A new Cambridge Fellows story!

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:42 pm
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I'm delighted to announce that Jonty and Orlando have started to talk to their official biographer (me) once more, having been annoyingly silent these past couple of years. And, in their loquacious manner, they've told me one entirely new story and are bending my ear with another. These will, I hope, be the start of a series of novella length mysteries.

The first Cambridge Fellows Mystery short is 'Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour' and it's available for pre-order now with an August 14th release date. I'll be blethering on about it between now and then but for the moment here's the blurb:

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?


Rainbow snippet - Awfully Glad

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:50 pm
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Here's a snippet from Awfully Glad, which concerns what happens to a certain WWI concert party performer when he hangs up his girdle.

“Mr. Hines, isn’t it?”
“Sorry, I was miles away.” Sam came up from daydreams of men he’d known in khaki—and fancied seeing out of it—to find his new client, Browne, hovering.
“I hope you don’t do that when you’re tending my little flock of investments.” Browne smiled, dark eyes flashing.
“I promise I always have my mind entirely on the job when it’s supposed to be.” Sam indicated the empty chair at his table, manners taking precedence over the small voice in his head with its question about what Browne was doing here. “Will you join me?”
“Why not?” Browne parked himself, then beckoned a waiter over. “What are you having?”
“Another glass of claret, I think.” Food and the club would have to wait. “I’ve not seen you here before,” Sam added, once the order was in.
“No, not my usual stamping ground. My father used to come here a lot, which is why I avoided the place. No,” Browne added, rather hastily, “it wasn’t like that. We got on very well. Just both had our own lives to lead outside of home.”
“Quite. Very sensible.” Sam wondered what stories lay behind that arrangement.

Plenty more excerpts at the Rainbow Snippets group.

Awfully Glad final cover small
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The answer to that and other questions is over at my Elm Books interview. Better still, Undeath and the Detective (including my short story, Secrets) is among the books on offer this month at Smashwords.


Guest author George Loveland

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:24 pm
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So delighted to have George here today on the eve's eve of his release day for Up in the Air.

When you were last at my blog we chatted about watching your first story fledge. What does it feel like this time round?

Scarier! I was published in Anthologies before, so I didn't feel the pressure because there were other stories around mine. This time it's just me, so I am excited but scared to see what people will think. This story is also the first in a series, as I knew I wanted to write more about the guys. So I have a whole series planned which features the two main characters in this novella, James and Darren, and then the next story out will be James' best friend, Max and his adventures.

What do you think you've learned since you were first published?

I've learnt to stand up for my characters and story, but also listen to the feedback I receive. I've been very lucky to work with great editors and beta readers who've helped me strengthen my writing. Each time I get edits and comments back I read through them, let them settle then go back to read them again. I'll admit to scoffing at some things, but then appreciating the changes suggested. I've also been adamant at keeping things that feel right to me, not just because I want them there, but because it will be more relevant to the story later on.


What inspired the latest book?

This story came from an exercise in a NaNoWriMo book called 'Ready, Set, Novel'. I had to write a list of 20 items that I loved, then pick three out of a hat. I picked flying, kissing and mountains. I've flown a lot for my job to Johannesburg, and the idea of a passenger nearly missing a flight and then falling for an air steward came to me.

Did you know where 'Up in the Air' was going from the start or did it take an unexpected turn?

This story, and the subsequent stories in the series, have been in my mind for years. So the general plot has been there and I knew what was going to happen. However the journey the characters take has often led me to wonder who the writer is. They go their own way sometimes and I love how things evolve. Sometimes they do things I don't want them to, but I usually let it flow and see what happens. What I've discovered is that when something doesn't work in one place, it will usually work in another area of the story, so the characters usually get their own way.

Have you ever been writing and discovered something totally unexpected about one of your characters?

In this story, there's a scene in the hotel restaurant at breakfast, where at the end Darren said something which had me chuckling. It also showed another side of him which I hadn't expected to see. It was sweet and made me love him even more.

Which book do you wish you'd written and why?

Oh my gosh - I don't know if I could. I love to read and one of the things writing has taught me, is to appreciate how much goes into writing a book and the author's themselves. That said, The Signs of the Zodiac series by Vicki Petterson would be one! She is an amazing writer and the world she created is so rich, I'd love to have her talent and written those stories. Also, Sean Kennedy and his Tigers and Devils series, I've read them countless times and love the characters and world he has built too.

Have you got a secret you'd be willing to share?

I think I am quite open, and I probably post more on Facebook than I should! How about I was the boys dancing champion back in the day ... I think I was seven or eight. I remember looking around my competition and watching them copying me, which didn't make sense. However, I won and I still have the photo - somewhere! I wore this red trouser and white shirt combo my mum made me! I looked fab!

Thanks for dropping by, toots, and good luck with the book!


Selsey Meet the Authors

Jul. 14th, 2017 07:41 pm
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Looking forward to the afternoon of Wednesday 9th August - Meet the Authors at Selsey Centre. If you're nearby, do come and say hello.
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this recent one for Awfully Glad made me very happy:

The amount of information and the depth of plot in this short story is remarkable--a Charlie Cochrane specialty that draws you in an doesn't let you go.

Awfully Glad final cover small


Want to win a copy of Tumble Turn?

Jul. 12th, 2017 02:12 pm
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Then nip over to RJs release event where she's got a load of guests bearing gifts. Comment here with the name of your fave sportsman for a chance of winning a copy of my Olympic swimming romance Tumble Turn.


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At Twickenham, there's a painting based on a photo of the England rugby team just pre-war. The red roses of those who died have been greyed. One of these chaps (scrum cap in the back row, I think) is Arthur Harrison, or - to give his rank - Lieutenant Commander Arthur Leyland Harrison VC.


That VC was posthumous, gained in the raid on Zeebrugge, which he'd volunteered for. A notice pinned at Scapa Flow had asked for single, athletic men to put their names down for 'a show' and Harrison had taken up the challenge. He was killed leading his men along a parapet under machine gun fire; that wonderful lantern jaw had already been smashed by a shell.

Rainbow snippet - Broke Deep

Jul. 9th, 2017 07:57 pm
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Been a while since I posted done of these; must get back into better habits. Here's a bit of flirting from Broke Deep.

“Come in, you bloody idiot.”
“Do I still deserve a cup of tea? I’m parched.” Dominic dumped his bags in the hallway.
“I’m not sure you do, after that remark about how I look. I’ve been working hard to make myself presentable.” That was a lie, a flirtatious lie; Morgan felt strangely elated.
“You don’t need to work at that. You’d be presentable at three o’clock in the morning, stumbling out of a club and into the gutter.”
“I’m not sure that’s a compliment, either.” Morgan rolled his eyes. “But I’ll take it.”
“I seem to be talking myself out of that cup of tea.” Dominic hung his head in mock shame.
“You are such a plonker.” Morgan ushered them into the kitchen, before busying himself with kettle and pot and all the paraphernalia. “Did you get anything to eat last night?”

Read more excerpts at the Rainbow Snippet group.

Newsletter 178

Jul. 7th, 2017 07:52 pm
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Many apologies for the radio silence. We spent three weeks on Jersey which, as usual, exceeded all superlatives. Now the nose is back to the grindstone and I’m madly playing catch-up all round.


Have had some lovely feedback from readers about Broke Deep, including someone who thanked me for all the new British slang words she’d learned. Writing can be so educational...

I often get asked when there’ll be a new Jonty and Orlando story so I’m delighted to announce that there’ll be a new Cambridge Fellows short, “Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour” coming later this summer. It’s just at the final edit and cover art stage.

Cambridge 1922

“Owens? Owens?” Orlando Coppersmith’s voice sounded louder and clearer from his chair in the Senior Common Room at St Bride’s than it had ever sounded before, and with good cause.

“Steady on, old man. We’re in enough of a state of shock without you making sufficient noise to wake the dead.” Jonty Stewart smiled at his friend’s uncharacteristic outburst, although friendship would hardly be the most accurate way to describe their relationship. Even the description “lovers, companions, colleagues and partners in solving crime” didn’t quite cover the depth of the bond they’d build up in nigh on twenty years.

“Or wake some of the dons,” Dr. Panesar agreed, mischievously.

“Good point, Dr. P.” Jonty sniggered. “Some of them look like they’ve been asleep since 1913.”

St. Bride’s may have been one of the most forward looking of the Cambridge colleges, embracing the fact the year was 1922 rather than pretending it was still 1622, but some aspects of the university, including crusty old dons, seemed to be an immutable fixture.

“In which case,” Orlando pointed out, “we’d have ten years of history to explain to them, much of it unpleasant, let alone this latest scandal. Being asked to defend Owens. What is the world coming to?”

“Technically, we’re not being asked to defend him, simply establish the truth of what went on. Can you not square that with your conscience?” Jonty tried his most winning smile, but to little avail.

Perhaps Orlando had a point. Every decent St. Bride’s man loathed Owens, the master of the infamous “college next door”; a college so despised that it didn’t merit a proper soubriquet among its neighbour’s environs. He’d caused trouble aplenty over the years, perhaps his worst offence attempting to molest the wife of the present college master, in the Fellows’ Garden, when she’d been younger and fancy free. She’d landed him a swift kick right between the two small forsythias, which was no more than the man deserved.

And now that he’d been accused of murder most foul, any decent St. Bride’s man might have been glorying in the prospect of the nuisance being removed.

Except that Owens swore he was innocent and Ariadne Sheridan—she of the forsythia incident, of all people—believed him. That had been enough for Jonty to promise to take a serious look at the matter, although he’d promised nothing in the way of success. The police believed Owens guilty, the road to trial and conviction looked a pretty straightforward one, and the close contacts the fellows of St. Bride’s had once possessed in the local force, who might have brought influence to bear, had long retired.

“We would all do anything to serve Mrs. Sheridan,” Dr. Panesar said, with a twinkling eye, “or any of the ladies who grace our college.” He’d long held a passion for the long widowed college nurse, a fact which was now a matter of St. Bride’s folklore, although whether her amply bosomed frame graced his bed—as many averred, but without proof—was a matter of debate. Jonty had long believed the pair were secretly married, having to keep it quiet not because it breached college etiquette, but owing to the potential scandal surrounding a union between Sikh and Christian. “The days of chivalry are not dead.”

And finally, here’s one of the things I love best about Jersey. Lizards!


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