Thursday, 23 October 2014

ABC Drabbles of Death - U is for Undying

We're nearing the end of the ABC Drabbles of Death series with only five more to go. I have an idea for a new series to continue when this one is finished, so look out for news on that soon!

In today's drabble we reach the letter 'U' and it proved a difficult letter to pick a word for. Then I thought about an idea I've had for a future novel and one of its aspects fitted nicely. IF you've not read the other drabbles in the series then you'll find them all here:

U is for Undying

It seemed a good deal at the time. In exchange for my soul I’d never die. A deal so good I believed that I’d tricked the Devil. After all - what use was my soul if I didn’t die?

He must be laughing now.

It was a rush at first. No matter what happened I’d walk away from it. Sure it hurt, but the pain was worth the rush.

But like any drug the rush soon faded and there would be no escape. Once entropy had its fill I’d witness the end of the universe.

And I would never die.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Book Shout Out - FAG by Jonathan Hill

Jonathan Hill is one of several generous authors to provide prizes for the Sun Dragon launch event - 12 days to go! 'FAG' is his first full length novel and I have to say that's one of my favourite reads of the year so far. So much so I'm tempted to keep the prize for myself :-) I'll admit that the story is a little out of my usual reading comfort zone and maybe it is for you, but give it a try. It's superbly written and while it's emotional reading in places it's well worth the read.

To be in with a chance to win the signed copy or one of the other fantastic prizes on the day join the virtual launch event for Sun Dragon here:

If you're already coming then feel free to invite your friends as well!

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Brierley's Boarding School for Boys, 1930s

Gray - a kindly but weak teacher with a secret he cannot reveal
Hodges - a headmaster who wields a terrifying and brutal power
Keen - a first year boy bullied viciously and mercilessly
Smythe - a ringleader intent on enforcing his fagging rights
Thompson - a prefect struggling just to survive

A new term opens with appalling tragedy, the repercussions of which lead to devastating consequences. The headmaster, who will stop at nothing to cover up the incident, fights for the reputation of Brierley's, while several of the school's inhabitants are left fighting for their lives.

A novel of approximately 73,000 words. Readers should note that the book contains strong language, scenes of a sexual nature and adult themes.

Click here to buy FAG from Amazon US / Amazon UK

Blog Shout Out - Gay Literature

In this week's Blog Shout Out Martin Davies tells us about his blog - Gay Literature. Discover more below:

What's up with 'gay' literature? To start with, 'gay' literature can't be seen as a genre, but it suffers from the very in-vogue trend of 'tagging' and over-categorising l
books without any of the benefits...

The word 'gay' seems to be putting readers off, both gay men and straight (especially men). But the reality is that the great majority of gay novels, poems and books nowadays are not 'in your face' gay... Although they have gay characters and often deal with issues gay people face in their lives, as well as many issues we all face, like coming of age, relationships etc, they do not need readers to be gay. In the words of author Adriano Bulla, 'You don't need to have hairy feet to read The Hobbit', why should you be gay to read a gay book?'

'Gay literature' has, on the other hand, produced many a great writers, and recent developments show that 'gay' novels and poems are seeking new expressive forms, original voices and styles that could influence the whole of 'mainstream' literature profoundly if only they had a wider audience'.

The blog Gay Literature is all about promoting these books to the wider readership, to anyone who realises that they have missed out on incredible reads because of this tag, because the general perception of gay books, mainly due to the confusion between popular M/M Romance (mainly written by women for women, where gay sex is a prominent feature) and gay books (where relationships, psychology and identity are the focus). That's why the blog started with post on Ian McEwan's Enduring Love... A book about being afraid to be gay, yet not classed as 'gay'...

Our posts are sometimes cheeky, sometimes controversial and also support quality in books, no matter what tag or genre they belong to. We have promoted the Polari Literary Salon's live tour as well as the authors to look out for because their innovative work has the potential of having a huge impact on the whole of literature.

One day, hopefully not far away, there won't be a 'gay literature' any more, but just literature of all colours for everybody; gay writers are really doing a lot to be mainstream, but we can't make it without the mainstream listening and, why not? reading a 'gay' book...

Please find us and browse our posts with an open mind, you never know, you may find great reads for you, whether you have or don't have 'hairy feet':

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Book Shout Out - The Seance by Jack Rollins

Continuing the countdown to the Sun Dragon release on November 1st  here's a feature for another one of the books generously donated by other authors. I'e read Jack Rollins' Dr Blessing books and enjoyed them a lot - I'm a big fan of Victorian era horror! I was also fortunate enough to test read The Seance and all I can say is that I'm looking forward to the release. I have my copy pre-ordered!

To join in the festivities for the Sun Dragon release and for the opportunity to win this, or one of the other books and prizes on the day join the Facebook event here:

Everyone is welcome and feel to invite your friends!

Click on image to buy from Amazon

A gothic Victorian chiller from the author of the Dr Blessing Series Albert Kench is summoned back to London from his travels in Australia, and is shocked to find that his sister has suffered horrific mental and physical damage. A man of science and progress, when Albert is told that Sally attended a seance prior to her collapse and has been touched by otherworldly forces, he believes there must be another, more rational explanation. Albert learns of a man who claims mastery of the dark arts, who may hold the key to Sally's salvation. Albert sets off in search of answers, but can he emerge victorious without faith, or will he be forced to accept the existence of a realm beyond the world around him?

Click here to pre-order The Seance from Amazon US / Amazon UK

Jack Rollins also has an event to mark the release on 31st October - join the event here:

Tuesday Tease - Justice 4.1 by Jim Webster

We have a sci-fi thriller for this week's Tuesday Tease with an excerpt from Jim Webster's novel 'Justice 4.1'. I read this a few week's back and enjoyed it a lot!

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Haldar turned back to Janson. “Do you have the DNA and associated data for those sample genotypes?”

“Yes, they are all on file here except for Genotype 1a/ Croton for which we have no data.” 

“If my friend here gives you a Grorin-tech sample key could you read it and say whether there are similarities between it and the samples?”

Again the pause, then Janson came to a decision. “If you have secondary authorisation to go with the sample key the answer is yes.”

Toulis reached into his jacket and produced both the sample key and a second plastic strip, of similar size which he handed to Janson. Janson slid both into a reader built into the desk. He withdrew them and handed them back to Toulis. “Yes, I am authorised to tell you. The match between samples and key is excellent. I am forced to assume that the person whose key you have given me is the person who supplied the initial genetic material.”

Toulis laid a hand on Haldar’s shoulder to forestall his next question and asked, “Does it show on your files how and when the initial genetic material entered your system.”

“It appears that the key-holder gave permission just over six standard years ago, perhaps a year before the genotypes were created.”

Toulis said quickly, “Appears?”

“The nature of the permission is not documented.” Janson’s voice sounded distracted. “Ah here it is, a note that authorisation was via courier, who carried on them appropriate consent.”

Haldar asked, casually. “Are you allowed to tell us what genotypes were made, just so we know what the samples are?”

Janson replied without pause. “You have the samples, you can work it out for yourself within a few months, and hence confidentiality isn’t breached by telling you. There was a range of genotypes created. Some were standard; for some reason field workers are popular. We assume that people buy many genotypes with the intention that the out-crossing will produce hybrid vigour whilst keeping the docility. Also there were maintenance techs...”

Here Haldar interrupted, “Are they the three foot tall idiot savants?”

“The preferred term is ‘appropriately sized, with appropriate intelligence’” Janson answered smoothly, “But yes, they’re the ones. We also have here a short run of thin atmosphere types. They’re unusual; we probably had an order in when we were working on the sample, and produced a few because patrons obviously want a wide variety of genotypes in their new population.”

Haldar asked, “So all these would be available in both male and female then?”

“Yes. Obviously you’d need a population which bred true, but there are only certain traits that you would lock in, other traits would be allowed to drift to try and counter the effect of having too small a gene pool.”

“You said they were the standard ones, were there any non-standard ones?” 

Janson’s voice remained emotionless. “Yes, several different types. There was a female escort variant; these are widely popular on a huge variety of worlds. There was also a male variant.”
“A male escort?” Haldar asked.

“Yes, more specialist, tailored to suit the more specialist and discerning male and female clientele. We tend to enhance the musculature as well as make them naturally depilated.” Janson seemed to be contemplating something. “There is one here I must confess that I never noticed. A naturally coprophagous modification, created with the idea being that they would be maintenance techs for a sewage system.” Janson seemed to be musing aloud. “An interesting concept, bold even; but I cannot understand why there was an insistence on a strong hereditability of facial features.”

“Oh I can,” said Toulis quietly.

Janson seemed to be lost in thought so Haldar asked, “Is that it?” 

“I think that is all I can tell you; given the samples you have fetched me.” 

“Can you give me an idea of how many may have been born?”

Janson was briefly silent. “No, that isn’t data we collect. But I can tell you that over seven thousand units were delivered, and the facility was live for some years. So assuming standard work rates, perhaps four thousand are now implanted or have experienced parturition.” 

“And all these produce self replicating populations?” 

“No, both male and female escorts are naturally infertile. Clients seem to prefer it.”

Toulis said in a small voice, “I think I need a drink. Does coprophagous mean what I think it means?”
“Dung eating,” Bartan answered, “We’ve a fine selection of coprophagous insects on New Charity.” As Toulis stared at him he added, defensively, “We’re an agricultural world, everyone knows this kind of stuff.”

Haldar turned away from his two colleagues and looked back to Janson. “My superiors will probably be in touch with Grorin-tech. Until then I am sure you can understand that we would be grateful if you didn’t discuss this discussion with anyone outside your organisation.” 

“And especially with our client?” Janson asked.

“I would not like it to prejudice our investigation.”

Janson’s voice remained impassive. “I doubt the topic will arise in discussion, and if not raised, we will not raise it.” Janson pressed a button. “Our doorman will escort you out.”

* * *

Toulis slumped in a chair at the nearest bar. “Wayland Strang is going to go berserk,” he intoned, to on one in particular. Bartan thrust a drink into his hand. Toulis looked at the drink without it appearing to register. “He’ll kill us all, and probably everyone else as well.”

Bartan guided Toulis’ hand to his mouth. “Come on, drink up. It might not be that bad.”
“Not that bad? I’ve got to waltz into his office and say ‘excuse me Sir, but six years ago someone very senior in your organisation handed your DNA over to Grorin-tech and now you’re the proud father of a race of shit eating, barely sentient, sewer maintenance techs.” He drank off his drink in one. “Oh yes, and every tart and catamite in fifty systems is going to look like you as well.” Toulis drained his glass. “And there is nothing he can do about it. His children are out there on scores of worlds.”
Click here to buy Justice 4.1 from Amazon US / Amazon UK

About the Author:

Jim Webster’s first book burst onto an uncaring world in 2011, but in truth he’d been a professional writer for thirty or more years before that as a freelance journalist. 

His books, whether Fantasy or Science Fiction tend to be adventure stories. One reviewer commented that “He writes some excellent fight scenes, action packed but believable. He also writes with a whimsical humour which I very much enjoy.”

In spite of all this he has been married to the same long suffering lady for almost thirty years, has three daughters, farms a bit and drinks too much good coffee.

Some, but not all of the above, can be explained away by pointing out he lives near, but not in, the fine Metropolis of Barrow-in-Furness.

My Books on Goodreads