Promos and Giveaways

I am almost ready to give away a copy of 1892 to every member of my private Facebook group, Jackson’s Deviant Desires. I have the second proof in, though I’ve yet to check them, but once I have, I’ll let you know the days on which you can collect a copy of the first in a new series.

Not to be confused with the Delamere Files which is also my new series. The 1892 collection will be the first in an ongoing set of short stories set in the Clearwater world, and other volumes will be set in other years. There’s no time structure for producing these, I will write and compile them as and when, but I certainly envisage more of them.

If you’ve not started on one of the series before, each of my series starters is being featured on a promo page at Book Funnel right now. That’s Deviant Desire, Guardians of the Poor, and Finding a Way.

This week, I’ve also been involved in an advent calendar on the Facebook group page of LGBTQ+ M/M Euro Book Banter. They are running this fun promo all the way until Christmas with a different author every day, and each one giving away a giveaway. I have done my day and will soon be announcing the winner. I mention it, because I thought you might be interested to see the group and find new authors who are, presumably, Europe-based, or who write novels and stories set in Europe.

There will be more news about the 1892 giveaway on Saturday. I will put it on my blog and on my FB group page, so make sure you have joined the private group before then.

Free for Pride

Happy Pride Month everyone. I know Pride Day is celebrated on 28th June, but I’m getting in an early celebration and announcing The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge is free today, 24th. That’s given me an excuse to write a little about how the Mentor books came about and to tell you a little about each one, in the order they were written. (Click the covers or links to go directly to each book’s Amazon page.)

Free today

The Mentor of Wildhill Farm

Apart from ‘Other People’s Dreams’ which I wrote years ago, The Mentor of Wildhill Farm was my first foray into writing novels as Jackson Marsh. I had previously written several novels as James Collins, and all but one has a gay character or characters, but none of them were specifically ‘gay novels.’ You can check them out on my other Amazon page here. I had been writing gay erotica for a few websites and magazines and thought, ‘Why not make a novel out of it?’ Being me, there had to be more of a story, so I invented a situation which will appeal to anyone who likes a bit of older/younger, age-gap romance and heat, and made it something of a fantasy. A sexual one rather than one with mythical creatures.

An older man has carte blanche to mentor four (18+) younger guys in their creative and sexual skills. That’s the story, and there’s a little romance in there too. It’s the hottest of the four Mentor books for sure, and a crossover from my writing of erotica to more mainstream gay lit.

The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge

This came next, and for inspiration, I drew on a place and activity I knew well in my younger days. A remote Yorkshire Fell, and mountaineering. This book is more romance mixed with adventure, which is something I do a lot, and although there is a slow build to the heat, the heat is not a major part of the book. It’s about dealing with loss, accepting someone new, and there’s a fair amount of mountain rescue, enforced isolation, and a little bit of a villain Vs hero thrill line.

For a reason I’ve never discovered, Barrenmoor Ridge really took off when first published. Its success boosted me to carry on as Jackson and write more, and from that initial publicity came my proofreader, with whom I still work today. Barrenmoor is on my list of top-ten best-selling books, only surpassed by the first four Clearwater books and the first Larkspur novel.

The Mentor of Lonemarsh House

Again, using a location known to me, I set the third book down in Kent, near where I used to live. I was back in the village a couple of years ago, catching up with an old school friend (and illicit teen affair way back when), and not much had changed. The pub, the local church, the farming community, it was all still there and reminded me of my lonely days on the marsh wandering the lanes hoping Mr Right would appear around the next corner. Lonemarsh explores the idea of the younger person being trapped in a small world and needing an escape. When the love interest arrives, though, Jason, the younger of the pair, finds it hard to accept that love with another man is possible.

You might have noticed the similarity in titles. I’ll break them down to make it obvious: Wild Hill Farm. Barren Moor Ridge. Lone Marsh House. Lost Wood Hall.

Adjective suggesting isolation; remote landscape; a setting. All the Mentor books are set in such surroundings.

The Mentor of Lostwood Hall

By now, I was running out of ideas for titles and situations and thought that a fourth book would be the last. You can have too much of a good thing after all. Lostwood is set in Wales, there’s a storm, a lonely man, an isolated old hall, a younger lad on the run from villains, an accident… It has all the classic hallmarks of a Mentor novel, including other characters of dubious sexuality, some humour, and a slow burn to the heat sections, of which, if I remember correctly, there are a couple. I like to think my writing skills and experience had developed, though I am sure there are still many edits I could make if I returned to this novel for a re-edit, as I have recently done with Barrenmoor.

It’s interesting to note that here we have: a rich man and a down and out, villains, a remote castle, a mystery… All aspects which would later form the basis of the Clearwater Mysteries, undoubtedly my best-selling series. Perhaps this is where it all began?

The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge

Two years after The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge, when I was halfway through writing the Clearwater series, I suddenly had this idea to do a follow-on from Barrenmoor; to return and see how Gary and John were doing a few years later. Along came the Students… Two 18-year-old best friends are away to celebrate a birthday with a camping trip, and one intends to come out to his friend. Disaster ensues, and who should rescue them but John Hamilton and Gary from the earlier book? Back at Barrenmoor Ridge, Gary and John then end up mentoring the younger couple as they deal with their coming out and change in friendship.

This book has one of my favourite lines made comedic by the situation. It’s something like: ‘We’re hanging eighty feet off the edge of a cliff, and you ask me this now?’

You’ll have to read it to understand why.

Free for Pride – The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge

So, just a reminder that the Kindle is free for today only. I have recently re-edited it to make minor improvements, so if you’ve already bought a copy, you can have this updated version for free, on me. So, follow the link, and look out for the giveaway. If you feel like it, please also share this page, the book’s page, and this news in any social media group you might belong to. Thanks!

Back on Wednesday with an update on the next novel.

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Work in Progress 5.02 and an Advent Quiz

Work in Progress and an Advent Quiz

Good morning. Today’s blog is in two parts: a quick catchup on where I am with ‘The Larkspur Legacy’, and news about a quiz which starts on my Facebook page on Thursday, December 1st.

The Larkspur Legacy

My current work in progress is progressing well. I am over 20,000 words in, and I am in the middle of act one, the ‘normal world’, the setting up of the story to come, and I am arranging all the pieces as we approach the point where the action really gets going. There is going to be a lot of it, and somewhere in there will also be what my friend Charles recently described as the ‘heart’ of the story. (Thanks for the review and the message, Charles!)

Without giving anything away, so far in the story we’ve had a chase on horseback, someone creating an invention that’s ahead of its time, Clearwater is not happy, men are plotting, someone has been attacked, and the skies are darkening with the wings of chickens coming home to roost. I’m only on chapter eight! Lol.

The Jackson Marsh Advent Quiz

Every day from the 1st to the 25th of December, we are going to pose a question about one of my 26 books. The answer will be the title of a different book every day, so no book will be an answer more than once. Some of the answers can easily be found by looking at my author page on Amazon because some questions refer to the blurb, the cover, or the first page of a book. For others, you will have to delve deeper and darker into your memory, but even if you’ve not read all 26 books, you can still have a guess.

There will also be a bonus question; which of the 26 books in my collection has not been used as an answer? So, keep a list as you go.

Anyone who comments with an answer will have their name put into a hat as many times as you answer. Then, on Boxing Day (26th December), we’ll ask my godson to pull a name from one of my husband’s steampunk top hats (don’t ask!), and that person will win the star prize. We’ll announce what that will be when the quiz starts on Thursday. I’m saying ‘we’ because Jenine will be running the admin side of the quiz for me to ensure impartiality.

Visit, follow and keep an eye on my Jackson Marsh Facebook page to enter the quiz.

Giveaways on Amazon

Does offering your book for free work?

You make your book free on Kindle so anyone who wants to can download a copy. Why? The idea is you give away loads of copies in the hope readers will then buy another of your titles. Simple advertising and everyone likes something for free, so you get lots of publicity in return and without paying anything.

The Mentor of Lonemarsh HouseI have always been dubious, but I tried it at the end of last month. ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House’, one of the more romantic of the ‘Mentor’ series, hadn’t sold any copies in December so over the New Year period I put it up for five days for free. The title had already covered its cover and editing costs and had, in 2018, broken even in that respect. The giveaway on Amazon resulted in 577 copies being taken for free. I don’t know how many copies were read, they may have been downloaded and saved for the future, but clearly, 577 readers at least saw the title and author name while grabbing their freebie.

I didn’t expect the promotion to lead to the sale of other titles straight away, but I have noticed a change already, for the better, and the leader on the sales board after only five days since the giveaway ended, is ‘The Mentor of Lonemarsh House.’ Okay, so only four copies sold and 1,181 page reads under Kindle Unlimited (roughly another six copies) but considering there were none of either in the previous month, a huge improvement.

Is this because of the free giveaway, or just coincidence? I can’t tell. Did readers click on the title thinking it was still free but actually paid for it? I hope not. Was it because the title was up at the top of Amazon lists for a while because it was free? Who knows? What I do know is that although the resulting income has not yet matched the amount I would have made if 577 readers paid for the book, the promotion appears to have had a positive effect on sales of this title and others.

It will be interesting to see, over the next few days, if this trend continues or if it was just a New Year thing – readers spending money again after the Christmas break. Whatever happens, it’s good to know that people are out there reading and, hopefully, enjoy the books. The reviewers think so. “Wow, Wow, Wow….. This story has that slow long burn feeling to it that gets into you and doesn’t let you go” is a sample from one of the reviews.

So far, the answer to my question, Does offering your book for free work? Appears to be, yes.