TopShelf Blogs

August Contest: Alternate August - Deadline Coming


As a writer I am constantly asking myself, “What if?” So what if we lived in a society that had completely different values and taboos?

How about an alternate society where homosexuality was the norm and someone that found themselves attracted to the opposite sex was considered to have a very bad mental problem? What if that person was forced to be treated for being mentally deviant? What if they are forced to go through a sex change so their body now reflects their sexual preference?

Had a visit from a supervisor at the cleaning company today


Blog About: 

I had a visit from someone from my cleaning company today, and a couple of good things are hopefully gonna come from it.

One is he promised me that he will see about getting my coverage for my meds going, and he's also promised me that they will get me an actual uniform.

So I am going to give this news a tentative yay ...

Podcastle Artemis Rising Event 3

We have so many great authors here, That I thought everyone might be interested in this.

Podcastle is an online fantasy short story magazine. Each week, they produce an audio podcast featuring a fantasy short story.

They are opening submissions next month for an event called Artemis Rising, featuring female and transgender authors (although their term is non-binary). It's apparently the third year they have done this.

Where next?

I have now 56 books self-published on Amazon. I have published some early paperbacks through I have also used KOBO and Smashwords for eBooks, but their formatting and price requirements made life too difficult, so I think I've withdrawn all of them - I may have one or two left with them. To be honest, it wasn't worth my while, for every thousand books I sold on Amazon, I might sell one on Kobo or Smashwords - I stress - might..

Pittsburgh researchers may have found 'cure' for some untreatable depression


Blog About:
Pittsburgh researchers may have found 'cure' for some untreatable depression
August 22, 2016 12:00 AM
By Sean D. Hamill / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ben Finder remembers when the depression first hit him.

Need Some Help :)

Well I'm venturing forth into my new story and I need some research help. I want to make the main character a guitar player but I don't really know much about the subject. The kind of guitars he might own, the type of training he might need. I want to write it as accurate as I can so it looks good on the page.

If anyone knows anything about this, can you please PM me :)


Last update

Hi everyone,

yup, this will be my last update until I return from Heidi land in mid September!

So firstly, I know its a bit tardy but the guide to Gabycon 2016 is now available. It might be a slim volume but its fat on reading with a new short from Ang and a Gaby prequel from yours truly, neither available anywhere else! Usual formats, I've tried to keep prices low but some stuff is beyond my control!

new health worries

I have been trying my best to make this blog super positive lately, and it helps that some good stuff is going on, but as the point of this little exercise is to be honest, I do have to share some not-so-positive stuff.

Right now, my biggest worry is my health. Now my pain levels have been slowly increasing again after a period of leveling off, but that's not really what's new.

Karin Bishop's Port of Departure/Port of Arrival

I have been engrossed on my Kindle with Karin Bishop's EPIC two-novel tale and wish to highly recommend the story to others. Karin's books are not expensive but I do hope purchasers will use the BC link to Amazon to help with the costs of keeping BigCloset running.

"The Life and Murder of Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympic Champion"


Blog About: 

A long read (pun intended, since it's on but well worth the time. It addition to the story of Stella Walsh it provides introductions to some other early female track & field athletes and some of the interesting history of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The Life and Murder of Stella Walsh, Intersex Olympic Champion

Mother's Child


I know I've disappointed my readers with this extended delay in my story (Mother's Child), but this has been a difficult year for me. I was sick for so long, then as I was recovering, my wife became very ill. She recovered then my father was diagnosed with stage 3 small cell leukemia about three months ago. He died two weeks ago. I haven't had much heart for anything since then, but I am recovering mentally and hope to finish the current chapter this week.

I appreciate everyone's patience.


laughter, the best medicine ?


Blog About: 

Had an interesting moment at work today.

I was waiting for the public washrooms to clear so I could clean them, and while I waited, I noticed a little girl in a shopping cart with her mom. When she saw me, she squealed with delight and began "talking" to me in baby chatter, waving her arms around and generally having a great time.

I couldn't help myself - I started laughing.

(There may have been some giggles involved, but I refuse to confirm or deny)

back to sanity

Team GB cycling - just wow!

In case you missed it - the entire track team come home with at least one gong each! That means our cycling team would place 11th in the current medal table!

We can now get back to some sort of normalcy as the rest of our team try to hang onto our second place in the medal table - yep second, not bad for a little rock on the edge of knowhere!

More Gaby later.


The life we are given and the life that we make.


Blog About: 

Joan, who are you?
Well I have gone by "Joan de Arc" for acting like a martyr. I have gone by "Joan of Harp" as an amateur musician. I have given my middle name of Joan for a food pickup because no one can spell my first name right. Then there are some of my friends that just call me Joan.

Authors that inspired you to get into writing.

If there's anything that makes me happy it's when people say to other authors that a certain story made them want to get into writing. Now that hasn't happened to me specifically yet but I will say a few people that made me want to start writing TG material(I had dabbled in other genre's before joining BC)

Torey: Her Emerging from the Cocoon, and Forever Claire stories really got me wanting to write in this area.

TGsine: Summer Girl was one of the first stories I ever read on BC and it actually played a part in me writing my story Broken Phoenix.

Hatbox and Operating Funds for BCTS


Update: We have about $230 in the bank right now and need for about $800 by Friday.

We have about $200 in the bank right now and a need for about $1750 by Friday, including a $400 loan to Piper for registering Liam (Piper's son) in daycare. (We made the deposit for Liam's daycare, which Piper will repay after getting re-imbursed.) Thanks to everyone who gave on the 9th and 10th!

Please, if you can, send us a gift to help us keep operating BigCloset and the other sites we host and help maintain for the community. Thanks.

And again TGism and Intersexism at the Olympics

This is a bit of a rehash from the London Games, but is still current according to the dateline ...

Then there is also ...

'About a Girl' on Australian Story


Blog About: 

This is for Australian readers because sadly I don't think the programs are available in other countries. If anyone missed 'Australian Story' on ABC television on Monday evening 15th August, it was about a 16 year old and remarkably mature transgender girl called Georgie and her attempts to make life easier for other transgender teens in their battles with the law and prejudice. She has a twin brother, but from a very early age she was absolutely sure that she was a girl. Lately she has 'come out' at her very supportive Melbourne school.

my mom might have PTSD or something like it


Blog About: 

During a conversation I had with my mom this weekend, it occurred to me that she has her own kind of PTSD.

She was talking about some stuff that happened before she married my dad, and it was like she wasn't just remembering, but reliving the painful stuff.

I could suggest counseling, but she can be stupidly stubborn sometimes, and seeing someone is one of those areas.

Ah, well. I can give her lots of love, that will help a little, I'm sure.

Spacing between paragraphs

Please put spaces between paragraphs and don't make paragraphs longer than 5 to 7 lines because reading on a screen is hard.

If you're using MS Word or other word processor, there are options that fake a space between paragraphs while viewing the file in the word precessor. Those are not visible when converted to HTML. You need actual blank lines.

Maggie Finson, where are you?

It's been quite a long time since anyone has heard anything from you and we're all concerned about you. Are you still out there and doing okay? I've called twice and just gotten your message service.

PLEASE let us know!

Catherine Linda Michel

Thank You


I've truly been amazed at how many people here have taken the time to look at my work these last few weeks. Honestly, I didn't think it would be so well received. 1000 reads in the first 24 hours of posting Mind Games Book 1 blew my mind. I also greatly appreciate the comments that have been left for the work I've posted here. Please, keep it up. It really helps me to know what I've been doing right and what I've been doing wrong, but more than that it really inspires me to keep doing this knowing that people are enjoying it.

Stories Reposted

For anybody is interested I have had my stories reposted. I was planning on reworking some to correct flaws and mistakes readers pointed out, but I just decided "Hell with it!" and asked Erin to make them available. Feel free to look them over and post a comment asking for clarification or to report problems.

I recommend these stories to start with. They best reflect where I'm at currently. Warning! These are not feel-good stories and may upset some. I urge you to exit right away if you find them upsetting.

On Growing Older


Blog About: 

A month ago I had a rather significant birthday. Although I'm still the same age as Johnny Rotten and Kim Cattrall, when both digits click over you tend to muse upon your own mortality rather more than you do on other occasions. In my case I can only reflect that I've been incredibly lucky to have avoided any significant health issues, and that the law of averages alone will ensure that this won't last for ever.

Remind Me Again - the 6th Nena story now available

As promised, the next instalment, 2 years in the making, of Nena is now available through the usual outlets!

Chris has a job to do but only Nena can do it, join our heroine as she gets into the odd pickle on a ski trip to Italy.

just a heads up

I can confirm that the new Nena tale will be going up on Kindle and Lulu tomorrow.

Remind Me Again finds Chris volunteering to be Nena to save a job for Global - again! It's been two years in the writing, mostly because a certain young lady with sporting tendencies has taken so much of my time!

I'll try to get some of the other part written stuff finished between Gabyness - well after my big trip at any rate!


My new book "The Promotion"

Hello everyone, I am writing this here Book book called "The Promotion" and as some you know 5 of it chapter's have already been posted. I was wondering how some of you think about it. Since it is my first time seriously writing something and I want what I need to improve myself on.

I feel so dumb right now

So today I planned on posting chapter 3 of Broken Phoenix. Only to find out that I was logged out. Normally that wouldn't be a problem cause I could just type in my details and everything would be fine. What doesn't help is that I cannot for the life of me remember my password. I would change my password but you need your current password to do that which I don't remember. Looks like my story is getting delayed until I can figure out how to deal with this.

Help! Finish this story!

I have been writing "Amie and Jamie" for a year or so and find that I'm bored with it. The characters are young, with lots of possibilities, and they need someone fresh to take over. This has probably been done before, and will be glad to answer any questions the new author might have.
It will also be of great interest to me what avenues the character travel when guided by a new hand.
Any takers? Lemme know!

Hello everyone, been a very long time!



Hello everyone, old friends and potentially new. It has been a very long time since my last post, and many promises that name came to flourish...with great apology.

I have been busy and hardheadedly suffering many traumatic and extreme bouts in my life as of late. Mistrusts, rapes, debt, capability denials, lack of self-reassurance over my own artistic qualities (hence why story writing hasn't been on my agenda in the last 5 years).

had a small accident with my car, but I'm okay


Blog About: 

Somehow, over the last couple of days, I've missed talking about the fact that I had a little accident with my car, ending with me losing one of my tires.

Fortunately, I'm okay, and although I have had to pay about $ 900 for the repairs, I am back up and running again.

So all's well that end's well, I guess.

Im getting better now.

If you've followed my recent blog posts then you'd know that I was having a mental health crisis to put it lightly. I went to a few psychiatrists and the last one said I needed an evaluation inpatient at a hospital. Needless to say I wasn't thrilled but I did meet up with an old friend from high school while in there who tried to commit suicide. I'm not out of the woods yet but I am just outpatient at the hospital now after a week inpatient.


Blog About: 

Taxonomy upgrade extras: 


I have DishNetwork so I get The Movie Channel(west) ch-329. At 3:30 p.m. CDT there is a movie coming on titled Trinidad and the synopsis says its about Marcie Bower. This was produced in 2008 but I've never seen it. I do know that Dr. Bower has moved her practice to the outskirts of San Francisco but still has some administrative aspects still in Trinidad. Or so I've heard.

Transgender woman refused female pension.


Blog About: 

Interesting article in the Guardian which is about a transgender woman who stayed married and thus never got female legal status and so missed out on the right to a pension. It has been referred to the European Court for an opinion.

I'm so glad this didn't happen to me.

Missed post

Well firstly, sorry for not posting Sunday - I didn't come close to an internet connection as spent the day looking Steam Engines (the agricultural forerunners of tractors not the rail guided things) and old road vehicles! It was a lovely day that made a change from the usual daily grind.

There is a new Gaby chapter here today - I am expecting to post again this Sunday as I finish preparing for my 'holiday' - if you can call riding up and down mountains a holiday!

Some will NEVER accept or understand


As there will always be good and evil in the souls of man just as there are those who refuse to understand.
No matter how well they bring it all together, there will always be those who do not accept or tolerate those who blur the boundaries between male and female.

Explain an algorithm to those who only know simple math. Now explain transgender to those who have never felt they were born in the wrong body. Or explain transgender to those who are so insecure in their own body, anyone who blurs the boundaries sends them into fear denial or raging hate.

Auto-correct or just badly spoken and then misspelt?

I have just seen a post on FB that caused me to laugh out loud - much to the disgust of my trying-to-stay-asleep partner! The author of the post was looking back over the years to events that happened on the 10th August.

I copy and paste the relevant sentence here: "I'd really love to relive those days all over again for sedimental reasons but also to live each day a whole lot smarter than we did before."

Maybe she was used to lying on the bottom?

Another I spotted recently was "inner continental" when talking about a flight from the US to Europe.

I helped a lost boy find his family today


Blog About: 

Well, i helped a little boy find his family today.

He was wondering around, looking lost, and I was able to convince him to stick with me as I headed for the costumer service desk, but his family came up before we got there.

I feel super good to have helped.

lung function test today, not good news.


Blog About: 

Well my lung function test this afternoon came back not so good.
a loss of 1 liter in capacity
and a loss of 4% airflow.

26% for my fev1 ( Forced Expressed Volume in 1 second )
33% fev1 after Ventolin

the only good news is my blood oxygen saturation level is 96%, only down 1% from 3 years ago.

with that last anything over 92% is considered good.

Back on dry land


Blog About: 

For the last 2 weeks I've been production assistant on a floating radio station, and on Sunday the station closed down until Summer 2017.

It's been an interesting existence, being on board the ship shortly after 0700 and leaving for my bed just after midnight each day. I did manage to get home usually for a few hours early eve, so it wasn't quite a 17 hour day. The ship is moored in harbour with a gangway straight onto the quayside so no strange gymnastics to get aboard. It's also about 10 mins walk from home, so easy logistics.

Blog Entry 9th August 2016- Work Hard

The song was fairly easy to come by as I've recently been rediscovering my love for early 80s music and I've always liked Depeche Mode-

I'm blogging mainly to announce a slight delay in the next chapter (Ashley 7). Mainly because we're slammed at work (hence the song) and mainly because... Well, see below.

This will probably seem like a small thing


Taxonomy upgrade extras: 

to many of you, but it's a first for me. I've never been able to cross my legs while seated, the way women can. Yesterday, while watching television, I casually crossed my legs...knee over knee!!!!! It took a few seconds for the information to reach what I laughingly call a brain, but when it did I laughed and called to the the attention of my housemate who was watching tv with me. She looked at me and smiled.

Cathy and Change of Heart


Cathy has been a real trooper working as editor on Change of Heart. Those who read the chapters have no idea of the bag of worms she was handed. Cathy didn't receive the published edition but the first write. Computer crashes, hard drive failures the digital story was lost. Originally written on a 286 with a forty meg HD, and 5 1/4 floppy disks in a long forgot text. Doing research I ran across the floppy it had been saved on, contacted Cathy and asked if she would post. She agreed and the mess she received looked like scrambled eggs. The text had been converted to Word Perfect to MS Word.

Chat issues

I'm very sorry about the current issues with our chat. Unfortunately there is an incompatibility between our providers upgraded network and the old hardware our server uses. This causes the ellesmera to disconnect from the internet.

We are trying to resolve those issues as soon as possible. Please bear with us for the time being.


Lea T leads in the Brazilian team at the Olympics


Blog About: 

I'm probably the last one catching up on this, but I read that Brazilian transgender super model, full name Leandra Medeiros Cerezo who goes by the name of Lea T was riding the decorated bike that led in the Brazillian team during the opening ceremony. There are plenty of pictures on-line.

Lea T.jpg

Cutting down on Salicylates?


Has anyone been able to cut down on salicylates?

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I have severe sensory processing issues, including hyperacusis, and what seems like flicker vertigo, but may be a kind of visual dependence. I also have trouble with mint, which makes me vomit, vanilla, aloe vera, nsaids, etc. I also have polyuria and have trouble with gabapentin and other meds building up in my body, and may have kidney issues. I suspect I may have salicylate sensitivity and/or salicylate poisoning due to them building up in my body.

Suicide Squad and the Critics


Went to see Suicide Squad Thursday night, it was very good. Good story, good atmosphere, good acting. Okay, the dialog is a bit weak but the actors nail the characterization and hold the script up.

The critics and a certain subset of comic book fans dislike it; that mystifies me. A movie is supposed to be entertaining and I found it very entertaining. So much so, that I'm going to go see it again while it is still on the big screen.

odd phone call


Blog About: 

Thursday, August 4th at 7 pm I received an odd phone call. Odd because 7 pm is not the time you expect a nurse to phone.

Transcare BC nurse called because of my scheduled gender recognition surgery, I didn't even know transcare bc existed, yet they are post-op recovery specialists for trans people.

Since my new digs are a supportive housing building I really won't need much assistance from transcare bc but it is nice to know they are there if I do need them.

Denial of Service


Blog About: 

Experienced my first ever "Denial of Service" yesterday at a Sheri's in Hood River of all places. I've eaten in Hood River before, while out on one of my many sanity restoring "walkabouts". It was done carefully and craftily so I would not be able to file a grievance.

Donald Trump has made hatred even more prevalent than it ever was.

To those who have routinely been discriminated against, I am sorry that you had to go through that.

I've been more upbeat lately


Blog About: 

one thing that has come about lately for me is that because of my mom's anxiety levels, I have found myself pushing in the opposite direction, becoming more focused on the positives more optimistic, and more upbeat.

I think this is a good thing. I hope I can sustain it.

At Last


Blog About: 

After six years and two months, I've got my registration for a WML-CL10a user status. (For those not in the know a licence to survey Hazel Dormice in England). In other words I'm now licensed to handle dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) in my own right, not under someone else's licence. I'm so pleased I can't describe it.


We can't have enough dormice.

cute moment at work


Blog About: 

Cute moment from work yesterday.

I was passing by the tills with my cart and this little girl gave me a big smile, so I stopped, and said, "Oh oh, I think I saw trouble. Are you trouble?"

The little girl nodded enthusiastically, and her mother laughed.

Its the little moments like that which are worth treasuring.

Random solos

On the Home page is a box marked Random Solo. I find it quite useful for randomly selecting one of the solo stories. Similarly, there is another box marked 12 Random Authors, again another way of browsing the authors on this site. Refreshing the Home page will produce another random selection of one solo and 12 authors.

I was wondering whether there was any easier way of randomly browsing stories and authors. Refreshing the whole of the Home page seems a bit top heavy, particularly since on my iPhone, the listings are well down the page.

Fumes, Pain, and Poisoning Help?

Blog About: 



I am in bad shape, physically and emotionally, and could use some help.

On Monday, I was exposed to nasty fumes, perhaps lysol fumes, and with all my disabilities, I wasn't able to get away. Yesterday, I had a very nasty migraine and a nasty asthma attack. Today I still have a migraine, but not as bad. I have had similar asthma and migraines after exposure to pine-sol fumes.

Needs must when the devil cracks his whip!


I love finding the origins of common expressions and colloquialisms. I am currently reading Skipper by Beverly Taff. This expression is used often by the title character. Being an American, I am not certain whether this is just Beverly's own expression, or a common British, Welsh, Scottish, or Irish one.

Could anyone offer some enlightenment?


Ohhh... Yeah...

I've written several tales that never be posted. The themes are very dark and are very autobiographical in that they touch upon events in my life that were better not witnessed. I write because, for lack of a simpler explanation, doing so makes me feel better. I was wondering if others have similar tales that have been completed and not posted. I'm curious about why you've not posted them.

Peace Always...



Trans Supers on Tumblr

To whomever posted a Trans Supers entry for me on Tumbler:

Thanks! I'm very flattered. I love the drawing of Golden Girl and the synopsis.

I found the entry by googling my name, Terry Volkirch.

By clicking the golden girl hashtag, I found out that Erin also has a Golden Girl character. I've read many of Erin's stories here but I haven't seen that one. I'll be looking for it after I post this.

Ta ta!

- Terry


I can't find Erin's story. Oh well. Maybe she'll dredge it up and post it here. Maybe? :)

ups and downs


Blog About: 

Because I seem to be on some kind of event teeter-totter, where I cant have an up without a down, here is how my day went today.

First, the up. My car is less damaged than I thought, and my brother helped me put the spare tire on so I can drive to work until such time as i can afford to fix the car.

Now, the down: I went to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy, and discovered that somehow my coverage from work has been discontinued. I am going to have to phone tomorrow and find out what's going on.

See what I mean? Up and down, up and down ...

I am back online - so here is an update!


Blog About: 

Well, my lovelies, I am back online in the new place, so here is my update:

1) the move: It went fine, we're unpacking and slowly making the place our own.

2) my job: I have been transferred to another store, working 11 am to 7 pm Monday to Friday

3) My car: I had a little accident today, so I am going to have to get my car repaired and probably use up most of the cushion I had built up in the process.

Karin Bishop's New Story

Just want to put in a plug for Karin's new Kindle published story "Port of Arrival", the sequel/continuation of her "Port of Departture"

What a grrrrreat story! I won't go on and on about the characterization, plot, themes and all that other Graduate Level Creative Writing stuff. It is a Karin Bishop story! Its GRRRRREAT!

Happy Yorkshire Day!


Blog About: 

Yep its Yorkshire Day when we celebrate everything great about God's Own County from Hendo's to Whitby, rhubarb to Dickie Bird - well you get the idea.

Just to show a lack of bias, a happy national day to my second favourite place Switzerland who are lucky enough to share the day with Yorkshire!


New Book - When Worlds Collide - advance notice

When Worlds collide final cover.jpg

Currently under review with Amazon Kindle. The third in the Natasha Mackay series - When Worlds Collide

Due out within 48 hours.

Once again, if you purchase, please buy through BCTS, as Erin gets a commission.


Move Over

I have accomplished two amazing feats with the same stone? I've written a tale of less than 50 pages. This must be the influence of Drea. And...!!! I've also posted a tale with more than three days to go in a contest!!! This is definitely NOT the influence of Drea!!! :)

May We All Know Peace...

Kelly the Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrat


Advance warning!


Blog About: 

For all those impatient Gabfen out there, the first part of Gaby - Seasons, the 17th Gaby tome, will be available through the usual sources tomorrow!

If you can stand to wait, it might be October before the complete book is done due to a three week trip to Austria coming up shortly.

I'll post another chapter of book 12+1 tomorrow - at the current rate there are over 3 years of weekly postings just to catch up to the present which would then be the past and likely the same again etc. With that in mind you may well get 2 chapters a week at least this side of my trip.