Title help again?

Can anyone help me out here with an opinion? I’ve decided that I’m going to indie-publish The Glass Floor, because I can’t stand having it lying around any more, and The Witch’s Boy is none the worse for being self-pubbed. (What finally swung my decision was a series of graphs on Diane Duane’s blog indicating that indie-publishing is probably better for authors of Fantasy than pro-publishing is.)

Anyway, I’m going to try a method I saw in one of my numerous books on how to self-publish, and publish The Glass Floor in three novella sized installments, with a separate option to buy the whole book at a slight discount if you want to. That way people who don’t know whether they like my stuff can try the first third out for hardly any money at all, and only buy the other episodes if they want them. Whereas people who do know they like it can go for the whole thing at once at a bargain price.

With a miniscule amount of tweaking – literally a matter of altering a couple of lines, it neatly fell into three self-contained parts anyway, so it is as if it was preordained :)

Now I begin to approach my point…

When I was thinking of titles for each part, I fell back on my old love, alliteration. Currently I have

The Glass Floor

Divided into 3 volumes:

The Glass Floor: Horror at Home
The Glass Floor: Corruption at Court
The Glass Floor: Terror at Topkapi

But when I got to Terror at Topkapi I thought OMG, that’s actually a good title! Maybe I should use that title for the whole series? I could call part 3 ‘Plague at the Palace’ instead, and have the whole series/whole novel called

Terror at Topkapi

Too B-Movie? Too cheesy? Or would it snag your eye and make you want to know more. I think the second. What do you think?


I am still here!

explosion

Well, it’s been an interesting couple of months in the Beecroft household, starting in April when my aged father decided he could not cope with living alone hundreds of miles away from the rest of the family any more. Since then it’s been a full soap-opera worth of just about every ridiculous plot thread you can think of other than the surprise baby. But he is now settled in a new home, and the pressure has reduced to the point that this week I started to write again. I can’t tell you what a relief that is.

So here I am, claiming that I’m still alive, surviving and turning my thoughts back towards my writing. So much to do that I’ve let lapse! I must update my website. I must resubmit The Glass Floor to as many publishers as I can think of. I must learn to use CreateSpace to make a print version of The Witch’s Boy with the new cover, because I’m not satisfied with the quality of the Lulu books. (The cover tends to peel in no time flat.)

And I must stick with my new regime of writing between 8.30 – 12.00 every day. Carefully calculated so that I can take advantage of the time my teenagers are in bed on their summer holidays to write during what always used to be an unproductive time of year. Then I can do mum things, and visit my Dad, in the afternoons.

I hate changes of routine, but I hate much more not having a routine at all. So it’s very good indeed to feel the beginnings of a manageable working routine rise out of the ashes of my former life.

I don’t want to jinx it, but I feel it’s time to say with a certain sense of surprise that I am still here. Fatter, tenser and angrier than before, but writing again, which is the main thing.

 


Gloating

And now for some happier news – look at this amazing t-shirt that my fantastic daughter bought for me for Mothering Sunday :) (Slightly delayed by inefficient shipping so that it arrived today.) I loved it so much that even though it’s too cold to wear it, I put two thermal vests on underneath and did so anyway.

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Hazards of not writing

Well, a day off turned into a week. A week during which I enthusiastically tried other, new things. I did, however, make a plot plan for the Fantasy I meant to start tomorrow – so, progress there.

I also began to learn the melodeon:

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Which is harder than it seems. Both hands have to work independently, and the scale goes “push, pull, push, pull, push, pull, pull, push” which is confusing.

After extensive practice, I can now play The Winster Gallop, and I’m starting on the Winster Processional.

Or I was…

Yesterday I went on a blacksmithing course and made this hook:

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I had finished it, it was lying on the anvil and all I had to do was give it a coat of beeswax to blacken it. I was very tired, as it had been heavy work, drawing out the iron and tapering it by heating and hammering it. So I picked up the beeswax, held the hook down with my other hand, completely forgetting that it was still hot, burnt my first two fingertips and thumb to the point where the skin turned white.

Spent yesterday evening in A&E, with hideous pain. They dosed me up on morphine and sent me home with my hand looking like this:

SAMSUNG DIGIMAX A503

So how I’m going to start writing the next thing tomorrow, I don’t know. Longhand, probably.


Inhale

I finished the first draft of Blue Steel Chain on Thursday. That’s very abrupt, isn’t it? I feel there needs to be some kind of introductory word just to break the ice and indicate I’m about to say something…

So, I finished the first draft of Blue Steel Chain on Thursday. I was going to take Friday off as a day of rest after the long sustained effort of writing a novel, but it turned out I had a meeting with my son and his tutor and the people from the Gender Identity Clinic and although that wasn’t exactly work, it wasn’t rest either. I then spent the rest of the day ill, so I’m not counting it as my day off. I’m still owed holiday, damn it.

On Saturday DH and I had a great time going up Mill Road in Cambridge, which we learned to love while dancing there during the Mill Road Winter Fair, but where we have never gone during less festive times. It’s lined with charity shops and eating places from all over the world. Two of our favourite things. After buying a leather jacket for £2.99, we ate a lunch of Brazilian feijoada (which as a bean stew is frankly less adventurous than it sounds) and I took my jumper off to let the sun reach my skin.

That was much more like it for a day off. But it was a Saturday, which is a day off anyway, so I don’t know if it counts as a holiday…

Heh. First World Problems.

At any rate, with the completion of the really creative part of this novel, I can feel myself shutting down. The things that interested me until now no longer interest me. I cannot find enthusiasm for reading or TV or movies or gardening or anything else. I am stilling into emptiness.

This would be more worrying if it hadn’t often happened before, but it has. I recognise it as something that happens after I’ve spent a long period of doing things, producing things, writing. It happened after I wrote my last Age of Sail story. My interest in the Age of Sail ebbed like the tide. It happened after I wrote my last Fantasy story. Now it’s happening after the third Contemporary in a row.

I begin to suspect that this is just the end of an exhale, and that now I am empty I need to give myself a time to inhale. I don’t yet know what I’m going to breathe in, but I’m sure it’s going to be interesting. It’s not as though I can or should stop it, anyway. Time to accept that my times of lying fallow are as important for productivity as my times of apparent growth.

Mixed metaphors and everything! But you know what I mean, I think, and doesn’t it sound poetic?


Notable failures of the week

There’s not much to blog about, in this author’s life. Basically, what isn’t ordinary housewife stuff like sick children and the soul crushing horror of cookery can be summed up as ‘sat down and made up stories for hours.’ It’s not a dramatic life, and that’s the way I prefer it.

A list of this week’s failures goes like this:

Failed to do the grocery shopping. Nothing in the house for dinner. Action – ignore and hope DH orders pizza.

Failed to teach Sutton Masque to dance Tinners Rabbit, despite it being the simplest dance ever, because nobody could actually decide how it went. Action – ignore and see if it gets better next week.

Failed to do any gardening, as the garden needs too much work. Conclusion – task is too big for me. Action – ignore and call it ‘rustic’.

Failure – Spent Tuesday in bed with food poisoning. Better by Wednesday. Action needed – none.

Failure – Made traditional medicinal springtime tonic tea out of the handful of cleavers I pulled out of the garden. Result – horrible. Action – never do that again.

Failure – Tried again to like Battlestar Galactica, as stories about small military societies having adventures inside great big war machines (like battleships and Lancaster bombers) are totally my thing. Result – no, I still don’t like it. Action – none proposed.

Successes of the week:

A publisher has asked to see the full manuscript of The Glass Floor, after being sent the first three chapters in submission. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this doesn’t also turn out to be a failure.

A lovely review of The Reluctant Berserker on Elin Gregory’s site. Thanks Elin! That made up for all of the above :)


Exciting news

Well, it’s exciting to me, at least :)

Firstly a rather belated announcement that The Reluctant Berserker is now out in ebook format from all reputable sellers of electronic wares.

Any excuse to post the cover is a good excuse :)

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Secondly, I can now announce that I have just signed a contract with Riptide Publishing on three new contemporary m/m romances. Two volumes of which are with them already and the third I’m writing at the moment.

If you remember, a long time ago I asked what people would like to see out of a choice of story ideas. Unanimously everyone thought that a romance between a re-enactor and a morris dancer was what they wanted. So I wrote Blue Eyed Stranger, which is exactly that.

Then I decided I quite liked having my own fictional town to play with. As I am just coming out of a mid-life crisis myself, I thought “lets do a m/m romance with some slightly older gentlemen, who are also trying to figure out what to do with themselves now the first half of their lives is over.” And that became Trowchester Blues.

And then I decided “well… if I’m talking about things that are relevant to myself, lets talk about asexuality. You really don’t see many asexual characters around.” So the story I’m writing at the moment is a love story between a gay man and a homo-romantic asexual man. It’s currently about a third of the way through, and also features murder and pottery, because… Because. The temporary title of this one is Blue Steel Chain.

You see what I did there with the Blue thing? I’m so proud of myself ;)

This is the first time I’ve ever done a series, and I’m having such fun reintroducing characters and settings. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before.

I note that I still can’t leave history entirely out of it, contemporary or not. We have a re-enactor in Blue Eyed Stranger, the owner of an antiquarian bookshop in Trowchester Blues, and an archaeologist in Blue Steel Chain. And Trowchester itself of course has Roman walls, Saxon churches and a Bronze age hill fort. But hey, authors are allowed their themes, right?

Trowchester Blues is due out first, on the 15th of December 2014. Then the others follow in April and July of 2015. I foresee 2014 being pretty busy!


If you want a free copy of my short stories

hie thee over to Smashwords, where I’m giving away the anthology for nothing at all, as part of some kind of promotional thing. Popular wisdom says this is a good thing for me too, but I’m reserving judgement on that. It is, however certainly good for anyone who wants a copy of my short stories for free.

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Click here and use the code RW100 at the checkout to get the money off.

It’s got the tie-in stories from False Colors, Captain’s Surrender and The Wages of Sin all in one place :)


Two five star early reviews for The Reluctant Berserker

I’m delighted to say that people seem to be enjoying The Reluctant Berserker so far. I have two five star (or five sweet-pea) pre-release reviews to crow about :)

First, here’s a guest post I did on Sinfully Sexy Books:

http://sinfullysexybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-reluctant-beserker-by-alex-beecroft.html

in which I talk about my reenactment society, and why I wanted to write about a society at peace rather than at war. That’s accompanied with a long and thoughtful review, considering the book from several directions and concluding with “Once again and beautifully written book from Alex; rich in detail, emotion and intricacy of plot. A must read for all historical fans of M/M.”

Hee! Thanks so much, Mark :)

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Secondly but not secondarily,  Feliz Reviews an ARC of The Reluctant Berserker by Alex Beecroft on Mrs Condit and Friends and awards it a bouquet of sweet peas and a ‘recommended read’ status. Feliz says:

“This book had me biting my nails with tension during action and fighting scenes, it had me smile in fondness at tender moments, curse characters and cheer others on, it had me laughing with joy at the sheer beauty of its language, and I closed it with a wistfully happy smile. All I ever wish for in my reading, and I can’t commend it highly enough.”

Which I think really can’t be bettered :) Thank you so much, Feliz!

~

And speaking of ARCs of The Reluctant Berserker, HJ, you won the draw on the “Boys in our Books” giveaway. Please let me know your email address so I can send you your prize :)


Interview and Giveaway on On Top Down Under

Just a quick note to say that I am being interviewed over here on the amazing On Top Down Under site today. In which I am refusing to pull my punches about gender and confessing that I have started writing fanfiction of my own stories. Come over and comment to (potentially) win a book, or just to point and laugh :)


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