Tag Archives: A.L. Lester

Guest post by A.L. Lester

Taking Stock is a 35,415 word gay romance set mostly in rural England. It’s set on Webber’s Farm, which I first wrote about in Inheritance of Shadows. Inheritance is set in 1919 and is part of my spooky paranormal universe. I based the farm on somewhere I used to know as a child on the Quantock Hills in Somerset and didn’t want to leave after Inheritance. Taking Stock is the result. Although it’s set in the same universe as my other books and some of the same background characters are there, there’s nothing paranormal or suspenseful.

Instead it’s a gentle story about two people who are hurt and angry and tired, who find their way toward each other and help each other heal.

Initially Laurie was going to have a similar chronic condition to me … I have fibromyalgia and seizures … but then just before I actually sat down to get the words out of my head and on to the page, my mama had a very severe stroke. She is in her eighties and has been more or less working her seven acre smallholding singlehandedly for years. Her frustration and anger at her situation translated directly into Laurie as I was writing. So he’s a combination of both my own feelings about my lack of agency through my disability, and hers.

It was a very emotive story for me to write and I hope you enjoy it. Here’s a little deleted scene for you!

“What do you mean, I can’t go home?” Laurie was almost crying with frustration. “I can go home if I like!”

Sally glared at him. “And how are you going to get up and down the stairs? Or even down the hall to the bathroom?” she said. “And wash when you get there? And turn over properly in bed? And what happens if you actually fall out of bed in the night and can’t get up? And come to that, who’s going to take you home, you idiot? You can’t drive!”

He glared back. “I thought that you might!”

“No! Not me!” her glaring was so much better than his.

He pushed against the pillows, but because he was unable to brace properly with his weak leg, he couldn’t make himself sit up any further. She stood up and hauled him forward with competent strength, shoving more pillows behind him to support his bad arm and shoulder. Damn her.

When she sat back down, he lowered his gaze to his lap. His hand lay across his legs, curled and useless. He imagined moving his fingers and he felt it happening in his head. But in his lap, they lay dead and still, obvious betrayers of his helplessness.

“Laurie …” Her voice was kind. “You need to stay in here for a bit and let them help you. They say at least some of the use of your arm and your leg should come back quite quickly, specially if you work at it. And then we can get you back home.”

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Taking Stock by A.L. Lester

OUT NOW! Taking Stock by A.L. Lester

It’s 1972. Fifteen years earlier, teenage Laurie Henshaw came to live at Webber’s Farm with his elderly uncle and settled in to the farming life. Now thirty-two, Laurie has a stroke in the middle of working on the farm. As he recovers, he has to come to terms with the fact that some of his new limitations are permanent and he’s never going to be as active as he used to be. Will he be able to accept the helping hands his friends extend to him?

With twenty successful years in the city behind him, Phil McManus is hiding in the country after his boyfriend set him up to take the fall for an insider trading deal at his London stockbroking firm. There’s not enough evidence to prosecute anyone, but not enough to clear him, either. He can’t bear the idea of continuing his old stagnating life in the city or going back to his job now everyone knows he’s gay.

Thrown together in a small country village, can Phil and Laurie forge a new life that suits the two of them and the makeshift family who gathers round them? Or are they too tied up in their own shortcomings to recognise what they have?

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Guest post by A.L. Lester

Hello there! Firstly, happy anniversary to JMS Books! I’m so pleased I found the company in 2017 and I’m even happier that I was given the opportunity to publish with them. I have four novels out now, all with JMS, the most recent of which is The Flowers of Time. Like all my books so far, Flowers is a historical-paranormal-romantic-suspense. It follows the relationship between Edie, a plucky lady botanical artist and Jones, a non-binary, possibly grey-ace explorer. It takes place in England and India in the 1780s.

Flowers is the first #ownvoices novel I have written and in retrospect, I think I used it to work through some of my own feelings about being non-binary. I was really pleased that JMS took a chance and accepted it, as so many publishing houses still won’t consider books with trans protagonists. It felt very close to my heart when I submitted it and it was a relief in a way to know that other people felt it was good enough to put out there.

Jones and Edie are going to be around for a while I think—I have another couple of books coming to the boil as I work down my to-be-written list. I can see them becoming paranormal-trouble-shooting detectives, traveling the world. The 1780s was a new period for me to write in and the historical research is fascinating. Before I get to that point I have a release in September (Taking Stock, another #ownvoices book, but this time the #ownvoices is chronic disability) and currently I am in the middle of the third in the 1920s Lost in Time cycle, following Will and Fenn. After that I might need to tackle the story of Edie’s brother Hugh and his friend Bennett, who accompanied Edie and Jones across the Himalayas. But then … I should be able to write more Edie and Jones.

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Inheritance of Shadows by A.L. Lester

OUT NOW! Inheritance of Shadows by A.L. Lester

It’s 1918, and Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it’s connected to the mysterious books his brother left strewn around the house.

Rob knows something other than just Arthur’s death is bothering Matty. He’s know him for years and been in love with him just as long. And when he finds something that looks like a gate, a glowing, terrifying doorway to the unknown, it all starts to fall in to place.

Matty’s looking sicker and sicker in the same way Arthur did. What is Rob prepared to sacrifice to cure him?

The answer is in the esoteric books … and with the mysterious Lin of the Frem, who lives beyond the gate to nowhere. It’s taken Matty and Rob more than a decade to admit they have feelings for each other and they are determined that neither social expectations or magical illness will part them now.

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The Flowers of Time by A.L. Lester

OUT NOW! The Flowers of Time by A.L. Lester

Jones is determined to find out what caused the unexpected death of her father whilst they were exploring ancient ruins in the Himalayas. Along with a stack of books and coded journals, he’s left her with the promise she’ll travel back to England for the first time since childhood and try being the lady she’s never been.

Edie and her brother are leaving soon on a journey to the Himalayas to document and collect plants for the new Kew Gardens when she befriends Miss Jones in London. She’s never left England before and is delighted to learn the lady will be returning to the mountains she calls home at the same time they are planning their travels. When they meet again in Srinagar, Edie is surprised to find that, out here, the Miss Jones of the London salons is “just Jones” the explorer, clad in breeches and boots and unconcerned with the proprieties Edie has been brought up to respect.

The non-binary explorer and the determined botanist make the long journey over the high mountain passes to Little Tibet, collecting flowers and exploring ruins on the way. Will Jones discover the root of the mysterious deaths of her parents? Will she confide in Edie and allow her to help in the quest? The trip is fraught with dangers for both of them, not least those of the heart.

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