BLOG TOUR – GUEST POST – Deviant Desire (Clearwater Mysteries 1) by Jackson Marsh – #Excerpt #Giveaway #GuestPost

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🌟 Please join me in welcoming author Jackson Marsh to Stories That Make You Smile. Jackson is here today celebrating the recent release of the fabulous first book in his new Clearwater Mysteries series. Pull up a chair and read on to learn all about a day in the writing life of Jackson Marsh! 🌟

Deviant Desire by Jackson Marsh

A mashup of mystery, romance and adventure, Deviant Desire is set in an imaginary London of 1888.

Series: The Clearwater Mysteries (book #1)
Publisher: James Collins
Cover Artist: Andjela K
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Length: Long Novel / 100,000 words / 286 pages
Pairing / Genre(s) / Keyword(s): M/M, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Historical (London 1888), Rich/Poor, Older/Younger, Instalove, Jack the Ripper, Rentboys, Aristocracy, Humour, British History, Straight/Gay Friendship, Mashup, Class Divides, Discrimination, Action, Clue Solving

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Blurb

The Victorian East End lives in fear of the Ripper and his mission to kill rent boys. Silas Hawkins, nineteen and forging a life on the streets could well be the next victim, but when he meets Archer, his life changes forever. Young, attractive and rich, Archer is Viscount Clearwater, a philanthropist, adventurer and homosexual.

When Archer suspects the Ripper is killing to lure him to a confrontation, he risks his reputation and his life to stop the madman’s murders. Every man must play his part, including Silas.

A mashup of mystery, romance and adventure, Deviant Desire is set in an imaginary London of 1888. The first in an on-going series, it takes the theme of loyalty and friendship in a world where homosexuality is a crime. Secrets must be kept, lovers must be protected, and for Archer and Silas, it marks the start of their biggest adventure – love.

Series Blurb

The Clearwater Mysteries is a new series from author Jackson Marsh. Set in an imaginary London of 1888, the series is a mashup of themes. Gay romance, mystery, action, adventure, some comedy and plenty of realism, with known historical facts twisted to suit the Clearwater world. With viscounts and butlers, rent boys, messenger boys and footmen, the principal characters are gay living in a world where homosexuality is illegal. Falling in love, dodging death, preventing catastrophes, solving clues and, from time to time, getting down to some erotic sex, each book in the series gives the cast a new challenge set against the background of Victoriana and the classic on-going battle between good and evil.

‘Deviant Desire,’ is the first book in the series. A mystery/romance, it sets up two main characters, the tone of the books to come, and the period in which the imagined world exists.

Recently elevated to the title of Viscount Clearwater following the unexpected death of his father, the 29-year-old Honourable Archer Riddington finds himself with the city house, a country house and more wealth than he needs. For many, this would be an opportunity to kick back and enjoy your fortune, but Archer is a philanthropist and has set his mind on helping the destitute men of the East End where, as the story starts, the Ripper has been killing ‘renters.’

Through his work, Archer meets Silas Hawkins, a street-wise 19-year-old son of an Irish immigrant who came to the city four years ago to find work. Gay, Silas is canny, careful, and has high standards when it comes to ethics, despite his occupation as an East End renter. Along with his straight best friend, a 19-year-old, straight Ukrainian, Fecker, he is called to assist Lord Clearwater, and the two instantly fall in love.

‘Deviant Desire’ has been described as ‘Downton Abbey meets Jack The Ripper’, but the ‘Ripper’ of Jackson’s story, although influenced by the author’s interest in the real crimes, is also imaginary. The story unfolds through a series of clues and twists to reach an action finale, typical of Jackson’s work. In fact, the series develops from insta-love between Archer and Silas to expand their on-going love story and mingle it with that of some of the servants and others. While the background is homosexuality in Victorian London and future books will draw on the 1889 Cleveland Street Scandal and other aspects of Victorian homosexual life, historical facts are used only as inspiration.

‘Twisted Tracks,’ book two in the series, follows on directly from ‘Deviant Desire,’ and is due out in May 2019. ‘Twisted Tracks’ brings together the series’ main core of actors, the viscount, Silas, and three servants, all male and in their 20s. We can’t give too much away here, as one thing that’s clear about The Clearwater Mysteries is that twists are aplenty, there’s always a mystery for the characters and readers to get their teeth into, it’s as historically accurate as possible, with clue solving, romance, some erotica, feel-good, drama, action and adventure.

‘Unspeakable Acts’, book three, due out later in 2019, takes our characters to the opera house with a blackmail mystery set against the background of theatre and The Cleveland Street scandal, expect it’s not. In this series, it’s ‘Cleaver Street’ as, again, Jackson mixes what was real with what’s created especially for the Clearwater world.

The Clearwater Mysteries is an on-going series which should be read in order of publication.

Excerpt

Silas and Fecker, two renters from the East End, have been brought to Clearwater House to discuss their plight with The Viscount Clearwater. Thomas, the handsome redheaded footman, prepares them for the meeting.


They were led into a short passage of closed doors, past a hatstand and into a cavern. At least, that’s what it felt like. The ceiling was arched and high, and the walls tiled. The far wall was taken up by a recess that housed a fireplace and ovens, a row of barred windows lined the top of another and beneath these stood huge dressers displaying pans that glinted the colour of Thomas’ hair. It was all set around a massive table with a central avenue of jars lined regimentally from one end to the other. It was hard not to swear in awe, and it suddenly occurred to Silas that he was warm. It was the first time in weeks.

He was made to wash his hands in a sink and do what he could to tidy his face and hair while Thomas stood over him and Fecks waited for his turn. It took Silas a full five minutes to scrape the crud from beneath his fingernails. Luckily for him, the kitchen smelt of pie and herbs, and it masked the smell of his clothes. He was grateful that he’d not been made to take his shoes off.

Thomas gave Fecks instructions to wash and wait at the table before he beckoned Silas to follow him through to another room.

‘You pissed off with me, Tommy?’ Silas asked, when they were alone in the servants’ hall.

‘Do not speak until you are…’

‘Yeah, I heard you.’

Silas helped himself to a chair at another long, worn table, but Thomas told him to stay standing facing a passageway and a staircase.

‘I thought we got along fine last night,’ Silas said, doing as he was told, but choosing to stand directly beside Thomas and close.

‘Be quiet.’ Thomas took a step forward and away.

‘Your dick was happy to say hello.’

‘I said, be quiet.’ It was more of a hiss than a sentence.

‘Why you being mean to me, Tommy?’ Silas inched closer.

‘Please, shut up.’ Thomas took another step.

Silas caught up. ‘At this rate we’ll be in the front garden by the time you tell me what’s pissing you off. Is it ‘cos you fancy me?’

‘Be quiet.’

‘Or is it ‘cos you find my kind… What was the word? Disgusting.’

‘Stop it,’ Thomas insisted. ‘Now kindly…’ He was interrupted by a sensation completely new to him and gasped. ‘Get your hand off my backside.’

‘Want it on your cock instead?’

Silas slid his hand towards the front of Thomas’ trousers, but the footman turned on him, grabbed him by the throat and held him against the sideboard, rattling crockery.

‘What are you playing at?’ Thomas whispered through gritted teeth.

Unconcerned by the hold Thomas had, Silas grinned. A swift kneeing and the man would be in agony, but instead of raising his leg, he raised his hand and cupped Thomas’ crotch.

The footman’s green eyes bored into him, and their anger intensified.

‘Why are you doing this?’ Thomas pleaded. His cock was hardening, his cheeks flaming, and his grip tightened.

‘What do you want?’ Silas leered.

He searched Thomas’ face, but found no answer. He didn’t want to hurt the man, he just wanted to know where he stood, but there was only one way out. Silas pulled Thomas to him by his cock and pressed their mouths together with a clash of teeth.

‘Oh.’ Fecker appeared in the doorway. ‘I hear noise, but it is only you fucking.’

Thomas immediately released Silas and pushed himself away. He straightened his hair and wrestled with the front of his trousers.

‘You safe, Banyak?’ the Ukrainian asked.

‘Go on with you, I’m fine,’ Silas said, gasping for air as he stared hard at Thomas.

‘I wait in here.’ Fecker returned to the kitchen and Thomas returned to being a footman.

‘You are His Lordship’s guest,’ he said with great restraint. ‘You will not behave like that again.’

‘Thought you’d like it, Tommy.’

‘And stop calling me that, you guttersnipe.’

Whatever Silas had been trying to achieve, he forgot about it when footsteps overhead suggested Fecks had intervened just in time. Sexually charged though he was, Silas stood behind Thomas and left him alone. It was only fair.

Whoever was coming was taking their time, and the footsteps stopped at the top of the stairs where a muffled discussion took place. It gave Silas time to clear his thoughts, but it was in vain. He couldn’t move them on from Thomas, what had just happened and how it left him trembling. Where had the need to kiss him come from? He thought that he had picked up from Thomas a possibility of something new, perhaps something physical that was outside his normal boundary of sex for money. Thomas had potential for… for what?

Silas was confused. Maybe he wanted more than sex, but he had Fecks for companionship, he didn’t need anything else. Thomas was someone new, an unknown quantity and gave an impression of being amenable to Silas’ advances, but what did that all mean? What was this incomprehensible longing gnawing his insides? It wasn’t just physical attraction to other men, it went deeper and was disturbing. The conundrum occupied him until the mumbling upstairs stopped, and Thomas stood to attention as the viscount entered.

The click of the footman’s heels broke Silas’ thoughts and he looked up into the eyes of the most striking man he had ever seen. At that moment, knew his life would never be the same.

☆ Guest Post ☆

What is your writing routine?

On a good day, it goes something like this: I wake up naturally at around 5.00, earlier in the summer, make a cup of tea, check the news and my messages, and then settle into my writing ‘pod.’ I have a corner PC station where I face the wall, so there are fewer distractions, and a writing desk where I work freehand, do research and read.

I usually start writing at around six in the morning.

I write for other people as well as writing my own books, and that’s what I have to do first because it pays the bills. The fact that I am writing for sites that review adult websites, some might think is a bonus, but it’s pretty repetitive. Mind you, I do get to review gay sites as well, so I find plenty of inspiration for descriptions. (Inserts a smiley wink.)

Depending on what freelance work I have in, I aim to finish it around nine in the morning and then, again in the summer, I take myself off for a three-mile walk. I live on a hilly, Greek island, so my walks tend to be half uphill and half downhill. I have recently started listening to music to take away some of the pain (I am not naturally athletic), and this also helps clear my mind for the rest of the day. Home, showered and free of other responsibilities, I then sit down to pick up where I left off the day before.

I usually reread the previous day’s chapter first and make edits before pushing on to the next one. I write books in chapter order, and sometimes I am ‘pantster’ starting only with how the story is going to end. I like to know what my climax will be and where the characters will end up, but that’s only put down in note form. Then, I start at the beginning with some idea of where the story is going to twist. I aim for at least four major plot moments. The start, the ‘inciting incident’ as they call it in films. A point where my MC enters a ‘new world’ – not a sci-if new world, but a new challenge or relationship. Halfway through, another turning point kicks in, and around three-quarters through, we get the build-up to the crisis and climax, with the denouement to follow. However, as I write mystery mashups, I do tend to throw myself off course by having a character say or do something even I hadn’t planned. When that happens, it’s fun to work out how the hell I and he are going to get out of it.

For example. In my latest release, Deviant Desire, I knew that there was to be a showdown between my hero, Viscount Clearwater, and ‘the Ripper.’ (It’s not the Jack the Ripper, because my killer kills men not women and my city is never referred to as London.) The showdown was to be turning point four. Number one has happened before the story starts – the Ripper has killed three times. Two happens when the viscount meets the younger man he falls in love with, in this case, 19-year-old Silas Hawkins, a cheeky son of an Irish immigrant, gay and a renter. Point three comes along halfway through when Archer (the viscount) admits to Silas his real reason for searching out an East End renter, and four is the climax. However, along the way, there are other twists, love and passion included.

Back to my day. If my husband is cooking lunch, I can work on until around 13:00, if I am cooking, it’s midday. I usually take an hour off to have lunch and watch some mind-numbingly entertaining TV show, again to clear my head, and get back to the pod or the desk by 14:30. Then, it’s either a whole chapter pours out, or I pour over the morning’s one, and the routine starts again. I finish by five when I either retire to the sofa or our local kafeneion where my husband works, to sit in the sun, meet tourists and reconnect to the real world. It often takes me a good hour before I can communicate, depending on how the writing had been going.

That was on a good day. On a bad one… Well, it depends on all kinds of things that pop up, like visitors (the perils of living on a Greek island; your family rediscover you), or in winter, thunderstorms where we have to unplug everything or else risk losing the router, TV and computers; another peril of living on a Greek island. Any day when I am unable to write is a bad day.

If you’re interested, Deviant Desire took me four weeks to write the first draft of 105,000 words. I took the advice from Stephen King who suggests aiming for 3,000 words per day. On some days I could manage 7,000 (with about 15% of them the right ones), and when I go to another island on my own for a week, I can manage up to 35,000 in six days. After the first draft though, there’s a whole other process of ‘getting it right’ and that’s another story. I do, however, live by the phrase: Don’t get it right, get it written. Draft one is a fun outpouring of ideas and story, draft two takes a more studied and slower approach, draft three onwards is tinkering and improving.

If you’re not lucky like me and don’t have whole days to write, then my advice is ‘sigar sigar’ as they say in Greece, ‘Slowly, slowly.’ After all, all good things come to those who write.

Meet the Author

Jackson was born in 2017 as the pen name for me (James) so that I could publish my new gay fiction independently from my other writing work. I was born on the south coast of England during a blizzard, but now like to warm thing up with MM romance novels, gay mysteries and some occasional erotica. In 2007 I was awarded and EGPA award for my erotic short stories, and in 2018 I won a Best Screenplay award for one of my films. I am a diverse writer with thrillers, comedies and horror stories under my James belt, and now romance and mystery under my Jackson belt.

At the moment I am concentrating on two genres: older/younger MM romance, and youth mysteries with early 20s main characters and a love story included.

I live on a Greek island with my husband. My interests outside of writing and reading are outdoor pursuits, traveling, piano and genealogy. That’s probably why my books tend to involve characters who are musicians, writers, mystery-solvers and rock climbers; there’s a bit of me in every one.

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