Climate Change – what can I do?

Looking at that Greta Thunberg post going around, and yeah, she’s not the only one furious with policy makers and corporations willing to destroy the planet in 10 years to make a profit now.

What can we do to help, as relatively powerless people.

1. is obviously vote for the people who will make good decisions on ecology

But that’s not something we can do this instant, and things need to be done right now. It’s not enough to be angry about it. Lets act!

As individuals, we can change our own habits. God knows I’ve heard enough people on here whining “me giving up plastic won’t make a difference when industry is still churning it out.” But you’ve seen all the “Millenials are killing x industry” articles. If enough people change their individual habits, you have a groundswell. You have a movement that industry cannot and will not ignore. Industries are already trialing plastic substitutes. The minute their bottom line suffers because consumers are switching to greener alternatives, they’ll start getting serious about keeping up with the new demand. 

2. Here are some things we can do

  • Switch to a green energy provider (you’ll have to google to find one in your own country)
  • Go zero waste
  • Make your own cleaning products
  • Make your own deodorant (mix 20mls milk of magnesia with 20mls witch hazel, add 0.5 tsp baking soda and 10 drops essential oil of choice, pour into the last roll-on deodorant bottle you’ll ever have to buy.)
  • Stop using shampoo and conditioner 
  • Buy your food from a shop that uses no packaging. If you can’t find such a shop in your area, consider teaming up with your neighbours and making one.
  • Use less stuff; buy stuff second hand if you can, try not to use tumble-driers or dishwashers, switch your devices off rather than leaving them in standby. Walk, bike or electric bike where you can instead of driving…

It’s true that this stuff doesn’t make a lot of difference when done by one individual, but if it’s done by a million individuals then it makes an impact, and it takes a single pebble to start an avalanche. Maybe you can be the pebble.

So what else can relatively powerless people do when they face a corporation or a government that they can’t do anything about as individuals? 

3. Team up. Find your local eco-organization. (It’ll probably be on Facebook, at least in the UK.) If you can’t find one for your town, you can make one. Now you have a group of people who can collectively run letter-writing campaigns, shame the local supermarkets into changing their ways, band together with the groups in the rest of the state/county and start putting pressure on local politicians, spread ideas and recruit new people who hadn’t thought about this stuff yet.

It’s much easier to change the minds of those in power if there’s a big groundswell of popular opinion with you. And doing something about the environment is an idea whose time has come. You won’t be alone. You’ve just got to look at all the people who turned out for the climate strike to see that.

Found on Tumblr

Icelandic descendants of Vikings singing a hymn in a German train station. They totally need to be on the next Thor soundtrack.

brokenponycutiemark Deactivated

Oh man oh man oh man. 6 guys, and it FILLS THE SPACE. Luck of the architecture – and they know how to pull it off. Nothing is easy making vocal music in a space not built for it. I want to do this kind of thing – randomly perform multipart harmony in public spaces.

And it reminds me of Bjork: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiN_YTyaNtI

twintrolldevon Deactivated

My god this is beautiful.

bloodandthunderp Deactivated

Oh my god, the bass voice is superb.

sorceressofwildwood Deactivated

This makes me feel so many things. Gods, it’s gorgeous and so evocative and wow. I need to find out what hymn this is.

euclase Deactivated

It’s Hear, Heavenly Creator (I don’t know how that’s spelled in Icelandic, and I don’t have the characters on my keyboard for the letters anyway haha).

It’s… old as balls. Like 11th century old.

ladytemeraire

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this video and it never fails to give me chills. There’s just something about knowing how old it is, that they’re singing the same words and notes their ancestors did, unchanged over almost a thousand years, that makes my heart and soul ache in the best way.

Also the harmonization is gorgeous, I’m so weak for men’s chorale.

Translated lyrics for the curious (transcribed from this video, I do not speak Icelandic so I can’t judge the accuracy):

Listen, smith of the heavens,
[to] what the poet asks.
May softly come unto me
Your mercy.
So I call on Thee,
for You have created me.
I am Thy slave,
you are my Lord.

God, I call on Thee
to heal me.
Remember me, mild one,
most we need Thee.
Drive out, oh King of Suns,
generous and great,
every human sorrow
from the city of the heart.

Watch over me, mild one,
most we need Thee,
truly every moment
in the world of men.
Send us, Son of the Virgin,
good causes;
all aid is from Thee
in my heart.

I suspect this is a more literal translation, but there’s something incredibly poetic and lovely about “smith of the heavens” as a synonym for “heavenly creator”.

Seeing Red is out today!

I can finally announce that the ebook is out and available today!
 

Bad boys don’t tame easy.

Victor is a bad man. Is there anything he won’t do for power and money? Destroy a local business so he can buy it cheap? Kick out its owners and turn it into a cash cow? He relishes the chance.

Idris is a good man in possession of a renowned tea-house. He’s put his heart and soul into the place. It’s everything he has and wants… Except for Victor. He wants Victor too. Can the love of a compassionate man restore a predator’s withered soul? Or is Idris doomed to lose his life’s work, and his heart with it?

~

A contemporary mm romance, Seeing Red is a long-awaited new installment of the critically acclaimed Trowchester Series. Each book in the series is a standalone, and can be read in any order.
Buy Now

If you get it, and I can beg one last favour, can I ask that you review it on Amazon after you read it?

When I was pro-published it didn’t matter so much whether I got reviews or not, but for an indie author they make a huge difference to how well I can promote and advertise it.

Thank you!


And finally – as a way of saying thank you for putting up with all the chat about Seeing Red recently. I would like to point out that The Reluctant Berserker is currently available for free on Amazon, and will be free until Friday. You could snap them both up together 😉
Free book

Release Day tomorrow

Well, I think I’ve done everything I can to prepare for the release of Seeing Red tomorrow. I’ve still got to write a Newsletter, reminding my list that it’s out – but I can’t really do that until tomorrow.

I’ve engaged Vibrant Promotions to do me a blog tour starting on the 18th and carrying on until the 24th. This is my first experience of using a marketing service to do for me what Riptide used to do. Will it work as well?

I’ll be interested to find out.

I’m not really sure what I’m doing, tbh. But that’s never stopped me before.

On an unrelated note, I’ve also joined the @sunbeam.city instance of mastodon, where I can talk about solarpunk and permaculture gardening all I like. Whether or not I end up being as inactive there as I am everywhere else remains to be seen. But if you’re interested, you can find me here:

Mastodon

Seeing Red – Early reviews are great :)

I’ve had some wonderful pre-publication reviews on Seeing Red. It’s always good knowing that it’s going to go out into the world with a guarantee that actual readers have loved it.

Eagle eyed viewers may spot that I’ve slightly changed the cover again

I’m also both amused and hugely relieved that the reviews are split down the middle with half of the readers loving Idris and the other half loving Victor. That is perfect and exactly how it ought to be.

I loved them both for very different reasons. I like to see they both have folk who will take their sides 🙂

“Quality writing full of depth and detail. Author doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects or morally dubious characters, and addresses the issue of nature vs nurture in a way that damn near broke my heart.
Idris is adorable, if too innocent and trusting, a character that is easy to like and root for. He shines off the page like sunshine, making even the morally dubious Victor glow.”

“Victor’s story is heartbreaking. Page by page, I saw him practically reset all his previous beliefs in order to eventually consider himself a man worthy of being loved and capable of loving in return. …
Seeing Red is a beautiful story of two troubled souls finding each other, bringing hope,color and love into the other’s life. I love it so, so much and I highly recommend it.”

“I was lucky to get an advance copy of this super book, the latest in Alex Beecroft’s Trowchester series of standalone tales. She does the characters so well. … All the Trowchester people are like old friends as they appear in this novel. The only problem now is the wait for the next Trowchester tale! I’ve read this twice already – its a keeper”

Also how lucky am I that I have people all over the world who like my books? Really lucky and delighted!

Ask me anything!

I’m going to be taking over Coffee Time Romance’s blog all day on the 20th of May to help promote Seeing Red.

This seems like a great opportunity for a bit of a Q&A.

Do you have questions you would like to ask me in particular? Or just things you would like to ask any author?

Let me know, and I’ll be sure to answer them on that day.

Seeing Red Release Date

Seeing Red has a release date! And a cover, and a blurb 🙂

As per usual, while I’ve dropped off the internet I’ve been paddling madly under the surface. I’ve finished edits on Seeing Red. I’ve changed the cover art to make sure both main characters were included. I’ve written the blurb. I’ve formatted the paperback and that is going through Amazon’s checks as we speak. I’m busy attempting to arrange some publicity for it.

I will be releasing it on May 15th 2019 – ie next month

BLURB: Bad boys don’t tame easy.

Victor is a bad man. Is there anything he won’t do for power and money?

Destroy a local business so he can buy it cheap? Kick out its owners and turn it into a cash cow? He relishes the chance.

Idris is a good man in possession of a renowned tea-house. He’s put his heart and soul into the place. It’s everything he has and wants…

Except for Victor.

He wants Victor too.

Can the love of a compassionate man restore a predator’s withered soul? Or is Idris doomed to lose his life’s work, and his heart with it?

~

A contemporary mm romance, Seeing Red is a long-awaited new installment of the critically acclaimed Trowchester Series.

Each book in the series is a standalone, and can be read in any order.

Are you dead, Alex?

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.

The Destructo-ray Returns

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.

An Unquiet Spirits snippet

“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.”
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