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The Wages of Sin re-released.

I meant to do this last year, and then real life intervened. But now I hope I am getting back on the horse and I’ve finally uploaded the second edition of The Wages of Sin to Kindle.


Now re-released in a Kindle exclusive for the next 90 days. (After which it will also be available from Kobo and Smashwords.)

Now with the companion short story ‘Communion’ included.


Review for The Wages of Sin from Jessewave:

If you love the deeply Gothic, then this will certainly be your cup of horror, as the book positively drips with it…. an utterly spellbinding and spooky read, a cracking mystery and a really lush piece of Gothic literature.

Review from Dear Author

I don’t think I’ve ever FELT like I was *in* a particular time more than I did in this book.


Charles Latham, wastrel younger son of the Earl of Clitheroe, returns home drunk from the theatre to find his father gruesomely dead.  He suspects murder.  But when the Latham ghosts turn nasty, and Charles finds himself falling in love with the priest brought in to calm them, he has to unearth the skeleton in the family closet before it ends up killing them all.

Buy Links

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Charles wrapped his arms around himself and chafed his biceps to get some warmth into them.  Cold radiated out from the marrow of his bones, nestled in his heart like a shard of ice.  But the old felted blanket around him glowed in the lantern light with blue, yellow and red stripes, speckled with dog hair.  He basked in wet dog and horse smell; brass polish, leather wax, and Floyd’s orange-flower-water cologne.  These things and the terror that had passed could not exist in the same world, surely?

“A cloud,” he said, in a reedy, shocked voice.  “There was a cloud.  A black cloud.  It… it rushed at me, and….”

“Most probably the dust cloud from the landau, sir.”  Sam spoke over his shoulder as he flicked the whip encouragingly above Jewel’s ears.

“No it…”

“Yes, that would account for it.  Undoubtedly why we neither of us saw the other coming.”  Floyd nodded, fished out a handkerchief and wiped his cheeks and forehead with fingers only a little less unsteady than Charles’.  “You, um.  You fell upon your head, sir.  And, mm, if my nose doesn’t guide me wrongly, had already imbibed a fair amount of… mm, conviviality.  No doubt you are also distressed about your father.  I think we need look no further for the cause of a temporary, understandable, overturning of the wits.”

“That’s not how it…”  Charles clutched the blanket more closely, trapped a pawprint between his knee and the seat.  The dried mud flaked off and scattered to the floor, and a convulsive choke of disgust forced its way out of him at the patter of falling soil.  He smeared it underfoot, looked down blankly for a moment before the words finally penetrated his understanding.

The landau swayed like a pinnace as it swept through the great curve before the marble steps of the portico.  Lights now glimmered in the hall, and as they drew up George flung open the door.  His candle showed a white, sickened face, its distinguished lines set in strain.

“My father?”  Charles rose to his feet, holding tight to the calash of the landau as it sprayed gravel with the speed of its stop.  A fist of dread tightened beneath his breastbone and the waves of shivering returned full force.  “What’s wrong with…?”

George ran down the stairs.  The light shone on his open shirt and bare feet as his scarlet silk banyan trailed behind him.  His uncovered hair shone silver-gilt, exposed.  It was the first time in years Charles had seen his brother so careless of his appearance, and his wild unconscious beauty added a new terror to the night.

Flinging down his candle, George caught Dr. Floyd as he bent to retrieve his bag and hauled him bodily out onto the grass.  Floyd raised an eyebrow at the treatment, while George in turn gaped at the sight of Charles leaping down beside him.

“Oh I do have a brother then?  No, say nothing, this isn’t the time.  You’d best come too.”

Charles followed his brother’s impatient strides past the stone pineapples on the sweep of white stairs.  Their footsteps echoed and re-echoed like vollies of rifle-fire against the chequered black and white limestone of the entrance hall.  A candelabrum set on a table within lit Doric pillars and the portraits of his ancestors with a bubble of amber light around which the darkness brooded.  The door up from the kitchen stood partially open.  Blurs of white faces, above white shifts, showed ghostlike in the crack.

On the landing, George’s valet Sykes stood waiting with a candlestick in his hand, his cravat lopsided and his chin shadowed by an aggressive growth of black stubble.  Another twist in the garrotte of fear about Charles’ throat.  They were normally both of them so impeccable.  “George!  What’s…?”

“Just,” George flung up a hand, “be quiet.”  He took the candle and whispered to Sykes.  “Stand outside the door.  Mrs. Latham’s rest is not to be disturbed under any circumstances.  Should Elizabeth wake, you may inform her, but you will not permit her to come in.”

“I understand.”

Down the passage, their feet silent now on the runner of blue and white carpet.  Outside the windows at either end of the passage, the night pressed inwards.  As they stopped outside his father’s room, George dropped a hand to the doorknob and bent that exposed, vulnerable head.  “I feel I ought to warn you.  It isn’t…  Ah.  Well.  See for yourself.”

Candlelight caught the cream and gold plastered walls, glittered like the ends of pins in the tassels of the bed-curtains and the gold embroidered comforter that lay in a kicked off crumple against the claw-footed legs of the bed.  The fire had been made and burned clear yellow in the grate.

Soberly, imagination finally at bay, Charles did what his soldier ancestors would have expected of him.  He walked forward into the line of fire, looked down.

Ambrose Latham, Earl of Clitheroe, lay on his back in his nightgown, his limbs fettered by the sheets, his swollen face purple.  His open mouth brimmed with vomit.  Across his nose, lips and chin the mark of a woman’s hand stood out in livid white.  His nostrils were stopped with earth.

Chapter Two

“What is he doing here?”  The clock on the mantle struck quarter past six as Elizabeth gestured with her loaded fork.  No doubt, Charles thought, his head throbbing, and the side of his face stinging in counterpoint, her advanced state of pregnancy excused the fact that she was still capable of eating.  He wished she would do it somewhere else.

Dragging his eyes from the drop of brown grease that trembled on the end of the bacon, he looked where she pointed.  The vague sense he had had all night that there were too many presences in the house – a pair of shoes outside a normally unoccupied door, an unexpected number of plates on the sideboard for this impromptu family breakfast, coalesced into a stranger at their table.

He wore the bob wig of a clergyman and a clergyman’s black woollen coat.  The jet buttons of his cuff glittered, and beneath the stark white powder of his wig, his wing-like brows were just as black.  The fan of black eyelashes hiding downcast eyes, and the diffident bend of his neck, could not disguise an angular, almost Spanish beauty; bold high cheekbones and a sullen, dangerous mouth.

“He’s here as my guest.”  George was once more the picture of manly perfection in a suit of emerald silk, but the stick pin in his cravat clashed with his waistcoat, and the lines of strain in his face scored deeper by the hour.  Charles swallowed, looked away, conscious that for the first time, George had begun to resemble their father.

“He’s father’s enemy.  Always has been.”  Elizabeth’s white makeup showed cracks and streaks in a dozen places, her handsome face puffy from weeping and her eyes bloodshot.  Close to her confinement and with her husband absent at the head of his regiment in Scotland, she had returned home to be coddled with all the attentiveness an expectant grandfather could bestow.  And she had always been Clitheroe’s favourite.

Charles honoured her for her grief.  Despised himself for being unable to echo it.

Outside the tall windows, dawn had barely begun to break.  Autumnal rain lashed the panes, rolled in silver beads down each black lozenge.  Within the house a melancholy procession of servants passed the door of the morning room; Geoffreys, his father’s valet, with an arm full of neatly folded sheets, Cook with jug, basin and towel, and her two daughters following, a can of hot water carried between them.  He took another cup of coffee, for the hangover, and looked back.

The stranger’s head still bent over the table.  He dipped his spoon, ate a mouthful of porridge and the gesture brought his face even further into shadow.

“Melodramatic nonsense!”  George speared a devilled kidney and thrust it onto his plate.  “Father doesn’t have any enemies.”

Elizabeth gave a harsh laugh, honey-blonde ringlets bobbing with incongruous cheer beside her jaw.  “In case you haven’t noticed, brother, our father is lying dead upstairs.  He must have had one enemy, don’t you think?  And now we’re eating breakfast with the prime candidate?  That’s taking politeness a little too far.”

The scrape of a chair.  The stranger made to rise and George caught him by the wrist, pressed his arm to the table, restraining him.

At the sight of the stranger’s hand, lying as if cut off by the black cuff, the picture of his father’s dead face flashed before Charles’ inner eye.  He too recoiled, struggling to his feet, running to the window, trying to escape it.

“This is not the time for unfounded, hysterical accusations.  Really, Elizabeth if your condition did not excuse you I should have to accuse you of running mad.  Now please keep your voice down.  This is the last thing Emma needs!”

By some dint of magic, the stranger had continued his retreat, withdrawing his presence, leaving his body like an old table that sits unnoticed in the corner of a room.  But Charles was tired of trying to see his face, being thwarted.  “Won’t someone introduce us?”

George laughed with surprise.  “Don’t be a goose!  You remember Jasper.  Admiral Vane’s ward.  We grew up together.”

Since it was impossible to say ‘no’, Charles leaned back against the window and let the chill of the rain seep across his shoulders.  “By reputation only,” he said, and watched as Jasper’s stubborn chin raised half an inch and his mouth curved in a little bitter smile.  “You forget, George; my earliest memory is of waving goodbye as you left for Cambridge.  I’m afraid I have no recollection of you at all, Mr Marin.  Except, as I say, by anecdote.”

At last, with slow grace like the turn of a minuet, Jasper looked up.  His eyes, in the broadening light, were sherry coloured – a light, clear brown almost with a tint of red.  Had there been room, Charles might have stepped backwards.  A jolt of something very like fear went through him.  How could he have mistaken the man’s invisibility for meekness?  It had been all along the quiet of a tiger lying in wait in the long grass.  Elizabeth’s accusation no longer seemed so laughable.

“Then I wish we could have met again in happier circumstances.”

Two heartbeats.  Charles had time to wonder if this was some new manner of the same paralysis that had come on him last night; time’s normal flow suspended.  Then the morning room door swung open and Dr. Floyd came in.  The scene moved and flowed once more as George rose to pull out a seat for him, and Elizabeth called for fresh coffee.

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

Ugh, ill again.

I knew I was getting on too well with this Cretan thing – unimaginatively titled ‘Labyrinth.’ I’m on scene 11 out of 15 and should be galloping downhill towards the finish line. (Though tbh, this is the point where everything starts getting really complicated.) But I had to break off to lie down.

Never mind. I usually do a scene a day, so as long as I’m better by Monday I can still have it finished by the end of next week.

I bought ‘The Bull from the Sea’ to make sure I wasn’t covering ground that had already been covered by Mary Renault, but she opens with Theseus coming back from Crete, so that’s OK. I’m amused to find, now, that I’m totally against her whole ‘oh, how dreadful these effete foriegners are with their eyeliner and their fancy belts and their allowing women to participate in the bull games on an equal basis from men!’

I’m now very much thinking ‘I’m sorry? Are any of those supposed to be bad things?’

Anyway, it’s a fascinating time in history, and when I’m less dosed up with flu medicine I need to write a couple of serious posts about it. But now I don’t seem to be able to string two sentences together, so I’m going back to watching Gotham on Netflix. It seems appropriate for this kind of weather.

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

Tattoo completed

After all these years!


Got my tattoo finished off yesterday. I can’t actually tell what colour it is because it is so inflamed, but when it calms down it will probably be verging on very yellow. I now have my own sunshine with me at all times.

You couldn’t really see the anchor before, so I suggested making the anchor yellow/orange too, and Nick (the artist) said ‘Ah, yes, it’s reflecting the sky.’ Which I had not thought of, in fact, but makes so much sense.

Entire thing designed by me, done and hand shaded by Nick of Tattoo Crazy in March. I can’t recommend them enough.

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

Blogging Labyrinth

It occurs to me that I have nothing pressing I need to blog about at the very same time as I am about to embark on writing a new thingy. Why not blog about a project while it is in progress? Well, if there is a reason, I imagine we’ll soon find out!

I’m in the acquisitive phase of writing at the moment. You can imagine me wandering around with a scoop on my head, shovelling the universe into me in hopes of sifting out inspiration. (Where ‘the universe’ = any book or post on the internet that takes my fancy, plus anything else.) A few weeks ago I started random Google searches on the Minoans and have ended up with a Pinterest full of appropriate pictures.

On a related note, let me complain at you over the lack of pictures of potential face-cast people with interesting faces. I don’t want my every character to look like a model. I want to be able to find pictures of people who make me go ‘ooh, look, I wonder what he’s thinking?’ or ‘ha! There’s a bloke who’s seen some interesting things in his time.’ Pretty is all very well, handsome is absolutely fine. I’m not knocking beauty, but I wish there was a bit more variety out there.

Which reminds me to find face casts for Maja and Jadikira before I start writing. At the moment I have no idea what they look like, and that doesn’t seem right.

Back to my main point, which is the acquisitive stage. At this point, I am taking in everything, finding ideas with puzzling edges and trying to fit them together in such a way as to make a picture, though there is no guiding box-lid to follow. I’m avoiding reading J.A Rock’s Minotaur because I am probably going to have a minotaur and I want it to be my own, but I’m thinking about werewolves and how a society deals with male violence – and how one deals with ones own rage – and that’s all getting knotted up together in a way I’m finding quite exciting.

At any rate, not a lot is talked about the acquisitive stage of writing. I don’t know – maybe not everyone has this stage? I always do, though. The first stage of writing anything, for me, is the insatiable need to find out more.

So if you have any obcure bits of minoan lore or books to recommend please toss them my way now, while I can’t get enough of the stuff! Thank you :)

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

Re-reading the Iliad

So my antagonists for the Cretan thing are early Homeric-era Greeks. It seemed sensible to re-read the Iliad for background. I remember loving the Odyssey in childhood, but being a little meh about the Iliad. However, a lifetime of gender studies, feminism, anthropology and introspection has left me practically unable to read it at all. My God what a bunch of entitled jerks the characters are! Why am I supposed to care? Let Zeus fucking raze the beaches and the city of Troy alike with lightning storms and let them all burn. (You can save Patroclus and Odysseus first though.)

Sheesh. These are our heroes?

I wonder if I dare re-read the Odyssey. I liked it at the time because it had monsters, and both Odysseus and Penelope were clever. That surely can’t have changed.

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

As part of Queer Romance Month the three of us had an interesting chat about queer historical romance, and whether it must inevitably be depressing. Can there be a happy ending? With my usual forthrightness, I say ‘who’s talking about an ending? I want a happy continuance.’


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

Punches the air

Yes! So, my father is in hospital awaiting a heart operation and I’m rushing up there every day to try to help him to understand what’s going on (he has dementia and doesn’t remember these things – which makes being in hospital a terrifying experience). Despite this, I have just finished Heart of Cygnus 5. Yes! 102,080 words of space-opera-y goodness in which the entire galaxy is about to find out that it was a bad idea to try to keep my middle-aged female space captain down.

Is she a late-blooming Mary Sue? Quite possibly. Do I care? I do not. It’s taken me this long to realize that I have a feminine side at all (because it’s a feminine side that wants to PUNCH DRAGONS.) And there are not that many of those kinds of female characters around, so why not?

Basically: Yes! I have finished a book! Now I can start planning the Minoan m/m thing I’ve got to do by March. I’m looking forward to that :) Huzzah!

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

All my asexual agender people

I have a book recommendation for you!


I read this recently when I was not very well, and it made me cry in several places. On a basic level, it’s the story of the clan composer of a conquered people whose music has been taken without his permission by the court composer of the conquerors. He comes to court to protest the theft and ends up falling in love with the thief (and slowly coming to terms with the dominant culture.)

Recently, thanks to many reviews of my own stuff that went “cut down with the flowery language for crying out loud!” I’ve been pruning my own language back as far as it will go and learning to rely a bit more on a surprising metaphor or two. So it took me a while to get back into the sheer gorgeousness of the language of this. But the gorgeousness is in place and apt for a story that deals with the intricacies of a court setting whose intricacy and studied beauty reminds me of Imperial Japan.

Once you get into the flow of it again, you find you’ve been slowed down enough to start appreciating all the questions of culture and colonialism the book takes on in the middle of a love story.

I’m not doing this justice! I’m trying to be all intellectual about it and I shouldn’t, because what I really loved about it was that it’s a story set in a culture of people with men, women, hermaphrodites and neuters, and although the love story is between a man (Amet) and a Third (Dancer) – a hermaphrodite – it’s a poly relationship, because the Third is already in a sexless relationship of intimacy and love with a Fourth (Always Falling) – a neuter. And throughout the book, the relationship with Always Falling is acknowledged as equally important to Dancer, if not more so, than the love story, and it’s clear that Always Falling is not going to be usurped, squashed out or forgotten. It’s clear that unless they are fully involved with the relationship, there will not be a happy ending.

The last time I read a book where I felt that there was a character who I could latch onto as being like me was The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin. And that was Therem Harth rem ir Estraven – a person who was fully gender neutral and sexless about 90% of the time. I feel very fortunate that I’ve now met Always Falling, and that they are written by an author who can handle language with as much beauty as LeGuin and who simply *gets* them – gets their integrity and importance as a human being in a way even LeGuin didn’t.

I’m so delighted to hear that the next book is the love story between Amet and Always Falling! I’ll be getting that one on the day it’s out.

Basically, this is not a well put together review. What I’m trying to say is that if you are agender and asexual, and you’re thirsty for representation, and you’ve never (or rarely) seen anything like yourself in any form of media, this book not only gives you representation but also does it in a work of great beauty. It could not be better!

(Though as a niggling little point, I don’t personally like ‘it’ as a pronoun. I’d have rather had ‘them’ or ‘ze’ or something. I find it hard to reclaim ‘it’ from non-personhood. But I’m not going to quibble about that when everything else is so damn good :) )

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

Forty Seven Years

Or: A guest post on The Novel Approach (with giveaway) celebrating the release of Blue Steel Chain–


When False Colors came out in 2009, I still thought I was straight. I remember the furor that was kicked up by the marketing campaign for that book, which was released as part of a four book attempt to take m/m romance to the mainstream under the ill advised marketing slogan “m/m romance by straight women for straight women.” The four authors involved were somewhat startled by this because they were Erastes, Lee Rowan, Donald Hardy and me. That’s two bisexual women, a gay man, and an asexual person who really still isn’t quite sure about this whole gender business.

I’ve digressed. My point was that at the time I didn’t know that asexuality existed. I thought I was the token straight in that group. I’d always been aware that I’d never been very good at being straight. I’d always felt that there were vast areas in our culture that I just wasn’t getting. The whole business with sex, for example. What was the attraction? What was the point? I could see that it seemed to be a huge driving force in human interaction, and yet for me it was a blank space. Did that mean I wasn’t human? I sometimes felt that way.

I defined myself in negatives. I wasn’t a woman but I wasn’t a man. So I probably wasn’t trans. I wasn’t gay or bi or poly, but I really wasn’t very straight either.

How could a person who was so nothing ever actually exist at all?

Read More

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

Book Bub


As part of the promotion of Blue Steel Chain, Riptide have scheduled a Book Bub for Trowchester Blues.

What the heck is a Book Bub? You may ask yourself. I know I did.

Well, it seems to be this cool thing here:


Where you sign up with your email address, and pick what categories of books you enjoy – and yes, there is an LGBT section – and then all kinds of books are available for you either free or with their prices slashed to the bone.

It’s a little worrying. I only found out about the site yesterday and already I’ve bought four books. OTOH, I’ve bought four books for $3.98 in total, so… win. I think :)

So if anyone wants to start trying (a) my books in general, or (b) the Trowchester series in particular, this is a great place to pick up the first Trowchester book, Trowchester Blues for $0.99

The ‘bub’ will start on the 31st of July and go for five days. Happy shopping 😉

And speaking of Blue Steel Chain! It’s due out on the 27th of July. I haven’t written any of my blog spots for the tour yet. So if anyone has any questions they’d like me to answer, or anything in particular they’d like me to talk about during the tour, do say! I would love to have a chance to talk about something you actually want me to talk about, rather than my usual random nonsense.

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

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