Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Charlie Cochrane for stopping by today.
Title: Jury of One (Lindenshaw Mysteries #2)
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Genre: Mystery/Thriller, Romance
Inspector Robin Bright is enjoying a quiet Saturday with his lover, Adam Matthews, when murder strikes in nearby Abbotston, and he’s called in to investigate. He hopes for a quick resolution, but as the case builds, he’s drawn into a tangled web of crimes, new and old, that threatens to ensnare him and destroy his fledgling relationship.
Adam is enjoying his final term teaching at Lindenshaw School, and is also delighted to be settling down with Robin at last. Only Robin doesn’t seem so thrilled. Then an old crush of Adam’s shows up in the murder investigation, and suddenly Adam is yet again fighting to stay out of one of Robin’s cases, to say nothing of trying to keep their relationship from falling apart.
Between murder, stabbings, robberies, and a suspect with a charming smile, the case threatens to ruin everything both Robin and Adam hold dear. What does it take to realise where your heart really lies, and can a big, black dog hold the key?
Painting everyone with the same brush
Nobody would expect ‘Sprig Muslin’ to be like ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, would they? Georgette Heyer was hardly raunchy! Neither was Jane Austen or Barbara Cartland or Catherine Cookson. Het romance is a broad church, encompassing sweet, inspirational, chic-lit, erotica and a whole lot more sub-genres within the genre. Each has its fans and the variety really does make the field a wide one; every reader can probably find something they like. Is the situation with gay romance comparable? Especially when seen from the outside? In my experience the answer’s a definite “maybe or maybe not”.
Those of us within the genre are well aware of what’s what, and which authors or books we could recommend to our maiden aunts and which we’d better steer them clear of (unless they like their reading a touch bawdy, which some maiden aunts do). It isn’t as easy to navigate your way when you’re new to the genre and are trying to pick somewhere to start. A fellow Romantic Novelists Association member, when I first met her, told me that she’d only tried one gay romance book. It was so badly written, so badly edited, and so full of sex that she hadn’t tried another. And that’s a shame because it’s another potential reader lost.
That sort of reaction can be quite typical, although I have to say that I’ve not encountered any negativity among fellow authors—or readers—because of the gay content per se. I do panels at libraries and literary festivals with a group of authors called the Deadly Dames, all of whom write cosy mysteries of one sort or another. Nobody throws tomatoes at me when I explain that my two sleuths are gay and in a relationship with each other. It’s the mystery which seems to count.
Several British m/m authors are full members of the Romantic Novelists Association; all we’ve had to do is to fulfil the publishing element of the membership criteria—it isn’t relevant whether the romance is boy meets girl, boy meets boy or girl meets girl. We’ve found ourselves made very welcome in the organisation and nobody bats an eyelid at the idea of gay romance. It’s just when we get into detail that people’s perceptions emerge. I’ve not had to fight my corner too much, but I know somebody who’s had to spend a lot of time explaining how all gay romance isn’t explicit and how there’s a sweet end of the scale, if people care to try it.
So, how do we win the battle of getting our books out of their niche? I guess we have to increase the chances of people finding the right entry level book, one which will encourage them to read more rather than put them off. We can ensure that the percentage of poor product is reduced, by—as authors, editors and publishers—putting our efforts into making the story as polished as possible. (And that poor product isn’t unique to our genre. There’s a historical publisher I could name whose books look like they’ve never seen an editor or proof reader.)
Then we need to label our books really well, ensuring that they, and the blurb, accurately reflect what the book is really like, so if people don’t want too much sex they don’t have to have it, no matter how well written and plotted it is. Last of all, we mustn’t assume that people are bigoted because they don’t want to read full on gay sex—I don’t particularly want to read a lot of that, either, in the same way as I don’t want to read full on het sex.
Last of all, we need to be brave enough to raise our heads above the parapet and show people how our genre is as broad, as full of variety and as respectable as mainstream ones.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a download of Lessons in Love (Cambridge Fellows Mysteries #1) in audio! Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on March 26, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
About the Author
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:
- Facebook profile page:com/charlie.cochrane.18
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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