I’m very excited to have my short-story ‘Hot Air’ selected for inclusion in the Coming Together anthology of lesbian erotia ‘Girl on Girl’ edited by award winning author Leigh Ellwood.  It’s also nice that all authors have waived any royalties and all proceeds of the anthology go to the (US) National Center for Lesbian Rights.  And it’s pleasing to be included in an anthology alongside some great authors.  The full line up of the anthology can be viewed here.  The ‘Girl on Girl’ anthology will be published later this summer.

My own contribution is a lesbian encounter in a hot air balloon set at Pickering Gala in 1911 when balloon ascents and parachuting was a big attraction at such events.  For non-UK readers Pickering is a market town in Yorkshire in the north of England.  The story was inspired by some Edwardian photographs of the Gala I came across and the remarkable real life story of the lady parachutist Dolly Shepherd who I wrote a blog about last year.

Story synopsis

When Sally Sparrow-hawk, the renowned Edwardian lady parachutist comes to a Gala in her home town Kitty is so excited.  She will do anything to meet her heroine so she climbs into the balloon before its ascent.  When she emerges from under a piece of tarpaulin and makes herself known her horizons are widened in more ways than one!

Story extract

Kitty clinched the flimsy printed flyer to her chest. There wasn’t a day over the last few weeks she hadn’t gazed at this poster in eager anticipation of the event it publicised.  It was a notice advertising Pickering Gala on 24th July 1911.  This thin printed sheet advertised a fun fair, a tug of war competition and a grand fireworks display as its finale but most exciting for  Kitty was the star attraction, whose name was emblazoned in large Gothic script across centre of the poster; ‘Sally Sparrow-hawk – The Amazing Bird Lady of London Town’ and below it an engraved illustration of a figure dangling precariously in the sky from a trapeze and ropes attached to a hot air balloon.

The poster was another item to add to her collection of newspaper cuttings and memorabilia about Sally Sparrow-hawk, the renowned lady parachutist, whose reputation for daring and death defying aerial feats had spread across the country.  Kitty found it hard to explain how her fascination for this person had developed.  It all started after reading an account in ‘The Illustrated London News’ a customer had left in the Castle Tea Rooms where Kitty worked as a waitress. She was gripped by the description of the balloon ascent above Alexandra Palace and then the daring leap into the air trusting only to a billowing swathe of material to bring her down safely. There was a photograph of the descent, a tiny figure dropping out of a vast sky above the glass domes of Alexandra Palace.

The favourite item in her collection was a studio postcard of Sally in her parachutist uniform.  Kitty found it hard to explain the feelings this picture aroused in her.  Certainly there was admiration for the bravado needed to carry out such death defying feats and then there was perhaps some envy for the adventurous and exciting lifestyle she must lead but there was something else as well, a tingling feeling that churned up her insides.  If the picture was of a male parachutist or some dashing young army captain of the kind her friends swooned over she could understand but the attraction this dashing figure in a navy blue knickerbocker suit and peaked cap stirred up in Kitty confused her.

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