Friday, 17 April 2015

Facebook Apology.

A Facebook account I once had under a gmail address is, it seems, still active, even though it was supposedly deactivated some years ago. If you have added me under this addy and I seem to have ignored you as a friend, then please excuse me, no insult intended. I just don't do Facebook any more. It makes me unhappy and it makes me feel ill. I don't measure up to the bitches and bastards that seem to dominate the FB kingdom.. I twitter from time to time, but I don't do Facebook. It's a question of self preservation. Sorry.

Book Of The Month For April - Winter Pink Skies - Excerpt

Title: Winter Pink Skies
Author: Fabian Black


What is love? How can it be defined and measured? Lee has reason to ponder such things on a Saturday in hot July when he's out of sorts with life in general and with his lover Tony in particular. At breakfast time Tony, a Master Jeweller by trade and also master of hearth and home, makes clear his stance on a particular topic. Lee is unhappy and believes he’s been unfairly disciplined.

Lee's day goes into a further tailspin when an ex-lover phones an order into his florist shop. He begins to wonder if he's still in love with Adrian, a man he hasn't seen or heard from in seven years, and if so what does that mean with regard to Tony? Has he fallen out of love with him?

The events of the day are told from the alternating perspectives of both Lee and Tony.

Tony’s day is complicated further still by the antics of his teenage ward, bad boy Darren.

#Fabian Black’s stories come under the BDSM umbrella insofar as a power exchange is involved and discipline is given and taken. Essentially they belong to a sub group of gay romance/bdsm fiction often referred to as discipline romance fiction or discipline partnership fiction.



Contentment is said to be a pearl of great price, but contentment is something Lee is far from feeling on a Saturday morning in hot July.

Hurling up the shutters I unlocked the shop door, disabled the alarm and stepped thankfully into the cool interior. It was only eight in the morning, but already the sun was giving out a generous amount of heat, as was my backside, both sources of heat seeming to lend credence to the pessimists’ proclamations about global warming. The cause of my own particular global warming beeped the horn of his car as he prepared to drive home. I refused to turn around and raise a hand in farewell. The only thing I felt like raising was a middle finger. I knew it would not be well received, just as my announcement at breakfast had not been well received.

Firmly closing the door behind me I made my way to the rear of my florist shop to begin work on the day’s orders. Four weddings, two funerals, several birthdays, a lone anniversary, plus a few miscellaneous were on the agenda for this July Saturday. Summer was popular for weddings, though I had never understood why. What sane person would voluntarily opt to drag through a hot day in heavy restrictive layers of silk, velvet and voile, or their synthetic equivalents, according to the budget of the couple in question? Still, I plugged in the kettle to make tea. It was my job to produce the floral trimmings, not meditate on the wisdom of getting hitched in the height of summer.

As I waited for the kettle to boil I meditated instead on the discipline that Tony had meted out not an hour since. It had been harsh, or maybe the fact it was the first time in a while made it seem so. I was right off Tony if truth were told. I really didn’t see why he should have disciplined me so severely for doing something that was entirely my business and nobody else’s. Likewise I didn’t see why he’d taken away my car keys the previous week, making me necessarily more dependent on him. To my mind he was being dictatorial for the sake of it. I was sick of it, and sick of him.

The kettle boiled with a rush of steam. I poured the water onto the bags and put the teapot lid back on. Reaching my hands back I massaged my sore buttocks while I waited for the tea to brew. Thanks to Housemaster Tony I’d be in discomfort for much of the day. I was damn well going to put that wicked wooden hairbrush in the very next charity bag that landed on the doormat.

Making a deliberate effort I turned my mind from personal woes to work. My first job was to finish the large coffin cross I’d begun working on the evening before. I’d prepared the frame and pleated and pinned the ribbon edging in place. I now needed to soak the foam and cut and insert the flowers. It was not my favourite form of floral tribute, but it always looked most impressive. In this case the main flowers were white chrysanthemums with a cluster of deep red roses and rich green ivy in the centre. I gave a small smile as I read the card the deceased’s husband had written to accompany the tribute: ‘see you up there in the great celestial Pally, girl, save the last dance for me. All my love, John x.’ I gently tucked the card into the centrepiece of roses. There was a sad day ahead for John and family.

Janet, my counter assistant, arrived just as I stirred a spoon around the contents of the teapot for the second brew of the morning. She had an unerring knack for sensing when a cup of tea was imminent. I reached for another mug. The day got properly underway.

Joe the van driver clattered in and made a cheeky remark to Janet regarding the colourful blouse she was wearing. She majestically ignored him. He had a mug of over-sweet over-stewed tea and then loaded the cross into the van to take it to the funeral directors. There were also two wreaths from other family members, but these would go straight to the family home to be admired by the assembled mourners. The hearse carrying the deceased’s coffin adorned with the floral cross would then arrive to collect the tributes and the bereaved for the final stage in the ritual.

No doubt several of my colleagues, or rivals, depending on how you viewed it, would also be at work this morning, preparing sprays and wreaths to be delivered to this same address from various friends and well wishers.

During the course of a normal working day florists touch base with a full spectrum of human experiences from births and marriages to funerals.

Standing in the cool, stone flagged workroom amidst snippings of fern, coloured polypropylene ribbon and other florist paraphernalia, I deftly fashioned a bridal bouquet. It was a favourite design with brides. I could create it with my eyes closed, working and wiring baby pink roses into an intricate design along with trails of silver leaf ivy and frosted spear grass. It needed to be ready for Joe to deliver at ten-thirty sharp that morning. The bridesmaid posies to accompany the order, along with a dozen assorted buttonholes were already done. I’d prepared them the evening before.

I was well ahead with my work schedule, but getting anxious about the non-appearance of the gardenias I needed for the next wedding order. I was also low on French fern and the ubiquitous gypsophila, or baby’s breath, as I preferred not to call it because of its disturbing connotations. It found its way into a fair proportion of arrangements.

My business partner Cathy was collecting the flowers from the wholesalers and was no doubt bartering with them over price, quantity and quality while taking no note of time and my needs. She was better at that aspect of the business than I could ever be, so I’d give her a few more minutes and then call her for a quiet nag.

Turning on the radio, music always helped me concentrate better, I consulted the order book and began to put together a funeral spray in requested tones of orange and yellow.

In the front shop the phone rang. Janet picked it up and I half listened, noting with amusement her slow, breathy tones as she spoke into the receiver. Cathy reckoned she had previously worked on a phone sex chat line, hoarsely taking callers through a myriad of sexual fantasies. As Janet was sixty and built like a small cuddly Ewok this seemed unlikely to me, but you never know. Fact can be stranger than fiction and she was coy about her work history.

“I didn’t say you would.” Janet clattered into the workroom, her high heels clicking a defensive note on the stone floor. “I didn’t promise anything. I told him you were busy, and you might not be able to oblige. He was a bit pushy for my tastes to be honest. I could barely get a word in edgeways.”

I gave her a small wink. “Who was pushy, and why, and what didn’t you promise?”

She plonked a slip of paper down on the workbench in front of me. “Rush job. Bloke wants an arrangement pronto, done and delivered to his boyfriend ASAP. He was very specific about what he wants.”

Such requests were not unusual. It was one of the ways we set ourselves apart from our competitors, openly advertising ourselves as specialists in serving the gay community. Everyone assumes that male florists are gay anyway. In my case I actively confirmed it and also strove to take advantage of it. The value of the pink pound was not to be underestimated.

I picked up the slip of paper on which she’d scribbled the request. It was precise. A dozen long stemmed white roses, arranged with blue irises and white lilies, hand tied with satin ribbon to match the colour of the irises. I raised an eyebrow at Janet. “Elegant, and expensive. Yum, just my kind of order.”

I frowned, mentally going through the stock we had in the shop and in the cooler. Irises I had in plenty, including some rather beautiful azure ones. I had Madonna Lilies too, in anticipation for both funeral and wedding orders. They suit all clerical attended events do white lilies. However, I didn’t have any white roses, every other colour, but not white. I spoke the colours aloud: “red, pink, coral, yellow, those lilac specimens, but no white.”

“Shall I call him back, Lee, say you can’t manage it, or ask if he’ll change his mind on the colour of the roses?”

I shook my head thoughtfully. “Hold your horses a min, Jan. There’s no point letting a good order go if we can help it. If we do a good job for him he’ll come back to us again.”

I picked up my mobile. “Let me see if I can track Cathy down at the wholesalers. Knowing her she’s still loitering there. She’s got her eye on that cactus specialist. I’ll see if she can lay hands on some white roses.”

The shop doorbell jangled and a hub of voices indicated that several potential customers had entered. Janet hurried off to attend to them.

I was in luck. Cathy was still at the wholesalers, albeit in the car park stacking boxes into her van. She happily agreed to pick up some white roses, adding that she’d managed to pick up the cactus specialist at last. She had a date with him that very evening. I was much relieved. Maybe now she’d stop bulk-buying cacti in order to have an excuse to talk with him. Cacti did not sell particularly well, but fortunately they have a long shelf life.

I put my phone down giving a sigh of satisfaction about the roses. I got a genuine kick from thinking I was going to help make someone’s day brighter.

A song called ‘Dry Your Eyes’ suddenly sang forth from the workroom radio. I turned the dial up a touch higher. The quirky yet poignant lyrics, partially spoken, partially sung, by a heavily accented lone bloke who called himself ‘The Streets’ held a certain appeal, though I wasn’t normally a fan of hip hop style music.

Singing along to the song I scanned the slip of paper that Janet had left, looking for a name and phone number to call the customer back and confirm we could do the order. I flipped it over and there it was.

I stared at it, my heart jumping. The Streets sang on without me, telling a tale about a man trying to convince himself to walk away after being dumped by his girlfriend.

I knew the phone number, even without the name written beside it. I knew it by heart, every damn digit, area code and all. Of all the florists in the world why did he have to phone an order into mine? Seven years, it had been seven years since last I saw him or heard his voice.

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Tuesday, 14 April 2015


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Fabian Black

Tarn Swan

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Stardust Tales - New Excerpt

An excerpt from work in progress: 'Stardust Tales, more extracts from my life with Stardust Twinkles,' by Tarn Swan, is now to be found here: Fabian Black - Gay Romance Fiction

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Re-Finding A Character's Voice

How easy it is, in my experience, to lose a character’s voice. It’s been such a long time since I wrote as Tarn Swan. When I sat down at my computer and attempted to begin writing again, I felt as if I’d lost him, he’d become a stranger. Maybe all writers who pen serial works feel the same way when they try to re-engage with a character they haven’t written in a while, or maybe it’s just me? 

Anyway, I began re-reading the old stories and it was if someone else had written them. It’s weird. How can an author lose contact with the characters they created? Maybe my sense of estrangement is to do with the changes that have taken place within me over the past year and more? I’m a different person these days; so much has happened that it’s changed me, and my view of the world.   

I think, as I concentrate more, that the essence of the books and the characters that people them, will come back to me. Besides, in real life, people DO change as time moves on, so why should fictional people be any different? Different nuances in character are to be expected as a series goes on. Characters grow and develop just as real life people do.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

To Serialise or Not, That Is The Question?

I’ve been looking over the Stardust Twinkle series and I’d like to continue with it. I’m not sure how to set about it though. I’ve been mulling over the idea of serialising a story on site, and this seems a likely candidate as it could be done on a month by month basis. I thought I might ask for voluntary donations to help pay the site fees, or, maybe I should just work on the book, no matter how long it takes and publish it in its entirety, as I have with the other books in the series, and then put it up for sale for the usual few dollars. I’m giving it thought. In the meantime you can view the cover I've had made on my site, here. It's not what I'd have chosen had my circumstances been, shall we say, richer. I still like it though. It has an essence of the series. After all, Twinks does love shoes. :-)

I'll be posting a small chapter on my site soon, so look out for it. I can only work for short periods, but it feels good to be even able to do that, hey up, I must be having an optimistic day, saying stuff like that. Let's hope it continues. ;)

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Sunday, 5 April 2015

Unsocial Media and Other Stuff.

Why is Social Media so called when it is anything but social? I've just deactivated my Facebook account, and it feels like a burden lifted. To be honest I never participated  much on the site because it made me feel nervous. Most of the people seemed perfectly nice and kind, but invariably some nastiness would spring up. There is always someone who thinks their personal opinion is so important that they have to give it while not giving a shit about how much hurt they cause with their spiteful behaviour. They think they have the right to humiliate and embarrass other people, and they do it as if they're handing out a favour.  I despise people like that. They are bullies, and they spoil so much with their negative venom, often disguised as 'advice.' I'm done with Facebook now. I'm just not cut out for it. I have enough stress in my everyday life without having mythical 'friends' put me down online.

I'm still not able to write much these days as I struggle with health issues. I seem to spend much of my time either at hospital or travelling to and from it. I find it very hard to accept what is happening to me. All of a sudden I feel very mortal, and really rather old and tired.

I was thinking of serialising a story on my website, just to see if it helps me get back in the swing of writing. I've lost the pleasure I once had in writing for both my own and other peoples' entertainment. That's all I ever wanted to do, entertain like minded people with my brand of kinky fic, but somehow that has been lost. I thought that maybe writing a little at a time might be less daunting than trying to write a complete book. I'm not sure.