I Like It Hard – A publishing anniversary

Apologies for cross-posting, but… it’s a special day – and not least because it’s the general election and also the day James Comey appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Cover of I Like It Hard by Francis James FranklinMy novelette, I Like It Hard, was published by Less Than Three Press (who are currently having a sale to celebrate Pride month) this day last year.

After her brother Dan loses in the final of the XXX-rated Reality TV show I Like It Hard, Helen Arnold finds new purpose in life: enter the show herself—and win.

But no amount of training or advice from Dan and his lovers can fully prepare her for naked interviews, two weeks in a porn-studio villa, and weeks of nerve- wracking live sex shows—all while dealing with the capricious nature of the judges, who wield absolute power over the show and its contestants.

Being both bisexual and aromantic, Helen is used to dealing with people who don’t like or approve of her—and she’s never been the type to back down when life gets hard.

Excerpt

“Oh,” my mother said when I told her the news, her neutral response spoken through lips twisted with unconcealed distaste. “Well done.” My father mumbled agreement. Clearly, both were still distressed that I was taking part in the competition at all, and despite their words, they were disappointed I hadn’t been kicked out.

Not that they had been one hundred percent behind Dan, but their complaints then had been more about his dragging them into the media spotlight. Which they were used to by now, really, so that wasn’t so much an issue. With me, it boiled down to my being a woman. My poor Mum. She had triumphed in her acceptance of Dan being gay, and had even at times shown a reluctant pride in seeing him on television, but I baffled her. In her mind, my bisexuality was a phase, my aromanticism was just a fancy way of saying I hadn’t met the right man, and my determination to follow in my brother’s footsteps was pure perversity to spite her.

“I don’t know why you feel you need to do this,” my mum said, not for the first time. I think I must have heard it at least once every week since I had started my training in earnest. “You’re such a smart girl. You should get yourself a normal job, find a nice young man, get married.” Thus proving that she never listened to a word I said.

Dan grinned at my scowl. “Yeah, Sis. You know what, we should post a video of you on YouTube, standing in front of a blackboard and writing fancy equations. Then you turn round, look at the camera, and say, ‘I like it hard!’”

I chuckled at this. “Do you think I could make a career in naked accountancy? ‘All figures exposed — except the real ones.’ How’s that for a slogan?”

Mum glared at both of us. “This isn’t a laughing matter! No one will ever take you seriously if you do this. And no man will ever love you. They’ll see you as a slut to be used and discarded.”

Yes, my mum called me a slut. While pretending not to, but still. Sighing, I looked at Dan. “Let’s go. This girl needs to train hard if she’s ever going to be as big a slut as you.”

Winter 2016-17 Day is Done @AlinaMeridon

I haven’t been writing much lately. In part, my day job has been keeping me too busy of late, but mostly I’m weary about the state of the world.

  • Brexit left me feeling wounded and confused, and the determination of Britain’s politicians to follow that path to our doom, like lemmings off a cliff, is… well, understandable, but deeply saddening. And especially worrying, since:
  • Trump. Oh. Dear. God. Damn, America, I get that you weren’t overly fond of Hilary, but why would you vote for an immature, entitled, egotistical, bigotted, woman-hating white supremacist? All I can say is, thank God for:
  • Supergirl? Oh, dear. I mean, I know I bitched a little about the pseudo-feminism in Season 1, but Season 2 is a mess! It’s even more illogical than Season 1, and while it’s great to have Alex finding true love with Maggie, it feels a little excessive when Kara barely gets any character development. The truth is that Cat Grant was a necessary balance, a good and powerful human female influence, in a series otherwise dominated by aliens, soldiers and cyborgs. (“After losing Cat Grant, the world of Supergirl feels completely imbalanced. It’s almost as if the fictional Cat Grant kept all the very real writers in place. Because let’s face it: Cat Grant would stand up for Supergirl.” – How The CW gave Supergirl a second season, then ruined it) The closest we get in Season 2 is Lena Luthor, and she’s sadly under-used; instead we have to endure an inexplicable relationship between Kara and Mon-El. But it’s increasingly clear that the writers don’t really care about the characters or the artistic integrity of Supergirl.
  • [On the plus side, I’ve watched some great series on Netflix: 3% (Brazilian post-apocalyptic), The Expanse (space opera), Luke Cage (Marvel), Jessica Jones (Marvel), Cyborg 009 (anime), and others also, but these are all definitely worth a shot.]
  • Oh, and also, my computer broke. The Apple Store has pronounced it “beyond repair”. One silver lining here, though: I extracted an old MacBook Pro from a cupboard and have managed to get Ubuntu Linux working smoothly – I’m continually astonished by how well Linux works these days. I remember installing it onto my 486 off a handful of floppy disks, and having to spend days fiddling with X Server parameters to get the monitor to work. These days the only thing I fight with is EFI, but I won’t go into that…
  • And last, but not least, I made an intelligent (I thought) and innocuous (I thought) comment on a blog article that kicked off an entirely too stressful discussion/argument, which left me feeling emotionally battered. It has been three weeks now since I baled, and I haven’t found the strength – or given in to the weakness – to see how much worse it got.

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