The state of things: extract, free story, free edit, oh my!
This is a general update blog post about me. I do post promo stuff occasionally in between rants about aristocratic titles and punctuation, you know.
Well, it’s been a hell of a year globally speaking, but an extremely quiet one for me, with only one book out. All that is about to change.
On 1 December, All in Fear releases. This is an anthology of queer horror which includes my penny dreadful alt-Victorian story ‘The Price of Meat’. A brief extract to give you the flavour:
In the time of England’s steep decline, when Victor II sprawled on the throne and lost colonies as carelessly as a child loses toys, there stood a number of institutions that should never have been permitted to exist. One was the foul and ancient liberty of Alsatia, to which we will return anon; another was Mr Fogg’s Asylum for the Weak-Minded, located to the west of London on the soot-grimed scrubland of Old Oak Common. It is there our story begins one cold, bright day in December 1870, as Mr Fogg himself conducted Johanna Oakley through its dark, draughty passages.
A corridor lined with heavy doors stretched in front of her, each with a great iron lock and a barred inspection hatch through which attendants might spy. Some hatches were firmly closed, keeping the unfortunates within closely confined; through the open ones came sounds. A sob; a laugh; a mutter of prayer, though whether to a merciful God, or to something quite different, Johanna could not tell. From one cell came the sound of a crying child: fearful, heartsick, hopeless weeping. She turned by instinct, but Mr Fogg grasped her arm.
“You don’t want to look in there.” His thin lips stretched over yellow, ridged teeth in a smile. “It is not a sight for a pretty young lady such as yourself.”
She detached his hand from her arm with unconcealed distaste. Mr Fogg’s smile widened to show both rows of teeth, and bony gums. “Such a privilege to be visited by a genteel young lady. I do adore young ladies. I cherish your delicate constitutions.”
Johanna’s hands tensed within their concealing muff. “Take me to Miss Wilmot now, if you please.”
Mr Fogg moved on, if possible at a slower pace than before, and paused to indicate a door with the head of his cane. “There’s a young lady in there, you see—” He smashed the cane against the door with such sudden violence that Johanna jumped, and a tiny, muffled shriek came from within. “Quiet!” he bellowed, and turned back to Johanna with an oily smile. “You see how nervous the patients are. We must regulate their behaviour for their own good. There is one lady in the separate rooms for whom the doctor prescribed a fortnight’s absolute silence and solitude to ease the habit of complaint for which her husband had her confined. Yet she continually breaks the regime by speaking out, to herself or the attendants, and then the fortnight must be started again, you see. Again and again.”
“How long have you kept her in solitary confinement for this?” Johanna asked.
“Oh, more than a year now. This is Miss Wilmot’s accommodation.”
Johanna looked at the thick, locked, barred door. “I hope you are treating my friend with the greatest respect and kindness, sir. You will answer for it if not.”
“Oh, we give her the most tender care,” Mr Fogg said, a smile oozing across his face. “The tenderest care for the tenderest flesh. Such a delicate young lady. You may have a half-hour only, and I must remain in the room. I cannot permit Miss Wilmot’s constitution to be upset.”
Next: a freebie. I’ve written a free coda, currently running around 6500 words, to the Society of Gentlemen series. It’s called A Private Miscellany, and it will be available free exclusively to my newsletter subscribers, coming in an email around 20 Dec (date tbc). Sign up here. You can always unsubscribe again, I won’t feel hurt, but they reasonably often have free stuff and tbh I send about 5 of these a year. I’m not an assiduous marketer. (It will be available to new subscribers after that date as soon as I master the technical challenge of setting up a welcome email. However, since I can’t set the clock on my oven, it might be safer to subscribe now.)
The freebie will be 100% meaningless if you haven’t read the Society of Gentlemen series, but they are ridiculously cheap and were rather well reviewed (“to truly appreciate the magnificence of this series you need to read the whole lot of them, preferably one after the other. This is because the stories are as intimately entwined as the lovers”), so why not treat yourself to some cravats and smut for Christmas so as not to feel left out?
Then! Bringing the new year in on 9th January is my new Georgian road trip Wanted, a Gentleman, which Romantic Times listed as a 4.5* Top Pick (“a romp of a novella. … a perfectly compact romance that shows a couple can be cranky and still head-over-heels for each other.”
AND THEN. In February, the new Victorian Sins of the Cities trilogy kicks off with An Unseen Attraction. Much more to come on that nearer the time, so I’m just going to put the cover here for now. Purr.
The trilogy will be publishing in Feb, June, and October 2017, assuming nobody tweets “I dare you to push the nuclear button ha ha chicken” at Donald Trump before then.
AAAAND FINALLY. I offered around the time of Brexit to give free development edits to British BAME aspiring romance authors. There’s a slot going still so if you are or know anyone who’d be eligible and likes FREE EDITS, please hit me up!
That’s my State of the Nation. Next time: probably more obscure quibbling about punctuation, tbh.