anne_barwell (anne_barwell) wrote,

Welcome Clare London - Double Scoop

A big welcome today to Clare London for her blog tour with Creative Minds Promotions for Double Scoop.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your writing?
Hi, I’m Clare London, a published author of gay romantic fiction, often erotic, usually contemporary, but sometimes in other worlds entirely. I publish with several publishers, in print and ebook, I also self-publish, and I offer free fiction on my website. It’s a busy life LOL.

How long have you been writing for, and what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing for ever, and publishing since 2007. I’d been writing fanfiction before I decided to move to original fiction. And after my fair share of rejections and no-replies from literary agents, I discovered e-publishers offering a whole new opportunity to publish my genre of fiction. Cue months of plucking up courage to press “submit” LOL, then I had a novel accepted at Dreamspinner Press (currently still going as “Branded” at DSP Publications, of which I’m very proud). And I was off and running. I like writing, but I like sharing even more, so publication suits me well. It’s an up and down life, with its own joys and frustrations, but it’s part of my daily life now.

Can you tell us about your new release? What inspired you to write it?
Double Scoop is the latest in the With A Kick series, a collection of romance books set around an alcoholic ice cream shop in Soho, London. The series is made up of standalone books, written by myself and Sue Brown, but with the underlying theme of the shop and its progress. And Double Scoop is a special one in the series – it tells the story of Patrick and Lee, who own and work in the shop, and have been pining after each other since the start!

How did you come up with the title?
This was the fun parts of this series! I know sometimes I struggle with titles – lots of authors do, I think - and especially for a series where there’s an underlying theme. But I’ve really enjoyed thinking up double entendre titles for ice creams! They’re all meant to be a blend of innocent ice and more mischievous alcohol, so we’ve had our tongues in cheeks all the way through.

Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them?
That’s one of the most regular questions I get from people in daily life when I tell them I’m an author – how do you get ideas? When they pick up a book, a reader’s looking for new characters and stories, that are sympathetic and plausible and good entertainment. I’m thrilled if each one I write comes across that way, or enough that they think I’m communing with the spirits for ideas LOL. They don’t see me sweating away in the background thinking “oh hell, that happened before, X is too like Y, how *do* you make a sex scene vibrantly new?”.

What are your writing and personal goals for 2016 and beyond?
I’m working toward a higher profile in 2016/7, difficult though that is considering how many other fab authors and books there are out there! But I’m concentrating on working with just a few of my favourite publishers, and also consolidating my self-publishing Jocular Press. I’m committed to writing regularly for the Dreamspun Desires line, and am also re-issuing many of my novellas with Dreamspinner. And of course I’m now *itching* to write another book in the With A Kick series!

What are you working on at present? Would you like to share a snippet?
I have several projects on the go, as usual! I’m very proud of “Romancing the Wrong Twin”, my Dreamspun Desire title that comes out later in 2016. It’s been fun to write, to channel my inner Total Romantic! Here’s an excerpt:
For the first time in this bizarre performance, Aidan felt the tickle of mischief. This just might be fun after all. He pushed the door fully open, walked into the room, and cleared his throat.

Dominic Hartington-George turned slowly around to face Aidan fully. His gaze ranged over Aidan’s body, and his eyes widened. “Well. They didn’t lie.”

“Who didn’t? What about?”

H-G raised his eyebrows. “Well, firstly, they said you were a bit feisty.”

Feisty? Aidan hadn’t heard that word outside of romance-novel blurbs.

“And you wouldn’t be fazed by… you know.”

“No, I don’t know. By what?” Aidan bit his lip to stop a laugh escaping.

“My celebrity.”

Jesus. Zeb was right. The man was one big blob of arrogance. “No,” Aidan said coolly. “I’m not.”

“That’s from working in the business, I suppose.”

“Business?” Oh, right, he was meant to be Zeb. “Yes, of course. When you’ve seen so many guys without the spray tan and makeup,” he gabbled without thinking first, “you soon realize they’ve got the same equipment under it all.”

H-G blinked twice, hard. And then he laughed—a loud, bold sound, echoing warmly in the bleak room.

Aidan wanted to laugh with him, but maintained his cool stare. “What’s so funny?” Had he blown it already? He hadn’t even left the house with the man yet.

“They didn’t tell me you were witty, Zeb. I may call you Zeb?”

Why? “Oh yes, right. Of course.”

Dom’s language was quaintly old-fashioned, but Aidan found it rather charming, especially after the theatrical bickering of the Dreamweavers and his brother’s exuberant and affected chatter.

“And secondly?” Aidan prompted.

“I’m sorry?” H-G frowned at him.

God, what a scowl he has. “You said they didn’t lie, and then you gave the first reason.”

H-G raised his eyebrows. “You have a good memory.”

Yes, he does have lovely eyes. “Yes, I do. Especially when I’m listening.”

H-G’s mouth twisted as if he were trying not to smirk. “Secondly, they didn’t lie about your looks, and that you were even better-looking in real life. I concur. You’re bloody gorgeous.”

Aidan wondered whom H-G was talking about. Zeb was the one who’d made a career based on his looks. Aidan made his on ignoring his own. So obviously H-G was talking about Zeb—or Aidan-as-Zeb. Aidan tugged self-consciously at the skintight jeans. His briefs felt uncomfortable between the cheeks of his arse and the hairs on his lower belly had snagged under the buttons of the fly. How the hell did Zeb manage to walk straight in these on a daily basis? “And you’re bloody blunt,” he returned smartly.

H-G tilted his head. He was smiling openly now as if he was enjoying the banter. “I’ve never seen any reason to be otherwise.”

H-G’s gaze didn’t make Aidan entirely comfortable. “Like what you see?” he said rather too snappily.

But H-G just laughed again. “You’re not as androgynous as you look in the magazines either.”
“What does that mean?”

“You look all man to me.” H-G’s eyes darkened, and for a moment his gaze grazed over Aidan’s groin area.

Aha! “So you’ve seen me in magazines?”

H-G flushed. “Now and then. Dentist’s waiting room, you know?”

Aidan felt he’d scored a point there but wasn’t sure how to follow up any advantage. This was turning into an odd kind of tennis match.

H-G cleared his throat. “Look, let’s both be frank about this, okay? I know this is just a promotional exercise. The sponsor is very committed to equality issues, and to have a gay couple approaching them is apparently a good PR thing.”

“You’re doing this solely for the money?”

“Not to the extent of turning gay for it, no,” H-G snapped back.

For the first time, Aidan saw a flicker of the real emotions inside the man. “Sorry. I didn’t mean it that way.”

“No, I’m the one who’s sorry.” H-G seemed to make a conscious effort to get his temper back under control. “I know you didn’t. It’s just one thing I never compromised on. I know who I am, what I feel, and what I like.”

“That’s good,” Aidan said more gently. “I suppose you might have trouble with it sometimes.”
H-G gave an angry shake of his head. “Anyone doesn’t like who I am isn’t worth being with. That’s always worked for me.”

Apart from having to hire a date for this evening. But then, Aidan didn’t have a boyfriend either, did he? And he was the complete opposite to the aggressive H-G. Aidan didn’t keep his sexuality hidden, but he didn’t go broadcasting it around either. Unlike my outrageous twin. Could this outfit be any more obvious? The jeans squished his balls back and pushed his cock forward. The electric blue sweater had slipped off his shoulder again so that he felt like a provocative 1950s starlet, and it was itching his neck on the other side. It made his mood just as scratchy. He wondered briefly whose approach would be more successful in finding a soul mate—his, H-G’s, or Zeb’s.

“Anyway, mustn’t forget my manners.” H-G approached him and offered his hand. “Welcome to my home.”

Aidan laughed softly and shook it. “Many thanks.”

Do you get emails asking why characters didn’t get together and whether you’re going to write more about them?
Lots of times LOL. It seems frustrating, to have launched a book that took me months to write and refine and produce, only to have readers say – we want more, and now! But it’s also really heartening to have inspired that in a reader, wanting to see more of your characters. Plus I’m always really fond of my secondary characters, and like them to have their day in the sun. The With A Kick series has been a great platform for that. And of course my novel “Flying Colors” was written in response to the readers who’d loved Carter and Red from “True Colors” and wanted to read *their* romance!

If you were able to quit your day job and write full time, would you, and why/why not?
This is a good question, because I *did* quit my day job, around 2 years ago. It was time to move on, and all perfectly amicable, and I envisaged lots of time to write more and more books. Move on 2 years and I’m working harder than ever, maintaining other jobs to pay the bills, and juggling the writing as much as I ever did *sigh*. I don’t actually think I’d suit full time writing, to be honest, I don’t think I’m disciplined enough. I’m terribly easily distracted, and although I work hard, I quite *like* juggling different interests.

Are you obsessed with stationery? And if so, what and why?
Have you been peeking in my cupboard?! And what a lovely question LOL. *Of course* I’m obsessed with stationery! What author isn’t? I love notebooks and gel pens – coloured, usually – and LOTS of sticky notes. And a sneaking love of yellow highlighters... *blushes with shame for my illicit love*



Double Scoop

SERIES: With a Kick #8

AUTHOR: Clare London

PUBLISHER: Jocular Press


LENGTH: 45,000 words

RELEASE DATE: April 07, 2016

BLURB: A sudden disaster strikes everyone’s favourite ice cream shop, With A Kick. Not only does it threaten the livelihood of its owner, Patrick, but also his loyal assistant Lee. The last thing in the world Patrick would ever want to do is hurt Lee, either physically or emotionally. Why would he? He’s been falling in love with Lee since the day Lee invited himself into the shop’s business and Patrick’s life. But familiar and deeply-held insecurities hold Patrick back – he’s too gruff for Lee, too old, and his labour-of-love business is never going to make him rich.

Lee is weary of trying to make Patrick see how much he admires and cares for him. To Lee, it’s a very straightforward situation. Patrick is sexy, Patrick is smart, Patrick needs Lee’s help – and Lee needs Patrick in his life as more than a boss. All the characteristics Patrick finds inhibiting, Lee finds attractive. However, if Patrick’s apparently never going to make a move on Lee, how long should Lee wait to make his own move? Maybe Patrick thinks Lee is too clingy, too immature. Maybe Lee should give up his romantic hopes completely. If, that is, he can bear to do it.

The disaster at the shop brings them a whole new opportunity to work – and love – together to make a go of things. They’ve both got to look at each other in a whole new way. With the help of all their With A Kick friends, this could be make or break for the reluctant couple!



Patrick liked this time of morning in London. It was still too cold in February to do without a jacket and scarf, but otherwise he savoured the onset of spring and the pale, bright sun that glistened off the pavements. He took deep, regular breaths, measuring a circular route around Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, pacing himself slower than he would have done when he was younger. It allowed him to take proper note of life happening around him. His friends preferred to travel to St James Park or Green Park, and run around a greener space, but Patrick lived and belonged here in Soho, and never sought anywhere else. He absorbed the exotic mixture of a new day’s aroma: diesel taxi fumes, the crinkled pages of old books, grocery store spices, lingering pub beer, and fried food being cooked at the fast food venues already awake and serving breakfast. He wasn’t a man to wax lyrical at the best of times, but he loved London with a passion.

Sufficiently exercised and with his appetite now fully awake and clamouring for coffee and food, he cut through the streets towards home. Turning the final corner, he slowed to a brisk walk, then stopped. He leaned on a street lamp, regaining his breath and easing his muscles. The front window of With A Kick was already in view with its stylish red paintwork and matching awning. Patrick took a moment longer just to stand and look at it. Every day was the same: the feelings of pride and excitement just as strong. Only a few years ago, he’d been a teacher, aiming for Assistant Head, and planning out the twenty-odd years to early retirement. Good grief. What a boring life in comparison to now!

He laughed wryly to himself. Amazing how ambition could be kickstarted by the end of a lacklustre romance and a previously secure job slipping away. Eighteen months ago, he’d been saddened but not surprised by his boyfriend Rafe moving on—they’d been drifting more out than into each other’s life for months. He’d also seen the writing on the wall about his school having to make redundancies. It had still surprised him how willingly he accepted his when it was offered. He’d always thought of himself as a man who planned and relied on a steady routine, yet in the space of a couple of months, he found himself single again, out of work and slightly depressed from the culture shock. It was as if the whole bloody world had crashed, as opposed to… what? ‘An opportunity for new adventures and new challenges’, his late dad would have said. His dad had always been a glass-half-full man. Patrick remembered him fondly.

Then things had slowly but steadily fallen into place for him. Now he was an entrepreneur of sorts and, look, his latest ice cream creations were displayed in the window of his own shop, on one of Lee’s brightly coloured posters!


That was another thing that never changed: the small lurch of excitement in his gut when he thought of his friend and assistant in With A Kick. Patrick sighed, not at the overall thought of Lee—and Lee’s youth, and good looks, and energy, and cheeky jokes, and slim hips that he swayed outrageously when he was showing off in the shop, and that sexy, sexy grin… anyway, not all that, which Patrick had to admit never ceased to cheer him up every morning in the shop. No, the sigh was for the thoughts that inevitably followed. The ones that reminded him he hadn’t found much success with romance, that he was much older than Lee, much less good looking in a very bear-y type of way, much more tired of life, and with a grin that he couldn’t ever remember anyone saying was sexy

Good God. Enough self-pity for the morning! Lee had plenty of attention from other guys, he didn’t need his nearly-forty year old boss coming onto him as well like some besotted, horny teenager. Besides, Patrick had his commitment to the business to keep him busy, and that was no hardship now that they were starting to make proper money. Yes, when he thought of With A Kick, he did think of “they”. Lee and he were together in running the shop, at least.

"Patrick! Good morning."

Patrick turned and recognised Mr Amsel from the German café across the way, waving at him. Next to the elderly shopkeeper, a wiry young man straightened up from where he’d been crouching beside a pile of boxes. He was also smiling. Patrick waved back at them both. The community spirit among his fellow traders was one of the best things in his life nowadays. The young man, Curtis, was a regular supplier and odd-job man for all of the businesses around here, and Patrick made a mental note to chat to him about replacement tablecloths. Lee had suggested a funkier design, to match a range of ice cream flavours based on musical styles that Patrick was working on at the moment. And if anyone could get something new and unusual for the shop at a good price, it’d be Curtis. Patrick wasn’t in the mood for negotiation before his morning coffee, but he was sure Curtis would call into With A Kick later on for a mug of tea and a ‘Pluck and Play’, his favourite ice. He’d talk to him then.

He glanced back down the road, where the With A Kick shop-front light had just flickered on. Lee must be in early today. Patrick thought he’d declared it was his turn to open up, but he had to admit the thought of Lee bustling around inside the shop had Patrick happily quickening his step.

An alleyway ran down the side of the shop to the kitchen exit, and by the time he reached it, he’d decided they should talk to Curtis about getting some new shot glasses too. Bookings for adults-only, night time parties at With A Kick were really taking off. Out of the corner of his eye, he registered the kitchen light snapping on as well, and the thought of a hot, strong cup of coffee warmed his thoughts. Maybe Mr A would like to quote Patrick for some hot party snacks as well—

The sudden boom took his breath away: a burst of deep, throaty noise, gusting the air past Patrick’s head like the kick back from a jet. A mini tornado, belching without warning from the kitchen door, and bursting up the alleyway and onto the street.

Rubbish bags, stacked against With A Kick’s outside wall, tumbled and rolled as if tossed by giant hands. Loose packaging swirled up in a murky maelstrom, spinning and spiralling into the sky. A pavement display clattered to the ground across the road, and a passing bicycle swerved sharply in front of Patrick with a screech of brakes. A dog started barking furiously.

Patrick had been thrown backwards into the street, and staggered, trying to keep his balance. Someone behind him screamed; he watched the shocked cyclist’s mouth make the shape of “What the fuck was that?” His eyes stung; his hearing was muffled. A youngster began to wail loudly. Stunned for those few seconds, Patrick was unable to move, unable to think clearly. Voices reached him, but all the words were garbled.



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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!

:: Website :: Facebook :: Facebook Group :: Twitter :: Google+ :: Goodreads :: Amazon Page ::


Winner’s Prize: 5 e-copies of Double Scoop

a Rafflecopter giveaway


April 11: Because Two Men Are Better Than One :: UK Gay Romance

April 12: RJ Scott :: Diverse Reader

April 13: Rainbow Book Reviews

April 14: MM Good Book Reviews :: Drops of Ink

April 15: Sue Brown :: Loving Without Limits

April 18: Joyfully Jay

April 19: Alpha Book Club :: Hearts on Fire

April 20: Elisa - My reviews and Ramblings :: Bayou Book Junkie :: Love Bytes Reviews

April 21: The Purple Rose Tea House :: Nautical Star Books :: MM Book Escape

April 22: Rick R. Reed :: TTC Books and More :: The Novel Approach

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