The Clearwater Mysteries: What’s next?

The Clearwater Mysteries: What’s next?

My next novel, ‘Banyak & Fecks’ should be available in a couple of weeks, and my newsletter will tell you when it has been published. There will also be news on my Facebook page. It occurs to me that I have done a rather strange thing, or I am about to. I realised that what I have done is write an eight-part, ongoing series over the last two years, and now, I’ve gone back to before that series started and written a prequel. So, that’s kind of cart about horse, as Fecker might say.

The Theme of The Clearwater Mysteries started with a pebble

Banyak & Fecks works whether you’ve read some, all or none of the series, and you can slip it into your reading at any time without it interrupting the flow of the series. It won’t give away any spoilers either, but it will explain a few things you might wonder about as you read the eight books.

For example, in book one, ‘Deviant Desire’, Silas’ only possession is a small, black and white pebble and when he wakes up at Clearwater House to find his clothes have been burnt, he is desperate to know where it is. Luckily, Thomas, the footman, being a caring chap as well as drop-dead gorgeous, finds and keeps it, assuming that it has importance to the urchin.

Later in the series, we learn that Andrej gave Silas the pebble, and Silas kept it as a reminded of their deep friendship. What we don’t know, in detail, is how Andrej (Fecks) came by it and why it is so important to him. In Banyak & Fecks, we not only learn how Fecks got the pebble, but also why and what it means.

As I was writing Banyak & Fecks, I realised that this small object carries the weight of the story’s theme – the series’ theme in fact: friendship and male bonding; bromance if you like. The pebble is a symbol, and although not mentioned in every book, is still in Silas’ possession at the end of book eight.
The pebble also has significance for me, and I don’t mind sharing that with you. In fact, I can do better and show you a photo of it.

I’ve had this pebble since I was 16. (It is 1.5 inches wide and sitting in a bowl made from a coconut shell I bought in Croatia.) It was given to me by my best friend, Andrew when we were walking on the beach. It was just a ‘Here you go, a present for no reason,’ moment, and nothing more romantic because our relationship was platonic. However, it meant much to me; it must have done as I still have it 41 years later. That sense of best-friendship, strong platonic love between one young man and another, is what drives the Clearwater Mysteries, or the relationships side of the stories, and I guess, the overarching theme stems from then, my teenage years.

Fecker and his horses

Another piece of backstory which is never fully explained in the series is Fecker, his horses, and his riding ability. In book two, ‘Twisted Tracks’ we have a classic ‘chasing a steam train on horseback’ scene. Archer (Viscount Clearwater) and his crew have answered a call to confront his nemesis, the Ripper. During the scene, the new footman, James, finds himself inching along the side of the coal cars at speed, trying to reach the cabin to pull the brakes and stop the train from crashing. At one point, he is hanging by his fingertips, in danger of falling to his death, when Fecker gallops alongside, stands and pushes James back to safety before calming riding on. How can he do this? At some point in the stories, Silas has said something vague like ‘He trained in a circus’, and it’s kind of left at that. In ‘Banyak & Fecks’, however, we find out how Fecks came to work in a circus, what he learnt there, and the dreadful thing that happened to make him leave. You might also be interested to know that a horse he has towards the start of the story is called ‘Banyak’, a word that in Ukrainian slang, means ‘idiot’. The word also has another, kinder, meaning which is explained in the book, as is the way in which Silas and Andrej came to call each other Banyak and Fecks.

Fecker’s skill with and love of horses is also developed in book four, ‘Fallen Splendour’, by which time he has become Clearwater’s coachman, and fallen in love with Lucy, a maid.

Sexuality in The Clearwater Mysteries

Hang on, didn’t Silas and Andrej work as rent boys in the East End? How can Fecker do that if he’s straight? Ah-ha! This is also explained in ‘Banyak & Fecks.’

My vision of ‘The White Ship’ where Banyak and Fecks lived in the East End

Andrej was 16 when, by necessity, he turned to renting on the streets of Genoa. Without being too graphic, most men will remember how easy it is to, um, perform at that age and beyond, and how embarrassing it was that one’s hormones often kicked in at the most inopportune moments. Fecker is still renting when we first meet him in ‘Deviant Desire’, but stops as soon as he doesn’t need to do it anymore. He does it because he can and must, not because he wants to. Having said that, there’s a scene in ‘Banyak & Fecks’ where he loses himself in a moment, can’t help himself, and kisses another man. By this time, he’s about 18, and, we would now say, confused (slightly) about his sexuality.

Silas’ sexuality is in no doubt from the moment we first meet him in the prequel, and he loves the fact it makes him a criminal because he’s quite proud to be one. He too undergoes a confusing transition, from wanting to know what sex with a man is like, to his first time with X (spoiler avoidance there), to finding it mundane when renting. It’s not until he meets Archer, however, that he is fully able to be himself, and that happens in ‘Deviant Desire.’

Running through the series, but not starting from the prequel, is the theme of Archer’s, Thomas’ and James’ sexuality. Later, we meet Jasper and Billy, also of the same ‘persuasion’, we’re never quite sure about Doctor Markland (but then neither is he), and there are even questions about which way Mrs Norwood leans, and what Lady Marshall has got up to in her past. In my Clearwater world, I wanted everyone to be gay, but that’s not realistic, but there’s no doubt that my core characters are. Apart from Fecker, who is always something of an enigma.

Making connections

One of the fun things about writing a prequel after eight books that follow it was laying down connections and bringing in backstories from the books that follow, if you follow me.

For example, in book three, ‘Unspeakable Acts’, Silas returns to a boy brothel at Cleaver Street. (I took my inspiration for that one from the Cleveland Street scandal of 1889.) He remembers being taken there by a man called Eddie Lovemount who propositioned him in The Ten Bells when Silas was renting. In ‘Banyak & Fecks’, we see that meeting and what followed, and Silas’ experiences at the brothel are set out in more detail. Eddie also mentions a messenger boy he’s got his eye on. He fancies him, but the lad won’t play ball, and he names him as James Wright. We meet James in book two, ‘Twisted Tracks’ (and briefly in book one), and there, we learn more about him and Eddie Lovemount and their days as messenger boys. James then has a meteoric rise from messenger to footman to valet to private detective, but that’s the kind of magic Clearwater weaves.

While putting these scenes together, I had to refer back – or forwards – to books already written to make sure my facts tied up. While doing that, I made a few minor changes to books one to four (nothing that alters the plot, mainly getting rid of words that weren’t in existence then, like homosexual, teenager and okay), so it was a useful exercise in that respect.

Similarly, because Banyak & Fecks ends just as ‘Deviant Desire’ is about to begin, the end of the prequel takes place once the Ripper murders have started. ‘Deviant Desire’ begins after the third (or fourth) murder, and they and the Ripper are the ‘action plot’ if you will. So, when I came towards the end of the prequel, I needed to remind myself of how book one starts and was able to bring in more facts and details from the real Ripper murders. In a couple of cases, I have quoted sections from actual news reports of the time, changing only names to suit my story. I was also able to bring the victims into the story, as many of the Ripper’s victims knew each other, and so, when you read Banyak & Fecks, you will meet some of the unfortunate boys who don’t make it to the end of the book.

So, what’s next?

As I said, ‘Banyak & Fecks’ should be available soon. My proof-reader is currently going through it, no doubt tutting at my punctuation, Andjela, the designer, is working on the back cover, and when I have both, I shall have one more read-through, make up the Kindle and print files and send it on its way.

Which begs the question, what to write next? I must admit I’ve been in limbo land these past couple of weeks unsure whether to return to Clearwater and write a book nine or look at something else. Book eight, ‘One of a Pair’ feels like the end of something in the way that book four ‘Fallen Splendour’ feels like the end of a chapter or the halfway point in a longer epic, and I have been wondering where to go now.

I also have my Saddling series to finish (as James Collins), because that’s crying out for a fourth and final book. At the same time, I have this inner stirring which feels like the need to start on another series entirely. I’m still thinking gay, mysterious, adventurous and Victorian, and wonder if I am being drawn towards Steampunk. It’s not a genre I’ve read, even though my husband has The Steampunk Bible and likes the fashion, but I like the thought of inventing another world within Victorian London. After all, I’ve done so much research for The Clearwater Mysteries, it would be a shame not to use it.

So, I will leave you on that note – hopefully looking forward to ‘Banyak & Fecks’ and telling all your friends to read the series, and I’ll take a couple of days off while I wait for inspiration to smack me in the face.

Remember, you can sign up for my monthly newsletter here.

A week in lockdown: A personal post.

A week in lockdown: A personal post.

Over recent weeks I’ve blogged about ‘Banyak & Fecks’, book covers, my ghost and horror stories as James Collins, my editing process and Coming Out Week. This week, I thought it high time I filled you in on what I, as a person, have been doing, and what is happening in my real world. So, here is a personal post about a week in lockdown.

Where I live

As you may know, I live in Greece on a small island called Symi, which, if you look on the map, you will find not far north-east of Rhodes. It’s in the south Aegean, closer to the Turkish coast than it is to the next Greek island. Symi is small, yes, but not the smallest island in the country, and we have around 3,000 inhabitants. There are only two main settlements on the island, Yialos, the harbour area and Horio, the village that rambles from the top of the harbour bay, through a dip and up again against the side of our ‘mountain’, the Vigla. Neil and I are lucky enough to rent a house overlooking the harbour entrance, and our view is… Well, our view is this:

Greece is currently in its second lockdown since March. When this pandemic first reared its ugly head, Greece was one of the first countries to react and called the country into lockdown well before the end of March. I know that because we were returning from a once in a lifetime holiday to Canada. When we left Greece in early March, the virus was something that was happening elsewhere but still something to keep an eye on. Travelling through Athens and London, we were advised to wash our hands, use sanitiser and keep a little distance from others; that was it, and that was how it was when we reached Canada too.

After five days travelling across the country on a train, we got off in Vancouver to find the world had changed, and the return journey involved changing flights and plans, isolation and, ultimately quarantine at home.

Symi Dream

If you want to know more about this trip, I have just started blogging about it on my five-times-a-week blog over at www.symidream.com There, we’re currently on day six (still in London), but you can click back to find the start of the story, or just click to this page to read the first post and carry on from there.

We’re almost in that situation again because we’re not allowed out between 9pm and 5am, we must send a text message for permission to go to shops and a few other allowed activities, and we can’t visit friends. Everything is closed apart from essential services, and we have another two weeks to go before we can ease off.

So, what have I been doing?

Writing

As you can see from the way I ramble through these blog posts, I enjoy writing, and that’s what I have been doing. Actually, this past week, I have been doing a fine edit on ‘Banyak & Fecks’, the Clearwater prequel due for release at the end of the month. I have five days before it is due with my proof-reader, and still a quarter of the book to go through. I’ll reread it again after proofing of course, but we’re nearly there.

Between reads, I reread ‘Fallen Splendour’, one of my favourite Clearwater adventures. I’ve been going through the books making a few minor adjustments like typos we all missed (not many), getting rid of a few words the characters use that I’ve since learnt were not in use in 1888 (eek!), and generally checking facts against what I am writing in the prequel to maintain consistency.

Another of the projects I am working on, in the background, now and then, is The Clearwater Companion. This may end up on this website as a guide for fans of the ‘Clearwater Crew’, or it may end up being published, but it’s a collection of notes and backgrounds about the characters and the story. I have an artist in India who is turning cover images and descriptions of characters into pencil drawings for the book, and this month’s drawing is of Silas Hawkins. She sent it over this week, so I present it here for the first time.

Reading

I do like a good book. Not only as something to read, but something to hold, and this week, I took delivery of two new research books.

The first is titled, ‘East End 1888’ and is by William J. Fishman. It is a study of Tower Hamlets through the year 1888, which is perfect for me. Tower Hamlets (a London borough) includes the districts of Whitechapel and Limehouse, or, in my world, Greychurch and Limedock, and 1888 was, of course, the year of the Ripper murders, the inspiration for ‘Deviant Desire.’

The second book is titled. ‘The True History of a Little Ragamuffin’ by James Greenwood. James Greenwood (1832-1929) was a British social explorer, journalist and writer, and brother of the editor of The Pall Mall Gazette. You may remember, a while ago, I wrote about reading ‘A Night in the Workhouse’, the first piece of what we’d now call undercover journalism, published in January 1866. I found this via the online newspaper archive and have it in PDF if anyone wants to read it. I read about it first in ‘Slumming’ another book I recently acquired, and the workhouse article is the basis of Silas’ night in a workhouse in ‘Banyak & Fecks.’

‘The True History of a Little Ragamuffin,’ is a reprint of the original story Greenwood wrote based on his research and experiences working in the slums of East London. It tells the story of a young boy growing up in Clerkenwell, so, for me, it’s full of observations, language and details about the time I am currently writing in. It is, though, in tiny print and not easy to read.

 

The smell of books

Recently, before lockdown, my 13-year-old godson came for a piano lesson (I’ve been teaching him for a year now). One of the things I get him to do is find fun facts from an encyclopaedia of music I bought him last Christmas as the lessons are also about music generally. I have the same book, given to me on my 13th birthday, and thus, it’s rather old now and has a distinctive smell, as books do. Harry (or Little Mozart as I call him because he is so talented), was sitting next to me as I opened the encyclopaedia and he said, ‘I love the smell of books.’ I couldn’t agree more, and to hear it come from someone brought up with screens and phones, video games and computers as learning materials, I thought it was delightful. It pleased me to hear so much, I almost let him off his scales that day. Almost.

Other Symi winter things we do

But my world isn’t all about writing, I’d say only 80% of it is, the other 20% is made up of watching TV.

No, I’m joking, although we do spend a lot of the wintertime watching TV as there’s not a lot else to do on Symi in the darker months. This lockdown, to us, is not dissimilar to a usual winter on a small Greek island where many tavernas are closed, the beaches too, and where the weather can range from gloriously sunny to Biblically thunderous. One of the most popular questions from summer visitors is, ‘What do you do in the winter?’ I shan’t tell you what Neil says we do all winter but will tell you that there is a lot to see to, and plenty of things to keep one occupied.

Walking, for example. Up the hills, down to the bays, or even just around the ruins of the old village, many of which have not been repaired since WWII and the years afterwards when the island struggled to get back on its feet. It’s an atmospheric place, and was the inspiration for my book, ‘The Judas Inheritance’ (James Collins) which was made into a film in 2013 called ‘The 13th‘ (still to be released).

My writing station

As well as that, when we’re not locked down, we spend time with our godsons (Harry, 13, and Sam, 17) and their mum, Jenine (age withheld), playing cards, having family dinners, laughing a lot and being a family. Armistead Maupin once made a distinction between his ‘biological family’ and his ‘logical family’, and the boys and their mum are our ‘logical family.’ We have spent every Christmas with them bar one for the last 18 years, and we are looking forward to doing the same again this year.

So, another thing I’ve been doing this week is buying Christmas presents online as the shops are closed.

My other writing station, my father’s old desk.

We’ve also been preparing the house for the winter. Summers are hot here, up to 45 degrees and above sometimes, but winters are cold, down to 5 degrees but with a windchill that produces ice on the rosemary bushes. We also get a lot of rain, so we’ve painted the flat roofs to stop the rain coming through, and found the old towels to wedge under the ill-fitting doors and windows. I’ve yet to hang the draught-excluder curtains at the balcony windows (they face north) and the front door, but that’s on my list. As is my Invisible Man horror model kit which I started last winter and aim to finish this year.

What lies Ahead?

What lies ahead for me for the next week is finishing ‘Banyak & Fecks’ before 20th. I also have two piano lesson/practice sessions with Little Mozart which we are conducting via WhatsApp, me at my piano, him at his further up the hill, and I really should go out and do a few more healthy walks. Apart from that… We have a new season of The Crown on Netflix starting tomorrow, so that’s going to be a binge, I have two books to read, and my Clearwater bible to keep up to date with info from the prequel that I’ve not yet entered into it.

Inside the Clearwater Bible

As well as all that, I need to find time to make those minor changes to ‘Fallen Splendour’ and upload the new files to Amazon. Doing this doesn’t take the book off the shelf, and I’ve done it with books one to three in the series recently. It only takes a couple of hours, and I feel much better for doing it, which I do at my other desk on my old computer as this one doesn’t have the same programme. It gives me a chance to sit on the posh chair at the posh desk (above) which was my father’s, rather than my computer station. Oh, and I must also hoover the carpet because our cleaning-man (Sam, the other godson) can’t come for the next two weeks. We pay him, by the way, it’s not slavery, it’s his job, and very good he is at it too.

So, that’s a personal ramble to make a change from the books and writing posts of late, and I hope I’ve not bored you too much. I’ll be back next Saturday with something else. Meanwhile, if you want to escape lockdown and come on an adventure with us, click over to my personal Symi Dream blog. We’re currently in London with Paddington bear, meeting Jennifer Saunders and some old school friends, and are about to jet off to Toronto and Vancouver.

See you next week!

Symi Dream
The Judas Inheritance

Do We Judge a Book by its Cover?

Do We Judge a Book by its Cover?

This week I am revealing the cover for my next novel, ‘Banyak & Fecks’ a Clearwater prequel. To help celebrate this, we asked a few fellow authors to answer some questions about how they arrive at their covers. I’m thrilled to post the replies from A.L. Lester, Samantha SoRelle and Vincent Virga along with their covers and links to where you can find their books.

My new Clearwater cover is posted at the end of this blog, but first, let’s take a look at how these three authors arrange their book covers, see those covers and find out a little more about author and book.

A.L. Lester, Taking Stock
Published 19th September 2020
[Historical, Gay romance, 1970s, Disabled MC, Hurt-comfort.]

It’s 1972, and Laurie is a farmer with a problem. He’s had a stroke, and he can’t work his farm alone any more. Phil is running away from London and the professional suspicion that surrounds him at his City job. They’re both alone and unsure what the future holds. Can they forge a new life together with their makeshift found family in Laurie’s little village?

Why did you choose this cover for your book?
Honestly? Because it was purple!

Do you design it yourself or pass over to a specialist designer? What’s your process?
I work with my publisher, JMS Books, to get the cover that I want. I fill in a cover form when I submit the manuscript, saying what I think would work; and that’s a starting point. I pick out some cover art and tell them what I’m visualising, and then we have a couple of rounds tweaking the look of it and changing things if necessary.  I find it all quite stressful…decisions and all that. I don’t much like them!

Are you making a statement with the cover?
With Taking Stock it was really, REALLY hard to find appropriate cover models in the stock photography libraries. It’s set in the 1970s, and the models all tended to look like refugees from a book of knitting patterns. The sexiness levels were somewhere in the minus figures. I found a few pictures I liked that gave the right vibe for the book though, and I decided to use those rather than go for strictly accurate sideburns-and-flares type chaps. So my cover statement is more ‘Oh thank goodness, these people are in love and gazing at each other romantically’ than ‘Hey! It’s the 1970s! We all wore flares and had insanitary moustaches!’ if that makes sense?

Do you ask others for feedback or go with your gut feeling?
I rely on feedback from the cover artist. We have a good relationship, and if I say that it’s not working for me, the artist gives it another go. There’s mutual trust there, I think–they try and do their best for me, and I try not to take the mickey and be a primadonna about it.

Do you usually do a cover reveal event? If yes, is it only for selected viewing, e.g. through your newsletter?
I have in the past, but not recently, properly. I think in the future, it’s something I will make available through my newsletter or in my (tiny) Facebook group. I like people who are loyal followers to feel special.

Who would be your ultimate person to provide a quote or appraisal for the cover of one of your future books?
Oooh, good question! Can I have a dead person? I’ve got a series of 1920s mystery books planned for the next year, and I REALLY love this picture by Joan Miro, called ‘Horse, Pipe & Red Flower’. I’d love the trilogy to have covers similar to this!

 

Website: https://allester.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALLesterAuthor/
UBL: https://books2read.com/takingstocklester

Samantha SoRelle, His Lordship’s Master
Published 20th November 2020. Series: His Lordship’s Mysteries
[Gay, Historical, Romance, Mystery, Scottish.]

Still reeling from the horrific events in London, Alfie thinks Balcarres House, the seat of his earldom, will be just the place to recover. But unexplained noises in the night, figures that vanish into thin air, and ghostly tales of the infamous Wicked Master all make for a less-than-restful stay. When one of the household turns up dead, matters only get worse. 

While Alfie tries to solve this mystery, his lover Dominick struggles to fit into his new station in life. It feels like the mud from the slums still sticks to his fine new clothes. He starts to worry that he’ll never be able to stand by Alfie’s side, and about what will happen when Alfie realises the same.

But Balcarres House holds secrets that cry out for blood. If Alfie and Dominick aren’t careful, they may become the next ghosts trapped within its walls. 

His Lordship’s Master is the second title in the His Lordship’s Mysteries series.

Why did you choose this cover for your book?
It’s a striking image that conveys the tone of my book, and the figure looks like shockingly similar to one of my main characters.

Do you design it yourself or pass over to a specialist designer? What’s your process?
I designed it myself using Canva at first, then Gimp once I became more familiar with the program.  My process is pretty simple. First I scour the internet or my own photo archives for a picture that fits what I’m looking for, then AFTER CHECKING THE USAGE RIGHTS, I spend endless hours tweaking it, moving it one pixel to the left, shading it two degrees cooler, etc. I know I spend more time fussing with it than most would, but when you’re your own designer, you’re allowed to make endless revisions!

For the first book in the series, “His Lordship’s Secret”, I used a photo I took myself then played around with the coloring, then was fortunate enough to find the painting I use for “His Lordship’s Master” which already fit my color scheme of golden yellow and navy blue, however with the emphasis on the blue as opposed to “Secret” being predominantly yellow. So the two are distinct but still maintain that stylistic link.

Are you making a statement with the cover?
The only statement I’m trying to make is “Here’s a book you want to read! Come take a closer look.” I do try to keep similar elements within a series, so someone who has read book one will immediately know book two when they see it.

Do you ask others for feedback or go with your gut feeling?
I ask for feedback after I have a rough version marked up, or if I can’t decide between certain elements, but mostly I just go with my gut.

Do you usually do a cover reveal event? If yes, is it only for selected viewing, e.g. through your newsletter?
So far, all I’ve done is tease for a few days on social media before releasing the cover.

Website: www.samanthasorelle.com
Facebook: @samanthasorelleauthor (www.facebook.com/pg/samanthasorelleauthor)
Amazon Series Page: www.amazon.com/author/samanthasorelle
Amazon Link “His Lordship’s Master”:  www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089FSQLLV

Vincent Virga, Gaywyck
Published 1980
[The first gay Gothic romance]

In the summer of ’75, pissed off by the fashion in the bestselling contemporary gothic romances of having the husband’s evil secret not a crazy wife in the attic but a hunky male lover in his bed, I decided to prove that genres have no gender. Essentially, it was about claiming territory. I was captivated by 19th-century writers like Charlotte Bronte, who used spooky happenings for spiritual shake-ups while prowling the labyrinthine corridors of self-discovery. My central character Robert Whyte’s psychological dilemma is not his being gay; it is his being human and prey to romantic delusions. To make this point, I rampaged through world literature and Hollywood movies abducting lines associated with female characters and putting them into the mouths of my male characters with no camouflage. (Like Bette Davis in “Now, Voyager,” Robert bursts into tears in Chapter 18 when being called “darling” for the first time.) I knew I had succeeded when Irish Murdoch sent me a note welcoming the new genre–the gay, gothic romance.  

In one sentence, tell us why you choose this cover for your book?
The book was published by Avon; and their art department, having much experience with romance novels, had great, brilliant fun with it on their own.

Do you design it yourself or pass over to a specialist designer? What’s your process?
With my own Amazon reprint, I did my own simple cover: a single peony for the first volume of the trilogy.

Are you making a statement with the cover?
Yes, peonies are my favorite flower and make an appearance in both published volumes of the Trilogy.

Do you ask others for feedback or go with your gut feeling?
With my own reprint, I knew what I wanted.

Do you usually do a cover reveal event? If yes, is it only for selected viewing e.g. through your newsletter?
There were no cover reveal events. They were first seen in reviews & in bookstore windows.

Who would be your ultimate person to provide a quote or appraisal for the cover of one of your future books?
I would have to talk this over with my editor. All of my nonfiction books have quotes from appropriate people.

My website is www.vincentvirga.com

Back to Jackson

I’m waving at my screen and saying a huge thank you to those authors for taking the time to give their answers, which I hope you found as interesting as I did.

Three very different sets of answers to the same questions.
That shows us that everyone has their own approach, or their publisher does, and that book covers are very personal things. I’m thinking of A.L. Lester’s comment about purple, and Vincent Virga’s comment about peonies. And what’s interesting about Samantha SoRelle’s comments about the image fitting how she imagined one of her main characters, hits home with me.
Which leads me to my next cover. As usual, I discussed this with my professional designer, Andjela K, and, because this novel is about two of the Clearwater series’ main characters, I wanted them to be on it. I gave Andjela descriptions and some photo ideas, and she agreed to create portraits of the two boys circa 1884, giving the cover an old-world feel with the colouring.
So, once again, my thanks to Ally, Samantha and Vincent (whose books are now in my to-be-read collection), and will leave you with the front cover of ‘Banyak & Fecks’, due out at the end of this month.

Jackson Marsh, Banyak & Fecks
Publishing at the end of November
[Historical, Bromance, Male prostitution, Survival]