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But Alex, what the heck is the Arising Series? How come you’ve never mentioned this before? Springing this on us as a bit of a surprise, aren’t you?

Well, hypothetical reader, you make a good point. However, I have talked before about The Glass Floor, my novel in which Wallachian noble Radu and his lover Frank invade the Ottoman empire at the head of an army of vampires, and behold, the Arising series is that very story.

It went like this: First of all, nobody thought The Glass Floor was a particularly inspiring title, so on the first editing pass it was decided that The Glass Floor would become Angels of Istanbul.

Second of all, my editor commented “Mirela doesn’t have much to do, does she? Can you expand her part a little?”

As I’d already been worried that Mirela turned up and was important at the beginning, became important again in the end, but basically did nothing at all in the middle, I could see the justice of this comment. So I wrote a couple more chapters for her – belatedly introducing an actual glass floor to a story that had previously only been using the idea as a metaphor.

But now the story had become humungous in size. It had already been teetering on the edge of what could be fitted into one book – in fact when I wrote it I’d been considering the idea of splitting it into three parts, and selling them as a three volume series. So when Anglerfish came back and said “This is just economically impossible to sell in one volume, let’s make it two,” I went “Of course!”

I don’t know if any of you remember the Under the Hill books, Bomber’s Moon and Dogfighters? This is a very similar situation. This is me writing a doorstopper Fantasy with queer protagonists, rather than writing a queer romance. And naturally I made it the length I expect from a proper Fantasy – long enough to get your teeth into.

So, Angels of Istanbul had to become two volumes rather than one, which meant another title and a series title. As the Istanbul part comes in the second volume, volume #2 got that title. Volume #1 is very much about Frank’s escape from his (metaphorically) monstrous father, into the arms of Radu, whose father is literally monstrous. So it became Sons of Devils.

And after that long explanation I can cycle back to the beginning and announce with more fanfare that this epic is now ready to be read and available to be pre-ordered. Anyone who liked the Under the Hill books will probably like this. Anyone who liked The Crimson Outlaw will probably like this too, because a lot of the research I did for Arising overspilled into the writing of The Crimson Outlaw.

Oh, do shut up Alex. Stop waffling and get to the point!

My internal voice is very rude to me. But it may be right:

sonsofdevils_teaser angelsofistanbul_teaser

Sons of Devils: March 13th, 2017
Angels of Istanbul: March 27th, 2017

But available for pre-order now!


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.

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

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Yesterday my new morris side, Sutton Masque – a mixed Border Morris side – welcomed in the official start of summer on the 1st of June by dancing outside a couple of pubs in Ely. It was freezing, rainy and grey. A hardy Greek family sat outside The Cutter, under the porch heaters and watched us dance by the river. I hope we were a properly bizarre glimpse into the literal local colour for their holiday. We certainly appreciated having them as an audience because none of the natives had dared venture out.

Later we went down to The Fountain and danced there for another hour, still in the drizzle, with the light failing around us. Here our only audience was an Australian couple in fantastic Aran beanies (I covet a beanie like theirs.) They took our picture and told me they liked my face. I take that to mean that they liked my face paint. This made me very glad, because my attempt to look like a Wood Wose takes me a good half hour of preparation before I even make it out of the door. The dark green of the background colour doesn’t half stain your flannels when you wash it off!

This is my face:


taken after we’d given up on dancing and gone inside to play music and eat birthday cake. (Happy birthday Neil!)

I’m very proud of our new kit, which is dark green and gold, with a wild-man-of-the-woods, Jack-in-the-Green feel to it, and I am even beginning to get used to dancing in a top hat. You can see the full outfit here if you like, because the above is the indoors look without the tattered jacket.

In more relevant writing news, I’ve been spending my time finishing the first Porthkennack book for Riptide Press. Currently called Foxglove Copse, this is a contemporary m/m romance set in a fictional Cornish town with a slightly gothic twist. I’ve also done the first content edit pass for my huge long queer historical fantasy The Glass Floor, which should be coming out next year, and found a new home for Labyrinth, which had been contracted to Samhain Publishing but for which I got my rights back recently.

Right now, I’m working on the third book in my queer space opera trilogy Lioness of Cygnus 5. Have I told you about this? I don’t think I’ve told you about this. But it probably justifies its own post, so I’ll do that next time.

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

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The Glass Floor is done. It is done, my precious :) Or at least, it is done enough so that it’s ready to be given out to a small number of fantasy fans who are willing to read it and tell me what works for them, and more importantly, what doesn’t work and why not.

Of course, I’m not sure how to go about getting hold of this elite cadre of beta readers. Anyone else out there writing fantasy with whom I could enter into some kind of reciprocal beta-reading relationship? I don’t really want to send it out to complete strangers, so people I know from my friends list would be best. Failing that, anyone got any ideas as to how I can find some feedback on it? Are there websites or forums for this somewhere?

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

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Mostly today my work in progress was finding all my royalty statements and filling in my spreadsheet in order to be ready to do my self-assessment tax form tomorrow. Which was useful and even interesting work, but not the sort of thing that lends itself to an entertaining quote.

However, I did also do ten pages of editing on The Glass Floor, and solved the knotty problem of why there was only one magic charm available, and why – in that case – it wasn’t immediately given to the sultan. Poor old Zayd has found himself now officially without magic talent of any kind, but hey, he’s still the archmage. That has to count for something, right?


I’m coming into the final straits as far as the edits go, which means that the hardest bit is still in front of me. I wrote the final battles at double speed and as a result they don’t necessarily make much sense. Also the whole business with Frank’s father being coincidentally present is too coincidental, and will have to come out in favour of some stuff with magic mirrors and newspapers.

I was pleased to find that it passed the Bechdel test, though:


Off the side of the right hand aisle a series of carved oak partitions had been set up, marking chapels dedicated to individual saints and martyrs. They ducked into the smallest, where an all but extinguished candle gave out a dim storm light in its amethyst lantern, and a silver-mounted icon of Saint Parascheva watched them out of solemn painted eyes.

Ecaterina cast the veil back over her face. Mirela knelt beside her, and in the process of lowering herself she turned from girl to old lady, wrapped in black shawls, concealed beneath a heavy headscarf and a shape that proclaimed her of no interest to anybody. “I envy your gift,” Ecaterina said softly. “To pass unseen. I had to choose between peacock and gargoyle, and never truly wanted either.”

“Always the same on the inside, though, isn’t it? Who you are.”

Mirela exchanged a glance with the flat saint. The stuttering light made her eyes seem to stir. If Ecaterina looked at her long enough, it was as though her face bulged out of the frame, became rounded and real. She was listening, though she didn’t speak.

“About the monsters,” Mirela whispered. “My lord is taking them away. I thought you’d like to know that. We have wagons and everything arriving. I hear the idea is to jam them in, tight as in slave ships, in the bottom of the carts and cover them up with supplies. Then when the army gets down to the coast, they’ll sneak aboard ship and we’ll take them with us. So you’ll be all right, back here. They’ll all have gone to war, like the boyars.”

Ecaterina was ashamed of herself, because the first thing she thought was that the gypsy was lying. But lies ought to at least be more plausible than the truth, or how could they ever be believed? “How? How could he control them enough to do that? How could he get them to cooperate?”

Nightmares flickered into her thoughts like the death-throes of the candle. She saw again the look that had passed between Vacarescu and the strigoi in the white silk – the old man who had taken Stefan from his family, and walked beside him as a surrogate father.

A priest looked in through the pierced work carving of the wall. “Well,” Mirela clucked in mingled disapproval and amusement, just like an old lady sharing scandalous gossip. He shook his head, tolerantly, light running like quicksilver over his pectoral cross – the only part of his outfit that wasn’t black. All the colour had been sucked from Bukorest, it seemed. How appropriate.

“He brought the strigoii with him from Valcea. The white one and the lady. They listen to him, maybe a little. Though God knows for how long, now there’s only one of him and hundreds of them.”

Ecaterina took far too long to understand this news. Her father admired the man, had told her of his awkward reception to the prince’s court. The reason he’d given for not being seen in town before. ‘I have been containing a plague.’

The White Death had come to Bukorest, but days after he arrived in it.

Her teeth were chattering. She had to raise both hands and dig in her thumbs beneath the jaw to keep them silent, though the shudder worked through her wrists and arms and into her shoulders. The emotion she felt was still almost too big to put a name to, too big to be contained within herself – she felt it like a wall of fire around her ten paces deep. The altar was inside it, and the green-faced saint, and the sense of something teetering, teetering, about to fall.

Her father liked him. Had welcomed him without reservation, brought him into their house. She had liked him. He was the only one left who still treated her as he had before her glamour slipped – the only one who saw her as she was and was not repelled.

And why should he be repelled by anything human if his household was made up of monsters?

How smoothly he had lied when she asked about the old man, led her to believe he was an unpleasant surprise he found waiting for him when he moved in. She should have known the timing was far too coincidental for that. She should have known when he hacked her brother’s head off in front of her that he had no human sensibility in him.

But for him, Stefan would still be alive. The strigoi, oh yes, she could hope and plan for it to be destroyed, but it could not help its nature. It had little choice but to be what it was. But Vacarescu had chosen to expose her family to its notice – to expose all Bukorest to its curse.

Had Stefan done something to him, to be so targetted? No! Absurd. Stefan was the kindest child who ever lived. It was worse than that. Vacarescu had killed him and not even meant to. Simply did not care enough to make it stop.

The sphere of fire had reached its largest point – almost out to the street. Now it slowed, turned and rushed back together into a fireball centered in her gut. Every part of her felt incandescent like the sun with rage, powerful, unstoppable. I will kill him for this. I will have vengeance. For my brother and for every other mourner in the city today, I will have justice.


Which, when you have three heroes and two heroines turns out to be harder than you’d think.

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

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confirms what I already thought – which is that I love this book. Seriously, I am so excited about this one. This is probably bad news because it’s been my experience so far that the stories I’ve loved the most haven’t necessarily been the ones other people liked, but there’s not much I can do about that.

I’m 71 pages into a 180 page book so far. There hasn’t been a lot of hard editing yet – it’s quite a clean draft at the beginning, though I know it gets more snarly towards the end. It’s just way out of my experience that I’m still enjoying working on it. I do worry a little that it’s a mainstream fantasy with a (very low key) romance between its gay hero and its bisexual hero, and that it’s chock full of vampires (or, as I like to call them, strigoii).

Both of those things may make it a hard sell to mainstream Fantasy publishers sick to the pointy teeth of vampires, but I don’t care. This is one I really believe in, and will self-publish if it comes down to it. This is me taking a chance to do what I love, instead of sticking safely with what I’ve already done before.

But, God, it will break my heart if everyone hates this one. I’m almost scared to put it out there in case they do.

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

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

This was not the post I was looking for:

The one I remember reading, which made me think “I must do that for my WIP!” was a different post which I can’t seem to find any more. And I clearly remember the title wrong, because when I googled it, this was the one I came up with.

But no matter! This one has much the same gist to it. That being that it is both fun and motivational to make a list of the things that you love about your current WIP.

My current WIP has just reached the end of the final climax whereby the heroes all got to save each other from certain death by their martial prowess, magical badassery, ability to look like an elderly Islamic saint and sure hand with a bottle of perfume, respectively. So there’s only the winding down to go now – arranged marriages to be solemnized, fathers to be reconciled with, tortoises to be illumined etc.

So I’m at the stage where I’m pretty damn motivated anyway. Another week or two should see the first draft finished.

But then there’s editing, so I may need the extra push for that. Here’s my list then, of things that I love about The Glass Floor


Radu: He looks like this and he’s everything I love in a character – rude, arrogant, isolated, violent, raised by monsters. But then I found out that he’s also a closet extrovert, poor man. He really likes people, he just hasn’t the faintest idea how they work.

Ecaterina: I do like the bolshy ones! When I started off, I thought Catia was going to be a bit of a wimp. Her magical talent is to be supernaturally likeable. I thought she was going to be all floaty and nice & I’d struggle to think of things to do with her. Instead she told me that since she was likeable by magic she didn’t have to waste her time trying to do it the old fashioned way. So I should skip that nonsense and get out of her way while she founded Romania’s first university of magic.

Romania: Here’s a country I knew nothing about before I started. I had impressions from Dracula, and far from being disappointed, I’m very glad to say that it seems to me that Bram Stoker got it all wrong. The place is much more interesting than he made it out to be. Did you know that the name Wallachia is related to our Wales? Both coming from Wealh, the Saxon for “foreigner.” Well, OK, that makes me geek out, but is possibly not so interesting to everyone else.

Istanbul: Why are you so complicated yet so terribly romantic?

Zayd and his bucket of jellyfish. Zayd and his awesome mum and auntie.

Nabih, who started off as a walk-on-character entirely there for plot reasons, and ended up as the guy who’s so holy nobody is surprised when he becomes a saint.

Cezar – noooo, don’t say I’m going to have to kill him. Except that I am. I want to hug him and possibly ship him with Radu, but important plot reasons suggest he ought to die instead.

Mirela: Sort of the opposite of Ecaterina. I was sure, going in, that she was going to be so cool, but then all the scenes where she was supposed to do stuff didn’t actually happen. I wondered for a while if I should cut her out. But then she came good in the end. Huzzah!


Oh, Frank. Why are you not on this list? Step 1 in the editing, I think – Figure out a way to make Frank more loveable without getting rid of his essential characteristics of being ornamental and insecure.



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

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So, I’ve reached 233,253 words towards my Get Your Words Out challenge of 200,000 words in a year. Having cracked the target, I’m feeling very demotivated towards writing any more, which is something of a drawback. Next year, I can see I will have to aim for 250,000.

That gives me two completed new novels – one of which (Too Many Fairy Princes) is out on submission to publishers, one (The Pilgrims’ Tale) is with my agent and I’m hoping to get back with editing suggestions this month.

I’ve also done 101,000 words on The Glass Floor, and am still enjoying it. Extraordinary. That should come in at roughly 150,000, so I imagine it will be finished early next year.

I’m writing blog posts like a mad thing for a Blessed Isle blog tour from 31st of December to 7th of January. More about that later.

On completely different news, congratulations to JL Merrow for winning two Rainbow Awards! Outstanding! And couldn’t have happened to a more deserving author.


And it took me ages to work this out. See if you can do better:

From a tweet by Scott Jordan Harris @ScottFilmCritic

Whoever stacked these books is both evil and hilarious.

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

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Listen to this. Is this not the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever heard in your life? It’s certainly one of them for me, and I don’t normally like male voice choirs.

YouTube Preview Image

How do I convey the same atmosphere in writing? It’s as bad as trying to describe what apple tastes like. Sometimes words are a very blunt instrument indeed.

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

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“The game is to find the word “look” in your current work in progress, and post an excerpt from that section of the manuscript.” – Elin’s post is here

This is, as per usual, from The Glass Floor. Now 86,000 words long and almost exactly half way through. Why do I write such long books? Why?


A pall of smoke from the graveyards darkened the summer sky and made the light yellow-grey. Ash was falling like pre-dirtied snow. It had needed the driest tinder and most seasoned wood to build the first pyre, but now they were true bone-fires, and fed themselves on the city’s many dead. She didn’t at first distinguish the smell of wood smoke from that of burning fat. Not until she turned the corner and came into the quiet end of Mihai Voda street, where for the past three years she had rented the rooms for her salon.

There a whiter smoke gathered in cloud-like roiling, the building itself gutted and smouldering – a heat haze still wriggling over the acrid black spikes of wood that poked from the tumbles of brick.

Four other figures, huddled close to each other, stood next to what had once been the door. All of them stared at her sharply when she exclaimed “No!” and darted forward as if to run inside. There had been books, in there! There had been her master bibliography – her guide to which grimoires were worth the study, which mere tissues of lies.

She scrambled over the blackened door step, her coal black shoes crunching over a surface that still exhaled heat. There had been a mirror which Frank had had some success in enchanting. It must still be in here somewhere, and maybe she could rescue…

A hand caught her shoulder and another closed on her skirt, pulling her out of the still steaming wreckage. She turned on them “I have to find–”

“I don’t think so.” The hand at her shoulder belonged to Bogdan. “I think perhaps, with the country at war, we should all move on.”

She didn’t like his narrow, displeased look, politely contemptuous – as if he’d been served a dish of rotted eel at a state banquet and was trying not to spit it out over the floor. Since he clearly knew it was she, she folded her veil back over her headdress, to reveal her blotchy, unhandsome face. If he would scowl, she would give him a reason. “That mirror could be invaluable in battle – for a general to see the battlefield all at once, where the enemy feints, where his sappers tunnel under. I should present it to the Voivode at once as an earnest of what the mages of Bucharest can achieve–”

“Madam,” Bogdan drew himself up, all sharp edges and glitter. “Do you think the Voivode, or anyone else, would trust you again, now it is known how you’ve gulled us all this time? I think not. I suggest, for your father’s sake, you do the decent thing and find a nunnery that will take you in, for surely no decent man will ever have you to wife, if he values his independancy and the ability to be his own man.”

“That’s what you came to say to me?”

“It is.”

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

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

Six Sentence Sunday; I am doing it wrong. I ought to be linking back to the website and list here, but I have failed to be organized enough to get myself included on it. So I’m just going to post it for myself and own my own fail ;)

This is from The Glass Floor, in which our scientifically minded heroine Ecatarina notices her brother in the garden.


His eyes had sunk, the tips of his fingers had turned dark, he had smelled, sweet, offensive, as his cheeks began to puff up, and she had had to wave the flies away from settling on him. He had been dead, unbreathing, for days before going into the earth. No doubt about that. No tragic possibility of being buried alive such as she had read of happening in other countries, who disposed of their loved ones indecently fast.

He was dead. And he was looking up at her window with puzzled eyes.


At 76K, I’m approximately half way through and everything is about to take a turn to the left, as we find out what on earth Zayd and the mad Sultan has to do with any of this.

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

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

Glad to hear that there’s good news from America both in virtue of elections and another couple of states allowing gay people to get married. American politics is not really my business, but with American publishers I feel I have a stake even if I don’t have a say in what goes on.

The purple waistcoat is finished and looks very smart. I must post a photo here when I wear it, which is likely to be for Mill Road Winter Fair. Now I just hope everyone else doesn’t go for purple too.

I have decided that 2,500 words is a good count in a day. Writing more per day definitely keeps up the enthusiasm – I’m still enjoying The Glass Floor, which is unheard of for me. 1,000 was easier, but it made the whole process so slow that it felt more laborious. I can do 3-4,000 if I really try, but that leaves no time for making lunch or…well, anything else at all. 2,500 during week days with weekends off = NaNoWriMo all year round, which should definitely up my productivity.

Speaking of The Glass Floor, I cannot believe it took until now for me to put ‘Lautari’ – the name of a Romany clan famous for musicians – and ‘Musica Lautareasca’ together and work out that Musica Lautareasca means ‘music of the Lautari.’ Eep! I know I don’t speak Romanian, but am I tone deaf for languages or what?

And speaking of productivity, I broke my 200,000 word target for the year yesterday. I know I’ve largely stopped blogging and tweeting and all that stuff, but this is why – major reassignment of my time and effort into the writing.

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

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Charlie’s answers are over here.

WIP meme

What is the title of the book you’re currently working on?
The Glass Floor (temporary title as the actual glass floor got left behind in an older idea for the plot.)

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I have absolutely no idea. You can’t expect me to remember stuff like that.

What genre does your book fall under?
Historical Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Frank – Alex Pettyfer, Radu – Julian McMahon, Zayd – Burak Özçivit, Mirela – Neha Sharma, Ecaterina – Alexis Raben

What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

A Romanian lord fights for his country’s freedom from the Ottoman Empire, using an army of vampires.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It’ll be represented by the L.Perkins Agency (providing my agent doesn’t wash her hands of it because she told me vampires were a bad idea and I went and wrote them anyway.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
I haven’t finished it yet.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
I… wouldn’t. Maybe Barbara Hambley’s first ‘Travelling with the Dead’ book, but not really. Of course I would compare it to Dracula, though. That’s inevitable since both feature Wallachian noblemen with vampiric associations.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Julian McMahon – saw him in the Fantastic Four films and thought that, while he made a terrible DOOM, he might make quite a good sinister hero of some other sort.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Atlantis. The vril accumulator. A total lack of flying carpets. All the best parties include tortoises.

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


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