News roundup: a scintillating Polari shortlist, Beatrice Hitchman’s intriguing Petite Mort, events, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy and more!

11 Sep

Cari’s been gambolling around the coast complete with baby seals, so you’re stuck with me again for this week’s post. Let’s have a quick romp through the news…

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petitmortThe Polari shortlist was announced at Monday’s Polari evening in London, and what an exciting short list it is. Paul Burston has commented on the great diversity of this year’s entries, which can be any first book that explores the LGBT experience in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. Here’s the list:

Sarah Westwood‘s The Rubbish Lesbian – a collection of her columns for Diva magazine
Dean Atta‘s poetry collection I’m Nobody’s Nigger
Diriye Osman‘s short story collection Fairytales For Lost Children
Vernal Scott‘s God’s Other Children – a London memoir
Beatrice Hitchman‘s noir novel Petite Mort

We’ve mentioned Sarah Westwood’s book in passing before but we haven’t featured Beatrice Hitchman. Hitchman’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as  Moulin Rouge.

Here’s the blurb for Petite Mort:

Beatricehitchman

Photo by Sarah Lee

A silent film, destroyed in a fire in 1913 at the Pathé studio, before it was seen even by its director. A lowly seamstress, who makes the costumes she should be wearing, but believes her talent – and the secret she keeps too – will soon get her a dressing room of her own.

A beautiful house in Paris, with a curving staircase, a lake, and locked rooms. A famous – and dashing – creator of spectacular cinematic illusions, husband to a beautiful, volatile actress, the most adored icon of the Parisian studios. All fit together, like scenes in a movie. And as you will see, this plot has a twist we beg you not to disclose…

For a bit more background on the book and author there’s a review in the Polari Magazine and an interview in Diva. You can also read more about Beatrice on her website.

Sticking with Polari just for a moment, you can read a little about the background of Polari and the Polari Tour here and also get a taster for what to expect from Kiki Archer at the Birmingham event in this video.

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duffy_maureenOn to interviews.

Maureen Duffy was interviewed on Totally4Women.  Maureen talked about diverse topics from prizes, her opinion of self-publishing and the representation of women in media. On that last matter she has this to say:

You have only to count the numbers of titles and reviewers in the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books by men as against those by women to see the discrimination. Also while women read books by both men and women, men read predominantly books by men. The emphasis is for youth and glamour for women writers still. Our enemy is still the patriarchal society, witness Cameron’s cabinet even after the reshuffle. Even Mrs Thatcher whom they all profess to admire was painfully dumped when the novelty wore off.

You can read the whole interview here.

ellendeanPlanet of the Books has a new author profile up and this time it’s Ellen Dean‘s turn. She answers the usual questions and this is what she had to say about spending the day as one of her favourite characters:

It has to be Hyacinth Dickinson from Beautiful Strangers and Beyond Midnight, Books 1 and 2 in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Tall, blonde and gorgeous. Hyacinth is psychic and can use telepathy to get into people’s minds and learn all their secrets, or make them do what she wants them to do. Plus, she owns valuable and rare diamonds (a girl’s best friend) two fabulous houses, a yacht and enjoys partying with a wide circle of friends. It would be a hard to decide where to actually be: in one of her fabulous houses, controlling the Amethyst Coven or lazing on the yacht in Cannes. Oh, decisions, decisions!

You can read the full profile here.

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fallingcoloursRJ Samuel‘s Falling Colours was reviewed over on Piercing Fiction. The review starts with “Let’s start by saying this is a fun book to read.” A phrase that might not auger too well with a Lynne Pierce review.

But fear not, the review’s a good one and this is what Lynne has to say in summation for RJ’s tale of a vision painter:

RJ Samuel has used the theme of a person caught between two cultures before, but Kiran has a comic twist that makes her fun while revealing the struggle she goes through.  The book is a slapstick mystery in the best tradition of the old 1930s movies.  It would be great to have a sequel to this book to see where Samuels could take the characters, but Kiran would have to bring Marge back again.  That might be too much for any of them to take.

Read Falling Colours.  It’s fresh; it’s different; it’s worth it.

You read the full review here.

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Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare Lydon‘s been blogging again and this week it’s about some harsh truths for writers. Her ten truths cover everything from the number of copies a typical book sells (not many) and who cares about your manuscript (you and your mum). Here’s her truth about muses:

Writing is an art. But like any art, it’s 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. Like anything, you have to work at it and you have to do regularly to get good at it – it takes practice. If you only write ‘when the muse takes you’, you will never finish that book you’re working on. And muses are like fairies btw – they don’t exist.

Here’s the full entertaining list.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Now for our weekly sample of Sarah Waters news.

There was an interesting article in The New York Times this week. While everyone in the UK, from my mother-in-law to my doctor, is looking forward to picking up The Paying Guests, apparently that’s not the reception she gets in the US:

Ms. Waters has tended to receive less critical attention in the United States than at home. Laura Miller, who wrote a delighted review of her novel “The Little Stranger” for Salon, said that might be because she has fallen, unfairly, into a genre ghetto.

“She does have a devoted readership here, but if there’s a problem with her work getting the respect it deserves, it’s probably because it’s historical fiction. Some people who write it are at the top of their game … but at the same time, it’s full of cheesy, endless series about things like the women of the War of 1812.”

The article goes on to give some nice detail on Sarah Waters’ background from being the only gay in the village, to then meeting the other one and how she fell into writing. Here’s the full article.

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everythingStella Duffy has just released a collection of her work that has been previously published or broadcast on the radio. Here’s the blurb for Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined:

This collection of short stories brings together, for the first time, a selection of Stella Duffy’s award-winning writing, as well as some of the numerous stories that have been broadcast on radio and appeared in anthologies over the past 20 years. Many of these books are out of print and the radio broadcasts are unavailable; this collection therefore not only highlights the range and variety of her writing, but also breathes new life into some of her best stories.

Here’s the Amazon link although note that the Kindle version for 80 p is just a single short story.

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Finally some events for your diary including one tonight.

Nicola Griffith is touring at the beginning of October. The tour includes places as different and as far-flung as London and Ilkley. Full details are on her blog.

Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at Gay’s the Word tonight – a great chance to see two excellent authors. Starts at 7 p.m.  More details here.

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Right, my turn to gambol around the coast. Ta ra!

News roundup: Short story competition, Nicola Griffith is grandiose, Sarah Waters is everywhere, and there are a few others besides

5 Sep

Internet gremlins have hit the Ashton household, so this will be short and snappy….

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GreenLadyFirst up, news of a publisher opening up in Oxford. Green Lady Press isn’t a lesbian publisher but it welcomes innovative literature from all genres. It specialises in short stories and novellas and got in touch with UKLesFic with details of its annual short story competition. This year’s theme is ‘Resistance’ and they’re looking for innovative interpretations (any genre) of the theme up to 3000 words. Get your entries in by 30 November. First prize is £50, second £25 with other selected entries being published in an ebook anthology together with the winners. You can find more details here.

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nicolagriffithlocusNicola Griffith is interviewed in and appears on the front cover of science fiction magazine Locus this month. You can get a digital copy here.

She was also interviewed for Real Change News where (in her own words) she ended up being a little grandiose about Hild’s influence – wouldn’t have democracy as we know it without her for example. It’s a typically informative and fascinating piece and here’s the link to the full article.

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Kiki-117The Planet of the Books continued its author profiles this week with Kiki Archer.

In her profile answers, Kiki admits that her parents had to pay her to read as a child after Little Women and Black Beauty failed to catch her imagination. Although the Beano found its appeal for some reason. She answers questions like “which of your characters would you like to spend the day as” and naturally picks the one that has the best sex.

You can find the full profile here.

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598px-Sarah_WatersIt may be a while before we go a week without mentioning Sarah Waters. Here’s this week’s inclusion.  Dulwich Books in London are holding an evening with Sarah Waters on Wednesday 1st October. She will be talking to John O’Connell and books will also be on sale. A few more details below and here’s the relevant link.

Location: Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, East Dulwich, London SE22 8SU

Tickets £10/£8. The Paying Guests will be on sale at £15.00.

Tickets: Book tickets online, via email to dulwichbooks@yahoo.co.uk, via telephone 020 8670 1920 or pop into the bookshop.

There are probably some reviews around for The Paying Guest this week, but you know, if you like Sarah Waters you’re probably going to read it, and if you haven’t read any Sarah Waters, go and at least read Fingersmith too. (We’ll catch up next week when my internet connection hasn’t got its knickers in a twist.)

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On to new releases:

stilllifeLT Smith’s Still Life is out now – here’s the Amazon link. LT has written a blog about its release which is a little earlier than intended. She’s a bit pleased. Here’s the post.

Last week’s new publication, The Empath by Jody Klaire, is book of the month on the Facebook group LesficREADER. Jody will be answering questions weekend of the 27-28th so get reading and join the group here.

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Finally, a reminder about the LGBT Monologue writing workshops run by VG Lee and Paul Burston. The sessions accompany the Polari tour to Brighton, London, Stevenage, Newcastle, Birmingham, St Albans, Manchester and Liverpool. You can find dates and venues here but for more information and to reserve a place please email Val at vglee at dircon.co.uk.

If you’re still not sure about attending the workshops here’s VG Lee with a little more information about the sessions and about her lovely self too. Take it away Val:

News Roundup: The Solstice Shorts Festival Needs You, New RJ Samuel Blog, Sarah Waters Reviews, Tour Dates from Catherine Hall & Nicola Griffith, and More!

29 Aug

In a week where the Great British Baked Alaska Sabotage scandalised a nation, how can we here at UK LesFic possibly live up to that level of excitement? Well, we can’t. But we do have news for you, once you’ve all calmed down a little.

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Cherry PottsFirst this week is the opportunity to spread a bit of festive cheer by helping to crowd-fund the Solstice Shorts Festival, a one-day short stories and folk music festival to be held at the West Greenwich library and the Royal Observatory on December 21st (the winter solstice). You can read all about the festival, watch a video from organiser Cherry Potts, and contribute to the funding at the above link. The deadline for contributions is Thursday September 4th.

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rjsamuel2Over at Women and Words, RJ Samuel has been exploring the topic of being “an outsider looking out” in a blog post that reveals details of her forthcoming novels…

I am currently working on the third in the Vision painter series which will feature my Indian-Irish vision painter as well two other main characters, an Irish woman, and an Indian woman brought up in Africa and America. And, for the first time, I’ll be working on another novel at the same time, this one featuring an agoraphobic Irish travel writer who needs to find the missing Indian wife of her ex’s new boyfriend. This will be set in Ireland and France.

…as well as taking a closer look at the inspiration behind those she has already published:

My novels mix genres as well as diverse characters, settings, and explore pacemakers, vision painting, and online deception amongst other subjects…my novels featured an Indian or Indian-Irish protagonist and my protagonists struggled with a sense of place, of belonging.

Head here to read the full piece.

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The Planet of the Books blog has been busy adding the profiles of several UK authors. Hit each individual link to read short, fun interviews with:

london callingClare Lydon

Have you created any characters you don’t like?

Yes! In my new novel, The Long Weekend, there are a couple of characters who are annoyingly self-absorbed. In London Calling, Jess had her moments too – she was a frustrating lead character at times, even if her heart was in the right place.

karencampbell2Karen Campbell

Where do you write? And what do you need around you?
I write anywhere I have an A4 pad and some music. Generally, I do it in front of my computer but that’s just so that I can lean on the table and blast my songs. In the summer, I was out in the garden. I shouldn’t though, as I get carried away and sing.

And VG Lee

Which character you’ve created/written do you wish you could spend a day as?
Mrs Botolph in my first novel, The Comedienne. She is the old friend of the main character’s mother and is very bossy and gets things done!

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theempath_lgA quick heads-up that Jody Klaire‘s debut novel, The Empath (book one of the Above & Beyond series), has been released onto Kindle this week. The full blurb for the novel can be found on our New Releases page, and if you like a soundtrack to go with your reading, Jody has published a playlist for the book here on her blog. If you enjoy this first book, its sequel Fractured will be out on November 14th.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Sarah Waters‘ latest release The Paying Guests is picking up reviews all over the place. There are too many for us to feature them all, but a five star review from Joanna Briscoe in The Express describes the novel as: morally complex, atmospheric, romantic and psychologically deep, and goes on to say that The Paying Guests is an astonishing achievement and a notable Booker omission, while the Independent found itself longing for more of a spark:

Perhaps Waters does not want to put on a fireworks display of plot surprises. She does give us a poignant love story which symbolically sees in the death of the old order, the death of the old-fashioned husband and maybe the birth of an era of love without secrets. Yet we find ourselves wishing for a few more fireworks all the same.

If you prefer to make up your own mind, the novel is out in all formats (yes, hardback, paperback, and e-book) as of yesterday.

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the repercussionsClosing out this week with some diary dates, and Catherine Hall will be talking about her new novel The Repercussions (due for release on September 25th) at various libraries, bookshops and festivals this autumn. For a full list of events, see this page on her website. You can also hop to her blog from there, where Catherine has recently been talking about the thorny issue of self-publicity:

One of the things I never thought about when I started writing was promotion. Even if I had, Twitter hadn’t been invented then, Facebook was in its infancy and blogging was something that felt far too narcissistic.

I had an old fashioned idea about what a writer was – someone who sat alone, preferably in a garret (preferably in Paris), and worked long into the night on an Olivetti typewriter sustained by cigarettes and gin. So far, so Moulin Rouge. I liked it…

The third link will take you to the rest of the piece.

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NicolaGriffithAnd rounding out this roundup, news that Nicola Griffith will be heading to the UK in October (1st-10th) to do “Hild-ish things”:

It will be the first time I’ve done a novel-related event in the UK since 1993 when I was there for the launch of Ammonite. There are so very many UK readers I’ve met since and talked to through the magical ether of the intarwebs. I wish I could meet you all. I wish I could spend a month in the UK travelling about. But ten days is what we have. So I hope you can come to one of the events above. It’ll be a blast!

For all the dates and details (with more still to come) go to this page at Nicola’s blog.

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Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to cram some sponge and ice cream into a meringue…

News roundup: a scorching Scottish anthology, new books, Sarah Waters and more!

23 Aug

It’s the summer bank holiday which would explain why I’m sitting here with two jumpers on and have a streaming cold. Here is the news…sniff…

First up are shiny new covers for forthcoming books.

OutThereOut There is a very promising anthology of works by Scottish LGBT authors and includes pieces by Ali Smith, Kerry Hudson, Jackie Kay, Val McDermid and Carol Ann Duffy. The publisher describes the collection of poetry and prose as “diverse, sometimes hilarious, sometimes polemical, often surprising and deeply moving, but always suffused with energy, wit and empathy” and with that list of authors I’m not surprised.

The book is available late September and now available for pre-order on Amazon.

SecondThoughtsJade Winters has pencilled in her new book Second Thoughts for September and it has this very pretty cover. Here’s the blurb:

Melissa Carter thought she had it all. On the cusp of an exciting new journey with her partner Amy, Melissa’s once perfect life is thrown into a roller coaster ride when her ex, Sadie Miller, shows up unexpectedly. All too soon, Melissa’s emotions are pulled in different directions as she is faced with a life changing dilemma: should she choose the safe haven with Amy or follow a long lost dream with Sadie? With her wedding to Amy looming, one thing is for certain, time is not on her side.

RoyalRomanticNew Bold Strokes author Jenny Frame has also revealed her sumptuous cover for her debut A Royal Romance. Here’s the blurb for the 2015 publication:

Georgina, Princess of Wales, has always known her destiny, but she never expected duty to call so soon. When her father dies suddenly, she is called back from her Royal Navy post to assume the crown. While the people acclaim their new Queen, Great Britain’s first openly gay monarch, all George feels is the isolation of her station.

Beatrice Elliot’s staunch anti-monarchist views have always been a point of gentle contention with her working class, royalty-loving parents. When Bea—director of a hospice charity—must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, her charity’s new patron, sparks fly and passion blooms. But is love enough to bridge the gap between Bethnal Green and Buckingham Palace?

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Well it’s still not August the 28th is it? But if you’re wringing your hands in anticipation at Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests, here are a few more tidbits to torment yourself with. (I wonder how many times Sarah Waters has been asked if there are lesbians in it.)

First up is a short video of Sarah talking about the background to the novel and the story itself. It’s well worth watching for anyone at all interested in the novel. She covers her research of the time and setting of early 1920s suburban London – a turbulent and very different place to the glamorous latter half of the decade in the city. She says the heart of the novel is a romance and that the story is about what happens to a loving relationship under pressure of guilt and shame. Here’s the vid:

September’s Diva also has an interview with Sarah Waters discussing the novel and her research into the era and setting. Again well worth a read and if you’re already wondering about what Sarah is working on next, apparently she hasn’t anything specific yet but you could bet good money on it being historical.

The Guardian has a review by Rachel Cusk of the Paying Guests. She says of the novel:

This fascinating domestic scenario might have made for an absorbing short novel; but at more than 500 pages long, The Paying Guests has ambitions elsewhere. That these pertain to plot rather than to the development of the novel’s core ideas is disappointing

She also adds that “the sexual perspective is designed for the modern reader,” and labels the novel as “middlebrow entertainment”.

I for one couldn’t be more pleased to hear it. It sounds like a bloody good quality read.

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nightingaleAndrea Bramhall has been blogging about L Fest over on Women and Words. She talks about the Bold Strokes panels, the event in general and that tricky decision of whether or not to camp at a British festival. Here’s what she says of the event:

L-Fest itself had been set up like a music festival but with a little bit of everything thrown in. Paintballing, comedy acts, live music, fancy dress disco, volleyball, a dog show, workshops, Indie authors, a massage tent, thousands of lesbians…it had all the ingredients to be a fabulous weekend, especially when there was free child care available in the day for all those who were travelling as a family, and doggie day care for those with fur-babies.

While we’re with Andrea we should also mention that her latest novel, Nightingale, is now available on Audible. Here’s the link to the unabridged audio book.

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the knowing

And this just in (or at least I’ve only just seen it), a smashing review of Karen Campbell‘s supernatural thriller The Knowing.

This book is probably one of the best I’ve ever read. The character of Jen is fantastically written and I really felt like I connected with her on every level, actually feeling every emotion she experienced, both good and bad. There are so many twists and turns in this book you really don’t know what is going to happen next and this made we want to continue reading, I found it hard to actually put the book down.

You can read the full review here.

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Right I’m off for a glass of Talisker. My grandad used to swear by it, or at least swear a lot after it. Ta ra!

News Roundup: Great British Giveaway, Ylva Call For Sensual Submissions, Polari on Tour, Reviews, Blogs, and More!

15 Aug

It’s the height of summer! Which obviously means we’re all snorkelling our way to work , paddling to the shops, and generally getting soggy every time we step outdoors. Bearing that in mind, hang up your brollies for a few minutes and take a look at this week’s news…

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CurveFollowing on from the recent Curve article highlighting The Best of British Reads, the Lesbian Reading Room is holding a giveaway to celebrate the piece. A signed copy of a book (or an e-book) from each of the authors mentioned in the feature – Clare Ashton, Andrea Bramhall, Amy Dunne, Veronica Fearon, Cari Hunter – is available to win over at the LRR. All you need to do is head over to the site, have a toot at how the competition will work, and enter your name into the hat. Easy, eh? The closing date is Sunday 17th August, so get your skates on.

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the skeleton roadVal McDermid is gearing up for the release of her new standalone novel The Skeleton Road:

Set in McDermid’s hometown of Edinburgh, The Skeleton Road centres on a Cold Case investigation. A skeleton is discovered, hidden at the top of a soon-to-be renovated Gothic building. Detective Karen Pirie is tasked with identifying the decades-old bones and soon finds herself unearthing a series of past conflicts, false identities and secrets that have long been buried. 

I have no idea as to the lesbian content in The Skeleton Road (if any), but it’s set for release on 11th September, and Val will be appearing at the Norwich Playhouse on 12th September, 8pm (tickets £12) to chat about the novel and her other books. For more details and ticket information, hit this link.

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clareashtonTickets are now on sale for the Midlands Polari evening that Tig mentioned in last week’s news. Scheduled for Saturday 15th November, the event will be held at Mac, Birmingham and feature readings from Kiki Archer, Clare Ashton, and VG Lee, amongst others. These evenings always look like a blast, so if you’ve never been able to make it down to the Big Smoke for the regular London events, take advantage of this travelling salon! Tickets are £5, with a special £2.50 offer for the first ten early bird bookings. For more information and ticket booking, head over here.

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ylvaYlva have sent up a call for erotica submissions (not submissives, although they might be looking for those as well!) for a new short story anthology focusing on the naughtier things in life.

Writers, send us your most lustful, lascivious, even lewd stories for this one. Plot? Yes, we’d still like your story to have one. But this particular collection will focus on the sensual, red-hot delights of sex between women and the celebration of the female form in all its diverse hedonism. So what we want are tales of lesbians getting down and dirty in the bedroom (or any other place they find arousing) and having loads of fun doing it.

The deadline for submissions is March 15th 2015, which should give you plenty of time to think up something suitably juicy. As ever, all the details you could possibly need are at the above link.

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theempath_lgWith the release of her début novel imminent, Jody Klaire has been blogging about the Celtic influences at play in The Empath:

One of the things is that some places have a funny looking language on them. Things like ‘Croeso,’ which in the green (currently soaked) fields of home means ‘welcome.’ And you get to try putting on a funny accent to say it, you ready? Croy-see-yo. That’s it, you got it. Try rolling your r for extra points.

You can read the full piece – which includes the opening paragraph from the novel – here.

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paying guestsSarah WatersThe Paying Guests was recently featured in The Guardian‘s feature Book Now: The essential new fiction from the big names in 2014:

South London, 1922: genteel Frances and her widowed mother have fallen on hard times, rubbing along in a big suburban house that used to be busy with menfolk and servants. During the war, Frances saw opportunities for freedom and love; now duty and bereavement have resigned her to confined spinsterhood and the kind of domestic hard labour previously unknown to a woman of her class. Until a couple of the “clerk class” move in as lodgers, and surprising intimacies develop … Waters has created both a page-turning melodrama and a fascinating portrait of London on the verge of great change.

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HILD_jacket_closerA couple of reviews now to round out the week, starting with a full page write-up of Nicola Griffith‘s Hild in the September issue of the BBC History Magazine:

This is a powerful, clever novel. Griffith illuminates the so-called Dark Ages, reconstructing an often alien historical world with great precision, and in Hild has created a sympathetic, complex character to act as a guide. 

The full review isn’t available online, but the magazine is on sale now.

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WhenYouKnowLast but by no means least, The Lesbrary has been catching up with Kiki Archer‘s novels, with Elinor reviewing the best selling One Foot onto the Ice and its sequel When You Know:

These books are campy, full of slapstick, and made me laugh. They are mostly light, and easy and fast reads. I enjoyed them a lot. Archer manages to show Jenna and Susan’s chemistry through delightful banter…I recommend these books to anyone interested in lesbian romance. The books are best together, and as a pair they make one of the most fun lesbian romantic comedies I’ve read.

You can read the full and very comprehensive review here.

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Right, as the heavens open once more above Manchester and I banish all hopes of getting my washing dry, that’s the lot for this week. Toodle-pip!

 

 

 

 

News roundup: The Best of British in Curve, the return of Jane Retzig, Sarah Waters in the Literary Review, blogs and there’s always more!

8 Aug

I’m multitasking. This is not something I do well. So forgive me, while I have an 18-month-old on my knee watching Frozen and mop the brow of a fevered 3-year-old sleeping next to me, if things go slightly awry… Here is the news:

boundariesFirst, thanks to Henriette Bookgeek for pointing us in the direction (northwards for me) of Jane Retzig. The Yorkshire lass originally published her first novels with The Dimsdale Press in the 90s but has re-released the Yorkshire-set Boundaries for Kindle and in paperback. thephotographShe’s followed this up with a new novel The Photograph, also set oop north, and a rewrite of her second novel The Full Legacy. She describes her writing as (fairly gritty) lesbian romantic fiction and lists as her influences great Northern writers of the 50s and 60s – Barstow, Braine and Waterhouse – as well as Jane Austen, Patti Smith, British novelist Elizabeth Taylor, Daphne du Maurier, and almost all the output of Naiad Press. Jane is currently working on her new novel The Wrong Woman.

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It’s great to see some coverage of UK lesbian fiction in Curve magazine this month. The article by Sue Fidler, aka TheVelvet Lounger, addresses the resurgence of British lesfic in the last couple of years.
CurveSue talks about the breadth and quality of fiction now being produced and covers Lammy award winning romances from Andrea Bramhall, gritty YA fiction by Amy Dunne, unusual and some comic romances from Clare Ashton, exciting and well-crafted thrillers from Cari Hunter and Veronica Fearon‘s gritty and demanding The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Have a peek at the article here. (If you’re quick you can also grab a copy of August’s Diva which has an interview with Veronica.)

AmyandwifeSticking with Amy for a moment, she has a letter over on the site Dear Teen Me – a collection of letters from authors to their teen selves. Have a read. It covers some rough times but rest-assured it all ends in Dolly Parton and fur babies.

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amazonia an impossibleOnto blogs. Sky Croft‘s been blogging over on Women and Words about the wedding fever that’s been hitting her novels and own life. Sky’s sequel Amazonia: An Impossible Choice, one of the books she talks about in the blog, is out this month. Sky is running a giveaway over on Goodreads, so head over here before the 8th September to be in with a chance of winning one of two paperbacks.

Jody Klaire‘s also gearing up for the release of The Empath. Here are her in-flight instructions as she gets ready for publication takeoff including who’s on-board, the view out the window and the best way to get hold of the book. Here’s the full piece.

rjsamuel2RJ Samuel has been interviewed by AJ Adaire. The interview is a nice mix of frivolous, serious and personal questions and answers. RJ talks about her unique background and books, including the concept of a vision painter and how her books uncannily predict the future:

My books have been weirdly prophetic, some of the bad stuff in them seems to happen in my life. And A Place Somewhere has proved the same in that my move to America is turning out to be quite similar to Alex’s (and my job might now involve accounting), just that it didn’t involve an online girlfriend. An interesting fact (not necessarily bad) is that I have an Excel sheet for the book with character names written out which I started in March 2013 and the family that turned up to lodge in my house in August had the same names as three of my characters.”

Naturally I and others wondered if she was going to write herself a wonderfully happy fairytale next. You can read her answer to this and the rest of the questions here.

HILDUKNicola Griffith has been busy blogging about Hild with its release in the UK. Here’s her latest news roundup with links to interviews and posts including Ten Things About Hild – things that are known and things that Nicola madeup about Hild:

“6. How well she got on with her family. Hereric died and that death left Hild and her mother and her sister at the mercy of the world. I imagine there was a bit of irrational blame there: you bastard, you left us alone! And then the three women would have to had to stick together to face the world. But mothers and daughters don’t often get along so well after puberty. And Hereswith got the good marriage (at least insofar as we know). There again, Hild was the one who got the prophecy about being a light of the world.”

Here’s that article in full and the link to the full roundup.

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faking itTerry Baker reviewed Jade Winters‘ latest best-seller Faking It – a story of a writer pretending to be her gay chum’s fiancee in return for a promise of being published, just as she bumps into the love of her life.

Another winner from Jade Winters. This book is well written and edited. A true lesfic chick-lit romance with a good dose of humor thrown in for good measure. A quick and fast paced page turner from start to finish…Although this is chick-lit, this story did have a more serious side to it too. There is lies, deceptions, angst and homophobia all entwined with a light hearted sense of humor. So, it’s not all doom and gloom, but a very well thought out and put together work of art.

Here’s the full review.

PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Is it August the 28th yet? Not long now though and Sarah Waters‘  The Paying Guests will be in our eager mitts. Meanwhile it’s reviewed in the August edition of The Literary Review. The review goes into some enticing detail with the characters and setting although it’s careful to avoid spoilers:

As previously, lesbian desires are prominent and prove critical but – in keeping with the period – they announce themselves upon Waters’s protagonists, Frances and Lilian, awkwardly and initially inchoately. Frances has had Sapphic experiences but now lives alone with her mother. The household having fallen on hard times (there are prominent references to servants previously in attendance), they take in a married couple as lodgers – or ‘paying guests’, a preferred neologism. Leonard and Lilian Barber move in with all their clutter. Waters is excellent on the psychic disturbance this generates in Frances, faced with ‘the oddness of the sound and the sight of the couple going about from room to room as if the rooms belonged to them’.

The reviewer notes that with Waters’ track record and consistent high standard the novel is likely to be successful in terms of awards. However he comments on the story: “The prospective challenge for the reader can be that witnessing so much expressive, articulate forbearance and hand-wringing proves exhausting or confining. At times, I longed for reticence or stoicism“. Quite frankly, I’m glad to hear there’s a lack of it.

Have a good read of the full review here.

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VGLeeFinally, as well as Polari evenings hitting the provinces with the likes of Veronica Fearon, Kiki Archer, Clare Ashton and VG Lee performing across the country, five workshops will also be run. The first one has been announced for Brighton on the 25th September with the title “Who Am I? The LGBTQ  Monologue”. It’s a 2-hour workshop led by VG Lee and Paul Burston. The pair will help you kick-start those personal monologues and give guidance about how to perform them and get published. More details here.

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That’s all for now. This post was brought to you by Frozen and Cadbury’s chocolate buttons.

 

News Roundup: Clare Lydon at Brighton Pride, Sarah Waters is Just About Everywhere, New Author Kirsty Grant, Call to UK Authors & Loads More!

1 Aug

For some reason everything in our house is breaking, blowing up, leaking, or flat-out refusing to work. So, before my laptop decides to join in the fun, I’m going to whip through this week’s news…

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clarelydonThe sun is still out, the beaches are packed, people are wandering around in ill-advised shorts, and Pride season is upon us! Anyone off to Brighton Pride this weekend (1st-3rd August – forecast: warm with isolated showers) should head directly to the Literature Live tent in Preston Park on the Saturday, where Clare Lydon will be first up with a reading from London Calling. It is your civic duty to go cheer her along and maybe buy a book or two. I’m sure she’ll be happy to scribble on a copy for you. All the details about this fabulous three-day weekend event can be found here.

Clare has also been waxing lyrical about her recent festival experiences, with her blog post listing the Top Ten Things About L Fest, 2014:

9. The Fishfinger Butty stall

When the rains came and all else seemed lost, there was the fishfinger butty stall. £3 bought you two slices of spongy white bread, fishfingers & ketchup. An extra quid for a potato waffle. This was the stuff of festival dreams.

Read the full 1-10 at the link.

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loved settledWe have a new author to welcome to the site this week. Kirsty Grant was born in Edinburgh, raised in Bonnyrigg, and now resides in Stirling. Her debut novella, Loved, Settled and Understood, was published by Melange Books in July:

Following the death of her best friend, Laura, Sophie’s life is thrown into turmoil. Torn between the stability of her long term relationship with her boyfriend, Jeff, and the unexpected raw desire for Laura’s sister, Jane, Sophie finds herself questioning her sexuality. Acting upon her desire, Sophie discovers that following her heart has unforeseen consequences and she finds herself tangled in a web of complicated love and heartache. Loved, Settled and Understood is a passionate love story which takes Sophie on a life altering journey of grief, lust, love and anger. How many hearts will be broken in the quest for true love? Is it easier to walk away from love to avoid heartache? Will the words of her late friend, Laura, echo true and will Sophie ever be loved, settled and understood?

You can find out more about Kirsty here at her blog, or over at her author page on Facebook.

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598px-Sarah_WatersThe pre-release publicity romp for Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests is kicking up a gear, with Kirkus whetting the appetite of pretty much every lesbian with a pulse with the opening line of this review:

An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex.

Okay, okay, so it goes on to say slightly more reviewy other stuff as well:

Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight; when Frances and Lilian go on a picnic, “the eggs [give] up their shells as if shrugging off cumbersome coats”—just like the women. As life-and-death questions are answered, new ones come up, and until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen.

The full text of the review can be found at the second link up there.

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paying guestsIf all that talk of sex and egg shells has got you chomping at the bit, then you may want to take the opportunity to “spend an evening” with Sarah Waters at Stylist’s second book club event, which is being held on Thursday 28th August, 6-8pm. Here are the details from the site:

An exclusive preview copy of The Paying Guests will be sent to you before the event, three weeks ahead of its official publication, so you’ll be ready with your questions.

On the night, Sarah will read an excerpt of her new book, followed by an audience Q&A, and you’ll get the chance to have your hardback copy, available to collect on the night, signed by the author.

The venue, Holborn’s chic Rosewood London hotel, is particularly apt: it was formerly the HQ of Pearl Assurance Company, the building where Leonard works in The Paying Guests.

Tickets are £35, which includes a glass of wine and two exclusive copies of The Paying Guests – a preview copy sent in advance and a hardback copy on the night. The last time I checked, tickets were still available at this link.

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Frozen-Scream-main-300x178Finally in our Sarah Waters round up (!): not content with launching a book and touring the country, Sarah has also co-written a play with Olivier award winning entertainer, Christopher Green.

Based on the lost 1928 supernatural murder-mystery novel, The Frozen Scream tells the chilling tale of a group who find themselves stranded at an abandoned lodge in the depths of winter. Forced to entertain themselves, they begin to tell the tale of Jack Frost, the most terrifying of the Frost Giants. But as the story takes a shocking twist, they discover they should have heeded the early warnings to ‘beware the ice’.

A series of mysterious deaths apparently led to claims that the original novel was cursed, so it should be interesting to see what happens with this stage version. The play will run in Cardiff from December 11-20th, and then move to the Birmingham Hippodrome January 7-17th. To buy tickets for either venue, follow the links, and to read more about the adaptation, head here.

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KikiAndBoobsA call now to UK authors who fancy being included in a charity short story anthology. I’m going to be a right lazy sod and just let Ms Angie Peach tell you all about it:

So, after chatting with lots of authors at L Fest, Kiki Archer and I have decided to open up the genre of admissions to include any and every genre! And that’s not all! We’ve also extended the deadline for you to submit your short story to us, which will now be the end of September. So if you are Indie, published or even unpublished, and want to be involved in this amazing opportunity, get in touch with either Kiki or myself. Please also share this status so word can get around! Unfortunately, it is still only open for UK authors. Here’s a link to the charity! Thanks everyone! 

You can contact both authors via their Facebook pages. Just click on their names to hop over to their pages.

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hild coverA big congrats this week to Nicola Griffith and Sarah Waters, who – with Hild and The Paying Guests respectively – have both made it onto the Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize list, a selection of books nominated by readers and intended to be a little more balanced than those the Booker may have chosen. A list of around 90 books needs cutting down to a shortlist of 6, and that’s where you lot come in. To vote for your favourite two novels from the list (which must be from two different publishers), write a review of around 100 words for each book in the comments section on this post. The deadline for votes is midnight, 3rd August, and you don’t need to write anything particularly erudite, just be enthusiastic!

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veronica fearonMore congratulations to V A Fearon (The Girl with the Treasure Chest) and Sarah Westwood (The Rubbish Lesbian), who have been longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. The prize is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English within the 12 months of the deadline for submissions (this year Feb 1, 2013). The shortlist for the award, which was won by Mari Hannah‘s The Murder Wall last year, will be announced at the Polari Literary Salon on September 8th 2014,  and the winner will be revealed on October 8th 2014 in the Purcell Room at the London Literature Festival.

Good luck to the four authors on both of these longlists! For a sneak peek at the line up for forthcoming Polari events head here.

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Okay, I’m going to quit while the going is good and the laptop is still functional. If you are off to a Pride event this weekend, have loads of fun and shake your rainbow booty!

rainbow fan

 

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