Charlie Cochrane, Giveaways

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Lessons for Sleeping Dogs Blog Tour with Charlie Cochrane

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Charlie Cochrane back to TNA, on the tour for the latest installment in the Cambridge Mysteries series, Lessons for Sleeping Dogs. Enjoy Charlie’s guest post, and then be sure to leave a comment below to enter the following giveaway:

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for your choice of an a ebook from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Sleeping Dogs.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern Time, on October 17, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your contact information so we can reach you if you win!

Good luck!

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Jonty and Orlando and Room 40

This post was inspired by a post I once read about heroes. It defined a hero as “A man who has honour and a sense of duty, which he holds true to quietly, without a fuss.”

That immediately made me think, “That could be Jonty, or Orlando!”

Admittedly my Cambridge lads don’t normally wear armour, (in fact I’m not sure they’ve ever worn armour except perhaps for the obligatory “box” to protect the old meat and two veg when playing cricket). Nor do they ride on white chargers; Orlando gets cross enough about Jonty’s obsession with motor cars; he’d hate having to mount a horse!

They did, however, serve in WWI, both with the Room 40 cryptanalysis boys (which is referenced in “Lessons for Sleeping Dogs”) and later out in France. But they’re also heroes in their everyday lives, sticking steadfastly and stubbornly to what they believe is decent and right.

They’re creatures of their time, of course, born in the late Victorian era but Edwardians through and through. They’re based at a forward thinking but still ancient Cambridge college, trying to knock some knowledge into their students, solving mysteries on the side and desperately trying to stop the world finding out that they’re lovers because exposing that fact would have exposed them to the risk of disgrace and prison.

I’ve often wondered what Jonty and Orlando would have done with themselves if they’d been born in another era. Solved mysteries? Of course! Fallen in love with each other? Naturally. I always associate my lads with the great last line of Mary Renault’s “The Mask of Apollo” :  No one will ever make a tragedy – and that is as well, for one could not bear it – whose grief is that the principals never met.”  It would have been a huge tragedy for these two not to have found each other, but let’s not be mawkish. Whatever era they’d been in, they’d have been funny, annoying and adorable.

But I can’t help but wonder what career they would have had and how their heroic tendencies would have manifested themselves. If they’d been born thirty years later then they’d have been Bletchley men, of that I’m certain. Or would Jonty have been a bomber pilot while Orlando was his wingman, in a nippy little Hurricane? I prefer the thought of them annoying Turing at Bletchley – it would have been safer for them, for one thing and maybe Alan T wouldn’t have misplaced the silver he buried in the woods if he’d had the lads to help him locate it.

A hundred years earlier, Jonty and Orlando might have been in Nelson’s navy, one of his band of brothers. I can imagine Edwardian Jonty and Orlando having a discussion about this scenario and arguing over which one of them would have earned his captain’s “swab” first.

I can also see them at the time of Agincourt, knights in Henry’s army, part of those “happy few” although Jonty has the build less for a chevalier than for one of those famous British archers. Maybe Jonty would have actually have ghost written the “Once more into the breach” and “We few, we happy few…” speeches for the king. It’s just the sort of mellifluous language he’d have enjoyed creating.

Go back another few hundred years and I could see my lads having taken up arms on a crusade. Not for any religious reason or for the glory, but as a means of running from the traumas of their younger lives. Neither of them had particularly happy formative years; maybe that’s one of the reasons they find so much comfort in each other and in putting wrongs to right.

So, what if Jonty and Orlando had been 1980’s babies? I know Jonty would embrace modern technology with great glee and Orlando would tolerate it, much as he tolerates that car of Jonty’s. Maybe they’d be at 21st century Cambridge University, trying to knock some sense into the modern undergraduates, or Orlando would have a job in a bank, working out complex algorithms to maximise the company’s investments while Jonty treads the boards at the National Theatre, making the young girls swoon at his Hamlet.  But that doesn’t seem heroic enough. I don’t think they’re really the men for modern warfare, so where would their valour find an outlet?

I think (and this may seem odd but it makes perfect sense in my head) they’d be leading lights for a charity like Help for Heroes, or the British Legion, working their socks off to make sure that people who’ve served their country aren’t left to cope alone. That would be an admirable outlet for their brains, bravery and sense of right and wrong.

Oh, and I think Orlando would be working doubly hard to make sure their Civil Partnership ceremony wasn’t splashed all over “Country Life”!

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Lessons for Sleeping DogsBlurb: Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

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Charlie CochraneBio: 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: 

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*No residency restrictions apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Hi, fellow book hoarders, and welcome to another sneak peek at what we have in store for you in the week ahead, as I’m feverishly preparing for the trip to San Diego and GayRomLit 2015. I hope to see so many of you there. And I hope you’ll stop me and say hello. We’ll have coffee and chat books. :-D

Here’s what awaits!

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Monday – Kicking off our week, we’re hosting author Rebecca Cohen on her Summer Season blog tour

We’ll also have author Hayden Thorne with us today to chat about the final book in the Masks series, The Porcelain Carnival

Tuesday – Today begins with Rick R. Reed when he stops by to talk a bit about the re-release of his book Tricks

We’ll also have author Charlie Cochrane with us on the tour for the latest book in the Cambridge Mysteries series, Lessons for Sleeping Dogs

Wednesday – Author Rachel Sparks joins us today on the tour for her new novel Giving Love a Chance

We’ll also be joined by J Tullos Hennig and Carole Cummings in another installment of DSPP’s Genre Talk

Thursday – Today we’ll be hosting author Jo Ramsey to chat about Work Boots and Tees, the latest installment in the Harmony Ink Young Adult series Deep Secrets and Hope

We’ll also be featuring a cover reveal today for Volume 8 of Daron’s Guitar Chronicles by author Cecilia Tan

Friday – Finally, to close out the week, we’ll have author Silvia Violet joining us on the tour for her newest novel Unexpected Engagement

And Perie Wolford will be joining us as well, on the tour for his new book Lights

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And that does it for another week. Until next time, happy reading!

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs by Charlie Cochrane

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Amazon US

Amazon US

Title: Lessons for Sleeping Dogs (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries)

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 208 Pages

At a Glance: If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Cambridge, 1921

When amateur sleuth Jonty Stewart comes home with a new case to investigate, his partner Orlando Coppersmith always feels his day has been made. Although, can there be anything to solve in the apparent mercy killing of a disabled man by a doctor who then kills himself, especially when everything takes place in a locked room?

But things are never straightforward where the Cambridge fellows are concerned, so when they discover that more than one person has a motive to kill the dead men—motives linked to another double death—their wits get stretched to the breaking point.

And when the case disinters long buried memories for Jonty, memories about a promise he made and hasn’t kept, their emotions get pulled apart as well. This time, Jonty and Orlando will have to separate fact from fiction—and truth from emotion—to get to the bottom of things.

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Review: It is now 1921. Jonty and Orlando are in their forties, and it has been awhile since that business with the wooden cat. While working at the University is challenging, Orlando is beginning to think they will never have another case to solve… But then Jonty goes to tea and a case is presented, along with a particularly good nosebag.

I knew from the opening salvo, “Inspired by the many mysteries in real life that defy solution.”, that I was in for a great mystery with this book, and it did not disappoint! How do you solve a mystery that isn’t really a mystery on the surface? A mercy killing by a doctor, who then takes his own life in regret, two suicide letters explaining it all, and the whole scenario happening behind a closed door which was locked from the inside. What’s left to know? Well, a lot it seems. What they find is a case that stretches them morally and emotionally, and the decision has to be made whether to publish their findings to the world, or just to let sleeping dogs lie.

Each of these books has not only a mystery which has to be solved but a personal battle which must be fought, and in this book the power is in Jonty’s hands to right an old wrong and to realize sometimes the truth can help old sleeping dogs to lie more comfortably. This book, while still being an intense mystery, was a little lighter than some of the others have been. Lessons for Sleeping Dogs is one of my favorites in the Cambridge Fellows Mystery Series. All of Charlie Cochranes books are amazing, but being historically accurate sometimes means the emotions of two men can be constrained. This book has a warmth to it between Jonty and Orlando reminiscent of some of the earlier books in the series when they were sorting through the beginnings of their relationship. The two men are celebrating the sixteenth year of their meeting, and in my opinion, the mysteries and the emotions just keep getting deeper and better. As the pair say,

“Happy Anniversary. May there be many more of them.”

“Amen to that. More anniversaries, more cases to solve, more mattresses to put through their paces.”

“I agree on all three counts. Especially the last.”

If you like period appropriate verbiage and staging, REALLY GOOD mysteries, and colorful and witty characters, then this series is for you. You do not have to read these mysteries in order, just pick one up – it will not disappoint – and then you will go back for more!

TNA_Signature_Carrie

 

 

 

You can buy Lessons for Sleeping Dogs here:

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Amazon US

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Bold Strokes Books, Charlie Cochrane, Genre Romance

Guest Post and Excerpt: Don’t Kiss the Vicar by Charlie Cochrane

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We’re so pleased to welcome author Charlie Cochrane to The Novel Approach today to chat about her new novella from Bold Strokes Books, Don’t Kiss the Vicar

Welcome, Charlie!

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How and where does a story and its characters start?

I know that some authors get an idea then plan their novel/novella down to the nth degree, and more power to their elbows if that helps them to craft a really good story. I honestly believe this is something there are no hard and fast rules for; so long as a tale gets out of the author’s head and onto the page or screen then it matters not how it gets there. Which is just as well, because I’m a total pantser; if I try to write to a plan I find it’s like wearing shackles.

I usually begin stories with two characters and a conversation, then maybe construct several different key scenes and conversations which eventually go into the whole, finding their natural place in the action. It’s similar to doing a jigsaw, although you don’t know the picture on the box until you’ve completed it (which sometimes means going back and changing some of those original pieces!)

In the case of “Don’t Kiss the Vicar” I had the character of Dan Miller (said vicar) spring pretty well fully formed from my imagination right at the start of the creative process. A man of the cloth in a sprawling village parish not unlike the one I live in, a man of great integrity who finds himself having to hide his true nature from his flock. I have to admit that I’ve put several snippets of local geography into the tale, to form the backdrop I wanted to set the action against, although I haven’t included any of my fellow parishioners.

The other main characters in “Don’t Kiss the Vicar” appeared one by one in my head – and on the page – rather like in a Shakespeare play where the key players gradually emerge. I based them on the sort of people I’ve known in the various churches I’ve been a member of, snatching little bits of personality here and there then amalgamating them into something new. So Margaret, Sylvia and Harry are as real as I can make them without being vaguely libellous; although the interesting thing is that I had to curb some of their characteristics as they were getting a bit too “BBC sitcom” to be convincing, even though they are based firmly in reality.

Dan’s love interest, Steve, was the biggest challenge. He had to be likeable, but still believably prickly with Dan. These two men had to be in the classic romantic situation of feeling attraction for each other but not daring to show it. Very Beatrice and Benedict! It’s a widely used trope, so the author has to attempt to keep the pairing fresh while treading a well worn path.

I hope I succeeded…

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Dont Kiss the VicarBlurb: Vicar Dan Miller is firmly in the closet in his new parish. Could the inhabitants of a sedate Hampshire village ever accept a gay priest? Trickier than that, how can he hide his attraction for one of his flock, Steve Dexter?

Encouraged by his ex-partner to seize the day, Dan determines to tell Steve how he feels, only to discover that Steve’s been getting poison pen letters and suspicion falls on his fellow parishioners. When compassion leads to passion, they have to conceal their budding relationship, but the arrival of more letters sends Dan scuttling back into the closet.

Can they run the letter writer to ground? More importantly, can they patch up their romance and will Steve ever get to kiss the vicar again?

Buy Links: Bold Strokes Books || Amazon || Barnes & Noble

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Excerpt: “Vicar!” The shout, the almost friendly wave meant the decision to veer off was taken too late.

“Steve!” A cordial wave back as the distance between them narrowed. “Didn’t think you frequented this place.”

“Is that why you come here, then? To get away from the parishioners you like least?”

Dan tried to find an answer, but somehow the connection between his brain and mouth had become severed. Helpless, he could feel the flush rushing up his neck, and could see—without looking at the bloke—that Steve was less than amused. What the hell else was he going to think other than that he’d hit the nail on the head, and Dan was too dumb to cover the fact up?

“Rex!” A high pitched, agitated female voice broke the awkward moment, as did a huge Great Dane, about the size of a rhinoceros, which came haring out of the woods, onto the path and straight into Steve’s leg.

“Shit!” Steve staggered, arms flailing in a futile effort to keep himself upright. Dan’s attempt to reach out and catch him before he hit the stony path was equally ineffective, but at least he could keep the nasty, snarling brute at bay with the aid of the stick he habitually took when he walked. Jimmy had said it gave him gravitas, now it provided the ideal weapon.

“You should keep that thing under control,” he said, as the woman came up and made a lunge for the Great Dane. “What if it had gone for a child?”

“He’s just nervous,” she said, flustered. “Here, Rex. Here boy.” The dog stood off. “He’s a rescue dog. Doesn’t like men.”

“Then take him somewhere he won’t have to see them. Are you all right?” Dan tried to focus his anger into something useful, rummaging in his pocket for a clean hankie. “You need something on that hand.”

“I’m fine,” Steve said, trying to hide the bleeding while keeping a nervous eye on the dog. “Can somebody not take that bloody thing away?”

“There’s no need for that sort of language,” the woman said, at last managing to get a lead onto the dog’s collar.

“I think there’s every need for it. And worse,” Dan said. “You’d better take him off if you don’t want the air turning blue.”

“Well, really! Come on boy.” She hauled the dog away at last.

“Right. Show me that hand.”

“I’m fine.” Steve got to his feet, brushing the dirt off his trousers and managing to get blood on them.

“That hand’s a mess.” Dan grabbed it, none too gently, which made Steve wince, but it served him right for faffing. “This cut’s full of crap. You need to have it cleaned out and a steri-strip put on. Might even need a stitch or two.”

“I’ve had worse,” Steve said, trying to free his paw.

Yes, you have. There’s that intriguing scar on the back of your hand and the one above your left eyebrow. Don’t think I haven’t noticed. Don’t think I don’t imagine tasting them.

Dan became aware of the strange look he was getting and ploughed on. “So have I. Come on, the vicarage is closer than your house. We can dress this there.”

“Oh, for fu…goodness sake. I can sort it out myself. I’m not a child.” Steve tugged his hand away, clearly avoiding Dan’s gaze.

“Will you not let somebody help you? Must you always be so bloody stubborn?”

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Charlie CochraneAuthor Bio and Links: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries.

She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, and International Thriller Writers Inc., with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes Books, MLR, and Riptide.

To sign up for her newsletter, email her at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com, or catch her at: Facebook || Twitter || Goodreads || Blog || Website

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s a Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone! Thanks so much for stopping by to see what we have in store for you in the coming week here at The Novel Approach. We’ve a whole slew of great guests coming to visit us, including our next author feature on the Countdown to GayRomLit 2015 tour, so sit back, relax, and wait for all the fun to start.

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect!

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Monday – Author Kim Fielding is here to help us kick off a great week today, on the Rattlesnake blog tour

And joining her are the writing duo of S.A. McAuley and SJD Peterson, with an interview on their Ruin Porn tour

Tuesday – We have another installment of DSPP’s “Genre Talk” on deck today, when Carole Cummings interviews author Rick R. Reed about the re-release of his chilling and thrilling A Demon Inside

We’ll also welcome Felice Stevens today with a guest post that’s quite personal to her, as she joins us to chat about her new book Beyond the Surface

Wednesday – Today we welcome debut author A.V. Sanders, with an exclusive excerpt from her new May/December romance short, Percolation, Poetry, and Passion

Author Charlie Cochrane will also be joining us today on the tour for her new book from Bold Strokes Books, Don’t Kiss the Vicar

ThursdaySara York drops in on us today to chat about her latest release, Bonded 2

Joining us as well, is author Sedonia Guillone to chat about her latest novel Danny’s Dragon

Friday – Finally, closing out our week we have GayRomLit attending author AC Katt with us to chat about the dreaded writer’s block

And author Jessie G. will be here as well, on her Their Reason blog tour

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That puts the cap on another great week. Until next time, happy reading!

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Idle Tongues by Charlie Cochrane

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Title: Lessons for Idle Tongues

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 247 Pages

At a Glance: Just when you think you might have it all figured out… That would be a no. I love it!

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Cambridge, 1910

Amateur detectives Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith seem to have nothing more taxing on their plate than locating a missing wooden cat and solving the dilemma of seating thirteen for dinner. But one of the guests brings a conundrum: a young woman has been found dead, and her boyfriend is convinced she was murdered. The trouble is, nobody else agrees.

Investigation reveals that several young people in the local area have died in strange circumstances, and rumours abound of poisonings at the hands of Lord Toothill, a local mysterious recluse. Toothill’s angry, gun-toting gamekeeper isn’t doing anything to quell suspicions, either.

But even with a gun to his head, Jonty can tell there’s more going on in this surprisingly treacherous village than meets the eye. And even Orlando’s vaunted logic is stymied by the baffling inconsistencies they uncover. Together, the Cambridge Fellows must pick their way through gossip and misdirection to discover the truth.

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Review: How does she do it? How does Charlie Cochrane’s mind come up with this stuff? Just when you think you might have it all figured out… That would be a no. I love it!

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith are amateur detectives who are gaining quite a reputation for themselves and their ability to solve crimes. Lessons for Idle Tongues is book 11 in the Cambridge Fellows mystery series, and in my opinion, they keep getting better and better. Charlie Cochrane is a master at writing period appropriate stories. Everything about her characters, from dress to speech, is spot on to the time period. How Jonty and Orlando have to work to solve the conundrums they are presented with is totally believable—they don’t make leaps of faith or accomplish feats only someone in a later time period would know how to do. Cochrane’s stories are about the mysteries, the search for clues, the people you meet, the delicious bits you find along the way.

Each of the installments in the Cambridge Fellows series is a standalone book; however, you do really get a continuity of characters if you read them from the beginning. Many of her main characters, Jonty and Orlando and their friends and family – even the servants – all have their places in the timeline.

There’s a wooden cat, and the problem of having 13 to dinner – which is just not done – and rumors of a dead girl. There is lots of gossip, layers of misdirection, and could there even be more dead bodies? Of course, the answer always lies close to home. The next installment is due out October 12th and that is just too far away for the next mystery to arrive… I cannot wait for Lessons for Sleeping Dogs!

TNA_Signature_Carrie







 

You can buy Lessons for Idle Tongues here:

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3 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Jennifer, Riptide Publishing

Review: The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane

Title: The Best Corpse for the Job

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 298 Pages

At a Glance: More mystery than romance, and a little slow paced for my tastes.

Reviewed By: Jennifer

Blurb: Schoolteacher Adam Matthews just wants to help select a new headteacher and go home. The governors at Lindenshaw St Crispin’s have already failed miserably at finding the right candidate, so it’s make or break this second time round. But when one of the applicants is found strangled in the school, what should have been a straightforward decision turns tempestuous as a flash flood in their small English village.

Inspector Robin Bright isn’t thrilled to be back at St. Crispin’s. Memories of his days there are foul enough without tossing in a complicated murder case. And that handsome young teacher has him reminding himself not to fraternize with a witness. But it’s not long before Robin is relying on Adam for more than just his testimony.

As secrets amongst the governors emerge and a second person turns up dead, Robin needs to focus less on Adam and more on his investigation. But there are too many suspects, too many lies, and too many loose ends. Before they know it, Robin and Adam are fighting for their lives and their hearts.

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Review: I will be honest and admit right off the bat that while I have eyed books by Charlie Cochrane before, until now I had not actually read anything but the author. And while this book is a decent mystery, I struggled to get into it for several reasons. I’m not sure why, but I could only read a few pages of it at a time, then had to put it down and switch to something else before coming back to it.

I do enjoy British novels; however, at times the terminology can be confusing to me when the context is not immediately clear, so maybe that’s why I had to walk away from the book so many times. There were many moments in this book when I was a bit confused as to what was being said, and had to look it up online in order not to miss something. But, maybe that’s just me. I mean, half the time I don’t know what my own students are saying, let alone keep up with British English.

Maybe it was intentional on the author’s part, but the first chapter was dull, and I felt like I was with Adam in the committee to select the new head teacher. As a teacher myself, I’ve never been on an interview committee before, but I can only imagine how it must feel to sit there and listen to all manner of interviews. And the school setting was very different from what I’m used to, it being set in a rather quaint English village, but I felt like it would be an enjoyable place to work.

Robin was a good character, and I enjoyed his role in the story. Even though I’m a teacher, I felt like I connected more to him than I did with Adam. Maybe it’s because I also had a miserable time in school when I was younger?

If you’re looking for a strong romance where that is the major plot, this book isn’t for you. While it does have romantic elements, the mystery is the main focus. It takes a long time for the characters to get together and even then, it wasn’t terribly exciting for me.

TNA_Signature_Jennifer






You can buy The Best Corpse for the Job here:

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed By Carrie, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Suspicious Minds by Charlie Cochrane

Title: Lessons for Suspicious Minds (A Cambridge Fellows Mystery)

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 258 Pages

At a Glance: I highly recommend this book and will buy and read the next in the series to see what mystery the author has for us next.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: 1909

In the innocent pre-war days, an invitation to stay at the stately country home of a family friend means a new case for amateur sleuths Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith. In fact, with two apparently unrelated suicides to investigate there, a double chase is on.
But things never run smoothly for the Cambridge fellows. In an era when their love dare not speak its name, the risk of discovery and disgrace is ever present. How, for example, does one explain oneself when discovered by a servant during a midnight run along the corridor?
Things get even rougher for Orlando when the case brings back memories of his father’s suicide and the search for the identity of his grandfather. Worse, when they work out who the murderer is, they are confronted with one of the most difficult moral decisions they’ve ever had to make.

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Review: Lessons for Suspicious Minds is an Edwardian romantic mystery, an installment in Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows series. Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith have bonded together (both personally and professionally) to become amateur sleuths, and are having a measure of success with it. Both men are supported by Jonty’s very progressive family, who not only embrace all the new technology in the world but the relationship between their son and his partner also. Jonty’s parents provide great secondary characters who add a healthy dose of support and wit to the story.

The story begins with a letter; a letter from Jonty’s mother, summoning them to Fyfield, the estate of her godmother, Alexandra Temple. Even with age, the dowager duchess is still a formidable woman, and the request is not really a request, it is a summons. Her son, Reginald Temple, the Duke, invited his old school chums—a raucous group of men who called themselves the Ambrosians—for a visit, and one of them commits suicide. Or, did he? The dowager duchess wants to know the whole story and is not convinced her son is giving it to her.

Traveling to Fyfield, the pair are presented with yet another suicide victim. Are the two connected? So, the mystery begins. I am not going to spoil it for you and tell you any more of the story, but I will let you know that I didn’t expect where this plot led me. The mystery is good, it’s complicated and twisted – and it’s logical.

This book is also a true Edwardian romance – loquacious without being verbose. The prose is very time specific, taking you back to jolly old England, mentally. As such, the romance is subdued, as would be fitting for the time period. Jonty and Orlando are deeply in love, committed and solid, but they don’t have the freedom to touch or kiss as M/F couples might. Don’t look for a lot of sex in these books, there’s not. These books are about relationships and mysteries, both being equally wonderful.

Charlie Cochrane has two more books in this series being released soon, Lessons for Idle Tongues and Lessons for Sleeping Dogs, which will be released later this year, per her home page at Riptide Publishing, and I can’t wait. My only negative on this book is that I would have loved more Jonty and Orlando – just a few more paragraphs describing them and their relationship. Even so, I highly recommend this book and will buy and read the next in the series to see what mystery the author has for us next.

TNA_Signature_Carrie






You can buy Lessons for Suspicious Minds here:

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Charlie Cochrane, Giveaways, Riptide Publishing

Interview and Giveaway: The Lessons for Suspicious Minds Blog Tour With Charlie Cochrane

Lessons for Suspicious Minds

The Novel Approach welcomes Charlie Cochrane on the Lessons for Suspicious Minds blog tour. Enjoy Charlie’s interview, then be sure to leave a comment right here for the chance to win a title from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Survivors). Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 25, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so a representative from Riptide Publishing can contact you if you win!

Good luck!

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Q: Welcome, Charlie. Let’s start with the old desert island question. What would you have to take with you?

A: Has to be a computer, with internet access and endless power source. Then I could read, write, play games, watch rugby – and arrange a rescue when I got bored.

Q: If you had to choose a musical to depict your life, what would it be?

A: That’s tricky. I’m trying to think of a musical in which a child from a working class family ends up going to a really posh university (and struggling to put a name to one.) I’d be the working class kid! Maybe that’s a touch of Billy Elliot?

Q: Which fictional character would you most like to snog?

A: Aragorn. Just because he’s the first fictional character I ever fell in love with. Dashing, reliable, heroic, romantic, strong, handsome – what more could a girl want? (And when I saw the film version I wasn’t disappointed. Vigo was perfect.)

Q: What would be your perfect romantic day?

A: This may come as a surprise from a writer of romances, but my ideal day would involve walking around Cardiff Bay, a light Italian lunch and then rugby at the Millennium Stadium. Or, if funds ran to it, a night at the Cliveden hotel followed by a rugby match at London Irish. Do you detect a theme?

Q: Are you primarily a plotter or a pantser?

A: Pantser all the way. I usually start with one or two characters and maybe a conversation they’re having. All the Cambridge Fellows books started life as conversations and other scenes which were worked up and written out before I ever had a plot to hang them on. Just like doing a jigsaw!

Q: If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?

A: Kate Winslet, for the looks (I wish!). Barbara Windsor, for the accent. Audrey Hepburn (Funny Face version) for the mischief and wacky sense of humour.

Q: Do you have an historical crush?

A: Loads of them. Alexander the Great, Antinous, Lord Cochrane, Wilfred Owen, Reggie and Laurie Doherty, Ronnie Poulton Palmer, Duncan Edwards, Prince Rupert of the Rhine…

Q: Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?

A: Absolutely. I’d really like to write about a were-squid; a guy who’s a handsome, gay lifeguard twenty nine days of the month, but come the full moon…dah dah DAH! Humboldt squid. (And believe me, a Humboldt squid is not a creature to mess with.) If you think I’m kidding, ask anyone who knows me well – this would be right up my street! I wrote gay weresloths, for goodness sake!

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LessonsForSuspiciousMinds_200x300Blurb: 1909

In the innocent pre-war days, an invitation to stay at the stately country home of a family friend means a new case for amateur sleuths Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith. In fact, with two apparently unrelated suicides to investigate there, a double chase is on.

But things never run smoothly for the Cambridge fellows. In an era when their love dare not speak its name, the risk of discovery and disgrace is ever present. How, for example, does one explain oneself when discovered by a servant during a midnight run along the corridor?

Things get even rougher for Orlando when the case brings back memories of his father’s suicide and the search for the identity of his grandfather. Worse, when they work out who the murderer is, they are confronted with one of the most difficult moral decisions they’ve ever had to make.

Buy Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

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Author BioAuthor Bio: 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 | •Blog | •Twitter: @charliecochrane | •Facebook profile page | •Goodreads

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Here’s A Sneak Peek at the Coming Week!

Sneak Peek

Cheers, everyone, I hope you’re all having an outstanding weekend! Welcome back for a peek at who we have coming up for you in the week ahead. There’ll be more great guest posts, as well as some awesome giveaways and, of course, reviews each day, guaranteed.

Here’s what’s in store:

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Monday – We’ve got two great guests to kick off the week, the first—Ally Blue, who stops by on the Down blog tour

We’ll also be hosting Sue Brown today on the In-Decision blog tour

TuesdayCarole Cummings joins us today to talk symbolism on the Wolf’s-own: Ghost blog tour

We’ll also have Alina Propescu with us today on her Craving Stains blog tour

Wednesday – Getting us to the midpoint of the week, EE Montgomery stops in today on the Just the Way You Are tour

Vanessa Sims is also with us on her Freeing His Mercenary blog tour

ThursdayCharlie Cochrane is our guest today on her Lessons for Suspicious Minds tour

Author JR Gray is also with us today to talk about his book Visible Scars

FridayRJ Scott joins us today on her Guarding Morgan book blast tour

Saturday – And closing out our week, we have Kate McMurray joining us on her tour for The Windup

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That does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

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Charlie Cochrane, Giveaways, Riptide Publishing

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Lessons for Survivors Blog Tour With Charlie Cochrane

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The Novel Approach welcomes Charlie Cochrane on her Lessons for Survivors tour. Enjoy the deleted scene she’s sharing with us today, then be sure to leave a comment to enter for a chance to win an e-book from Charlie’s backlist (excl. Lessons for Survivors).

Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 31, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

Good luck!

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LessonsForSurvivors_400x600Blurb: A more than professional interest . . . a more than personal intrigue.

Orlando Coppersmith should be happy. WWI is almost a year in the past, he’s back at St. Bride’s College in Cambridge, his lover and best friend Jonty Stewart is at his side again, and—to top it all—he’s about to be made Forster Professor of Applied Mathematics. And although he and Jonty have precious little time for an investigative commission, they can’t resist a suspected murder case that must be solved in a month so a clergyman can claim his rightful inheritance.

But the courses of scholarship, true love, and amateur detecting never did run smooth. Orlando’s inaugural lecture proves almost impossible to write. A plagiarism case he’s adjudicating on turns nasty with a threat of blackmail against him and Jonty. And the murder investigation turns up too many leads and too little hard evidence.

Orlando and Jonty may be facing their first failure as amateur detectives, and the ruin of their professional and private reputations. Brains, brawn, the pleasures of the double bed—they’ll need them all to lay their problems to rest.

Buy Links: Riptide Publishing | Amazon US | All Romance eBooks

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Deleted Scene: November 1909
Cambridge, lounge bar of the Bishops’ Cope

“I don’t know why I let you talk me into this.” Orlando looked at the table, where there should only have been two glasses in total, one for him and one for Jonty. He was fairly certain there were four, if not six, of the things, but where they’d all come from and why some of them continually evaded his grasp was a mystery.

“Me? It was your suggestion. Another practice at wetting the baby’s head.” Jonty grinned, with both mouths and all four eyes. “The next baby.”

“Is there a next baby?”

“Undou..undou…yes. At some point. Lavinia will probably pop them out like peas.”

“They should call the next one Jonathan.” Orlando had struggled with the “sh” of should, even though he’d been speaking as slowly and precisely as he could manage. “And Helena if a girl.” He avoiding using the phrase “if she’s a girl” in case of the treacherous sibilants tripping him up again.

“Nonsense.” Jonty may have looked blurry eyed but he was handling the “s” remarkably well. “They’ll call the little tyke what they want. Although Ralph’s mother was Al…Alex…” he had one more shot at the fence, “Alexandra, so as that name has double connections I suspect that tops the betting for a girl.” He bowed, elaborately, nearly toppling over in the process. “Come on. We should leave.”

Orlando wondered how they’d come to be in such a state; he only recalled two or three pints of ale, if that, and maybe a tot of whisky to chase them down with. On an empty stomach admittedly, but it had been a busy day. The landlord at the Bishop’s Cope was obviously putting something into his brew to make it more potent. If this was the state they’d got into practicing, maybe for the real thing they’d have to celebrate in the St. Bride’s buttery on milk and water biscuits.

“Back to college? Or home?” Jonty had begun to sway, or maybe that was an optical illusion, Orlando being aware that everything had begun to flit around a bit—pavement, houses, street lamps, the lot.

“Home. And in a cab, I think. It looks like rain.” Orlando was proud of having come up with that excuse, rather than having to admit to the squalid truth that he wasn’t sure his legs would get him there without a diversion into a gutter somewhere.

“Excellent idea. Let’s get the porters to find us one.” Jonty slipped his arm though Orlando’s.
“I shall ensure that you get to the lodge in one piece.”

“I don’t…” Orlando held his tongue. Why protest that he didn’t need help when it was an excuse to walk arm in arm? “Thank you. I appreciate the offer.”

“My pleasure.” Jonty made another elaborate bow, nearly ended up in the gutter, then grasped at Orlando’s arm again. “Maybe we should have our next practice in the privacy of our own home. Forsythia Cottage has less of a tendency to wobble.”

“It does indeed. Homeward ho, then.”

“Homeward ho? How poetic. We’ll make a bard of you yet.” Jonty tugged Orlando’s arm. “You could compose an ode for the baby when he or she comes. Not one of your filthy limericks, though.”

My limericks? I’ve never written one in my life.”

“Really? I could have sworn I remember something like ‘A mathematician from Totton was scratching himself on the…hmphmhphm’.”

Orlando, whose hand was now clamped over his lover’s mouth, was determined not to let go until they’d reached, if not St. Bride’s then at least the college next door. Jonty could finish his poem there and nobody would bat an eyelid. “Don’t you dare repeat that at the font, you monkey.”

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Author BioAbout 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:WebsiteBlogTwitter: @charliecochraneFacebook profile pageGoodreads

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Amanda C. Stone, Amber Kell, Carole Cummings, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, Hayden Thorne, Izzy van Swelm, Lexi Ander, Maggie Kavanagh, Rick R. Reed, Sue Brown, Yeyu

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Sneak Peek

Happy Sunday, everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely week. 

Coming up in the week ahead, we’ve got plenty of great stuff in store for you to enjoy, more guest authors, interesting articles, interviews, reviews, and, thanks to the generosity of our guests, more giveaways just because they appreciate you, their readers.

Here’s what’s on tap:

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MondaySue Brown kicks off our week, talking about breaking rules on the Stolen Dreams blog tour

Charlie Cochrane is also with us on the Lessons for Survivors blog tour, sharing a deleted scene featuring Jonty and Orlando

TuesdayAmanda C. Stone will be here with a short Q&A on The Adventures of Cole and Perry blog tour

Garrett Leigh also joins us today on the Rare audiobook tour

WednesdayMaggie Kavanagh drops by on the Double Indemnity blog tour

Hayden Thorne will also be here to talk about the re-release of the gorgeous (not that I’m biased) YA Historical Fantasy novel The Twilight Gods

Carole Cummings is also here today with a little “Genre Talk”. Joining her is DSP Pubications author Yeyu – the topic: Historical Fantasy

ThursdayLexi Ander stops in on the Songs of the Earth blog tour to talk about world-building

Amber Kell also joins us to talk a bit about magic on the Porter’s Reaper blog tour

FridayRick R. Reed joins us on the Blink blog tour to talk a bit about writing what you know

Saturday – And finally, debut author Izzy van Swelm is here today to close out a week of outstanding guests on the Soul Mate for SIN blog tour

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And that does it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

 

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5 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Rena, Riptide Publishing

Review: Lessons for Survivors by Charlie Cochrane

22741271Title: Lessons for Survivors (A Cambridge Fellows Mystery)

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 265 Pages

At a Glance: Like sitting in one’s favorite chair on a rainy day with a cup of hot tea and quiet music playing in the background

Blurb: A more than professional interest . . . a more than personal intrigue.

Orlando Coppersmith should be happy. WWI is almost a year in the past, he’s back at St. Bride’s College in Cambridge, his lover and best friend Jonty Stewart is at his side again, and—to top it all—he’s about to be made Forster Professor of Applied Mathematics. And although he and Jonty have precious little time for an investigative commission, they can’t resist a suspected murder case that must be solved in a month so a clergyman can claim his rightful inheritance.

But the courses of scholarship, true love, and amateur detecting never did run smooth. Orlando’s inaugural lecture proves almost impossible to write. A plagiarism case he’s adjudicating on turns nasty with a threat of blackmail against him and Jonty. And the murder investigation turns up too many leads and too little hard evidence.

Orlando and Jonty may be facing their first failure as amateur detectives, and the ruin of their professional and private reputations. Brains, brawn, the pleasures of the double bed—they’ll need them all to lay their problems to rest.

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Review: Lisa via e-mail recently quipped, “Jonty and Orlando are like comfort food.” Ayup. Most definitely. Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows series is my trusty bowl of comfort grub. I can depend on Jonty and Orlando to provide me with some nice, warm, comfy, fully satisfying escapism, and since I’ve read the entire series so far, it’s always great to come back to the familiar.

I first read Lessons for Survivors some months ago, just before Cheyenne Publishing closed their doors (a sore blow for us historical gay fiction fans). Seeing this book pop up in its second edition under Riptide gave me a lot of hope in seeing Cochrane’s Edwardian amateur sleuths continue their adventures. I was informed that this edition of the book contains some minor changes and additions, which I don’t mind at all. Seeing as how I can’t remember all of the details in the first edition, anyway, I dove into this new version as though I were reading this specific mystery for the first time.

The events in this book take place after the Great War, which was explored in a previous installment in the series. Jonathan “Jonty” Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith are older now – almost forty years old, together as a couple for fourteen years since the first book – and the physical descriptions of the pair certainly left their mark on me. Though poignant, the acknowledgment of the passage of time is significant and very much appreciated, and that shows not only in the physical descriptions of the characters, but also what happens to everyone around them, their work as respected academics, and their behavior toward each other as lovers and partners in detection. Having gotten used to the presence of certain side characters throughout the series, it was pretty heartbreaking finding some of them gone. Occasional references to them as well as to expressions of loss in either or both Jonty and Orlando can really twist your heart, which gives this book an elegiac quality that’s difficult to dismiss.

As with the previous books in this series, this book’s perfectly balanced in tone, with darker elements involving murder, an abusive father and husband, and a rejected child are woven neatly together with the lighthearted, witty banter fans of this series have long grown to love and expect. Jonty and Orlando might be fourteen years older from the time they first met, but they still behave like lovesick twenty-somethings, and they still kick each other’s shins in warning or as punishment, if not call each other names, with a great deal of affection. They throw euphemisms around when it comes to sex, but with their maturity comes a good dose of self-awareness that sometimes borders on rueful whenever they try to talk about not just their still-outlawed relationship, but the act of lovemaking. I tend to interpret those euphemisms – and the manner with which they’re used – as something more along the lines of nostalgia, like a keen awareness of their younger, more frightened versions as a kind of a reference point for their current selves. While the act itself has never diminished in passion, there’s a deeper understanding of its significance, considering how far they’ve gone and how the laws have yet to change. While still eager and passionate, their intimacy is also edged with – and enriched by – a certain level of pragmatism.

Side characters who survived the Great War and past epidemics are just as cheeky and subversive when called on for help, and in their dwindling circle, Jonty and Orlando find their much-needed grounding when duty (academic and sleuthing) threatens to overwhelm them. Dr. Panesar, especially, is fantastic, and I hope to see him make more frequent appearances in future installments.

For this book, two events are taking place simultaneously: the murder (primary event) and the plagiarism case, which includes a blackmail threat (secondary event). And this is where things get a little wobbly for me. The main mystery is handled very, very well. When at first everything appears to be so cut and dry – to the point where I wondered how Cochrane would be able to stretch out the riddle into a full novel – we’re thrown surprises and red herrings along the way. So much so, whatever initial “Aha! I know whodunnit!” we might’ve entertained at the beginning (and I love racing against the detectives when reading a mystery, solving the puzzle pieces myself before anyone can figure stuff out) is easily overrun by false leads and new revelations that force us to go back to square one.

To me, the way the secondary problem was resolved was underwhelming, not because everything gets tied up so easily and neatly in the end, but because the solution to the problem depends way too much on coincidence. In addition to Owens (and his college) being painted as low-grade trash with zero redeeming qualities, to have Jonty’s family’s very convenient connections as a means by which the problem would be solved proved to be a bit of a disappointment for me. Unless Cochrane’s setting us up for further adventures that follow this remarkable coincidence in a future book, I ended up wondering why have this subplot to begin with. As it stands, given my response to it, it seems superfluous, and what it does do is not only make the rival college a one-dimensional haven of hopeless fools (something already established in previous books), but also reiterate just how lucky and influential the Stewart family is (something already established in previous books). From the outset, then, Orlando and Jonty weren’t in any real trouble, which pretty much undermined the conflict of the blackmail threat.

Beyond that, though, I was delighted with the book, and the subplot didn’t really diminish much of my enjoyment. There’s nothing like coming back to what’s familiar and comfortable and reacquainting myself with a slowly graying pair of lovebirds. Like sitting in one’s favorite chair on a rainy day with a cup of hot tea and quiet music playing in the background.






You can pre-order Lessons for Survivors here:

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

Riptide

Riptide

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Charlie Cochrane, Riptide Publishing

Blog Tour and Giveaway: The Best Corpse for the Job by Charlie Cochrane

BestCorpse_TourBanner

A Quick Q&A With Charlie

Q: Where are you from?

A: Stoke Newington, in London. Just around the very limit of where you can hear Bow Bells so doubtful if I count as a cockney. (And they were mending them at the time I was born so perhaps nobody of my age truly qualifies.)

Q: What’s your favorite place to visit? Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Charlie Cochrane, Gregory Jonathan Scott, Jane Davitt, John Goode, Renae Kaye, Rhys Ford, RJ Scott, Susan Mac Nicol, Talia Carmichael

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

TNA BadgeCheers, everyone, and many thanks for stopping by to see what we have coming up this week at The Novel Approach. 

As we head into this holiday week here in the states, I want to take a moment to say thank you so much for your support of what we do here each day. Without the encouragement of readers, authors, and publishers, we wouldn’t be here.

I also want to extend a special word of gratitude to my team of reviewers: Tina, Jackie, Lynn, Lana, Kim, Sammy, Jules, Kathie, Chris, Rena, and Taz. They are the foundation upon which I’ve been able to build TNA into what it is today, and I’m humbled and honored to work with each and every one of them, so thank you!

And now, here’s what’s on tap in the week ahead.

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MondayCharlie Cochrane kicks off the week today on the Best Corpse for the Job blog tour.

Susan Mac Nicol’s Love You Senseless review blog tour also hits TNA today, with a giveaway

TuesdayGregory Jonathan Scott’s Take to the Sky blog tour stops in with a steamy little excerpt and a giveaway

Talia Carmichael is also here with a guest post on the Best Laid Intentions blog tour

WednesdayRhys Ford is with us today with “State of the Rhys” and a cover reveal of the upcoming DSP Publications release Black Dog Blues

Jane Davitt also makes us a stop on the Lucky Strike blog tour

ThursdayIt’s Thanksgiving Day here in the US, so we’ll give thanks to John Goode for stopping by on his Going the Distance blog tour, with a giveaway

FridayRJ Scott joins us today on her Texas Fall blog tour, with a giveaway

Saturday Renae Kaye is our closing guest this week on her Safe in His Arms blog tour and giveaway

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And that does it for this time. Until next week, happy reading!

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4 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Historical Romance, MLR Press, Reviewed by Rena

Love Finds A Way In Charlie Cochrane’s “Sand”

Title: Sand

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: MLR Press

Pages/Word Count: 44 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Andrew Parks has come to Syria to escape potential disgrace in Edwardian England, burying past heartache and scandal among the tombs. Charles Cusiter has travelled here more reluctantly, as chaperone to a friend whose fondness for the opposite sex gets him into too much trouble at home. Out in the desert there aren’t any women to turn Bernard’s head — just the ubiquitous sand. Continue reading

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4 Stars, Charlie Cochrane, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Riptide Publishing

The Main Course Is Romance In Charlie Cochrane’s “Second Helpings”


“I’m not sure if it’s been too long a time or too short a time, but it’s the right time.” – Charlie Cochrane


Title: Second Helpings

Author: Charlie Cochrane

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 146 Pages

Rating: 4 Stars

Blurb: Stuart Collins’s life might as well have ended a year ago when his partner died in a car crash. Even Stuart’s widowed father has found new love with an old friend, Isabel Franklin, so why can’t Stuart be bothered to try? Continue reading

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Charlie Cochrane, Riptide Publishing

Welcome Charlie Cochrane and the “Second Helpings” Blog Tour and Giveaway

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I’m thrilled skinny to be dropping in here as part of the Second Helpings blog tour. A million thanks to The Novel Approach for having me as a guest.

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What were you reading while working on your Second Helpings?

I’m embarrassed to answer this question, as the answer is so predictable. Doubly so. It was a book called The Final Whistle, about fifteen of the guys who played for Rosslyn Park rugby club who died in the First World War. If that’s not a book that says, “Charlie” all over it, I’m not sure what does. Continue reading

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A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week, Charity Parkerson, Charlie Cochrane, EM Lynley, Erica Pike, GayRomLit, Jeff Adams, Johanna Parkhurst, LM Somerton, Lou Sylvre

Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week

Hi, everyone! Thanks so much for coming by to see what we have on tap in the week ahead. As always, we’ve got great guests, awesome giveaways, and, of course, a lot of reviews coming up for you.

Have a lovely week!




Monday – Our lead off guest of the week is Jeff Adams and the Hat Trick Blog Tour, with a giveaway

And joining him today is our second guest, Charity Parkerson and the Unequaled Blog Tour and Giveaway

TuesdayCharlie Cochrane joins us today on the Second Helpings Blog Tour, with a giveaway

Wednesday – Today, EM Lynley is our guest on the Bound for Trouble Blog Tour, with a Giveaway

ThursdayJohanna Parkhurst drops by today on the Every Inferno Blog Tour, with a giveaway

FridayLou Sylvre brings the Vasquez & James series Blog Tour to TNA today, with a giveaway

Saturday – Totally Bound presents the “What’s His Passion?” Blog Tour featuring LM Somerton’s Picturing Lysander

Sunday – Finally, Erica Pike closes out the week with a Countdown to GRL giveaway of her book Black Hurricane

And that rounds out the week ahead. Until next week, happy reading!

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Bold Strokes Books, Charlie Cochrane

We’re Awfully Glad To Have Charlie Cochrane With Us Today, And She’s Giving Away A Book!


As part of my non-writing life, I attended a development day, where one of the speakers discussed “Relationship Marketing” and the increasing loyalty as someone moves from being a prospective customer to a brand advocate. (How does this relate to the story behind “Awfully Glad”? Bear with, bear with…) I immediately could relate this concept to a potential reader moving, one hopes, to being someone who recommends your book to their friends, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised it could apply to me and my characters/settings.

I’d better explain.

I’ve always loved the war poets of WWI, especially Wilfred Owen, and I have a penchant for visiting war graves. (I maintain a war grave in our local churchyard.) So I guess I was always a “Prospect” in terms of writing a story set in the era, not least because I could visualise the scene – and hear the cadence of the language – so clearly from reading old soldiers’ reminiscences. It would always be an easy era to write from the technical point of view, if not from the potentially harrowing storylines.

I became a “customer”, ie first time writer of the era as part of my Cambridge Fellows Mysteries series. From the very first book, set in 1905, I could feel the shadow of war hanging over Jonty and Orlando. They’d have signed up, they’d have been officers, officers had a notorious small likelihood of survival, so what would have happened to them? I explored that in All Lessons Learned, but writing that book wasn’t enough. I’d become…

…a Client (repeat purchaser!). Or in this case, repeat writer. Awfully Glad is my fourth foray into WWI, and I’ve also had a short story featuring a guardian angel who was a WWI soldier before he died. My usual writing style tends to be light and humorous, and I have some pretty odd storylines (who else has written about weresloths?) but when I start exploring this era, my stories are more serious and my style more sober. That’s not to say there aren’t lighter parts – the wonderful humour these soldiers maintained in the face of such suffering is astonishing and that had to be reflected, too. But each of my WWI stories has had to deal with loss, either of one of the main players or someone close to them, because that’s the reality of the times. As is romance, and finding new hope among the ruins, and that’s featured heavily, too. I promise a happy ending for all my stories.

The next step on the marketing line is a supporter, who tries new products, which made me think of how I’ve tried to take a different look at the era rather than just repeating “soldier meets soldier, soldier loses soldier, soldier gets soldier back”. Awfully Glad was inspired by stories I’d read about WWI concert parties and the wonderful female impersonators they’d had entertaining the troops. Some of these had been so convincing they’d ended up being ogled by their own commanding officers! That’s exactly the sort of snippet which gets the plot bunnies breeding. Soon I had a character – Sam Hines – who’s beautiful and glamorous when he’s in drag, but butch and heroic when he’s back in uniform. That element of playing a part, taking up a role which wasn’t really you, gave me the idea for a storyline which would delve into the real dangers gay men faced in their everyday lives back in the early twentieth century. They’d always have “keep a face in a jar by the door” to wear for the world.

So that just leaves “brand champion” and maybe that’s what I’m doing now, talking about my book and trying to get people to read it, especially people who would normally give historical romances a miss. Although I think there’s more to it than just selling. I want to encourage people to find out more about WWI and the real soldiers who fought then. I’m researching the soldiers listed on the memorials at our two parish churches, as part of a Diocese project to mark the centenary of hostilities breaking out. I’d like to persuade people to explore the poems of Wilfred Owen, and read his biography, to become as besotted with the era as I am.

As I write this, I look out of a sash window that must have been opened and shut during that time (our house is Edwardian). The past is just a hairsbreadth away. Come and explore it with me.

Bio and links: As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes. Her favourite genre is gay fiction, predominantly historical romances/mysteries.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series, set in Edwardian England, 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 and International Thriller Writers Inc, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, BSB, MLR and Cheyenne.

You can reach Charlie at cochrane.charlie2@googlemail.com (maybe to sign up for her newsletter?) or catch her on Facebook, twitter, goodreads, her website or her blog.

Awfully Glad:

WWI hero Sam Hines is used to wearing a face that isn’t his own. When he’s not in the trenches, he’s the most popular female impersonator on the front, but a mysterious note from an anonymous admirer leaves him worried. Everyone realizes—eventually—that Sam’s not a woman, but has somebody also worked out that he also prefers his lovers to be male?

When Sam meets—and falls for—fellow officer Johnny Browne after the war, he wonders whether he could be the man who wrote the note. If so, is he the answer to Sam’s dreams or just another predatory blackmailer, ready to profit from a love that dare not speak its name?

THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED

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Ashlyn Forge, Charlie Cochrane, Deanna Wadsworth, Heidi Cullinan, Huston Piner, John Goode, Jon De'Lisle, Lane Hayes, Sneak Peek

Now, Here’s A Sneak Peek At The Coming Week


Hi, everyone, and thanks for stopping in to see what we have in store for you in the week ahead. We’ve got more guest articles, more exclusive interviews, more excerpts and giveaways galore, not to mention another week of reviews ahead, so we hope you’ll come around and take part in all the fun!

Here’s what’s coming up:

MondayLane Hayes will be here on her Better Than Chance Blog Tour, and she’s offering a giveaway.

TuesdayCharlie Cochrane is our guest today on her Awfully Glad Blog Tour, and she’ll have a giveaway.

WednesdayAshlyn Forge drops in on her From Johann to Tannenbaum Blog Tour with an excerpt from the book.

ThursdayHeidi Cullinan has re-released her novel Special Delivery, and she’s stopping by TNA with an exclusive interview and a giveaway of the book.

FridayHuston Piner will be here to discuss his Young Adult novel My Life as a Myth, as well as his upcoming projects, and will be giving away an e-copy of “Myth” to one lucky reader.

John Goode will also be joining us with the next installment in his writing series.

SaturdayJohn De’Lisle, author of the The Dantone Project, is here with an exclusive interview and a giveaway of the book.

SundayDeanna Wadsworth is on tour to promote her novella A Cupid’s Wager, part of Dreamspinner’s Valentine’s anthology, and she’ll have a giveaway too.

And that’s it for this week. Until next time, happy reading!

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