Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 9) #AmWriting

This is the final part of chapter one from ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’, a book I started writing in 2012.

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Help An Author

An update on Part 8

Part eight has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, I’m so grateful to you all.

What is Tales From Under The Rainbow?

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 9

Here are the final 502 words of chapter one. It continues on the coach journey to London with Danny. We get to know some more about two new characters (one of which will become a major character) which we had a brief glimpse of last week.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

Not really interested in what Jane had to say, Danny tried to look attentive.  

“Don’t worry, it’ll only take a few minutes,” she laughed. “A few minutes to take away the coach sickness I suffer with.” 

Fumbling around the plastic carrier bag again, she produced another bar of chocolate and offered it to Danny. 

“Fruit and nut? That’s my favourite. How did you know?”

“Oh, good. You and I are going to get on so well,” replied Jane as she extended her hand to Danny. “Did I introduce myself?”

“Yes, you did,” answered Danny, leaning across and hardly able to reach her outstretched hand.

“How nice,” came a female voice from the seats in front of Danny. Jane and Danny looked towards the voice. “Looks like this coach could be the ‘love coach’, Jack,” giggled the woman at the man beside her.  

Raising his eyebrows, Danny responded.

“The Love coach?” he blurted out. If only you knew that I’d probably rather sleep with your husband than Jane, he thought. 

Smiling, Danny thought it funny how she thought he was straight. Not a bad thing when faced with some situations, but not this one. She obviously had no idea, but then probably neither did most of the passengers on the coach.

“We’re celebrating our ruby wedding anniversary,” announced the woman as she held up a greetings card with the words ‘To my beautiful wife’ on the front. It immediately answered some of the questions Danny had about the couple. 

“This is my husband, Jack,” declared the woman as she looked down at the man next to her. “Stand up, Jack and introduce yourself to the young couple.” 

“Do I have to, Gwen? Leave them alone,” came a muffled voice.

“Yes, you do! Stand up and say hello.” 

Watching, Danny saw a rather rugged and handsome man stand up. Despite his age and signs of grey hair, Jack’s moustache showed no signs of ageing. Had he taken more notice of the couple on his way to his seat, he’d probably had tried making eye contact with Jack. He’d done it before, often with much success, and had always preferred older men. 

Gwen, on the other hand, looked much older than her husband, with a typical blue-rinse hairstyle and a face covered with crow’s feet from too much sun. The light-blue dress meant for women far younger than her was nice, but it was the string of pearls and matching earrings that made her look more her age.

“Nice to meet you,” said Jack, before quickly sitting down again. 

“He’s a little shy,” laughed Gwen. You’d never have guessed that he’s usually the life and soul of the party.”

Trying not to laugh, Danny and Jane looked at each other before offering Gwen some chocolate.

For the next six hours, some of the passengers on the coach got to know each other, while others slept or kept to themselves. New chapters were about to begin in all their lives, some of which would be life-changing.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 8) #AmWriting

This is the penultimate part of chapter one from ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’, a book I started writing eight years ago.

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Help An Author

An update on Part 7

Part seven has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, I’m so grateful to you all.

What is Tales From Under The Rainbow?

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 8

Here are the next 518 words of chapter one. It continues with Danny’s flashback of the breakup between Nick’s and him, but also returns us to the present time of the story. We also get a glimpse of two new characters (a couple), one of whom will become a major character in the story.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

The mark was in precisely the same place to the vodka. Nick had admitted everything to him without having set off the trap.

With the bottle of vodka in his hand, Danny walked to the kitchen and headed for the sink. Unscrewing the top of the bottle, he listened to the ‘gulp gulp’ sound as the liquid disappeared down the plughole. As the last drops vanished, he opened the kitchen waste bin, but something stopped him from letting go of the bottle.

Something red, just to the right of a packet of snacks, caught his eye. Moving the empty pack to one side, five small empty bottles of vodka revealed themselves; the kind found on most flights or in the minibars of hotels. The type of bottles Shaun would have access to with his job as an airline steward.

It wasn’t the trap that had caused Nick to tell the truth, but honesty itself. But that didn’t make what had happened any better. Vodka was the only alcoholic drink Shaun drunk, but how foolish Nick and Shaun had been at not covering their tracks.

As tears began to trickle down Danny’s face again, the sobs from upstairs continued to gently break the silence.

A sudden jerk of his body brought Danny back to the present. Hamble’s voice broke through, as did the current world around him. How long had he been in deep thought about what had happened a few weeks ago?

Dougie’s voice making an announcement made the past disappear entirely.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are all on your way to London. London is the next stop. We will not be calling at any other stations on route, although we will stop for the occasional comfort break. So this is your semi-non stop service to London Victoria. Please respect your fellow passengers by not playing loud music or eating odorous food on the journey…”

Looking down the aisle, Danny chuckled to himself as he watched Dougie enjoying the sound of his own voice while occasionally glancing at the passengers in the rearview mirror. Danny decided to also check out who else was on board.

An older couple sat in front of him had their arms so tightly linked, it looked as if they’d been glued together. Danny’s mind went into overdrive with questions. Where, when and how had they met? Were they childhood sweethearts who had stayed loyal to each other, or had they only just entered each other’s lives? Were they having an affair with each other or with anybody else? Why were they going to London?

Along with a voice from his left, the couple suddenly kissing each other on the lips stopped the questioning.

“Hellooooooo. Earth too–. Hey, I’ve just realised I don’t know your name. I’m Jane, Jane Evans. And you are?”

With a glazed look on his face, Danny turned towards the woman he’d nicknamed Hamble and gave his name.

“So,” announced Jane, who had been talking non-stop to Danny while he’d been thinking about the past. “Did I tell you about the worst thing I ever did to another human being?”


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 7) #AmWriting

For the last six weeks, I’ve asked readers for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I have written.

Banner for Help An Author showing a pile of books with one pile having a plant piot on top of it.
Help An Author

For those who missed the first five parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

An update on Part 6

Part 6 has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, I’m so grateful to you all.

What is Tales From Under The Rainbow?

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 7

Here are the next 507 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, focusing on a flashback Danny is having as he analyses the split-up between himself and Nick.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

“Cat got your tongue?” asked Danny. “Just tell me the truth. Was Shaun here last night?”

“No, he wasn’t!” Nick shouted back.

For a moment, Danny felt relieved. Perhaps Shaun hadn’t been here.

“Really?”

A stony silence formed.

“Don’t lie to me, Nick! I’ve been your boyfriend for the last 7 years; the most important person in your life, or so I thought. Don’t lie to me,” cried Danny as tears trickled down his face.

Another awkward pause followed before Nick spoke.

“You know, don’t you? How do you know? Have you been checking up on me? I never thought anybody would come between us, Danny. I am so sorry. I never ever wanted this to happen.”

“But you allowed it to happen.”

Danny wondered if the stocky man in front of him was also on the verge of breaking down. Another developing silence in the house became something neither of them wanted to break. It was only interrupted by the sudden rush of Nick leaving the kitchen and the heavy thud of his footsteps climbing the stairs.

The loud noise of a door being slammed startled Danny. For a moment, the house was at peace again. Then the sound of gentle sobbing broke the air, making Danny feel guilty.

Wiping away the dried up journies of the tears on his face, Danny tried to make sense of what had just happened. It had all happened so quickly. Had Nick admitted to him that another man had come between them? Had another man stolen Nick’s feelings? Was Nick now a man who would no longer have any significance in Danny’s life?

Briefly, echoes of laughter and joy tried to furnish Danny’s head, but they were quickly beaten back by a dark cloud that strangled the happiness out of the last seven years.

Then he remembered the vodka bottle. Did it matter that he’d not checked if the trap had worked? Did he need to see if the bottle held the confirmation he so much did not want to witness?

Walking out of the kitchen with his head held low, Danny entered the showroom-like living room where everything was neatly in its place.

When he looked up again, the first thing he saw was the mobile-drinks bar Nick had so passionately wanted when they had first seen it in the department store.

Danny loved him so much that it never mattered to him that Nick had spent the whole holiday fund on buying it. After all, it made the man of his life happy, and that was far more important than any holiday.

Crossing his fingers, he walked towards the bar and hoped that the trap had not gone off.

Bending down, to grab the bottle, Danny placed it on top of the bar and checked for the mark he’d left on it the previous evening. For a moment, he thought the alcohol he had consumed the night before was playing tricks with his eyes. Wide-eyed, he moved his head towards the bottle and stood, shocked, with disbelief.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 6) #AmWriting

For the last five weeks, I’ve asked readers for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I have written.

Banner for Help An Author showing a pile of books with one pile having a plant piot on top of it.
Help An Author

For those who missed the first five parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

An update on Part 5

Part 5 has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, I’m so grateful to you all.

What is Tales From Under The Rainbow?

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 6

Here are the next 496 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, focusing on a flashback Danny is having as he analyses the split-up between himself and Nick.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

Don’t put it off, a voice in his head said. Go down and face him. Put it off, and you’re fooling yourself

As a small tear rolled down Danny’s face, he knew this was the beginning of the end of his first-ever relationship with somebody he still deeply loved.

Grabbing his dressing gown and fastened it tightly, as if he was about to answer a knock at the front door from a stranger, he began the journey down. A horrible feeling of dread accompanied him.

Upon entering the kitchen, Danny’s eyes focused on Nick, who was leaning, crossed legged, against the kitchen sink. Smiling, he had one hand in the top pocket of his jeans while the other held a mug of steaming coffee. He looked as handsome as he had when Danny first met him at Paddington Station. His stocky 6-foot frame and jet black hair had always made him attractive to Danny.  

“Coffee’s over there,” said Nick while pointing the top of his head towards one of the kitchen worktops. “Did you have a good night out?”

“No, thank you,” replied Danny.

Looking bewildered by the response, Nick’s eyes gave off a puzzled expression. “Don’t you have a hangover? Surly a black coffee would help?”

 “Yes, I do,” answered Danny, “but I rather fancy a vodka.”

Danny watched as Nick’s jaw quickly dropped. He looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights of a speeding car. I bet he’s asking himself why I’m asking for vodka at nine-thirty on a Saturday morning, thought Danny.

“But you don’t drink vodka,” came a concerned response. “Why would you be asking for vodka?” A false smile appeared across Nick’s face. “You’re still drunk, aren’t you? You are, aren’t you?” laughed Nick

Smerking back, Danny watched as the laughter tapered off, and Nick’s face changed into one of concern and uncomfortableness. Danny had an inkling that he was about to hear something he didn’t want to hear. Not now, not tomorrow, not next week! Maybe in a year or even two, but not now. He wasn’t ready for this, was he?

“Was Shaun here last night?” asked Danny.

“No!” came a quick reply. Danny watched as Nick seemed to become more and more uncomfortable. “Why on earth are you asking me that?”  

Danny watched as Nick’s neck blushed. That only ever happened when Nick lied.

“I’ve noticed you acting differently recently. Acting as I have only ever seen you act once before,” responded Danny. 

A long pause followed. Danny knew that Nick was probably trying to think of an excuse. Any excuse. “So, you going to get me that vodka?”, demanded Danny.

“What do you mean…like you have only ever seen once before? I don’t understand. What are you getting at, Danny? Come on. You’re kidding, yeah? A vodka at–“, looking at his wristwatch, “nine-thirty on a Saturday morning? You don’t even drink vodka–“

“TRY ME,” Danny yelled back.

A look of horror planted itself on Nick’s face.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 5) #AmWriting

For the last four weeks, I’ve asked for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I have written.

Banner for Help An Author showing a pile of books with one pile having a plant piot on top of it.
Help An Author

For those who missed the first four parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

An update on Part 4

Part 4 has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Thank you to everyone who left feedback for me. Once again, you all came up with brilliant suggestions, much of which I have implemented.

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 5

Here are the next 492 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, on-board the coach as Danny analyses a flashback in his life. In this part we delve even further into what caused the split-up between Danny and Nick. We’ll also learn a little more about Nick.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

Setting the trap had been straightforward. 

On a works’ evening out Danny was attending, Nick told him that he’d be spending the evening catching up on some work. As a trade unionist, Nick cared deeply about his fellow workers. He saw it as a way of showing how he cared for others without actually having to say anything. Unyielding with management, Nick ensured none of his fellow workers was ever bullied or sacked for no good reason. He organised strike action, and the workforce respected him for what he did. Even though some suspected Nick was gay, they still looked up to him. Many of the men he worked with never tolerated any homophobia allegations against him. Those that tried got dealt with quickly. 

Making a small mark on a half-empty bottle of vodka just to where the level of the vodka sat, Danny went out. It hadn’t mattered where they were going. If the venue played music, Danny could forget about everything and, for a time, dance the problems away.

At the end of the evening, after getting home, Danny noticed how untidy Nick’s usually clean and tidy desk looked. Union papers covered the entire surface. Had they been placed there to make it look like lots of hard work had taken place? It didn’t fool Danny. The vodka bottle held the truth, but it would have to wait until morning. All Danny wanted to do right now was cuddle up to Nick before they officially split up. He still loved him. 

Surprisingly, he slept well. 

‘Friday, at five past nine, but the evening, not the morning.’ Was that his Grandmother’s voice he could hear? Upon opening his eyes, Danny focused on the clock on the bedside cabinet. Five minutes past nine was the exact time he had been born. How odd that he’d just heard his Grandmother’s voice telling him the time. But she was wrong. It was morning, not evening. Given that she lived hundreds of miles away, he must have been dreaming about her.

He needed a drink of water but realised he’d forgotten to bring any with him to bed. A sudden noise of cutlery and dinner-plates from downstairs startled him. Turning over, he saw Nick’s side of the bed was empty.

One more minute, thought Danny, give me one more minute before I go downstairs and face being a single man again.

But the minute turned into two, which turned into five and then ten. Finally, Danny’s overfilled bladder forced him up and out of bed.

“Coffee, Danny?” called out Nick from the bottom of the stairs as Danny tipped-toed to the bathroom. 

Danny didn’t want to reply.

“Danny! Do you want coffee?” Nick yelled. 

An awkward pause was followed by what seemed an uncomfortable reply.

“Ah, yes. Better make it black, please.” 

Pausing, Danny wondered if he should shower first or just put on a pair of shorts and go and face Nick straight away.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 4) #AmWriting

Are you looking for help and advice for your current work-in-progress? Then look no further than the writing and blogging communities. 

Banner for Help An Author showing a pile of books with one pile having a plant piot on top of it.
Help An Author

For the last three weeks, I’ve asked for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I have written.

For those who missed the first three parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

An update on Part 3

Part 3 has now been added to the ‘Tales From Under Rainbow’ page. Click here to read the story so far.

Readers told me that this part of the story read a lot better than the previous two parts.

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to live and work in London.

Part 4

Here are the next 501 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, on-board the coach as it leaves Middlesbrough station. In this part we get to find out some of the background as to why Danny and his ex-boyfriend, Nick, spilt up.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

How disappointing. He could have at least seen me safely off, thought Danny. Seven years of life together and he can’t even be bothered to wave me off out of his life.

Earlier, the journey in the car to the station had been silent and tense. Danny was excited by the prospect of beginning a new life in London while Nick had thought about the future with the new love of his life, Shaun.

Shaun was younger than Danny. His blond curls, deep-blue eyes, six-pack and boyish good looks were something Nick couldn’t resist. He instantly fell for him.

A few years later, Nick regretted the moment he first set eyes on Shaun, wishing instead he had agreed with Danny to have a night at home. But the thought of watching another horror movie while eating a Chinese takeaway lost out to the urge of wanting to be out on the prowl inside a pub full of younger gay men.

It wasn’t long before Danny got suspicious. Nick was hiding someone or something. He set a trap to confirm if his suspicions were correct. On the night the trap was set, Danny’s worst fears came true. Not only had Nick admitted that he had affections for somebody else, but that he had also shared their bed with the new love of his life. It was a moment in the lives of all three men that none of them would forget.

For Danny, months of heartbreak followed. However, an advertisement in the local newspaper advertising for staff to live and work in London would eventually turn the heartbreak into something exciting.

For Nick, the rekindling of lust led to a slippery slide on life’s helter-skelter. As he hit the end of the ride, his final thought would be of the July day he drove Danny to the station and watched the only true love of his life set off on a journey which would not include him. But, thankfully, that wasn’t the end of being in Danny’s life.

For Shaun, life with Nick wasn’t all that Nick had promised. He soon found himself continuing another campaign of chaos and destruction that affected the lives of those he came into contact.

Think positive, Danny told himself. Ahead, lay an unknown but exciting future. Behind, life had been staggering, but the recent events had left a bitter reminder that everything happened for a reason. What was the point of dwelling on the past, and what might have been? The past was gone, and he was now on the verge of something completely new.

Nick was a thing of the past and had a new life with Shaun. No wonder he hadn’t stayed to wave Danny off. Shaun had probably already taken Danny’s place, by moving in and waiting in bed for Nick.

Feeling slightly jealous, Danny closed his eyes. He couldn’t help but think about what had happened between Nick and him. Had it been cruel, setting a trap which Nick fell into headfirst?


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Help An Author – Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 3) #AmWriting

Are you looking for help and advice for your current work-in-progress? Then look no further than the writing and blogging communities. 

Banner for Help An Author showing a pile of books with one pile having a plant piot on top of it.
Help An Author

For the last two weeks, I’ve asked for feedback on the opening chapter of a book I wrote 8 years ago. The response I got has been terrific. But best of all is that readers are telling me they want to read more.

For those who missed the first two parts, ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ is a novel I started writing in 2012.

Over the last two weeks, I published the first 1,051 words of chapter 1 on my blog and asked for readers to give me feedback.

As a result, 1,051 words have been reduced to 880 words. I also have got rid of a lot of the foreshadowing, which was confusing readers.     

‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ follows the adventures of Danny Johnson. Set in 1986, Danny is about to face life-changing events when he travels to London to live and work.

I’m publishing new parts of the story every week and asking for your help by leaving me feedback. From the feedback, I will rewrite that part and release the new version on the ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow‘ page.

Part 3

Here are the next 505 words of chapter 1. It continues from where it left off last week, on-board the coach at Middlesbrough station. This week we’re meeting another new, major character, known as Hamble, although that’s not her real name.

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Tales From Under The Rainbow

Although he was the last passenger to board the coach, Danny managed to find a row of unoccupied seats.

As Dougie revved up the engine, Danny sat down. A woman in the opposite row sighed relief and looked over at him.

“Air conditioning,” she declared while fanning her face with a magazine. “I just hate being so hot!”

With short brown hair that had a slight curl to it and a gorgeous doll-like face, Danny thought she looked like something his grandmother had on display in a porcelain cabinet. She looked about the same age as Danny and wore a long, white dress decorated with a large, red floral print. Her large brown eyes made her look like a doll Danny recalled seeing on a children’s TV show. He immediately nicknamed her ‘Hamble.’

Smiling back at her, he could have taken what she’d just said one of two ways. Either she was saying she hated the heat, or disliked being so good looking that just about every man she passed in the street would want to sleep with her.

“Not been a bad summer so far, but don’t you hate it being so hot that the news features those stupid stories of people claiming to have fried an egg on the pavement? Why would anyone want to fry an egg on the pavement? It’s not as if you can eat it afterwards,” giggled Hamble.

Out of politeness, Danny nodded his head.

“Then again”, she said, “maybe they’re making a point?”

“Yes,” replied Danny. “I’m not too fond of the heat either. I’d rather be too cold than too hot. At least you can wrap up warm.”

Danny’s mind began to wander again. It was as if the row of seats he had sat in and nicknamed ‘daydream alley’ were true to their name. But why was last Christmas on his mind? As usual, he’d spent it with Nick. Ah, yes, Nick. Where was Nick? He’d driven him to the coach station.

The noise of Hamble fumbling around some items in a plastic carrier bag broke his thinking. Taking out a giant chocolate bar and unwrapping it carefully, she took a large bite out of it, even though it was on the verge of melt-down.

“I couldn’t live without air conditioning or chocolate,” Hamble announced while savouring the day’s first taste of chocolate. “Unless it’s chocolate in a cake or a biscuit. I once worked with a girl who ate two large chocolate chip cookies and drunk a can of diet cola for breakfast. We nicknamed her ‘Fat Nat’,” she laughed.

Smiling at the cruel name, Danny asked if Nat ate salad for lunch.

While Hamble carried on talking, her voice became a dwindling echo in Danny’s head. Panic set in again, and he could feel his heart pounding the wall of his chest.

As the coach turned out of Middlesbrough station, Danny realised he’d forgotten about Nick. Quickly peering out of the window, his eyes searched for his ex-boyfriend, but Nick was nowhere in sight.


Now it’s over to you.

I’m looking for your feedback on this next part of chapter 1.

  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’   

I’ve created a Page on my blog where you can read the new version of the story. Click on ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow’ on the menu bar to access it.  

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 2) #AmWriting

Thank you to everyone who left feedback on part 1 of the story, which you can read by clicking here.

Special thanks to Geoff Le Pard, Liesbet @ Roaming About, Chuck Jackson and Paul Ariss for their feedback.

Tales From Over The Rainbow‘ is a novel in the making. These are the next 512 words. The story continues from where we left it in part 1. Today we’ll meet a new major character, Dougie Marsh.

Today, life was giving Danny a day he would never forget. It would be the day that changed everything. It would ensure his path of life crossed the paths of many other travellers all on their journeys through time.

What lay ahead for Danny was something he had often dreamt about ever since the first time he’d stepped off the train at Paddington station. Seven years earlier had been his first trip to London. It was the beginning of the romance he’d have with the city for the rest of his life.

Climbing the three steps to board the coach in Middlesborough station, Danny came face to face with the driver whom he acknowledged with a smile.

“Ticket please”, demanded the driver with a cheeky smile.

Blushing, Danny placed his bag on the floor. Thinking how ridiculous he must seem to all the other passengers, he fumbled around for his ticket. Although he disliked large groups of people starring at him, he always craved being the centre of attention.

He remembered how exiting he’d felt the day he’d purchased the ticket to London. The prospect of starting a new chapter in his life had stayed with him right up until this moment. Now, however, doubt was setting in. Was he doing the right thing by moving to London?

“Sorry,” announced Danny, looking up and noticing the badge on the driver’s shirt. ‘Dougie Marsh.’

“No problem,” responded Dougie. “Take your time. It looks as if you’re off on a mighty adventure.”

“Yes, I suppose I am,” replied Danny, hoping that the other passengers could not overhear the conversation. “I’ve lived here for six years and have decided to go through the new door life opened for me.”

“Oh come on, driver,” shouted a voice from the far end of the coach, “I kinda need to get to London today, not next week! Stop flirting with the cute guy and get on with getting us all there.”

Blushing again, Danny wondered if Dougie Marsh was flirting with him. Surely not? Anyway, even if he was, he wasn’t Danny’s type.

“Ah, here it is,” announced a delighted Danny, pulling the ticket from the inside of his wallet. “I’ve hardly let this ticket out of my sight since I purchased it. It’s become as important as having a best friend.” Handing the ticket to Dougie, he noticed how small Dougie’s hand was and how bitten down his nails were. Maybe he was an ex-smoker who had just quit or perhaps he was going through a tense time in his life?

“A best friend?” commented Dougie. “You must be on one significant journey.”

A loud cough from the back of the coach interrupted the conversation. The young man who had earlier accused Dougie of flirting looked Danny directly in the eye. It was a piercing look, one that without saying anything, Danny knew what action to take.

Picking up his bag, Danny made his way down the coach not realising the eyes of the driver were admiring a perfect backside in the rearview mirror of the coach.


Now it’s over to you.

As with part 1, I’m looking for your feedback on this second part of the story.

  • Did you read part 1 of the story?
  • What did you like/dislike about this part?
  • Are there any changes you’d recommend?

All feedback is welcome. Please leave me your comments.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read more about why I’m asking for your help in writing ‘Tales From Under The Rainbow.’

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Tales From Under The Rainbow (Part 1) #AmWriting

Tales from under the rainbow

Danny Johnson turned a corner, but it wasn’t any ordinary corner. No, this was a corner on the path of his life.

Life had given Danny many exciting and memorable moments, but it hadn’t finished with him yet. It had many more situations planned for him, and the journey he was on was about to get even exceptional.

On the last day of his life, Danny would look back on this part of the journey and know that he had lived it to the full. He would look at the tearful faces of those looking down at him and wish they were celebrating with him; not crying the final moments of this part of the journey away. Before taking his last breath, he’d demand that they not be sad for him.

Danny believed that nobody before him had lived such an extraordinary, peculiar and exciting life. He firmly believed that those in the future would look back at his ongoing journey and be envious. On closing his eyes for yet another interlude, he would wonder what next would be in store for him. Life never ended. You simply moved on to the next chapter.

Many years before, just as he was starting his first-ever part-time job, a simple comment would be one of the very few things that stayed with Danny for his entire life.

“Oh my god, they’ve written about your arse!” were the words spoken by Lee, a barman. “I can’t believe they mentioned your arse. Look!”

Taking the paper from Lee, Danny’s eyes instantly focused on the title of the publication. London’ Bears.

Sensing the wide-opened eyes of Lee on him, a big grin appeared across Danny’s face. He knew that his body’s best feature was his bottom, and here it was now being confirmed in a publication. And, more recently, it had been confirmed by Nick, Danny’s boyfriend.

Standing at five feet ten inches tall, Danny Johnson may have had the best bottom in the world, but he disliked his pale complexion. He always had to cover up during hot summer’ days, which meant no going shirtless with all the other guys. Freckles dotted his arms, and his red hair would have been very wavy if he’d let it grow. But he never allowed it to grow, always getting it cut at least once every three weeks. Danny disliked long hair on men. It just made them look feminine.

He always felt on top of the world after a haircut. It made him feel clean and confident, but most of all, Danny believed it made him stand out in a crowd.

His confidence would dwindle as his hair grew. It was as if the confidence was sand in an egg timer which would fill up again the moment his hair got cut.

Whenever he needed a confidence boost, Danny would get the hair clippers out. As he clipped his hair to the number one setting on the clippers, the confidence would come flooding back. There would be occasions when he would find himself cutting his hair at three O’clock in the morning, especially after miserable nights out where he had played at being a wallflower all evening without anybody attempting to chat him up.


Tales From Over The Rainbow‘ is a novel in the making. These are its first 539 words.

Danny Johnson is the main character.

What do you think of Danny? Is he a likeable character? Would you like to read the next part of Tales From Under The Rainbow?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Thank you so much.

Click here to read the final version of this part (and other parts) of the story after taking all feedback into consideration.

Click here to leave feedback on part 2 of the story.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

True Stories: Gay Memories – First Date – Memories From Gay London During the 1980s #LGBTQI #LGBT

Have you ever had one of those life experiences that renders you utterly speechless? Read on and let me know if anything I’m about to tell you leaves you as astonished as it did when it happened to me. 

Pride Month: First Date

Picture it – Earl’s Court, London, 1988, the height of the summer, and me working as a part-time barman in one of the coolest gay bars in the city.

In the bar, the biggest catch in town. And it seemed he had his eyes on me. He’d been showing some interest in me for weeks, or so I thought.

Sometimes, when I caught him looking at me, I’d blush so much that my face resembled a sun-dried tomato. At the same time, my heart would skip a few beats while the butterflies in my stomach felt like they were rioting.

Neville, my best friend, made a bet with me that if ‘catch’ (as we’d nicknamed him) asked me out on a date, he’d do all my washing for the rest of the year. How could I decline a bet like that?    

At six-foot-tall, mid-thirties, with a stocky build, short dark hair, moustache, piercing brown eyes, and always wearing the tightest of Levi 501 jeans, it wasn’t my washing that needed a cold wash. It was me!

He was what I called a ‘man’s man’, and nobody would have ever guessed that he was gay had they seen him walking down the street or standing on the terraces at Stamford Bridge

Nobody knew much about him. Not even his name.

He always stood on his own, and nobody ever approached him. He ordered one drink that lasted the whole evening and always left the bar on his own.

I didn’t want to make the first move. I hated rejection, but the prospect of having my washing done for the rest of the year was tempting.

The other barmen had noticed that ‘Catch’ was giving me a little too much attention. Make the first move, they told me, but I couldn’t.

Then, in the early hours of an unusually warm and humid Sunday morning, having just finished my shift, I left the bar and started to make the short trip home.

“Hi” came a deep voice from behind me. “I’ve been watching you for weeks and wondered if you fancied coming back to my place for a coffee?”

As I span around, the butterflies in my stomach rioted again as my eyes were met by ‘Catch’ smiling at me. For some reason, it took what seemed like ages for me to accept his invitation.

Jumping into a taxi with him, I felt as if I was floating on cloud nine. We sat silent like two lovebirds, just looking into each others eyes.

As soon we reached his apartment, I’d hardly given ‘Catch’ time to close the front door before grabbing him and forcing him to do some tongue dancing with me.

What happened after the tongue dancing didn’t seem to last long, but neither of us seemed to care very much. There was still time for rounds two, three and four. 

I had the feeling that he was the one and that we’d be doing lots more of what had just happened, only at a much slower pace.

“Would you like a beer, Peachy?” were his first words to me since we got to his apartment. Peachy? Was he talking to me? Well, that’s another story, but the cold beers helped cool us down while we continued to look into each others eyes. 

After rounds two and three, we were both exhausted, and he asked if I wanted to stay the rest of the night.

As much as I wanted to stay, I had to get home because I couldn’t wait to see Neville and tell him what had happened.

While quickly freshening myself up, ‘Catch’ made us some coffee.

Grabbing my clothes and walking to the kitchen (because I didn’t want to miss another second of being with him), I realised I still didn’t know ‘Catch’s’ real name. Should I ask, or should I wait until he asked me for mine? After all, he couldn’t know me as ‘Peachy’ when we went on our first proper date. 

Having convinced myself that it wasn’t me doing the chasing in this relationship, I decided to wait until he introduced himself to me.

While the coffee went cold, our tongues had another long dance.

“Would you like to make this a regular thing?” ‘Catch’ asked me, as he came up for some air. 

I had a fleeting vision of Neville doing my washing, so didn’t take long to respond. 

“What? You bet!”

“Good, I was hoping you’d say that.” 

After a little more tongue dancing, it was time for us to part and ‘Catch’ escorted me to the front door. 

However, suddenly stoping, ‘Catch’ told me to wait, and off he wandered (while muttering something about having forgotten something). I watched as the man of my dreams disappeared back into the bedroom. Surly not round five, I thought.

With my heart playing the drums in my chest, I was positive I could feel those first dewdrops of love welling up inside of me. He was probably writing down his phone number for me.  

Then it all started to go wrong. Very wrong!

I couldn’t take my eyes off ‘Catch’ as he walked towards me. “Here you go,” he said, thrusting a wad of ten-pound notes into my hand. “You forgot to ask for your fee. I’ve deducted a little for the beer and coffee you had.”

Shocked, my jaw hit the floor, and for the first time in my life, I was speechless; completely speechless! And, before you ask, no, not because he’d made a deduction for beer and coffee.

‘Catch’ had mistaken me for a rent-boy. 

Still openmouthed and unable to speak, I walked out, turned around and, as ‘Catch’ closed the front door, heard him say he’d recommend me to anyone looking for the same kind of fun.


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True Stories: Gay Memories – Gay London During The 1980s #LGBTQI #LGBT #PrideMonth

“They all have moustaches, wear 501s and are called Clones.”

Those were my words to my best friend, Neville, upon my first visit to Earl’s Court, London, back in the mid-1980s.

I was like a kid in a sweet shop. Just about every man in the place had a moustache, and I was big into facial hair.

Gay life in London during the 1980s

Back then, there were five gay bars in Earl’s Court. It was the centre of the universe for any gay man visiting London.

It was easy to get to Earl’s Court, via public transport, and I always felt safe there. It was as if the district had a safety bubble around it.

No surprise then that I moved into a two-bedroom flat in Earl’s Court shortly after arriving to live in London in 1986.

The most famous gay bar in Earl’s Court was called ‘The Coleherne.’ These days, it’s a trendy restaurant come wine bar which I believe serves some smashing food.

The Coleherne – now known as The Pembroke

I spent lots of time in ‘The Coleherne.’ At the time, pubs had to close their doors between 3 and 5:30pm (2 and 7pm on a Sunday). ‘The Coleherne’ was always packed out during the final hour of drinking time.

It had a jukebox in the corner that played all the latest hits as well as many ‘Hi-NRG’ (Pronounced High Energy) tunes which was a new type of music adopted by many gay men.

Evelyn Thomas – Singing some Hi-NRG music

Neville was into the same types of men who drunk in “The Coleherne’ as me. So you’d often find us in there.

There was a strict rule about going into ‘The Coleherne.’ Those wearing leather, such as a bikers’ jacket, waistcoat, or chaps, had their own side-door entrance.

Everybody else had to use the other door on the main street. If you went through what Neville and I called ‘the leather door’ you’d end up on the leather side of the bar.

The leather guys would glare at you if your attire included no leather, and they would continue to glare at you until you made your way to the non-leather side of the bar.

Scary stuff for first-time visitors or anybody who entered the pub by mistake.

What made Neville and me laugh was that some of the leather guys often arrived carrying a motorcycle helmet under their arm. You may ask, ‘what’s so funny about that?’

Well, they’d place the motorcycle helmet on the top shelf above the bar, order their drink, and then stand around looking as butch as possible.

Then, at closing time, Neville and I would watch as they made their way to the bus-stop, with motorcycle helmets under their arms. For some, carrying a motorcycle helmet seemed to be the must-have, new fashion accessory when dressed in leather.

Although ‘The Coleherne’ was probably the most shabby of all the five gay bars in Earl’s Court, it was always busy.

Just down the road, at one end of the street, was ‘The Boltons.’ This was a strict ‘no-no’ bar for Neville and I because it was known for its rent boys.

At the other end of the street was ‘Bromptons’ bar. This was the place Neville and me nicknamed ‘Clone City’ because just about every man who entered had facial hair.

‘Bromptons’ opened at 10pm and closed at 2am. On a Sunday, it opened earlier but closed at midnight. It was a 30-second walk from where I lived, so it was very convenient.

Friendlier than ‘The Coleherne,’ for those who’d never visited before, ‘Bromptons’ had a small dance floor and a kiosk that sold all the latest Hi-NRG 12-inch vinyl singles.

In those days, gay men only purchased 12-inch vinyl singles, unlike most of the rest of the population that bought the 7-inch vinyl version.

A gay anthem from the 1980s

There was the odd splattering of leather amongst the crowd, but most were dressed in check shirts, 501 Jeans and Doc-Marten boots.

Just about everyone ordered and drunk bottles of lager, rather than pints. If you arrived early, you could compare your check shirts and see if any of them clashed severely with the chequered carpet and wallpaper of the bar.

Arriving early also meant free entry into the bar. After 11pm there was a small entry fee charged, so many would flock in at 22:55.

The Barmen at ‘Bromptons’ were often hand-picked by the owner. “Have good looking bar staff, and you’ll pack the place out every night,” he once told me. And he was right!

Gay London barman of the 1980s.

The place was a magnet for clones who seemed to need little sleep despite having full-time jobs, many of which required an early morning start.

The other two bars at the opposite end of Earl’s Court were located next door to each other.

One was a bar called ‘Harpoon Louis,’ which hosted cabaret most nights.

The likes of Lily Savage (aka Paul O’Grady) started out here, and it was always a great place to go for a laugh.

‘Cruising’, as Gay men called it (better known as looking for a partner for the night), did go on. In contrast, in the other bars, cruising was very serious, and you dare not laugh when trying to pick up your date for the night. In ‘Harpoon Louis,’ it didn’t seem to matter as much.

‘Copacabana’ was next door to Harpoon Louis and was the main gay nightclub of the area. It was convenient to fall into when coming out of ‘Harpoon Louis.’

‘Copacabana’ (also known as ‘Copa’s’) was the biggest of all the bars in Earl’s Court and had a large dance floor. It was the place to hear the latest Hi-NRG tunes, dance, drink and check out the men.

Some famous faces often frequented the place, but being ‘gay men,’ the clientele often dare not approach them.

During the 1980s, gay men adopted a ‘hanky’ code. You’d place a particular coloured handkerchief in either the left or right back pocket of your 501 jeans. This told other gay men what kind of sexual fun you were into.

Rather than the ‘hanky’ code, Neville and I adopted the ‘teddy bear’ code. This involved the placing of a small teddy bear in the back pocket. This told others if you enjoyed giving or receiving cuddles.

Today, Earl’s Court is no longer the centre of the universe for gay men. Its crown was lost to Soho and Vauxhall during the late 1990s, although the gay scene in London now seems to be more spread out.

Image credit: Geoff Le Pard

Had we arrived for the first time today, Neville and I would not have liked Earls Court as much. However, it holds lots of happy memories not just for us, but for many from the LGBT crowd.

Sadly, Neville passed away in the mid-1990s. However, the fun and laughter we shared together during the days and nights of Earl’s Court in the 1980s can still be heard in its bars and streets.


This post was originally written and published as a guest post in April 2016 on TanGental. It has been updated for this version.

Click here to read another post from my Pride Month series which tells the story of a first date that went horribly wrong.

Copyright © 2020 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Last Train To Aldwych – A Short Story For VE Day

Nobody noticed Grace Simmons.

She sat on her own in the second carriage of the London underground train which had just come to a halt at Aldwych station.

Further down the carriage, party goers got off the train and she could hear the sounds of their laughter fade as they exited from the station platform. The only evidence that they’d ever been there were the empty beer bottles and fast-food wrappers which littered the carriage floor.

Dressed in her blue, floral, hour-glass vintage dress from the nineteen forties, she waited patiently. It wouldn’t be long before the music started, and they could dance again.

She held on tightly to the jet-black leather handbag he had given to her one Christmas. Such a happy day, one full of laughter and happiness. It had only been the two of them that day – the best Christmas she’d ever had.

The lights flickered briefly on the station platform. He would be here soon. The station was quiet, and she wondered what he would think of her when he saw her again. He hadn’t aged at all, but the wrinkles on her face, along with a head of grey hair, had aged her so much.

However, she always took plenty of time preparing herself for the meeting she had with him on the same date every year.

Then, the faint sound of music came to her ears and her heart began to beat faster. She dared not move until he came to her and asked her if she would like to dance.

The lights flickered inside the train carriage as the music became a little louder. She recognised the tune: Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’.

It was their tune, the one they had first danced to at this very station the first time they had met.

Suddenly, she heard the sound of footsteps. Were they his? She hoped so; it had been such a long time since they had last danced.

As her heart beat faster, Grace remembered their wedding day. Her mother had helped her make her dress and when he’d finally seen her in it, she knew she had taken his breath away.

“Your eyes shine like the brightest stars in the night sky,” he’d said. “You are my guiding light. I am the luckiest man alive.”

She dared not look up, just yet, in case the footsteps were not his.

Twice before, the footsteps had belonged to the station manager who had explained that this was the last train to Aldwych, and she needed to leave the station.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw the shadow of a man and hoped with all her heart that it was Ernest. The shadow grew longer as it passed the open carriage doors. Then the footsteps were no more.

“Would you like to dance?”

Raising her head slowly, tears came to her eyes as she saw him again.

He looked so handsome in his army uniform. His wavy black hair had not lost its colour and his handsome boyish features looked the same as they had on their wedding day.

His deep blue eyes gazed at her as he held out his arms towards her. For a moment she could not move, but the music gradually released her and she moved towards him.

She tried to say his name, but the words would not come. He held a finger to her mouth. There was no need to say anything; they were together again.

He lowered his finger from her lips as she stepped out of the carriage. After placing her handbag on the platform floor, she looked up at him.

Holding out his arms, she took hold of his right hand and rested the other on the small of his back. They started to dance, never once taking their eyes away from each other. They dared not look away for fear that this was all a dream and that it would end quickly if either one of them awoke.

Sounds of laughter, singing and clapping came to them and, from above, the distant sounds of explosions. Nobody else was there to witness the love and happiness which had come to Aldwych station.

They could feel the love all around them as they danced together. For a few precious moments they were the happiest people in the world.

A slight breeze blew along the platform, its hot air circling at her legs. With it came the front of a discarded newspaper. She looked down as it came towards them and tried to kick it away, but it became stuck to one of the heels of her shoes. She dared not let him go and tears once again came to her as she looked into his eyes. He smiled back at her.

“I will always love you, Grace.”

She looked down again as the music began to fade.

Lowering her arms to her side, she did not want to look up to see if he was still there for she knew this would be the last time they would meet. The love and joy which had just been there with them had now turned to sadness and sorrow. She bent down and removed the newspaper. Her eyes took in the date.

Friday, 30th September 1994.

Underneath, the headline read –

Last Train to Aldwych.
Station To Finally Close Down For Good – Tonight.

That night, Grace Simmons took the ten-minute walk back to The Strand Palace Hotel and died peacefully in her sleep.

Some still say that when walking past the boarded-up building that was once the entrance to Aldwych underground station, they can hear the faint sounds of a nineteen-forties band playing Glenn Miller’s ‘Moonlight Serenade’. Others claim to have heard the rumble of an underground train as if it were pulling into the station.

For Grace and Ernest, their dance still goes on.


Story taken from the short story collection Glimpses – Available on Amazon.

#books

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