2021 Review

Hello and Happy New Year!

To start 2022, I thought it would be fun to invite some of my author friends over to highlight some of our achievements and memories in 2021, and say what we are looking forward to in 2022.

Today, we have brief chats with Matt Converse, Fearne Hill, Glenn Quigly, Ally Lester and… who was the other? Oh yes. Me. Let me get the ball rolling by answering the same questions as I asked my friends.

An author, thinking on his birthday while in Croatia.

My 2021 highlight as a writer

For me, it was publishing ‘The Clearwater Inheritance.’
This, the 11th book in the Clearwater Mystery series, not only ties up loose ends, and takes the reader on an epic journey, it rounds off the story of Andrej (Fecker), one of my favourite characters. If you start with the prequel, ‘Banyak & Fecks’, and read all 11 books in order, you’ll see Fecker’s journey in full. This is also the longest book at 150,000 words, is partly written in diary (letter) form, which is a form I love, contains a map, and takes us to places I have visited in Europe.

Did I reach an important milestone in my author career in 2021?

I finished the Clearwater Mysteries series…. Except I didn’t. I carried the world and characters, backstories on into the Larkspur Mysteries. I also wrote from the perspective of a deaf character for the first time. A challenge to write and sometimes to read, but, for me, a first.

My favourite memory of the year (non-author related)

Christmas Day with my logical family, watching my husband open a present that looked like a bookmark, but turned out to be a token for a PADI diving course he wants to take. Oh, and my godson passed his grade one piano.

Anybody special you would like to thank for their support/help this year.

Plenty. My readers, everyone who leaves positive feedback and reviews, those who nominated me in 10 Goodreads Awards categories, my husband for looking after me and making me laugh every day, Jenine for her PA work and feeding us, my proofreaders, Anne and Maryann, the guys at Other Worlds Ink for their layout services, and my characters for their inspiration.

Do you have an author goal for 2022?

Only to continue to entertain by writing the best stories I can, and presenting them professionally, making each one better, and exploring new ideas.

And now, I’ll hand you over to my author friends…

Matt ConverseHi Matt, tell me about your 2021 highlight as a writer.

  It was the release of my first m/m sci-fi thriller 99 Days. Previously my releases were all m/m romance, horror or thriller, so I was stepping outside of my box. The reviews and reception have been better than I even hoped. I am currently writing the sequel, 99 Days Later.

Do you feel you reached an important milestone in your author career in 2021?

 Yes, I think crossing over into a different genre was a big achievement for me.

What is your favourite memory from this year?

Being able to see a few of my friends in person for the first time in a long time. It was great to just hang out and relax.

Anybody special you would like to thank for their support/help this year.

Definitely, my Mom is my biggest supporter, but I give thanks to every single person who has read any of my books. I appreciate it.

Do you have an author goal for 2022?

Just to keep writing and doing what I love. I will reach further out of my comfort box with my first non-LGBTQ release on February 5th with The Four Corners of Horror, an anthology of short stories.

Leather Head Unmasked

Published October 28, 2021

#mm #horror #thriller #suspense

Gable needs a getaway with best friend Shawn, while Andrés and Tyler take a trip to the West Coast. Granger and his younger boyfriend Liam head to Palm Springs and stay at a gay resort known to be the wildest in town. Fate draws all of them together for a climactic weekend in Palm Springs. For some, it is the wild weekend they needed. For others, things turn so dark they wonder if they will get out alive.


Find Matt here:

Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Converse/e/B00TKCCVWY/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MattConverse1 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matt.converse.39  

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13495845.Matt_Converse 

Leather Head Unmasked universal link https://smarturl.it/Leatherhead-Unmasked 

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Fearne Hill

Welcome Fearne, tell me about your 2021 highlight as a writer.

The first book in my Rossingley series, To Hold A Hidden Pearl, was nominated in 5 categories of the Goodreads M/M Romance group awards and also received an Honourable Mention in the contemporary gay romance section of the Rainbow Awards

Do you feel you reached an important milestone in your author career in 2021?

 Yes! I had four full-length romance novels published by an indie publishing company, with great feedback. And I’ve learnt an enormous amount about the whole writing process.

Anybody special you would like to thank for their support/help this year.

My wonderful editor, Elizabetta, at NineStar Press for her patience, support and kindness.

Do you have an author goal for 2022?

Yes. I have two self -pub books coming out in March and June, and another later in the year.

 

To Melt A Frozen Heart (Rossingley #3.5)

Published 14th December 2021

#contemporary #holidaynovella #mmromance #olderMC’s #british

Our only regrets are the chances we didn’t take.
Bah, humbug.
Freddie Duchamps-Avery has only one desire this Christmas: to ask his beloved Reuben to
marry him. However, with his needy father moping around, finding the perfect, romantic
moment to propose is proving tricky.
The Rt Hon. Charles Duchamps-Avery is a successful politician, a hopeless father, and a miserable divorcé. Facing the prospect of Christmas alone in London, he accepts his son Freddie’s generous invitation to join the gang at Rossingley. Yet, being surrounded by happy
couples only serves to remind of his past mistakes and a looming, lonely old age.
If only a handsome, enigmatic stranger would appear and distract him….

Social media links:
https://www.facebook.com/fearne.hill.50/

Facebook Group: Fearne Hill’s House

https://www.instagram.com/fearnehill_author

https://twitter.com/FearneHill

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Glenn Quigley

Hello Glenn, tell me about your 2021 highlight as a writer

In March I released WE CRY THE SEA, the third book in my Moth and Moon series. I never thought I’d see the day when I had a trilogy on the shelves, so that really meant a lot to me.

Do you feel you reached an important milestone in your author career in 2021?

I was a Rainbow Award runner-up in the category of Best Gay Book this year which was a huge surprise. It showed me that I must be doing something right!

What is your favourite memory from this year?

I got to walk around a lighthouse on Rathlin Island, which was great.

Anybody special you would like to thank for their support/help this year

My partner Mark, as always, for his love and support. Also, my brilliant beta readers ­- Tony, Christian, and Alan.

Do you have an author goal for 2022?

I have a new book and short story coming out next year. I would love to publish a collection of short stories so fingers crossed for that!

 

WE CRY THE SEA

Published 15 March 2021

#historicalfantasy #pirates #gay #bear #establishedcouple

After the explosive events of The Lion Lies Waiting, life has returned to normal for burly fisherman Robin Shipp. That is until the innkeeper of the ancient Moth & Moon approaches him with a surprising proposal, and an unexpected arrival brings some shocking news that sends Robin on a perilous journey alone.

While he’s away, his lover, Edwin, anxiously prepares for the birth of his first child with his friend, Iris. Her wife, Lady Eva, must travel to Blackrabbit Island for a showdown over the future of the family business. Meanwhile, Duncan nurses an injured man back to health but as the two grow close, the island’s new schoolmaster makes his amorous intentions clear.

Robin’s search for answers to the questions that have haunted his entire life will take him away from everyone he knows, across a dangerous ocean, and into the very heart of a floating pirate stronghold. Pushed to his limits, Robin’s one last chance at finding the truth will cost him more than he ever imagined.

Social media links
WEB            https://www.glennquigley.com

TWITTER    https://twitter.com/glennquigley

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/glennquigleyauthor

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Ally Lester

 

Nice to welcome you back Ally, tell me about your 2021 highlight as a writer

At the beginning of the year, I decided I’d write a trilogy with three months between each fifty thousand word book. I am nearly there! I’ve had to extend the deadline for the final one because of various #LifeThings that tripped me up, but I’m so pleased to be on track to achieving this!

Do you feel you reached an important milestone in your author career in 2021?

Yes, I do. I’ve released four short stories, a novella and two books. That’s pretty good going! I feel like I have a bit more of a grip on what I’m doing these days…back when I began in 2017 I felt like I was flailing around only just keeping my head above water.

What is your favourite memory from this year? Non-author related

Oh! We took the kids to the Swannery at Abbotsbury on the South Coast of England in the summer. Littlest, who is a twelve-year-old wheelchair user with pretty complex issues, got to feed the swans. It was extremely cool. We also took my Mama, another wheelchair user. We sat in the sun and had a picnic and it was so simple and so lovely to spend time together as a family in the midst of all the pandemic stress.

Anybody special you would like to thank for their support/help this year

A HUGE list! Mr AL, who is Team Amazon Ads, Nell Iris and Ofelia Grand who I often write with first thing in the morning, and Jude Lucens, Elin Gregory and Lillian Francis, the mods from Quiltbag Historicals, who all put up with me moaning about writing and life, and offer support!

Do you have an author goal for 2022? Or maybe an event planned that you are working towards?

I want to write more Celtic Myth short stories this year. And I’ve got a couple of stand-alone books in the works. I’m finding the trilogy thing quite stressful, so I’m giving myself a break from them this year.

 The Quid Pro Quo

Publish date: 20th November 2021

#Historical #Transgender #Gay #Mystery #Paranormal

Village nurse Walter Kennett is content with his makeshift found-family in tiny Bradfield. However one midsummer morning a body is found floating in the village duck pond, dead by magical means.

Detective Simon Frost arrives in Bradfield to investigate an inexplicable murder. The evidence seems to point to Lucille Hall-Bridges, who lives with doctor Sylvia Marks and nurse Walter Kennett at Courtfield House. Simon isn’t happy—he doesn’t believe Lucy is a murderer but he’s sure the three of them are hiding something. In the meantime, the draw he feels toward Walter takes him by surprise.

Walter is in a dilemma, concealing Sylvia and Lucy’s relationship and not knowing how much to tell Frost about the paranormal possibilities of the murder. He isn’t interested in going to bed with anyone—he’s got a complicated life and has to know someone really well before he falls between the sheets. He’s taken aback by his own attraction to Detective Frost and angry when Frost appears to twist the spark between them to something transactional in nature.

Will Walter be satisfied to stay on the periphery of Lucy and Sylvia’s love affair, a welcome friend but never quite included? Or is it time for him to strike out and embark on a relationship of his own?

Social media links:

Free story with my newsletter: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/v6xhdi5d19

Facebook group (monthly giveaways, irregular moaning about deadlines and life, a drop-in for other authors to pimp their books once a week): https://facebook.com/groups/LesterTowers

Website: https://allester.co.uk

Twitter (chatter): https://twitter.com/CogentHippo

Instagram: https://instagram.com/CogentHippo


Thank you, everyone, for your contributions and thank you for reading.
If you missed yesterday’s post, my 2021 in more detail, you can find it here. http://jacksonmarsh.com/a-year-as-an-indie-author-2021/

Do We Judge a Book by its Cover? Part 2

Do We Judge a Book by its Cover? Part 2

Today, we have the second in our series ‘Do we judge a book by its cover?’ Here, I’ve invited some of my favourite authors to chat about their covers and what’s behind them. The reason for this is because I have a new Clearwater Mystery coming out during the coming week, and Andjela K has once again done me proud with the cover. This is the first Clearwater with no person on the cover, and there’s a reason for that. Being the 10th in the series, and the ending of one thing and the start of another, and concerns more than one main character. In fact, the story follows three paths, all leading to the same overarching end in one story, but the question was, who to put on the front?

As you can see, I didn’t put anyone on it (apart from a train driver, if you look closely, but he’s not in the story). What I asked for was a representation of the main ‘props’ in the story. In this case, you can see Rasnov Castle in Transylvania, the Orient Express as we now call it, and a piece of music by Bach, one of the preludes referred to in the mystery. I hope the cover also suggests a journey, snow, urgency and the period.

So, that’s what we’re talking about today; book covers. I’ll now hand you over to my guests.

 


 

A Little Morbid

by Olivier Bosman

Book 3 in The John Billings Mysteries

Published February 9, 2021

(Victorian mystery, the occult, Egypt, Treasure Hunt, LGBT)

 

The year is 1895.
An ancient manuscript claiming to hold the secrets of God’s creation;
A cunning old woman trying to make sense of it;
A deluded psychopath intent on stealing it away from her.
Following on from the events in “A Glimpse of Heaven”, Billings and Trotter travel to Egypt in search of the elusive “Codex of Solomon”, where things suddenly start becoming… a little morbid.

 

 Why did you choose this cover for your book?

The posture and clothes of the man in the picture give him an air of mystery.

Do you design it yourself or pass over to a specialist designer? What’s your process?

This was a premade cover, but I asked the designer to add an Egyptian background.

Are you making a statement with the cover?

Yes. It’s clear that this is a Victorian mystery set in Egypt.

Do you ask others for feedback or go with your gut feeling?

I go with gut feeling. If I ask for feedback I get contrasting opinions and that only confuses matters.

Do you usually do a cover reveal event?

No. I just announce my new book on Facebook and my newsletter without too much fanfare. It’s important to have a cover well before release date so you can do some marketing.

Who would be your ultimate person to provide a quote or appraisal for the cover of one of your future books?

I haven’t done that yet, nor have I thought about it. I’m not even sure who the leading author in my particular genre is. I guess it’s because my writing falls between genres.

Find Olivier at his website https://www.olivierbosman.com/
Universal book link https://books2read.com/alittlemorbid
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/olivier.bosman.author

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99 Days

by Matt Converse

Published May 27, 2021

 

(M/M, Sci-fi, romance, thriller, novella)

 

 

Life as we know it will never be the same. Flying saucers are spotted all over the world. But after one crashes into the San Francisco Bay, they disappear. Not far from the crash, Mitch rents his spare room to Claytone and quickly develops a crush. But what he doesn’t know is that Claytone will soon turn his world— and heart, upside down. Claytone’s final revelation will reach even further; it will change life on planet Earth— forever.

 

Why did you chose this cover for your book?

I looked through many pics at the site my publisher offers to choose from and this one grabbed my attention the second I saw it.

Do you design it yourself or pass over to a specialist designer? What’s your process?

I pick out the picture and font of the lettering I want, then my publisher’s cover designer works her magic.

Are you making a statement with the cover?

I certainly hope so. I think it fits the contents of the book very well.

Do you ask others for feedback or go with your gut feeling?

I go with my gut feeling.

Do you usually do a cover reveal event?

I do a cover reveal of my two main social media platforms, Facebook and twitter.

Who would be your ultimate person to provide a quote or appraisal for the cover of one of your future books?

This is my only m/m sci-fi, most of mine are LGBT horror and thriller, so I wouldn’t mind a quote from Stephen King!

Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Converse/e/B00TKCCVWY/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matt.converse.39

Universal buy link: https://smarturl.it/99Days

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Silly Little Love Songs

by Frank W. Butterfield

The Latest book in The Romantical Adventures of Whit & Eddie Series

Published May 18, 2021

(Mystery, Hitman, Elders, Redemption, Billionaires)

 

It’s a mystery about a mystery. Sal Desimone was executed in 1948 for the murder of Pete Rudd. But did Sal really do it? Or was he covering for someone else? Whit and Eddie are digging into the past to find out the truth. But will doing so get them or the people they love killed?

 

Tell us why you chose this cover for your book?

This is the ninth book in the series, and it follows the template.

Do you design it yourself or pass over to a specialist designer? What’s your process?

I designed this myself with help from designer Ron Perry. Since I publish rapidly across a number of series, Ron helps me develop a template I can then adapt when new titles are ready.

Are you making a statement with the cover?

Yes! Just prior to the publication of this book, I revised the template and updated all the covers. There are two MCs and I previously only had one (Whit) on the cover. I added the other MC (Eddie) to the template and really like the results!

Do you ask others for feedback or go with your gut feeling?

I ask my loyal readers for their feedback but primarily follow my inner feeling about whether it’s right or not.

Follow Frank on his website https://frankwbutterfield.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FrankWButterfield/

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09581QSW9

 


I’d like to thank everyone for contributing to today’s post. Make sure you click through and read more about these books – you’re not going to be disappointed!

Have a great week, Jackson

Character Interview with Georgios Manolas

On the blog today, an interview with Georgios Manolas, the central character in ‘The Last of the Moussakas’ by Fearne Hill. I’m particularly excited by this interview and the book because, as you know, I moved to live in Greece 19 years ago and live on a small island. Not Aegina, the island of the story, but one where traditional family values and the views of the church are obstacles to gay people and therefore love. So, I’m interested in seeing how Georgios’ story unfolds and reading the delicious details of life on his Greek island.

Here is the interview. Enjoy!

Georgios Manolas is a character created by author Fearne Hill.

Fearne Hill, lives deep in the southern British countryside with varying numbers of hens, a few tortoises and a beautiful cocker spaniel.

When she is not overseeing her small menagerie, she enjoys writing MM contemporary romantic fiction. And when she is not doing either of those things, she is working as an anaesthesiologist.

 

First a short introduction – where do we first meet Georgios?

Georgios’s story begins on the Greek island of Aegina. We first meet him clearing the tables at the end of a busy evening working in his uncle’s restaurant, where he is a chef and general dogsbody. His lifelong best friend, Max, is drunkenly slumped at one of the tables. As always, even in his inebriated state, Georgios knows Max is the most beautiful man he has ever seen.

What is your full name?

My name is Georgios Manolas. I’m named after my grandfather. My brother and cousin forget my name sometimes and call me faggot or homo. My best friend, Max, calls me Georgie boy. I kind of like it.

Where and when were you born?

I was born and raised in the same ramshackle house where I live now, hidden amongst the backstreets of Aegina town. A dwelling ideally suited to a family of four but accommodating an extended family of ten. Privacy and solitude are rare commodities. My family have lived here for generations. The furthest abroad I have ever travelled is on the ferry to mainland Greece.

Aegina back street

Tell us a little more about your home

Our stone house is built on three floors, bits of each floor added in a higgledy-piggledy fashion at varying intervals over the last two hundred years to accommodate the growing family. My older brother Dion and I share the tiny attic space. The current permanent residents, in order of apparent importance are: my great grandmother Noni, my uncle Papa Marcos and his browbeaten wife Cynta, my taciturn grandmother (who slavishly cares for Noni), and my own, downtrodden gentle mother Simone. Then there is my spiteful cousin Nico (although he sometimes lives with a girlfriend and their child until she periodically gets fed up with his laziness and throws him out), my permanently depressed teenaged cousin Agatha, my brother Dion, me and my younger sister Ava, who is still in nappies. Which in itself warrants a mention, given that my father died of a heart attack eight years ago and my mum has never remarried. And I don’t actually recall my slender mother ever looking pregnant or giving birth and I’d like to think it’s something I’d notice. Sixteen-year-old Agatha, however, did look fairly tubby a couple of years ago, then took a trip to see some other relatives (we literally seem to have hundreds of them) in the Peloponnese and she lost the weight spectacularly quickly. But we don’t talk about that.

What is your occupation?

I have been the chef at Papa Marco’s restaurant since I left school at fifteen. Along with everyone else, I am paid a pittance. One day, I’d like a restaurant of my own.

Turning to your physical characteristics, what colour are your eyes?

Dark brown

What does your voice sound like?

I am Greek, quietly spoken. My English accent is embarrassingly bad.

What three words would others probably use to describe you?

My brother would describe me as a faggot. My mother would say I was kind. Max would tell me I was beautiful.

Do you have any physical traits that stand out?

I am slight of build with typical Mediterranean olive-skinned looks. I probably look younger than I am.

Let’s talk about your past, how would you describe your childhood?

I can’t recall a time when Max and I weren’t best friends. He has been a constant my whole life. We are actually second cousins, although that doesn’t mean much on this island, as it seems that everyone is related to everyone else at some point along the family tree. He spent every single holiday on the island and all my memories are filled with weeks and weeks of glorious sunshine and Max. Swimming and snorkeling in the sea, day and night, cycling all over the island, camping on the beach under the stars, or hiking up in the mountains. Endless strawberry gelatos and gyros, sleepovers, and sun cream.
My father died when I was fourteen. My mother and I loved him very much. When he died my childhood ended.

When did you have your first kiss, and who with?

My first kiss was with Max. We were only fourteen years old, and a minute later he’d passed out cold on cheap Tsantali wine that we’d nicked from Papa Marcos’s restaurant when no-one was looking. Every time I kissed a girl, I wished it was Max. Max is openly gay and every time he kissed a boy, he says he wished it had been me.

What is your biggest secret?

My biggest secret is that I am homosexual, and Max and I are in love. I think we always have been. My dad used to say, ‘Georgios, if you grow up and finds yourself a wife you love as much as you love Maxi, then you’ll do very well for yourself.’ But I’ll never find a woman like that.

Something a little more personal, do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?

I have only ever had one true love, which sounds terribly soppy. Max is the soppy one, not me. He tries to be cool and suave but pampers me rotten.

Who is the most important person in your life, why?

Without my Max, I’d go insane on this bloody island.

Your Likes and Dislikes … what is your favourite colour?

The brilliant blue of the Aegean of course; it matches Max’s eyes.

What is your most treasured possession?

I have an ancient Vespa scooter that belonged to Nico and Dion before it was passed down to me. I have very few possessions to call my own.

Do you like to read? If so, what do you like to read?

I read cookery books. I fantasise about reproducing the recipes for my dream restaurant.

What makes you laugh?

My Maxi, when he sings very badly.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

Kindness and understanding. Is that too much to ask for? And patience, because for Max and me to have our happy ending, he’s got to unpick some family feuds going back to the second world war. The Nazis occupied our little island and the rift between Max’s German ancestors and mine is deep. Sometimes, I think it is insurmountable.

Do you like yourself?

Yes, although sometimes I wish I had the fortitude to stand up to Papa Marcos, Nico and Dion. To be gay and proud and hang the consequences. But I have so much to lose if I do.

Looking to the future, where do you see yourself in five years from now?

A dream view

With my own beachfront restaurant in Aegina, packed with tourists and locals alike, because I serve the best food on the island. And after a hard night at work in the kitchen, Max will be waiting for me, in our home up in the hills overlooking the Aegean.
A boy can dream, can’t he?

 

 

If you could choose, how would you want to die?

With Max at my side, when we are both very, very old.

And finally, some questions just for fun, what do you have in your pocket?

The keys to my scooter, my wallet and a paring knife.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Saffron. Specially imported from the Middle East. I use it sparingly.

Who would you like to invite to your fantasy dinner party?

A British chef, now dead, named Keith Floyd. He was a flamboyant rule breaker, a drinker and a raconteur. And while I am none of those things, he could teach me so much. Max would come along too, to keep the conversation rolling while I stare at my culinary idol. Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever confessed that before! Not even Max knows.

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Fearne Hill’s latest novel is available now, you can find her on Goodreads.

Last of the Moussakas

Max Bergmann is Europe’s hottest drum and bass DJ. From the outside, his life is a whirl of glamorous vodka-fuelled parties and casual hook-ups, whilst inside he craves the one thing he can’t have – his Greek childhood friend, Georgios Manolas.

Following a disastrous PR stunt and one drunken hook-up too many, Max realises the time has come to reassess his life choices. Returning to his childhood home on the Greek island of Aegina, if he wants any chance of having Georgios permanently in his life, he has to delve into the mystery of the longstanding hatred of the Bergmann’s by Georgios’s family.

Georgios is a chef and has spent his whole life on the tiny Greek island of Aegina. He has held the family restaurant together since he left school, with very little reward, and dreams of one day running a restaurant of his own on the island. Yet if he acknowledges his feelings for Max, he runs the risk of losing not just his traditional Greek family but also his livelihood.

As Max slowly uncovers the secrets of the past, he is left wondering whether a little Greek girl’s heart-breaking wartime diary could not only hold the key to his family’s history, but could it also unlock his and Georgios’s future together?

The Last of the Moussakas is a warm romance about two men’s quest for the truth about the past and unlocking a path to a future together

Follow Fearne here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FearneHill

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fearne.hill.50

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fearnehill_author/

Website: www.fearnehill.com

Character Interview with Robin Shipp

For this week’s blog, I’m pleased to introduce you to Robin Shipp. Robin is a character created by author, Glenn Quigley. Glenn is also a graphic designer and photographer who lives in Ireland and, as an author, has won a Rainbow Award for his second novel, The Lion Lies Waiting.

Today, we’re getting to know Robin Jonas Shipp, a fisherman from 1780 who appears in all three of Glenn’s novels.

First a short introduction – where do we first meet Robin, a quick background.

When we first meet Robin, he’s starting his day as he always does – aboard his beloved fishing boat, Bucca’s Call. He lives in the little village of Blashy Cove and isn’t well-liked. He’s something of a pariah due to the fact that most people think his father was a murderer. He has few friends and lives a quiet, simple life in the year 1780.

What is your full name?

 My full name is Robin Jonas Shipp. My middle name comes from my grandfather. I never knew ’im, mind you. ’E died long before I were born. ’E were a sailor, though, like me.

Where and when were you born?

I can’t say when, exactly, but it were fifty years ago. I were found on board my very own boat, believe it or not. It used to belong to my dad, you see, and one of the women ’e ’ad a dalliance with, well, she gave birth to me and left me there for ’im to find.

Tell us a little about dad…

My dad were Captain Erasmus Shipp. ‘E were at sea for years, took over ’is father’s vessel for a while, then came back ’ome to the island. ’E never married, ’e ’ad too much of a wanderin’ eye, by all accounts.

What is your occupation?

I’m a fisherman. Well, oysterman, if you want to be all technical about it, but I do a spot of pilchard fishin’ in ’igh season, so that counts.

What is your hair colour and eye colour?

I used to ’ave a lovely ’ead of blonde ’air. All gone now, mind you. Well, apart from this little tuft just above my fore’ead, but it’s white as snow these days. My eyes are sky blue.

Portrait of Robin, by Glenn Quigley

Do you have any physical traits that stand out ?

I suppose the first thing people notice about me is my size. I’m taller than anyone in the village, and wider, too. Makes it hard for me to blend in. I always stick out like a sore thumb, no matter where I am. Got a bigger belly than most, except maybe the village butcher. I’m strong, though. A lifetime haulin’ oyster dredgers will do that. I always wear my cap, too. It used to belong to my Dad and it’s got this funny little anchor pendant sewn to it. I’ve never seen another one like it. The rope is ’eld in a spindle in the crown, and winds up around it. I wonder where ’e got it from.

What does your voice sound like?  

Oh, I can’t say as I know for certain. I’ve never ’eard it. It’s deep, I’m told. Maybe a bit raspy. I like to think it’s warm. ’Ere’s somethin’ for you— people keep tellin’ me that I ’ave a strong accent! Can you believe that? I don’t know what they’re on about, I think I sound like everyone else round ’ere.

Looking back over your past, how would you describe your childhood?

Now there’s a question. ’Ow long ’ave you got? I remember spendin’ a lot of time with Dad. ’E taught me ’ow to fish, ’ow to cook, and ’ow to clean. I were ’appy, I can tell you that. I used to spend a lot of time with ’is friends — Barnabas and Morwenner. They never ’ad any children of their own and they raised me as much as ’e did, I suppose. We were ’appy, all of us. Until the night that everythin’ changed. I can’t ’ave been more than ten years old. Barnabas died and Dad disappeared, all on the same night. That’s why folks round ’ere say ’e killed ’im, you see. They say Dad killed Barnabas and ran off to join a whalin’ crew. The whaler sank a couple of weeks later and everyone on board drowned. Includin’ Dad. Worst time of my life, that were…

What is you biggest secret? Which person do you least want to know about this secret, why?

I can’t tell you that, it wouldn’t be a secret!

What did you dream of doing when you grew up?

I dreamt of doin’ what I’m doin’ now. Bein’ a fisherman. I went to sea for a few years, when I were a younger man. Tried my ’and at whalin’. Nasty business, that. Not for me. And I weren’t built for life on a ship. I’m too big, I’m always in people’s way, always breakin’ somethin’. I came back ’ome and realized this is where I’m meant to be. I just wish I weren’t ’ere alone.

 

Something a little more personal, do you have a spouse or significant other? If so, tell us a little about him.

Not these days. Not since Duncan. And ’e won’t even talk to me anymore.

Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?

If you’d asked me that a few years ago, I’d ’ave said yes. Backalong, when me and Duncan were… Actually, I don’t want to talk about ’im. Can we change the subject, please?

Of course, who is the person you respect the most?

Morwenner Whitewater. She lost ’er ’usband and ’er friend on the same night and she never let it turn ’er bitter or angry. She’s the strongest person I know.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I treat myself to a bottle of whiskey every once in a while. George Reed does me a good price. ’E’s the landlord of the Moth & Moon. One of the few people I can call a friend.

Early sketches of Merryapple Island, Robin, Duncan, pub landlord Mr Reed and Lady Eva

In your opinion, what is the most evil thing any human being could do?

Take away a child’s parent. Leave them adrift. Alone.

What do you look for in a potential lover?

Ginger ’air. I dunno, I don’t think about it much.

Let’s talk about your likes and dislikes, what is your most treasured possession?

Either my boat, Bucca’s Call, or my cap. I wear it all the time. It were Dad’s, ’e gave it to me the day I caught my first fish.

What makes you laugh?

Oh, lots of stuff. I laugh all the time. I do like watchin’ gulls fightin’ over scraps. They’re pests, but funny ones.

What shocks or offends you?

I’m a sailor, there’s not much shocks me anymore! You should ’ear the language down at the ’arbour after a bad day’s fishin’!

How do you spend a typical night in?

I ’ave dinner by myself at ’ome by the fireplace, or at my favourite spot in the Moth & Moon, then go to bed. I’m always up before dawn so an early night is a must. Not as if I’ve much else to do, anyway.

Do you like to read?

I’m not one for readin’. It’s too ’ard. All them words crammed up tight like pilchards in an ’ogs’ead. Dad left a lot of books in the loft but I don’t look at them.

Describe the routine of a normal day for you. How do you feel when this routine is disrupted?

Up before dawn, wash, dress, then ’ead down to the ’arbour. A quick check of the equipment, then it’s time to cast off and spend all day fishin’. I’ll probably eat at the Moth when I get back to shore. Maybe a quick chat with George or Morwenner. I might pop into the bakery to see Edwin, if ’is mum isn’t about. (She doesn’t like me. I mean, she really doesn’t like me.) Edwin is my other friend. Nice bloke, ’e is. Then it’s ’ome to sit by the fireplace for a bit before bed. I don’t mind a break in routine. Livens things up a bit, doesn’t it? Not that it ’appens very much.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Maybe I’d want to be a tad shorter? There’s only so many times a man can bang ’is ’ead on a doorframe before it becomes tiresome. Edwin says that’s the real reason I wear my cap all the time.

What three words would others probably use to describe you?

Big. Clumsy. Menace.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’ll probably still be workin’ in Bucca, sellin’ fish at the market, and gettin’ in everybody’s way.

Do you like yourself?

Most of the time. Some of the time.

What is on your bedside table?

A jug of water and a striker-lantern. That’s a lantern with a clockwork thing inside. You turn a key and it does…a thing with…another thing that lights a candle. I’m a fisherman, not an engineer, I dunno ’ow it works!

Who would you most love to share an evening in “The Moth and Moon” with?

My dad. I know ’ow it sounds but there’s no one else I’d want to talk to. I don’t know about politics, or art, or any of that stuff. What would I ’ave to talk to a king or queen about? No, it would ’ave to be my dad. I’d ask what really ’appened to ’im that night ’e left. Oh, and my mum, I suppose. It would nice to know who she is.

If you could choose, how would you want to die?

At sea, on board Bucca’s Call. I were born in ’er and I’ll die in ’er.

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We Cry The Sea, has just been released this week and is the third book in The Moth and Moon series.

The Moth and Moon

In the summer of 1780, on the tiny island of Merryapple, burly fisherman Robin Shipp lives a simple, quiet life in a bustling harbour town where most of the residents dislike him due to the actions of his father. With a hurricane approaching, he nonetheless convinces the villagers to take shelter in the one place big enough to hold them all—the ancient, labyrinthine tavern named the Moth & Moon.

While trapped with his neighbours during the raging storm, Robin inadvertently confronts more than the weather. There’s a storm coming. And it’s going to change everything.

EBOOK FORMAT https://books2read.com/u/mKyQlE

PRINT – YOUR LOCAL AMAZON LISTING https://getbook.at/themothandmoon

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP Ask for THE MOTH AND MOON with ISBN 9781948608145

The Lion Lies Waiting

Winter, 1780, and the solstice is fast approaching. Four months after the events of The Moth and Moon, burly fisherman Robin Shipp is preparing for his first Midwinter festival with his lover, the handsome baker Edwin Farriner. But when a letter arrives begging for help, they must travel with their friend, Duncan, to Port Knot on sinister Blackrabbit Island for a final confrontation with Edwin’s mother. Also visiting the island are Lady Eva and her wife Iris, with a stunning proposition that could change Robin and Edwin’s lives forever.

The snow-covered harbour town of Port Knot is a dangerous place. While there, Robin, Edwin, and Duncan explore the menacing rooftop settlement known as the Roost, mingle with high society in the magnificent splendour of Chase Manor, and uncover a violent conspiracy threatening the island’s entire way of life.

Old rivalries will flare, shocking secrets will be revealed, and as Duncan’s scandalous past finally catches up with him, will it ultimately destroy them all?

The men will be tested to their limits as they discover that on Blackrabbit Island, the lion lies waiting.

EBOOK FORMAT https://books2read.com/u/mYALlp

PRINT – YOUR LOCAL AMAZON PAGE https://getbook.at/thelionlieswaiting

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP Ask for THE LION LIES WAITING with ISBN 9781949909715

We Cry The Sea

After the explosive events of The Lion Lies Waiting, life has returned to normal for burly fisherman Robin Shipp. That is until the innkeeper of the ancient Moth & Moon approaches him with a surprising proposal, and an unexpected arrival brings some shocking news that sends Robin on a perilous journey alone.

While he’s away, his lover, Edwin, anxiously prepares for the birth of his first child with his friend, Iris. Her wife, Lady Eva, must travel to Blackrabbit Island for a showdown over the future of the family business. Meanwhile, Duncan nurses an injured man back to health but as the two grow close, the island’s new schoolmaster makes his amorous intentions clear.

Robin’s search for answers to the questions that have haunted his entire life will take him away from everyone he knows, across a dangerous ocean, and into the very heart of a floating pirate stronghold. Pushed to his limits, Robin’s one last chance at finding the truth will cost him more than he ever imagined.

EBOOK FORMAT https://books2read.com/wecrythesea

PRINT – YOUR LOCAL AMAZON PAGE Getbook.at/WeCryTheSea

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP Ask for WE CRY THE SEA with ISBN 978-1-64890-234-5

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MERCHANDISE

You can buy a range of t-shirts inspired by the Moth and Moon books exclusively from Moodybear https://themoodybear.com/themothandmoon.html

The designs include Robin on his boat, the sign above the Moth & Moon, and some pirate flags from my new novel, We Cry The Sea!

SOCIAL MEDIA

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Glenn Quigley Self Portrait

 

 

 

Character Interview with Matt Jaxx

Today, I’m turning my Saturday blog over to a character, and not one of mine! For this exclusive, let me introduce you to Matt Jaxx, aka Michael, aka ‘Eve.’ Matt’s a stripper, and currently hosting a new reality TV series, ‘America’s Next Top Stripper’, which is also the name of the latest book in a series by Matt Converse, released only a few days ago. (All the links you need are at the bottom of the post.)

I’ve just read the blurb on the book’s Amazon page, and it sounds like a gripper. The story falls into the MM romance, thriller/horror genre so is just up my street, and to give us more of a taste of who to expect in the story, we invited its central character, Matt in for a chat.

Michael moved from Ohio to San Francisco at the age of 21. A few years later he reinvented himself as the stripper Matt Jaxx. He is the central character in all four books in the series.

What is your full name? Do you have a nickname?

My name is Matt Jaxx and my nickname is amusing— it’s Eve. Only a small group of people from my gay tennis league know me by that name. It was given to me by Bill, aka “Baby Jane”, who I first met when joining the league. He dubbed me as “the it girl” and it was a nod to Eve Harrington from the movie All About Eve.

Where and when were you born?

I was born in Ohio in 1984.

Who are your parents?

My Mom and Dad are both from Ohio, and my Mom remains one of my most cherished people. She has a heart of gold and would do anything for her kids.

What is your occupation?

I am currently a game show host on the new reality series America’s Next Top Stripper. I was a stripper myself for many years until recently retiring. I am also an author with several books in the M/M dark genre.

What is your hair colour and eye colour?

Brown hair and brown eyes.

What does your voice sound like?

Some say they can detect an “Ohio” accent but I think my voice is typical of a man my age, not too high, not too deep.

Looking back into the past, how would you describe your childhood?

Pretty normal Midwest upbringing that I have valued more as I have grown older and heard other people’s not so happy stories. I am very lucky. As a teen, I got some of the teasing a young gay boy would— even one totally in the closet. But I always had an inner confidence.

Where did you learn most of your skills and other abilities?

Practise is how I became a popular stripper. I realized it wasn’t just about taking off your clothes, it was about putting on a performance and connecting with the audience.

When did you have your first kiss, and who with?

It was with Belinda Roeser in the 3rd grade on the playground. I honestly can’t remember my first kiss with a guy, so it must not have been the best!

What is your biggest secret? Does anyone else know about this?

I have a secret but only my best friends and family know. I may tell the world someday when I tell my entire life story in a book.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a sports writer.

Turning to your beliefs and opinions, Do you believe in the existence of soul mates and/or true love?

I do, even though it isn’t something I yearn for. I have always been pretty happy being single. But I have friends who have found this and I’m thrilled for them.

Who or what would you die for?

Nothing. That’s a bit too severe for me!

In your opinion, what is the most evil thing any human being could do?

Torture, rape or kill I think would top the list.

Looking at your relationships, do you have a spouse or significant other? If so, tell us a little about him.

My boyfriend over the last several years was Justin, and we planned on getting married but are now just roommates instead. We decided neither one of us is ready for monogamy. Justin is one of the sexiest guys I’ve ever met. And his heart is huge—he’s a great guy who is honest, intelligent and just a good person.

Who is the person you respect the most, why?

My Mom. She has revolved her whole life around us kids, she would do anything for us. She has a heart of gold and to me, is a hero.

What do you look for in a potential lover?

First I have to be attracted, and for me, that can be any type. I tend to be drawn more to odd beauties. As for personality, intelligence and a sense of humor are a must. I want someone real, there is nothing worse than a phoney or someone who is pretentious.

Let us find out about your likes and dislikes… What makes you laugh?

Intelligent humor. Although, like anyone, there are times when really stupid things make me laugh too.

What is your most treasured possession?

A snow globe that was my Gran’s. When she passed away my Mom asked if I wanted anything of hers, and I chose the snow globe because as I kid I’d always shake it and watch it “snow” as a kid.

What shocks or offends you?

Any kind of prejudice.

What is your greatest extravagance?

I really don’t have one, the closest would be taking trips. I love a getaway.

How do you spend a typical night in?

It depends on the night! It can be anything from watching TV or writing to a night out at the club looking for boys!

What is your favorite color?

Red with silver a close second.

Do you like to read?

I like to read thrillers and horror novels. The scarier the better!

Now something more personal, if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Nothing. I like being me.

What three words would others probably use to describe you?

That’s a tough one without sounding cocky! I’ll go with funny, friendly and smart.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Hopefully in my fifth season of America’s Next Top Stripper. Still writing and I’m guessing still single and happy about it.

What goal do you most want to accomplish in your life?

I want to bring entertainment to people.

If you could choose, how would you want to die?

In my sleep many years from now.

Do you like yourself?

Yes!

And finally, just for fun, what do you have in your pocket?

Nothing.

What is in your refrigerator?

Some dinners, juice, soda, the usual condiments and some wine for when I have a party.

Who would you invite to your ultimate dinner party?

Lady Gaga, Stephen King, tennis player Sascha Zverev, my friends Shawn, Tonya and Kevin.

Strip Shot, book 1 in the series.

We’ve all seen strippers up on stage. Did you ever wonder how they got there? The answer might surprise you.

Michael is a scrawny kid from Ohio who moves to San Francisco with his boyfriend Kenny. He loves everything about the city, except the guy he’s with. When things turn ugly, how will he escape and how will he survive on his own, completely alone in the big city?

Along the way, he meets an eccentric cast of characters in his own personal Oz. An unlikely and not so yellow brick road with unexpected twists and turns lead him to the stage, but what will he find when he gets there? Will he have what it takes to make it as a stripper? Sometimes, you only get one shot.
Universal buy link: http://smarturl.it/StripShot

Behind the Velvet Curtain, book 2 in the series.

Matt Jaxx is a sexy stripper who develops a fast following, but one of them turns scary stalker. Along the way, he meets Justin and it’s lust at first sight, both doing things they’d only fantasized about. Right when he seems to have it all, his stalker reappears, revealing his twisted agenda. Sex sells, what it attracts can be deadly.

Obsexsion, book 3 in the series.

When sex and a deadly obsession collide, not everyone will survive.

Matt fears his nightmares are premonitions that the Creeper will return. Justin comforts him but they soon face possible separation. Can their love survive? Will Matt return to the stage? And if he does, what–or who–will follow?

Universal buy link: http://smarturl.it/Obsexsion

Book 4 in the series: America’s Next Top Stripper (A brand new story that can stand alone.)


Who will claim the crown of America’s Next Top Stripper? After retiring from the stage, ex-male stripper Matt lands an amazing opportunity to host the new show America’s Next Top Stripper. Judging alongside a supermodel, an internationally famed stripper, and a drag queen, the panel more than has its work cut out for them when ten gorgeous, diverse, and sexy men show up at the show’s mansion. Matt must resist a crush on the resident bad boy Ace to remain impartial as the head judge.

Through lust, greed, and camaraderie, these ten men must compete to be the best. Show after show, these men deliver sultry and sexy performances and one is eliminated each week. Finally arriving at the Top 5, things take a dark turn and secrets long buried surface.

In the world of America’s Next Top Stripper, who will win and who will survive?

Universal buy link: https://smarturl.it/qbiknn

Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Converse/e/B00TKCCVWY/

twitter: https://twitter.com/MattConverse1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matt.converse.39

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13495845.Matt_Converse