Time's Fool

By Alys Earl

A novel for M R James fans who sometimes want something a little more modern and edgy from their weird fiction

Fiction | Sci-fi & Fantasy
102% funded
157 supporters

Publication date: October 2018

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Bespoke Birthday Cakes

Alys will bake and decorate a bespoke birthday cake to your specifications. The weird and the wonderful a speciality, Alys will discuss your needs with you and create accordingly. Unfortunately, cakes will contain gluten and not be suitable for vegans, plus a copy of the paperback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book Cakes do not travel well, collection advised! UK only
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Murder Mystery Script

A script for a vampire/gothic-themed murder mystery party written by Alys, plus a copy of the paperback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
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Small Book Club

Five paperback first editions, plus a visit from Alys to discuss the book (or over Skype), the ebook and five names in the back of the book
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Print of the Cover Art

An a4 fine art giclee print of the cover art work, plus a copy of the paperback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
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Original Art Print

A numbered, limited print of an original illustration by Vic Hill Check out Vic’s website here, signed by the artist and the author, plus a copy of the paperback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
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Large Book Club

Ten paperback first editions, plus a visit from Alys to discuss the book (or over Skype), the ebook and ten names in the back of the book
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Murder Mystery Night

Alys will come to your dinner or party and run a vampire/gothic-themed murder mystery event, plus a copy of the hardback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
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A special acknowledgement printed in the front of the book thanking you for your donation, plus 10 signed copies of the paperback first edition plus the ebook

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Autumn in the market City of Barchester, and two bright students begin their final year at University, content with old friendships, paying lip-service to old dreams. Until, that is, an ill-conceived prank introduces them to Julian.

For Sophia and Steven, the friendship they form with this worldly stranger marks a coming of age, a possibility to embrace the needs and longings they have never had the language to express. But Julian has his own secrets, and as the nights grow longer, it becomes clear that not all desires are without cost; that some things should never be brought into the light.

Time’s Fool is a novel about monstrosity, about desire and communication. It’s about the self we present to the world and the needs we whisper to ourselves in the darkness. It is about honesty and the fear of honesty. It is about the things we refuse - refuse to say, refuse to seek, refuse to believe - because sometimes, ignoring those things is all that keeps us sane.

You can see a transcript of the video script here

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A copy of the ebook edition
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A copy of the paperback first edition plus the ebook and your name in the back of the book
  • Alys Earl avatar

    Alys Earl

    Alys Earl is a writer, storyteller, folklorist and the Last Romantic Poet. They studied Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and have a MA in Medieval and Early Modern Textual Cultures. A past performer in both the Norwich and the Medway Arts scenes, they now live in the wilds of Suffolk. They love to write and read about dark places and scary things, especially when it comes to this history of gender, sexuality, marriage and childbirth.


  • Beside him, Lucy’s head hit the table with a quiet thud. It occurred to Steven this might be some sort of prompt.

    “What I mean,” he said, raising his voice to be heard above the pub noise, “is that knowledge is the antithesis of fear.”

    Across the table, John stared into his pint with an expression that suggested he’d sooner be elsewhere - but no one cared about John.

    “Bring it out in the open and,” Steven blew a raspberry, “and okay, while there’s some evidence that Le Fanu...”

    Lucy started to move her head in a slow, rocking motion, sending seismic ripples through John’s beer. Steven snatched up his own glass before her convulsions sent it over the edge of the table. He took a drink. Opposite him, Sophia massaged her temples.

    “Where was I?” he said.

    “You were shutting up,” Lucy replied, her voice muffled by her hair.

    “Le Fanu!” he said.

    “Please not Le Fanu,” said Sophia.

    “Well, now, there is some evidence Le Fanu was a believer, but we’ll let him off. The fact is, though, the stronger a writer’s conviction that they knew how spiritual manifestations worked, the worse the ghost story.”

    “Steven,” said Sophia.

    He tipped his glass in her direction and tried to arrange a smile on his face. It was difficult, as he had reached the stage where his flesh felt rubbery and uncooperative, where his fingers seemed to be moving without him instructing them.

    “Please shut up, Steven.”

    “I will not be censored,” he said, or maybe he shouted it, because a couple at the next table turned, looked at him in a bemused fashion. “No,” he insisted, more quietly, “I shall not have my rights violated in this fashion. Le Fanu is very important.”

    “So’s my birthday,” said Sophia.

    “And technically, that isn’t until tomorrow.”

    “Do you really believe all that?” said John.

    Steven tried to trace back over the last few exchanges to establish some context for this, but drew a blank, “All what?”

    “All this ghost story bollocks.”

    “Well, yes,” said Steven, “yes, I should hope so. I mean, it is sort of central to my dissertation, so I should really try to, shouldn’t I?”

    John stared at him as though he was obtuse which, all things considered, was unjust.

    “He meant, do you believe in ghosts,” Sophia explained.

    “No-one believes in ghosts,” said Steven, and leaned back against the booth, “that was my point.”

    Lucy raised her head, grabbed her glass and drained it before resuming a face down position.

    “Exactly, so why bother?” said John, “Why would you study something that you know doesn’t exist?” And he had that smirk on his face, the point scoring one.

  • Alys Earl has written 5 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    4th December 2018 Rewards, reviews, and all that jazz!

    I hope you all had a fantastic November, and now the nights are really drawing in, we are well in to novel time. Chapter 8, if my memory serves...

    So, by now, wherever you are in the world - you should all have your books! I am so glad to have been able to share this novel with you, and your support and kind words, both pre- and post- publication, mean the world to me.

    A fair few reviews have…

    31st October 2018 Signed copies

    ... are signed. Happy Hallowe'en!

    I've dated them all with 31/10/18 because I thought that was a pretty cool thing to have there, and am just waiting for the Unbound pixies to collect them and send them on to you wonderful people.

    For fun, I signed in four colours - (goth) black, (blood) red, (midnight) blue, and purple (prose). Alas, it was more of a magenta shade, but the lid was purple. Let…

    26th October 2018 The paperbacks are here!

    So, you should all have had your eBook editions already, but these beautiful things arrived at my door today, so I thought I would share them. Those of you who ordered a paperback will have probably had an email telling you that it's on it's way. Signed copies will be a little longer as, well, I need to sign them. I've got a beautiful purple Sharpie to do it with, to go with my beautiful purple…

    18th October 2018 Cover reveal and launch

    The incredible Mark Ecob of Mecob design has created the actual perfect cover for Time's Fool and it is my actual pleasure to reveal it to you.

    Drumroll please...

    If that weren't enough good news, your eBook copies of Time's Fool will be with you on 22nd October - which is Sophia's Birthday. 

    Well, the day before it, actually, but let's not be a pedant, Steven. **correction. I have previously…

    3rd October 2018 The first ghost story I ever made...

    Over on Twitter and Facebook, I'm trying to post something at least half interesting every day until the release of Time's Fool. I won't share them all on here but this one is a bit special. I've often said that Time's Fool is my love song to the Gothic: I grew up on ghost stories, from books, from family members, my next door neighbours - wherever I could get them. And what I longed for was to be…

    10th September 2018 It's getting close to midnight...

    ...and on Midnight, Thursday 13th September, the supporter list for Time's Fool will close. If you want to get your name listed in the back then you need to make your pledge before then. If you've manage to mispell your name on your account, then you need to change it before then, because after 00:00 GMT 13/09/18 it will not be possible any longer.

    And because my student protagonists would have…

    25th August 2018 Nottingham Unbound fetival!

    On 6th October, the Unbound writers will be having the first Unbound festival at Waterstones in Nottingham. We'll have panels, Q&A, and readings. Come along and hear some absurdly talented people talking about their books, their writing, and hear them read. 

    Plus, I'll be there representing the horror contingent on the 'Genre Writing' panel. Gods help me!

    Tickets are £5 which will be redeemable…

    13th July 2018 It's done.

    This afternoon, I made the last changes to the Time's Fool proofs before sending them back for final corrections and formatting. I'd been through every word in it, checking that not only was it spelled correctly, but that it was the right word and in the right place in the sentence.

    I will not be touching the manuscript again until there's a copy of it in my hands.

    There's a still fair bit…

    3rd July 2018 Author fairs, interviews and the slow trickle of time...

    Had an incredible weekend at the Beccles Charter weekend with lots of talented East Anglian authors, like Martin Ferguson, Ash Ford, David Merrifield, A D P Sorsi, and many others. There was a big variety of both traditional and indie writers, and a lot of different genres on offer. Some Chequered Affection seemed especially popular with the good people of Beccles - which I guess means I should…

    18th June 2018 On to the fun stuff!

    The final MS of Time's Fool has been okayed by the copy-editor and now it's off to be type-set and I realise I am turning a lot of words in to verbs and I'm not quite sure I'm doing it correctly. Anyway! Now we're on to the fun bit, where I chat to Unbound about things like covers, and I can stop using that picture of the John Maddermarket/ The Belgian Monk on all the promotional material. 


    9th June 2018 Come say hi!

    So, as you've probably all had an email telling you, the final MS for Time's Fool has been submitted, and now we're deep in to the copy edits.

    But, if you're in East Anglia: I will be at Great Yarmouth Author's Fair on 16th June at Christchurch Methodist Hall, and Anglian Authors Unite on 30th June and 1st July, at Beccles Town Hall. I will have copies of Scars on Sound and Some Chequered Affection…

    21st May 2018 It's creeping closer....

    Here's a photo of a very Barchester-y bit of Norwich, outside The Tea House on Elm Hill. I love the way my City just startles you with beautiful old buildings tucked in to corners. The past is always there - you ignore it at your peril.

    While I was sitting there, a young pigeon was occasionally rattling and thumping at the glass, having flown in at another window and got itself stuck, making…

    9th May 2018 All the changes!

    After an epic battle with the one chapter that has been a nightmare since the first draft of this novel, I have just - literally just - sent the first round of edits back to my editor. I suspect he'll have more changes to suggest, but that's where Time's Fool is at right now.

    Anyway I've been stuck inside working on this for the last few weeks which which is quite fortunate as we've been is the…

    17th April 2018 Editing, editing, all the editing!

    Just a quick post to keep you all up to date on where the MS of Time's Fool is at - I had my structural edit back last week and am working on that now. Well, not right now, right now, I'm typing this blog post. But hopefully it will soon be a more polished, focused and generally unsettling novel for you all.

    After getting the MS in, I had a couple of weeks off from all things writerly and spent…

    26th March 2018 Time's Fool update

    The manuscript to Time's Fool was submitted to Unbound editors on Thursday evening at around 10:30pm. They now have the dubious joy of looking through the 300 odd doublespaced pages, pointing out any darlings that have survived the redrafting process, and handing me the requisite bolt-gun.

    The act of handing off your precious book-baby to people whose job it is to find all the flaws, foul-ups,…

    20th March 2018 100%. Oh my.

    So, I had just left the house to do some groceries, when my phone pings and informed that, nope. Time's Fool in fact has nothing left to raise.

    The sound I made was probably audible only to bats.

    It takes one heck of a lot to render me speechless, but there was a good hour there were I could not make word good.

    ANYWAY. I'm back home now, and hitting the calm point - sorry if my posts…

    11th March 2018 A video, a reading, some merch and some giveaways...

    Because you lot seem to like me making a fool of myself in front of a camera, here's a little video I made to announce the winners of the degree certificates, and introduce the Some Chequered Affection chapbook.

    The general gist of it is - the degree certificates will be posted to winners in the next couple of days, but if haven't won and want one for yourself they are £10 + p&p (a large letter…

    1st March 2018 World Book Day short scene

    Woooh! 90% funded. Time's Fool has a little over £400 left to raise (so, if there are any millionaires out there feeling generous...)

    To celebrate World Book Day, I thought I'd share a microscene from the March before the novel starts. Now, back when these characters were at school, World Book Day amounted to being given £1 book token, and - if you were Steven - wandering around your classroom…

    19th February 2018 Time's Fool swag

    Wow! 89%! Time's Fool now has officially less than £500 to raise and is only a couple of pledges away from 90% funded.

    To celebrate, I'm giving away a couple of these:

    Yes - that is an official, Barchester University degree certificate for the class of 2007 - Sophia, Steven and Lucy's year. They are in useful, employable subjects such as Bsc Cryptozoology, Bsc Psychogeography, BA Retrocognition…

    14th February 2018 The Vampire's Kiss

    As a special Valentine's Day gift to my lovely readers, supporters and well wishers, here is a sensual, seductive, and relatively spoiler free excerpt from Time's Fool.

    [TW: dub/non-con. Blood.]

    The Vampire's Kiss

    He was standing beside her bed. She lay, calm and asleep upon her side, her hair spreading across the pillows like smoke, her smoke-grey eyes pressed closed. He inhaled, tasting…

    2nd February 2018 Artwork winner, take two!

    It is now time to announce the winner of the second piece of artwork, and with the help of my fabulous assistent, the Incredible Clockwork Karloff, we are able to tell you it was *drumroll*

    Pamela Evans!

    I will get that in the post to you asap.

    Thank you all for your support, and as we approach the final lap, there will be more exciting Time's Fool news and prizes soon...

    31st January 2018 Artwork winner!

    Time's Fool has reached 85% funding, so, with the help of the Desktop Draculas, it is time to annonce the winner of the "Her Red Eyes Again" artwork. Drumroll, please.......

    That is Bill and Ann Lewis! Thank you, once again, Count Duckula, for your help.

    The draw for the smaller, pen and ink piece will be on Friday, to give you a little more of a chance to tell me if you have got a friend…

    30th January 2018 Art giveaway - the absence in out landscapes

    So, here is the second picture for my art giveaway at 85%, from which we are a really not very far at all.

    It is A4, in pen and ink wash, and is entirely hand-drawn and original. It's a picture of a empty niche in the (very beautiful) porch of St Michael's Church, Beccles, where I sat sketching this, and got so cold I couldn't actually feel the pen in my hand.

    A recurring theme in these…

    22nd January 2018 Her Red Eyes Again, art giveaway update:

    So, this is one of the pictures I will be giving away when Time's Fool reaches 85% funding - which is really close now. It is A3, in ink, watercolour and maybe some other bits because I like mixing my media.

    If you want to be in with a chance of winning this, all you need to be is a supporter of Time's Fool. The other piece of art will be done when we reach 84% funding (from which we are a…

    9th January 2018 Goth Karaoke - 80% dare, and how to win some artwork

    So, those of you who follow me on Twitter, or have 'liked' my Facebook page will already have seen this, but I thought I should post it here as well. As you can see, it's on Youtube so you are able to share to my mortification as widely as you see fit.

    It's a bit late up here, I appreciate. My computer decided New Year's Eve was an excellent time for a total crash that nearly lost me ALL my work…

    8th December 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 10

    This is the tenth, and final, part of the loose prequel to Time's Fool, Some Chequered Affection. If you are just joining us, then it begins here.

    Charles Morland has gone to confront his lover about the death of a young serviceman last seen in Fulbeck's company, but they have interrupted by another of Fulbeck's conquests. How's it going to end?

    Things get a little heated in this…

    2nd December 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 9

    This is the ninth part of a prequel to Time's Fool, which begins here:

    Letting himself in to Fulbeck's house, is it answers Charles Morland is seeking? Or revenge?

    [CN: mention of suicide, murder and funerals]

    Part Nine:

    Stepping in to the hall, he was aware of how loud his footsteps were upon the tiled floor. The sudden enormity of what he had done struck him, but it did…

    29th November 2017 I asked the good people of Twitter what I should do at 80% funding

    ... and they want me to post a video of me singing Dancing Queen.

    Oh dear.

    "You can dance! Yooooouuuu can jiiiiiivvvee...." Well, this won't be embarrasing at all.

    If you don't want to wait to see me publicly humiliated like this, why not upgrade your pledge, or buy a copy for a friend?

    Also, if you're in Beccles this weekend, do come by and say hello at the Anglian Authors Unite event…

    22nd November 2017 Time's Fool makes an excellent Christmas present

    Stuck buying a present for that awkward person in your life? Looking for a stocking filler for a bookworm? Why not pre-order them a copy of Time's Fool?

    It's perfect for winter, a story of darkness closing in and the light that we make in it, a proper old-school supernatural horror for the festive season. Not only can you get them a copy, but they can have their name in the list of supporters in…

    15th November 2017 The creature's house

    I like old buildings. I get a bit like Steven about old building, which makes me  do lots of loitering, take pictures at dutch angles. My parents were National Trust members, so a lot of childhood weekends were spent trailing round stately homes, not touching the antiques and not walking on the grass. On the long car journey home, I would stare out the window, daydreaming about ghosts, Bad Barons…

    3rd November 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 8

    I feel as though I've been spamming people with updates a bit of late, but we are at 76%, so here is the next part of Some Chequered Affection. The story starts here.

    This is the beginning of the final "chapter" of the story, but it's a long one, so will be spread over three or four updates - and remember, the quicker we fund, the sooner the next update. Also, any new pledges or upgrades…

    1st November 2017 Limited time offer - name a character

    Ever wanted to see your name in a book? Or got a brilliant name and nothing much to do with it? Well, make a new, or increase an existing, pledge to Time's Fool before midnight 5th November 2017 and you can name a character in my 2017 Nanowrimo project, Leech*.

    Simply pledge (or increase your pledge) and write in the comments what you want your character to be called. The novel is set in a diverse…

    31st October 2017 Happy Hallowe'en

    Just a quick post to wish a Happy Hallowe'en/Samhain to all my wonderful supporters.

    The last two weeks in October are always a bit of a nightmare for me - but just to tide you over, here's a little sketch I got to do in the chapel of what is probably the Time's Fool landscape - specifically, the closest thing I have to a real world model for the creature's house:

    Stay spooky! Have a wonderful…

    9th October 2017 The Desktop Draculas announce the winners

    In the balmy days before the Sprogs were mobile, I had a little Tod Browning's Dracula set up on my desk - with a clockwork Dracula, a clockwork potato beetle, a solar powered spider, and a dear little armadillo. Unfortunately, the years between moving and able to understand that not all toys belong to them sadly robbed this collection and they have since been replaced by the desktop Draculas, plus…

    6th October 2017 Wampire Woice Wideo

    75%. We're on 75%. *Does a little crowdfunding dance* Oh, my goodness, you people are amazing! We are on the homestretch. I am overwhelmed and jazz-handing.

    No, I'm being serious, I always do *jazz hands* when I'm excited by something and I do have a little crowdfunding dance - tho we all know I ain't no dancer, so it's honestly more of shimmy.

    Sorry, I'm gushing. What you're all really here…

    2nd October 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 7

    This is the seventh part of a free short story that forms a loose prequel to Time's Fool. It begins here.

    Leaving Beechworth's funeral, Morland is shaken by Graves' revelation. But as he makes his way home, it becomes clear that violent events of the past month are not finished yet.

    Part 7

    Morland had not wept. All the tears that he had not shed seemed to fill his whole body, to build…

    25th September 2017 I said I'd dress up as a vampire, didn't I?

    Fangs and all, when we got to 75%.

    But you know what, I didn't even specify which vampire! I could put on some casual wear and pretend I was one of those pretty boys from True Blood. You lot would have nothing to complain about!

    But where would the fun be in that?

    What's more, I promised "an offensively bad Bela Lugosi voice." You know, I'm beginning to regret this already...

    All the same…

    21st September 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 6

    Before we start, an ENORMOUS thanks to everyone who has pledged recently. And remember, I will be giving a signed, original piece of Time's Fool Landscapes artwork (approx A4) when I reach a hundred supporters - at the time of posting there are still SIX chances left to win this.

    And, co-incidentally, this is part six of a serailsed short story which is a loose prequel to Time's Fool. It…

    18th September 2017 Wonderful Whitby

    Ah, no place is closer to a Dracularian's heart that Whitby - at least for one who's never been able to afford a trip to Romania. This time, however, it was my great pleasure and privilege to attend meetings of the Dracula Society and spend a slightly boozy weekend with people who *actually get my jokes*.

    I've been a member for a year or so now, but I'd never been along to a meeting before…

    13th September 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 5

    This is the fifth part of a free short story which starts here.

    Confused and grieving, Charles Morlad has run from his father's house after yet another quarrel, seeking solace in the night-time streets of Barchester.

    Apologies for the lack of picture - this will be remedied asap.

    Part Five:

    Fulbeck had told him that such places existed - yes, even in places as provincial and conservative…

    8th September 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 4

    This is the fourth part of a serialised story that acts as a loose prequel to Time's Fool. It begins here:

    Charles Morland has agreed to his lover's version of events, and made no more mention of the other 'accusations' in Beechworth's note. The story resumes later the same day.

    Part Four:

    The Colonel was eating. He did it with the savage pleasure of a man who had earned his…

    5th September 2017 Performances, holidays and term starts.

    Ah, September. The mornings are grey and misty, the leaves turn and catch in the first autumn breezes, and everything smells of new shoes and fresh stationary. Night whispers at the edges of everything.

    In the city of Barchester, the corridors are clean and empty, troubled only by lecturers and postgraduate students. In childhood bedrooms, students pack up clothes, print off reading lists, and…

    23rd July 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 3

    This is the third part a free short story, which begins here:

    So, Charles Morland has found the body of Henry Beechworth, an apparant suicide, and has sought his friend Fulbeck for comfort and advice. But Fulbeck has not been quite as sympathetic as Morland had hoped.

    Read more:

    “There,” Fulbeck said, in his old voice, the one made him sound so tender, so very sincere, “you poor…

    4th July 2017 Some Chequered Affection, Part 2

    This is the second part of a free short story, which begins here

    Charles Morland has discovered the body of his oldest friend, Henry Beechworth - dead by suicide. Who does he turn to with this news?

    Read more:

    [CN: suicide]

    The door was still in shadow when he reached it, and stepping in to its lee was a blessed relief from the sun, now high, cut through his Norfolk with…

    26th June 2017 Some Chequered Affection

    So, I promised it, and here it is, the first part of Some Chequered Affection. If you've ever wondered why, and what, is said to haunt the creature's house, here the story behind Steven's "average post-Victorian spook". 

    This story has a different vibe to main novel, being more of a period piece, and with a touch more of the thriller/murder mystery to it than supernatural horror. However, there…

    19th June 2017 Cards, short stories and guided tours

    Hello everyone!

    Woo, 67%, look at that! We are very much getting there! So, couple of awesome new things lined up:

    1) A few people on social media have been saying nice things about my Time's Fool landscape sketches so we're looking to add a new reward level where you can get one of these on a card with a personalised message from yours truly. This would be especially good for overseas supporters…

    16th May 2017 Some mixed news

    A minor change of plan on the Time’s Fool front, I’m afraid.

    Rather than the hardback version we were initially aiming for, Unbound and I have decided to reduce the funding goal, and release Time’s Fool as a paperback instead.

    While I would have loved to be able to bring this crowd-funder to completion at its original target, life has had other plans this past year which means everything has…

    24th April 2017 Scars on Sound, the Book Hive, 27th April

    I will be a the BookHive in Norwich on 27th April between 6:30 and 8:30, launching a collection of short stories called 'Scars on Sound'. It's a series of folk horror and traditional ghost stories with a lyrical edge.

    There be music, wine and couple of performances of local weird fiction, so do come along if you're in the area, because it looks to be a really lovely night in one of my favourite…

    12th April 2017 24% forfeit, an interview with Rachel Plummer

    I promised another forfeit at 24%, chosen by the supporter who got me over the mark. That turned out to be Rachel Plummer - who asked for a no-holes barred interview, and a reading of B.J Novak's The Book with No Pictures (which unfortunately I can't share here.)

    Want your chance to call a forfeit? I'll be doing another at 26% and 28% - get pledging!

    Rachel Plummer is a poet whose publishing…

    13th March 2017 A quarter of the way there! Prizes, news, sunshine!

    Although apparantly there'll be a cold snap this weekend. So, to announce the winner of the free gothic novel which I promised to give out at 25%, it is *drumroll* Mr IAN GILES who was the ninth person to pledge to Time's Fool.

    I will try to contact him directly to see which book he'd prefer, or he can leave a message in the comments - choices are Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, Lost Souls…

    10th March 2017 Fingers crossed:

    If you've wondered exactly what it is I'm wearing around my neck in the promotional video, it's this:


    As a lump of rock, it'd be pretty unremarkable, except that the hole at the top is not man-made. Instead, it probably made by a piddock - a shy little bivalve who drills a hole in a stone, then hides in it. (A creature after my own heart.) When the piddock moves on elsewhere (or dies,…

    27th January 2017 Maiden Gin

    Editing Time's Fool, I was struck by how seldom Sophia was seen without a glass of something in her hand. Those who know her creator, however, understand that I am abstemious, practically teetoal, and would never do something so undignified as get hammered. However, my hometown is historically famous for distilling gin - a practice that has recently been restarted by The Maiden Distillery, who make…

    10th January 2017 Oh, what a wealth of sorrow in a few words

    In our society, we do not deal well with death. I remember when my grandfather was dying, standing beside my sister, my mother, my gran, with the sick harshness of grief like a wall between us all. I closed my hands to fists and wished that we had a etiquette to deal with it, a form of words to express the chaos, the loss that began to skirl about inside me.

    Death is sanitised, closed away in the…

    20th December 2016 It is the longest, darkest night of the year

    “ …when the sun is a small and distant thing. Imagine how it must have been, in earlier times before electric light. Villages cut off from one another as the snow drifted and the wind howled at the doors. The animals housed nearby, or inside, for there were still wolves and bears roaming the last stands of the wildwood. People sending their frail little prayers up to heaven for safety, and for health…

    29th November 2016 Bad planning, working titles and contractions: the joy of first drafts

    Writing a novel was the last thing I should have been doing. 1st November 2009: I was eight months pregnant and three months into an MA, and there I was, logging in to nanowrimo.org, and writing the first, uncertain sentences of what had the catchy title of Alys’ Vampire Novel.

    Over the next thirty days - between reading my course texts, going to NCT classes, heartburn and essay planning - I snatched…

    17th November 2016 Live Reading! (23rd November)

    This is a reading I did at the Birdcage in Norwich back in July, reading from chapter twelve. I believe I will be back there on 23rd of November, either giving another little review of Time's Fool, or else something from my upcoming book of short stories, Scars on Sound. If you are about in the Fine City, do come along and see it!

    30th October 2016 Hallowe'en - we are in novel time

    Time's Fool is a novel for the dark half of the year. It is set in the listing light of autumn and winter, and deals with themes of darkness, secrets, and death, and was written (in first draft) through one glittering, Norwich November, when the trees blazed like fire and the nights were frost spangled.

    Fitting then, for the plot proper to start on Hallowe'en - the ancient festival of Sanhaim,…

    19th October 2016 The V word.

    The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that there is a specific word that the creature does not use to refer to himself: Vampire.

    This may feel a little odd, considering that vampire fiction is one of my favourite sub-categories of Gothic fiction. Worse, it might seem as though I'm ashamed of the fact - claiming I'm writing something that isn't a first cousin to all the other vampire fiction…

    10th October 2016 Meeting Steven

    So, as promised, I've uploaded a little performance. The whole thing can be read here although a transcript of the reading can be found below. It introduces us a little more to Steven in a context where he is not being a deliberately irritating know-it-all.

    Steven is - at the opening of the novel - 20 years old and beginning his final year of a BA in English Literature. He lives with Lucy in a…

    23rd September 2016 Happy Bi Visibility Day

    A little sketch I did of the creature (Julian) for Bi-Visibility day. LGBT+ representation is very important to me in my writing and I've never hidden my characters' orientations - although being a 14th century gent, the creature is a little behind on his terminology.

    Sorry the colours are a little off on the flag, this ended up being done very much with what I had to hand, and what was to hand…

    8th September 2016 Three Questions

    You meet a vampire. You know it's a vampire.

    How do you kill it?

    So, I was in a forum discussion the a while back and there was a game running where you get to ask a vampire three questions. An impressive number of the responses were things likes, “Would daylight kill you?” “Would a stake through the heart work?”

    Really? You're actually going to say that? Is that not incredibly gauche? You…

    11th August 2016 My five favourite Gothic novels (that you possibly haven't read) - book giveaway

    If you fancy any of these books, when Time’s Fool reaches 25% I’ll be posting one of them to a lucky subscriber. In addition to their choice of the titles below (or an equivalent book token) they’ll also be getting a handwritten letter thanking them for their support. So, if you fancy any of these, spread the word and pledge yourself for your chance to win.

    What makes the Gothic? Is it the…

    3rd August 2016 Introducing the creature

    Hello again!

    Sorry for the delayed post - technical issues last week meant I lost a whole ton of work and have spent the intervening time kicking things in frustration.

    So, one thing that probably needs to be said is that - although the city in Time’s Fool is Barchester - it’s based very much upon my time in Norwich. Much was it was plotted on late night walks after the UEA library had finally…

    20th July 2016 Adventures in the Gothic

    Wow, this weather really isn't made for the gothically inclined among us.

    Are you surprised that Time's Fool is set in all the glittering inclemency of English winter? Seems a long way distant, but the evenings are already drawing in a little, sending a shiver of the dying year. Actually, after the sun goes down, it's really beautiful in East Anglia. Spent last night out by bonfire in the back…

    28th June 2016 Art work level

    Here's a little sneak preview of Vic 'Iddstar' Hill's illustration-in-progress of the first scene of Time's Fool.

    I've known Vic's art for a good while now, and it was her expressive lines and clean style I was imagining when writing that fraught and youthful scene in the union bar. She has absolutely captured the expression on Sophia's face.

    A wallpaper style download of this will be made…

    24th June 2016 Cake!

    As you may have noticed, there is a new pledge available on the project page:

    Cake or death

    Yes, that is a cake. When I'm not being a badass goth, a hobby of mine is making occasion cakes in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes and designs. If you want a cake that will be utterly unique and eye-catching at a special event, then you can receive one if you pledge to Time's Fool.

    13th June 2016 Radio interviews, new reward levels, artwork, and a preview of Chapter Two

    So, some cool stuff is going on. Shortly after this goes live I will be adding a preview of Chapter Two of Time's Fool to the Shed - however, this will only accessible to people who have pledged. If you want to read it, you know what to do! As an added incentive, I have some really cool stuff lined up for subscribers when we hit milestone funding points and various arbitrary percentages which I've…

    24th May 2016 Transcript of the Time's Fool pitch video

    Hi, I’m Alys Earl and I want to introduce you to my debut novel, Time’s Fool.

    Time’s Fool is a novel for M R James fans who sometimes want something a little more modern and edgy from their weird fiction. It’s very much a novel that’s come out of my love of the classics of the supernatural horror genre, but also from the problems that some of these stories raise for me.

    We like to be scared…

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