The Big 500.

I knew it was coming. feature-74-inc500_38

I kept preparing. I kept running through possible topics that was worthy of the 500 mark. Big topics, lively, funny, poignant.

Nothing. Zilch. I got so bogged down in saying something worthy, I found I had nothing to say. Add to that the bronchitis I came down with on boxing day and have yet to get rid of, and well, the word blockage became something like a bowel obstructed by a bowling ball.

So, as always happens when I get stuck, I’ll do a list:

1. 500 blogs may not seem like a lot for people who blog every day, or who even blog consistently. For me, it feels significant.

2. On this blog I’ve discussed gender, labels, writing, growth, ideas, illness, travel, other people’s blogs, paying attention, and the nature of publishing. Among other things.

3. Perhaps that’s why only a few of you brave souls have hung on–the ponderous and often illogical nature of this blog does not appeal to those who need structure from their cybersphere.

4. I am so grateful for those of you who continue to read. Who comment, share your thoughts, write your own blogs, and just make writing in general a process that is enlightening, fun, and interactive. And to those who lurk in the background, thank you, as well, for stopping by my playground.

5. I have begun a process of buckling down to work smarter, because I can not continue on in the way I’ve been working. We’ll see how it works out. I have given up caffeine, wheat, dairy, meat and sugar. And my migraines are definitively, inescapably, less because of it.

6. The growth I’ve had in the time I’ve been doing this blog is exceptional. I have been devastatingly ill, I have hit rock bottom and clawed my way back. I have broken both elbows, I have spent years in therapy. I have learned what love is. And what unconditional means.

7. I have been to States several times, Cyprus, Venice, Tenerife, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Spain and in two weeks, Belgium. I have travelled through the Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden and France. I learned enough Italian and Greek to get by while we were there.

8. I have started my own business. I teach writing, I teach editing, I learn, learn, learn. I’ve led conferences, book festivals, panels. I am becoming…something. I have yet to figure out what.

9. I have started my PhD. I have published several short stories. I am still learning to write. And the more I learn, the less I know. It’s a good place to be, most times. But not always. Some days trying to write is like trying to scratch out hieroglyphics in tar.

10. And I continue on. Editing, teaching, writing, learning, laughing, loving, growing. Balance remains elusive. Love remains solid. Life is good. Really, really good.

  • My most popular page, by far, is that on Story and Character Arcs. These are useful for plotting your novels. I think the other writing pages might have something to offer too…
  • The most popular search term is still lesbian armpit hair, followed closely by story arc, lesbian fiction, and my name.

Thank you, readers. A writer needs readers, and without readers, a blog can be a woeful place indeed. I hope that you’ll continue to read, to share your thoughts, to invite me and other readers into your writing worlds, and help grow the beautiful blogosphere we all play in.

Happy 500. Here’s to another 500.

Song: Te Busque by Nelly Furtado

Book: The Golden Fleece by Robert Graves

Thank you

versatileblogger111I am incredibly fortunate to have had a wonderful array of readers since I started this bloggy journey several years ago. Some are still about, some are on different paths, but I appreciate each and every one. Thank you, all of you, for reading, for commenting, for your input and your continued dialogue. I find it inspirational and encouraging, and without you my little piece of the blog world would be far less interesting. I blog because I enjoy the free exchange of ideas, and I learn from every conversation.

Special thanks goes to Jeremy the Boy Poet for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. Jeremy’s poetry is truly touching, and he’s also got an excellent blog on trans topics. I am honoured to be nominated by him.

7 things about me:

  1. I’m allergic to pineapple
  2. guacamole tacos are my favorite food
  3. I love wearing dresses and skirts, but it’s usually too cold
  4. I freak out if I’m closed in a dark room
  5. I’m an ordained Humanist clergy person
  6. I’m a witch
  7. Forests are the most magical places in my world

Choosing 15 blogs to nominate in turn might be hard, as I don’t have much time to follow blogs these days, but here are a few you should check out:

Jove Belle, lesbian author with a leaky brain

Women and Words

Femme Face: snarky hilarity

Roxi St Clair

Neutrois Nonsense

UK Lesbian Fiction

A Boy and Her Dog

Life of a Willow

Yards of Words–a long time favorite.

Dear Butch, Love Femme

Thanks again for everything you’ve contributed to my world. If I’ve nominated your blog, you can find the details of how to play along here:


Partner Packaging

Thanks to another one of those conversations I seem to be having lately, this question came up:genderqueer

How important is the packaging your partner comes in? Or, if you’re single, how important is the package when you’re looking at a date?

For instance, do you have a type? Are you more likely to look for big boobs or a tight bum? Certain hair or eye color? Nationality? Gender presentation?

And let’s take it a step further:

If your same sex partner decided to transition to the ‘other’ sex, would you stay with them? Would it change the way you view yourself (would you still ID as a lesbian if your partner was living/ID’d as a man? etc)? Or, what if they just radically changed their presentation? Your once conservative partner gets pierced and tatted up, your butch lover starts wearing lace lingerie, your book worm gets into club music, etc. Does it change the way you feel about them, and does it change the way you see yourself in relation to them?

If I were to change my personal ID from femme to butch, or, simply, to say I no longer ID as femme, how does that change my relationship with my partner and friends?

Your thoughts, dear readers?

Song: Eres Para Mi by Julieta Venegas

Book: Over Her Dead Body by Elisabeth Bronfen

Wherein We Discuss Being Crazed

After a long day of editing, I logged onto FB. I got a ping by Jove, suggesting an offensive blog topic. So, we started discussing options, because these days, something about offensive tickles me. This…thing…is what it turned into. Remember, folks, nothing we say should ever be taken seriously, by anyone.

  • Pondering…

  • The difference between the first and second time. And what about that idea that you should try everything at least twice? Once to see if you like it. A second time just to see if you did it right.

  • I like that. My first time with a girl, she fell asleep on me. Thank god I tried a second time…

  • Jove Belle

    Wow. Just…wow.

    Perhaps she was in shock over the ceiling fan?

  • Different girl. Maybe I’m not so great at this lesbian thing. Or the sex thing. Or both. Either way, try, try again.

  • That’s a sound philosophy. So long as it doesn’t result in injury (too often)

  • I’m still friends with that girl that fell asleep on me She tells people she’s the worst sex I’ve ever had

    I no longer have a ceiling fan

  • Jove Belle

    That’s probably for the best.

    We have several. Never once have I thought it to be a sound idea to involve them in anything even remotely sexy.

  • It really wasn’t intentional, though that would be far cooler. She just stood up on the bed and forgot it was there. And that it was on.

  • Jove Belle

    I just got this image of her (random female because, frankly, I don’t want to picture the specifics of your sex life) standing up in preparation for an enthusiastic dive into the good parts. Followed by a trip to the emergency room for repeated blunt force trauma to the head.

    I’m also going to say that you must be magic to make a woman forget about a potential hazard, like a ceiling fan. Good for you.

  • That would be a hell of a dive

    and thank you.

  • Jove Belle

    I’d wager that it wasn’t particularly funny at the time.

    Do you have a new rule for engagement now? At least one knee must be touching the bed (or sofa, or kitchen table, etc) at all times. Absolutely no standing?

  • Well, one of us was laughing. Really hard. One of us was bleeding and concussed.

    Rules of engagement now include no potential diving from standing position, and nothing with spinning blades in the room. Concussions in general are kind of a hard boundary these days, overall. Though I have a tendency to punch when I get happy.

  • OMG, by the way, in our little conversation I made an off handed comment about it not taking much to figure out what my kinks are since I write erotica. Now, anyone who actually writes erotica knows how absolutely inaccurate that statement is, but it was the easy, quick answer without having to say “fuck no, I’m not sharing THAT.” Anyway, I totally forgot about the fact that I have a collection of three erotic novellas coming out in January. The stories are…not nice. Now anyone who has read your blog, and then subsequently read that collection, are going to think I’m some sort of crazed kink queen.

    Perhaps you should invest in some silk scarves or maybe handcuffs. That would make punching harder.

  • That’s f’ing hilarious. I thought it was a funny admission at the time, but I can’t wait to point it out to people when your novellas come out. That’s awesome. And if they’re not nice, I really can’t wait to read them. Nothing I write is ‘nice’. Which is why I kind of skirted the question myself. And there’s nothing wrong with being a crazed kink queen. In fact, I think I’ll make that your new moniker. CKQ. I enjoy the love taps, as I call them. It’s not my fault someone else considers them punches.

  • Her opinion might be the one that counts on this matter.

    I don’t have any objection to being a crazed kink queen. I just don’t want people thinking they actually KNOW me. And there’s a lot of stuff in the collection that will make a LOT of people uncomfortable. 

    Victoria Oldham

    I’m always right. Even about love taps that can cause fatality.

  • It’s the reverse for us. She’s always right. Unless I have PMS. Then she’s still right, but she ducks for cover more often because I’m louder about being wrong.

  • The boss and I had a talk about that a long time ago–about the ‘false intimacy’ of readers thinking they Know an author because they’ve read all their books, or have liked something on FB. One author even had a crazed reader show up at her house, convinced they were meant to be together.

    I think that’s awesome that you’re pushing those boundaries. Boundary pushing is good.

    S says I PMS 365 days a year, so I can’t use it as an excuse for my insanity

  • Jove Belle

    I had one of the BSB authors beta read one of the stories. It included a rather graphic blow job scene. She’s pretty damn liberal and she’s experienced life. I don’t disqualify her from reading erotica just because she’s in her seventies, ya know? Anyway, for as much as she’s lived and experienced, she still was like “Ummm…really?” And I was like, “What? Lesbians can’t deep throat?” And now those people are going to think I’m running around throat fucking everyone I see, when in reality, I don’t even have time to shave my legs.

  • Victoria V Oldham

    Ha! My legs are forested as well. And I haven’t waxed my lip in so long I look like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.

    Is it a lesbian blow job? Oh god tell me it is??

    I write all butch femme, top bottom kind of stuff. I submitted a particularly raunchy story to an anthology, and although it was clearly a stone butch top in my head, I kind of forgot to make the distinction clear on the page. The editor accepted it for a different anthology–a straight one. Excellent. This is why you shouldn’t edit your own work.

    CKQ: you should totally run with it, and let people think exactly that. Hairy legs and all.

  • Jove Belle

    I’m not even sure what a lesbian blow job means. In my story, it involves a strap on, some begging, and some aggressive thrusting. Power dynamics are fun to play with. But that’s what writing is for.

  • Victoria V Oldham

    YAY! Perfect.

  • Jove Belle

    I’m quite impressed with your knack for straight porn. Nicely done. I’ve written some straight stuff (different name obviously) and the difference in how readers react is kind of amazing to me.

    Now I’m going to make myself a facebook banner declaring myself a crazed kink queen. And I’m going to refer people to you when they ask what the fuck that means.

  • Victoria V Oldham

    If it were supposed to be straight porn, that would be great. It was strap on sex, not described clearly enough as a strap on, apparently. I don’t think I’ll own up to it when it comes out. So to speak.

    I think you should do exactly that. And I’ll make certain to come up with some crazy shit that makes them think they Know just how amazingly sexy and hairless your life is.

  • Victoria V Oldham

    OMG That’s F’ING awesome.

    I love it

  • I’m going to look for a picture of a maniacal woman holding one of those tongue depressors with hot was dripping off of it. That implies crazed and hairless, doesn’t it?

  • she needs to have big fake boobs to go with it for the sexy aspect

    the reality:

    except my nails would be chipped too

  • yes, of course. I want it to be as realistic as possible. My boobs are huge. And super fake.

    The nail think is an interesting topic. I know you guys touched on it before, but I think it’s a subject all on it’s own. Lesbians are fascinated by nails. We’re weird like that.

    I’m also really disturbed at how quickly you came up with that picture.

    And she has a stud through her lip! That totally means that she’s up for ANYTHING!

    Nicely done!

  • Yeah, my boobs don’t even need a bra, they’re so huge and super fake. No armpit boobage for me.

    S said I wasn’t allowed to discuss the nail thing, because it implied things about Her, and she didn’t want people thinking…anything. I ignored her, obviously.

    I had that pic on hand because it’s a selfie.

  • Jove Belle

    Ummm….your entire existence implies things about her. Perhaps you should stop talking and sit quietly in the corner somewhere. Filing your nails. And contemplating the relative height and speed of ceiling fans.

  • Victoria V Oldham

    I think she worries about what being with me might imply about her on many levels. That’s she’s clearly insane is a given. I think sitting me in a corner and allowing me to contemplate anything with a sharp file in my hand would work against her too, somehow.

    Piercings and tats both suggest that you’re up for anything, right? And hairless, and childless, and not afraid of ceiling fans or any blades at all?

  • Jove Belle

    Forget being afraid of blades. If you’re pierced, tattooed, hairless and childless, then you are clearly going to include blades on purpose. Crazy girls (and if you meet all that criteria, you’re definitely a crazy girl), have blood play clearly in their wheelhouse. Clearly.

    I think I need to make the “Crazed Kink Queen” bigger.

    Maybe I should amend it to “Crazed, hairless kink queen”

  • Victoria V Oldham

    CHKQwBB: Crazed Hairless Kink Queen with Big Boobs

  • Jove Belle

    Big fake boobs. And a nail file.

  • I want to meet one of these crazy hairless tattooed pierced girls just to see if she’s into blood play. I mean, I’d have to stay really far away from her, because I’d be terrified. But I could shout questions to her.

  • Crazed Hairless Tattooed Pierced Kink Queen with Big Fake Boobs and a Nail File.

  • Victoria V Oldham

    No one else will ever have that tag line.

Assumptions and Writing


For someone who works with words, there seem to be a whole lot of days when I don’tflickr-words have any extra. Or the right ones. Or any that make sense.


But I’ll give it a go…


Last weekend I went to a conference on Contemporary Women’s Experimental Writing. Now, I’ve gone to a lot of conferences this year, both as a presenter and as an attendee. Some I’ve gone to because I’m presenting a paper, some because I feel like I should know what is going on in my field. This was one of the latter.


I’ll admit, I was dreading it. Another academic conference of people reading from the pages in front of them, standing around in their cliques, with me huddled against a wall feeling like a fraud, an interloper on foreign territory.


But I’m so glad I went.


The people were really, really great. Everyone was super friendly, and I met some professors and students from around the world I hope to keep in touch with. This included a gorgeous (really, seriously) Swedish professor–long blonde hair, blue eyes, petite, beautiful smile, total femme (so not my ‘type’, obviously). We talked lots about the projects we were working on, about life and immigration, and she slipped into the conversation that she was gay.


Sorry, what?


I’m a femme. At a women’s writing conference, surrounded by feminists. But I didn’t even consider that she might be gay. How weird is that? Have I become so overwhelmed by the societal expectation of lesbians looking like S that I don’t even consider there may be other femmes out there?


I felt like slapping myself in the forehead. What a dope. When did I become someone who assumes orientation?


Anyway. The conference was great, and I got lots of tidbits out of it.


I’ve also been asked to do some very cool teaching bits coming up: working with 15 year olds on creative writing in their school, and running an LGBTQ workshop in Feb for Pride month. The Writing Retreat in Spain has sold out, and we’re in discussion about setting up another in October (and you should totally go).


Halloween (or Samhain) isn’t a really big deal in this country, and I miss the fun. Most houses in our neighborhood just turn off the lights. This year I’m planning on spending some time thinking about the end of the year, and the beginning of the new.


Today’s Question: 1. Are you doing anything for Halloween? (and/or Thanksgiving, if you live in the States) 2. Do you assume heterosexuality when you meet someone new, or are you genuinely open until you know for sure?


Book: The Argonaut Journey by Tim Severin


Song: I didn’t just kiss her by Jen Foster (sexy lyrics–you should check it out)






The Writing–Gender Crossover

My last few blogs have talked about writing, and gender. What I haven’t talked about is LGBTthe crossover.

And boy, have I been schooled over the last few days. I’ve had to consider things I’ve never even thought about before.

Last week, I went to an author’s book launch. This author is butch, and often uses male pronouns. As the author’s invited guests arrived, I was suddenly surrounded by the butch/femme community I often write about. I met some amazing folks, including the fantastically funny person who runs Gingerbeer and an exec from Diva, as well as a person who runs a site for people who identify as butch in the London area.

The author had asked me to perform the introduction, and of course I was honoured to do so. I spoke about when I originally met the author, the first time I read the author’s first book, etc. And when it was all over, and I was on my way home on the train, I had a sudden, rather embarrassing thought: I had, out of deeply ingrained habit, used female pronouns while speaking about the author. In fact, I hadn’t asked which pronoun the author wanted me to use. For all that I blog about gender fluidity and the spectrum, when it came down to it, I fell into heteronormative habits.

I’m seriously bothered by this.

Skip ahead a day, and I’m at a conference I’ve never been to. Officially, it’s called the UK GLBT Fiction Meet. Now, I knew that the primary writing was male/male. (Gay fiction).

What I didn’t know, however, was who was writing that fiction. I set up my book table, got ready, and waited.

And I watched.

Women. Women, women, women. In skirts, make-up, heels, sandals. A few with short hair. Two in men’s suits (one of them self-identified trans).

Five men.

So: while the characters are m/m, the writers were, predominately, straight women. Like, 90% straight women. Writing gay male romance.

There were approximately three people there writing lesbian fiction.


You’ll understand my confusion, I think.

1. They’re using the whole acronym, but really, it’s mostly a G event, with the LBT in the distant periphery.

2. Out of the five men there, two were gay (one transman). Of the lesbians there, (though, admittedly, there might have been a few femmes I couldn’t readily identify) two were writing lesbian fiction. The other few were writing m/m.

3. TWO people had heard of Bold Strokes. The rest of the room had no idea who we were. (Several were kind enough to ask, so I did get to introduce the company around a bit). We publish m/m fiction too. Why hadn’t they heard of us?

4. Honestly: I had NO idea so many straight women enjoyed writing gay male romance. And, I don’t fully understand why there weren’t more gay male authors in attendance too.

I don’t know how I feel about this. The word appropriation occurred to me briefly: when a group of people write characters from a minority community, are they co-opting something that they can’t fully comprehend? But that’s probably faulty. I mean, we can write a Black character, or an Asian character. Why shouldn’t folks who aren’t gay write gay characters?

I think one of those straight women writes lesbian characters (secondary).  So, why gay male characters?

I don’t have an answer. I did, however, get new insight into a world I didn’t even know existed.

Today’s Question: Do you write characters of a different demographic than yours? How do you know you’re doing it without being offensive/stereotyping? What do you think about the gender-writing crossover?

Book: Travel Guide to Spain

Song: Tired of Being Sorry by Enrique Iglesias

ID follow up–the next generation

In the previous post, I discussed the Butch dodo bird: the possibility that self ID’d b-fbutches are disappearing.  I wondered if that term was being replaced by something else, or if there’s something I’m not seeing. Or that maybe it’s a cultural thing.

Based on the wonderful responses I got, as well as a conversation I had with a twenty-something Uni student, here is what seems to be the case:

The butch ID among the next generation is alive and well. However, there does seem to be a regional element. Big cities make a difference, as do bohemian cities. Working class cities have fewer butch young people (perhaps for safety reasons?) Butch is also more inclusive than it has been in the past: the young woman I spoke to said she’s considered butch among her Uni community. She was wearing make-up and had on lace leggings under her torn jeans.

The butch experience is still considered the more ‘valid’ experience: the femme label remains ostracised (from the young Uni student– “People think if you’re femme that you’re just straight and playing around, or pretending, or something. That you’re not a real lesbian.”) I admit I find this stunning. That’s exactly what happened to me when I came out twenty years ago. I thought we’d certainly moved on…evidently not.

So. There are still butches out there, and femmes, and every ID under the sun in between and outside. And through this blog and my conversation with the Uni student, I began to wonder: is anyone mentoring the next generation? Do they have role models to talk to, people that look/act the way they want to? Do you, reader, reach out to the younger lgbt folks?

I’ve made a decision: I’m going to reach out. They may not need me. But how good is it to be there when another young femme feels less than because other folks are telling her what a ‘real’ lesbian looks like?

Book: Stigmata by Helene Cixous

Song: Alejandro by Lady Gaga