Guest Post | The Long Game by Ellie Thomas

Ellie Thomas is back on the blog! I love the cover of The Long Game, so pretty 😍 Welcome, Ellie!

The Long Game Promo 1

Thank you so much, lovely Ofelia, for having me as your guest again. I’m Ellie Thomas, I write MM Historical Romance and today, I’ll be chatting about the Long Game, my Advent Calendar story for JMS Books, which will be a free download from the publisher on release day.

As I’m sure Ofelia and most other authors will agree, even when a story ends, the characters can linger in the mind long after we type The End. When I wrote A Roll of the Dice over a year ago, from time to time, I thought about Joshua and Frank, who got together in that short story, and I wondered how their love story was progressing.

Something intrigued me about the dynamic between these two men from very different worlds who met and fell for each other in a London Gaming Hell, one as a waiter and the other as a customer. Joshua Jones, a young man of colour and an aspiring artist from the mercantile middle class who holds down two jobs to fund his art studies, catches the eye of Frank Bartlett, nearing forty, an aristocrat with no need to work, but who out of a sense of duty, spends his time as a politically neutral unofficial diplomat.

What I liked about these two was that their attraction was not necessarily that of an older experienced, powerful man meeting, seducing and dominating a young student. There’s a powerful sexual pull between them, but Joshua is both smart and feisty and decides to allow the attraction to take its course. In the same way, Frank is far from shallow and enjoys spending time with Joshua out of bed as well as between the sheets. So I felt their relationship had so much potential.

So when the JMS Books Advent Calendar story submission call was announced, it seemed the right time to return to the clubs of late 18th century London and revisit our couple eighteen months following the final chapter of A Roll of the Dice.

In The Long Game, although Joshua and Frank remain committed to each other, life, politics and health issues get in the way of their romance. The shine is still bright on this relatively new relationship after an idyllic summer in Italy, but with winter approaching, events threaten to separate them. It takes all of Joshua’s resolve to convince Frank he’s willing to stick by him.

That’s what I love about these two. Despite superficial differences in age, class and colour, they are both complicated, caring and driven personalities who give their energy to causes close to their heart. But Frank needs to learn to trust, prioritise and comprehend that all Joshua wants is for Frank to choose him once and forever.

The Long Game

The Long GameDuring the autumn of 1765 in London, Joshua Jones, a young working man of colour and aspiring artist, is grafting hard at his studies while earning his keep as a waiter in an exclusive St. James’ gambling club managed by his uncle.

The only cloud on Joshua’s horizon is the progress of his love affair with Frank Bartlett, an older man and unofficial diplomat who met and seduced Joshua the year before.

After an idyllic summer in Italy together, reality bites when they return to London, and Frank plunges into dealing with the disastrous political fallout from the proposed Stamp Act. Joshua understands his lover’s preoccupation but worries he is being pushed aside as Frank becomes so involved in diplomatic wrangling that he risks injuring his health. During tough times, Joshua is determined to stick with Frank. But will Frank take notice? And how can Joshua convince his true love that he is there for the long haul?

Extract:

As he left the table, his conversation concluded, Frank caught Joshua’s eye and gave him a nod as if to ask him to follow. With a glance around the room, checking that no guest needed his immediate attention, Joshua followed Frank into the service corridor.

Despite Frank’s pleasant expression, Joshua thought he resembled a death’s head in the murky lamplight. 

“I don’t want to delay you,” he said, a worrying rasp in his voice. “But I wanted to tell you that I have to liaise with a select party of influential merchants this evening, then I must report to Burke after that, so God knows what time I’ll be free. So you needn’t bother coming to my rooms tonight.”

“Why not?” Joshua asked, reasonably enough. “I can simply go to bed and sleep.”

Frank looked uneasy at being contradicted.

“Well,” he said with an attempted smile that did not reach his tired grey eyes. “I’ll be out all night, and you’ll probably sleep more soundly in your own bed. It seems pointless to inconvenience you further, as there can be no sport in this for you.”

“Sport?” Joshua echoed. But in his haste to finish the discussion and move on to an urgent conference, Frank did not heed the warning edge in Joshua’s voice.

“It can’t be very entertaining for you to wait around for me endlessly,” Frank clarified.

Joshua looked steadily at Frank, his doubts and anxieties crystallising in a surge of anger.

“Sport? Entertainment? Do you assume they are my sole reasons for choosing to be with you?”

Frank’s diplomatic poise deserted him, and he looked taken aback. “Well, no, of course not,” he said, adopting a more conciliatory tone. “But it’s unfair of me to expect so much from you this past while, when I can give so little in return.” 

Although these arguments had crossed Joshua’s mind as this dreary month had dragged on, it was like a slap in the face to hear Frank voice such reservations.

He raised his chin, his eyes meeting Frank’s in a blaze of indignation. “How timely to learn that after eighteen months or more, you regard me as so superficial,” he said coldly.

Frank was speechless, as if the brief discourse he had planned had unexpectedly veered into disastrous territory. Under normal circumstances, with Frank looking so worn and ill, Joshua might have compromised. But abruptly, he felt that the limit of his patience, stretched thin over the past weeks, had finally snapped. 

He looked at Frank as he gathered himself to smooth over the sudden gaping impasse. “You know that’s far from true,” Frank began. “It occurred to me that our current situation was unsatisfactory and that you deserve far more consideration than I can lend you presently. I’m only trying to let you off lightly.”

“I wait for you in your rooms night after night by choice. I don’t need your damned consideration, thank you kindly. As for letting me off lightly? I’m not some giddy fly-by-night whore who will flit to the next man if you can’t spare me your attention. How dare you!” With a final furious glare, Joshua turned on his heel and stalked down the corridor towards the public rooms.

“Joshua!” Frank called after him, but Joshua paid no heed, even when Frank attempted to call his name again, and his voice cracked, prompting that awful tearing cough.

The Long Game Promo 2

Book Links:

Publisher: https://www.jms-books.com/ellie-thomas-c-224_420/the-long-game-p-4553.html

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/mBv65k

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BN51KSK1/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3S0UMLZ633V81&keywords=the+long+game+ellie+thomas&qid=1669211128&sprefix=the+long+game+ellie+thomas%2Caps%2C181&sr=8-1

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63828882-the-long-game

Add to Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-long-game-by-ellie-thomas

About Ellie Thomas:

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/

Twitter: @e_thomas_author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas

Guest Post | Coming of Age by Ellie Thomas

Ellie Thomas is back on the blog, yay! Welcome, Ellie 🥰

Coming of Age Promo 4

Thank you so much, lovely Ofelia, for having me as your guest again. I’m Ellie Thomas, I write MM Historical Romance, and I’m here today to chat about Coming of Age, my November release for JMS Books.

Coming of Age is the third story in my Twelve Letters series about the lives and loves of a group of young men in Regency London. The series expands mainly because the characters keep wandering into my head to continue their story!

By this stage, we have three established couples. Firstly, Captain Ben Harding and Doctor Edward Stephens, then gentleman about town Jo Everett and Daniel Walters, a Bond Street tailor, who met their love matches in the first story, Twelve Letters. Thirdly, we have an unlikely couple in Regency himbo Percy Havilland and sensible older man Nathan Brooks. This couple stopped squabbling long enough to fall in love in the second story, Queer Relations. In this third story, our assorted couples struggle with relationships and life circumstances while supporting each other as a group.

As I am a self-confessed history nerd, there’s nothing I enjoy more than poring over an antique online map or looking up a specific place where my characters will meet, or checking a history timeline for world events in the year I’m writing about. But what floats my boat is social history and that element always creeps into my characters and stories.

Percy and Nathan are both rich and privileged enough to escape conformity to a certain extent, but as they grow closer in this story, Percy shoulders more family obligations, which puts an inevitable strain on his temper and so, their relationship. Ben and Edward remain blissfully happy, with Edward outwardly acting as Ben’s personal physician, but their lasting togetherness is threatened by Edward’s father. Unaware of the nature of their union, the older Doctor Stephens fears that his clever son is throwing away his career prospects by pandering to a single wealthy patient, which puts poor Edward in an impossible situation.

Jo, my main character in Twelve Letters, has a conundrum to solve as he has fallen in love out of his own class. Jo might not be hugely wealthy but he’s still a gentleman by rank, whereas Daniel, his true love, although in a respectable and upwardly mobile trade, is still a working man. Within their small society, their love is entirely accepted, but in wider society, even their friendship would be viewed as unsuitable, and of course, in a time where gay relationships were illegal, they cannot afford any suspicion to fall on them. As Jo miserably concludes, if they were both gentlemen by birth, they could share lodgings apparently as companions and no one would be any the wiser, and so the class barrier for their future happiness seems insurmountable.

I thoroughly enjoyed causing historically apt problems for our ensemble cast, so that as couples and loyal friends, they could attempt to solve their difficulties. Now they have all fallen in love during the first two books, Coming of Age is about the shifts in relationships as circumstances change and the commitment needed for lasting love. But I have every faith in my boys that they will overcome their obstacles, if not in this story, then the next!

Coming of Age:

comingofageAfter the London Season of 1815, having guided his younger sister Eustacia through her come out despite the social impact of a disastrous family scandal, Percy Havilland is at a loose end. Accustomed to being spoiled and generally admired, although still wealthy, he is shunned by most of the ton. Also, he discovers that he misses looking after his sister now she’s returned to the family estate in Sussex. Taking his frustrations out on Nathaniel Brooks, his long-suffering lover, only makes Percy more uncertain about his future.

Also, Percy’s good friend Jo Everett is having his own problems, thwarted in his dearest wish to share a home with the love of his life, Daniel Walters, a hardworking Bond Street tailor. And the final couple in the ensemble, Captain Ben Harding and Dr Edward Stephens realises the course of true love doesn’t always run smoothly.

Can this society of gentlemen solve their romantic dilemmas to their satisfaction? And might Percy, with a birthday looming, surprise himself by opening up to love?

Extract:

In between dances with his hostess’ daughters, Jo could not help but witness a complementary series of moves around the edge of the ballroom as the night progressed. 

He had arranged to arrive with Percy, well aware that despite Percy’s formal invitation and the good graces of a favoured guest in Mrs. Dalrymple, walking into a crowded salon alone could be an isolating experience where those who wished to be disparaging would take full advantage. Jo’s presence was a welcome buffer, and it was no hardship for him to ensure a cordial start to the evening.

Naturally, the two men separated as the music commenced, with both of them engaged on the dance floor. Mrs. Southerby was not only financially generous towards the soldiers’ charity that Jo oversaw, but also showed great interest in helping in several practical ways, so Jo felt duty bound to demonstrate his gratitude by squiring her numerous female relatives for the remainder of the soirée.

Without such pressing obligations, Percy could afford to pause from dancing and bow out for a set or two. Halfway through the evening, from his position in the centre of the ballroom, Jo noticed Nathan’s entrance during one such refreshment break. Uh-oh, he thought as Nathan perceived Percy immediately, his rough-hewn features hardening into a scowl.

Percy, with his back to the door where Nathan had entered, was engaged in a lengthy conversation with the amiable Mrs. Dalrymple, his great supporter, who enjoyed nothing so much as an extensive and harmless flirtation with a gorgeous young man in a public setting. Jo was too occupied with guiding a somewhat wayward and chatty dance partner through her steps to gather the precise moment when Percy became aware that his disgruntled lover was present.

To an unpractised eye, it would seem as though Percy was entirely oblivious of Nathan for a full quarter-hour, but Jo had been at the receiving end of Percy’s games sufficiently to recognise some small but telling signs. In the old days, before Percy became involved with Nathan, Jo surmised as he twirled yet another young lady, Percy would have openly played the coquet with several of his most avid admirers to arouse jealousy or ardour in the breast of his current paramour.

Although Percy’s coterie had diminished somewhat with his family’s fall from grace, he would still be able to gather a circle of potential suitors had he so wished, but genuine attachment had modified his strategies. So Percy alternated between squiring ladies onto the dance floor before returning to exchange a few more words with his hostess or Mrs. Dalrymple. Nathan, who was not disposed to dance, and was much vaunted for his financial and business prowess, was talking in a quiet corner with other serious-minded gentlemen. 

Jo could not help but notice how, apparently artlessly, Percy orbited closer, casually selecting dance partners in ever-decreasing circles to Nathan’s proximity. Once they were within touching distance, instead of confrontation or apology, there was a teasing glance, just a flash of those glorious blue eyes directed at Nathan. The next occasion warranted a delicate half-smile revealing a hint of a dimple. 

Depending on the prowess of his current dance partner, Jo watched this progress with fascination as Nathan’s forbidding expression subtly softened at each circuit until Percy’s careful choreography drew them together. By the time Jo consumed a well-deserved glass of punch and discreetly mopped his brow with his handkerchief, the previously warring duo was standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Percy tilted his golden head winningly as he uttered a bon mot that made Nathan smile in genuine amusement, all annoyance forgotten.

Jo was unsure whether to be impressed or appalled at Percy’s scheming ways and his ability to manipulate the most clear-thinking and hard-headed fellow from a state of severe exasperation to pliable putty. 

He wasn’t remotely surprised when shortly afterwards, Percy prettily made his excuses to his hostess, with Nathan taking his leave after a decent interval of a full five minutes. So neither of them will suffer a lonely night, Jo thought with a grin. All’s well that ends well. That is, until the next spat.  

Book links:

Publisher: https://www.jms-books.com/ellie-thomas-c-224_420/coming-of-age-p-4523.html

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BM3TKRFD/ref=sr_1_1?crid=61N4W4RNC5D5&keywords=coming+of+age+by+ellie+thomas&qid=1668178195&sprefix=coming+of+age+by+ellie+thomas%2Caps%2C167&sr=8-1

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/3kYg9L

Bio:

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

 Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/

Twitter: @e_thomas_author

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas

Guest Post | Ghosts of Oaklight Hall by Max Beeken

October is the month for ghost stories, is it not? I’m glad to announce that we have Max Beeken here today to help you add more ghosts to your TBR. Welcome, Max!

Guest-Post

Who the hell am I?

I’m a British writer living in Nottingham. Yep, Robin Hood country! Ghosts of Oaklight Hall is my first properly published book through jms-books.com although I have self-published a couple of stories, which anyone interested can find on Amazon, courtesy of that nice Mr Bezos.

I live with my husband, and two cats, and, probably to the disapproval of Robin Hood was once a tax inspector, but am now retired. Writing is something I’ve always been drawn to do, although having left school at the age of 14 barely able to write my name that may strike some as a bit presumptuous of me.

My alma mater was briefly famous as the worst school in the country, and it was after this dubious accolade they reduced it to a pile of rubble, and all that remains of it now is the 10-foot razor marking its perimeter!

My main intention in writing Ghosts of Oaklight Hall was to write a victorian ghost story along the lines of M R James. However, I am not M R James or anyone remotely in his league. And the result is probably closer to Scooby Doo than Stephen King. Ghosts of Oaklight Hall is a ghost story and a romance too, but me being me, I couldn’t help adding a bit of humour to the mix. Something, I feel is lacking in a lot of contemporary gay fiction. Whether readers will appreciate my sense of humour of course is another matter.

I’ve set my story after a war between the British Empire and the United States, but for the record, I’m not anti-American, but I needed a war as backstory for my character, and in the period it’s set we didn’t have a full war unless you count shooting at a bunch of poor spear chucking natives, and I thought the idea of a third war between the US and us Brits might be quite fun to explore. I intend to explore this further in the next book.

Ghosts of Oaklight Hall

Ghosts of Oaklight Hall

A gay ghost story guaranteed to give you the willies!

Following a disastrous war between the British Empire and the United States, Edward Grubb leaves the Royal Navy mourning a dead lover after his ship was sunk. A death for which he blamed himself. Desperate for work, Edward is sent to investigate the troubled Oaklight estate.

It isn’t long before Edward discovers that what’s going on at Oaklight Hall is a lot more than what the sinister Pastor Kid and Lady Flora who run the estate are letting on. Edward finds there isn’t just one ghost plaguing the troubled hall; there’s also the one he has brought with him.

Together with the handsome but reclusive young heir to the estate, can Edward solve the mystery behind the restless spirits as well as find peace for his own guilty conscience?

Buy links:

Gay Historical Paranormal Romance: 93,568 words

JMS Books :: Amazon