Brian Macmaster is a journalist licking the wounds of a divorce in Paris where he hopes to recapture the flame of his writing passion. One night in the bar of the Hotel Pavillon, where he has rented a room on a monthly rate, he meets two women, Anna Maria Schiavetti and her friend, Rafaela Evangelista de Vargas.
Macmaster is immediately attracted to the newcomer. But there is a problem: she’s transgender.
Despite this, Macmaster finds himself falling for her and this leads him into a spider’s-web of intrigue, deception and extortion, finally culminating in a political scandal that overthrows the French government and also lands him in prison. This is a sexy, powerful, relentlessly paced novel that is not only a page-turner but explores one of the most fascinating subjects, not to mention taboos, of contemporary culture.
An action-packed tale of love and life, humour and romance, played out by an unforgettable cast of characters with genuine Scots voices, Poaching the River will make you laugh and cry out loud.
It’s a quiet afternoon in Auchpinkie, a tiny fishing village on the east coast of Scotland, and in her Corner Shop, Mae and her cronies are setting the world to rights.
Suddenly a furniture van draws up outside one of the houses along the street. A beautiful young woman is moving into Etta Swankie’s old house. But no-it can’t be-that’s Rae, Etta’s daughter, and Etta always swore she’d disinherit her!
Over the next few days the action races to its riotous climax, as Big Sye, Rae’s cousin, poaches the River Pinkie in a daring adventure, the village public convenience is destroyed by a freak explosion, and the parish minister is baffled by the sudden religious conversion of two formerly heathenish young lads.
Behind it all a spider’s web of intrigue is woven, as the villagers conspire to get Big Sye and Rae together. But there are things going on that none of them ken, and secrets that only Rae’s old friend Izzie knows…
I wrote this piece about a sea-monster in 2008 and always liked it. It was aimed at children and those with young minds. I hope you enjoy it. It’s about the right length for a bedtime story too.
The monster Geewaha-nalior cruises the endless blue sea once again.
Long, long years he had slept, resting on a coral beach. His head lay on the sand and his body and tail stretched for miles out into the sea; and as men began to navigate the world, again and again ships crashed into the scales of his back, wrecking themselves.
Read more fiction like this in the epic trilogy The Children of Aldebaran
When I was a child, madness was the most terrifying affliction I could imagine. The idea that I might not be able to control my own life was bad enough. But to think that I might be controlling it, yet in ways that my conscious mind would never allow, was enough to give me nightmares. The irrational unknown inside me was terrifying.
The notion that I might be someone other than the sane person I thought I saw, when I looked into the mirror, was simply horrific. The idea of losing rationality and, with it, my central core of me, that hub around which my life revolves, has always been more frightening than anything else I can think of.
I’m at the local motorcycle repair shop where Sherwyn, a most competent mechanic and pleasant cove, is replacing a brake master cylinder on the Blaze. He first thought to replace only the seals, but he can’t find the right size. A new cylinder is 400 pesos, just under six quid, an unwell encephalopod. I just tell him to get on with it. Sherwyn works in the open space outside a motorcycle parts shop, where he seems to buy most of his stuff, although, as today, sometimes he has to go further afield. While I wait I sit on a wooden bench in the shade and observe the street life. Baklas soon begin to appear; it’s like they’re in the woodwork.
Ladyboys are like hobbits; they have big feet. Although, and fortunately, not usually hairy.
My dearest and truest friend, my distant confidante and beloved adopted sister, Andie, is sitting on the brown vinyl sofa in my rented condo in Pasig. She has delicately hoisted the hem of her long floral skirt with one hand and with the other she is holding one of her slippers — flipflops in Filipino — against her leg.
‘Ugh,’ she says. ‘You see? My feet are longer than half the length of my shin.’
She drops the slipper and the hem and takes to regarding her feet with evident distaste, elbow on knee, chin cupped in her hand. She wiggles her toes.
‘I could possibly cut them off,’ she muses. ‘I should cut them off.’
On the tenth anniversary of completing the first draft of The Warm Pink Jelly Express Train, I am republishing this article about it. It describes an affair between a Brazilian transsexual prostitute and a Western straight man.
Poaching is essentially a romanticised memoir; Warm Pink is nothing like that. It is far deeper and more introspective and writing it, along with the later Why Men Made God, was what shaped my current world view.
My ideas about gender in particular were formed by the research and writing of Warm Pink. Although it is a breathlessly-paced romantic adventure, it required me to dig deep into the natures of gender and sexuality, something I had never done before.