Tag Archives: lesbian

Review: The Compact by Charlie Raven

Late last year I read and thoroughly enjoyed A Case of Domestic Pilfering by Rohase Piercy and Charlie Raven. That book had originally been written by Raven then reworked by Rohase.

Raven’s style is clear in her solo effort The Compact,  set in London and England of 1898 – a paranormal queer adventure where real people meet fictional ones and detection meets ghosts.

The action revolves around two extremely close friends, widows Harriet Day, who teaches piano, and artist Alexandra Roberts. The lifelong friends share an undercurrent of romantic attachment, but their lives are about to be turned inside out. First, Alex falls under the unhealthy influence of the wealthy Minerva Atwell, whom she has been commissioned to paint. Then one of Alex’s boarders dies in a horrible accident.

Their lives ares entangled with Roberts’ boarders, including the unpleasant Albert Burroughs, and the childlike and ethereal George Arden. George is fey and vague and sees ghosts. He’s also falsely accused of murder by Burroughs.

Real life figures Aleister Crowley, occultist and magician, and his lover, poet and female impersonator Jerome Pollitt, become involved with George’s situation, as does Dr John Watson, who is recovering from illness while Sherlock Holmes pursues a case in Russia.

It’s a large cast which Raven deftly handles with charm, elegance and excellent pacing. The story has plenty of humour as well as creeping dread, while the story slow-builds towards the discovery of grisly crimes, horrible secrets, Atwell’s disturbing schemes and George’s strange history.

Dr Watson’s efforts to be a detective in his friend’s absence are naturally not as brilliant as Holmes’s, though he does his best in partnership with the brilliant, unpredictable, substance-abusing Aleister Crowley. The comparisons he (and the reader) makes between Holmes and Crowley are inevitable and entertaining.

Watson is only a small player in the tale, however, which focuses on Harriet trying to discover Minerva Atwell’s power and clear George Arden’s name. She and Alex are both strong characters, as is Minerva and all her mystery. Crowley and Pollitt are lively, too, as are all the supporting cast.

The action reaches its climax of mystic threats, ancient Sumerian tablets, the unquiet dead and deadly intent at Minerva Atwell’s creepy spa in the country.

Raven’s prose is lively, her period detail light and evocative, and even the most minor of her cast of characters is distinct and fresh. She’s also made me keen to read more of and by Aleister Crowley!

The Compact is engaging good fun. After enjoying A Case of Domestic Pilfering so much too, I’m hoping I won’t have to wait too long for some more from Charlie Raven.

Buy The Compact

2017: My Writing Year in Review

When 2016 came to a close, I was very happy with my writing year. A new novel, a new one-shot erotic spy adventure, several short stories and a poem all published! Who knew 2017 would get better?

The biggest writing news of 2017 for me was winning the ‘Body in the Library’ category of the Scarlet Stiletto Awards with my ghost/crime story, ‘Jane’.

I’ve been nominated and shortlisted for recognition before, and it really is wonderful to have my work highlighted alongside brilliant writers. But I have to say, winning an award is also pretty damned lovely.

The success of ‘Jane’ is cherry on a wordcake this year. My eighth novel, Ravenfall, was released in September – it’s currently in paperback, but the ebook is being prepared and will be out soon.

I also wrote more lesbian romance this year, with the one-shot romance set in Melbourne, Near Miss.

I didn’t neglect horror either, with ‘Passive Aggressive’ appearing in Myths, Monsters, Mutations in December – just in time for me to enter it into the Aurealis Awards (along with ‘Jane’ and Ravenfall.)

My epic-best-friends Sherlock Holmes short stories have also come both halves of the year, with ‘The Adventure of the Temperamental Terrier’ in MX Publishing’s sixth volume of Sherlock Holmes stories in May, and ‘The Mystery of the Miner’s Wife’ appearing in the already widely acclaimed Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook, an anthology of stories set in Australia in 1890.

Coming in 2018

I’m not done with 2017 yet, and already I have projects underway for the new year!

Beginning with the confirmed publications, in April 2018, ‘The Problem of the Three Journals‘ is in the Table of Contents for the fabulours Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot anthology. It’s the second in a series full of alternative universe stories. In mine, Holmes and Watson are a pair of Melbourne hipster cafe owners, serving superb coffee and solving crime!

You can pre-order Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot at Amazon.com.

A release date hasn’t yet been set for Jay Henge’s Wavelengths anthology, but it will contain my foray into SF, ‘Earworm Armageddon’.

The rights for The Opposite of Life are mine again, and I’m negotiating with Clan Destine Press to re-release it as an ebook, as they already publish its sequel, Walking Shadows. I’ll also be working on a third book in the series, though I have other commitments in the first half of the year so it may not be seen until 2019 or later.

I have Holmes♥Watson works underway for Improbable Press, short stories in a modern setting. I have a fantasy-romance to be expanded and resubmited to an interested publisher, and a few other story irons in fires that may come to fruition during the year.

Patreon

My biggest project for 2018 is the launch of my Patreon to re-release and then right more of the novellas that formed my first book, Fly By Night.

I”m in the process of having a new cover created for the first novella, Fly By Night – as soon as that’s done, I’ll be making it free to all my Patreon supporters. I’m also re-editing the second, Sacrifice, which will be released first there too. After that, I’ll be writing three more novellas in what is now called the Duo Ex Machina series – named for the two-man band featuring the lead characters, Frank and Milo.

You can find a bit more about the original stories on my site here, or go to Patreon. Depending on the supporter level, Patreons will receive story chapters, sneak peeks at works in progress or soon to be published, writing tutorials, character naming rights and other free books. Visit my Patreon.

Thanks for being with me this year, and I hope you’ll stick with me for the next!