Category Archives: Lewis

New Fiction: The Luscombe Dilemma

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Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox promo shot for ITV’s ‘Lewis’ series.

Sometimes, you want to give someone a gift to cheer them, but you don’t have the right thing.

So you make them something.  Or you give them something that you have already made.

I wanted to cheer up my friend, WitchRavenFox, but I didn’t have the right thing handy.  But I had this fic.  I hope you like it, my dear.

Read The Luscombe Dilemma here at A03, or here at FF.net.

Happy reading,

EF

 

New Friday Fic

IMG_20150715_183452A second addition to the ‘Departures’ series.

I was humming and hahing about publishing this one, but then my lovely fangirl niece Amelia said I shouldn’t bottle out because I’m afraid of criticism, so, having honestly accepted that I am rubbish at the vulnerability required to receive crit, I slapped this one on AO3 and am hoping for the best.

Light blue touch paper and retire, as the firework instructions go.

A little taster:

         “For two days he carried the man in his heart, the letter in his backpack, trudging along the Way across the mountains and ravines of north eastern Spain, trying to pray, trying to concentrate on God.

            God never had a look-in when He was up against Robert Lewis.”

You can read the full story here on AO3.

Happy Creating,

luv EF

New Fanfic Series

IMG_20150715_170855One day, I woke up and felt like writing again.

It was wonderful, like standing under a waterfall after a long, hot hike up a tropical mountainside.

And then I couldn’t stop.

Its fun again. I can’t tell you how much of a relief that is.  My imagination is dancing around the campfire like a stoned hippie, happily tripping.  Which is my idea of bliss.

I don’t care if the stories I am producing are my best work.  The point is that I am working.

We are writers when we write, right?

So I have written a bunch of Lewis fics, and as I was looking at them today, I realised there was a theme amongst them, so I have batched them together, and put the first of the batch up on AO3 this afternoon.

A little taster:

‘Right,’ he says, turning to Lewis with a big, deep breath, hoping it will give him courage to finally say goodbye. ‘No sense in you waiting. It’ll be ages before I get to the front of that queue.

Lewis shrugs. He looks somehow smaller, older, a little wizened by his unspoken sadness and the impersonal scale of the check-in hall.

‘Don’t mind,’ he says, and manages a gentle smile. ‘I’ll keep you company.’

No, don’t do that, James thinks. Don’t make it harder. Please? But he can’t say it, of course, because he is still desperate for the tiniest morsel, the minutest sliver of time he can get with this man, this beautiful, brave, honourable man who has saved his skin and his soul, and probably his sanity, more times than is fair to remember.’

You can read the rest here at AO3.

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday Quick Fic: Suppose you threw a love affair and nobody came?

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in ITV's 'Lewis'

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in ITV’s ‘Lewis’

I promised myself I would never do it again, but I just can’t seem to help myself.

I made a new quick fic.  A Lewis one.  I made it for Lee, because she was kind to me when I needed it.  Thank you Lee.  I’m grateful.  You gave me faith.   I hope you enjoy it.

” ‘I said,’ James repeats with slightly slurred emphasis. ‘What if you threw a love affair and nobody came? Like throwing a party? That’s my life. That’s exactly how my life has been.’”

You can find it exclusively here at AO3.

Happy Creating,

EF

Friday Quickfic: Juggling Knives

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox promo shot for ITV's 'Lewis' series.

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox promo shot for ITV’s ‘Lewis’ series.

Last week, I gave you ‘Cooking Breakfast’, a little insight into the intimacy between Robbie Lewis and James Hathaway. This week, I have finished the companion piece to that – told from James’ point of view:

“I’m chopping mushrooms, dancing between hob and chopping board, cha-cha-cha. Paper white flesh of fungus. He says mushrooms have no place in a fry-up, but I haven’t noticed him complaining much these days when I put his plate in front of him. Just looks up at me with those twinkling eyes, and I melt. Bastard knows it, too. He can do anything, and then look at me like that, and I’m putty in his hands.

I’m not complaining.”

You can read it here at AO3.

Happy Creating, And a Happy Valentine’s Day to you all,

love,

EF

Friday Quickfic: Cooking Breakfast

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in ITV's 'Lewis'

Kevin Whately and Laurence Fox in ITV’s ‘Lewis’

Its been a long time since I conjured up a quickfic for you.  I wrote this little morsel while I was on my writers retreat last weekend.  My fellow writers liked it, and I hope you will too.  Just a little bit of Lewis romance to start your weekend off with a smile.  Here’s a taste:

  ” He is in the kitchen, dancing his Sunday morning sarabande amongst the pans.

            You stand in the shadows of the hall, take a moment, watch him lit up by the morning sun, count your blessings. Because it wasn’t supposed to be like this. You weren’t supposed to get this lucky twice in one lifetime. If you believed in God, you’d thank Him. (Never mind, leave all the thanking God to James.)”

You can read it here at AO3, or if you prefer, here at FF.net.

If you like it, you’ll be glad to know that I am working on a companion piece, told from James’ POV.  Watch this space!

Happy Creating,

EF

Learning the Lessons

Footprints Ardnave 1I have to admit to being a bit nervous about posting again.  Which is silly, really.  But last week’s battering has really knocked my confidence, and the events of the intervening days have been a rough ride.

But just when you think you can’t cope anymore, the Universe hands you a rose.  This time in the shape of Pola’s loving and kind comment on my last post:

“The reason I’m writing is to let you know that I really appreciate your talent in writing. I appreciate your devotion to your craft and your desire to help others in developing their own style and creativity. So whatever you decide, I just wanted you to know that I think you’re an important voice in the world of writing and that I hope you never give up in your endeavor to have your voice heard. This world would be less without it.”

Thank you so much, dear, dear Pola.  I cannot tell you how much this meant to me.

With your words ringing in my ears, I got back on the horse last night, and wrote a new story, 2207 words of trying something new with ‘Lewis’.  It was somehow important to start again with ‘Lewis’ given that it was a ‘Lewis’ story that caused all the trouble in the first place.  I don’t know where the story came from, it just popped into my head.  I don’t know if I’m ready to publish anything yet either, but it feels so good to be back in the saddle.

I was made to write.  I don’t know how not to.

Somehow, I’m going to have to learn to deal with criticism better, from the sort that is justified to the sort that is completely out of order.  Its very hard to do that when you are already in a tough place.

I realised that I posted the story because I wanted a confidence boost.  I wanted some good reviews to cheer me up.  And when I didn’t get them, got the reverse in fact, it knocked me over completely.

Important Lesson #1:  Do not post your fanfics just to get applause.

I posted ‘Not So Innocent’ on a whim.  I don’t have a beta, so it hadn’t had a second reader look at it.  There was no one to tell me that it had dodgey elements in it.  I had doubts about it, I have to admit, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what they were.  If I’d had backup, maybe I would have seen its faults.

Important Lesson #2: Get a beta reader.

Preferably someone who knows the fandoms I write in, has excellent capacity for spotting my hidden prejudices, and my inability to cope with apostrophes.  I read last night’s creation to Husband (a stickler for apostrophes), which was a very useful exercise (reading your work aloud is always enlightening), but he doesn’t have the time to be a proper beta, and he’s got enough stress on his plate as it is.

I’ve always fought shy of having a beta because I don’t like the idea of the delay it involves.  I’m probably too protective of my work anyway, so having an editor would be good practise in stepping back, and would probably help me handle criticism better.  Plus I’ve had bad experiences with supposedly ‘helpful’ readers in the past.  And I know what a lousy beta I am in terms of getting around to reading other people’s work I’ve offered to read.

If anyone is interested in being a beta for me, and can offer a fast turn-around time, dedication to grammar and a fine eye for possible offending material, please let me know.

Its hard not to feel over-sensitive at this point.  I confess I am still very wobbly.  Things in RL are on shaky ground.  I’m trying to support Husband and his family members as best I can, while dealing with my own illness, and the onset of the most difficult time of the year for me in terms of mental health.  Taking it slow and looking after myself, so that I can look after him, is the best I can do.

Important Lesson #3:  Look after yourself.

And of course:

Important Lesson #4:  DON’T GIVE UP.

So thank you for your continued support.  One way or another, we’ll all get there.

Happy Creating,

EF

Exhausted and Overwrought – and Deleting ‘Not So Innocent’

Following mature and thoughtful discussion in the comments section of my last post, I’ve decided to take ‘Not So Innocent’ off AO3.  The whole thing has upset me too much, especially since we are now facing a new personal crisis in RL.  Its just not worth it.

Right now, I don’t want to publish a fanfic ever again.  I just can’t face it.  I’ll get over that, I suppose.  I always do.  I certainly don’t want to spend today writing, as I had planned.

I want to say something erudite about the way women are treated by society, but I just don’t think I can.  I’ll just say this:

Jimmy Saville’s victims number in the hundreds.  More come out every day.

Accusations are now filtering out about not just sexual and physical abuse, but children being killed as part of sex parties by a ring centred in Westminster in the 70s and 80s.

Bill Cosby’s career is in freefall after accusations of rape.

Rotherham.

Birmingham.

Rochdale

Oxford

Telford

Syria and Iraq

Boko Haram

Women being executed for bringing ‘shame on their families’ by being the victim of rape.

Just about every photoshopped photograph in every glossy magazine published anywhere in the world.

Every diet company that preys on women’s poor self image.

Gala Darling’s recent revelations

Every girl who’s afraid to walk down her own street at night, but thinks the only way to be acceptible to her peers is to go out scantily dressed on a Friday night and get so drunk she can’t even stand, let alone take care of herself and keep herself safe.

Every boy who thinks that when a girl says no, she means ‘yes’ because she’s ‘playing hard to get’.

Every person who judges me because I don’t have children, or because I let my hair grow grey, because I’m not behaving like a ‘proper’ woman.

My husband’s 86 year old aunt, who weighs no more than 6 stone, telling me her thighs are fat.

And the fact that the acceptance of abuse is so ingrained in both my mind and yours that often we don’t even notice it.  Because I certainly didn’t.

EF

 

An Essay on Prammage*, or How Not to Take Your Own Advice About Adverse Criticism

*Prammage: noun, colloquial.  The act of throwing one’s toys out of the pram;  going off in a flounce or a sulk; a passive-aggressive act of self-harm or self-sabotage in response to not getting one’s own way; see also ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face’.

I was going to write you a lovely blog post about playing with language today, but events have taken an interesting turn, and I wanted to share them with you.

On Monday 17th November I posted a Lewis fanfic called ‘Not So Innocent’ that I’d had hanging around on my hard disk for a while.  It was written as a quickfic, and I found it again, and thought it was funny, so I decided to post it as a quickie and didn’t think much about it.  Being a Lewis fic, it didn’t get masses of attention, because the fandom is relatively small, but the person I posted it for as a gift liked it, and that seemed all that mattered.

This morning, Wednesday 19th November, I woke up to vicious criticism on both FF.net and AO3 for the story.  The reviewer basically accused me of condoning and inciting sexual harrassment and rape.

Hmm.

This didn’t go down too well with me, since I have been victim of both sexual harrassment and abuse.

I am also not in a good place at the moment, and my response to this unexpected attack was to delete the story on both AO3 and FF.net.  I have never written a dub-con or non-con story and I wouldn’t.  It disgusts me.  I have written quite aggressively dark stories that include child abuse and public humiliation sex, but which explore the psychological wounds that underly and result from them.  For anyone to accuse me of condoning sexually abusive behaviour was just too much.

I can’t be arsed.  I’ve got too much other shit going on in my life to bother with making myself a target for such oversensitive extreme-feminist bull.

As far as I was concerned, the reader had simply not identified the subtext which runs through the story, which is that all participants know exactly what is going on, and are party to it, an irony from which the humour is supposed to arise.

Obviously I didn’t make that subtext clear enough, I realised, as I stomped off to the bathroom to shower.  (I do most of my thinking and story planning in the shower.)  And then I really got to thinking:

Was my own experience of sexual harrassment at work being a ‘normal’ part of a woman’s career colouring my work?

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have been on the receiving end of some serious acts of sexual harrassment in my younger days (before I lost my looks, haha!).  It was regarded with a shrug as something that went on.  Indeed, at some level, ‘Not So Innocent’ must draw on the experiences I had as a young academic at a number of conferences.

At one, I allowed myself to be seduced by an older man who was also the leader of a rival project.  He was charming and intelligent, and I was lonely and desperate for comfort.  It later transpired that he was only interested in me because he thought he could extract from me details of what our project was doing.

And this is where the question of consent comes in.  We had fully consensual sex that night, but it turned out that we were consenting to two different things.  I thought I was consenting to beginning an intimate relationship with long term prospects.  He thought I was consenting to being exploited for information.  The question of consent between two people having sex turns out to be a lot more complicated than just ‘do you want to, or not’.

My own experience of conference ‘pursuits’ is not something I have examined much before, except to realise that its pretty exploitative, but I can see that in writing ‘No So Innocent’, I’ve displayed some attitudes that I had internalised without thinking.  Instead of thinking: ‘this is what happens’, maybe I should have realised: ‘this isn’t something that should happen.’

I began to reflect on ‘Not So Innocent’ in a different way, by considering what both James and Lewis are consenting to, and what Innocent is implying.  Would she really go through with her threat?  I think not. I think she’d sit James down on the end of her bed and give him a good talking-to about how much he loves Lewis, and how much Lewis clearly loves him.  I think I knew that when I was writing it.  I think James knows it too.

And even if they did have sex because he chickened out with Lewis, I think it would be lovely, passionate, and above all, uncoerced.

There was intended to be a sexual frisson between James and Jean.  I wanted him to be torn to a certain extent, attracted by the prospect of Innocent’s considerable charms.  I happen to think she’s a very sexy woman, and I think James sees that, just as she finds him attractive.  I realised I underwrote the irony because while I was writing, I wasn’t sure how the thing was going to end – and I secretly wanted James and Innocent to end up in bed together.  That is the danger of publishing an unpolished quickfic.

As for the scene where James gets into bed with Robbie, I honestly don’t think there is a consent issue there.  Robbie is clearly consenting, and if he wasn’t, he’s quite capable, both in terms of physical strength, and authority, of ejecting James.  In my opinion, it is clear that they are also both consenting to the same thing, and they both know it:  the start of a loving relationship, and the end of their unrequited yearning for each other.

And yes, it would be different if it were a man getting into a woman’s bed uninvited, or a man threatening a woman with seduction, but that isn’t what is happening.  These are two people who are in love, finally being pushed through their inhibitions by a fond friend.  The fact that they happen to be co-workers, with the ensuing power-politics, becomes irrelevant in the face of love.

I wish I hadn’t deleted the story, because I have deleted the comments of the readers as a result.  I wish I had left it so that people can make up their own minds.  Because, if nothing else, this story might make people rethink attitudes at work that they have previously taken for granted as normal, as I have.

I also think its a work I have clearly under-written in terms of subtext, and all the participants’ complicity, but I’m not going to rewrite it, or change it in any way.  I want it to stand as a testament to the fact that I will no longer throw my toys out of the pram because someone doesn’t like my work.

I have never censored myself because of a review, and I won’t start now.

So I’ve decided to republish ‘Not So Innocent’ on AO3, so that you can make up your own mind.  I’d love to have a discussion with you on the subjects raised, either in the comments here, or on AO3.

I’ll look forward to hearing from you,

love EF

Friday Quickfic: Locked In

Kevin Whately as Robbie Lewis and Laurence Fox as James Hathaway in ITV's 'Lewis'.

Kevin Whately as Robbie Lewis and Laurence Fox as James Hathaway in ITV’s ‘Lewis’.

I’m off on the annual summer tour of the family over the next week, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to post as often as usual – you’ll no doubt still find me on Instagram, though!

In the meantime, here’s a little Lewis schmaltz to make you smile.  Get it here on AO3 or here on FF.net.  Virtual cookies for anyone who can pick out all the movie references.

Here’s a little taster:

‘Right, you two. This-‘ She held up a key. ‘-is the key to my office door. And I am going to walk out and lock it behind me. And you two are going to stay in here until you’ve sorted this out. One way or another. Because I cannot stand another bloody minute of it, do you hear? Oh, and Hathaway?

‘Yes, Ma’am?’ James’s head snapped up.

‘Try not to make too much of a mess of my desk, please?’

Happy Creating everyone,

EF