Guest Post | London Calling by A.L. Lester

Guest-Post

We have the lovely A.L. Lester on a visit today! Welcome, Ally!

Hello everyone! Thanks so much to Ofelia for letting me drop in today. My mission this week is to tell everyone about the release of London Calling, the box set of my 1920s London Border Magic series. It comprises Lost in Time, Shadows on the Border & The Hunted and the Hind. And I have a giveaway!

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Lost in Time was the first book I had accepted for publication, by JMS Books in 2017. I’d tried self-pubbing it the year before and it hadn’t gone well—I was very inexperienced and my proofing and editing was sub-par. I was very lucky JMS took me on and beat both me and my manuscript in to shape!

When I finished it, it was supposed to be a stand-alone with a happy-for-now ending. Generally speaking I think it’s quite hard to write happy-ever-after stories when your setting is the inter-war years in Europe; and even more so for LGBTQ+ people given the law and social attitudes of the time. Looking at the book with the experience I have now, the ending was quite tentative. It’s clear Alec and Lew have reached a resolution; but I don’t demonstrate at all what that resolution might be. I had a vague idea I’d write a sequel; but again, I really didn’t know where I’d go with it.

Shadows on the Border was a bit of a surprise to me—this is one of the things, good or bad, about ‘discovery writing’…you can end up with something you really weren’t expecting. I was expecting to write about Fenn and Will, I think, for the whole book; and instead it turned out to be more about Alec and Lew, the end of their story; and the beginning of Will and Fenn’s. I then moved on to try and tie Will and Fenn’s tale up in The Hunted and the Hind. And that…well. I struggled not to write a fantasy tale set in another world—I ended up taking a load of stuff out that will be a great foundation for an otherworldly high fantasy if I want to!

All in all, although Lost in Time does work as a standalone and Shadows on the Border ties up Alec and Lew’s story nicely, they work best as a series, all three together. And I am really pleased to present them here as the box set!

I am also very happy to tell you that the three books are available in audiobook, narrated by the most excellent Callum Hale, British Narrator ExtraordinaireYou can listen to him reading the first half hour of Lost in Time here. I was so lucky to find Callum as a narrator—we found each other at Audible and since then we have worked out an independent relationship. He exactly gets each of the characters in this universe. The audio for Lost in Time was being produced as I was finishing The Hunted and the Hind and eventually as I was writing it I could hear the characters talking in the voices Callum had given them.

All in all, I am really pleased to finally have them out in a box set and to have all three available in audio to accompany it. It feels like I’ve done my best for the trilogy and I hope you feel the same way after reading and/or listening! For a chance to win copies of all three of the London Calling audiobookspop on over to the Audiobook Draw and throw your hat in the ring!

With best wishes and happy reading,

Ally

London Calling

London Calling box set

Queer British Lovecraftian historical romantic suspense set in 1920s London.

Lew Tyler is dragged from 2016 to 1920 by an accident with border magic whilst he’s searching for his missing friend. He’s struggling to get to grips with life a century before he was born. Detective Alec Carter is trying to solve gruesome murders in his patch of London, weighed down with exhaustion and a jaded attitude to most of his fellow humans after four years of war. In the middle of a murder investigation that involves wild magic, mysterious creatures and illegal sexual desire, will Alec and Lew work out who is safe to trust?

Sergeant Will Grant, Alec’s right-hand man, is drawn to the mysterious Fenn. Is Fenn a man or a woman? Does Will care? And Fenn…Fenn has a secret. They live beyond the border between 1920s London and the magical Outlands and they need to get home. Are they prepared to achieve that by double crossing Alec, Will and Lew? 

Two couples hold the fabric of reality in their hands. Will it make them or break them? 

Buy London Calling now if you like murder, time-travel, grumpy detectives, the blues, magic, gay romance, m/enby romance, tea and not-quite-elves. With swords. Well, one elf. With one sword. And he’s very decent about it.

Buy London Calling – Enter Giveaway Draw

Read an Excerpt

Carter on his doorstep when he got home again was just taking the piss. All Lew wanted to do was climb into his bed and sleep and pretend he was in his comfortable flat-share in 2016 and could wake up and listen to his iPod.

He didn’t even bother to greet Carter this time, just wordlessly locked up the bike and opened the door into the flat so he could come inside. He was glowering again. Lew wished he could say it didn’t suit him. “Come in. Glowering doesn’t suit you.”

Carter grunted wordlessly and suddenly Lew had had enough of it.

“No, honestly. It makes your face all scrunched up—” he demonstrated, “—and I’m sure it’s bad for you. Wrinkles or something.” He couldn’t seem to shut up. Poking a bear would probably have been safer. He wanted to get through to him, though, he wanted to make him growl. The other day and being punched in the face had at least proved Carter had some emotion in there somewhere; he couldn’t feel anything from him, most of the time. He chucked his biking goggles onto the small settee and turned to the kitchen cupboard. “Do you want a drink? I’m having a drink. I’ve had a shit day so far…a shit week, in fact.” He paused, considering, “…maybe even a shitty two years. And so, I’m going to have a drink. You’re welcome to join me.”

He clattered the bottle and a couple of glasses out of the cupboard and smashed them unsteadily down on the counter top. He felt unsteady all over, actually, as if he’d already drunk too much. Adrenaline, and lack of sleep, probably.

He pulled the cork out of the bottle and started to slop spirit into the glasses. Then, all of a sudden, Carter moved to stand close behind him, still not speaking. He hadn’t been expecting it and it made him even more mentally off balance.

He could feel the warmth of the other man’s body through the back of his shirt, although they weren’t touching. He was boxed in by his arms, either side of him, hands flat on the counter. It was shockingly intimate, although Lew didn’t think Carter meant it to be. He meant it to be intimidating. The otherman said, softly, “Tell me. Tell me. Tell me what’s going on. Why have I got more dead men turning up with the same wounds as your friend Fornham?”

Bloody hell. More of them. That was very, very bad. “Get off me.” Lew spoke equally quietly.

There was a pause for a second. “No,” said Carter.

“You don’t know what you’re messing with. Get off me.” Again, that pause.

“No.” His voice was rougher this time.

Lew noticed Carter’s knuckles were white where he was holding the countertop either side of the whisky bottle and the glasses. He shivered.

Suddenly he could feel things coming off Carter after all: the want and the fear and the desperate sense of disgust at himself. The anger and the confusion he felt toward Lew because he wanted Lew and yet he didn’t trust him, with this or with anything, and it was all against his better judgement. The emotions hit him like a wall coming up out of the dark all at once and completely floored him; and he gasped.

Slowly, he pushed the bottle away from him—always with the drink when Carter was around, he absently thought—and turned around, careful not to touch him. They were nearly of a height—he didn’t have to tilt his head much to see that Carter’s eyes were green. Lashes long and dark. He didn’t pull back. It was mid-afternoon and his beard was coming through.

Lew swallowed. “I don’t want to lie to you.”

It came out rougher than he had intended and Carter’s eyes dropped to his mouth.

“Then don’t!” He pulled back angrily and turned away, hands shoving fiercely through his hair. “Tell me what’s going on!”

“Carter…Alistair…” He couldn’t bear the wave of confused anger and emotion coming off the man and he stepped forward and put his hand on his arm, turning him back toward him.

“Alec…”

Carter jerked back as if he’d been burned.

Buy London Calling – Enter Giveaway Draw

 

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About A. L. Lester

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

Facebook Group : Twitter : Newsletter (free story) : Website : Link-tree for everywhere else

Guest Post | Five Year Author Anniversary

Guest-Post

Today, the lovely Nell is back to visit the blog, and it’s a very special day for her – she’s celebrating five years as an author 🥳

Hello again, it’s me. Nell. I’m back here at the lovely Ofelia’s place, but this time, I’m not here to talk about a new release, but an old one. But before I start, let me just blow some cyber kisses to our lovely hostess for her generosity. ❤️

So, I’m here to talk about an old book, and not just any old book but my first ever published story, Unconditionally. Since I was just a kid, I’ve dreamed of being an author. My mother was very sick when I was little, she had very severe and difficult asthma which meant she didn’t have the energy levels to run around and play with me. So instead, to keep me occupied, she taught me very early how to read. I think I was around four when I read her my first story, and I still remember how proud I was the first time I read to my mother instead of the other way around. And at that moment, a lifelong bookworm was born.

In school, I fell in love with writing, too, and I wrote essays and stories and started dreaming of becoming a writer. For a hot minute, I considered journalism, until I landed a part-time job at a local newspaper, writing for the arts/music/theatre section until I realized that while I’m a very inquisitive person who asks a million questions, I don’t particularly enjoy the in-your-face aspect of journalism, so I walked away from that particular avenue.

And then life happened; there were bills to pay and I temporarily forgot about my dream, until one day when I was way up in my forties and suddenly had lots of time on my hands. So I decided to try and write a story.

I never thought someone would say “yes please” to my story when I submitted it. And I definitely never expected to be celebrating my fifth anniversary as a published author today.

And I never thought my first little story would be included in an anthology that will be published almost five years later to the day. But more on that a little further down.

Five year

Blurb: 

Flamboyant book café owner Luca Moretti and geeky doctor Gus Hansen have been together for six years when the Supreme Court ruling makes same-sex marriage legal in all states. On June 26, 2015, Gus gets down on one knee and Luca screams yes.

On their wedding day, shortly before the ceremony, Luca’s mother explodes in anger, calling him a freak. The reason? He’s wearing a white veil, sprinkled with crystals.

Their relationship has been strained for a long time, and her words trigger traumatic memories. Instead of walking down the aisle, Luca runs.

Away from his mother. Away from Gus.

Gus counts down the minutes when Luca’s mother comes knocking. He realizes something’s wrong, but when he goes to talk to Luca, his husband-to-be is nowhere to be found.

Can Gus find Luca in time and manage to convince him to come back and get married?

M/M Contemporary / 16 981 words

Buy links: 

JMS Books :: Amazon

Love wins

A few months back, my publisher JMS Books informed me that they planned on releasing an anthology with the best-selling Love Wins (a submission call to celebrate marriage equality in the US) stories. And they asked me if I wanted my story to be included. 

Of course, I said yes. Much like Luka in Unconditionally when Gus proposed to him.

And when they told me it would be released on March 5, it felt like it was to celebrate my anniversary, and no, I’m not diva enough to think that’s the actual reason, but what I secretly believe in the privacy of my own home is my business, right? 😁

Blurb:

In 2016, JMS Books released a series of stories celebrating the US Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage. This anthology features eight of the best-selling stories in the series.

With stories by Lisa Gray, Drew Hunt, Nell Iris, A.R. Moler, K.L. Noone, Terry O’Reilly, Tinnean, and J.D. Walker, these tales of M/M romance and erotic romance feature gay couples who finally get the chance to formally declare their love for each other!

Contains the stories: I Do, I Don’t by Lisa Gray, Married Cowboy by Drew Hunt, Unconditionally by Nell Iris, For the Last Time by A.R. Moler, A Demon for Forever by K.L. Noone, First and Goal by Terry O’Reilly, Ace-High Royal Flush by Tinnean, and Paulie and the Wedding Bell Grouch by J.D. Walker.

Pre-order links:

JMS Books :: Amazon

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Find Nell on social media:

Newsletter :: Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub

Guest Post | Orphan’s Cry by Jaymie Wagner

Guest-Post

We have Jaymie Wagner on a visit, and today she’s gonna let me ask her some questions! Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Why do you write?

In the words of Adam Savage: “You have to do the thing you can’t not do.”

I have been writing down stories, ideas, and characters since I was old enough to do it! That energy’s been channeled into different places over the years – schoolwork, my thesis, D&D games and online spaces – but I always keep writing. It’s a way I de-stress, and it’s part of how I hang on to my sanity.

When I was going through my divorce, writing stories (including the manuscript that became my first novel!) was a big part of how I kept my spirits up and my brain from dwelling on the nastier things going on. I didn’t even think of it that way at the time – I just knew I needed to write something – but I can see it in hindsight. 

At the end of the day, it’s just who I am.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an astronaut so badly! I was nuts about space and space travel, and I even managed to get money saved up (with more than a bit of help from my grandparents) so that I could go to Space Camp! I still have 13 year old me’s old flight suit in my closet! It’ll never fit me again, but I just can’t imagine parting with it.

Unfortunately it turns out that being really good at X-wing and Microsoft Flight Simulator are not adequate qualifications to go down to NASA and apply, and my skill at math and physics did not equal my talent for writing. 

Still love space, though. I got the Lego ISS set for my birthday last year!

What are you working on right now?

I just turned in the manuscript for Outcast’s Song, the next book in the Sing For Me trilogy, and I have beta reader feedback for the final book, Herald’s Call to go through and incorporate into my draft before sending it in to JMS books! 

I have some smaller stories that I’ve made a few notes for, but the next ‘big’ project is going to be a story set in a Mediterranean influenced fantasy world, and I have some fun ideas for where it’s going to go…

Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?

Even though Orphan’s Cry is very much the story of Leah, our heroine, adjusting to life as a more social werewolf, there are a lot of seeds planted in these pages that will begin to sprout in book two, and truly flower in book three. 

Also, there’s a very persistent woodpecker, and an American werewolf in London who might have some useful things to say about the whole affair!

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

In a personal sense? Tell good stories that people connect with and enjoy. I think in some ways a short story is easier for me than writing novels, but I’ve really enjoyed the work and challenges in writing these books, so we’ll see!

Professionally, I will be very pleased if my royalties every quarter increase from “Treat yourself to a fancy coffee” to “Dinner’s on me” money. 🙂

orphan's cry

Blurb:

Two years ago Leah Corbyn was bitten by a “dog.” A few weeks later, the full moon’s rise revealed that she had become a werewolf.
After months of trying to hide her secret in the city of London, Leah is about to learn she isn’t alone…

Book link:

Lesbian Paranormal Romance (FFF): 95,046 words

JMS Books