Welcome

Welcome to my wordpress blog. I’m a part-time clerk and a freelance writer and I enjoy writing fiction and blog posts. I enjoy reading widely, television and movies, walking, wine, digital photography, and pets. I love stories!

I have an interest in fantasy, history, mythology and fairy tales, spirituality, along with science and science fiction. I’m more inclined to historical fantasy than “true history” and favourite eras include the Renaissance and Regency (Regency romances in particular).

I’m a childfree asexual and as such blog about these topics from time to time. I also write about spirituality and nature, including eclectic paganism, and about wildlife.

I sometimes post photographs I’ve taken, as well as product reviews, book reviews, and blog posts about film and television.

I post poetry and occasional fiction or links to my fiction here, and my fiction only blog is here.

I’m based in the UK and I write from a British perspective in British English.

You can visit my website or alternatively my fiction site and other social media sites are listed below:

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interlude: Stitches

Ficlet set pre WiP Sorceress Apprentice. 353 words. Bryony sews a dress for a customer. No warnings apply.

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Interlude: stitching

Bryony stitched the seam of the dress with quick, efficient motions, her needle like a tiny silver sword piercing the dark velvet fabric. It reminded her of a painting she’d once seen, a school of dolphins dipping up from beneath the water’s surface before their graceful curved bodies disappeared beneath the waves once more.

She’d never seen the sea in person, let alone a dolphin, but she longed to. Yet the ocean was so very far away and she was just a seamstress without the means to pay for such a journey, let alone anywhere to stay to enjoy the scenery for a time.

The woman who would wear this dress could afford the journey. She’d made the order at the market Bryony and her sister, Kerine, had visited, their stalls set up side by side, the seamstress and the woodworker. These commissions were vital, the markets essential parts of finding customers.

The woman who’d chosen the design, picking the example dress Bryony had hanging from a rack showing the current popular styles, was taller and thinner than Bryony, her face and hair pale unlike Bryony’s dark looks, a noble beauty wearing jewels that sparkled in the sun. She’d handled the material samples with fingers that had never stitched or chopped wood or peeled vegetables, her skin as soft as the velvet she chose.

“I will wear it when we visit Greyville,” the woman said, naming a coastal town. “Lord Anders is holding a ball to celebrate the equinox.”

Bryony had said the right things, named her price and had it accepted without any haggling, taken measurements, and received a small deposit. This dress would be striking, low-cut, high-waisted, and flowing to mid-calf. The gold embroidery and seed pearls would draw attention to the cleavage. It would suit her client and hopefully impress the other guests at the ball.

What Bryony wouldn’t give to see the sea just once! But it was a ridiculous dream and so she poured her longing into her work, the needle threading its way through the material with ease and skill, the dress taking shape with every stitch.

2017 fiction roundup

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All the fiction (flash fiction, snippets, poetry, etc) I’ve posted to WordPress in 2017 and the crossposts to my fiction blog/tumblr and links to the promotional posts.

Fic: Do You Believe in Magic wordpress ; fic blog
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Ficlet: Drinking in the Moon wordpress ; fic blog
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Flash Fiction: The Dragon Savers wordpress ; my fic blog
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Prose Poem: unburdened wordpress ; fic blog
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Prose poem, The Importance of Audience: The Unwatched Play wordpress ; writing blog
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Prose poem, The Artist: What it is to live with the muse wordpress ; writing blog
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Poem: We Are Our Own Worst Critics wordpress ; fic blog
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Birdseed (exact drabble) wordpress ; fic blog
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Fic: A Kiss Divine (modern day Ariadne/Dionysus) wordpress ; fic blog
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Fiction: The House of Conrí wordpress ; fiction blog
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Fic: Small Comfort wordpress ; fiction blog
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Fiction: A Wonderful Gift wordpress ; fic blog
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Fiction: Communication wordpress ; fic blog
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Micro fic wordpress ; fic blog
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Paired Poetry wordpress ; fic blog
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Fiction: Watching the Stars wordpress ; fic blog
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Fiction: Bliss wordpress ; fic blog
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Haiku: Lighthouse wordpress ; fic blog
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Poem: Winter’s Kiss wordpress ; fic blog
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Acrostic Poem: Betrayal wordpress ; fic blog
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Poem: Weathering the Storm wordpress ; fic blog
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Micro Fic #2 wordpress ; fic blog
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Micro Fic wordpress ; fic blog
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NaNoWriMo 2017 – fic snippet (wre) wordpress ; fic blog
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Fic: Christmas is Coming (wre) wordpress ; fic blog
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Fic: Hot Chocolate (wre) wordpress ; fic blog
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Fic: Cookies (wre) wordpress ; fic blog
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Fic: Cookies

cookies

Set in the WiP WRE verse. 445 words. No warnings apply.

“They’re awful,” El said, turning her back on the cookies, almost tearful.

Romaine had never seen perfectionist El before. But then last Christmas, when they were both working at the helpline, she’d booked leave and gone on holiday with her family. He’d never witnessed the intensity of her yuletide celebrations firsthand.

“They don’t look that bad,” Romaine said. Continue reading Fic: Cookies

Ficlet: Hot Chocolate

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Set in (and post) my NaNoWriMo2017/WiP WRE. No warnings apply.

Hot Chocolate

Romaine watched El whisk the powdered drinking chocolate into the saucepan full of hot milk, adding a pinch of cinnamon and another of nutmeg. When she was satisfied, she poured the mixture into the mugs, filling them about half-way. She added a generous amount of brandy, some marshmallows, topped the mugs with a ton of whipped cream – he now realised why she’d purchased four cans – and finished the whole thing off with chocolate sprinkles.

“Hot chocolate,” El said, beaming, offering him a mug.

“Well, somewhere under all that,” Romaine said, grateful for the long-handled spoon she passed to him.

“Don’t be such a sour wolf,” she teased. She took a sip, got whipped cream on her nose.

Cavanaugh, who had a habit of arriving when there was food or drink to be had, let himself in and joined them in the kitchen. He kissed El’s cheek as she gave him her mug. His immediate response, while El poured another drink for herself, was to stick his finger in the cream and lick it clean.

“Cats,” Romaine said, rolling his eyes in mock disapproval.

“You love us really,” Cavanaugh said with a grin. He leaned his head against Romaine’s shoulder, nudged at him. El, still topping her mug with cream, glanced over her shoulder and smiled.

“Yes,” Romaine admitted with a sigh, loading his spoon with cream, “I do.”

Fic: Christmas is Coming

A ficlet set in the world of my WiP/NaNoWriMo2017, working title WRE. 335 words, no warnings apply.

 

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Christmas is Coming

“Where did all this come from?” Romaine stared at the myriad cardboard and plastic boxes filling the living room. He’d helped El move house twice now and never seen any of these items.

“I store it at my parent’s house. They said now I have a proper house and not a small rental I have to keep it though.” El rolled her eyes at the imposition.

Romaine pointed out two boxes. “Those are both artificial trees.”

“Yes. And that’s a mini one in the box there.”

“You said you wanted to buy a real potted tree to put outside.”

El nodded. “Four trees. Don’t judge me. I warned you I like decorating for Yuletide.”

“It’s the fifteenth of November!”

El lifted up a bundle of shiny tinsel. “I’ve got a lot to sort through and we have to decide where everything’s going to go.”

“It’s November,” Romaine repeated in the faint hope this might make some difference.

“I know! Only forty days until Christmas! Only thirty six until Yule!”

Romaine sighed. He picked up a Christmas hat, red felt with white trim and a jaunty pom-pom, and put it on his head. “Ho, ho, ho?”

“That’s the spirit!” El picked up a cardboard box from the depths of a sturdier packing box. “Oh, my snowglobe.”

Romaine gingerly made his way around the scattered Christmas paraphernalia to crouch by the coffee table. El wound the musical ornament up with the tiny gold key, shook it once to set the snow and glitter falling, and placed it down.

“Winter Wonderland” played and the scene, a cosy cottage with a giant decorated fir tree outside, was blanketed with snow. A dog and a kitten sat looking at the tree, and there was a tiny wooden sleigh nearby. The sleigh was piled with gifts which were brightly wrapped and topped with gold and silver bows.

“It’s lovely,” Romaine said softly when the tune finished.

“Too early to put in on the mantelpiece?”

He shook his head. “Not at all.”

 

 

On Childfree Characters

Someone once said I couldn’t create and write about as many childfree characters as I wanted because it was unrealistic.

1) I have no obligation to be realistic in fiction. It’s fiction. Sometimes it’s fantasy fiction. If there can be dragons there can be childfree characters.

2)

(gif: Tom Hiddleston as Loki, arms outstretched as he leans from a car window, text reads: I do what I want)

That said, you want realism?

More than one in five women do not have children. It’s not as rare as fictional media would have you believe. (Also around one in three women have abortions, I mention this for a reason.)

And even if that were not the case, why can’t I write all my characters as childfree if I want to? (Or asexual? Or both?)

I could own a publishing house and a film and/ or television company and pump out books and films and multiple high profile TV shows, every single one with a childfree female protagonist. And it would be nothing compared to the constant stream of media centred on the woman as mother, the media that tells us motherhood is inevitable unless there are tragic circumstances.

Look at the thousands of books with “baby epilogues” (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a good example, are most romance novels), books about women who changed their minds, shows with childfree women who change their mind and have a child/multiple children (Bones, The Big Bang Theory), shows that start out centred on a woman but then it becomes not about her skills about her motherhood (Fringe and its treatment of Olivia Dunham; to a lesser extent, Teyla in Stargate: Atlantis), or a woman who’s got a world to save but if her birth control fails she won’t get an abortion despite her seeming utterly uninterested in motherhood (Wynonna Earp) .

In fact Grey’s Anatomy‘s Cristina Yang is a rare example of a childfree woman, one who did get an abortion to remain so. Remember, abortions do take place, and it is mostly women who have already had children who request them, but there are women without children who have abortions because they don’t want children yet or indeed they never want children. How I Met Your Mother‘s Robin Scherbatsky also remained childfree but had to grieve over being found to be sterile.

I’m talking here about female characters because I’m a woman writing female, as well as male, childfree characters. There are probably more male characters who are childfree overall or those who just never mention wanting children, but they don’t come under the same scrutiny. Captain Picard (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Cormoran Strike (Strike novels; it’s said twice in the first 2 books that he has never wanted children and adds that he isn’t sentimental about them) are just two examples but I’m betting people can come up with many more, far more examples than those of females who don’t want and more importantly never do have children.

I cannot change the world or the media landscape but I can write what I want to. And many of my female characters are childfree. There are no baby epilogues. And I will not apologise for that.  Sometimes you have to write the story you most want to read.

 

Micro Fic

For the writerverse one sentence fic prompts.

Prompt: daybreak

Dawn came early, not with rosy fingers but with grey clouds threatening rain as befitted a British summer.

Prompt: compass

He finally realised that a compass is merely a tool can tell you which direction you’re facing, but not where you want to go, or ought to.

Prompt: proposition

It wasn’t a great offer but between the devil and the deep blue sea, he chose the devil, for he was unable to swim.

Prompt: cowboys

Rock singers and US football players and feckless tradesmen may lay claim to the name, but he always thought of cowboys as Stetson wearing animal herders, American pioneers, and wished he could have the chance to ride with them.

Prompt: friendship

In an attempt to cheer me up, he showed up with a DVD, a pizza, and a bottle of wine, and really, what more could I ask for?

Prompt: giggle

Laughter escaped her lips in a sudden giggle and in the face of amusement, her fear fled.

 

Asexual Awareness Week 2017

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Asexual Awareness Week runs from 22 October to 28 October this year.
Here are some useful links.

Asexual Awareness Week

Asexuality 101
What is Asexuality?
Asexuality: a brief introduction includes a link to a downloadable pdf
Am I Asexual? 10 Things You [probably] Don’t (But Should) Know About Asexuality, Because It’s Not All About Sex
How to Tell If You Are Asexual

Asexuality Is a Sexual Orientation, Not a Sexual Dysfunction
There’s Nothing Wrong With Being Asexual
Here are the 11 biggest asexual myths busted

Asexuality and Romantic Orientation for example someone can identify as a biromantic asexual
3 People Get Real About What It Means to Be Aromantic
Biromantic, Heteromantic, Homoromantic & Panromantic

10 Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who’s Asexual
8 Things You Should Never Say to an Asexual Person
Things you should never say to an asexual person
Sex is Not a Vitamin

Key points:
Asexuality is a spectrum
Asexuality is not celibacy
Asexuality is an orientation and not a disease
Asexuality does not predict romantic orientation