New Year, New Story

New Year, New Story

Hello and welcome to 2021. It is January 1st as I write this. I have been up since 5.30, we had a power cut at 6.00, and just after the lights went off, the thunder started. It’s now 7.30, the power is on, the rain is hammering on the roof, and I couldn’t be happier. Why?

Clearwater #9

Because I am 50,000 words into the first draft of a new story, I have a wealth of Christmas gifts still to explore, but more than that, we are happy and safe on our Greek island, and there is a whole year ahead in which to achieve some wonderful things. One of them will be this new book, currently untitled but with ‘Something Exposure’ as an idea: The Clearwater Mysteries book nine. It is a return to the classic Clearwater of mystery to be solved by a deadline, testing friendships, reputations at stake, and threats to the Clearwater way of life. I won’t give too much away, but so far, the story includes the second Clearwater Foundation gala, Prince Albert Victor, Victorian male erotica and the influenza pandemic of 1889/1890, the ‘Asiatic Flu’ as it became known.

Number nine stars James, Silas and Fecker in the main, as the others have been ordered to Larkspur by the viscount, and the London house is to be closed. However, Archer and Tom have to travel to Paris on urgent personal business. (Will they finally get time alone together enough to allow their repressed feelings for each other to bubble over into something more physical? I’m not sure yet.) So, while I am constructing number nine, I am also thinking sideways of another (ten) which may run parallel to it, but involve other members of the crew. I am thinking Archer, Tom and Jasper as I’m rather falling in love with Jasper’s character.

We will see how that all goes, and I’ll keep you updated on my weekly, Saturday blog.

Vincent Virga

Meanwhile, I want to tell you about one of the Christmas gifts my lovely assistant, Jenine, gave me. You may remember we had a post in November called, ‘Do We Judge a Book by its Cover?‘ I was honoured to be joined in that post by Vincent Virga, author of Gaywyck, the first gay, gothic romance published in 1980. If you follow the link and look at Vincent’s website, you will see details of his other works. These include the Cartographia.


“CARTOGRAPHIA offers a stunning array of 200 of the most beautiful, important, and fascinating maps in existence, from the world’s largest cartographic collection, at the Library of Congress.” There are more details here.

Well, my present was a copy of this stunning book. So far, I’ve only had a quick glance at the pages, but it’s on my desk ready for me to pour over as soon as I resume my working week on Monday.

Glenn Chandler

Beside it is a copy of the script for ‘The Sins of Jack Saul’ by Glenn Chandler and Charles Miller. This is a musical version of the life of the notorious Victorian male prostitute, Jack Saul, on whom my |Clearwater Mysteries character, Silas Hawkins, is very loosely based. Glenn has also written the definitive book about Jack Saul which I have and have read (and must read again), and was kind enough to dig out the script of his musical, send it to Jenine who then printed it for me as another wonderful Christmas present. I’ve read it, and intend to write more about this in the future.

Meanwhile, you can find out more about the musical here.

Book giveaway

During December, I ran a quote competition on my Facebook page. Each day, I posted a quote from one of my books or its blurb. Readers named the book, and all correct answers were entered into a spreadsheet from which my godsons drew a column and row at random. Maryann was the winner and will receive a signed copy of ‘Banyak & Fecks’ (as soon as it arrives here, I sign it and post it on; the mail has been much delayed by Christmas, but it is on its way). More giveaways will be announced on the new page on this site, so keep an eye on that.

And into 2021

So far, on my list of things to do in 2021, I have the new book… And that’s about it. We’re not planning to travel anywhere, though if at all possible, Neil will go to Scotland to visit his children and grandchildren. We are hoping that Symi opens up for tourism from May onwards and that we have a better summer season than we did last year. As I write (yesterday as you read this), Neil is baking a cake to take up to Jenine and the god-boys where we will be having lunch and playing games, as restrictions in Greece have been relaxed a little for today, St Vasilis Day in Greece, and we are allowed limited mingling. We are looking forward to that, and I am looking forward to slipping back into my writing regime from Monday onwards and producing the next stories. ‘Something Exposure’, Clearwater nine, is, as I say, well underway, and I can’t wait to get it out to you.

So, I will sign off by wishing you a peaceful and trouble-free year ahead, and leave you with an image Andjela, my cover designer, made up for me of Neil looking rather like Clearwater, the industrialist, posing for a photograph in 1890.

Remember, if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing!

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