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Inspiration

29 Sep

I have just started watching the first season of Outlander, a British-American drama series where an ex-Army nurse from the late 1940s travels through time and finds herself in the Scottish highlands in 1743 and in the middle of tensions between Scottish clans men and the British redcoats. So far I am enjoying it. But there are certain elements that don’t sit well with me. But none the less, the lovely costumes and landscapes have given me inspiration to work on my own story ideas – a story I have had for years set in colonial India in the 1790s (I’ve blogged about it before). And yes, like many historical novels, involves a romance, but mine is between two women. Of course I have to have it. I love historic lesbian romances and there is something delicatable about forbidden passions and ladies wearing men’s riding breaches and boots. So with this inspiration I will make sure (setting myself reminders, setting aside a certain evening to write, even jotting thoughts down) that I write something on my story. 

Image courtesy of eonline.com

Romance Amongst The Dunes?

19 Jul

Inspired by my previous post – Archaeology, I was thinking, “should I write a story of archaeological adventure, romance and bygone eras?” Perhaps I will. I started doodling with a drawing of sand dunes and some prose popped into my head – “She came to me from across the sand dunes. A lone figure amongst the vast desert. My heart beat faster. I longed to hold her and show her my finds…….”

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Current Topics of Interest

22 May

These are a few topics of interest that I am currently reading about and researching for a couple of novels / stories I am working on.

– Same-sex love between women and romantic friendships in the 18th and early 19th centuries
– Novelists (female and male) that wrote about the above
– Cross Dressing women in the 18th century, particularly those that joined the military
– The Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in relation to British and French relations in India

– Equality and women’s rights in 1930’s in the USSR
– British and French women and men who travelled (and moved to) the USSR in the 1930’s

Women in the French Revolution, Cross Dressing Women, Female Soldiers and 18th Century Feminists

15 Apr

I am currently in the planning stages of a lesbian romance novel set in the 18th century. One of the two main female characters is a soldier and a republican that had fought for the French Revolutionary forces and had championed the rights of women during the revolution. My character pretends to be a male soldier to remain in the army and a few years later while employed as a guard instructor she wears male attire (breeches and riding boots). She wears a tight fitting jacket that does not hide her bosom and wears her hair long. In doing so she presents herself as a woman wearing male attire in a male profession.

During the research for my novel / story, I have read about women actively involved in the French Revolution, campaigners for the rights of women (in addition to the Declaration of the Rights of Man, a key Revolutionary document), female writers who wrote about the Revolution (including English women writers such as Mary Wollenstencraft) and female soldiers who fought in the French Revolutionary forces in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and also on the Royalist side against the Revolutionary government.

From early in the Revolution, women were involved in various activities protesting regarding essential items such as food, storming the Bastille, supporting the Revolutionary cause through writings, revolutionary clubs and subtle ways such as incorporating symbols and colours of the Revolution in their dress (such as Tri-colour cockades and ribbons). More radical Revolutionary women advocated for the rights of women in conjunction with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the ability of women to bear arms and fight for the Republic.

I was also inspired by the stories I have read of women over the centuries cross dressing as men to enter the armed forces and experience a life of freedom and adventure not able to be experienced by women from pervious centuries. What an inspiration. I wonder what young women in the 18th century, with an enlightened mind / sense of adventure / feminist leanings thought of these women? Through my reading I discovered that there were some novels written in the 18th and 19th centuries with female revolutionaries and / or soldiers who wear male attire. These include Ormond / The Secret Witness written by the American author Charles Brockden Brown and published in 1799, and The Wanderer by Fanny Burney, published in 1814. I find it hugely fascinating that novels in this period included such inspirational and unconventional female characters. I have a real interest in this period, and am using this period (late 1700’s to early 1800’s) as a setting for my novel, so I am so inspired and reassured of the existence (even if in fiction) of such women during this time.

For me Mary Wollstonecraft is also a great source of inspiration. Her writings and belief in the rights of women, especially to education, equality, her passionate friendship / speculated love for her female friend Fanny Blood, her desire to set up house and share a life with another woman (even if this was in the context of a romantic friendship), her unconventional relationships with men and baring children out of wedlock fascinate me. Such a powerful image and symbol of a woman advocating equality and choice in one’s own love affairs and life in a time when a woman’s role was perceived and “enforced” as being a wife, mother and daughter with little rights (including legal rights) over their lives.

I also must admit that some elements (determination, Republican sympathies, gorgeous gowns, active involvement in adventures) of the character of Marguerite St. Just / Lady Marguerite Blakeney from the Scarlet Pimpernel novels by Baroness Orcy were influential. When I first saw the Scarlet Pimpernel (one of my favourite period / adventure series) I was struck by this strong, French, revolutionary woman. She sets off on adventures, confronts Revolutionary officials, holds to her political beliefs and loves her husband passionately. What a woman! And consequently I also really like the actress Elizabeth McGovern who played Marguerite.

I was inspired by these strong, tough, fighting, revolutionary and feminist women when creating my character.

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Lesbian Pulp Fiction Novel – Journey to A Woman – Ann Bannon

20 Mar

This is the first (and only – I really want to get my hands on some more) lesbian pulp fiction novel from the heyday of pulp fiction (it was published in 1960) I have read. I love the cover art for this novel. Although this a re-release by Cleis Press from the 2000’s, it still evokes something of retro lesbian romance.

I have had a long fascination with the artwork of pulp fiction covers, especially those depicting beautiful and glamorous femme fatales, and lesbian romances. There is something fascinating and enthralling about the style, colours and scenes depicted. And I have to admit I love the kitschness in the titles and scenes. There is a sexuality, but no actual sex is depicted, and terribly titilating!

Links
Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_a_Woman

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Lesbian Themed Movies & TV shows

10 Jan

This is a selection of movies and TV shows I love that have a theme of lesbian/bisexual romance, unrequited lesbian love or lesbian characters.

Movies
– Mulholland Drive
– Frida
– The Hours
– Kissing Jessica Stein
– Better Than Chocolate
– Fucking Aamal
– Heavenly Creatures
– But I Am A Cheerleader

TV Shows & Mini-Series
– Lip Service
– Tipping the Velvet
– The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister
– Affinity
– Fingersmith
– The Nightwatch
– Mad Men

Movies I would like to watch
– I Can’t Think Straight
– The World Unseen
– Fire
– Nina’s Heavenly Delights
– Daphne
– Henry & June
– Aimee & Jaguar
– The Kids Are Alright
– High Art
– Chasing Amy
– Bound
– My Summer Of Love
– Albert Nobbs
– Elena Undone
– Kiss Me

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