Whatever the end of the year means to you, generally it means a few lazy days and grabbing some time for a bit of reading. Whether you’re preparing to soak up the sun in the southern hemisphere, or rug up warm in front of the fire (or frolic how you please somewhere in the middle) it’s always a good time for a new book!
Naturally, I have some recommendations for you!
Narrelle M Harris has a bumper year
If you’ve somehow missed the excellent year I’ve had, may I draw your attention not only to The Adventure of the Colonial Boy, a Holmes/Watson romance set in Australia in 1893, but also to Wilderness, the third of my sexy spy thrillers about Martine Dubois and Philip Marsden.
In addition, there are the many wonderful anthologies in which my work’s appeared this year: Intrepid Horizons, A Certain Persuasion (queer interpretations of Jane Austen), The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes stories Part V: Christmas Adventures (traditional Victorian era Holmes and Watson) and A Murmuring of Bees (queer Holmes/Watson romance and erotica). In the next few weeks, Clan Destine’s And Then… anthology will be joining them with my 1851 fantasy, “Virgin Soil”.
That’s enough variety to keep you going for a few weeks, but if you’ve already been a champion and supported my work throughtout the year, I can also recommend some other fantastic books.
Narrelle’s 2016 recommendations
GoodReads stats tell me that I read 84 books this year, so I was clearly reading as fast and hard as I was writing. So many good books too! Here are some of my favourites:
Romance and Erotica
Herotica Volume 1 by Kerry Greenwood. Full of delicious queer love stories throughout history.
Albert’s Wars by Stewart Jackel. A bittersweet wartime love story. I cried.
Definitely Naughty by Jo Leigh. Short, fast, fun, sexy read!
Thrive by Mary Borsellino. This is the review in which I sang songs of praise to this book.
Are you there, God? It is I, Robot by Tom Cho. Tom’s work, like Mary Borsellino’s, is always an absolutely brilliant, brain-opening treat.
Trucksong by Andrew Macrae. Sentient trucks. Post apocalyptic Australia. So Aussie. So gritty. So good.
Monstrous Little Voices: These five novellas set in and around Shakespeare’s plays and life were an early gem and utterly brilliant.
- Coral Bones by Foz Meadows;
- The Course of True Love by Kate Hearfield;
- The Unkindest Cut by Emma Newman;
- Even in the Cannon’s Mouth by Adrian Tchaikovsky; and
- On the Twelfth Night by Jonathan Barnes
Lady Helen and The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman. Regency-era demon hunters, deft and fast-paced with fabulous frocks, manners that are not always impeccable and sexual tension you could cut with a knife!
The Time of the Ghosts by Gillian Polack. I didn’t think anybody could make me find Canberra interesting, but I was mistaken. Gillian Pollack does it effortlessly with the intriguing and marvellous tale of three older women, their protege Kat and all the ghosts becoming corporeal and dangerous in the ACT.
Tansy Rayner Roberts’ delightful novellas Glass Slipper Scandal: A Castle Charming Story, Unmagical Boy Story: a Belladonna University novella and Kid Dark Against The Machine. This woman keeps writing winners.
Pin Drop by Roz Monette. Life on the street for a young woman in America. Realistic but hopeful, with a positive ending.
Fast Pitch by Tim Martin and J Creighton Brown. I don’t normally go for sports books. I really loved this one.
Thyla by Kate Gordon. Tasmanian YA. An amnesiac girl is found in the wilderness. As her memory slowly returns, we learn why Tessa is a bit unclear on modern technology and what’s really going on with some missing girls from the school she now attends. Loved this one. Looking to get my hands on the next, Vulpi.
Ghost Girls by Cath Ferla. Set in Sydney’s Chinatown, it’s crime in a transient Australian community and it’s fantastic.
Livia Day’s Cafe La Femme series: A Trifle Dead, Drowned Vanilla and The Blackmail Blend novella. Set in Hobart. Tasty, tasty crime! (Livia Day is another name for Tansy Rayner Roberts, just going to prove that everything she writes is perfect)
The Astrologer’s Daughter by Rebecca Lim. Another crime novel exploring more diverse sections of Australia’s community. The splash of paranormal with the astrological charts just adds piquancy to the fantastic whole.
Richard III: The Maligned King by Annette Carson. I’m convinced. I’m now a committed Ricardian. What’s more, I think Henry Tudor is the one who did for the kids. Boo. Hiss.
Reckoning: A Memoir by Magda Szubanksi. Powerful and deeply moving.
Blockbuster! Fergus Hume and The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Lucy Sussex. Lucy breathes vitality and wry humour into this biography of a book.
Lives Beyond Baker Street: A Biographical Dictionary of Sherlock Holmes’s Contemporaries by Christopher Redmond is an incredibly useful book of the prominent, the famous, the influential and the infamous of the Victorian era. Handy if you’re writing Sherlockian fiction.
That’s probably enough to be getting on with!
Enjoy your reading, one and all, and I hope you have a relaxing break as we head into 2017, filled with excellent reading!
And please share your recommendations in the comments for holiday reading.
Improbable Press has a new anthology of Holmes/Watson romance stories, celebrating the celebrated sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his biographer, friend and (in these stories) lover John Watson.
Some stories are sweet, others steamy. Many involve cases. Some are set in the Victorian era while others take place in 21st century London. In some they are young men solving crimes, and in others they have retired to Sussex.
They all contain some sort of reference to bees or honey.
I’m utterly delighted to have both a short story and a poem in the book and to be in the company of other writers including Kerry Greenwood (the Phryne Fisher series) and Atlin Merrick (The Night They Met) as well as many excellent writers being professionally published for the first time.
Think of Sherlock Holmes and you think of mysteries, John Watson…and bees. While Arthur Conan Doyle sent the great detective to tend hives in retirement, here bees are front and centre in stories of love and romance, war and hope, of honey on the tongue and a sting in the tail. In tales of rare nectars, secret diaries, and the private language of lovers, bees may be the buzzing heart of the story…or as ephemeral as a murmur. What you’ll find in every tale are John Watson and Sherlock Holmes helping one another, wanting one another, loving one another.
To encourage a world where such love is seen for the precious thing it is, profits from “A Murmuring of Bees” will be donated to the It Gets Better Project.
Excerpt from my story, Nectar
After they’d been in the basement for thirty six hours, they weren’t joking any more. Sherlock refused to discuss his symptoms but John knew them anyway: the decreased sweating; the onset of muscle cramps; the increased respiration and the incipient fever. Sherlock was more dehydrated than John, and was betraying the signs sooner. Neither of them was critical yet, but they were far from comfortable.
After everything they’d been through together, it began to look like this was how they’d die. Together. Of thirst.
In the thirty-seventh hour, the storm broke out.
Rain spattered through the open window onto John’s face, waking him from a reverie that was more a stupor. He absently licked drops of water from his lips, and again: then his eyes were wide open. He lurched to his feet and staggered towards the window.
The pattering rain became a driving downfall. It ran in rivulets through the broken window.
John pushed his cheek against the wall, shoving the side of his mouth against a steady stream that gathered in a crack and poured down the bricks. Water flowed over his lips and tongue and down his dry, dry, dry throat. The water tasted of dust and brick and God knew what else, and it was the best water John had ever tasted in his life. He pooled a mouthful and swallowed it. Pooled a second. Swallowed it.
He tried to put his hands under the stream, but the chains wouldn’t let him get that close. So he pooled a third mouthful, larger than the first two, and held it behind pressed lips.
He took two strides to Sherlock’s side, dropped to his knees, and shook Sherlock awake.
Sherlock peered at him with weary perplexity. John tapped Sherlock’s mouth with his fingers. When Sherlock didn’t respond immediately, John poked his fingers between Sherlock’s dry lips to part them, hovered—his mouth millimetres from Sherlock’s—and then he opened his mouth to let the water dribble carefully down.
Sherlock made a small, desperate noise and swallowed the water. He tried to catch a spilled droplet with his tongue.
“Sorry,” rasped John, “Had a full mouth and couldn’t warn you. Wake up, now.” He was already moving back to the wet bricks; to the precious rivulet of rainwater.
After a small swallow, John filled his mouth and returned to Sherlock. He transferred the precious cargo into Sherlock’s cupped hands. Sherlock was sucking at his wet fingers as John returned to the window; came back ready to fill Sherlock’s palms again.
Sherlock tilted his head back. “Lose too much that way,” he croaked, and opened his mouth.
London rained on them for an hour. It was almost like she wanted them to live. For an hour, John went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. He drank sips almost as a by-product of collecting water for Sherlock, and fed mouthful after mouthful of water to his friend. Buying time.
Sherlock revived a little with every mouthful, though his first strange thought on waking to John watering him mouth-to-mouth persisted.
What kind of flower actively feeds nectar to the bee?
The rain stopped, and John stopped, slumping in exhaustion beside Sherlock on the floor. They leaned against each other.
“Don’t thank me,” laughed John, “You’ll make me think we’re not getting out of this.”
Sherlock didn’t say anything.
“You’re welcome,” said John.
To find out how they are rescued (of course they are rescued!) and what happens afterwards, pick up A Murmuring of Bees and support a good cause at the same time.
Pre-orders for the 5 December paperback release are now available at:
- A Murmuring of Bees (Improbable Press)
- A Murmuring of Bees (Amazon US)
- A Murmuring of Bees (Amazon UK)
- A Murmuring of Bees (Barnes & Noble)
- A Murmuring of Bees (BookDepository)
A Murmuring of Bees is already available as an ebook.
- A Murmuring of Bees (Amazon US)
- A Murmuring of Bees (Amazon UK)
- A Murmuring of Bees (Nook Book)
- A Murmuring of Bees (Kobo)
- A Murmuring of Bees (AllRomance)
In 2013, I visited a beautiful lodge in the Canadian wilderness, where I spent several days grizzly-bear-watching, observing hummingbirds and enjoying the Great Bear Lodge. I blogged about the experience (and the importance of Not Surprising Bears).
I’m not especially outdoorsy (pause to allow the people who know me to stop howling with laughter at the understatement) but I did enjoy the Lodge. The Lodge itself was comfortable, with nice cosy beds, an excellent chef. I even saw some bears.
Some of my fondest hours over the three days were spent on the deck of the floating platform of the lodge (designed to ensure bears and other large wildlife didn’t get too up close and personal). I watched the haze over the river, the splash of the occasional seal, the curious buzz of the pretty hummingbirds hovering like wee helicopters and chasing each other from the feeders. Time slowed down (except I suppose for the hummingbirds) and I soaked up all the fresh, green, untamed atmosphere beyond the very elegantly tamed portion of the lodge itself.
Naturally, almost my second thought was “How can I take this tranquil setting and introduce mayhem into it?”
Marge, one of the people who runs the lodge and Great Bear Nature Tours, said that it was oay for me to use the lodge as a location in the story, provided I didn’t make the bears look bad.
So. Grizzly bears do not get a bad rap in the latest story of my Secret Agents, Secret Lives series – but bears, bear wallows and the wilderness in general all play their part in the story.
Wilderness brings us back to the lives of agent Martine Dubois – a former cop caught up in disgrace when betrayed by her partner – and spymaster Philip Marsden.
Martine Dubois is on a mission to extradite Thomas Reilly, a dangerous criminal, which ends in treachery and a crash landing in the Canadian wilderness. Grizzly bears are the least of Martine’s problems as she and Reilly hunt each other through British Columbia’s Great Bear Forest. Whatever the outcome, Martine is determined to survive and return to Phillip Marsden: top spy, the Grey Ghost, her boss who is also her lover.
- Secret Agents, Secret Lives 3: Wilderness (Amazon Kindle)
- Secret Agents, Secret Lives: Wilderness (Clan Destine Press)
This new story comes out along with a re-release of Double Edged and Expendable with their new covers.
If you’re after a bit of action and spy adventure with your sexy romance, the Secret Agents, Secret Lives series delivers quick reads that pack a punch.
Kerry Greenwood may be best known for her Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman series, but she has written far and wide, including SF, fantasy and her Delphic Women trilogy, retelling the stories of Media, Cassandra and Electra.
The fabulously diverse and busy Ms Greenwood also takes great delight in romance, including queermance, and has just launched two books of Herotica – that is, ‘heroic erotica’
Clan Destine describes the first volume of Herotica as ‘tales of love and lust between heroic and adventurous men across the ages from Ancient Egypt to a future in space’. Kerry Greenwood describes it as ‘wonderful stories of gorgeous gay men shagging each other senseless in impeccable historical settings’.
Both descriptions are delightfully accurate, and it’s a wonderful thing to read so many stories of men falling in love and getting a happy-ever-after (with an occasional ‘happy-for-now’) ending. I love a happy ending and given the mainstream’s habit of presenting queer stories full of punishment and pain, these stories were an especial joy.
Greenwood has cleverly – and quite charmingly – followed storytelling conventions of the eras in which the stories are set. In tales set in classic ancient cultures, men tend to meet, declare their undying love for each other on the instant and then dedicate themselves to one another thereafter. Stories in later eras have the protagonists generally taking a bit of time to get to know each other, before, bless them, declaring thir undying love and dedicating themselves to one another for life.
The 36 stories start with two men conducting a symbolic battle between Horus and Set and the evacuation of Atlantis; they end with spaceships, androids, heavenly beings and earthy, loving humans. In between are Romans, Greeks and Welsh druids; there are time travellers and summoners of demons; there’s Leonardo Da Vinci, William Shakespeare and Noel Coward; Holmes and Watson and King Arthur’s Court; wars and peacetime, humour and drama; and above all, love.
It’s inexpressibly charming that all the stories and their couples having happy endings (though some are a little bittersweet). Most of the do indeed have these ‘gorgeous gay men shagging each other senseless’, but their communion is rarely explicit, full of the sweetness of love as well as passion.
Favourite stories include… well, all of them. But that’s not especially helpful, so I’ll single out a few.
- The Library Angel is a love story for booklovers. The Angel presides over an afterlife where all the storytellers and those who loved, and saved, knowledge find their rest, along with all the lost books. This is where our heroes from the burning library of Alexandria find themselves, and it sounds like paradise to me.
- Aqaue Sulis is one of the stories that ends with notes indicating the story was built on little hints from real life (in this case, an unusual grave from the borders of Roman Bath). In the story, two people have been pulled through time to the Minerva Pool from their respective futures and forge a new life in their new shared past.
- The Devil’s Bargain sees a scholar summoning a demon to ask for love. Of course, demons can’t be trusted, but things don’t turn out quite how either the summoner or the demon predicted.
- Salai and Mentzi is the story of two of Leonardo Da Vinci’s household and the last days of the Great Master’s life. Salai is the name given to the man who was the model for Da Vinci’s last great painting of John the Baptist.
- The Secret Diary of Dr John Watson, MD is of course a story after my own heart, with its reading of Holmes and Watson as a love story.
- Do Not Despair is not likewise a Biggles story, but it’s Biggles-esque and full of derring-do as well as heroic love.
- I Never Got the Hang of Thursdays is a space opera of a story: it’s a lot of fun and pays tribute to a lot of humorous forebears, including Douglas Adams and The Princess Bride. A sexy space pirate is always good value.
- Spaceships Other Planets has an awkward genius and his longsuffering best friend finally working their secretly-in-love selves out. I love this sort of thing better than chocolate!
These are particular favourites, but all the stories are a delight – and for all that the theme is consistent, they each have a fresh story to tell, proving Kerry Greenwood has hundreds of stories yet to tell us.
Which is by way of saying that I need to get my hands on volume 2!
Buy Herotica Volume 1
Some years, my writing schedule looks pretty quiet. I’m always writing up a storm, but in the way of the writing world, I am not always publishing up a storm.
This year seems a little different. Of course, numerous projects are still in waiting and may be delayed, but if all goes well it’ll look like I haven’t slept for six months while I wrote ALL THE THINGS.
As a bit of a round-up:
And Then… anthology
My story, Virgin Soil, is slated to appear late in 2016 in the two-volume And Then… anthology of Antipodean adventure stories, coming from Clan Destine Press!
Virgin Soil is set in Melbourne and the goldfields in 1851. It’s about a young man with magical powers, his equally gifted friend, a 400 year old shapeshifter who can’t remember if he began as a rat or a man because he has both memories, and a monster that requires a virgin sacrifice. Which may not mean what you think it means. Moran and Cato might look like the bad guys, but even the good guys need someone who’ll do the dirty work…
An Indiegogo project is underway for people who’d like to pre-order the anthology, which contains stories from fantastic Australian genre writers like Kerry Greenwood, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Jason Franks, Alan Baxter, and heaps more. Pop on over and pre-order the anthology as ebooks, paperbacks or hardbacks, and with extra book incentives!
A story called Death’s Door is in a science fiction anthology called Intrepid Horizons, published by UK small press, Jay Henge in April 2016.
The story is about a young woman who writes poetry about Death. Death is a bit of a fanboy and is stalking her to read it. They get to know each other and that changes how they view their own existence… If you’re interested:
The Adventure of the Colonial Boy
This Holmes/Watson adventure romance set in Australia in 1893 takes a homoerotic interpretation of the legendary friendship out of subtext and makes it just plain text.
In it, Watson, believing Holmes to have died at the Reichenbach Falls, received a summons to Australia. Shocked and hardly daring to believe it true, Watson sails for Melbourne. There, he and Sherlock Holmes have to confront their heretofore unexpressed attachment to each other, while at the same time in pursuit of (and pursued by) a deadly menace involving a repulsive red leech.
Reviews have been great so far, and I’ve spoken about it on the radio and in a couple of interviews. It’s from UK publisher Improbable Press, and I’m already doing more work with them. (There’s a big list of where to get the book in paperback or ebook on this page.)
The rest of the year
As I said, it’s all in flux to a degree, but on the cards for publication later this year are a Secret Agents, Secret Lives story, and another for the Talbott and Burns Mysteries. I’ve just submitted a short queermance story to one publisher with a positive reception, so if that comes off, it’ll be out towards the end of the year. Another queermance story submitted to an anthology may go ahead round that time too, so that will be cool.
A paranormal queermance novel is looking good with one publisher, and I’m co-writing a new Holmes/Watson adventure romance in a modern setting for Improbable Press, called God Save the Queen, which will be out in the latter half of 2016 all being equal.
A few more stories are in various pipelines, so we’ll see how they go. And of course I’m still writing up a storm, as usual.
Whatever happens, it’s a very big year for me already. Thank you to everyone who’s been part of my journey so far, and who continue to support me. May your library be ever full of books that give you joy.
My Australian publisher, Clan Destine Press, is having a massive book sale this month! Most of the books are in paperback as well as ebook, and there are some corkers available, all at 50% off.
If you’re a fan of the Phryne Fisher TV series, the author of the book series, Kerry Greenwood, also writes fantasy and erotica. Her Delphic Women series explores Medea, Electra and Cassandra. Her brand new collection, Herotica, is full of stories about heroes and beautiful men having fabulous sex.
I cannot sing enough of the praises of Mary Borsellino’s brilliant work. Not ever. Her Thrive is one of my favourite books ever – challenging and full of pain but also beauty, love and redemption. She’s awesome. She also writes lovely erotica.
Alison Goodman, of the famed Eon series and the new Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club, has an Aussie SF/Crime novel with Clan Destine called A New Kind of Death.
RC Daniels’ The Price of Fame is rock and roll, crime and the paranormal in St Kilda!
So if you want to try some new reading and see the amazing books Australian writers have to offer, now is a great time to fill up your shelf or you kindle with a bunch of brilliant stuff!
Reviewed by LynC
Unnaturals tried to kill Mason Douglas and his family.
He became The Butcher, a cold relentless Hunter with a vendetta that took him across the world.
And now, on his return home to Australia – to mend his heart, soul and family – his destiny collides with a millennia-old struggle between strange Gods.
Their prize is Earth. Their warriors are warring races of Unnaturals: the Bloodells and the Darkells.
As an unlikely alliance forms between Natural and Unnatural – between the Douglas clan and the Darkells – Mason’s family grows in unexpected ways… not all of whom are human.
Sparks fly, lust inspires, and love ignores all the boundaries as the very definition of family changes.
Prepare to push your boundaries.
For some reason the Bloodells are in Europe and the Darkells are only in Australia, though some of the origins of the two races are only hinted at. The Bloodells, as the name implies, are bloodthirsty vampiric-like creatures with a specific vendetta against Mason Douglas’ family. The Darkells show a much gentler aspect to humanity while being quite brutal to each other. They also target Mason and his family, but not to kill. They wish to enlist his help because the Bloodells have finally come south.
Then there are another group. They have sent a representative to Earth, who is also targeting Mason. They are desperate for his help. Their representative arrives with the Bloodells, but is not of them, although Mason and the Darkells, and indeed the Bloodells, are not aware of this.
Given that he is ‘The Butcher’, it is strange the number of peoples who believe he can save them. But the Butcher is so-named in London.
In Australia, he has the sweetest, most loving, most giving of women waiting for him. And he will do anything for her, even understanding and accepting that she can love him just as much and still have love left over for others. In Australia, he is a big man with a lot of love to give, but when push comes to shove, ‘The Butcher’ can still do what has to be done to protect his family and friends.
I found elements of this complex story a tad arbitrary and confusing. There are rules within the Darkell society which made no sense, and they are every bit as brutal as the Bloodells toward each other, but we are supposed to accept that they are the ‘good’ Unnaturals. At one point Mason’s son says he wished things wouldn’t keep changing, and, as the reader, I wholeheartedly agreed. It often felt like the author was making things up on the fly, especially those rules of the Darkell society. They weren’t all even necessary to move the plot along or explain how relationships worked. They were just plucked out of the air, dealt with, in a few hundred words, and then disappeared.
And the sex? It was good sex but it just kept happening at the flimsiest of excuses and in heaps of different configurations and for a long time. And it kept happening. And happening. It’s a wonder anything else, like fighting, got done.
But eventually everyone stops snogging (or not – with angst) and the configurations sort themselves out, and they all get on with the job of defeating the Bloodells. Or at least thwarting them, and sending them back to Europe.
Oh, and did I mention there are Werewolves? They are surfer dudes with the hots for one of the Darkells. They can’t have her though; she is Mason’s, so they distract themselves by throwing their might into the fray against the Bloodells too.
Even with a god on their side, what hope did the invaders have against the locals?
If I were into giving stars, I’d give this three. It is interesting at times, a complex storyline and what feels like hundreds of players, but the sex dragged the story down.
And the open marriage thing which is supposed to shock? Maybe forty, even twenty years ago. It is a fully consensual arrangement by all parties. That is all it needs to be. But then, I’m an author who writes about whole societies where polygamy is essential, so maybe I’m just too open minded already to be shocked. Or was it the relationships between humans and aliens that were supposed to shock? Well, I write about that too, so maybe I wasn’t the target audience for the shock aspect. 🙂
- Unnaturals (Paperback, Clan Destine)
- Unnaturals (ebook, Clan Destine)
- Unnaturals (Kobo)
- Unnaturals (Lulu)
- Unnaturals (Amazon.com)
In the past two years LynC has had four short stories published; one of which — Nematalien — was nominated for an award in 2013. Her first novel — Nil By Mouth (Satalyte Publishing) — was launched at the Australian National Science Fiction Convention in Melbourne in June 2014. (Narrelle’s note: this is an excellent book and I recommend it highly.)
LynC resides, with her two ‘new’ adults, four cats, and two canaries, in a hidden area less than ten kilometres from the Melbourne CBD (in Australia) surrounded by creeks and wooded hills.
- LynC’s website: http://lyncwriter.com.au/
The Books of Love are romance book reviews of both new releases and old favourites.
If you’ve come here from one of my other blogs, you’re aware that I’m trying to streamline all my social media (of which I have way too much) so that I can spend less time on social media admin and more time on writing the very many writing projects I have lined up like ducks at a shooting gallery. Or like tequila shots at the bar. (Either way, it’s going to be messy.)
So welcome to the new-look Mortal Words blog, where I will write about the usual writing/reading/Melbourne/travel/as-the-whim-takes-me stuff – and to which I will add posts on music, Kitty & Cadaver related projects, stuff related to romance and erotica (which I also write) and more stuff-as-the-whim-takes-me. I may also repost some of the posts from the other two blogs here, for consistency and linking purposes and the like.
The first bit of housekeeping news to share is that my publisher, Clan Destine Press, and I are in the process of changing the name under which I publish my romance fiction from NM Harris back to the full, real me – Narrelle M Harris. Apart from the extra social media work generated by the split, we figured that since I usually write very action-oriented plots for my romance and erotica, it’s not really that different from my usual work (except raunchier in parts).
We’re also talking about getting some of my out-of-print work tidied up and more easily available too. I’ll announce those when the details are worked out.
Speaking of my erotic romance stories – two have been released so far this year! The second story in the Talbott and Burns Mysteries, about the two-man Scooby gang of Elliot Talbott and his boyfriend Jack Burns was released in February. A Paying Client sees the lads investigating possible witchiness on behalf of their first-ever paying client, a housewife from Reservoir. Naturally, things don’t run at all smoothly.
In May, Birds of a Feather was released – the first of the Hammer and Tongue series about Alice, an engineer, and her linguist girlfriend Nerida.
There will be more stories for both series in due course, and more for my sexy spy couple, Philip Marsden and Martine Dubois (including one set in Canada in the wilderness!).
I also had a short story, The Birthday Present, published in the Queermance 2 anthology, (last year, Late Bloomer was published in the first Queermance anthology). The anthology was published in partnership with the second Queermance Festival, held in Melbourne in February 2015.
(You can find buy links for all of those stories and my other books on the Shop page!)
I’m waiting on feedback before completing the final draft of my first erotic romance novel, Ravenfall – paranormal action adventure with vampires, precognitive dreamers, a fox spirit and a spate of murders. That one features James Sharpe, vampire, and Gabriel Dare, an artist.
I’m also absolutely delighted that my pitch for a Holmes/Watson canon-era romance adventure set in Australia was accepted by new Holmesian imprint, Improbable Press – because queer readings of Holmes are not at all new, but a publisher for those kinds of stories is. The Adventure of the Colonial Boy will come out in 2016. Now to write it! If you want to keep track of that, and the other books being released (starting with The Six Secret Loves of Sherlock Holmes by Atlin Merrick, launching in October) you can Like the Improbable Press Facebook page. IP will run a variety of competitions, too.
In Short Story news – my story Show and Tell will appear in a digital anthology, Encounters, later this year. I’ve also been writing short stories to submit to other anthologies, including Clan Destine’s And Then… due out next year. I’ll post as and when (I hope) those are accepted!
Alongside all of these projects, I have notes for more books (including a third book in the Gary and Lissa vampire series – I haven’t forgotten! – and a second book in the Kitty and Cadaver series).
Kitty and Cadaver itself is with an agent, but I am slowly working on scoring the melodies for the songs used in the book, and looking to collaborate with musicians to arrange, perform and record them. Already Ann Poore has done a lovely version of Gretel’s Lullaby on the harp. Those who were at Continuum 11 last weekend saw (and bought) the beautiful jewellery that was created from broken musical instruments, too.
Not content with writing books, short stories and music – I’ve also been experimenting with design at Redbubble. I have a range of designs available, some of which include song lyrics, or personal mottos, or text relating to the romance writing (the Adventurous Hearts line).
And finally, I recently spent a few days in the Wimmera region of Victoria, visiting libraries and talking about Growing Up Reading or doing writing workshops on Killer Opening Sentences. But that’s a post for another time.
The last few months have been good to me, writing wise, with a couple of things published.
One is a story about life and the scars it gives us. It’s a complete departure from form, as it’s non-genre and not romance either. Scar Tissue is still a love story of sorts, but it’s about family and redemption. Like so many of my stories are. You can read it in issue #49 of online magazine Mildred.
Two other stories are in my expanding (I was about to write ‘burgeoning’) field of erotic romance.
(I’ve now that I’ve started writing erotica that everything I write has a double meaning, and not always a subtle one. To quote Tom Lehrer, ‘When correctly viewed, everything is lewd’.)
So, in March 2014 (in time for the Queermance festival) my M/M adventure/romance Homecoming was released by Clan Destine Press. Some nice reviews of it so far include:
“The author truly excels at capturing the emotional components of intimacy along with the physical aspects. I can foresee many more adventures for these two with no danger of them becoming tired of each other or boring the reader. They have wit and charm enough to take them (and us!) through many more adventures.” – Lin S – Amazon.com
“‘Passion and adventure together’ is absolutely right. Sweet and sexy story with lovely writing and some dangerous crime-solving as well! Both the leads are incredibly appealing: the steady protector Jack and the willowy and joke-cracking but secretly vulnerable Elliot. But the best part is what a good team they are, both in their investigations and in bed, and how much they care for and adore each other. Lots of fun. Highly recommended!” – Shadowphoenixfire – Goodreads
“I always enjoy Relle’s Australian settings, which are fair dinkum while remaining distinctly urban. There’s always a real feel of life as it is lived in Australia today. Her characters are interestingly layered as individuals and well juxtaposed as a pairing. Her plot, meanwhile, keeps the pages turning.” – Julie Bozza – Goodreads
So that’s very lovely. If you want to get it (and it’s only a few dollars), Homecoming (A Talbott & Burns Mystery) is now available at:
- Clan Destine Press
- Homecoming: a Talbott & Burns mystery (Clandestine Encounters) (Amazon)
Another M/M story is in the Queermance anthology, where I share digital pages with writers like Kerry Greenwood and Matthew Lang. Late Bloomer is the story of a rather melancholy judge, his night-blooming garden and his gardener, Jake.
Queermance Anthology Vol 1 is available at:
Sex and Intimacy
If you’re interested in how I approach writing erotic romance and sex scenes, I wrote about Sex and Intimacy for the Queensland Writers Centre in March in issue 237 of their magazine.
Kitty and Cadaver
I’m also still publishing Kitty & Cadaver online – the entire book is written and the last part is scheduled to go up on 2 June. I’ll be looking for a publisher after that, and if/when it’s accepted the story part of the site will come down – so go over there and read it (and leave comments) while you can!
Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, smartphone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.
Kitty and Cadaver: Not the Zombie Apocalypse continues to appear, one part at a time, every Monday. The second part of Chapter Three went up on 15 July. If you haven’t checked it out, you can start at Chapter One here.
In the meantime, the second of my erotic spy stories has been published. The Secret Agents, Secret Lives series began with Double Edged, and the story of Spymaster Philip Marsden and his lover, Agent Martine Dubois, continues in Expendable. As the blurb says:
Secret Agent Martine and her spymaster lover, Philip Marsden, are back in action and on the trail of international bad guy Bartos Rigo. Will they have to compromise their love or their honour to get the job done?
You can get both books in digital format from Clan Destine Press for only $1.80 each. Double Edged is also available on Kobo.
Expendable will follow its footsteps there soon.
In the meantime, you can also get both stories for Kindle on Amazon.com:
Finally, my Twelfth Planet Press contribution to the Twelve Planets series, Showtime, is now available for Kobo along with a stack of other Twelve Planets titles. These include collections by Tansy Rayner Roberts, Margo Lanagan and Kaaron Warren, who has just won the Shirley Jackson novella award for Sky, which appears in her Twelve Planets collection Through Splintered Walls.
Narrelle M Harris is a Melbourne-based writer. Find out more about her books, iPhone apps, public speaking and other activities at www.narrellemharris.com.