Author Feature, Release Blitz and Excerpt: A unit – not merely in their love lives the story of The Refuge Bid by Jude Tresswell

We are so pleased to be able to host author Jude Tresswell today with a featured look into The Refuge Bid, followed by an excerpt as part of their book release!  Watch for Laora's review coming soon!

How many ways are there to write crime and mysteries stories? One way resembles those seventies Columbo TV programmes. The mystery was over before it had begun; you knew who the perpetrator was. The interest was in watching Columbo work the details out. At the opposite end of the scale are the classic who-done-its? where readers try to solve the mystery before the sleuths do. The Refuge Bid falls somewhere between the two. It opens with the concealment of a murder, but the ID of both the victim and the perp are hidden, for a while at least. The interest for me, and hopefully for readers, is seeing how the Quad and their good friend, Nick, discover the names of the personnel involved.

My men aren’t superheroes. They don’t have paranormal attributes—no superhuman strength, no X-ray vision nor bionic bits and pieces—and they definitely don’t do magic. They have to rely on themselves, using individual, everyday skills to create something that’s more than the sum of the parts. In this sense, the way that they deal with their mysteries is the same as the way that they deal with their everyday lives. Apart from Nick (who continues to work out his relationship with the Quad in The Refuge Bid) the men are polyamorous and, as Mike says in an earlier story, their being poly helps: “We rely on each other. We share the burden… It’s those differences… The fact that in a poly lifestyle there’s always someone who can tap into your mood, recognise your needs and grant your desires. It broadens the scope of everythin’ really. It’s enrichin’. It’s wonderful.” Mike was referring to emotional and physical needs, but his comments apply to other contexts, including fighting crime.

So, how do their differences and willingness to share help them to catch a murderer and provide the peace, the refuge, that they crave? Each man has a part to play. Raith: he might be manic at times, but his artistic ability and his photographic memory are integral parts of the plot. His husband, Phil, is a surgeon. Phil’s medical knowledge and medical bearing enable action to move forwards more than once. Mike, as always, is the one who executes the action but, in The Refuge Bid, his background in the building trade facilitates his doing so. Ross, meanwhile, brings all his administrative know-how to the table; they couldn’t manage without him. They all still need Nick, though. His background and his own search for peace are central to the Quad’s success.

I hope it’s a story that people like. Part crime/ mystery and part relationships as always. Thank you so much for the opportunity to tell you a little about its protagonists. 


Title: The Refuge Bid

Series: County Durham Quad 8

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: KDP

Release Date: 31st July 2022

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Word count: 64,000

Genre: gay crime/mystery, M/M menage, sexual/ asexual relationships

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The Refuge Bid is a gay mystery and relationships tale set in fictional Tunhead, northeast England. Is there a link between a woman who has been missing for ten years and the people bidding to buy and redevelop Tunhead’s decommissioned church and graveyard? Can the County Durham Quad and their special friend, Nick, find out and stop the sale—one grave is special—and can they raise the cash to counter the bids with an offer of their own? Success involves drawing on Tunhead’s quarrying industry past and on employing their very different skills but, also, they must acknowledge what it is that they really want from their unusual liaison. (Involves asexual/ sexual relationships and contains references to a teenager’s suicide and conversion therapy.)

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Discover the entire series!

Tales that track the exploits of Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who live and love in County Durham, North-East England. Together with, from Book 3 onward, their friend, Nick Seabrooke, the Quad solve crimes, are accused of crimes and, occasionally, commit crimes. Their actions jeopardise their relationships. Sometimes, the biggest threat they face is staying together. Each tale comes with its own plot, and background is included to aid new readers. Feel free to jump in anywhere.

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Anxiety, but mounting relief. Those were his feelings as he stamped down the final clod of earth and smoothed the surface. Some stones and bricks would lie around but who would pay attention to a scattering of those in a place like this? You wouldn’t give them a second glance. So, he’d done it! Literally buried a problem and no one would be any the wiser.

And nobody was until, years later, a group of men from County Durham started digging up the past.


The Beck on the Wear Arts Centre, known for ease and for effect as BOTWAC, and the brainchild of Ross Whitburn-Howe. Ross lay in bed and mentally ticked off items linked to BOTWAC’s Easter re-opening. People could visit all year round if they wished to, but the Centre’s location at the end of the lane that wound steeply up to Tunhead in the Durham hills was an icy deterrent during winter. Come spring, though, Tunhead shook off winter’s cold discomforts and looked and sounded full of life—even where it harboured death, for Tunhead had a church with a graveyard.

It might be asked why a tiny village that had never been home to more than a hundred people at any one time should boast a church, let alone a graveyard. The church was a gift from the family who, two centuries past, had owned the limestone quarry that led to Tunhead’s existence. The workers should have Sundays off, provided they prayed and listened to sermons instead, and as the nearest church was a ten mile walk from the row of terraced houses, it seemed sensible to offer an alternative on-site as it were. So, called St Stephen’s after the patron saint of stone masons, the church was used by the quarrymen, their families, the tenant farmers and farmhands who worked the fields adjoining the lane and by the old landowners themselves. St Steve’s was still consecrated although, now, disused. That didn’t mean that the graveyard had become a dismal ruin. Like the rest of the village, it looked neat and tidy, spring flower-full and ready to welcome visitors.

“Yes!” thought Ross. “Everything sorted. Publicity placed with the tourist board, leaflets ready for distribution, programme of events arranged, social media angles covered, and bookings already coming in for the workshops and for August’s week-long pottery festival.”

The man who lay beside him stirred, opened and rubbed two sleepy eyes and said, “Mornin’, Gorgeous.”

“Morning, Mike.” Ross smiled and returned the squeeze that followed the greeting. He snuggled down to enjoy a few more minutes’ warmth in bed. A hair dryer whirred into action from the bedroom across the landing.

“That Raith doin’ his hair? Better get a move on before he’s down and nickin’ me breakfast sausages.” Mike got up, pulled on a pair of boxers and went downstairs.

The ‘Raith’ was Raith Rodrigo Roberts-Balaño—known as Raith Balan: sculptor of erotic art and wearer of exotic clothing. The ‘Roberts’ section of his name was the surname of his husband, Phil, who in comparison with Raith was extremely conventional, and a surgeon. Phil was breakfasting on yoghurt, fruit and wholemeal bread when Mike entered the sunny kitchen.

“Mornin’ Phil.” A kiss on the cheek and a hug around the shoulders. Returned with a grin and a “Morning.”

And so, Ross, Mike, Raith and Phil looked forward to March with the optimism produced by mutual affection and the promise of spring.

Meet the Author

Meet the Author

Just released Book 8 in the County Durham Quad series. I think it might be the final one. There's a piece of non-fiction that I want to write (still focusing on County Durham!) and I know that the research alone will take up much of my time. I do love the north of England. It's where I was born and grew up and northern England is the setting for all my work. I always 'heard' the stories as I wrote them and I wanted to read extracts over visual footage of County Durham (the Quad tales) and Yorkshire (Scar Ghyll Levels). It's a project that became became a reality.

Six videos are now on YouTube. To see all the videos in full, plus the photographs I took for Scar Ghyll Levels, visit my YouTube channel -

Find my blog here - It really is a poly all sorts of a blog but there's a books and an LGBTQ focus.

I hope that you like the new book. Last one or not, it has a happy ending.

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  1. Thank you for the opportunity to chat to readers about my men. It's most appreciated - Jude


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