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

I am not, in fact.

So what have you been doing? And why are you talking to yourself? Have you finally lost your marbles?

Well, I can’t completely rule that out–I may never have known where my marbles were to begin with. However, I have been working on the first draft of the next Trowchester book, and I now have that completed.

It’s been a struggle switching back to romance after having taken so much time off to write mystery and sci-fi, but I made myself cry a couple of times. So I consider that a good sign.

Now I’m going to let it sit for a week while I wrestle with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon Associates, Facebook Ads, setting up a newsletter opt-in bundle and such like. Then I’ll come back and do a second draft. I already know at least three scenes are missing, so they need adding. It’ll be about 75,000 words when it’s done.

Meanwhile I’ve been learning Photoshop and knitting. Not together, though!

Behold my first book cover made entirely in Photoshop (rather than Gimp.) The text options are so much better!

Base image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay



Oh, there’s another thing for me to do – set up a cover art blog. This year is the year I add Cover Artist to my three-different-flavours-of-author portfolio.

If any cover artists are out there reading, can you give me any advice? Yet again I am starting a thing before I know how to do it.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

I told you about my steampunk guns, didn’t I? I’ve been getting into steampunk in my Alex Oliver persona (and in real life!) I bought a box containing two ray-guy shaped water pistols in the Age Concern charity shop for £2. The low price was sort of justified because one of them had neither a trigger nor a stopper.

At any rate, I thought “Ooh, I bet with a bit of a paint job these will turn into just what I want for my steampunk persona. I fettled one of them myself – you can see what I made of that a couple of posts back. But I also gave the other one to my daughter’s partner, Shay of Space-and-Serenity-Designs https://www.facebook.com/Space-and-Serenity-Designs-213276859262999/ to see what he would come up with.

I am so pleased with this! Look at it, it’s got a proper compressed gas cannister thingy instead of its missing plug, and it’s so shiny! I like the fact that the rings look like they’ve seen some wear – it’s the pistol of an airship Indiana Jones type professor. It’s seen heavy use 🙂

The gauge measures “Destructo ray intensity” and goes from tingle through light stun to a final setting of ash pile.

I do like the fact that the two guns have turned out quite differently. My explanation is that I found both of them in the ruins of Atlantis, one with its power crystal intact and one without. But both had to be restored to operation via modern steampunk technology, hence the clockwork activator on the black one and the gas power-and-gauge on this one.

I’m very happy with it indeed. I will wear it proudly.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
“I was surprised you accepted our invitation, Lady Artemis,” Jasper said as he and the lady edged out of the crowd in the ballroom and approached the punchbowl. “I thought you despised me.”   “Oh, that little indiscretion?” Lady Artemis gave an affected shrug, dismissing the thought of the worst time in Jasper’s life as if it was a tiny peccadillo. She had been the bane of his life in London, where she had interested herself in the life of his parish, and—he had thought—influenced his parishioners to ignore and berate him. “Nonsense, that actually made me fond of you. It is Catholics I can’t stand, my dear boy. Sodomites are perfectly charming.”
Even now in his own house, Jasper jumped at that. The memory of the pillory was in him at all times; he would never forget that he was vulnerable, that his fellow men were cruel, or that one wrong word to the wrong person could ruin his life. “I pray you, do not say that so loud.”  
“Hah,” Lady Artemis reached up and toyed with the golden anchor that hung from a chain from the ship that surmounted her piled wig. She was a great benefactor of the poor, and Jasper had wished to be on friendlier terms with her, but now was the first time it had seemed that his ambition might succeed. “I forget sometimes that you are not a great man in yourself—so close are your ties with young Charles. He would not let you come to harm, surely?”  

Jasper’ spirits, never terribly robust these days, dipped. It must have shown on his face, for the lady grabbed her cup of punch in one hand, his arm in the other and hauled him into the smaller solar—now abandoned, as it was the middle of the night.

A great desire for council came over him, and there was something about her that had even him wishing to spill his secrets. Which was odd, when he thought about it. Something like a compulsion.   Perhaps she had put something in his glass? But no, he hadn’t yet sipped. His eye caught the jewels in her ears and saw the spell carved in the green jade—oh. A fellow dabbler in the arcane, and one who already knew what he was.  

“I’m not sure how sturdy my relationship with Charles is,” he said, the words pouring out of him in a tide. “He cheated on me, and I cannot forget or forgive it. I keep trying, and at times I think I’ve succeeded, but it comes back. Every time it comes back.”  

“Cheated?” Artemis scoffed. “What, are you two married? Have you made declarations of fidelity? What nonsense! Do you not know that a man of Charles’s stature would never give fidelity to his wife, let alone—if you will pardon the expression—a man of a certain nature. You ask too much!”  

Jasper knew it, but it wasn’t pleasant to hear. In his nightly fretting, he had considered that the problem was not Charles at all, but his own unwarranted jealousy. “Yet, because I am not married, what is to prevent any of these flings from becoming more important to him than I am?” That was the crux of the matter. “I want him to be in my life permanently. I want a commitment from him, so that no matter where his affections lead him, I am always his partner and at the very least his friend.”  

Jasper had not known this about himself before. He’d supposed that marriage was a noble thing, a melding of two into a single flesh, and had not seen its practical application as a legal contract which could be relied on when human nature failed.  

“You must find some other contract,” Lady Artemis said as though she was reading his mind. Her sharp little eyes were embedded in rolls of fat—her figure was ample and her face one of those moon-round visages with high cheeks and heavy brows. But her eyes were extraordinary, a gold that gleamed even in their shadowed recesses. “Buy a house with him. Doubtless it frets him to dwell here in your ancestral manor, as though he was a penniless guest. Having somewhere of his own will tie him down.”  

“I had not considered that,” Jasper admitted. He had supposed Charles would enjoy being out from under George’s thumb, but if that meant putting him under Jasper’s perhaps it was no improvement. “Yet anywhere else in the country we would come into too much scrutiny, living together.”  

“Not in London,” Lady Artemis pointed out. “London does not pry into people’s business if they are discrete, and if they keep those in the know happy. In London you could find more purchase for your talents—you are ghost hunters I believe, and solvers of murderous crimes?”  

Jasper laughed. It was true enough, and their reputation was spreading both among Charles’s friends and among the esoteric underworld that he frequented. But she had a point. Why not go to London—sell the Admiral’s house and pool the money with whatever inheritance Charles was entitled to, then buy somewhere that would truly belong to both of them? The deed of ownership would be more binding than a common man’s marriage. It would make for something—some tangible proof that he was more important to Charles than anyone else.  

Speak of the devil. Charles flung open the door of the solar and ran in. His blond hair was dishevelled and his pink coat seemed to be smoking at the hems. When he caught sight of Jasper a kind of impatient gladness flashed across his face, followed at once by irritation.   “Your daughter is setting fire to the curtains again.”  

Jasper nodded curtly to Lady Artemis and took off running. His ‘daughter’ was having troubles these days. He had supposed it was due to his own troubles with Charles, but the sinister bent of her outbursts continued whether they were speaking or not. He would not like to confess it to anyone, but there were at times moments when he wished he had not told her he would look after her.  

He skidded into the library, to find that Lily was standing next to the great drapes. Her face was full of Satanic evil, and flames enveloped her tiny form– now the size of a girl of five. She was sweet and open-faced when she was in her normal mein, as a silvery apparition with bows in her plaited hair. But today her eyes were all black, and a flame seemed to dance in the centre of them even as it did around her ethereal body.  

“Lily,” Jasper urged her, fighting his own desire to back away, “Come now, tell me what the difficulty is. What has made you so very angry?”  

“I am in hell!” she cried, and pitiably he saw her own expression on the swollen, feverish face. “Help me, daddy. They won’t let me go! Help me! YOU ARE A FAILURE AS A FATHER AND A SINNER WHO DESERVES TO BURN.”  

That was not her voice. Jasper staggered back and collided with Lady Artemis who had entered the library behind him and stood wheezing with the effort of having climbed the stairs.  

“Oh goodness!” she said, her gaze very clearly fixed on Lily. This was confirmation of the suspicion Jasper had had when he saw the esoteric designs on her earrings. The lady was a witch. She could see Lily, at least, because she went down on one knee and held out a hand to her as a man might try to coax a snarling dog. “Come now, pet. Can you tell the nasty man to go away? Do that for your daddy, can’t you? He is getting very concerned.”  
“He doesn’t care,” Lily said, turning half away. Her small voice was her own again, and as they watched, her normal pearly lines emerged from the flames as though water had been poured on her. “He’s too busy worrying about my cousin. Because my cousin is a Latham, and the Lathams can’t control their bestial urges.”  

“Pshaw!” Charles said, sounding very like his brother. He ran past Lily to beat the flames out of the curtains and prevent them from setting alight to the books. “I never had a bestial urge in my life.”  

Jasper shook his head. He did love the young idiot. But he wished he could reach out and wrap Lily in his arms and hold her away from all things that might harm her.

“I’m so sorry, Lily,” he said instead, also going down on his knees. “I thought this was you, being angry. I had no idea something on the other side was working through you. I am going to find a way of making it leave permanently, you’ll see. You shall not endure this alone any more. I am with you.”  

Charles shook his head and reached down an imperious hand, which Jasper caught without thinking about it. “We are with you, Lily,” he said. “But we also have a party going on. Do you think you could avoid setting fire to the house or the guests until they’re gone?”  

“I suppose.” There were no tear tracks on Lily’s shining face. Jasper had discovered over the last year that her emotional range was narrower than that of a living child. There had been nothing but calm acceptance or rage from her, and sometimes a wisdom that seemed unnatural. “Promise you’ll save me?”  

“I promise, Jasper said, watching her disappear with the words. God, it was an evening of vows, wasn’t it?  

“How extraordinary,” Lady Artemis said, fingering the scorch marks on the curtains as if to prove they were real. “I didn’t know you had a ghost child, Charles.”  

“It’s not something I drop into casual conversation,” Charles scoffed, still rather frazzled. “Nor something I honestly know how to deal with.”  

“She called you ‘cousin.’”  

“It’s a long story.”  

Lady Artemis snorted. “I’ll bet. Well then, what do you propose to do about this?”  

Jasper had been wondering that himself. It seemed to him that the ghost child inhabited an afterlife in which other more sinister presences also dwelt. She was like a little conduit through which they could insert themselves into the world. “We should close the conduit,” he said, trusting Charles at least to follow. “I mean, we should deny this other presence a right of access to her—body, for lack of a better word.”  

“How exactly do you propose to do that?” Lady Artemis said, “I have never heard of such a case.”  

“She was killed in her mother’s womb,” Jasper explained. “This life after death of hers is an extraordinary circumstance in itself. But I think we must start with a baptism. God knows what unholy things might be able to batten themselves onto her, given that she is un-baptised and her mother for so long was interred outside consecrated ground.”  

“Well,” Lady Artemis gave her supremely unconcerned shrug again. “I may not like Catholics but I will admit that their rituals are efficacious. Perhaps you will indeed be able to clear it up so simply. But I fear it is far more complicated than that, and I have to say, rather you than me. I don’t think I will visit again until this is finished. One way or another. Good luck! You will need it.”

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

Booklist

Feb. 15th, 2019 11:43 am
alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)

For my own benefit, mostly, so that on those days like today when I feel that I’ve achieved nothing in my life, I can see at a glance how many books I’ve written, and (perhaps) feel better.

Have I missed some? I feel as though I might have missed one or two.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

Most of my hobbies include a craftwork element. Since finding out that Steampunk was the same, I’ve been having a crack at making my very first prop.

I’m not 100% sure about this, but I think it’s a good first go. First of all, I was lucky enough to find a pair of these:

in the local Age Concern charity shop for £2 the pair. https://www.amazon.com/Schylling-RRG-Retro-Ray-Gun/dp/B013WLV8XQ

One of them has been taken by my son-in-law, who has been making props far longer than me, and while I eagerly await seeing what he’s done with it, this is what I’ve done with mine:

Courtesy of black primer, stone-effect paint, more black primer, rub n buff in silver and gold, a blue crystal from a broken necklace and a bit of watchwork from a broken brooch. Also a bit of copper wire wound around a drinking straw to make a spring.

If exposed wires are good enough for Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, they’re good enough for my ray-gun.

Now onto the more difficult task of figuring out how to make it a holster!

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

I got a nice email from Coffee Time Romance this morning inviting me to submit the answer to a question, which they would then promote in their newsletter. This seemed like a great thing to me, and I wrote out a long answer for them and hit the submit button. Then everything froze and I don’t know whether it went through or not. If it did, I’m sorry for repeating it here. If it didn’t, at least I had copied what I wrote before I lost it 🙂

~

*QUESTION: How much of your real life bleeds over into your books? And do you worry that someone will be able to tell the fact from the fiction?*

I used to write specifically to get away from my real life. In those early days you would find me imaginatively on the decks of tall ships or the bridges of starships, a very long way away from everything of my current reality. I’d used reading as an escape since I could follow the words of The Hobbit, and writing was a natural escalation from that. I liked the fact that I could control these worlds and they would contain nothing that really hurt me.

But as I’ve grown into myself and begun to accept that I will never be a swashbuckling hero with the world’s fate in my hands, I’ve learned to love the life I’m actually living. When I moved into the English fenlands, I found a place where I could put down roots. I spent my first five years feeling blessed every time I came out of my house and saw the view – I’m surrounded by flowering countryside. And that began to work its way into my books before I was even aware of it. The first sign was the frequency with which my heroes took up morris dancing – first in Under the Hill and then also in Blue Eyed Stranger.

Then it really kicked in, and The Reluctant Berserker https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XVZ46LJ was knitted together out of one thread of my lifetime of Anglo-Saxon re-enactment and study and another of love for the fenland landscape. There is a strong element of me trying to give you the glory of this place – the fact that it’s a balm to the soul to live in this much beauty.

I don’t worry that people may be able to tell the fact from the fiction because I’m not hiding any of this. If you’ve ever tried, you’ll know that in fact it’s much harder to bring a real place to recognizable life in fiction than it is to simply make one up. If I describe a flowering hedgerow in a way that makes a reader picture it intensely enough to almost be there, does it really matter if I drew it from reality or not?

I have only this life, and in this life I have been fortunate enough to receive some beautiful things. I’d like to share them because I hope you enjoy them too.

~

Hey! Answering questions is fun If you would like to ask me anything (within reason, of course) go ahead and either ask here or through my contact form or email. I’ll do my best to give you as comprehensive answer as I can and be grateful for the prompt.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

Guess who got a year’s subscription to Photoshop as a Christmas present 🙂 It doesn’t half make moodboards easier to create.

I’m going into the new year cautiously optimistic about the three pen-names thing. I have just finished writing a space opera, and a cozy mystery before that, and now I’m eager to write a mm romance again. I think having the ability to change genres in an organized way will really help me when I’m having my next attack of “I cannot stand to write another [whatever genre] novel ever again!” And it may mean that you’re not subjected to quite so many Frankenstein’s monsters of novels that don’t belong in any category in future.

As you can probably see from the moodboard, I’m itching to start the next Trowchester novel, Seeing Red, but I just have to get the edits on Starship Ragnarok done first. Hopefully Seeing Red will be underway by the end of the month, though.

I have a marvellous new program called Book Report which is telling me all sorts of things I didn’t originally know about my books. One of which things is that Leanne was quite right to suggest that more people liked The Reluctant Berserker than I had previously thought. So that may eventually get the sequel I originally half planned for it after all 🙂 (After I’ve written Seeing Red and the Age of Sail book I promised you, of course!)

It’s nice to have some enthusiasm again, and even better to have accurate information on which to base a plan for what to do with it.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

How cool is this? https://wiki.ezvid.com/m/OLuxM0gLspvj9 Contraband Hearts joins books by ZA Maxfield and JL Merrow on this list of top 11 mm romances.

The vid at the top is narrated by a strange robot voice which pronounces slavers (people who take slaves) as slavers (drools a lot), and the actors they’ve got for Perry and Tomas would not have been my first choice, but that’s just me being curmdgeonly.

I’m actually delighted by the whole thing. There are actors playing Perry and Tomas for a start! That’s more than I’ve ever had for a book of mine before. It’s worth watching just for that 🙂

They obviously liked the Porthkennack books, because they’ve also mentioned my Foxglove Copse and JL Merrow’s Love at First Hate from the same series.

Hah, I’ve still got it 🙂 (She says with a total lack of shame.)

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

Did I say I’m sprucing up my backlist? I feel sure you must have noticed that by now 🙂

This week I’ve been improving the books’ description pages on Amazon and flexing what I’ve learned about writing better blurbs.

But one of the other things I’ve learned since really getting into the self-publishing mindset is that when people want a book of one genre and they see a book with a cover that looks like it belongs to a different genre, they don’t go “oh, how unique and interesting!” They go, “That doesn’t look like the type of book I want. I’ll give it a pass.”

Which means that if your cover is too ‘unique and interesting’ you’re actually putting readers off. What you need is cover art that looks similar to all the other covers in your genre, so that readers are reassured that they are indeed buying something that they want.

It really grieved me to have to replace these two covers, because I was so pleased with them both when I first made them. And I still look at them with pleasure. They are nice book covers – for a Fantasy and for some kind of literary fiction about the surfer lifestyle.

 

But goddammit, I am trying to make a living here, so I’m going to take the hit and hammer that genre button for all I’m worth. Which means that these books now look like this:

 

On the plus side, sometimes you can spend days trawling through stock-photo sites looking for the perfect picture, but that picture of Kjartan, which genuinely looks like him fell into my hands in less than an hour. How often is it that you can go looking for a white-haired elf prince and actually find a good photo? Vanishingly rare. It must be an omen.

I think I’m going to keep a cover-art graveyard on this site. I surely can’t be the only one who finds the constant evolution of images interesting.

Also I think some of them might make good posters.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

I bought “How to Write A Sizzling Synopsis” by Bryan Cohen recently and read it yesterday at a coffee shop, where I had gone because I felt too ill to actually go into the gym even though I’d come into town to do just that.

It’s quite a short book, with large text, and normally I come out of these ‘how to’ writing books with the feeling that I’ve had maybe one sentence-worth of good advice after having read 100 pages of blather. But this one is really good, and I think quite worthwhile. I’ve taken on board most of its suggestions and re-written some of my book blurbs, in the hope that more people will be moved to buy my books. For example:

Under the Hill

Old Blurb

Voted Best multicultural fantasy of 2013 by the Swirl Awards, and now presented in one volume, Under the Hill is a contemporary fantasy adventure story featuring dragons, elves and world war two fighter planes.

Targeted for abduction by the Faerie Queen, Ben Chaudhry reluctantly turns to Chris Gatrell and his eccentric Paranormal Defence Agency for help.

But it’s hard to keep anything out of the snatching hands of determined elves. Chris himself was abducted from his own time – shot down in WWII, and shot forward seventy years in time, stranded far from his wartime sweetheart Geoff and his Lancaster bomber crew.

When the inevitable happens and Ben is abducted, he finds himself a major player in a game of elven politics that may lead to the invasion of Britain.

Chris has to convince the police he didn’t just murder Ben and hide the body. Determined not to lose another sweetheart to the elves’ treachery, he presses the ghosts of his old crew back into action for a rescue attempt.

But Geoff isn’t dead at all – he’s been on ice in Elfland all this time. Now he has a dragon and he’s not afraid to use it. If only he could be entirely sure which of the elf queens is the real enemy—the one whose army is poised to take back planet Earth for elf-kind.

In the cataclysmic battle to come, more than one lover—human and elf alike—may forced to make the ultimate sacrifice.

~

New Blurb

The fairies at the bottom of the garden are coming back with an army.

Ben is a modern, sceptical man but the fairies are trying to abduct him. When he hires Chris’s paranormal defence agency to protect him, he doesn’t expect to fall in love.

Chris is a refugee from his own time. He’s lost one lover to the elves already. Terrified, but determined that this time he’ll do better, he promises Ben that the elves will get him over his dead body.

If only that wasn’t looking so likely.

Under The Hill was voted Best Multicultural Fantasy 2013 in the mm romance Swirl Awards. Previously presented in two books, this new edition has the whole story in one volume. If you love KJ Charles’ Green Men and Magpie Lord books, you’ll love this.

Buy Under The Hill now and prepare to be enchanted.

~*~*~
Basically the advice was to simplify everything, focus on the characters, cut as much as you possibly could cut and include a clear call to action at the end. And considering that Amazon now only gives you about 200 words above the cut, you’ve really got no space to work with. Making it short is the way to go. What do you think?

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

Check out this fantastic bundle of SF/F titles available for 99c over December!


https://storyoriginapp.com/…/1ed7f546-d6d5-11e8-81e3-4b0367…

My Witch’s Boy is one of them, but there are thirty-four other books to choose from! Yes, you heard that right! THIRTY-FIVE sf/f books to choose from. You could buy five books for the price of a coffee

Must the sins of the father be passed down to the sons?

Peasant boy Oswy, sold to witch-lord Sulien FitzGuimar, thinks he’s destined to be carved into spell ingredients. Yet behind Sulien lurks someone even worse – his old master, Tancred, now the king’s mage.

When Tancred stages a coup, dragging the elves into his Empire-building plans, the woman he has set his sights on as a bride – aspiring nun, Adela – sets out to find someone to oppose him. But dark magic is addictive and hard to escape. With all their lives in peril, the fate of the world may balance on Sulien’s traumatized soul.

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

I should have done this yesterday, but I couldn’t access my website yesterday for some reason, so today it has to be.

After what seems like years and years, Contraband Hearts is out!

I know some of you have been waiting for a long time for me to write another age of sail book. Finally I’ve managed to deliver 🙂
 
His future depends on bringing the smuggler to justice. His heart demands to join him.

Customs officer Peregrine Dean is sent by his patron to investigate rumors of corruption in the Porthkennack customs house. There he is tasked by the local magistrate to bring down the villainous Tomas Quick, a smuggler with fingers in every pie in town. Fired with zeal and ambition, and struck to the core by his first glimpse of Tomas, Perry determines to stop at nothing until he has succeeded.

Tomas Quick is an honest thief—a criminal regarded by the town as their local Robin Hood. He’s also an arrogant man who relishes the challenge posed by someone as determined and intelligent as Perry. Both of them come to enjoy their cat-and-mouse rivalry a little too much.

But the eighteenth century is a perilous time for someone like Perry: a black man in England. Two have already disappeared from the wrecks of ships. Tomas and Perry must forsake their competition and learn to trust each other if they are to rescue them, or Perry may become the third victim.

NOTE: All profits from the sales of this book are donated to Black Trans Advocacy.

 
I’ve written five blog posts for the blog tour, and I don’t know myself which of the numerous websites they’ll be on. In an ironic twist, although my website seems to be okay today, Riptide’s is down for maintenance, so I can’t link you to the list of blog tour locations. And I didn’t make a note of them myself, so I can’t go and visit to reply to comments.

I think I’ve had more organized book releases!

However, if you would like to read the book, you can find it here:

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

Remember when I wrote a really long fantasy novel, set in 18th Century Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire, and then it was accepted for publication by Anglerfish Press, and they decided it was uneconomical to produce in one volume because it was over 400 pages long? So they produced it in two volumes – Sons of Devils and Angels of Istanbul. And people liked them very much but consistently said “This would have been better if it had not been cut in two. Cutting it in two messes with the pacing and also I really hate when a book ends in a cliffhanger.”

Well, I recently got the rights back, and I have just re-issued the story in a single volume, now called “The Arising,” available in ebook or in a stonking great paperback the size of a really respectable fantasy novel.

To celebrate, (and I freely admit, in the hopes of garnering a few reviews for the new edition), I’m offering the ebook for free from today (23rd of April) to Friday (27th April).

1742

Ten years ago, the island of Atlantis rose out of the sea, triggering mechanisms all over the world that made magic a genuine force once more. Now paranormal creatures are coming out of hiding and demanding their rights. In every country, scholars and scientists are scrambling to research and understand the occult so they can harness it safely. And all over the world, rulers and warlords are commissioning magical weapons they don’t understand and can’t control.

The Age of Enlightenment has become a race for dominance that human beings are no longer guaranteed to win. This is the perfect time for them to go to war with each other. Obviously.

~

This is a historical fantasy set in the 18th Century. Inspired by the first half of Dracula, in which a hapless young man travels to Romania and meets a fascinating nobleman, this adds magic and the excitement of the age of Enlightenment to the mix.

In order to save his lover from his vampire parents, Radu Vacarescu must let them loose on his country. In order to save his country from them, he must let them glut themselves on the Ottoman Empire. What on earth must he do to save the rest of the world?

If you like the sound of that, hop over to Amazon sometime before Friday this week and get it for free 🙂

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

This is a big and slightly complicated announcement, which I’ll break down into parts 😉

Firstly, as the title says, Pride of Cygnus Five is out today.

Once a penal colony of the Galaxy’s most hardened criminals, Cygnus 5 is now home to the hopeful, the lost, the rejects and the rebels of a system that have left them to die. In a battle for the colony’s survival, Aurora Campos—its defacto queen—awoke a doomsday machine left behind by the aliens who inhabited the world before her. Now the whole galaxy is at risk.

Aurora and her band of misfits must prevent the entire human race from being turned into dust. She must save her people from starvation, reunite with her kidnapped daughter and argue a planet into submission. The way her life has been going recently, it’s starting to look like a typical Monday.

If you’ve been following the series and you already have Lioness of Cygnus Five and Heart of Cygnus Five, in which our heroes got into this pickle, you can buy the concluding volume of the trilogy for $3.99

Pride of Cygnus Five for $3.99

ON THE OTHER HAND

I’ve also made a box set of the three volumes. (No box is actually involved, unfortunately.)

You can buy the box set for $5.99, so if you only have Lioness, or you don’t even have Lioness, but you know you like my writing and you’re willing to take a chance on a rare space opera featuring bisexual, lesbian and homoromantic asexual heroes, you can get all three at a bargain price under their own cover:

All three books for $5.99

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

After a massive anxiety attack, Sam Atkins left his high-powered job in the City and committed himself to life on the road in a small van. Six months in, he’s running out of savings and coming to the conclusion that he might have to go home to his emotionally abusive family.

Needing time to think, he takes a walk through a copse by the Cornish roadside, only to stumble upon the body of a ritualistically killed sheep. As he’s trying to work out what the symbols around the animal mean, the sheep’s owner, Jennifer, and her nephew, Ruan Gwynn, come upon him.

Ruan is a kind-hearted young man with a large supportive clan, and since he and Sam feel almost instant attraction, he doesn’t want to believe Sam is a sheep-killing cultist. In fact, the moment he lays eyes on Sam’s miserable solitary life, he wants to rescue the man. But as the killings escalate, he and Sam need to stop whoever is actually to blame before they can concentrate on saving each other.

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/foxglove-copse

(The link is to the Riptide store because it’s a dollar cheaper there than it is on Amazon)

This is my first book in the shared-world series of books set in the (fictional) town of Porthkennack in Cornwall. Although it’s the fifth book in the series, it’s a standalone – you don’t have to have read them to be able to follow and enjoy this. A lightly Gothic tale of curses and Christmas cheer, it’s a contemporary m/m romance, with a side order of (sheep) murder mystery. I personally think of it as optimistic with a side order of fluffy, but reviewers seem to be finding the sheep mutilation a bit dark for them.

 

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

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

And it’s a nice one 🙂

Beecroft (Angels of Istanbul) expertly characterizes Sam’s panic, Ruan’s calming presence, human evil, and sustaining love. This is an appealing, heartfelt tale. (Sept.)

https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-62649-547-0

Not long to go until this one is out – beginning of September, I think.

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

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
Like busses, no matter how much I try to schedule releases so they’re regular, it always ends up with a long time of nothing and then a glut, so coming soon we have: Foxglove Copse and Heart of Cygnus Five, followed at a distance by Pride of Cygnus Five and Contraband Hearts.

However, today is the release day for Waters of the Deep

 
Charles and Jasper are brought in to investigate a fatal stabbing in (the cotton-mill town of) Paradise. But this time the only troublesome ghost in the case is their own adopted child Lily. So what’s leaving the glistening trail in the woods? Why did the vicar’s daughter suddenly kill herself? And what is happening to the extra cow?

This is the second novella length story in my Unquiet Spirits series:

  • Buried With Him – short story,
  • The Wages of Sin – novella
  • Communion – short story
  • Waters of the Deep – novella

Charles and Jasper have been living together for a while, having moved in to Jasper’s house and adopted the ghost girl, Lily. They’ve made a name for themselves as the people you call in to investigate when disasters happen that seem to have supernatural elements. But domesticity has been wearing on Charles, especially when he is ridiculed in the public papers for it, and it may take a murder or two to save their relationship.

~

If you haven’t read the previous stories in the series and you would like to get them for free, sign up for my newsletter

You’ll receive links for Buried With Him, The Wages of Sin (including Communion) and two other novels for free:

 

My Newsletter

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Romance.

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

My new novella, ‘Waters of the Deep‘ is coming out tomorrow.

It’s a gay historical supernatural murder mystery set in the 18th Century, and I’ve noticed that when I say this to people they generally reply “oh, right; the Regency period.”

While I would certainly like to read Pride and Prejudice, the GBLT version – where Darcy and Bingley end up together – the Regency is very different in terms of dress and social mores from the 18th Century proper.  The French revolution 1789-1799 may have lasted only 10 years, but it made a huge impact on the culture of the time.  In Britain, at least, society became much more anxious, much more inclined to self-discipline and morality, self restraint and prudishness – as if by being conventionally virtuous they could stop the same thing from happening there.

Before the French Revolution, British society had been noisy, bumptious, rude and confident.  You see a glimpse of it in Jane Austen with all those crass, vulgar, big-hearted old people who embarrass their more refined children and grandchildren.  In Patrick O’Brien’s series of sea-faring novels set in the Napoleonic era, Jack Aubrey’s father, who damages Jack’s prospects of promotion by being loud and annoying in parliament, and damages Jack’s prospects of inheritance by marrying his chambermaid, is also a nod to the livelier, cruder days of the 18th Century proper.

Five reasons to Love the 18th Century.

 

  1. Start shallow and work up 😉 The clothes! This was probably the last period in history when men were allowed to be as gorgeous as women.

http://www.antoinettescloset.com/realmenscloths.htm

This is the era of the poet-shirt with the big baggy sleeves and the neckline down to the navel, with or without ruffles or lace, as you prefer.  Rich men wore multi-coloured silk outfits with wonderful embroidery, contrasting waistcoats and knee breeches with fine silk stockings underneath.  Poor men wore the classic highwayman/pirate outfits complete with tricornered hats.  Did you know that a good calf on a man’s leg was considered such a desirable form of beauty that some men stuffed calf-enhancers made of cork down there?

  1. Pretty deadly gentlemen. The nice thing about all this male peacock display is that it could not be taken for a sign of weakness. All these gorgeously plumed lads had been training to fence and fight and ride and shoot since they were old enough to stand up.  Ever seen ‘Rob Roy’ where Archie Cunningham slices and dices Liam Neeson as Rob Roy, while wearing an immaculate ice-blue waistcoat and extravagant Belgian lace?

There’s something very attractive about a class of men with Archie Cunningham’s ruthless intelligence, masterly swordfighting skills and love of expensive tailoring, but with the ‘evil bastard’ gene turned down a little.  One of my heroes in the Unquiet Spirits series – Charles Latham – teeters on the edge of that refined man of honour/dangerous sociopath divide.  He is less murderous than simply spoiled, privileged and entitled, but at times it’s a struggle not to want to box his ears. Bless him.

  1. Science!

For the first time in history ships and the provisioning of ships had advanced to the point where navigation was relatively reliable.  Enough food and water could be stored aboard so that voyages could continue for months or even years at a time.  From the perspective of the West, this was an age of exploration and discovery, when the old superstitions of the past were for the first time being investigated to see how much was true about them. In Jasper and Charles’s world they are rather more true than in our own.

  1. Filth, pamphlets and pornography.

Unlike Jane Austen’s time, when a well brought up young woman could be horrified by the idea of acting in a play, or writing to a young man who was not her fiancé, the 18th Century was much more… robust.  Filthy, in fact.  Literally filthy – streets full of horse manure and dead dogs, through which live cattle were lead to slaughter at the markets every morning (sometimes escaping to break into banks and terrorise the bankers).  But also redolent with filthy language; swearing, f’ing and blinding, referring to a spade as a spade, and various bodily functions by their Anglo-Saxon names.  The 18th Century style of vocabulary in a gentleman’s coffee house would be too crude for me to subject refined persons of the 21st Century to.  But because of this overabundance of filth you do also get a great sense of vitality and humour, of people who are unashamed and determined to squeeze the last particle of enjoyment out of the world.  People who cannot be cowed.  Their pornography reflects this; bumptious but strangely innocent (or perhaps just plain strange.)  Very much not safe for work link: http://joyful-molly.livejournal.com/57556.html#cutid1

5. The Gay Subculture.

By the early 18th Century urbanization had reached a point in London that there were enough gay people in one place to begin to recognise each other and form a subculture of their own.  There were well known cruising spots such as the Inns of Court, Sodomite’s Walk in Moorfields or Birdcage Walk in St. James’ Park.  The technical term for homosexual people at the time was ‘sodomites’ but they called themselves ‘mollies’, and there were molly houses where they could go to meet up and ‘marry’.  Famous mollies like ‘Princess Seraphina’ – a London butcher – spent a great deal of time in drag.  He seems to have been accepted into his community without a lot of fuss, as there are records of him dropping round to his female neighbours’ houses to have a cup of tea and borrow their clothes.

I really recommend Rictor Norton’s ‘Mother Clap’s Molly House’ http://www.rictornorton.co.uk/ as a great guide to that culture; scholarly but easy to read, generous and fascinating.  So fascinating I had to set at least one of my stories around a fictional molly house in Bermuda.  That’s Desire and Disguise, in the ‘I Do’ anthology, in which an unwary straight guy stumbles into the house by accident and gets a little more than he bargained for.  You might also be interested in this ‘choose your own adventure’ site:

http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/forbidden/index.html

Mother Clap’s molly house, you’ll be relieved to know, was so called because it was run by a gay friendly lady called Margaret Clap, not because that was something you were likely to get there!

In short, the 18th Century in which the Unquiet Spirits series was set could not be more different than the prim and refined era of the Regency novel.  I can’t offer a comedy of manners, only a fair degree of lust and violence, badly behaved ghosts, bad language, and dangerous men in gorgeous clothes. But if you enjoyed The Wages of Sin, this is both more of the same and something a little bit different. I hope you enjoy it!

 

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

alex_beecroft: A blue octopus in an armchair, reading a book (Default)
Introducing Porthkennack, A New Shared World Series!
Welcome to Porthkennack, a charming Cornish seaside town with a long and sometimes sinister history. Legend says King Arthur’s Black Knight built the fort on the headland here, and it’s a certainty that the town was founded on the proceeds of smuggling, piracy on the high seas, and the deliberate wrecking of cargo ships on the rocky shore. Nowadays it draws in the tourists with sunshine and surfing, but locals know that the ghosts of its Gothic past are never far below the surface.
This collaborative story world is brought to you by five award-winning, best-selling British LGBTQ romance authors: Alex Beecroft, Joanna Chambers, Charlie Cochrane, Garrett Leigh, and JL Merrow. Follow Porthkennack and its inhabitants through the centuries with historical and contemporary stand-alone titles.
Each novel in this series is just $4.99 in ebook!
The First Two Porthkennack Books are out April 17!

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.

Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.

When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.

When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother.

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it.

Upcoming Porthkennack Books

Morgan Capell’s life is falling apart by small degrees—his father’s dead, his boyfriend dumped him, and his mother’s in the grip of dementia. His state of mind isn’t helped by his all-too-real recurring nightmare of the wreck of the Troilus, a two-hundred-year-old ship he’s been dreaming about since his teenage years.

The story of the Troilus is interwoven with the Capell family history. When amateur historian Dominic Watson inveigles himself into seeing the ship’s timbers which make up part of Morgan’s home, they form a tentative but prickly friendship that keeps threatening to spark into something more romantic.

Unexpectedly, Dominic discovers that one of the Troilus’s midshipman was rescued but subsequently might have been murdered, and persuades Morgan to help him establish the truth. But the more they dig, the more vivid Morgan’s nightmares become, until he’s convinced he’s showing the first signs of dementia. It takes as much patience as Dominic possesses—and a fortuitous discovery in a loft—to bring light out of the darkness.

June 5
Calum Hardy’s life has unravelled. Reeling from the betrayal of a man he once loved, he boards a train heading south, with no real idea where he’s going except a world away from London.
Brix Lusmoore can hardly believe his eyes when he spots one of his oldest friends outside Truro station. He hasn’t seen Calum since he fled the capital himself four years ago, harbouring a life-changing secret. But despite the years of silence, their old bond remains, warm and true—and layered with simmering heat they’ve never forgotten.
Calum takes refuge with Brix and a job at his Porthkennack tattoo shop. Bit by bit, he rebuilds his life, but both men carry the ghosts of the past, and it will take more than a rekindled friendship and the magic of the Cornish coast to chase them away.
July 17

After a massive anxiety attack, Sam Atkins left his high-powered job in the City and committed himself to life on the road in a small van. Six months in, he’s running out of savings and coming to the conclusion that he might have to go home to his emotionally abusive family.

Needing time to think, he takes a walk through a copse by the Cornish roadside, only to stumble upon the body of a ritualistically killed sheep. As he’s trying to work out what the symbols around the animal mean, the sheep’s owner, Jennifer, and her nephew, Ruan Gwynn, come upon him.

Ruan is a kind-hearted young man with a large supportive clan, and since he and Sam feel almost instant attraction, he doesn’t want to believe Sam is a sheep-killing cultist. In fact, the moment he lays eyes on Sam’s miserable solitary life, he wants to rescue the man. But as the killings escalate, he and Sam need to stop whoever is actually to blame before they can concentrate on saving each other.

September 4

 

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 not even going to pretend that Sons of Devils wasn’t directly inspired by Dracula. Why would I? Have you read Dracula? Even though it’s now a little outdated, it’s a genuinely enjoyable book, and at least half of it is brilliant.

early-18th-century-wood-cutout-of-bucharest-romania

Bram Stoker is a master of gothic atmosphere, and the part of the book set in Transylvania is to my mind breathlessly gripping and fascinating. When I first read the book, the predator/prey dynamic between Dracula and Jonathan Harker was erotic, and the Romanian setting was unfamiliar and interesting and capital R romantic. I wanted more.

But then the action shifts to England, thus – for me – losing the unfamiliarity and Romance. And with Jonathan Harker presumably dead any kind of erotic charge now fades for anyone who doesn’t like heterosexual pairings… And pretty much my interest in the novel falls off and is gone. No. I wanted to find out what happened to Jonathan. I wanted him to escape and travel through more of that fascinating setting, having interesting encounters and close scrapes until he either defeated Dracula or joined him.

It took me many years of chasing after other vampire novels and wondering why they didn’t deliver the same thrill to realize that it wasn’t the vampire part of Dracula that I was enjoying at all. Half of it was the intense relationship between two men, and half of it was the scenery. Without the setting, none of these other stories were as good. So it didn’t come as any surprise to me that when I began research into Wallachia I absolutely fell in love with the country. What a place! What a beautiful place.

But it did surprise me that it was a very different place than the Transylvania of Stoker’s story. I expected a bleakness in which not much had happened but trees growing and wolves howling, and in fact I discovered a country with roots that were splendid even before the Romans got there. A diverse country full of Dacians and Saxons and Romani, with ancient links to the Ottoman Empire. With lyrical and oddly affectionate folk stories – much softer and more humane than the Brothers’ Grimm stories – and nobles with iron hearts. Such a place! How come more people hadn’t used it as a setting already? I had to put that right.

As far as the intense relationship between two men went, I realized as I got older that a lot of the erotic charge of the vampire came from the Victorian sense that sexuality was something bad and wrong, whose lure was therefore evil – it was a sin whose wages were death. When I realized that, the charm wore off. I don’t want to be suggesting that two guys falling in love with each other was bad or wrong in any way. I don’t want to be perpetuating that whole bodice ripper thing whereby the innocent protagonist has to be forced to have the sex they secretly really want but can’t allow themselves to consent to. Rape culture. Blergh!

That’s not for me. My characters like to take responsibility for their own sexuality, thanks. So my gentlemen’s love for one another is a force of strength for them both, and my vampires are, as they originally were, monsters.

Basically, Sons of Devils is my version of what Dracula should have been, if only it had been written to suit me. I hope it will suit you too!

sonsofdevils_200x300

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

March 2019

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
101112131415 16
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Apr. 19th, 2019 02:41 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios