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charliecochrane [userpic]

The definitive (at present!) chronological list of Jonty and Orlando stories

May 4th, 2020 (11:58 am)

Early twentieth century:

Lessons in Love November 1905

Lessons in Desire August 1906

Lessons in Discovery November 1906

Lessons in Power Spring 1907

Lessons in Temptation July 1907

Lessons in Temptation missing scene July 1907

What the Mathematician said to the Statue Summer 1907

Lessons in Seduction September 1907

What the Mathematician said to the Engineer November 1907

My true love sent to me December 1907

My True Love sent to me postscript

Lessons in Trust Summer 1908

Resolution January 1909

Lessons for Suspicious Minds Summer 1909.

On the occasion of their anniversary November 1909

Wetting the baby's head missing scene, November 1909

Bloody Mathematicians Spring 1910

Lessons for Idle Tongues Summer 1910

May our days be merry and bright Winter 1910

A fit employment for a gentleman Summer 1912 (crossover 'fanfic')

Once we won matches Aug 1912

Ring in the New December 1913

Game of Chance 1916

All Lessons Learned Spring 1919

Lessons for Survivors, Autumn 1919

Lessons for Sleeping Dogs 1921

The Boy from Kings 1932

A random collection of silly things:

The Inadvertent Adventures of Johnny Stewart, Jonty's great-nephew.

Orlando's opinion on Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.

Pride, Prejudice and all the rest.

Drabbles 1 Edwardian

Drabbles 2 Edwardian

Splitting Infinitives Edwardian, crossover 'fanfic'

Ten plus five plus eight = twenty three Edwardian crossover 'fanfic'

Love Letters, 1911 to 2011

Lessons in Disco 2010

charliecochrane [userpic]

Newsletter 149

April 29th, 2016 (08:24 pm)

We’re looking forward to a bank holiday weekend here. Monday will be the May Day holiday so England will be awash with maypoles and Morris dancers. And rain, probably…


Sauce for the Goose, the little Jonty and Orlando story featured in “Valentine’s Delights”. will go on my free fiction page an a couple of weeks. I hope it amuses you as much in the reading as it did me in the writing. It's gone out to those who get my newsletter direct.

Have you come across The Macaronis blog? It’s a cracking resource about matters gay, romantic and historical and is being relaunched in May, including a week of posts linked to the (blog) hop for Visibility, Awareness and Equality. I’ve made a start by reposting my Mystery People e-zine article about slashy references in golden age mysteries.

And talking of blog hops, I’ve been taking part in one for Autism awareness this month, wondering whether the blue I see is the same as the blue you see.


charliecochrane [userpic]

Is my blue the same as your blue?

April 27th, 2016 (12:45 pm)

I'm delighted to be taking part in RJ Scott's blog hop - there are some cracking posts there. And here's mine...

My best friend at school once said to me, “I’ve always wondered whether the colours I see are the same as the colours other people see. Is my blue different to yours?”

At the time I just said, “Of course it’s the same, as eyes are all the same, anatomically,” but now I think I was too quick to dismiss the notion.

Clearly people who have colour blindness see things very differently to those who haven’t, and I know from experience that one of my eyes sees things with a yellow tinge while the other’s sight is blue tinged, so maybe there are other subtle differences between what I’m seeing and what somebody else is. People taste things differently, too. I’ve never been able to stand fresh coriander – tastes like washing up liquid – but have only recently discovered that’s got a genetic basis. I thought everyone got the same taste and were total loonies for liking it!

Other senses have individual quirks. My middle daughter can’t stand the touch of velvet and when I was young I loathed the feel of certain plastics, especially those dolls were made from. Certain noises set people’s teeth on edge and my dad couldn’t be in the same room as someone peeling an orange without feeling nauseated at the smell.

How can we ever know what it’s like to experience somebody else’s senses? To use a daft but telling example, I really can’t understand why anybody gets any pleasure listening to John Lennon’s “Imagine” (cue the sick bucket for me!) and I guess fans of the song wouldn’t understand why it makes me feel quite ill, the vile dirge that it is. So how can I begin to appreciate how people I know on the autism spectrum are affected by the way their senses interpret the world around them? Is their blue different to mine? Do the sounds I can tolerate make them feel stressed?

I guess I begin by listening to what they – or their families – tell me, and try to act accordingly, in the same way as, when my dad was alive, I’d take my orange into the garden to peel it. Organisations can help by compensating for their particular needs, as happens in the local cinema when it has autism friendly showings of films: that’s no different in ethos to ensuring flat access to buildings for wheelchair users.

Every one of us can make a difference and generally it won’t cost us more than a bit of thought. Making allowances for other people isn’t political correctness or mollycoddling. It’s common decency.




charliecochrane [userpic]

Guest author - Derek Farrell

April 26th, 2016 (01:35 pm)

I got to know Derek through those two crazy kids Clare London and Liam Livings. Am dead chuffed to have him as a guest.

What inspired you to start writing?

Writing – story telling - isn’t really something I was inspired to do. It’s just something I have always had to do. Like breathing, or smiling at kitten videos.

My first memories were of the library my dad used to take me to. I learned that stories were magical things that could help transport you to another place, or make sense of the place you were in.

And I’m Irish – my whole family are story tellers. We talk to, over, around and into each other. Even a trip to the butcher could – when my mother told it – become something funny and exciting.

So writing was just a way to record the stories my head was filled with anyways, and the fact that so many other people have enjoyed those stories has made me very happy.

Do you have another job (paid or otherwise) apart from being an author? If so, how do you juggle your time?

Yes, I am not J.K. Rowling, and thus am required to have another job.

So how do I go about juggling time? Well, it’s all about organisation and discipline, I’m told. I wouldn’t know, as I have neither, usually, but with me, once I have a story, I have to be pulled away from it and into the real world, otherwise I’d stay there forever.

I work in finance, and life is insanely busy, with a lot of travel, but I have a very understanding husband who accepts that he’ll see me when he sees me, and that dinner will be sandwich based for the next few years.

I write for an hour before work each day – usually on the commute to the office – and an hour each evening. I’ll also pull the odd weekender if I’m really on a roll, but for me the key is little and often.

Then, when I’m into redrafts and edits, I’ll lock myself away for a couple of days and do nothing else. This is the bit where I go neurotic and obsessive, but I don’t stop writing ever, and wherever I am.

Death of a Diva was mostly written in London and West Sussex, but had parts written in Berlin, Malta, Tel Aviv, Dublin New York and halfway across the Atlantic Ocean.

The second Danny Bird mystery was partially written in Hong Kong and New Zealand as well as New York, so I’m now on the look out for somewhere glamorous to work on Dany Bird 3…

What did it feel like watching your first book fledge and leave the nest?

“Death of a Diva” was accepted for publication at possibly the worst time in my life.

My mother had just died, and I was unable to understand joy or hope, and then this thing – this Dream Come True – happened, and I was simultaneously overjoyed, guilty, terrified, excited, and heartbroken that my mam wasn’t here to share it with me.

I was very lucky to have the support of a great publisher in Fahrenheit Press, and of a Network of publishing passionistas in an amazing group called BytetheBook, who reminded me constantly that the book is the thing.

And now, the book feels like a child of my own.

Parents love their children with all their flaws, and every time I re-read it, I think “Oooh, I’d change that,” or “I wish I hadn't said / done / hinted at that,” but it is what it is, and it has done the one thing that makes me happier than anything in the whole world, and that would have made my mam beam: It has found an appreciative audience, it is loved, and it now has – if it isn’t too poncey a thing to say – a happy life of it’s own.

And what could any parent ask for beyond that?

Are you character or plot driven? What do you do if one of your characters starts developing at a tangent?

Danny Bird came first. I wanted to write about a character who was honest, decent, not always perfect, and – almost incidentally – gay. He’s happy with his life, and all seems well.

Then, in the space of a single day, he loses his boyfriend, his home, and his job.

And I wanted to know, once I’d done that to him, what would happen next, so from that desire, the plot sprung.

I believe that Genre fiction has to have a brilliant plot, but what amazed me was the characters that came to surround Danny and to weave their way through the story. There’s Lady Caroline (“Caz”) his best friend, Ali the bolshy barmaid, Nick the too-pretty policeman, Ray and Dash (The ASBO twins) Danny’s nephews, who will do anything to help him, from a spot of topless bar manning to a bit of breaking and entering.

And half the time I don’t even know where the characters come from – they just arrive.

So, I’m plot driven, but what elevates the plot to somewhere amazing is the characters, who make it all feel even more real.

Not really an answer, but that’s all I’ve got.

And if characters start going off on a tangent? I let them. I always have a rough map of where I want to start and end, and how I intend to get there, so a few tangents don’t worry me, cos I can always get back to the road eventually.

Sometimes, the tangents result in really great ideas forming. And if they don't? There’s always the edit…

If you were in a tight corner and had to rely on one of your characters to save you, which would it be and why?

I can’t pick one.

Danny is loyal and true and honest, and a decent boxer, so he’d be good in a physical fight.

Caz has the unshakeable confidence in her own right that the aristocracy has, and a sharp tongue, so she’d be good if I needed to intimidate someone.

But Ali – the bolshy barmaid with the crew cut and the permanent sneer – has had decades of dumping drunks out of pubs, so there’s probably not much she couldn’t handle.

Can I have all three?

If you had no constraints of time and a guarantee of publication, what book would you write?

The ones I’m writing now.

I wrote Death of a Diva for my own entertainment, with no expectation of publishing.

I loved it so much, I started plotting and preparing #2 before I’d even been offered a publishing contract by Fahrenheit Press, and I’m already plotting number three, so – even if I hadn’t been published – I think I’d have wanted to write these stories, because they feel organic and they pull together some of my favourite things: Crime, mystery, humour, plotting that keeps moving and that is fair and satisfying at the end, London, romance, and pubs.

Is there a classic book you started and simply couldn't finish?

“The mystery of Edwin Drood,” but I found out later that I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t finish it. (Charlie's note: groan.)

What’s your favourite gay mystery/crime book? And why?

Just one? That’s impossible.

Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan: Not strictly a mystery novel, but it’s about a scam to perform a marriage of convenience for the hugely expensive wedding gifts, and how it all unraveled – slowly at first and then in cascades – and it is the first book I was ever asked to stop reading on a bus, so hysterically did it make me laugh. Keenan went on to script edit Fraser, but he has never been sharper, wittier or more brilliant than here. If you haven’t read it, you have to do so. Now. Go on…. I’ll wait

Fadeout by Joseph Hansen (or any of the Brandstetter series). A proper noir gumshoe series that features a very Butch Gay Detective. Very much of their time, but that, in a way, makes them even more important, as we should never lose sight of the struggles that brought us from “The Twilight World of the Homosexual” to a point where a Gay detective is a cool thing to be.

Any of The Burglar series by Lawrence Block (which feature a wonderful Lesbian sidekick who runs a dog grooming parlour). The plotting, humour and style in these is just brilliant. More so if you’re a book lover as they often have references to, homages on, or pastiches of classic genre styles.

A Slow Death by James Craig. ThIs is a gritty, violent and gripping crime novel that just happens to have a detective who’s gay. Brutal, brilliant and bolshy. I loved it.

What's your next project?

Death of a Diva” comes out in print this summer, which is hugely exciting.

The second Danny Bird book will follow soon after, and the initial buzz is that people think it’s even better than the first, which is brilliant, as I wrote it at a very difficult time, so it will be nice if it succeeds, as it will bring some thing positive out of the darkness.

I’m working on the plotting and ideas for DB3 and also on a stand alone Psychological suspense story that I’m enjoying.

Other than that, the patio needs power washing, the hall needs painting, and the garage needs clearing, so they’ll be near the top of the list.

charliecochrane [userpic]

Selsey - Meet the authors

April 25th, 2016 (03:33 pm)

Delighted to get my brochure for Selsey Meet the Authors from the lovely Joan Moules. Even more delighted to see several of my favourite authors will be there. Len Tyler, Simon Brett, Peter Lovesey! Anybody fancy manning my table while I go a-fangirling?

2 to 4 pm, Tuesday 16th August, at The Selsey Centre.

charliecochrane [userpic]

Bard related Rainbow snippet

April 24th, 2016 (09:02 pm)

In honour of the Bard's birthday yesterday, here's a snippet of What you Will, my Shakespeare and steampunk inspired short story.

Sir!” Soames voice broke in on my thoughts again. He was a good first officer but it seemed he never let a man have time to think. “Starboard side—looks like some poor soul’s copped it.”

The wreckage stood out like a great wen on the coastline, half in the sea and half on the strand, but this was no seagoing vessel. “Bloody pleasure flyers,” I said, and Soames nodded in reply.

I’d seen the like before—small, swift aircraft, rich men’s playthings, damned capricious unless you had the touch with flying them. This one had clearly proved too much for her crew to handle. Still, it pulled at my heartstrings to see such a neat little machine ditched and smouldering. Maybe the snow storm we’d had in the night had done for her.

More lovely excerpts linked at the Rainbow Snippets group.

charliecochrane [userpic]

A post for the Bard and the dragon slayer

April 23rd, 2016 (01:55 pm)

I bloody love Will Shakespeare. I know he’s got feet of clay being not averse to plagiarising plots and dialogue, but the twist he put on them made his works unique. He’s contributed hugely to the English language – if you came to his plays fresh you’d think then full of clichés, but the little tinker coined loads of them.

What’s my favourite play? I love As You Like It, with its incredible maze of gender (and jokes which only work if a bloke plays Rosalind) and Twelfth Night is great, too. That has such a wistful quality, with its “happy ever after”s set against a background of great sadness and cruelty. It’s full of strange sexual politics and confusion, and the most recent version I saw (at Chichester, with Patrick Stewart as a brilliantly funny Malvolio) didn’t pull its punches in terms of depicting the homoerotic elements. And it has one of the clearly gay Shakespearean characters in the sea captain, Antonio. There’s another Antonio and in The Merchant of Venice and both are older men in love – yes, they confess that love out loud – with younger men who aren’t worth their affection.

However, neither of those are top of the Cochrane pops. That, appropriately for St George’s day, is Henry V, with its wonderful secondary characters – including surely the first example of “There was an Englishman, and Irishman, a Welshman and a Scot...” – and its great set piece speeches for the king himself. We all know the one about, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,” but it’s this speech – before the gates of Harfleur – which springs to mind today. Imagine it being spoken by Kenneth Branagh, or Laurence Olivier, or any of the many great actors who’ve taken the role. Work your minds so you can picture the scene.

And don’t forget to notice that last but two line. It wasn’t Sherlock Holmes who first said that the game was afoot. It was our Arry.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

More at the Simply Shakespeare blog hop.

charliecochrane [userpic]

Deadly Dames doing the Portsmouth job tonight!

April 22nd, 2016 (01:03 pm)

No, we're not pulling black stockings over our heads and robbing banks. Just delivering our usual mixture of murder, mirth and mayhem at Portsmouth Central Library. Some tickets still available!

charliecochrane [userpic]

Don't forget the excellent blog hop for Autism Awareness

April 21st, 2016 (09:16 pm)

All of them are linked over at RJ Scott's blog. Go enjoy!

charliecochrane [userpic]

Not only handsome and a great rugby player...

April 19th, 2016 (08:21 pm)

But he writes poetry! Maro Itoje, of course - this is from the Daily Telegraph:

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