Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Feminist Tightrope

Natural large breasts
We feminists all walk a tightrope between our feminism and our desires.

Damn it, I want to be pretty, even while knowing that the image of beauty that we are presented with applies only to 5% of the population, and I shall NEVER achieve it! Beauty is something that we have been taught to want however, rather that comes naturally to everyone, and as I come to terms with this fact, there are times that I am willing to bite the bullet and go against the herd mentality.

I have big breasts and bra's hurt me, so on Sunday I finally made the decision that it didn't matter if my breasts weren't perky and perfect, I wasn't going to keep strapping a bra on and off just to walk the dogs, so that I can fool the world into believing that my bosoms are perfect and perky. They are my breasts, their look and appearance was decided by my DNA, and there is nothing wrong with them, damn it, except that they don't live up to this foolish 21st century ideal.

Real vs Photoshopped Maria.
And let's face it, many of the perfect breasts that we are supposed to live up to aren't even real, having been enhanced by either surgery or photoshop! These are the breasts I was born with, and damn it, big (natural) boobs tend to sag! 

Two days later I see a female friend (who shall remain nameless) tweeting about how, thanks to the warm weather, there were so many awful, bra-less women about with, well I'll let you read it

My god you see some sights in [redacted]! Bra-less boobs hanging round the waist! #notagoodlook
Needless to say my new found feeling of freedom disappeared, and I simply feel self-conscious and awkward again. Now I am back to hiding under a bulky coat (despite the temperature), rather that strapping the painful, perky-breast-maker back on again.

We are our own worse enemies, and that is an important realisation to come by. Just because we are women, doesn't mean that we haven't been indoctrinated by the patriarchal society that we live in. At least once we understand that, we can begin to start making informed decisions about what rules we want to follow, and why we want to follow them.

Which is more frightening, the ever increasing hair or bust?
In a few weeks I will probably manage to once again convince myself that there is nothing wrong with my perfectly natural breasts, but I cant help but wonder how long it will be until another "harmless" (and thoughtless) remark sends me running back for the bulky coat/camouflage.

While we're on this subject, Can I just ask why there are no posts about men and their exposed moobs, beer bellies and white chicken legs? Personally I don't find those things attractive but then again, I accept that men not only can be more than just a physical presence (attractive or otherwise) but that they should be more than that, as well rounded human beings. I expect them to have goals and aspirations that have nothing to do with looking good so that they might be appreciated by the opposite sex. As such, it doesn't really bother me if men are imperfect.

I apply that same standard to women. I wish more of us did.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Northern Light, Chapter One

Another day, another Sample Sunday!

Book Blurb: Sometimes described as the female Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell's classic novel, North and South, dealt with issues of class, feminism, social reform and the plight of the working classes, entwining those themes seamlessly with a timeless romance between Margaret Hale and John Thornton. Northern Light is a continuation of that novel which sees John and Margaret embarking on their lives together whilst working to improve the lives of their work force.

With the threat of another strike, a series of bad mill accidents, a lethal fire and failed speculation, life in Milton is not easy for anyone and it won't be long before the mill masters and their workers clash once more, with devastating consequences.

Getting married and starting a family is difficult enough at the best of times but for John and Margaret, married life will present unique challenges and despite the reforms they are making, even they will not escape Milton's troubles unscathed.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Half Past, Chapter One

It's time for another #SampleSunday. Today, book two in the Past Series.

Book Blurb: Simon Hamm was a run of the mill con man, lying, cheating and stealing his way through life until met Marilyn, a vampire. Enthralled by her power, he courted her and made her fall in love with him, whereupon Hamm was reborn as a child of the night and Marilyn was dead by his hand.

Unwilling to play by the rules, Hamm turned rogue and cut a bloody trail across Britain in his quest to build himself a private army of vampires, courting the wrath of the vampire council in the process.

Employed by MI5 to police the supernatural community, Frankie Wright's life is far from normal but when Joshua asks for her help in tracking Hamm down, her life quickly begins to spiral out of control.

Forced to stay away from her boyfriend, Frankie begins to realise just how important Alex is to her but deceived and betrayed, she soon finds herself fighting not only to bring down Hamm but for the right to even exist.
Chapter One
When the alarm on her phone went off Frankie groaned, switched it off and turned on to her front. The damn thing would go off again in a few minutes but at least she might get a few more moments of blissful slumber.
You’re leaving?” Alex asked, his fingers beginning to trace circles on her back.
Frankie moaned, partly in pleasure and partly by way of an answer.
You should be asleep,” she mumbled. “It’s daylight.”
How can I sleep with you beside me, tempting me?”
Frankie smiled and finally opened her eyes. “Charmer,” she accused.
Guilty.” He leaned over and began to kiss her shoulder, working slowly towards her neck.
Frankie clamped her hand over her neck. “Not today. I have a telephone conference with my boss and I need my faculties intact.”
While Alex never drank much blood from her, it was one of the more disturbing aspects of sleeping with a vampire. Not that she didn’t enjoy it; in fact it felt very pleasurable but it left her feeling like a meal rather than a lover. She didn’t feel she could refuse however, since one of her conditions when they began a relationship was that he stopped feeding off other people. That left bagged blood from the hospital (which he made no attempt to hide his distaste for) or her.
Upset by her own confusion on the matter, she slipped from the bed before the alarm had even buzzed again. 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Past Due, Chapter One

Bertena Varney, sociology professor and author of Lure of the Vampire: A Pop Culture Reference Book, recently reviewed Past Due for The Examiner and awarded it 5 stars. Read her review here.

Right now, it's time for another #SampleSunday. I hope you enjoy this excerpt of Past Due.

Book Blurb: Francis 'Frankie' Wright thought she was an old hat at dealing with the supernatural, until she was reassigned to Edinburgh, the most haunted city in the world.

Her latest case soon takes a deadly turn. Young women are being slain in satanic rituals and it's up to Frankie to find the murderer before he kills again.

Frankie must juggle vampires, shapeshifters, witches and zombies, all the while trying to keep the truth from her sceptical ex-boyfriend, Will Campbell, who just happens to be heading up the police investigation.

The clock is ticking and she soon finds herself forced to team up with the vampires and shapeshifters in order to stop the killer before he can literally unleash hell on earth.

Chapter One
Francis Wright took one last look over her shoulder to be sure no one was watching, then deftly picked the door lock. Thirty seconds later she closed the door behind her, safe inside the apartment. It wasn’t that she was a master lock picker that gave her such speed, merely the right equipment.
Should she be caught carrying a locksmiths tools without a locksmiths licence there would be awkward questions, but Frankie was certain she’d never face any consequences.
She felt along the wall until she found the light switch, and then headed deeper into the apartment. The fact she’d had to come at night made stealth both harder, in that she needed to use lights at all, and easier in that there were fewer people around to see. She’d long ago learnt that using a home’s own lights drew a lot less attention than a flickering torchlight.
The body had been moved but it was easy to see where it had lain, just inside the doorway to the living room. There were no helpful chalk outlines but the large pool of blood suggested that whoever had fallen there, had not walked away under their own steam.
She sighed and pushed a gloved hand through her dark hair.
Sometimes I hate this job,” she muttered. She knelt down beside the largest blood stain and pulled one of her leather gloves off. She rested her palm gently against the carpet and closed her eyes. Images of the horrific death flashed through her mind and she gritted her teeth. The poor girl had died painfully, but at least it was quick. A small mercy.
She opened her eyes and removed her hand, swallowing down the residual pain and fear she was left with.
Sometimes I really hate this job.” She stood up, whirling around as someone coughed behind her.