Ann Somerville grew up in one of Australia’s prettiest small cities. In 1989, she left Australia with a BA and a burning ambition to see more of the world and its people, and to discover this ‘culture’ thing people kept telling her about. In 2006, she returned home to Southeast Queensland with two more degrees, an English husband, and a staggering case of homesickness, vowing never to leave Australia again.
Her long, plot-driven fiction featuring gay and bisexual characters has been professionally published, although copious free full length stories and novels are also available on her website. She blogs about writing, publishing, her life and many shiny distracting things.
Where to find Ann Somerville online
Where to buy in print
by Ann Somerville
Price: $2.99 USD. 37920 words.
Published on April 5, 2013. Fiction.
Dylan engineers artificial limbs like the one replacing his right hand. Moving to take up a new job after other life changes has left him lonely and disconnected, so fun-loving Max crashing into his life is a welcome change.
But Dylan discovers Max and his beloved twin Toby share a dark secret, and must help them navigate a new, uncertain reality without breaking his own heart in the process.
by Ann Somerville
Price: $3.99 USD. 114870 words.
Published on January 14, 2013. Fiction.
In a world like our own, Jerna has a beloved wife and two adored children, but is falsely accused of child abuse and imprisoned, losing all. In the most unlikely of places, he wins a second chance. With the cruelly fascinating Tolomi, he can satisfy long denied passions - but will he risk losing what has become so dear? A complex erotic story of redemption, love, and trust in a BDSM relationship.
Synchronised (Interstitial #2)
by Ann Somerville
Price: Free! 11610 words.
Published on October 27, 2011. Nonfiction.
A short interlude between 'Interstitial' and 'Impedimenta'. In a sun-drenched luxury resort, Seb and North recuperate, sort out a few issues, and move their relationship up a notch. Jati deals with her demons.
A Peace Within
by Ann Somerville
Price: $0.99 USD. 11170 words.
Published on June 16, 2011. Fiction.
A grieving widower who can see spirits. A lonely ex-soldier, finding civilian existence unfulfilling. And a sad little soul, unable to move on to her new life. Together they will solve a mystery and bring each other the healing they need. Part of the Periter universe, a prequel to "Cold Front".
A Fluffy Tale 2: Warm and Fuzzy
by Ann Somerville
Price: $2.99 USD. 56640 words.
Published on January 10, 2011. Fiction.
(4.17 from 6 reviews)
Daniel wants to be an engineer, but when his parents die in an accident, he gives up his studies and takes a office position to support his young brother and sister. He hates his new job, but never expects to find himself in serious danger, or to need help from the amazingly tall, kind and good-looking Spen, his friends, Julian, Leo and Zachary, and, of course, their clever kems.
Bound to Fall (Encounters #3)
by Ann Somerville
Price: $2.99 USD. 54530 words.
Published on February 3, 2010. Fiction.
Kine Raelne is settling well into his new life, with his new lover, working for Quarn to improve life for its people.
Dinun isn't faring so well, linving with the Angels, however much in love he is with Moon.
The arrival of visitors from Rael's planet offers opportunities and hope, but they are caught up in dangerous political machinations threatening them all.
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Smashwords book reviews by Ann Somerville
- Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold
on Sep. 15, 2010
This is not an extraordinary book, or very original, and it needs editing - POV switches, blurgy punctuation in place - though I’ve seen much worse pro published. It’s a charming, rather simple story, highly predictable and fairy tale like, with too much telling not showing, and too many neat resolutions to thorny situations. The characters were likeable, if somewhat incredible, and Anne Wells verged towards the Mary Sueish at times. (Actually, what it put me in mind of was the dynamic between Francis Crawford and Philippa Somerville in the Lymond Chronicles, which isn’t a bad thing.)
It was a decent time waster for several hours, and certainly didn’t cause offence in its handling of the biracial storyline (at least not to this white reader.) I’d have to say it didn’t rock my world, but it was pretty reasonable by self-published standards. I don’t see any reason, personally, for the over the top recommendations on Amazon, since it was so firmly in the slightly above average category. For $2.99, you could do a lot worse, but it’s not going to change anyone’s life. I’d rate it 6 out of 10, maybe 7.
- Something Like Summer
on Feb. 03, 2011
This is a coming of age story, and a pretty convincing one. The characters are credible, though not always appealing. The standard straight girl friend is credible without being ubersaintly or self-sacrificing (as too many of these kinds of characters end up being), but her story takes a back seat to the main action - sad, because one could have written a novel about her alone, and this story, told from her perspective, might have been a better book. Unfortunately, the author doesn't flesh out the nicest guy in the story as much as he could have, probably because his interest is in other characters.
Line editing and presentation are professional. Standard of writing is mostly decent, with some amateurish touches here and there, but this is a cut well above most self-published books, and certainly above many books in this genre. The pace is rapid - almost too rapid, as a main flaw with the story is the failure to allow the reader to fully enjoy or appreciate the emotional significance of certain life changing events on the central personalities. This swift passing over, along with an over-reliance on telling not showing throughout, means this novel is less satisfying than it could be, and should be, given the intensity of the subject matter and plot.
The story held my interest right through to the end, but I was dissatisfied with the ending. There are only a few ways to resolve a triangular love story, and I have to say the author chose not only the method I most dislike, but the one which did the least justice to the characters. (I'm trying not to spoil the story, that's why I'm not going into specifics.)
The growth of Ben from inexperienced teen to older and wiser adult felt real, as did Tim's transition from spoiled but affection starved closeted rich kid to spoiled but affection starved out gay man. I really liked Jace, and his impact on Ben was delightful to watch. What was bewildering was Ben's continued attraction to a man who never grew up enough even to look after a dog properly, who is prepared to lie and cheat and tempt to get what he wants regardless of how much pain he causes in the process. Despite the character's internal protestions, Ben's interest in Tim seemed to be mainly sexual, from teenage years to adulthood. Not a lot to build a future on, in my opinion.
However, this is not a bad book, just one which didn't live up to its potential as much as *I* would have liked. It will certainly appeal to many readers, particular young gay men who will identify intensely with the issues of homophobia, closeting, fidelity, monogamy and self-awareness. They may also be closer to the actual setting of growing up gay in Texas, with all the 'pleasures' of highschool in modern America.
There's much to enjoy and it is a pleasant read regardless of what faults I personally felt it had. It's excellent value for money, and ridiculously cheap for a novel of this length and quality.
- Collected Veinglory: M/M Short Stories
on Feb. 08, 2011
Emily Veinglory is one of the most imaginative and elegant writers in the m/m genre, and would give some of the literary greats a run for their money in the stylistic stakes. Purely from the story-telling/emotional point of view, these stories are masterpieces. The amount of world-building and intensity she packs into even the briefest of these stories is simply staggering. Though there is a certain sameness to the themes - lovers (often of perceived disparate attractiveness) brought together yet separated by curses or cruel circumstance, managing to find the loophole which will let them be united, even if almost too late, or in an incomplete manner, are the dominant trope - there is nothing remotely similair about the worlds, or the relationships. Elves, vampires, princes, interplanetary soldiers, seilkies, pirates, bankrobbers, and lawmen populate these 12 stories, and their lives are laid before us in all their painful, limited splendour. Veinglory knows how to give us all the background without ever infodumping, using a spare but masterful prose to build rich miniatures and compelling interactions. If I had to single out one story - and it's difficult to do - I would choose "Bisclavaret" as a perfect example of her craft.
So why haven't I given this a five star rating? I wondered what to do, honestly, but in the end, I had to downrate this as a total experience because the line editing is thorougly horrible, and the formatting inferior. I read this partly on an iPod and I kid you not, for many stories there were two to three errors per iPod screen (which is only about twenty lines or so). Missing, mispelling or misselected words, mistaken character names were too common to ignore. A handful of errors could be overlooked, but not this number. These simply haven't been edited, and given the beauty of the prose, it's like throwing mud on a Monet. Equally, the author (for this is self-published and so she must take the blame) hasn't made sure the word is properly formatted in .epub, so the style changes from paragraph to paragraph, hyphenation is crap, and there is no table of contents, let alone hyperlinks to and back to it from the titles, as is now the style requested by Smashwords. It made it very difficult to navigate and generally a less than pleasing experience on my chosen ereader.
If you want my rating of the stories ignoring these issues, it would have to be 10 stars. But even for the low price of $2.99, it's not good enough to present customers with unedited work. Perhaps the author will revise and reissue, and thus introduce new readers to her decidedly superior writing.
- The Zagzagel Diaries: Forsaken
on Feb. 08, 2011
This short (3,000 words) piece serves to introduce the reader to Zagzagel, a guardian angel with a tragic past, a tough boss, and a sad passion for his current charge, who, as we start the story, is about to throw himself off a building. Zagzagel wants to stop him, but there are rules.
A slight piece in the description, but rich and lyrical in the execution. Zagzagel's past is hinted at, and his current situation imperfectly and tantalisingly set out. The author has created the perfect taster, and if the rest of the series, available at Untreed Reads Publishing, are as clever and beautiful, then the reader is in for a treat. A little beauty, as we say downunder.
- Buddha on the Road
on March 30, 2011
I found this little gem simply by browsing the latest books in Smashwords' GLBT category, and how very grateful I am that I did. This is an involving, at time distressing mystery, revolving around Brin Harper, a cop grieving for his mother, and events in Burma during Brin's childhood while his mother was a diplomat. Past and present, West and East, collide and echo in this tight, compelling book.
Brin is ostensibly American, but he spent so much of his childhood in Asia that he doesn't feel completely at home in New York. He retains memories and habits from his time in the East, but as the story opens, he's struggling to cope with the apparent self-immolation suicide of his mother months before. His current boyfriend is being a prick about it, his boss has just partnered him with the crassest new female cop in the section, and now he has to dive back into his past to make sense of a brutal torture murder of a Burmese man trying to pass as Thai. Even dispensing with the prick of a boyfriend and taking up again with his friend with benefits, Aung, doesn't make his life any more restful - or safer.
I immediately warmed to Brin, so tormented, but yet so full of compassion. The author avoids fetishing Burmese culture - indeed, exposing the ugliness of the regime there which the West largely ignores - but manages to show why Brin remains so tied to it, and why it still dominates his thoughts and beliefs so many years later. We're shown the dark and the attractive side in a way that to me, at least, demonstrates true understanding. The author worked as a journalist for some years in the region, so I'm going to assume the book draws on his real experiences there. It gives the book a solidity and verisimilitude that very few Western authors manage to create when writing about Asia.
Other characters are also vivid, if not always appealing. Stephanie just made me want to spank her, she was so brash and rude. Aung, Brin's sometime lover and now maybe more, is both East and West, a past full of torture and deprivation, and a present very much centered in New York as a professor. Darwin, Brin's boss, was a delight - I particularly loved the way the author avoided stereotypes in certain characters. William Bryson, widower of the Aung San Suu Kyi-like activist Marlar Swe who died horribly in a Burmese jail, adds a melancholy mystery to Brin investigations, and a monk who may or may not be involved in the killings, adds a supernatural element which keeps the reader guessing.
The writing was very enjoyable and well edited. A few POV shifts which threw me a little, and the sudden switch to the POV of the killer was a bit of a shock. However, the story carried me along swiftly, with real anxiety as to how it would end. It's a tale as much about Brin's coming to grips with his grief and past as it is about the mystery, and I think the former ends more satisfactorily than the latter - if only because Burma's woes go on, and the people there still suffer.
The book is listed as 'romance - suspense' but the romance is not the central element, just so you don't go in thinking it is. Brin's relationship with Aung is important, but the book is about Brin and the murders. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the relationship aspects that were there, and the way it intersected with the murder investigation. I highly recommend this book and I will be seeking out others by the author. A writer to watch.
- The Karma Booth
on April 01, 2011
This is a big book with a compelling, unusual idea - what if you could swap the life of a murderer for their victim? Shove the killer into one Karma Booth, and out of the other comes the dead person, restored to health and life. Easy decision, right? As governments around the world soon discover, as do the scientists trying to wrangle this strange technology gifted to them by a reclusive billionaire, the reality is neither easy nor pretty.
Pearce, using the vehicle of a mild mannered ethics professor and former American diplomat turned Government contract troubleshooter, Timothy Cale, who once saw what no one was ever supposed to witness, explores the ethical conundrums of the initial idea. He then twists it into a true horror story as the Karma Booths start to behave unpredictably, the victims (who come back disturbed and disturbing) start to be killed off by the one killer the Booths couldn't handle, and various individuals try to grab the booths for their own nefarious ends. Toss in Cale's previous experiences with a brutal set of otherworldly monkish judges, a sudden uptick in wild animals killing humans, and the re-appearance of a woman, Emily Derosier, who's been dead for over 80 years, and you've got a story which is gripping, confusing, and even mind-boggling.
There are so many ideas, images, and actions in this book, it's perhaps inevitable that something's got to give, and in this case, it's the characters. Timothy is the best fleshed out of the 'heroes', but at the end, despite his apparent importance to so many of the central players in this story, he remains something of a cypher, at least to me. We learn lots of facts about him, lots of reactions to him, but I still felt he slipped through my fingers. He didn't make the same impact on me as Brin Harper did in Buddha on the Road. He's certainly a likeable character, but there's a bit too much telling not showing about his characterisation.
The other characters are even hazier. Crystal Anyanike, the black London supercop, stunningly beautiful, clever, athletic - you get the drift - helps Timothy's investigations into the Booth's impact, and provides him with a surprisingly lightly sketched in sexual relationship and romance. Yet she never really becomes an individual in the book, and after her impressive attainments and attributes are ticked off, her role in the book could have just as easily have been carried out by Dennis Waterman's character in The Minder. Her special abilities make almost no difference. Pearce has created a superhero without anything that super to do.
The third member of the Scooby gang is a geneticist, Andrew Miller, whose role is to provide (largely bullshit) science babble, and to drool unsuccessfully over Crystal. He has the potential to provide humour, but never quite manages to.
If Crystal and Andrew hadn't existed, the book would have probably done just fine without them, because it's Timothy's interactions with the resurectees, with the mysterious 'monks' of long ago, and with Emily Derosier (who is probably the second most vividly described character in the book), which form the keys to solving the intriguing and dangerous puzzle of what the Booths are for, and what a certain psychopath is trying to use them to do. Which is more than enough to keep the reader glued to the pages.
While I'm banging on about the negatives (because I don't want to make it sound like this is a bad book), the two other things that bothered me was the bad science and the info-dumping. I could excuse the latter - there's a lot of ideas and information to convey, a lot of figuring out of what the hell is going on, and with Timothy deliberately portrayed as a layman when it comes to science, he's the one who has to ask the questions and get the long answers. I just felt there was a little bit too much of it in places. It was well enough handled most of the time. I felt that the book could have done with another couple of editing passes to tighten it up, cut out as much of the exposition as possible, and especially to remove some repeated descriptions of fists colliding with temples.
The science bothered me more than it will some readers, but as this is a genre full of geek readers, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the science to be correct as much as possible. A reference to arsenic-based life forms (which are no such thing) as evidence of an importance premise was just sloppy†, and a crucial epiphany was made from DNA evidence when DNA just doesn't work that way. Without trying to spoil the story, if you have a DNA sequence from one organism in another organism of a completely different family, that doesn't mean the latter organism used to be the former, except in a strictly evolutionary sense. If you have enough DNA to uniquely identify one individual, found in another individual of a completely different species, that latter individual is probably going to be horribly deformed, or dead. DNA makes proteins, not souls.
This may not bother most people, and the plot works well enough even if you ignore this fiddle faddle. The fiddle faddle just annoyed me, that's all.
Now, in case you got the idea that this is a bad novel, put that right out of your heads. It's a fascinating book which works as excellent speculative fiction as well as horror. The pace is swift, the central idea powerful and challenging, the villains scary as hell, and Cale is a non-heroic hero who makes a nice change from supermen who are blessed with extraordinary abilities and intelligence. (The story is a bit of an anti-superhero treatise in some ways, since super powers don't make their recipients happier or safer.) Cale's smart, but not super smart, and brave without being athletic. What he is open minded and empathetic. Humane. Which is a characteristic I adore in protags.
Pearce has a wonderful way with description, especially in the horror scenes, and I guess my main beef with the expository dialogue is that they get in the way of more of this great writing. He creates genuinely creepy people and scenarios - genuinely disturbing - and in a way, the anodyne nature of the good guys is a necessary relief from the vileness.
This is a book I will reread, and think about. It poses some genuine ethical dilemmas and avoids providing pat answers. It explores a rich, wide field of religious, spiritual, scientific beliefs and ideas, asking the reader to think about what would it mean if this were true, if that concept was real. Books which are both entertaining and thought-provoking are rare enough, and for that reason (and because I enjoyed it a lot) I recommend it to you.
†The author, after reading this review, has already revised the story to excise this reference. So no more goofs on that score!
- The Tradesman's Entrance
on May 24, 2011
Oh this is a hoot. I love the voices, and it's laugh out loud funny. Short, sharp and very enjoyable. A couple of editing niggles don't spoil an otherwise nicely written short story that works perfectly for its length.
- Raven and the Wolf
on May 31, 2011
Ms Evers has created strong characters,a fascinating world, and a beautiful love story here. A solid, enjoyable read.
on June 01, 2011
A really tight, well-written short. If this is typical of this author's writing, I'll be looking for more.
on June 02, 2011
When I was younger, this was the kind of story I would inhale like air. Tightly written, clever, thinky science fiction with masses of ideas, interested world building and commentary packed into spare, punchy prose.
And then I discovered m/m, where the art of the short story is confined to stroke fic and PWPs. Because short fiction is hard, and you need to be more than just a decent writer to make it work. You need to be really good. And Mr Young is really, really good.
Aldin is an art thief, looking to complete one last job so he can finish his sex reassignment surgery and live in the body he knows he belongs in. But his partner has other ideas. Just when all seems lost, help comes in the most unexpected form.
That short summary doesn't do justice to this. For heaven's sake, risk the whole buck and buy this, and enjoy it. It's rare enough to have a transgendered hero in any story, but even if you haven't the slightest interest in that, this is still a short, cracking read. Science fiction as it should be. Highly recommended!
- Perfect Love
on Aug. 24, 2011
Really appallingly edited - or should I say, not edited at all. The level of writing is amateurish, but it was the non-stop typos, missing words and punctuation, which stopped me finishing this story. The idea had promise but this is not a commercial, professional product, and should not be on sale as such.
Suggest the author pull it, polish it until it squeaks, and put it back.
- And to All a Good Night (Life Lessons 1 1/2)
on Sep. 09, 2011
A surprisingly meaty and satisfying 'freebie', giving us a window on Mac's work life and the lonely existence that Tony has brightened after "Life Lessons". A Christmas story without sentimentality - it's actually rather sad in parts, not to say a little gruesome - and in the end Mac is still deep in the closet, and holding back from a full life with the man he obviously needs and adores.
Beautiful work, Ms Harper. Sets us nicely for "Breaking Cover" but can be enjoyed for itself too.
- If It Ain't Love
on Oct. 11, 2011
I won’t claim to be Tamara Allen’s biggest fan only because I know that there is fierce competition for that position. But by god, I love her writing, so very very much. Yet, when this little freebie turned up, I hestitated over reading it. I was in a foul mood about other things, and a story set in the Depression sounded…well, depressing. You can understand my reasoning, I’m sure.
But I should have had faith. This is the author who can make Victorian England sound almost wonderful, who could write about post WWI America (indeed, on the verge of the Great Depression) and make it a funny, fantastic, romantic place, and who could make the dry and dusty world of banking a hot bed of intrigue and sexual tension.
Once again she works her magic, and while the grim realities of the depths of the Depression are not remotely skirted over (and of course, knowing there are people in America, land of such wealth and promise, who still live hand to mouth as they did in the 1930′s, is sobering), she uses the very misery of people flung out of work and their homes to tell a sweet, beautiful story of love, hope, and above all—kindness. Whit and Peter are adorable – there’s jus no other word for it. They care about each other, and hold each other, raising each other out of their gloom and situations. A friend described this to me as having a Christmas feel about it, and it does. It’s a story about small acts of humanity making small but significant differences to little people’s lives, even while the whole world is mired in endless financial and social failure. It’s ultimately a story about how the human spirit is an amazing , almost indomitable force for both good and ill. Ms Allen believes in the good in people, and she’ll make you believe in it too.
Read it, love it, then read her other books. You’ll never regret it, and feel a better person for the effort.
on Jan. 24, 2012
I'm giving this one four stars because it's an enjoyable read (after a slowish start), the characters are wonderful, and because the line editing is superior compared to too many self-pubbed books. It compares favourably to some m/m books put out by professional publishers.
However I must be honest and note that the writing would benefit from a guiding editor's hand, that Matt is at times rather Gary Stuish (*everyone* wants Matt), the plot relies on a somewhat implausible coincidence, and that I somehow doubt that the bond between a wimpy civilian and a group of stone-hard SEALS would form as fast and firmly as portrayed in the book (though I am in no position whatsoever to know one way or the other. It just smelled a bit Hollywood to me.)
With those caveats in mind, I would say that JF Smith has a raw and definite talent, and that were he to submit his work to a decent publisher of gay romance or m/m, his writing would be refined in the process, and I can see him becoming a major star of the genre.
For under a buck, this book is incredibly good value for money, and offers several hours of enjoyment. You could ask for more, but when so many books fail to deliver these things at all, I'm not complaining!
- Goodbye Phillip (an m/m novella)
on July 01, 2012
Enjoyable little story, likeable characters. Real life issues glossed over, perhaps unsurprisingly. Very clean editing!
- TV Safe
on July 02, 2012
A thoroughly enjoyable and professional novella, with vivid characters and an intriguing plot, drenched in the details of La La Land.
Only negative - formatting. The paragraph formatting was atrocious and made it hard to read in too many places.
Apart from that, I'm hooked on Stoney!
- Double Exposure
on July 03, 2012
Formatting issues and character corruption made this one too irritating to read. Author really should have checked the output, even on a free offering.
- Truck Shot
on July 06, 2012
Another enjoyable Stoney Winston story - lots of great lines and observations, and memorable characters.
Still problems with formatting and punctuation - shame to deface such good writing with such crappy presentation :(
- The Other Guy
on Feb. 01, 2013
The only word for this is adorable. Emory is adorably neurotic, Nate is adorably smitten. Even the dog, brief though her appearance was, is adorable.
This is a smartly written, funny, well-edited novel that was a joy to read, and a pleasure to recommend.
And no one has paid me to say any of that :)
- The Last Day Of Summer
on Feb. 23, 2013
Enjoyable, more so than Latakia which I really quite liked, and it hung together better than the other book. Line-editing was good, although it needs someone to nitpick the occasional word choice.
Likeable characters, even though Rett makes the stupidest decisions an adult man could ever think of making. Felt authentic to this non-baseball-fan, although I wonder if real-life MLB managers are as tolerant as George of skittish employees!
Well worth what I paid for it, and I recommend it to people wanting a solid love story against a backdrop of difficult family relationships.