Originally from the land of Shakespeare, I've been slogging away at writing for the best part of six years (on and off). It's been fun, hard work, but rewarding and has been a great discipline for someone who treats writing as a past-time rather than as a way to put food on the table. I've had a couple of successes, lots of failures and have finally learnt how to take feedback, whether positive or constructive, gracefully, and in the way it's given.
Late October, and Spencer K Wyrrell—Squirrel—sits hidden behind an evergreen bush, freezing his arse off in the rooftop garden of his boss' London penthouse flat. Taking a break, he is waiting with an ice bucket and a bottle of Dom for the arrival of his colleague, Bev. But when the balcony door slides open, the person who steps out is the smoking hot celebrity, Marshall J Highlander. Squirrel overhears Highlander’s call. A newspaper is threatening to publish nude photographs of him and his ex-boyfriend from a holiday in France.
And on that night, an unexpected friendship begins to blossom during a time of Christmas lockdown.
One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy.
Five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told.
I am sure many of you, like me, learned this children's nursery rhyme about magpies. According to an old superstition, the number of magpies seen predicts whether you will have good or bad luck. Something I came across subsequently, was the existence of many variations on this rhyme, some more sinister than the children’s version.
One of those is incorporated into this short story about boyhood abuse.
Psychologist James Mannigan is granted a series of interviews with the Vynx brothers, four men of unknown origin found naked wandering Dartmoor fifteen years ago who claim they are not human. Housed in the Seahaven Open Facility in a remote part of Scotland, they live unremarkably alongside other guests.
At first, through his questioning and study, James finds nothing he has not encountered before. Until Guardian, one of the brothers, insists on sharing their beliefs on reincarnation. As events unfold and finally reach a violent climax, James finally learns why he has been chosen.
It's 2010, and Peter “Trout” Spencer is thirty-two, living a gloriously gay one-night-stand life. That is until an instance of mishearing by his grandmother at her eightieth birthday party throws his world off kilter. What she hears as “I’m going to get married in June,”—to someone called Wendy—is in fact, “I’m going to get Marisse and June,” his stepsister and her girlfriend. When she offers her six bedroom Hamptons house as a wedding present, Trout has a dilemma; in the world of fake news, could he be forgiven for seeking out a fake wife?
"May You Never Be Too Old to Search the Skies on Christmas Eve" - Anonymous
A Further Twelve Gays of Christmas Short Story
Rudy and Trevor return to Loch Arkaig for Christmas with new friends; two men who got together on a gay cruise; a celebrity chef who found love with his late best friend's husband; a baker and his tree-hugging partner; two older men who have been together forever; and finally, a doctor working for charity and his lawyer husband. All about to meet together on Christmas Eve, some for the first time.
But, of course, my dear readers already know them well.
Ben and Colin are comfortably in each other's lives, but the path of true love is never an easy one, and a mistake throws Ben's loyalties to the wind. Not only that, but the mystery behind the deaths of Denny and the rent boys remains unsolved. Carter only had a list of hits. Were Colin a different person he might leave things well alone. But the thing about sleeping dogs is that some people can never let them lie.
The sleepy village of Crumbington is about to get a wake-up call.
When the new chairperson of the Summer Fête Committee pushes to create a naked calendar of the Crumbington football team, mouths drop open. Her further pronouncement at having snagged a celebrity host for the fête—rising television and movie star Clifton O’Keefe, and ex-resident of Crumbington—is met with indifference.
Not by Nathan Fresher, though, local baker and captain of the football team. He had been Clifton’s boyfriend in high school, until Clifton and his family disappeared into the night over ten years ago.
A short story in two parts: the first set in 1995 covering the blossoming love between two best friends during a camping trip; the second in 2018, when an older man feels uncomfortable when he is crushed on by a much younger one.
For five years, Trevor McTavish has planned a vacation for twelve close gay friends to enjoy Christmas together in remote country locations. Stratham Lodge in Scotland, hugging the shores of Loch Arkaig, is this year’s rental destination. Except grim providence has stepped in and friends have dropped out. Nevertheless, they decide to brace themselves and endure with a much reduced, and contentious party. Until the son of the owner, Rudy Mortimer—gloriously shirtless on horseback—appears, and the fun begins.