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

Guest Post | A Trick of the Light by Ellie Thomas

Today, Ellie Thomas is back on the blog, yay! She’ll be talking about her new story A Trick of the Light, so read on! Welcome, Ellie 😊

Trick of the Light Promo 2

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

I’ve written before about how I like to set stories in locations that are familiar to me. A Trick of the Light is not only set in Bristol like last year’s Trick or Treat story, A Tricky Situation, but also in the same area and even the same house! This wasn’t a continuity slip-up on my part, as Kit, my 18th-century character from A Tricky Situation appears as a ghost to my main character Kenneth in A Trick of the Light, which takes place in 1957.

Bristol went through rapid expansion in Georgian times, spreading beyond its medieval confines, leading to smart planned suburbs, the first of which was Kingsdown. In 1785, when Kit meets his future life partner Ned, there was only a scattering of houses on the hilltop of the district, surrounded by green fields. This was very much a fashionable area for wealthy merchants, like Kit’s father, to build their statement homes.

But roll on two hundred and fifty years, and the fortunes of this inner-city suburb were fading, not helped by extensive bomb damage in WW2. By the late 1950s, much of the area was rundown and scheduled for redevelopment, making it an ideal place for Kenneth, thrown out of his family home after a row with his dad, to find temporary accommodation.

As I lived in Kingsdown many years ago, I found it easy to visualise not one but two stories set on Kingsdown Parade. It also gave me the excuse to buy Kingsdown: A Vertical Suburb by local historians Penny Mellor and Mary Wright, packed with information, illustrations and photos of Kingsdown through the ages.

I could imagine the once grand townhouse, split into two, and rented out as bedsits, where Kenneth not only finds respite but echoes the experience of the other young man who lived in that room centuries before. Close to Halloween, the spirit of Kit attempts to help Kenneth as he struggles with his ambitions and a growing attraction to Gino, the son of a local café owner, with the hope of a similar happy ever after.

A Trick of the Light

atrickofthelightKenneth Taylor has bright plans for a future as an engineer. In the summer of 1957, as soon as he returns home to Bristol from two years of National Service in the Royal Signals, a furious row with his dad means he’s thrown out of the house, and his prospects are in jeopardy.

He finds lodgings in the hilltop, bomb-damaged suburb of Kingsdown, determined to be independent and juggling night school with his humdrum day job. He soon meets Gino, the good-looking son of a local café owner and is thrilled when the attraction proves to be mutual. As their romance blooms, Kenneth finds unexpected encouragement from an apparition in the mirror who inhabited the house in the late 18th century.

When the ghostly vision of Kit also appears to Kenneth in his dreams, it seems they have much in common when Kit reveals his dilemma at a similar age, concerning his growing attachment to a young man, Ned. Past and present intermingle as Kenneth faces parallel and difficult decisions. But can he trust Kit? Or is it all merely a trick of the light?

Trick of the Light Promo 3

Extract:

Kenneth got in the habit of dropping into the café when not in a rush for the bus. It wasn’t only the charms of the waiter but the hospitable atmosphere of the family-owned establishment that helped him pine less for his mum and sister.
Despite unprepossessing beginnings, his room on Kingsdown Parade was starting to take shape. The hilltop area might be a bit worn and battered, but he had all he needed nearby and was grateful for the convenience of the Co-op store at the top of the road. Also, his mum had sneaked a few items to give to Pamela to pass on to him, so his digs looked a bit more homely.
But as autumn began, he had to admit he was cold. He only switched on the two-bar electric fire for a short while in the evenings as he couldn’t afford to keep the electric meter ticking over too fast. One blustery Saturday afternoon, when his fingers nearly froze as he sat at the desk in front of the draughty windows trying to complete his homework, he decided he needed a change of scene.
Grabbing his bag of dirty washing to take to the launderette, he snagged his satchel and required textbooks and headed off down the hill. Once his laundry was in the machine, and the woman on duty kindly promised to put the wet load into the drier, he crossed the road to the café. He hoped that by now, he was enough of a regular customer to get away with ordering only the milky coffee he’d acquired a taste for.
He’d missed the lunchtime rush and was glad he’d had a sandwich at home beforehand since the scent of hot food was always tempting. Instead of the waiter, it was a girl who served Kenneth today. She looked young enough to still be in school, most likely expected to help out at the weekends, the resemblance to her brother evident in her dark eyes, olive skin, and wide smile.
She didn’t quibble at his order of coffee, so Kenneth arranged his books on the table and started to study. He was so focused on his calculations that he was taken aback when a voice asked, “Would you like a top-up?”
He looked up from his exercise book to see the waiter smiling down at him. Hesitating, he started to scrabble in his pocket for any change remaining from his trip to the launderette when the waiter said, “It’s alright. It’s on the house.” With another smile, he took the cup and saucer, allowing Kenneth to admire his departing backside.
When the waiter returned, he seemed inclined to chat further, asking, “What are you studying, then?”
“Engineering,” Kenneth replied. “Well, the bare bones of it anyway.”
“Smart fellow,” the waiter retorted, raising his elegantly arched eyebrows. “Dad would like me to study,” he said with a nod to the man behind the counter. “But I’m flat-out here most days, and anyway, I’m not brainy enough,” he added with an eloquent shrug of his shoulders. It seemed unfair to Kenneth that someone so attractive and personable should lack confidence in his ability. Without pausing to feel self-consciously tongue-tied, Kenneth replied, “If you can remember every order and give the right change all day, every day, then you must be savvy. There’s plenty of education growing up and working in a café.”
“Maybe so,” the waiter agreed with that charming smile.
He seemed about to continue the conversation when a call came from the counter. “Gino, service for table two!”
“Speak of the devil,” he said. His smile deepened as he lingered.
“Doesn’t your dad need you?” Kenneth asked. As soon as the comment was out of his mouth, he wished he hadn’t spoken aloud.
“Nah, my sister’s helping too, so there’s no rush,” Gino replied. “Dad would soon let me know if it’s urgent. And anyway, I’m not usually in the habit of dawdling at the tables chatting up pretty boys, so I’m sure he’ll let me off this once,” he added with a dazzling grin as Kenneth felt a blush rising over his face to his hairline.
“Arrivo, Papa,” Gino called over his shoulder, before sauntering back towards the counter with a distinct sway of his hips.

Book Links:  

Publisher: https://www.jms-books.com/ellie-thomas-c-224_420/a-trick-of-the-light-p-4479.html 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BG9RRF51/ref=sr_1_1?crid=NVT1RVVXQBTN&keywords=a+trick+of+the+light+by+ellie+thomas&qid=1664034360&sprefix=%2Caps%2C146&sr=8-1 

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

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