Monday, 3 July 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Lost and Found


Lost and found

I can’t keep my eyes off him. The way he stands there, leaning against the post that once upon a time held a door, glaring into the establishment that has recently become my home away from home, I can’t help being intrigued. His posture and gaze suggest strength, power, and more than a little menace — all traits which should frighten me. And yet, I find it impossible to tear my gaze away from him, even after he’s caught me staring more than once.

I should be used to creatures like him by now. After all, while I don’t remember how I ended up in this world, I do know for a fact that I’ve been here for thirty-three days, eleven hours and forty-nine minutes — but who’s counting? I’ve seen it all, at least I think so. It’s hard to imagine there could be more creatures. The giants and the dwarves, the elves and the orcs, the unicorns, centaurs, dragons and leprechauns are just those I recognised and could put a name to. In fact, everything I’d be taught didn’t exist has crossed my path here. And I’ve learned to be weary. Where I came from humans like me ruled the world to the point of destroying it without care for those we shared it with. Here? In this new world I’m nothing but an after-thought, an also ran. The only reason I haven’t been killed yet is that nobody perceives me as a threat.

Take him, whatever he is — too large to be an elf but nowhere near big enough to be classified as a giant and too good looking to be in anyway related to orcs — he could snap me in two with one hand tied behind his back. And still, something draws me to him. It is as if an invisible thread, some weird form of magnetism, connects us. I’m all too aware that the only way to stay safe is to remain in the background, and yet, the urge to close the distance between us and connect with him becomes harder to resist with every passing moment.

The cat that’s been my constant companion since I first woke up in this world, abandons its usual perch on my shoulders, jumps to the floor and casually saunters over to the creature. It circles his feet a few times, as if sussing him out, before rubbing its head against his booted calf and staring at me intently. Is it trying to tell me something?

I resist the demand in my cat’s gaze for as long as I can, but when I look up in an effort to evade it I find the creature staring at me with equal intensity. My free will shuts down and I leave my seat. Putting one foot in front of the other without knowing why and against my better judgement, I close the distance between us. As soon as I stand in front of the stranger, who’s even bigger up close, my cat jumps up and settles on my shoulder again.

“I belong to you.” His voice is deep and its timbre makes my blood flow faster.

“You do,” I reply without understanding what’s happening or why. “Let’s go.”

He turns without another word. When he walks off I follow, while the cat purrs happily into my ear.

****

554 words.

Okay, the above is obscure and feels more like the start of a story than anything else, but hey…it’s what wanted to be written. And who knows, I may actually turn it into something longer at some point.


More stories based on the same image will be posted in the Monday Flash Fics group on Facebook. Go check them out!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Dublin VirtuesTrilogy: One Release and Two Special Offers

It is all happening today and I’m all kinds of excited. For starters, today Renewal, the third book in the Dublin Virtues Trilogy releases across all platforms.



Blurb

When everything changes, can renewal bring redemption?
Shane Boyle left Dublin for America, burning most of his bridges, certain his future lay in Florida. When a family crisis forces him back to the city he grew up in, he knows his life will never be the same again. With his sister close to death, his mother and five-year-old nephew Danny need him not just to be around but also to be the rock they can depend on. Torn between panic about his new responsibilities and despair at his impending loss, love and a relationship are the last thing on his mind.
Chris Anderson left Australia for Dublin ten years ago with no intention of ever going back. For reasons he can’t explain, even to himself, he hasn’t been in a relationship for almost as long as he’s been in Ireland. Now thirty-five years old, he wonders what happened to his dream of a lasting bond and a family to call his own.
When Shane and Chris hook up one night in a pub, neither knows that the next day they’ll meet again, this time as colleagues in a tattoo parlour. Chris has no idea about Shane’s dodgy past and Shane can’t figure out the mountain of a man who refuses to take no for an answer. Having to reinvent his whole life is only the start of Shane’s process of renewal. Will Chris turn out to be his savior or his downfall?

If you’d like to know more and/or get a preview, you can find a not quite safe for work excerpt here, on the Pride Publishing Website.


But there’s more. To celebrate that the full trilogy is now available, the first book in the series, Patience, has been discounted to $.99/€.99/£.99



And, as if that wasn’t enough, Equality will be discounted too and made available for $2.99/€2.99/£1.99.



If ever there was a time to get the full series, it is now. But, you want to be quick, these discounts won’t last forever!




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Double the fun


Two years ago today I and many others in Ireland held our breath while we awaited the result of the Marriage Equality referendum. Of course we now all know that the outcome was exactly what we hoped it would be; the majority of Irish voters had indeed voted in favour of equality.

I would love to be able to say that two years later Ireland is a paradise of equality where all traces of phobia and discrimination have been eliminated, but unfortunately the situation is not quite that ideal yet. Only last weekend a prominent gay bar in Dublin was defaced with painted on swastikas, much to the horror of the vast majority of Irish people.

But, on the other side of the spectrum, it is becoming ever more likely that in just a few weeks’ time Ireland will have a gay Taoiseach (Prime Minister). And whatever issues some people may have with Leo Varadkar and his politics, him being gay doesn’t appear to be one of them.

But, back to today’s date. How appropriate is it that Equality, the second book in my Dublin Virtues Trilogy should be released on the anniversary of the Equality referendum? Especially, since the story takes place during the weeks leading up to that vote and features the ‘Yes Equality’ campaign.



The blurb

Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?


And if you follow the Pride Publishing link you will be able to read an excerpt.



And now for the ‘double’ part of this post’s title. You see, Equality going on general release isn’t the only thing worth celebrating today. As it happens the third book in the trilogy, Renewal, will be available for early download on the Pride Publishing website from today too!

The blurb

When everything changes, can renewal bring redemption?

Shane Boyle left Dublin for America burning most of his bridges and with no intention of returning, certain his future lay in Florida. When a family crisis forces him back to the city he grew up in, he knows his life will never be the same again. With his sister close to death, his mother and five-year-old nephew Danny need him not just to be around but also to be the rock they can depend on. Torn between panic about his new responsibilities and despair at his impending loss, love and a relationship are the last thing on his mind.

Chris Anderson left Australia for Dublin ten years ago with no intention of ever going back. For reasons he can’t explain, even to himself, he hasn’t been in a relationship for almost as long as he’s been in Ireland. Now thirty-five-years old, he wonders what happened to his dream of a lasting bond and a family to call his own.

When Shane and Chris hook up one night in a pub, neither knows that the next day they’ll meet again, this time as colleagues in a tattoo parlour. Chris has no idea about Shane’s dodgy past, and Shane can’t figure out the mountain of a man who refuses to take no for an answer. Having to reinvent his whole life is only the start of Shane’s process of renewal. Will Chris turn out to be his saviour or his downfall?

Early Download Date: 23rd May 2017
General Release Date: 20th June 2017 

Buy link: Pride Publishing


This link will also give you the opportunity to read a not entirely safe for work excerpt.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Monday Flash Fics: Rainbows


Rainbows

“And go”.

Big G pushed out his arm, unclenching his fist at the same time. A stream of bright light burst from the dark clouds, hit the ground, and bounced back up again. “They deserve a reward,” he said.

Little g watched in awe as Big G unleashed his power and bathed the tiny green island in explosion after explosion of vivid rainbows. Fields, mountains, and cities lit up, the colours in the sky matching those worn by many of those out and about.

“Do you think they understand?”

Big G sighed. “I’m not sure, little one. Some will see and recognise it for what it is: our vote of approval. Others will just put it down to a happy coincidence, and unfortunately, there will be plenty who will barely notice the beauty, never mind consider the message.

“Then why can’t we be more specific?” Little g asked the same question he’d been asking almost every single day ever since they’d been created. “If they knew for sure that we’re here, watching and waiting, if we told them what we expect from them, surely they’d be likely to comply?”

Big G grimaced. “And prove once and for all that we’re real? Look at the damage all their organised religions are doing. And that’s without them knowing for sure whether or not we exist.” His usually jovial face suddenly looked pinched; the corners of his mouth turned down and tears gleaming in his eyes. “Until we can trust them to not abuse the existence of an otherworldly power we need to stay hidden and bide our time. As much as I would like to lessen their burden, take away the pain and suffering, they’ll have to earn it first.” His voice grew louder and for a moment little g worried he might set of a ferocious thunderstorm. “Unless the majority of these humans show us they know how to be tolerant and treat each other with respect and honour, they don’t deserve our support.”

“These people did.” Little g nodded in the direction of the small landmass beneath them. “And they’re not the first. Surely that means they’re getting there?”

“You’ve obviously not been paying attention.” Big G slipped into teacher mode automatically. “Or you only see what you want to see. It is, as it has always been, two steps forward and one step back. Every positive development is followed by a backlash from those who feel threatened by good happening to others.” The sadness in his voice was heartbreaking. “I’m still waiting for the day when they all work together for the betterment of everybody.”

“Do you think they’ll ever reach that point?” Little g asked the question, dreading the answer as much as he needed to hear it.

Big G sighed. “God only knows.”

****

476 words
So yes, I’m a bit whimsical this week. I couldn’t help myself. But on the day that Ireland celebrates the second anniversary of the day we got to vote for Marriage Equality, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to both commemorate that occasion and reflect on the fact that we still have an awful lot to do before the whole world will be a more equal place. 

As always, more stories based on this image can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Facebook group. I do hope you’ll go and check them out.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Monday Flash Fics - Then and Now



Then and Now

“It almost looks like home, doesn’t it?”

For reasons he couldn’t quite explain, even to himself, Josh whispered the words. It had something to do with not wanting to upset the mood, a — probably unfounded — fear that any loud sounds might shatter the sight in front of him, destroy the beauty. He’d seen his world destroyed once and wasn’t sure he’d survive it a second time.

Mario squeezed his hand, their entwined fingers pressing closer together. “Your home maybe, it’s nothing like mine. I come from the dessert, remember.”

For a moment Josh diverted his gaze from the stunning vista in front of him and gazed at his companion. He had forgotten. Funny how that worked. His past was so very vivid in his mind. His carefree youth; followed by the growing realisation that the world he lived in wasn’t a mostly friendly or safe place. And then the days when it had been clear to all that disaster had become unavoidable; the only remaining question being whether the planet would self-destruct or human madness would cause its demise. He pushed the memories away. They didn’t serve any purpose. What had happened was behind them and lingering on everything they’d lost would only lead to madness.

“You’re right.” He smiled before turning to the stunning view in front of them again. “I did forget we’ve never seen anything like this together before.”

“So, did it look exactly like this, where you come from?” Mario asked with awe in his voice.

“Not exactly. The scenery is pretty close but the colours are all wrong. I’m sure my sky was the exact same hue of blue as it was above your sand dunes. But we did have a boat and my father… He choked up as memories of all he’d lost sprang to live in his mind again. “He used to take me out on the lake and we’d cast our nets. There’s nothing quite like fresh fish cooked over a wood fire.”

“Maybe we’ll be able to do that together some day.” Mario suggested.

Together. The only good thing to come out of the whole disaster had been connecting with Mario. Josh sometimes felt guilty when he realised that if it hadn’t been for the disaster, if either of them had been unlucky enough not to be picked up, he wouldn’t have know the man he’d grown to love existed. Would he be able to give Mario up if it meant he could fix the past? Josh was grateful it wasn’t a decision he’d ever have to make.

A previously unseen flock of birds took the sky, screeching as they flew off and scattering the peace and quiet they’d been enjoying. As if on cue both Mario and Josh’s buzzers went off.

“No rest for the wicked.” Mario cupped Josh’s chin and kissed him deeply. “But, there’s no reason we can’t come back.”

“Or visit your dessert,” Josh replied before adding, “kill visuals.”

****

492 words. 

As always, more stories based on the same image can be found in the Monday Flash Fic Group on Facebook. 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Monday Flash Fics - To the Rescue



To the Rescue

His job was done. He studied the chaos he’d created and wondered if it would be good enough. If he’d failed — again — he would be without a job, and would thus lose one of only two things that mattered to him. Provided of course he didn’t lose the other item of importance too.

A sharp whistle had him raise his head and squint into the distance. His breath faltered, as it always did in moments like this. It really wasn’t fair to think of Corey as a thing, or an item, but sometimes it was easier that way. The connection was so very fragile; if he gave it or Corey too much significance he’d open himself up for a universe filled with pain.

Very slowly, as if he had to persuade his feet to take each subsequent step, he walked to where Corey waited for him with a small smile tugging at his lips as he shook his head.

“What has gotten into you this time, Magnus?”

He stopped walking a few feet away from Corey and turned to face the endless seeming sea of footwear scattered across the avenue.

“I’d hoped it was self-explanatory.” He didn’t turn back to face Corey again, unwilling to meet the disappointment and disapproval he knew he’d find written all over his features.

Shock coursed through him, when Corey wrapped his arms around Magnus’ middle and pulled him close. “Explain it to me.” The words were barely a whisper, breathed into his ear more than spoken.

“My orders were to create an installation that would make an indelible impression. To give them a message they wouldn’t be able to ignore.”

Corey chuckled. “I know. I gave you those instructions, remember?”

Magnus shuddered. He remembered only too well. Just as everything else Corey had said only a week ago was etched on his memory. ‘Don’t fuck this up. This really is your last shot and you have no idea how hard I’ve had to bargain to get you one more chance.’

“I took two days to study their history. Even if most of those alive now weren’t around the last time images of abandoned shoes shocked the world, there aren’t many who haven’t seen them, who don’t know what they refer to.”

“And what’s that?” Corey asked.

“Total destruction. Annihilation.” For a moment Magnus forgot all about his own precarious situation as anger coursed through him. “You have no idea what these creatures are capable off. I’m not sure they deserve rescuing.”

“That’s not up to us.” Corey’s voice was soft and so were the lips caressing Magnus’ cheek for an all too brief moment. “But, for what it’s worth, I think you’re right. Both about what you’ve done here and in your judgement of the people on this planet. If they don’t’ get the message now, they’re not worth saving.”

Surprised, Marcus turned around, only for the emotion to turn into shock when he saw the fire glowing in Corey’s beautiful deep purple eyes.

“Come. We have to go.” Corey took his hand and led the way toward their vessel, waiting on the square a few hundred meters ahead of them. “For once you are spot on. If the inhabitants of this planet can’t get their shit together after this warning, they deserve the slow and painful destruction they’re heading towards.”

Magnus knew he should feel sorry for the people he’d be leaving behind as soon as they took off. The few individuals he’d actually interacted with during his short time here had not seemed bad or evil. The thought didn’t linger though, as he lost himself in the sheer relief of having found approval and the hope that it meant he and Corey would be allowed to stay together.

“So,” he asked. “What planet needs rescuing next?”

****

634 words

Yes, I went somewhat political this week. It’s very hard not too when the news seems to be getting more depressing and scary by the day. Having said that, this idea was inspired by something Alexis Woods said in the Monday Flash Fics Group, as much as it was by this image.


As always more stories based on this image can be found in the aforementioned Facebook group and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to check them out.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Equality (Dublin Virtues #2) Available for Early Download


Equality Matters

Okay, I’m going to be honest, and make myself somewhat vulnerable in the process, this book, Equality, is very close to my heart.

Obviously, you’ll find some part of me in every book I’ve written and every story I’m yet to write. But Equality is different. The connection I feel to this book goes deeper.

I was present while the back story in Equality, the Irish marriage equality referendum, took place. I sat here, in the same chair I’m sitting in now, shouting at the radio when those who supported a no-vote got their five minutes of airtime.

And I cursed the fact that I had to work the day the count took place and the result would be announced. In the end the official announcement wasn’t made until after I was home again, but that didn’t stop me from having Twitter and several news websites open on my work computer all day.

Why was I so invested in the result,you ask?

It’s a good question.

I had nothing to win or lose that day. The outcome of that referendum wasn’t going to make a real change in my life one way or another. Except that the yes-majority we ended up with meant that my world had gotten a bit more equal than it had been only twenty-four hours earlier. Except that yet another barrier between people had been torn away.
In the book Lorcan, reluctantly, makes a speech in front of a potentially hostile audience, part of which I’ll share here.

****

“I realize this isn’t a comfortable subject for most of you. Trust me, it isn’t easy for me, either. It never was.” Lorcan paused, as if he wasn’t sure how to go on, and for a moment Eric was convinced he was about to step away from the microphone and sit down again. Eric imagined he could hear Lorcan’s deep sigh before he continued. “You’re being asked to vote in favor of something you’ve always been told is wrong. Most of you are certain people like me are an abomination in the eyes of God.”

Eric saw several people nod in agreement.

“But don’t you feel that thinking along those lines amounts to accusing God of making countless mistakes? God, we’ve been told, is almighty. God is infallible. If that is true, then why are gay children being born every day? Because believe me when I say that none of us woke up one morning and decided to be gay out of spite, or out of some deep-rooted desire to be different. Far from it. When I first realized I was attracted to men, I hated myself. I didn’t want to be the odd one out. All I desired was to be the same as everybody else—to fit in. And I don’t. I can’t begin to explain how much it hurts when you’re being treated as different, less than others, just because you were born a certain way.”

Lorcan paused again and Eric braced himself, convinced someone in the audience would start heckling any moment, but silence reigned supreme. Eric didn’t think it would have been his approach, but maybe honest and vulnerable was the way to win over the crowd.

“We’re not asking for special treatment. All we want is to be treated the same way as you. This vote isn’t about whether or not you understand or approve of homosexuality. It has nothing to do with raising and adopting children. All a Yes vote would ensure is that we will be a little bit less separate from the rest of society. We just want to be equal. Nothing is going to change for you. Your marriages will still be as good or as bad as they are right now—your weddings still as lavish or as simple as you want them to be. Voting Yes won’t cost you anything and will give so very much.”

****

Many, if not all, of the arguments Lorcan uses in his speech have been spoken by me on more than one occasion during the run-up to the referendum and since.

Because all those arguments unfortunately still need to be heard. There are still far more countries without marriage equality than countries in which it has been established. In Chechnya gay men are being rounded up and transported to what can only be described as concentration camps. There’s the current situation in America where Republicans appear to be falling all over themselves to reverse equality laws, while they have a complete majority and a president who… Okay, I won’t go there right now. Just as I’ll refrain from diving head first into a diatribe against the constantly erupting shit-storms on social media, much as they break my heart and enrage me.

This book is close to my heart because I can’t believe in anything but ‘Equality’. I don’t want to be faced with a constant struggle of ‘them’ versus ‘us’. I want to live in a world where all of us only need one label: human. A world in which every person can be their own, individual, and unique self. A world in which ‘Equality’ encompasses all, without exception.

And that’s why both Equality and this post are far more personal than I’m strictly comfortable with.


About the book



Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barrett has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and now can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and had always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together, until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a Yes vote cost them their relationship, or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?

Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis
Early Download Release: April 25, 2017
General Release: May 23, 2017
Buy Link: Pride Publishing
Pre-order Links: Amazon US| Amazon UK