Taking Stock by A.L. Lester

I’m thrilled to announce that we have a guest today! A.L. Lester is here to tell us a little about her newest story, Taking Stock, that was released yesterday. I often tell myself that I should invite other writers to my blog, but being the social butterfly I am *snort*, I never get around to do it. So today is a big day LOL.

Welcome, Ally!

taking stock

Thank you so much for having me today to tell you a little bit about Taking Stock!

It’s 1972.
Fifteen years ago, teenage Laurie Henshaw came to live at Webber’s Farm with his elderly uncle and settled in to the farming life. Now, age thirty-two, he has a stroke in the middle of working on the farm. As he recovers, he has to come to terms with the fact that some of his new limitations are permanent and he’s never going to be as active as he used to be. Will he be able to accept the helping hands his friends extend to him?
With twenty successful years in the City behind him, Phil McManus is hiding in the country after his boyfriend set him up to take the fall for an insider trading deal at his London stockbroking firm. There’s not enough evidence to prosecute anyone, but not enough to clear him either. He can’t bear the idea of continuing his old stagnating life in the city, or going back to his job now everyone knows he’s gay.
Thrown together in a small country village, can Phil and Laurie forge a new life that suits the two of them and the makeshift family that gathers round them? Or are they too tied up in their own shortcomings to recognise what they have?

Taking Stock is a 40,000 word gay romance set mostly in rural England. It’s set on Webber’s Farm, which I first wrote about in Inheritance of Shadows. Inheritance is set in 1919 and is part of my spooky paranormal universe. I based the farm on somewhere I used to know as a child on the Quantock Hills in Somerset and didn’t want to leave after Inheritance. Taking Stock is the result. Although it’s set in the same universe as my other books and some of the same background characters are there, there’s nothing paranormal or suspenseful.

Instead it’s a gentle story about two people who are hurt and angry and tired, who find their way toward each other and help each other heal.

Initially Laurie was going to have a similar chronic condition to me…I have fibromyalgia and seizures…but then just before I actually sat down to get the words out of my head and on to the page, my Mama had a very severe stroke. She is in her eighties and has been more or less working her seven acre smallholding singlehandedly for years. Her frustration and anger at her situation translated directly into Laurie as I was writing. So he’s a combination of both my own feelings about my lack of agency through my disability, and hers.

It was a very emotive story for me to write and I hope you enjoy it.
Tags: MM, gay, romance, historical, ownvoices, disability, farming, 1970s.
Length: 40,000 words
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Release Date: Sept 19th 2020

You can buy/preorder Taking Stock here: https://allester.co.uk/takingstock/

About A. L. Lester

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat and some hens. Likes gardening but doesn’t really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn’t much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

You can stalk me on all sorts of different internet platforms here: https://lnk.bio/gjD5

Up North | Deleted Scene from Quinny, Focus!

ToolsA few weeks back I promised a deleted scene from Quinny, Focus! And here it is.

I started writing it as a dual pov story, but after some pondering, I decided to remove Will’s pov. What follows below is what I’d written when I left Will to drink his tea and work on his house without prying eyes.

William Johnson stared at the flaking paint on the window frame. It needed scraping and painting. The July morning was chillier than he’d expected, but the sun was warming his back.

He loved his little cottage style house. He’d been lucky to find it. And yeah, it direly needed fixing up, but he could do it. The carpenter job he’d been promised didn’t happen because of the pandemic, so now he was home all day with nothing to do. And lucky for him, he had some money in the bank.

To say his mother’s death had come timely would make him a terrible son, but the money from selling her house sure had.

His phone buzzed, and he grinned when he saw Quincy’s name in the inbox. The message made him chuckle. It was a gif of a tired man drinking coffee, and then Quincy asked if he wanted to join him for a cup on the balcony.

Will looked at the window frame and sighed. He could have a cup of tea with Quincy before he started—coffee gave him a stomachache.

Sure, he typed. Give me five minutes to get the kettle started.

He got a winking bunny in reply and shook his head while heading for the kitchen.

Quincy had sent him a friend request, and when Will had accepted—normally he never would, but on Quincy’s profile it said he lived in Whiteport, and since Will didn’t know anyone here, he accepted—they’d started writing personal messages to each other. Those messages had become the highlight of his day.

Quincy was quirky, always talking as if they could see each other, but Will played along. It made him less lonely.

Having a cup of tea in his empty, echoing kitchen was no fun, but having a cup of tea in his empty, echoing kitchen with a buzzing phone made him a part of the world somehow.

He looked at the cupboards. He’d removed the doors to sand down and paint. He’d bought a grayish green color that would look great in the old kitchen, but then he figured he should take advantage of the nice weather and do some outdoor work. Cupboards he could paint on rainy days.

Quincy: Ah, there you are. I thought you’d stood me up.

Will laughed and shook his head. He’d been here all along. Grabbing his cup, he walked over to the table and sat. He almost burned his lips, but aborted the sip, and started asking Quincy about his plans for the day instead.

They drank their beverages, or Will didn’t know if Quincy did, but he drank his tea once it had cooled down.

Quincy was sending several memes that had him choking with laughter, and Will figured there were worse ways to spend the morning.

Quincy: You’re leaving?

Will frowned and started typing that he wasn’t, but then another message buzzed.

Quincy: Just as well, I need to work. Thank you for the company.

A shark blowing a kiss followed, and Will chuckled.

Time to work then.

Quincy was working in telemarketing and could do his work from home, not that it was going well. People weren’t interested in buying things right now, at least not from some salesperson calling them up.

To say Will didn’t worry about the future would be a lie, he’d moved here to start over, but that wasn’t easy to do during lockdown. Maybe he should start his own company, but who’d hire a carpenter in these times?

Sighing, he got to his feet and went to deal with the windows.

****

A date. Warmth spread in Will’s chest. A date was… Was it too much? Cold followed. He didn’t want to lose Quincy; he was all he had right now—the only person he talked to on a daily basis even if it only was through private messages online. If the date went badly, he’d lose that.

He rubbed his neck with paint-stained fingers. Shit, should he have declined?

Ah, should he have?? LOL The poor soul didn’t have a choice, really. I had already decided that he would date Quinny.


quinnyfocus

Quincy Dean is one lucky guy. After months of virtual flirting, he’s convinced the man of his dreams is living next door. True, they’ve never spoken face-to-face, and William Johnson has never posted a picture of himself, but how many William Johnson’s could there be?

Quincy is positive the two of them would be great together. But if he’s ever going to get the chance to convince Will of that fact, he’s going to need to do it before his perfect man figures out he’s too good for Quincy’s little corner of Whiteport and disappears from his real life forever.

But how do you woo someone when you have to stay six feet apart? Direct messages are great, but they aren’t very romantic. And when Quincy begins to notice that Will’s messages don’t always match up with what he’s seeing through his blinds, he worries that even online he and his dream guy are drifting apart. Six feet or not, it might be time to ask Will out on a date.

A – Z | Judgment

Judgment (Time Is Eternity) by Mary Calmes

A J! We’re nearing the end of this A – Z Title Challenge. Now, I’m not a fan of time-travel stories, but I do enjoy some Mary Calmes when nothing else fits the bill, so I figured I’d be safe.

Thing is, I’m just not smart enough for time travel. Here we have Jeritt Troy and his husband Frost Ramsey, both are time-travelling cops, sort of. It’s your usual Clames pairing, the I-CAN’T-LIVE-WITHOUT-YOU-EVEN-FOR-A-SECOND connection between the two, and one of them will be growling. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I like growling.

Before Jeritt was partnered up with Frost, he was working with another man who also is/was his best friend. And here is where I start getting lost. The best friend is either a good, nice best friend or a villain, and he’s in 2012, and 2006, while Jeritt is in 4510, and later in the other years too, at the same time as his old self/current self/future self…or something.

One version of him is separated from his husband, the other is not, and I love the longing the poor version who ends up husband-less goes through, but for the most part, I was confused LOL.

books2read.com/Judgment


Judgment - Mary CalmesJeritt Troy is a Scourge, a guardian tasked with patrolling cracks in time and righting the unspoken wrongs in history. His next task is a killer-not just for him, but for his husband and partner, Frost Ramsey, because Jeritt’s not just tracking a bad guy; he’s tracking his previous partner-his best friend. Brekin Creed is as deadly as he’s ever been, and when Jeritt finds himself both abandoned and stranded in time, he has only a handful of years to figure out what went wrong with Brekin and, in doing so, save Frost’s life. Is there time enough for Jeritt to save Frost, or will he be locked in the judgment of his mistakes for eternity?


A-Z Title Challenge 2020

A – All I See

B – Bearly Dating

C – Champagne Kisses

D – The Dark Horse

E – Everybody in the Place

F – Food for Thought

G – A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness

H – Howl

I – I Will Meet You at Asphodel’s Pit

J – Judgment

K – Killer Cassava!

L – Landslide

M –Misunderstanding His Mate

N – The Night Porter

O – Out For Delivery

P – Purrfect Harmony

Q – Quill Me Now

R – Roaming Canisters

S – Set Up

T – Tentacles with Benefits

U

V

W – Words

X – Xavier

Y – Your Cover’s Blown

Z – Zippadacious

I started a Pinterest board for M/M books sorted by title, if you need help finding a title on a certain letter.