Spark wants to be your conductor of light, sparking bright ideas—and for you to spark ours? Want in?
View this email in your browser
Welcome to Spark, Improbable Press' bi-monthly newsletter which hopes to be a conductor of light for you, sparking bright ideas. We plan on original wee stories, articles, interviews, shouty stuff, anything we think will help dreamers do and Sherlockian writers write.
Please Yourself

By Wendy C. Fries
Desire is a funny old thing. Especially women's desire.
Wait? What?
Women have…desire?
So. A couple years ago. In London. I went to the Wellcome Collection's exhibit on sex. The exhibit covered many things, including the Masters & Johnson and Kinsey studies on human sexuality. For this exhibit the Wellcome summarised some of the findings of that research and one of the key findings of both studies, one of the
findings was:
Women have sexual desire.
Holy god damned hell I flew so far off the handle after I read that that I may still be in orbit. I am even now gobsmacked that it took two in-depth and scientific studies to figure out that women want to fuck? Like to look? Like to come? That they want love and affection and sex and sweat and that they desire other human beings?
Are you kidding me with this?
Then there's television, film, books, magazines, again and again telling us about our desirability, but rarely recognizing that we desire, want, need, and lust and so the media spends little time attempting to turn us on.
What a waste.
And an opportunity.
Because when no one's looking—and the world at large is not looking at women's desires, except sometimes to mock—you can do whatever the bloody hell you please.
So for the love of god please yourself.
I've written three quarters of a million words of what most fandoms call porn. It isn't pornography in the traditional sense, it is instead writers like me using our skill at writing to tell stories that turn us on, turn other people on, to tell stories that bring us joy and expression and sweat and the friendship of the like-minded.
Writing and publishing erotic fan fiction has been one of the best gifts I have ever given myself in my fifty-three years of living. I would not undo a single awkward word I've posted, would not unwrite a single filthy thought to which I've given voice. In a wider world that pretends I do not have desire, I say fuck that noise to the tune of three quarters of a million words and I'll keep going because I love writing messy sweet wet lusty sex between two men in love and I don't care if there are people who don't understand that or who think I shouldn't.
This all by way of saying that I hope you know your desire is one thousand percent valid. That you are normal for loving tentacle porn and Holmescest and mpreg and age play. There are millions of women who desire stories of desire in all its freaky, filthy, fantastic facets. Please never, ever be ashamed of this because sure as hell the people who are telling you you should be are not ashamed of theirs.
Want is universal. Desire is universal. Physical pleasure is the provenance of all living creatures and we are responsible for our own.
Take your pleasures in both hands. Share your pleasures through words or art if that's what you wish to do. Share your pleasure in the comments to someone else's words and art and I promise you it'll inspire artists to make more (never ever doubt how powerful your tiny comment can be, creators blossom under the sweet rain of 'Loved this,' and 'Beautiful.' You need not write odes, just write something you mean).
The world may keep telling you that your purpose is to sexually give. Know that your purpose every single day is joy. Your joy makes breathing worthwhile, it makes making the world better an easier thing to do, your joy creates more joy.
Sometimes your joy is a latte. A job well-done. A movie. And sometimes it's porn that makes you wet and you know what? That's fucking fantastic because you can give that to yourself and no one, no one has the right to take your joy away.
Please yourself. You're the best one who can.
Find your joys. Share them. We are here with you, we love all of this, too.
You are in good and lusty company.
Wendy C. Fries also writes as Atlin Merrick. Both of these people are often very shouty.
Victorian Men's Underwear: Sexier Than You Think

By Narrelle M Harris
"…hands reaching for the ties or buttons. Perhaps trembling, perhaps confident, pulling slowly free the knot (or slipping buttons made of bone through buttonholes). Fabric, warm from proximity to cherished skin, soft against fingertips..."

7 Chemicals That Will Make You Feel Good
By Dimitra Stathopoulos
Endocannabinoids, dopamine, GABA, oxytocin—they're one big cocktail inside you, and your body is the shaker. You might have more of some ingredients than others, your body might not make enough of the ingredients you need the most, but whatever you need to do to keep your brain happy (whether that comes in the form of a pill or a fluffy Pomeranian), a fine and careful balance is all we can hope to achieve.
Sherlock Holmes knows all about the chemistry of love and happiness. He's a first-class chemist after all. He knows what goes into the cocktail of hormones that make us tingle with the happys when we cuddle the dog. That make some individuals blissful after a long run (who are these people and are they okay? Wouldn't they rather chocolate instead?). That make our chests squeeze tight and our minds a little scatty when we fall in love.
We can extract and distil and investigate these molecules one by one. Separate them out and interrogate them to find out what receptors they slot into, what pathways they follow, what buttons they press. But as with all things, we need to zoom out for the bigger picture. And in the bigger picture, none of these chemicals work in isolation. They're all in it together, working their magic in our bodies and leaving behind trails of happiness and contentment, love and lust.
So that poor dear, running about like a sweaty red beetroot might be blissed out on endocannabinoids. But maybe there's a rush of serotonin adding to their sense of achievement. Perhaps they ran with a friend or helped a stranger with directions, giving them a slap of oxytocin along the way. Or maybe that run was with a lover with a particularly enticing backside. Well, that there might lead to a post-run appointment with a rush of endorphins.
How can you boost your happiness chemical cocktail? Christopher Bergland at Psychology Today has some ideas.
Writer and scientist Dimitra Stathopoulos also writes for Improbable Press as Jamie Ashbird and she wants you to know more about happy science.
The One With the Porridge Murder
by Anarion
            Although it was one of the most important times in his life, Sherlock does not like to talk about the weeks that followed the day John kissed him at a crime scene.
Why, you ask? Because being kissed by John turned him into a very distracted consulting detective.
             "The porridge murder? You can’t call it that, John!"
             "He was murdered by porridge. It’s perfect."
             "Have you noticed that I tend to call my case entries whatever I want even if you object? Since it was actually me who solved this case, you don’t even get to object."
             John shook his head. "I can’t help that you got it wrong."
             "I didn’t..."
             "Yeah, you did."
            "I was distracted! By you, might I add."
            "I’m flattered. Really, I am. But you still got it wrong. And I’m still calling it ‘The Porridge Murder’."
             Sherlock’s face showed that he wanted to argue but everybody in the room (including the skull) very clearly remembered Lestrade saying with a mixture of awe, shock and glee, "You got it wrong. YOU got it wrong."
             Of course, being Sherlock, he still argued. Adamantly.
             But since everybody in the room (including the skull and Mrs Hudson downstairs) will forever very clearly remember the epic sex marathon that followed the murder porridge discussion, it wasn’t all bad. 
Anarion, undisputed queen of 221Bs—tiny Sherlockian stories of 221 words, the final word starting with B—wrote this sassy little something just for us.

Vinegar Valentines
Valentines did not used to be all lovey dovey hearts and flowers. Once upon a time they were…mean. Writer Meredith Spies has the tart truth.

Hearts at Bart's: St. Bartholomew's hospital is famous for being the canon location where Holmes meets Watson, but there's more to this 894-year-old landmark than that. A few floors up from street level, there's St. Bart's pathology museum, inside whose vast space are hundreds of jars in which float human body parts—hearts, heads, hands, flesh both wounded and diseased, engaging and grim. In a word: Pathology. Starting in February they'll have some interesting 'heart-y' events.
Book Review: A Very British Murder by Dr Lucy Worsley
By Kim Le Patourel
"…I found this book utterly compelling and it generated a huge number of plot bunnies that are currently clamouring to be fed words and, like rabbits of all descriptions, seem to be multiplying no matter what I do…"

Improbable Press is accepting submissions. We want your book pitches. Tell us your idea for a rollicking Sherlock Holmes and John Watson mystery-adventure-romance.
Improbable Press is all about two things: The mysterious adventures and the love of Holmes and Watson. Sherlock and John. Tell us a contemporary tale, a canon tale, something in between, but tell us a rollicking story.
Before you do pitch to us though, read these submission guidelines and note them well. You may have a great idea that doesn't fit our guidelines and in that case your marvelous idea is certainly meant for another publisher. We know what we want and so please study our guidelines and then tell us if you want the same thing—pitch us your book idea!

In each issue of Spark we plan on stories, articles, interviews, reviews, shouty things and we want you to be part of this. Email us interesting studies, news, and other things you think will help dreamers do and Sherlockian writers write. And remember to subscribe to Spark.
Oxytocin and crown images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Copyright © 2017 Improbable Press, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp