On a Deadline for a Title

The work-in-progress news this week is that ‘A Fall from Grace’ is finally out of my system and complete. Almost. I will be sending it away to be proofread at the end of the week, the author’s notes are done, and so is the draft blurb. The cover is in process with Andjela, and all I am doing now is popping back to the full MS to correct anything that pops into my mind at three in the morning. As the days pass, these alterations become less frequent.

One thing remains outstanding, however, and that is the very last line, after where it says, The story continues in book three…’

The title? I have lots of ideas and yet no idea, and I want it there before I publish. I know in what part of Victorian London the story will be set, what the start of the mystery is, the emotional complications that will ensue, and roughly where we will end up, but what I don’t have is a title I can put at the end of book two to draw readers towards book three.

Something to do with Musical Halls, and work in the theatres, missing links of a family history chain, temptations, drama, love…

Hey ho! I have a few titles that might inspire future Delamere stories, titles including Where There’s a Will, and I have a preliminary title for book three, You Can’t Trust These Specials because it’s a quote from a music hall song (Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way), but the story I have I mind doesn’t concern policemen or the ‘old time specials’ of the lyrics.

Leave it with me, set your alarm clocks for mid-October and prepare to look out for the Delamere Files book two, ‘A Fall from Grace’ in a few weeks’ time.

Background inspiration for ‘A Fall from Grace.’

Work in Progress: Reaching a Climax

Ooh er!

No not that. I’ve been here before, climaxing at around 90,000 words with the end of the first draft in sight, and, today, that’s exactly where I am with ‘A Fall from Grace’, the second book in the new Delamere Files series.

I’m pleased to say that ‘Finding a Way’ is doing well, and has already received one glowing review, which includes: 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.

Thank you for that Charles!

I am aiming to have A Fall from Grace first draft completed by this time next week at the latest.

Meanwhile, I am taking part in a book promotion or two during September, and there will be news about this in a newsletter in the next couple of days. If you’ve not subscribed to my (very) occasional newsletters, you can do so from the Newsletter Page. http://jacksonmarsh.com/newsletter/

Finding a Way has Almost Found its Way

‘Finding a Way’, the first in my new series of Victorian mysteries, has nearly found its way to your Kindle and bookshelf. Meanwhile, the sequel to it, ‘A Fall from Grace’ is also doing well. Here is the news on both:

Finding a Way

The first book in the series sets up the three main characters and the underlying villains who will continue through a series of investigations. The baddies won’t appear in every book, but they will make appearances as and when least expected.

I have the cover, another triumph for Andjela V, and it has received excellent feedback from members of my private Facebook group, Jackson’s Deviant Desires, which you are welcome to join. The blurb is ready, and here it is:

It began with a man sobbing in the night.

Twenty-five-year-old Jack Merrit struggles to make a living as a London cabbie, and when he is robbed by a fare, he can see no future for himself and his beloved younger brother, Will.

Enter Larkin Chase. A dashing writer of social observations and a man in search of love. After learning Jack’s story, Larkin sees the chance for him to earn a twenty-pound reward. All he has to do is identify the pair of crooks that robbed him.

The crooks, however, are part of a notorious East End gang who know no boundaries when silencing a witness. With Jack’s world crumbling around him, an unnatural desire draws him to Larkin which he must either fight or allow if he is to see justice done and win his reward. When an equally dashing young detective arrives on the scene, Jack’s life becomes even more complicated, and when the criminal gang exacts their revenge, they set him on a life-or-death quest that will forever change his life. Or end it.

Finding a Way is the first of a new series of Victorian mysteries. Following on from the highly successful Clearwater Mysteries and Larkspur Mysteries, the series starts in London in 1892, and involves some of the original Clearwater characters in supporting roles. There is no need to have read the preceding two series, though it would be a shame to miss them.

Still to do

I still have a few pieces of the process to complete before I can announce the book as released, but you can expect it in around 10 days (roughly). I have still to:

  • Finish checking the proofs now it’s back from the proofreader.
  • Receive the full cover from Andjela V.
  • Have the guys at Other World Ink see to the layout, which will include a drawing of one of the main characters, as that’s something I am keen to continue in this series. (I have the illustration already.)
  • Sort the Amazon stuff like ISBN, and upload the files.

A Fall From Grace

Meanwhile, ‘A Fall from Grace’, the second book in the series, is now at 65,000 words and is doing well. This story continues the one begun in book one, because ‘Finding a Way’ resolves only one of the two plots; the action plot, while the emotional, love interest story is ongoing. I envision the series will include a slow-burn romance which will develop over time, and yes, there will be some sexy parts in it, though they won’t be overly graphic in nature.

‘A Fall From Grace’ is a detective story, as the series is a detective series, with a new mystery each time, and one to be solved by my three main characters, a new band of investigators. However, they come to their new jobs thanks to existing characters from the Clearwater world, and, I hope, you will have some nice ‘Ah ah!’ moments as you read both books. I’ll say no more on that and will leave it for you to discover what lies ahead when you start on the series, hopefully in a couple of weeks.

And now, it’s back to the typowriter and my proofing of book one, while book two waits in the wings to be taken up again once I have ‘Finding a Way’ ready to go. Not long now.

Opening Lines: WIP 7.01

‘Finding a Way’ (The Delamere Files book one) is nearly there, so I have now switched to Work In Progress seven, although it is not my seventh book, but the seventh since I started the WIP blog.

‘A Fall from Grace’ (The Delamere Files book two) is currently at 51,000 words, around halfway through, and the pace is picking up. This is very much first-draft material, and I am still surrounded by pieces of paper stuck to my desk to remind me of vital clues to explain later and where the story is going.

I saw a post on Facebook the other day where writers were encouraged to put up the first lines of the first three chapters of their current work in progress, and I thought that would be a fun idea for today. I can’t remember what these lines are, so I have opened the chapters to take a look.

What I have for you now are the opening lines of chapters one to three of ‘A Fall from Grace’, and this will come as much as a surprise to me as to you.

Chapter One (Summer 1880)
Jacques Verdier hit the rockery at some time between two-thirty and four-thirty in the morning of the thirty-first of July, eighteen-eighty.

Chapter Two (London, Twelve Years Later, July 1892)
His life two weeks ago: Surrounded by boatyards and barge-builders, chandlers and wharfingers, sails, masts, ropes, cable chains, blocks, cranes, and makers of everything needed for the dockyards and river trades.

Chapter three (Sinford’s School for Boys, Kent. 1875 to 1880)
Sinford’s School no longer exists, but when I was sent there in 1875 at the age of thirteen, it was a rambling place full of terror, noise and prospects.

A few notes: I think there are too many hyphens in the opening of chapter one, so I may change the time to an hour, rather than a half. Chapter two needs to be two chapters because it does two things, and it does them too quickly. It tells us about the MC’s change in fortune, and it introduces the protagonist. That’s fine, but the protagonist needs more time to get to know and trust the detectives he has come to for help before he lets them read his memoirs, which start at chapter three. So, that’s a second draft issue to be sorted out.

‘Finding a Way’

Maybe I should whet your appetite for book one by posting the opening lines of the first three chapters. ‘Finding a Way’ should be out on Kindle, KU and paperback within the next couple of weeks, but meanwhile…

Chapter One June 1892
It began with a man sobbing in the night.

Chapter Two
After some investigation of the cabmen’s shelter, Jack returned to the hansom to announce that Speckle Sam was frying them each a grunting peck, and two mugs of prattle broth were waiting for them on the bench, because the night was so warm, and the hut was so ard, he could barely catch his breath.

Chapter Three
There was money to be made on the way home, but Jack ignored the potential fares as he passed through Borough, and turned down the drunks and those leaving the all-night coffee houses.

As for the rest, you will have to wait and see, but you will be able to see the cover here on the blog on Saturday when I do the full reveal. Join me then, and you will meet my two new main characters for the first time…

WIP: 6.10. Finding the Way

Today’s news is that I have finished the first draft and first story read-through of the first book in the Delamare Files series. The draft comes in at 103,000 words, and the ending makes it clear there is to be a sequel. I have started on that already, and know the mystery plot, the feel of the story and its message/theme.

Meanwhile, as I aim to get halfway through book two before finishing book one, there is still a way to go before book one will be ready for you. A few months without a new release means a drop in sales, sadly, so I am having to juggle publicity work with creative work, and as I am not very good at the former, it’s quite a challenge.

Finding the Way

However, the first in the series does now have a title, Finding the Way. You know me and my titles. I like to fit in a double meaning if possible and make the title have relevance to two sides of the story. Finding the Way refers to the MC, Jack Merrit, being a cabbie in 1892 and thus, being able to find his way from A to B thanks to his knowledge of the streets. It also refers to him finding his way towards accepting himself and his affection for another man. There’s a third play on words which happens in the very last line, but I’m not giving that away right now.

Sinford’s Scandal

That’s the working title of book two, and this story is drawn from an idea I had for a Clearwater mystery. I’ve mentioned it before in passing, as it was a story that didn’t fit anywhere, but it is perfect for the Delamare Files series. You see, this new series is to be much more detective and case-based. Rather than our main characters constantly hounded by personal enemies, they are working on behalf of other people through the Clearwater Detective Agency. Though, having said that, they have enemies of their own; disgruntled crooks, mobs whose members they have put away, fed-up villains who want to get their own back. With the cast being predominantly gay, and with the series set in 1892, there is also an overarching danger of living as gay men when being gay was punishable by up to two years in prison with hard labour. Not that ‘gay’ was ‘gay’ back then, nor was it even ‘homosexual,’ not yet. (The word had been coined, but only in obscure medical journals and only used among a few medical professionals).

So, that is where we are right now. I’m about to start on chapter four of Sinford’s, while Finding the Way waits in the background. Now and then I pop back to it to rewrite something or focus an idea, so it is still maturing. Stray thoughts come to me, and I have to rush to a notebook and jot down a better line, and later, make the change. I’m always doing this. Mind you, I still do it with lyrics I wrote over 20 years ago—change a word here and there even though the song will never be performed again—and I’ve just done it to the complete MS for ‘The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge’ which is now rereleased for the better.

I’ll be back on Saturday with something more substantial. In the meantime, I’ll keep on at my full-time job: writing.