Category Archives: ebooks

Cats, cars and creativity

Book News:

During the week, The Delaneys and Me fluttered up and down the Amazon Gay Fiction charts, managing as high as No 20 at one point, though it’s not there now. It also gained a 4-star review at the I Love Books blog – many thanks, Lily.

Creative Accountancy for Beginners also briefly reached the dizzy heights of No 5 in the Omnlit Bestsellers chart but, again, it’s not there now. Ah, these swift moments of writing glory make up for the dull trudging and very rain-filled days, you know … Would that there were more of them (the moments, not the rain!) … You can also find all my available ebooks half-price at the WH Smith’s sale – you’ll need to type in my name in the search field for real shopping enjoyment, ho ho.

At Vulpes Libris, you can read my review of Anne Tyler’s Celestial Navigation – a magnificent and quietly lyrical novel, but oh so devastating. And, meanwhile, Amazon have sent me the leather cover for my Kindle in what they blithely call “frustration-free packaging”. Arrgghh!!!! I had to rip it apart with my bare hands and a pair of scissors, whilst cursing. Weirdly another Amazon package was delivered later on without frustration-free packaging and that was far easier to open, deep deep sigh. However, the main thing is I am now the proud owner of a Kindle case, but there’s no ruddy Kindle. Where’s my Kindle, Mr Amazon??? You promised it at the end of August, but now the expected delivery date has vanished from my account and my friends tell me it’s only going to be in the UK at the end of September. I am not happy. Really, you should have emailed me to explain … Another sigh. I hope it’s here by Christmas. Christmas 2010, that is.

This week’s meditations are:

Meditation 409
A cloak torn
into a perfect dozen

indicates power
of a sort

for two
and a cold winter

for one.

Meditation 410
After the drama
and crowded muddle
of forty powerful years

the cool simplicity
and spacious places
of death.

Meditation 411
So many arguments,
threats, violence,
demand and counter-demand,

death and shouting
and only God
is silent.

Life News:

Well, this appears to be the week when everyone gets bizarrely riled up by the video footage of a woman putting a cat in a wheelie bin. Um, sorry but it really doesn’t bother me that much. It’s a cat. Not a baby or a small child or indeed any kind of human, which would of course be terrible. But I can’t really get excited about a cat. I hasten to add I do like cats (though not dogs) and have in the past had two of my own, one of whom I would happily on occasions have put into a bin if I’d ever been able to catch up with the beast, Gawd bless ‘er. And I suspect my neighbours might have helped me! But really, it’s just an animal, and (again, sorry …) not as important as a person, to my mind. Then again, I was brought up in a farming community and animals are what you eventually kill to eat, aren’t they? I do however think it’s truly despicable that the unfortunate woman’s pesky neighbours were stupid (or cruel) enough to put the video on the Internet. How mean and over-the-top (and anyway, what sort of people actually video their neighbours on a security camera??? Hell, I wouldn’t want them to live near me – God knows what they’d find out!!). They should simply have spoken privately to the cat-in-bin woman, asked for an apology, received one graciously, plus a promise for her not to do it again, and that would have been fine. Perhaps though they should have been added to the bin with their wretched cat? Which apparently isn’t that bright, but probably brighter than its owners who, to my mind, come out of this far worse.

Anyway, apart from thinking cat-in-bin woman should not have apologised to the general public for what isn’t after all a crime, and should in fact have brazened it out with threats to put more irritating animals in bins for each death-threat(!) she’s received, here’s my list of what I’d put in a wheelie bin if given the chance. Feel free to think of your own!

1. Dogs (especially golden labradors – I can’t stand ’em)
2. Junket (look it up if you need to but, trust me, it’s vile)
3. The evil person who invented a phone system where you have to go through a series of hoops and pressing of numbers before you can even speak to someone.
4. Call centres.
5. The really horrible and downright vicious Satan-kitten I looked after once in Kent for a work colleague on hols during an utterly hellish week, and which terrified me, my two cats, the postman, my lodger, and the friend who came round to laugh at us all, and which I would gladly give to cat-in-bin woman to dispose of as she wished. Even now.
6. The person who abandoned their really ugly car outside our flat four months ago (unlocked if anyone would like to steal it – please?) and which has been messing up our parking arrangements ever since.
7. JRR Tolkien (behold the Land of Tosh …)
8. Lloyds Bank.
9. People who fail to spell my name correctly no matter how much I say it’s Anne-with-an-e. Anne. How hard is it to remember, people??
10. Mondays.

Gosh, that was cathartic – I feel cleansed, my dears, cleansed. Thank goodness the house only has three wheelie bins to its name. Though I suspect they’re all full now …

But, to put all this media-hype and lunacy into perspective, let’s not forget that there are a million other things other than poor cat-in-bin woman to get angry or upset about, such as the poor miners in Chile, God bless them, and the flooding in Pakistan. Not to mention the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and the genuine slavery and sex-trafficking going on every ruddy second in this country. Now that’s real news, deserving of our censure and action …

However, to end on a brighter note (hurrah!), I have thoroughly enjoyed my Clarins massage today and I am now chilled, calm and normal. Well, almost, eh. And I mustn’t forget that at The Bemused Gardener blogspot I have been discovering new plants where I least expected them, the joys of tea on the lawn and poisons from Portugal. What fun!

Anne Brooke
The Bemused Gardener


A Dangerous Man, books and interviews

Lots of exciting news this week, so hang on to your hats! I’m thrilled to say that Cheyenne Publishing will be publishing a new edition of A Dangerous Man later in 2010, so more news to follow shortly on that front. A big thank you to Mark for saying yes!

I’m also happy to say that all my Untreed Reads eBooks are now available at Books on Board and Powell’s so thank you to Jay for sorting all that out. It’s much appreciated.

Other writing news is that my GLBT fantasy short story, Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle, will be published by Amber Allure on 18 July and you can also read an extract here. Love the cover too! In terms of reviews, it’s been a nice week also: The Bones of Summer gained two reviews at Goodreads, which you can read here and here – two very different reactions, but thank you to both readers for sharing their comments. At the same time, Maloney’s Law gained a 5-star review at Goodreads, and Painting from Life also gained a similar review at Goodreads – so many thanks to those readers also.

Astonishingly, and thanks again to Jay at Untreed Reads, I’ve been interviewed twice this week, once talking mainly about The Delaneys and Me at Author Offerings, and once more generally about my writing life by Kipp Poe. I hope you enjoy finding out my little never-before-revealed secret in one of those! Ah, the shame …

Meanwhile, GLBT Week at Vulpes Libris comes to a stonkingly riproaring finish (oo-err, missus …), with my review of Clare London’s wonderful PI novel, FreemanSam’s review of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides; and last but by no means least, Rosy’s amazing article on Brideshead Revisited – a big thank you to everyone for taking part and for reading. We’ve all had a fabulous time! Let’s hope we can do it all over again next year.

Speaking of things fabulous, Lord H and I had a great time out at the Guildford Theatre on Thursday seeing Headlong Theatre’s production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. I have to admit I wasn’t hugely looking forward to it, as I’ve studied the play in the past but have never seen it – it’s rarely performed, and though the poetry is rich and lush and amazing, it’s always been hard for me to really “get” it in my head. Well, Thursday was a revelation and it completely opened up the whole thing for me as a play rather than as a poem-drama, proving once again just what an astonishingly good playwright Wilde was, in whatever genre he was writing in. I loved the passion, the humour, the teenage angst, the hugely complex adult relationships shown, the setting and the actors. Everything really – especially that marvellous scene at the end where Salome drinks the blood pouring from John the Baptist’s head. Oh, yes, bring it on – I’m a Jacobean tragedy girl at heart and really can’t get enough of that sort of thing on stage – Lord H said when that happened I was the only one in the audience smiling and sitting up. Ah well – the more blood and death and drama, the better really … Anyway, the play was amazing – if you get the chance to go, for heaven’s sake do, as it may not be an opportunity we’ll see again in our lifetimes. And kudos galore to Headlong Theatre for having the balls to revive it when the audience can be counted on the fingers of one hand – hell, we may have been small in number, but we loved it.

But, keeping to the theme of poetry, I’m pleased to say that two of my poems have just been published in the spring edition of Mayo Review. And there’s been 3 meditation poems in the latter half of this week, plus the Sunday haiku:

Meditation 355
Just when you thought
everything you held dear
was lost,

someone you hardly know
steps forward
to stand with you,

taking with him something
of the pain and making
everything clearer:

even the wilderness journey,
even the wild river crossings,
even the grief.

Meditation 356
If you want to steal
your master’s life,

take as much
bread, raisins, fruit

and wine
as you can carry

to your master’s master
and wait

for your ship
to come in.

Meditation 357
Sometimes it’s necessary
to endure the stones

and insults,
knowing the truth

that lies
within them.

This week’s haiku:

A silent poem
drifts across the page, seeking
the margin’s embrace.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal

Read An Ebook Week!

Good news for ebook lovers and ebook enquirers this week, as it’s Read An Ebook Week. As part of this exciting prospect, two of my short stories published by Untreed Reads will be free for one week only at Smashwords.

So, you can find my literary love story How To Eat Fruit at Smashwords here.

And you can find my rewrite of a biblical story Dancing with Lions also at Smashwords here.

You need to put the code RFREE in at the checkout stage – though it explains that on site. The offer ends 13 March. Enjoy!

In other writing news, The Hit List is now available for purchase from All Romance Ebooks, and was for a brief moment of glory actually on their front New Books page, well gosh. Not so now, I fear – the world of eBooks moves on apace …

Speaking of moments of glory, The Bones of Summer managed to make No 48 in the Amazon UK gay romance charts, though it has slipped down somewhat now and will probably be out of the charts altogether by the time you read this. Still, it was nice that someone bought a copy, and I do hope they enjoy it.

Meanwhile, I’ve uploaded the next chapter of The Prayer Seeker’s Journal, where Michael begins to set up a schedule of prayer. And, on an entirely different note, my Hot Gay Fiction Tip for March is now up at Queer Magazine Online. And it’s a book that contains the best scene of sex with a piano that I’ve ever read – dammit but I wish I’d written it. If only I could play the piano, eh …

And, sadly, my lovely almost-week away from work ends today (groan …), but we did manage to see an Egyptian Goose at Wisley yesterday, so something to hang on to when the Monday Morning Blues rears its ugly head once more. And we also saw some gorgeous spring flowers, which has inspired this week’s haiku:

In the rose garden
a pruning. Snowdrops whisper
and crocuses glow.

Anne Brooke – classy and free, always
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal – getting to grips with The Beyond

On the trail of the glossy ibis …

Up at the crack of dawn today (lucky dawn …) as Lord H and I were on the trail of the glossy ibis. Five of which had been spotted during the week in Dungeness RSPB reserve. We didn’t manage to spot any at first, though we were compensated somewhat by a marsh harrier, black-tailed godwits and sanderlings, as well as a host of coots. Towards the end of our day, Lord H checked his iphone and apparently the ibises were being seen at the hide we’d first been into. So we hot-footed it back and were just in time to see them before they flew off. Caught in the nick of time, eh. We then attempted to follow them but the views we had the second time were much more distant. Here’s a lovely view of one of them anyway. Ain’t that just gorgeous?

Back home, we are preparing ourselves for the delights of Strictly Come Dancing, and I can’t wait (sadly …) for tonight’s show. Ah, the glitter and the glam – we Essex Gals just can’t get enough of that sort of thing.

On literary matters though, I was pleased to see that A Dangerous Man had a brief flurry of interest earlier this morning at Amazon UK and was low down in the GLBT bestsellers stakes for a while – which I think meant someone bought a copy. So thank you hugely, Mr/Ms Someone, and I do hope you enjoy the read. Since then, however, I’ve drifted back to the bottom of the barrel again – in oh so many ways.

I’ve also had a lovely email from a lady called Denise from the Philippines (hello, Denise!) saying she’s been interested in my books since reading the reviews of Maloney’s Law, and has now bought The Bones of Summer in eBook version, and hopes to buy the eBook of Thorn in the Flesh soon. Thanks so much, Denise – that’s really made my day. Interestingly, however (and actually I’m beginning to get several similar requests from a variety of sources), she was keen for Maloney’s Law and A Dangerous Man to be out in eBook as it’s easier to read them in that format where she lives. I’m certainly keen for both these books to be electronically available too, and am working on it as best I can, with the help of one of my publishers. Watch this space …

Today’s nice things:

1. Birds
2. Glossy ibises
3. TV
4. Readers interested in my books – thank you!

Anne Brooke
Sexy Scavengers competition Day Three

Happy (nearly) Anniversary, holidays and a raft of book news …

Heck, where do I start? What a supremely busy day it’s been today. First off I must say happy 16th wedding anniversary to us as of tomorrow, hurrah! Well gosh and it’s astonishing that Lord H hasn’t sent me back to the Wife Shop yet. We’re celebrating today though as tomorrow we’re off to Italy at some ungodly hour and there’ll be no time for anything but packing and panicking. Bring on that champagne and make it snappy …

And here’s today’s meditation:

Meditation 222

In the storm
of harsh words,
accusation and hate,

one clear voice
tells us what we know
in the blood:

that God is eternal
but the work of man
must die.

My, how jolly I am. No, really … Meanwhile, what a lot of writing news there is today, most good but some bad, ah well. You’ll be pleased to hear that I finally finished the edits for Hallsfoot’s Battle and have sent the book off to the agent for his delectation. Or otherwise. It’s such a relief to have done it, I must say. Just in time for the holiday too, hurrah.

Set against that is the bad news that my final (or almost final – see a few sentences on …) potential publisher for The Gifting has just rejected it, so my faint commercial hopes for it are alas all but over. That said, I’ve had a surprising request for the first three chapters from a small independent fantasy press, so I’ve sent that off, as I’d be foolish not to, really. I should hear by October apparently, so at least the pain will be swift. And then I can, with a bit of luck and if the wind is in the right direction, get on with self-publishing it for early 2010.

And the writing news is not over yet. I’m pleased to say that my review of Ian Kelly’s biography of Casanova is now up at Vulpes Libris and I can thoroughly recommend the book. It’s stylish, sexy and beguiling – what more can you want?

Keeping on the subject of Vulpes Libris, I’m thrilled to report that the Vulpes review of The Bones of Summer has been syndicated by the Chicago Sun-Times so now appears there also. Well, gosh, and well done to Moira and me! Vulpes rocks, naturally …

Not only that, but I’m also happy to say that Maloney’s Law has been given a 5 star review at Jessewave Reviews, and the same review also appears today at Jenre’s Reviews. Thank you so much, Jenre!

In the middle of all this excitement, I’m completed my review of Sarah Stonich’s The Ice Chorus, and that should be uploaded onto the Vulpes site on 9 October. It’s a lyrical and rich read indeed, but not without its faults. Then again, who isn’t?

I’ve also packed, chatted to the neighbour and played around with my website for a while. As you do. Oh and I’ve also downloaded a suitable number of eBooks onto my eReader for the hols – here’s hoping it doesn’t break down again, eh. As, for the next week, Lord H and I will be taking what I think is a hugely well-earned break, and we will be sunning ourselves here, whilst eating an enormous amount of ice-cream and admiring an enormous amount of history and art. I can’t wait. I’ll be back late on 18 September, so probably back online on 19th, I imagine.

Until then, I hope you all have a glorious week, and please don’t work too hard. I don’t intend to.

Today’s nice things:

1. 16 years of marriage, hurrah!
2. Poetry
3. Completing the Hallsfoot edit
4. Casanova on Vulpes
5. The syndication of the Vulpes Bones review
6. The Maloney review
7. Books
8. Ebooks
9. Holidays!

Anne Brooke – getting ready for sunshine and happiness
Vulpes Libris: enjoying some 18th century sex and style with Mr Newhouse (ho ho)

Relaxation, readers and battles

Just had time to fit in a poem before rushing into town this morning, so here it is:

Meditation 186

He speaks in riddles,
puzzles, running phrases
of words whose notes

remind you of beauty
but whose sense cannot
reach you, bewildered

seeker of truth. When
every explanation
imprisons you in the wrong,

leaves you waiting,
ravaged, questioning,
lengthening the song.

But my day really started with a fabulous Clarins massage from Alice in Guildford – honestly I could have lain there all morning. Why can’t all days start like that? Soooo relaxing. It set me up for this afternoon when I’ve been editing the battle scene in Hallsfoot’s Battle. Never say I don’t live a life of contrasts, eh. But at least I’m not actually fighting. And the edit has gone rather better than expected – I’m about halfway through that 50 page scene now. Yes, I know – 50 pages of fighting! My only excuse is that there’s a lot going on and a lot of viewpoints to consider. Including that pesky raven – whose speech patterns are now most definitely off the wall, I have to say. Birds don’t really like war. It upsets the colour of the air, you know.

I’ve also just finished Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader on my Coolreader. What an amazing book – I can thoroughly recommend it. Literary and accessible at the same time. With a powerful punch. And really what an astonishing story. The only thing I’d say was that the trial scenes did drag just a bit but the ending more than made up for it. I’ve been thinking about it on and off all day. I’m glad I haven’t watched the film – a fact which must make me the only person left in the whole world, I think, who didn’t know the story at all. Shame on me then.

Later this afternoon, I’m off to the last of the Rectory Bible studies before we break for the summer. Not that I’ve been to that many, as Thursday evening is theatre night if anything’s on, but I like to go when I can. I think we’re finishing off the First Letter of Peter tonight. Hey, at least I’ll know how it ends then.

And I must try and watch New Tricks later on TV, as I’ve managed to miss both of the previous two episodes due to general busyness and lack of commitment to the i-player. Plus there’s Kate Humble’s family history to catch up on. Don’t tell me what happens!

Today’s nice things:

1. Poetry
2. Clarins massage
3. Editing Hallsfoot
4. Books
5. Bible study
6. TV.

Anne Brooke – totally chilled, for once
Vulpes Libris – Adventure Week: Rosy Swale is the new Superwoman, no question …