alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

It is autumn. My son has had his first week at university, leaving me in the house on my own. Naturally I had to be busy busy busy in order to justify my right to existence.

Rather than actually tidying the house (I did do some of that, but it never lasts), I have been beavering away on several writing projects at once.

wikiBandeau_portail_Rome_antique

I narrowed down the whole of history into a focus on 50ad, and the whole of the world into a snapshot of the area of Britain belonging to the Brigante tribe, letting me conclude that the novella I intended to write for my newsletter would involve Queen Cartimandua, notorious backstabber and Roman sympathizer.

I also spent like three days wrestling with the names of my heroes. Do you know if a Brigante man called Tamm whose father was called Cara would be Tamm MacCara or Tamm ap Cara? I didn’t.

Do you have any idea how to work out this Roman naming system, when the Roman in question is not a member of one of the original Roman gens? I really didn’t. I am very very fortunate to have Wulfila to talk me through it. But if I had any confidence going in, I’ve emerged from the experience without it.

And that was without deciding my Roman MC needed a Phoenician personal name because his family were still proud of being Carthaginians first. Apparently the Phoenicians (like other ancient cultures) didn’t believe in writing down vowels. So it took me most of this morning to decide on Kpr as my MC’s Phoenician name and decide it was spelled Kepir. To make it pronounceable for his mates, he would tell them it was Kepirus, or just to call him Africanus and have done with it.

WagesofSinFinalLarge

That was all research. In addition, I have been plotting. *Steeples hands in a sinister fashion*

What have I been plotting? I’ve been plotting another adventure for Charles Latham and Jasper Marin of The Wages of Sin fame. This one is to be called Waters of the Deep.

In which Charles’s Latham family entitlement makes a bad situation worse when he and Jasper are called in to investigate a multiple stabbing in (the cotton mill town of) Paradise. 

This will be another combination of m/m romance, murder mystery and fantasy. No ghosts, this time – other than Lily, Charles and Jasper’s adopted ghostly daughter – but other denizens of Faerie instead.

I haven’t set a firm deadline for getting that finished, other than ‘hopefully before Christmas.’

But!

BuriedWithHimFinalLarge

as a way of whetting people’s appetites for it, I’ve written a 10,000 word short story in the same universe. Buried With Him is a prequel to The Wages of Sin and tells the story of what happened after Jasper was pilloried that managed to save his faith.

It also manages to keep on with the theme of vaguely sinister Biblical titles, though I worry that this one in particular – though thematically appropriate – is really offputting.

That’s currently being edited, and I’m hoping to release it in mid October. Since, once that’s done, there will be two (soon to be three) volumes in this series, I’ve given the whole thing a series title of Unquiet Spirits. I hope to do at least one more novella in the series afterward, if only to justify calling it a series at all! Watch this space for more definite news on that.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

I meant to do this last year, and then real life intervened. But now I hope I am getting back on the horse and I’ve finally uploaded the second edition of The Wages of Sin to Kindle.

WagesofSin2600

Now re-released in a Kindle exclusive for the next 90 days. (After which it will also be available from Kobo and Smashwords.)

Now with the companion short story ‘Communion’ included.

~*~*~*~

Review for The Wages of Sin from Jessewave:

If you love the deeply Gothic, then this will certainly be your cup of horror, as the book positively drips with it…. an utterly spellbinding and spooky read, a cracking mystery and a really lush piece of Gothic literature.

Review from Dear Author

I don’t think I’ve ever FELT like I was *in* a particular time more than I did in this book.

Blurb

Charles Latham, wastrel younger son of the Earl of Clitheroe, returns home drunk from the theatre to find his father gruesomely dead.  He suspects murder.  But when the Latham ghosts turn nasty, and Charles finds himself falling in love with the priest brought in to calm them, he has to unearth the skeleton in the family closet before it ends up killing them all.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Excerpt

Charles wrapped his arms around himself and chafed his biceps to get some warmth into them.  Cold radiated out from the marrow of his bones, nestled in his heart like a shard of ice.  But the old felted blanket around him glowed in the lantern light with blue, yellow and red stripes, speckled with dog hair.  He basked in wet dog and horse smell; brass polish, leather wax, and Floyd’s orange-flower-water cologne.  These things and the terror that had passed could not exist in the same world, surely?

“A cloud,” he said, in a reedy, shocked voice.  “There was a cloud.  A black cloud.  It… it rushed at me, and….”

“Most probably the dust cloud from the landau, sir.”  Sam spoke over his shoulder as he flicked the whip encouragingly above Jewel’s ears.

“No it…”

“Yes, that would account for it.  Undoubtedly why we neither of us saw the other coming.”  Floyd nodded, fished out a handkerchief and wiped his cheeks and forehead with fingers only a little less unsteady than Charles’.  “You, um.  You fell upon your head, sir.  And, mm, if my nose doesn’t guide me wrongly, had already imbibed a fair amount of… mm, conviviality.  No doubt you are also distressed about your father.  I think we need look no further for the cause of a temporary, understandable, overturning of the wits.”

“That’s not how it…”  Charles clutched the blanket more closely, trapped a pawprint between his knee and the seat.  The dried mud flaked off and scattered to the floor, and a convulsive choke of disgust forced its way out of him at the patter of falling soil.  He smeared it underfoot, looked down blankly for a moment before the words finally penetrated his understanding.

The landau swayed like a pinnace as it swept through the great curve before the marble steps of the portico.  Lights now glimmered in the hall, and as they drew up George flung open the door.  His candle showed a white, sickened face, its distinguished lines set in strain.

“My father?”  Charles rose to his feet, holding tight to the calash of the landau as it sprayed gravel with the speed of its stop.  A fist of dread tightened beneath his breastbone and the waves of shivering returned full force.  “What’s wrong with…?”

George ran down the stairs.  The light shone on his open shirt and bare feet as his scarlet silk banyan trailed behind him.  His uncovered hair shone silver-gilt, exposed.  It was the first time in years Charles had seen his brother so careless of his appearance, and his wild unconscious beauty added a new terror to the night.

Flinging down his candle, George caught Dr. Floyd as he bent to retrieve his bag and hauled him bodily out onto the grass.  Floyd raised an eyebrow at the treatment, while George in turn gaped at the sight of Charles leaping down beside him.

“Oh I do have a brother then?  No, say nothing, this isn’t the time.  You’d best come too.”

Charles followed his brother’s impatient strides past the stone pineapples on the sweep of white stairs.  Their footsteps echoed and re-echoed like vollies of rifle-fire against the chequered black and white limestone of the entrance hall.  A candelabrum set on a table within lit Doric pillars and the portraits of his ancestors with a bubble of amber light around which the darkness brooded.  The door up from the kitchen stood partially open.  Blurs of white faces, above white shifts, showed ghostlike in the crack.

On the landing, George’s valet Sykes stood waiting with a candlestick in his hand, his cravat lopsided and his chin shadowed by an aggressive growth of black stubble.  Another twist in the garrotte of fear about Charles’ throat.  They were normally both of them so impeccable.  “George!  What’s…?”

“Just,” George flung up a hand, “be quiet.”  He took the candle and whispered to Sykes.  “Stand outside the door.  Mrs. Latham’s rest is not to be disturbed under any circumstances.  Should Elizabeth wake, you may inform her, but you will not permit her to come in.”

“I understand.”

Down the passage, their feet silent now on the runner of blue and white carpet.  Outside the windows at either end of the passage, the night pressed inwards.  As they stopped outside his father’s room, George dropped a hand to the doorknob and bent that exposed, vulnerable head.  “I feel I ought to warn you.  It isn’t…  Ah.  Well.  See for yourself.”

Candlelight caught the cream and gold plastered walls, glittered like the ends of pins in the tassels of the bed-curtains and the gold embroidered comforter that lay in a kicked off crumple against the claw-footed legs of the bed.  The fire had been made and burned clear yellow in the grate.

Soberly, imagination finally at bay, Charles did what his soldier ancestors would have expected of him.  He walked forward into the line of fire, looked down.

Ambrose Latham, Earl of Clitheroe, lay on his back in his nightgown, his limbs fettered by the sheets, his swollen face purple.  His open mouth brimmed with vomit.  Across his nose, lips and chin the mark of a woman’s hand stood out in livid white.  His nostrils were stopped with earth.

Chapter Two

“What is he doing here?”  The clock on the mantle struck quarter past six as Elizabeth gestured with her loaded fork.  No doubt, Charles thought, his head throbbing, and the side of his face stinging in counterpoint, her advanced state of pregnancy excused the fact that she was still capable of eating.  He wished she would do it somewhere else.

Dragging his eyes from the drop of brown grease that trembled on the end of the bacon, he looked where she pointed.  The vague sense he had had all night that there were too many presences in the house – a pair of shoes outside a normally unoccupied door, an unexpected number of plates on the sideboard for this impromptu family breakfast, coalesced into a stranger at their table.

He wore the bob wig of a clergyman and a clergyman’s black woollen coat.  The jet buttons of his cuff glittered, and beneath the stark white powder of his wig, his wing-like brows were just as black.  The fan of black eyelashes hiding downcast eyes, and the diffident bend of his neck, could not disguise an angular, almost Spanish beauty; bold high cheekbones and a sullen, dangerous mouth.

“He’s here as my guest.”  George was once more the picture of manly perfection in a suit of emerald silk, but the stick pin in his cravat clashed with his waistcoat, and the lines of strain in his face scored deeper by the hour.  Charles swallowed, looked away, conscious that for the first time, George had begun to resemble their father.

“He’s father’s enemy.  Always has been.”  Elizabeth’s white makeup showed cracks and streaks in a dozen places, her handsome face puffy from weeping and her eyes bloodshot.  Close to her confinement and with her husband absent at the head of his regiment in Scotland, she had returned home to be coddled with all the attentiveness an expectant grandfather could bestow.  And she had always been Clitheroe’s favourite.

Charles honoured her for her grief.  Despised himself for being unable to echo it.

Outside the tall windows, dawn had barely begun to break.  Autumnal rain lashed the panes, rolled in silver beads down each black lozenge.  Within the house a melancholy procession of servants passed the door of the morning room; Geoffreys, his father’s valet, with an arm full of neatly folded sheets, Cook with jug, basin and towel, and her two daughters following, a can of hot water carried between them.  He took another cup of coffee, for the hangover, and looked back.

The stranger’s head still bent over the table.  He dipped his spoon, ate a mouthful of porridge and the gesture brought his face even further into shadow.

“Melodramatic nonsense!”  George speared a devilled kidney and thrust it onto his plate.  “Father doesn’t have any enemies.”

Elizabeth gave a harsh laugh, honey-blonde ringlets bobbing with incongruous cheer beside her jaw.  “In case you haven’t noticed, brother, our father is lying dead upstairs.  He must have had one enemy, don’t you think?  And now we’re eating breakfast with the prime candidate?  That’s taking politeness a little too far.”

The scrape of a chair.  The stranger made to rise and George caught him by the wrist, pressed his arm to the table, restraining him.

At the sight of the stranger’s hand, lying as if cut off by the black cuff, the picture of his father’s dead face flashed before Charles’ inner eye.  He too recoiled, struggling to his feet, running to the window, trying to escape it.

“This is not the time for unfounded, hysterical accusations.  Really, Elizabeth if your condition did not excuse you I should have to accuse you of running mad.  Now please keep your voice down.  This is the last thing Emma needs!”

By some dint of magic, the stranger had continued his retreat, withdrawing his presence, leaving his body like an old table that sits unnoticed in the corner of a room.  But Charles was tired of trying to see his face, being thwarted.  “Won’t someone introduce us?”

George laughed with surprise.  “Don’t be a goose!  You remember Jasper.  Admiral Vane’s ward.  We grew up together.”

Since it was impossible to say ‘no’, Charles leaned back against the window and let the chill of the rain seep across his shoulders.  “By reputation only,” he said, and watched as Jasper’s stubborn chin raised half an inch and his mouth curved in a little bitter smile.  “You forget, George; my earliest memory is of waving goodbye as you left for Cambridge.  I’m afraid I have no recollection of you at all, Mr Marin.  Except, as I say, by anecdote.”

At last, with slow grace like the turn of a minuet, Jasper looked up.  His eyes, in the broadening light, were sherry coloured – a light, clear brown almost with a tint of red.  Had there been room, Charles might have stepped backwards.  A jolt of something very like fear went through him.  How could he have mistaken the man’s invisibility for meekness?  It had been all along the quiet of a tiger lying in wait in the long grass.  Elizabeth’s accusation no longer seemed so laughable.

“Then I wish we could have met again in happier circumstances.”

Two heartbeats.  Charles had time to wonder if this was some new manner of the same paralysis that had come on him last night; time’s normal flow suspended.  Then the morning room door swung open and Dr. Floyd came in.  The scene moved and flowed once more as George rose to pull out a seat for him, and Elizabeth called for fresh coffee.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

I’m afraid I had a bit of an evil chuckle over this one. I scared myself writing some of the scenes, so I’m glad to know it was all worthwhile :)

http://meanfatoldbat.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/the-wages-of-sin-by-alex-beecroft-mm.html

It took me three tries to read it. Not because it’s poorly written. Oh, no, it’s just as beautiful, poetic, and immediately engrossing as all her other works have been. I couldn’t go on because my teeth were chattering and the shadows in the corner of the bedroom were moving… it’s very atmospheric. Very. Atmospheric. The book.

Thank you! And I’m sorry!

On the self publishing side, I’ve put my two Loki stories, with a new, longer one, up on Smashwords. So if anyone likes my all-mythology-all-the-time cheerfully amoral trickster version, rather than Marvel’s clearly-up-to-no-good psycho version, you can find that here:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/291064

I like the freedom with self-publishing to write stuff that doesn’t comfortably fit into genre lines. I don’t think I’m going to concentrate on it, but it’s nice to have it there as another string to my bow.

(Violin bow, I presume, because I can’t think why you would want more than one archery bowstring at once, unless you had more than one bow to go with them.)


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

It’s so nice to see an older story get a new review. The Wages of Sin is very close to my heart, partly because it’s right in the centre of the venn diagram of my interests, being a historical, paranormal murder mystery, m/m romance. Partly it’s dear to me because it practically wrote itself – something that doesn’t happen to me often. And then again, partly it’s dear to me because of Jasper. Jasper – enough said ;)

200x300TheWagesOfSinEbbok

So it’s lovely to see this review from Sophia Rose at the Delighted Reader blog. I’m particularly glad I managed to get that balance right between Gothic (which I like) without being the kind of creepy-scary that makes you afraid to switch out the lights (which I don’t.)

http://www.delightedreader.com/posts/review-the-wages-of-sin-by-alex-beecroft/

All in all, I found this story with its touch of the Gothic an enjoyable reading experience that tingled my spine, but wasn’t horrifying enough to give me the willies and send me running to hide under my covers.    This will appeal to those who enjoy m/m historical ghost story romance with Gothic overtones.

Thank you, Sophia Rose!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

Last week, I enjoyed revisiting the image that helped start off Shining in the Sun, so this week I thought I’d share one of the images that inspired me when I was writing The Wages of Sin

iStock_000005317288Large

It’s technically not quite right for Jasper, who has black hair and red-brown, sherry-coloured eyes. But the spirit of it is perfect, with that half-seen, is-he-sinister-or-isn’t-he beauty, with a handful of cobwebs and a challenging air.


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

Profile

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
alex_beecroft

April 2017

S M T W T F S
      1
2345678
9101112 131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 29th, 2017 03:42 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios