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Jane Riddell Shares How to Get Your Words’ Worth

I’m very pleased to have editor and novelist, Jane Riddell, at my place today. Every writer has nightmares about not giving their babies the best possible editing, and nothing. We certainly want the best for our readers. Knowing my own angst about giving my book the best editing, I jumped at the chance to have Jane on my blog so that I could pick her brain for some ideas that might help both writers and readers at the end of the day. And so that she could tell you all about her wonderful new book on editing, Words’ Worth. Welcome, Jane!

 

book-cover-guide-a-4-smallKD: Jane, what inspired you to write a book about editing?

 

JANE: When I began editing my first novel, Daughters of the Lake, I had a small list of things to check for but found myself constantly adding to it. The more I learned about writing, the more things I felt required checking. It felt overwhelming, so I decided to put my checklists into table form, so that I could tick things off when I’d done them. It also meant that I didn’t have to follow a particular order in my checklist because I knew exactly what had and hadn’t been done.

When finding myself longing to explain my system to any writer who’d listen, it became obvious that I should turn it into a book and hence Words’Worth: a fiction writer’s guide to serious editing was created. It’s a small guide – 54 pages – but more comprehensive than it looks at first sight. I continue to use this method of editing my novels because it works, although it takes time and can be tedious.

 

KD: Tell us a bit about yourself, Jane, and about your other books.

 

JANE: I came to writing seriously quite late in life. For many years it was a hobby, something I fitted in around work. When we planned to move to France for three years (2006 – 2009), I knew I wouldn’t be able work there with such limited French. A month or so before we left, on a wet Saturday afternoon at the gym, walking on a treadmill and listening to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas singing Dancing in the Street, I had a defining moment.: I thought ‘I’ll give writing a go.’ And I haven’t looked back. Interestingly, it was only during our second year in Grenoble that I was able to tell people I’m a writer, without that critical demon in my head accusing me of being a fraud.

My first novel was Daughters of the Lake, a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. The idea came for this while I was on holiday in Brunnen on beautiful Lake Luzern in Switzerland. It’s told in four viewpoints – the mother’s and those of her three daughters. I think that at a subconscious level it was inspired by Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac, although the plot isn’t at all similar.

Chergui’s Child is my second novel, and it’s about a woman who receives a large inheritance from her aunt, and also a revelation which changes her life. It’s set in London, Morocco and the south of France.

I’ve recently completed a novella – The Bakhtin Chronicles: Academia, about a Russian cat who comes to Edinburgh to final-cover-for-final-cover-for-daughters-of-the-lakestudy creative writing and struggles with literary theory. The inspiration for this came from my own experience of failing to understand the relevance of French philosophers and literary critics to writing, while I was studying for a Masters in Creative Writing. It was therapeutic after a miserable academic year.  Doubtless some will consider me mad when they read it, but as all writers know, insanity is a good personality trait. I plan to publish Bakhtin some time before Christmas.

 

KD: What is the biggest editing problem you think novelists have?

 

JANE: Eliminating unnecessary words. A big chunk of Words’Worth is devoted to this. Strong, descriptive verbs don’t require adverbs. And sometimes verbs are surplus: ‘I’m going to have to’ can be shortened to ‘I’ll have to’ without sacrificing meaning. People don’t ‘begin to laugh’, they simply laugh. By deleting words that can’t justify their space on the page, it’s possible to lose thousands of them. And I do – in each novel…

 

KD: If you could give just one piece of advice to writers to make their editing tasks easier what would it be?

 

JANE: Have checklists rather than keeping in your head everything that needs to be done. Allow enough time for the editing process – it may take longer than writing the first draft did.

 

KD: Tell us a little bit about your next project.

 

JANE: When I’ve finished my current novel, I plan to write a second version of Words’Worth, this time targeting business writers. And I’m considering writing another Bakhtin novella, perhaps about working life after university, or perhaps about a writer struggling to promote his/her work.

 

KD: Do you, as a writer, have editing shortcuts that make your life easier? If so, what are they?

 

JANE: Not really. I plod through my lists each time. But a key point in Words’Worth is that the writer can personalise the checklists for every novel. Initially, I included checking for unnecessary adverbs and unnecessary prepositions. I don’t include these items now because searching for them rarely showed either of these and I was wasting time.

 

KD: Is there anything else you’d like to share with writers?

 

JANE: The often dispensed advice, ‘Keep going’ is fine, but only if at the same time you are working hard to improve your writing technique. This makes sense: if you made a chocolate cake that no one liked, you’d find another recipe rather than continue to use the old one in the hope of finding someone who thought the cake was yummy.

I’ve found that the best ways to improve my writing are to read the ‘how to’ books, read fiction as much as possible to see how other people write. Receiving feedback on my writing has been invaluable, but it’s important to be discerning about choosing readers.

 

Buy Words’ Worth Here:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WordsWorth-fiction-writers-serious-editing-ebook/dp/B01H2B9ZF0/

 

https://www.amazon.com/WordsWorth-fiction-writers-serious-editing-ebook/dp/B01H2B9ZF0/

 

Here’s a peek at Jane’s novel, Chergui’s Child:

 

Blurb for Chergui’s Child:

 

cc-front-cover-jpgOlivia is recovering from a traumatic event five years earlier, when she is summoned to the bedside of her dying aunt, Dorothy. Shortly afterwards, she learns that her aunt has left her a large sum of money and a letter containing a startling revelation. From Morocco to London to the south of France, this is the story of one woman’s journey to make her life whole again.

 

Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Cherguis-Child-Jane-Riddell-ebook/dp/B00YTE9XWE/

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/ebooks/dp/B00YTE9XWE/

 

Extract:

 

Two days later as I handed a £20 note to the taxi driver, I could still visualise my aunt’s pallid, dying face.

‘Hey – your change,’ he called after me.

I took the money, scrambled up the steps and pressed heavily on the brass doorbell of the lawyer’s office.  In reception, I removed my jacket and perched on a leather armchair, wondering again why I’d been summoned.  What was so important it couldn’t be discussed over the phone?

The paintings on the drab green walls did nothing to lift my spirits: cherubs hovering round a tormented loin-clothed man; mountains tumbling into a murky lake.  My fingers drummed the armrests as my thoughts reverted to the evening before. James had arrived late, and from the window of my third floor flat, I’d watched him adjust the metal coat hanger that served as an aerial for his Citröen.  His perfunctory peck on my cheek irritated me.  When he left early, claiming a headache – from my incense, of course, not his smoking (nothing that happened to James was ever his fault) – I’d been relieved.

Exhaustion permeated me: no Dorothy, and the funeral to endure tomorrow.  Ten fifteen.  Where was the lawyer?  I flicked through a National Geographic article about Iceland, closed the magazine.  The door opposite opened, two men shook hands and one of them left, smiling at me as he passed.

‘Miss Bowden, I’m Charles Minto.  Apologies for summoning you at such short notice and for keeping you waiting.’

I followed him into a large, sparsely furnished room, sat down and surveyed my surroundings, wondering if their soothing cream colours eased the stress of divorce, financial worries and problems with neighbours.  Outside, the wind buffeted leafless trees and the sky showed no inkling of sunshine.

‘I am sorry about your aunt’s death,’ he said, smoothing back his white forelock.  The glare from his specs reminded me of my former headmaster, but the lawyer’s aura was calmer.

‘I didn’t manage to talk to her.  I was in St Albans when she had her stroke.’

‘Your father told me.  I contacted you to tell you about Dorothy’s will.’

How much more caring he sounded, using Dorothy’s name.  ‘Her will?’

He nodded, studying me with sudden intensity as if I were a specimen in a lab.   I wanted to parachute myself home, to work, anywhere.

‘She changed it the day before she had her stroke.  You are the main beneficiary.’

My pulse raced.   ‘But… this isn’t…  What about William, what about my mother?  Does she know?  Will I have to tell her?’

His eyes softened.  ‘Your aunt was adamant you have the money.  She has provided well for William but the rest has been left to you.  The figure is about £700,000.’

I imagined Mum’s outrage.  £700,000!

‘There’s something else.  Dorothy dictated a letter to you on the day before she died.  This was when she changed her will.’

‘A letter?’

He handed me the envelope.  ‘Take your time – the contents are… unusual.’

My heart clamoured for escape.  I wanted Dorothy, not her money.  I didn’t want to read a letter, I didn’t want to discuss finances.  All I yearned for, in fact, was my cosy duvet and sleep.

After peering at my name on the envelope, I opened it and scanned the letter.  Then I reread it, the letters dancing like pixies.  When finally I glanced up, the green and maroon circles on the lawyer’s tie swirled.  Struggling to breathe, I reached into my bag for my inhaler.

Mr Minto waited for a moment, then handed me a glass of water.  ‘Drink this, please.  You’re in shock.’

 

 

About Jane:Jane Riddell

Jane Riddell is a Scottish writer based in Edinburgh. For years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health
promoter, writing being a hobby. In 2006 she impulsively moved her family to France, and during her three years there writing became a passion.

Jane summarises herself as: enthusiastic, well-intentioned, hopelessly inadequate with technology, having a dysfunctional relationship with time and addicted to chocolate, her only vice (to date). Her partner describes her as a benign crocodile. She loves: sash windows, perfume, wild weather, photography and films. Travel is her passion, especially pet sitting in other countries. To date she has looked after: dogs, cats, stick insects, turtles and parrots.

 

Find Jane Here:

 

www.quietfiction.com.

 

Jane also offers an editing service. Check out Choice Words Editing on her website.

 

What’s so Cool about Writing Sex?

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To answer that question, I would like to just point you back to my motto — I totally believe Freud was right. It really IS all about sex. And as a writer of erotica and erotic romance, no one is happier about it than I. Since sex touches every part of our life, since it is so multifaceted, since it intrigues and us and enthrals us as nothing else does, why wouldn’t it be fun to write about?
Originally I started writing erotica because I could write it well and it was something I could sell. Yup! I admit. I was a bit mercenary. At first. Now I can’t imagine a story without sex in it because sex is the quickest way to give my readers aScribe-computer-keyboardMG_07771-225x300 deeper understanding of my characters and to add a little chaos and up the stakes of a good pacy novel.
But here’s my little secret: I wrote erotica secretly long before I published any of it. Yup! I think of writing erotica as a sex toy on steroids. Nothing is hotter, nothing can push all the right buttons — reader of writer — nothing can get you there quite like the written, filthy word straight from your dirty little mind. That’s because no on knows what turns you on like you do, and no one knows what fantasies you have, but you. Write them and squirm! Write them and giggle! Write them and sizzle! But once you start writing it, you’ll quickly discover there’s a lot more to it than the ole in and out. Writing erotica is a creative process, an art form in itself. Writing erotica is a sexy way of telling a story.
If you ever thought you’d like to tell a sexy story, maybe write it down to share with someone special over candle light and fizz, or maybe write it and send it off to a publisher, this is your chance. Kay Jaybee and I will talk you through the essentials with plenty of hands-on experience. …er I mean WRITING experience, you naughty lot! There! You see, you’re already in the right frame of mind. Come join the fun. (You see what I did there)

Follow the links below for details on how you can join the fun.

 

 


Kay Jaybee
 and I are very happy to announce that we’ll be joint-teaching an Essential Elements of Erotic Writing 13442263_1220482214628479_1390160962256925281_nWorkshop in London at Sh! Women’s Store on the 23rd of September from 5:30-7:30 PM. We promise a sizzling
evening of fun, filth and writing, all set in one of our favourite places on the planet, the fabulously sexy Sh! Women’s Store. That alone is enough to inspire erotic thoughts. Is there a better combination?

 

Kay and I are scheming and planning an inspiring, educational and filthy class, guaranteed to help you set aside your
internal editor and get down to writing the good stuff in a nasty, fun way.

 

The cost is £20 per person and there are still a few spaces available, so be sure and sign up as soon as possible. (This workshop is open toSh!logoboth sexes.) Follow the link for details and come join us prepared to write!

 

Sex, Chaos, and Story

(From the archives)

I’m in the air over the Atlantic somewhere as this post goes lives. That being the case, I’m doing seasonal re-runs with a the screampost from the archives on one of my favourite topics — sex and chaos and their effect on story. Enjoy.

In my opinion, there are few things a writer can do to a story that will kick-start it quite as much as creating a little chaos. A calm and happy life in the real world might be just the ticket, but in story, there’s one word for it – BORING! A story is all about upsetting the apple cart, breaking the eggs, turning the bull loose in the china cupboard and — heart racing, palms sweating – seeing what happens, while we’re safely ensconced on the other side of the keyboard/Kindle/book. Oh yes we do love that adrenaline rush — at someone else’s expense!

One of the best tools for dropping the character smack-dab into the middle of the chaos – and the reader vicariously – is sex. And the more inconvenient, the more inappropriate, the more confusing, the more SO not what the character was expecting, the more delicious the chaos will be.

The thing about those big brains that I spoke of a few posts back is that they like to make us think we can control all the variables. The thing about the biological housing for those big brains is that it doesn’t always want to be controlled. Oh and that big brain, well that means there’s all sorts of stuff going on up there that can lead us down the havoc-wreaking road to sex and chaos. It wants what it wants. And the ole grey matter can be so damned stubborn at times. Oooh! I get goose bumps just thinking about what happens when the big brain gets a hankering and the biological soup starts overheating and sex happens.

If we look at Western history from the point of view of religion and its effects on culture, there are few things the religious powers that be have made more of an effort to control than sex. And in story, in myth, there are few things that have caused more chaos than a little rough and tumble in the wrong place at the wrong time. Troy lost war and was destroyed over it, King Author’s realm fell because of it, David had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed because of it.

The resulting chaos that sex unleashes in a story can be nothing more than to create self-doubt in a cock-sure character, which is always a delight to see. Or the resulting chaos can be world-destroying, and anything in between. Sex can cause the kind of chaos that will make the reader laugh, or the kind of chaos that will make the reader say, ‘if only they hadn’t done that.’ However, the one thing sex should never do in a story is leave things the way they were before it happened. Can it be used for bonding? Of course! But the tighter the bond, the more chaos can be caused if that bond is tested or broken. I shiver with delight at the thought.

And because our big brains don’t give a damn if our sexual thoughts and fantasies are ‘socially acceptable,’ nor is it discriminating about who we might have those thoughts and fantasies about, the resulting internal chaos can be almost as delicious as the external – maybe even more so. That lovely mix of guilt and desire and self-loathing and arousal and denial and shear over-heated lust. OMG! It’s a total writer’s paradise there for the taking.

I’m sure I’m like most writers in that I analyse what I read for pleasure in terms of what worked and what didn’t, what I
would have done if I’d written it, and what I’ve learned from the author’s writing skills that can be used to make my own writing better. I have to say one of the biggies for me is how well the author uses chaos to move the story forward
at a good pace; and especially how effectively sex is used to create chaos. I’m sure I pay a lot more attention to how sex is used in a story (or not) now that I write erotica, but it’s the resulting chaos that fascinates me and keeps me reading Botticelli_Mars_and_Venusin almost any kind of novel. The world is not a static place, and especially the world of story should not be static. Happy endings are called happy endings because they are at the end. They follow the chaos and happen when the story is finished. There is no more story, or at least none the reader wants to follow. It’s the chaos that pulls us in and keeps us turning the pages, and when that chaos is directly tied to sex, hold on to your hat!

 

A View From Above: Lakeland Keeps on Inspiring

I was reminded again how important that view of the overall picture can be when a good friend sent me a link to a breath-taking photo of the Lake District taken from the International Space Station, and I was deeply moved by such a view of a place I love, of a place that inspired and figured strongly, into each of the three Lakeland Heatwave novels, Demon Interrupted and the Medusa Consortium, almost as if it were another character in its own right.

 

The lake District image taken from the International space Station behbysjcaaayk3t-large

 

The photo was tweeted by Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield from on board the International Space Station, orbiting roughly 200 miles above the earth, moving at over 17,000 miles per hour.

How could such a ‘snapshot’ of one of my very favourite places not get me thinking about writers and the way we view our stories. I’ve always been an advocate of what I like to call snapshot writing. Snapshot writing is giving the reader snippets of detail, of experience, of a fleshed-out moment so full, so rich that the reader can feel it, taste it, revel in it. A snapshot can say so much about an event, often way more than words can. So for me one of the most powerful tools in my writing tool box is to create a snapshot with words, to write a moment so vividly that readers are instantly transported to the place and time. Commander Hadfield’s amazing snapshot from space has done just that for me.

Imagine my delight when I realised that I could not only see the whole of the Lakeland Witches stories and the Medusa Consortium stories in that snapshot, but I could see all the snapshots, all the intricately woven stories of my own adventures on the fells, of my own explorations and uncoverings of Lakeland one footstep at a time.

castlerigg_Stone_Circle1How could I not wonder what Alfred Wainwrightwould have thought if he could see his beloved Lakeland in such a view from above? His incredibly detailed drawings and descriptions of the Lakeland Fells are among the most accurate, most lovely, most poetic ever recorded. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in the Twa Dogs Inn in Keswick, the night before climbing a fell I’d never walked before, drinking Cumberland Ale while reading through Wainwright’s notes and studying the maps and drawings from his Pictorial Guides of the Lakeland Fells. The beauty in the minute detail of his work is now reflected in a stunning overview from space. How could anyone not be moved by that?

More than just the love of Lakeland, which I could go on and on about, and frequently do, is the sense of place such a snapshot from space gives. (I’ve added links with lots of pictures to show you the up-close-and personal of what you can see from a distance from the ISS photo. Enjoy!) I can look at that shot and see Ullswater and Derwent Water. I can see snow-capped Helvellyn and Skafell Pike, the highest peak in England. I can see the Borrowdale Valley, the Newlands HorseshoeHonister Pass – all the places my characters in the Lakeland trilogy frequent – all the places I’ve frequented, and I couldn’t not share it. So if you look closely at the picture, the highest snow-covered point in the lower Landscapesright — that’s Helvellyn. Its iconic Striding Edge put me to the test in one of the most adrenaline-laced, exquisite walks I’ve ever done in the Lake District.

And if you look to the left and slightly lower, at the last snow-covered range in the picture, that high point is Scafell Pike, the highest point in England and another walk I’m proud to say I’ve had the pleasure of doing.

But now, if you look in between those two ranges and slightly north, settled, almost centred, in between the two is a dark spot, roughly oval in shape with jagged edges. That’s Derwent Water with Keswick on the northeast shore invisible to the naked eye from so far above. To the south of the lake, where the fells begin again, is the Borrowdale Valley. And slightly to the left, you can just make out the irregular U-shape of the Newland’s Horseshoe, all of the above frequented by my characters in the Lakeland trilogy, frequented by me. The Newland’s Horseshoe is the place where both Marie Warren and I first ‘got lost’ in the mist. The Borrowdale Valley and the Newlands Horseshoe are the places that inspired the trilogy, the places where heather clings to steep cliffs, where deserted slate quarries make for slippery descents, where the views are breath-taking and where it can all disappear into the mist in a heartbeat.

I’m so glad it was clear the day Commander Hadfield took this picture. I can’t stop looking at it. I love the fact that I’m somehow connected to that place and all the stories it evokes – not just mine, but everyone else’s – all those poets and walkers and writers and photographers and artists – past, present and yet to come — who have found Lakeland as powerful and as moving as I have. I’m connected to all of them, and by that connection, to all of those who read the writings and look at the works of art inspired by that tiny, rugged piece of land that’s just as exquisite when seen from 200 miles above as it is when explored slowly, painstakingly, one footstep at a time.

Surely there is no other place in this whole world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when they are away from it.

Alfred Wainwright

 

FB Kindle new release demon interrupted the right cover

 

Don’t Miss any of my Demon Interrupted Blog Tour and Giveaway which starts tomorrow with stops at these fabulous blogs: 

 

 

Retiring the Boots

IMG_5556It’s a solemn occasion, one that should be handled with great dignity and serious introspection. Just kidding! It’s actually a happy occasion. It’s time to retire not one, but two pairs of walking boots. One pair has walked across England through bogs and bracken, through bolder fields and fast moving streams. The other has lived fast and dangerously mostly with city walking. From London to Rome, from Dubrovnik to Guildford, they’ve made the winter in-town walks a pleasure for my feet while protecting my delicate knees.

 

I’m sure a lot of you are scratching your head right now wondering what the hell I’m talking about, but anyone who is passionate about walking will understand. And really, those of you who know me, those of you who have read my bio and followed my blog know that I measure inspiration in boot soles. There! That’s the key! That’s why I’m writing this post. I’m retiring two pairs of boots – one has been with me for the long hard walks; one has been with me only since October, only since I recovered enough from my knee surgeries to get serious about walking again. To me, that’s really exciting. I’ve literally worn them out in six months, and most of that in town because of the winter mud on the country walks.

 

Since I measure inspiration in boot soles, all I can say it’s been a helluva six months!

 

During that time, those boots have inspired the writing of two novels, with several more still unwritten. They’ve taken me on walks that have cheered me up, walks on which I have vented anger and frustration, walks on which I have lost myself in the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other … over and over and over again, and walks on which every step inspired story, plot, characters and filthy sex.

 

IMG_5559As a lot of you already know, my walking has been enhanced by the addition of a Fitbit to my daily routine, which, at the very least, functions as a reminder to walk ten thousand steps a day if I don’t do anything else, and at the most, challenges me on to walk farther that I’ve ever waked before. By the very act of pushing my walking boundaries, I’ve reached new depths of creativity and new levels of fitness. Why yes! I do love my Fitbit!

 

One of the best side effects of owning a Fitbit is connecting with other walkers. I’ve had some fabulous walks in London this winter with my good friend and Brit Babes Street Team member, Emma Louise Burbidge. They were walks filled with laughter and good conversation and lots of selfies – Emma is the queen of selfies. I look forward to more city walks with Emma and more laughs and selfies.

 

But just because I don’t live close to someone doesn’t mean I can’t walk with them. Maybe the very best thing about my Fitbit is that it has connected me with a world-wide community of people who are fitness minded, but especially love walking. I’ve done Work Week Hustle and Weekend Warrior walking challenges with other enthusiasts all over the world. But one of those lovely walkers has a special place in my heart – a woman I admire and adore in spite of the fact that on more than one Work Week Hustle, she has handed me my arse on a platter, a woman I walk with every week in spite of the fact that she lives in New York City! A lot of you know this lovely, talented lady, the fabulous F. Leonora Solomon, who bolgs as F Dot. When I asked her if she’d write a couple of paragraphs for my Boot Retirement post, she happily agreed, so take it away, F Dot!

 

I love movement, it is a simple but lovely thing. I have never been an athlete, my preferred forms of exercise have been walking and yoga. Very subtle, but both make my body feel fantastic. Before I got my Fitbit, co-workers mused about how many steps I made a day. I easily fell into 10+ K a day…and then I got into a work week hustle with K.D., and watched my steps increase exponentially! K.D. is my hero on many counts because, she is dedicated to whatever she does. When we did NaNoWriMo together, she also helped keep me inspired. It has been the same with our Fitbits.

 

We have been doing the challenge for almost a month–funny how time flies when you are having fun! First of all, we Fidencia's shoes13045640_649412445207825_1992982793_ncheer each other on all day. I want her to go as hard as she can, because then it means that I have to go harder. I got fancy walking shoes–they look like Mary Janes but they are powerful! I take time to stop and smell all of the flowers, even though I envy K.D.’s walks in the countryside. But we luckily will be in each other’s countries in the next few months, and I am excited to walk together…and maybe reach our highest step counts ever…together…

 

Thank you, F Dot! I SO can’t wait to walk with you in the UK and in NYC later this year! Thanks for making what is one of the very best parts of my life even better!

 

And now I can think of no better way to send my tired worn-out Keens and Hedgehogs into happy retirement than with a little naughty excerpt from a walking related story from the fabulous Brit Boys with Toys Book Bundle and my story Toys for Boys.

 

Toys for Boys Excerpt:

“You’re late,” Doc said to Will fucking Charles, who was supposed to meet him at St. Bee’s Head an hour ago.

At Toys for Boys, Will Charles’ moniker was ‘the Alpha Nerd.’ Doc had read some of his reviews and articles but never met him. Since T4B, as they all called it, was an online magazine, he’d never met any of the people who worked there, and he liked that just fine. The best part of free-lancing was no neurotic colleagues and no idiot supervisor looking over his shoulder. Will Charles reviewed computers, smart phones, and games – rubbish like that, while Doc reviewed all the stuff that gave the outdoorsy blokes a hard-on. It was late in the season to be walking the Coast to Coast, but T4B wanted the walk and the boys toys that would accompany Will and Doc on said walk to be a part of their big Christmas issue, which was always driven by shameless consumerism and chock full of the expensive shit to buy for the man who has everything. The article would be atmospheric, they said. It would be fun, they said.

Alpha Nerd, his left nut, Doc thought. The skinny geek with the expensive looking iPhone could have passed for a twelve-years-old — spotty face, heavy-rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Doc’s dream walk was about to become a britboyswithtoysbabysitting job for some whimpy-arsed kid who would whine every time he didn’t have a Wifi connection for his little games on his little phone. Doc wondered how the hell the bloke could even heft the backpack sitting on the floor beside him, and those brand new, straight-out-of-the-box walking boots guaranteed major blisters. This was supposed to be twelve glorious days alone on the Wainwright Coast to Coast path across England. This was supposed to be total outdoor bliss. He had been looking forward to it for months and then, at the last minute, T4B ruined it all by insisting Will fucking Charles tag along with his expensive little camera phone to record the event. Bromance, they said. Adventure and companionship, they said. Merry fucking Christmas! T4B didn’t pay him nearly enough for this shit.

“We’ve got fourteen and a half miles to walk today, and the rain isn’t going to make it any easier.” He nodded to where his own pack sat by the table in the corner of the Seacote Hotel where he’d slugged back enough coffee to guarantee he’d be caffeine-fueled for at least part of that distance; the rest he’d be off in the bushes pissing.

As he turned to go, the lad just looked at him like he’d spoke Chinese. “Is that the Smart phone you’re supposed to be reviewing?” Doc snapped. “Do you need it to translate for you maybe? Hope it’s smart enough to figure out how we can make up for the lost time you cost us.”

“That’s just an iPhone,” came a voice from behind. “This is the device I’ll be reviewing.” To Doc’s horror, he turned to find himself being videoed by a man who definitely passed as an alpha – an alpha bastard at the moment. The sleek black device he pointed at Doc was labeled urBrain in gold letters. Seriously? Were T4B having a laugh?

Doc gritted his teeth and tried to count to ten, but only made it to three. “Perhaps you’d like to turn off urBrain before I cram it up urArse?”

Undaunted by Doc’s threat, the bloke continued to video as he added, “as for young Nigel here, well I rather think his boss at the Seacote might have something to say about him following us on the Coast to Coast. Nice boots,” he said to the kid.

Just then an American tourist the size of a bus blew in through the door, tipped Nigel and thanked him in a very southern accent. He hefted the backpack with a grunt, and headed out into the rain. “As for this little jewel,” Doc turned his attention back to the real Will fucking Charles, “well if I hadn’t had this lovely piece of kit to guide me on an alternative route, I’d still be sitting in traffic behind the overturned tractor with everyone else heading for St. Bee’s Head this lovely morning. So there, you see. It’s already saved us time. Oh, sorry,” he said, offering his hand. I’m Will.” Before Doc could do more than gop, the man slid an arm around him and guided him seamlessly into a selfie.

“Day one of the Wainwright Coast to Coast, and after a near disaster,” he spoke for the camera, “I’m here with Caradoc Doc Jones, the Welsh Woodsman and outdoorsman extraordinaire, about to head into the rain toward our first stop at Ennerdale Bridge. Say hi, Doc.”

Doc managed a wave and a grimace of a smile at urBrain, and Will continued. “We have 192 miles and twelve days to get from St. Bee’s Head on the Irish Sea all the way across England to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, with fourteen and a half miles to make today, so best get on with it.”

 

Brit Boys: With Toys Bundle blurb:

From coast to coast and city to country Brit boys enjoy playing with each other and their toys. Not any old toys, though; guitars, rope, plugs and Moleskine journals all prove to be enormous fun. Throw in a shop that’s wall to wall with kinky ideas, a journalist on the lookout for the next big thing, and Dominants who insist on obedience and there’s sure to be something to cater for everyone’s taste.

Whether it’s a quickie or a slow indulgence, Brit boys know how to hit the spot and they aim to please every time. So take a ride, fly high, come enjoy these sexy boys and their toys.

 

Brit Boys: With Toys is an anthology of M/M stories written by British authors, featuring British characters in British locations. If this steamy set of stories has whet your appetite for more don’t miss Brit Boys: On Boys.

 

raymond 018Toys for Boys blurb:

Alpha Nerd, Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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