#NextBigThing #Crucifox #FlashFiction 'The Jo Ho'
Thanks to SJ Frost for tagging me in these WIP questions! Here's mine...
1. What is the working title of your book?
Crucifox #1: ‘The Green Eyed Monster’.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
This was supposed to be a short story. It’s grown into a series. The ideas and experience behind this series is my life on steroids. And a bigger budget, hah.
3. What is the genre of the book?
Contemporary romance, perhaps. Humour, definitely. Although not everyone likes British humour. I’d strongly suggest reading one of my free stories to get a taste for it.
(See below for a Crucifox freebie!)
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, they’re not actors, but the closest examples I’d like for the lead protagonists are singers and models. Jethro Cave would make a beautiful Sky, and (a young) Ian Astbury would make a perfect Brandon.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Brandon wants Sky as a lover, yet Sky only wants Brandon as a singer in his band.
(Dun dun duhn!)
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency/publisher?
Storm Moon Press. Release in March 2013.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Hah! Don’t ask… The original MS was novella length, I then rewrote it into novel length. I’ve been working on this particular story for a long time, since 2011. I can’t wait to shoot it off into the world.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I love band-fic M/M books, so hopefully fans of those titles will like this series. It’s very British, and very music driven. Music fans, and rock fans, will hopefully like it.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My life working with bands. This series is part tribute and part revenge to that chapter of my life.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Guys who have long hair and wear eyeliner. Goths, rockstars. British humour. Ecstasy sex.
Yep, I think that about sums it up! ;p
Check out my special freebie below; an outsider's glimpse into the Crucifox band house. And what better outsider than a Jo Ho?
(Note: for non-Brits, 'Jo Ho' is a term we use for those annoying Jehovah's Witnesses who come God-bothering at our doorsteps early in the morning. This is my revenge on Jo Ho's everywhere.)
The Jo Ho
A Crucifox Prequel
© Melanie Tushmore 2013
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced by any means, nor transmitted, nor translated into a machine language, without the written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real locales or real people are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual events, localities or persons, either living or dead, are entirely unintentional.
Straightening my tie, I rang the doorbell. It didn’t make a sound, not that I could hear. I rang it again. This time a voice near the window called out.
“’old yer ‘orses!”
Typical south London accent. I braced myself on the doorstep, preparing to smile. I’d had the briefing from my superiors, and knew all about this house. So far, it had proved a tough nut to crack; not even so much as a ‘thank you’ on previous visits. I’d heard all the horror stories, and prayed that the one about the hairy, shirtless biker answering the door weren’t true.
The door opened, and I held my breath. When I saw who it was, I exhaled in relief. It wasn’t a huge biker, it was a thin, young man, much like myself. Except, in place of short hair and a smart suit, this chap wore all black, and had scruffy black hair to his shoulders. He looked at me calmly.
“Have you heard about Jehovah and Jesus Christ?” I said, all in a rush because I was nervous.
His eyebrows raised, and his mouth quirked to the side in a half smile. “No, thanks, mate.”
As he started to shut the door, I shoved a pamphlet on God’s Kingdom at him. “If I may give you this?” Blessedly, he accepted the pamphlet, muttering a reply, then he promptly shut the door in my face.
Well, that wasn’t so bad. At least it wasn’t the biker.
I couldn’t say why I was back here, at 29 Spring Row, Balham. I had other streets on my list to visit. Houses where I might be invited inside for a cup of tea, which on a cold day would be very welcome. Nice little old ladies who’d offer me a biscuit, and politely listen to me tell them about God, nodding their heads as if humouring me. Which sometimes made me wonder if I really was on the right track after all.
Sighing, I straightened my tie, and rang the doorbell to number 29.
It wasn’t the fault of anyone that I was starting to doubt myself lately. It was probably the fault of the weather; miserable and grey for weeks. If I could only get inside this house, talk to those young men, it would certainly impress my superiors at the Jehovah’s temple.
I smiled to myself. Yes, that would brighten my day no end.
Except, there was no answer at the door. Checking my watch, I wondered if they were even out of bed. It was nearly eleven in the morning. I rang the doorbell again, and waited. Other stories from past visits to this house said that the occupants kept women inside. As guests or brain-washed hostages, no one knew. Mrs. Chuter, our leader at the temple, was suitably worried for the safety of these women, another reason that number 29 had been on our list frequently.
The house seemed quiet. Usually there were sounds from the ground floor – voices, loud music – but this morning everything was silent. I tried the bell once last time. Third time lucky. Just as I thought I’d have to come back later, the door swung open. I was so surprised, my words faltered. As I took in the person at the door – the height, the build, the pretty face and long, dark hair – I rejoiced, thinking, it’s a woman! Then I took a closer look, noting the stubble around the jawline, the flat chest in a thin tank top. The aggressive scowl on the face as he stared at me.
“Um, um, I…h-have you heard about Jehovah and J-Jesus Christ?” I stammered, hearing the tremble in my voice.
His nostrils flared as he breathed in, eyes fixed on me. I could almost feel the irritation radiating off him. “You woke me up for this?” he demanded, in a voice much deeper than I’d expected. “Get off my bloody doorstep!”
The door slammed shut. I was left alone on the porch, pamphlet held limply in my wrist.
That didn’t go too well.
I wondered if I should wait, just to make sure… Make sure what? That there wasn’t a woman inside, being held captive? Maybe Mrs. Chuter had been wrong. Maybe she’d mistaken that man for a woman?
Shaking my head, I turned around to leave. Maybe I could try again tomorrow.
My hand shook as I rang the doorbell. I anticipated no welcome now, not after yesterday, but I had to try again. It was well after lunch, and this time I could hear sounds from inside the house. Whatever they were doing, they were playing music inside. The bass thrummed and occasionally rattled the old window panes in their frames.
It took several rings before anyone answered. As it opened, I winced slightly, in case it was the same man from yesterday.
It wasn’t him. My eyes travelled up the long, thin frame of a new person, and the first thing I noticed was the hair. Sleek black, shining almost blue in the daylight, so it had to be dyed that colour, hanging well past the shoulders, and exploding out at the top like a matted bird’s nest.
Man? Woman? I gazed into a striking face, the dark eyes shaded with shimmery eye shadow, long lashes clumped with mascara. Lips painted bright red split in a broad smile, and the dark eyes sparkled.
“Aye, nice suit, man. What’s the occasion?”
Definitely a man, then. Deep, booming voice. A Scottish accent, too. He leaned against the doorframe, folded long thin arms across his chest, and grinned at me.
“I, um, h-have you heard of Jehovah…?” I offered my pamphlet to him.
Amazingly, he accepted it. After a cursory glance, he ripped the pamphlet in two, tossed both pieces away, then refolded his arms and grinned at me again. He didn’t look angry, which I was relieved about. His eyes held too much mischief for that.
“Anyhin else?” he asked, his grin egging me on.
“Well…w-would you like to hear about Jehovah and Jesus Christ?”
He chuckled, low and deep. “No,” he said, gesturing at himself. “Do I look like I go to church, man?”
I noticed his fingernails were painted red. “Um…well…we have a temple, actually.”
“Oh, aye?” He seemed pleasantly surprised. “Is that right? Any ritual sacrifices?”
Because of his accent, I wasn’t sure I’d heard him correctly. “Pardon?”
“Or is that just on weekends?” He winked one make-up ringed eye at me. His smile never faltered.
“Um…well, no,” I said.
The front door pulled open further, and the same man from yesterday appeared. He had to be at least a foot shorter than the Scot, yet the way he pushed himself in front, glare fixed on me, spoke volumes about who was head of this household.
“You,” he said to me, and again I was surprised by the masculine tone of his voice. “Piss off, before I get the hose.” He turned to the Scot, shoving him back inside the house. “Brandon, stop talking to bloody Jo Ho’s.”
The taller man waved goodbye to me, before his companion slammed the door shut. I heard their voices behind it, bickering like aggravated children. I was so stunned, I hadn’t moved an inch. Then movement against the ground floor window caught my eye. The ratty old curtain was yanked back, revealing the colossal form of a thick-set, hairy man. And his glare was directed at me.
Well, at least he wasn’t shirtless, like the horror stories had said.
Before he could get to the door, I did an about turn and hurried away, barely closing the front gate behind me. As I walked briskly down the road, my mind replayed images of those strange young men, with their long hair and make-up. They certainly weren’t women. The question was, would my superiors at the Jehovah’s temple believe me?
Probably not. Not unless they saw it for themselves. At the thought of Mrs. Chuter recoiling in horror at seeing a man in make-up, I couldn’t help a smile.
The first Crucifox novel will be released in March 2013 with Storm Moon Press
Check out more free stories at www.melanietushmore.co.uk
I'm tagging the lovely Babes in Boyland and the lovely Mr. RJ Dennis to do the Next Big Thing blog post ;p