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I can’t even believe I typed that as a subject. Me. Baking.

I made my second loaf today – and other than I probably should have given it about another ten mins as it was a bit doughy and not crusty enough – it was fabulous.

However, I’m using Allison dried yeast and the recipe on the tin only allows for one kneading. I was always under the impression that you had to knead once, let prove, knead again (knocking back) then reshape and reprove THEN bake – but the recipe only says once and it seems to work fine.

What would be different if I did two kneadings? Is it because the yeast is dried that it only needs (L ol ) one kneading?

Happy Days

May. 25th, 2012 03:10 pm
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1. Happy Towel Day

2. Glorious Republic of Treacle Mine Road

3. Happy Wine Day!

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I was born in Essex. An Essex girl born and bred and no, despite the hugely hilarious (sarcasm) The Only Way Is Essex, Essex – not even Southend – is particularly like that.

That being said, there is something a little bit naff about Southend, it can’t help it, the rather over-rouged trollop that was cloned from the original and much embarrassed Westcliff-on-sea which sits beside Southend shoulder to shoulder like a maiden aunt in whalebone and lace. Southend is the good time girl who likes a drink and carnival rides and candy floss and seaside rock and a night out on the slot machines whereas Westcliff loves her anyway and holds her head when she vomits.

Despite having fled Essex a good few years ago now, and will – due to the rather inconvient placement of Southend (you’d only go there if you GOING there, it’s not somewhere you can pass through unless you were going to Shoeburyness and who would) I’ll probably never go back, I have fond memories, and none so fond as for Rossi’s ice-cream. ANYONE who’s lived in Southend, or has visited for more than a few minutes will know of Rossi’s, a family-run ice-cream business which started in 1932 and now is celebrating more than 80 years. Their ice-cream is absolutely gorgeous, and utterly unique (as far as I’ve found in my world-wide travels, anyway) and why they aren’t selling far and wide I don’t know but according to their website, they seem still to be entirely based in Essex, with a few stockist in Suffolk and Norfolk.

This I did not know, and to think I’ve spent ten years up here and could have bought Rossi’s all this  time annoys me. In particular their lemon ice which is the most thirst quenching and delicious lemon sorbet you will ever have tasted.

For all of my life, they had a kiosk in Southend High Street and I found out yesterday that that kiosk is no more and that upset me rather. It’s a huge icon of my life, gone – every Saturday, my mother and I – and then later as I got older, my friends and I would always make that the first—or last (and sometimes both!) stops on our shopping trips to the high street. I suppose I’m glad I found out that it had gone in case I was stung by a sentimental bug and drove the 100 miles down there only to find it out when I arrived.

What about you? Do you have one hugely abiding memory of a place you’ll never go to again?

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Where we have a good old moan about this week’s Game of Thrones.

spoilery moan )

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LiveJournal Tags: ,,

I have just finished watching the Scandinavian Crime Drama “The Bridge”

I wish I could write stuff like that, and that’s the truth. I don’t know what it is about English and American dramas – although English dramas do tend (as a generalisation) to be a little more gritty than American ones—but we certainly play it a lot safer than the Swedes and the Danes and such. We can relax a little over here, knowing that its very very unlikely that the writers are going to kill off a trainload of children, or worry that the main protagonist is going to make it, or that good will triumph in the end.

read more but there are many spoilers here, so beware )
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for you knowledgeable types.

The word i want to use as an advert tuberculous – doesn’t exist. So my character wants to say “those tuberculous poets should take a lesson from me” – so what word would he use?

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The Home Office’s Consultation on Equality in Marriage

I had no idea about this (thank you, Elin Gregory for pointing it out!) but the H.O. has an online consultation about equality in marriage.

Apparently the religious right are whipping up opposition to skew the numbers, so let’s skew them right back. Not that it would be skewing the numbers, simply adding our voice as to what is right and proper.

And today – on International Day Against Homophobia – is the perfect day to do it.

So, if you are British, or live here then please please fill in the online form, take a minute of your day and do something positive.

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In my case, I’m literally hopping against homophobia.  I want the word itself erased, wiped out, never to be used.

Here’s why.

Homophobia: Fear or hatred of homosexuals and homosexuality.

Interestingly the OED has this as the second definition of the term, the first definition is the fear of men, all men.

Let’s break that down still further shall we?

Homo (don’t forget it must be pronounced “homer” NOT HOMO (so you can’t go calling people homos, that’s incorrect, they are “homers.” Get it right, haters.)

Phobia:   A fear, horror, strong dislike, or aversion; esp. an extreme or irrational fear or dread aroused by a particular object or circumstance.

Most of the bigots who are homophobic, aren’t homophobic at all, so perhaps we can get rid of the word entirely. I’m all for that. Homosexuals (which encompasses every pocket of the QUILTBAG range I’m sure, because you can’t be a real homophobe if you accept Ladyboys but loathe the idea of lesbians.

Plus it’s not a phobia. It’s not an “irrational fear” – it might, in some cases, where people have been raped or beaten to death, be extreme, but that would have to include that people run screaming from them, stand on chairs, or need to get someone else to get them out of the bath.

It’s not irrational at all, except that if you are a normal human being it IS irrational even to consider anyone treating anyone any different based on any part of their personality. People are prejudiced against colour because that’s something that they can perceive. However if I tell people I’m bisexual (and am long term single) how can they treat me any differently just because of who I might (one day!) have in my bed. In my own house. In private. It might be irrational to you and me, but it’s not an irrational fear. You might be able to get away with that when you (like me) get completely freaked out over earwigs (love most other insects) but to say you are phobic about anyone under the QUILTBAG umbrella is just  an excuse. You aren’t phobic.

You are a hater.

So let’s call a spade a spade shall we? Let’s not pretty up a vile thing by cloaking it in pretty “oh, it’s an irrational fear, like flying, I can’t HELP how I feel” Greek terms. Let’s call them what they are. Haters. Haters of anyone who isn’t exactly like them.

The Hop Against Homophobia is an attempt by over 250 m/m authors, reviewers and publishers to stand together and create awareness of homophobia. Go check out the blogsite and find the other blogs by all these amazing authors.

I’m offering two of my books – either ebooks, or print, the winner's choice – from my back catalogue. One book each for two people. Simply comment to enter, even if it’s only hi, but PLEASE go and read some of the other blogs – and I’ll announce the winners on Monday.

Thanks for reading.

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I posted a question to epubagent earlier regarding a particular gay historical which we reviewed on Speak Its Name and was, at best, Braveheart Universe. The errors within it were legion, beginning with the dates that Hollywood had squished to make it more romantic and continuing with Hadrian’s Wall being in Yorkshire.

The question I asked was—did they think it was part of the agent’s job to check an author’s research, or should they just assume that the author knows what they are doing?  Should it be all the writer’s responsibility, or should it be everyone who represents it—the writer, the agent, the editor, the publisher? I didn’t mean to be confrontational, although I’m sure I sounded it—but it’s something that’s been on my mind for years. Should research be checked prior to an agent selling it, or a publisher sending it off for publication?

I know, from experience, that small publishers don’t have a “history boffin” and certainly there are few people around with a knowledge of all eras who could confidently edit anything from caveman to WW2, so who—if anyone is keeping an eye on their books to make sure they are accurate and aren’t causing people to giggle behind their hands?

I’ve been pretty lucky with my editors now I’m in a settled publishing circle. TJ Pennington is first class and won’t—if she can possibly help it—allow an anachronism past her. Lisa at Running Press (now, sadly moved on) was astounding and it seemed to me that she checked almost every word in Transgressions and gave me a huge list of words that I’d used that weren’t in use in the 17th century. Mark Probst – owner of Cheyenne, and Steve Berman owner of Lethe Books both are passionate about historical novels and want them to be the best product they can produce.

I understand this attitude. It’s not their work. They didn’t slave for weeks and months and years on it. (Although the editors work very hard indeed) but they represent the book, and the book represents them. I DON’T understand a massive concern like Ellora’s Cave—who must, heavens to Betsy, have dozens of editors working for them—who allow such incredible and unbelievable anachronisms to be published.

What do you think? Should it be between the writer and the editor alone—and then if that editor doesn’t know, or is too lazy to check the research, then it’s just too bad if the book goes to print with Regency women having ipods and scotsmen drinking lager in 1283. Or do you think that the book should be checked all the way along the assembly line?

I’ll be very interested if you can add your voice.

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Just sewing together the last scraps of “I Knew Him” (decided that big full-blown court case will just be boring, doesn’t further the plot and too much like hard word) and I came upon this exchange written a long time ago.

“I didn’t. You know I didn’t.”

“I do—but...”

“Don’t throw buts at me, Harry. Not now. But what?”

“Your father. We…But why can't I—"

"Because you must not, “


Now I’m sure that this had major significance when i wrote it, but I have no clue what it means. Idiot boys I’ve written. Idiots!


I get it now. Took me long enough.

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To stopping watching Game of Thrones. And that’s long long before we get to the excrescence that is the 5th book.

What is the POINT of all these changes?


Told you!

May. 11th, 2012 10:12 am
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A very interesting survey done by readers of historical fiction.

Full article HERE

What’s the purple? Teh Ghey? (joking…)(before you pedants all point it out!)

And thanks to Sal Davis, here’s an interesting article about Same Sex Marriage not being such a new idea. I have Professor Boswell’s book “Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe” and although it’s quite dry, it’s still an eye-opening read.

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Two weeks before Summer, it' was about time!

Yesterday, (as it has been for weeks now) it was FREEZING raining and dank and while I was in the garage I was thirsty and decided to get an icecream instead of a drink – got a calippo. I told the bloke in the garage “If I buy an icecream, I think Spring will come” and he laughed.

And today it was WARM!!!!!!!

I did that.

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I read an excellent post the other day by Alan Chin where he talks about how he creates his characters and how well he knows them. He knows everything from their political persuasion to what hand they use to do what and it was a wonderful insight into how writes work.

I feel such a fraud at times, when I see this level of craft that authors use. I think that I should be working like this. Alex Beecroft has blogged about how she plots every chapter, every scene onto cards and ends up with a whole novel worked out in advance, and then I look at my PC screen and… well, all I have is a WIP which grows—or not—like Topsy.

I did try the character fact-sheet route. After Standish I sat down and started to map out character fact sheets for the two Space Opera merchants that I was planning a series of short stories for, but I only got a few lines down on the first guy before I came to a grinding halt. I DIDN’T know about the character. I knew—roughly—what he looked like: a disarming grin, tousled hair, dark-brown eyes, but that was about it. I had no idea what he’d do in a pinch, because I hadn’t actually created that pinch in which he’d have to do anything. I didn’t know what he thought about puppies and rainbows or whether he got space-sick or whether he’d had sex with women, or anything at all.

I looked at the character sheet, and as so often happens, I felt inadequate. Like I was playing at this, and wasn’t prepared to put the work in. Then I wrote the story anyway and found out more than I ever would have done by giving the character his traits in advance.

You see, to me, writing (and reading) a novel is like making a friend (or getting to know a foe) in real life. When you first meet what MIGHT become your significant other, or your next bosom buddy or the bane of your life, you know little about them. You may have some third hand knowledge from another friend, perhaps they’ve arranged the meeting and you’ll know what they look like, or that he’s vegetarian, but until you’re out together on your own it’s all hearsay, and anyway, how he acts with other people isn’t going to be exactly how he’s going to act with you. Each time you meet you’ll get to know a little more and a little more—and you’ll never get to know the whole package, even if you kid yourself that you will.

So writing is like that for me. I don’t know that person as he hits the page. He might be running (and I don’t even know from what, or where to) – he might be sitting at a desk, he might be in the middle of an argument, he might be lying naked by a river. All I see is the image and as he continues to run, lies thinking in the grass, muses about his poverty, or stops his car at a hotel – until he starts to think and interact with his environment I know as little about him as the reader who is reading it faster than I can write it. Until I throw caltrops in his path I haven’t got a clue how he’ll cope—whether he’s brave or cowardly, whether he knows any kind of fighting, whether he’s corrupt  or has a good soul.

I know this probably sounds like madness to those organised and hard-working authors out there, but it’s unthinkable for me any other way. I’ve found that once I DO KNOW what’s going on with my plot I find it difficult to write, because as far as I’m concerned it’s already happened and I wish someone else would write it down. Same with characters – they’ve got to keep part of their mystery for me, all the way through, even to the end, or I just lose interest in them, which – *laughs * – probably explains many of my endings….

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I’m a bit – for a bit read “a lot” Sick of the changes that are being done to Game of Thrones

Spoilers below so don’t click if you don’t want to be spoiled.Read more... )

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Thanks to one of my flist talking about “Shattered Glass” by Danny Alexander Dani Alexander I went and bought a copy just to see what it was about and I’m finding myself quite hooked. As you know, I don’t read contemporaries as a rule, I’ve tried a few of them when I was doing reviews for various sites and I disliked most of what I read. Weepy cowboys and business-men vampires having sex and no plots, irritating sickly sweet children…

I only marked it at 3 out of 5, but that wasn’t a fault of the writing, which is as strong as anything I’ve read – there were things I didn’t like, but they were actually deliberate parts of the book. The protagonist I loathed, and I find it brave of Alexander to write one of the most annoying gits I’ve ever read and carry it off!

My review is here. I’d certainly read him again, but I do agree he needs a better editor.

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This is the worst of the four so far, some have only had a few lines missing but this is entirely unreadable! Grrr.


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Definition: (OED)

Suitable for the intended use; fully capable of performing the required task.

English Law decrees that any object sold must be “fit for purpose” e.g. being made and capable of doing what it was made for. Simple as that.

I would ASSUME, therefore, that the Kindle, being an “e-book reader” was designed, built and more importantly – INTENDED to be a device for reading e-books.

That is unless I’ve got my wires crossed.

Now, I have been known to be careless with technology, but as my Kindle was a gift, and an expensive gift from someone who knew I needed one, I have taken such—SUCH!!—care of each and every Kindle that I’ve received that this is the main reason I was incandescent with rage when I sat down in the park yesterday with my Kindle (in its sturdy carrying case) only to find—ONCE AGAIN—that the ink was scrambled all over the place, as if someone had taken a piece of sandpaper to it.

I believe that this is the fourth Kindle that’s gone wrong in less than a year.

That, Amazon, in case you were not getting the point, IS NOit:  T “Fit For Purpose”.

I do not read my Kindle in the bath.

I do not read my Kindle in the rain.

I do not read my Kindle down the beach (as advertised on your TV ads, I’d never DARE in case a drop of seawater got on it, or a grain of sand caused it to blow up.

It is in its leather carry case—which closes—at ALL times.

I read it:

In bed. At Dad’s sitting at a table (never during meals!). And that. Is. It.

Thank god that the generous person who bought me this useless lump of plastic, had the foresight to buy me a 3 year warranty because at least that gives me 3 years to save up for something that lasts my staring at it for more than two weeks.

What pisses me off most, I think, is that after being an ebook sceptic for ages and ages, I am now a confirmed e-book reader (although I will always buy good books in paper as keepers). And now, if I were to give up this hellish vicious circle of

1. receiving
2. charging
3. transferring my books onto new Kindle
4. Spending hours sorting them back into folders
5. reading
6. Having it break down
7. Contacting Amazon
8. Arranging Collection
9. Waiting in all day for the Collection.
10. Sending off
1. Receiving

I would be an outcast and relegated to some wasteland where people can’t read ebooks. and as many many gay historicals these days are ONLY ebooks, that’s going to affect my life adversely. Don’t go saying “oh you can read on your PC” because yes, I know and no, I don’t want to. It’s not at all fun or comfortable and if you try it lying down you are likely to break your nose when the laptop falls in your face.

I can’t recommend a Kindle. I really can’t. If anyone were to ask me I’d tell them to avoid like the plague and get something else. God knows what, I’m sure there must be something out there that doesn’t behave like a Regency heroine with the vapours just because you are looking at it. Here’s hoping.

And if it doesn’t work when I LOOK at it, Amazon. It’s not FIT FOR PURPOSE.

I suppose that their one month returns policy should have set some alarm bells ringing. Anyone remember the Ratner scandal? Prawn sandwich, anyone?

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Going to try and “blog” a bit more, instead of just using it as a journal of random thoughts. You’ll still get that stuff, but once a week at least I’m going to do a blog.

Today I’m going to continue with the much lapsed “a-z” and I think we are up to B.

Which shows you how well i did with it before.


These subjects are particularly “writer-worthy” or serious, hell, it’s me after all. But I hope it might pique your interest, give you a bunny or simply make you go, “gosh that’s interesting.”

B is for beer. Read more... )

A sad day

Apr. 26th, 2012 06:36 pm
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Just found out that Baritone Jeff died yesterday. It’s a really sad piece of news for me and I’ll miss him so very much. He was such a big soul—he had so many health problems and yet he generally kept his chin up and was encouraging to so many people, touched so many lives. Never missed a congratulations on one of my sales, or an encouraging word when I felt down, or sympathy when my day with Dad had got too much for me. Yes, he had bad days when he would snarl about his life, or his partner, but they were pretty rare and his love of great music, his lovely dogs, his fish, his canary and Charles, his partner of 17 years were all consuming. He even found time to help Mary from downstairs, even though he spent half his week in dialysis.

I’ll miss him so much. It’s strange how people you’ve never met – will probably never meet – can touch your life so completely – so much so that the sudden removal of their internet presence really really hurts, and I’ll never have another email from him, or another silly comment, or another post about the dogs, or his endless finds at the antiques shops around Wooster.

Heaven will have a new choir master this week, and I know there must be antique shops in heaven, because Jeff is there, pinching all the bargains.

Love you, Jeff.

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It's not "good advice that you just don't take."

it's not "a no smoking sign on your cigarette break"

it's days of pissing down with rain when there's a hosepipe ban!

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Well, ok, it was  "official" in 1822. Whilst doing some general research into the price of tea for a review, I came across this stellar pamphlet, which had me giggling nearly all the way through it. It's like the Daily Mail of the Regency.

Not only does tea kill pigs, but it's useless, has  no goodness in it and is to blame for effeminacy and drives people mad and onto the game.

I'm surprised it doesn't have a health warning.

Specially for pigs.

And on a promotional note – Joyfully Jay has reviewed A  Brush with Darkness and couldn't say enough nice things about it!

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Gaybie. None of my novels got through to the finals of The Gaybies, but Riding the Rails (Bold Strokes Books, edited by Jerry Wheeler) DID win one, (Best Erotic Fiction) and I have a short story in there – "The Blue Train" so hurrah!

Giveaway.  I am giving away a copy of "A Brush with Darkness" (or, if you already have that, please request something else) on Tristram LaRoche's website soplease pop over and comment, there's only a few entrants so far so you are in with a good chance.

Gibbous. I made that up. There is no gibbous

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I agree with the commenter. As someone who has pitched to Dorchester many many a time and failed, I’m rather glad I failed now.

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I can’t express how brilliantly observed this is. It’s a real shame that Lord Sugar doesn’t actually do it. Even the relationships and the squabbling in the Board Room is exactly like the real show.

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In complete contrast to my Titanic Yawn of the other day– may I enthuse about a couple of TV series that has entirely gripped me and let me say right now that I don’t actually watch many contemporary shows, let alone contemporary crime dramas because I can get depressed any time I like reading the newspaper. But two are standing out for me right now, and it’s a crying shame that one of them won’t be continuing.

Those Who Kill has been on ITV3 for the past six weeks and it is absolutely brilliant. Granted, with the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo book and films there’s been a bit of a Scandinavian love-fest over here, but TWK really deserves more attention and more praise.  I haven’t been able to take my eyes off it (mainly because the dialogue is subtitled and so I had to concentrate every moment so I didn’t miss anything) other than the few times I had to close my eyes in case it got as gory as I feared it would. Basically it’s the story of a serial murder unit in Copenhagen who takes on a consultant psychiatrist to do the profiling to join the maverick female feisty cop as her partner. It sounds like a cliched plot line, but for some reason it doesn’t seem to follow the same conventions as many others.

Aside from bloody marvellous scriptwork, incredibly interesting and you’ll-never-guess plotlines (each one is like a movie in itself and even though I sort of knew that the main characters weren’t going to get killed off they still managed to rack the tension up to the max.) There’s one where Tomas (the shrink) goes and puts himself into a criminal gang without telling the team, because he’s the only one that won’t get recognised and I was literally glued to the screen, expecting one thing or the other to happen but it didn’t – what happened was a whole lot of Other Stuff. There’s much of the same in the last episode. You really think you know what’s going on and BAM it hits you from left field like a hunting velociraptor and you never saw it coming. And the end of the series. Well, just WOW. And the very end of it, too. Can say no more because you need to watch it. Seriously. It’s TV like this that really inspires me. I want to write something so gripping, something so surprising. I probably never will, not in the genre I’m in, I suppose, but I’d like to anyway.

The other show that I’m loving is the second series of Scott and Bailey – kind of a British Cagney and Makepeace. Although really , really, not.Again, it’s beautifully scripted – there’s none of the stupid “let’s discuss this case walking along a road, or down the corridor” stuff that Law and Order (and so many other shows do, stupidly) people are stuck to their desks and their desks are a MESS. Relationships get in the way—it’s NOT all about their love lives, although that does take up a portion of the plotline—and both women (and their tough-as-arseholes woman boss who I adore) are damned good coppers.

Highly recommended, both of them. If you can find them online for non-uk viewers, then do try and do so.

Next: a rant about things that authors do that I really really wish they didn’t.

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I wish I knew more about the building blocks of writing and story-telling. I mean, I (seemingly) can tell a story that people want to read and to know what happens next, but when it comes to seeing what is wrong with other things that I know something is wrong about, I don’t have the technical know-how as to cut it open and point “ah – ha!” at the culprit. 

so when I was watching – against my better judgment, but I like to give new shows at least the benefit of the doubt – part two of Titanic last night, I knew that something was off, but heavens alone if I can pinpoint what it is.

But hell, you didn’t think that it was going to put me off trying did you? Any excuse for airy verbiage.

Read more... )

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I’m chatting over at Elin Gregory’s (newly published author of gay historical “Alike as Two Bees”) blog about writing and who I’d Cliff, Snog, Marry out of all my characters!

Do pop over and join in the chat!

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I was very happy to see Mere Mortals reviewed for the second time by a different reviewer--and showcased on Lambda Literary’s “Book Lovers” column this week. It helped to salve a little of the disappointment of neither Mere Mortals nor Junction X getting shortlisted for the awards. I know I put on a brave face but I do hope, same as everyone else! :D

What I found interesting though, was the reviewer’s opinion of Philip Smallwood, and the difference in the light of the early part of the novel and the dark of the latter half. He says the reader is “blindsided” when Philip’s plans are uncovered.

(spoilers ahead) That was a very deliberate act—I wrote from the point of view of the most naive and ingenuous of the three young men. If I’d written it from Myles’s point of view, he would have sussed Philip out long before, and as for Jude—well Jude was embroiled early on, even though neither of the other two knew it. Crispin was the only viewpoint that would have worked; he had to have that optimistic and kind outlook, neither of which the other had.

I also found it interesting that the reviewer wanted more of a cathartic ending for Philip than what he had had, perhaps meaning that he could have done some good deed or something before dying—I’m hugely flattered that Philip resonated with the reviewer that well, and the kind things that he said about him—but, well, I tried to make it as realistic as I could—under the circumstances. A noble death of any kind would have been wrong – and as the reviewer says: “What he plans is too despicable for our pity”—I could do that for one of the other characters, but never for Philip.

In other news, I am suffering from what is possibly the mildest chest infection I’ve ever had. (So far at least!) usually I get a chest infection after a heavy cold but this time the cough came in all on its own. But it’s only really a problem when I change from the vertical to the horizontal so am very pleased it’s not turning me into Foul Ol’ Ron for a change!

Perhaps the nice weather has helped too! Although with rivers drying up and fish in trouble I hope we get the weather we deserve this time of year pretty soon.

And of course, with a petrol tankers strike on the horizon, the news services have started panic buying simply by saying “do not panic buy.” sigh. I hope I can get some tomorrow—the local garages’ supplies are sporadic at the best of times and if there’s none to be had, I could be stuck in the middle of nowhere.

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from “I Knew Him”

He turned the radiance of that brilliant smile around to Stevie. "Stevie, do you want to come?"

"Oh, God no," she said. "Don't get me involved in your excursions."

"Oh Stevie," Margaret said. "You really should. You don't get out half enough. And someone needs to keep them in check or the next thing we'll hear of them is being thrown into some Italian jail or worse."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh, all right. But only if I'm promised dinner at The Metropole. And I don't have to go and look at any horses, or stamp sods back in place."

“Divots,” I said with mock sternness. “The word is divots.”

“I know what the word is,” she said with a saccharine smile. Claude looked thunderous, but the exchange seemed to have passed Margaret by entirely.

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Lifted from Alex Beecroft


1. Go to page 77 (or 7th) of your current ms
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other authors. (I am not doing this – anyone who wants to do it can. Those who don’t want to don’t have to.)

I Knew Him (just for clarification, this isn’t an encounter between the couple with a relationship)

"You go to a local school?"

"I did. I came down last week. And no, I'm not going to Oxford, since you ask."

"I don't recall asking." The man was impossible, I rarely feel like taking a man by the shoulders and shaking him, (in anger at least!) but two minutes in Lawrence's company had that effect on me. Heaven knows I'd had years of putting up with unreasonableness, but Lawrence took not only the biscuit, but the barrel and all the cheese. "Sit down, at least," I said. "You are blocking my sun."

He hesitated, looked over towards the house, shuffled once or twice, which made me tempted to tell him not to bother. When he spoke, he still had an edge of defensiveness in his tone, but it was slightly metered, as if he'd finally realised how much of an arse he was being. "Not that I couldn't. I matriculated pretty damn well, and Margaret said she'd pay the fees if I didn't get a scholarship."

"But you decided against it."

For a moment the sulky look dropped away from his face and I wallowed in his beauty. His long face, the sweeping dark of his hair, this was not the face of a clerk or a draper. He pulled disconsolately at a patch of grass, uprooting it with a tearing sound. "Yes, well. It's not just the fees is it?"

"No. Look, I understand. I've seen scholarship men coming in—and I can tell you you've probably made the right decision."

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Inspired by a conversation with Charlie Cochrane, I had a filk-rant about the “JOYS” of Getting Older.

We thought we'd die by 40

Fleecy trousers, stretch waist, comfort slippers, denture paste, fleecy lined wellingtons, gum boots too.
Pill popper pill dispenser, Kirstie Allsop, Phil Spencer, thermal lined long johns, portable loo,
Fold away walking sticks, bra extender, thermal knicks, hy-giene care cream, simplified phones
Put on socks without bending, old age offers never ending, bath knight, ear wax, funeral homes

We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die by 40, should’ve been more sporty
We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die by 40, should’ve been more sporty

Ezi-boys, massage toys, copper bracelets, haemorrhoids, Circulation boos-ter, where’s my specs?
Hair nets, fruit nets, more fleece in our boots yet, policemen looking underage, blue pill sex
Boobs sag, urine bag, single slipper, dry shag, Eric Knowles, lawn balls, bath chair, chin hair
Sanatagen and Windeze, pass me the Slanket please, Stannah stairs, shower chairs, do we think they really care?

We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die at 40, we should’ve been more sporty
We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die at 40, we should’ve been more sporty

Fiona Bruce, Dan Snow, Antiques Roadshow,  Bargain Hunt, take a punt, your Spode is just Wade
Titchmarsh, Stephen Fry, Countdown’s got a new guy, bridge club, sitting tub, free hearing aid,
Everybody stay warm, ice storm, claim form, fleecy scarves, fleecy gloves, non-slip bath mats
Have you had a mishap, Tena lady, cloth cap, Barbara Windsor Bingo, knit yourself a bobble hat!

We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die at 40, we should’ve been more sporty
We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die at 40, we should’ve been more sporty

Daytime TV, Ben Fogle, need a wee, walking trolley, swivel seat, magnifying glass
Barbara Cartland, Dan Brown, have I mentioned Countdown? Hip Hop, Rap Crap, Clarkson’s just an arse,
Co-op funerals, Meals on Wheels, corns on heels, Vorderman, parker pen simply to apply
Turn your music down please, support stockings, dodgy knees, when did I, start to die, think I want another try!

We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die at 40, we should’ve been more sporty
We didn’t think we’d get old, we thought we’d die at 40, we should’ve been more sporty

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1.  Finally worked out how to set up a spam/delete filter on my email so I don’t get bothered by a particular stalker any more. much relieved. I know that the delete button is there, but I’d rather just not see the name in my inbox.

2.  Petrol gone up again in my day off – now £1.40 per litre for unleaded and £1.48 for diesel.

Americans: if you dare comment about petrol, let me translate that for you.

TEN DOLLARS A GALLON. i spend more than half of my Carer’s allowance simply on petrol. I think I should inquire as to whether I can claim for that, although I think I’ll know the answer. I don’t know how they expect anyone to live on £20 a week.

And, with the budget, it’s going up again in the Summer. Hurrah!  Something to look forward to, eh?

3. Still a clean sweep of m/ms on the Carina Press best seller’s list – and finally! I make a late showing!

1. Moving in Rhythm
by Dev Bentham

2. Brook Street: Thief
by Ava March

3. First Time, Forever

4. A Brush with Darkness
by Erastes

5. Bitter Harvest
by Kim Knox

But m/ms aren’t commercial. No no no .

4. “Smash” “Homeland” and “Fringe” continue to rock my little world, in case you wondered.

5. Am playing “Fallout 3” which kind Teddypig treated me to. It’s another one of those “You do know you are never going to scratch the surface of this game, don’t you?” games (see Oblivion, Skyrim et al) but I’m enjoying it so far, even if it’s all a bit too dark at times.Am picking up random rubbish (and I do mean rubbish – such as ruined books and bits of scrap metal) in the hope that they will come in useful at some point.

6. Congratulations to the Lambda short listers (no, not me, sob) particularly the small smattering of historicals which are showing. Notably, The Affair of the Porcelain Dog by Jess faraday and The German by Lee Thomas, which were two of the best reads for me last year, so they truly deserve to be on the list.

OK. Off to write a blog post, even though I' have no idea what to write.

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How the hell that GLBT got lumped in with “Het Erotica” in The Romance Room Awards? This really really pushes at my Grrrrrrrrr button. And yes I have one.

I used to see this a lot, that gay romance was considered to be TOO SAUCY to be considered on its own merits and it often got shoved into the Erotica category, but this is… appalling! I thought we had come past this particular obstacle. Obviously not.

The only thing I can think of is that they reviewed so few GLBT books that they didn’t know what else to do with them, but – er… at the risk of sounding the Bleeding Obvious perhaps just putting them in the normal categories would have been better? I’m sure Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon would much prefer to compete against other historicals rather than erotica. And for Gawd’s sake, House of Mirrors ISN’T erotica. Not at all.

It infuriates me in this day and age that gay romance/sex is automatically considered erotica (and many book shops are guilty of this still, we can’t have our books in the Romance section, despite many many of the het books already there are more explicit and with far more explicit covers. We are therefore lumped into Erotica OR “Gay studies”!!!). I mean – WHY? If Charlie Cochrane had been nominated in these awards, her very sweet and inexplicit sex scenes where innuendo leads more to the fore than graphic description—would be labelled erotica.

one step forward two steps back.

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March 19 will be the start of M/M Week at Carina Press, when Carina will release six m/m romances by Me, Kim Knox, Ava March, KC Burn, Dev Bentham, and Larry Benjamin. Many thanks to Carina Press for offering one lucky commenter the chance to win all six books! :)

Carina Press M/M Week Blog Tour

Starting March 19th, Carina Press will have an entire week of releases from some of today’s hottest authors in m/m romance, as well as some newcomers to the genre. In celebration of the first ever Carina Press M/M week, the authors are going on a blog tour. At each stop along the tour, you can enter to win an ebook bundle of all 6 book releases! Yes, that means six chances to win!

Blog Tour Schedule:
19th March - Dev Bentham at Fiction Vixen
19th March  - Ava March at The Macaronis
20th March - Larry Benjamin at Joyfully Jay
21st March - Kim Knox at Rarely Dusty Books
22 March- Erastes at The Macaronis
23 March- KC Burn at Babbling About Books, and More

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I don’t remember Dark Shadows as a child—did it show here? But this looks absolutely brilliant.

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Which comes out on the 19th but is available for pre-order now:

Five out of Five Stars over at Jessewave’s reviews, reviewed by Jenre (I went all shy when I met her at the GLBT Meetup last year because it was like meeting a rock star)


“Overall, this is another fascinating and complex story from Erastes. The fact that all this detail and story is fitted into less than 20,000 words shows that she’s a master of both short and longer fiction. If you like historicals and are looking for something authentic with a paranormal feel, then I highly recommend this book”

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“Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller. I’m wishing her luck but can’t help but be cynical that people will be thinking “oo how original” when it’s been done so many times already.

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Because when driving to dad’s day before yesterday, I saw about eight red deer in a field off the road, just standing in the rain. Amazing sight. All the traffic slowed down to boggle but there was no laybys (probably just as well or they would have run off) but I had to double take – I’d never seen anything like that outside the TV. About half of them had gorgeous antlers too.

I had no idea we had red deer in norfolk! Who needs Barra?

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I may as well post this here, because despite the fact that I really like this exchange, and actually have no remembrance of writing it, so it must have been ages ago, I can’t use it now I’ve actually got to that point in the novel. I have a habit of writing scenes or fragments of scenes that flash into my mind, even if they are a long way ahead and this was one of them, but when I actually got to the time when this happened, the way this morning started wouldn’t work and much of what they say here has already been said, or it’s not what they would say to each other, or the way they would say it. So… enjoy!  It won’t make much sense, but enjoy anyway.


I opened my eyes and struggled to a sitting position, expecting a maid to be pulling back the curtains as normal, for that's what usually woke me--unless it was other things, not enjoyed since--well, it seemed like months, but was in reality much less. Instead, the curtains were drawn shut, and a light burned at my desk. He was sitRead more... )


Mar. 6th, 2012 03:51 pm
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1. Game of Thrones Simpsons parody. Genius

2. Oh! The dilemma! The new Assassin’s Creed game is going to be set in 1777 in America. Yes. Rebel Scum time! Trouble is I’m going to be playing as Rebel Scum with a hero called – don’t you just love names like this: Ratohnhaké:ton (although they call him Connor, d’oh) and presumably I’m going to have to KEEL the redcoats. Now I had no problem stabbing Templars and the like in previous games so i’m just going to have to toughen up.

And it’s being released on my birthday, How nice of them!  I know what I’m getting myself!

3. They’ve cancelled Terra Nova. Boo.

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“we can’t have the idea that we have a house full of dopers going around the neighbourhood”

I was going to insert a picture here of a giant godzilla house tromping through the neighbourhood with dope heads hanging out of the windows but I couldn’t draw it.

But just shows what idiocy I’m capable of writing, when I’m not paying attention

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I hope you like it – be warned, this is a rewrite of “Chiaroscuro”, but it has been rewritten a good deal.

Pre-order here

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Once more I’m left going “bwuh??” at a book that has been so hyped – and, I learn this morning, will be made into a film next year. I think I must be out of synch with the world in general. Heh, that’s actually not any kind of revelation.

Read more... )
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Full details here – so hurry over and get the early sign up discount.

Sadly I won’t be able to attend this year and that depresses me more than I can say.. I’d so love to go, but with kennel fees, petrol/rail fare, conference fee and 2 nights accommodation, I’m looking at £300+ and I simply don’t have £300 to my name.

Josh Lanyon called this genre “lucrative” the other day, and all I could think was “it is?” I’m certainly not earning enough to live on—and definitely not enough to keep me in proper priced conferences. Perhaps I should get out of historical and try contemporaries. Perhaps that’s where the lucrative comes in?  To you authors who attend even one—let alone those of your who attend several a year – I don’t know how you do it

Anyway!  Do attend if you can, I’m sure it will be a fabulous day, and the line-up will be impressive. We’ve gone from 12 of us in a library in 2010, to 40 of us last year to this year which will probably be in 3 figures. Who knows how big it will be next year?

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Junction X is number six on the TLA erotica list. It’s not exactly representative of the genre…and I feel a bit embarrassed feeling that people might buy it thinking it’s of the same level of sexuality as the others. But, still – a placing on the list is a placing.

And also I have a short story in Riding the Rails at number 7!

Just realised that both books are train related.

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The Hat cannot lie

Congratulations, Blaine! Let me know what book you would like, and email me your snail mail address.

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I got an email yesterday which said this:

Congratulations Erastes, your book, Muffled Drum, has won the coveted CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award for 2011.  CataNetwork reviewers consider your book one of the best that they have read and reviewed this year.

I think that the nicest awards are ones that 1. you didn’t enter yourself, 2. you don’t have to promote and 3. you didn’t even know existed!

What is great about these awards is that they are completely inclusive so the glbt titles simply competed with the het ones. And you know what? They did pretty well. BOTH of the historical winners were gay historicals. I suppose that they weren’t UNCOMFORTABLE with the gay loving.

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Adopt one today! - Adopt one today! - Adopt one today! - Adopt one today! - Adopt one today! - Adopt one today! 

I got a nice haul of Valentine’s eggs as you can see. The only ones I’m missing are the speckly ones like pyjamas – they came out in 2009. So if you’ve got a spare one of those you’d like to swap for any of these, let me know!

You’ve still got time to enter my Valentine competition as the entry has been very disappointing – only a tiny handful of entries, so check out my last entry and… well, enter! Give me the real names of “Valentine” and “Cupid” and you can choose any of my back catalogue, which I’ll sign.


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