ebonee natalie-shau-fashion-works (2)Photograph by Natalie Shau

‘We are our choices’ – Jean-Paul Sartre

Hellish hard to determine what, if any, section of a new book one should impart in an attempt to expose it’s blanket disposition when I am naught but a fanciful old fool and my co-author is currently glued to her weeding and seeding only taking short breaks to talk of family planning with the frantic copulating insects of all shapes and sizes who have set about constructing makeshift bordellos in her otherwise virginal yet rustic garden. Thus it calls for an executive decision of the sort I’ve never been good at. Best we start at the very beginning? Why not; 




Shirley Blamey & Michael Steeden  

“No one can hear you cry when the swifts scream overhead,” pertinent words pitched at the penitent yet unforgiven wailing dreadlocked martyr to a lost cause, aptly pinned to an immense wooden cross in the centre-ville of a yesteryears garden of delights, a place of incongruous juxtapositions where both the lascivious and the meek come out to play.

Her victims fate sealed, she would leave the wretched sufferer to stew in his own juices, yet not before posing of him the inconsequential question, “I am very dark, but comely don’t you think?” previous to making a dramatic show of relieving him of, “This futile, ridiculous loincloth,” and tossing it into the baying crowd, adding for good measure, “There now, you must agree that there is no point in a public crucifixion without a modicum of sexual humiliation Romanesque style? Look see, your devotees are ecstatic and slobbering for more at long last.”  With that, she, displaying her celebrated savoir-faire exited the podium, and made to leave the playground to the unenlightened rabble, now feasting their bellies upon ripe giant strawberries and clotted cream, their eyes firmly fixed upon the helpless, evermore humbled one, his relentless blubbering, sweetest music to their ears. Then unexpectedly and clearly in deepest thought she paused, turned about face, adopting a clichéd quizzical pose, head tilted to one side, eyes glued upon her quarry’s uncovered groin. Taking precise, even steps, she unhurriedly returned to the hapless fellow nailed to the crucifix. “You know… well plainly you couldn’t know…my beloved red-tailed hawk, ‘Missy’ by name, hasn’t feasted upon manhood’s trinity of culinary delights for what seems like an age. She always saves the cock ‘til last, I thought you’d like to know. Anyhow, it’s always been her favourite nibble…nice and chewy. I’m minded to treat her to those tasty morsels of yours. Such a yummy delicacy for her to savour…full of zinc and protein as well…I do hope you don’t mind. I’d wipe away your tears if only I had a handkerchief, whatever, let us see if the mob below agree with me, shall we?”  Indeed, the mob were as one in imparting rapturous applause, thus expressing their raucous, drooling approval at the prospect of seeing Missy dining out.

Within the hour, under an inferno sun, a female hawk in flight, wings spread wide, gliding majestically, circling provocatively, casting her waltzing shadow over the crowd below as she readied herself for a much longed for bite to gobble up.


If proof was ever needed then the above is a case in point for never, never ever underestimate the intellect or determination of the female of the species. Especially so when the female concerned is both contrarily everlasting and also the sadistic Empress of an otherworldly dominion, a place where everything imaginable is probable.

Such a wonderful woman in my opinion was the dark Empress of all she hankered after. Loved and hated in equal measure…although I will come to her dubious role in the tale I have to tell a little later… for as of now I need to scroll back in time. Back to where it all resumed, ‘resumed’ being the operative word as will become clear. Back to when The Empress’ polar opposite, a girl called Eve, yes, that ‘Eve’, the one of apple scoffing fame, was ready, willing and at long last able to fledge……

whatever happened to eve full cover

For what it may, or may not be worth, the book is available on Amazon generally and below, the links to the paperback and Kindle edition in both the Amazon UK and the Amazon US (simply because these are the only links I’ve discovered).



  1. I think it’s just great that you and she are collaborating together. We are trying to do the same, bit by bit but not everyone can get along haha. Compromise is everything! Allbest–

    1. You know the wonderful thing about writing together is that the disagreements are about the story, not about painting a fence or washing a car. Arguments over words are, I believe, relatively safe ones!

      1. I really do think a good old barney twixt the two of us works so well. Unquestionably worth a try. I fully recommend it. Years back our first row turned into ever more vile personal insults that worsened with every riposte. We reached a stage where dear Shirl came up with the perfect disgusting line re me that I fell about laughing as did she. Sometimes the lowest common denominator solves everything!

      2. Laughing has saved us often lately. Usually saved one of us from saying something that we could not take back–
        But we are both committed for the long haul, better or worse

      3. A wonderful riposte. I wish you and yours all the best of better than before. Like my life with my nutter, your words are music to this old fool. We are all one of the same.

  2. Dear Mike, this is delightful. How wonderful that the crowd got an eyeful and Missy got a treat, yum! Eve certain knows how to use mob appeal to her advantage. Wonderful extract, love it, and Natalie Shau’s photo is a stunner.

    1. My first visitor of the yesterday to make comment, young Mia. Just as I was sat caged within my dark cave listening to the irksome drips from stalactites that were sending me insane kind words in the form of fireflies scattered hither and yon lit up this dull grotto. My sincere thanks.

  3. Whatever happened to Eve? She’s alive and kicking ass in Mike and Shirley’s new book. Been waiting to come back and get a right read. Well worth it. To read the Sartre too.

    1. This was a most difficult book to write, Ms S. There were many occasions I lost my nerve. The point Shirl took charge of my train of thought and added new branch lines to even darker places than I’d ever considered did it all come together. We are pleased with the end result, and for me that’s a rare thing. Looking back I marvel at the course the human mind can chart when freed from the shackles of everyday life. In all honesty I also marvel at great writers like you who face down the word demons and succeed time and again. You have the gift. My thanks, Ms S.

      1. Oh God no Mike, I ain’t anything. Just a silly, driven bint. It’s not at all easy writing a book. I always reserve my little smiles for those folks who have their plotting chart and three months later they have their book. They just go a to b each day it seems to me and it shows in the end product which is very often a box ticked replica of the last book. I think what you speak of is far harder. Where you lose the way and you want to tear hair along with the manuscript, or you think…gone the wrong way here, need to go from the right way now and come back on all this MESS later and make the joins. Then yep, there’s everyday life which is often when you do go the wrong way with what you have on the page. But the thing is you now have a finished product –both of you — and sometimes that pair of fresh eyes is all that was needed. You have great talent Mike, never think you don’t. You also have a greatly talented lady at your side so it proves this can be done. You did it, both of you. Now you will do more.

      2. ‘Driven bint’ is likely the key to your success, Ms S…a trait Scottish heritage awards its finest, well that and a passion to put pen to paper. That you share sound advice with others as well as disclosing the trials and tribulations of being a writer says all one needs to know regarding the methodology…or glorious lack off…spinning most worthy yarns into something special. No ‘plotting chart’ for the brave. A wing and a prayer is, I believe, all that words crave for. They loath being organised until it suits them. As with your hamsters, I would suggest you let them roam until such time the victory party begins as the book nears completion? As ever, your demeaner and undoubted gift, serve to both impress and envy. As ever, best wishes to you and yours.

      3. Mike, yir way too kind. I am just tearing the final bits of Destiny to pieces, largely cos the finished product bears no resemblance to what I thought it might… It is nearly there, there’s just this bit that leads to the end I am sitting inside both their skins in right now. Hoping to get this wee bit hammered out the way I want it this weekend. Thank you for your comment. Truly. The dudes have been a bit neglected but they will be back soon. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

      4. Then let Destiny have the space Destiny needs. I wish you peace and quiet to muse by and all the very best wishes, may your words be the ones you’re looking for.

    1. My thanks, Holly. You are one of the few when it comes to romantic exploration. So accomplished I envy you talent. Dearest Shirl has come up with a new idea for another tale that scares the living daylights out of me…it should be ‘fun’ to pen when I’ve stopped quivering.

    1. My thanks, young Inese. A mad collaboration albeit on the risque side. Shirl was the brave one putting flesh to my skeleton ideas. It was a project the caused much laughter.

    1. An interesting point, Ms Lee. Since the beginning of time Shirl and I have been at each other’s throats. We wouldn’t have it any other way. However, she is the brave one. The book demanded bravery when it came to ‘off the wall’ concepts. My input on the subject of Ebonee and Eve’s affair with her was a skeleton; Shirl added the flesh…rather a lot of flesh as it happens! That my wife is as mad as a hatter she held no truck with my doubts vis a vis “surely we can’t write that?” Her riposte invariably, “We can write exactly what we want,” in much the same way as the two characters did exactly what they wanted from choice.

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