Coming Out

Coming Out

Last Sunday was International Coming Out Day (October 11th), and that turned my mind to coming out novels, or first-time stories as they are sometimes called. I’ve been talking about some of my coming out icons and scenes on my Facebook page all week, but to round it off, here’s a little more.

I didn’t come out until I was 25, probably because for the first 21 years of my life, I was illegal, the age of consent then being 21 in the UK. I didn’t start reading overtly gay literature until I was in my twenties. Where I grew up and when, there was no such thing as popping to your local bookshop to order the latest Gay Men’s Press publication, even if I knew of its existence. There was no Amazon to buy from because there was no internet, and it wasn’t until I moved to London in the early 1980s that I even knew gay literature existed. (Not counting Wilde, Forster et al. who were spoken about in hushed whispers at school.)

Once I found an outlet for gay novels through Gay’s The Word bookshop and others in the capital, I was off and reading. As I was writing this post, two novels came back to me, and I looked them up to see if they are still available. I particularly remember ‘In The Tent’ and ‘The Milkman’s On His Way’, both by David Rees, both of which were about young men (late teens, at school) struggling with their sexuality and coming out. Both, I found uplifting, reassuring and helpful.

They, for me, were the front runners of what I do now – write gay literature. Oh, and there’s another recommendation for you, ‘The Front Runner‘ by Patricia Nell Warren.

I had a look at my catalogue of books and wondered, ‘Have I written a coming out story?’ That might sound like an odd thing for an author to ask, but I decided I’d never sat down to write a coming out story. At the heart of most of my novels, I decided, was friendship, and when a character summons the courage to tell a friend he is gay, I see it more of a test of friendship than a coming out novel. I think, because, I have read so many coming out novels that seem to be the author coming out rather than a character, I subconsciously shied away from it. Or did I?

The Stoker ConnectionThe Stoker Connection
In this novel, the premise is ‘What if Stoker didn’t write ‘Dracula’ but merely put together actual diaries and evidence supplied to him by the characters in his story?’ Not what you’d immediately think was a coming out novel, would you? Yet, when I got to the end of it, I realised that what I had written was indeed a novel about coming out wrapped up in an engaging YA mystery.

I even wrote the blurb: Dexter and Morgan meet on their eighteenth birthday. The attraction is instant but confusing. As they deal with coming out, they are bound together by more than first love. They’re bound by coincidence and destiny as it happens, but along the way, Dexter’s coming out is pre-empted and complicated by his well-meaning but slightly dim best friend, whereas Morgan’s took place under the knowing eye of his sex therapist mother. Each boy had a completely different coming out experience with friends and family, but both had a third when they come out to each other. Still, I maintain that the story isn’t your classic ‘coming out’ story because that’s not the main thrust of the plot.

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts if you’ve read, ‘The Stoker Connection’. You can comment on my Facebook page and let me know what you think.

The Mentor Collection
I call it a collection rather than a series because the stories are not linked. They all concern a younger man and a relationship with an older man, so they are what some people call; ‘May to December’ or older/younger romance novels. Except, the first one, ‘The Mentor of Wildhill Farm’ is more erotica than it is romance, but it was my first, and I was finding my feet.

The Mentor of Lonemarsh HouseThe Mentor of Lonemarsh House
I’m sometimes asked, what is my favourite of the four Mentor books, and although I like all of them, I would have to say ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House’ because it’s closer to a classic coming out novel. In this story, 35-year-old Matt Barrow takes on Lonemarsh House, an isolated manor in the Kent marshes. When he meets 23-year-old Jason Hodge, a brilliant violinist, Matt knows this is the young man he wants to share his new life with, but Jason is closeted and at the mercy of his treacherous friends.

There’s your classic coming out trope – treacherous friends – which equates to peer pressure, and in the story, also the non-understanding parents and remote-village locals with backwards attitudes. Jason knows he is gay but can’t tell anyone (his female best friend already suspects/knows, of course), not until he meets and falls for the older man, Matt. ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House’ is definitely MM Romance, but it is older/younger romance with an element of coming out, and yet, still not a coming out story. Again, you may disagree, and I’m happy to have a discussion on my Facebook page, or even personally via email.

Another reason I am fond of ‘Lonemarsh’ is because it is set where I grew up, on a lonely marsh. The house that John buys and is moving into when he meets Jason is based on the house I grew up in, and, I guess, I based Jason on myself – a young man closeted because of where he lived, though he’s a far better violinist than I am a pianist.

The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge
Outside of The Clearwater series, my top-selling title is ‘The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge‘, another older/younger, kind-of-coming out story set in the world of mountaineering and mountain rescue. This one, I felt, needed a sequel, but not one specifically about the older/younger couple of the story, so I came up with ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge.’

Now then, this story probably comes closest to your typical coming out novel. Liam has set himself a goal. To come out to his best friend, Casper, before his 18th birthday while hiking at Fellborough in the Yorkshire Dales. You don’t get much clearer than that! In Liam’s case, though, it’s not the pressure of friends and family that’s kept him from coming out to his bestie, it’s the fear that Casper won’t want to know him any longer if he does. That’s another pressure on young guys wanting to come out that is often explored in coming out novels. Set at Barrenmoor again, bad weather and mountain rescue are involved, but it soon becomes apparent that the rescue is more than physical. Liam and Casper both have secrets that when known, have the potential break or mend their hearts.

In ‘The Students’ you can see the influence that David Rees had on me when I was a young reader, and not only because some of the story takes place in a tent between guys who are 18 and holding secrets. Also, in all the mentor books, you can feel an influence of ‘The Front Runner’ which, it could be argued, is a story about mentoring and love with an age gap.

Why do coming out stories matter?
Coming out a favourite theme for many writers of gay literature, particularly new writers, because it is something every gay person either suffers or just gets on with. It’s something every out gay person has done, and something every closeted gay person wrestles with or in some way has to deal with. Coming out is a rite of passage that only gay people go through, no matter their sex or age. I think it’s the duty of authors of gay lit when writing about coming out, to give the younger or closeted reader not only characters they can identify with but hope that their personal story will come right in the end. You might even offer advice, as in ‘The Students’ which is basically saying, ‘If he’s your best friend, he’ll understand; if he doesn’t, he wasn’t…’

Links

David Rees at Goodreads

My author page on Amazon where you can find all my books

Interview, One of a Pair, and an update

Interview, One of a Pair, and an update

It’s been a busy week here in my writing world.

Firstly, I was interviewed by Alan Wild for his excellent website that features interviews with writers of gay fiction. This interview gives you some personal background about me, includes some photos of where I live, and starts with a photo of me playing a church organ. If you’ve read my standalone YA romantic mystery, ‘The Blake Inheritance’, you will know that I have a particular interest in church organs. The photo was taken a couple of years ago when I returned to my hometown of New Romney, on the Romney Marshes, UK, and was lucky enough to be invited to play for a service I happened up. It was a bit nerve-wracking as I’d not played for years, but the nice thing was that this was the same instrument I learnt to play on over 40 years previously.

Here’s the link to the Interview with Jackson Marsh

Secondly, the eighth book in the clearwater Mystery series was published yesterday. There is a more detailed post about this novel further down my blog, but, in brief: ‘One of a Pair’ continues the story of Jasper and Billy, sees James Wright deal with his first case as the lead investigator of the agency, and brings in the eccentric Dr Markland to play an important role. You may remember Markland from ‘Deviant Desire’ and later, ‘Unspeakable Acts’ where he fell in love with a certain young lady who turned out to be… Ah, no spoilers allowed, sorry.

Here’s the link to ‘One of a Pair’ which can be found on Amazon around the world

While all that has been going on, I have been writing the prequel to the Clearwater Mystery series, and I’ve titled it ‘Banyak & Fecks.’

Those of you who’ve read the series will know who those two are, but what you won’t know, are the details of how they came to meet in London in 1844, and what they were doing between 1844 and October 1888 when ‘Deviant Desire’ starts. Actually, Fecker’s story begins even earlier, in 1881 in Ukraine when he was 13 (or 15, as no-one really knows his exact age). I’m enjoying the research for this one and have been reading about all kinds of things; the history of Ukraine, circuses in the 1800s, ships, the East End slums, language, Victorian rent boys and prostitution, and several other side matters too. No promises on a release date for this one, but I am aiming for the end of this year. I’ll tell you now, it’s not the same as the others, it’s not even a mystery, but it is a story of an unlikely but more or less instant friendship, and how two young men survived the East End streets in the 1800s.

The Clearwater Companion

My writing desk where I research and make notes. The open book is my leather-bound Clearwater ‘bible’, the floor plan is Clearwater House, and the map on the wall is the GWR rail routes circa 1890.

Chugging along in the background is my idea for, one day, producing a Clearwater Companion, a book of information, details, maybe illustrations if I can afford an artist, and other snippets for anyone who might be interested. This is an ongoing project and one that will take a long time to compete. I don’t know yet when the series will end. It may never do as I am enjoying writing it so much, but now and then, when I am not working, I jot down notes in my ‘Companion’ folder for use later. So far, I’ve only written an outline of Archer, Lord Clearwater, but I thought I would share with you what I have.

Remember, these are only notes.

Archer, Lord Clearwater of Riverside and Larkspur

Born: March 26th 1859, Larkspur Hall, Cornwall, second son of the 18th Viscount Clearwater and Lady Clearwater
Full name: Archer Camoys Riddington

Major life events
1868    Attended Millfield Preparatory School
1872    Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
1874    Midshipmen
1876    Sub-lieutenant, Royal Naval College, Greenwich
1877    Lieutenant aboard HMS Britannia
1886    Honourable discharge after an injury during the Odessa skirmishes. Elevated to ‘The Honourable’ on the incarceration of his elder brother
1888    July. Elevated to the 19th Viscount Clearwater on the death of his father

Full title: Viscount Clearwater of Riverside and Larkspur, Lord Baradan of Hapsburg-Bran, and Honorary Boyar Musat-Râșnov.

We learn his full title in ‘Fallen Splendour’ when he is called into court to testify.

This is the Shutterstock model who represents Archer on the cover of ‘Deviant Desire.’ The image was bought under license.

Titles
A Viscount is the fourth rank of the British peerage system, coming beneath an Earl but above a Baron. The Clearwater of the title is derived from family land owned in the north of the country. Riverside is the family’s London Borough, and Larkspur, their country seat on Bodmin Moor.

Lord Baradan of Hapsburg-Bran. This is a made-up title, intended to show Archer’s European heritage. The Hapsburg (also spelt Habsburg) was one of the principal sovereign dynasties of Europe from the 15th to the 20th century. Hyphenating it with Bran, in what is now Romania, I wanted to make a link with Transylvania. Bran Castle, near Brasov, is known as ‘Dracula’s Castle’, though it has little or nothing to do with Vlad Tepes, Bram Stoker or his novel.

Honorary Boyar Musat-Râșnov. A boyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Wallachian, Moldavian, and later Romanian and Baltic states aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes from the 10th century to the 17th century. Again, I wanted Archer’s roots to run deep in European history in case that would be of use later in the series. Because the title ‘Boyar’ fell out of use in the 17th century, I made him an ‘honorary.’ Rasnov is a place between Bran and Brasov (all of which I have visited). These are all inherited titles, passed down from father to son over the centuries.

Geroy
Fecker first calls Archer ‘Geroy’ in ‘Twisted Tracks’ after Fecker witnesses Archer’s noble actions towards his friends. In Ukrainian/Russian the word герой translates as hero, worthy or valiant.

Archer and Camoys
Archer’s father (Mathias) was obsessed with the battle of Agincourt (25th October 1415). He named his eldest son Crispin, because he was born on the anniversary of the battle which is also St Crispin’s Day. I had in mind Shakespeare’s Henry V, and in particular, the lines, “… we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” In the series, Crispin tried to kill Archer and therefore shed his brother’s blood, but as Archer builds his ‘crew’ of friends, we come to see them as a band of brothers.

Archer was named after the archers who won the battle of Agincourt, and Thomas de Camoys was the English peer who commanded the left wing of the English army at the battle. It is not a name Archer uses very often!

From my notebook
My notes on Archer include the following jottings.
Philanthropist, youngest member of the House of Lords at 29 (1888)
Brown eyes, stubble by evening, fit, prominent cheekbones. Toned. (Big and hairy ‘down there’.)
Doesn’t believe in class distinctions. Didn’t like his father. Gay, modern, forward-thinking.
5′ 10″, pouting lips, dark lashes.
Last time at the servants’ hall table on 13th birthday.
(Father ailing, Crispin mad, Archer to succeed, recovering from Odessa skirmish of 1886. Father, Mathias, 51, hunting accident (?) Father: 1837 to 1888)
‘Geroy’ by Fecks (honourable)

Have a good week and I will be back next Saturday. Remember, you can always post comments about the blog on my Facebook page, and if you go there, please do give a like and share.

This is a photo of us celebrating our three-year wedding anniversary, 18 years since arriving on Symi, and Neil’s birthday which all happened on the same day, September 8th. Neil’s the one pulling a funny face and wearing a top hat; he’s far more into SteamPunk than I am.

Coming Next: One of a Pair

Coming Next: One of a Pair

This week, I’m giving you a cover release, or at least, a draft cover release because it’s not quite finished yet. I also want to whet your appetite for the story – without giving away any spoilers.

The next book in the Clearwater Mysteries series is called ‘One of a Pair’ and it follows on from ‘Home From Nowhere’, starting about six weeks after that story finished. For those who enjoyed the start of Jasper’s story in ‘Home’ (and the feedback suggests that was everyone), you’ll be pleased to know that it continues in ‘One of a Pair.’

Now then, I can’t give too much away, but ‘One’ is a mystery, though not in the same vein as the earlier action-led mysteries like ‘Fallen Splendour’ or ‘Artful Deception.’ This is a calmer mystery, though still with tension, and a race to beat the clock. Our lead character is James Wright, now a private investigator in his own right. Here is part of the blurb for the back cover:

Enlisting the brilliant but scatter-brained Dr Markland for help while mentoring Jasper through the pain of first love, James embarks on a mystery that takes him from the Greychurch morgue to Queenstown in Ireland where tide and time wait for no man. It is a journey of discovery, both scientific and emotional.

I had great fun writing this one because it involves a suspected poisoning. Not that someone being poisoned is fun, but researching poisoning in Victorian times was. The fun part was finding something that was not your standard 19th-century toxin (and I can’t tell you what those were without spoiling the story for you), and I turned to my brother for help. My brother, by the way, is not a poisoner, but he was a chemist, as in, someone who works with chemicals. My nephew was of great help too as he studied medical genetics, and from that, you can see where the scientists are in our family! They were of great help in identifying the more unusual and little-known facts about certain chemicals and helped me put some of the scientific parts of ‘One of a Pair’ together. My problem was then finding out what such things were called in 1889 when the story is set. All I can tell you is that much of what you read is factual, or at least, possible, but some of the chemical names I have used are made up.

Don’t think that ‘One’ is going to be all formulas and compounds, it’s not. I have injected some humour into the story, as well as love and ‘ah’ moments, pace and tension. You’ll find Thomas isn’t too happy about… something, Mrs Norwood is playing ‘mother’ to the boys, Dr Markland shows his genius, and there’s a fair amount of domestic detail below-stairs at Clearwater House. As usual, I turned to another friend of mine for train journey details and all things railways, and the timings are accurate based on his ancient copy of Bradshaw’s Railways Timetables, as are the details about the White Star Line and their liners.

Enough about the story, back to the cover. I thought about this for a long time because I wanted to show a representation of one of the characters. I’m never sure whether this is a good idea, because every reader forms their own image of what the characters look like, and to put one so obviously on the cover can distract the imagination. I did it for ‘Deviant Desire’ where you can clearly see Archer and Silas, and the same model appears as Silas on the cover of ‘Unspeakable Acts.’ For other covers, Andjela K, my cover designer, has used silhouettes, so for ‘Twisted Tracks’ we see Archer and Silas running for a train, ‘Fallen Splendour’ shows a man on a charger, and the man could be Archer or Fecker. The cover of ‘Bitter Bloodline’ shows the back of Dorjan, the assassin, and ‘Artful Deception’ shows a man on fire, but we can’t see his face. ‘Home From Nowhere’ is obviously Jasper and Billy up on the roof, but we don’t see their faces, but for ‘One of a Pair’ I thought we should see Jasper… or is it someone else? The image isn’t yet finished because the chap on the front should be holding a smoking test tube which Andjela K hasn’t yet fitted in, but otherwise, it’s there.

Before you scroll down to the cover image, if you haven’t already, I just want to let you know that ‘One of a Pair’ is going off for proof reading on September 10th, and that means, it should be available around the 24th, maybe sooner. You’ll know when it’s available from my Facebook page, and you can always sign up to the newsletter to get more news. I send out a newsletter each month to keep in touch with everyone, and unlike other authors, I don’t use them to advertise everyone else’s books, only my own, so there is also a newsletter when a release happens.

And finally… The cover as it stands now.

One of a Pair

One of a Pair, the Clearwater Mysteries, book eight, draft cover

Ps. I had to disable comments on the blog/site because of spammers, but if you have any comments about the cover or anything else, feel free to put them on my Facebook page.

 

 

Students Book & Blog Tour

Students Book & Blog Tour

As part of the book tour of ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’ organised by Other Worlds Ink, there is a unique guest post over at Midnight Café today. Am I a Plotter or a Pantzer? To find out, hit this link:

https://mm.midnightcafe.uk/mm/the-students-of-barrenmoor-ridge-by-jackson-marsh/

Over the next two weeks, there will be more unique posts, reviews and interviews about me, and here’s the list should you want to find them.

Feb 19th: Joyfully Jay

Feb 20th: Love Bytes

Feb 21st: Valerie Ullmer

Feb 24th: Books, tattoos and Tea

Feb 27th: Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

Feb 28th: MM Good Book Reviews

Giveaway

Jackson is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47107/?

The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge

The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge

Over the New Year, I took a break from writing The Clearwater Mysteries and wrote ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge.’ I’m not sure why it decided to pop out just then, but it did. I wrote the novel, ‘The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge’ a couple of years ago, and for a reason I’ve yet to fathom, it did better than any of my previous releases. It still does well, I am pleased to say, and maybe it was that which inspired me to write ‘The Students…’

This novel took me back in memory to the age of seventeen/eighteen, and to the issue of what we’d now call bromance. I wanted to explore the idea of when a bromance is something more, but neither party has the way with all to admit they want the friendship to develop further because they fear rejection. The strength of young, male friendships, the intensity of them, and how it is easy to confuse platonic love of a friend for something deeper, is a theme that runs through many of my novels. Or, if not ‘easy to confuse’ then difficult to separate the feelings of being mates from the feelings of being in love and what that can lead to; self-denial, lost love, missed opportunities…

In ‘The Students…’ Liam and Casper are the two main characters, and they are pictured on the front cover. Casper is the dark-haired, Greek/English man and Liam is the blond one, both musically brilliant, both suffering doubts in their own way. They take off on a camping trip which Liam has designed because he wants to have Casper on his own to make his ‘confession’, i.e., come out. He has chosen to visit Inglestone (or, Ingleton as it is in real life) and walk up Fellborough (Ingleborough) one of the three peaks. He is also there to see the famous Ribblehead Viaduct for reason of his own which don’t become apparent until the end. However, bad weather gets in the way and leads to a life or death emergency towards the top of the fell. That’s where the characters from ‘The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge’ come in…

John Hamilton and Gary Taylor from ‘The Mentor…’ appear in this story as the mentors of the two younger men, and as ‘The Students…’ is set two years after the first book, their lives have moved on a pace. So, if you enjoyed the first book, ‘The Mentor…’ you can continue John and Gary’s lives in this, the second in the series. You will find drama, action, adventure, mountain rescue, rock climbing, some laughs and plenty of sweet moments during the story, and who knows, there may even be a third instalment in the future.

For now, though, I am back to The Clearwater Mysteries, my most successful venture to date, and I am working on part six, with a working title of ‘Artful Deception.’ There will be more about that in due course. Meanwhile, look out for news of a blog tour for ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’, and check out my Facebook Page for more information. If you do go to the page, please give it a like, and if you do read any of the books, please give them a review.

I’ll leave you with the first review of ‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’ which, when I read it, completely made my day.

What a beautiful novel… A perfect sequel to The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge.
This novel tells a story of 2 people discovering more about themselves and discovering more about each other. It’s touching, exciting, filled with adventure, and will take you on the most incredible journey. The characters are so well developed it’s like you’ve known them for a long time.
Re-introducing John and Gary from the first novel was such a nice treat.
This novel is highly recommended. Another beautiful novel by Mr. Jackson Marsh.

[The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge – Amazon.com (and other Amazon outlets) Kindle, print and KU.)

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

2019 was a busy year for me as I brought out the Clearwater Mysteries books one to five and started work on the sixth. I have put that on hold for the time being as I began work on a new Barrenmoor Ridge book in the Mentor series. I am now up to 60,000 words of that first draft, and it’s going well, I am pleased to say.

‘The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge’ is more of a coming of age story than anything else, in a way that ‘The Mentor of…’ was, but there is still love, drama, mountain rescue, a little humour and a baddy who messes things up. The two main characters from Mentor (Gary and John) are back, but whereas John mentored Gary in part one, in ‘The Students of…’ they are both mentors to the new characters. The action takes place two years after book one, in the same location and, again, in winter – but not in snow this time.

I’m aiming to have the book ready for February, after which, I will decide what comes next. Another Clearwater mystery? Another Mentor/Student sequel – possibly for Lostwood Hall or Lonemarsh House. (Unlikely to be Wildhill Farm as that was more about sexual fantasy than the mentor/student roles… Or was it?) We will have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, here’s wishing you a great New Year from over here in Greece where it’s wet and cold, 3and thank you for following me, buying the books and leaving the reviews.

[The photos are the models for the cover which Andjela K is currently working on.]

Complete list of Jackson Marsh books

Bitter Bloodline

Bitter Bloodline

Book five in The Clearwater Mysteries series is now available on Kindle, in KU and in paperback. (Links below.)

This is the first story set at Larkspur Hall, Archer’s rambling country house in Cornwall, but even down there, the ‘crew’ are not safe from the conspiracies against them and their friends, as you will see.

 

 

Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZXD5KXS

Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1704638399

Remember, if you like one of my books, please do leave a review at Amazon, mention it on Facebook pages and share the news around your FB readers’ groups if you belong to any. Your support means so much! You can also follow my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/jacksonmarshauthor/

A Clearwater update

A Clearwater update

My wonderful designer, Andjela, has come up with some banners and images for me for use on my Facebook page and the blog. I thought I’d share a couple now just to let regular readers know that I am still here and haven’t forgotten about my website. I’ve just released Fallen Splendour, the 4th Clearwater Mystery and am at a bit of a crossroads. I need to get back to my other series, The Saddling, and finish the final part of that. You won’t find The Saddling Mysteries under Jackson Marsh though, they are released under my real name, James Collins.

If you want to view them, head to my James Collins author page. They need to be read in order: The Saddling, The Witchling, The Eastling and… the one I’ve yet to write. They are not MM Romance as such, though the three main characters are men.

One comes to terms with being gay through part one, finds love with the second character in part two and onwards, and the third main character is ambiguous – and may turn out to be gay in part four. But… The series is set in a village (in the 21st century) on the Romney Marshes – Kent, England, that still lives by its own ancient lore and teaching – a non-Christian, non-religious place where nature and the supernatural are the driving forces. I wrote these three before I wrote the Clearwater Mysteries and they are different, though similar (no sex), and to be honest, the Saddling started off as a one-off, but was so popular, people asked for a second and then a third, so the pressure is on to produce the fourth.

They have themes – a lot of family and other history, but also, more subliminally, the number four is important: four seasons, four festivals (two solstice, two equinox), four points of the compass and, in part four, four men banding together to save the day…I think.

I’ll leave it there and go to the writing desk to dream up some ideas. Meanwhile, thanks for your support, please share this blog and whatever you can on Facebook, Insta-what’s-it and elsewhere. If you enjoy the novels, I need your support to help others enjoy them too.

Thank you all!

Unspeakable Acts is on its way

Unspeakable Acts is on its way

Hi

I thought it was high time I updated you with what I have been doing. Writing of course! Actually, I have been away for a week writing a block of part four of The Clearwater Mysteries (which I will tell you about in a moment). While I was doing that, my wonderful proofreader was working through Unspeakable Acts, book three in the series.

This series launched in March with Deviant Desire, and that has already become my top-selling title, outselling even the Mentor series – more or less, in the last two months alone. It is followed by Twisted Tracks, another mashup romance, adventure, mystery, historical novel, and that will soon be followed by Unspeakable Acts.

 

I don’t want to give away any spoilers of course, and it’s hard to tell you what’s happening in parts two and three without spoiling the end of part one, Deviant Desire, so you will have to bear with me. Where Deviant Desire is about the Ripper killings of East London in 1888 – but not the real killings, they were just the inspiration as my story concerns rent boys as victims – Twister Tacks saw our band of four become a band of five. Archer (Lord Clearwater), his new, younger lover, Silas, his best mate the Ukrainian hulk, Andrej (Fecker) and the lithe and lush footman, Thomas (red hair, slim body, big dick, right up my street) are joined by the new love of Thomas’ life, James. Twisted Tracks takes them to the North York Moors and a chase involving a stream train; very exciting.

My writing desk at home

Part three takes place a few weeks later. Archer is launching his Foundation to assists street boys of the East End with a gala performance at the City opera house. There’s nasty work afoot though as a villain, or villains seeks to discredit Archer and his charity, expose his homosexuality and bring the house down on his success and fortune. His team, of course, have other ideas and in this story, it’s Silas and James who take the lead, bonding as new friends and perhaps finding themselves a little more attracted to each other than their boyfriends would like. I’ll say no more, except Unspeakable Acts will be out later in June.

My writing table while I was away

I was away on a Greek island called Tilos, where I sometimes go to write away from home distractions. I live on the next island across so it’s easy to get to. While there, over my six-day stay, I managed to write the first 35,000 words of the first draft of book four. I also had to invent clues for the mystery, research Victorian railways and times and do a lot of other research. When you have only the sea view and a few tavernas for company, it’s amazing how much you can get done. Book four, Fallen Splendour is still only a quarter first-drafted, but the story is plotted. I have my nephew staying with us at present, so writing is on hold for the rest of this week. After that, Unspeakable Acts will be formatted and released, and I will get back to Fallen Splendour, aiming to have it ready for you by August or September.

My morning view ( my home island is in the distance)

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Tilos

And home again

Deviant, Twisted and Unspeakable

Deviant, Twisted and Unspeakable

Twisted Tracks, The Clearwater Mysteries book two – available in May

I have the proof of ‘Twisted Tracks’ back from my proof reader but I’ve not gone through it yet. I am up to about 55,000 words on ‘Unspeakable Acts’ (The Clearwater Mysteries book three) and want to get to the end of a first draft of that one before going back to ‘Twisted’, book two. Meanwhile, book one, ‘Deviant Desire‘, has a blog tour from 29th April until 12th May (articles and interviews appearing every day on different MM Romance blogs), and I want ‘Twisted’ out around the time that ends, so there’s no rush and I have plenty of time to have it laid out.

I was really blocked for about a week on ‘Unspeakable.’ I am kind of making it up as I go, but I knew the ending. The thing was, I got to about half way and had lft myself two days to fill before the climax – the characters were saying, ‘The gala is on such and such a day’ and I was sticking to that while wondering what they would be doing during those two days while they waited. Of course, I woke up one morning and said, ‘Why make them wait? Just move the gala forward.’ The gala at the City Opera House is the climax of the thing. Once I’d realised that, I was off again, and I reckon I’ve got around 30,000 words of what’s essentially an Act Three still to go.

Deviant Desire, The Clearwater Mysteries book one – available now on Amazon, print, Kindle and KU

I expect I will go beyond that as there’s a lot of madness and mayhem to get through, and then I can go back and edit and get the job done properly. For now, I’m steaming ahead into the world of German opera (an invented composer, a contemporary of Wagner) and backstage at the Opera House, while someone of great importance has arrived unexpectedly to witness the performance, during which one of Archer’s best buddies will be killed, on stage, if he doesn’t make a speech ‘outing’ the viscount. Silas and the new footman, James, have to work out the clue as the show is running and then find a way to stop a demented boy-whore murdering Cadwell Roxton, famed countertenor, while preforming ‘Aeneas and Dido’ – a retelling of the classic take where Aeneas kills himself (rather than Dido). Anyway… All rather mad but now I am unblocked, I’m back on track. Rather ‘Twisted Tracks’, I suppose, but then, that is a good name for a story.