A bit self-promotional, but it deals with a seriously ace issue so… I’ve had a busy fortnight. I finally uploaded an audio version of the short story Scar Ghyll Levels onto YouTube together with 200 photos of the story’s setting. I also released the fourth novel in the County Durham Quad series. Both explore a similar theme: navigating one’s way through a sexual-asexual relationship. (Not the main theme in the novel, but it’s pretty upfront.)
Without giving anything away, if I were the ace in the two stories, I’d be happier with the resolution offered in the novel. Its plot involves my gay quad solving another endangering crime, this time, linked to organ trafficking and far-right nationalism. Detective Nick Seabrooke (the eponymous Ace of Book 3, Ace in the Picture) reappears. How will he react to working with the quad again? How will they react to him? I’m really pleased with the outcome! It isn’t one that would suit me, but I think that it’s right for both Nick and the quad and, yes, everybody’s happy! (Sorry to be enigmatic, but spoilers…)
On the other hand, although Scar Ghyll Levels seems to have a satisfactory conclusion, I’m not sure if, from an asexual perspective, it does (or, even from a sexual one). Both of the men make compromises, one regarding frequency of sex, the other, well… the fact that he has it. Compromise always involves sacrifice and, when the compromise involves a/sexuality, then it’s a lot more sacrificial than backing down on what you want for dinner and decor. Even if one loves the other person, and the two young men do love each other, it isn’t the ideal way to manage a sexual/asexual relationship.
OK, both these works contain refs to intimacy, and both contain one explicit sequence. (At 22 minutes in the video – in the spoken word, that is. The photos are all landscapes.) I’m thrilled to bits with the photos, though, so, if you’re interested in seeing the Arkengarthdale area of North Yorkshire, you could always mute the sound! (Have you seen the film God’s Own Country? That’s filmed in a different part of Yorkshire. Arkengarthdale is equally bleak and equally beautiful. It was a lead-mining area and several photos are of derelict mine buildings: my two young men were lead miners.) Links to the video and to the new novel are below. Currently the novel is an ebook only, but I’m working on a paperback conversion. (Edited 14th November: I’ve uploaded the paperback version. It should be live in a day or so.)
YouTube Audio version of Scar Ghyll Levels: search on sgl asexual audio story or click https://youtu.be/M6xSuQ9utWg The thumbnail is the same as part of the ebook cover, that is, the hellish conditions of the lead mine with the two men reaching for each other. (Buy link for the ebook, which was published in March, is https://amazon.com/dp/B07Q4787J6 )
Buy link for the novel, which is called Body Parts And Mind Games https://amazon.com/dp/B08126BMCH
As always, the characters are in silhouette: I can never imagine their faces!