Jasmine in lists

I’ve been thinking about misogyny i.e. hatred of women. Some time ago a police force in England announced that it was considering treating acts of misogyny like other hate-crimes of minority groups. This means that all incidents are logged even if no actual crime can be said to have taken place (e.g. swearing at someone can be an offence in a public place but not in a private home). There are enhanced punishments for those convicted of a hate-crime. Women may not be a minority group but they are certainly targeted in various ways, from wolf whistles in the street to rape and murder, simply for being women. This is the indicator of a hate-crime.

Many men would no doubt say that they do not hate women and the whistles and comments and groping are signs that they are actually attracted to the object of their attention. That is not the point. That sort of behaviour shows that they hate the idea of a woman as an independent, thinking person with the same rights as themselves. The case of Trump (I hope that he will soon be forgotten and we don’t have to keep using him as an example) shows this. Treating any women as a plaything and bragging about it in “the locker-room” or the saloon bar or wherever to other blokes reveals the true misogynist nature of the man.

Of course whenever this kind of crime comes up we are reminded of George Orwell’s thoughtcrime. Is it wrong to think of women in this way? Well, I don’t think people should be prosecuted for their thoughts but I do think it shows that we have a long way to go to educate men and boys that women and girls have the right not to be the object of their attention whether verbal, manual or sexual, at least until they have consented. Education does not mean brain-washing, it means explaining and developing an understanding. It is disappointing if some men still show their misogyny in the way that they talk to other men but it is their actions towards women that should be punished.

A final thought. Some feminists refuse to accept transwomen as women or allies in the fight against misogyny.  I think that though wrong they have some reason for their actions. There are some transvestites (not, I think transsexuals) who reinforce outdated stereotypes of women and think that by dressing as women they can act like the fluffy-headed dolls that they perceive women to be. As someone who feels that I reside somewhere in the middle of the male-female spectrum that attitude appalls me as much as it would any woman.

…………………….

discovering jasmine final cover

Murder in doubt cover

Painted Ladies front cover jpegLayout 1

 

 

 

 

 

Following the end of the Jasmine Frame story, Perspective, last week I’m taking a rest this week.  There have now been ten novellas and three novels which are listed below in chronological order

Discovering Jasmine    2000    novella   e-book          James ventures out as Jasmine

Murder in Doubt            2001     novella  e-book          James meets Angela at university (formerly Soft Focus)

Aberration                       2004     novella  unpublished   James living with Angela after uni.

Flashlight                        2009     novella  unpublished  PC Frame seconded to V&SCU

Resolution                       2009     novella  unpublished  sequel to Flashlight

Blueprint                         2009      novella  unpublished  James reveals Jasmine to Tom

Self-portrait                   2010      novella  unpublished  Jasmine starts transition

Close-up                          2010      novella  unpublished   starting hormone treatment

Split Mirror                      2011      novella  unpublished   moves to flat, alone.

Perspective                      2011      novella  unpublished   resigns from police force

Painted Ladies                 2012     novel     e-book/pbk    called in to catch serial killer

Bodies By Design            2012     novel     e-book/pbk    assisting Sloane to trace killer

Brides’ Club Murder       2012    novel     unpublished   solving a country house murder.

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Jasmine takes a break

And still it goes on – the news I mean. I’m writing this a little early this week but already we’ve had Farage resigning, again, He’d done his job, so he says. No thought about the aftermath or what responsibility he might have. And Chris Evans resigning from Top Gear. I haven’t watched the new series and neither, for a long time, did I watch the old version.  I like James May and Richard Hammond but Clarkson increasingly got on my nerves with his views. But a TV programme is unimportant compared to what is happening to the government of our country. I’ve read and heard Europeans comment that they thought us Brits were calm and thoughtful and wouldn’t, couldn’t, make such a mess of things as leaving the EU. Well, all I can say is that they haven’t met the ones that voted Leave because if they holiday abroad at all, it’s likely that they stay in hotels and camps that are shut off from the country they are in and the only “foreigners” they meet are the waiters, chambermaids, etc. Doesn’t apply to all of them of course.  We shall see what the next week brings.

Having finished Aberration last week I have decided to take a break from writing Jasmine Frame stories for a few weeks.  Writing the stories is fun but each episode takes up a considerable time each week. I also feel I need to give Jasmine a rest so I can get the imagination and creativity going again. I am writing another fantasy novel which I need to devote more time to. I also want to get the third Jasmine novel ready for publication, and perhaps prepare another of the prequels for e-book publication,  so that will keep me busy. It is almost three years since I started writing the prequels and I have finished nine of them (I thought it was just eight!). For those of you that are interested, the table below lists all the Jasmine Frame stories, written, published or planned. There are still a few gaps in Jasmine’s life story, particularly her first years in the police force. However, I don’t really like writing police procedurals and her opportunities for investigations as a uniformed PC may be limited – but we will see.

This blog will continue nevertheless, with comments on the world outside fiction, especially my experience of transgenderism and news about the Jasmine publications (perhaps some free or reduced price offers soon) so I hope you will continue to pop in for a read.

To show how things change in three years here are a couple of photos of me during that time.

2013, shortly after the publication of Painted Ladies

2013, shortly after the publication of Painted Ladies

2016, at Hay Festival.

2016, at Hay Festival.

Provisional title date situation crime Publication & length Publication date
Discovering Jasmine 2000 James experimenting with his gender identity Transwoman intimidated by youths Ebook, Discovering Jasmine

20,000w

2015
Soft Focus 2001 James meets Angela at Uni. Transman dies; suicide or murder? Ebook, Murder in Doubt

21,000w

2016
Aberration 2004 James & Angela living together post- graduation Transman killed 16,000w  
Flashlight 2009 James seconded to V&SCU, meets DCI Sloane for the first time. Woman killed by drug overdose supplied by transwoman 24,000w  
Resolution 2009 James appointed to V&SCU. Meets DC Tom Shepherd Colleague (from Flashlight) murdered 23,000w  
Blueprint 2009 James reveals he is trans Crossdresser suicide 38,000w  
Self=portrait 2010 Start of transition Young transman accused of murder 27,000w  
Close-up 2010 Jasmine back at work. Conflict with DS Baby alleged to be snatched in high street 23,000w  
Split Mirror 2011 Separating from Angela, move into flat. Conflict with DS Transwoman disappeared 22,000w  
Painted Ladies 2012 Jasmine working as private detective. Divorce from Angela. Serial killer targeting trans women Ebook & paperback, Painted Ladies 80,000w 2013
Bodies By Design 2012 Biorchidectomy, start of relationship with Viv Transwoman murdered Ebook & paperback, Bodies By Design 72,000w 2015
The Brides’ Club Murder 2012 Electrolysis. Planning to move in with Viv Leader of Bridal wear group murdered t.b.d

76,000w

2016/17
Molly’s Boudoir 2013 Breast augmentation. Living with Viv Arson at trans shop t.b.d. ?
Impersonator 2014 GRS. Female impersonator killed t.b.d. ?

 

Jasmine timeline

This week life has been a little more normal, whatever that means. It’s been sunny and warm – nice enough to be out in sumer skirts and dresses.

summer - last year!

summer – last year!

I’ve been able to get on with the next (the third) Jasmine Frame novel as well as getting some other jobs done.  I am thinking about the next prequel novella but have decided to give you, dear readers, a rest for a week.  However, there are now eight novel or novella length Jasmine Frame stories counting the current novel in preparation so I thought you might like to see a timeline of Jasmine’s life and how the stories fit in. I’m not going to give away too many details about Jasmine though. You’ll have to read the stories to find out about her, her gender identity and the cases she tackles as a transsexual detective.

Jasmine Frame Timeline
  • 1983 January 23rd: James Frame born (Hastings, sister Holly is 4)
  • 2000 August: Discovering Jasmine  (novella)
  • 2001 November: Bristol University. Soft Focus (novella)
  • 2004 James/Jasmine graduates & joins the police.
  • 2005 July:  marries Angela Madison
  • 2009 June:  Joins ‘Violent and Serious Crime Unit’ in Kintbridge
  • 2009 November: Blueprint (novella)
  • 2010 July: Commences transition; Self-portraits (novella, previously called The Switch)
  • 2010 November:  Close-Up (novella)
  • 2012 January: Jasmine resigns from the police
  • 2012 May: Painted Ladies (novel – published)
  • 2012 August: Bodies by Design (novel)
  • 2012 November: Brides (novel, provisional title, in preparation)

Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is available as an e-book and paperback from all booksellers including Amazon

Painted Ladies front cover jpeg

 

Jasmine in a fix

Watched the programme of Michael Portillo’s railway journey through Israel the other day. It wasn’t just a light historical travelogue. He laboured the point that the three religions that have squabbled over the region, Judaism, Christianity and Islam share a considerable amount of theology, scripture and sacred places and so should get on. What he didn’t reflect on is that it’s the minute diffrences that cause the conflicts and that it isn’t really just three religions as each is riven by factions squabbling over the “true vision”. What would it take for all peoples to live peacably together – I don’t know. Perhaps it is an impossible vision.

keeping up to date

keeping up to date

Anyway to my writing.

With this post I reach the final episode of Discovering Jasmine, the earliest prequel to Painted Ladies. There have now been four prequels all together, the others being Blueprint, Self-portraits (previosuly The Switch) and Close-up focussing on various periods in Jasmine’s evolution and transition from James to the transsexual detective she is in the novels. My main aim is to keep writing the sequel novels and Bodies By Design will be available in some form in the not too distant future. The third novel is also in preparation. So there is plenty of life in Jasmine Frame. I’ll be starting another prequel novella sometime soon, but here it is – the last part of Discovering Jasmine.

Discovering Jasmine – Part 12

Flames bloomed on the end of the stick like a fiery candyfloss. Jasmine was already launching herself across the foyer as Stash thrust the burning cloth through the broken letterbox of Cleo’s flat. She thudded into Stash’s legs as flames roared out of the hole accompanied by a whump!
They sprawled across the floor of the foyer towards the entrance. Jasmine’s skirt was around her waist and one of the bags spilled out of her bra, burst and shed grains of rice. She held on tightly to Stash’s legs trying desperately to prevent him from moving. Stash wriggled, flexed his knees, thrust against her. He was bigger, stronger than she was. One foot slipped out of her grasp. He kicked and his trainer slammed in to Jasmine’s shoulder. Her grip on his other leg weakened. He was free and on top of her, sitting astride her, one hand on her throat, the other holding something. What? It glinted in the yellow light of the flames flickering out of the door. The knife!
Heavy leather shoes pounded on the vinyl floor. In the corner of her eye Jasmine saw the bottom of two pairs of dark-trousered legs approach but her focus was on the silver blade hovering a few centimetres from her face.
‘Come closer and she gets it,’ Stash growled. The legs stopped moving.
A deep voice spoke. ‘Let her go lad. You know you’re not going anywhere.’
‘Get back I said. I mean it.’ The blade approached her cheek. The legs receded.
Stash’s head lowered and Jasmine saw him examining her.
‘You’re the cunt who got in the way last night. Another fucking tranny.’
Jasmine didn’t reply and held still although her heart was thumping and all the muscles in her body were trembling with fear. The point of the knife moved down to the side of her neck and pressed against her skin. She dare not move in case the blade penetrated. As if in a distance she heard the crackling of fire and cries. The acrid smell of smoke oozed out of gaps around the door.
Stash leaned closer. ‘We’re going to get out of here, you and me,’ he whispered in her ear. ‘You’re going to do as I say. Now stand up!’ Stash shifted his weight off her. His fingers pressed into her throat so that her breath came in strangled gasps. Cold steel touched her neck. The point wobbled. There was a sharp pain as the tip penetrated. Jasmine felt blood trickle down around her neck.
The knife moved away a little as Stash rose onto his feet. Jasmine pushed her hands against the floor to help her keep her balance and take the pressure off her throat which he maintained a grip on. They were both on their feet and Stash shifted to stand behind her his left arm locked around her neck and the stubby knife in his right hand pressed against a spot below her right ear.
Two policeman stood three metres away just inside the main entrance. They were poised ready to leap forward but there was fear in their eyes. Fear for her. Stash shuffled backwards, dragging Jasmine with him. One small step, two.
A crunch of something hard hitting bone. A groan, Stash’s not hers, and they were falling sideways, Jasmine dragged down by Stash’s arm. The point of the blade scratched her neck. They hit the floor; the knife slipped from Stash’s hand; the arm around her loosened. She rolled free, lay still, gasping for breath, pain in her neck, blood dripping. There were arms on her turning her over. She couldn’t see. Everything was confused.
‘That was risky, Ma’am. He had a knife to her throat,’ the male voice.
‘I had to do something. She’s not hurt is she?’ Bartrum’s.
‘There’s blood. It could be serious. We’d better get them out before this whole place goes up.’ The bass voice again.
Jasmine felt arms pushing under her body, lifting her. She realised her eyes were closed. It took an effort to open them. A burly, bearded police officer was holding her in his arms, lurching towards the entrance. They were out in the cool air; air that had been fresh but was now tainted by smoke. Her rescuer staggered up the path to the road. There was shouting, sirens, people, lots of people, milling around. At the edge of her vision there was flickering orange, yellow, red.
The policeman laid her on the road, knelt down beside her.
‘Are you okay, Miss.’
Jasmine considered. Her shoulder ached but she could breathe normally again. Her limbs felt weak but they were under her control. Her heart beat was slowing.
‘Yes,’ she croaked, her mouth dry.
A torch shone in her face. ‘Let’s check your neck. I think it looks worse than it is. There’s blood but I don’t think he caught your artery.’
There were other people around her, looking down, faces anxious. DC Bartrum was there. She leaned closer.
‘Jasmine. Are you alight?’
Jasmine pushed her hands against the tarmac, trying to sit up.
‘No, don’t move,’ Bartrum said, ‘The cut might tear. The paramedics will be here in a moment. They’ll wash the blood away, see how deep the cut is.’
‘Cleo?’ Jasmine said.
‘She’s okay. We got her out of the window. The fire’s taken hold.’
‘Stash?’
‘We’ve got him.’
‘You hit him.’
‘She clobbered him with a length of two by four,’ the deep-voiced police officer said. ‘Knocked him out cold. Took a risk though. The knife could have slit your throat.’
‘I had to do something,’ Bartrum said, ‘it looked like he was going to kill you if he couldn’t get away.’
‘Thanks,’ Jasmine said. There was movement near her. A bag was placed beside her and a different coloured uniform knelt to peer at her.
‘Hello, Miss. How do you feel?’ the paramedic said. His face came close to hers, a light shining from his forehead.
‘Okay,’ she replied and decided it was true. Her breathing was back to normal and while her shoulder and neck felt a bit sore she couldn’t identify any major pains.
‘I’ll just clean you up a bit.’ He dabbed gently at her neck with something cool and damp. ‘Ah, there’s some bruising and a couple of superficial cuts, but the bleeding has almost stopped. A plaster will fix you up, Miss.’ He rummaged in his bag for a few moments then placed a sticking plaster on her neck. She felt it more than the cuts. ‘You had a lucky escape,’ the paramedic went on, ‘a little bit deeper and lower and your carotid artery would have been severed. Take care of yourself.’ He moved away from her. ‘Where’s the next casualty?’
‘Over here. He’s unconscious,’ another voice said.
She had no reason for lying still anymore and the surface of the road was rather hard. Jasmine sat up. DC Bartrum was crouching beside her.
‘Can I help you up?’ she said offering her arms.
Jasmine grasped Bartrum’s hand and levered herself on to her feet. ‘Thanks.’ A wave of nausea passed through her and then she was standing straight and feeling almost normal. She brushed her skirt down her thighs, noticed that she had only one boob again and looked around. Flames were shooting out of the windows of Cleo’s flat making a bright contrast with the darkening sky. People had moved back to the far side of the road, the gang corralled behind a circle of police officers. A fire engine arrived, siren blaring and fire officers leapt out. The paramedic was at work on the prone form of Stash who also lay in the road. Approaching her from the other side of the road was Cleo accompanied by a female police officer. Cleo was wearing a lacy white minidress covered in dark smudges.
‘Jasmine?’ the question was tentative.
‘Yes, it’s me, Cleo. Jasmine/James.’
‘They told me it was you that told the police that they were going to petrol bomb me.’
‘Yes. I didn’t want you hurt. Are you okay?’
Cleo waved her hands. ‘Yeah, I was out of the window as soon the fire started and the cops appeared.’
‘I’m sorry about your flat.’
‘It wasn’t up to much. The housing association will have to find me a decent place now.’
‘But your clothes and other stuff?’
‘Charity shop gear. I can soon pick up some more.’
‘I thought the police would have stopped it happening.’
‘We had to catch Wright and his gang in the act,’ Bartrum said, ‘but we didn’t mean for him to actually torch the place.’
‘He should have been apprehended with the petrol can and lighter.’ Jasmine recognised the angry Scottish tones of DI MacNeil as he joined the trio. He wore an anti-stab jacket over his casual shirt and trousers. ‘And you were supposed to remain well away from the action with DC Bartrum,’ he continued.
‘I worked out how he planned to get inside the building,’ Jasmine said.
‘You should have told Bartrum who would have called through to warn us.’ It was obvious to Jasmine that she wasn’t being congratulated. Not that she felt like a hero.
‘Uh, Yes…’ She put a hand to her neck, feeling the sticking plaster. She trembled. Stash could have just slit her throat rather than attempt to use her as a hostage. Cleo could have been trapped in the smoke filled flat. Perhaps if she had spoken to Bartrum and she had alerted the police team they could have stopped Stash before he ignited the petrol. She had endangered herself, Cleo and possibly the police officers. What an idiot. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, her voice quavering.
The scowl slid from MacNeil’s face and he spoke more soothingly.
‘Well, we can lay a few more charges in front of Wright, when he’s recovered from the headache Bartrum gave him, and the whole gang will face a conspiracy charge. So, thanks for your help.’ He held out his hand to shake Jasmine’s.
‘Yeah, thanks, Jasmine,’ Cleo added, flinging her beefy arms around her and hugging her.
‘I’d better get you back home, Jasmine,’ DC Bartrum said, ‘while we clear up here. Come on.’ She hooked an arm around Jasmine’s and gently dragged her away from the scene.

Back in the small Rover, driving across town, Bartrum glanced across at Jasmine.
‘You okay?’
Jasmine had been sitting quietly. ‘Yes,’ she said, but a vision of the knife sliding into her throat kept on replaying in her head. She didn’t think she’d ever forget it.
‘Still thinking about a career in the Police Force?’
‘Perhaps.’
‘You reacted fast back there,’ Bartrum said. ‘Perhaps not the right action but with training you could be a good officer. Think about it.’
…………………..

Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is available as an e-book and paperback from all booksellers including Amazon

Painted Ladies front cover jpeg

Discovering Jasmine

What a week! It’s been one of those weeks when I’ve barely had a moment to sit down and write but I have found the time to start a new Jasmine Frame prequel to Painted Ladies. I think it will be a short story with just a few episodes unlike the novella length prequels such as Close-up. It goes back to an earlier time in Jasmine’s existence. I hope you like it.

Discovering Jasmine – part 1

‘That was a brave thing you did, lad,’ the burly police office said, looking into his driver’s mirror. ‘Especially being in fancy dress,’ he added.
Jasmine couldn’t escape the eyes peering from the mirror at her in the back seat of the Rover. She felt them taking in her ripped dress and torn bra revealing her flat chest, her grazed knuckles and mascara-smeared cheeks.
‘It’s not fancy dress. I’m a transvestite.’
It was just a few hours ago that she had spoken that word aloud for the first time to describe herself.

The sound of the front door opening made Jasmine’s heart race. She jumped from the sofa and took a step towards the living room door. Then she stopped. She had no chance of getting out before she was seen. There was no chance at all because the door opened and Holly entered.
‘James? What are you…? That’s my skirt!’
Holly had stopped in the doorway and her face showed a mixture of puzzlement and anger.
Jasmine too had frozen, an embarrassed flush warming her neck, cheeks and forehead while her stomach made tumbles a gymnast would be proud of. She had dreaded this happening – being discovered wearing her girls’ clothes; caught being the pretty, feminine Jasmine instead of steady James. With the parents away and older sister Holly supposedly on her vacation job, she had thought she had most of a day to be who she wanted be.
Jasmine swallowed and found her voice.’ You’re supposed to be at work, Holly.’
‘Yes, well have you looked at the weather. There’s not much call for deckchairs by the seaside when it’s raining. Bob let me go early.’
‘Oh.’ Jasmine hadn’t thought to consider the rain pattering against the windows.
‘The big question is what do you think you are doing?’ Holly stepped towards Jasmine examining her closely from the high-heeled, open-toed sandals to her dangling clip-on ear-rings. They could have been twins. Both had their mother’s thick mop of blonde hair and pale complexions and their father’s nose and eyes and although Holly was four years older they were both a slim five feet seven inches. Jasmine though, was still growing.
Jasmine took a deep breath. How many times had she thought through what she would say in this situation? The thing was she had never truly believed that it would come to this. Somehow she had thought she would always evade detection despite taking every opportunity to become Jasmine.
‘Um. This is the real me, Holly.’
‘What do you mean, James?’
Jasmine backed away from Holly and sat down on the sofa, tugging her, or rather Holly’s, short skirt down her bare thighs.
‘I feel I should be a girl, Holly. I’m happy when I’m like this; when I’m Jasmine.’
Holly laughed. Not the giggle which infected her when she found something funny but a coarse, nervous guffaw. ‘Jasmine? That’s what you call yourself.’
‘Yes.’
‘Why?’
‘Why Jasmine?’
‘No. Why do you want to be a girl?’
Jasmine snorted. ‘If I knew that I wouldn’t be so mixed up about it. I just do. It feels natural to be a girl. When I’m James I feel I’m playing a role in a play.’
Holly sat beside Jasmine. The laughter had gone but she was still puzzled.
‘How long have you felt like this James, uh, Jasmine?’
‘As long as I can remember but I’ve thought about it more and more in the last few years.’
‘And dressing up. How long have you been doing that?’
‘Ever since I was a kid. Don’t you remember putting me in your old princess dresses when you played with me?’
Holly’s hand clapped over her mouth. ‘Oh, God. Yes. I used you like a big doll with my Barbies.’
‘I carried on wearing those dresses until Mum got rid of them.’ Jasmine decided that a full confession might as well come out. ‘Then I borrowed your clothes when you weren’t around. I’ve got a few bits of my own now.’
‘You’re still nicking my clothes,’ she nodded to the skirt.
‘Yeah, you haven’t been wearing it and I thought it looked really good on you.’
‘Thanks. I suppose it’s a compliment when your brother steals the clothes he thinks you look good in.’ Holly leaned closer, peering at Jasmine’s face. ‘And whose make-up are you wearing.’
‘Mine. I bought my own eye-shadow and lipstick. I didn’t like Mum’s colours.’
‘You used to borrow Mum’s make-up!’ Holly laughed. It was more of a giggle this time.
‘I needed something.’
Holly’s gaze wandered down to Jasmine’s chest. ‘You’ve got boobies’
‘Socks.’
‘But you must be wearing a bra.’
‘One Mum threw out. It’s practically falling apart.’
‘What about knickers? How are you hiding you boy’s bits.’ Holly grabbed the hem of Jasmine’s skirt and started to lift it. Jasmine brushed her hand away.
‘They’re out of the way, thank you.’
‘But how do you stop it poking out.’
Jasmine flushed at the thought of having an erection. ‘Never you mind.’
‘Oh, come on, little bro. You’re getting off on wearing my clothes. I want to know how you hide your hard-on.’
‘It’s not like that.’
‘What? You’re a trannie but you don’t get erections?’
Jasmine was confused. She knew girls talked about sex in giggling huddles but she hadn’t expected to have such a conversation with her sister. She never talked about sex, not personally anyway, other than the usual embarrassed conversation about the mechanics of it with Mum when she was younger. But now she had to respond to Holly’s accusations.
‘I don’t dress up to have a wank, if that’s what you think,’ Jasmine declared to Holly’s face. ‘I told you. I feel more normal when I’m dressed as a girl.’
‘Normal!’ Holly snorted, ‘How can a boy wanting to dress like a girl be normal.’
Jasmine subsided, head bowed looking only at her skirt-clad thighs. ‘I don’t know but it’s how I feel.’
Holly put an arm around her shoulder. ‘I’m sorry, James. I shouldn’t laugh but you’ve always been my smart, athletic little bro. How could I know you had this hidden inside you. Gosh, it’s my fault isn’t it?’
Jasmine looked up at her horrified face. ‘What is?’
‘Making you wear those dresses when you were little – I turned you into a trannie.’
‘No, Hol. I loved those old dresses. If I hadn’t wanted to play at princesses when I was four I wouldn’t have. It’s something in me, part of me. I need to spend some of my time as Jasmine. It’s relaxing.’
Holly leaned back and took another good look at her.
‘You do look good. If I hadn’t known it was you, I’d never think you were really a boy.’
‘Thanks.’
‘You’ve been practising a lot.’
‘Yeah. Well, with you away at uni most of the time, and Mum and Dad always out doing something or other, I’ve had plenty of opportunities for getting dressed and hanging around or going out.’
‘Going out?’
‘Yeah. How do you think I’ve managed to get my own make-up and clothes?’
‘You go out shopping dressed like that?’ Holly wrinkled her nose.
‘Yes.’
‘And it’s OK?’
‘I was nervous at first, thinking that everyone was looking at me but I’ve realised that people don’t – look closely that is.’
‘What about in shops?’
‘I don’t think the assistants notice or if they do they don’t make anything of it.’
‘Well, it’s the twenty first century now,’ Holly sighed, ‘What’s wrong with a little gender-bending.’
‘You’re taking this very calmly,’ Jasmine said, ‘I expected you to be angry that I borrowed your stuff. Aren’t you disgusted that I’m a tra…transvestite?’ Jasmine grimaced as she said the word unsure whether named what she felt about herself. They looked into each other’s eyes for moments before Holly replied.
‘I was shocked I suppose, but well it’s not so odd these days is it. You can read all sorts of things on Yahoo. And I always wanted a sister; I didn’t realise my little bro could fill the part.’ Holly leapt to her feet. ‘Why don’t we have a girlie evening out?’
‘Evening out?’ The thought shocked and excited Jasmine.
‘Haven’t you been out in the evening?’
‘No. Where would I go?’
‘Clubbing.’
‘What!’ Jasmine saw a dark room filled with sweaty bodies hopping up and down, skin against skin.
‘Why not? You say you like going out. You already look like a girl and with a bit of attention I could make you look really sexy and old enough to get in. And I haven’t had a night out since I came home.’
‘You’re really prepared to go out with me dressed like this and pretend we’re two girls.’
‘Well, not with you dressed like that. We’ll get you tarted up properly. But yes, if you want to be a girl some of the time then you need to learn what it’s all about.’
‘What about Mum and Dad?’
‘What about them?’
‘Are you going to tell them about me?’
‘Why should I? It’s your business. You can tell them when you’re ready to. Anyway they’re away till the weekend. Are you on?’
Jasmine thought for a microsecond. Holly was offering her one of her favourite fantasies – an evening out as a girl.
‘Yes.’
Holly grabbed her hand and dragged her to her feet. ‘Come on then Cinderella. I’m your Fairy Godmother and I’m going to transform you into a princess – again.’
……………………

Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is available as an e-book and paperback from all booksellers including Amazon.

Painted Ladies cover

Who is September?

Last week I completed, Close-up, the third prequel to Painted Ladies, featuring Jasmine Frame, my transsexual detective character. There will be another story coming along in the near future and I have high hopes that the sequel to Painted Ladies, Bodies By Design, will find a publisher soon or instead will be self-published as an e-book. I am also planning to put edited versions of the prequels online. Then there will be the further sequels…

But this week my focus is on my other character, September Weekes. I have been completing the edits of volume 2 of Evil Above the Stars: Power of Seven and I have been getting very excited about the publication of both volumes in the new year by Elsewhen Press. They will appear first as e-books then as paperbacks with a launch at Eastercon. So who is September?

As a character she came to me some years ago – a feisty, teenager with issues. Why the silly name? Well, she’s the last child of parents who solved the name choosing problem by using the names of months for their first five children – April, May, June, Julie and Gus (Augustus). What could they do with the sixth? Well they had to continue the theme didn’t they. Anyway I like it – especially when contracted to Ember or Em. Being the last member of a large family proved to be important.

Then the idea of a fantasy novel grew out of a scene that I developed for a short piece for Ludlow Writers’ Group. I think it was for a Hallowe’en time meeting and so involved witches or druids. The story featured a teenage heroine and so September had her opportunity. She changed a bit and grew white hair. At the opening of the novel there is little that is heroic about her – she’s plump, a bit silly, lacks self-esteem, is bullied at school and treated as dim by her teachers. She is on a journey of self-discovery as well as a quest and “task”. I don’t want to give spoilers of what happens in Evil Above The Stars but I think it is a gripping story in original settings with interesting adversaries and intriguing concepts involving celtic myth, alchemy and Ptolomaic cosmology. Oh, yes, and the number 7 has special significance.

Seven is a theme of Evil Above the Stars

Seven is a theme of Evil Above the Stars

I think it is intruguing that while the number 7 features in all our lives (7 days, 7 colours in the rainbow, etc.) the seven pointed star is actually quite a rare motif, certainly less common than four, five, six and eight pointed stars. I like the one shown in the picture because if you trace it out it seems to go on and on, never repeating although, of course, it does. It’s symmetry is also less comfortable than the more familiar star patterns.

Why are both the main characters in my novels feminine? I don’t know really. There is a trend for active, intelligent women in novels these days but I suppose I feel more comfortable writing from a feminine point of view. Of course it is for readers to decide whether I have given my characters credible personalities. Actually there are a lot of differences between Jasmine and September. Jasmine is a mature, transsexual woman while September is a girl approaching adulthood who has no gender identity issues but hasn’t developed her sexuality yet. While there are no doubt similarities in my writing style in both series, they deal with very different subjects and the backgrounds, scenes, plots etc. etc. are wildly different.

I like having two (or more!) threads to my imagination and I find it quite easy to move from Jasmine’s life in Kintbridge to September’s somewhat more extensive universe. Again it is up to the reader to decide if I have been successful but I can only point to one of my heroes, Iain (M.) Banks who also seemed able to hop between very different worlds of imagination. I don’t have Banks’ talent but I hope I can cite him as my inspiration.

I am currently writing the third volume of September’s adventures. It remains to be seen whether there will be more.

You can find out more about the publication  of the September books and other Elsewhen Press publications here Elsewhen

Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is available as paperback and e-book from all booksellers including Amazon

Painted Ladies cover

Close-up: Jasmine chooses the moment

Lots of people write. A lot write simply for the pleasure of seeing their ideas appear on paper or screen. Others write for a circle of friends such as a writers’ group and enjoy the feedback they receive. Many hope to sell their work to magazines or as books, paper or e, either self-published or with a publishing deal. The money is a confirmation of the worth of their work. I fit into all three categories. It is fun putting imagination to work in writing a story and I value the comments and suggestions from my writers’ group friends, but I am conceited enough to believe that there are people out there who will be willing to pay to read my creations. The problem is reaching those generous people who are prepared to hand over their hard-earned cash. I have been down the self-published route and while it is good to have control over the publishing process it takes a considerable outlay and you have to work like stink to get your money back – something  I haven’t done for a variety of reasons.

I am lucky to have a publisher, Elsewhen Press, for my fantasy series, Evil Above the Stars, which is coming out in the new year. I don’t expect to make a fortune but I am committing my time and not my savings to see the books, Seventh Child and Power of Seven published. I hope that EAtS (as we refer to it) is a success for Elsewhen and justifies their investment.

SEven is theme of Evil Above the Stars

Seven is a theme of Evil Above the Stars

I would like the same for the Jasmine Frame series and in particular, Bodies By Design the follow-up to Painted Ladies. I believe that she is an interesting character, regardless of gender identity issues, and that my writing is sufficiently competent for the series to make money for a publisher. Finding that lucky company is the problem. It seems that some publishers would like to wrap up all the rights to a story while making paltry efforts in marketing  and offering little reward to the author. I have hopes that Jasmine’s fate will be in better hands.

This blog is an attempt to get a wider audience for my writings and introduce readers to Jasmine through the novella length, episodic prequels that I have posted which explore the early stages of Jasmine’s transition from male to female. Talking of which, Close-up, the third of the prequels, reaches its conclusion today. There will be a break for a week or two while I look at other issues on this page, but Jasmine will be back in another story very soon.  Anyway, here’s the last episode of Close-up.

Close-up: Part 14

The muted ringtone of Jasmine’s phone sounded from inside her bag. Jasmine’s legs tensed. Harris’s head turned towards the bag that lay on the floor by the front door where Jasmine had dropped it.
Jasmine sprang up, her left hand reaching out for Harris’ right arm. The knife wavered in the corner of her eye but she focussed on his face. Her thighs thrust her forward and her fingers encircled his wrist. Her grip tightened as his head turned to her, his mouth open in surprise. Palm open, she rammed her right hand into his chin pushing his head back. She held the knife-wielding hand away from her. Harris fell backwards pulling Jasmine with him. As his head hit the carpet, Jasmine smashed his hand against the floor. Harris’ grip loosened and the knife fell out.
Jasmine straddled Harris’ prone body. She held his right arm down and reached to grab his left. The phone continued to ring.
She breathed in and her head filled with pain. It was if her skull was being filled to bursting point by heavy water that sloshed from side to side. Her vision blurred.
‘Jas. What can I do?’ Angela asked.
‘Come and kneel on his chest. Hold him down while I untie you.’ Jasmine pulled Harris’ arms across his body. There was no resistance but a moan came from him. ‘Quick, before he comes round and starts to move.’ Jasmine shuffled onto Harris’ thighs as Angela stepped over him and sat down heavily. Harris let out an ‘oof’. Jasmine undid the knots she had tied a few minutes before.
‘Sorry, I didn’t think to tie a slipknot like you did, Ange.’ Jasmine pulled the tights away releasing Angela’s arms.
Angela rubbed her wrists. ‘I’m glad those years in the Brownies finally proved useful.’
‘Help me turn him so we can get him trussed up.’
Together they rolled Harris over with no resistance from him. Still the phone rang, the jangling making her head worse.
Jasmine handed the tights to Angela. ‘You seem to know your knots. Tie him firmly. I’ll get the phone.’ She reached for her bag, pulled it open, dug out the mobile, and lifted it to her ear.
‘Tom?’
‘Jasmine. Are you at home?’
‘Yes …’
‘Good. We’ve got Amber Markham and found the suitcase.’
‘Great. We’ve got Harris.’
‘What?’
‘He jumped us when we got home.’
‘Harris was waiting at your house?’
‘Yes. We managed to overcome him. Get a car here.’
‘Are you both alright?’
‘I’m OK. A bit of a headache. Angela’s alright, I think.’ Angela nodded to her. ‘She’s sitting on him now.’
‘There’ll be someone with you in a few moments. I’d better go.’
‘Thanks, Tom.’ Jasmine dropped the phone onto the stairs and looked down at Harris. He attempted to lift his head up and extend his legs.
‘Don’t move or I’ll put you out again, Harris.’ Jasmine said.
‘Can I kick him?’ Angela asked as if she was eager to do him some injury.
‘Just stay sitting on him. Are you really OK?’
‘Yes. How about you? Is your head bad?’
Jasmine thought about her answer. If she held her head still there was just a heavy throbbing with an additional ache in her neck where Harris had hit her.
‘I’ll be OK. I’m sorry that this shit gave you a fright.’
‘Uh, I don’t think I had time to be scared. What was he going to do?’
‘Let’s ask him.’ Jasmine knelt down beside Harris and lowered her head to his. ‘What was it you said you wanted to do with us, Harris?’
He replied groggily, ‘I wanted you to help me get away.’
‘There was no chance of that. Half the force would be after you. You said you might kill Angela and me. Why?’
‘It’s your fault.’
‘My fault?’
‘You got Parnell picked up and linked him with Amber, Ashley and me.’
‘If I hadn’t someone else would have.’
‘Yeah, but you’re like Stephen, a trannie.’
An urge to smash her fist into Harris’s face filled her. ‘I am not like Parnell. I am a woman.’
Harris sighed, ‘Yeah, Yeah.’
‘You thought you were smart, Harris, didn’t you? Making Parnell think you were his friend, encouraging him to dress and persuading the two girls that had got him convicted to have sex with you. Then this farcical plot to cover up Jack’s murder. You forgot all the CCTV cameras that picked up Amber’s movements and Parnell being on the sex register. Amber’s story unravelled almost as soon as she tried telling it.’ It made her feel better showing Harris what a jerk he’d been.
‘It would have worked if Amber and Parnell had done it like I told them to.’
‘Controlling people is more difficult than finding where they live and watching them. You’re just a Peeping Tom, getting your kicks by violating people’s private lives. You’re worse than Stephen Parnell.’
‘He’s a perv.’
‘And you’re not!’ Jasmine laughed. The doorbell rang.
Jasmine got to her feet and opened the door. Two uniformed officers stood there.
‘DC Frame?’ one said.
‘Yes. Come in. You’ve come to collect him.’ She pointed to Harris. ‘I think you can get off him now, Ange.’
Angela stood up. Harris wriggled and tried to get up but the police officers stepped in and hauled him to his feet. One held him firmly by the upper arm while the other snapped hand cuffs around his wrists and untied the tights.
‘These yours, ma’am?’ the PC said holding out the tights to Jasmine.
‘Yes. I think those are mine.’
There was a rap of knuckles on the door and she turned to find DCI Sloane filling the doorway with Tom standing behind him.
‘Ah, all secure, then Frame?’ Sloane said.
‘Yes, Sir,’ Jasmine replied.
‘Have you formally arrested him?’
‘No, Sir. I thought as I was on sick leave or suspension I should leave it to someone else.’ In fact, reciting his rights hadn’t occurred to her.
‘Yes, well, Shepherd can do it. Take Harris outside.’ The two officers prodded Harris. Jasmine and Sloane stepped aside as he was escorted out.
Sloane pushed the door closed and looked at Angela. ‘Are you alright, Mrs Frame? I was told that Harris attacked you.’
‘It’s Bevan, Chief Inspector. I went back to my maiden name when Jasmine transitioned. I’m fine. He attacked Jasmine and threatened her with a knife. I just did what I was told.’
Sloane looked a little confused. ‘But, nevertheless, you overpowered Harris, Frame?’
‘When he told Angela to tie me up she used a slipknot,’ Jasmine explained with pride for her not yet ex-wife, ‘and then she got him talking while I managed to get myself free.’
‘Very good, Miss, ah, Bevan.’ Sloane nodded. ‘What did he tell you?’
‘The whole story, I think,’ Jasmine said, ‘including that Amber killed her baby.’
‘She says it was Harris.’
‘Tom said she’d been found.’ Jasmine was eager to get the full story even though her head was aching and she really wanted to lie down.’
‘Hmm, yes. Kingston and Money had to follow a trail of Harris’ acquaintances as his parents didn’t know where he was living. They found Miss Markham in a squat that Harris had been sharing.’
‘And you’ve found Jack’s body.’
‘Yes, Frame. Your hunch was correct. The case was hidden in undergrowth behind Stiles’ house. The pathologist is trying to identify the cause of death. Now I think I had better leave you to recover from your injuries.’
‘Thank you, Chief Inspector,’ Angela said. ‘The hospital said that Jasmine was supposed to rest.’
‘I’m sure that is the best thing. We’ll be in touch tomorrow, Frame.’
‘Am I suspended, Sir?’
‘We’ll talk tomorrow.’ Sloane turned away, opened the door and stepped outside. As the door closed, Angela took Jasmine’s arm and guided her into the lounge.
‘I’ll make some tea. I expect you need to take some more tablets, don’t you Jas?’
‘Yes, I do.’ Jasmine lowered herself into the sofa trying to avoid sudden movements of her head. With the excitement over she only had the headache to concentrate on. Angela went into the kitchen and prepared tea, while Jasmine sat with her eyes closed.
‘Here you are,’ Angela said returning with two mugs of steaming tea.
Jasmine reached for one mug. ‘I’m sorry, Angela.’
‘What for?’
‘Getting you involved in this. Getting you attacked.’
‘It was you he attacked.’
‘But he was threatening to kill both of us. If you hadn’t made it possible for me to get free …’
‘And if you hadn’t floored him, Jas.’ Angela smiled at Jasmine’s modest shrug. ‘He was dangerous, and he had a knife. You were great.’
‘Thanks. You were too.’
Angela waved a hand to dismiss Jasmine’s praise. She sat beside her. ‘I was thinking while the kettle boiled.’
‘About what?’
‘What I said about you moving out, Jas. What if Harris had attacked you when you were on your own somewhere? Perhaps we should stick together.’
Jasmine swallowed a painkiller tablet and took a sip of hot tea. ‘Thanks, Angela, but it was my stupidity that revealed our address to Harris. I shouldn’t have allowed it to be public knowledge. But you were right. It’s time I got a place of my own and let you, Miss Bevan, get on with your own career and life. I need to pursue my job on my own. If I still have one.’
………………….

Painted Ladies: A Jasmine Frame Story is available as a paperback and e-book from all booksellers including Amazon

Painted Ladies cover