Michael Jones, a young gay artist and part-time hooker, 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 Michael becomes caught between the unforgiving territory of smoky-bar Hackney and the green-garden luxury of upper class London, the consequences of his uncompromising pursuit leave him having to fight for all he holds dear, and in the only way he knows how.
I have just republished gay romantic thriller The Bones of Summer on the Kindle for 99p only. It’s the second in the Maloney crime series, but both books can be read as standalone stories.
Here’s the blurb:
When Craig Robertson’s religious fanatic father disappears, Craig is forced to return to the home he left behind after an underage affair in order to look for answers. He takes with him his new lover, private investigator Paul Maloney, who is more than willing to help solve the mystery.
The search soon becomes an investigation into Craig’s past, and, because of distressing gaps in his memory, he’s terrified of the truths he might find. As Craig’s obsession with uncovering clues grows, his fragile relationship with Paul begins to disintegrate. Haunted and stalked, Craig has to face down the horror of his memories if he wants to have any hope of a future at all.
The Bones of Summer was awarded third place in the inaugural 2009 Rainbow Mystery Fiction Awards.
“All I can do is recommend that you read The Bones of Summer. Actually, this goes beyond recommendation to a plea – if you like mystery; if you like character driven books; if you like reading compulsively, unable to part with the story for even a short time; then you must read this book.” [From a 5+ star review at Jessewave Reviews]
“The Bones of Summer by Anne Brooke is an exceptionally well written and thrilling mystery novel. This novel grabbed a hold of me almost immediately and would not let go. I found myself reading until the early morning hours. The last few chapters are especially chilling and will stay with me for a long time.” [From a 4.5 star review at Romance Junkies Reviews]
“Well, Anne Brooke has done it to me again. I read the first book in the series (Maloney’s Law) where Paul Maloney, a broken man, was the main character. At the end of the book, he met Craig Robertson and even though they didn’t end up together, they established a connection. This is Craig’s story. And what a story it is.” [From a 4-star review at Mrs Condit Reviews]
Here’s the buy link at Amazon for you: myBook.to/BonesBrooke
Every good wish for a great summer
There’s a half-price sale of suspense and thriller fiction at Amber Quill Press untilFriday! So, if you’re a non-EU reader, you can get ALL THREE of my gay thrillers at discount prices:
“… good and well written…It focuses on religious obsession and how people twist and perverse faith into abnormality and loses the very point of it…you’ll like this one.” — Thommie, MM Good Book Reviews
Happy reading to all.
Simon Hartstongue, accompanied by the mind-cane and the snow-raven, must travel back to the land he came from to offer support to the people he once tried to kill. From Gathandria, Annyeke Hallsfoot endeavours to help him but her attentions are focused on rebuilding the city after the wars.
Alone and faced with the anger of his people and hindered by the fragility of Ralph Tregannon’s leadership, Simon has to find a way to bring healing to a dying country and to renew his relationship with Ralph. But the odds and time itself are stacked against him.
Here’s someone who actually liked it:
This series was nothing as I expected. I was drawn deeper with each chapter til I couldn’t wait to pick up the book at every spare moment. It was beautifully written and I hope there will be more. Thank you Ms Brooke. (5 star review at Amazon)
Alternatively, you might absolutely hate it like this person:
Could not finish the book…and I hate that. It made me create a “Boring Books” collection on my Kindle. The whole trilogy went in! (2 star review at Amazon)
The choice is yours, eh! And really I feel quite proud to be in someone’s collection at all …
At the same time, it’s Day Four of the special half-price sale of ALL my Amber Quill Press books so hurry along for your weekend treat! You can choose from a range of my gay fiction, including thrillers, romance, paranormal and comedy, so there’s something for everyone there.
Happy reading. Try not to get too bored, tee hee …
Agents. They’re a rum lot, I can tell you. I appreciate everyone under the writing sun tells you to get an agent (well, everyone except one lovely crime writer at a writers’ conference I used to attend, who said they weren’t much point and she’d got rid of hers – good move, madam!) as they’re the best thing for any level of writer. Frankly, my dears, I’ve always had huge amounts of trouble with them and I am happy now to be very much agent-free. As far as I’m concerned, literary agents are the Work of the Devil – or as near to it as makes no difference.
The very first agent I ever met in the days when I was a young and innocent writer (many centuries ago now) was a hot-shot star from a hot-shot agency. Apparently. I’d been unlucky enough to get a slot with her at the writers’ conference mentioned above and had even gone so far as to (as requested) send her a pre-conference package of the novel I was currently working on. This happened to be gay social comedy, The Hit List. At a very early draft indeed.
Anyway, I rocked up to my fiercely timetabled slot with Mrs Hot-Shot who then proceeded to tear me apart for my appallingly bad writing skills for ten minutes, culminating in the triumphant words: this novel is unpublishable, unmarketable and unreadable. But, please, do carry on writing. It’s always good to have a nice hobby.
I was devastated. I don’t remember much about the rest of the conference, except trying hard not to weep and to look normal to anyone who asked how my appointment had gone. I do remember another agent totally blanking me in the ladies toilets though, even though, an hour before my appointment with Mrs Hot-Shot, she’d been quite pleasant. Obviously the word had gone round about what an appalling writer I was, and therefore I was not even worth a passing smile.
Hey ho. After that, I didn’t write anything for another three months as my confidence was shot to pieces in every way. Still, when I told my lovely husband what Mrs H-S had said to me (when he could make out the words between the hysterical sobbing, the latter of which lasted astonishingly for a whole weekend), he did say that surely ever Booker Prize winning novel since time began was unpublishable, unmarketable and unreadable, and so a glittering career obviously beckoned. What a hero, eh. Even if no glittering career ever transpired, it was still a wonderful thing to say, and it helped me get back to writing, in the end.
Interestingly, later on, The Hit List was published by a small press, is still on their list (ho ho) and does okayish. So it can’t have been all bad then. Agents, eh – what the heck do they know?
Not much is the answer. And they certainly know nothing about human courtesy or interaction. I went to a few more events at the same writers’ conference for a while, until common sense and sanity kicked in. No agent ever came good for me – though two more at a later conference did say they absolutely loved the first three chapters of lesbian thriller Thorn in the Flesh, talked about it with me for a long time, and both ended by saying please please please please could I send them the rest of it as soon as possible. Naturally, full of shocked joy and hope, I did.
More fool me. One of these two agents never ever replied, in spite of a couple of very polite prompts, and the other simply sent the whole thing back with no comment after four months. Perhaps they’d spoken to Mrs H-S Agent in the interim, eh? Still, by then, I’d learnt to roll more with the constant punches, and so only sobbed for a day and started writing again after one month. Ah the joys of progress.
Really, you wouldn’t wish this kind of life on your worst enemy.
So, no more conference appointments. There was no point. I did try my luck later on with another couple of agents directly, however. I sent gay literary thriller A Dangerous Man to a well-known agent at another major agency. She loved it, and kept telephoning up for chats about it and talking about where she could try to sell it. She refused to offer me a contract, however, and said that she would only do so if she managed to interest a publisher in it.
This, to me, seemed to go against all the writing advice I’d ever heard of. Indeed, later on, two authors did say it was unethical and not anything they’d come across before. Still, desperate for some measure of success (ha!), I held faith with her for a couple of months or so, but gradually the phone calls vanished away. I sent a couple of enquiring emails, but there was no response, and I never heard from her again. Still, it would have been nice to know if I’d ever actually been a client of hers at all, or just a passing entertainment for said agent when she had nothing better to do.
Nonetheless, A Dangerous Man was later published by the same press who took The Hit List, and these days people either love it or absolutely hate it, but every so often a copy or two does sell, which is nice.
My last experience with agents was when I actually (goodness me indeed!) managed to get one for gay crime thriller Maloney’s Law. I honestly couldn’t believe it and was in a state of total euphoria for a while, but I needn’t have been. Even though, this time, I had a real-life contract, my agent never bothered to meet me – even when Maloney’s Law was shortlisted for an award for books set in London, and we were both supposed to attend the ceremony. He cancelled at the last minute as something more important came up. Story of my life, eh – but I should have been warned …
Of course, the new agent never managed to sell it anywhere, and I had to find a publisher for it myself in the end. So that was as much good as styling your hair in a wind-tunnel. Later again, he expressed himself gripped by The Gifting, the first book in the Gathandrian Trilogy, and “hugely excited” about taking it to all the major fantasy publishers, particularly bearing in mind the fact that fantasy fiction was his speciality.
Dream on. Over the course of the next year, as he was touting it round, none of the publishers he was supposed to have such close links with ever responded to him at all. Not even an acknowledgement or a rejection. Just a terrible, terrible silence, for a whole year.
Finally I came to my senses and it dawned on me just how much agents were a total waste of time and energy, so I ditched him. Honestly, people, agents promise the world but in the end give you absolutely zilch. So since that time I’ve either gone with a range of small genre publishers or simply published my fiction myself. I don’t sell very many books at all of course, but by an equal measure, I thankfully miss out on the rollercoaster ride of potential astonished joy and inevitable agonised defeat that agents put you through. And that’s worth a great deal indeed.
So, my advice is: agents – don’t trust them. They are never, ever, your friends and they come very close indeed to being the Work of the Devil. Avoid at all costs!
Ah, the crazy rollercoaster ride of the writing life. After the disappointment of this morning’s rejection (see Blog 5) comes the joy of a 5-star Amazon review for gay thriller Maloney’s Law, an extract of which is below:
“This is a powerful, propulsive thriller that grabs you, on page one, and never lets you go. It’s so well-written, the characters, the action, the settings, the emotions, that I was mesmerized by the sheer talent and skill of Ms. Brooke. It is such a pleasure to read gay-themed literature that’s professionally edited, written as well as any best-seller, and deals with the gay issues as a sort of sidebar – it’s not the plot, it’s just what is. I shall read as much of Ms. Brooke’s writing as I can get my hands on. I strongly recommend that you do the same.”
Gosh, that’s put a smile on my Old Hag face.
Writerly Confidence Rating: 10+ (hey, it won’t last so don’t panic …)