A Pride Month Update

It’s Pride Month, and I have been fairly busy on the writing and self-publishing front. First, I just put A Knight’s Tale, Books 1 & 2, my LGBT medieval historical romances, on Smashwords; they can be found here. I’ll update links for the other vendors when I have them. For readers who prefer epub files, I’m sorry it’s been such a long wait!

Update: Here is the link to A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth on Google Play.

Find the ebooks on Barnes & Noble!

And one more: a nice, pretty link to ALL my books on Apple!

GW-ReturntoCarlsbad-bk3-200x300I started thinking about and mentally drafting Book 3 of my contemporary gay romance Elsie Street series; to help me along, I got a premade cover from Fantasia Frog Designs, my go-to cover designer. I expect Return to Carlsbad will be out sometime in the fall. It’s Aaron’s story, from his POV, and probably in third person (because it’s easier to do Aaron that way, for some reason!).

Although I am continuing to work as a freelance copy editor/proofreader at Editforindies.com, and I welcome author queries, I’ve found that the self-publishing landscape has changed so much over the past five years. Perhaps many of my former clients have thrown in the towel and returned to work, or stopped writing. I have been looking for work, too, but trying to think of it as a search for something I would like to do and can commit to doing long-term. This is difficult, but hopefully not impossible.



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Memorial Day Sale

Foggy weather has started early and even the opening of the Salesforce Tower, a big deal in San Francisco, was spoiled by it! The month was made a little more fun by the Royal Wedding, which I enjoyed thoroughly. And my birthday followed shortly after, so I can always hope to be a little wiser!


A Knight’s Tale is set in 13th-century England.

I wanted to let readers know that my gay historical novel A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth will be free on Monday, May 28 on Amazon (regularly $1.99). A recent 5-star reviewer wrote, “Laced with intrigue, love, and battles for supremacy, this book measures up.”

And for Kindle Unlimited subscribers, both Kenilworth and its sequel are free… though I am planning to take both books “wide” sometime next month. It is always a dilemma, how soon to do this, but it seems unfair to leave readers on the other platforms (Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo) out.

Hope everyone is having a good start to the summer.

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A May Anniversary, or Two

Hard to believe, but May 30, 2011, was when I published my first ebook, a literary novel called The Leaving. I did the cover myself and chose Smashwords as the first ebook platform to upload it to. Back then there was no KDP Select, and I felt no hurry to put the book up on Amazon KDP, though I recall I did this sometime in June 2011. Since I didn’t make the Amazon payment threshold the first month, it took three months for me to be paid!

But I was just delighted to get in the game, and in the next couple of years things improved rapidly. 2013-2015 was the golden era, where those of us who were writing erotica did quite nicely, since Amazon paid a flat payment no matter how short the story was. I published all of my backlist over the years. On Smashwords, my erotica shorts took off on Barnes & Noble under a pen name, so I experienced a surprising upswell there too.

In these seven years since I started, the self-publishing landscape has completely changed, but I’m always one for looking back, so I was interested to read CEO Mark Coker’s take on Smashwords’ 10-year-anniversary, presented in one of his characteristically long blog posts!

Here is an excerpt. I like Coker’s sentiments here:

Against the backdrop of publishing’s culture of NO, I imagined it would be really cool if an enlightened publisher or publishing service could say yes to every writer in the world, and do it at no cost to the writer.  And then I wondered, “What if that someone could be me?  What if I could take a chance on every writer in the world?”

This was the genesis of Smashwords.

Throughout my career, I’ve always been drawn to “change the world” ventures that carry a higher purpose.  I’ve long believed that a life without higher purpose is a life squandered.   Every person with a pulse has an opportunity to take small but significant steps today that will leave the world better than we found it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a  writer, entrepreneur, home maker, school teacher, garbage collector, artist, doctor, mechanic, baker or retired.  Pick your passion and make a difference.

Writers are some of the most passionate, inspiring world-changers I’ve met.

In late 2004 I set to work on the Smashwords business plan.

I wanted to turn the conventional publishing model upside down.  I wanted to give authors full control over their rights, pricing and publishing decisions, and I wanted to flip the compensation model so that 85% of the net proceeds went directly to the author.

It was also important to me that Smashwords’ interests be aligned with the interests of writers.  Rather than sell publishing packages or charge upfront for our services, we’d offer our service for free and we’d earn our income on commission.  If the author made money, we made money.

cbd3b17ef855312da27f11db4f0e16ba85c87a6d-thumbThere is one short, health-related nonfiction ebook title remaining that I sell at Smashwords which still has my original Photoshopped home-made cover on it. Here it is, in all of its glory!

It’s been a strange ride, but I have to hand it to Mark Coker for continuing to evolve in what must be an incredibly tough business landscape. The financial terms he offers writers have never changed for the worse, and although some of my peers complain about the visuals of the Smashwords site, I personally think there’s a lot to say for something that *doesn’t* change radically over time. Which isn’t to say that Smashwords hasn’t made improvements. I love being able to check my daily sales onsite and I enjoyed doing their interview feature, where I was able to rattle on about my own writing process and history. Has Smashwords made me a ton of money? Nope, but over time I’ve made about 20 percent of what I’ve made on the Amazon US platform, and with a lot less hassle!


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April Promotions

It’s April and we’re in Mercury Retrograde. Seems like a good time to have a promotion or two in the M/M romance genre.


A Knight’s Tale is set in 13th-century England.

My latest historical novel, A Knight’s Tale: Montargis, came out on March 6, though it seems very recent. It is more introspective and intense than the first book. Here is a review that beautifully sums up what I was trying to achieve with the novel:

A Knight’s Tale: Montargis is another great read by Ms. West. It takes off where the first book in this series, A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth, left off. This book is just as sexy and romantic and oozes with similar medieval details and context but Ms. West digs deeper into the shadow of these characters. We feel dark things at work in their relationships that shape their emotional and sexual expressions. These characters are held back and determined by history that we gradually understand. Ms. West lets this tension simmer. Redemption is not always possible, forgiveness is sometimes out of reach and yet somehow love still tries to find a way.

The good news is, Book 1 will be free on Amazon Friday, April 6 through Monday, April 9!

I published my gay/bi contemporary romance Elsie Street way back in 2015 and have decided to drop the price to .99 for the forseeable future. It is already .99 on Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Google Play. Update: it’s now also 99 cents on Amazon!

Happy National Poetry Month as well. I no longer do my taxes by mail, but I have a slightly surreal memory of delivering my tax envelope to a local post office years ago and being handed a copy of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land in honor of National Poetry Month! I think Eliot would have appreciated the irony of this.

I just found the 75th anniversary edition on my shelf and will have to re-read it.

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St. Paddy’s, Green Beer, and a free ebook today

Reblogging an old but entertaining post about St. Patrick’s Day. I still haven’t tried green beer!

While the ADHD and Food Dye book mentioned below is 99 cents on Amazon, I’ve made it free on Smashwords in honor of today: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/253748

Gabriella West

I want to make a confession: I’ve never sampled green beer! You see, I grew up in Dublin, where in the 1980s, the St. Patrick’s Day parade, held in still-freezing March temperatures, was a fairly sombre, pallid march down central city streets. It was helped along by middle-aged Americans looking cheerful and wearing green or plaid trousers, looking like they had just stepped off a golf course, and marching bands from America, which were fun to watch and listen to. All I can remember besides that were floats from Irish insurance companies, the only companies that had any money in the 80s. And if we were lucky, the family got a post-parade meal of burgers and chips at an Americanized cafe called Solomon Grundy’s around the corner.

Anyway, when I came to America in my early 20s, it was a revelation to me that people got drunk and had…

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Read an Ebook Week on Smashwords, and a New Book Out Too…

Busy week ahead. The annual Read an Ebook Week sale kicked off on Smashwords. It’s on March 4-10th, and four of my novels are discounted! My contemporary gay romance Elsie Street is free, while my three other books, including Time of Grace, are either 99 cents or $1. So it’s a pretty sweet deal, and I encourage you to check it out. Your discount is automatically applied at checkout. You can find a list of my books here if you scroll down a bit!


I’m quite excited by the release of my new book, A Knight’s Tale: Montargis, which rolls out on March 6 on Amazon.com, and is available to read in Kindle Unlimited (KU). The novel opens in 1266 with Will and Stephen in a place of safety (albeit exile) at Montargis Abbey in central France and takes them on an emotionally turbulent journey, including a long trek to Italy for Will to hear what turns out to be Simon’s deathbed confession. The book ends in the South of France in the year 1272, with Stephen confronting the actual burial place of his parents (who were persecuted Cathars) and their friends, and learning some of the hidden history behind their tragic deaths. Deaths, burials, sex, secrets, and infidelity are huge themes in this novel, but it ends on a note of joy. You can read a long excerpt from the new book here.

A reminder that you can pick up Book 1, A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth, for 99 cents now.

As a writer, shaping these two books has been a tremendous learning experience for me. While I plan to bring out Book 3 next year, I’m playing around with the idea of a longer series set in the fourteenth century. This is the time of the gay king Edward II (the son of Prince Edward in my current books) and of the plague decimating Europe. It would be interesting to create a story centered around descendants of the characters in my Knight’s Tale books. We’ll see!



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‘ADD & Romance’ Author Gives Intimacy Tips for Valentine’s Day

As promised, here is a little article that I dug up from my files about Valentine’s Day and keeping intimacy alive in your relationship. Although it was originally written with AD/HD in mind, in this world of screens and hyper-busyness it’s ever more relevant.

Psychotherapist Jonathan Scott Halverstadt, M.S., is the author of the book A.D.D. & Romance: Finding Fulfillment in Love, Sex & Relationships (Taylor, 1998). On staff for several years at the Amen Clinic in Fairfield, CA, he now practices privately in Fresno, CA.

I spoke to Halverstadt by phone in 2010. Diagnosed with ADHD himself in 1991, he was humorous, frank, and thoughtful about treating couples with ADHD and relationship problems. As for how ADHD affects people in the U.S., it’s everywhere. Halverstadt suspects that in the general population, around 8-15 percent have ADHD, and the vast majority are still undiagnosed and untreated.

I asked Halverstadt if it’s more common for people with ADHD to flake out on Valentine’s Day.

“To me, it’s not about whether it’s the day or not,” Halverstadt says, “it’s about where they are in the stimulation process. If the relationship has become commonplace or normalized for them, it’s just part of their standard day.”

Halverstadt adds that for people with ADHD to shine on Valentine’s Day they’re going to have to work at it—to work from their own intense impulsivity, spontaneity, and creativity.

“You know, I’m an old guy,” he says, laughing, “and Valentine’s Day is coming up, and I’m very much in love with my partner. And we will go to dinner and we’ll do something special but it’s not like in the first throes of romantic love, where it’s like “Oh, wow, we can do this or we can do that!” It’s more like, “Hmm, I gotta remember to get her some flowers.”

But isn’t that typical of everyone? I ask.

“I think it’s very much typical of people across the board,” he answers. “Where it becomes difficult for ADHD people is that if it’s not stimulating, they’re not going to focus there.

“So I try to teach people, ‘You know how to be romantic. In the hyperfocus days, you did incredible stuff.’ It’s about remembering what you did back then. And making certain that you do it now because that is then truly a gift of love, because now it’s not that you’re being driven by your biochemistry, you’re being driven by your commitment, caring, and compassion.

“One of the misnomers across the board, whatever gender or preference you are,” he continues, “is this erroneous belief that if my partner really loves me then they’re going to do this incredible thing and I won’t have to say anything. I tell them, that would be cool, but that’s not the way it usually works. If there’s something you really want, that works for you, that’s romantic and wonderful, ask for it. If you ask for it and they give it, it’s truly a gift of love. That, to me, shows way more commitment.

Finally, Halverstadt stresses: “When life with your partner becomes commonplace, you need to do something about that if you want it to be a satisfying relationship! It’s so easy for that to happen because we all lead such busy lifestyles. We stop listening, we stop being vulnerable and being honest about who we are.”

The real satisfaction in life, he says, comes from having healthy, loving, supportive relationships where we can give love and be  loved. “If that seems as if it’s missing, don’t go too long without getting a tune-up. Get that taken care of. Because life is really short. Having a good, healthy relationship or friendships, that’s really where ultimately we’re going to feel wonderful.”


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‘A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth’ on Kindle Countdown through Monday


A Knight’s Tale is set in 13th-century England.

Just wanted to let my blog readers in the US know that you can get my historical romance A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth for 99 cents today and Saturday only; it will rise to $1.99 Sunday and Monday before it reverts back to $2.99!

Reviewers have called it “captivating” and “extremely bittersweet and romantic.”

The sequel is on preorder now. I’m working away busily to finish it! I’ve taken the hero, Will, on a grueling journey through medieval France and Italy to a castle in a small town in Tuscany where Simon de Montfort the younger is in hiding, deathly ill, after a brutal crime of revenge he and his brother Guy committed in a church. (This historical murder was so notorious that Dante even put a line or two about it in his Inferno.)

And if you want to pick up Time of Grace, my lesbian romance set in 1916 Ireland, at the .99 price, now’s the time to do it. It will revert to its normal price of $3.99 on Sunday, February 11. I had a successful BookBub: my biggest thrill was briefly getting to #67 on the “Popular historical romance authors” list, something I didn’t know existed…

Thanks to the Hidden Gems Romance newsletter for featuring A Knight’s Tale today. And happy Valentine’s Day. I think I will post something unusual for V-Day–an interview with an ADHD expert that I dug up from my files about how to keep passion and interest going in your relationship. Applies to everyone, I think! So, look out for that.

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Shameless self-promotion…Time of Grace Gets a BookBub!

Those of you who subscribe to the BookBub newsletter should find a listing for my LGBT historical novel Time of Grace in your email or on the website Monday morning (Feb. 5), discounted to 99 cents, pence, or Euro!

But I wanted to let my blog readers know that Time of Grace is already available at the discount price at all platforms. Here are all the links:

That’s Amazon.com above, obviously.

Amazon.co.uk: click here

Amazon.ca (Canada): click here

Amazon Australia: click here

Other platforms:

Barnes & Noble, click here

Apple, click here

Google Play, click here

And Kobo!

Time of Grace means a good deal to me since it is my only traditionally published novel, and it was published in Ireland in 2001, the year before my mother died suddenly — so she got to see me have a little success. She told me back then that she read it all the way through, but covered her eyes for the erotic parts, which amuses me more now than it did then. It took me until 2013 to publish it as an ebook, and it found an appreciative audience. The first time around, the story of two young women falling in love at the time of the Easter 1916 Rising in Dublin rather puzzled people…

I hope you enjoy Time of Grace! Please don’t hesitate to join my Mailing List, which you can do at the page above on my site’s menu. (I am writing more M/M historical romance these days, which doesn’t always interest those who only like stories about women, but I’m sure there will be more lesbian love stories in my future.)

And speaking of my Knight’s Tale series, the first book in the series will go on Kindle Countdown on Friday, Feb. 9th! It will be 99 cents for two days only, then $1.99 for two days, then revert back to list price on Monday night.













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‘A Knight’s Tale: Montargis’ on Preorder Now (with Excerpt)!


Quince paste. Doesn’t it look like Turkish Delight?

My new book, the follow-up to A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth, is now on preorder on Amazon.com for $2.99.

As it’s set in medieval France in the late thirteenth century, I have been enjoying the research… particularly into foods of the era. On one fascinating blog I read about how raw quinces are inedible, but when cooked they turn into a beautiful ruby-red jelly and were a favorite dish of the time (one that Joan of Arc was apparently partial to). This sweet jelly was considered medicinal, as were most jams, I learned. Not only that, the strained pulp was made into a quince paste called membrillo that was eaten with cheese.

Here is the blurb for A Knight’s Tale: Montargis; I’ve included an excerpt below!

France, 1266. Will and his lover, Stephen, are safely ensconced at Montargis Abbey, a Dominican convent two days’ ride south of Paris, where the widowed Lady Eleanor de Montfort has chosen to live out her days in peace and seclusion with her young daughter. Will and Stephen fall into a pleasant routine of chores, while Wilecok keeps the small household running with his work in the kitchen. It’s in many ways an idyllic life, one that Will could not have predicted. And when they hear that Kenilworth Castle has fallen after a long siege, it seems that the rebellion against the English Crown that the Montforts spearheaded has well and truly ended.

But the reappearance of Simon, as he and his younger brother Guy both drift back to France separately after escaping house arrest in England, brings a complexity to Will’s life, for he is still passionately attracted. Even as he and Stephen grow closer and more deeply attached, the shadow of Simon periodically falls over their relationship. A sudden, horrific act of murder in the year 1271, Will’s 25th year, shatters their calm. In the aftermath, Lady Eleanor commands a reluctant Will to journey to a castle in southern Tuscany to visit her mortally ill son. It’s here that he will learn the devastating truth about Simon’s misdeeds, a truth that Will has not wanted to face, and that changes everything.

This lusty, bittersweet sequel to A Knight’s Tale: Kenilworth spans another six years in Will and Stephen’s lives together, and ends in the South of France, where the mystery of Stephen’s tragic past is finally laid to rest. Yet the two still face an uncertain future together in a dangerous world.

Excerpt from A Knight’s Tale: Montargis

We were traveling northeast out of town along a country road. It was very beautiful that day, the stone walls and leafy hedgerows reminding me of England.

“Have you been this way, Wilecok?” I asked. Perhaps he had, since he seemed to know where it was. “And what are we doing?”

He looked concerned at my obliviousness. “You can’t guess?” he finally said.

“No, not at all.”

“I thought you might have had a letter.”

“No, nothing like that. From who?”

“Simon,” Wilecok said out of the corner of his mouth. He spat moodily into the road.

I gave a sudden start. “Why… why the secrecy?”

“Why do you think?” Wilecok said. “Doesn’t want the Countess to know he’s here. Just wants to meet with you. A rendezvous.”

He drawled the word in a sarcastic way, not looking at me. I was young enough still to blush, but old enough that I said nothing more to him about it at that moment. I kept my own counsel.

“We’ll be there within the hour,” Wilecok said after we had gone a little further. “’Tis odd you wore your sword today. You don’t usually.”

“I know.” I patted my sword belt. “Yes, for some reason I put it on this morning. I haven’t used it in ages, of course.”

“A knight should have his sword.” Wilecok had a strange smile on his face.

I said nothing. It was on the tip of my tongue to swear I wasn’t going to do anything wrong, but I reminded myself that I owed no reassurance to Wilecok. And anyway, I doubted he would believe me. He seemed to know what was going to happen better than I did.

It was deliciously quiet, the wind caressing my face.

“Simon must have been in England,” Wilecok murmured. “Guy is going to wait for him nearby and then they’re going to proceed back to Italy. It’s a journey they’ve done many times by now.”

“He might have been in Paris,” I said, for want of something else to say. “Have you ever been to Italy, Wilecok?”

He glanced over at me, his face a little more relaxed now.

“Nay, never gone that far. With the three boys over there, I wondered if the Countess would send me. But she’s not been cruel enough to do that! It’s a brutal journey at any time of year.”

Messengers had sometimes come from England or Italy or the Parisian court with letters for Lady Eleanor, I mused. But it was true, she had always sent messages back with them, but hadn’t sent out any of her own.

“I always thought, Will, that she’d end up using you for that job. But she hasn’t yet.”

“As a messenger?” It had never even occurred to me.

“Aye.” Wilecok’s speed had slowed to an amble. “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

“Now you ask me!” I said with a laugh. The trees were getting taller and thicker, I did notice that, and we pulled up to where a small trail led into the wood.

“Clotilde tells me this forest is sacred to St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters, who was also a bishop,” Wilecok rambled, taking a drink from his water skin. “I’ve never been fond of forests, myself. Too easy to get lost in ’em, killed by a wild boar…”

“Should I go in on foot?” I asked. I was nervous now, but I didn’t want to let him see it.

“No, ride in. But Will—”

He seemed about to say something embarrassing, but I was desperate not to hear it.

“I’ll stay here,” Wilecok said gloomily. “Young Guy might be waiting with me when you come out. Just preparing you.”

I chuckled slightly. “Lucky you, Wilecok, you get to entertain him!”

“Aye, while you entertain his brother,” Wilecok mumbled. He did not meet my eyes.

It was strange what heavy weather he was making of this! Being around the nuns must have affected him after all, I thought. Or it’s his age.

“It’s only Simon,” I said. “Do you remember your rather coarse advice to me once, in Oxford?”

“No,” he said swiftly. Then, “I’ve no doubt I said something stupid.”

“It was romantic advice. Cynical. Something about separating love and … and the physical act.”

“Ah, right, I see. I think I’d still say to you now: be careful.”

I glanced at him.

He gave a sigh. “No matter what you tell yourself, you’re prone to falling in love with him.”

That stung. I took this jab in as I spurred the horse away up the path without replying, a tight flush of anger suffusing my body. It wasn’t true… I wasn’t young and stupid anymore. I hadn’t had those thoughts about Simon for years! And the odd thing was, I really hadn’t, not for a long while. What had changed? I couldn’t tell, but the last year or two with Stephen had been placid and lovely. Once I’d understood that Charles of Anjou’s Italian campaign had ended successfully, I no longer wanted to join the brothers in whatever misadventures they were up to in Italy. I’d accepted that it wasn’t my fate. As Wilecok would say, it wasn’t in the cards for me.

The horse’s hoofs were silent, and I quietly entered the wood, the breeze making the leaves rustle slightly. These were ancient oaks. Shafts of sunlight hit the grassy floor at intervals. Rain wouldn’t penetrate much here, so it wasn’t muddy. I slid off the horse, the ground soft under my feet. I tied her loosely to a branch, giving her a pat and telling her to be good.

She munched contentedly, head bent. Hand on pommel, I walked further in. It felt so delicious to walk on the earth, to smell the moistness of rotting leaves, to be away from the paved gray stones of the Abbey.

Even if we just talked, it was enough, I thought. For once not to feel like a child, to make my own mind up about things! Of course it was true that I had been ordered here and it was not my idea, but I was secretly thrilled to be there nonetheless.

I walked to the end of the clearing and made my way even further in, cutting my hand on some brambles. But it was all right, because standing in a glade surrounded by a circle of tall beech trees was Simon, back turned to me, his body resting against his horse as if deeply weary. From behind he was just some knight, armored still, and I was glad he had not taken his mail off. It meant he was not quite sure of me, and I liked that, in a perverse way.

“Simon,” I called.

He turned, and I was shocked to see how much older he looked. There were lines on his face now; his once-supple skin was leathery and tanned. Though his blue eyes stood out rather more, and as he strode toward me, it was his eyes I watched, noticing how his own gaze dwelt on my lips.

“I told you it would be several years,” he said wryly. He’d stopped several paces away.

I nodded, swallowing my nervousness down. Trying to breathe.

“I wanted to see you.”

I still said nothing, waiting.

“I just came back from England. I went over there in secret. I rode all the way to Evesham Abbey to see Father’s grave. It was awful, Will.”

“I’m sorry,” I told him, putting my hand on his arm. This broke the spell, and he hugged me to him fiercely.


I will have more news soon about a couple of exciting promotions coming up in early February!




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