Posts Tagged With: No Good Men

No Good Men by Thea McAlistair: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Blogger_Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt from No Good Men

by Thea McAlistair

I knocked, and a maid let me in. I recognized her, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember her name. I had never even bothered to learn it, figuring that Emma would dismiss her after a few months, just like all the others. The girl flitted into another room, and returned with Emma following.

“Hello Mr. Dawson! What brings you here?” she asked.

“I came around to see if you were doing all right.” Not a lie, but not anything resembling the truth either. Was I getting better at this investigating thing? “Is this a bad time?”

She hovered there for a moment, uncertainty in her eyes. Then she stepped to the side with a welcoming gesture. “Mrs. Green is here, but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind an additional guest to tea,” she said. “And, well, you are no longer my employee.”

I winced at the dig. Was it even a dig? If it was, would I have to forgive her, since she was technically in mourning? She continued regarding me with blank pleasantness for a second, then led me toward the parlor. I’d been in that house about a million times, and yet it never felt like a home to me. It was so clean, and not in the way that Martin’s place was clean. Everything here was shiny and polished, new and untouched instead of worn and cared for.

The parlor was no different than the rest of the house, though there were a couple antiques that had belonged to Carlisle’s mother. She had been a collector of taxidermy, and there was a cache of overstuffed birds in a china cabinet, as well as fox that was mounted with its mouth pulled into a grimace.

Sitting on a chair next to the fox, also showing distressing signs of age, was Mrs. Green. She held a teacup with crooked but delicate fingers. “What’s this, Emma?” she sniffed. “Has this louse come looking for a bonus he didn’t earn? Failed in his duty, didn’t he.”

I closed my eyes against the insult, though it had hit harder than many a punch I’d taken. “Mrs. Green,” I said as politely as I could through clenched teeth. “It’s good to see you again.”

She huffed and sipped her tea.

Emma took a seat, but didn’t offer me a chair. “Oh, Elizabeth, do be kinder to my guest.” She looked at me. “Though she has something of a point. What brings you around unannounced?”

I cleared my throat. “Um, this probably isn’t the best time to ask, but are you keeping Mr. Carlisle’s records?”

Emma’s eyes narrowed. “You’ll have to be more specific. I have been asked for hundreds of records by at least a dozen people. Police, insurance agents, other employees…”

“What I’m looking for are letters? Not… not private ones. They came to the office every now and then? Political stuff and threats? The Westwick Journal has one now, and I’m helping them see if there are any more.”

“Ah. Those.” She sighed. “Mr. Dawson, being a public figure isn’t easy, and it certainly doesn’t endear you to people. We had at least two threats a day. Luckily we kept them all in case this sort of…” She paused to regain her composure. “The police have them now.”

“Oh.” Dammit, Vern. Sending me on a wild goose chase.

“Although,” Emma continued, “there was the one that came in the mail the next day, after the police had taken the others.” She stood. “Wait one moment, I’ll get it for you.”

She hurried past me and out into the hall, leaving me with Mrs. Green. The old woman sipped her tea in silence. Then she raised her head to stare at me with eyes that age hadn’t dulled at all. Sweat trickled down the back of my neck.

“So, you’re really here for letters?” she asked. “Because it seems to me there are better reasons for visiting a young widow.”

So that was her problem with me. “I assure you, ma’am, I have no interest in Mrs. Carlisle.”

“Pity.” She put the cup and saucer onto a table. “Truth be told, I never liked Roy much. He had a wandering eye, as I’m sure you noticed.” She looked in the direction Emma had gone. “I can’t imagine she’s too broken up about losing him. I wasn’t when my Henry died. A widow’s money and freedom…” She brought her gaze back to me, letting her eyes track me from head to toe.

I shifted. The last thing I needed was some old lady getting ideas that I was involved in murdering a man so I could sleep with his wife. “I should, um… I should go see if Mrs. Carlisle needs any help,” I mumbled.

Her puckered mouth twisted into what was probably supposed to be a wry smile. “By all means, run along then.”

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Author Q&A: Thea McAlistair + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Please welcome Thea McAlistair to The Blogger Girls!

When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?

My first story that I remember was a fan fiction of a book about fairies at the age of 10 or so. It was a school assignment, but I don’t remember exactly what the assignment was.
My first non-school related piece was something like a YA take on Lord of the Rings around age 14. It didn’t get past a couple pages but I probably put almost as much planning into it as Tolkien himself would have. Sometimes I think I should go back to it, but I’m pretty sure I can’t get my mind wrapped around young YA.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?

Definitely when I find the time. I work full time (45-50 hours a week), so sometimes I have to get creative. I have, however, found that if I have a clear goal or deadline, even one with no consequences like NaNoWriMo, I’m much more likely to sit down and actually work. No Good Men and its sequel Boiling Over are results of NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, respectively

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first?  Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?

I start with characters or maybe a brilliant flash of a scene. I piece it out from there: who are these people? How did they end up in this situation? How will they get out of it? That can usually carry me to a couple thousand words and then I need to dip into the well of music or other fiction to bring back the spark. Sometimes it takes longer than I want.

Where did the desire to write LGBT romance come from?

It didn’t start as a particular desire. I consider No Good Men a mystery first, a romance second. But that’s sort of the thing, isn’t it? There isn’t a “reason” for the characters being LGBTQ any more than there’s a “reason” for real LGBTQ people to exist. It’s time we accepted that.

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?

I’m very well educated in history, so I know some basics. If I need a particular fact, Google is very much my friend. And I’m fortunate that there are still some films from the period I write in, so I can listen to the cadence and word choice of characters my characters were supposed to have related to if they were real people. 

What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?

The book title was hardest, by far. Trying to capture 65,000 words in just one to five? Insanity. I was very fortunate to work with Raevyn and Natasha at NineStar Press on my cover, and we came up with something really great pretty quickly. Character names have never been hard for me. Because I’m writing historic fiction, I can pull up baby name lists for the appropriate era and ta-da I have 100 names to choose from. 

How do you answer the question “Oh, you’re an author…what do you write?”

I say “historical mysteries.” If pressed further I’ll open that out to “LGBTQ noir-style historic mysteries set in the 1930s.” I get a lot of incredulous stares and polite nodding. Niche genres whooo!

What does your family think of your writing?

Don’t know, they haven’t read it yet haha!

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.

Book 2, Boiling Over, is with NineStar going through the publishing process. I have a draft 0 of Book 3 going and I’ve got ideas for four or five more after that. I can’t let my boys go, it seems.

I dabble in fantasy from time to time, but I haven’t gotten very far with them. Not sure what the issue is, but it is an entirely different process than the mysteries. I guess it’s because with a historical book, you know that there are facts you can look up, and with a mystery, you always know where your endgame is. With a fantasy, literally all bets are off.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?

Make friends with other writers. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up only to have my writer friends buoy me back up. And their help is invaluable for working through issues with the story. Plus they are always open to commiserating with you.

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Categories: Author Q&A, Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment