The Blake Inheritance

I am currently writing ‘Where There’s a Will’, the Delamere Series book four, and have just written a chapter involving a lighthouse. This reminded me of another of my older, stand-alone novels which also features a lighthouse.

The Blake Inheritance has the following blurb:

Let us go then you and I, to the place where the wild thyme grows.”

An inheritance, a ring and a church organ; three clues to the Blake family mystery. Twenty-five and fleeing a stale relationship, Ryan Blake returns home to find some answers. What he discovers is the impish twenty-two-year-old, Charlie Hatch, a homeless scamp who has a way with words, a love of mysteries, and a very cute arse. As the two set about unlocking the Blake family secrets, Ryan finds himself falling for the younger guy. But is he ready to commit again? And can Charlie learn to accept that someone loves him?

The lighthouse is where the climax of the story happens, the unlocking of the mystery and where the two main characters get a little closer – as far as I remember. It’s been a while since I read it. It’s a mystery set in the present day and concerns two guys from the same town and school. One of them, Charlie, is fond of mixing his quotes, hence the line:

“Let us go then you and I, to the place where the wild thyme grows.”

This one is a mix of TS Eliot (The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock):

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;

And Shakespeare, (A Midsummer Night’s Dream):

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Charlie comes out with others throughout the book, but not relentlessly, because I couldn’t think of that many good ones. I think there’s something like ‘Come into my parlour said the owl to the pussycat,’ or similar in there somewhere. I wanted to make Charlie quirky (maybe even a bit creepy at times), and Ryan, far more sensible and grown up for his age.

Pleasingly, I received good feedback about this standalone, with some people asking if I was going to create a series with these two characters investigating other mysteries. I started writing a book two, but didn’t feel it had legs. (Not long after, I started on Deviant Desire, and that world and those characters certainly had/have legs. Three series, a total of 21 books with another one on the way.) ‘Blake’ has received some negative stars – there’s someone who invariably gives my books only one star, usually only half an hour after I post the new title, which makes me suspect, they didn’t buy it. But there have also been some good reviews, including:

This is an amazing piece of writing which has everything in it.”

“I just finished reading this book. I just wouldn’t put it down until I finished it.”

The more I read, the more I was gripped.”

Maybe those words were about one of my others, as this is very much an ‘early work,’ and tbh, I write much better prose these days. Still, it sells copies now and then, it’s a sweet little romance with an intriguing mystery, and it’s all yours for as little as $3.99 -= or ‘free’ on Kindle Unlimited.

Nearly Halfway

This week’s work-in-progress blog is about Where There’s a Will, the 4th book in the new Delamere Files series of detective novels. I’m very pleased that the series is going so well so far. The current promo…

… has given the series a boost, and the first three books are currently top of my sales chart, with Deviant Desire not far behind. It’s always good to have popular series starters because they can lead to more sales. Numbers do drop off though, so out of every 100 Deviants I sell, I probably only sell 80 Twisteds, and then 70 Unspeakables, and so on. What I also find, though, is that people will read the first one or two books and either not bother because it wasn’t what they were after, or, will carry on all the way through and buy who whole rest of the series in one go.

But, anyway, where was I… oh yes, I was meant to be telling you about Where There’s a Will. Someone wrote in a review that they hoped Will got his own book as the main character because we’ve had three of his brother Jack. Well, good news. Where There’s a Will is about Will (Merrit) being sent to attend the opening of a will (legal document), with his brother, Jack (now finally settled with his sexuality and his new job).

Lundy, in the Bristol Channel. Inspiration for my Templar Isle.

The reading takes place at a castle on a private island, in the presence of twin brothers (the heirs), the dead father’s ancient nanny and her brother, the mute boatman, a couple of the servants, and a friend of the youngest twin. Charles de Marisco (the youngest twin) fancies his friend, Barrett Newton, but Barrett takes a shine to Jack. That’s the human underscore for the investigation which is a mystery in itself. Why have private detectives to the reading of a will? The reason becomes apparent when the solicitor reads the legally binding will and presents the character with a race against time.

I’ll say no more for now, except that I am 45,000 words into the first draft, so just about halfway, and things are looking good. Will is the main character, but we also have Charles de Marisco’s point of view. More news in future blogs.


Just a quick hello today, as I have got behind on jobs and chapters this week. I did manage to get some research done, though, and did a lot of reading which, in the end, wasn’t that helpful. I was trying to find out about wills and bequeathments, so I turned to a friend who is a genealogist for advice. My imaginary will was written in about 1862, and I was trying to find an example of a will from that time so I could copy the wording. I have seen some from my family of the past, but they were 18th-century ones, and I thought there would be a difference. Turned out, I was right. Here’s what my friend wrote back:

The key thing is that in 1858 everything changed. Up until then, wills were written for and proved in the various church courts, so they were both kind of religious documents (the testament) and a disposal of worldly goods (the will). So they were a mix of the religious and the legal, and proved in the court of the Archbishop, or bishop, Dean and chapter, or archdeacon, as appropriate.

In 1858, all that changed and the wills were written for, and proved in, the High Court of Justice, in the newly established probate division. So they ceased to be religious documents and became purely legal ones. You no longer get all that stuff about believing in the merits of Christ as Saviour and believing in the Resurrection. And usually, out goes all the stuff about being decently buried in a good Christian manner. Although you still often get some instructions to executors about the burial where the will-maker had some definite preferences. Extravagant brick-lined graves, for example.

I don’t think I have any from around the 1880s, though I will have a look. The only way to get wills from the post-1858 period is to apply to the High Court Probate Division with the index details and pay a fee. They are not available on Ancestry unless an Ancestry member has gone through the application process then scanned the document and kindly made it available, although there are copyright issues when people do that, and it’s not really allowed.

Later, he sent me a link to a PDF file online. It’s a collection of Wills from the 19th century. Although I only found one dated after 1858, it was enough. I have now written my late character’s will-reading scene, and it will make for fun reading, I assure you. I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update on ‘Where There’s a Will.’

Meanwhile, don’t forget this promo is still running until the end of the month.

Finding a Way to Kindle Unlimited

You may have had your Easter by now, but over here in Greece, ours is yet to come (May 5th). Meanwhile, the special Easter promo of queer romance novels available on Kindle Unlimited is still running. My third series starter, ‘Finding a Way’ is in there with many other hot titles, and you can find them all by clicking the image:

So far, on Amazon, Finding a Way has had 56 rates and a few reviews. I am pleased to say that it’s gained mainly four or five stars (you can never please everyone), and some people have gone to great lengths to leave very positive reviews. Here are some snippets:

Find your way to reading this first book in a new series.

I highly recommend this book for those fans of Jackson Marsh who enjoy his style and humor.

I was hooked on this story from the very first sentence. As always, great characters are introduced to the reader and some cameo appearances of characters from previous series just tied everything so perfectly together.

His brilliant use of words, particularly with the more colourful, learned characters, is almost poetic in nature, while still being incredibly funny to read.

The scene between Jack and Larkin is sublime and other MM romance authors should take note that this is how you write a romantic scene.

Thank you to everyone who takes the trouble to write a review and post it. And also, a huge thank you to anyone who shares these blog posts, the books’ links and news of the Clearwater, larkspur, Delamere series, and my other books.


I am currently at 27,000 words of ‘Where There’s a Will’ and the story is falling into place nicely, as are the characterisations, the mystery – which is a slow build – and the atmosphere. There are also some light moments, and there’s to be very little angst, although there is a love story subplot going on.

Meanwhile, I was checking out some information about the others in the Delamere Series and was interested to see how many rates Finding a Way the first book in the series has received so far. I was pleasantly surprised, and happy that they were all five or four-star ratings, but even better were the reviews. Not many, but enough, and some very glowing words from honest and happy readers. I liked the one titled, ‘Don’t Dilly dally, follow this author,’ because its title clearly resonates with the setting of ‘Follow the Van’, book three in the series. Like the rest, it was honest, pointing out what the reader thought was both good and not so good, and both sides of the coin are useful for the author to know. The other reviews, from Anthony Pisacano, Tony Wiliamson Jr, and CM are also well-written and honest, and I am not just saying that because they say nice things about me and the stories.

These reviews really encourage authors to keep going. Writing my books is now my full-time job and has been for some time, and the income I receive from them is what we live off. Here in Greece, over the winter when my husband isn’t working, it’s all we have, so reviews that attract more readers are more than welcome.

I must slip in this line from a review of ‘Follow the Van.’

Jackson Marsh uses this insight to give us a wonderful historical glimpse into how the early tubes ran back in the 1890s, the pollution, the danger, the 3 class travel system. This is one of the many things the author adds to these books which make them more than the sum of their parts and some of the most incredible reads out there.

Maybe I should change my end-of-novel tagline from ‘You keep reading and I’ll keep writing,’ to ‘You keep reviewing, and I’ll keep writing.’ I’ll keep writing anyway because it’s what I love to do, and these days, what I have to do if I want to eat. On which note, I must get back to chapter 10 of ‘Where There’s a Will.’

I will leave you with a photo I took yesterday showing the entrance to our harbour. I show you this for no other reason than to show off, lol. Then, there’s a not-so-subtle reminder of the current promo. Clicking over there and exploring other authors’ work really helps me and my sales as much as it helps theirs, even though it doesn’t cost you anything.

Taken during a good walk and a good plot & plan session in the open air.

I’ll be back on Saturday with other news and updates.

The Things You Learn!

Easter Promotion:

All these books are on Kindle Unlimited, and they are all romantic. Many have an image of a hunky or topless guy on the cover, or else the heroine, because all are romantic MM or FF in some way. As you can see, my Guardians of the Poor is in there with other top titles. Feel free to click through, then click the covers to see more details of the books, and if there’s something you like, head on over and grab it from KU or get yourself a Kindle copy.

The Things You Learn

Right now, I am working on ‘Where There’s a Will’, the fourth Delamere Files mystery set in 1892. In this story, Will and Jack Merrit are charged with attending the reading of a will. Why? They don’t know. Where? On a remote island in the Bristol Channel. I have based my island on the isle of Lundy, famous for its lighthouse, but also, for so much more. To get there, my characters have to travel to a place called Appledore on the north Devon coast. They could have travelled from Bideford, further upstream, but their island comes with its own ferryman, and I wanted a smaller location for the ferry to leave from.

While I was looking at the maps, and reading up a little about the area, I discovered that it wasn’t far from a place called Westward Ho! I knew that that was also the name of a novel., and I couldn’t help doing a little research because the character who talks about this place is something of a know-it-all (it’s not one of the Merrit brothers) and I wanted him to show us he is educated and knows all about this area.

This became a question of what came first, the novel or the village?

Westward Ho! Google Maps.

Strangely enough, it was the novel. Published in 1885, ‘Westward Ho!’ by Charles Kingsley was set in Bideford, nearby, and its story begins during the reign of Elizabeth I. The book was a bestseller, and entrepreneurs saw a way to use it to develop tourism in the area. The Northam Burrows Hotel and Villa Building Company, chaired by Isaac Newton Wallop, 5th Earl of Portsmouth, was formed in 1863, and to take advantage of the Victorian’s passion for seaside holidays, they called their hotel the Westward Ho!-tel.

Same place, 1890s-1910 map

Here’s a small advertisement for it from the North Devon Journal, June 1865.

As if that wasn’t interesting enough, the village they created for tourism, they called Westward Ho!, including the exclamation mark, meaning it is the only British place name to have punctuation. There are others around the world. Hamilton in the USA officially changed its name to Hamilton!, and in 1986, in Quebec, Canada, you can find a place called Saint Louis-du-Ha!-Ha!

Ha-ha! Now you know, and you may well have known already, but I didn’t, and it’s just this kind of unusual thing that makes research such fun.

Now, I am getting back to chapter six of the new book, and will leave you with a reminder to have a browse around the KU promo I’m currently a part of and see if you can find any new authors and titles to add to your ‘must-be-read’ list.

Where There’s a Will

Hi everyone, and welcome to my Wednesday roundup of news. Today, I am very pleased to tell you I have made a good start on the next Delamere File mystery, and it’s titled, ‘Where There’s a Will.’

If you have been following the series, you will know that my two main characters are Jack and Will Merrit. Jack has featured as the lead of the first three books as he goes from being a hard-working London cabman to being a hard-working private investigator. He’s been trying to come to terms with his change in position, his sexuality, and his feelings towards the writer, Larkin Chase.

Book three will see his brother Will as the main character, although Jack is involved. Will has his own issues, though not around sexuality. He has a ‘condition of preciseness’ as he calls it, a kind of OCD, but not quite. It’s a fine line between madness and genius and Will is approaching that line, although he’s not mad.

Anyway… Where There’s a Will obviously relates to Will Merrit, but it also relates to the reading of a Will on a remote island in the Bristol Channel. The island is modelled on Lundy, though in the story it is Templar Island, and the brothers are charged to go there to be present at the reading of a will.


You will find out, but first I must find out, lol. I have written my synopsis on a small piece of paper, and here it is, the bottom one. Don’t look too closely as there’s an outside chance you might be able to read my scrawl and I don’t want to give you any spoilers.

(The top piece is the railway timetable from London to Bideford in October 1892)

So, I am already at chapter five, which is around 14,000 words into the story and so far, we have a quest, an unrequited love story theme, and a few laughs. We will soon be at the mystery stage before the threat and peril kick in.

In the meantime, I am pleased to say Follow the Van has been going well, and I have had a few private messages telling me how much readers have enjoyed it. Remember, if you can, reviews on Amazon really help because the more there are, the more coverage the books get.

I’ll be back on Saturday with news of another promo and some other information that might be of interest. Until then, have a good week!

Appledore, Devon, where chapter five is set. The yellow line is where the now defunct railway used to run.