury-mast wise into summat new in honour of the day. Here it be:

"It was a dark and stormy night. Admiral Coppersmith walked his deck with calm authority, reassuring his men and instilling a confidence that had waned in them as the clouds lowered. Suddenly—”

“Suddenly the pirates came. I know. They always do.” Orlando sounded distinctly displeased at the thought. “As a story, this lacks originality.”
“But you like it.” Jonty sighed in exasperation. “It’s always amused you. Especially when we get to the bit where Admiral Coppersmith falls upon the pirates, kills several with his bare hands, saves the life of his handsome flag lieutenant—that’s me, in case you’ve forgotten—then takes the pirate ship in to Valparaiso as a prize.”
“Yes, I do enjoy that part.”
“Then there’s the episode where you get made Lord Coppersmith for your services to keeping the seas free of pirate scum. That always makes you happy.”
“It does.” Still Orlando sounded grumpy.
“And what about the bit where the Admiral and his incredibly handsome flag lieutenant get to spend some well earned leave together? Don’t you get excited when they finally hmphphm?” Jonty prised his lover’s hand from over his mouth. “Don’t we like to hear that part anymore?”
“Of course I do. It’s just that...”
“My feet are freezing. I can’t concentrate on anything, they’re so cold.”
“Oh, that’s what it is.” Jonty chuckled. “I thought somebody had left a block of ice in the bed. Put them on mine.”
“I tried that, when you were reading your book by the lamp’s light. It didn’t help. That book must be good, though, because you didn’t notice.”
“I did, actually, but I hoped they’d go away. Which they did.” Jonty fumbled under the covers. “Your hands are perishing, too. What have you been up to?”
“Sitting in the study, planning how to torture the dunderheads. I hadn’t realised how low the fire had burned. While you idled your time away on reading by the parlour hearth.” Orlando’s voice, grumpier by the minute, had descended into a hiss.
“I did not idle my time away. I had to prepare something for Dr. Peters, and if he sees fit to trust me with the most delicate of tasks, one that require diplomacy and a light touch, then who am I to argue?” Jonty rubbed his lover’s hands then made an investigation of other parts. “This remarkably prominent object is cold, as well.”
“Leave my nose alone! I wish I could warm that on you, too.”
“Feel free. I do admire your proboscis. In fact, all your extremities are worthy of praise. Especially this one.”
“Oh. Oh.” Orlando’s voice descended through several tones.
This one isn’t cold. In fact I’d say it was positively glowing with warmth. Blooming. Flourishing. Throb—hmphphm.”
When Orlando broke from the kiss he’d used to shut Jonty up, he murmured, “Do be quiet. Or none of my extremities will be making contact with any of yours.”
“That would be the best way of warming you, certainly. Friction. I seem to remember being taught about it somewhere. ‘The resistance encountered by an object moving relative to another object with which it is in contact.’ Doesn’t sound as good as it feels.” Jonty proved his words with an appropriate scientific demonstration.
“Oh yes. Quite right.” Orlando’s voice was now hoarse to the point of breaking. “And I’ll add some learning of my own. ‘Cold hands, warm heart’. That’s what my godmother used to say.”
“She was right. Your heart is warmer than any other part of you. And only I get to experience it.”
Jonty sighed happily, then let friction to get to work.
charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
Back in the day I used to dabble a bit in fanfic (age of sail). Sometimes I come across an old piece and think, "Did I write that? It's quite good!" Sometimes I then think, "I could upcycle that bit." So, here's a little something, reused for Jonty and Orlando, and with apologies to Janet and John.

Jonty and Orlando are dons at a Cambridge college.

Can you say aegrotat? Jonty can, except when he’s been on the sauce.

Jonty and Orlando work at a college called St Bride’s.

Jonty teaches English. Do you know what "annoying, mischievous, little bugger" means? Orlando does. Poor Orlando.

Jonty and Orlando are chums. They share things.

They sometimes share a pot of tea. They sometimes share a bed. Have you heard of two years hard labour?

Today, Jonty and Orlando are going to the Turkish baths.

Jonty likes Turkish baths. See him skip down the road, his upturned apple cheeks basking in the sunshine. See Orlando roll his eyes. Orlando is a drama queen.

Here are the baths. Look at the ornamental tiles. See the bright colours. Look at the gentlemen trying to pretend they’re not there.

Jonty sees a massage couch. He likes massages. He sees all the lovely masseurs. Can you say adhesive capsulitis? Jonty can’t, not even when he’s sober.

Orlando says, “Let’s take a steam bath.”

See Jonty frown. Jonty doesn’t like steam baths. Do you think Jonty is a big jessy? Jonty says, “Can’t we have a massage instead?”

“No,” says Orlando. “I want both of us to have a steam bath today.”

Jonty picks up a loofah. You don’t use those in steam baths. Silly Jonty.

See Jonty insert the loofah somewhere. See Orlando’s eyes water. Have you heard of the last straw? Jonty has. So has Orlando.

Run, Jonty, run.
charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)

Orlando is, of course, horrified.

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