I’ve spent some of the last week promoting Molly’s Boudoir, the 4th Jasmine Frame novel. The Kindle version will be available from Friday 30th for £2.99 (it’s on pre-order at the moment) and the paperback will be available soon after for £9.99 inc.p&p (send your order here). There are also various “special offers” this coming week, so go to my Jasmine Frame Publications page to find out all about them.
Of course I had forgotten that this weekend it would all be about “Black Friday”. Why that causes so much fuss, I don’t know (it’s Thanksgiving in the USA which is nothing to do with anyone anywhere else). Everyone is falling over themselves to publicise their special offers which are not special at all. (Mine are though). Anyway it will be all over by the time Molly’s Boudoir hits the scene.
I’ve sent out press releases and newsletters but word of mouth is still one of the best ways of promoting books. So please buy a copy and tell everyone you know. I do hope that Molly’s Boudoir appeals as a good crime thriller, but of course it also tells the story of a transitioning transwoman. It’s now about eighteen years since I started writing Jasmine Frame stories and admitted to myself and Lou that the trans part of my nature could not be denied any longer. Painted Ladies was completed in 2009 but was not published until 2013. That event had quite an effect on my life since it became public knowledge that I was trans, although the revelation didn’t seem to help sales much. It was quite a release however, because it meant that I no longer worry about whether someone does or doesn’t know.
Since the publication of Painted Ladies, I have written three more novels and sixteen novellas/short stories with the seventeenth currently being serialised below. The fifth, and possibly last, Jasmine novel is in the planning stage at the moment.
Since Jasmine came into existence there have been quite a few changes. The 2004 Gender Recognition Act was passed, the 2010 Equality Act aided those with a Gender Recognition Certificate and single-sex marriage is now legal (it wasn’t at the time that Monochrome is set (2008). I feel that there is greater acceptance of trans people of all varieties but there has been the backlash from radical feminists and right-wingers which threatens our future safety. In my own case I have moved from trying to “pass” as female with wig and boobs and what have you, to declaring myself gender-fluid and, where-ever possible, non-binary.
Jasmine Frame has lagged a little behind the real world. Molly’s Boudoir takes place in 2013, not that there are many references to the actual period. The lag will increase as the fifth novel is set to take place in 2014 but it will be a couple of years, I expect, before it goes to press. How much longer I can carry on writing episodes for this blog remains to be seen.
Talking of which, here is the fifth episode of Monochrome.
Monochrome: Part 5
He tried to come down from the loft bedroom without making the wooden steps creak, but without success. The girl looked to be asleep on the sofa wrapped in blankets, but she stirred as James passed her on his way to the shower room.
‘You eyeing me up?’ she said, sitting up but holding the blanket tight around her.
‘No, Natasha, I’m not but I didn’t want to disturb you. I thought you were still asleep.’
‘I’m not. I heard you on the stairs. I usually know if there’s a guy near me. Unless I’m out of it.’
‘The men drugged you?’ They’d talked about her experiences last evening over supper and afterwards, but James still wanted to further information to show that her story was consistent.
‘Sometimes,’ she said. ‘Something in the cider, made me sleepy. I suppose they wanted me easy to lay, not struggle like.’
‘Did you struggle?’
Nat shrugged. ‘Sometimes, recently.’
‘Why? Didn’t that make the men more violent?’
‘Yeah, course it did. But I wanted them to hit me and hold me down to fuck me so it didn’t feel as though I was giving in to them.’
‘You were brave.’
‘Huh, I just wanted it to end, one way or ‘nother.’
‘Well, your out of it now, Nat. Go back to sleep. We’re not getting up yet. I just need a pee.’ He pottered off to the toilet. When he returned Nat was still sitting up. She looked at him.
‘You’re a good-looking guy.’
James found he was flattered, but Nat hadn’t finished. ‘Why do you make yourself look like a girl, with the wig and tits and stuff?’
James pulled his dressing gown tight around himself and crouched down on the mat beside the sofa. He sat cross-legged.
‘I don’t know why. Perhaps its genes or something to do with hormones before I was born or growing up. The thing is, I’ve always been unsure about whether I’m male or female. When I’m Jasmine I feel comfortable.’
‘You mean horny?’
‘No, definitely not that. Just comfortable.’
‘But you’ve got a woman. You fuck. You get horny then don’t you?’
‘Well, yes,’ James felt a flush rising up his neck, ‘But that’s Angela and me. When we’re together it’s like we’re, er, one. We love each other, and we have fun making love, but it isn’t that I’m a bloke using a woman to get relief.’
Nat sniggered. ‘Is Angela the only woman you’ve fucked? It sounds like it.’
James nodded. ‘Yeah she is, and I don’t think there is another woman I’d want to make love to.’
‘That sounds weird but actually rather nice.’
‘I’m sorry for you, Nat,’ James said, and he found he really did feel a sense of remorse for the girl. ‘You’ve had sex spoiled for you. It should be a pleasure you discover with the right person when you are old enough. Instead it’s been forced on you.’
Nat looked away from him and James thought he saw a tear trickle down her cheek. He reached out a hand to touch her shoulder. She flinched and moved away.
‘No! Don’t touch me.’
James removed his hand. ‘I’m sorry.’
She turned to face him. ‘No, it’s not your fault. It’s just that, they would grab me, paw me. I don’t like being touched.’
James was still learning how this young woman, no, girl, had been damaged.
‘We’ll get you put back together again,’ he said.
Nat shrugged. ‘Perhaps I don’t want to be put back as I was.’
James frowned. ‘What do you mean?’
‘Perhaps I can be like you and be someone different when I want to.’
‘You mean, be a boy?’
She stared at him. ‘Why do you want to be a girl? Guys have everything much better than girls.’
‘Do you really think that?’
‘Yeah, course I do. Guys have the money, the girls. They get what they want, any time.’
James nodded. ‘Okay, in general men get paid more than women. Women get put down a lot by men, get pushed out of jobs by men. But there’s the other side. Boys get into trouble; more die when they’re young. There are far more men in prison.’
Nat shrugged, but didn’t say anything.
‘Look Nat. Do you really feel that you’re a boy or is it just that you want to get out of being abused as a girl?’
‘Do you really feel that you’re a woman?’
James felt a bit staggered by having the question thrown back at him. He thought for a moment before answering. ‘Well yes, I do. It’s difficult to explain, but I feel that I’m acting a part when I’m a man while being Jasmine seems natural.’
‘So why aren’t you Jasmine all the time?’
He took a deep breath. He hadn’t had to put an answer to this question into words even though it was always on his mind. ‘Well, it’s complicated.’
‘Well, there’s Angela.’
‘You said she’s happy with you dressing up.’
‘Yes, she’s wonderful. We’ve always had fun together whether I’ve been James or Jasmine. But she wouldn’t want to be with Jasmine all the time. We couldn’t stay married for a start.’
‘Because same sex marriage isn’t allowed in the UK. I can’t see it ever being allowed.’
Nat shrugged. ‘What’s so special about being married? Is that all?’
‘No. There’s my job.’
‘You could be a police woman.’
‘Yes, but. . .’ He wasn’t sure what to say.
‘You’re just not sure, are you?’
The young girl had summed up all his doubts. ‘No, I suppose I’m not. Transitioning, that’s what it’s called when you change genders, is complicated. There’s all the legal stuff, telling everyone, getting medication and then having the surgery.’
‘When they chop off your cock.’
‘Yes, well, it’s a bit more than that. The surgeons construct a vagina and a clitoris.’
‘Does that mean you can “come” when you’re turned into a woman?’
James nodded, ‘Usually, yes.’
‘Well then, I think you should do it. You look good as a woman, almost as good as you look as a guy.’
‘Thank you. And what about you?’ James desperately tried to turn the conversation back to Nat.
She shrugged. ‘I don’t suppose I really feel like a boy, but I don’t want to be used as a guy’s cheap fuck anymore.’
‘And we will make sure you’re not. I’d better get back to Ange. She thought I was just slipping down for a pee not a prolonged discussion.’
They were driving through the outskirts of the town. Nat was sitting tensely in the back seat. Jasmine looked round to check on her while Angela drove.
‘You feeling OK, Nat?’
‘We can go back to the cottage. Leave it a day perhaps.’
‘No. Let’s get it done.’
Angela stopped at a T junction. ‘Which way now, Nat?’
‘Left. Ffion lives just up the road.’
‘You still think she’ll be at home?’ James said. ‘It’s nearly noon.’
‘Yeah, she’ll be there. Nowhere else to go unless they decide they want her, but that probably won’t be till later.’
‘She should be at school,’ Angela said for the umpteenth time. Jasmine didn’t answer because they’d commented before on the illogicality of excluding a girl from school to be left home alone as a target for the child molesters.
‘Stop here,’ Nat said. ‘We don’t want to park outside the house.’
‘No, of course not. Let’s have a look then shall we, Nat.’ Jasmine glanced in the vanity mirror. She’d made herself up more than usual, and picked out the shortest skirt, one of Angela’s actually. The objective was to look like an appropriate companion for Nat in her boyish jeans and jumper, newly washed and dried, almost. She wasn’t sure it was a completely successful disguise, but so long it got her into the company of Nat’s fellow abusee that was all that mattered.
They walked the forty yards up the road, Jasmine trying to look nonchalant and ignoring the torn rubbish bags and the boarded-up windows in the terraced houses.
‘This is it,’ Nat said, striding up to a door devoid of paint and tapping on it.
Jasmine heard movement inside.
…………………………to be continued.