March 2017 Trolling @AlinaMeridon

I have been reading…

Love and Friendship, based on Lady Susan by Jane AustenLove & Friendship is on Netflix. The trailer had me in hysterics last year, but I never managed to get to the cinema to watch it. It’s great fun, and Kate Beckinsale is gorgeous as Lady Susan. It’s based on Jane Austen’s Lady Susan (free for Kindle), which I’m currently reading and very much enjoying.

Vagina Dentata by Lauryn PantsAlso free, Vagina Dentata may sound absolutely horrible – although it’s definitely worth reading the Wikipedia page on the subject (e.g., “In Shintoism the Ainu legend is that a sharp-toothed demon hid inside the vagina of a young woman and emasculated two young men on their wedding nights.”) – but it’s a beautifully written short story and full of humour. It’s also, no surprise, erotic and explicit.

Supergirl & Shipping & Trolling

After my complaints last month about Supergirl, my frustrations reached the point where I needed to have a more coherent rant: Another Super Rant – What the ’El? Apparently, tagging this as #Karamel made me a troll, e.g.: “Keep this crap out of our tags, troll!” I was almost tempted to reply, “Keep your shipping crap out my #Supergirl tag!” But that probably wouldn’t have achieved very much…

Perhaps the most interesting thing in all of this is the way people are so focussed on ‘endgame’ romances. In other words, the series needs to pick a romantic partner for Supergirl who will be her One True Love by the end of the final season, if and whenever that may be. In the case of Karamel, this means that Mon-El is here now and here to stay, and we may as well call the series The New Adventures of Supergirl and Mon-El – and if you don’t like that, then tough. Stop watching, you ‘salty, bitter betty’.

(Karamel shippers are fiercely protective of Mon-El. The absurdity of it is, if you swapped genders so that the hero, Superboy, was falling for a female Mon-El who constantly disrespected him, slept with people at the drop of a hat, frequently endangered lives and even sometimes beat people up for money… would there be any love at all for her? Can you say ‘double standards’? (*))

I think it’s not that I object to a soulmate per se, although it is a tired and severely limiting cliché, but the pairing has to be right. It has to make sense. And… er, why does it have to happen straight away?

Or at all?

Anyway, on a lighter note. Sort of. A year or so ago I wrote a Supercat poem, and now here’s a Supercorp poem:

In Lena’s arms she fell at last
and wept such bitter tears
“Why have I had to wait,” she asked
“so many lonely years?
For one to ease my aching heart
and soothe away my fears?

“I’m tired of men – their arrogance!
their blind and selfish ways!
I’d quit this planet were it not
for Sol’s sweet golden rays
So cold and dark the too-long nights
while waiting for the days…

“Hold me, Lena, keep me warm
you’ve sunshine in your eyes
The passion in your heart is bright
your actions quick and wise
Just promise always to be true
I’m sick from human lies.”

“Kara, love, my heart is yours
my soul and body too
I’d give up all I am and own
to spend my life with you
You are my hero, super girl
and love you true, I do.”

((*) I’m reminded suddenly of 7 of 9’s takeover of Star Trek: Voyager. I was already in love with Jeri Ryan from her Russian assassin on Dark Skies, so of course she was a welcome addition to the cast, but Voyager was growing stale and Janeway’s tedious and limited morality was never inspiring, and 7 of 9’s frequent rebellion was so much more fun.)

Oh no, not sexbots again!

I followed a link from Sententiaeantiquae’s A Fanciful Story with a Surprising Climax, about a man lusting after a statue of Aphrodite, to Philosophical Disquisitions and The Ethics of Robot Sex:

Whether robots should be treated with the same ethical respect as humans … depends on whether or not they display the external evidential marks of personhood. If they do, we should err on the side of caution and treat them equivalently to human beings.

A very interesting article, although I feel there are additional issues that need to be addressed – and are partly so in the linked article Is there a Case for Robot Slaves?

Slippery-Slope Objection: Even if it is not intrinsically wrong to create robot slaves, it does give rise to a morally worrying slippery slope. Specifically, it seems like it will desensitise us to the needs and interests of human persons, and will thus condition us to act callously toward them when they do not wish to do our dirty work.

Some arguments against the slippery-slope objection follow, but I don’t find them entirely satisfying. But certainly thought-provoking…


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.


August 2016 Summer @AlinaMeridon

old man willow singing
a web by the water’s edge

a vision of gold
breathing light into the dark
the old worm slumbers

At the end of July I was in Veliko Gradište in Serbia, entirely without internet access for over a week. Instead of writing for my blog, I was chasing mosquitoes around the house, or enjoying beans cooked over an open fire (they even had a competition for this in Veliko Gradište, dozens of groups clustered about barbecue fires by the side of the Danube), or drinking beer (every visitor to Serbia quickly learns the word ‘pivo’), or reading Lord of the Rings for the nth time (I got all the way to Shelob’s lair)…

Silver Lake near Veliko Gradiste in Serbia

Until 1971, Silver Lake (a popular holiday destination near Veliko Gradište in Serbia) was an arm of the Danube.

I have done a fair bit of writing these past two months, but not for my blog and not for publication – although I have also been writing a second part for my ill-fated Alexis 5-1-8. Maybe I can extend it from a novelette to novella. On a related note, here’s an interesting article about sexbot prostitutes: Robot Brothels Could Soon Become A Reality.

Joo Yeon Sir and Irina Andrievsky playing the Porgy and Bess fantasy by Igor Frolov Joo Yeon Sir and Irina Andrievsky playing the Kreutzer sonata

In July I had the great fortune to attend a concert in Buxton where violinist Joo Yeon Sir and pianist Irina Andrievsky played Beethoven’s Kreutzer sonata (image/link on right) and Igor Frolov’s Porgy & Bess fantasy (image/link on left). I had often heard of the Kreutzer sonata, but it wasn’t a piece I was familiar with. Joo Yeon Sir played it beautifully and passionately, and I was delighted to find the same pieces and performers on YouTube.

Silk Over Razor Blades by Ileandra Young


March 2016 Yanty’s Butterfly @AlinaMeridon

March has been a good month, not least because of an excuse to eat dark chocolate and Easter eggs…

Haiku Nook Anthology Yanty's Butterfly

Major news this month is the official release of Yanty’s Butterfly: “Yanty’s Butterfly consists of over 600 poems, spanning the variety of haiku forms: three-line haiku, two-line haiku, one-line haiku, four-line haiku, traditional haiku (5-7-5), concrete haiku, tanka, and haibun. Featuring haiku from Yanty Tjiam, George Klacsanzky, Fei Zhan, and award-winning poet, Alan Summers, Yanty’s Butterfly is an essential addition to the haiku literature of the 21st century.”

Yanty’s Butterfly is an anthology put together by members of the Haiku Nook Google community to commemorate Yanty Tjiam, who passed away last year. Yanty wrote beautiful haiku and her death affected us deeply. The anthology includes some of her poems, and is dedicated to her. Proceeds will be donated to Yanty’s family and to the charities ActionAid and The Hunger Project.

My upcoming novelette, I Like It Hard, continues its creeping progress through the publication engine. Still no sign of a cover, but this month I received the line editor’s comments. Most were minor, such as disagreements over the need for a comma here or there – I suspect no two editors will agree completely over commas – but there was one interesting point. During the story, there is mention in several places of a ‘man in a headset’. Now, while writing originally, I was thinking of this ‘person’ as being generic, anonymous, probably even several people defined by a specific role. But the reader doesn’t quite get that impression, and that has bothered me a little for a few months. The editor picked up on this point too, so I have amalgamated these ‘men in headsets’ into a single named character.

alexis in heels
walking into the future
from a thoughtless past

imagine a thought
where no thought has ever passed
and be reverent

the first face we see
is the face that teaches us
the truth of beauty

As for my science fiction novelette Alexis 5-1-8, which has been rejected now by one publisher and simply ignored by another, I have finally found the enthusiasm to try again. (‘Third time lucky,’ he mutters, blood from the sacrificial goat pouring into a clay vessel as the smell of burning barley fills the air of the temple. ‘Third time lucky…’) For now, here is a trio of haiku inspired by Alexis.

In connection with this, Discover Magazine’s Jeremy Hsu reports in What Women and Men Want from Sex Robots that “both women and men generally agreed that using sex robots was more appropriate than hiring a human prostitute.” Also, take a look at this fantastic video:

Dark side of the Moon with the Earth behind, both in crescent form

See the dark side of the Moon, looking towards the Earth…


A few more Supergirl poems this month, including one that’s really just about Mistress X.

even in disguise
her feet never touch the earth
memory holds her

Kara eats Baci
‘Can I have a kiss?’ Cat asks
and gets more than one

For two of these I was experimenting with a new structure in which every line has nine syllables and sequential pairs of lines rhyme. It resists any rhythm, but also reads comfortably in four-line stanzas, and the resulting mood is a little unsettling – which works well for poems with a darker theme, such as horror or despair.

Cover of Codename Night Witch in The Girls from Alcyone by Cary Caffrey


February 2016 Romance and Aromance @AlinaMeridon

It’s February again, and romance is in the air – and aromance is in the ir, because hot on the heels of the compulsory happiness that is Valentine’s Day is Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week. And how better to celebrate than with a romantic poe– Er, than with aromantic poetry…

banish the sunset!
aromance is in the ir-
idescent twilight

Apart from the usual dolly mixture of haiku, it has been a quiet month over on Alina Meridon. There are two short poems with an aromantic theme, and a short poem about Supergirl – which isn’t romantic or aromantic, but if you’d like an aromantic Supergirl, here’s one I wrote earlier: An unsought kiss

Her life of aromantic bliss
Was shattered by an unsought kiss
The gloss of fuchsia kryptonite
Instilled confusion and delight
That lessened slowly over years
The poison washed out by her tears

Pink kryptonite turns Superman gay.Coincidentally, pink kryptonite was used once, in a satirical way, to make Superman gay – although Superman and Batman do seem to have an enemies-to-lovers thing going on (or did I imagine that?) so maybe Superman’s bisexual (or just bi-for-the-bat? is that a real thing? after all, Supergirl and Batgirl – ‘SuperBat’? – get together so often it’s practically canon). Er, anyway…

On the subject of Supergirl, this month I have been watching, over and over, this video by Heroesaz. It’s a cool video, but it’s the voice of Connie Lim that makes it so compelling.

Supergirl and Cat Grant video set to Connie Lim singing AngelsConnie Lim singing Angels

Seeking Krypton

Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how he helped Superman find his home planet of KryptonDuring a roundtable discussion with journalists, Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how he helped Superman find his home planet of Krypton. Tyson appears as a character in the recent DC Comics’ ACTION COMICS #14, “Star Light, Star Bright.” In real life, he consulted a star index and found a real star that supported the backstory of the comic.

It’s unfortunate that parallax measurements of LHS 2520 indicate a distance of 42 light years rather than the 27 light years estimated from photometric estimates that, presumably, Tyson’s maps were based on. Although you could argue that the superluminal journey took 17 years, during which Kal El aged only two years, as a consequence of relativistic effects associated with acceleration up to and beyond light speed.

The same argument could be applied even if Krypton is ‘thousands of light years away’ or even in another galaxy, although I don’t think the journey is supposed to take so long – if it did, all those stories of returning to Krypton would make little sense.

Sense8 & Deadpool

I watched Season 1 of the Wachowski’s Sense8 on Netflix. The diversity of the cast, characters and story is amazing. In fact, it’s so aggressively diverse it feels like a political statement – but it’s the kind of statement that needs to be made, and once you get past that there’s a thrilling story being told. There are eight primary characters whose minds are linked telepathically. Four are men (one in a gay relationship), four are women (one of whom is a trans woman in an interracial lesbian relationship). The story is set in the U.S., the U.K., Mexico, India, Korea, Kenya, Germany and Iceland, and very often a character in one part of the world is interacting with another character in another part of the world, and the cinematography realises all this brilliantly.

Scenes from Sense8

Sun Bak (Doona Bae), Korean businesswoman and kick-ass fighter, in Seoul, Nairobi and San Francisco.

Sense8 has its faults – what doesn’t these days? – but it’s fun, sexy, romantic and dramatic, AND it has the wonderful Freema Agyeman, who never really got what she deserved as Dr Martha Jones on Dr Who, in a brilliant supporting role.

Ryan Reynolds and Morena Maccarin in Deadpool.Finally, still on subject of fun, sexy, romantic, dramatic and wonderfully diverse, with a definite emphasis on the fun, is Deadpool with Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin. A perfect movie for Valentine’s Day.


January 2016 Bicycles and Corsetry @AlinaMeridon

My publisher has given a tentative release date of June 8th for I Like It Hard, and it has been sent to a cover artist. We all have our superstitions, and I’m reluctant to believe it’s real until I have something to see, like a cover… so, fingers still firmly crossed.

Discovery Channel - Large Asteroid Impact Simulation - Video at YouTube

Discovery Channel: Large Asteroid Impact Simulation (2008), set to Pink Floyd “The Great Gig in the Sky”. Hauntingly beautiful destruction of the Earth.

Fatal Attraction

There’s something so addictively wonderful about this video of the Earth being destroyed by an asteroid. It’s terrifying from a human perspective, but from a cosmic perspective it’s… spectacular. And the music is a perfect fit.

1896, and All That

There’s a popular belief that the phrase ‘loose woman’ originates in the nineteenth century, describing prostitutes who didn’t wear ‘tight’ corsets and were thus ‘loose’. It makes sense, sort of. The popular image of Victorian ladies with wasp-waists, contrasted with the popular image of saloons in the Wild West wherein lingerie-clad women draped themselves over gunslingers, does lend itself to this interpretation. But the association of the word ‘loose’ with immoral behaviour predates the Victorian era by centuries. The phrase ‘loose women’ was used by Samuel Pepys in the 17th Century, and by John Adams (a Founding Father and later the second president of the United States) in the 18th Century, to refer to prostitutes; and ‘loose ladies’ is used in The Faerie Queene in the 16th Century, although not specifically to refer to prostitutes.

Despite repeated warnings about the danger of tight-lacing, there were always women who would tight-lace their corsets, in much the same way perhaps that women today will wear high-heeled shoes. The corset is blamed for many evils, and certainly the mass-production of cheap corsets combined with poor and ill-conceived designs and over-zealous mothers turned a fashionable article of clothing into an instrument of mass torture, but a well made corset worn properly has its uses. Far worse for Victorian women was the culture of repression that kept women as close to home as possible.

destructive cycle of feminine symmetry and poise

The bicycle changed everything. With the advent of the safety bicycle and pneumatic tyres, women everywhere were riding bicycles, travelling great distances to visit friends, getting lots of exercise in the process, and discarding their corsets for trousers. The demand for bicycles had a huge impact on the economy, much of the spare cash that had previously been spent on a variety of miscellaneous things was diverted to the purchase of bicycle parts. Even doctors felt the impact, their patients curing themselves through regular exercise and fresh air.

The height of the bicycle craze for women was in 1896. This month I have been hunting through newspapers from that year, looking for three specific phrases; so far, I have found only one. The search continues…

  1. Loose ladies and lascivious boys, The Faerie Queene, and the search for loose women,
  2. The perilous lack of corsetry, Rational Dress – loose women on bicycles
  3. Loosing my mind, more definitions and a hunt for a phrase
  4. Feminine Symmetry and Poise: Marguerite Lindley’s Advice to Wheelwomen, the discovery of a phrase
  5. Wheeling to Perdition – Rescuing Women from the Bicycle, salvation from the Woman’s Rescue League
  6. No More Worlds to Conquer, Oh, how the mighty are fallen!


Other Posts

December 2015 Supercat @AlinaMeridon

I’m away for a few days, so a slightly premature Happy New Year!

I’m not a great believer in resolutions, but this year there is an urgent need to both make and keep them, so please wish me luck in improving my health and fitness – just as I wish the world to become a healthier and fitter place.

No news on the publishing front, and it has been a quiet month over at Alina Meridon, apart from a couple more episodes of Supergirl and Mistress X. The new Supergirl TV series with Melissa Benoist is excellent, although not as tightly and tensely plotted and edited as, say, Smallville or Daredevil, but the relationship between Kara and her boss Cat (Calista Flockhart) has led to some very entertaining shipping on Tumblr under the tag Supercat. Here’s a little contribution from me:

said Cat to young Kara, “Take off your specs
and show me your naked face
Too long you have hidden, enough’s enough,
now give me the girl from space”

“Ms Grant, you’re mistaken,” poor Kara said
“I’m merely a girl from Earth
what little resemblance you may have glimpsed
is an accident of birth”

but Cat smiled her smile of deadly intent
“I will see your face, my dear
and whether or not my suspicions are proved
I’ll see a lot more, no fear”

her fingers instilled with confident strength
she teased the pink cotton apart
revealing a trembling superhero
with an ‘S’ protecting her heart

“Ms Grant,” whispered Kara – “It’s ‘Cat’” said Ms Grant
“though ‘Mistress’ will work just as well
your secret is safe, my beautiful girl
so trust me, I never will tell”

If you wish, you can add an Owl and the Pussycat chorus to each verse, e.g.:

but Cat smiled her smile of deadly intent
“I will see your face, my dear
and whether or not my suspicions are proved
I’ll see a lot more, no fear
no fear, no fear!
I’ll see a lot more, no fear”

In a way, it makes my saga of Supergirl and Mistress X seem rather irrelevant, but I still like the dynamic of hero-and-supervillain, and fan fiction’s a tricky thing. I have had brushes with it in the past, having written something about Xena: Warrior Princess once, and my novel Kings of Infinite Space was originally half-intended one day to be the third volume in a trilogy, where the second volume was set in the Star Trek universe. But the trouble with fan fiction is that you never have control over the universe in which your story is set. There’s always danger that the next episode of the series will invalidate your unofficial contribution.

So I don’t have any enthusiasm for shipping. Much as I love the idea of Supercat, I can’t really see a major TV network allowing a bisexual Supergirl to be anything more than a possibility. The romance of Supergirl and Mistress X is separate from all this – set in a parallel universe, perhaps.

Global Seesaw

Double stranded necklace made of 100% recycled glass beads

Pharaoh’s Daughter by Freedom Stones: “This piece comes to you from Ghana where it was lovingly handmade by survivors of human trafficking.”

During an internet search for handmade paper for a Christmas present this year, I stumbled across Love Calcutta Arts (“Love Calcutta Arts has arisen out of a desire to break the cycle of prostitution by bringing freedom to young girls who are otherwise at risk of abuse.”) which took me to Global Seesaw (“All our manufacturing partners are social enterprises who reinvest their products and measure success in terms of human lives changed rather than pure profit.”).

beauty emergent
free the phoenix spirit soars
from a shattered life

I ordered a variety of soaps, notebooks, Christmas cards and the beautiful Pharaoh’s Daughter necklace shown here. Despite this being the 10th December, everything was dispatched the same day and delivery was very quick. All in all, a very satisfying way to do Christmas shopping…


November 2015 Supergirl and Lilith @AlinaMeridon

My editor seems happier with Version 2 of I Like It Hard, although there are still a few kinks to iron out – although it wouldn’t be the same book if all the kink was ironed out…


I’m not a comic book fan, mainly because they’re nowhere near as popular in Britain as they are in the States. Growing up, I knew Superman and Supergirl from the films; Batman and Wonder Woman from TV; Spiderman and others from cartoons. My occasional contact with comic books was therefore confusing and dissatisfying.

I loved the Superman films – the first three, anyway. I wanted to love the Supergirl film; it had its good points, but was awful too.

But the Supergirl film was hamstrung by the essential question of Who is Supergirl? Not until the excellent Smallville did Kara escape her cousin’s shadow – and since Smallville was emphatically not about Superman, it couldn’t afford to give us more than a few glimpses of Supergirl.

When I decided to write about Supergirl last year for National Poetry Writing Month (April 2014), I wanted to pull her out of Superman’s shadow. I spent a month imagining her in different tragic and heroic roles; some funny, some sad, some sexy, some angry.

Ultimately she is a far more interesting person than Superman. Kal had an idyllic childhood, and as an adult he must conceal his true self from all but a few. Kara has lost everything, her planet gone, her family gone – all save Kal, who does not share that traumatic memory.

even when it fell
Krypton was beautiful
my mother wore red

moment of destruction
still behind my eyelids
photographic memory

One of the poems was A hero true, which had the villainous Mistress X hold a city to ransom, demanding that Supergirl submit to her erotic demands…

I like a good lesbian romance, and the story of Supergirl and Mistress X has grown into an epic saga – there are currently twenty poems in the saga. Maybe there will be more.

where else can I sleep
except in a villain’s arms?
she’s lined with silver

she is the storm and I her eye


Lilith or the Queen of the Night, Mesopotamia, between 1800 and 1750 BC

I grow havoc-wings and mordant feet

That’s a line from The Passion of Lilith by Pamela White Hadas, an extraordinary poem that I love for its subject as well as the vivid poetry. I chose that line because it echoes the 3800-year-old relief shown here. Hadas’s Lilith is ‘the first liberated woman… Adam would like Lilith to lie beneath him in the sexual act, and to be subservient in every way; Lilith naturally has other ideas.’

which of us, Adam or Lilith, keeps a promised land?
He let me leave, found Eve, and even Genesis
left me out,
but he couldn’t forget

Gorgeous and passionate… Here’s a little something by me:

lilith wears the night
passion like fire-splintered ice
too bright for eden

Covers of new fantasy trilogy Down Deep Inside by Jacquotte Fox KlineLilith and succubi have been on my mind this month because I have started reading Down Where The Blue Violet Beauties Bloom, the first book in Jacquotte Fox Kline’s new fantasy trilogy Down Deep Inside about an angel who falls from Heaven into a city of succubi ruled over by the goddess Aphrodite. I couldn’t resist asking the author some questions, and her answers turned into a guest post.


October 2015 @AlinaMeridon

In August’s round-up I mentioned having written a Sci-Fi short story titled Alexis 5-1-8 that I had submitted to a publisher. Alas, this was rejected. The publisher was unhappy that some of the content borders on dubious consent – dubious consent? moi? never! – which is actually a reasonable concern, although it’s an interesting ethical issue in relation to a sexbot designed and built to be used without consent ever being required. Anyway, that has now been submitted to another publisher and fingers are firmly re-crossed.

More exciting is that my other summer story, I Like It Hard, finally came back from the editor… First off, let me say that I think it’s awesome to have my story being looked at by an editor on behalf of a publisher. I usually do all my own editing, and I have my own preferences regarding grammar and so on, so that inevitably there have been points on which I do not see eye-to-eye with my editor. But grammar is a minor issue. I finally have someone to read my work critically and say things like:

This entire section is all telling and no showing. We’re just given an overview of what’s happening (as opposed to being “there” while it’s happening), and it’s interesting but not particularly engaging. You want the reader to want to keep reading, and this doesn’t really do that.

It’s valid criticism, and responding to such criticism can require significant modifications to the text – and I am someone who likes to get things right the first time rather than edit and edit to perfection. But having an editor point out the weaknesses in the story and the writing has forced me to revisit and revise. And, really, there were a number of significant issues, and I struggled with them even while writing. I Like It Hard is an odd story and some of the decisions I took while writing it have bothered me since submitting it.

Version 2 has gone to the editor now, and if nothing else the story has increased from 13000 words to 17500 words, which is a more satisfying length.

Last month I had a cheeky Pride & Prejudice haiku, and I thought you might like another one:

Wickham’s neighbour I
vie for young Lydia’s eye
and her sweet treasure

I feel I should point out that Whickham is a small town close to Newcastle upon Tyne (where I live and where Mr Wickham ends up in Pride & Prejudice).


Cover of Deadly is the Female by Laura Huntley