Category Archives: golf

Houses, books and nude women

Book News:

A Dangerous Man is now published for the second time (hurrah!) and you can buy the paperback at Amazon US. The blurb is:

Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time prostitute will do anything to stage his first exhibition. When he falls in love with rich financier, Jack Hutchinson, he seems set to achieve his goal. But as Mikey becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, we discover the intense mindscape of a man obsessed with his dreams as he attempts to free himself of his past. When a net of antagonistic relationships and inner battles encroaches upon him, the consequences of Mikey’s uncompromising pursuit emerge in thrilling tragedy, leaving him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how. 


Something to get your teeth into for sure. You can find reviews from the original now out-of-print edition here, so if you missed it first time round in 2007, now’s your chance to catch up. It’s a book I’m particularly proud of too, though I say it myself and probably shouldn’t. Heck, even best-selling crime author Andrew Taylor called it: “a dark and chilling parable about art, love and murder”. So it can’t be too bad, I hope!…


There’s one meditation poem this weekend: 




Meditation 445
Cast your handful
of salt
into the vast waters


and wait
for purity to begin.




The Sunday haiku is:


Scent of strawberries
blossoms the air with summer
in this autumn chill.




Life News:


Rejoice! We have taken our last and umpteenth trip to the council tip, washed all the carpets and have put everything back into position in the flat ready for selling. I must say the spare room looks totally stunning and the faux-zebra African rug looks magnificent with the pale lilac walls, the black bookcases & blinds. If I wanted a two-bedroom flat with good-sized rooms, a fabulous gold-and-cream living room in a highly desirable part of Godalming, I’d be here like a shot, to be honest. We have three estate agents coming round this Wednesday so I hope it will be on the market by the end of the week or the beginning of next week.


In the meantime, we have created a list of about 23 properties we want to see by means of Right Move, and, from those, starred about 10 that are top of that list. I’ve made appointments to see four of these on Thursday, and I’m ringing up about another one tomorrow. The plan is for me to act as a vanguard to choose properties that K and I will both want to view during weekends when K is free, but those I don’t like or don’t think he’ll like can be ditched as I go along and then I’ll save us both the weekend trip. This morning we’ve driven round to look at some of them planned for Thursday, and I’ve already discounted one that’s way way too near the station. The current feeling is that Normandy, Elstead and Milford are good, and we may well concentrate our search there unless something comes up in Godalming or there’s something that’s really great elsewhere.


It’s not all been house-orientated this week however – I’ve played some extraordinarily bad golf (which I blame on having to lug the very heavy carpet cleaner we hired up 32 stairs to the flat on my own – Lordy, that was tough but I did it!…), and K and I also had fun (and some tears – mine) when we went to see Calendar Girls at Woking on Thursday. Lovely to be out at the theatre again, but goodness me what a lot of women came to see it. I had to dash like a crazed thing to get into the loo queue at the interval, and I’m sure there were no more than 10 men in the whole audience. In my innocence, I’d thought it might be the other way round, but the theatre-goers of Surrey are a law unto themselves.


Ooh and isn’t Pamela Stephenson magnificent in Strictly Come Dancing? Utterly magical to watch in every way. Good on her!


Anne Brooke

Popes, Prayer and paint

Life News:

A hell of a lot of painting has gone on this week – we’ve painted the bathroom door and skirting board, the hall cupboard, the spare room door & cupboard, some of the hall skirting boards and two sets of the three wooden frames that are a feature of our hallway. It all lightens it up nicely, which is hugely pleasing – if we’d known it would look so good, we’ve have done it much earlier, but it certainly should make it more desirable at the very least. And it’s a lesson to us for our next home – paint everything light colours and watch the space increase!

Not only that but I’ve tidied the living room and spare rooms so they look much bigger – or the spare room would if we hadn’t today moved everything around in order to paint, but it will do when it’s back in its right place again! I’ve also recycled six bags of books last week and have created another nine bags of books today to take to the recycling point this week. We do have a lot of books – K did an estimate a while back and made it 1200, but it’s 15 bags less now! We’ve also chucked away a load of old videos and tapes that we never watch/listen to – Lord only knows why we were keeping them. Laziness probably.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon behind the Student Care stand at the University Open Day – not as hectic as the last time which was truly horrible, but I wasn’t feeling that well really, so I kept smiling inanely and hoping that people believed whatever it was I was saying. Most seemed to.

Oh, and Marian and I played an outrageously bad game of golf on Friday – we were so bad we became utterly hysterical at one point and couldn’t stop laughing. Thank goodness no-one was behind us. Marian managed to get both her tee shots on the 6th hole into the pond, which is at least consistent, and I managed to hit not one, not two, but three trees on the 8th, two of them with the same shot. Lordy, but I’m good, um not. Thankfully, Marian and her husband came round for dinner on Friday night (pre-painting extravaganza) so we were able to drown our sorrows in good measure.

Finally, rumour has it that some elderly Catholic gent has come over to the UK for the weekend, Gawd bless ‘im. I hope he enjoys his brief stay, though I do think the least we could do is give him a car he could actually get in and out of successfully. He is 83, after all, and Jaguar’s don’t really allow for much leeway … Mind you, K reminded me that he must have been greatly chuffed indeed during his private audience with the Queen and Prince Philip – to be at last the youngest person in the room must have fulfilled a lifetime’s ambition for him, hurrah!

Book News:

I’ve finished the edits for The Prayer Seeker, so I now feel happier with that. Now all I have to do (ho hum) is find someone who might want it. Suggest no-one holds their breath though! And I’m pleased to say that Tommy’s Blind Date is now available at All Romance Ebooks and, not to be outdone, The Delaneys and Me popped briefly back into the Amazon Charts at No 78 though not for long.

This week’s meditation is:

Meditation 429
If you’re in a desert
where ravens bring you food
and God provides the water

sneak away quickly
as your odds for happiness
probably just got shorter.

The Sunday haiku is:

A sparkle of birds
wheels and dances in the sky.
Sunlight on water.

Anne Brooke

Royalties, rifles and reviews

Book news:

I’m frankly astonished to find out that my royalties this quarter from Amber Allure Press are one-third up on what they were last quarter, well gosh. Perhaps I’m not doing quite so badly after all, then. Does this justify raising my status from Z-list author to Y-list author? Who can tell …

Not only that but sales of The Bones of Summer in paperback have actually risen since last quarter also, though ebook sales are alas down. It’s all something of a mystery, much like the book itself. Meanwhile, The Delaneys and Me reached No 12 in the Amazon Gay Fiction charts, a fact that caused me to have to lie down in a darkened room whilst hyperventilating for a while, though it’s fallen somewhat now.

Speaking of Amazon, new in the Kindle this week is The Boilerman and The Bride, and good grief but some kind soul must have bought a copy as it actually has a rating – thank you, kind buyer! Also new at Kindle is Tuluscan Six and The Time Circle, and this also now appears at All Romance Ebooks. I’m also very pleased to say that The Girl in the Painting is on sale at Rainbow eBooks, and that Creative Accountancy for Beginners is mentioned at Spalding’s Racket – thanks, Nick.

Turning to future and hoped-for future publications, I’m thrilled to see that A Dangerous Man is now up at the front page of Cheyenne Publishing, noted as Coming in October – so that’s getting dangerously (sorry!) exciting. And I’ve not only written a draft ending of The Executioner’s Cane, the third and final part of my Gathandrian fantasy trilogy, but I’ve reached the 60,000 word marker in it, which puts me at about half-way through, hurrah.

Also in this section, up at Vulpes Libris this week is (a) my review of Sara Shepard’s All The Things We Didn’t Say and (b) the Coming Up post for next week – in which the real name of Lord H, together with Lord H’s fabulous new photographic website, is revealed for the first time. Readers paying close attention will of course notice the startling similarity in design to my own website, but hey it could be worse – we could be wearing Howard & Hilda jumpers (scroll down to view …), ho ho. Two of my favourite ever characters, don’t you know.

I’m also incredibly thrilled that the aforementioned husband (who perhaps can now be called Lord K in future …) has also produced his very own Daily Office app for the iphone – so even on the move you need never be far from a church service or an apposite prayer for the day! Never say that as a team my husband and I don’t look after your every need.

Ooh, and I am very happy indeed to see that Amazon UK will now be producing a UK-friendly Kindle, so I have already pre-ordered mine, and it should be delivered at the end of August, well gosh. How long I’ve waited for it indeed – so I hope it lives up to my very high expectations.

Meanwhile, I fear that sales of my e-poetry collection, Sunday Haiku, are regrettably poor – so far only 4 copies have been sold, so I am as yet a little below my best-selling poetry collection, which sold … um … 11 copies. My mission is to match that target by the end of August, so if there are 7 lovely readers out there who might like some nature-focused and really pretty good poetry to inspire their year, please don’t be backward in coming forward – in all honesty, my sad-writer ego can’t take it. Thank you!

And here’s another little haiku to whet your appetite:

Sparkling green water
ripples in the wind’s warm touch,
embraces the dance.

This week’s meditation poems are:

Meditation 401
They knew how to party
back then:

seven days’ worth
of spilled blood,

the dark aroma
from burning meat

and the laughter
of men.

Meditation 402
Behind the prayer,
that sense

of strange connection,
the desert

of abandonment
stretches far away.

Life news:

I’m very happy to tell you that my old University friend, Jane, is currently captaining the Great Britain Rifle Team in Canada, and you can find out how Great Britain is doing on their blog. Go, Jane, go! And huge good luck to all. Mind you, the one time I’ve been lucky enough to see Jane shoot in a national competition, she spent the first 20 minutes of her alloted 30 minutes doing absolutely nothing at all except checking wind speeds and directions and seeing what her competitors were up to, and then took up her rifle and fired all her shots almost perfectly in the space of about 3 minutes. I did wonder why none of her team members bothered turning up to support her until the last 10 minutes – apparently, that is the Jane Messer way, and very good it is too.

This week, I’ve also popped up to London to see Jane W (another Jane!) and had a fabulous time putting the world to rights and talking houses and what to do with them. Must be my age, you know, and our current house-buying efforts, of course. I’ve also played some rather appalling golf, which coincided with some incredibly good golf from Marian, who won by miles, and very deservedly. Perhaps I should take a cricket bat next time? I might well do better …

Yesterday, Lord K (ha!) and I were at Glyndebourne to see Don Giovanni. Verdict: very disappointing and surprising poorly staged, although some individual performances, such as the man-servant and the bride, were very good indeed. However the big excitement was that we sat in the same row as antiques expert, Tim Wonnacott, who was extremely pleasant indeed when attempting to squeeze past me. And hey, I was good! – I didn’t giggle or scream: ooh look, it’s that man off The Antiques Roadshow on TV – so Lord K is very proud. I am indeed a prime example of modern dignity, well for an Essex Girl anyway.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal

Haikus, houses and Holmes

Book News:

I’m happy to say that my latest poetry collection, Sunday Haiku, has already received two 4-star reviews at Goodreads, one from Kim and one from Lisa, who says amongst other comments that she “felt captured within the calm of the poetry” which is precisely the feeling I was trying to attain. Thank you very much, both. And you can now also find Sunday Haiku on sale in PDF version at Rainbow Ebooks, so I hope that covers all buying possibilities. Enjoy!

In addition, I’m getting towards writing the final few scenes of The Prayer Seeker’s Journal, where you can now find the latest episode. There’s a time lag between writing them and actually uploading them, but I hope to finish the first draft by the autumn or thereabouts, though I suspect the last few chapters will be fairly long.

Other books news includes the following: Creative Accountancy for Beginners found itself in the Smashwords Top 10 Humour Bestsellers list, which has been a lovely boost; Painting from Life gained a 4-star review at Goodreads; and The Bones of Summer also had a 4-star Goodreads review – many thanks, Nene, for reading! Meanwhile The Delaneys and Me, continues its rise and fall through the Amazon Kindle Gay Fiction charts, rising as high as No 32 this week.

Recent meditations are:

Meditation 396
No matter
how many lists you make –

table, lampstand,
flowers, cups, bowls

and all the paraphernalia
of fire and hope –

you cannot keep God
contained by your

limitation.

Meditation 397
A cloudy day
and a simple ritual,

wood and stone
and silent angels,

but when the light
arrives, it dazzles you

to the eternal changeability
of prayer.

Meditation 398
The slow history
of stone

wraps you round
in memory

and truth,
helps you

pray again.

And here’s a poem I’ve also written this week:

East

These eastern winds
are an icy layer
leaving you
and me

too close
for comfort

and too far away
to see.

This week’s haiku:

Two blue bicycles
energise the road, piercing
the day’s warm silence.

Life News:

The very big news this week which is both exciting and terrifying is that we and our deceased neighbour’s nephews have agreed on a price for his old flat (below ours) – it’s at the upper limit of our budget but we think that with a bit of scraping around and with the wind in the right direction we can do it, hurrah! So we’re now plunged into the process of conveyancing and soliciting (as it were) and mortgaging, and we hope to have contracts exchanged – all things being equal – by the end of August. I hope it all goes to plan, as it would be great to have more space, not to mention a part of the house garden and a garage. And two floors, well gosh. Whatever next? We won’t be able to eat or go on holiday for the next five years, but what the heck, eh. Who needs food or aeroplanes? We do so love the house, which has got an NVQ Level 5 in Character, though those old Victorian pipes can be a tad dodgy (don’t ask, but never ever put anything at all if you can possibly help it down the loo in a Victorian house – a piece of Life Advice you can have for free …!), so it would be lovely to have more of it. So watch this space, and wish us luck.

Marian and I had a good round of golf on Friday, though we can tell that the schools are ready to break up, as it took a lot longer to go round. I started off with two pretty damn glorious pars (hurrah!) but rapidly faded, so only just managed to scrape victory from the certain jaws of defeat. Yesterday, I was briefly (on a Saturday, how dreadful!) back at work to help out in the afternoon at the University’s open day – which I must say was the busiest I’ve ever known, so I did a heck of a lot of smiling, and was utterly shattered when I got home. So much so that I nearly fell asleep in front of our recorded episode of Midsomer Murders and had to go to bed at 9.30pm, which is really unheard of.

I’m still tired today as well, but this might have been a good thing as they sprang a cunning double christening at church on us today, so there was a lot of water and gurgling, not all of which was me. I’m not a great fan of christenings to be honest – too child-centred for my tastes, but I did a lot of smiling and trying to look normal, so I think people were fooled. Mind you, the family had dressed up to the nines, which was nice to see, and all looked very glam. We’re not used to that in the Sunday crowd …

Ooh, and tonight I and Lord H are hugely looking forward to the new updated version of Sherlock Holmes, which I’m sure will be well worth catching – 9pm on BBC. Don’t miss it! Must dash and get my violin and deerstalker hat ready, if only for old times’ sake.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal

Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle

Book News:

I’m happy to say that my gay time travel short story, Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle, is now published by Amber Allure Press, and you can also read an extract here. Which at the very least proves that administrators are always needed, even in space.

I’m also pleased to say that my gay romantic short story, Tommy’s Blind Date, has just been accepted for publication by Amber Allure for 12 September. That’s the one I had to beat with twigs in order to make it work, but I got there in the end, thank goodness. Cover art to come.

Further news is that The Delaneys and Me is, astonishingly, still lurking about in the Amazon Gay Fiction charts, and has now actually made it to the dizzy heights of Number 52, well gosh. I was also pleased that my fantasy short short, Creative Accountancy for Beginners, gained a 4-star review at Goodreads, many thanks, Andy!

However, as always in a writer’s life, not all reviews are good ones (sob!), and I’ve had two bad ones this week. Shaz at Rainbow Reviews really didn’t like Martin and The Wolf at all, calling it shaky and poor, though thankfully quick and relatively painless. Sorry, Shaz! I am sneaking away into the forest with my tail between my legs, howling, and will endeavour to do better for you next time. Neither is Shaz on her own in her despair: the unfortunate Nixie at Ebook Addict Reviews found the taste of How to Eat Fruit deeply dissastifying and bizarre. Which, funnily enough, is I think roughly what appeared on my Geography report in my third year of secondary school. Ah happy days. Anyway, sorry to you too, Nixie, but at least it was short!

The good news is that now you can have even more of these relatively painless, yet bizarre experiences as my ebooks are now to be found in a whole new variety of locations, including Borders, and W H Smith’s in the UK, via Untreed Reads, thank you, Jay! World domination will soon be mine (cue evil laughter) …

This week’s meditations are:

Meditation 391
After the temple
the palace:

from the arms
of God

to the desires
of man

where cedar trees
are torn

from their roots
unnaturally

to split the sky
again.

Meditation 392
The simple fact
of bronze

shines a slow gleam
from his eye

connecting the strange
possibility of God

with the metal’s
intricate dance.

And this week’s haiku is:

History arrives
through the feet; we walk engraved
with grit, soil, water.

Life News:

I must say I’ve really been enjoying the Open Golf championship, though the strong winds and rain in Scotland have been playing havoc with the game, even the putting, which has been a bit off. Says she, eh – when I’m lucky if I can hole out (as it were) in 4 on the green! Anyway, I had my moment of golfing glory on Friday when I was playing with Marian as usual and was doing absolutely ruddy brilliantly, getting a whole series of fours, until the last hole when I threw it all away with an appalling seven – however, I like to think I’m following in the footsteps of poor Jean Van de Velde, who dramatically threw away the 1999 Open championship with a little paddle in the water on the 18th hole, alas. Which just goes to show that golf is indeed a totally insane game, full of insane people. No wonder I feel so at home.

And I’ve had my whole opinion about Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte (which I’ve always hated since seeing the dreadfully dull, grey and badly acted Glyndebourne Armani version a few years back) totally altered with yesterday’s marvellously new, fresh, fun and vibrant version at Glyndebourne. A revelation, my dears – I finally get it, hurrah. I also loved the challenging ending – where one couple is on the way to forgiveness and the other most certainly isn’t. Great stuff. And Don Alfonso was pretty damn hot too. Lovely.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal

Parties and politics

Life news:

Am gradually getting to feel a bit better, hurrah, though I’m still dosing up on catarrh remedies and blowing my nose for Britain. How delightful. I’ve taken to carrying wads of tissues and 2 handkerchiefs everywhere with me, just in case. A girl in her prime can enjoy several.

Still, I did manage to get round the golf course fairly unscathed with Marian on Friday – we haven’t played for ages, what with Easter and conferences and holidays and such like, so it was nice to get back on the course. Neither were we as bad as we’d feared we might be. Also lovely to see two beautiful song thrushes on the course. Talking of which, Lord H and I enjoyed seeing a deer in the garden yesterday evening, and we also spotted a garden warbler (a lifetime first!) at Pulborough Brooks on Saturday. Huge excitement but really what a dull bird. It has absolutely no distinguishing features except a very lovely voice. Almost like a template for all other warblers, which at least have more interesting markings, poor thing.

Meanwhile, the election excitements continue. Lord H and I were rather bemused when watching the film of David Cameron going home after election night to see that he had to ring the doorbell of his own house in order to get in. What???!? Is he just too posh to carry his own key? Or does he expect the butler to open for him? Or perhaps the lovely Samantha doesn’t allow him to carry housekeys? The plot thickens indeed … Perhaps, Lord H says, it’s because he and Nick Clegg got on so well during their first date that Dave gave his keys to Nick so he could call round “for a quick chat” later? Lordy, but then people wonder where I get my book ideas from?? I fear Lord H is not as innocent as he seems … Best to keep a close eye on the “Dave & Nick talks” and see if they exit their meetings with their hair messed up and wearing each other’s ties. You heard it here first.

Anyway, this weekend’s favourite headline comes from The Sun: Squatter Holed Up in Number 10. Yes indeedy. Say no more.

Today, we’ve helped our friend Liz celebrate her 60th birthday party with a buffet lunch and flowing champagne. Though I did think it was probably best not to let the champers flow my way, what with the drugs. As it were. We didn’t stay too long due to (a) illness, and (b) a deep-seated terror of parties. But happy birthday, Liz, and here’s to 60 more of the same!

Writing news:

Not much to report this weekend. I’m carrying on writing more to The Executioner’s Cane, and I’m also continuing with my erotic straight short story, The Boilerman and The Bride. 3000 words and rising. Ho ho. I’ve also sent out a couple of submissions, one of which is the possibility of a haiku chapbook. We’ll see how that goes, but it would be nice to have a poetry collection out somewhere, however small, that I haven’t had to produce myself. I don’t think I’m as bad a poet as my poetry sales actually indicate, hey ho.

Talking of which, I’ve written two haikus this week and here they are:

All that voting angst,
tremors of expectation –
and no-one in charge.

Suddenly the sky
is filled with swifts: boomerangs
piercing silent clouds.

Anne Brooke
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal

Give and Take reviews and a bit of a spat

Writing News:

I’m happy to say that The Hit List is now available in paperback at Amazon US and it’s received two 5-star reviews at Goodreads here and here. Thanks to both readers!

I’m also pleased to tell you that Give and Take has today received a thought-provoking 4.5 star review at Michelenjeff Reviews and another 4 star review at Rainbow Reviews. Many thanks to both reviewers for that. Give and Take is also now available for purchase at All Romance eBooks, so lovely to be there too.

There’s also an interview with me which you can find at Michelenjeff Reviews Site, and a special thank you to Jeff for making me sound almost normal. That must have been very hard work indeed, Jeff!

Meanwhile, A Stranger’s Touch received a 4 star review and a 5 star review, both at Goodreads, so thank you again to both reviewers for your comments.

And, if you’d like to try some of my Dreamspinner Press books, they’re all at 20% discount for TODAY only so there’s still time to buy The Bones of Summer or Two Christmases, or maybe even the pair!

In other book news, the latest chapter of The Prayer Seeker’s Journal can now be found here – in which Michael begins to deal with his ex-wife. And I’ve reached the 30,000 word marker of The Executioner’s Cane, hurrah!

There’s also been a small but interesting disagreement by commenters responding to one of my Vulpes Libris reviews, which does at least prove that books can raise great passion in us all. A result always to be admired indeed …

Finally in this section, I’m pleased to say that my poem, Meditation 37, is to be included in the upcoming Short Story Library Best of 2009 collection, which should be published early summer. Lovely to have that to look forward to.

Oh, and here’s this week’s haiku:

A woman in pink
walks slowly past cool water,
trailing dreams of spring.

Other News:

Marian and I played some pretty reasonable golf on Friday and even managed to produce two good tee-shots just behind the club pro as he was taking a playing lesson. Dammit but he didn’t notice, and we certainly couldn’t produce them again! And Lord H and I spent a lovely afternoon yesterday wandering around Wintershall Gardens as part of their Open Afternoon, and I have to say the grounds are very attractive indeed. And the staff do particularly wonderful cream teas, mmm … What could be nicer? Even in spite of the rain.

Yesterday, we spent an exhilarating evening having supper at Liz & John’s (hello, both!) and I think I was even relatively well behaved. Well, for me anyway. But this morning, I certainly felt my missing hour, what with the clocks going forward. I won’t catch up till the autumn, I tell you.

This coming week, I’m away on the University Administrators’ Conference in Warwick from Monday to Wednesday, so will have to look both intelligent and professional for three days. Not much hope there then … Mind you, I’ve managed to book myself on to the Learn to Juggle seminar, and apparently you get to keep the balls! Gosh. I can’t wait.

Anne Brooke – evil but interesting
The Prayer Seeker’s Journal – dealing with the ex …