Fiona Glass: Bowled Over

The bank holiday weekend ran away with me and I didn’t get a chance to post the usual story. Hopefully I’m making up for that now, with a slightly longer-than-usual offering. ‘Bowled Over’ is a tongue-in-cheek story I wrote a very long time ago, set at an annual charity cricket match. Who knew there was so much potential for m/m romance among the wickets, balls and bats? Well, balls maybe, but… 😉

And there’s plenty more where this came from. Just check out all my books and stories on my website.


Pic credit: Lisa Scott on

The red leather ball sailed high into the puffily-clouded blue sky, shot over the pavilion roof and came down—hard—on the windscreen of a Bentley parked neatly on the village green. There was the resounding tinkle of breaking glass, followed by commotion as an elderly spectator was fetched to retrieve the ball from the depths of luxurious tan upholstery.

            ‛Six,’ called the umpire drily, holding both hands over his head.

            ‛Oops.’ Brandon swished his bat at a dandelion, decapitating it. ‛Which one is it this time?’

            His colleague Mikey made use of the delay to amble up the pitch. ‛Not sure. Bit hard to see from here. Might be the Colonel.’


            Mikey grinned. ‛That’s the third one today. You’re a menace.’

            Brandon pursed his lips in an aggrieved pout. ‛Hardly my fault if I’m big and strong. They should use smaller bats.’

            ‛Or park the cars further away.’

            ‛Mmm.’ A horrible thought struck him. ‛Hope they don’t dock it off my wages. I’ll be paying it off for years.’

            ‛The boss isn’t that mean.’

            ‛Don’t be so–’ He tailed off as, thanks to an erratic over-arm heave from one of the stewards, the ball made a sudden and alarming reappearance on the pitch, missing him by an inch. He picked it up and examined it, but it seemed to be none the worse for its glassy escapade so he chucked it back in the general direction of the umpire. That gentleman coughed to get everyone’s attention; Mikey wandered back to his own end of the pitch; and Brandon, resplendent in white flannels and twirling his bat, took guard for the next delivery.

            Although he’d rather walk barefoot across hot coals than admit it, he rather enjoyed the annual cricket match between the sports college where he and Mikey worked and the local police training centre down the road. Billed as an afternoon of gentle parochial fun with the proceeds going to charity, it was usually more of a grudge match. Staff from the two establishments liked nothing better than getting one over on each other and the only surprise was that nobody had ever actually been killed. Brandon revelled in the covert animosity and the opportunity to show off his athletic prowess. The long-sleeved white shirt and long white pants suited his muscular frame, and he rarely made less than 50. Today, cheered on raucously by his colleagues and with rather more restraint by the local villagers, he was on 99 and eager to reach his century.

            The two openers, young lads who’d only been with Fellowes for a matter of months, had put on a good show, making 40-odd between them before departing in consecutive balls to the meanest of the police team’s bowlers. When Brandon and Mikey came in they quickly advanced the score to 200, setting about the bowling with a gusto that brought roars of delight from their mates and shouts of dismay from several car owners in the crowd. Mikey’s approach was unorthodox—chucking his bat at anything within reach in a flurry of arms and legs—but surprisingly effective. Brandon himself was more of a classicist, having been taught at a slightly more up-itself school. He’d clonked the ball out of the middle of the bat all afternoon and was looking forward to his moment of glory. The opposition, however, had other ideas.

            Glancing up from the dusty grass he found that a small speck on the horizon was Fanshawe, the meanest of the police team’s bowlers who’d already done for Murray and Briggs.  Having his previous delivery dispatched for six had clearly done nothing for his temper. Now, with the last ball of the over, he steamed in from the furthest boundary with arms whirling like a windmill and unleashed an express train of a ball straight at Brandon’s midriff.

            Unfazed, Brandon watched, waited, and walloped, and the ball sped across the outfield to clatter against the boundary hoarding once more. A four. That should do it! Turning with a triumphant grin to acknowledge the expected acclaim, he was met with the sight of the umpire, one uncompromising finger raised in the direction of the pavilion.


            ‛You what?’ He felt his expression change, comically, like that of a small puppy forcibly removed from its food dish.

            ‛Out,’ repeated the umpire, with slightly more emphasis this time.

            ‛No I’m not. Can’t be. I hit the ruddy thing didn’t I? No one caught it, unless you’re trying to count the ants.’

            ‛Leg before wicket.’

            ‛Nowhere near my perishing leg. You can’t prove anything.’

            The umpire’s pudgy face took on a ‛why me’ expression. ‛Mr Thorpe, please. This is a gentleman’s game.’

            ‛Oh, well, that lets me out, then. Common as muck, I am.’

            At the other end of the pitch Mikey cracked up. The umpire, refusing to be steamrollered, continued as though he hadn’t been interrupted. ‛And when I say out, I mean out.’

            Brandon, though, hadn’t given up yet. There was more at stake here than the century, or putting one over on the police. ‛So that’s it, then? That’s your final word on the subject?’


            ‛Can’t get you to change your mind? Maybe if I buy you a drink later…?’

            ‛Mr Thorpe, please leave the field. You. Are. Out.’

            ‛All right, all right, keep your hair on.’ Considering the umpire was as bald as a hard-boiled egg, this caused Mikey to collapse again. Brandon felt his own lips twitch in sympathy, but kept up the act. Dragging his bat disconsolately behind him he trailed off the pitch, treating the spluttering Mikey to a special glare. ‛Don’t know what you’re laughing at, mate. It’ll be your turn next. Bloody silly game if you ask me…’ And he mooched off the field towards the pavilion to be replaced by Anson from admin, chewing an unlit cigar.

Back in his crease Mikey realised it was his turn to face the bowling, and tried desperately to compose himself. Fanshawe might have retired to the boundary to get his breath back but his replacement was a stocky young spin bowler whose deliveries were tricky to say the least and he needed to concentrate. Blast Brandon and his warped sense of humour. He breathed deeply, held it for ten, let it go, but the giggles still threatened to break free. And the bowler was spitting on his fingers and juggling the ball malevolently from hand to hand, all set to unleash some looping delivery that was virtually unplayable. ‛Get a grip,’ he muttered, banging the end of his bat on the ground for emphasis. At the last second he looked up again, to find the bowler had already hopped in, flung one arm over and released the ball. It spiralled weirdly down the pitch, bounced once, twitched over his outstretched bat and hit the middle stump with a resounding thud.

            The umpire raised his finger again. ‛Out.’

            Mikey lost his temper. ‛You must be joking, mate. I wasn’t ready.’

            ‛Lord give me strength.’ The umpire was beginning to lose his cool. ‛Are all you Fellowes men like this?’

            ‛It’s a sports college. They train us well.’

            ‛Well training or not, you’re out. Good God, man, you were clean bowled.’

            ‛Yeah, but he put me off. Brandon, I mean. It’s not fair. Don’t I get a second chance?’


            ‛Oh, well, sod you then.’ And wrenching off his helmet and gloves he stumped away to join his colleague in the pavilion.

Brandon sat on a narrow wooden bench in a deserted corner of the dressing room and quietly thanked every deity he could think of. The bench was uncomfortable but everyone was outside watching the match. He was newly showered; there was a half empty pint glass at his feet. Best of all, Mikey was in his arms. And not just in his arms, but kissing him. He forgot about the ridges on his arse from the wooden slats and kissed back desperately, making the most of this borrowed and unexpected time.

            Eventually Mikey broke away from his mouth and glared at him. Outside in the real world that glare was bad enough; here, a few inches away, the result was devastating. He wanted nothing more than to grab the man and kiss the scowl off his face. But Mikey had other ideas. ‛You did that on purpose,’ he said, using a long finger to prod Brandon in the chest.

            ‛Did what?’

            ‛Put me off. Distracted me. I was so busy laughing at you I missed the sodding ball.’

            ‛Oh, yeah, that.’ He tried not to grin. Trust Mikey to see straight through him as usual. Not that it mattered, anyway. The ruse had worked. The match wasn’t over yet. With luck they’d be undisturbed for at least another hour. The grin won. ‛Who wants to get sunstroke charging up and down out there when we can be tucked away in here instead?’

            It was a shame about the missed century, he thought, leaning back against the wall while Mikey unzipped his pants. But this was more than enough compensation. The annual cricket match had scored.

Fiona Glass: Combustion

A fun and very tongue-in-cheek little piece about two men, a Ferrari and a birthday present. The story, which first appeared in my newsletter last year, involves the characters from my book Trench Warfare – archaeologist Steve and his sweet right-hand-man Jon. You can read about how they got together in the first place (and about the temple they discovered) in the book, which is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited here. (Sorry for the plug, by the way, but it seems like too good an opportunity to miss!)


Pic credit: Martin Kattler on

‛WHOA. IS IT ALWAYS THIS quick?’ Steve gasped and made a grab for the dashboard. He’d been expecting a wild ride but hadn’t thought it would be quite this powerful. Or this exhilarating. Or this terrifying, if he was honest with himself.

            ‛It’s fine. Relax.’ Jon had his mouth full. ‛I haven’t finished yet.’

            Steve bucked in his seat. ‛God! I thought finding that temple was an adventure but I’ve never known anything like this before.’

            There was a muffled, breathless laugh. ‛Yeah. Suck, squeeze, bang and blow. Nothing to beat it.’

            ‛You what?’ His voice came out as more of a squeak than he’d intended. He cleared his throat.

            ‛I read it somewhere. Good description, don’t you think?’

            Steve bucked again. ‛Very appropriate. I could even say four strokes and an emission and you’re anybody’s.’

            ‛Hey. That’s hardly fair.’

            Jon looked so hurt that Steve relented, and reached out to ruffle his hair. ‛Just teasing. You go ahead and enjoy yourself. It’s your birthday treat after all.’

            A little-boy grin peeped out from under the long sweep of hair. ‛And we’ve still got twenty minutes to go. Hang onto your seat—let’s see what it’s like when I really rev things up.’

            Half an hour later Steve clambered unsteadily out of the car, wondering what had happened to his legs. They weren’t usually this much like jelly, even when he’d been crouching in a trench for hours. ‛Whoa,’ he said again, and leaned against the door for support.

            Jon seemed less ruffled than his hair. ‛That was fantastic. Wish I could do it every day of the week. I’ve always been partial to throbbing pistons.’

            ‛I’m more of a leg man myself.’ Steve eyed the long, jeans-clad pair beside him. ‛We’d better get this thing back to the garage, though. If we’re late they’ll charge us for the overtime.’

            ‛I guess you’re right.’ Jon sighed mournfully and stroked one hand over smooth metallic curves. ‛Pity, though. She’s beautiful. Your Mini just won’t seem the same.’

            Steve gazed at the sleek lines and gleaming scarlet paintwork of the Ferrari Testarossa he’d paid to take out on hire for an hour. It had cost him an arm and several legs, but it had been worth every last penny just to watch the child-like joy on Jon’s face.

            Who would have guessed that Jon of all people—nerdy, quiet, reserved Jon with his love of music and anything ancient or covered with dust—would turn out to be such a speed-freak petrol-head? He’d let it slip a few months back, when Steve had caught him gazing wistfully at the pictures of Aston Martins, TVRs and E-type Jaguars in an old copy of What Car magazine a client had left behind. And a plan had been hatched. One that had worked out perfectly, judging by the glow on Jon’s face as he threw the Ferrari round the curves of their local driving track. ‛Glad you enjoyed it. It’s certainly an experience. I thought I was going to lose my lunch when you went over that speed bump at ninety-five.’

            ‛That reminds me.’ Jon ducked back inside the car—a feat of contortion for his six-foot-two frame—and emerged with a slightly squashed super-size packet of rum and raisin fudge. Another of his pet loves. He’d been chomping bits of it for the last half hour. ‛Nearly forgot this. Want one?’

            ‛No, thanks.’ Steve eyed the crumpled wrapper with distaste. ‛Looks like you’ve been sitting on it. Anyway, it’s your treat.’

            ‛Yeah.’ Jon popped two more pieces of fudge into his mouth at once and chewed, before adding indistinctly, ‛Best birthday ever. Thanks, Steve. Means a lot.’

            Steve leaned in and kissed him on the lips. They tasted of sugar and artificial rum. An acquired taste, but one he’d be happy to get used to, especially if it meant more chances to snog his right-hand man. ‛You’re welcome.’

            Jon tucked the sweetie bag in one pocket. ‛Those seats aren’t exactly comfortable, mind you. My back’s killing me.’ He stretched his arms above his head until his spine clicked.

            Steve watched the resulting play of lean muscle under the denim and swallowed hard. ‛What was that you said about sucking and blowing?’ There was only the faintest hint of a tremor in his voice. He should be proud of himself.

            Nothing moved on Jon’s face apart from one eyebrow, which somehow managed to change his whole expression from smile to leer. ‛You want to give it a go for real?’

            Steve swallowed again. ‛We really shouldn’t. We’re already late and the garage won’t thank us if they’ve got other bookings. And it’ll be a squeeze. And it’s probably illegal. All the same…’ He glanced wistfully at the car, then at Jon. ‛I, er, could give you the rest of your birthday pressie…’

            The leer became sheer mischief. ‛Here? In the Ferrari?’

            That was another discovery about Jon—his unexpected love of making out in unusual places. It was risky; it might even be dangerous. One of these days it would probably get them arrested. But in the meantime, it was tempting enough that his own jeans grew a little tighter at the thought. Even if it cost him another hour’s hire charges, not to mention the inevitable cleaning bill. Even if the cabin was so small he’d probably knock himself out on the steering wheel. But sex in a Ferrari? That wasn’t something you did every day. He licked his lower lip. ‛I guess… maybe… if we’re careful… But not actually here, here.’

            ‛No problem. I know a nice quiet bit of woodland a couple of miles away.’ Jon grinned, inserted himself back into the driver’s seat and twisted the ignition key, then yelled over the sudden roar of all twelve cylinders’ worth of decibels. ‛Come on, then, get your arse inside. Let’s bugger off while nobody’s looking, and I’ll see if I can’t spark your engine to life.’

            Steve ducked back down into the car, trying not to damage his rock-hard cock. The vision those words conjured up was almost too much. The Ferrari, parked somewhere out of the way. Windows down as far as they would go. The scent of leaves and earth and bark. Smooth leather against his back, a cool breeze on whatever bits of skin they left exposed. Hot breath. Jon’s beard rough against his chin. Feet everywhere—out the windows, probably; their bodies a writhing tangled mass. Suck, squeeze, bang and blow indeed. He cleared his throat again. ‛Motor’s already running, mate.’

Fiona Glass: M/M TV shows to look out for #1: Smiley

Mea culpa – I completely missed the fact that it was Tuesday yesterday and didn’t post anything on the zine. To make up for the omission, here’s a fun little piece about a new (to me, at any rate) lgbt series on Netflix that I’m currently really enjoying. I hope to review a few more series soon.


If you’re signed up for Netflix, then look out for this Spanish rom-com set in a city centre bar. It features main character Alex, who serves in the bar and works out in his spare time, and architect Bruno. When Alex breaks up with his current boyfriend he sends a text (the ‛smiley’ of the show’s title) but accidentally types the wrong phone number and the message goes to Bruno instead. Intrigued, Bruno calls Alex back, the two start chatting and realise they both love old films, and a relationship ensues.

Like all love affairs in romantic comedies, true love hardly runs smooth, as both men convince themselves, and each other, that they’re not each other’s ‛type’. Needless to say, we can see that they’re really crazy about each other, but one barrier after another prevents them from admitting it and they both end up with someone else.

As well as the main pairing, the show also features Alex’s colleague/boss Vero and her partner Patri (Patricia), the bar’s owner and drag queen Javier, Bruno’s colleague Albert, and loads of other characters. All are sympathetic and (surprisingly for a rom-com) realistic, and all face problems in their relationships, be those gay, lesbian or straight.

The dialogue is obviously in Spanish, but Netflix has excellent subtitles which mean you can keep up with the action. The only time that’s difficult is when the show uses a split-screen mode – which is often very funny, but it can be hard reading text on one bit of the screen while watching two hot guys humping on the other!

Unlike US (and even some British) comedy series there’s no canned laughter, which I much prefer. It’s probably closer to comedy drama than a strict rom-com, but overall it’s fun, sparky and true-to-life, and having watched most of the first season I’m really enjoying it and hoping there are more seasons to come. I’d probably rate it 9/10. If you track it down, I hope you enjoy it too!

Fiona Glass: Coffee for a Kiss

It’s February, which means Valentines Day is almost upon us. So this week I thought I’d post one of my own little stories, which has a Valentines theme and is kind of cute. I first wrote this back in the Dark Ages (well, the early 2000s) and I think it originally appeared in a Torquere Press newsletter, and featured last year in my own newsletter. I hope you have fun reading it, and if you’d like to see more of my m/m romance books why not check out my website.


Barista © Nicholas Horn; Coffee cup © Ibrahim Rifath; Hearts background © Freestocks, all on

Coffee taste like mud? Hardly surprising—it was only ground this morning!

            Dan read the new sign above the coffee shop counter and groaned. ‘That one’s as old as Methuselah. I remember getting it in a Christmas cracker in about 1982.’

            The barista, young and dusky with a gold earring, held up his hands and grinned. ‘Don’t blame me—it wasn’t my idea. Although it does get the point across that the coffee’s fresh. We roast it ourselves.’

            ‘I can tell.’ Dan savoured the rich smell coming from the kitchen, and tried not to ogle the barista’s backside too obviously. He was nice-looking, with flashing brown eyes and a cheeky smile, and the pertest little tush Dan had seen in a long while.

            ‘So, what’ll it be?’

            I suppose a shag’s out of the question? ‘Skinny latte, please.’ He’d noticed his waistline getting saggy lately. Needed to do something about that.

            ‘Coming right up.’

            Not half as much as what I’ve got coming up…  He watched as the barista turned his back, measuring coffee, banging things, squirting hot milk. The guy had nice hands, too, with long deft fingers that made art of the ordinary tasks. Too soon the performance was over, and a steaming mug appeared on the counter.

            ‘Cheers.’ He fished in his pocket for small change, enjoying the pressure on his newly-awakened cock. ‘What do I owe you?’

            ‘Well, the coffee’s two pounds fifty.’ The barista winked. ‘But I wouldn’t mind if you gave me something else.’

            Dan tossed a handful of coins on the counter and grabbed the mug, wrapping February-frozen fingers around it and hoping they’d thaw out. Raising it to his face he breathed the richly scented steam in deep, took a sip, and felt the caffeine hit all the way to his toes. Mmm. That was good coffee… Then he registered the second part of what the barista had just said. ‘You what?’

            Another wink. ‘You’re a nice-looking guy. I was thinking along the lines of a long slow kiss.’

            Half way through another mouthful, Dan spluttered and coughed. ‘What? Here?’

            The barista’s grin was positively wicked. ‘Much as I fancy having you shag me on the counter top, people outside might be a little shocked. We could use the back room, though.’

            ‘Yeah?’ Dan met the twinkling brown gaze head on. ‘Oh. Yeah.’ He dumped the mug on the counter, contents barely tasted, and followed the barista’s back through the door. The storeroom was full of the heady scent of newly-roasted beans, and in the slightly subdued light it was also, suddenly, full of arms. The barista was standing right behind the door, and grabbed him as he came in. Dan went without resisting, letting the guy reel him in until his back was up against the gritty, unyielding surface of a breeze-block wall. What was in front of him was much more enticing, though. Thigh met slender thigh; chest rested against chest and the rough cotton fabric of the barista’s apron caught against his arms.

            ‘You’ve got a coffee moustache.’ The barista stared at him from inches away. ‘Let me help you with that.’ He stuck out his tongue and used it to circle Dan’s mouth, tracing the shape of his lips and flicking into the folds at the corners of his mouth. ‘Mmm. Always did like the taste of Arabica and hot milk.’

            Dan was enjoying the tongue, and the warmth of the other man’s body pressing against his own. But the words had given him an idea. ‘Hang on a jiffy.’ He dashed back into the shop, flipped the sign on the door to ‘closed’, mouthed ‘Sorry,’ at a disappointed-looking woman on the pavement outside, then grabbed the coffee he’d left on the counter top.

            Back in the dark fragrance of the storeroom he took a swig of the cooling liquid and swirled it around in his mouth. Then he leaned back in to the barista’s embrace, waited until their lips were just touching, and let a thin stream of coffee trickle onto the guy’s waiting tongue.

            The barista’s breath hitched. ‘Nice. Want more.’

            Dan was happy to oblige. He took another mouthful and repeated what he’d just done. The result sent an electric thrill rushing through his veins but he wanted more, wanted to touch the other man—especially that tush he’d been admiring from afar. One hand held the coffee mug, but the other was free. He rested it on the small of the barista’s back, then, greatly daring, slid it down to cup on delicious rounded cheek. It felt every bit as good as he thought it would—firm, smooth, and very squeezable. So he squeezed and was rewarded, through his mouth and tongue, with the thrum of a lush little moan.

The game lasted as long as the coffee did: mouthful after mouthful of latte circling his tongue, dribbling down, with the barista drinking it straight from his lips. An occasional drip ran down his chin, catching on his beard hairs, and the barista licked that off, too. Too soon, the mug was empty. He held it upside down and shook it to show that no more coffee was left.

            The barista pouted, then grinned and kissed him again anyway, lips soft and warm against his own. Then he swatted Dan on the backside and pushed him away. ‘I’d better get back to work. The customers will get grumpy otherwise. But tell me I’ll see you in here again.’

            Well, duh, Dan wanted to say. We’ve only been doing this on Valentine’s Day every year since we got married, and that’s six years ago. And I’ll be waiting for you tonight at home, just like I always do. He didn’t, though. He knew how much Mitchell enjoyed their little game. ‘Are you kidding?’ he said. ‘Of course I’ll be back. That was the best I’ve ever had.’

            ‘The coffee’s not bad, either,’ said the barista with a grin.

Christmas fun with the team

Just for a laugh, I asked all of the contributors the same three silly questions – and these are some of the answers they came up with.

Have fun reading them, check out the ‘Meet the Team’ tab (above) to find out more about all of us, and Happy Christmas!


Pic credit: Pablo Garcia Saldana on

What’s the one thing you’d take to a desert island?

Jeff Baker: Assuming I wanted to be there and already had food, water and shelter I’d say a Kindle loaded with all the books I want to read. If I didn’t want to be there, I’d take a fully-staffed luxury yacht or a very long bridge!

Jay Mountney: A boat. With an engine. And that’s one thing, not two!

Kaje Harper: A dowsing rod to find fresh water?

Fiona Glass: My first thought was a boat too but as that’s already been taken, a comfortable bed. None of this sleeping on gritty sand!

Ellie Thomas: I’d love to wax lyrical about a favourite tome to take with me, but let’s face facts here. I’m a pale-skinned Celt, so it had better be a vat of Factor 50 sunscreen.

What’s your favourite (or least favourite) Christmas song?

Jeff Baker: I’ve loved “Do You Hear What I Hear?” since Grade School when our teacher told us the song was written “just a few years ago.” Plus, it’s a wonderful song. There are days (usually days spelled with a “y”) where I get absolutely sick of “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime!” With all due respect to Sir Paul.

Jay Mountney: Don’t Stop the Cavalry

Kaje Harper: My anti-favourite is I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (especially the little kid voice version that has the kid threatening to tattle in between the verses.)

Fiona Glass: My favourite is Fairytale of New York, with Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas a close second.

Ellie Thomas: Honestly, by this stage of December I’m sick of the whole boiling lot of them, so I’ll plump for none. Bah humbug!

If you could shape-shift, what creature would you change into:

Jeff Baker: When I was younger (yes, I think about this stuff and have for a long time!) I thought maybe turning into a crow when I wanted would be handy. They can fly and are pretty inconspicuous since they are all over. Of course, I might go with the traditional wolf, as long as I wasn’t vicious (and didn’t leave a mess on the carpet!)

Jay Mountney: I would rather not have to change into a shifter but if I had to I like hedgehogs.

Kaje Harper: By nature, probably a sloth, but by preference, a peregrine falcon – I’d love to fly.

Fiona Glass: No real preference, but it would be nice to be tall enough and/or have long enough arms to reach supermarket shelves, so perhaps a gibbon. Or a giraffe.

Ellie Thomas: Ooh, that’s a tricky one. I’m undecided between something slightly scary like a leopard that would keep people on their toes or something small, nippy and easily hidden like a mouse. Plus with the second option I might get access to cheese. Win/win!

Meet the Contributors: Fiona Glass

I suddenly realised I hadn’t done one of these myself, so here’s a few questions and answers that might shed some light on me and my writing process – and my favourite dinosaur…


What comes first, the plot or characters?

            Um, the plot? Probably? But then I need characters to drive the plot, and they tend to be suggested by the plot itself and what that needs, so they come along very quickly afterwards.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

            Over the years I’ve written far more short stories than I have longer works. But I’ve still managed to produce ten books, of varying lengths, split between two different pen names. I write m/m romance as Fiona Glass, and dark crime and noir as Tess Makovesky, and have just merged the two in Tess’s latest comedy noir Embers of Bridges, which has a gay MC.

            I like pretty much all my books, but I think my favourite has to be December Roses, a gay paranormal romance set in a once beautiful English garden and featuring an injured soldier and the enigmatic, elusive musician he falls in love with. It was inspired in part by my favourite garden, Biddulph Grange in Staffordshire, a Victorian gem with areas based on different countries and dripping with jokes, puzzles and quirky bits and pieces, so the book’s setting was a joy to write about. And it’s the only one of my books that still makes me cry at the end every time I read it.

Can you share something about your current book that isn’t in the blurb?

            My most recent m/m romance, Ghosts Galore, is set in a haunted English manor house which owes a lot to the wonderful old Harvington Hall in Worcestershire. Harvington Hall was built in the 1300s and redeveloped in the 1500s to include simply masses of priest holes and hiding places, as the family who owned it were Catholics at a time when that religion was banned. It’s a fascinating place to visit, and some of its priest holes, loosely disguised, turn up in the part where MC Adam is searching for his ancestor’s missing paintings.

Can you share a snippet?

Here’s a bit that mentions one of the priest holes:

“They headed up the cellar steps at a run, but before they’d even got to the top Adam could smell tobacco on the air. He stopped. What is it? Delaying the search might be frustrating but Gramps had his finger—or what passed for it these days—on the house’s pulse. If he was worried then it was well worth listening.

            But the old man’s voice held no sense of alarm, just of bafflement. Are you sure about the priest hole, Adam? I don’t remember there being anything in there the last time we looked.

            He remembered the occasion only too well. It had been about six years ago, on a pouring wet Sunday afternoon, when he and Gramps had read the papers and got fed up with the endless sport on television, and gone off to explore. Gramps had been alive then, of course, and surprisingly agile for an old man, and one by one they’d clambered inside the tiny chamber to tap the walls. Adam had been full of some story he’d discovered in an ancestral journal about a hidden portion of the room that had been sealed for centuries, but although they’d knocked on every inch of wall they hadn’t found a thing. Adam had reluctantly decided the story was a myth, and they’d clambered out again and made toast in front of the fire for tea. Swallowing the sudden lump the memory brought, he led the way upstairs…”

What is the significance of the title?

            Ghosts Galore is the name of the fictional TV show that features in the book. A production crew from the show come to Adam’s haunted home, Greystones Hall, to film its paranormal activity over the course of a weekend, only to unleash a new and unpleasant spirit that wreaks havoc. It’s also a reference to the fact that there really are ‛ghosts galore’ at Greystones, since it’s one of the most haunted houses in England, as well as being a wry reference to the fact that the show’s producer Carl doesn’t believe in ghosts.

What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?

            The main challenge was getting the details of the TV production right – the lighting, the cameras, the direction, the various people who might be involved. I managed to research some of that online, and also picked up hints from paranormal reality shows I’d watched myself. But I was also completely indebted to my friend Angela King (author of historical novel Blood of Kings) for a much greater insight into the way the TV world works.

Are you working on anything at present you would like to share with your readers?

            Well, I ought to be working on a complete rewrite of Gleams of a Remoter World, my ghost-story novel set in Ireland, in order to turn it into a full-blown m/m romance rather than the bi/m/m it was when it was published. I’ve got a new name, Distant Voices, and a new cover, and had made inroads into the first couple of chapters. And then I got hijacked by an old 1950s-set story I wrote many years ago featuring a fey dreamer of a young man and a gypsy. The characters in that suddenly started yammering at me and I’ve rewritten several pages and added a whole new scene, and am hoping to have it ready some time in the new year. After that, it’ll be back to Ireland… I hope…

How many bookshelves are in your house?

            Nowhere near enough. All my family lived in homes that were overflowing with books and I’m the same. My husband and I have several hundred between us and are always looking for new places to stuff them into our small terraced house, with varying degrees of success. To (mis)quote Jaws, “we’re going to need a bigger house”.

What is your favourite dinosaur?

            The little chap pictured below (at Boulders Beach in South Africa). He came from the Natural History Museum in London many years ago, and has been all over the world. My husband takes him along whenever he travels for work, and sends back photos of him perched in various places around the local scenery. It always gives me a smile, even while I’m missing both of them!

Where can readers purchase your books?

            All of my m/m romance books (including December Roses and Ghosts Galore) are available on Kindle (and free on Kindle Unlimited). You can find a list of them at my UK Amazon page or my US Amazon page, or for a bit more information on all of them, head to my website.

            Two of my Tess Makovesky noir books (including Embers of Bridges) are also out on Kindle, while a third is published by All Due Respect. You can find out more at Tess’s website, or her Amazon UK or Amazon US pages.

Fiona Glass: Jack O’Lantern

And finally, for Halloween itself, a little something from yours truly. A much shorter (and much sillier) version of this story first appeared in the Torquere Press newsletter many years ago, but last year I rewrote it as something a whole lot creepier (though hopefully still fun) and put it out to readers of my own newsletter. Now I’m sharing it with you, and I hope you enjoy it!


Cover art design: © Fiona Glass
Gold man © Leandro De Carvalho; Pumpkin © SzaboJanos, both on

Ooh ooh… something something ghost town…

            Xander sang along as he worked. The song was an oldie, from way back in the 1980s, he thought, when synths and painted faces were all the rage. He hadn’t heard it in years, but the radio station was belting out anything vaguely ghost-related ready for Halloween tonight, and he’d forgotten how catchy it was.

            The singing turned to whistling; he pursed his lips as he concentrated on carving Jack’s face into the giant pumpkin he’d bought earlier. The likeness wasn’t brilliant, but it was close enough to be recognisable: Jack’s upturned nose, his upturned lips, his ever-so-slightly slanting eyes. Eyes that could captivate a man with one sidelong glance, as Xander had discovered a good few years ago. Eyes that would look amazing backlit with candlelight.

            The pumpkin was set to be the centre-piece to the Halloween party buffet. They’d only moved in a few weeks ago, and it had been Jack’s idea to delay the house-warming until Halloween. ‛Fun theme,’ he’d said. ‛Cheaper, too.’ A man of few words, was Jack, but the few he used usually made sense.

            The ghost town song on the radio faded out, to be replaced by another oldie, Visage’s Fade to Grey. Xander knew that one better, and sang along again. The preparations were going well. He’d already set up the trestle table and the sound-system, and judging by the deafening racked of the radio the latter was working well. The neighbours wouldn’t thank him, but it was only for an hour or so—and tonight, with everyone chatting, they could turn the volume down.

            The pumpkin-portrait was pretty much complete, or at least as good as it was going to get. He’d caught Jack’s mischief surprisingly well after all. Those eyes… still captivating, even in vegetable form. It would be good if the real bloke was here instead, but work was work and he knew he’d have to wait. In the meantime, pumpkin Jack was as good a stand-in as he was going to get. He treated it to a kiss on the space where the nose would be, and set it aside on the trestle table with the other stuff. He’d already dragged a few chairs out from the kitchen in case anyone wanted to sit down, and he’d dug out the Christmas fairy lights and strung those in the tree and along the top of the fence. He’d cut bread and chopped salad and fixed candles in empty jars and set up the barbecue. By the time Jack got in from work they should pretty much be ready to go.

            ‛Looking good,’ said a voice just behind him.

            He jumped so hard he almost cut himself with the pumpkin knife. ‛Jack? You back already? I didn’t hear you come in.’

            ‛Not surprised. That radio’s loud enough to wake the dead.’

            ‛Yeah. Sorry.’ He twiddled the volume knob, and Fade to Grey duly faded into the background. ‛That’s better. Now I can hear myself think.’ Not that that was necessarily a good thing; he still had doubts about the house and how old and creepy it was. Jack loved it, though, so he needed to get over himself. He’d get used to it in time, when they’d unpacked, redecorated, and got all their own things in place. In the meantime… he shivered suddenly. Maybe a T-shirt, outdoors, at the end of October, wasn’t such a good idea after all.

            Or maybe it was. Two arms came round him as Jack treated him to a bear-hug and rubbed his arms. ‛You look cold.’

            ‛It’s chillier than I thought now the sun’s gone in. What do you think, though? I know you won’t get the full effect until it gets dark, but is it looking okay?’

            ‛Looks fine to me. The garden’s good, too.’ The hug got tighter, accompanied by a low throaty chuckle. The chuckle that said Jack was horny, and needed to do something about it—possibly right now. Under normal circumstances he’d have been happy to oblige, but now wasn’t normal. Now wasn’t normal at all…

            ‛Uh, we’re in the garden, remember. With neighbours’ windows and stuff. And our guests will be here in just a–’ He couldn’t finish. Jack span him round, still hugging, and kissed him lushly on the mouth. ‛Whoa,’ he said, doing his best to extricate himself. ‛Hang on. Stop it, you daft prat. We’ve got the rest of our lives for–’

            ‛Need you. Need you to be warm, so your warmth can warm me.’

            It was an odd thing to say, but Jack could be weird at times. Not seriously weird, just quirky and individual. It was one of the things that made him so loveable. That and his strength. He didn’t look particularly muscular, but he could lift Xander’s own weight as though he was a child. It made him feel safe, and cared for, and—yes—warm.

            He put his own arms around Jack’s waist, rested his head against one broad shoulder, and breathed in the scent of shampoo and spice that was unmistakably Jack. Except that weirdly, Jack didn’t smell like Jack. He didn’t smell of anything much. That was… odd. Maybe it was because they were outdoors, or maybe he had a cold coming on. He hoped not. Nothing killed off a party with your mates like an attack of the sniffles or a hacking cough. And now they were snogging, so he’d probably pass it on to Jack.

            He leant into the kiss, loving Jack’s mouth on his, the sense of intimacy, of danger, even, of being so together in such a public place. The garden wasn’t huge and several houses looked straight down into it, and the thought of going further in front of an audience gave him a moment’s thrill. He wouldn’t risk it though. They might offend someone, and in a new place they needed all the neighbourly support they could get. Especially this new place, with its wonky walls and its staring windows and its general air of being old and unloved. Jack had taken one look and fallen in love with the place. He’d taken one look and thought about the work.

            In any case the kiss was making him uncomfortable. His face was clamped against the rough fabric of Jack’s lapel. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t really breathe. Faint fingers of panic began to play up his spine. This wasn’t like Jack. Jack might get over-enthusiastic sometimes but he never lost sight of Xander’s comfort or needs. He never took over. He never squeezed like this.

            Facing this way he could see the lantern he’d just carved, and the eyes were dancing with light. Jack must have lit the candle on the way past, but it was strange the way it gleamed. Almost as though it was alive, and looking back at him. Be with me, it seemed to say. Don’t struggle. Maybe he should do what it said. Hadn’t he just been wishing Jack was here? Wouldn’t it be good to go with the flow and let him take the lead? Wouldn’t it be better to… just… let… go…

            In the distance, at the other side of the house, the doorbell rang, almost as though it had heard his thoughts. Talk about saved by the bell… He roused himself from the fog that had enveloped his brain, and pushed at Jack’s chest. ‛Gotta go.’

            Jack’s reply was no more than a whisper, seeping into his bones. ‛Leave it. Stay here with me.’

            ‛God’s sake, Jack, it could be our guests. I can’t leave them on the doorstep.’ It was freezing out here. Goose bumps prickled his skin in sympathy.

            ‛They’ll find their own way in.’

            ‛No they won’t. The side gate’s buggered, remember?’ The catch was broken; they’d nailed it shut to stop it banging and keeping them awake all night. He remembered that, somewhere deep in the bit of brain that wasn’t completely asleep. It gave him the strength to wriggle and squirm until he’d escaped the crushing embrace. Jack’s hand still clutched at his fingertips, but he shook free of it and staggered towards the house as though he’d come loose at the knees. Jack sometimes did make him weak at the knees, of course, but this felt different.

            Come back… he thought he heard, or sensed. Even now, the urge was strong. Sod the guests. They could wait, just for a minute or two, while he went back to Jack’s eager embrace. He felt the pull; his progress slowed. Don’t stop, his own brain screamed at him. Keep going, get inside the house. The thought that he was running away from Jack almost brought him to a halt. This was the man he’d chosen to spend his life with, not a stranger or a Halloween ghost. And yet, for a moment, or more than a moment if he was honest with himself, he hadn’t felt safe back there. He’d felt, worryingly, as though he’d lost every last scrap of control.

            The house had an unfriendly feel to it as he dashed through the kitchen and along the hall. A feeling that said he was an intruder, that he wasn’t welcome inside these walls. That he wasn’t safe on his own. Please let it be our mates, he thought as he approached the front door, then stopped to compose himself. It wouldn’t do to let Tom, or Lizzie and Beth, or any of the rest of the gang see him as frantic as this. Not until he’d worked out why Jack was acting this way and what had gone wrong. Deep breaths. Wipe his palms on the seat of his jeans. Hope his eyes didn’t look as wild as they felt.

            The doorbell pealed again, insistently, and he could see a shadow the other side of the door. His heart thumped in his chest. He took a breath, grasped the heavy brass knob and turned. And felt his scalp prickle and the air leave his lungs as a grinning man with a clinking carrier bag pushed past him into the hall.

             ‛Surprise! Got off work early. Here’s the booze. Is there anything I can do to– Xander? Is everything okay? You’ve gone really pale.’

            The hall span, briefly, and Xander clutched at the smooth cold surface of the wall. Jack would have had plenty of time to nip round from the back garden—but how had he got through that nailed-up side gate? And who had rung the bell? Faint laughter echoed through the empty rooms of the house. Rooms that looked empty, but might be nothing of the sort.

            ‛Oh, I’m fine. Absolutely fine. Never better, in fact.’ He knew he was gabbling but couldn’t seem to stop. Relief flooded his limbs—relief, but also fear. His knees went weak all over again and he had to cling to the wall. All he could think of was the pumpkin, and the carved face, and those dancing lights in its eyes. Was he dreaming? Was such a thing even possible? Words tumbled over themselves in his head before spilling off his tongue. ‛It’s just that if you’re here, and not out there, then who the hell has been snogging me to death in the garden for the last half hour?’

Fiona Glass: Slippery Slope

This is a cute little story I wrote a few years ago, which I’d actually completely forgotten about until I found it while going through some old files! If you like this, you might like some of my other m/m romance, which often features contemporary relationships interwoven with history and the paranormal. You can find all my books on my website. And mind the slugs…


Pic credit:

The washing machine broke down just as Eric switched on for his first weekly load. There was a blue fizz and a sharp smell of burning and the door seal failed. He tried, desperately, to hold back the Niagara Falls of water, suds, socks and his only spare pair of jeans with his bare hands, but the force of gravity prevailed. Water sloshed round his feet, then spread in an unstoppable soapy sea across the kitchen floor.

            It was the last shitty straw in the shittiest week of his life. The break-up, and Jed being so weird. Packing up and moving out. Finding his own place at a time when property was in short supply and rents were sky-high. Taking the first place he saw, even though it was across town in an area he barely knew. New and snotty neighbours who’d moaned at him about the removals van. No pets. Above all, no–.

            His gaze slipped instinctively to the kitchen window, seeking the solace of his beloved garden to lose himself in. Of course, it wasn’t there. Just a stark paved yard, fences, dustbins, a lop-sided shed and a washing line. Which he’d planned on using to dry this lot. But couldn’t, because he had to wash them first. ‛Sod it,’ he muttered, and tried to remember where he’d stowed the mop.

            He was heading back in from the shed when the doorbell rang. His heart skipped a beat. Jed? Surely not. His ex had been abundantly clear about never wanting to see him again. Probably just the postman with another sheaf of bills. Or the snotty neighbours again, moaning about something else. He wrenched open the door, wishing he looked less of a state. Hair all anyhow, his pony-tail coming loose. Wet rings around the bottom of his jeans. But all thoughts of his appearance vanished when he saw who was standing on the step. No postie, no snotty neighbour, just a stunning dark-haired hunk. He must be asleep and dreaming after all. Although none of his dreams lately had been as pleasant as this. ‛Er, hi.’

            The stranger stared back, then grinned. ‛I take it now’s not a good time.’

            ‛Sorry. Washing machine’s fritzed and I’m no good with tech. I don’t suppose you could–’ Recommend someone to repair it, he’d been going to say, but the stranger had already pushed past.

            ‛No problem. This way?’

            ‛Er, yeah. In the kitchen. Just follow the flood.’

            But the stranger had already disappeared, and he could hear faint sounds of grunting and tinkering coming from the other room. He dashed back in to find a scene from one of Dante’s lower circles of hell. The stranger, arse uppermost, poking around in the machine. Puddles and wet socks all over the floor. And something else. He’d left the back door open and a slug had got in, aquaplaning on the wet linoleum. He shuddered. The sight triggered vague memories of some childhood trauma. He raised the mop.

            ‛Oh, poor thing. Don’t hurt it. Get a glass.’ The stranger grabbed one of the good glasses from the draining rack and upended it on the floor, then scooped up the slug and carried it carefully outdoors.

            Eric would probably have whacked it with the mop, but he supposed this way left less of a mess to deal with afterwards. ‛Thanks.’

            ‛No problem. It’s why I’m here, really.’

            ‛Huh?’ Was his visitor going to shape-shift into a giant slug? No, that was just too many late-night movies because he hadn’t been sleeping well.

            The stranger fished around in jeans that were tight enough to do odd things to Eric’s breathing rate. Then he held out a crumpled piece of paper and a pen. ‛I’m doing a sponsored swim next week. In aid of garden invertebrates. Wondered if you fancied sponsoring me?’

            Eric could think of plenty of other things he’d rather do to the guy. ‛What, slugs, you mean?’

            He must have betrayed the horror he felt, because the grin flashed again. ‛Well, yeah, but not just slugs. Snails, lizards, slow worms, newts. They’re fascinating creatures, you know. Anyway, I’ve found what’s wrong with your washer. It was just the fuse in the plug. I can fit a new plug for you if you want.’

            ‛Cheers, that would be great.’ Eric gazed round what was left of his kitchen. The slug had left a silvery, oozing trail and there was a greasy hand print on one wall. ‛Er, what do I owe you?’

            The stranger waved a hand. ‛Nothing, glad to help. Although you could, you know, sponsor me.’ The grin turned pleading, to go with the puppy eyes.

            ‛Sounds fair.’ Slugs, he thought. I must have got it bad. He scribbled his name on the list and offered five pounds, which made the new plug seem dear. But needs must, and his jeans wouldn’t wash themselves.

            ‛Cheers,’ said the stranger. ‛Gotta dash but I’ll bring that plug round this evening if you’re in?’

            ‛Sure. Yeah. Thanks.’ Sooner would have been better but at least it gave him a few hours to clear up the mess.

            ‛See you later then. Thanks for the sponsorship. The slugs will be grateful. Oh—I’m Charlie, by the way. From number four, across the road.’

            ‛Nice to meet you.’ But he was talking to an empty room; Charlie had already taken off, leaving only muddy footprints, bits of plug and—oh God, was that the screwed-up form of his posing pouch? He bent and started picking bits of laundry up, then stopped. This could wait. Grabbing a coffee and a cigarette, he headed outside, perched on an upturned packing crate and took a long deep breath. It wasn’t his beautiful garden, with the weeping willow and the lawn sweeping down to the pond. But he could put pots on the paving slabs. Bamboo, perhaps, and scarlet geraniums. At least some greenery would keep the slugs out here where they belonged.

            Although… Memories surfaced, of broad shoulders and capable hands, and a grin that would melt the sun. His own lips twitched in sympathy. If the slugs did get into the house again, he could always call Charlie for help…