Newsletter one hundred and twelve

Further to last newsletter, Nelson is now past and no longer do we have to stand on one leg. (Only a cricket fan would get that reference!)

News

The first UK Gayromance book signing/reading event went really well. Can’t believe it was only a fortnight ago! Hopefully it’ll be a regular event, in different parts of the country. Delighted to get home to find a contract for a short story in Manifold’s charity anthology Pride of Poppies.

Manifold Press is seeking stories set during World War I (1914-18) featuring GLBTQI people as the main characters. What were their experiences during the Great War? In what ways were those experiences the same as or different from those of other people?

The settings might be in the front line or behind it, at home or abroad. The characters might be soldiers, officers, doctors, nurses, land girls, factory workers, conscientious objectors, or simply members of the public caught up in a conflict that affected almost every aspect of life. Stories may deal (respectfully) with people on all sides of the conflict or none. The individual characters and their lives will be the main focus.

With a theme like that I was always going to sub something, wasn’t I?

Here’s an unedited excerpt:

There was me, the padre and a packet of Black Cats. And bugger all else except the pitch dark night. Me, the padre and a packet of Black Cats we didn’t dare light any of, because the Germans might have spotted the glow and that would have been that.
I wasn’t even supposed to be there, but I guess neither of us were. He’d been out to take church parade for the lads and wanted to return to base so he could do the same for another poor group of sods the next day. I’d given him a lift from the casualty clearing station, and we were both heading back, when a shell took a fancy to the piece of ground just to the left of us, the little strip we’d played cricket on just two weeks previously, before the Germans moved further forward. Up went me, the padre, the car and all, including Stevens, the poor injured lad we were taking back with us. The lad who was at present scattered all over the field, with his legs at third slip and his head lolling around square leg, if you follow me.
The padre was pretty cut up about it: he’d not long been in France and nothing he’d heard or read had prepared him for the reality of modern war. He wanted to bury Stevens there and then but he’d have ended up getting the three of us buried.

Inspiration

Has to be one of the Netley hospital (where Wilfred Owen was treated!) war graves.

DSCF7618

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