Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Next Big Thing

I’ve been tagged by Jo Myles for ‘The Next Big Thing’ blog tour. Never one to blow my own trumpet—I’m really not that flexible—and knowing how badly I suck at utilising social media, I grabbed the opportunity to embrace a wider audience with both hands.

Luckily, her email landed in my inbox at just the right time. I was despatching the first draft of my next novel to those wonderful peeps I rely on to rip my work to shreds so that I can, hopefully, put it back together again with as few tears as possible before submitting to publishers.

What is the title of your book?

Theory Unproven.

How did you come by the idea?

Watching a nature programme about intelligence in certain animals—in this case elephants--the seeds of an idea struck almost straight away. Luckily I had the foresight to hit record on the set-top box. I built the entire story around the two theories that they proved with the elephants.

What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary gay romance--with a touch of angst.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?

Ah, this is a hard one. I never really had actors in mind when I wrote this. There were several drawings by Michael Breyette which I looked at when I first started writing and thought, yeah that’s Eric and that’s Tyaan, but I never referred to them again so I might have drifted away from them as the story progressed. However they are great pieces of art so clicking the links won't be too much of a hardship for you.

*Thinks hard.*

Tyaan – Chris Hemsworth, maybe, with slightly shorter hair and muscle defined by hard work rather than working out. Hang on, what colour eyes has he got? They need to be golden brown. And that scruff is far too manicured, it needs to be unkempt as if he just couldn’t be arsed to shave for a couple of days.

Source: via Lillian on Pinterest

Eric – need a London guy with dark hair. Nigel Harman, maybe, but that reference is perhaps a little obscure for international audiences.

One character I can say for certain is Gilda. She’s the love of Tyaan’s life.

Source: via Lillian on Pinterest

She’s a de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou. A little large for a bush pilot, but Tyaan fell in love with her the moment he saw her and knew he had to have her. It’s the only woman he’s ever felt that way about.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I know should write these things as I go along, but my least favourite part of writing is the synopsis be it one line or five pages.

Unless you give it a chance, love will always be a theory unproven.

That’s off the top of my head. What do you think?

Will your book be self-published or traditional?

I’ll be submitting it to a publisher, I’m not quite sure which yet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Wow, umm ages. I’m a slow writer unfortunately. This novel started life as a short story which probably took about 3 weeks to write. Then I went back to it at some point in July, but I was interrupted by edits on two other stories for the better part of July/August, so I probably didn’t get back to it in earnest until September and I finished the first draft second week of November, during which time I added another 80K to the word count.

So back to the question, probably about 11 weeks in total.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

*frowns* Well, I try not to emulate anyone else’s work. This is a story I wanted to tell based on an initial seed of information and the characters sort of took it places I’d never intended when I got that first idea.
I certainly haven’t read anything and thought ‘I want to write a story like this.’.  I read things and tell myself ‘That was bloody amazing, I wish I could write like that.’ But that isn’t the same thing.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I had the idea and decided to try and write it as a short story with a view to submitting it for Dreamspinner’s Animal Magnetism anthology, with maybe a second short story to follow as a sequel. Even keeping it to the bare bones I couldn’t get it anywhere near the maximum word count.

I decided not to try to force the story into a format it didn’t want to live in. Instead, it became a novel, both stories flowing seamlessly together into 92K of lust, angst, pain, denial, love, dust, sun and elephant dung. Wow, there’s a lot going on when you put it like that.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It also features two male elephants with more than a healthy interest in each other and an intelligence quota that may appear high, but research proves is perfectly normal within the elephant community.

Sunday, 16 December 2012


I was gobsmacked to discover that Lesson Learned has been nominated for Best Debut Novel in the m/m romance Goodreads awards. One of many I know, but still, to even make this rather long shortlist is an achievement. That I had to read the list three times just to be certain I hadn't imagined it should convey my surprise at making the list, it certainly wasn't something I expected to happen.

If you haven't yet voted and you would like to (although not necessarily for me) the link to the nominations is here You don't have to be a member of the group or even of Goodreads to vote, nor do you need to vote in every category.

Also, Lashings of Sauce, the anthology which includes one of my short stories, has been nominated for Best anthology.

Oh, happy days.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Thursday, 6 December 2012

It's finally here

Lovers Entwined is out today and finally it's my chance to introduce you to Ewan and Trey.

Blush sensuality level: This is a sensual romance (may have explicit love scenes, but not erotic in frequency or type).

Ewan is one of Boston’s leading genealogy experts. When a would-be bridegroom comes looking for confirmation that there are no skeletons in his ancestral closet, Ewan considers turning the job down. Trey is a jerk of the highest order and yet Ewan experiences an infuriating attraction that’s easy to justify. Trey’s exactly his type—a carbon copy of the man Ewan’s been looking for his entire life.

Harder to explain is the sense of recognition that leaves Ewan speechless the moment Trey steps into his office. Or the stomach-churning sensation at the thought of casting the job aside.

Trey gets more appealing by the day, leaving Ewan struggling with forbidden desire for his client. Desire not helped by strange voyeuristic dreams that have started to haunt his sleep. Dreams that appear to be an echo of the past…

Line: Paranormal & Fantasy Romance
Series: None
Book Length: Plus Novel
Book Type: eBook
Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing
ISBN: 9781419941658
Buy links: Ellora's Cave

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Final Calls

Last chance to enter the Lovers Entwined giveaway over at Stumblingoverchaos

Lovers Entwined will be released tomorrow.

Also while I'm here, I'll be giving away one copy of When Love Flue In to a lucky winner picked from the comments on either of these post.

I'll keep the giveaway open until the 7th December, so if you want to try and win a copy head on over to either post and leave a message.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Good luck will rub off when I shake hands with you...

photo credit: janGlas via photopin cc
Hi, I’m Reagan and I’m a chimney sweep. That's not me in the picture by the way, my hair is darker, there's a chance my ears are bigger and I don't wear the traditional get-up to actually do my job. Especially not the hat, I hate the hat. No, on the job you're far more likely to find me in dirty jeans and a T-shirt.
Before you ask, nope, I’m not a cockney. I’m from the West Country, a small village in Somerset to be precise. Not that any of the London sweeps I’ve ever met speak like Dick Van Dyke. I can’t sing either, in case you’re wondering. As for nifty dance routines on the rooftops, well, I don’t think Health and Safety would be too impressed. Anyway the closest I get to dancing is flailing my limbs around on the dance floor at the clubs I go to…when I get the time. And I can slow dance with the best of them, but can’t we all? I mean, what’s difficult about leaning into the latest hot, hard body?
I say the latest because I can’t seem to keep a boyfriend longer than a month.
Don’t know why.
I know I’m not what you’d call traditionally handsome, but I’m not likely to scare small children or curdle milk. As for the rest of me, hell, sweep work is physically demanding—I never need to visit the gym—and my body reflects the effort that my job demands.
Maybe it’s the hassle of being self-employed; some guys don’t understand that when you work for yourself, occasionally you need to make sacrifices of your time. In the quiet summer months I can supplement my income by appearing at weddings. It’s a tradition that capitalises on the superstition that sweeps are good luck, dating back to a story that claimed George III’s life was saved by a chimney sweep. I said I can’t really dance but I can jump a broomstick. Of course, that means most of my summer work is weekends.
Then come September, my work starts in earnest and I’m busy, busy, busy. It’s rare that emergency calls need to be made, most people schedule their yearly cleans well in advance. But occasionally there are problems, flues catching on fire where people have skimped on the need to have their chimney swept. Sometimes people forget, or their circumstances change and they suddenly realise in a panic that it’s Christmas in two days’ time and the sweep has yet to make an appearance. I try to accommodate all my regular customers, but a callout on Christmas Eve, well, that’s never going to happen.
Unless… No… Who am I kidding? There’s one customer who I can’t deny. Not that it’s ever going to lead the places my fantasies would like it to go. Maybe that’s another reason why I can’t keep a boyfriend, my unquenchable desire for the unattainable.
Wow, that was some tangent. You don’t want to hear about my sex life, or should I say lack of it, and I certainly don’t want to talk about the blond Adonis who fills my dreams, and most of my waking—or is that wanking--fantasies.
Let’s get back on track, chimney sweeps… I could forgive you for thinking my story is a historical one. Sombre scenes of child labour and smoke-filled skies. Rotund capitalists eagerly exploiting small urchins, sending them up chimneys; quite regularly to their death.
No, this is the twenty-first century not Victorian England. Thankfully. My sexual proclivities, as I think I’ve possibly already implied, embrace all that is male. It’s a fact I’m not in the slightest bit ashamed about, but a situation that would have been unimaginable a hundred years ago.
Got distracted again. Where was I?
Once a profession in decline due to the 1956 Clean Air Act, nowadays chimney sweeps are making a resurgence. Physically fit men and women can once more be found in the hearths’ of many homes across the country, due to the credit crunch and rising energy prices. I specialise in open fires as opposed to wood burning stoves, although I do have the training tackle both. I just prefer to work on an open fireplace. Sometimes it can be a dangerous job, or so the Health and Safety Executive tells us. We may not be sending small children up to clear the blockage or dancing on loose slate tiles but the job can have its hazards.
I’ve been attacked by a trapped bird, just missed being brained by a falling brick, lost my heart to a man I can’t have, been stranded on a roof when my ladder fell and ruined more T-shirts than I care to mention.
Then there’s the problem with the soot, it’s carcinogenic. And that can mean long-term health problems if you’re not careful. I always wear a mask. No, that’s not actually true, there are five occasions I haven’t worn a mask, but what’s five chimneys out of hundreds. And technically it’s always been the same house, the same chimney, the same blond-haired picture of perfection watching me. My mum would kill me if she ever found out I was playing fast and loose with my health like that, especially since it’s just because I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of a man who always looks so amazing.
All in all, I love my job. I work for myself, travelling the county, always somewhere different. I’m rarely treated with indifference. My regular customers always seem pleased to see me, treating me like an old friend. At the weddings I appear at I’m treated with the reverence for the luck bearer I’m purported to be.
So what if it’s a dirty job, someone’s got to do it.
I can always shower.
When I get home.

Reagan appears in my new Christmas release When Love Flue In.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Just the facts, ma’am (aka, Sometimes Wikipedia does get it right)

R J Scott's Christmas Blog Hop

According to the font of all knowledge, Wikipedia…
The chimney uses the pressure difference caused by a hot column of gas to create a draught and draw air over the hot coals or wood enabling continued combustion. Chimneys may be straight or contain many changes of direction.
Strangely this is quite a fitting description for the relationship between the two main characters in my new Christmas short, When Love Flue In. It took a change of direction in Dominic’s life before he could acknowledge what he wanted. Needless to say years of lusting after a man he thought he had no right to, had taken its toll and with the change in his lifestyle, the feelings he had tried valiantly to keep under wraps finally bowed to the pressure. As ‘the oracle’ tells us, this can only lead to one thing…combustion.

copyright Lillian Francis

One of the working fireplaces in the kitchens at Hampton Court.

At this point I could insert a joke about how many sweeps it would take to fill that massive hole but I'll leave that to your own warped and twisted imaginations. Look at those scorch marks though. That fire must have been throwing out tremendous heat.

Hopefully, my story will provide you with even a fraction of that warmth.

I'll leave you to decide.

When Love Flue In is out today from Silver Publishing

Christmas, a time for friends, family and roaring fires. Unfortunately Dominic faces the festive season alone with a blocked chimney.
A soot-haired sweep, an exploding flue and an uncooked turkey. It’s an unholy trinity.
This year Christmas might be perfect.

It’s Dominic’s first Christmas since his divorce and though he’s spending it on his own he’s determined to have a traditional Christmas morning, including a roaring fire.

Which is why Reagan, a soot-haired chimney sweep, is head and shoulders up Dominic’s flue.

Unable to take his eyes off Reagan’s low slung jeans and enticing arse while he sets about the hearth with rods and brushes, Dominic knows five years is a long time to have an obsession with the man who sweeps his chimney every Christmas.

This year there’s nothing to stop Dominic from acting on his desires.

But Dominic will need to stop hiding who he really is before a special sweep can light a fire in his heart.