Merry Christmas Q&A!

18 Dec

snowmanIt’s becoming a bit of a festive tradition here at UK LesFic to corral a few of our finest (or drunkest!) authors and ask them to answer three book and Christmas-themed questions.

Our questions to round out this year were:

- What was your book of the year and why?

- What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

- And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Here’s what they had to say…

 

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VGLeeVG Lee is a stand-up comedian and novelist and, in the words of Stella Duffy, “funny, smart, clever, witty, not afraid to be honest and poignant at the same time.” Her first novel Diary of Provincial Lesbian is treasured by many, and Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”.

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What was your book of the year and why?

petite mortI read Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman, published by Serpent’s Tail, when I was a judge on this year’s Polari First Book Prize and thought it was excellent. (The novel made the shortlist of five.) The heroine is Adele Roux, seventeen years old and the story is set for the most part in Paris in 1913. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and thrilling.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

I’m going to go backwards to answer this because I want to re-read Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter which was published in 2008. Someone lent me a copy and I thoroughly enjoyed it but then had to give it back and I find I miss it. The story is set in Victorian London and based on a real-life scandal and it’s absolutely gripping!

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As there are several people I would like to be the angel on the top of my tree, I shall be diplomatic and opt for my cat Lettuce. I can easily imagine her climbing up the tree, hanging from a branch, bringing the whole thing crashing down…

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kikiarcherpolariKiki Archer is the mistress of lesbian chicklit and all five of her novels have been massive lesfic best-sellers. She’s been quiet of late, working on a screenplay to that bestest selling of them all, But She is My Student.

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What was your book of the year and why?

love is enoughI loved Melissa Brayden’s Kiss the Girl. It was smart, sweet, and really sexy. Plus there was a huge focus on snogging, perfect.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My ‘to read’ pile is so high now, but top of the list is definitely Cindy Rizzo’s Love is Enough. I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy over the summer when she read on my Creating Chemistry panel at L Fest, and she was such good fun. I loved her debut book, Exception to the Rule, and I’ve heard this one is just as good.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would love it to be Gillian Anderson, Stella Duffy from The Fall. I have a huge crush on her power lesbian vibe and her array of satin shirts!

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catherine hallCatherine Hall is a Cambridge graduate who enjoyed careers in documentary-film production and international peace-building before she became a freelance writer. Her début, Days of Grace, was critically and commercially successful, and The Proof of Love won the Green Carnation Prize. Her latest novel is the vivid and intriguing The Repercussions.

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What was your book of the year and why?

thirstI really loved Kerry Hudson’s Thirst – it’s easy to see why it was shortlisted for this year’s Green Carnation prize. It’s a love story with a difference that takes you from Hackney to Russia with complex, damaged, beautifully portrayed characters who really make you care and yearn for them to be all right in the end.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My Christmas stocking is bound to be bookishly bulgy. Hopefully with Stella Duffy’s new collection of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined. I’ve read a couple of them and they’re fantastic. If there’s also a copy of The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters to curl up with in front of a roaring fire and a hot toddy, I’d be a very happy girl indeed.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Laura Prepon, in her incarnation as Alex Vause in Orange is The New Black would be the perfect naughty angel to grace my tree. Hopefully she’d fly down and join me under the mistletoe for a bit of Christmas cheer…

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KePayneBath resident KE Payne is an author with Bold Strokes Books. She has written five Young Adult novels, including the very funny 365 Days. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. Her latest novel, Once the Clouds Have Gone, is her first adult lesbian romance, and she has been dead chuffed with its reception.

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What was your book of the year and why?

kiss in the darkThe book that stayed with me long after I’d read it this year was A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke. It’s the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. I loved her flowing style of writing and the fact that the book is written from two different perspectives, which added a nice twist to it.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Can I cheat and have two? I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m itching to get my hands on the latest Sarah Waters novel, The Paying Guests. I absolutely love her flowing style of writing, so that’s definitely on my list. I also hear rumblings that Kate Morton has a new book on the horizon too, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one. I love Kate Morton; I find her writing so beautiful and soothing. Reading her books is akin to snuggling on the sofa under a blanket on a winter’s night with your fluffy PJs on. Just lovely.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree (and why)? Oh, this is going to sound cheesy, and he never did suit a tutu, but I’d like my father to come back and visit me again. He died a long time ago now, and I sometimes struggle to remember what he sounded like, so to hear his voice again just one more time would make my Christmas.

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veronica fearonVeronica Fearon was born in Hackney, in the east end of London to West Indian parents. She has a degree in psychology and has worked as a criminal lawyer in London for most of her adult life. Her début novel, The Girl with the Treasure Chest, was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

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What was your book of the year and why?

mitchieMy book of the year is called Mitchie by Catherine Blackfeather. It’s a story about a young girl forced to flee her home town, and make a life disguised as a boy. It’s full of reprehensible characters, which I love, and Mitchie’s voice is earnest and comical even in the face of some quite serious issues.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Top of my wish list for next year is Always you Edina by VG Lee. She is one of those rare writers who can inject humour into every word or sentence she chooses.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As for the Angel at the top of my tree, I’d have Angelique Kidjo who could sing a mixture of crimbo, politics and just plain powerful songs.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire hails from Wales, where she lives with a host of furry friends: her golden retriever, several gerbils, some sneaky house mice, and a neighbour’s cat. She loves writing, sport, music, art, and teaching herself new subjects. Jody is a proud member of the GCLS, and is delighted to be a part of the Bedazzled Ink family. Jody’s début novel, The Empath was a runner up in the recent Rainbow Awards.

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What was your book of the year? Why?

the midnight moonThat’s a toughie if I’m honest. There’s been so many wonderful books out and so many awesome big hitters. We seem to have been planning a British invasion too if the Rainbow Awards are anything to go by. (Big cheer to UKLesfic’s own Cari.) I also got to see my début, The Empath get in on the act too and I’ve got Fractured to release in Nov/Dec.

All that being said, My favourite book of the year has to be The Midnight Moon by Geri Hill. She’s someone who I love reading. It doesn’t seem to matter where she takes me, what characters are there or what the topic is. As an author she makes me want to read anything with her name on it, I get excited when her books are due for release. She’s a master and The Midnight Moon is an effortless, feel-good romance with some witty, fun-filled dialogue. The characters are cool, the location is sunny and warm and well… it’s Gerri!

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

There’s a couple of novels I’m quite looking forward to. Obviously I’m always excited to read my fellow Bedazzled authors’ offerings and I’m also really looking forward to Melissa Brayden‘s book Just Three Words. (Bold Strokes folks are pretty cool bunch.) I guess it goes without saying that Gerri’s offerings will be a must-buy for me, right?

just three wordsOn the writing side of things, I am releasing three books next year, the second in the series, and follow-on’s of both The Empath and Fractured. (Blind Trust – Above & Beyond Book II and Blood Run – The Black Wolf Chronicles Book II.) I’m also set to release my first ever romance La Vie En Bleu around May time which takes a scatty Englishwoman and a suave French artisan and throws in a whole load of Notting Hill/Oscar Wilde humour. It looks set to be an exciting year on both reading and releasing fronts!

Who would you most like as the angel on top of your tree?

Not that my dear little puppy would fit on the tree (he’s ten weeks and already the size of a lion,) but my Goldie Fergus would probably be my pick. One, because if he’s on the tree, he’s not stealing tissues, my socks, chewing the couch, chewing me… And two, Fergus and angel in the same sentence seems as apt as the name Little John was. Failing getting the fluffy fiend to behave enough for us to place him on top, I’ll go for cake. Simply, because cake is always heavenly!

Have a peaceful, love and laughter-filled time. Merry Christmas!!

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karencampbell2Karen Campbell is the author of Little Whispers, a collection of short stories, and Violet’s Story. Her second novel The Knowing is a supernatural drama set in Glasgow. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drink lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

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What was your book of the year and why?

the five peopleThe book I read this year which had the most impact on me was The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. I know it’s not a new book but I only just came across it and it’s fantastic. I was trying to tell my girlfriend the story, once I had just finished it, and I broke down in tears because it was so beautiful and it had touched me so much. If I had to pick a LesFic book, it would need to be The Comedienne by VG Lee, as I have just re-read it for the second time. I love her turn of phrase, it totally appeals to my sense of humour. She’s a very talented writer.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Next year, I want to publish two books. I want to get better as a writer. I want the world to be my oyster. Oh and Scotland to get independence. I can dream, can’t I?

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would like Siouxsie Sioux to be the angel on top of my Christmas tree, so that I could prod her with my finger and make her sing to me. “Dazzle it’s a glittering prize.” Then Robert Smith from The Cure would come to rescue her for the sake of old friendships and I would make them gig in my living-room. Then I would make them roast chicken and mashed potatoes, and serve intoxicating cider so that I could get them drunk and record all their stories. Before she left, I would ask Siouxsie to do my make-up.

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BeatricehitchmanBeatrice Hitchman’s début, Petit Mort has been a bit of a stunner. Short-listed for the Polari Prize and Historical Writers’ Association Debut Novel Prize, and adapted on for Radio 4 as a series, Beatrice’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as Moulin Rouge.

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What was your book of the year and why?

we are all completelyWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I feel duty-bound to admit that it doesn’t feature any lesbians, but it’s a book about relationships in the most enlightening and unpredictable way. The narrator, Rosemary, a college freshman, has not one but two missing siblings…telling their story and her own, she’ll redefine your very concept of family. It’s such a funny, beautiful book.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

A film: Carol, the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Carol was a 1950s landmark in fiction, daring to portray women differently at a time when most lesbian characters met a sticky end. The Blanchett/Mara combo will be absolutely boss, and Todd Haynes made Far From Heaven. O for Over-excited.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Patricia Highsmith. She’d be hilarious! But she’d drop fag-ash on your presents (on purpose).

 

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A big thank you to all our participating authors! And a Merry Christmas to everyone, from myself and Tig :-)

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News Roundup: Spring lineup for Polari, new releases, interviews, Hootenanny (and a bit more)

9 Dec
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copyright Roger Fereday

Everyone’s getting ready for Christmas and things are finally quietening down in the world of UK LesFic. But we still have time for one last gambol through the news in 2014. We’ll be here next week for a best books of the year piece as recommended by some of the UK’s best lesfic authors, but then UK LesFic takes a break until next year.

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The Stella Duffy, writer, actorPolari Salon has announced a rather fine Spring line up. Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are booked in for what should be a great night on 30th January and Sarah Waters will be appearing at the March 30th evening. Click here for the full line up, and to book tickets.

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A few bits and pieces from around the web now:

the repercussionsThe Writes of a Woman has a piece on The Repercussions and also an interview with the author Catherine Hall. Catherine talks about the choices she made with the story of women and war from its title, the form of the novel, to the diversity of characters and the themes explored. You can read the article here.

Amy Dunne has been blogging about what Christmas means to her, over at Women and Words:

In my personal experience, as we grow older, our wishes for Christmas change. This year, there’s nothing of monetary value that I need or even want. Just to be able to spend the day with my family, is the most important thing in the whole wide world. To laugh, feel loved, and make wonderful new memories is the most incredible gift of all.

You can read the full piece here.

theempath_lgJody Klaire joined Lorraine Howell, Linda K Silva and Yvonne Heidt on the Liz McMullen Show to talk about their common literary interest in empaths. Jody says that the panel was fun as well as terrifying, and you can listen to the show here. Her debut has also been given a great review in She Magazine which described the novel as “an exhilarating rush, a cross between the best of X Files and Orange is the New Black. Fast-paced, sharp, and very, very smart“. You can read more of that review here.

stars collideClare Lydon has continued her Lesbian Book Club pod casts with an interview with the entertaining HP Munro. They talk about fan fiction, HP’s novels, how she started writing, and lots of other lesfic-related stuff. Listen in here. Also from Clare, you can also catch her recent book reading from G-Fest.

Jen Silver has just announced that her second novel, Arc over Time, a sequel to her début, Starting Over will be released by Affinity e-book press in May, 2015. According to a recent blog post, the novel will focus “mainly on the developing relationship between the archaeologist, Dr Kathryn Moss and the journalist, Denise Sullivan— with all the problems inherent in maintaining a long distance relationship”.

Jen promises more about this one in the months to come.

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A bit of a reminder of what’s new and due out in December:

lisforL Is For is the new anthology with an impressive list of UK LesFic authors. It features stories from VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Jade Winters, HP Munro, Andrea Bramhall and many more. All proceeds go to the R U Coming Out charity.

neighbourJade Winters has an erotic short story out, penned with Alexis Bailey and called the Neighbour from Heaven:Some people borrow a cup of sugar, others a cordless hand-drill, but what young lesbian Lucy gets from her sexy neighbour is beyond the realms of probability…and decency!

mountain rescue on the edgeSky Croft‘s Mountain Rescue: On the Edge is also out. A sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, it follows Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber through their personal trials, and trials in the mountains.season's meetings Sky’s also running a GoodReads giveaway for Mountain Rescue: On The Edge. The closing date for entries is December 14th.

And just in time for Christmas, Amy Dunne‘s Season’s Meetings is due out on the 15th December: “Could the festive road trip from hell actually lead to love?

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Finally, don’t miss The Hootenanny over on Women and Words. The massive giveaway of ebooks and paperbacks starts on Friday and includes books by Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Clare Ashton, Lesley Davis, Jody Klaire and RJ Samuel as well as lots of other lesfic authors from across the pond and every other direction. Here’s the lineup so you can get ready.
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That’s all folks!

What Exactly is Christmas? Guest Blog From Amy Dunne

1 Dec

It’s the first day of Advent, so deck the halls and all that! To help us celebrate this most festive of festivals, we have a guest blog from Amy Dunne, whose Christmas-themed novel Season’s Meetings is out this very month. Falalalalalalalalah.

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What exactly is Christmas?

Amy DunneIt’s that time of year again. The weather outside is cold and the nights grow dark so quickly. The branches on the trees are bare and the glittery frost dusts everything in its path. Plenty of cosy nights snuggled inside with raging fires to toast our toes. The yearly prediction that this will be the UK’s worst winter since the beginning of time. It’s December. In just a few weeks, people will celebrate Christmas Day. Children will be bordering on hysteria, parents will be trying to survive the manic shopping expeditions, we’ll all buy far too much food and drink, and the festivities will begin.

I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I always have been. I always will be. I love the festivities. I can’t wait to see the expressions on my family and friend’s faces when they open the gifts I’ve chosen, and Lou’s taken time to painstakingly wrap to perfection. Lou and I are festive fanatics. From October, we count down until December 1st and then decorate our home, our fur-babies, and ourselves with Christmas paraphernalia.
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I’m extra excited this year because my second novel, Season’s Meetings, is being released in December by Bold Strokes Books. It’s a fun, festive romance set in the Highlands of Scotland. I came up with the story and characters last October and started writing the story near the end of November. This time last year I had written only three chapters. Now I’m staring at the beautiful cover and skimming with delight through the pages of the actual book. It feels somewhat surreal—but not quite as surreal as it felt doing the edits and reading about snow and blizzards in the middle of August. The cover and story star our very own little cairn terrier, Kimmy. She was actually only added to the story last December. Inspiration struck after she (and her feline brother and sister) systematically destroyed the Christmas tree that Lou and I had slaved over for hours. She used a forty-minute window of unsupervised opportunity to break through the doggy-proof gate that we’d put in place—we still don’t know how she did it. After we got over the initial frustration, we could (eventually) laugh about it, and I realised Kimmy and her mischievousness should be added into the story.

As the time for Christmas music, decorating, shopping, and general festivity is fast approaching, I decided it was time to sit our fur-babies down and have the talk. I was adamant that I would succeed in explaining to them what Christmas is, in the vague hope they may refrain from sabotaging it and our tree this year. I must admit, at the start of this process I was enthusiastic, but by the end I’d lost all hope. I know they have smaller brains and all, but jeez! I personally think they had no intention of participating. They were only there for the treats that I’d bribed them with. Anyway, here’s the transcript:

Amy: “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. I really think you’ll appreciate everything so much more once you’ve learned what Christmas is.”
Alice: “Is it food?”
Harley: “Let’s get one thing straight. I’m only here for the treats, woman. Hand them over, or me and my fluffy behind are out of here.”
Kimmy: “This is completely pointless, Mummy Amy. Christmas is about me.”

2 minutes later…

Kimmy 2

Kimmy

Amy: “There you go. You’ve all had your treats. Now it’s time to listen. Okay. So, I’m not actually sure how to start. Perhaps I didn’t think this through enough. Well, anyway, let’s begin with something simple. You know how every year we bring a tree into the house and decorate it with shiny baubles, decorations, and tinsel—”
Alice: “What’s a year? Is it food?”
Harley: “It doesn’t happen every year.”
Amy: “Alice, you can’t eat a year. It’s time. And it does happen every year, Harley. Christmas happens every December.”
Harley: “How many Christmases have I had to put up with?”
Amy: “We’re kind of moving off point here, guys. Harley, you’ve had six Christmases because you’re six years old.”
Kimmy: “Have I had six Christmases?”
Amy: “No, Kimmy. You’ve had two. This will be your third.”
Kimmy: “You had Christmases without me? How could you do that? I feel so unloved.”
Harley: “I’m actually forty-two years old in cat years. So if they happen every year, I’d have had forty-two of them.”
Alice: …
Kimmy: [blatantly sulking]…
Amy: “Let’s forget about the whole time thing. Kimmy, those Christmases happened before you were born.”
Kimmy: “So it’s my fault now? I don’t believe it. Not only do you break my little heart, you’re actually blaming me.”
Alice: “How do you know I can’t eat time?”
Amy: “I’m not blaming you, Kimmy. And Alice you can’t eat time because it’s not a physical thing.”
Alice: “Can I try?”
Amy: “No.”
Harley: “So you were referring to human years?”
Amy: “Yes.”
Harley: “Well, that’s a bit rude.”
Amy: “Why is it rude?”
Harley: “Because the three of us don’t use human years. We use cat years, or in her case [glares at Kimmy] dog years. You should know your audience and do proper research.”
Kimmy: “What do you mean by dog years?”
Alice: “Can I eat audience? It sounds tasty.”
Amy: “I need a drink.”

The Tree Before...

The Tree Before…

5 minutes and one alcoholic beverage later…

Amy: “This really isn’t going how I envisioned it. Forget about years, cat, dog, or otherwise. Let’s move on. Can any of you remember the tree we have? It’s the one you destroyed last year. It’s big and green.”
Kimmy: “What’s green?”
Amy: “Sorry, Kimmy. I forgot you’re colour blind. Don’t worry about it.”
Kimmy: “Don’t worry? How can you say that? What do you mean I’m blind? When were you going to tell me? Everything’s getting dark.”
Amy: “No, it’s not.”
Kimmy: “It is! It’s so dark. Where am I?”
Harley: “I remember the tree.”
Alice: “If I’ve eaten some of it, maybe I remember. I think it tasted funny.”
Harley: “It’s not even a real tree.”
Kimmy: “I can’t see! Where have you gone? What will my life become? I’ll never get to see my pretty face again.”
Amy: “Kimmy, open your eyes and you’ll see just fine. Yes, the plastic tree we had in the house.”
Kimmy: “My special play tree? Yes, I remember it. It’s my favourite toy but you took it away from me.”
Amy: “It’s not just yours, Kimmy. It belongs to all of us. We only have it up in December—”
Alice: “Can I eat December?”
Kimmy: “Nope. It’s definitely mine. I marked it.”
Amy: “What do you mean marked it?”
Kimmy: “Do you really need me to explain?”
Amy: “You didn’t—”
Kimmy: “I did my business. That’s why it’s mine. I mark everything that’s mine. Don’t bother looking at me like that, I can’t see you because I’m blind.”
Amy: “For all that’s good in the world, please, please, give me strength.”

5 minutes later…

After

The Tree After…

Amy: “Okay, so we’ve established that the tree isn’t food. Right, Alice?”
Alice: “…”
Amy: “It isn’t a plaything or a toilet either. It’s just supposed to look nice. That’s why we put ornaments on it.”
Harley: “Why?”
Amy: “Why what?”
Harley: “Why do you bring a not-real tree into the house when there are lots of real trees that look better outside? And why do you put cat toys on it and then get annoyed when we play with them?”
Amy: “They’re not cat toys. They’re ornaments. It’s tradition—”
Alice: “Can I eat tra—”
Amy: “No, Alice. Kimmy, are you still sulking?”
Kimmy: “First you admit to having Christmases without me, then you blame me for it, then you tell me I’m blind, and now you say my tree isn’t mine.”
Amy: “I’ll take that as a yes then. Let’s move on from the tree. Just, please, promise not to touch, eat, play, or mark it this year. Okay?”
Harley: “What’s it worth?”
Alice: “Just a little nibble?”
Kimmy: “It’s my tree. I can do what I want with it.”

4 minutes and another alcoholic beverage later…

Harley

Harley

Amy: “So, Santa Claus brings all of the good boys and girls presents while everyone is asleep. It’s magical. He watches over every child and has a list of whether they’re good or bad. And then on Christmas morning they get to open their presents.”
Harley: “Define good?”
Alice: “He has claws? Is he related to us?”
Amy: “No, that’s his name. He’s human—I think.”
Harley: “Santa sounds like a creepy guy.”
Amy: “He’s not creepy. He’s a nice guy.”
Harley: “If it makes you sleep better at night, you tell yourself that.”
Kimmy: “So, I get presents off Santa for being a good girl?”
Amy: “Well, no. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “Why do you all keep saying that? I’m not a dog. And you always tell me I’m a good girl.”
Amy: “Yes, but that’s just a phrase. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “I’m not a dog.”
Amy: “Kimmy, we’ve been through this way too many times. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “So, I’m not a good girl then? What about a star? You said I was going to be a famous star because of agreeing to be in your book.”
Amy: “It’s not meant to be taken literally.”
Kimmy: “I’m living in a den of lies.”
Harley: “So we don’t get presents from this Santa guy?”
Amy: “No. But mummy Lou and I always get you presents.”
Harley: “Maybe Santa would choose better presents.”
Amy: “Harley, you’ve got to be grateful for all of your presents. It’s the thought that counts.”
Harley: “Hypocrite!”
Amy: “What do you—”
Harley: “You’ve never been grateful for the presents we’ve given you. Every single mouse, bird, and frog we’ve presented for you, you’ve either ungratefully thrown away or let loose again. The screaming, crying, and slamming of the door doesn’t seem very grateful to me. Where’s the thought then? Huh?”
Amy: “I appreciate what you’re saying. In the past I’ve handled your presents badly. I’m sorry. But Christmas isn’t about the mindless murder of innocent animals. Okay?”
Harley: “Oh really? What about all of the turkeys?”
Amy: “…”

6 minutes later…

Alice

Alice

Amy: “So, then baby Jesus was born in a stable. A little while later the star led the three wise men to visit him. That’s where Christmas comes from. Simple, eh?”
Kimmy: “Mentioning a star at this point is just cruel.”
Harley: “You seriously believe this?”
Amy: “Well, some people do and some don’t. Historically there’s proof it happened, but the religious side of it is always full of contention.”
Harley: “Humans are so weird.”
Alice: “I’m hungry.”
Kimmy: “I’m going to go live at grandma’s house. She appreciates that I’m a good girl and a star.”

2 minutes later…

Amy: “And then we wear our jumpers, and you wear your cute festive outfits.”
Kimmy: “I’m too upset to think about outfits right now.”
Amy: “But, Kimmy, you look so beautiful in them.”
Kimmy: “I know I do. But with being blind and not a star, I can’t make any promises.”
Amy: “Harley and Alice? You guys always wear them.”
Harley: “If you ever try to put me in one of those monstrosities again, I will cut you. You’ve been warned.”
Alice: “I’m with him on this one. They taste awful.”
Amy: “Sod it! I give up.”

So, that’s it. I accepted defeat. At least with children there’s the subtle threat of Santa’s naughty list to help with coercion. It turns out cats and our dogs don’t want to grasp what Christmas is. If it’s not entirely about them, or can’t be eaten, or played with, they’re just not bothered.

I hope you all have a safe winter, filled with love, laughter, and good health. And if you do celebrate Christmas, have a fabulous time.

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Cheers, Amy!

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Amy was raised in Derbyshire, England. She attended Keele University and graduated in 2007 with a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology. After graduating she worked for a while with vulnerable young people. She is currently concentrating on her writing. She is married to her beautiful wife, Lou. They share a love of Dolly Parton, have two gorgeous cats, and a very mischievous little dog.

Contact Info:

Twitter: @giftofthegaborg

Website/Blog: authoramydunne.wordpress.com

Facebook: facebook.com/amy.dunne.165

E-mail: authoramydunne @ hotmail.com

L Is For, a lesfic anthology from the UK, is out now!

28 Nov

Now this is very hot off the press. We have the mistress of lesbian chicklit Kiki Archer today to tell us about the tasty-looking UK lesbian fiction anthology L is For – published by Kiki and Angela Peach only a matter of hours ago.

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lisforL Is For showcases the wonderful talent we have over here in the Great British Isles, with stories from VG Lee, Andrea Bramhall, Angela Peach, Crin Claxton, Jade Winters, HP Munro, Clare Lydon, and Kiki Archer, to name just a few.

The anthology is jam packed full of short stories that take you on a journey of tears, laughter, love and lust. VG Lee opens shop with her wonderfully witty Alpaca Moonlight, and once read, you’ll never be able to look at a woman called Deidre again without thinking of her shouting the word – “Dude”!

Kiki Archer keeps us giggling with her ‘Miranda’ style blind date story – Alana Molton-Croft and Me, as read here on the Polari Tour.

Recently crowned “New Author of the Year” in the Ultimate Planet Awards, Karen Campbell, makes us shiver with her rather spooky tale of The Butterfly Collectors. And there are also great debuts from new authors including Katie Bennett-Hall from Planet London and a rather steamy submission from Chloe A Marshall. There really is something for everyone.

All proceeds are going to the R U Coming Out Charity – www.rucomingout.com

Below are all the purchase links. Paperback will be available on Amazon shortly.

I would like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Jayne Fereday, who has been instrumental in pulling the anthology together with her editing, cover design, uploading, and pretty much everything else! Anyone wanting to use Jayne’s wonderful services in the future, please find all her services here: www.feredayediting.wordpress.com.

Purchase links for the anthology: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Smashwords

Smashwords feeds through to iTunes, Sony, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Baker and Taylor, Diesel, Kobo, Page Foundry, Overdrive, Flipkart,Oyster, and Scribd … so basically we are available everywhere!

News Roundup! Polari a hit in Birmingham, Clare Lydon hits the Airwaves, Dangerous Dykes at the Virtual Living Room, New Books, Reviews, and More!

20 Nov

With the festive season nigh upon us, the LesFic world shows no signs of hanging up its stockings and settling down with some mulled wine. Which has made for a rather lively news update…

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polaribrumFirst up this week, the Polari Tour made a very popular stop in Birmingham. Clare Ashton opened the evening to the packed theatre with a reading from The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer which warmed up the crowd nicely. Frances Gapper followed that up with a very humorous reading about a superstitious friend. And Kiki Archer finished off the first part of this high energy evening with a reading from Alana Molton-Croft and Me (from the new L is for… UK charity anthology) which had the crowd crying with laughter. Gerry Potter enthralled the audience with fierce, funny and touching kikiarcherpolarianecdotes and poetry. VG Lee finished the evening with a tour de force of stand up comedy, a gem of a reading and smidgeon of erotica in a style that only VG could do.

You can see videos of Clare’s reading here, and Kiki’s reading here. For anyone who fancies catching up with Clare’s first foray into the romcom genre, her third novel That Certain Something, is currently on sale for the bargain (and slightly random) price of £1.94, but only till the end of November, so get your skates on!

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clare lydon

Speaking of Clares, the lovely Clare Lydon dropped us a line to let us know that she has teamed up with MyLesbianRadio.com to begin a new podcast, The Lesbian Book Club. She’ll be interviewing authors, discussing publishing processes, and giving listeners the low-down on what’s new and noteworthy in the world of LesFic. First in the hot seat is author Angela Peach, who chatted to Clare about the aforementioned UK LesFic charity anthology, L Is For… You can listen to, or download the episode here.

Clare’s second novel The Long Weekend, has recently been reviewed at Planet of the Books, who had this to say:

The Long Weekend is a page turner full of authentic, likeable characters (with their flaws of course, making them all the more interesting!) and a story that unfolds worthy of its set up. The novel is self aware and Lydon is careful not to trip into stereotypical, cliched pitfalls, keeping the pace and the twists just ahead of the reader, whilst delivering a satisfying conclusion all round.

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cover_A_Unwrap-These-Presents_500x800L.T. Smith and the apparently ubiquitous Clare Lydon are amongst twenty-three authors contributing to a new festive Ylva anthology Unwrap These Presents. According to the blurb, these holiday stories give you “snow, presents, plenty of food, Holiday cheer and nicely wrapped curvy women under the tree.” All profits will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. Both organizations provide housing for homeless LGBT youth.

L.T. is also running a book giveaway for “anyone who is interested!” In her own words:

This could be for many many reasons. One, it could be to celebrate the release of the new anthology from Ylva, Unwrap These Presents. Two, it might be because I had completely forgotten to do a book giveaway for Still Life and also for Forget stilllifeMe Not. The list could go on, but I don’t think you will be interested in knowing the ins and outs.

Up for grabs:
Signed copy of Still Life, e-book of Still Life. Three e-book copies of Forget Me Not, and one e-book copy of either Hearts and Flowers Border, Puppy Love or See Right Through Me.

What you have to do is simple. Let me know you are interested. So, either in a comment on my facebook page or to my e-mail fingersmith @ hotmail.co.uk let me know two of your choices. Closing date: 22 November at midnight.

As ever, take the spaces out of that e-mail address before you use it!

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Cari HThe Virtual Living Room Yahoo group (a place where readers and writers of lesbian literature in its permutations can come together and discuss the works and the topics within them) are holding a Dangerous Dykes fest this coming weekend 21-23rd November.

The three day weekend will be devoted to discussing the Crime/Mystery/Suspense genre of Lesbian Fiction, and is “a must for those of you who like a bit of intrigue in their reading.”

There’s a great crowd of authors taking part, with me being the lone Brit in the gang! These are the ladies who’ll be in the hot seat:

Xenia Alexiou, Kim Baldwin, Barrett, RE Bradshaw, Cari Hunter, Isabella, Jae, Anne Laughlin, Leslie Murray, Cathy Rowlands, Shelley Singer, Baxter Clare Trautman, and Ali Vali.

There will be loads of book giveaways throughout the weekend, as well as the opportunity to ask questions and generally chat. To join in, hit the above link and sign up to the group. You can receive the e-mails in digest form, which is very much recommended for events such as this!

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006You’d think us remiss if we didn’t mention Sarah Waters at least once a fortnight, so here’s an interview that she did with The Guardian, in which she discusses turning her talents to the stage for her new play The Frozen Scream (co-written with Christopher Green).

It would be exciting if it was a hit. But I would still feel very tentative and alarmed by the idea of writing my own dialogue. It’s been an education working with Chris because this is a different way of telling a story for me. My instincts are to signal things. I would say: “Right, we need all the audience to be looking in this direction at this point.” And Chris would say: “Oh, it’s OK if some people notice and some people don’t.” That was amazing to me because my novels are plotted so carefully. It’s been good for me to explore a looser way of creating a narrative effect. But I’m not sure I could do it alone.

Frozen-Scream-main-300x178The Frozen Scream will be at Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff from 11 to 20 December and then Birmingham Hippodrome from 7 to 17 January. Audiences should apparently wear “warm clothes and sensible footwear” (shouldn’t be too much to ask of lesbians!) and “expect the unexpected.” Ooer.

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mountain rescue on the edgeWrapping up this week with a couple of new books. Sky Croft‘s sequel to Goldie award winning Mountain Rescue: The Ascent will be published in December, and is now available to pre-order.  Mountain Rescue: On the Edge sees Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber return in a new adventure:

Having settled into their relationship, life is sweet for the devoted couple, and a brief trip away allows Saber to meet Sydney’s family. Upon their return, rock slides, torrential rain, and surging rivers cause no end of problems for the Mountain Rescue team, while on the home front, Sydney needs her partner’s support more than ever when faced with a family tragedy. Together, the two women have to navigate between personal trials, and the trials of the mountain. This is…On the Edge.

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believe meProviding further proof that sequels are the new orange, Jade Winters has just previewed the cover for her second Ashley McCoy novel, Believe Me. This follow-up to A Walk Into Darkness is set for a January release. More news on this one as we get it. Meanwhile, Jade is still publishing chapters of her new novel, The Hidden Truth, at this link here.

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And that should just about do it for this last couple of weeks. If anyone is planning on kicking around in the Virtual Living Room this weekend, I’ll see you there!

Jen Silver: Writing a Novel, with bonus giveaway of Starting Over

17 Nov

jensilverToday we welcome Jen Silver to UK LesFic. Jen lives near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, England, with her long-term civil partner. As well as reading and writing, her other activities include golf, archery and travel. Her first-hand experience of an archaeological dig and interest in Roman history were the creative forces behind her first published novel, Starting Over, released by Affinity Ebook Press in October 2014.

Take it away, Jen!

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As a début author, I’m not an expert on writing novels, but I can share my experience of writing this one. When I began Starting Over I had no idea what the finished story was going to be. I had the two main characters living on an isolated farm above the town of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. The landscape was very real in my mind and so were these two characters. I could imagine driving up the long track to Starling Hill farm, arriving in the farmyard—two cats sunning themselves by the front door of the stone-built house with its gothic-looking narrow windows, chickens pecking away in their enclosure, the sound of a pottery wheel coming from the dilapidated barn, and someone tinkering with a motorbike.

starting overStarling Hill farm, as I named it, seemed pretty idyllic. But, of course, it wasn’t. There wouldn’t be much of a story if that were the case. Chapter One emerged quite easily with the introduction of the main characters, their current situation, and some of their past.

But then came a sticky moment. What next? So Chapter Two started with the introduction of a new character and this turned out to be the real catalyst for the rest of the story. Dr Kathryn Moss, a professor of archaeology, had been alluded to in the first chapter, but I hadn’t initially thought she would have a big part to play. I was wrong. The way the characters took over the development of the story caught me by surprise. I know many writers work their plots out in advance with elaborate timelines and comprehensive character sketches. But this isn’t how my story developed. The characters had their say.

The idea of having an archaeological dig at Starling Hill took root, not just as a plot device, but also because it was the perfect setting for what could have been a hilltop fort in Roman Britain. Anyone familiar with the area will recognise it from the image on the cover of the book, a view overlooking Saddleworth Moor—the notorious Saddleworth Moor.

So, some bones are discovered at the farm. Whose bones are they? This was another twist in the plot that took me by surprise, but actually made perfect sense in the context of the story.

It’s been an amazing journey so far, finishing a novel, getting it published, having other people read it and finding out how they see the characters and the story.

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Giveaway time:

The first correct answer drawn out of the hat will be the winner and receive either a signed paperback copy or an e-book of Starting Over.

Q: Does the University of Huddersfield have an Archaeology department?

Leave your answer in the comments on this thread, or e-mail it to uk lesfic @ gmail. com (obviously take out the spaces there!) Closing date is: Monday 24th November, 12 p.m GMT

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Good luck :-) And you can find out more about Jen by friending her on Facebook, following her on Twitter (@jenjsilver) or visiting her blog.

Interview with Clare Lydon, author of the best-selling London Calling

10 Nov

Clare Lydon’s debut, London Calling, romped up the charts earlier this year and received rave reviews. She’s just published her second novel, The Long Weekend, and UKLesFic had a few questions for her.

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How would you classify your new book and what’s it about in a nutshell?

TheLongWeekend-640x1024The Long Weekend is a lesbian drama with a healthy dash of romance. It’s the story of nine friends – four couples and a single – who rent a house in Devon to celebrate 20 years since they met at university. Tension, fine food, booze and revelations stud the weekend, leaving relationships in the balance and friendships on the line. Will they all come through unscathed? It’s in the balance till the final pages!

What grabbed you about the story and what have your early readers enjoyed most?

I think we’ve all been away on a weekend that didn’t quite go as planned, so I hope that this strikes a chord with readers. Also, I love a good drama with a mix of stories, so I thought I’d stray from the traditional format of girl-meets-girl-loses-girl-wins-girl-back.

My early readers have all described the book as like being dropped in the middle of a lesbian soap opera, which sounds good to me! They’ve also all liked the fact that it deals with women in their late 30s/just turning 40, and that it rattles along at a pace.

Plus, apparently one particular sex scene made one of my friends blush on the tube. That has to be a good sign.

Can readers expect the same kind of humour and characters in your new book as your best-selling London Calling?

While there is humour in the new book, this novel is far more tense than London Calling. Everyone’s a few years older and if you put nine people in a house together for five days, fireworks are bound to fly. But there are still a good chunk of one-liners because even in adversity, humour is a potent weapon.

As for the characters – yeah, I think they’re fairly similar as I like to reflect the world I see around me. The key change this time around is that everyone’s lesbian or gay – I’ve left the families at home.

How do you think your work differs from other lesfic works of the same genre?

london callingMy books are quintessentially British, but I hope they appeal across the board. My aim when writing is to reflect the world around me – I’ve no plans to write a historical novel or set one in space. I like realistic characters, realistic situations, a generous slug of humour and snappy dialogue. I hope all of those things make me stand out from the crowd.

Are you nervous about following up such a well-received debut?

Yes! When you release your first book, you never know how it’s going to do – mine did incredibly well and I’m thrilled that so many people bought it and enjoyed it. I’m hoping they enjoy The Long Weekend just as much – fingers crossed!

How’s life as a writer?

Writing is fantastic and frustrating in equal measures, but when you’re on a writing roll you do feel invincible. Self-publishing two novels has been a tremendous learning curve, but it’s also an awesome adrenaline rush when things work out. I don’t think I’ve had a better year in my life than 2014, releasing two novels and getting married too.

What I’ve learnt is that writing the book is only half the battle – it’s the marketing that’s the next step. I’ve done a book trailer for this book with the help of a friend, and am going to try a couple of other new things too – we’ll see what works.

One terrific surprise has been the fabulous community of lesbian authors and readers who’ve been very supportive. If I ever have a question, someone can usually answer it which is a fab bonus.

What’s next in the works?

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropSo many people contacted me about my character Kate in London Calling – they all wanted to know what happened to her. So I’ve decided to write Kate’s story. It’s a follow-on from London Calling, not a sequel. Jess & Lucy and the families will be waltzing around the place, but the next book will concentrate of Kate’s search for love. I’m excited about it – I’m about a third of the way through it.

Where else can eager readers find your work in the meantime?

As well as my first novel London Calling, I’ve also got two short stories in two separate anthologies coming out this month too. Busy month, November.

First, my story A Champagne Christmas is included in Unwrap These Presents, an anthology from Ylva Publishing. Second, my story Once Upon A Caravan is included in L is For…, the charity anthology in aid of R U Coming Out which features oodles of UK lesfic authors.

Any readings coming up?

Funny you should ask! Myself, Angela Peach, Karen Campbell and Katie Bennett-Hall will be reading from the L is For… anthology in London on November 13th, so if you fancy coming down to Bar Titania on Charing Cross Road from 6pm, that would be awesome. If we’re not enough of a draw, there will be cocktails too. And possibly cake.

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Thanks Clare! Her new novel The Long Weekend is out now on Amazon. The paperback version will be available from Lulu.com from November 18th, and from Amazon in around four weeks’ time. You can find out more from her website.

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