As Shakespeare said… ~ Outside the Margins with Clare London

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Clare London OtM

So how often have our heroes “played fast and loose”? Or been “hoodwinked”? Or proved to be a “tower of strength” to their partners? How often have we written a “stony-hearted villain”, or “star-crossed lovers”, or had a character “laugh themselves into stitches”?

We authors are all individuals and proud of our original work. But if the truth were known, and as I have a tongue in my head – we’ve all been quoting Shakespeare!

I was recently given a poster from the Globe Theatre gift shop in London, showing a selection of some of the phrases he’s contributed to our language. Of course, Shakespeare himself borrowed inspiration – from other plays, from popular history, and from classical tales. But his work has caught the public imagination over the centuries, and stays in our mind, with its wonderful blend of irony and ire, drama and danger, passion, humour and happy-ever-after.


Isn’t that just perfect for romantic suspense plots?!

I love Shakespeare’s plays – at least, most of them, though only my son’s (abridged) school version of Hamlet managed to keep me awake until the end :). My favourite is Twelfth Night, a delicious blend of romance, mystery, angst, humour and passion. Oh, and some cross-dressing ^_~.

So Barry Manilow may claim to write the songs, but it was William Shakespeare who coined the phrases – he contributed more phrases and sayings to the English language than any other individual, and most of them are still in daily use.


And if you think you’ll try to track back the source of all of our most favourite phrases …?

Oh, that way madness lies

Just for fun, try this link to the BBC website some day, where there are some very witty 60-second plot summaries of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, in tabloid-style :).

And of course, in a crisis, you can always resort to some of the best insults ever coined!


~Clare London~


Title: Telltale
Author: Clare London
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 10/26/2015
Cover Artist: Jordan Castillo Price
Genre: Erotica, Gay, Horror


Outcast by his Victorian family because of his homosexual nature and disobedient ways, Nicholas Spencer is indentured as a secretary to a successful businessman, Simeon Allan. He’s no better in that job, but a relationship builds between him and Simeon, in which Simeon becomes his mentor and sexual master. However, Nicholas is still restless, looking for opportunities to indulge himself, rather than appreciating the sensitive but strong bond between him and Simeon.

When Simeon’s attractive nephew Benedict comes to stay, Nicholas loses all perspective in the name of what he believes is love. In his mind, the only thing that stands between him and the pursuit of that love is his possessive master, Simeon. Nicholas contemplates the most horrible action to gain his freedom, even though he fights his own conscience – and finds that the mind is a powerful foe.


Simeon Allan lit another candle on his desk, sat in his leather-upholstered chair and gestured for me to sit on the other, far less comfortable chair. His face was stern. During the working day he often turned this look on me, but the eyes were always lightened by the reflection of daylight, or interest in his correspondence, or even amused irritation at my inability to keep up with his business. But now his eyes were dark, the expression hard and cold. At least, they made me shiver.

I stared at him across the desk top, feeling as if I were a recalcitrant servant awaiting punishment, or at another interview for a position that I knew was far above me. It was strange to be sitting here in the night, rather than the working day, and the candle flame cast shadows over the dark room. Only part of his face was illuminated at a time, making it difficult for me to gauge his mood.

“Nicholas.” It was not said questioningly, though I lifted my face to look him in the eyes. “How long have you been in my employ?”

I blinked hard. “Three months, Mr. Allan.”

He nodded. “Three months.”

Another non-question. I was at a loss what to do or say. The room smelled of parchment, leather and the smoke of his cigars. Everything around me was to do with him. There was residual comfort from the hearth behind his desk, where the evening fire had reduced to warm ash, but my body was still shaking. I felt oddly claustrophobic.

“Nicholas, do you wish to leave?”

I swallowed hard, staring at him like an imbecile. “Leave?”

He steepled his hands under his chin, and the signet ring on his finger glinted against the unshaven skin of his jaw. “You steal my money. You disobey my orders. You encourage corruption of my servants.”


“I will tell you when, or if, you may speak. Your behaviour leads me to believe that you are unsuited to be here. That you should, in fact, be sent back to your home.”

“No!” It was just one word, and not one I intended to speak aloud, but it burst from me with shock. Ashamed, I hung my head.

“Do not look away, Nicholas.” He continued to use my given name with an easy familiarity. Was I to be offended or flattered? “Look at me.”

I looked up again, my eyes now full of stinging tears. “I do not wish to leave the house. To leave you.”

The silence was long and pregnant. I considered how it would be to leave the luxury and comfort I’d grown accustomed to and return to the frugal, stultifying life of my unsympathetic parents. Not only would I be judged a failure, I’d return to scorn and beatings. I couldn’t help the shudder that ran through me.

Mr. Allan sucked in a breath. Had he seen my reaction? “I don’t want you to leave, either, boy. I have grown used to your company. You are a damned useless secretary, but I enjoy your wit and youth.” He watched as one of my tears spilled free and ran a ragged path down my cheek. “I admire your sensitivity. I … am excited by it.”

The tension between us had subtly changed. “My sensitivity?”

His smile was grudging. “You are attuned to the human condition. You feel the emotion between us, don’t you? It is a rare gift.”

“I have no gifts,” I protested.

Mr. Allan was still smiling. “With my help, you can learn to develop it… if you wish to.”

“I do!” The words burst from me again. I didn’t understand why his brooding watch of me inspired this passion, but it was true. I did wish to learn! “Let me stay. Please.”

He stood, left his chair and came to stand beside me. He brushed his hand over my head, his palm grazing my temple. “You like men, Nicholas. You want men.”

I didn’t know whether I should reply to that so I kept silent.

“But in truth, you need just one,” he murmured.

“You, Mr. Allan?” I knew I had been too insolent when his hand tightened painfully in my hair.

“You are very foolish and very careless. But you are the prettiest molly I have ever seen. I knew as soon as I saw you that you belonged here. But if you wish to stay, you must be more respectful. More obedient.”

I gazed up at him. “I will, Mr. Allan. I will…sir.”

“You do not need to call me that, boy.”

He had never asked me to show the subservience of his domestic staff: we had always been Mr. to each other. Yet I knew what was meant by the drop of sweat upon his upper lip, and I had seen his knuckles whiten when I called him sir. “Please, sir,” I whispered, “but I wish to.” And, slowly, I slid off my chair and sank to my knees on the rug before him.

His breath caught, and I did not mistake his soft sigh of satisfaction. I had judged him well.


Telltale on Goodreads
Self Published
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA

About Clare London

Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy.  Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!


Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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2 thoughts on “As Shakespeare said… ~ Outside the Margins with Clare London

  1. This! Thank you for pointing out all the ways our language still pulses with the life Shakespeare breathed into it over four centuries ago. Only yesterday I was thinking of the phrase, “Cry havoc! and let slip the dogs of war,” which I believe is one of his, too.

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