Monday 30 November 2015

On NaNoWriMo and a New Release

According to the calendar I’ve still got today before November ends and NaNoWriMo is over, but I officially finished writing for this month yesterday. And I have to say I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved.

The plan was to write the second book in a Dublin trilogy I’m working on. I know it is a cliché, but this story really did write itself and I was finished with it AND had reached my NaNo word count by November 21st

Keeping an eye on my daily and overall word count made me curious about how many words I would end up writing in total this month, so I decided to create a spreadsheet in which I not only tracked the words I wrote for the new book—working title Equality— but also my flash fictions and guest posts.

Just when I thought I had done all the writing I needed to do this month, I realised that the developments in Equality meant the first book—Patience— which I thought I was more or less finished with, could do with three more chapters. Of course those words were added to the spreadsheet too, and brought the grand total for the month to 67401. Imagine what I could achieve if I managed to write as much every month of the year J For the curious, here’s a screenshot of my spreadsheet.

As coincidence (or not) would have it, Scenes from Adelaide Road, which goes on general release tomorrow, was written during NaNoWriMo last year. I’ll share all the information about this book below, but won’t add an excerpt. If you’d like to get a glimpse at the book you can find excerpts here and here, and two more excerpts will be shared during my visits to various blogs over the next two weeks.

Because I thought it might be nice to share some original fiction here I’ve decided to give you a small glimpse at Patience. Please keep in mind that the following scene, in which Xander and Troy share their first kiss, is unedited.

Troy wasn’t entirely sure if it happened by accident or if it had been his intention all along, but when he took the card from Xander, his fingers stroked Xander’s hand. He saw Xander’s throat work as he swallowed and realized the artist was as affected by their proximity as Troy was.

The silence between them, as they stared at each other should have been uncomfortable but felt natural. When they simultaneously shortened the distance between them, Troy wasn’t surprised at all. The kiss, when it happened, was soft and sweet...until it wasn’t. Troy had no idea when it changed or who had been the driving force behind the transition but within seconds the soft meeting of lips had turned into a heated battle between tongues. He raised his arm and grabbed the back of Xander’s neck, pulling him closer. God, the man tasted good. A soft groan escaped when he came up for air before losing himself in those lips, that tongue, those strong broad hands on his arse, pulling him close. He wanted more. He wanted skin on skin, dick on dick. Troy ground his crotch against Xander and it didn’t take a lot of imagination to visualise what it would look and feel like if both of them were naked.

“Sorry,” Xander pulled back, his heavy breathing and enlarged pupils belying his action. “I can’t do this right now.”

What the fuck? “You can’t do this right now? What does that even mean? Don’t tell me you don’t want it. I can taste your need, and it’s as urgent as mine.”


And that brings me to my new release:

Scenes from Adelaide Road
By Helena Stone

About the book:

Can a young man find the courage he never knew he had when faced with losing everything he holds dear?
A few months before his final exams in secondary school, nineteen-year-old Lennart Kelly discovers he’s inherited a house on Adelaide Road in Dublin from a grandfather he never knew. Having been ignored, bullied and abused for as long as he can remember, Lennart can’t wait to leave behind his father and the small town he grew up in. Moving away as soon as he finishes his exams doesn’t cure his deep-rooted insecurities though.
Meeting twenty-three-year-old Aidan Cassidy in a gay club on his second night in Dublin, scares Lennart. Used to being ignored and ridiculed, he doesn’t trust the attention he receives and can’t believe a man like Aidan could possibly be interested in him. It takes infinite patience and understanding from Aidan to slowly coax Lennart out of his shell.
But the past refuses to stay where it belongs and Lennart’s father is determined to take the house in Dublin off his son by whatever means necessary. Just when Lennart is learning to trust and embrace life, a violent attack threatens everything he holds dear. Suddenly Lennart is in danger of losing his house, the man he’s grown to love and maybe even his life. If Lennart wants to protect Aidan and safeguard his future, he’ll have to find the courage he never knew he had.

Ø  General Release: December 1, 2015

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Pages: 188

Genre: Contemporary Romance / MM / NA

Buy links: Pride Publishing                  

Link to book trailer: YouTube

About the Author:

Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.

Helena can be found in the following places:

Author website      GoodReads   Facebook     Twitter         Pinterest

Monday 23 November 2015

Monday Flash Fics: Paulie


I stare at the picture. I’ve never seen it before, although I now remember the moment. How appropriate I should stumble across it today of all days.

Was that the last moment of innocence? I try to look back further, to remember what life had been like before the picture was taken; the last photo they ever took of me. It’s a minor miracle those who came for me didn’t destroy it and, looking back, the fact that they allowed me to keep Paulie was even more amazing.

Paulie…I glance at the shoe box in the corner of the room, my vision going blurry.

Within a day after I’d drawn that picture my world had changed beyond recognition. No more parents, no more photos and no more painting. Whisked away without an explanation, unable to understand why my mammy wasn’t there to comfort me, or my father to put me on his shoulders and play horse with me. I never had a room of my own after that day. I’d had nothing I could call my own. The toys I was sometimes allowed to play with, the clothes they made me wear, all belonged to other kids; kids who were somehow better than me; kids who did get to ask for Christmas presents and have birthday parties.

But Paulie stayed with me. Curled up on my thin pillow every night, unless it was cold. Then he’d snuggle under the covers to keep my feet warm. Paulie who licked away my tears as understanding dawned and I realised my parents would never come back—that I was stuck with these people who were only in it for the money.

An all too familiar anger surges up in me before I squash it down again. I won’t give them anymore of my time, my emotions. They’ve taken enough—all of my childhood. They’re not getting the rest of my life too; I won’t allow them to dominate my thoughts and actions.

Fourteen years have passed since that picture was taken. Fourteen long years filled with fear, hunger and sometimes pain. The first ten years I waited for a miracle; the last four I just counted down until the day I would turn eighteen and be able to leave. Fourteen years during which Paulie kept me grounded—alive.

Two weeks ago I packed whatever meagre possessions I had. When I stood by the door they pushed a shoebox into my hands—the same box now sitting in the corner of the first room I’m not forced to share. I had no intention of opening the box, couldn’t imagine I’d find anything I would want to see in there. Today the choice was taken out of my hands.

I sigh and walk across the room and pick up the box. “Thank you my friend, for staying with me until I was safe. Thank you for keeping me warm and never allowing me to feel all alone.”  I glance at the photo again and the other documents I found when I emptied the box. “Thank you for making sure I have something to cling to, even now you’re gone.”


524 words

I’m so glad I managed to do a flash again after last week’s hiatus. This wonderful picture was suggested by Theo Fenraven and, as always, more stories based on the same image can be found on the Monday Flash Fics Page on Facebook. Make sure to read them since they’re wonderful J

Monday 16 November 2015

Flash Fiction Monday: Not a Flash but an Excerpt from Equality

For the first time in ages I didn’t write a flash fiction for today. I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo, and trying to write a full novel, at least 50k words long, in thirty days has been taking up all my time.

Because I didn’t want to let this week go by without sharing some new words with you, I’ll share a snippet from the story I’m working on. The working title for this book is Equality and the story is set in Dublin during the months leading up to the marriage equality referendum earlier this year.

In the scene below Lorcan has been asked to represent the Yes-campaign during a meeting in his hometown, Mullingar. He is both reluctant and worried about having to get up in front of an audience, but does so anyway. We see his performance through the eyes of his boyfriend, Eric.

The scene below has not been proof-read or edited; I hope you’ll enjoy it regardless. J


After over an hour of listening to all the reasons people should vote no, Eric wanted to scream. They were the same arguments he heard on radio and television every day and they didn’t get any less ridiculous just because people kept on repeating them.

“Thank you ladies and gentlemen. You’ve now heard the arguments from those who oppose the suggestion made in the referendum. For the sake of objectivity we thought it only fair to also invite someone from the yes campaign to say a few words.” The man on stage nodded at Lorcan who appeared to stiffen even more, if such a thing were possible, before getting up and slowly approaching the speaking platform. Eric’s heart beat increased as he worried about the man he loved and he said a silent prayer to the God he didn’t believe in for the words to flow and the audience not to be too hostile. He held his breath as he waited for Lorcan to start.

 “Thank you for allowing me to say a few words.”

Eric released the air he’d been holding as he stared at his boyfriend—if that was still true—and recognised the nervous tension on his face. Lorcan moved his head as if he wanted to memorize the faces of everybody in the hall for future reference.

“I know this isn’t an easy subject for most of you. Trust me, it isn’t easy for me either. It never was.” Lorcan paused, as if he didn’t know 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 favour 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 their heads 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 than why are gay children being born every day? Because believe me when I say 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 realised 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. There is no switch in my head I can turn so that I’m suddenly heterosexual. If there were, most of us would probably have made that change.”

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

“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 don’t want special treatment. 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.”

Lorcan looked up and his gaze sought Eric’s before he bowed his head and took a small step backwards.

“But what about the children!” An angry voice shouted from somewhere in the back of the hall. Eric turned to see who had spoken but was too late. When he looked at Lorcan again the man had gone through a transformation. The hesitation was gone and no sign of shyness or awkwardness remained as Lorcan all but glared at the crowd.

“Yes! The children. Let’s talk about them. Like I said. This referendum isn’t about whether or not a gay couple can adopt a child together. Children are all ready being raised by same-sex couples and legislation to facilitate that is separate from the marriage issue. But, if you are so worried about the children and their feelings, how can you possibly stand by as people proclaim, day after day, that the only way a child should be raised is by a heterosexual couple? How do you think that makes children who are now growing up with gay parents, or are being brought up by single parents, feel? Do you seriously think it’s a good idea to tell all those children they’re just not good enough? Because that’s what you’re doing. Just as you’re telling every child who is questioning their sexuality right now, and trying to come to terms with the fact that they don’t fit what society has decided is the norm, that they’re inferior. Don’t tell me you’re worried about the children if you’re prepared to hurt so many of them just to win your argument. Because let me tell you—it’s a fucking devastating feeling.”

Hesitant clapping started on Eric’s right and within moments other’s joined in. Eric’s heart swelled in his chest as he watched Lorcan fully relax for the first time in four days. He’d no doubt Lorcan knew as well as he did that he wouldn’t have convinced everyone. But, by the sound of it, he’d managed to make at least a few people think.


If you’re curious what other participants in Monday Flash Fics have been getting up to, please visit the Facebook page for their stories.

Monday 9 November 2015

Monday Flash Fics: A Dive into the Unknown

A Dive into the Unknown

The walk up to the launching platform is even more arduous than I expected. It’s strange. I’ve been looking forward to this day for exactly one year. Now it has arrived fear makes my feet heavy and the climb harder than it should be. What if my theory is a load of bullshit? What if I’ve just volunteered to throw myself into a watery grave?

The path behind me —the only possible way back — is blocked by a solid wall of human flesh and muscle; the three men following a few steps behind making sure I don’t turn back. Once anyone has started the climb, they must finish it. The only way off this road is by way of the platform, and once I’ve arrived there, I’ll have no choice but to make the sacrifice.

A fine mist wraps itself around me as soon as I step onto the plateau. I look down and there, to my right, I find exactly what I expect to see. They are looking up and waiting for me to take that final leap of faith. Last year I was one of them. I remember us standing there, looking up at Quinn. The others cheered and waved, encouraging him to launch himself into the dive and make it as beautiful as possible. The Wiseman says that our prosperity for the coming year depends on the flawlessness of the dive. Quinn’s was immaculate.

I tried to look and sound like the rest of them. Quinn and I had managed to keep our secret for five long years and I had no intention of betraying him at the last possible moment, but it was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

I take a few more steps and stop at the edge. Below me is water; the roar from the falls drowning out everything else. I’d been so sure I’d know the instant Quinn died. I’d prepared myself for the searing pain I expected to feel. I’d had the experience when my family died. Before anyone told me, I’d doubled over in anguish as if someone had stabbed me in the stomach. Last year Quinn dove, and I gathered myself, determined that no matter how bad the pain, I wouldn’t let it show. Nothing came; no stabbing sensation, no despair, no tears - only an overwhelming sense of peace.

That’s why, this year, I volunteered. The Wiseman prefers it when someone steps forward of their own volition. He says it makes for better karma. He smiled brightly when I raised my arm and told him I’d take the dive.

“It’s time.”

Bruno, the leader of my entourage grunts the word. My heart skips a few beats—whether from fear or excitement I don’t know. I push off and take flight.

I imagine I can hear them cheer over the sound of falling water. I know my dive is perfect. My body stretches and bows, I point my toes and reach with my fingers. I need to enter the wall of water before I reach the surface below. If I’m wrong, I’m only moments away from death. If my theory is right I should find….

My hands disappear into the falling water. There’s no time for a deep breath before my head and shoulders follow. I squeeze my eyes and wait.

This is no waterfall, it’s a falling lake. There’s no end to the water. My lungs scream, the urge to open my mouth and breathe is overwhelming while my mind screams it would mean certain death. Lights flash behind my closed lids. My final thought: I was wrong!

Then something, or someone, grabs my hands and pulls — hard.


610 words

This wonderful picture for this week’s flash was suggested by Theo Fenraven, who does seem to find the most amazing images. As always, other stories based on the same photo can be found in the Monday Flash Fics Facebook page.

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Scenes from Adelaide Road Available for Early Download

From today, Scenes from Adelaide Road is available for early download on Pride Publishing’s Website. It will go on general release on December 1st. The early release gives me a wonderful opportunity to share all the details with you J

The blurb:

Can a young man find the courage he never knew he had when faced with losing everything he holds dear?
A few months before his final exams in secondary school, nineteen-year-old Lennart Kelly discovers he’s inherited a house on Adelaide Road in Dublin from a grandfather he never knew. Having been ignored, bullied and abused for as long as he can remember, Lennart can’t wait to leave behind his father and the small town he grew up in. Moving away as soon as he finishes his exams doesn’t cure his deep-rooted insecurities though.
Meeting twenty-three-year-old Aidan Cassidy in a gay club on his second night in Dublin, scares Lennart. Used to being ignored and ridiculed, he doesn’t trust the attention he receives and can’t believe a man like Aidan could possibly be interested in him. It takes infinite patience and understanding from Aidan to slowly coax Lennart out of his shell.
But the past refuses to stay where it belongs and Lennart’s father is determined to take the house in Dublin off his son by whatever means necessary. Just when Lennart is learning to trust and embrace life, a violent attack threatens everything he holds dear. Suddenly Lennart is in danger of losing his house, the man he’s grown to love and maybe even his life. If Lennart wants to protect Aidan and safeguard his future, he’ll have to find the courage he never knew he had.

Buy links:    Pride Publishing              

Book Trailer:

The story in this book was inspired by a song written by my daughter, Tara Kennedy. Talented as she is, she combined her song with my words and wonderful pictures of Dublin to create the following book trailer. I hope you’ll enjoy it. If you're curious, a full version of Tara's song - Anything - as well as many other songs, can be found here: Soundcloud

Trailer:       YouTube


The scene I’m sharing in the excerpt below takes place shortly after Lennart first meets Aidan in a nightclub in Dublin, as can be read in the first excerpt I shared: here.

“You wanna dance?”
Every muscle in my body tensed at his suggestion. Imagining myself on the dance floor was one thing. To actually get up and move among the swaying crowd took far more confidence than I had.
Aidan didn’t give me a chance to say no. He got out of his chair and held out his hand. When I grabbed it he pulled me up and held on to my hand as he led the way to the middle of the floor.
The acoustics in the club were phenomenal. The difference between the volume levels on the dance floor and where we’d been sitting took me by surprise. Now, in the middle of the fray, the rhythm took hold of my body. I felt the heavy bass vibrating in the floor and travelling up my legs. I should have been too self-conscious to dance but I couldn’t resist the combination of beat and moving bodies. Almost against my will, my body swayed along with the rhythm. Pride filled me when a huge grin spread across Aidan’s face as he watched me crawl out of my shell. His hand, still holding mine, gave me the confidence to let go of my inhibitions for a minute.
I stopped thinking as I lost myself in the music. My usual shyness disappeared, the cynical voice in my head couldn’t be heard over the beat. Even Aidan letting go of my hand and throwing himself into the music couldn’t put a dent in my newfound confidence. This was what I’d hoped for when I moved to Dublin, this sense of freedom, the permission to be myself, and the opportunity to stop worrying about what impression I might be making on those around me.
“You move beautifully.”
Aidan’s voice only barely reached my ears but his words made me glow. We circled each other as we danced. I almost froze when Aidan got very close behind me and ground his crotch into my arse.
“Relax. It’s all good. Everybody here is just like you and me. Look.”
I did look. Between the smoke machines and the blinding lights, it wasn’t easy to see anybody in detail, which reassured me. If I couldn’t see them, they couldn’t see me. But what I did see showed me Aidan’s grinding was as innocent as interactions on this dance floor got. A lot of couples might have been having full on sex if it weren’t for the clothes they wore. Groins pressed into arses, hands explored the outlines of cocks and tonsil tennis appeared to be the taste of the day. And that was just the men. The female couples I spotted had no more inhibitions than their male counterparts. It was an exhilarating experience and my body couldn’t help but respond. The stirring in my pants as blood found its way to my cock felt both delicious and uncomfortable. Part of me couldn’t help but be afraid people might notice and make fun of me even while common sense told me I did not stand out in this crowd.
Songs ended and others started and our bodies moved. I’d never felt this good in my life. The sense of freedom was intoxicating. I remembered how I’d wanted to walk away from this club and Aidan. Gratitude for whatever it had been that had made me stay, filled me. My new life was turning out much better than I could have hoped.
The music changed. The beat all but disappeared as a much slower song started. I’d taken one step back towards where we’d been sitting when Aidan grabbed my shoulder and pulled me close. “Don’t walk away. This is where it gets real good.”
Not that I had much of a choice. With one hand holding the back of my neck and another just above my arse, I couldn’t have walked away without violently dislodging myself from his hold. No matter how much the closeness scared me, I didn’t want it to end and lose the opportunity to discover what it felt like to hold somebody’s body close to mine.
 When he pulled me closer I went. A sigh escaped me when our chests connected. With Aidan slightly taller than me, my nose ended up against his neck, just below his ear and I inhaled his aroma. Sweat combined with something earthy I couldn’t name, captivated me. I closed my eyes and surrendered to the heady combination of music and Aidan. Our crotches touched and the realisation my cock wasn’t the only one reacting to our closeness sent a rush through me. He moved his hips and I followed his movements. Our bodies rubbing off each other brought me pleasure and frustration in equal measure.
“I told you it would be good.”
Even with the music as loud as it was I could hear the heat in Aidan’s voice.
“I didn’t know.” The words escaped my mouth before I could think about them.
“Didn’t know how it would feel to dance with a man?”
I had no idea how to answer Aidan’s question. I couldn’t tell him I didn’t know what it might be like to do anything with a man, dancing, kissing, touching. I had no experience with any of it so I just shook my head and kept quiet.
“Hey, look at me.” Aidan’s voice was so soft I had to strain to hear him. “Enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a first for you. All of us had to start somewhere at some time.”
I didn’t know whether to be grateful or scared he saw right through me. How could he possibly know my thoughts and feelings? We’d only just met. He didn’t know me any better than I knew him and yet he seemed to have a very clear picture of who and what I was. I looked at him and saw something in his eyes that took my breath away. His heated gaze flicked from my eyes to my mouth and back again before he moved closer and pressed his lips against mine for a moment.
My body tensed and stopped moving. My heart thundered in my chest and my breathing sped up. I pulled back with enough force to break Aidan’s hold and stepped away. My gaze flew around the club until I’d located the exit. I strode towards it without looking at anybody, panic driving me forward. I vaguely heard my name and ignored it. I needed to get outside, away from all these people, away from the new experiences and away from all these feelings I didn’t know how to deal with.

Monday 2 November 2015

Monday Flash Fics: Up and Away

Up and Away

“Tom! Thomas! where are you?”

Charles tried to push the fear erupting in his stomach down again, but all his instincts told him it had happened at last. He’d been living in fear of it for most of their thirty years together and if he was right, his worst nightmare had just come to pass.

Charles wanted to blame Tom but couldn’t. Tom had been honest with him from the moment they’d met. Initially he’d only alluded to being different, but once they’d settled into a relationship, Tom had told the full story. Charles’ cheeks still burned red with shame when he thought back to how he’d reacted to Tom’s tale.

“You’re joking right? What am I missing? Do you celebrate April Fool’s Day in the middle of July?”

The pain he’d recognised in Tom’s features when he said those words was an image he’d never managed to erase from his memory. Charles had spent the next three decades trying never to hurt Tom like that again and he liked to think he’d succeeded. He’d convinced himself that after all this time the danger had passed, that with Tom being as happy to spend his life with Charles as he was, the danger no longer existed. Love conquers all. Isn’t that what everybody always said? After thirty years together, Charles had come to believe the truth in that cliché. Love had indeed overcome the danger.

Except now Tom was gone. Charles had looked everywhere and hadn’t been able to find a trace of the man he loved. The fact that he hadn’t come across a note either was what really worried him. Of course Tom had been away without Charles before. No matter how much they loved each other, it hadn’t been possible to spend that much time together without ever being in different places. They hadn’t been joined at the hip or anything. But Charles had always known where Tom was and when to expect him back. Now he knew neither.

Charles opened the front door to search outside again while pressing Tom’s name on the screen of his phone with the thumb of his other hand. Before he could raise the phone to his ear he heard Tom’s ringtone. Confused Charles looked around, trying to locate the source of the sound. The grounds surrounding their house were empty. Charles could see for miles and nothing within his range of vision resembled the shape of the man he needed to feel in his arms.

As Charles looked up at the sky, knowing what he would see before he saw it, Tom’s words from all those years ago came back to him.

“It’s a curse, Charles. They say every man dreams of being able to fly. All the first born males in my family can. But when we do, we change. We gain the freedom to go where we want, but we lose our ability to love and belong with the human race.”

The sky above Charles’ head filled with a swarm of birds as they welcomed their long lost brother.


514 words

As always more flashes based on the same image can be found in the Monday FlashFics Group on Facebook.