charlie_cochrane: (jury of one)
In honour of the Bard's birthday yesterday, here's a snippet of What you Will, my Shakespeare and steampunk inspired short story.

Sir!” Soames voice broke in on my thoughts again. He was a good first officer but it seemed he never let a man have time to think. “Starboard side—looks like some poor soul’s copped it.”

The wreckage stood out like a great wen on the coastline, half in the sea and half on the strand, but this was no seagoing vessel. “Bloody pleasure flyers,” I said, and Soames nodded in reply.

I’d seen the like before—small, swift aircraft, rich men’s playthings, damned capricious unless you had the touch with flying them. This one had clearly proved too much for her crew to handle. Still, it pulled at my heartstrings to see such a neat little machine ditched and smouldering. Maybe the snow storm we’d had in the night had done for her.

More lovely excerpts linked at the Rainbow Snippets group.
charlie_cochrane: (lil audio)
" Recommended for fans of the Bard who want a rest from mining the subtext."

Read the rest (with a chance to win!) at Sinfully Gay Romance book reviews.

What you Will, published by MLR.
charlie_cochrane: (stars)
The Cochrane household is awash with pine needles and looks very bare now the twelfth day of Christmas has come and the tree/decorations have come down.

A couple of years back I had a seasonal story, What You Will, inspired by the Shakespeare play Twelfth Night and one of Will's most obvious gay characters.


By the time we’d reached what passed for civilisation around there, he’d stopped trying to fob me off. He kept thanking me for my kindness—and I kept thanking my luck for having come across him. He asked me about my travels, and I was delighted to spin him a yarn or two, although I avoided tales of my privateering days. I was certain, given what family he came from, that he was no friend to the Count, but I couldn’t be sure I hadn’t fallen foul of his own kin at some point in my highly colourful career.
“You’ve seen so much of the world.” He stopped, looking about him as if seeing the landscape for the first time. “I feel like I’ve gone through life with my eyes closed. Viola was always the adventurous one. I had my nose stuck in a book, too often. I wish I’d had the nerve to go to sea or take to the air.”
“Keep moving. It’s not the weather for standing still and thinking philosophically,” I said, taking his arm and getting us walking again. “And take my word for it that being a young lad aboard a ship—sea or sky—isn’t all the fun it’s cracked up to be.” Shame, though. I’d have had him as one of my junior officers any time he wanted. It’d be a real pleasure to have that face to admire on the long journey along the Spice Trail, even though it would come with the disadvantage that I’d never get to bed him. ‘Don’t mess on your own doorstep.’ They’ve always been my watchwords. Not that I had any great hopes of getting him into my bed; that inkling I’d got about the lad notwithstanding. If he was that way inclined, Sebastian could have his pick of lads, with his looks and his breeding. What would he see—beyond companionship—in a frosty old air-dog, a good ten years, and the rest, his senior?
“Being at court isn’t all the fun they pretend it is.” He gave me one of his rare, dazzling smiles, all dark flashing eyes and rosy lips. No wonder they called his sister beautiful if she resembled him. “You’re expected to drink in the politics and protocol with your mother’s milk, but I’ve never grasped them. They think me naïve and inconstant.”
I had to hide my smile. He’d described himself perfectly. “We’ll be needing all our diplomacy skills if we fetch up at Count Orsino’s.” He’d favoured me with a secret, so I returned the compliment. “I’ve blotted my copybook here, and they’ll not welcome me with open arms. Anywhere other than the jail.” I told him the story of the Tiger as we walked.
“Then your coming with me is madness. My family is no friend to Orsino’s, but I don’t think I risk my neck by throwing myself on his mercy for my sister’s sake.” He stopped again, cheeks flushed with either high emotion or the raw wind. “I can’t repay your kindness by drawing you into danger. Why should you take such a risk?”
Aye, that was the question. Hadn’t I asked it of myself a dozen times a day since we’d set down to rescue him? And despite how many times I’d asked it, I’m not sure I had a proper answer; not one that made sense either in my head or out of it. Certainly not one I could tell Sebastian, not yet. “I’ve always had a fondness for looking after waifs and strays,” I said, hoping he’d just laugh and walk on.
“Ah, but there’s a world of difference between charity and recklessness.” He looked serious again. “I wouldn’t want you on my conscience. If anything happened.” He took my arm—I’d have followed him to the ends of the earth at that moment, just so long as we stayed linked like that.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
Many thanks to Matthew for letting me come and natter on about stuff like what makes a failsafe christmas present, ideas for dinner party success and what the difference is between a respectable werewolf and a not respectable one.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
My seasonal short, What you Will (a steampunk/Shakespeare fusion) is out from MLR. It's available direct and on Amazon.

They say there's no fool like an old fool. Antonio didn't count himself as old but he was more fool than any man ought to be who'd flown around the world and back again so often he might as well have just been going from Deptford to Dartford. There was a lad involved. There's always a lad in the tale, for men like him.

And was there a happy ending? Now that depends on whether you believe what a certain playwright wrote, or whether you want the real story.


I'd flown these routes before, back in the days when I was still a poacher. Plenty of rich pickings to be found. What did they call that trader my speedy little privateer took, these five years past? Phoenixthat was it. Phoenix, treasure-trove full of jewels the size of quails' eggs and spices so fresh you'd have sworn they were new picked. By God, we'd filled our purses that day.

Now that I'd "turned gamekeeper" I had legitimate cause to be flying over here but Illyria was still a name to bring out sweat on the back of my neck. I'd not dared to land there any more, no matter how lucrative a trade contract I'd been offered.

I guess I should have stopped flying then, when my pockets were full of Phoenix's profits. I could have given my Letter of Marque back to Her Majesty's men, then gone home and settled down, but the smell of the chase was always calling me and there was always another ship to hunt down. Tiger, my last prize was called. We fell on her out of the sun; might have got away with it if she'd hauled her colours and just let us strip her of her cargo, but it came to a fight. Nasty, brutal fight, and all--Count Orsino's nephew lost his leg and I was left a marked man. Set foot in Illyria and I was dead, the Count would see to that.

Still, I'd made a success of myself since those privateering days, making plenty of money to see me through a comfortable old age, once I'd had enough of flying, or it had had enough of me. All I lacked was someone to spend that time with.

I never was one for spending ages staring into my glass, although if I caught my reflection in the helm's polished brass I saw a presentable enough face looking back, and knew I'd still be counted handsome, despite the scar across my chin. The looks I got from the women of London, painted whores up to finest ladies, reassured me the wound didn't make a scrap of difference. Not that any amount of looking or sighing from them was going to make a scrap of difference to me as far as my affections were concerned
charlie_cochrane: (ornaments)
I'm over at Carson's Guys Like Romance Too blog.

I'm talking about the significance of Twelfth Night and how a certain play inspired "What you Will", the holiday story I have out from MLR next week.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
I've just done the first of my November special "St Bride's 500th anniversary" draws (using random number generator to ensure objectivity). If you just got an e-mail in your inbox, you won. If you didn't, better luck next week. Still time to enter - see here for details.

And in other news, we now have the full schedule of Thanksgiving-through-to-New-year releases from MLR:

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