A MelanieM Review: Count the Shells (Porthkennack #6) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

 

In Count the Shells (Porthkennack #6), Charlie Cochrane once again brings her marvelous way of incorporating soft, sometimes unusual romances with her love of history.  The author never fails,  with her incredible ability , to bring this post WWI historical time frame accurately alive, right down to the songs and events of the era, and then add a poignant and lovely romance as well.

Here in the shadows of WWI, we are looking at a vastly different England.  It’s dealing with returned soldiers and the ramifications of war, as well as the memories of those that fell on the battlefields.  The wounds for most are still fresh as is the grief for those they buried.   Michael Grey is one dealing with both.  Injured but alive, he’s still mourning over the loss of the one man he considers his one true love, Thomas Carter-Clemence.  Parted on bad terms over a argument, Thomas joined up and then died on the battlefield,  their hoped for reconciliation never to be.

We meet up with Michael and his young nephew on a beach, counting shells in different languages.  For Michael, each shell represents a different lover he’s had.  Thomas is always the first, and the ones that follow?  Lost too.  It’s a sad refrain that his discerning nephew nevertheless asks him to repeat, and a sweet introduction to the times and characters.

Then the author sweeps us into the lives of the two families, the Greys, and their neighbors, the Carter-Clemences with the appearance of Harry, Thomas’ brother.  What starts off as a gentle reintroduction and re-acquaintance of the families as Harry and Michael establish a friendship becomes something quite unexpected when the author starts to deal out revelations that shake up the story just as WWI shook up England at the time.  The rest of the story becomes how to reassemble your vision of the things and people you know and move forward.  Again, it’s a very shattering yet familiar thing to have to deal with during that time period on a number of levels.

I thought the relationships here  were all very moving and the dynamics realistically laid out.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s between  brother and nephew, brother and sister,   sister and husband, brother and  brother in law and mostly brother  and brother of the man he loved.  Count the Shells brings  out life’s tapestry in all its interconnections,  lets us look at the power  when  one string is broken and then the ability to mend and make it whole.

I loved this story.  It’s thoughtful, moves perfectly for the plots and elements as laid out.  It allowed me to glimpse into post WWI England via the mind and heart of Charlie Cochrane and that’s a wonderful thing.  Yes, I highly recommend this story and author.

Cover art by L.C. Chase is perfect and in keeping with the character and setting.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 253 pages
Published October 16th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN139781626496545
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #6

In Our Historical Spotlight: Count the Shells by Charlie Cochrane (RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway)

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Count the Shells (Porthkennack #6) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it here at Riptide Publishing

 

Count the Shells is the story which completely astounded its author in the telling. I had no idea when I sat down to write it that the straightforward historical romance I’d envisaged would turn out to have a plot twist which transformed the story into possibly the best tale I’ve ever crafted.

About Count the Shells

Michael Gray returned from World War One injured, but at least he returned. Others were not so fortunate, including his first and greatest love, Thomas Carter-Clemence, with whom Michael had parted bitterly before the conflict began.

Broch, the Carter-Clemence home in Porthkennack, was an integral part of pre-war holidays for the Grays, the two families drawn together in the wake of their sons’ friendship. Returning to the once-beloved Cornish coast for a break with his sister and her family, Michael has to find the courage to face old memories . . . and dare new relationships.

When Thomas’s brother Harry makes an unexpected appearance, Michael is surprised to find himself deeply attracted to Harry for his own sake. But as their relationship heats up, it unearths startling revelations and bitter truths. Michael must decide whether Harry is the answer to his prayers or the last straw to break an old soldier’s back.

Available now from Riptide Publishing

About Porthkennack

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

Website:charliecochrane.co.uk/

Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/

Twitter: @charliecochrane

Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Count the Shells, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag from Charlie Cochrane, including postcards (new and vintage), a recipe book, bookmark, pencils, a fridge magnet and various other doodahs! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 21, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour: A Cambridge Fellows Mystery novella (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

I’m a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane.  Her love of history and her ability to bring various eras to life vividly and memorably on the page can be seen no where better than her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries.  In this series, her remarkable characters Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith meet in St. Bride’s College, Cambridge, England, 1905.  That was their first story Lessons in Love.  From that start, we watch these two men grow, sometimes falter, mature, and continue to love each other through the years and history that follows.  The last book release was Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows #12) and the year was 1921, setting Cambridge. Of course, they are at their beloved St. Bride’s College, a place that’s kept their secret and them safe all these years.

Their greatest enemy here? Well, that would be their neighboring college next to them…one so dastardly that the name is often never spoken.  Especially since its Head has been involved in several imbroglios and a nasty encounter with a beloved member of their small group of friends.  Now their are being asked to investigate whether one of their worst enemies could actually be innocent of murder?

What follows is a charming, complicated (it’s Jonty and Orlando of course) murder investigation.  It will touch on many past elements and stark realities about that era.  Soldiers in what we now call PTSD from the war being one of them,  Jonty’s past abuse as a child, and others are all threads included here. If you are unfamiliar with the series, they might slip by you without a much of a trace.  But if you are, they deepen much of the poignancy that flows here.  Jonty and Orlando have been together 20 years at this point, a lovely measure of time.  Yet still the fear of being caught out hangs over them and they are always cautious with themselves and their relationship.

The author bring’s us into Jonty and Orlando’s lives again gently, her conversations with them flows with the language and usage of words of the times yet it never feels forced or hard to read.  Indeed, its warm, welcoming, and easy.  After all these stories, it feels like  walking into the drawing room again and seeing old friends.  What a joy.   The story flew by all too quickly and it was another case closed before I knew it.

I hope Charlie Cochrane never closes the books on her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries.  I hope Jonty and Orlando never really get so old that they can’t go sleuthing together and that St. Bride’s will always be waiting for them when they return home.  Unfamiliar with the series?  Start today with Lessons in Love and work your way through.  There’s some real heartbreakers in the series but don’t worry.  The sun continues to shine on them both.  This is proof and a great story to boot.

Cover Illustration by Alex Beecroft is utterly charming and perfect for the story. Had no idea this talented author was an artist as well.

Buy links:    Amazon | Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 82 pages
Expected publication: August 14th 2017 by The Right Chair Press
ASINB073Z3LL3K

Charlie Cochrane On Her Obsessions with Pre/Post 1900’s and ‘Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour’ (Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway)

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Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour:
A Cambridge Fellows Mystery novella (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)
by Charlie Cochrane
Alex Beecroft  (Illustrator)

Buy links:    Amazon | Amazon UK  

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Charlie Cochrane here today with her new Cambridge Fellows Mysteries story, Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour! Welcome back, Charlie! 

✒︎

 

Charlie Cochrane on Her Obsession with Pre and Post 1900’s

I’m obsessed with the era either side of 1900. To the extent that if I buy (or borrow from the library) any new books set in the era I have to smuggle them into the house in a plain brown wrapper or my daughters tell me off. I try to pretend they’re for research purposes (I write many of my stories in the Edwardian/WWI era) but that’s stretching the truth. It’s the characters who fascinate me.  Sassoon, Owen, Brooke, Graves, Gurney and the rest – I can lap up both their works and their life stories.

Okay, you might say, that’s all very well setting a context for your writing but how does the romantic element work in?  The simple answer is that Siegfried Sassoon was gay, Wilfred Owen was gay, Rupert Brooke and Robert Graves had experienced homosexual encounters/longings, Vera Brittain’s brother Edward might have sacrificed himself in the line as he was under suspicion of sexual relations with his soldiers…the list goes on. Scratch the surface of almost any of the WWI poets and you find some connection (personal or through friends) to what would have been, at the time, a deliberately hidden world of gay men.

It’s a strange era, with a bit of a dichotomous feel. On the one hand the disgrace of Oscar Wilde would still have been sharp in the nation’s memory but Robert Ross, Wilde’s lover and staunch supporter, still had a sort of coterie in London where several of these poets congregated. (Owen, whose one extant letter to Sassoon suggests he was in love with him, got drawn into this network after meeting Sassoon at Craiglockhart.)

Inevitably, given the illegal status of homosexual relationships, cover ups were ripe. Edward Brittain’s commanding officer kept the story of his impending enquiry secret until he was attacked in print by Vera Brittain. Sassoon’s autobiographical novels skirt around his sexuality and he destroyed some of Owen’s letters to him for which the poet’s brother Harold was grateful. Harold did much (through both his own biography of his brother and destroying much of Wilfred’s correspondence) to sanitise the poet’s image; I wonder what he thought about Wilfred’s poem on the subject of rent boys, “Who is the God of Canongate”?

Because of the secrecy gay men had to live under, mysteries remain, some of which we may never be able to solve. Did Edward Brittain deliberately choose death in combat over disgrace? Was Wilfred Owen seduced by Charles Scott Moncrieff? Was the death by drowning of Michael Llewelyn Davies part of a suicide pact? How can we understand the lives of gay men at a century’s remove? Read the most up to date biographies, clearly, especially those which rely on first hand sources. (Dominic Hibberd’s “Wilfred Owen a new biography” is one of my brown paper wrapped books.)  Access correspondence from the time, and look at the changing drafts of the poems. Read the finished poems themselves, with the gift of hindsight. Maybe you’ll end up like me, so inspired by the tales you’ve heard that you’ll want to write about the era.

Title: Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour (m/m mystery)

Blurb:

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?

Excerpt:

Cambridge 1922 

“Owens? Owens?” Orlando Coppersmith’s voice sounded louder, and clearer, from his chair in the Senior Common Room at St Bride’s than it had ever sounded before. And with good cause.

“Steady on, old man. We’re in enough of a state of shock without you making sufficient noise to wake the dead.” Jonty Stewart smiled at his friend’s uncharacteristic outburst. Although friendship would hardly be the most accurate way to describe their relationship. Even the description “lovers, companions, colleagues and partners in solving crime” didn’t quite cover the depth of the bond they’d build up in nigh on twenty years. If their hair bore the odd silver thread, their ardour hadn’t cooled.

“Wake the dead or, harder still, wake some of the dons,” Dr. Panesar agreed, mischievously.

“Good point, Dr. P.” Jonty sniggered. “Some of them give the impression they’ve been asleep since 1913.”

A quick glance around the oak panelled room supported his assertion. St. Bride’s may have been one of the most forward looking of the Cambridge colleges, embracing the fact the year was 1922 rather than pretending it was still 1622, but some aspects of the university, including crusty old dons, seemed to be an immutable fixture.

“In which case,” Orlando pointed out, “we’d have ten years of history to explain to them, much of it unpleasant, let alone this latest scandal. St. Bride’s men being asked to defend Owens. What is the world coming to?”

About the Author

Because Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her mystery novels include the Edwardian era Cambridge Fellows series, and the contemporary Lindenshaw Mysteries. Multi-published, she has titles with Carina, Riptide, Lethe and Bold Strokes, among others.

A member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People and International Thriller Writers Inc, Charlie regularly appears at literary festivals and at reader and author conferences with The Deadly Dames.

www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Giveaway

Comment below for the chance to win an audio copy of Lessons in Love. One winner to be drawn from total comments from all blog tour stops.

A MelanieM Review: Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

A Porthkennack novel

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two hundred year old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

I’m such a huge fan of Charlie Cochrane that I rush to pick up anything she writes and this sounded full of elements she could put her unique spin on.  It had historical aspects up the wazoo!  A wreck of the Troilus on the Cornish coast that seems to haunt this one family and village.  So modern times and the past combined, plus a romance between two unique spirits (something Cochrane thrives at – see Jonty and Orlando) and this ought to have been a smash hit.  But after I finished reading it, even the clever parts, I was left feeling a bit let down.  That’s so unusual after one of her stories.  And I’ve been trying to figure out why.

I think it all comes down to a build up that never happens.  It all centers around that unlucky frigate the Troilus and the Capell family.  Cochrane builds up the suspense of what exactly is happening to Morgan (his headaches, nightmares, etc), the dementia of his mother, the past dementia of his maternal line as the story continues.  Dominic, a lovely character btw, adds to the tension with his disbelief yet need to further pull Morgan into more investigations into past history of the wreck and the dead…making things worse.  Things ramp up….until…violins at a pitch ala Hitchcock style…Cochrane then proceeds to narratively undo everything she’s just accomplished.

To say I was astonished was putting it nicely.

What Cochrane did was clever.  But not satisfying.  I went ‘huh, so that’s it?’.  Utterly disappointed and sort of sad.  And you’re left sort of up in the air about Morgan in some matters.

So what to say about Broke Deep?  Its well written, clever certainly.  The village and setting comes alive in the story as does the people who live there as well as Morgan and Dominic.  The mystery needed to be better clarified and for me, I wish my original thoughts about the blurb had been the right ones.  On to the next Charlie Cochrane story!

Cover by: G.D. Leigh.  Dramatic and works for the  story.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 249 pages
Published June 5th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626495424 (ISBN13: 9781626495425)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPorthkennack #3

Charlie Cochrane on Titles, Inspiration and her Porthkennack series title ‘Broke Deep’ (author guest blog and giveaway)

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Broke Deep (Porthkennack #3) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing

Cover by: G.D. Leigh

Read an Excerpt/Buy it Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane here today talking about titles, inspiration and her latest story Broke Deep. Welcome, Charlie!

🌊

Where did the title “Broke Deep” come from?

by Charlie Cochrane

I’m not very good at coming up with good titles for books. I usually end up picking the brains of friends or colleagues or editors or anybody I can get my paws on. When we brainstorm a good, catchy title it feels like my team winning a game by fifteen points and on the rare occasion I come up with a name for the book all on my own it’s like I won the lottery!

So I am truly Smuggerella about “Broke Deep” which is my idea and mine alone and which works for this story on two levels. My protagonist Morgan is feeling broken, in terms of relationships and his own health but there’s also the story of a shipwreck which plays a pivotal part in the plot – a ship literally broken on the rocks – and it’s from a reference to a famous real shipwreck the title comes. I’ve always enjoyed the music of Gordon Lightfoot, and in 1976 I bought the atmospheric single “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, which I played and replayed until I almost wore the grooves out. I had no idea at the time it was a story about an actual wreck.

There is something eerily fascinating about the loss of a ship; we all know tales of the Titanic or the Mary Rose. I’ve seen the latter on exhibit in Portsmouth and she’s like a time capsule. Who walked those decks? What were they thinking as they set out? Whether a ship is made of oak (one of the “wooden walls” of old England, maybe) or metal, as the Edmund Fitzgerald was, it’s still at the mercy of wave and weather and the loss of vessel and crew is tragic.

In Lightfoot’s song there is a line that the ship “may have broke deep and took water”, which interested me. Break is an old word for a ship being wrecked; it also means to part the surface of something, so a ship moving through waves will break the surface of the sea. If it breaks deep, that must mean the bow dipping so far into the water that the waves pour over it. Such a powerful image of a mighty vessel being overcome by the power of nature. One day I was listening to the song and I realised that image was redolent of Morgan being overcome by the circumstances of his life. Unlike the ship, though, he finds hope and safety.

 

Broke Deep is the story that refused to sit down and take no for an answer, a tale that waited patiently in my works-in-progress folder for a setting and a context to do it justice. When the Porthkennack universe opportunity came along, Broke Deep bounced into my mind like the most insistent plot bunny, saying, “That’s my home! Write me there!”

 

Reader, I did.

 

About Broke Deep

 

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two-hundred-year-old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

 

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

 

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

 

Now available from Riptide Publishing

 

About Porthkennack

 

Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.

 

This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries and through the full rainbow spectrum with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.

 

Check out Porthkennack! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/porthkennack

 

 

About Charlie Cochrane

 

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

 

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

 

Giveaway

 

To celebrate the release of Broke Deep, one lucky winner will receive a goodie bag containing postcards, a notebook, a tea towel, candy and more, all from Charlie Cochrane! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 10, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A MelanieM Review: Wild Bells by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

wild-bellsWild Bells, two historical novellas.

The Shade on a Fine Day:
Curate William Church may set the hearts of the parish’s young ladies aflame, but he doesn’t want their affection or presents, no matter how much they want to give them to him. He has his sights set elsewhere, for a love he’s not allowed to indulge. One night, eight for dinner at the Canon’s table means the potential arrival of a ghost. But what message will the spirit bring and which of the young men around the table is it for?

The Angel in the Window:
Two officers, one ship, one common enemy.
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of the British navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to anxieties about exposure—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When danger comes more from the English than the French, where should a man turn?

Charlie Cochrane is one of our top m/m historical fiction authors.  Her stories center us and her characters in their era and cultures effortlessly, plunging us into the niceties of teas, obligation,and  respectability. A place of insular cultures and a society where loving a man and sodomy will get you and your lover hanged. In Wild Bells, Cochrane offers us up two stories.  Each beautifully written, a treasure of romance, and love found within the strictures of the laws and ways of that time period.

The Shade on a Fine Day sees the journey of one young curate to what it is he really wants and the courage to reach out and ask for it.  For the author, she always keeps in mind what is plausible and what is not within that time frame and sensibilities.  When her story plays out, as it does gently, sweetly and with love, you can see it happening and you believe in it.  I loved this story.

The Angel in the Window is a friends to lovers story that is anything but simple.  Layered and deep, the story of Alexander and Tom’s relationship is colored by the fear of discovery.  That even the hint of something less than reputable could lose them their reputations,their Commissions, their standings, even their lives.  Its the law of the land and its followed strictly.  How Alexander and Tom work through this is another Cochrane hallmark and its one that had made me a fan since I first discovered her through her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries.

This is a wonderful two story treasure.  Its perfect for the holidays but really any time of the year.   Pick up it and revel in the lovely writing and romances of Charlie Cochrane.

Cover art is simple yet effective.

Sales Links

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindleBook Details:

Kindle Edition, 131 pages
Published December 1st 2016
Original TitleThe Shade on a Fine Day and The Angel in the Window
ASINB01NA785ID
Edition LanguageEnglish

Charlie Cochrane on Writing Historicals and her holiday release ‘Wild Bells’ (guest blog)

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Wild Bells by Charlie Cochrane

Purchase at  7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

5668c-goodreads-button

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane. one of our favorite authors, here today to share with our readers about writing historicals and her latest release, Wild Bells. Welcome, Charlie.

~

Why does “blizzard” make Charlie twitch?

The word “blizzard” makes me shudder. Not because I’ve ever been stuck out in one (although we did once have the most horrendous snow affected car journey) but because I used it in speech in the first edition of my Regency, “The Shade on a Fine Day”.  Now, it sounds a nice old word, doesn’t it? You can imagine King Lear blethering on about blizzards on the blasted heath. It isn’t. It’s late Victorian and comes from North America so my nice, gay Regency curate couldn’t have used it, unless he actually coined the word and it then somehow crossed the Atlantic.  Having the book come out in a revised edition has allowed me to correct my error!

I have to admit that no readers have ever taken me to task for this mistake, because it’s not an obvious blooper, but I know, which is quite sufficient. Sometimes authors are their own hardest critics. I hate getting anything wrong in my historicals, although things do slip through and my wonderful editors usually catch those, but the odd bit of stuff creeps into the final text, usually because something sounds old and isn’t.

Writing historicals can be a tricky business. To start with, that a lot of the challenge lies in the conscientious author’s head. If we didn’t care about getting things right, we could just plough on, putting the sound of Big Ben’s chimes into a Regency or letting our Victorian hero eat Jelly Babies, not checking dates and times and brands and all the other things which keep authors awake at night. We have to remember to get our men to raise their hats to a lady, to dress for dinner and to use the right words.

There is also a cadence and a rhythm to language, which makes some historicals (be they novels, films or tv programmes) sound out of kilter. I’d say to any aspirant historical writer to read things from the era they’re looking at. Novels, newspapers, plays, anything to get a feel for the words and the way they were used.

Now, there’s always the argument that says that the past isn’t so different from now. People haven’t changed, not matter what people say about the (surely imaginary) “good old days”, when everyone was decent and honest. I’m sure Ham, Shem and Japhet probably cheated at Ludo to get one over on Noah. I was recently reading about two Irish forwards dumping a Welsh rugby player into the crowd during the game, leaving him with nasty injuries including a couple of fractured ribs. Back in 1999? No. Back in 1899.

Human nature remains recognisable, even if the experiences and social conditions which play such a part in moulding people are different according to the time and place where they were raised. So getting it right in the story isn’t just a matter of language or customs, it’s about attitudes and expectations. I recently heard a keynote speech (at the Queer Company event) which illustrated the huge differences between the Regency era – the sort of period in which both the Wild Bells stories are set) and the Victorian age, and how that transformation had come about due to a number of factors such as movement into cities and economic changes. Fascinating stuff, all of which was new to me, even if I knew about the consequences.

The past has a wonderful capacity to surprise us; and sometimes it catches us out.

Wild Bells – Two stories by Charlie Cochrane

The Shade on a Fine Day:
Curate William Church may set the hearts of the parish’s young ladies aflame, but he doesn’t want their affection or presents, no matter how much they want to give them to him. He has his sights set elsewhere, for a love he’s not allowed to indulge. One night, eight for dinner at the Canon’s table means the potential arrival of a ghost. But what message will the spirit bring and which of the young men around the table is it for?

The Angel in the Window:
Two officers, one ship, one common enemy.
Alexander Porterfield may be one of the rising stars of the British navy, but his relationship with his first lieutenant, Tom Anderson, makes him vulnerable. To blackmail, to anxieties about exposure—and to losing Tom, either in battle or to another ship. When danger comes more from the English than the French, where should a man turn?

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About the Author

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, sometimes historical (sometimes hysterical) and usually with a mystery thrown into the mix.

She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc., with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes Books, Lethe, MLR, and Riptide. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames and is on the organising team for UK Meet.

To sign up for her newsletter, email her at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com, or catch her at:

A MelanieM Review: Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

JuryOfOne_600x900Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotson, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.

Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.

Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?

What marvelous characters! What a hedgerow maze of a plot! With Jury of One Charlie Cochrane moved her cozy mystery series even closer into my heart.

Characters Adam Matthews and Robin Bright melt you with their genuineness.  By that I mean, I believed in them utterly.  Their kindnesses and their doubts about the relationship in its newness, their intelligence and perceptions about each other and the people around them.  I accepted them as real and moved forward into the story from the first page.

The two person pov continues and I love it here.  Both Robin and Adam are strong, necessary voices here and the contributions the different perspectives make to the plot and relationship are necessary to the story and series.  We see what Robin’s continuing need to hold onto his flat is doing to the relationship on Adam’s side and his.  That’s the more intimate element.  Then when it comes to the larger scope, that of the murder mystery or mysteries here, we see how segments in both of their lives are starting to add up to a startling…well, that’s best left to the author and this wonderful book.

I think what really engages me here is the details in their lives.  Having teachers in my background, I understand when Adam faces a evening of grading papers or other such things that he has brought home to work on. He’s used to it or was until Robin entered his life. Now he loves the companionship but it seems to be missing. And Robin?  Coming home so exhausted from his cases and long hours that he can barely keep his eyes open to see his way to their bed, let alone  converse, eat, or make love in a new relationship?  He’s a inspector on a murder case and that’s his life.  Something brand new for Adam and a huge adjustment for them both.  Neither backs away from it, the author makes sure of it but I love how its handled.

And then there’s himself, that big black Newfoundland Campbell who lends a ear, a discerning look or much, much, more when needed.  Yes, I adore him too.  He’s as much of this family as Adam and Robin and the village they live in.

So make room Midsomer Mysteries, I’m adding another English mystery series to love.  I can’t wait for the third mystery to arrive.  For those of you new to the series, you have several choices.  The audiobook is out and my review will be coming shortly.  Or you can follow the ebook route.  Either way catch up.  This is a series to treasure if you love your murder mysteries and a realistic wonderful main couple like Robin and Adam, with a big Newfy thrown in for good measure.

I highly recommend them all.

Cover art by L. C. Chase is well done and works for the mystery inside.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing |  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 298 pages
Published March 21st 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleJury of One
ISBN 1626493766 (ISBN13: 9781626493766)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series:  Lindenshaw Mysteries

Murders Afoot with the Return of the Lindenshaw Mysteries in ‘Jury of One’ by Charlie Cochrane

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Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries) by Charlie Cochrane
R
iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Purchase it Here

Jury of One is the second in the Lindenshaw Mysteries series. It features a gay Detective Inspector, Robin, whose investigations never seem to run in a straightforward fashion, and his teacher partner Adam who finds Robin’s cases appear determined to involve him. And there’s Adam’s dog, Campbell, who’s desperate to stick his big, black wet nose into everybody’s business.

About  Jury of One

Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotston, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.

Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.

Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?magnifiying glass with fingerprint

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:

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Giveaway

Leave a comment for a chance to win a download of  Lessons in Love (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #1) in audio! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

The Best Corpse for the Job (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #1) Charlie Cochrane*

Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #2)Charlie Cochrane*

*A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Recommended Story.