MONDAY BOOK PROMO: KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES

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  • WINNER of Passionate Ink (special chapter of Romance Writers of America) 2012 Passionate Plume Award, Historical Category!! This is HUGE!
  • Kindle edition is a genre best-seller at Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany, Italy, Spain, and Amazon France!

KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES
by T. D. McKinney & Terry Wylis

http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/KissingSherlockHolmes.html

Genres: Gay / Historical / Mystery / Detective / Action / Adventure
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Novel (73k words / 188 paperback pages)

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“My dear Watson, how does one go about kissing a woman?”

Sherlock Holmes’ question leads to a lesson Watson never expected to teach.  And feelings he never thought to explore.  A single kiss alters Watson’s world, while the announcement of Holmes’ upcoming marriage sets an odd fear in his heart.

Amidst the beauty of an English country party, the greatest detective the world has ever known searches for a traitor. Somewhere among the glittering nobility a sadist lurks, using blackmail to destroy lives and endanger a nation.

Only Sherlock Holmes can save an innocent man and bring the traitor to justice.  It’s a search that could cement the greatest friendship of all time into something far deeper and stronger…if the hunt doesn’t end Watson’s life first.

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REVIEWS:

5 STARS!! “…the authors have done an excellent job remaining faithful to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters even as they give them a new and definitely non-traditional spin. … capture the essence of Holmes and Watson very precisely in this book…  If you are at all a fan of Sherlock Holmes and 221B Baker Street, then I highly recommend Kissing Sherlock Holmes. It is very well-written, highly absorbing and undeniably romantic.” –Bobby D Whitney, Book Wenches

4.5 NYMPHS!! “The quirky title for this book caught my attention first but the idea of turning the classic mystery characters of Holmes and Watson into lovers while they solved a crime is what made me want to read this story. It’s a crazy notion but it’s also what makes this writing duo so successful…they think outside the box. … Put all this together in an English country house with some interesting secondary characters, witty dialogue and a few chuckles and you have all the components needed for an enjoyable read. Give this one a try.” –Dragon Minx, Literary Nymphs Reviews

4 DIVAS!! “It’s delightfully in character that Sherlock Holmes would launch this story by precipitating a change in his and Watson’s relationship in the name of acquiring information. While Kissing Sherlock Holmes does not break new ground in assuming a homosexual attraction between them, TD McKinney and Terry Wylis do provide a sexually charged pastiche with a mystery to solve. … Kissing Sherlock Holmes is a good, solid read, and the prospect of Holmes and Watson’s return to 221b Baker Street is a joyful one.” –Cryselle, Dark DivasReviews

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EXCERPT: (additional excerpt available at http://www.tdmckinney.com/KSHexcerpt.htm)

 “Winnie, my dear, you’re quite right. This is my dear friend and chronicler, Doctor John Watson. Watson, do forgive me for not introducing you properly. My fiancee, the Honorable Winnifred Farnham.”

Miss Farnham cast him a look of long-suffering tolerance. “You also didn’t convey that Sherlock is the most horrid stickler for convention and propriety.”

I found myself laughing as I briefly took her hand. “Our cases often veer from that as well. I’m delighted to meet you, Miss Farnham.”

“And I you, sir. Without your literary efforts, I’d never have suspected Sherlock could be the sort of man I’d care for. I might have missed him the crowd.” She dimpled up at Holmes.

“I can’t say as I’ve ever thought of Holmes being missed in the crowd.” Thank God I’d never hidden my affection for him, else I might have found myself in an awkward moment as I glanced at him.

“Ha!” His explosion of laughter set butterflies in my stomach. He seemed more magnificent by the moment. “As you see, I am well loved.” He gazed down at that little face turned up to him in such animation. “As are you, Winnie.” To my amazement, he bent and pressed a lingering kiss on her smiling lips. His long arm crept about her waist, supporting her as he held her close. Then he opened his eyes and stared at me.

I barely saw her. Dearest God! His face! I’d never seen such a light in it or such contentment.

I shall simply pretend I’m kissing you when I’m with her. The word reverberated in my mind. They shone in his clear gaze.

Me. My knees went watery. So he must have looked when I held him in my arms. That glow, that radiant happiness, because of me. …

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Enjoy!

Terry Wylis

Another A+ Review for KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES!

ImageManOhMan Reviews has given Kissing Sherlock Holmes a fantastic review. Quoting reviewer Joe:

“McKinney and Wylis write with a grace and elegance that would make Doyle himself proud. It’s almost as if they channelled his creative spirit to create a wonderful tale that feels as if it’s a part of the official Holmes’ canon.”

“The authors write with great respect for these beloved iconic characters… The language they used made me feel like I was reading a book that had been published during the 1800s, … which I loved.”

“McKinney and Wylis have not written some kind of gay pornographic slash fantasy between the two characters but have rather created a world that show two men who are best friends, as close as brothers, and who love each other deeply and have started to question just what kind of love they have for each other.”

Wow. I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like to read those words and know it’s about a book I helped create. — Terry Wylis

UPDATE – Ugh, so sorry. Looks like the link no longer exists. It WAS there at one point, honest. Disengaging link today. 1-11-2015 TW

What a review!!!!

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cover art by Trace Edward Zaber (c)2011

“T.D. McKinney and Terry Wylis have pulled off a great coup…writing this book so convincingly that there was not even a single inkling it hadn’t been written in 1896.”

Happy dances commencing – what a review for KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES!! Full review here.

Help save Undershaw – Time’s running out!

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The spacious home where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles and a great number of his Sherlock Holmes stories is in danger of being razed and replaced with a block of flats. Tomorrow, 23 May, is the Judicial Review in which those who wish to preserve this historical home of one of England’s greatest authors have one last chance to avert a national tragedy.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save_undershaw/ – A chance for US Sherlockians to help in the fight save the historical home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – they’re shooting for 10,000 signatures – we share it enough, we could give them far more.

The judicial review is tomorrow – time is short. Sign, Share, Save!

REVIEW – Elementary: A First Look

As we’ve no books to plug at the moment (soon, though), we thought we’d topic on our second passion: all things Sherlock Holmes.

TDM: So we finally have a trailer for the CBS Sherlock Holmes series Elementary.  I’m waiting for the series itself before I get into anything in depth about it.  I’m willing to give it a try, though I have to say I saw nothing that made me want to jump up and down with excitement.  I had a much more positive reaction to the trailer for the Robert Downey Jr. movies.  What about you?

TW: Well, trailers generally are designed to grab an audience, and the RDJ/Jude Law version of Sherlock Holmes lends itself very well to that — plus, it’s a feature film, so even the trailers are high-budget. But given all the ruckus going on over a second television version of a modern Sherlock Holmes, I did expect better. I’ll watch the opener this fall, but I don’t know — already a lot of things bother me about it.

TDM:  So the trailer did not give you warm fuzzies, nor make you want to see the new series?

TW:It really didn’t. Setting aside the perceived rivalry with the BBC version for the moment, it just didn’t feel like Sherlock Holmes. And it has nothing to do with the genderbending of Dr. Watson. Well, okay, nothing with the basic concept. I have no problem with the idea of a female Watson, I just don’t think this particular characterization is what they needed. It weakens the relationship, I think. The whole concept of a “sober companion” is essentially “babysitter.” And “stuck with” as opposed to a meeting of…complements.

My opinion may change as Elementary finds a niche. But judging strictly by the trailer, I’m not seeing shades of “the greatest literary friendship ever known” – which is really the core of the Holmes stories. The spark, if you will.

TDM:  I agree on the “sober companion.”  They didn’t even get the title right.  That annoyed.  And you know me, if they mess up Watson, I’m done with the whole concept.  One reason I enjoy the current movie franchise is Jude Law’s Watson.  He’s an excellent Watson.  I also have no problem with a female Watson.  There was a romcom Sherlock movie ages ago with a female Watson that I enjoy very much.  Of course, They Might Be Giants has a female Watson.  I have issues with bad Watsons.  Other opinions on the trailer?

TW: Just an overall…missing of the point. It felt like–and I realize this has been said by a lot of people who have seen the trailer–the same sort of relationship we’ve seen so many times. Moonlighting, Remington Steele (lord, I’m dating myself here), Bones, House… I could keep going. I don’t know if it’s strictly an American deal, but it seems every time you pair up a male and a female as investigative partners, there’s always either an immediate or delayed flirt-play between them that leads to a romance. Here, they didn’t even bother waiting. Not only do we have Holmes apologizing to her (incredibly out-of-character, and enough of a canon it would never have been a legal issue), but the small bit of praise he gives her about having hope for her as an investigator is immediately met with the downward flutter of her lashes and a half-blush going on. It just doesn’t ring properly – something’s off either in their writing premise OR their marketing campaign.

TDM:  Yes.  And a fear I had when I heard network television was tackling Holmes – that they’d take the route they do with every other detective show out there.  I hope I’m wrong.  But all the shows seem so identical lately.

TW: It’s formula writing. And it bothered me. The behind-the-scenes interviews didn’t help. The writers in particular sounded almost flippant. This isn’t Star Trek (and I love your reboot, JJ, don’t take this wrong); it’s literature. No matter Arthur Conan Doyle never really considered Holmes to be great literature. But it is. And you can’t treat literature like pop culture, without some definite care, and expect it to be different than every other pop culture show out there.

TDM:  As we well know.  We didn’t try to take Holmes into the modern era.  We stuck with one change and kept it Victorian.  If you could update and pull the Great Detective into the 21st Century, how would you do it?

TW:My first step: I wouldn’t make him THE Sherlock Holmes–simply because it’s  too close to the BBC/PBS version, which is absolutely stellar.  (I decided I had to stop over-using “brilliant”) To make a parallel-running series, the second would need a truly fresh view on it. I fear CBS didn’t take the opportunity to craft one.

If you’re going to put a Holmes in NYC in the modern day, why not simply make him a descendant?   We know from canon Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes were  “descended from country squires.”  There’s long been speculation among Doyleans  that perhaps there was a third Holmes brother, the eldest, whose responsibility it would have been to maintain the estate and provide an heir.

Huge amounts of material to work with there.  Plus, it’s a fresh take–I don’t think anyone’s ever used the premise of a great-great-grandson of the family line who has inherited that gift.  And the legal concerns between the BBC and CBS would never have been an issue at all.

The other basic elements–Watson, the police, the deductions, etc–can all be incorporated without a whole lot of effort.  It’s not as if Watson is an uncommon surname. But it allows room for personality differences, the quirks and the backstory, without requiring every scene shot to be microscopically examined for potential legal issues. It allows for that “Americanization.”

A fresh view is what makes the Guy Ritchie films unique  – they took the very basic framework and then ran with it in a totally new style. Yes, Holmes is Holmes and Watson is Watson and it’s Victorian England – but other than that, it’s fresh. There are mixed opinions on how well they succeeded in the endeavor, but you can’t please everyone.

But Ritchie’s premise seems to have been  far more a “What if Sherlock Holmes was an action hero?”  Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss chose a premise of “What if the canon Holmes existed in the modern day?”  Both fresh takes.

Unfortunately, the Elementary creators seem to have copied the second premise rather than crafting another fresh one.  Moving him to New York just isn’t enough of a deviation. Not when there are still other options.

So it feels like a deliberate move on CBS, a retaliation of sorts for being turned down on their offer to the BBC version.  A flip-off. Reminds me of one of my kids doing something strictly to piss the other one off.

TDM:  Interesting.  I actually have a descendant story outlined somewhere.  Did it years ago.  I’ll have to dig it out.  Holmes himself had a granddaughter.  For me personally, I don’t consider descendants an update of Sherlock Holmes.  You won’t have the Watson/Holmes dynamic, for example.  So it ends up something different entirely.  I’m not sure exactly what I’d do.  I haven’t thought about it enough.  It’s an intriguing proposition.  You’re very right that there are so many avenues open to be explored.  It seems a shame Hollywood keeps revisiting the same ones.

As for Elementary, best of luck to them and us.  May it exceed our expectations.

4.5 Stars (okay, Ribbons) from Romance Junkies!!

Wow – Romance Junkies, named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Web Sites for Writers in 2009 and 2010, with over a million hits a month, has reviewed our Sherlock Holmes pastiche and given it 4.5 Blue Ribbon Rating! Here’s the meat of the review itself: (italics added)

KISSING SHERLOCK HOLMES by T.D McKinney and Terry Wylis is a new and intriguing take on the legendary characters of Sherlock Holmes and his friend John Watson. This novel answers the question what if Watson and Holmes fell in love in a surprisingly believable and very entertaining way. It was very interesting to see such a cold and calculating character as Sherlock Holmes behave with tenderness and concern toward Watson. His reactions and feelings didn’t feel out of character to me. The authors have made the feelings these to men share both believable and moving. The tone of the novel is appropriate for the time period in which the novel is set. It truly felt like a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The mystery is an equally important and satisfying part of the story and it kept me guessing to the end. I highly recommend this novel.

Read the entire review here: http://romancejunkiesreviews.com/artman/publish/suspense/Kissing_Sherlock_Homles.shtml

SHERLOCK Series 2: The Wrap-Up

WARNING: This is an in-depth review and discussion of SHERLOCK Series/Season 2. As the episodes have not yet aired in the United States, if you do not wish SPOILERS, do not read further.

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Terry Wylis: Alas, the tears have been shed, the gasps uttered, and our hearts stomped on enough times to leave bruises. And the brilliant cast and crew of the BBC’s Sherlock deservedly praised. As the first entry in our new co-blog, we thought we’d summarize our thoughts on the series as a whole, and then address our own theories of how Sherlock managed to survive a 60+-foot dive off the roof of St. Bart’s hospital.  Kettle’s boiled, T.D. McKinney. Pull a chair up to the fire.

TDM:  Ta, love.  It’s been great fun and now we suffer for another year or more waiting for our next fix.  Horrible thing to do to addicts, isn’t it?  Even my husband mentioned how boring Sunday seemed without a new Sherlock.  Boring hardly touches it.

Terry: It’s a good thing they’re totally re-watchable. I pick up new layers and new tidbits every time. A real master work for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. I hope they continue for many seasons to come. LOL, once their leading men come home from all the globe-hopping.

TDM:  Yeah, at least we’ll have other movies to watch while we’re waiting.  It will be interesting to say the least.  

Terry: Well, the whole of the UK and shortly everywhere but the United States is buzzing about how Sherlock Holmes could possibly have survived that plunge off St. Barts. Several theories, but Moftiss have debunked them all. The question is, are they bluffing?  Or could elements of the various theories be right?

TDM:  I feel like Lestrade during that press conference in A Study in Pink “Wrong, wrong, wrong.”  It’s rather annoying.  We know Moftiss likes to mess with us, so it’s likely the will have some interesting twist to whatever they’ve done.

Terry: Let’s take a look at some of the elements from our favorite standpoint, that of the evidence we were given.  For example, the body on the pavement. Actually Sherlock? And if so, is there evidence that some tricks were used to ensure his survival from a height of 62 feet 7 inches (supplied by the Barts Archives – thank you!)?  I saw a couple of possibilities. You?

TDM:  Visual evidence would indicate it was Sherlock Holmes.  However, we do know there is at least one look-alike in the vicinity (witness testimony of kidnapped child Claudette).  There is a possibility the body could have been that of the look-alike kidnapper.  Conclusion:  Open.  More evidence needed.  There are numerous ways Sherlock himself could have survived a fall from that height.  I could name three that are feasible and even probable, and at least a dozen that are more improbable.

Terry: There’s one particular reason I believe it actually was him. Normally you wouldn’t see a doctor or paramedic rocking the victim of a fall like that, for the simple reason of exacerbating any possible spinal or neck injury. Yet it’s very clear he’s being rocked. The body is lying on its right side, the hand extended, and it’s that hand John takes a radial pulse from–one imagines a non-existent one, for at least the few seconds before someone pries John’s hand away. Is it possible to block a radial pulse without actually stopping the heart? A little Google journey, and I find that yeah, it is. And fairly easily. Some good pressure up in the armpit could do it. Maybe that squash ball he was playing with in the lab–something we’ve never seen Sherlock doing. Moftiss made a statement that everyone had missed a big out-of-character thing that was a clue.

TDM:  I think we had confirmation of that from our favorite former assistant coroner in the UK, too, when he first mentioned it.  * Kisses to JMG for being utterly brilliant in all ways *  The speedy manner Sherlock was whisked away supports that, too.  You don’t want to maintain that sort of pressure for too long, nor is it an easy thing to do.  So, John only has a few seconds to confirm Sherlock’s death before he’s pulled away.  Likewise, how quickly Sherlock’s “body” is removed from the scene.  If he’s dead at the scene (or a dead body standing in for Sherlock), there’s no need to move him.  But he’s taken away like there’s a chance of revival, except no one’s working on him.  All kinds of suspicious.  All things John would have noticed immediately if he weren’t incapacitated.

Terry: I did note several shades of the canon story The Dying Detective. I know there have been a lot of theories that Sherlock actually landed in the laundry truck and the body on the pavement was not him. I don’t buy it for a couple of reasons. Yes, John was disoriented after Sherlock landed. And yes, his eyes were fixed on Sherlock as Sherlock stood on the roof edge. But John followed every inch of that plunge, at least until the last ten or twelve feet when Sherlock vanished behind the ambulance center building that stood between them. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t notice if Sherlock’s plunge vector took him out the extra ten feet it would require to land in the laundry truck. Also, it’s too easy. I don’t see Moftiss resorting to easy.

TDM:  Oh, they’ll do easy.  They just won’t make it easy on us!  Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if that laundry truck didn’t haul away some of the evidence.  Nor if it had a part in making for a safe landing.  There had to be a safety net.  Literally.  And a way to get it out of the way quickly.

Terry: No doubt. In fact, a net or a firefighters’ jump blanket makes sense on a number of levels. Sherlock dives off the building and his body is perpendicular to the building — but when we see a body land on the pavement, it’s parallel to the building. An air bag of some kind would take too long to deflate and put away – but a jump blanket would be like a trampoline – he landed face down, but the momentum (and the holders of said net manipulating it) could easily have taken him back and to the side so he hit the ground parallel to the building.  

And I noticed something else when I paused the video (LOL, numerous times and in numerous places): Sherlock was wearing a black suit and that dark purple shirt, and The Coat, of course. But as he’s falling, there’s a clear flash of white around his waist, and it’s not his skin — so it can’t be simply the shirt coming untucked. Perhaps a little padding to guard against rib damage in the jostling around?

TDM:  Could be.  We know in reality, Benedict Cumberbatch was attached to wires and so that was part of the harness.  But in the Sherlock world, padding works.  I think it’s a good theory that fits the available evidence.

Terry: Why, thank you! 😀  The blanket/net is easily rolled up and stuffed into the laundry truck – wouldn’t even have had to be the back – just the passenger seat, which is right next to the sidewalk as the truck’s parked. It would take all of 10-20 seconds. And the blood splatter pattern by Sherlock’s head is weird.

TDM:  More like someone dumped a bucket of blood and he lay down in it and then they pour a bit more over him, hm?  There’s a lot of it and no brain matter, so serious head trauma but not.  Sherlock’s hair is soaked in blood on one side where it lies in the blood, of course, but again, no sign of a cracked skull.  

There is also no sign of facial damage.  No sign of a broken nose, cheeks, or chin.  None of the extensive sort of damage you’d expect if he’d landed on his face as he would have from the trajectory of his fall.  Had he turned his head at the last moments and landed on the side as shown, there would have been visible injuries to his skull, resulting in at least some damage you could see.  Certainly one of those glorious cheekbones would have suffered.  And though his eyes are open, there is no blood in his eyes.  And yes, we know way too much about what dead bodies are supposed to look like.  We can supply some links for those interested in the forensics of this at the end of our little party.

Terry: Hey, I don’t mind our readers knowing we’ve spent more than one evening deciphering a crime scene in the search for a story or just to hone our skills. But I agree with you about the evidence not matching what we’re being led to believe. There’s blood on the upper part of his lip, but none at the corner — from the angle he was lying at, blood pouring from his mouth would have pooled in the corner and run down to the pavement at the corner of his mouth.  The only blood on the left side of his face is coming from his left ear – leading us to believe further the skull fracture theory — and that could easily have been poured there.  It just occurred to me that Molly could have easily drawn a pint of blood from Sherlock to use for this very purpose, so the DNA would match.

A fully coherent John Watson might have picked out some of all this, even if he didn’t catch it all. But concussed — slightly at least — and already in shock over having just watched his best friend leap off a building, a crowd of people pushing in and pulling him away, plus the terrible finality of the phone conversation he’d just had…Yes, I can see him missing a lot of the minutiae and letting his shattered and foggy brain come to the conclusion Sherlock needed him to. So we have a decent working theory not quite in line with what we’ve seen elsewhere.

TDM:  You and I have dissected enough real crime scenes to know a case of staging when we see it.  So, yeah.  Evidence points to that really being Sherlock on the ground pretending to be dead.  The medical personnel and all those concerned, helpful people are part of Sherlock’s homeless network.  A lot of knowledge and access supplied by Dr. Molly Hooper.  End result, one very dead Sherlock Holmes.

Terry: And one rather shattered John Watson. I have to admit, that’s where my main curiosity for Series 3 lies. How Sherlock plans to make his reappearance without getting a real broken jaw from John punching him out.

TDM:  Let’s hope he has good reflexes.  

Terry: I think the tea’s gone cold, so we’ll wrap it up for this week. Again, well-deserved kudos to the creators, cast and crew of Sherlock — “Brilliant” is too mundane a word now. We may have to make up a new one.  Have you got those links, T.D.?

TDM:  I do.  Forensics fun.  Not for the faint of heart, since this deals with real investigations into real deaths.  But some very interesting facts on death by falling.  And here you thought the body parts in the crisper were odd…

http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/~cross/FORENSIC-PHYSICS/FALLING-FATALITIES.htm

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1397448/pdf/annsurg00391-0148.pdf

http://ad-teaching.informatik.uni-freiburg.de/zbmed/Springer%20Verlag%20E-Books/Springer%20E-Books%20August%202010%20in%20Kapitel/ftp_PUB_10-08-20_15-48-14/BSE=7643/BOK=978-1-59745-110-9/PRT=2/CHP=2_10.1007-978-1-59745-110-9_2/BodyRef/PDF/978-1-59745-110-9_Chapter_2.pdf