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  1. Back in the noughties, I wrote the draft of 27, an erotic novel. I showed it to half a dozen readers, plus my agent, and did a music and chat show with Joe the Fish on Isles FM, who wanted to prove that it was possible to have an adult conversation about sex, in the afternoon, on live radio, on the Isle of Lewis.

    The introductory piece of music was an obscure English folk song, Hey Trolly Lolly Lo, sung by I Fagiolini.

    This is a comic ditty dating from the 16th century, about a traveller passing through a village who tries (and fails) over the course of several verses, to seduce a milk maid. After that, I was thrown in at the deep end with a question about mediaeval pornography – you have to be able to think on your feet on live radio – and things went on from there.

    Not long after, a friend overheard someone at a party saying there was a writer on the island making a packet out of writing porn – she’d listened to the Isles FM broadcast.

    Nothing could have been further from the truth. My other attempts at erotic writing at that time consisted of three flash (no pun intended) fiction pieces, all doomed to obscurity.

    After the readers of 27 had given positive responses to the draft, I sent it off to my agent, who was also enthusiastic. She sent it off to a publisher who was specifically looking for a sexy book. They sent it back, saying they wanted a sexy book, but not as sexy as that one.

    Running into several more road blocks, including my agent’s impending retirement, that was the last time 27 saw the light of day …

    … until the end of 2021, when I fished it out, thought there was a lot more I could do with it, and spent the next 18 months rewriting the original. By that time, Black Beast Books had been up and running a few years, and I had five titles on offer.

    Long story short, 27 is about to be the sixth.

    Watch this space.


  2. With apologies to The '45:




    A crofter, patiently whittling a stick on the rocks below the Bonnie Prince Charlie memorial at Arnish Point, sees a small craft drift to shore through the early morning haar. Plying the oars is a hunchbacked woman in a long tartan dress with a large woollen shawl thrown around her head and shoulders. Sitting next to her, not rowing, is an ageing blonde dressed in tight fighting, highly fashionable clothes, her slender neck heavy with jewels.

    The tartan clad woman heaves the anchor over the side then drags herself over the gunwale and into the shallows. She staggers onto the shingle clutching a Saltire flag, which she thrusts triumphantly into the sand.

    “I claim my Scottish ancestry!” she says, and throws off the shawl to reveal her true identity. It is Donald MacTrump, cannily disguised as Melania’s lady’s maid, Flora MacFloryday; the hunchback is nothing more than a heavily packed golf bag, and he sports a MAGA cap.

    “They banned me from flying to Prestwick Airport, but I came anyway!” he cries. “Make … Alba … Great … Again … ” he gasps, before collapsing face-down in the sands.

    The crofter approaches him warily. MacTrump struggles to his feet and throws his arms wide.

    “Will you flock to my standard, sir?”

    The crofter scratches his head and advises him to go home.

    “I am home,” MacTrump says. “I am returning to the birthplace of my mother – a fugitive from the FBI, to practise voter fraud and tax evasion. And improve my swing.”

    In the boat rocking gently at anchor, Melania hopes the crofter will respect her six thousand dollar shoes and carry her to shore; she looks vainly around her for the promised Lews-a-Lago Hotel.