Friday, 12 December 2014

FAITH ASHLIN - A SLOW PROCESS OF UNDERSTANDING - RELEASED: 26 DECEMBER!

Today I have the lovely Faith Ashlin's upcoming release, A Slow Process of Understanding.
I know what's going on my Christmas wish list!

Blurb:

How does a world that accepts slavery affect both master and slave? Can two people build a new life for themselves with a start like theirs?

It’s a world like this one except for the all-powerful State that’s very firmly in control and the fact that slavery is legal. Jimmy had never really thought about it or the fight for freedom going on around him. He was too busy enjoying his privileged life as an actor on a sci-fi show.

But what is he meant to do when he’s forced to permanently bond to a slave he doesn’t want just because he made one silly, drunken mistake? Does it change who he is, what he is?

Trouble is, Jimmy isn’t sure who he was to start with. He’d never thought about it.
And what about his slave, Nate? Can a slave force Jimmy into learning something about himself?

Excerpt:
‘It’s not fucking fair,’ was all that kept going through Jimmy’s mind. Over and over on repeat. It wasn’t fucking fair—not fair he was here, not fair he’d be here for weeks, not fucking fair he was being forced to bond with some guy he didn’t even know. How could something like that ever be fair?
Okay, so maybe he’d stepped out of line and said things he shouldn’t, to people he shouldn’t. Said them long and loud. But he’d been drunk, and everyone knew he was an arsehole when he was drunk. He’d just kind of assumed they knew he was he was a friendly, didn’t-mean-it kind of arsehole.
And okay, maybe he had hit someone, but he hadn’t meant that either. He was the kind of drunk that did stupid things they wouldn’t normally—things they didn’t mean. Hit people they didn’t mean to. It wasn’t personal. He hadn’t known who the guy was. Just some random kid, who just happened to have a powerful mother.
Was it such a crime to get drunk and say things he shouldn’t, in front of people he shouldn’t? And hit people he shouldn’t?
Yeah, actually even he knew it was a crime, but shit, this was a hell of a punishment.
He was a good guy really, only the authorities hadn’t seen it like that, and now he was fucking stuck here. Even the minor celebrity that came with being on a TV show with plastic spaceships hadn’t bought him any leeway. But he should have known that, known what a hard, unforgiving bastard The State could be.
Now he had to pay for his stupidity. Nothing else to do now but suck it up and pay his dues.
But it might not be all bad. They’d told him he was going to be bonded with this guy—which was as near as damn it to fucking marriage—but the man would still be Jimmy’s slave. Jimmy would own him, be accountable and responsible for him. That was supposed to be part of his punishment. To teach him to be responsible, so in future, he’d act that way toward The State.
Owning a slave. That was a weird concept, but there could be positives.
He wasn’t about to treat a slave the way some people did. He’d seen it—at parties, around, hell, on the streets. Slaves bent over and fucked, passed around for anyone’s pleasure. Treated as slabs of meat. He wasn’t about to do anything like that. He’d be fair, protect him from the perverts. He’d be responsible, just like they wanted, even if it wasn’t fair.
They both knew the score, knew there’d have to be sex, but he knew how to treat a person right. Slaves were people, no matter what The State said. He’d take the free, no-strings sex as a bonus. But people, anyone, deserved to be treated right.
He might not have understood the freedom movement, but he could help one man live an easier life. He’d be doing his small part to make the world a more decent place. He’d be responsible and accept his punishment like a man. Once he got through prison.
That made him feel a little better about everything.
He just hoped the guy didn’t look like the tail end of a rhinoceros.
Two-and-a-half hours later, just as Jimmy was beginning to think that nothing would ever happen and that the silence would eat his brain away, his cell was unlocked. Three men held the door open for him, the first one pointing to the door. “It’s time,” he said.
Jimmy was led along numerous corridors, his hands sweating, his belly rolling every step of the way. He knew what was coming. He’d be all right, but still, shit. He rubbed his palms on the back of his jeans but the moisture was replaced as soon as he wiped it away.
On into a court room with more people, all the equipment laid out ready. Hell, this was real. This was really going to happen.
He was taken to the far end, stood in front of a lectern, then a court official murmured to him, “We just have to wait for your slave to be brought in. He needed medical treatment. He’ll be here shortly.”
Medical treatment?
Then the door at the back opened again, and Jimmy twisted round, straining to see as a group of people made their way forward. Two enormous men were half leading, half carrying a guy who was dragging one leg behind him. Jimmy’s eyes were drawn down to where the guy’s jeans had been raggedly cut open above his knee. His foot, ankle and lower leg were covered with a thick plaster cast, his bare toes sticking out—his bare, filthy toes. Jimmy wrinkled his nose in disgust as his gaze moved up. The rest of the guy was just as dirty, mud encrusted and grungy. His hair wasn’t much better, nor his face, but he sure wasn’t bad looking under the dirt.
Maybe this wouldn’t be as hard as it could have been.
Before Jimmy could take in anymore there was a commotion and the judge entered. His thick robes and stupid hat may have been over the top and melodramatic, but they had the right effect. They brought an air of seriousness—of things being out of his control and inevitable—and Jimmy felt himself start to shake.
“Verdict has been passed,” the judge spoke solemnly, the majesty of the law behind every word. “I’m here to carry out sentence.” He studied Jimmy as a small hand-held machine was pushed in front of him. “Sign your name,” the judge instructed.
Taking the stylus that was thrust at him, Jimmy fought to keep his hand from shaking. He had to do this right, make his writing legible. This was important. This was permanent.
Permanent.
He exhaled hard, nostrils flaring, and wrote his name.
The judge nodded and turned to an official. “Bring the slave forward.” The guy with the cast was hauled forward, his right hand pushed onto the lectern, his fingers splayed. The machine was fitted into place over the back of his hand and a button pressed. He grunted and a flash of pain hit his face, but he quickly pulled himself together, standing as immobile as he could. The only sign of anything wrong was the way his chest heaved.
Permanent.
“Second brand,” the judge ordered, and the guy’s face went blank.
One of the men who had brought him in now braced the slave on the side with the broken foot. The guy leaned in, gripping on with one hand. He had no choice if he didn’t want to fall over, as one of the other men undid his jeans pushing them and his underwear down his thighs. The man moved behind the slave, and Jimmy caught sight of pale freckled skin and a soft belly as his shirt was lifted and held up. Again the machine was brought forward and placed on his left hip, over the pubic bone. When the button was pressed this time, the grunt was deeper but more contained.
The slave’s shirt fell down as he was steadied on his feet and he was left to pull the rest of his clothes back into place himself. Someone pushed Jimmy next to him before they were both turned to face the lectern.
“Now for the bonding,” the judge spoke to Jimmy. “You will own your slave but, as you are also to be bonded, you will have extra responsibilities, even more than in an equal marriage. Do you understand?”
Jimmy nodded.
“Do you accept this bonding as the right and proper recompense to your benevolent State for your crimes?”
Jimmy knew better than to argue as his heart thumped against his chest. “I do.” They really were going to go all the way through with this.
“Raise your hand.”
Jimmy held his hand out, palm upwards. His family would kill him.
The judge turned to the slave. “Do you accept?” No niceties or explanations but he had to be heard to say yes.
There was silence and Jimmy couldn’t stop himself glancing over. The slave stared straight ahead as he swallowed deep and hard. Then there was a huge hand on the back of his neck, fingers arching and pushing into the vulnerable tendons at the side. Pushing and pushing and…the veins were standing out either side of the fingers, and Jimmy thought he could see the blood held back, pumping just under the surface and… “Yes,” the guy said, and the clamp on his neck was lifted away.
“Raise your hand.” The judge didn’t even look at him anymore—slaves weren’t worth the effort.
The guy lifted his hand, holding it palm down just over Jimmy’s. The court official moved forward and wrapped a leather cord round their combined hands, pushing them flesh to flesh as the judge enunciated carefully something frighteningly legal. Jimmy couldn’t hear it for the rushing of the blood in his ears.
“You are now bonded,” the judge said, as the official tied the cord tightly. “You are now mates.” A beat pounded in Jimmy’s head, his mouth dried out and his belly clamped. His mum would cry for a month.
The judge was already getting up ready to leave. “Take them to their cell. Assessment in…” He consulted his book. “One month.”
Jimmy dropped his hand. The warm palm tied to his went with it. The implication of that hit him like a brick, and he thought he might just fall over. But the men who had brought them in were trying to usher them out. With a firm hand pressed to his back, Jimmy took a couple of steps forward and was almost immediately brought to a stop. He glanced round. The guy really was filthy but his eyes were…
“I can’t walk properly,” his slave said quietly.
“No, right. Of course you can’t.” Jimmy went to support him on the side of his injured leg but stopped, turned to the court official. “Do I help him? Am I allowed, seeing as he’s my slave?”
“No, you’re not allowed to give aid or assistance to a slave. Let them do it.” The official nodded toward the men around them. Jimmy realized for the first time that they were slaves as well. On the back of their hands, instead of an individual’s signature, there was a State department’s stamp. They were owned by the state. One moved forward and caught Jimmy’s slave’s arm over his shoulder, taking his weight.
“You can untie that now.” The official pointed to the cord. “But keep it. It’s another sign of ownership and bonding. Some people like to tie it round their slave’s neck.”
Jimmy’s fingers fumbled as he fought to undo the knots. He didn’t want to tie it anywhere. He stuffed it in his pocket as he followed the slaves out and down more corridors to a prison wing. They stopped outside a metal door with a number twenty-two on it, waiting as it was unlocked. Then it was opened and he was steered inside, his slave was brought in after him and dumped unceremoniously on the floor by the wall. The door was locked behind them.
The banging echoed inside Jimmy’s skull. His mum was going to make more noise than that when she found out.
Nothing else to do but make the best of it.
“Well.” He walked forward, assessing the space. “I guess as prison cells go this could be worse.” The room was rectangular in shape, a small table and two chairs at one end, big bed at the other, a bank of windows along the short end. Off to one side was a door leading to a tiny bathroom. The whole place was scruffy. There were the scrapes and scratches of other occupants everywhere, but clean enough, functional and better than he’d expected. “What do you think?”
When there was no answer, he turned so he could see the man on the floor. “You okay?” Still no answer. “Hey, I asked you a question.”
The man had stretched out his injured leg and was rubbing above the plaster cast. He raised his eyes a little, licking at his bottom lip. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how this works.”
“How what works?”
“My being your slave. Do you really want to know what I think? If I’m okay?”
Jimmy stopped then, suddenly conscious of everything. There were rules for how to treat a slave. They were meant to be followed all the time, whether in private or public. It was his turn to lick at his lips as he turned in a circle, studying the room again in a completely different way. “You think they have a camera or some kind of microphone in here? That they’re watching what we do?”
“Are you asking me? Am I meant to answer?” It was said softly, hesitantly.
The question had been more Jimmy thinking out loud than anything else but now he wanted to know. “Yes. How private do you think this place is?”
The man—Jimmy’s slave, and that idea still blew his mind—examined the place, ceiling, walls, fittings. Missing nothing. “There’s no camera, no mic I can see and no obvious place to hide one. But then, why would they bother hiding it?”
“True. I guess we don’t have to watch ourselves all the time then, that’s one good thing. I think that…” Again he stopped, hands on hips as he stared down. “I can’t carry on like this. What’s your name?”
“Nate,” the man said simply.
“Nate, Nat, that’s nice. I’m Jimmy, Jimmy Stephens.” He stuck his arm out, ready to shake hands. Nate stared at it for a moment before holding out his own, palm down.
“I know,” Nate said, looking at the back of his hand. Jimmy’s eyes were drawn to it as well. There, amid the raised, red, angry looking puffy skin, was his name, clearly visible in black, burnt-in lettering.
Permanent. 





Sunday, 23 November 2014

SUNDAY SERENADE!

This is probably not the most soothing of Sunday Serenades, but it is my favourite 30STM song.
The tune, the lyrics, the kickass drum beat all send chills up my spine and the video is one of the best I've seen - EVER!

Just sit back and let it wash over you - what a ride...



Monday, 17 November 2014

A DRABBLE - "THE OTHER HALF"

Here is a little drabble I wrote a million years ago and have been playing with all morning... hope you enjoy it...

THE OTHER HALF

 Cole drove slowly down the strip. The neon lights flashed, inviting you in to see the girls, or boys, depending on what you were into. He’d made the same drive, night after night for the last two weeks; watching, waiting. Each time hoping He'd be there; that he hadn't driven off to God knows where with God knows who to do God knows what.
His breath caught in his throat as he approached the corner, His corner. He was there. The tension in Cole's shoulders dissipated as he watched him pace slowly up and down the meter square of sidewalk. The neon lights behind him picked out the green and gold flecks in his eyes as he lifted his head.
Cole had never forgotten his eyes. Even though so many years had passed between then and now, he would have recognized him with one look in those eyes. A hand closed around his heart as memories of the nights they had lain awake talking in hushed whispers until the dawn chased away the night. The dreams they’d shared. The promises they’d made. And their last goodbye on the steps of the orphanage after Cole had been adopted. He remembered how he’d pulled a crumpled dollar bill from his pocket and ripped it in half before thrusting one half into David's sweaty palm as the tears coursed down his cheeks. And he would never forget the promise the twelve year old Cole had whispered into fourteen year old David's ear as he held onto him. No matter where you are or where you go—I will find you. He’d finally kept his promise.
He pulled the car to a stop in front of David – his David - and watched as he stopped pacing and stared at him, his head tilted as he weighed up the situation. For a moment Cole thought he was going to turn around, but David slowly swaggered toward the open passenger window. Cole's gaze took in David’s slightly bowed legs rippling under well worn jeans and he swallowed hard as he tried not to notice the way the muscles of David’s thighs bunched and moved as he approached. That was not what this was about.
You lookin' for a date cutie?” David’s voice was gravelly and raw from too many cigarettes and alcohol. Cole hoped that was all it was, but he doubted it.
Cole turned away from David’s questioning gaze and stared out of the windshield onto the road in front of him. His response was curt, and to the point. “Get in.”
David opened the door, slid into the seat and pulled it closed behind him. He leaned back against the headrest as Cole eased the car into the traffic. They drove in silence for a while then, when they had reached the quieter part of the city, Cole steered the car down a side street and parked.
“Cash up front, handsome.” Cole turned in his seat to see David had already begun to unbutton his shirt. David must have seen the flicker of sadness in Cole’s eyes because he hesitated. A frown creased his brow for a moment, then he continued with his task and said in a husky drawl, “Don't worry, I'll make you feel real good. It'll be worth every penny.”
Cole reached into the back seat, took his wallet from the pocket of his jacket and pulled out some folded cash. He handed it to David without a word and waited. David’s gasp was loud in the silence of the night when he opened the wad of bills to count them and the old, faded and wrinkled half a dollar floated down into his lap. Cole watched as David's eyes widened and, as if mesmerized, his hand slipped into the top pocket of the denim jacket he wore.
His heart in his mouth, he watched the way David’s fingers shook as he pulled out an often handled scrap of worn paper. He saw how tenderly he smoothed it out and placed it next to the half he’d laid out on his knee, making them whole once again, and his heart swelled with the love that had never faded.
“You found me.”
The words were sobbed brokenly and, as David fell into his arms and buried his face against Cole's neck, his hot tears wet Cole's skin. He Cole rocked him gently, holding him tightly to him, vowing silently to never let him go again. Cole let go of his own tears as he murmured into David’s hair, “I promised.”

Cole closed his eyes as they held each other, the air broken with the sound of tearful joy. They had plenty of time to talk, time to learn how David had gotten to this point and time to move forward. They had all the time in the world.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

COMUNICATO GIORNATA PER HOPE !

COMUNICATO GIORNATA PER HOPE ! LA TRADUZIONE ITALIANA DI SEMPRE SPERANZA . Sono così eccitato ! È possibile ottenere AT TRISKELL EDIZIONI ADESSO!

Trailer by Trelibriosopra il Cielo








TRAMA: Ash Watts ha esattamente la vita che vuole: una fiorente carriera, uno splendido ragazzo e un appartamento con una vista favolosa su Los Angeles. Ma il suo mondo perfetto crolla quando apprende della morte prematura della sua unica sorella. Quando atterra a Freedom, in Alabama, non trova solo una piccola città ad attenderlo, ma anche segreti che potrebbero cambiargli per sempre la vita.Kaleb Gibson, cowboy nato e cresciuto a Freedom, aveva trovato la sua migliore amica in Annie Watts dal momento in cui era arrivata in città. La sua morte ha lasciato un buco nel suo cuore e, nonostante il fratello di Annie abbia i suoi stessi capelli scuri e i suoi stessi occhi verdi, Kaleb non riesce a perdonarlo per aver trascurato la sorella quando lei aveva bisogno di lui più.Alcune rivelazioni contenute nel testamento di Annie uniranno Kaleb e Ash in modi che non avrebbero mai immaginato.Sarà in grado Kaleb di rispettare le ultime volontà di Annie senza uccidere il suo amato fratello e senza rivelare un segreto del proprio passato che potrebbe distruggere tutto?E Ash resterà abbastanza a lungo da capire che Freedom potrebbe regalargli una vita ancora più perfetta?

BUY LINK

Sunday, 2 November 2014

SUNDAY SERENADE #2

And today's serenade comes from... Ed Sheeran.

Love this song and could listen to his voice all day long...

Hope you're having a relaxing Sunday wherever you are !


Monday, 27 October 2014

HALLOWEEN SHORT, ED & FRED ARE... DEAD, IS NOW AVAILABLE AT AMAZON!


BLURB:

Ed and Fred have their lives all planned out. Until they run into the zombie apocalypse. But does that mean, just because they're dead...ish, that their plans have to change? After all, don't zombies need love too?

EXCERPT:

Everybody loves a good wedding… am I right? Of course I’m right.
The butterflies of anticipation in the pit of your stomach as the Wedding March plays. Wondering what the bride will be wearing then inwardly cringing at the size of the meringue she thought would turn her from a sow’s ear into a silk purse. You stand and turn, an encouragingly beatific smile ready on your lips as she walks down the aisle; while secretly thinking the bridal boutique must have had some kind of hall of mirrors like the ones they have at the circus. Then you quickly brush aside your own opinions as you catch sight of the look on the groom’s usually taciturn mug, your heartstrings twanging like an exuberantly played harp at the pure unadulterated joy you see there. To him, she is that silk purse, meringue or no meringue—and isn’t that the reason we all love a good wedding? Well, that and the free bar, and the bridesmaids, or the groomsmen depending on which bus you’re on.
But this wedding is a little different from the norm… for a start there are two grooms. Not that that isn’t normal. Two grooms isn’t even a speck on the radar of abnormal at this shindig. How can I put this…?
Like I said, this wedding has two grooms so there’s not even a whiff of a meringue. The guests are… well… the guests are an eclectic bunch, to say the least. Think Xander and Anya’s non-wedding in Buffy if that helps, but more disturbing. The minister might remind you of Rowan Atkinson in Four Weddings, without the nose, although he does have the ears… one of ‘em anyway. Then there’s the smell not even the arch of roses at the altar can disguise. It’s a stench that’s become all too familiar. An odor so intense it makes your eyes water and whatever little food you may have eaten rise in your throat. Not that it’s much of a problem for these wedding guests. It’s something they’ve learned to live with day in, day out.
But They hadn’t been invited. The best man’s speech could have been a little awkward if he’d tried to eat some of the guests at the top table.
You see I’m Ed and this is my wedding, mine and Fred’s.

And me and Fred, well… we’re… um… kinda dead.

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Sunday, 26 October 2014

SUNDAY SERENADE!

I thought I'd start a little weekly post to give our ears a treat as we're lounging in bed on a Sunday morning (okay I can dream).

To kick it off we have the fabulous Meaghan Trainor's All About That Base. I don't know about you, but for me it's the catchiest bloody tune I've heard in ages and the kids have started shouting at me because I begin humming it at inopportune moments... like during My Little Pony!

Not only is it a good song with all the right beat in all the right places... I love the message it sends to women everywhere. Let's hope our weight conscious young girls listen and learn to love themselves... not starve themselves.