It’s only six-thirty in the world of obligations. The neura’s time manipulation is diabolically cruel when used in the penal system, but it’s a boon for forbidden lovers who yearn for just a few more hours in each other’s arms.

Star Crossed — coming soon

Psst! I have a new story coming out next month.

O, swear not by the moon is a romantic science-fiction short story, appearing in the Star Crossed anthology published by Fedowar Press. You may have seen excerpts already if you follow me on Instagram, but here's a little taste nonetheless:

This is the tale of Tanith, Faruk and a neurally entangled love that crosses the boundary between worlds.

Star Crossed comes out 26th April 2021.

Star Crossed — an anthology of romantic science fiction coming soon. Follow @fedowar for the cover reveal this week!

Does failure start with a big F?

In case you missed it, Facebook banned the sharing of news in Australia last week. The new ruling was rolled out very clumsily, with the public suddenly unable to access swathes of essential information services. Look, I won't re-hash the story. That linked article gives a pretty clear rundown of what happened.

I feel like I should be righteously indignant about this, but I'm not. I'm concerned and I'm curious. We, the users of giant "free" social media platforms, are subject to decisions made by opaque corporations and governments scrambling to keep up with changing technology. In this unexplored social, technological and legislative territory, these decisions amount to large-scale experiments with us as the lab rats.

And the two questions we may not ask ourselves enough remain:

  1. Are we okay with this?
  2. And, what's the alternative if we aren't?

What would communication look like if you were to give up social media? What would you miss out on if the rest of your social network stayed on there? Could your small business, hobby, desire for connection flourish without it?

As usual, I have more questions than answers. I know no one's forcing us to stay on these big platforms, but I also realise that everyone's situation is different. Some people depend on social media because other avenues are inaccessible to them. So to get all high and mighty about the choices people make is very often an exercise in projection.

There are flaws on both sides of the fence. Neither Facebook nor Australia's news media have a clean track record, and the optimist in me wants to believe this is part of the shake-up needed for everyone to figure out a smart way forward. And still, I worry about those of us who would become "collateral damage" in the process. I worry that we're the frog in the water and whoever's turning up the temperature won't know when to stop.

Is that paranoid and overly dramatic? I hope so. I hope that's all it turns out to be.


Hobbies that feed my fiction

Throughout my life, I've been prone to minor obsessions (and many not so minor), some of which have been finding their way into my writing. I think the best part about being a bit of a hobby junkie is how much one can learn without it feeling like work.

It is work, of course. As they say, we never get to skip eating the shit sandwich, we can only choose the flavour it comes in. But if that sandwich happens to be a flavour we enjoy, then it seems appropriate to count our blessings.

So, here are a few of mine 💜💜💜💜

Birdwatching 🐦

Did you know that birdwatching is such a serious pursuit, they have a different name for the truly committed enthusiast? I'm definitely more on the casual end of the spectrum, though I do own a pair of binoculars bought specifically for this hobby. In our home, it's not about snapping photos or filling out a catalogue. We just try to say hello to as many birds as possible when we're out on a walk. Bonus points if we can identify the species, imitate the bird call, or whip out a fun fact on the spot.

We've had odd encounters with our local birds. They can be real friendly once they get to know you, and some just aren't afraid at all as long as you seem non-threatening. We found an owl in our driveway a couple summers ago, staring at us like we were the weirdos out of place. Once, I sat for ages next to a cormorant who pretty much snubbed me the whole time (tbf he was probably asleep). And then there was that well-orchestrated bird heist...

Anyway, even as just a casual hobbyist, this interest popped up in an early writing exercise. Birdwatchers, an erotic short story, ensued.

Book cover for Birdwatchers by JL Peridot

Martial arts 🥋

Up until a couple years ago, I studied a shōtōkan-based martial art with my partner and some friends. I originally got into it as mental-health management and body awareness practice, but ended up going as far as a brown-belt grading. Really, it was a "just for fun" grading, as I'd recently graded and was rocking a sprained ankle from something unrelated. A proper brown-belt grading would have flattened me.

I had a love-hate relationship with this sport, but learned so much from doing it. The experience of sparring was especially useful to the work I do now. It's not the same as a real-life fight situation, and I only ever did it at a beginner level, but it gave me a taste of those on-your-feet things your brain thinks and registers when you're in the moment.

Most importantly, it showed me the things you don't take notice of. This dramatically changed my approach to writing action scenes, culminating in the fights that appear in Chasing Sisyphus.

Book cover for Chasing Sisyphus by JL Peridot

Partying 👯‍♀️

I spent my twenties as "one of the bad kids", frantically making up for a youth squandered amidst strait-laced negativity and toxic conformity. I partied with a variety of goodies, sometimes every night, and today thank my lucky stars that a) it never hindered my ability to work and function, and b) I'm not biologically or psychologically predisposed to addiction.

Ironically, that lifestyle ended up being good for me at the time. It helped me unwind in ways I never knew how to before and helped me think about things with a different perspective. It let me develop some artistic confidence and practice self-awareness under unusual circumstances—both early-days skills I could take back with me to Sobriety City. It's for this reason that I feel certain illicit substances shouldn't be outlawed, but studied and regulated with care and pragmatism, and with a body of education developed around them.

I wouldn't recommend this hobby for everyone—even a short stint of deep research will come with risks—but well, it was certainly a time in my life, and the experiences from it factor a lot into my writing today.

Arduino programming 🤖

For a brief period, I was very into microcontrollers. Arduino, to be specific. I've always regretted skipping the hardware units at school, thinking stuff like logic gates and resistance calculations would never come up in my work. Getting into this hobby filled a huge gap in my computer science education, which I'd never missed in my web development career, but definitely ended up yearning for in life.

The obsessive phase for this hobby was short, but I learned just enough of the concepts, principles and vocabulary to develop Celeste's character for It Starts with a Kiss. Even though it's a soft sci-fi romance that's light on the tech, I'm glad I got to write an MC who talks nerdy like it's normal, not too unlike many of the beloved nerds in my life.


How about you? What hobbies scratch your itch right now? How do you feel when you see one of your interests appear in the books you read? If you write as well, what hobbies have played into your work? Leave a comment. Let's chat ☺️


A gentleman reads a worn paperback in bed, in his cosy well-decorated bedroom.

My favourite traits in a romance hero

Today, I'm visiting the Nomad Authors blog to talk about my favourite traits in a romance hero.

Pretty sure I'm not alone in loving these attractive and very down-to-earth characteristics. To me, they are realistic relationship-improving qualities vital to the success and happiness of any long-term partnership.

Read the post:

Thank you, Nomad Authors, for letting me pop in!


Should fiction writers talk about politics?

I find I don't have so many opinions these days, more just feelings and questions. And one thing stoking these feelings lately is the idea that fiction writers shouldn’t talk about politics.

When I was a younger reader, I certainly wondered why on earth they would. Unless an author was writing contemporary political fiction, what would real-life arguments that no one seems able to agree on have to do with their work?

Then I started taking my own writing more seriously and realised, wow… actually, politics has A LOT to do with fiction.

Let’s set aside the idea of “moralising” or “sending a message” here. It’s kind of obvious this happens, and whether an author intends for their fiction to push an agenda is always down to the individual author and the piece of work in question. Also, this isn’t the thing I want to talk about today.

I want to talk about world-building. Specifically, how worldly mechanics and market forces help shape the setting of a story and drive the drama. Even in romance fiction, where the conflict is about how the MC and LI succeed or fail in answering the call of love, it’s stuff like politics, economics and social issues that offers fertile ground for interesting conflict to grow.

Take Sarah Smith’s Simmer Down as a contemporary example. If Nikki lets Callum nick her parking spot, her sales will drop, resulting in less income to support her family. Their conflict over food truck territory is ultimately an economic one. This novel may not feature US economic policy per se, but it does examine the impacts of capitalism on the individual, albeit in a super hot, sexy and entertaining way.

A glowing plasma ball
Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Speculative fiction, by necessity, may include its fair share of politics, which I think stems from authors having to create an entire universe by extrapolating from real-world circumstances and events. Policy influences how people behave, decides how technology may be created and used, and deems what actions are acceptable when we want something we don't have.

The effect is subtle in Pia Manning’s Star Brides series, where xenopolitics encourages the interspecies marriages that lead to romantic tension, giving us a taste of how humans and aliens might resolve differing ideologies within an intimate partnership. In my own work, It Starts With A Kiss, the romantic conflict occurs against the backdrop of issues surrounding industry automation and regulation of UBI (universal basic income).

But then there are stories where you also get to see characters actually do a politics. Stories like Frank Herbert’s Dune, A.R. Vagnetti’s Storm series, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight universe (the Volturi), and James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse.

But let’s get back to present-day realism.

We share this world. We are all connected. Sometimes we mean to be, but most of the time it happens by accident. The events of 2020 highlighted quite profoundly how strong our connections are, even when we can’t see them.

Politics (governmental or otherwise) is the means by which we negotiate the influences and resources within our world. It’s in the air we breathe, the water we drink, it even governs the ground we walk on. Just try setting foot in a restricted area and you’ll get a first-hand lesson in how your society regards “property ownership”.

If we’re lucky enough to be aligned with the dominant political and socioeconomic position where we live, we get to take it all for granted. That doesn’t mean we’re apolitical, it just means we don’t have to think about it all the time. We get to pretend we’re happy-go-lucky and stuff doesn’t matter.

If that’s not the case, though, then we remain almost constantly aware and conscious of the fact that everything stems from politics. We may never get the experience of not thinking about it.

A toy dinosaur sits atop a stack of books
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The book on top of your TBR pile got there because certain worldly forces permitted it to be. Maybe you live in a place where books like that are allowed to be printed and sold. The author must have been afforded the ability to sit and write it, then to have it be published and distributed. And you were able to acquire it because someone somewhere paid good money for it to be at the right place at the right time. All of the forces that put that book in your hands were shaped by the negotiations in our shared world.

I daresay fiction writers must be aware of this, at least on some level, in order to write relatable and interesting stories. Even when we make the argument that fiction should be about helping readers escape from vexatious politics, writers must still create those places they can escape to. These places may not feature political conflict, but politics—in some fashion—will always be relevant.

Now, I don’t think fiction writers should necessarily talk about politics. But my feeling is there may be no reason why they shouldn’t, as politics are necessary to create an interesting world.

And appreciating how worldly forces have enabled me to sit here and write this post, I can’t help but wonder—how can anyone talk about anything without ultimately being political? 🤔


A starry silhouette of a couple dancing on the cover of Love, Nostalgia & Lights in the Sky by JL Peridot

Love, Nostalgia & Lights in the Sky

Love, Nostalgia & Lights in the Sky is a collection of tiny stories, featuring some of my micro fiction, #vss (very short stories), flash and short poetry previously published here, in my newsletter and on my social profiles.

This book contains some adult content of a romantic and sexual nature, and is intended for readers over the age of eighteen.

It's available for free when you subscribe to Dot Club.

A starry silhouette of a couple dancing on the cover of Love, Nostalgia & Lights in the Sky by JL Peridot


Red wine spills into a glass

Status Update — Jan 2021

It was SO warm last week. With temps in the high 30s—even cracking 40 a couple of times—my homebody self has been uncharacteristically eager to go out just to enjoy 15 minutes of air-conditioning in the car. We had a little reprieve over the weekend, and despite predictions of the days climbing back up to 40, we seem to be back in the gorgeous Celsius bracket of first summer 🥵 According to the Noongar calendar, this is Birak.

Warm days generally adds an extra struggle factor to writing. This is the kind of weather to spend being restless, agitated, out and about instead of sweating away at a desk. But I do love it. And I'm trying to work better with the seasons. For example, we just started keeping our water filter jug in the fridge.

I know. Genius, right? 💁🏻‍♀️

This month, I've committed to getting just one WIP past the post. Surely focusing on just one thing means it'll get done, because that's exactly how life works 😅😅😅 It's a sci-fi romance short story that's been bouncing around in the ol' coconut since November. And in case you're curious, I'll leave off with a wee snippet from Instagram:

A subroutine pours a drink for Roxy. Tanith studies the arc trajectories of particles as they slosh and swirl against the glass. So realistic. The latest patch to the Garden has all but eliminated the uncanny valley that reminds her she belongs to a different world.

Red wine spills into a glass


Should I be embarrassed? We’re not teenagers anymore.

You and I was my first erotica release in 2017. It began as an experiment in steamy "sudden fiction", then later became a five-piece series of flash fiction chapters. I was reading a lot of Literotica back then and wanted to see how things would turn out if you shot for the same level of heat but with a more introspective tone.

Hope you enjoy this little excerpt from my early foray into rude writing 💜

The credits finish. In reality, a second passes, but it seems to take forever. It’s so quiet, I can hear the tap drip in the kitchen. Should I be embarrassed? We’re not teenagers anymore. But we’ve never been this close before and my skin is burning.

“Should I get up?” I ask. I’m exposed and awkward, unsure of where this goes. What would it mean to you, if I sat up? Should we pretend this never happened? The questions in a question.

Your mouth moves, silently at first. Then you say: “You don’t have to. I mean, if you don’t want to.”

You look in my eyes and I wonder if you can tell I’ve thought about us being here. I wonder if you know I borrow the clothes you leave behind when you crash after a big night; if you know I know they smell the way you do up close. With my face pressed against you and my belly in knots.

Fuck it. I don’t want to keep wondering.

“I’ll stay a bit,” I say. I smile and move my head, press a little harder; you breathe deep. “Hey, I don’t have to be anywhere tonight. Do you?”

“Nowhere,” you shake your head. “Nothing planned.”

“Can I take this?” I ask. I tug at the waistband of your shorts. A wispy tuft peeks out from the gap between your shirt and underwear.

You look like you’re about to say something; either ask me to stop or to keep going. I wait to feel your hands on the back of my head, wait to hear you tell me, direct, to put your dick in my mouth and suck it until you come. But that’s only how I imagine you. You’re too polite for that. You just nod and wait for me.

You lift your hips and I slip your shorts off. The cut of your v-line surprises me. It really shouldn’t. I’ve seen you countless times, shirt off, passed out drunk exactly where I’m lying now. But not like this, I suppose. Not where you’re inches from my face with your eyes on me and your abdomen rising and falling like unbreaking waves.

Read the rest of You and I

This book (short story) is a freebie if you get it from most outlets.

Or it's 99c on Amazon.
A beautiful brunette woman is embraced from behind by a masculine pair of arms. She closes her eyes and revels in it.

Abandon all shyness, ye who enter here...

This post is part of a blog hop. Check out more steamy shares in this event:

#MFRWsteam mfrwsteam.blogspot.com


Text in image: Dot Club, a mailing list

Dot Club #25

Happy new year, my lovelies! Dot Club #25 comes out later today. It’s the first in a trial of monthly emails. (Big thank you to everyone who filled in the feedback questionnaire!)

Here’s what you can expect to see:

  • Reflections on the year (and my favourite journaling exercise)
  • Thoughts from a psychologist about relationship chemistry
  • The instagram hashtag I’m obsessed with right now (so many pretty things)
  • An excerpt from a WIP I feel too awkward to keep working on 🙈

If you’re on the list, sit tight!

If not, you can sign up on my website.