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


“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.