June 05, 2014

H. Lewis-Foster: Out in the Sticks & In the Blue Moonlight

Please help me welcome back H. Lewis-Foster, who is here to talk about two new stories!

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Thanks very much, Chris, for having me here today. It’s been a while since the release of my novel Burning Ashes last year, so it’s great to be back with two new stories, Out in the Sticks and In the Blue Moonlight. If you like romance with a British theme, they could be just your cup of tea.
I quite often set my stories in England – I’ve lived all over this weird and wonderful little country, and they do say you should write about what you know – but these are a bit different, as they are set in the countryside. I love the English countryside, with its incredible variety of colours and textures, from vibrant green grass to serene purple heather, and villages with quaint thatched cottages. So it was really interesting to take characters used to bustling cities and put them in these rural surroundings.
In Out in the Sticks, lawyer Adam has had a tough time, and hopes the more gentle pace of village life will be the perfect antidote to his eventful year. He’s moved away from the city to forget about men, and he’s not expecting to meet anyone like garage manager Jim Turley. A truly kind and generous man, Jim has had his own share of troubles, but he’s just the sort of friend Adam needs as he embarks on his new life in the country.
You’ll find heartbreak and happiness, laughter and tears, as Adam and Jim try to put the past behind them. They’re both lovely characters, and I hope you’ll enjoy getting to know them on their journey ‘out in the sticks’.
In the Blue Moonlight is also set in rural England, but in a slightly larger market town. Enough people go out on a Saturday night here to require the affable supervision of the local constabulary, including recently arrived PC Mark Timmis. When respectable accountant Simon bares his bum to said police officers, he has no idea that his rash behaviour will have such far-reaching implications.
This is a really fun story full of love and laughs, and I’m thrilled that it’s part of the new Wayward Ink Publishing anthology Bollocks!, where you can find more tales of British romance.


http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29&products_id=1155


Blurb
Lawyer Adam Sibden has moved to the charming English village of Sharpley to forget about men. But when he takes his car to the local garage, he can’t help being attracted to the handsome young manager Jim Turley, who is friendly, professional and apparently gay. Adam goes to the village pub that evening, and with nowhere else to sit, he joins Jim and his mates. A misunderstanding leads to a highly embarrassing moment for Adam, but Jim thankfully comes to his rescue and makes him feel more at ease.

As the winter weather takes hold, Adam finds himself stranded with a punctured tyre, following a disastrous meeting with his ex-boyfriend Lucas. Adam calls the garage’s breakdown service, and when Jim ventures into the snow to find him, he offers more help than Adam could have hoped for.
Excerpt
Adam opened the fridge and peered inside. He’d never seen a less inspiring selection of food. There was an onion, a jar of capers, a chunk of Cheddar, and a tub of yogurt. He could make something edible if he chucked the lot in with some pasta, but he’d eaten the last of the fusilli yesterday.
One of the disadvantages of living ‘out in the sticks,’ as his city-dwelling colleagues called his new abode, was that the nearest supermarket was miles away. As the village store closed before Adam got home, he was left in a culinary quandary. He could order his shopping online to be delivered the next day, but for now his best option was to go to the pub.
Adam had been to the Lazy Fox once before, and it was pleasant enough. The d├ęcor was traditional without being drab, and the menu surprisingly appetizing. He’d enjoyed a hearty steak and ale pie, while couples dotted around the bar chattered as they ate.
His afternoon at work had been hectic, and Adam looked forward to another relaxing meal. When he pushed open the wooden door, however, Adam nearly walked straight out again. The place was heaving, and an overpoweringly spicy aroma pervaded the stuffy air.
Adam considered returning to the meagre contents of his kitchen, but it was past eight o’clock and he was ravenous. He made his way to the bar and caught the eye of Barbara, the unfeasibly buxom landlady.
I’ll have a pint of Farmer’s Lad and a steak and ale pie, please.”
No pies tonight I’m afraid, duck. It’s curry night.” Barbara grabbed a glass and shoved it under the beer tap. “I can do you a nice chicken madras if you like.”
Adam was wary of pub curries, having savoured the real thing in India, but he was so hungry he decided to risk it. He handed over a ten pound note and searched for somewhere to sit. Every seat seemed to be taken, with some people perched on windowsills; then he spied one solitary stool. He’d have to share a table with strangers, but it was preferable to eating standing up.
Taking his drink and his change, Adam strode towards his goal. He was almost within sitting distance, when he saw a familiar dark-haired young man at the table with his friends. Adam hesitated. He would rather sit with a group of pensioners than with Mr. Gay Gorgeous Engaged and his equally attractive companions. Adam looked pretty good for his thirty-three years, but they made him feel positively past it. He hovered tentatively by the empty seat, vainly hoping Jim wouldn’t recognise him.
Excuse me, do you mind if I sit here? There’s nowhere else, I’m afraid.”
Of course.” Jim beamed at Adam like he’d known him for years. “It’s Mr. Sibden, isn’t it? Come and join us.”

Publisher Link


http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/bollocks/

Blurb
Simon has a good job and a nice house, and according to his best friend Chris, he's turning into a boring old fart. So it's totally out of character when Simon bares his bum to the local constabulary on a night out with his brother's student mates. He hopes he's put the incident behind him, when Simon bumps into one of the officers. Simon fears he's in trouble, then thinks he's in luck when PC Mark Timmis buys him a drink - but life in a rural English town is never as simple as it seems.
Excerpt
BOLLOCKS.” Chris laughed, scooping a handful of peanuts from a bowl. “A boring old fart like you would never do something as daft as that.”
Thanks very much.” Simon tried his best to look offended, but he knew his best friend was only joking. Or at least he hoped he was, and to be fair his story was rather bizarre, but it was completely and cringingly true.
Give us the details then.” Chris chomped noisily, with his usual lack of table manners. “Where did you say you were?”
High Street. Outside the town hall.”
Simon couldn’t have picked a more public place for his unlikely moment of madness. He’d been out for a drink with his younger brother, Sean, and his student mates. Simon hardly knew most of them, but they seemed a pleasant bunch and they’d had an enjoyable time in one of the town’s more civilized pubs. They’d had a few beers, but none of them were drunk, so Simon couldn’t use inebriation as an excuse for his behavior.
People of all ages and sartorial styles were ambling out of bars and pubs, under the watchful eye of half a dozen members of the local constabulary. A small rural town, Lenford wasn’t known for its anti-social behavior. Indeed, when a creative youth had painted a cock and balls on a bus stop, it made the front page of the Evening Gazette. Needless to say, the culprit was caught and swiftly dispatched to make amends with a bucket of soapy water. So it was wholly out of character for Lenford, when the town council’s deputy head of finance turned to Sean’s mates and said, “Do you know what I’ve always wanted to do? I’ve always wanted to moon a policeman.”
The teenagers looked at their friend’s responsible brother in astonishment, and Simon wished he could take the words that had popped out of his mouth and stuff them straight back in. Then a mischievous grin spread from face to face, and a voice piped up, “Go on then. Why not?”

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Author Bio
H. Lewis-Foster has worked with books, in one form or another, since leaving university. As a keen reader of gay fiction, she decided to try writing herself, and is now the proud author of several short stories and a debut novel.

H. has lived in various parts of the UK and has recently moved to the north of England, where she’s enjoying city life, especially the theatres and cinemas. She tries not to watch too much television, but is a big fan of Downton Abbey, and while she’s writing, she loves listening to Test Match Special (where they spend far more time talking about cakes than cricket!)

H. has also ventured into playwriting and was thrilled to see her first play performed at the Southend Playwriting Festival earlier this year.

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