charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
A suitably sombre snippet for today, from Home Fires Burning.

“Good God, no. If it wasn’t for this,” Paul tapped his gammy leg, “I’d have to find some other way to avoid it. I’d drive ambulances, or crack codes, run messages night and day if I had to. I couldn’t go and fight.” The sea-green eyes looked straight into Nicholas’s deep grey ones, hiding nothing, baring Paul’s very soul.
“Why?” Relieved that their friendship hadn’t fallen at the first hurdle of his clumsy questioning, shocked at his friend’s uncharacteristic candour, Nicholas rushed in again.
“I couldn’t shoot another man, or bayonet him.” Paul’s face, normally ruddy from fresh air and exercise, had turned as pale as the hawthorn blossom they’d collected as boys. He ran his fingers through his fine, dark hair.
Nicholas tried to keep his eyes from admiring those long slender hands. Hands he’d seen wring the neck of a critically injured bird caught in the raspberry netting. Hands which could knock out, behead and gut a trout in thirty seconds. Hands which had tipped blossom into his, the gentle brush of fingers on palm remaining in Nicholas’s mind long after the flowers had faded and lost their odour. “I see. I think I understand.” He didn’t, but he wouldn’t judge out of ignorance or misapprehension. If Paul had his reasons, that was good enough.
“Do you? Then you see more than I do.” A sad smile crossed Paul’s face, like a cloud over the sun. They stood a while in silence, watching a kestrel quartering the field the other side of the beeches, both wary of words which could build a wall between them.

Find more at the Rainbow snippet group.
charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
I was looking for an old post about EM Forster on The Macaronis, and found this en route. I seem to remember it was from some very silly challenge or other.

Apologies for the Faint Smell of Fish (starring the actor laddies from Home Fires Burning)

“Apologies, apologies, apologies, apologies. For the faint, for the faint for the fai-ai-ai-ai-aint, for the faint smell,” the singer paused imperceptibly and took breath, “for the faint smell…of fish. Of fish. Of fish. Apologies, apologies, for the faint…” and she was off again.

Toby groaned. Modern avante bloody guard opera? You could go and stuff it. Give him a nice Gilbert and Sullivan patter song, any day, or something swish by Cole Porter, but not this load of old cobblers’.

“Remind me why we’re here,” he whispered into Alasdair’s ear.

“Supporting the boss.” Alasdair grimaced, making his heavily insured eyebrow dance an expressive jig. “Surely you can’t have forgotten his protégée? She’s loud enough.”

“Protégée? Is that what they’re calling it this week?” The girl didn’t have a bad voice, she was pretty enough—in a Junoesque way—but why on earth had she decided to launch her career in such a dire production? The Fishmonger’s Daughter. Even the title made your flesh creep.

***

“This should earn us plenty of credit.” Toby sighed. The relief of the interval, the even greater relief of the bar and a glass of red wine, the greatest relief of their companions for the evening having gone to powder their noses—at least he and Alasdair could steal one moment of quiet pleasure.

“Not the best faux-girlfriends they’ve ever foisted on us.” The eyebrow flew up again.

“More ‘protégées’, do you think?” Toby shrugged. “Still, if we smile for the cameras and applaud in all the right places, we’ll get to go to the bucks’ do.”

Boxing, Bethnal Green, black tie and not a woman in sight. Landseer actors out in droves to promote the new film about a gentlemen boxer of Victorian times. Toby couldn’t wait. Maybe there’d be pre-bout singing—it couldn’t be worse than what they’d had to endure in the first few acts here.

“I’ve never been to a boxing match before.” Alasdair seemed equally delighted at the prospect. “Will there be lots of blood?”

“Gallons, I imagine. And styptic pencils and grease and all sorts of black arts being practiced in the corners.” Toby laughed. “Good, honest sport. None of your sissy rubbish.” The last remark had not been just for the benefit of bystanders. Gay they might be, but effeminate they were not—which was all to the good as far as the studio was concerned.

“I’d like to see you try it.” The glint in Alasdair’s eye—the same glint he’d used in their pirate film—spoke volumes.

“Me in shorts, dripping sweat?”

Alasdair swallowed hard, concentrated on his wine glass and whispered, “Stop it” from the corner of his mouth.

“Landseer wouldn’t let me. Spoil my looks.” Toby grinned. “And here come the girls.”

“Maybe that’s a lucky rescue, for once.” Alasdair got his best welcoming smile ready.

The five minute bell sounded.

“Seconds out, round two!” Toby said, brightly. “Prepared for more haddock, ladies?”

The girls giggled, Alasdair rolled his eyes. Business as usual.

Although Toby could have sworn a certain voice breathed, “Wait till I get you on the canvas”, in his ear as they sauntered back to their seats.
charlie_cochrane: (home fires)
Lethe press is having an event at "On top down under reviews". Today you can win a copy of Home Fires Burning.

Hie thee hence, my lambs.
charlie_cochrane: (home fires)
Delighted to see Home Fires Burning available in audio. Exciting, innit?
charlie_cochrane: (old time winter)
Here's a snippet from "This Ground which was secured at great expense", the darker of the two novellas in Home Fires Burning. (Which is one of many books available half price at ARE today.)

Nicholas stared at the fire, trying not to meet his friend’s eye. “I envy you and your Fergal. Knowing where you are with someone must be wonderful. Did you see him at all when you were in London?”
Phillip stared into his glass again. “For an afternoon, in the company of all my family, including a younger sister who tried to monopolise him. We barely had a minute alone—I might as well have been back in Ypres.”
“Don’t say that.” The wine had loosened Nicholas’s tongue but he was beyond caring. At least he could talk to Phillip, frankly; there was no one else he could be so candid with. “I assume, at least, you were still on speaking terms, unlike Paul and me. Hostilities commenced and the barbed wire put up.”
“Oh yes, but a fat lot of good that does. Having him close enough to talk to means having him close enough to touch and being unable to do so. I was thinking all the time about the big bed upstairs and how we couldn’t get into it.” Phillip slammed down his glass onto the chair arm. “Might never get into the bloody thing together again, not with him being away till I go back. Missed chances, never to be retaken.”
Missed chances. Aye, the both of them. “If you really were my guardian angel, what chances would you grant me?” The wine was making Nicholas bolder as well as garrulous; bold enough to leave his seat and sprawl at Phillip’s feet, in front of the hearth.
“The chance for you to be whole and well, and with this wretched war out of your system.” Phillip’s face was flushed—a carafe of white wine begun on empty stomachs had seemed an excellent idea earlier on. It might still be if it made the memories of mortars and mud recede even further. “It’s what I’d wish for any of us.” Phillip emptied the last of the
wine into his friend’s glass. “Happy days, old man. Or as happy as we can make them. Oh, and a happy belated birthday, too.”
“Thank you.” It had been Nicholas’s thirtieth birthday two days after he’d got home, although all he’d had was a card from Nanny, more suitable to a boy than a man, a perfunctory note from Paul wishing him many happy returns, and a blue-iced cake from the kitchens. Only Phillip had bothered to make a fuss of the event.
“I have some things for you from mother,” Phillip produced a small parcel, clearly labelled with Nicholas’s name. “I was meant to take them back to Ypres with me but I thought it would be better you had them here.”
Nicholas smiled, incredulous at the stunning generosity he was being shown by a family who only knew of him from their son’s report. He knew the depths of Phillip’s generosity, his surprising openness; maybe this was a trait the whole family shared. He picked at the wrappings with unsteady fingers. “Chocolates, she’s sent me chocolates. Wrapped to within an inch of their lives so that they would survive the journey back.” Tears began to well in Nicholas’s eyes, maudlin tears germinated by the bleakness of his own household’s celebration of the event and watered by the alcohol. “You must thank your mother for this. I’ll write as soon as I can, but will you thank her, too? You’ve a way with words.”
Phillip smiled tenderly and touched his friend’s arm. “Aye, I will that. Only don’t write from here. The family think I’m having a few days on my own. Don’t shatter their illusions.”
charlie_cochrane: (old time winter)
Homes Fires Burning was re-released in the autumn, from Lethe Press.

It's a combination of two novellas, one light hearted and one much darker (that latter being one of the best stories I've ever written, IMO, but more of that tomorrow.) This is from "The Case of the Overprotective ass", in which two actors who are playing Holmes and Watson find themselves asked to play a similar role in real life.

They’d left Johnny’s office and were down some stairs and along a corridor before Alasdair could trust himself to speak. “Why us?” He might have accepted the commission but that didn’t mean he was happy about it.
“The police weren’t interested, and…”
Alasdair cut across his friend; there was no time to waste. “I understand that, but why us? Why not a private investigator or someone else with the relevant experience?” He had a horrible thought. “He’s not still after you, is he?”
Toby snorted. “I should bloody well hope not. Surely he’s got the message by now? No, I don’t think this is all some cunning strategy to somehow get me alone and wheedle his way into my boudoir. Even if it was, give me some credit for being able to resist him.”
“I’m sorry.” Alasdair bit his lip.
“I’ll accept your apology if you look more contrite. Better. Now, are you sure, absolutely sure, that you want to take this case up?” Toby looked genuinely troubled.
“Of course I do, if only to see the smile wiped off his face when we succeed.” Another horrible thought. “Are you saying that you’d rather not be involved? You seemed so keen in there that I assumed…”
“You assumed quite right. I’d like to find anything to keep my mind off this bloody awful fiasco of a pirate film.” Toby grinned. “I quite fancy a diversion.”
“Then that’s a perfect motivation for both of us. You to stave off ennui and me to put one over on our smug friend.”
“Then, as your Commodore Neville has such a habit of saying, ‘There’s not a moment to lose.’” Toby bounded down a little run of five stairs and strode off along another corridor, Alasdair scurrying to catch up. They walked down to the foyer, the time for decision-making getting ever closer. Toby stood by the desk where they sold programmes and gave a huge, appropriately theatrical sigh. “Any idea where we should start, then?”
“Mr Bowe?” A sandy haired young man, very earnest behind metal rimmed spectacles but not bad-looking—apart from the knobbly Adam’s apple—came hurtling through a door and leaped across the foyer. “Mr Fisher said he’s terribly sorry, but he forgot to give you this.” He held out a small black-covered book.
Toby took it, perusing the pages and nodding his head. An address book. “Thank you, Mr…?”
“Hampson.”
“Hampson. I’ll try to remember the name. I suppose this book belonged to Robin Pierce?”
Hampson nodded. “That’s why Mr. Fisher wanted you to have it. That he should come to you for help, though...” He shook his head and turned on his heels, mission accomplished.
“What on earth did he mean by that?” Alasdair frowned.
“Probably thinks the same as us—that we’re actors, not detectives, and that this is probably all going to turn out for the worst.” Toby pocketed the address book safely against the rain which was still pitching down outside. “We should show him. Show the both of them. Where would Sherlock begin?”
“Bugger Sherlock. I’d begin with finding a decent pub, having a pint of beer and giving that book—which I note was sent down to you but I’ll try to ignore the fact—a dose of reasoning. There’s not a lot of time and we don’t want to be chasing wild geese.”
charlie_cochrane: (home fires)
In which I answer such burning questions as what inspired these two stories and whether I write in my nuddy pants. Drop in and find out what I had to say...
charlie_cochrane: (home fires)
I'm delighted to say that my book of twinned novellas, Home Fires Burning, has been relaunched by Lethe Press. Very apt, given the anniversary of WWI this year.

Two stories, two couples, two eras, timeless emotions. In "This Ground Which Was Secured At Great Expense," it is 1914 and the Great War is underway. When the call to arms comes, Nicholas Southwell won't be found hanging back. It's a pity he can't be so decisive when it comes to letting his estate manager Paul Haskell know what he feels before he has to leave for the front line. In the trenches Nicholas meets a fellow officer, Phillip Taylor, who takes him into the unclaimed territory of physical love. Which one will he choose, if he's allowed the choice? In "The Case of the Overprotective Ass," stars of the silver screen Alasdair Hamilton and Toby Bowe are wowing the post WWII audiences with their depictions of Holmes and Watson. When they are asked by a friend to investigate a mysterious disappearance, they jump at the chance-surely detection can't be that hard? But a series of threatening letters-and an unwanted suitor-make real life very different from the movies. Charlie Cochrane brings her familiar romantic, roguish style to the two novellas that together are Home Fires Burning.

Excerpt:

The leaves on the copper beeches danced in the breeze; the late summer sun lighting on them produced a warm glow. Nicholas had always loved them more than any other trees on his estate, even in their bare winter form. Now, leaving the cab at the gate and savouring the walk along his own drive, he saw them afresh. He used to meet Paul under these branches when they were hardly more than boys, taking a chess set or pack of cards to play seemingly endless games bathed by the warm August Hampshire sun. There’d be no time for such frivolity now.

He told Nanny that he was signing up almost as soon as he reached the house, before anyone else. She’d been so proud at the thought of him putting his name down. “You’ll look a picture in your uniform. Have all those mesdemoiselles waving their handkerchiefs at you. Be careful you don’t come back with one of them on your arm.”

“I promise.” Only recently had Nicholas been able to address his former governess and not feel seven-and-a-half again. Even though he towered over her, she would always seem the grown-up one of the pair. “I hope to be off training in just a few weeks, which will give me time enough to set my affairs here straight. There are plenty of safe pairs of hands to entrust things into.”

“Young Mr. Haskell will keep a steady eye on things,” Nanny said, fiddling with her knitting. No doubt those fingers would be employed producing socks or scarves or who knew what else over the next few months. “You’ll be back come the spring, in time to see the lambs over at Longlea.” She made the pronouncement as if it were a certainty, as sure as Christmas Day falling on December the twenty-fifth.

“I hope so.” As Nicholas spoke the words, he felt a prophetic jolt, and knew it was all a lie. Somewhere inside—heart or brain, he couldn’t be sure—he was certain they were in for a long campaign. Leaving the old lady with her wool and her thoughts, he went out into the gentle light to find Paul.

As he walked down the path back to the beech avenue an instantly recognisable, elegant figure came to meet him, a gun hanging off its shoulder and an uncharacteristically serious look on its handsome face.

“You’ll sign up?” Paul didn’t attempt any small talk; it wasn’t their way. They usually met three times a week, if Nicholas was down in Hampshire, and those meetings always began with a litany of business, action taken or to be considered on the estate, successes and failures. Only when all the business was dealt with would Paul take a beer, relax for half an hour and indulge in chit-chat. A discussion of parish scandal, something which might have been called gossip if they’d been female, a brief harking back to the days when they’d traded all their secrets over that chess board. True to form, Paul hit straight at the crux of things now.

Nicholas wasn’t sure if the question was an order—you do this for the honour of the estate, I can’t—or some sort of expression of jealousy, that he could go where the other man could only dream of. He couldn’t dare hope it was the beginnings of a plea for him not to go.

“It’s my duty.” The words seemed inadequate, barely expressing anything Nicholas felt. Yes, he was bound by duty, but there were other considerations. He was, he knew, running away from conflict as much as running towards it.

“I’ll look after things.” Paul’s eyes registered something which might have been offence.
Nicholas replied hastily. “Of course you will. I’ve never doubted it.” He’d doubted his own intentions, of course.

He cast a sidelong glance at Paul, wondering what expectations he’d have. The estate manager wore his business face, a cool, clear eye surveying the fields, maybe weighing up the chances of the next pheasant brood surviving the depredation of fox or buzzard.

Home Fires Burning Hi-Res
charlie_cochrane: (second helpings)
A nice big box of "Best Corpses" have arrived chez Cochrane.

In the middle of proofs for the relaunch of Lessons for Survivors and looking forward to the relaunch of Home Fires Burning! Excuse me while I have a lie down...
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: (home fires burning)
There are scenes for all seasons in Home Fires Burning. Alas, the most seasonal one rather gives the ending away, so here's something autumnal:

Things had changed after Hampshire, as they should have known they would from the moment Phillip had dropped Nicholas home, the pair suddenly unable to look one another in the eye as they shook hands and said their farewells. They’d not spoken about those days, not once in the months since, as if by never referring to them would mean they’d never happened. But the consequences had remained. There’d never be the same freedom between the two of them again, no matter how politely they’d said goodbye or how businesslike they’d been resuming their working relationship in the front line. Nicholas blamed it all on the war, of course, the constant pressure having made him lose his moral compass. Dear God, how could any man keep a sense of what was decent when they’d had to live like this?
As soon as Nicholas came through the pinned up blanket which passed for a door, he knew something was amiss. Phillip, ashen, stood in the middle of the floor with a piece of paper in his hand, the look of happiness which usually accompanied the arrival of the post noticeable by its absence. Nicholas spoke softly but resisted laying a hand on his friend’s arm. “What’s up?
Phillip passed his mother’s letter over, clearly unable to find any adequate words to explain why he was doing it. Nicholas began to read, despite the fact that this was obviously intensely personal—the piece of paper actually exchanging hands was ominous.
I am so very sorry to have to break the news like this. If only I could be with you and speak these words, but I have to commit them to paper, my dearest boy. I hope that you can read between the lines and find my deepest love for you there. We had news today from your friend Fergal’s ship; he had us listed as next of kin because of all the problems with his mother. I don’t know if he ever told you that, but I think in the end it was wise. I will have to contact her next, although I think it might be better if I visit. Poor soul.
Last time they’d heard, Fergal had just got his wish to go to sea, guarding the fishing fleet from U-Boat attack. God knew how long this news had taken to travel back to England and out again.
By all this, you will be able to guess what I have to say. He is dead, killed by a shell. It was apparently swift and merciful, for which we must be grateful. They are sending his things back here and I will keep some of them for you, as a memento of your friendship.
I have no adequate words to describe how sad I am and how much I wish to be with you to console you. I pray to God as I write this that Nicholas will be able to give you the comfort you need at this time. He seems like such a good friend and I hope he proves so.

He could read no more. Phillip had slumped onto the bunk; Nicholas took his place alongside him, clumsily putting an arm about the man, the most intimate contact they’d had since the local church bells had struck four in the morning that last night in the cottage by the river.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
The excellent Cheyenne Holiday Sampler is back. (With 2 new stories!)

Why not download it right now? It has a free Jonty/Orlando short story and snippets from lots of other works, including Home Fires Burning

December 1915, behind the lines

“More wine?” Nicholas tilted the carafe towards Phillip’s glass.
“Seems a shame to waste it.” The little pension where they sat had a certain shabby charm; were it not for the sound of the guns in the distance, one could imagine oneself taking a little winter tour of Northern France prior to a proper Christmas at home. No such luck on that front—they’d been moved back here for re-training and amalgamating some “fresh from England and wet behind the ears” recruits into their company ranks, but they’d be back in the line by Christmas Eve at the latest. Still, the dispensation of one night’s leave and somewhere clean and dry to spend it felt like a blessing.
“I’ve not tasted wine this good since…” Nicholas stopped just in time. “Since we were in that cottage” would have risked opening old wounds which seemed to have healed successfully weeks ago. “Since I can’t remember when.” He smiled. Life was good, if only for a brief while. His initial reply to Paul had brought another cleverly written response, “the lad on the estate” being grateful for his employer’s understanding and Paul himself willing to act as broker in ensuring things were sorted out to everyone’s satisfaction the next time he was home on leave. More code. More seeds of hope.

Read more
charlie_cochrane: (home fires burning)
You can download The Roaming Heart- a short story about Alasdair and Toby, the actor laddies from Home Fires Burning - here at my other blog.
charlie_cochrane: (home fires burning)
Actually several words short of a flashifc, but a small adventurette starring Toby and Alasdair from Home Fires Burning, to be found over at The Macaronis blog. (Where you'll find several daft offerings in honour of a daft day.)
charlie_cochrane: (cliveden)
Every request now fulfilled somehow or another. Hi thee to this post at Jo Myles's blog to find Alasdair and Toby from Home Fires Burning wearing bloomers and Jonty, orlando, a punt and a take on the Hokey Cokey.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
I'm delighted with Erastes' review of Home Fires Burning over at Speak Its Name.

She says of "This Ground which was secured at Great Expense", Absolutely marvellous read–please do not miss this one. I can only hold my breath to see where Cochrane goes next.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
If you think that the only piece of gay fiction E M Forster wrote was Maurice, then a) think again and b) read my little post over at The Macaronis.

And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] elisa_rolle for a wonderfully perceptive review of Home Fires Burning. Talking about the two contrasting novellas: "a good parallelism is dark red wine against champagne… you can appreciate both, but not compare them".
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
One by the lovely Jenre (reposted at Reviews by Jessewave).

For those who've never read anything by this author before, then this would be a great opportunity to see what you've been missing! Grade: Excellent.

And another by the equally lovely Gerry Burnie.

You can always be assured of a good read with Charlie Cochrane’s name on the cover.

Thank you, both.

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