If you’ve come here looking for a great historical mystery to read, I’ve again got the perfect thing for you. Not only my own books, which you can find on my Clearwater Mysteries page, and not only The Larkspur Mysteries which continue in the Clearwater world with new characters taking centre stage and established characters supporting, but also Finding a Way, the first in the new Delamere Files series.
K. C. Sivils, A. H. Wang, Y. G. Knight, and authors without initials, such as Rose Donovan and Nadya Frank, all have titles on offer here, along with my series starters, Deviant Desire (Clearwater), Guardians of the Poor (Larkspur), and Finding a Way (Delamere).
Astute readers might notice that my series titles are the names of three of Lord Clearwater’s homes; Clearwater House, London, Larkspur Hall, Cornwall, and Delamere House, the next-door, sister property to Clearwater House in Knightsbridge. Why? I don’t know, it just seemed like the sensible thing to do. When I first came up with the property names, I never thought I would be creating three series around them, but that’s what happened, and I’m glad it did. When writing the Larkspur Mysteries, and bringing in Lady Marshall’s country home, I thought carefully about the name of the place, having in mind the idea I may set another series there in the future. That’s why I came up with Stoneridge Castle. I was thinking of something spookier, still mysterious, maybe steampunk-ish, and based around Hope & Hyde from the Larkspur Academy. If I ever do, you will be the first to know. Meanwhile, back to this Book Funnel promo and all the delights that go with it: Self-pub mysteries with an historical background, all available in KU, so you can easily add them to your library, also available in other formats if you aren’t in KU and want to buy and all at discounted or very reasonable prices.
There. That should set you up for a few weeks. Meanwhile, I am currently editing and rewriting the final chapters of ‘A Fall from Grace’, the Delamere Files book two, and have it booked in with Anne Atwood, my long-suffering and rather excellent proofreader for the first days of October. This weekend, I must start thinking about the cover so that, in a couple of weeks, I can let you know when this next book will be ready for you.
Have a good weekend, check in on Wednesday for the regular work-in-progress update, and above all, keep reading!
Before you settle into read this short excerpt, here’s a reminder about the Book Funnel Promo for LGBTQ+ Romantic Mysteries. Included in this list is ‘Guardians of the Poor’, the first of the Larkspur Series, plus many other titles that offer a mix of LGBTQ romance with a mystery plot or subplot. As you know, all of my Clearwater, Larkspur and now, Delamere novels/series are mysteries with romance, or romantic mysteries. I decided to put the first of each series into this promotion, as each series fits with the theme.
You’ll find many other established authors, and some who may be new to you, and there are great many ideas for new reading. Click the image to take a look at the list.
Finding a Way, unpublished chapter two (first draft)
Sleep, coloured by memories, and broken by Mary knocking up, looked forward to after one hour studying, twelve hours labouring, and five hours driving, was less welcome to Jack than it had been, because the date had been set for his test, and like a runaway horse, it came at him faster than he could control.
On the day, the rain held off, and he hired Charlie to take him to the examination office, expecting to sit at a table and fill out documents. Instead, he met with an official-looking man, who, rather than wish him a good morning, asked him to recite a route before the pair had shaken hands. Jack told him the information he wanted, and recited several others, making no mistakes.
‘How long have you been learning?’
‘A year, Sir.’
‘A year?’ The examiner’s face flushed red around his full beard. ‘Impossible. Come back in twelve months.’
‘I can’t, Sir. I need to start earning.’
‘Impossible, I say.’
‘Let me prove myself, Mr…?’
Mr Whoever—Jack never learnt his name—remonstrated, but Jack held his ground until the examiner gave in.
‘If you can tell me this, I’ll let you pass,’ he said through gritted teeth, and announced the start and finish locations for an imaginary but complicated journey.
Jack visualised his maps, saw the streets in his mind, thought of his brother, and the empty rent jar, and started at the beginning. Along the route, he added asides, contingencies against men working on the road, difficult traffic depending on the time of day, and highlighted his shortcuts, until his fare was safely delivered to the correct destination, where he gave the appropriate price.
The examiner’s face turned from red to pale.
‘One year?’ he muttered. ‘Never seen it before.’
‘But have you seen it now, Sir?’
‘I have, I’ll be damned. You made not one error, and you gave an accurate price. How old are you?’
‘Recently turned twenty-five. Is that important?’
‘It means you’ve at least another fifty years ahead, if you live that long, and it means you’ll do better than older men in the cold weather. Do you drink?’
‘Why not? No money?’
‘That is one reason, I admit, but even when I am in pocket, I use my earnings to pay for my brother’s care.’
‘What’s wrong with him?’
‘No-one knows. As my grandfather Reggie Merrit said, my brother is special.’
‘Reggie Merrit? Of Limehouse?’
‘Yes, Sir. My grandfather. Died last year.’
The examiner’s mouth dropped, and for a second, Jack thought he saw sadness cross the colourful face.
‘We started on the same day,’ the examiner said, reaching for a sheet of paper. ‘Didn’t know he’d died. Bob Hart still living?’
‘Yes, Sir, and working. He and the others who work from Limehouse have been teaching me.’
‘Tell him he owes me three shillings from ten years ago.’
‘I shall, Sir. May I know your name?’
‘Old Reggie had a son, didn’t he?’
‘Samson Merrit. Died last year…’
‘Right before me eyes. Best thing about the turn, if you ask me. Never like that Marie Lloyd woman.’
‘You were at the music hall?’
‘Aye. Seems our paths are intertwined, Mr Merrit. I can see you got your knowledge and tenacity from Reggie, and your looks from your father. You’ll be popular on the ranks.’
Jack’s heart picked up its pace as the man began to write, but not wishing to pre-empt what he hoped would be good news, he said nothing.
‘I’ll put you out a green card. Present it whenever a policeman asks for it, be careful who you hire your rig from, never take a grey horse, and stay sober. That’s me advice to the grandson of the fairest cabman I knew. Sorry to hear about Reggie, but remember to tell Hart about the three shillings.’ The examiner thrust a piece of paper, and Jack took it before he changed his mind. ‘Present that at the desk, and come back to pick up your card and number when they say. After that, you’re on your own, Mr Merrit. Except you’re obviously not. One year? Out of Limehouse? Who’d-a-thought it? Go.’
Jack had entered the office as nervous as a bag of kittens being held over a river and left it a confident cabman with a new career. All that remained to be done was to save for his initial rig hire, which, Will had calculated, would take him only a couple of weeks. After that, to rent Reggie’s old rig from Mr Harris at the yard, and give up the dock work. Then, he could follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and start earning decent money.
He had accomplished the first part of his plan, the next would take more time; to keep his promise to Will, and find the family decent lodgings further west, away from the soot, and the stink of the sugar refinery. That done, he would find someone willing to offer Will employment, and Ida a decent retirement.
Some of what he hoped for would come true before the year was out, but it would not come without heartache and a whole heap of trouble.
You can discover what that trouble turned out to be in ‘Finding a Way’, and while you are doing that, I continue to work on part two, ‘A Fall from Grace.’ There will be more news in my Wednesday blog.
I want to tell you about the thing that made me write this article.
The ‘thing’ was an email from a company purporting to offer a book promotion service, something I always ignore. Why? Well, have a look at the following. All I have done is taken out the name of the company; the rest is copied word for word and symbol for symbol. Bear in mind, this email came from people who want me to believe they deal with literature.
*Hey- Jackson Marsh,*
*I hope that you have been enjoying your recent book "Bitter Bloodline"
**This mail is to introduce you to our "services" of “company name” which can be used to enhance the reach of your book all over the globe.* just upload your book at *company name.*
*We have 1 Slots left for the next promotion in the Featured Book Category (High demanding).* *Hurry!!!! Grab your slot now.*
Let me go through the ‘thing’ line by line *starting with* the unnecessary use of ***.
Why? What are they meant to do? Make me think, ‘Oh, that’s pretty, I’ll sign up with this lot right away.’ ? They sent me in the opposite direction before I’d read a line.
*Hey- Jackson Marsh,* Why the dash?
*I hope that you have been enjoying your recent book “Bitter Bloodline”.* I published Bitter Bloodline in November 2019, and why should I be enjoying it? Yes, it’s a good read, but I don’t sit around reading my own work three years after I wrote it. (note from PA, it is a great read but please start with Deviant Desire and work your way through the series to get the very best out of Jackson’s writing)
*This mail is to introduce you to our “services” of “company name”
which can be used to enhance the reach of your book all over the globe.*
What are these “services”? Putting any word in quotes that isn’t a quote makes me feel the word doesn’t represent the thing it actually is. For want of a better way of putting it, wrapping a word in quotes makes the word feel pretend. So, “Services” aren’t really services, they’re a sham because this email (not mail btw) is a scam. I’m not sure about enhance the reach of either. My books have heart, but they don’t have arms.
*If You like to register your book on our web portal for more than one year just upload your book at *company name.*
A few pedantic points here:
If You… why the capital letter? If You like… Where’s the would? … upload your book at… TO. Upload my book TO your spurious web ‘portal’ which, I assume, will send it whizzing off through time and space to land on another planet. Or, more likely, on a pirate website where twats steal authors’ work and give them away, or worse, sell them and make money from other people’s hard graft.
*We have 1 Slots…
See above regarding unnecessary asterixis and inappropriate capital letters, and while you’re about it, take note that we always write numbers from one to ten as words, with ten/10 being optional. One slot, by the way, is singular. 1 Slots, or even one slots is just plain wrong.
…for the next promotion in the Featured Book Category (High demanding).*
You certainly are. What does High demanding mean? Why the stray capital letter? Why is it in brackets?
Don’t get me started on the use of the exclamation mark, let alone four.
Grab your slot now.*
Don’t be so personal.
I mean, honestly. Are we supposed to take this kind of thing seriously? It’s as if I received a letter from the child-catcher from Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang offering to look after my offspring for a day. Or, worse, an email from the UK Tory party asking me to trust them and promising to improve my quality of life.
The message here is simple:
Ignore Emails from Book Promotion Companies
unless it’s a company you know, one that someone you trust has recommended, or one you have researched and found for yourself. Otherwise, offers such as these will only lead to your work being pirated and sold with no income coming to you.
Trustworthy Book Promotion Companies
I use two and have no qualms about using them.
The first is All Author, where you can list your books, grab promotional tools, make memes and gifs, have an interview, pay a little extra for a front-page promotion and other handy things. It’s also a good place for readers to find authors.
As is the second place I use, Queer Romance Ink which is run by the same guys as Other World Ink. OWI does my book layouts for me, and they offer many other author services at affordable prices such as blog tours and reviews.
If you are going to promote your books, I highly recommend those sites, and even more highly recommend you never consider replying to an email from a company offering *“Services!!!!”* Especially those that tell you to grab your slot.
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