A MelanieM Review: Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

Adam has a new job at a new school, Robin’s working to combine  police officers from different locations into one group, and Robin’s former Sergeant is thrown out of his house and needs putting up.  Sounds like a perfect time for a murder or two!

How I love sinking back into Charlie Cochrane’s cozy mystery series, Lindenshaw Mysteries, now on it’s third book, Two Feet Under.  From the first story,The Best Corpse for the Job (Lindenshaw Mysteries, #1), we’ve watched Robin and Adam become a couple, establish a home  ( Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries #2) , and now become happy in their relationship.  As they’ve grown more secure in themselves as partners and in their relationship, it’s been wonderful to watch their dynamics change, not only when at home but during the investigations as well.  Because once a body pops up, somehow all clues or a few unlikely leads will point towards Adam. Or someone he knows.  Or perhaps even something that Campbell has buried in the garden…you can never be sure how Campbell is involved.  But that Newfie will be important somehow!  Ah, the thrill of anticipation.

Here in Two Feet Under, the mysteries were wonderfully challenging!  It wasn’t just Adam, Robin, and his crew muttering to themselves as they tried to figure out whodunnit.   I too was at the crossroads a few times on this one.  How delicious!  Plus we also got the mole in the station, all the great side characters that ramble through the villages around and near Abbotson. We tumble through the local pubs, out into the streets, and across the wild hillsides in pursuit of killers and the truth.  It’s wonderful.

Or sometimes, we just deal with the fact we have an unwelcome guest we need to figure out how to boot out of our house.  There’s that too.  One whose been a staple character in the first two stories. Oh my.

All that, plus not forgetting the love and warmth of the relationship between Robin and Adam.  Charlie Cochrane pulls is all together famously!

Here’s a cozy to spend the night with.  Or day with.  Or both.  I read it right through because I had to know whodunnit.  I was completely satisfied with the ending.  Now I can’t wait for the next mystery to roll out and my next visit with Adam, Robin, and Campbell.

If you love mysteries and romance, a fan of cozies, don’t let this series or book pass you by! The writing is wonderful.  Charlie Cochrane has done it again!  I highly recommend them both.  They’ll charm you into forgetting that maybe you should be looking over your shoulder! Murder’s like that!

Cover art by L.C. Chase is so much fun.  You’ve got to have that wonderful Newfie, Campbell, on the cover, he’s in the middle of everything, so bloody smart!

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published January 6th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ASINB078VW89KR
Series Lindenshaw Mysteries #3

Charlie Cochrane on Inspiration and her story ‘Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3)’ (guest post,tour, and Giveaway)

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Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw Mysteries #3) by Charlie Cochrane
Riptide Publishing
Cover Art: L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Charlie Cochrane back again talking about her wonderful new mystery romance Two Feet Under.  Welcome, Charlie!

✒︎

Two Feet Under began life as a conversation in a car, when my eldest daughter and I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an author/reader event. It gained a criminal mastermind as a result of another conversation in the car with her younger sister. It got its background thanks to the popular television series “Time Team” and a setting care of the northern part of Hampshire. The plot came from the author’s twisted imagination, via a lot of checking. And at least one character is based on people I know. You have been warned.

About Two Feet Under

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the 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?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries!

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: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Two Feet Under, one lucky winner will receive a swag bag, including magnet, napkins, bookmark, pencils, hanging decoration, postcards, and a coaster! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

On the Cadge -Relaunched Lessons series blog tour with Charlie Cochrane

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On the Cadge -Relaunched Lessons Series

with Charlie Cochrane

 

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Charlie Cochrane as she relaunches one of my favorite series, her Cambridge Fellows Mysteries (aka the Jonty and Orlando stories).  This author has always mixed historical accuracy with a wonderful way with her dialog and settings that kept the feel of her stories deeply settled within the era while never feeling like a dusty history lesson.  No she brings Edwardian, WWI, and posts WWI England alive as well as one of the most delightful (and long established) couples you will want to meet.

Here’s some more thoughts from the author herself….

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Charlie Cochrane

When did you start writing?

I’ve always had times I’ve scribbled down stories, most of them pretty naff. As a teenager I wrote what I guess would be called slashy fanfic these days and there are not adjectives sufficient to describe how truly awful it was. As I’ve matured, so has my ability with a tale. I hope.

From your books do you have one you like best?

That’s like picking a favourite child – an impossible task. However (and I hope my daughters don’t read this, because they always want to know, “Who’s the favourite?”) However, I’d have to confess that the Cambridge Fellows books will always have a special place in my heart as they were the first full length tales I had published and the two main characters are so easy to write.

Are you character or plot driven?

Character, all the time. My idea of a well developed, extensive plot plan would be “Two blokes, Cornwall” or something similar. I just write and see who comes along and where we get. It sometimes feels like watching (or listening to) a series on television or radio, and discovering the story as it goes along. The beauty of modern writing, word processing and the like, is that if I get down the line and the story changes, I can go back over and make things work very easily.

So, if any characters develop at a tangent, I tend to go with them and see what transpires. I only rein them in if they throw the story too far out of kilter. Sometimes they make the story far more interesting than it was going to be!

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?

Ruddy Norah – I’m not sure I’d trust any of them! Certainly not Dr. Panesar, who’s a running secondary character in the Cambridge Fellows books. He’d be bound to make things worse by blowing us up or something. Ariadne Peters, from the same books, is a repository of common sense and Jonty Stewart would certainly  keep us all amused no matter how deep the clart we found ourselves  in. Perhaps I’d have to plump for Jonty’s father, who gives the impression of being capable of dealing with any problem, intellectual or moral. With Campbell, the Newfoundland dog from my contemporary mystery series, the Lindenshaw books, to provide the muscular back up.

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

Can I borrow other people’s characters to play with? I want to write a story where real and fictional characters living in the same area meet and work together to make the world a better place. Imagine the fun if Wilfred Owen and Brother Cadfael teamed up to solve mysteries. Imagine the deep philosophical conversations they’d have at the same time.

 What are your favourite books?

I’ll give you two.

The Charioteer. The writing is wonderful; Mary Renault has an economy of language that every author could learn from – she says more with a simple word like “quite” than most people could in a whole page. I re-read it all the way through at least once a year and dip in and out of it, reading a few pages or scenes, on an almost monthly basis. “Charlie, you’re a sad woman,” you cry, and I might have to agree with you, but it’s like listening to a favourite piece of music. You want to hear that again and again so why not read a particularly pleasing piece of prose as many times as you still find it pleasing?

Death at the President’s Lodging. Michael Innes is more loquacious than Renault, but he’s just as dab a hand at characterization. This murder mystery is also one of the most convoluted I’ve ever read, while being scrupulously fair to the reader. It’s also another annual re-read, especially for the joy of the occasionally (unintentionally?) slashy scene.

And now a confession – I have both of these books in audio version. Now I can top up my re-reads with the occasional “relisten”. I’m sure they inspire both the romantic and mystery elements of my writing.

Cambridge Fellows Series (13 books)

There are 13 primary works and 15 total works in the Cambridge Fellows Series

If the men of St. Bride’s College knew what Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith got up to behind closed doors, the scandal would rock early-20th-century Cambridge to its core. But the truth is, when they’re not busy teaching literature and mathematics, the most daring thing about them isn’t their love for each other—it’s their hobby of amateur sleuthing.

Because wherever Jonty and Orlando go, trouble seems to find them. Sunny, genial Jonty and prickly, taciturn Orlando may seem like opposites. But their balance serves them well as they sift through clues to crimes, and sort through their own emotions to grow closer. But at the end of the day, they always find the truth . . . and their way home together.

The first book in the series: St. Bride’s College, Cambridge, England, 1905. When Jonty Stewart takes up a teaching post at the college where he studied, the handsome and outgoing young man acts as a catalyst for change within the archaic institution. He also has a catalytic effect on Orlando Coppersmith. Orlando is a brilliant, introverted mathematician with very little experience of life outside the college walls. He strikes up an alliance with the outgoing Jonty, and soon finds himself having feelings hes never experienced before. Before long their friendship blossoms into more than either man had hoped and they enter into a clandestine relationship. Their romance is complicated when a series of murders is discovered within St. Brides. All of the victims have one thing in common, a penchant for men. While acting as the eyes and ears for the police, a mixture of logic and luck leads them to a confrontation with the murderer can they survive it?

 Lessons in Desire (Book 2, Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Lessons in Desire is the second book in the gripping Cambridge Fellows series by Charlie Cochrane. Set in Edwardian England, it explores engrossing mysteries and heartfelt gay romances, all set in the historical walls of Cambridge University.”

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077B7S8F5

 

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.

Website: http://www.charliecochrane.co.uk

Blog: https://charliecochrane.wordpress.com/

FB: https://www.facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18

Twitter: https://twitter.com/charliecochrane

GR: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2727135.Charlie_Cochrane

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