Friday, 27 June 2014


We've said it before, but we mean it - we'll never get tired of seeing reviews pop up unexpectedly for books which are a year or two old, because it means that a whole new set of readers have the chance to find a book which may have slipped out of the spotlight a bit. That wouldn't be a fair description of Julie Bozza's BUTTERFLY HUNTER, though - there always seems to be someone talking about it somewhere in the world!

This time, the review is by Breann at Boy Meets Boy Reviews:

I saw all the 4 and 5 star reviews. Sure, I knew that most of my friends loved it. But while I was reading I thought it was a nice enough story. But then, all of a sudden, my heart is breaking. And I realize that I have fallen head over heels for these characters and am smacked in the face with too much emotion.

We know just what you mean, Breann - it hit us that way, too, the first time we read it, and we're very glad the old magic's still working! Thank you very much for your kind comments.

Sunday, 15 June 2014


The reason it's taken a week for us to get round to talking about our experiences at UK Meet 2014 is, quite frankly, that it completely exhausted us! There were a lot of preparations to be made in advance, there was a lot of tidying-up to do afterwards, and the weekend itself involved rather more dashing-about and being intelligent than some of us had actually fully bargained for!

As veterans of various media cons in the dim-and-distant, we had a general idea what to expect - although this was considerably up-market from those, and the hotel staff in general seemed far more amenable than we were used to. (For example, we've been to cons where all the bedspreads were removed from the rooms - in winter - because they were considered too good for the Star Trek wierdies ... )  Plus the food was plentiful, excellent and served with a smile - all reflected in a delegate rate which in the old days would have paid for the entire weekend including transport and costumes. Not that we're complaining, you understand - merely remarking on how much times have changed!

Our table was set up in the main hall, very close to the front, and we were therefore in an ideal position to listen to whatever was going on. We won't attempt to summarise any of the discussions - other people have done this, better and more accurately than we could, but we will say that the level of debate was very impressive and all conducted efficiently and in an atmosphere of calm co-operation. The main focus of our day, however, was the group of pitch meetings we took in the early afternoon, settling ourselves in the deserted 'Palm Court Bar' for the purpose. It would be unfair to discuss the authors or their pitches in any detail, so we'll only say that we loved meeting every single one of them - four thoroughly charming people - and we're actively pursuing several of their book ideas for future publication - watch this space!

Saturday evening was the formal dinner with entertainment; a wonderful drag artiste by the name of Eddie (?) was followed by The Songbirds, an all-female choir, and afterwards some young men in bow-ties and aprons and very little else. The room was packed to the gunwhales, you couldn't have got another person in there, and it must be admitted that some of us found it all a little bit too loud - with the result that we were pretty well exhausted by the time our lift came to take us back to Megaheadquarters for the night. (Since the event was in our home city of Bristol, three of us had decided to save on the price of the hotel; Julie, however, forked out for a room - and a lovely one it was, too, far above the standard of those cheapo venues alluded to earlier!)

Sunday was another lovely day, bright and fresh, and we returned for a further series of fascinating discussions and some serious networking. The event dispersed in mid-afternoon and we withdrew to Megaheadquarters for what in military parlance would be a PXD - a post-exercise discussion; basically a chance to digest and begin to respond to everything we'd learned over the weekend. (Occasions when we're all together are few and far between, unfortunately, so we have to grab every opportunity we can get for a bit of forward planning!) We emerged well-pleased with the whole experience and fully determined to attend again next year, and we've already started working towards it. You see, you can't ever stand still in this business - you're always working towards the next objective, and the objective after that! But we had a lovely time, very productive, and would like to thank all the people who put so much hard work and inspiration into making sure the event ran entirely seamlessly. For those of us who are far more used to the chaotic catastrophes which characterised fan-run conventions in the past, this was a very clear and graphic demonstration of exactly how it should be done!

Oh, and here's the photographic evidence - pictures kindly supplied by Julie!


Here are Julie and Morgan 'personing' our sales table in the main hall; you can see we had a wonderful range of stock, and we sold quite a lot of it too!


And here are Chris, Julie, Morgan and Fiona all gussied-up for the formal dinner; there may or may not be a couple of glasses of champagne behind some of those smiles! (Come to think of it, that's another thing we didn't get at any of those old-style media cons!!!)



There is one question that I’ve been asked more often than any other in real life with regards to my writing, the question that every woman who openly writes gay fiction will eventually get asked: “Why do you write GAY fiction?”

(It’s funny how no one ever asks why I write books featuring rich characters, or poor characters, or military characters, or smart characters, or dumb characters. Heck, I once wrote a novel in which an acid-scarred former supermodel did battle against super-powered flying battle machines and no one blinked an eye. But once you bring GAY MEN into the mix, well, now you’ve got people wondering.)

I’m sure the answer to this question varies from author to author (though most of them, I suspect, will include the words “hot” and/or “sexy” at some point) and I have quite a few answers myself. What they all boil down to, though, is one thing: gender roles. Namely, my absolute and complete loathing of traditional gender roles.

I used to belong to a writers’ group. The first book I presented to them was a YA novel featuring a background heterosexual romance, but mostly focused on a couple of kickass female characters and a one major supporting male character. And the very first comment I received was: “your male character is too weak”. And when I asked what that meant, the explanation was that the problem lay in the fact that “male character was weaker than the female character”.

To that I say, “Fantastic! I did my job right, then.”

Unfortunately, that’s not what most mainstream publishers want. They want female characters who are strong but vulnerable and who secretly, deep down, really just need a man to lean on. And that dynamic interests me not at all.

This is why I love writing gay fiction. No one requires me to write a built-in, society-mandated power imbalance. If I want my guys to both kick ass, that’s great. If I want one to be big and burly and totally a bottom, that’s cool, too. If I want my female characters to universally and unequivocally kick ass, no one is going to complain.

(And, you know, I don’t have to even consider the question of kids and/or pregnancy. Bonus!)

In short, what I love about writing gay fiction is the complete freedom to write characters the way I want them to be, rather than the way society tells me they should be. For that, I’ll take a hundred iterations of THAT question.

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With Jane's permission, we'd like to point out that this blogpost by Sue Brown also deals with a similar topic - although Jane's blogpost was written a short time ago, it turns out to be remarkably timely! You can also click through from Sue's blog to another by Amy Lane on the same subject - all excellent food for thought.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

New reviews of THIS MEANS WAR

Just before all the madness started ahead of UK Meet - which we'll be telling you about when we've got our breath back properly! - we were notified of a couple of new reviews of Jane Elliot's recent title THIS MEANS WAR. Taking them in chronological order, the first appeared on Boys In Our Books on 2 February but unfortunately slipped through the net. Reviewer Ami wrote:

It was a nice read – I still enjoyed it, especially because Brian could surprise Jasper when it came to pranks. But was it a needed sequel? Not so much, unfortunately. And would I actually recommend it? Uhm, only if you are okay with slice-of-life and enjoyed the first book…

Clearly it didn't quite push all her buttons, which is a shame, but we appreciate her comments anyway!

More recently, Portia de Moncur at MM Good Book Reviews had this to say:

This story has a bit of everything, fun pranks, snarky jasper, a broken Brian a cute, funny cat, and mystery. The sex scenes while hot are very tastefully done and for the most part off page.

If you like, a fun, fast-paced story with romance and mystery, like pranks, broken men, ex-military men, smart men, good friends, adorable cats, and committed couples this is for you. I can’t wait for the next one.

Which only goes to prove that tastes differ, and it's quite impossible for everyone to like everything equally! Thank you, too, to Portia for her comments.

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On a slightly different topic, we don't think we've mentioned yet that two of Adam Fitzroy's books, STAGE WHISPERS and MAKE DO AND MEND, are now available in PoD editions and can be bought directly from CreateSpace or from your local Amazon Marketplace - see links on the appropriate pages of our website. We understand that Adam is also planning to offer some copies on eBay in due course.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

It's the first of June!

Just a reminder to readers that the two books we published on 1 May - Julie Bozza's popular A THREEFOLD CORD and Jay Lewis Taylor's highly-regarded debut title DANCE OF STONE - can now be bought from our distribution partners Smashwords and Amazon, and will shortly be available from AllRomance eBooks too. In addition, there's also a paperback version of A THREEFOLD CORD which is available to order from CreateSpace. You'll find buy links on the relevant pages of our website.

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While we're on the subject, it will probably come as no surprise to anyone to learn that our overall best-seller for the month of May was Julie Bozza's A THREEFOLD CORD!