Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Lovely review for Necessity's Door

I've had a smashing review for Necessity's Door from a Goodreads reader. I'm always delighted when a reader enjoys one of my books, and even more so when they write to say why. I do put a lot of care and love into my writing, and it's wonderful to find that someone has read my book, and got every bit as much out of it as I'd hoped when I was writing it. So, thank you Adara O'hare - you really made my day.

"An interesting short novella about an undercover officer posing as a rentboy. He gets caught between his job and his life when he meets a real john who's not part of his mission but he has to go with the guy to maintain his cover. And he likes it. A lot. And then he gets paid, and no one really knows about it, so even though he should declare it, he's got some financial difficulty riding him and that money could help, and no one will know, so what's the harm, and if the guy keeps coming back and no one knows, is it still maintaining his cover, or is it more...

The confusion of right and wrong, reality and fiction fuses into one big mess for Jake. It's a well-thought out dilemma, in my opinion, and the whole thought process felt very... human. Completely understandable where he's coming from, and why it would be so easy to just...

I LOVED the voice of this piece. I've read several stories which were written in British English, but the colloquialisms were almost non-existent. Not so here. The colloquialisms are what made this story for me, part of what made it so human--a more natural interaction.

If I had had a gripe, and I really don't, it would have been the ending, because I wanted more--I wanted to be a fly on the wall for the coming conversation--but I realized it really didn't make sense to go there with this story. It would have drug on to go there. So, after thinking about it, I have no gripes."

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Seeing the light

Thursday was a special day for us here in southern Cumbria as the Olympic Torch relay passed through the region. Not only that, but it arrived at Bowness-on-Windermere on a steamboat and we were able to grab a place by the pier to watch it.

The weather wasn't good. The previous day had been unbroken sunshine from start to finish, but by Thursday morning it was pouring. By late afternoon/early evening that had turned to dispiriting drizzle and the clouds were down on even the lowest fells, but in a strange way that added to the atmosphere. You don't come to the Lake District for good weather!

We turned up at Bowness 'promenade' (a strip of concrete by the side of the lake) at about 6.30 pm, fully expecting the torch to arrive within minutes. Only after we'd been waiting for twenty minutes or so did we think to check the official leaflet, to find we were a whole hour early. Still, that meant we found a spot right by the railings with an amazing view of the pier. Not bad considering the crowd was five or six deep by the time the real arrival time rolled around.

MS Tern is the oldest working launch on Windermere, dating back to 1898, and is a beautiful craft. For the relay she had an escort of two dragon boats, which had rowed either side of her all the way from Waterhead at Ambleside, five miles further up the lake, as well as a whole flotilla of yachts, canoes, launches and houseboats which had come along for the ride. Tern's bow, and the yacht masts, loomed wonderfully out of the mist as they got ever closer, and the flame of the torch could be seen shining like a beacon right at the front of the boat. It was all rather lovely, and surprisingly emotional - at least until somebody's children elbowed their way in front of me and blew vuvuzelas down my earhole. I guess there's more than one way to enjoy an event!

What seemed like half the north-west of England had turned up for the event and afterwards there was a massive concert culminating in a spectacular light, sound and firework display over the lake.

And if you want to read more about this stunning corner of the country, pop along to Carrying the Torch where Bruinfisher has posted about the Dumfries-to-Bowness leg of the torch relay with some fascinating snippets and stories.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Still in one piece

I ache from head to foot from bending, stretching, carting boxes and plant pots and the lighter bits of furniture, and scurrying up and down step-ladders, but the good news is that the first bit of the house move has gone successfully. Now I have two or three days to try to catch up on work, emails and sleep *grin*, before the real onslaught next week.

We're hoping to see the Olympic Torch relay tonight - the torch itself, the lighting of the huge cauldron in Bowness, and a spectacular 'pyrotechnics' and fireworks display once it starts to get dark. It sounds utterly amazing and would no doubt all look stunning on a dry day. At the moment, it's raining. But we can hope...

Monday, June 18, 2012

In the thick of it

The first load of furniture goes off to storage tomorrow, with the bulk following to the new place next week. As you can imagine we're working pretty much non-stop now, going through every last drawer, cupboard, nook, cranny, bookcase, wardrobe, and shed, packing what we can, labelling what we can, and generally trying to make life as easy as possible for both the removals men and us.

At some point my laptop will get packed, at which point I'll be without internet access for a day or two until we get to the other end and retrieve it, so if I suddenly vanish please bear with me.

And can anyone recommend a good horse liniment for aching muscles? I've moved more boxes, pictures, ornaments and suitcases in two days than I ever knew we possessed. Ooof.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I think I'm psychic!

How's this for timing? Only two weeks after the publication of Necessity's Door, British policing minister Nick Herbert has given undercover officers official permission to have sex with 'clients' if their cover or their safety depend on it.

You can see the details in this article from The Metro newspaper.

This is not giving officers blanket (sorry, pun not intended) approval to sleep with whoever they like. But in an awkward situation where refusing sex might give rise to suspicions, they can now act without fear of reprisal. Which does suggest, of course, that the practise was already going on, unofficially, and this has merely formalised it. Something that Jake, of course, knew all along. ;)

And no, before anyone asks, I did not pay Mr Herbert a penny to make this announcement so soon after my book was released!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How far do undercover cops go?

This is a question I had to ask myself whilst writing Necessity's Door, and it wasn't all that easy to come up with an answer. After all, ask any self-respecting police officer whether they would break the law if they went undercover, and the reply is likely to be a resounding 'no', not least because saying anything else might well cost them their job, or at the very least a stern talking-to by their inspector.

I've always had a sneaking suspicion that an officer who was undercover, who'd worked hard to infiltrate some criminal group or other, whose cover (or even life) might be at stake if they didn't pull their weight, might give a very different answer. Certainly Jake is sucked into his criminal lifestyle against his own better judgement. He knows that if he turned down every single punter who approached him, word would soon get round the other rentboys and their pimps, and he'd risk a good kicking, some very awkward questions, and the failure of the operation. Undercover officers and their teams can mitigate against this to an extent (in Jake's case, by setting his rates so high it would put off all but the most determined client), but there must be times when even that isn't enough. When an officer is forced to break the law, or suffer the consequences.

Even so, that little voice still piped up from time to time: was this really plausible? So I was delighted to find this article in today's news - an undercover officer accused of firebombing a London department store after he infiltrated the Animal Liberation Front. Presumably, he had no choice; presumably, if he'd stuck his hands behind his back when offered the matches, his new colleagues would have been so suspicious they'd never have trusted him with anything else again.

It's sad, of course, that a copper had to go to those lengths to bring the criminals concerned to justice. But it's proof that the life of an undercover officer is every bit as risky, dangerous, and morally ambiguous as I thought it might be - even if you'll never get the officers themselves to admit to it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Contest winners

Congratulations to Kassandra and Sarah, who won first and second prizes in my blog tour contest. Your books, plus some swag, are already winging their way through the postal system and should land with a thud on your doormats (or in your mail boxes) in the next few days.

And congratulations also to Helene, who won a print copy of my short story Any Means Necessary in the live British Belles chat last week. It's also on its way.

I hope all three enjoy your ill-gotten gains, um, I mean prizes. ;) And to everyone else, watch out for future contests. You never know how lucky you might be!

Monday, June 11, 2012

House move imminent

We're on the edges of our seats today, waiting for confirmation that we've exchanged contracts with our buyers in Birmingham. Once that happens, we're targeting a completion date (ie, actual move) of end of June, which is *gulp* less than three weeks away now.

The next couple of weeks are going to be hell, quite frankly, as we try to clear as much stuff out of the house as possible and transport it north, or to the nearest charity shop, or to the local tip. Stuff is being, er, stuffed into boxes, and promptly lost - I've already lost track of my business cards, which I quite thought I'd packed in one carton but must have left somewhere else. And all this is before we even let the removals men loose on the place to pack the bulky items and furniture.

I've been through more house moves than you've had hot dinners so I really ought to be used to it by now, but it never seems to get any easier. So if I disappear for periods over the next few weeks, please bear with me. I might be travelling with yet another car-load of stuff. I might have disappeared head-first into a box. Or I might have packed my computer and forgotten which box it's in. It's all good fun...

Friday, June 08, 2012

UK M/M Romance blog

Well, I said I'd be popping up from time to time and *boing*, here I am again. This is sooner than even I expected, but there's a brand new promotional blog just hit the internet, called UK M/M Romance (hence my blog post title), and it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.

The blog is designed to provide a showcase for British writers of gay male romance, as well as non-British writers who set their books and stories in the UK. It's still very new and at the moment authors are dropping in on a daily basis to introduce themselves and their work. My own first post is an extended biography together with some details of my books, their UK settings etc, but I hope to be back there on a regular basis sharing news, views and information about myself and my books and stories.

You can find UK M/M Romance right here - feel free to click over for a good browse. It's amazing how many British m/m authors there are!

Blog tour contest closed

Well, that was fun! But my blog tour is now officially over (although I'll probably still be popping up here and there from time to time) and that means that my giveaway contest is closed.

I'll be doing the prize draw later today and will contact the winners shortly afterwards, so if you took part, watch your inbox! I'll also announce the winners on here in the next day or two. So, good luck, and thanks very much for participating.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Necessity's Door blog tour - day eight

This is the last day of my journey around the blogosphere (stopping off at a couple of places some days has cut the tour from ten days to eight) and I'm going out with a bang, with two different guest posts to read.

First I'm back at Amara's Place with a piece about the settings in Necessity's Door. Did you know, for instance, that some of the places I mention in the book really exist, or used to? Pop along to Amara's to find out which ones, and where!

After that I'm off to Top 2 Bottom Reviews to answer lots of questions in a slightly racy author interview.

Don't forget, too, that this is your last chance to enter my contest, for the chance to win a couple of books from my back catalogue and some swag. The contest will be ending at midnight (US time) tonight so if you haven't already answered those three simple questions, get reading, get emailing - and good luck!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Necessity's Door blog post - day seven

There are two stop-offs for the price of one on my blog tour today.

First off it's a guest post on talented artist L.C. Chase's blog, where I discuss the process of designing a cover for Necessity's Door. L.C. designed the stunning cover art for the book (see left) and this is a chance to see how author and artist combine to make that magic happen.

And a little later today check out Tracy's Place for five fun things you might not have known about the British police force!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Necessity's Door blog tour - day six

Today I'm being interviewed by Amara Devonte of Amara's Place fame. So if you'd like to find out more about me, my writing, the inspiration for the book, future projects etc etc, then haul your ass over to Amara's Place and get reading! And don't forget that contest... I know, I know, how could you with me reminding you every other minute, but still, there are prizes.

I may also be turning up from time to time at Clare London's 'Short and Sweet' day on Beth Wylde's yahoo group today. You may remember I hosted my own day of fun (aka complete and utter madness) on Beth's group last Friday. Now it's Clare's turn and together with a number of other authors she'll be discussing the (sometimes neglected) art form of the gay short story. See you there!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Necessity's Door blog tour - day five

So how did the operation start for Jake and Mac? How did they get 'landed with this', as Jake so colourfully puts it in the very first sentence of the book?

If you want to find out, head over to All I Want and More to read the dramatic 'missing' first scene of the book and see for yourself.

As before, there's also the chance to win prizes in my contest giveaway - or should that be giveaway contest?

Friday, June 01, 2012

Necessity's Door blog tour - day four

This is the fourth day of the blog tour and today I'm at Book Wenches, talking about how and why I chose the title for the book. After all, it's not your everyday phrase, so where exactly did it come from? All will be revealed if you pop along to Book Wenches to read the post. And don't forget that contest/giveaway!

Live chat - British Belles - today!

As well as my blog tour, I'll also be involved in a live chat today (Friday 1st June) at Beth Wylde's yahoo group. Every June she throws open her group to glbt authors and I'm lucky enough to have bagged the very first day!

Here are some more details:

"Hello there from Fiona Glass, one sixth of the group calling ourselves the British Belles who will be chatting today, Friday 1st June, at Beth Wylde's yahoo group. (Don't ask who came up with the name - I'm keeping quiet to protect the guilty. LOL) Anyway, the rest of the group are fellow Brit m/m writers Sharon Maria Bidwell, Becky Black, Anne Brooke, Clare London and Jo Myles, and we'll be kick-starting the whole pride month on Beth's group on Friday 1st June. (And a very big thanks to Beth for organising this.)

Seeing as Britain is currently celebrating the Queen's Jubilee this very weekend, we thought we'd do our bit by throwing a virtual party. We'll be opening up the bubbly (or brewing a nice cup of tea if you prefer that sort of thing), celebrating all things British, telling you about ourselves and our work, and giving away a load of books.

If you want to find out about the Jubilee, the Olympics, the torch relay, us, our books, or anything else about Britain, feel free to join us here all day Friday and ask away. Just make sure you bring your own bottle, and don't leave the empties rolling round in Beth's group!

You'll need to register at Beth's group to join us but it's both easy and free - just pop along to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bethwylde/ and sign yourself up!"

The chat starts at 8.00 am EST, which I think translates as 1.00 pm Brtish time, and the six of us will be popping in and out in relays pretty much all day. I hope to see you there!