More Books Being Promoted

As you might know, I have my three series starters in a month-long promotion. These are all historical mystery and adventure novels, and they are all available on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re not sure what that is, ‘KU’ as it’s often called, is a bit like a paid-for library. You subscribe each month and in return you can choose from over 4 million books, audiobooks, comics and magazines, ‘borrowing’ up to a certain amount each month. Perfect for avid readers. I expect there are some other benefits, and you can find out more about it from a Google search.

So, the books in this promotion are all available ‘for free’ if you have signed up to KU. I believe they are also available on Kindle generally and in paperback. I know mine are.

I try and promote the series starts as much as I can, in the hope that new readers will enjoy the first book, and go on to read the second, and so on. It sometimes happens that was and it’s great when it does. A couple of times in my writing career I’ve woken up to find someone has bought every book in all three series all in one shot. That’s 11 Clearwater Mysteries, seven Larkspur Mysteries, and so far, two Delamere Files (with a third one out any day now). Total coast of Kindles for that lot? Roughly $79.00. If a couple of people a day would buy the whole series… Pipe dream, perhaps, but it happens, just not to me.

So, this week’s highlighted novel is in the promotion. Finding a Way is the story that starts the Delamere Files. The ‘file’ in this case is the main man himself, Jack Merrit and the crime he suffered, and how he deals with it. In book two, Jack’s gone from being a cabman to being a detective, and his second file takes hm into the world of the Victorian public schools and old school ties. A Fall From Grace. The third book, Follow the Van, takes him and his very precise brother, Will, into the world of the music hall which was their late father’s domain as he was a top music hall entertainer.

Jack and Will Merrit in ‘Follow the Van.’

The next one in the series is to be Where There’s a Will. I am starting on that this week. I want to do something I’ve always wanted to do and have a classic (you could say clichéd) “reading of the will at a creepy old property during a storm”, kind of story. A Cat and Canary for the Merrit brothers to take part in. However, that’s as far as I am with it, and I am trying to think of ways to make it non-cliché before I dive in.

So, the point of this weekend’s ramble is to remind you that the promo is still on, and if you’re looking for more historical action and mystery, you can check out the books via this link.

Coming up on the 20th for a few weeks is a ‘Best Friends to Lovers’ promo with over 40 books on that theme taking part. The link is live but the book links are not: Click here to check it out.

Coming up on 29th March and running until the end of May is a ‘Spend Easter with Queer Romance in KU’ promo, with another set of books, including my three series starters and work from other top authors. Click here to check it out.

The British Music Hall

Hi, all. Today, I wanted to draw together some info about the British Music Hall, because that’s currently where I am with ‘Follow the Van,’ the third Delamere mystery. I have Jeck Merrit investigating a theft and finding himself at the Gaiety Theatre, Strand, London, in 1892. As soon as I’ve posted this post, I am going to take a quick walk around my village while I put together some of Jack’s father’s backstory and then, when I return, I’ll write out the chapter. Meanwhile, here’s a quick summary of the history of the music hall, and of the Gaiety Theatre. (Photos from Arthur Lloyd.)

The British Music Hall

The British music hall was a popular form of entertainment in the United Kingdom from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. It was characterized by a variety of performances, including music, comedy, dance, and theatrical acts, typically held in large public venues known as music halls.

The music hall at Roman Road, London

The music hall tradition can be traced back to taverns and coffeehouses where live entertainment was provided alongside food and drink. As the popularity of these performances grew, purpose-built music halls began to appear in cities across the UK. Music halls were large, typically ornate venues that accommodated a diverse audience. The architecture often featured balconies, galleries, and a stage at one end. Some famous music halls included the Alhambra, the London Pavilion, and the Empire.

The variety of acts in a music hall show was one of its defining features. Performers included singers, comedians, dancers, magicians, acrobats, ventriloquists, and more. The diverse lineup catered to a broad audience with different tastes. Comedy played a significant role in music hall performances. Comedians often delivered sketches, monologues, or slapstick routines. Some well-known comedians of the time included Marie Lloyd, Dan Leno, and George Formby.

Live music was a staple of the music hall, with performers singing popular songs of the day. The songs ranged from sentimental ballads to humorous tunes. Many music hall songs became hits and were widely known. Music hall shows often encouraged audience participation. Sing-alongs and call-and-response interactions were common, creating an engaging and lively atmosphere.

The Gaiety Theatre, Aldwych, London

The music hall was a significant cultural phenomenon, serving as a popular form of entertainment for people from various social classes. It played a role in shaping popular culture and influencing later forms of entertainment. The decline of the music hall began in the early 20th century, influenced by the rise of cinema and changes in popular entertainment tastes. The decline accelerated after World War I, and many music halls were either converted into cinemas or demolished.

While the traditional music hall format largely disappeared, its influence can still be seen in modern forms of entertainment, and some elements of the music hall tradition have endured in contemporary variety shows and live performances.

The Gaiety Theatre

The Gaiety Theatre, located on the Strand in London, was a prominent Victorian-era theatre known for its contributions to musical theatre and light entertainment.

Inside the Gaiety when it opened in 1869

Opening and Early Years.
The Gaiety Theatre opened on December 21, 1868, on the site of the former Lyceum Theatre. The early years of the Gaiety were marked by a mix of drama and light entertainment, but its focus shifted more towards musical productions as time went on.

Management by John Hollingshead.
The Gaiety gained fame under the management of John Hollingshead, who took over in 1868. Under his direction, the theatre became synonymous with musical burlesque and operettas. Hollingshead aimed to provide light and humorous entertainment, catering to a wide audience.

Musical Burlesque and Gilbert and Sullivan Collaborations.
The Gaiety Theatre became famous for its musical burlesques, which were satirical and often featured humorous parodies of popular operas and plays. In the 1880s, the theatre hosted a series of successful productions by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, including “Patience” and “The Mikado.”

The Gaiety Girls.
The Gaiety became particularly associated with the “Gaiety Girls,” a term coined to refer to the chorus girls who appeared in the theatre’s productions. These young women were known for their beauty and vivacity, and their presence added to the overall appeal of the Gaiety’s shows.

Architectural Features.
The Gaiety Theatre underwent several renovations and changes over the years. Architect C.J. Phipps designed the original building, and subsequent modifications were made by other architects. The theatre had a distinctive horseshoe-shaped auditorium and a lavish interior.

Later Years and Closure.
The Gaiety continued to be a popular venue for musical productions into the early 20th century. However, like many other traditional theatres, it faced challenges from changing audience tastes and competition from newer forms of entertainment. The Gaiety closed in 1939 and was eventually demolished in 1956.

The Gaiety Theatre left a lasting legacy on the London theatrical scene, particularly in the realm of musical theatre. It played a crucial role in popularizing musical burlesque and operettas, influencing the development of the genre. The Gaiety’s focus on light entertainment and the “Gaiety Girls” also left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of Victorian and Edwardian London.

You can find more about the Gaiety at Arthur Lloyd

Works in Progress X 2

This week’s update concerns two works in progress.


It’s rather a dramatic title for a short collection of short stories, but I rather like it. I’m mad about the cover Andjela has done, and I’ll be revealing that in a few days. Meanwhile, Neil and Jenine have been beta reading and checking over the MS, and the feedback so far is positive. Once they’ve finished, I’ll get back to a final draft, which means we’re on target of a release before Christmas as promised, with members of my private Facebook group being able to receive a free digital copy before it goes on sale.

Follow the Van

While 1892 is, for me, on pause, I’ve returned to the third of the Delamere novels, ‘Follow the Van.’ This story sees the continuation of Jack and Will Merrit’s change in fortune, and when the story starts, they are happily ensconced in their new home and jobs as private investigators.

This book takes the world of the music halls as its backdrop and gives me a chance to expand Jack and Will’s past a little more by having them learn some home truths about their father. You might remember that Samson Merrit died a couple of years before ‘Finding a Way’ started. Samson was a music hall artist who died on stage while performing with Marie Lloyd. He is invented, but I am reading about characters of the music halls (later termed variety here and in the USA) and the world of the London theatre at the turn of the century. Fascinating for someone like me who’s always been interested in the theatre.

Follow the Van is still in its early days, but I am on chapter seven, first draft, and have brought in Ben Baxter the sex-mad, ex-renter, stable boy and groom, to help jolly the story along, and give Jack another diversion. My planned writing today includes getting ‘Bax’ from Knightsbridge to a compromising position in a Limehouse stable. Not sure how I’m going to do that, but it’s going to be fun working it out.

I’m back on Saturday with more news and chat. Don’t forget to scroll down and check out ‘On Wings of Song’ by Anne Barwell, as featured last week, and, if you’ve not yet found them, you can start the new Delamere Files series right here. (Click the pic.)