A Taxing Time

So I’m seeing a lot of discontent from readers about the impact the new EU tax laws are having on the price of ebooks. These rules came into effect on the 1st January this year, and for many readers, the first they knew of them was when they tried to buy a book and found the cost had increased by somewhere in the region of 20%. Authors should be less surprised, because we all had warning weeks or even months ago that this was going to happen.

So for those who don’t know, here’s the skinny on what went down. Continue reading

A Little Respect

I’ve not done a publishing post in forever. It’s not really what I talk about anymore. However, given even the NYT is weighing in these days, why not?

Everyone seems to be talking about Kindle Unlimited, an “all you can eat” way of getting ebooks. For $10 a month, Amazon will provide unlimited access to a library of some 700,000 titles. As an author, I can participate in KU by granting Amazon exclusivity and accepting whatever they feel like paying me for that right.

Continue reading

Make Me Uncomfortable

Anyone who knows me, knows I love books. I was the child reading by torchlight under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep, I was the kid who took a personal library on camping trips and car journeys. I did two degrees in literature and listen to audiobooks in the car. I have been known to sit outside my destination with the engine running for many many minutes, until my friends send out search parties to find me, because “I’m just finishing this chapter.” I’m also a history geek, a data-sponge. I have the sort of mind which remembers that the fastest human ever recorded lived in Australia 17,000 years ago and could sprint through wet mud quicker than Usain Bolt can run the 100m, but can’t remember whether or not I turned the oven off.

If I could only read one type of book ever again, it would either be historical or non-fiction. Whether we’re talking Bronte and Renault, or Ellmann and Wildeblood, I don’t care. I’m as happy reading Wuthering Heights as I am Richard Ellmann’s lyrical biography of Oscar Wilde. One of my all-time favourite books is Peter Wildeblood’s Against the Law. Wildeblood is a name largely lost today, although if I ruled the world, there would be statues of him in every town square. He was the first man in modern history to stand up and state before a court and before the press that he was gay (actually, he used the word “invert”). This was in 1954, and it cost him eighteen months of his life.

Continue reading

WIP Sneak Peek, and Other Stuff

The Rainbow Awards 2014 are over, and I’m thrilled to announce The Dead Past was runner up for Best Gay Historical Romance!

 

 

Runner-UpSM

From the Honourable Mentions:

~ “I was immediately hooked by the old-style English but perfect writing style of this first book of probably a series which I am going to definitely follow.”

~ “The author drew me completely into the setting to the point I felt like I was there.”

~ “A killer lurking in the shadows, traumatized man, blood, murder and homophobic people… It seems there is no place for love but the author managed to write a gripping love story. Love it!”

Hugo and Tommy are thrilled :D


 

Reviews keep coming in for the Free Men series. Joyfully Jay, Love Bytes, MM Good Book Reviews, On Top Down Under (NSFW!), Sinfully Sexy, The Blogger Girls, Men Over the Rainbow, Helena’s Heat, and Diverse Reader have all given The Slave five stars!

Don’t forget to check out my Goodreads profile for a couple of unpublished bonus scenes from the series!


 

And now for something completely different. This is the opening of my latest WIP (anticipated release January 2015), a contemporary romance between a children’s author and a building surveyor. Without further ado, meet Owen :)

~^~

I hadn’t wanted to be famous. Honestly. There I was, scribbling away in my little garret, the walls papered with rejection slips, a forty year old typewriter on my desk because I cared more about appearance than substance and somehow my cheap and cheerful little laptop didn’t set the right tone. I was a writer: I might never be rich or famous or far from the breadline but I was an artist, goddammit. I had a rep to protect.

So I’d sit far into the night, admittedly working by the light of a 60-watt bulb rather than a guttering candle, but I drank the coffee and smoked the cigarettes and dreamed of ending my days lounging, louche and indolent, sipping metallic red wine in a dark and dingy cafe on the banks of the Seine, surrounded by those who understood my artistic temperament and calling; those who asked no more of me than I strike the correct pose.

Saying I got bored of living off baked beans and freeze-dried noodles and sold out shatters the illusion, but that’s what I did. I went from being a skinny twenty-eight year old living in a poky flat on the cheap side of London to being a skinny twenty-eight year old with a couple of million in the bank in the space of a year.

I know, I know, I’m disappointed in me too—but fuck if I didn’t love it.

I can’t say that word now. Fuck. Can’t swear, can’t drink, can’t smoke. At least, I can’t be seen doing any of those things. Not in public. You think image management is limited to actors and tweeny pop stars? You’re wrong.

I was going to write the Next Great Novel, win the Booker Prize. I was going to be the Allan Hollinghurst of the Noughties. People were going to speak my name in hushed tones and the reviewers at the TLS were going to wank over my words.

I didn’t happen. I sold out. I wrote a fucking children’s book and it sold a bazillion copies.

It ruined my life.


Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter to get all the latest news (I promise: no spam, not ever) and exclusive swag!

Time to be Unreasonable

My patience is wearing thin. I am done with the “reasonable” debate about the rights I “deserve,” if falling in love somehow makes me “less” than other people, if I’m safe to be around children. I’m done debating if my landlord has the right to evict me, if my boss has the right to fire me, if I have the right to be upset about people debating my rights.

I don’t care what your religion says, how grossed-out you are, how upset if someone calls you a homophobe. Fuck “reasonable,” “measured” debates. My life is not a problem other people have to solve.

Fuck the “same as you” arguments which pander to the fear of, and simultaneous fascination with, queer sex, fuck the way people try to “normalise” queerfolk. We were never abnormal to begin with.

Fuck wondering what jobs I’m capable of, what I’m safe to be allowed to do. I don’t need community rehabilitation, because I am part of the community already. We are legion. So fuck trying to keep us in the closet by threatening our livelihoods if we dare come out.

Fuck whitewashing us from history, from society, from the school and the street and the workplace. You have always lived alongside queerfolk, you have shared classrooms and changing rooms and office space and gym memberships with us your whole life. We are not shadowy strangers “out there,” we are here, beside you. Doing no harm.

Fuck the people who want us criminalised, who want us rounded up and gassed, who want us stripped of our rights to live and love, to lobby and assemble, to say fuck you to begin with. Fuck the president who let a plague go unchecked, and the people who hide behind false idols and fraudulent studies to strip us of our humanity.

Fuck those who say we can change, who prey on the fears of parents to torture and emotionally abuse their queer kids. Fuck every parent who has ever disowned a child. Fuck the families who come out of the woodwork after a death in order to loot the estate. Fuck the law which makes that possible.

Fuck the courts who hear the animus, fuck the “gay means stay” approach, fuck every pompous old man who feels uncomfortable acknowledging our existence. We will not go away, for we have nowhere else to go.

Fuck the mother scared of raising a “sissy,” who won’t let her son near anything pink or her daughter near blue, the father who tells his boy to “man up” and teaches his girl to be scared of men, the teacher who steers girls towards textiles and boys towards woodwork, the coach who calls a kid a “pussy” if he shows he’s hurt. Fuck gender normativity.

Fuck pink and blue, boys and girls, gay and straight. Fuck meaningless binaries and two-faced allies, every person who’s watched gay porn and turned against us in the privacy of the voting booth. Fuck delaying and denying our rights, fetishising our bodies, othering our lives, loves, desires. Fuck treating gay bars like zoo exhibits, gay men like predators, fuck the semantics of fear and loathing.

Fuck the closet, the word “partner,” fuck turning our marriages into business arrangements, forcing us to bind ourselves with powers of attorney and living wills and thousand-dollar pieces of paper to protect ourselves from our own flesh and blood when our hearts are no longer beating. Fuck smothering us, hiding us, pushing us away. We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.