Tag Archives: Ravenfall

New: Dangerous Charm Jewellery

Some of you may already have noticed an exciting new addition to the Narrelle M Harris Mortal Words website! I’m here to tell you how it happened.

When you’re a writer for both the corporate sphere and the world of fiction, your world is mostly made up of words. When reading is a primary past-time, that’s every so many more words to the glorious language cloud that inhabits my brain. Mostly I love it and have few complaints.

But sometimes I long for some creative hobby that isn’t so wordy and that gives me chance to exercise other parts of my febrile brain.

Last year, I decided to make some cross-stitch bookmarks as rewards for supporters of my Patreon. It was huge fun even if time consuming (it takes a lot longer to make a hand stitched bookmark than you might think). I had bought a lot of charms to hang off the end of some bookmarks as little weights, and at the end of the Patreon exercise, I still had a lot of these in my new craft stash box.

I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I remembered my good friend KRin of Pink K Designs makes jewellery. She’d already been fabulous, helping this craft novice learn how to cross-stitch, and was just as wonderful in taking me under her wing and teaching me how to make earrings.

Well, gentlefolk, I took those lessons into my body and soul and promptly went absolutely nuts with delight! I began to make all kinds of earrings inspired by books – my own and others’.

I’ve made Holmes and Watson earrings, often matching different charms to reflect two characters or aspects of a story. I’ve got guns, violins, bees, caduceuses and magnifying glasses in pairs or sets. For Kitty and Cadaver I’ve matched musical themes (treble clefs, guitars, drums and violins) with paranormal themes (vampires and skeletons). Ravenfall matches vampire, doctor and artist charms.

The Secret Agents series is reflected in cupcakes and guns (and coming soon, motorbikes and guns) while Duo Ex Machina continues the music theme, though I’m looking for coffee charms to reflect the Melbourne side of that equation! I have feathers for Grounded and even Richard III and wolf and bat earrings for Scar Tissue and Other Stories.

I’m branching out too, with Ineffable Husbands designs, things inspired by Shakespeare. There’ll be more of those classical inspirations coming soon.

In due course, I’ll be offering earrings as part of the rewards in my Patreon. In the meantime, I’m having a blast exercising my creative impulses in colours and, effectively, pictograms. In a world that’s become very stressful, it’s so soothing to sit with a tray of charms and beads and listen to a podcast (words again!) while I assemble sets of earrings that reflect the books I love to read and write.

(While I’m here, I can very highly recommend the gentle, delightful ABC Radio National podcast The Fitzroy Diaries, created by Lorin Clarke, daughter of the much-missed John Clarke. His spirit may continue in her, but her voice and talent are all her own!)

Rather than being a drain on all my creative impulses, making jewellery turns out to spur them and to feed a need I didn’t know I had. There is such joy in the act of making things.

If you want to see my creations (and maybe buy one or two – I’ve got to fund the purchase of new charms and beads somehow) you can visit Dangerous Charm now!

Q&As from the Scar Tissue Launch

Narrelle M Harris Q&A

I recently held an online launch for my collection Scar Tissue and Other Stories. Part of the launch involved me answering questions, so I thought I’d share that Q&A here for anyone who missed it!

George asked: Will there be a third book for Gary and Lissa?

Yes there will! Once I’ve finished editing my latest Duo Ex Machina novella (which is being serialised on my Patreon) I’ll be writing the third book in the Vampires of Melbourne series!

Question as an image

The working title is “Beyond Redemption” and when it’s done, Clan Destine Press will be re-releasing The Opposite of Life (which is out of print, but I have the rights back for it now) and Walking Shadows with a matching set of covers!

Scar Tissue contains a story set after the end of Walking Shadows: “Bad Night at Bite Club”.

Margaret asked: Will there be more adventures in Australia for Holmes and Watson?

The Holmes and Watson from The Adventure of the Colonial Boy appear in the Scar Tissue story “The Beekeeper’s Children”. I would like to write a short story collection for them, but as a project that is at the back of the queue for now.

I am considering writing a modern Australian alternative universe series for them in my Patreon when the Duo Ex Machina novellas are finished next year, riffing off my short story from The Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot where are a pair of Aussie hipsters running, solving mysteries while they run a cafe called The Sign of Four. Does that count?

Sally F asked me if I ever put people I dislike into my books and then killed them off. 🙂

I never put people I dislike into my books. If I don’t like them, I don’t want to spend more time with them in my head if I can avoid it!

Instead, I put people I like into my books – sometimes just as a set of background characters, sometimes in minor roles, sometimes in more prominent roles. I do sometimes kill them off too, but usually I give them warning and make sure they’re okay with it.

My out of print Witch Honour and Witch Faith books have lead characters inspired by two close friends. (Sylvia and Leenan become their own people, but they have real people roots!)

A friend I worked with at World Vision was a dead body in The Opposite of Life. (She gave Enthusiastic Consent for that :D) Gary the Vampire is kind of based on every nice geekboy I’ve ever known.

Other people have been in the background (walking their dog on the beach; laughing together at a far table in a cafe; that sort of thing).

Maybe I should make it a Patreon Reward – to become a character in a story I’m writing.

Sally F also asked “Do you think you are on ASIO’s watch list from researching anything odd for your stories?”

My running joke is that ASIO keeps two lists: one of dodgy individuals with criminal leanings and writers. When they get a ping about someone researching murder, how to hide the bodies, explosives, detailed building layouts and schematics for aeroplanes and trains, they first check to see if the Googler is on the Author list (and maybe bookmark to see what novel results a year down the track).

I’ll be very disappointed if I’m not on the ASIO Writers to Watch For list purely on the strength of my research for crimes for Sherlock Holmes stories.

You know who is stalking me though? Google ads. And some of the ads that come up for me on the strength of writing some of my stories is HILARIOUS.

KRin asked “Has a story idea ever stopped you in your tracks and you had to write it down then and there?

The answer is “all the bloody time”. My phone is full of ideas and bits of prose and dialogue I’ve emailed to myself, and I always carry a notebook (or three) into which I scribble down ideas.

Because of course the time when I am most likely to come up with an interesting new concept or resolve a plot problem or think of some really sparky dialogue is when I’m walking or in the shower or in bed, rather than in front of the computer. So I leap up, scribble things down and hope it’s still legible when I got to type it up.

Robin asked “How do you dream up your characters?”

My characters come from a variety of sources, but a lot just seem to manifest themselves. I’m sure they spring from somewhere that I just haven’t worked out how to articulate.

Some of course are inspired by fictional characters, and very directly too – my versions of Holmes and Watson are obviously derived from Arthur Conan Doyle and have elements of the Granada Holmes & Watson too – but I’m often writing romances with them, so I try to work from the source material that I then extrapolate from to create the Victorian-era men in love, or the modern-era versions.

A few are inspired by people I know personally, though there it’s more that I might be inspired by a facet or two, rather than inserting them wholesale (see my answer to Sally’s question about putting people I know into my books.)

Some are inspired by other fictional characters I’ve liked (me and Lois McMaster Bujold both cherry picked some personalities from Blake’s 7).

Often, however, the concept that I want to explore in a story readily suggests the personality type that will be involved to help tell it, and the other kinds of characters they need around them to create balance, conflict and drama. The characters evolve within that context, so I may begin with particular “types” but then they grow.

When I was writing Kitty and Cadaver, I initially plotted about half of it then only sketched out the rest. I had to write the first half before completing the plotting – because I had to get to know everyone better before I knew how they’d respond to all their troubles. Once I knew who they were, it was easy to plot the rest of the book with each of them behaving in character.

KRin asked “What is your favourite colour?”

…which should be an easy one but it turns out, no. I will not make this easy.

I suppose the short answer might be ‘red’ but I like it in combination with black. and jade green. But I love that brilliant peacock blue too. Also rich purples.

I’m not a huge fan of yellows and oranges in my clothing because they make me look jaundiced, but a glorious buttercup yellow or bright burnt orange? Gorgeous.

I should have gone with the answer Janet MacLeod once gave: “My favourite colour is shiny!”

Robert asked “What’s your favourite story in the collection? Why?”

This could be like the ‘what’s your favourite colour’ question, or possibly make me howl DON’T MAKE ME CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE.

I mean, I loved getting back to Gary the vampire for “Bad Night at Bite Club”, and it’s primed me for getting to work on the 3rd of the Vampires of Melbourne series. It made me happy to write Ravenfall‘s James and Gabriel again in “Shadow at my Shoulder” – I’d really like to write another novel with them some time.

I think of the long stories, maybe “The Beekeeper’s Children” is my favourite – Holmes and Watson (from The Adventure of the Colonial Boy) in a loving relationship, in retirement in Sussex – but Sherlock is off in danger, John is caring for the bees (and reading the oblique love notes Sherlock has left for him) and also caring for two young men who are negotiating love as well as trauma.

Of the super short stories I have a soft spot for “Long Live the King” because I feel Richard III has been given a rough deal by history, but my favourite is “Plot Bunny” because of the juxtaposition between the sweet little toy bunny and its murderous intent.

But otherwise, don’t make me choose – they are all my favourite.


Scar Tissue and Other Stories is available in paperback and ebook directly from the publisher, Clan Destine Press, as well as the usual online sellers: Amazon, Kobo, Booktopia etc.

Cover Reveal: Scar Tissue and Other Stories

At the beginning of May, my Patreon reached its first goal of $100 a month! That means that, as soon as I’ve finished writing the last few stories, getting them edited and getting it all formatted, all my supporters will be getting a free short story collection from me! (The rest of the world will be able to buy it a week or so later.)

Once those final three stories are completed I’ll release a Table of Contents to whet your appetite. In the meantime… TA-DAAAA! This is the cover! Designed by me, using Canva. 🙂

Scar Tissue and Other Stories will contain several stories that have appeared in print elsewhere, along with stories, poems and photo art that were written just for this collection!

Stories include Lost and Found flash fiction, stories set in the worlds of some of my novels, Holmes♥Watson fiction, Holmes+Watson epic besties fiction, and one of the few non-genre stories I’ve written, which gives the collection its title.

If you want to get a free copy of Scar Tissue and Other Stories when it comes out, and get access to other books, works in progress and other exclusive content, you can support me on Patreon for as little as US$1 a month.

Release day: Ravenfall

It’s 1st September, and a happy release day to my latest (and eighth) book, Ravenfall, published by Clan Destine Press.

If you have pre-ordered the paperback, today’s the day your retailer will send it to you on black feathery wings!

Set in contemporary London, Ravenfall is the story of James Sharpe, a vampire who wonders if it’s possible to fallin love, since he doesn’t even know if he has a soul, and Gabriel Dare, an artist who’s wondered all his life if he was mad but he’s pretty sure about one thing – James Sharpe is the best thing in his life. Can he convince James of the same?

They’ll find those answers together, provided they survive all the other monsters who have schemes of their own. People are dying, nobody is safe, and even the undead can die. James and Gabriel will have to risk it all in order to be together for as much of forever as they can manage.

An extract from Ravenfall:

Curious, Gabriel stabbed the tip of the silver knife into the jar of garlic, and placed it in the dish of vampire blood. The blood fizzed, coagulated and gave off a terrible stink.

‘Better toss the silverware out too, then,’ he said.

James, who had pushed well back from the table, shook his head. ‘Keep it in your room.’

Gabriel was inclined to argue the point, but James was staring at the dish of blackened vampire blood in fascinated horror.

‘We don’t have to do this now,’ Gabriel offered gently.

‘We have to find out, don’t we? Apart from anything else, you need protection. You may one day need it from me.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous.’

‘I’m not being ridiculous. You don’t… you don’t know what I… You don’t know.’

Gabriel reached for James’s shoulder, echoing James’s earlier solace.

‘I’m an excellent judge of character, remember? If you can’t trust yourself, trust me. I lived with a father who did his best to grind me into the dirt to get back at my mother; a man who medicated me from the ages of eight to twelve and packed me off to psychiatrists and institutions rather than try to listen, let alone understand. I lived on the streets, and I’ve fought for my independence my whole life. I know what people who want to hurt me look and sound like. You’re not like them. You don’t want to hurt me.’

‘No. I don’t.’

Gabriel’s leaned across the table to kiss James’s mouth. Their lips met, soft and chaste and sweet. James’s skin warmed under Gabriel’s tender touch. He didn’t kiss back, exactly, but with his head tilted up, his whole stance softened, relaxed, held still, and he received the kiss like a benediction. When Gabriel drew away, James’s eyes were closed.

‘James.’

James’s blue eyes opened, and they were full of longing and sorrow and fear. ‘I don’t want to hurt you. That doesn’t mean I won’t without meaning to. It’s happened before. When I first woke like this. A vampire. I didnae know what I was yet. But I was so thirsty and… I did monstrous things, Gabriel.’

‘But you’re not a monster. Trust me on this.’

‘Eight hours ago, you didn’t know that vampires could exist. Now you’re telling the one you live with that you trust him.’

‘Yes.’

‘With your life.’

‘Yes.’

‘You’re daft. But please. Even if you can trust my intent, you can’t trust the thirst. Promise me you’ll defend yourself if I… if I forget myself again.’

Mark Ravenfall To Read on Goodreads now!

Buy Ravenfall in paperback!

The ebook is coming in a month.