Tinsel Fish for Solstice!

I have done it. Eet ees done. The Amazon “publish” key has been pressed, and the Zon Mice have carried off this exploding handwritten mess to transform it into a lovely ebook for your reading pleasure. This can take up to 12 hours, so I’ll be sure to post buy links when Tinsel Fish hits the shelves. I hope you’ll enjoy the further adventures of Gideon and Lee.Tinsel fish notebook

M/M Romance Members Choice Awards - Many Lovely Nominations!

At this time of year more than ever I have to sit down, fan myself a little with some tattered sheets of manuscript, and say – THANK YOU!!! – in a big rude caps-lock shout to all my lovely readers. I am just blown away by my nominations in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group Members Choice Awards for 2013. Please go and vote – for me, or for any others in the stunning, glittery galaxy of brilliant M/M authors who have been nominated. I am in some fantastic company!


My nominations are as follows:-

Category 2 – Favourite All Time M/M Author
Category 3 – Favourite All Time M/M Romance (for Life After Joe)
Category 6 – Best Book of the Year (for Brothers Of The Wild North Sea)
Category 21 – Best Historical (for Brothers Of The Wild North Sea)
Category 31 – Best Performance Arts (for The Lost Prince)
Category 34 – Best Enemies to Lovers (for Brothers Of The Wild North Sea)

Wow! What can I say? Well - THANK YOU!!! (Sorry, but lower case just doesn't cut it. :-D )

Oh, the pride! Oh, the shame!

I’ve just written a novel in less than a month. Well – at 25,000 words, a novella. But that was for everything – concept, outline, draft, editing. I’m a jellyfish. I no longer remember what my name is or how to eat with cutlery. I also, for some unfathomable bloody reason, handwrote it.

Why? Oh God, why?

Well, there were a few reasons. First off, my last long novel, The Lost Prince, was a Wagnerian endeavour that somehow chomped up six months of my life, and in order to tick over financially as an author, I need to try and produce a book every three months if I can. So I had some catching up to do. Second, TLP, though I loved every second of the production, was a vast drain. Laurie and Sasha aren’t really mine any more – as sequel characters, they already exist out there, and I was placing their every move very carefully to ensure that they remained consistent to all people who’ve been kind enough to tell me they feel like they know and love them. It was a fantastic experience. It was also very tiring. So I needed to reassure myself that I could still leap into writing mode with two new protags and  boil up their story and their lives from absolute scratch. Halloween was coming up, we’d had a couple of visits to spooky and dramatic Bodmin Moor, and I became possessed with the idea that I absolutely had to get a story done in time, and so Once Upon A Haunted Moor was born, and it’s okay, there’s lots of food you can eat with your fingers.

The handwriting thing was an experiment. We were on the road for a good part of October, and I just found it easier to grab a pen and paper in service stations and the like than boot up a device, no matter how portable, and worry about batteries and disk space and backup and saving. Of course a decent gust of wind across the M74 would have sent my newborn baby scattering across the Macky D’s rooftops in an orgy of confetti destruction, but having started that way, I continued. I wore out the whole of my 80-page A5 pad, both sides and written up the margins, and I killed off two refills of the magical Swarovski glitter pen. My hand cramped and my RSI flared and I got one of those painful “finger trenches”, like a red dint that never quite goes away, but I liked it. There was something primevally satisfying in clutching actual pages. Carrying them around. “This my book!” Still, it was hardly practicable, and kind of defeated the object of silicon, and I’d probably have stopped, but I did find one amazing writerly benefit from my return to quill and parchment – when I came to type the manuscript up, instead of editing word by word as I would have from a computer document, I found I was rewriting sentences and reworking whole paragraphs really quickly on the hoof. I flew through it. I got a good solid draft#1 much faster than I’d anticipated, which was good because I found that, despite my repeated requests, the end of October was approaching at the same speed for me as for everyone else.

The downside is this – for the first time ever, I’ll be publishing just to Amazon. I know this is bad. I love bits of the Zon. I disagree profoundly with some things about the Zon. I don’t want to help feed the Zon until it explodes. I also don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me, because 90 percent of my self-pubbing income is Zon Dollars. It’s purely a practical issue, and I’ll put it right as soon as I can – having written so close to my self-imposed deadline, I haven’t given the wonderful people who usually do my formats and versions for me any time at all to work their magic. And, whilst I’m shakily confident about loading up my own Word doc for conversion to mobi for Amazon, I just wouldn’t dare go near All Romance or Smashwords without professionally formatted books. I’m not savvy enough and I’d end up getting caught in the Smashwords Meatgrinder and torn into thousands of pink, gory, hyperbolic little pieces.

And I don’t want that happening to my lovely Gideon and Lee.

So, just until I can get together time and funds to do a full and proper release across my usual vendors and in the usual variety of formats – forgive me. In all seriousness, I really do appreciate that many folks prefer not to use Amazon, or don’t have a Kindle, and I don’t want to upset any one of you. With the restrictions on this particular project, though, that’s the way it’s got to be, just this one time.

Once Upon A Haunted Moor will release on 31st October, just in time for what I hope will be a wonderful, fiery, festive Halloween for us all! Details, blurb and excerpt here: http://www.harperfox.net/books/once-upon-a-haunted-moor/

Better late than - er, later still? :-D

I'm hopeless. I entirely forgot to do my prize draw before running off to swing in the trees in Scotland. Thesaraghina, you are my winner! Lucy Cat apologises for not appearing in a prizewinner's photo with your name on a slip but she was a little traumatised by her cat sitter (not the sitter's fault - she was brilliant - just that *everything* traumatises Lucy) and has been spending a lot of time under the bed with her vile rabbit-skin mouse. So big congrats to you, and all I need to know is your land addie, which of my book covers you'd like on your signed and personalised notebook, and which of my backlist ebooks you'd like - email me at harperfox777@yahoo.co.uk. If you're one of those divinely difficult people who've already bought all my books, I'll put you down for a copy of my Halloween story. You can probably guess when that's coming out. :-D

Thanks to all who entered and left comments here and on FB!


The Lost Prince - a shiny new excerpt

Now, I know not everyone's a fan of excerpts, so if that's you, kindly avert your gaze from this post. :-D But if you're thinking of buying the book, or even if you're not, I thought you might enjoy this extra little snippet that hasn't appeared anywhere else on the web so far.


Laurie stepped into a patch of golden light. He was half-hidden behind the enormous trellis of jasmine he was carrying. Setting it down carefully, he looked around him, dazzled from the brilliance outside. “Sasha?”

He was dressed in his pale grey suit, the one that looked as if the tailor had died of love for him during its creation. Beneath it was a white linen shirt. His tie was crumpled in his pocket, because only Sasha knew how to knot it for full-dress occasions. He'd tucked a yellow rose into his buttonhole, and its petals cast reflected saffron lights into his face. For a long moment, Sasha couldn't speak at all. Then he managed, dryly, hands clenched in his pockets, “I've heard it's bad form to outshine the bride.”

“That's just what I was going to say to you. Your new suit fits okay, then?”

“Yes.” Sasha had woken alone, filled with grief that Laurie had slipped away in silence once again. Then he had seen the beautiful jacket and trousers, the colour of old ivory, laid out on the end of the bed. “I didn't know what to wear this morning, but some fairy had left these.”

“Some fairy? All those Pride marches and demos for gay rights, and I get called some fairy?”
Sasha chuckled, and it turned into a sob. “Oh, Laurie. If this Hollywood thing means so much to you, I'll come with you. Okay? I'll come.”

“Oh, thank God.” Laurie took a step towards him, fell over the trellis and shoved it unseeing off to one side. He held out his arms. “Thank God.”
Sasha met him with passionate force. He laid his brow on Laurie's shoulder, let go the cry that had been waiting, briefly allowed himself to burst into tears. He hauled in one breath. “These last few days—feeling so far from you when you were right there... I couldn't bear that, let alone having you five thousand miles away for months.”

“But your job.”

“I'll go on sick leave.” Maybe he needed to. He felt like scalding water in Laurie's embrace, ready to evaporate. “Don't worry. I'll get round it.”
Laurie buried his face in Sasha's hair, gratefully breathing its fresh familiar scent. He'd spent part of his morning tearing about between florists, but he'd also attended a nerve-racking meeting in Ealing between Douglas Brett and a financial representative from Ivory Gate. So far he'd had to walk out twice in order to gain his objectives. Both times he'd been run after with satisfactory speed. In return, and to keep Brett sweet, he'd offered an extra scene for Devlin, one that glued several of the others into making sense. He'd set everything up exactly as if Sasha had been coming too. Not for one second had he believed it would happen. “Thank God,” he said again, voice cracking.
Sasha felt the heat of his tears. He wanted to look up but his ears were buzzing, grey rags fluttering across his field of vision. “Why's it so important to you, love?” he asked, muffled against Laurie's shoulder. “That I be there?”

“Why do you think? That I want you as some kind of trophy for my arm? I can't act without you. I can't be without you.”

But you'd still have gone. Sasha let the thought go—let everything go, dissolving and falling at last. He was in Laurie's arms. Nothing else mattered. “Is it hot in here?”

“No. But you're white as a sheet. Come with me.”

They stumbled out together into the churchyard, where a dancing breeze and honeysuckle were combining to make the graves look festive. Laurie led Sasha to a marble tomb amid the long grass and eased him down, careful to find him a patch free of moss. “There. What's wrong? Are you ill?”
Sasha gave it thought. Everything cold and clenched inside him was expanding in relief. “No,” he said, hanging on to Laurie's lapel, absently caressing the yellow rose. “I'm just hungry.”

“Missed-breakfast hungry, or...”

“No. The other type.”

Laurie nodded in comprehension. Sasha had almost died of starvation on the streets. Now he ate healthily, but there were times when old desperations and damage caught up with him. Straightening up, Laurie scanned the green where the marquee staff were struggling with flapping white canvas. Beyond it was a little park, a handful of stallholders setting up for the summer's-day trade. “I know just what you need. Hang on.”
He took the short cut out of the churchyard. He was a sight, Sasha thought—a vision to take to the grave with you, vaulting the wall in his immaculate dove-grey suit. Sasha watched him out of sight, clutching at the tomb's marble edge.

He returned more conventionally through the lych-gate. He was cradling a paper-wrapped package in one hand, a cup in the other. “Here,” he said, setting both down on the marble. “Sausage. Bun. Coke.”

Street food, immediate and hot. Sugar and caffeine to wash it all down. Glancing at him apologetically, Sasha unwrapped the package. Laurie had brought paper napkins to protect the beautiful ivory-coloured trousers, and between them they placed these strategically. “It's all right,” Laurie told him. “It's safe. You can eat.”

It was a dead-serious business. Sasha, who had never abandoned his manners even in his darkest days of homelessness, tried to make it a tidy one, but he knew that for a minute or two he was nothing but a ravenous animal, with every mouthful staving off death. By the time he'd consumed two thirds of the hot dog he was calming down, and sheepishly nodded to his lover, who'd watched the process indulgently. “Thanks. Sorry. Want a bit?”

“A bit of what? The wrapper?” Nevertheless Laurie accepted the last piece of sausage, popped it into his mouth with an absurd vaudeville wink. “Better?”

“Mm. God, yeah.”

“What a wolf-cub.” Laurie reached out and smilingly wiped ketchup from the corner of Sasha's mouth. “Now, the question is—do you want a bit?”
Sasha's brain was clearing, but still slow. It took him a moment. He looked around the churchyard, eyes wide. “We couldn't. Could we?”

“Well, it's still early. And I know it's holy ground, but...”

“Everything you do to me is holy.”