Guest Post | The Twelve Coffins of Dr. Coffin by Amy Spector

Today, we have Amy Spector on a visit!!! She’s here to share her release day with us 🥳 Welcome, Amy!

Twelve Coffins FB Quote 1

Hello, everyone! And thank you to Ofelia for letting me stop by to share my new book. 

Today is release day for The Twelve Coffins of Dr. Coffin! Written to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of JMS Books, it’s about making a terrible movie on a tiny budget, while trying not to fall for the same man you made the mistake of falling for once before.

Second chance really does seem to be my trope of choice.

Director and film snob Leo Wayland has been hired to head the new horror unit of Maiden studios and given an impossible task. Three weeks to film, a tiny budget, and a scandal-laden leading man in Everett Reid. A leading man that has not only been linked to nearly every leading lady he’s worked with, but also a man Leo fell for at twenty-one while working for another studio. 

Fun! Fun! LOL

Because my parents are big horror fans, I grew up on the stuff. But they liked to show my siblings and me the old stuff, the not scary stuff, the stuff where you’re more likely to get bricked into a wall than held prisoner by a weirdo with a scalpel fetish. And The Twelve Coffins of Dr. Coffin is about those kinds of movies. Set in 1959, it steals a little from the life of Val Lewton, a little Victor Buono, with some Ed Wood thrown in for good measure.

And, for those who have read them, it includes Lee Hellstrom, the old horror actor from my Cold Fingers series. (http://www.amyspectorauthor.com/cold-fingers-series/) Oh, and I must admit; the title delights me to no end. LOL 

The Twelve Coffins of Dr. Coffin

The Twelve Coffins of Dr Coffin Cover

Blurb

When Leo Wayland accepts a job as head of the new horror unit at Maiden Studios, he knows what is expected. Make cheap movies that earn their money back fast. It doesn’t matter that he dislikes horror. He just needs to escape his assistant director’s position at a rival studio.

But he didn’t expect to be assigned a terrible title and a leading man, all before he even had a script, or that his leading man would be Everett Reid, the actor who rejected a very young Leo’s advances, only to disappear from movies altogether a few years later in a cloud of scandal.

Everett Reid will do anything for a chance to get back the career he lost and away from teaching at a theater camp for children. And if it means working with Leo Wayland again, he can do that too. Especially now that Leo is all grown up and not so untouchable.

With only three weeks, a flamboyant stage actor, twelve scantily clad women, and a sound stage full of coffins may not seem like the makings of something great. But really, that all depends on what you are hoping for.

 

Buy Link

1950’s Period, Romance – 13133 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/dr-coffin

Excerpt

Everett let himself into the house and tossed the mail on the entry table already cluttered with bills. They’d been piling up the last few weeks since the money had finally run out.
Besides his ‘55 Corvette, the small bungalow nestled at the base of the hills was all that was left of nearly twenty years of work. It was enough to crush him if he let it.
He stared at the decanter left on the table from the night before when he and Taylor had toasted his contract with Maiden. But his brother had always been more of a drinker than he had. He didn’t want a drink. He wanted to fall into bed for a night of dreamless sleep.
He flipped the switch to the back patio light and pressed his head against the glass, watching the first drops of rain disturb the mirror-like surface of the pool.
It didn’t rain much in LA, but whenever it did, it reminded him of the years growing up down south with his mother and Taylor.
He unlatched the door, slid it open, and kicked out of his loafers as he pulled his shirt over his head. By the time he stood at the edge of the pool, he’d stripped completely, and dove in without hesitation.
It had yet to cool down much from the exceedingly hot day, but as Everett swam laps, the rain pelted him, hard and cold.
He swam back and forth, gliding almost soundlessly through the water, letting go of the day and clearing his mind. He ignored the tug at his thoughts of Leo Wayland and the memories they tried to conjure up. Ignored the chirp of crickets, and the distant hint of laughter from the houses on either side of his. He ignored everything until streaks of lightning across the sky forced him to drag himself out of the water again and go searching for a towel.
He left a trail of wet footprints back into the house, like the ghost of a murdered fisherman, through the living room and finally into his bedroom and the attached bath, where he grabbed one the of the white fluffy towels Steven had picked out when they had first moved in together. Before Steven had broken up with him the first time, the second time, and the third. Before Steven had come back that last time, needing a friend and someone to care for him as he worked through whatever he had to work through.
Everett had never understood what that was. Not at the time, and no better now, all these years later. It was enough to know that Steven had been unhappy, that Everett couldn’t make him happy, no matter how hard he had tried, continued to try, even when all he wanted was to move on and find his own happiness.
Once he was dry, he pulled on a pair of briefs and studied his reflection in the mirror. There’d be no more wrangling children at theater camp, or being flirted with by their mothers. Not this summer anyway. This summer he’d be back in front of the camera, doing what he loved.
Everett Reid had done his penance and now he was going to grab some happiness for himself.

Bio

Amy Spector grew up in the United States surviving on a steady diet of old horror movies, television reruns and mystery novels.

After years of blogging about comic books, vintage Gothic romance book cover illustrations, and a shameful amount about herself, she decided to try her hand at writing stories. She found it more than a little like talking about herself in third person, and that suited her just fine.

She blames Universal for her love of horror, Edward Gorey for her love of British drama and writing for awakening the romantic that was probably there all along.

Amy lives in the Midwest with her husband and children, and her cats Poe, Goji and Nekō. 

Links

Website http://www.amyspectorauthor.com/

Blog http://www.amyspectorauthor.com/blog

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/amy.spector.12/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/amy_spector/

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8366028.Amy_Spector

Guest Post | Twelve Letters by Ellie Thomas

As always, it’s a pleasure to announce that we have Ellie Thomas on a visit today. Welcome, Ellie!

Twelve Letters Promo 2

Thank you so much, lovely Ofelia, for having me as your guest again today! I’m Ellie Thomas, I write Gay Historical Romance, and I’m here to chat about my new release, Twelve Letters, written for JMS Books.

When a submission call was announced to celebrate the Twelfth Anniversary of JMS Books, I was intrigued by the suggested concept. Given the celebration, participating authors were requested to write their stories to include the number 12 as an essential part of the plot – naturally enough! It’s always exciting to discover how inventive authors can be with such a prompt. I’m looking forward to reading a wide variety of stories, including Ofelia’s Keep It Down, featuring twelve post-it notes, which looks terrific!

However, although I was interested, my first reaction to this submission call was to hesitate. As I was in the middle of planning a few other stories with deadlines looming, I checked my schedule and thought I might be pushed for time to fit another new story. So although I was tempted, I sensibly decided to draw back from this opportunity.

Inevitably, I woke up the next morning with a fully-fledged story in my head, to the point where I could picture my main character Jo Everett, dashing down the steps of his London lodgings, brow furrowed, determined to stop his best friend Ben from fighting a duel. Muses can be so fickle!

I imagined this story to be set in the rarified West End of Regency London, as most, if not all my ensemble of characters, are gentlemen rather than ordinary working people. I found a fabulous online map of London from 1806 (since my story is set in 1814, that was remarkably close), and I spent far too long poring over it, working out where each of my characters lived, depending on their status and income. And crucially, how all those various twelve letters wended their way across town to intended and accidental recipients.

This is the world of gentlemen’s clubs, coffee houses, taverns and exclusive Bond Street shops that I first read about in Georgette Heyer’s books as a teenager. It was such fun to place my fictional characters in real historical locations, some of which, like the Golden Lion pub in St. James’, are still open for business!

The story might contain a comedy of errors but Twelve Letters is essentially a romance, so I relished pulling all the strands of miscommunication together for a romantic happy ever after, aptly finishing the story with the twelfth and final letter.

Blurb:

twelvelettersIn Regency London, Jolyon Everett is determined to dissuade his irascible friend, Captain Ben Harding, from fighting a duel. However, before commencing on the pressing business of defusing Ben’s misplaced anger, Jo writes two letters, one to Percy Havilland, his very demanding paramour and the other to his tailor, Daniel Walters. With those trifles out of the way, he can concentrate on persuading Ben to reprieve young Edward Stephens, a newly qualified doctor, who Jo suspects has a serious crush on Ben.

But the best-laid plans can go awry, as do the letters and, as well as a furious Ben, Jo finds himself at the mercy of an outraged Percy and an amorous tailor. Can he convince Ben not to shoot Edward after all? Will he soothe Percy’s ruffled feathers? And might Jo realise that true love can be found under the most unexpected conditions?

Extract:

Jolyon arrived at the Piccadilly quarters of one of his closest friends, Captain Ben Harding. Despite the early hour, he was unsurprised to see that gentleman ready for the day, his long trousers and gleaming Hessians hiding his missing foot, the result of an injury at Badajoz, and wearing a ferocious expression. With his smouldering dark eyes and wayward curls, he could be compared to the notorious poet, Lord Byron, but Jolyon knew better than to voice that opinion to avoid being skewered by the poker within reach on the hearth.
“I know why you’re here, Jo,” Ben said to him, waving him into the other armchair at the side of the fireplace while he poured coffee for them both, “and you won’t coax me to soften my resolve.”
“I think this has all been a misunderstanding,” Jo replied patiently, as though he hadn’t spent hours of the previous evening, or rather early morning, trying to persuade an irascible Ben to pardon the unfortunate young man who had caused him such dire offence.
“That damned stripling belittled me,” Ben said, with a glare as hot and black as the scalding coffee.
“On the contrary, I don’t think that was his intention,” Jo corrected him gently. “The lad is quite new to town ways and was deeply in his cups. We’ve all been there,” he shrugged forgivingly.
Ben merely snorted his disagreement, and Jo wouldn’t have been surprised to see steam emanating from his nose. He had the mental image of Ben as a bull, a ring through his nose, pawing the ground in rage, raising a cloud of dust. He quickly stifled a smile.
“And anyway,” he continued stoically, “as you have appointed me as your second, I don’t need to point out how serious the consequences could be. Frankly, for a man of your military experience, this is no less than a deliberate execution.”
At that, Ben harrumphed but did not yell at him, which Jo felt was progress. Even hampered by his artificial foot, Ben was a dead shot and could still competently hold a sword. The poor young doctor was no match for him. The problem is, thought Jolyon, Ben’s spoiling for a fight, and this feckless young fellow simply blundered into his sights.
Since the siege at Badajoz, Ben’s attitude had become increasingly sour. Jo couldn’t be more sympathetic at his friend’s long months of recuperation, slowly learning to walk again, coming to terms with the fact he was no longer physically whole. Ben was fiercely proud, and only a few of his intimates knew what a harsh struggle this had been.
The other loss, that of his Lieutenant, his love, his faithful companion who had perished during the siege, was even more unbearable. After two years of grieving, rather than coming to terms with his bereavement, Ben seemed increasingly embittered and permanently angry. As he sipped his coffee, Jo reflected that although he loved Ben like a brother, even the most commonplace remark could set him off in a rage these days.
“It will take more than your blandishments to change my mind,” Ben said. Jo reckoned this was a retreat from thirsting for blood and spitting fire. He prepared to press his advantage when they were interrupted by Ben’s serving-man, Cribbins, another veteran of the Peninsula Wars.
“Excuse me, Captain. A letter has arrived for you by hand. I was told it was urgent,” he said, passing over the note to Ben before picking up the empty coffee pot.
As Cribbins left the room, Ben unfolded the letter, scanned it briefly then handed it over to Jo. “Is this your doing?” he asked suspiciously.
The note was written in crabbed handwriting eminently suitable for an aspiring doctor, but once deciphered, Jo saw with some relief that the meaning in the short paragraph was genuine enough.
If I have to face the consequences of my actions, I will do so as a gentleman, even if it causes my demise. I am writing not to abjure myself from bodily harm, but I bitterly regret offending someone who deserves only the greatest admiration and respect and so, whatever may happen, I apologise unreservedly.
“Nothing to do with me,” Jo said blandly as Ben stared into the fire, mulling over the letter, looking more than ever like a brooding Romantic poet. Jo observed Ben’s countenance with a glimmer of optimism. With those simple, heartfelt words, the lad had inadvertently appealed to Ben’s strong sense of fair play. Couldn’t have put it better myself, Jo thought with some satisfaction.

Book links: 

https://books2read.com/u/4AjyzA 

https://www.jms-books.com/ellie-thomas-c-224_420/twelve-letters-p-4391.html 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B5NYBM6Z/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i12 

Twelve Letters Promo 1

Bio: 

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.  

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas. 

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/ 

Twitter: @e_thomas_author 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas 

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas 

Guest Post by Jackson Marsh

Guest-Post

Today, we have Jackson Marsh on a visit, and he’s talking about his research behind The Clearwater Mysteries and The Larkspur Mysteries series which I found really interesting. Welcome, Jackson!

Hello everyone. I am Jackson Marsh, an author of MM romance, historical gay mystery, and the occasional ghost story. Today, I wanted to say a little about my research and my Victorian mystery series. 

If I had to say what is my favourite thing about being an author, I would say research. If I was asked to give advice to an aspiring author of any genre, I would say, Learn to enjoy thorough research. Let me explain… 

The Clearwater MysteriesThe Larkspur Mysteries carries on from the previous series, The Clearwater Mysteries, but you don’t have to read that collection of 11 novels in order to enjoy or understand the Larkspur stories. The Clearwater books start in 1888 at the time of Jack the Ripper, and are an ongoing set of adventures where the main characters are gay, living in a world where and when being gay was illegal. Within that outer casing of personal danger, we have the lives, loves and mysteries surrounding Lord Clearwater, his new-found love, Silas Hawkins, and his loyal friends and staff. The action mainly takes place in London, but sometimes moves to his country home in Cornwall, Larkspur Hall, and an academy he has established there for talented but disadvantaged young (gay) men. 

In my books, I mix fact with fiction. Larkspur Hall doesn’t exist, though it is set on the edge of Bomdin Moor, a real place, and much of what you read in the stories actually exists, existed or happened. Sometimes, I involve people from the past, so in some of the Clearwater books, you find Bram Stoker, Henry Irving and others, and in the Larkspur series, we’ve already met Prince Albert Victor (Queen Victoria’s alleged gay grandson), we’ve also lived through the outbreak of Russian Flu in 1890, and we have delved into the mysteries of Cornish standing stones. 

While all that is going on, we meet characters whose circumstances are based on real events. For example: Book one of the Larkspur Mysteries series, ‘Guardians of the Poor’, opens with Dalston Blaze, aged 18, in court on a charge of ‘intending to commit an unnatural act.’ Or, as we would say now, intending to sleep with his boyfriend. Intending to, note. Even intention of a homosexual act was grounds for up to two years in prison. Dalston’s court appearance is based on an article I found in the London newspapers of 1890 which involved a scandal at the Chelsea workhouse. I chose the Hackney workhouse for my setting because I’ve been there, and the story developed from there. 

Without giving anything away, as the story unfolds, we meet Dalston’s love, a deaf pauper called Joseph Tanner, and we learn how the pair came to be in the workhouse, and how they came to fall in love. One of the challenges of writing Joe was his deafness. I am hearing, and I needed to find out how someone deaf from birth read, understood and ‘heard’ in their heads, as we do, and as we take for granted. So, I took a course in (modern) British Sign Language (BSL), talked to people and read articles, both academic and personal. I learnt, to my surprise, that although deaf schools and sign language had been in existence since the 1800s, sign language was outlawed in deaf schools at the time my Joe would have been brought up. I am now able to use basic BSL, and am thinking about taking another course in the language; or at least, refreshing my skills as there are no deaf, British people where I live. 

Meanwhile… 

‘Guardians of the Poor’ leads into the second book, ‘Keepers of the Past’ where Joe investigates the mysterious standing stones on Lord Clearwater’s estate. We also learn of a ten-year spree of unrelated murders, the magic and mystery surrounding the number 9, and see Joe and Dalston’s love tested as they adjust to life outside the workhouse.  

Larkspur Mysteries, first 3 booksThat story then leads nicely into number three, ‘Agents of the Truth’ which I released a couple of weeks ago. 

‘Agents of the Truth’, like my other books, uses fact and fiction. I researched the fashion for masked balls, prisons in Victorian England, and archaeology. In this book, Joe meets famous (real) archaeologists such as Flinders Petrie, and the (then) young Howard Carter, as Dalston seeks to end the mystery that started in book one.  

Now, I have started on book four of the Larkspur Mysteries, but it doesn’t yet have a title, other than the working title, ‘Chester Cadman’, the name of the new main character. Like the other Larkspur novels, this story is inspired by an article I found in a newspaper of the time, in this case, one about the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, and the Victorian obsession with mesmerism, spiritualism, and all things séance and other-worldly. I am delving into the realm of ghosts for this novel, and my research also includes monastic life in Medieval times, the landscaping of grand gardens and country homes, the winter wildlife of Cornwall, and a host of other fascinating things. 

Now then, the thing is, there is no library near where I live, and although I am writing about London and Cornwall, I live in Greece. Mind you, I am not living in Victorian times either, so those things are hardly obstacles. It does help that I am British, have always loved history, been interested in crimes of the past, lived in Hackney, London for 12 years, and often visited Cornwall before I moved to Greece. Some of my research is based on my knowledge and experience, while the rest comes from reading, investigating and sideways thinking. 

When I am not writing, I am reading history books, biographies and old newspapers. All are an invaluable source of inspiration and detail, and thanks to being online, the newspapers are only a click away. I use the National Newspaper Archive online to fix days of the week against dates, see what was going on in the world of my characters, find adverts to give authenticity, discover boat and train times, and I even look up the weather to help with authentic atmosphere. 

And d’you know what? I love it. I enjoy my research as much as I enjoy inventing characters, but mostly, I enjoy mixing the two things and putting my created people into what was a living, breathing real world.  

Jackson's desk - Reserach Central

Jackson Marsh is the pen name of James Collins, and between my two selves, I have written over 35, full-length novels. Jackson’s MM Romance and gay historical mysteries can be found at my Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Jackson-Marsh/e/B077LDT5ZL/ and my backlist includes the Mentor series of age-gap romances, plus contemporary ghost and mystery novels. 

Excerpt:

Excerpt from the first draft of The Larkspur Mysteries book three. As yet untitled, you are the first to read this!

Disturbed from its hunting in the copse, the owl landed atop the last remnants of the ancient church, and settled there, looking down to where monks had once processed to their altar. Its unmoving eyes focused on the place where worshipers had knelt, and its pupils shrank as a stray shaft of moonlight escaped its cloudy prison. The yellow irises glinted before it blinked, and its feathers gathered above its beak in concentration as its head turned.
Something in the night had changed. Not the scent of the kill, nor the desperate scurry of the fieldmouse; they were as always, and could wait. It was another hunt that made the owl drop from the wall, wings spread, eyes piercing, and swoop low over the lawns towards the moor.
A beat of silence, and it rose with the hill, turned, and looked back across the grounds, the ruined church, the massive Hall with its lights fading one by one, up to the tower, beyond and around. Hovering, wings shuddering, it cried a warning, and remained there, a sentinel of the night, watching and curious.
Below, from the deepest folds of the rising hill, a shape moved from dark to dimness. Made lustrous by fugitive moonbeams, the figure glided as soundlessly as a mist across the moor, and floated toward the ruins. Neither furtive nor afraid, fast nor faltering, it advanced with incandescent purpose as it had done hundreds of years before, until it reached the grey walls. There, it became one with rocks that absorbed its shape as they had once absorbed chants and prayers, and like the men who had offered them, it descended into the earth.
The night once again undisturbed, and the hunting ground her own, the owl twitched its head at the curiosity, and turned its hungry eyes to the affairs of the vulnerable fieldmouse.

Links: 

Website: www.jacksonmarsh.com/  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacksonmarshauthor  

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jackson-Marsh/e/B077LDT5ZL/ 

Queer Romance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackson-marsh/