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

So, in an email that went out to Samhain authors this morning we were asked to keep this confidential, but as it’s already out in the public here on The Digital Reader I think that part of it is moot.

Samhain has just announced that they will in fact finally be closing on 28th of February (ie in 18 days time.)

UTHBomberMoon200x133 UnderTheHill-Dogfighters200x133 TooManyFairyPrinces200x133 ShiningintheSun200x133 ReluctantBerserker200x133

If you’re a Samhain reader who’s been storing their books in Samhain’s cloud, this would be the time to download them to your own hard storage so that you don’t lose them the way readers lost books they bought with All Romance Ebooks.

Authors are getting their rights back once the closure has happened, and I intend to reformat my books and self-publish them as soon as I can. But as you know, I’m still recovering from an operation and I have a deadline for a new manuscript which I intend to turn in first, so it may be some time before I can get around to re-launching my backlist in print.

(Ebooks may be faster, depending on availability of cover art. I’m looking into buying some of my covers back from them. All the haggling with the artist that went on to make the cover of The Reluctant Berserker as authentic as possible was in my view 100% worth it, and if I can possibly keep that one I will. It’s gorgeous. But otherwise, making new cover art is quite fun, though laborious.)

If there’s a book of mine you haven’t already bought, but were idly thinking of getting on some future day when you felt like it, let me know and I’ll prioritize my re-release list to get to those ones first. But if I can beg a favour, I would ask you to hold on a little longer and get them from me, rather than buying them from Samhain now. On a callously monetary basis, I will recieve much more of the royalties if you buy from me than if you buy from them – and you will probably get the book cheaper too.

My royalties from Samhain halved during this last year, so I am quite pleased at the prospect of having my rights back from them, but I’m still sad about this. They were an excellent publisher while it lasted – which is why they have so much of my backlist. There was a time when, in my view, they were the best m/m publisher out there. The genre will be poorer without them.

It does seem to me that the m/m publishing boom has finally burst. This may yet have its good side, in that the people who leaped on the bandwagon because m/m seemed like the place to get easy sales will find somewhere else to go, and we’ll be left with the people for whom it actually has meaning. I think that’s been quietly self-selecting inside the genre for a long time anyway.


Download your Samhain books to your own storage now. They’ll be gone on the 28th.

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

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

So, today I have finished the first draft of The Crimson Outlaw, which came in at 31,073 words. Huzzah! I feel the need to celebrate and also to tell everyone. But, I only wrote 1773 words of my daily 3000 words before I ran out of story. So to what should I turn next?

I’m thinking I should write one more novella in first draft, and then I can start editing The Glass Floor *and* The Crimson Outlaw. By the time I’ve done those, I can edit the third novella with a fresh eye. And then I can start a new project again. I don’t seem to do well doing more than one thing at once.

Help me, Oh my gentle reader, what do you fancy most out of these choices?


My Evil Valentine – (sort of contemporary but with superheroes. Probably set in London. Almost certain to be crack along the lines of Too Many Faerie Princes.)

The Ice Knight  – (semi-historical set in Romania. A character turned up in The Crimson Outlaw who needs his own story.)

Hoist by his Own Petard – a romance between a morris dancer and a reenactor. (Contemporary, set all over the UK, mostly in fields and ruins.)

There’s a Tea Shop one too, but I suspect that may be novel length and I still can’t decide if it’s a contemporary or a fantasy.

Any thoughts?


Speaking of Too Many Faerie Princes, I should have some news to announce on both that and Pilgrim’s Tale (now renamed Leofgar And The Reluctant Berserker) fairly soon. Watch this space :)


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

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

Huzzah, and other, more period-appropriate, exclamations. The first draft of The Pilgrims’ Tale is complete at 87,890 words. It opens with a scene a little bit like this:


only without the anachronisms and arrows, and carries on being less about war and more about music and gender-role confusion than is usual with me. It’s probably the gentlest thing I’ve done so far (if you don’t count the way my heroes meet up the second and third time, or the fate of the best friend, or the inability of Leofgar’s lord to understand the word ‘no.’) That’s either because I’m feeling old and tired at the moment, or it’s because I wanted to show Saxon society when it was working, not when it was either falling apart under threat of invasion or gearing itself up to fight.

This is probably all wrong from a tension and drama POV, but my heroes are a professional musician/entertainer and a reluctant berserker. The gleeman would be in trouble in the middle of a war zone, and the berserker would have more pressing matters to attend to than to fall in love. Hence, peace.

I should really celebrate by going out somewhere nice – except that the car has broken down. Or by having a nice relaxing bath – except that a water main burst nearby last night and we still have no water in the house. Tomorrow then :)

I wrote 52,296 words of this since the girls went back to school on the 6th of January by making sure that I wrote at least 1000 words every week day. In practice I think I averaged about 1800 a day, with some sick days. Which is not quite as impressive as NaNoWriMo, (where I also only write on weekdays, and therefore need to write about 2,400 words a day) but is a lot more sustainable.

Now I think I will write that story about Loki versus the giant chicken, then do the first draft of a short novella, and thus give myself the time and space I need apart from this to come back to the second draft fresh.

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

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

And my characters stare back.

Sometimes when I’m starting a project with all new characters and setting, and I don’t know much about either, I will sit down and ask my heroes to talk to me. Usually they say something along the lines of “Sod off! Don’t be nosy.” And they look at me as any sane person would look at a stranger who was waving a microphone under their nose and encouraging them to reveal the secrets of their psyche.

Sometimes, however, they are unselfconscious enough to give me an answer. In Leofgar’s case I believe it’s because he’s a trained bard and he’s used to giving a performance at the drop of a coin hat. But I could feel the resentment coming off him, nevertheless.

Having got it, it turns out that he does love a bit of alliteration. And he’s remarkably good at telling me loads of stuff without giving me anything useful to work with. Par for the course, really, for one of my characters.


“Tell me about yourself, Leofgar,” I say.

He bows his head and the barley coloured curls fall over his forehead. There is an angelic look to the spareness of his face, and in certain lights it would be sweet enough for a woman’s, but for the angles. He is the only one who thinks he resembles a drawn sword.

“What is there to tell? I am, as you see, a wanderer. Blown by fate’s breezes, trimming my sails to the tempest in order to survive it. Yet if you insist on learning of things now forgotten, and uncovering words left unspoken in ages past, I will recall them. I am the son of a farmer. From the fertile fields of Kent, I come. Always, as a boy, would I walk out alone to the boundaries of our land and further, tag along with the tinkers, demand tales of far lands and long forgotten wonders from anyone who would tell them. These I remembered, teaching myself to roll the words over in my mind and search where they might be fitted together to build new cities of thought, wondrous in their conception.

My father was a kind man, but fancied himself cursed with me. When he could catch me, he would beat me. My brother too – older than I. On him fell all the labour and my father’s hope and he bore these burdens like an overloaded ass, kicking and complaining all the while. A sister I had too, she was wed young and had no time for me, but there were small places behind the barrels of her brewing house where I might go and hide from herdcraft, mumbling my mindhoard over to myself.

My mother was well enough. Kind when she remembered me, too busy with garden and grounds, cheese and children, dairy and drudgery to set me to work. So when Anna came the first year and I could not be prised from his presence, I think she knew how my wyrd had been woven.

Anna, in those old days, – I am wordless when I think on him, all my subtlety reduced to a smile. When he came, I found at last a fellow, one at whose shoulder I could stand, knowing his mind. I found a well full of the water of which I had been parched, I gulped down his stories greedily and dogged his steps. When he left I begged him to let me go with him, but he would not. "Next year," he said, "If you are of the same mind." But he made me a flute from a cow’s leg-bone, and left me to learn to play. By the next year I could play it and make my own. I had remembered all his tales and told them back to him, and I had learned to make little doggerel rhymes of my own in praise of my family and friends. This did not earn me any break in work or beatings, but I was proud.

That year he stayed at our steading for two weeks, beginning to teach me the great tales. But he would not take me with him. By the third year I had grown tall enough, and strong, that he could not carry me back. That year I went with him. I have been a wanderer ever since.”

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft.

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

I’ve finally got into the swing of writing The Pilgrims’ Tale this week, and my conflicting relationship with first drafts is out in full force.  On the one hand I’m full of excitement at the unplanned things my characters are doing and the ways in which they’re doing them.  Today, for example, I’m thinking “Ooh, Leofgar, you’re unexpectedly awesome, aren’t you?!” 

Which is great.  But on the other hand, the other part of me is riding along going “for crying out loud, you’ve already used that simile fifteen times this paragraph.  And why is Wulfstan spouting all this pop psychology?  He’s not supposed to know this about himself until at least half way in.  And why have you left a potentially good cliffhanger in the middle of the chapter only to send them all shopping?  You’ve lost all your writing ability, haven’t you?  I kept telling you it would happen, but did you believe me?  Did you?”  And that’s very tiresome. 

I think the main reason why I like doing the second draft better is that, when I’m editing, the second voice is usefully and happily doing its job, and not just hanging around like a ghost at the feast, yelling “boo!” and frightening the living daylights out of me.



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

September 2017

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