What’s behind Home From Nowhere?

What’s behind Home From Nowhere?

‘Home From Nowhere’ is the seventh book in the ongoing series, The Clearwater Mysteries, and it is slightly different from the other novels. After the wild and often dangerous adventures of books one to six, I thought it would be good to slow the pace and write what they call a ‘cosy’ mystery for Archer and his crew to solve. ‘Home From Nowhere’ is also a coming of age story and the beginning of a romance.

In it, we meet a new character, Jasper Blackwood, a hall boy from Kingsclere House who has lived all his 18 years in the workhouse or in service. In book six, ‘Artful Deception’, James briefly meets Jasper, and later learns that he has been used as a whipping boy by the evil Earl Kingsclere. When Archer, Lord Clearwater, hears of this, he poaches Jasper and his only friend, Harvey Holt, a footman, and brings them to Clearwater House in London. Jasper brings with him an old tin box in which is a book of folk songs, but this is no ordinary book of songs. Its uniqueness, and a handwritten inscription set Archer’s mind wondering. Calling together his newly formed Clearwater Detective Agency – his lover, Silas, his butler, Thomas, and his valet, James –  Archer sets about investigating the meaning of the book’s inscription: To Jasper Blackwood. A caprice in Lutèce leads to overtures which will, I pray, lead to a full life. Take this with my tears and my regret. FR.

An antique Blüthner piano such as the one in Archer’s library which was once owned by Schubert

And so the story unfolds. It is set against Jasper coming to terms with his new life working for a master who cares, and with ‘men of a similar heart’, which, by the way, is the working title for book nine. As Jasper accepts his good fortune, so he is able to develop his remarkable and intuitive skills in music. Allowed to be himself, and under the mentorship of James, he accepts that he has an attraction for Billy Barnett, another new character, and so a gentle love story begins. That story is continued in book eight, ‘One of a Pair’, due for release in September.

The historical facts behind Home From Nowhere

All of my Clearwater books contain a mix of fact and fiction. For example, in book one, ‘Deviant Desire’, we have the East End of London as it was in October 1888 when Jack the Ripper was stalking Whitechapel. In my story, however, ‘The Ripper’ is stalking male prostitutes in Greychurch.

In ‘Home From Nowhere’, we learn much about what goes on below stairs in a noble house. Jasper takes up a new position and must learn what it means to be an assistant housekeeper. Much of what you read on that subject is based on research, from ‘sad irons’ to boot polish, and it was fun to show below stairs at Clearwater House as it would have been.

The mysterious inscription leads to a discovery, and without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you that the characters the inscription leads back to, were real people. You would definitely have heard of one, but maybe not the other; a woman who was from where the book says she was from, did what it says she did as a profession, and who was involved with… the man I can’t name without giving away the ending.

And on the subject of the inscription, this piece of dialogue from chapter thirteen is, to the best of my knowledge, factual in its content:

‘Exactly, Tom, and that makes sense when you ask the question none of you has yet asked.’
‘I think I was just about to,’ James said. ‘Where or what is Lutèce?’
Archer grinned and hugged Silas tighter. ‘Lutèce comes from the Latin, Lutetia Parisiorum. Lutetia is Latin for mud, or a swamp, and Parisiorum…’
‘Is Paris,’ Thomas interrupted. ‘Lutèce was the old name for Paris?’
‘Which just happens to rhyme with caprice, a musical term more usually known in the Italian as capriccio, meaning lively or in high spirits, but with a different meaning in English. So, Tom, I leap to my conclusion with those few facts and suggest that this inscription sends Jasper a message…’

Popular songbooks similar to the one used in the story

With regards to the songbook: its paper was invented and used as I have written, as were nigrosine ink, the chocolate manufacturer mentioned, the concert piece (including the name of the lyricists which came as a surprise to me), and the makes of the pianos. The men Archer goes to for advice were the directors of the music colleges at that time.

The book is unimaginatively titled Chanson Populaire, which translates as popular song, or folk songs as they are fashionably called. [Also from chapter thirteen, and factual.]

Also, although the workhouses are imaginary, everything down to the forms where Silas finds information is based on actual forms still in existence in the records office, and the wording, again, is accurate. There was a Kingsclere Workhouse in Hampshire, and although my description of it varies from the original, the figures quoted in the story are real.

The music

Page from a piano catalogue (1890)

When you read the book, you will see that music plays a large part in the mystery and in Jasper’s development from cowering hall boy to, in book eight, confident youth with an incredible talent. In ‘Home From Nowhere’ he sees his life as a piece of music and talks about when he first played a church organ. The names of the organ stops are real, and the experience of playing such an instrument is taken from my memory – not that I could ever play as well as Jasper. The Oetzmann and Plumb piano was a real make, as is the Blüthner grand in the library, but whether Brahms owned it or one like it is debatable, but he did have a fondness for Blüthners, so it’s not impossible.

What’s next for Jasper Blackwood?

As I write, my husband is beta reading the first draft of ‘One Of A Pair’, the eighth book in the Clearwater Mysteries. This story starts six weeks after ‘Home From Nowhere’ ends, and it continues Jasper’s story, his growth and coming of age, and concerns his friendship with our other new, and often comical character, Billy Barnett. There is a mystery, of course, and in this case, fact and fiction are mixed like a chemical formula – and that analogy will make sense when you come to read the book. You can expect the usual combination of love, friendship, romance and mystery, fact and fiction, but also, a more significant role for the bisexual, brilliant but scatter-brained, Doctor Markland (who briefly appears in ‘Deviant Desire’ and other books in the series). I shall be redrafting that novel and improving it during August and aim to have it with you sometimes in September.

(The sunglasses were not mine!)

Look out for more and regular blog posts in the future where I will not only talk about the new books, but the published ones, the characters, their history, the facts behind the fiction and how I set about writing the Clearwater Mysteries, and other MM, romantic novels.

You can find my full collection on my Amazon author page here, and the full collection of the Clearwater adventures here.

Unspeakable Acts published

Unspeakable Acts published

The good news of this week is that part three of The Clearwater Mysteries has now been published. Unspeakable Acts is available from Amazon Kindle, KU and in paperback. Here is the link to the .com listing, but the book is available through co.uk and other Amazon domains. Unspeakable Acts.

The Clearwater Mysteries runs in order, so if you haven’t read parts one and two, you are advised to do that first. Each book builds on the stories that have gone before as the world grows, the character count increases and the villains stack up to oppose Viscount Clearwater and his team of faithful friends/servants/lovers – there is some crossover between roles depending on who is with whom and at what time.

The next part of the series, ‘Fallen Splendour’ is currently in the typewriter, as it were. I am up to 50,000 words on that one, about halfway through, having spent a week on the Greek island of Tilos composing the story and clues, researching and writing. I was able to put down 35,000 words in five days there as I have no distractions. Well, none apart from the sea, but I am not a great swimmer, and the tavernas and village square. Now I am home, I am having to fit in daily life, distractions and paid work (only four hours a day, but still a nuisance) but the book is marching on. I’m aiming for an August/September release for part four, and there will be more about it soon.

Meanwhile, catch up with Archer, Silas, Thomas, James and Fecker by starting with ‘Deviant Desire’ and a hunt for the East End Ripper. Then move on to ‘Twisted Tracks’ for a “Catch me if you can” mystery thriller and a bumpy train ride, before heading to the opera house for ‘Unspeakable Acts.’ I won’t say too much about part four (no spoilers allowed), but so far, we have been to Bow Street police station, become lost in a blizzard and learnt a fair amount about the poetry of Tennyson, the Poet Laureate in 1888. More to come on this developing story before too long.

Jackson Marsh Author profile at Amazon for a list of all my titles

Lostwood Hall – Publishing this week

Here’s a preview of the cover for ‘The Mentor of Lostwood Hall’, my latest MM Romance, HEA novel. I’m aiming to make the book live this week and have sent a newsletter to my subscribers offering 10 free copies for ARC readers. If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, click the link in the top menu and remember to confirm your email address when the notification comes in.

The Mentor of Lostwood Hall should be available by May 14th

The Mentor of Lostwood Hall
Jackson Marsh

A man with a future he can’t accept and a lad with a past he can’t escape.

Two men in a storm-battered castle harbouring secrets and hopes unknowingly guide each other to an unexpected friendship that turns to passionate love.

Julian Ford’s life is at a crossroads. Thirty-four, disillusioned with his screenwriting career and cheated by love, he craves the chance of isolation at his rambling home in the Welsh mountains, Lostwood Hall. But when 21-year-old Lee Benson survives a car crash, Julian has no choice but to take him in.

Their pasts collide, bringing a storm of doubts, fears, a jealous ex-lover and a dangerous thug seeking revenge. Is Julian and Lee’s fledgeling relationship strong enough to survive? And do they trust each other enough to escape death?

The Mentor of Lostwood Hall is the fourth in Jackson Marsh’s ‘Mentor’ collection of older/younger MM romance.

Inheritance, and The Mentor Of Lostwood Hall

Inheritance, and The Mentor Of Lostwood Hall

Hi everyone!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late as we were on our honeymoon. We were married last year but saved the honeymoon (and money needed) until my birthday this year. We were in Croatia (Split) and had a great time, and I also had a great birthday.

An author, thinking on his birthday.

Now I am back home and settling into the writing again. I am working on a standalone novel, ‘Inheritance’ which is now with my proof-reader and with my cover artist. I am eagerly awaiting the cover, Adjela does such great work! I am hoping that Inheritance will be available by the end of April. It’s about two guys, Ryan Blake, 25, and Charlie Hatch, 22 who meet up a few years after they left school. They didn’t know each other then, Ryan was head boy, and Charlie was something of a tearaway, but Charlie has always been in love with Ryan. Together, they set about a family mystery that Ryan brings with him when he returns to his hometown in Devon, UK. As they ork out the history, their relationship develops to the point of… You’ll have to wait and see.

As you can see, we took our bear with us.

I am also working on another Mentor novel, ‘The Mentor of Lostwood Hall’ and am halfway through the first draft. This story concerns a younger guy, Lee, aged 21 from London, who has a road accident in a storm in the Welsh mountains. He’s fleeing a bad situation at home and is lost in more ways than one. Luckily for Lee, he is found by Julian Ford, a screenplay writer who lives in a castle (Lostwood Hall) and who is himself escaping from his film industry life. Having worked in films as a scriptwriter, I reckon there’s something of me in Julian, but as for Lee… Well, he’s the kind of guy we all dream about rescuing and saving, in more ways than one. I’m hoping to have this novel out in May/June.

I’ll get back to the writing now with a reminder that if you have read any of my novels and liked them, reviews are always welcome! Get in touch if you have any comments or would like to chat about the books, and carry on reading!

My Amazon Author page is here: https://www.amazon.com/Jackson-Marsh/e/B077LDT5ZL/

The Mentor of Wildhill Farm: Kindle Edition

The Mentor of Wildhill Farm

The Mentor of Wildhill FarmThe Mentor of Wildhill Farm is now available on Kindle as an eBook download – and in Kindle Unlimited for free. This is a M/M Romance/Erotica novel (adults only) in the older/younger niche.

“Camden Stevens, a forty-two-year-old writer with a passion for younger men, is invited to mentor four gay youths at an isolated farmhouse. His students are budding writers in their late teens, all keen to explore their creativity — and sex. Camden must mentor them in both, and expects them to work hard.

What he doesn’t expect is a youth like Gabriel, and what he doesn’t know is that the man who set up this fantasy-come-true has a motive of his own.”

Amazon.com               $2.99

Amazon.co.uk             £2.22

My Amazon Author page