Two plays which spill over into the audience - wrapped around with a romance that takes you backstage!
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Spend a night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle!

June 2019

Welcome to my thirteenth newsletter - lucky, I trust, for all of us!

I'm delighted to be re-releasing my short novel A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle, available on 15 June. If you can't wait that long, there are ARCs available via BookSprout - see below for details!  

As anticipated last time, the French translation of my novel A Threefold Cord has been released as Nous by MxM Bookmark. The eBook is now available, with the paperback edition to come soon.

In other news, I'll be attending Euro Pride Con in Amsterdam and Japan Expo in Paris this June and July. I would love to see you there! 

Please have a browse through the newsletter for more details, wrapping up with reading recommendations, and news from my fellow author Ally Lester.

Re-release of "A Night with the Knight of the Burning Pestle"

I am delighted to be re-releasing this short novel, which was inspired by my favourite ever theatrical experience: seeing Francis Beaumont's play The Knight of the Burning Pestle in the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London in 2014.

Beaumont wrote a hilarious two-plays-within-a-play, which is strangely postmodern for something created over 400 years ago! I wanted to explore it further, so I wrote about a re-imagined production of the play, while wrapping another story around the whole, in which the two main actors wrestle with the question of whether they're friends, friends with benefits, or maybe even something more.

The results were originally published by Manifold Press in 2017, and the rights have since reverted to me. I shall always be grateful to the Press for being willing to take on the unconventional!

All the Details...

Blurb: Dale is proud of how his acting career is progressing. Tonight, for instance, is the last night (at the beautiful Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) of a well-received run of Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle, in which he plays Rafe. But his colleague Topher, who plays Jasper, seems to think something is missing in Dale’s life. They’re not really friends, and Dale sees little point in reprising the one night on which they were not-really-friends with benefits.

However! Despite the distractions of performing this chaotic two-plays-within-a-play, Dale is plagued by the niggling doubts prompted by Topher. Dale might be better off paying attention, though – because maybe Francis Beaumont, writing over 400 years ago, already provided the answers to Dale’s dilemma.

Genre: gay fiction; lesbian fiction; contemporary; theatre; mash-up; novel

Click here for an excerpt of text.

Word count: 38,500

Available in ebook and paperback formats:

If you're just not sure yet, remember that you can sample up to 20% of the novel on Smashwords before purchasing!

ARCs from BookSprout!

I'm trying out BookSprout as a way of organising my ARCs, so I hope you'll give us all a go! The number of copies available is strictly limited, so please do get in there as soon as you can.

Direct link to BookSprout:

Release of "A Threefold Cord" in French!

It's just awesome that my novel A Threefold Cord has been translated into French, and is now available in eBook format from MxM Bookmark with the title Nous.

You can find the eBook on Amazon FR and other Amazon marketplaces, or direct from the publisher. The paperback will be available from 1 July, just in time for Japan Expo in Paris!

Blurb: Grae Edwards et ceux avec qui il partage la vedette – Chris Willoughby et Ben Clyde – travaillent bien ensemble. Ils ont peut-être même une alchimie. Ils sont amis, c’est certain, et Grae est tenté d’en demander plus... Quand Chris, ce beau salaud, a l’audace de le rejeter, Grae débute une relation amoureuse confortable avec Ben, qui est plus galant. Mais l’image de Chris ne le quitte jamais vraiment et quand ce dernier suggère qu’ils passent une nuit tous les trois, Grae entrevoit une solution qu’il n’ose espérer.

"The Gate" by A.L. Lester

A free "Lost in Time" universe story

My friend Ally Lester is making this long story available for free via BookFunnel. She is also currently working on a sequel to The Gate, with a working title of Inheritance of Shadows, that’s serialised every month for her newsletter subscribers.

Genre: MM, gay, romance, historical, paranormal, suspense
Length: 7.5k
Publisher: JMS Books
Release Date: Dec 2017
Download Link:

Blurb: Mystery, paranormal shenanigans and gay romance in 1920s rural England.

It's 1918, and Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks it might be cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it's connected to the mysterious books his brother has left strewn around the house.

Matty confides his suspicions in his friend Rob, who’s also come back to the farm from the Western Front. Rob has realised something odd is happening on the farm. He’s found something that looks like a gate of some kind, something Arthur referenced in his papers which may rest at the heart of his illness. But a gate to where?

Matty and Rob were friends before the war. Now they’re both changed by what they’ve been through. Will the mysterious energy swirling round the farm blow out the ember of attraction between them, or ignite it?

About A.L. Lester

A.L. Lester likes to read. Her favourite books are post-apocalyptic dystopian romances full of suspense, but a cornflake packet will do there’s nothing else available. The gender of the characters she likes to read (and write) is pretty irrelevant so long as they are strong, interesting people on a journey of some kind.

She has two and a half degrees, a BA in Archaeology and History; a MSc in Geographical Information Systems; and a few half-arsed courses as part of a  Science and Science Fiction undergrad. In galaxies long ago and far away she has coded GIS, taught computing skills in the community, was a very expensive secretary and worked as an audio-visual technician. It came as a great surprise when health and safety got upset about pregnant people climbing ladders to do rigging; and so she gave all that up to breed poultry, bees, plants and children.

Now she has a chaotic family life and has become the person in the village who looks after the random animals people find in the road. She is interested in permaculture gardening and anything to do with books, reading, technology and history. She has stress-related seizures and lives in a small village in rural Somerset with Mr AL, two not-quite-teenage children and various animals and birds. She is seriously allergic to both rabbits and Minecraft and struggles to find time to write, but manages anyway, because it’s what keeps her going.


Reading recommendations

I've been indulging in reading for fun lately, so I have more recommendations than usual!

I very much enjoyed Proper English by British National Treasure KJ Charles, a story of illicit love and murder vile at an English country house. I particularly enjoyed the no-nonsense main character, Pat Merton.

This is, in effect, a prequel to Think of England, which I also thoroughly enjoyed.

Blurb: A shooting party at the Earl of Witton’s remote country house is a high treat for champion shot Patricia Merton—until unexpected guests turn the social atmosphere dangerously sour.

That’s not Pat’s biggest problem. She’s visiting her old friend, the Earl’s heir Jimmy Yoxall—but she wants to spend a lot more time with Jimmy’s fiancée. The irrepressible Miss Fenella Carruth, with her laughing eyes and lush curves, is the most glorious woman Pat’s ever met, and it quickly becomes impossible to remember why she needs to stay at arm’s length.

But while the women’s attraction grows, the tensions at Rodington Court get worse. Affairs, secrets, betrayals, and blackmail come to light. And when a body is discovered with a knife between the shoulderblades, it’s going to take Pat and Fen’s combined talents to prevent the murderer destroying all their lives.

Amazon US and Goodreads links:

I'm currently about two-thirds through Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, which is an awful lot of fun. Not entirely grounded in reality, perhaps - and the fact the blurb incorrectly refers to Henry (no relation to the real Prince Harry!) as "the Prince of Wales" is annoying, but let's assume McQuiston is also cringing about that. The bottom line is that, hey, sometimes you just want a romp through romance-as-it-should-be. And, frankly, if this is the current LGBTQ / other-non-normative "breakout" book, then I'm delighted, because it's a goodhearted romantic comedy, and three cheers for that!

Blurb: A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends...

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Amazon US and Goodreads links:

Last but certainly not least is Mrs Martin's Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan, which again is so much fun. It's a delightful romance featuring two women Of A Certain Age - characters written in loving detail - discovering one more chance at love. So charming and so refreshing! And the plot dealing with Mrs Martin's Terrible Nephew is rollicking good fun, despite being all too scarily realistic in terms of the male-female power imbalance. In short, as tasty as toasted cheese.

Though I will add that I dislike the cover intensely, as it's too shiny and too modern. I guess they were aiming at a mainstream audience, which is fine, but please don't let it put you off! Something quaint and 19thC would have been far more the ticket.

Blurb: Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.

Then proper, correct Miss Violetta Beauchamps, a sprightly young thing of nine and sixty, crashes into her life. The Terrible Nephew is living in her rooming house, and Violetta wants him gone.

Mrs. Martin isn’t about to start giving damns, not even for someone as intriguing as Miss Violetta. But she hatches another plan—to make her nephew sorry, to make Miss Violetta smile, and to have the finest adventure of all time.

If she makes Terrible Men angry and wins the hand of a lovely lady in the process? Those are just added bonuses.

Amazon US and Goodreads links:


Thank you 
for reading!

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