Release day is here at last for our fabulous British anthology :D
Raise your rainbow umbrellas high and celebrate!
Discover an enchanting, entertaining and thought-provoking window into what it means to be queer in Britain, past and present. All these stories reflect the iconic sights and national character of the British Isles: a taste of our idiosyncrasies and eccentricities, but also an unashamed representation of the love, loyalty and laughter of our people.
This anthology is a souvenir of the 2011 UK Meet where GLBTQ supporters get together in a relaxed setting to celebrate and chat about the fiction community they love. Funds from the sale of this anthology will go towards future UK Meets, to which all are welcome. Please visit the website for details.
Including a wide range of style and themes, this is a perfect way to sample different authors and to find both existing and new favourites. Follow the British way of life from historic villages to modern cities, from the countryside to the sea, through history and with a fantasy twist, in gardens, churches, campus and the familiar, much-loved local pub.
The stories cover universal themes of romance, desire, remembrance and reconciliation. The authors range from multi-published to up-and-coming, and they all share a passion for their characters, whether through great drama, erotic excitement, humour, or a combination of all three!
Contributing authors: Alex Beecroft, Jennie Caldwell, Stevie Carroll, Charlie Cochrane, Lucy Felthouse, Elin Gregory, Mara Ismine, Clare London, Anna Marie May, JL Merrow, Josephine Myles, Zahra Owens, Jay Rookwood, Chris Smith, Stevie Woods, Lisa Worrall and Serena Yates.
Edited by: Josephine Myles, Alex Beecroft, Charlie Cochrane, Clare London and JL Merrow.
Available from JMS Books in paperback or ebook, as well as from all the usual ebook retailers.
I have two stories in the anthology, but I've only shown off one of them so far. So here's an excerpt from the other:
The Utterly True History of Guy Alien and the Rise and Fall of His Band, X-Wing
Jonathan Banks came to Oxford in 1986, because the Polytechnic had offered him a place (on a course he lasted on for all of one term and three weeks). He stayed in Oxford, because signing on there and living in a crappy rented flat was better than signing on at home and living with his parents. He started a band with thoughts of Lucas’ B-movie revival, and Bowie’s Space Oddity phase at the forefront of his mind. Hence the names he picked for both the band, and for his stage persona.
At the auditions -- he held proper auditions, rather than taking on the first musicians to reply to his ad in the corner shop -- Guy’s check-list was based less on musical ability and more on the look of his band. He also considered how long they could stay together without killing each other: a break-up due to ‘musical differences’ wasn’t in his plans.
He needed band members who could play, that went without saying, but he didn’t want anyone who could play too much better than he could. This was Guy’s band, and the rest of them were supposed to make him look good. Guy didn’t want anyone leaving the band behind at a later date because of a better offer: especially not one based on their talent.
The prospective band members he clicked with -- and ended up living with -- all wanted to play hard rock: discordant riffs, and lyrics about lost love. In the end, after many heated debates over multiple bottles of Jack Daniels, they kept the name for the band, if not the image Guy had envisioned. Their eyeliner was smudged (no other make-up barring a trace of lipgloss if the beer and sweat hadn’t washed it away), and their
jeans were strategically ripped, but there was still enough glamour in X-Wing for Guy Alien.
Guy bleached his hair -- it was easier than waiting for the dye to wash out -- and let the sister of one of his new bandmates cut it to match the others. He bought jeans in Oxfam then ripped them in all the appropriate places, and threw out his latex and sequins. After a few rehearsals, he almost liked this new look.
“What's that you're reading?”
“Something I picked up at the record fair. It’s from two years ago, but there’s a retrospective-cum-promotional piece on someone you used to know.”
“Let’s see…Queer Chord -- I remember that zine -- I wrote reviews for it a couple of times.”
“Did you write this piece?”
“Don’t think I wrote anything for that issue. What’s it say anyway? Budge up a bit, and I’ll read over your shoulder.”
They launched into gigging after only a month or two of rehearsals. One of the guys had a friend whose sister needed a band for her party, having been let down at short notice. They played covers, mostly, which went down pretty well, and a couple of their own songs (hastily penned by Guy the night the gig was confirmed), which weren’t a complete disaster.
That gig led to others, and then to a regular slot at the Jericho Tavern. They didn’t get paid much, but the beer -- if not the whiskey -- was free. Guy penned more songs, using riffs and snatches of lyrics written by one or more of the other band members -- but only if they made his parts look good. X-Wing would always be Guy’s band, no matter who else played in it. He was the brains behind it, the front man -- lead singer and
lead guitarist -- and the one who drove the publicity. Guy was the one who got first pick of the groupies. Slowly but surely, the band were acquiring those as well.
“That's not quite how I remember it.”
“Guy didn’t write all the songs for one thing.”
“And the groupies?”
“Were talked about more than seen -- at least when I was hanging out with the band.”
At school Guy (known as Jonathan back then) had looked at boys a little too closely to consider himself completely straight, but before James—the skinny kid with the pointed features, the over-long fringe and the huge dark eyes—all of Guy’s groupies had been female. The other guys didn’t much mind James, so long as Guy kept up the pretence that one backstage (back room, broom cupboard, far end of the gents) blow-job was the
same as another. It wasn’t -- not really -- because James was better than any girl Guy had ever had. James was also a walking music encyclopaedia, which would have put him a step above the other groupies in the band’s eyes, had he not been American and male.
“They didn't like you being American? Why ever not?”
“Half the band thought Richards and Jagger were far superior to any of their US influences, and the other half wanted to resurrect the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. So, no, I wasn’t exactly popular with them.”
“So could it have been one of them that wrote the article? All these details about Guy’s sex life seem very explicit for a promo piece.”
“It’s Queer Chord: they always liked to have a bitchy angle. The more explicitly about sex the better, from what I remember. Guy wouldn’t have liked it, but what could he have done? Complaining after publication would have just got that part of the article picked up by a proper music paper.”
“It doesn’t bother you? Being written about like that?”
“It all happened years ago. I’m hardly likely to lose work over it now, am I? I don’t see you storming off in a huff either.”
And if you want more, then you'll have to get hold of the anthology ;-)