The Novel Approach is please to welcome author KJ Charles today, along with an exclusive excerpt from her latest novel The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. Enjoy the tease and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win one of three e-copies of the book being offered in the giveaway.
Hi, and thanks to The Novel Approach for having me!
My new book, The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, comes out on 16 June, and I have an extract for you here, as well as a Rafflecopter giveaway of three copies, running across the blog tour.
Background: London, 1894, and there are ghostly goings-on at a young duke’s home. Journalist Robert Caldwell has been sent to get the story, on the grounds of his personal acquaintance with ghost-hunter Simon Feximal (which is quite a lot more personal than his editor suspects, since they’ve ended up in bed on both their previous meetings). But there’s no sign of Simon outside and no journalists are being allowed in…
A note to the Editor
I have been Simon Feximal’s companion, assistant and chronicler for twenty years now, and during that time my Casebooks of Feximal the Ghost-Hunter have spread the reputation of this most accomplished of ghost-hunters far and wide.
You have asked me often for the tale of our first meeting, and how my association with Feximal came about. I have always declined, because it is a story too private to be truthfully recounted, and a memory too precious to be falsified. But none knows better than I that stories must be told.
So here is it, Henry, a full and accurate account of how I met Simon Feximal, which I shall leave with my solicitor to pass to you after my death.
I dare say it may not be quite what you expect.
Warning: Contains a foul-tempered Victorian ghost-hunter, a journalist who’s too curious for his own good, villainy, horror, butterflies, unusual body modifications, and a lot of tampering with the occult.
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Excerpt: Rodericks of the Gazette gave me a knowing look. “You are acquainted with the man Feximal, are you not?”
“I saw your copy from Winchester. Good stuff.” Rodericks narrowed his eyes. “You wouldn’t be planning to steal a march on us with personal association, would you, dear boy?”
I denied it utterly and insincerely. Murchison and Rodericks closed in on me.
“Listen, my boy,” Murchison told me quietly, while Rodericks glared our fellows away. “Hopkin got inside this morning, but the spook-shyers wouldn’t talk to him. Your pal Feximal marched him out. Poor fellow looked scared half to death, couldn’t say a word. The fact is, we’re all stumped, because it’s no good to get in if you can’t stay in. Now, if we can finagle you inside, do you suppose you can persuade Feximal to talk to you?”
“I might,” I said cautiously. I did not think it likely, but one should never say no before hearing the offer.
“You’d want to be reasonably sure. He’s a bruiser of a fellow.” I knew that well; his finger marks had lingered on my hips for days. “Because I’ve greased a servant here, and not used her yet, and I believe I can get a man inside.”
“Put him in his shirtsleeves,” Rodericks said, with a rude nod in my direction. “He’ll look just like the baker’s boy.”
“But it’s halves on the story, Bobster,” Murchison insisted. “I’ll want something exclusive.”
“Thirds,” Rodericks said over his shoulder. “The maid was my lead in the first place.”
“Halves, and you two split what I give you,” I said firmly. “If Feximal doesn’t want me in there he’s liable to tear me limb from limb.” What a thought. Simon truly angry with me was not a sight I wished to see, but Simon venting his outrage with a stern and punishing hand… I reined in my thoughts before they wandered too far from decency.
Murchison and Rodericks exchanged looks. “Halves,” they agreed without further argument, and I knew then that the task ahead of me should not be taken lightly.
About the Author: KJ Charles is a Rainbow Award-winning romance writer and freelance editor. She blogs about writing and publishing, spends too much time on Twitter, and has a Facebook group for book chat and sneak peeks. The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal, a Victorian occult m/m romance, is coming from Samhain on 16 June.