No Man’s Land Julie Bozza
Drew was born neither boy nor girl, but he was raised as a man, and now he is desperate to enlist to prove himself. His lover, who fought in the Transvaal twelve years before, is just as desperate to dissuade him.
I Remember Wendy C. Fries
Time goes tick-tock forward, turning boys into men and men into soldiers, but sometimes a man is left behind. Christopher Timlock meant to join the London Regiment with James Gant, but the British Army had other ideas. So Chrissie made a promise: he would wait for Jamie, for as long as it took. And he would remember.
War Life Z. McAspurren
During the war, people lived their lives in different ways. Even separated by a country, however, a sister and a brother’s thoughts circled around similar ideas. One was a worker in a factory, and the other was on the Front Line; both had something important taken from them because of the war, and the thing they’d lost had a way of always entering their minds.
Lena and the Swan or, The Lesbian Lothario Julie Bozza
While the men are away, Lena will play … She delivers the mail, and happily takes advantage of some of the women on her route whose husbands are at war. But then a Miss Cawkwell moves into the house at Fields Corner, and Lena’s world begins to shift.
Inside Eleanor Musgrove
Alfred Schuchard is a baker, the English-born son of a German immigrant, and stuck in a civilian internment camp for the duration of the war. The last thing he needs is for life to get any more complicated. But then a new arrival at camp turns what little still made sense in his world on its head …
I contributed two stories to A Pride of Poppies, the first being No Man’s Land. The main character in this story is 21-year-old Drew, who was born intersex and raised as a man. We discover during a conversation between Drew and his doctor that perhaps the decision about his initial gender assignment was made for the wrong reasons – his father demanded a son – but Drew is fiercely attached to his identity as a man.
The story is set in November 1914; the war broke out a mere three months before. Drew is desperate to enlist, to prove himself. But his older lover, Henry, who fought in the Transvaal, is just as desperate to protect him – not only from the realities of war, but from a situation that would expose Drew to the scrutiny of men who are unlikely to understand or be sympathetic.
This is the second of my stories that appeared in A Pride of Poppies. The other story explored a difficult and challenging situation for its main character Drew. This story, however, is far more positive and up-beat.
The men are away at war. Lena has taken on her uncle’s work, and is delivering the mail in her village and to the outlying farms. When I first started writing the story, I began with two or three paragraphs of exposition about these facts – but luckily it occurred to me to start with something rather more powerful.
When we first meet Lena she is flying along a country lane on her bicycle, enjoying the speed and the sunshine, and revelling in the sheer freedom of it. There’s no denying that war is a tragedy, but it did serve to open up opportunities to women to do different kinds of work, to contribute in different ways than usual.
That’s all well and good, but Lena is also taking the chance to provide a very personal kind of comfort to the lonely wives.
I very much enjoyed writing the cheerfully outrageous Lena, and I’d love to return one day to write more about her and her friends. In fact, I’m going to go add her to my To Write List right now …
Blurb:Investigative journalist Mitch Rebecki loves his job and loves New York. He doesn’t mind making enemies, either. When a crime boss threatens retaliation, Mitch’s editor sends him out of harm’s way to Sydney. In exile and resentfully working on lifestyle pieces, Mitch is miserable. But he makes a friend or two, meets a man … and discovers that Australians do organized crime, too, in a small way. Mitch soon finds himself in too deep on all counts, and trying to head home again seems the only solution…
There’s no denying that Mitch hasn’t been quite as enthusiastically received as his creator might wish, but I’m very glad and grateful for the thoughtful responses that have been coming in from readers and reviewers.
Introduction: I feel the most important thing to say upfront about this book is that it’s not a traditional M/M romance. It’s there but really only plays a very minor background role in the overall story. Knowing this beforehand then you can sit back and enjoy the story for what it is; a story about investigative journalism and how Mitch has a nose for digging up the dirt on people no matter where he lands up. This is what intrigued me and I have now read a number of books where the MC(s) are gay but that’s it; they just are.
Mark also kindly asked me to do a guest post, so I wrote about the ‘fish out of water’ theme. Do drop by and share the love with Sinfully!
Excerpt and conclusion: This was an interesting read and take on a reporter’s life. … I enjoyed the book. It was well edited and I would say the writing is above average. It was an interesting afternoon’s read.
Currently 18 ratings, 10 text reviews, and an average of 3.50 stars.
Ije gave it 5 stars, and said: If I had to describe this story I would call it ‘slice of life’ – ‘a story telling technique that presents a seemingly arbitrary sample of a character’s life.’ Although I don’t think this sample of Mitch’s life could be described as arbitrary. Another way of describing this would be to borrow from my mentor Viv Thomas and describe this as a story of a ‘second choice life.’ A slice of second choice life. … This is a great book, kind of philosophical and a really refreshing change from my usual magic, murder, mayhem and mates.
Seventhdevil gave it 4 stars, and said: Overall I wish the book was longer, and fingers crossed there’ll be a sequel.
This is from the first chapter of the novel. Investigative journalist Mitch has been making a bit too much trouble for a crime boss – who makes threats, but not so seriously that the police can do much about it. In any case, Mitch’s editor Tom has a better idea.
The next morning, Mitch arrived at work to find a note on his desk – in Tom’s own handwriting – directing him to Tom’s office ‘ASAP’. This was followed, in the typically understated Australian way, with three exclamation marks. Mitch shrugged, put his satchel down on his desk, and went to obey.
If Mitch had expected Tom to be angry and concerned about the bomb that hadn’t after all been a bomb, he was disappointed. Instead Tom seemed to be bubbling over with excitement. His eyes were sparking, so much so that Mitch worried vaguely about electrical fires. Tom even stood from his desk, and came to usher Mitch to a seat, before closing the door.
“I’ve got an idea,” Tom announced. “A great idea, a wonderful idea …”
Blurb: Three young boys on a collision course: Albert Sterne – isolated, driven and fiercely intellectual; Fletcher Ash – bright, dedicated and with a strong sense of justice; John Garrett – hurt, marginalised and determined to do to the world exactly what the world has done to him. The eleven short stories in this companion volume continue and expand on the lives of the characters from the same author’s outstandingly popular The Definitive Albert J. Sterne, which should preferably be read first.
Genre: gay fiction; contemporary; drama; stories
Word count: 61,000
Click here for an excerpt of text, and here for the reviews.
Conclusion: This collection of stories was certainly more emotional than the novel, since it revolves more around characters’ lives than the plot about a serial killer. It has been a while since I’ve enjoyed a writer’s style so much, unobtrusive and yet clearly capable of conveying Albert’s losses, Garrett’s hatred, Fletcher’s love. The stories added the facets of their private lives successfully deepening our overall understanding of their characters. If you read The Definitive Albert J. Sterne, this collection is a must read. If you didn’t, I wholeheartedly recommend both books to you. Both the novel and the stories are great addition to this genre and the complexity of the characters alone recommend them to anyone who enjoys reading.
Currently 31 ratings, 13 reviews and an average of 4.55 stars.
Aussie54 gave it 5 stars, and said: Reading about Fletcher and his family was a joy. … It was hard to put my eReader down! I couldn’t wait to see what happened with Fletcher and Albert (even re-reading the first Albert along with this second book was compelling …).
Silver Iris gave it 5 stars, and said: I’m not sure I can describe just how much I love Albert & Ash. These short stories that are snippets into their lives beyond the novel were fantastic. I want to see more into their future.
An excerpt from the story The Rending of Cloth (New York City, October 1952). The child Albert grieves for his murdered parents.
Albert’s early childhood was mostly vague impressions. The love between his parents, and their love for Albert, was strong and constant and inviolate. But none of them were ever very demonstrative, there were never any displays of sentiment. The love was simply there as the foundation of everything they did, all the choices they made, the way they kept company only with each other, the scrupulous care taken to ensure that Albert had everything he needed to grow into everything he could be.
There were hazy moments he could remember. Albert, curled up in his father’s lap, listening to Rebecca’s calm voice tell the story of an old friend, long dead; Miles as rapt as the boy. The three of them being polite at some obscure relative’s afternoon tea, then mischievously sharing their boredom with each other through grimaces and raised eyebrows behind the woman’s back – they had gone home and read all evening, happy in their shared silence. Both of his parents a little giddy, someone having talked them into a fine restaurant on their twelfth wedding anniversary, dressing in their usual dull clothes – but Miles had bought Rebecca a silk scarf. The dark green of it picked out the reddish tint to her brown hair, which she left loose for once. Her eyes had glowed.
Late that night, she clutched the scarf in her dead hand and wouldn’t let it go.
Blurb: Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common; yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against important crime figure Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.