All posts by Julie

reviews: A Certain Persuasion

The Good, the Bad and the Unread: Grade B (Good) from Stevie

Excerpt: Pretty much every letter of the QUILTBAG is represented here, along with retellings, prequels, sequels, and stories about readers of the various novels. There are even references to Colin Firth tucked away in there. Of course, such a mixed collection is going to have some stories that appeal more than others; however, in this case none of them disappointed me. … A highly enjoyable book whether read from cover to cover in a single sitting or dipped into at will over a prolonged period.

And if you wish to read more:

Universally Civil, an article by anthology editor and contributor Julie Bozza in the online magazine of The Jane Austen Centre in Bath – a particularly supportive and friendly bunch!

Why Queer Retellings of Classic Stories Are So Necessary, an article by Lindsay King-Miller on the Vice Magazine website, which mentions the anthology.

blurbs: A Certain Persuasion

THE STORIES

A Charming Marine Prospect
Lou Faulkner
Birds of a feather flock together, they say, and William Elliot and Richard Musgrove strike up an instant rapport when they meet in the vicinity of Lyme, a few years before the events of Persuasion. But is their relationship any more to be trusted than the unstable landscape of the nearby under-cliff which they explore together?

One Half of the World
Adam Fitzroy
How much more romantic must it be to be stolen away in the night by a lady dressed as a man, to be thrown across the saddle of her horse and to be galloped off with across the moors by moonlight?

Hide nor Hair
Atlin Merrick
Adam Ashford Otelian began to suspect something when he saw Miss Mary Hay’s beard. Though to be fair, Adam found Miss Hay’s beard only the second most intriguing thing about her.

Outside the Parlour
Andrea Demetrius
Darcy is a single man of eight-and-twenty and in possession of a good fortune. Talk of marriage and prospects crowd in on him – as do reports in the broadsheets of convictions for ‘unnatural’ crimes. He knows his fate. A decision must be made soon.

Margaret
Eleanor Musgrove
The elder Dashwood sisters have long been established in their new homes and families, but now it is Margaret’s turn to spread her wings, when Colonel Brandon asks for her help with a rather delicate matter.

The Wind over Pemberley
Fae Mcloughlin
Darcy’s life changes forever when he happens across enigmatic Lint on Pemberley Cliff.

Cross and Cast
Sam Evans
Jonathan Darcy, ex-soap-star bad boy and runner-up in the latest celebrity dance contest, has reluctantly signed on to take part in another dance show, Dance with Jane Austen. His agent is sure it will be the making of him – but the ridiculous dance they’ve been asked to learn is titled ‘Mr Beveridge’s Maggot’, the theatre they’re rehearsing in is too cold, and most worryingly the show will bring Darcy back in contact with the man who rejected him so harshly months earlier, dancer Elvin Benoît.

Jonathan convinces himself that all he needs do is get through the rehearsals in one piece, avoid Benoît, and not split the breeches he has been given to wear.

It was going to be easy, right?

Continue reading blurbs: A Certain Persuasion

stories: Elinor and Ada

I had three or four ideas about what to write for A Certain Persuasion. However, my contribution came from one of the notions I came up with initially as possible inspiration for other authors, that went into the Call for Submissions: “What if Elinor Dashwood was repressing her love not for Edward but for a woman?” It was an idea that stuck with me – and as I re-read Sense and Sensibility with my editor’s hat on, the decision was made as I realised how very much I love and identify with Elinor.

I like that she’s sensible and responsible, and takes things such as promises seriously. But I like that she also has a full emotional life going on in there, even if she chooses to keep it to herself most of the time. We see it, however, when she and Marianne finally have the whole horrible truth confirmed by Willoughby’s last letter to Marianne – Elinor promptly lies down on the bed beside Marianne and bursts into tears just as passionate as Marianne’s. We see it after her brother John Dashwood leaves Mrs Jennings’ house after talking to them about Edward’s engagement to Lucy – Mrs Jennings, Elinor and Marianne are horrified at how heartless the Ferrars family are being, and the three of them have a righteously satisfying vent about it. Elinor judges to a nicety when such things are appropriate and when they’re not.

Maybe I should say I ‘aspire to be’ Elinor rather than ‘identify with’, because heaven knows I get such things wrong at least half of the time!

Anyway! This became the story Elinor and Ada.

Of course Emma Thompson and Hattie Morahan each had an effect on my portrayal of Elinor, but my main source of inspiration was the following sketch of Anne Seymour Damer and Mary Berry.

Mrs Damer and Miss Berry by Cosway (c.1790s, Lewis Walpole Library, Yale)

The warm look of affection between them is exquisite! I wish I were an artist, to capture such a thing in a few pencil-strokes, as Richard Cosway has done here. (The image belongs to the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale. I found it via the book Homosexuality and Civilization by Louis Crompton.)

Other writers no doubt do the same: I like to have a visual that captures something of what I want to achieve in a story, and I display it on one screen while I write in the other. This sketch was certainly it for me!

The Fine Point of His Soul

The Fine Point of His SoulBlurb: He was the shameful cause of his sister Elena’s death and he stole state papers from England, yet Adrian Hart is feted by the best of society in Rome, and boldly dubs himself ‘Iago’. Determined to avenge Elena, his unrequited love, Lieutenant Andrew Sullivan asks the advice of poet and Shakespearian John Keats, and his artist friend Severn. Soon Percy and Mary Shelley join them, then Lord Byron and his servant Fletcher. But how can the seven of them work against this man, when they can’t even agree what he is? The atheist Shelley insists that Hart is an ordinary man, while Byron becomes convinced he’s the Devil incarnate, and Keats flirts with the idea that he’s Dionysius…

As death and despair follow in Hart’s wake, Sullivan knows he must do something to stop Hart before even Sullivan himself succumbs – but what…?

Originally published in 2012. Re-released in a revised edition in 2016.

Genre: gothic; alternate history; adventure; novel

Word count: 54,000

Look inside! Click here for a PDF of the front matter, prologue and first two chapters from the paperback edition.

Click here for the reviews.

Available in ebook format from:

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reviews: The Fine Point of His Soul

My alternate history, The Fine Point of His Soul, received its first review on Goodreads from its proud dedicatee! It has also received terrific, thoughtful reviews on the Jessewave site – which is particularly appreciated, as their main focus is male-male romance, a theme which is only a subplot in this novel – and also from Narrelle Harris, a writer who knows how to spin a darn good yarn.

Discovering Diamonds: Highly Recommended by Richard Tearle


Excerpts: … an excellent read. … not exactly a romp, but the action moves along at a good pace, the dialogue is suitable for the ‘romantic’ poets and the plot and settings authentic. … an intriguing mystery and very well told to boot!

Mortal Words: 4 stars from Narrelle M Harris

Excerpt and summary: Bozza … evokes the language and cadences of the time period without sounding like a pastiche – her prose has an easy, thoroughly readable flow. Through Andrew Sullivan she has a narrator who is practical but has a love of the noble and poetic, particularly explored through his friendship with Keats and the discussions he has with all the poets. Bozza writes artists who converse like artists without getting pompous or sounding like she’s simply reworking material from their own poetry or diaries. Her understanding of the poets in question and their worldviews feels extensive, and she manages to incorporate these ideas with a light touch and a sensibility for how they impact the characters, their interactions and the overall story. … the inexorable pace of it is taut and full of anticipation. … The Fine Point of His Soul is a beautifully crafted novel of Gothic horror, evoking original tales of the time period while achieving its own storytelling voice.

Reviews by Jessewave: 4 stars from LadyM

Excerpt and summary: One of the things I love about Julie Bozza’s writing is the fact that she can change her writing style from book to book to fit their tone and theme. Whether it’s a gritty police procedural, beautiful love story set in Australian Outback or, in this case, speculative fiction set in alternate 1820s, she wields the chosen style with ease and brings to life an amazing cast of characters. And here, in The Fine Point of His Soul, the style beautifully matches the story’s characters, especially the three most famous among them, romantic poets John Keats, Percy Shelley and Lord Byron, their heightened emotions, doubts, fancies, loves and losses, pathos. … Bozza’s portrayal of Keats warmed my heart, but I fell head over heels with Byron (though I suspect every reader will have their own favorite). He is a proud man, sometimes hard, unreliable and insecure. He sees himself as a man of action, but the gentleman and lord in him always win. … The Fine Point of His Soul isn’t a perfect novel … [however] In Keats’s own words: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever.”

Keats on Goodreads

  • Bryn Hammond said: The trio of star Romantic poets, Keats, Shelley, Byron – sort of like the Three Musketeers – with each his companion or offsider (wife, servant, friend) and – if I’m going to run with the Three Musketeers – our d’Artagnan is nothing of a poet, he’s a lieutenant in the navy, who requires their help or other input – it isn’t always assistance, at least from Byron – in a secret mission, sensitive both to the Home Office and to the lieutenant’s heart. … [Recommended] If you like unlikely heroes in speculative histfic, or want to meet Bryon, Shelley and Keats. Believe me, you want to meet Keats.
  • Sanna said: Unusual, skillful incorporation of real historical figures with a fascinating narrator and fantastical gothic story.
  • Abigail Bok said: This is an odd little book, but I found considerable interest in just about every page of it. I enjoyed the characters’ companionship, their attachments and their conflicts; and their dialogue and activities seemed believable. I felt they were all people I might know. … I was especially delighted to discover an author who is writing as she pleases, without looking over her shoulder at what “readers” might want or expect. The greatest pleasure I found in the reading was its unpredictability—the fact that it was not written to some kind of formula or genre. The author followed the story where it led her. I hope to find more such works!

Readers’ Responses

Lisa Scott: The Fine Point Of His Soul is an innovative historical mystery, set in Rome in the 19th century. It is a tale of friendship and the encounter between good and evil featuring the Romantic Poets, a valiant naval lieutenant and the inscrutable figure of Iago.

Somebody has stolen important papers from the English government. The lieutenant must travel to Rome to retrieve them from the suspected thief. He enlists the help of John Keats and his friends and together they embark on a journey that will lead to disturbing and fatal events, causing them to doubt their own sanity.

I loved the premise of this enthralling novel – a fusion of true historical facts and settings with a ‘what if’ scenario. The scenario being what could Keats have got up to in the last few months of his life, after he had been quarantined aboard the Maria Crowther in the Bay of Naples.

It is a wonderfully written tale with a well-realized historical setting, very likeable characters and an intriguing original plot. In reading I was transported to the piazzas and pavements of C19th Rome and longed to be part of the ‘gang’ so I could join in with their tea drinking and plotting.

The story contains some references to literary details, which a less cultured reader (like myself) may have felt a little daunting – but not to worry, as the lieutenant is not so well read either and so the author kindly ensures that where necessary, explanations are given to the lieutenant and vicariously to the reader via Keats and his friends.

The author’s knowledge and love of Keats emanates from the pages, which makes the book all the more a joy to read.

The ‘True Love’ Solution

true-love-200pxBlurb: Jules Madigan loves his family and he loves his job. The only thing he’s missing out on is a Happy Ever After, like the ones written by his favourite romance author Ewan Byge. While he’s waiting for that HEA, Jules indulges himself in buying Ewan’s old typewriter as memorabilia – before realising he’s been defrauded. Through the fraud case, he makes friends with Police Constable Leonard Edgar – and through Leonard, Jules even gets to meet and work with Ewan Byge Himself! But the course of True Love never did run smooth, and soon Jules has to face some harsh realities.

Genre: gay romance; contemporary; comedy drama; novel

Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.

Word count: 45,000

Available in ebook formats from:

Available in paperback format from:

reviews: The ‘True Love’ Solution

Thank you to everyone who’s giving my latest novel a try! I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope that makes it a lot of fun to read.

Bike Book Reviews: review by Becky

Excerpt: Jules captured my heart on page 1 of this book, what with his swinging hips and artfully styled ginger hair, how could one not fall in love? … it is a great read. 

Books Laid Bare Boys: 4 stars from Fiona

Excerpt: I enjoyed this so much – it was well written and properly researched so no distractions from the story line. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read an amusing feel good old fashioned romance (with a bit of gay sex thrown in for very good measure!)

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words: 3.75 stars from Stella

Excerpt: I discovered Julie Bozza in the Butterfly Hunter series and fell in love with her style. That’s the reason I soon jumped into the chance at reading The ‘True Love’ Solution. What I particularly like of this author is her way with words, she can always bring me into real and at the same time dreamy worlds. This is exactly what I felt with this last story.

Bayou Book Junkie: 4 stars from Jaymie

Excerpt: The writing was very good and the author is definitely talented.

Engaging Secrets: 4 feathers from Gretchen

Gretchen seems to have found it a rather unexpected book – weird and quirky! – but concludes: Overall there were things I didn’t like but mostly I enjoyed this book very much. It’s different and well written with complex characters.

Romantic Fanatic Book Blog: 4 stars from Brave One

Brave One particularly enjoyed the ‘sweet love story’, the humour, and Jules’ family dynamics.

The Novel Approach: 3 stars from Jules

While the ‘love triangle’ aspect of the tale did not suit, Jules still found a lot of things to like about it. Archie, Leonard, and the strength of the opening chapters and the final chapter saved this one for me.

Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews: 4.5 stars from Mark

Beware of spoilers if you click through to this review!

Conclusion: This book has no big angst factor, no biting your nails, no heart breaking break-ups, big tear jerking making up or reunion scenes and no broken characters.  It is light on the erotic but thoroughly entertaining as it focuses more on the characters, and what wonderful characters they are too. I was in immersed in this book from the beginning and thanks to Julie’s wonderful writing was introduced to another set of vibrant, lovable characters.

Mortal Words: 4 stars from Narrelle M Harris

Conclusion: All up, The ‘True Love’ Solution is a light, fun, gentle, sweet read that dances its sprightly way to a lovely and satisfying conclusion. It’s a perfect pick-me-up if life has seemed a bit dark lately, and a cheerful confection if life’s good and you want to celebrate True Love, even if it does wobble off course sometimes.

Readers’ Responses

Tess on Goodreads gave it 4 stars and said: This was a delightful, sweet and very British romance. One thing I really loved was Jules’ relationship with his father, Archie. Probably one of the best father/son relationships I’ve seen in gay romance.

Ije on Goodreads gave it 5 stars and said: I needed to read something like this. Something that has a strong loving family, a character who loves to read romances and adores authors. … This is a lovely story which is touching, gentle, beautiful in its simplicity but very realistic.  And it is going onto my list of exquisite reads for 2016!

Keela on Goodreads gave it 5 stars and said: It was solidly adorable. I will definitely be reading from Julie Bozza again.

Sharon on Goodreads gave it 5 stars and said: I rarely award five stars but this book had it all: good story, well written, good editing.

excerpt: The ‘True Love’ Solution

This is the opening scene of the novel. I hope you’ll be as fond of Jules as I am!

The best thing about working from home, Jules thought as he danced lightly down towards the front door, was … No, strike that. The best thing about working from home was spending all day in his pyjamas. Jules laughed under his breath, and detoured to scoop up Jem’s pashmina from her armchair. He slung it around his hips and fastened it with a loose knot while he sashayed through to the hall. A quick glance in the hall mirror reassured him that his quiff of thick red hair was looking rakishly mussed, and his pale face was unblemished by the remains of breakfast or random pen marks. Presentable, or enough so.

The second best thing about working from home was – No, that wasn’t true either.

The third best thing, Jules amended as the doorbell rang once more, was that he could accept delivery of whatever little goodies might have found their way into his Amazon shopping cart that week. And completely fluster the delivery guy while he was at it.

“Hellooooo!” Jules sang as he flung the door and his arms open wide.

Continue reading excerpt: The ‘True Love’ Solution

A Pride of Poppies

WWI anthology cover FINAL 200pxModern GLBTQI fiction of the Great War

Blurb: Ten authors – in thirteen stories – explore the experiences of GLBTQI people during World War I. In what ways were their lives the same as or different from those of other people?

A London pub, an English village, a shell-hole on the Front, the outskirts of Thai Nguyen city, a ship in heavy weather off Zeebrugge, a civilian internment camp … Loves and griefs that must remain unspoken, unexpected freedoms, the tensions between individuality and duty, and every now and then the relief of recognition. You’ll find both heartaches and joys in this astonishing range of thought-provoking stories.

An anthology featuring authors: Julie Bozza; Barry Brennessel; Charlie Cochrane; Sam Evans; Lou Faulkner; Adam Fitzroy; Wendy C. Fries; Z. McAspurren; Eleanor Musgrove; Jay Lewis Taylor

Genre: LGBTQ+ fiction; historical; wartime; anthology

Click here for the blurbs, and here for the reviews.

Word count: 65,000

Awards:

Available in ebook formats from:

Available in paperback format from:

All proceeds are donated to the Royal British Legion.