Notes from the Netherlands (with pictures, lots of them)

A brief ‘what I did on my holidays’.

I spent a lot of time people-watching. Or bike-watching, I suppose; the people just happened to be riding the bikes. Comparing the fashions in velocipedes between the Netherlands and the UK’s nearest equivalent, Cambridge.

Continue reading “Notes from the Netherlands (with pictures, lots of them)”

What I did (and didn’t do) at the weekend


I’ve been away in the Netherlands for a few days – the first trip abroad with my husband since our honeymoon six years ago. We were staying in Leiden, which is a university city made distinctive by its many water courses and bicycles. We live in Cambridge, so really it felt very much like home. On the other hand, Cambridge is not so well supplied with windmills or pancakes.

Anyway, I’d intended not to do too much, and in between late mornings and early nights I had a lovely time wandering around several Dutch cities and taking a couple of hundred photographs. I took Speak Its Name with me and got a bit of editing done on the ferry, but other than that it was a work-free weekend.

One of the things that happened while I was away was the launch party for Purple Prose. To quote the explanation on that page,

Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain is a book about all the different aspects of life as a bisexual person. We talk about definitions, stereotypes, coming out and dating. We talk about being bisexual and disabled, being a bisexual of colour, being non-monogamous, and being bisexual in different religions. We talk about other minority sexualities such as pansexuality and asexuality. We talk about being trans and genderqueer. We look at bisexuality in the workplace and in fiction. We talk about what to do next.

In terms of my own personal investment in the project, one of my poems rounds off the chapter on bisexuality and faith.

I spent the morning proof-reading it to the best of my current ability (I have a stinking cold, and so will not have been nearly as thorough as I usually am) and thinking how useful it would have been to me had it existed ten years ago, when I’d barely heard the term ‘bisexual’ and didn’t imagine that I was allowed to use it of myself.

However! I am pleased to have been able to contribute to its existing now, or, rather, some months from now. Thorntree Press is currently crowd-funding publication via Indiegogo. If this is something you’re interested in, do have a look at the page and, if you’re able to, chuck a couple of quid in its direction.

Breaking the surface

So… the reason for the existence of this blog is this: the novel that I have been working on (and off) since 2007 has been sitting on my computer for long enough, and I am fed up with this state of affairs. It feels like high time it was published and read by people who are not me and who are not necessarily my friends.

I have tried to find a publisher and/or agent without success. The main reason, I think, is that even I don’t know what genre the dratted thing is. The best I can do is ‘modern-day University of Barchester, with same-sex relationships’. I don’t even know whether it should be shelved under ‘General Fiction’, ‘Teenage’ or ‘LGBT’. It’s fiction. I know that much at least.

Apart from that? Does the ghost of Section 28 still haunt us? (Yes, but this may or may not be the reason I can’t find a publisher.) Are student politics terminally boring? (Yes, which is why I have edited most of them out.) Are you just not allowed to have characters who are simultaneously queer and Christian? (Possibly, but I missed the memo if so.) Whatever. I believe that there are people out there who would be prepared to read Speak Its Name (for such is its, er, name) despite, or even because of, these reasons.

I am not particularly invested in the idea of being a super-high-powered-world-renowned-high-earning-genius-famous-prolific author – but I have put a lot of work into writing this particular book, and it would be a pity if somebody who would like to read it, or something like it, never got to because I was being too proud to put it out there under my own steam.

And so I am taking deliberate and considered steps towards self-publishing. (After all, if it’s good enough for my parents…) At the moment the novel is working its way around a list of kind but ruthless friends and their red pens, and I am hoping to make it available, probably via, by the end of November.

More about the book here