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?

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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…

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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.

~~~

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…

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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!

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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

 

News roundup: new books, interviews, blogs and dates for the Polari tour

26 Jul

The sun is shining and if I don’t blow up a paddling pool soon, a large one, then two small children will cry. So let’s get on with the news.

~~~

Upcoming books first with some lovely shiny new covers

smaller coverCari Hunter‘s landed herself a particularly lovely cover for her next novel No Good Reason due out spring next year. It features one of my favourite bits of rock (Stanage) in one of my favourite bits of the world (the Peak District). Here’s the all important blurb to get you wishing that spring 2015 was a bit closer:

Detective Sanne Jensen (not blonde, not tall, definitely not Scandinavian) and Doctor Meg Fielding (scruffy, scatter-brained, prone to swearing at patients) are lifelong best friends, sharing the same deprived background and occasionally the same bed.

When a violent kidnapping stuns the Peak District village of Rowlee, both women become involved in the case. As Sanne and her colleagues in East Derbyshire Special Ops search for the culprit, and Meg fights to keep his victim alive, a shocking discovery turns the investigation on its head. With the clock ticking, Sanne and Meg find themselves pushed closer by a crime that threatens to tear everything apart.

mountainrescueSky Croft‘s sequel to Goldie winner Mountain Rescue: The Ascent is pencilled in for December. Kelly Saber and Dr Sydney Greenwood are back and will need to tackle everything that life and the mountains can throw at them. Here’s the blurb:

Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber are back in this sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent.

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.

BeyondMidnightEllen Dean has a new novel out now. Beyond Midnight is book two in the Hyacinth Dickinson series – tales of thrilling romance, witchcraft and intrigue:

Beyond Midnight, from best-selling author Ellen Dean, is the second book in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Two years on from a terrible helicopter crash charismatic Dr. Hyacinth Dickinson, world renowned gynaecologist/obstetrician and Mistress of the Amethyst Coven, is out for revenge.

Those who betrayed her must pay, including the beautiful Sofia Roberto-Sabatini, who is in line to be a Mafia Don.

Sofia has a rare blue diamond, knowledge that is supposed to be secret. But, secrets have a way of leaking. Hyacinth is determined to possess that diamond by fair means or foul. If magic needs to be used, then so be it.

But things don’t always go according to plan. Hyacinth has enemies who want the diamond as badly as she does, and so the chase begins. The two women end up running for their lives.

Will they survive? Will love conquer all?

Beyond Midnight is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

~~~

On to interviews.

hp munroGoldie award winner and author of the very popular Stars Collide, HP Munro, was interviewed by AJ Adaire. HP’s answers are typically humorous and she talks about her books, which span chick lit to award-winning historical fiction. Talking about her characters:

“I guess my approach is to try to make them normal, I want readers to think that if they were to meet the character in real life they would be able to sit down and shoot the breeze with them and not be intimidated.

They have hang-ups. They can be funny, they can be snarky and they can be supportive or angry and hurtful. Just like we all can.”

The whole interview is well worth the read and can be found here.

Kerry-Hudson-008Kerry Hudson, author of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, has also been busy with interviews.

She answers questions in the Irish Times such as: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? – “Work hard, don’t be an arsehole, buy a good chair”; What’s your favourite word – “A (definitely unpublishable in a respectable paper) word from the first line of my first novel”, which UKLesFic thinks is one of “cunting”, “shitting”, “little” or “fucker”. Here’s the link to her book for you to decide.

Her answers are great and here’s the full article. Also don’t miss her interview on Writers&Artists where she talks about her writing in general and her second novel Thirst.

~~~

HILDUKNicola Griffith‘s acclaimed novel Hild has at last made it to these shores and she’s started a blog tour to tie in with the UK paperback edition. The tour includes Q&A sessions, reviews and essays. The full schedule is here and this week included a piece on Women and Words on Hild, history and sex:

I’ve been asked questions about my characters’ sexuality ever since I began to publish. Sometimes I answer more patiently than others…Hild, my novel set in seventh-century Britain about the early life of St Hilda of Whitby, is about to be published in the UK. I know that someone won’t be able to resist asking, ‘So why is Hild a lesbian?’

First, she’s bisexual. Second, why the fuck not?

While it may not matter about the sexuality of a character for a good novel, Nicola does go into some detail about the historical basis for Hild’s sexuality. Here’s the whole article.

~ ~ ~

Mari-Hannah-008Mari Hannah has been writing about her experience of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival which takes place every July. The Polari Prize winner (The Murder Wall) has been attending the event for many years and this time took part in the first panel of the event about routes into publishing.  You can find the full post here complete with a list of ten things overheard at the festival.

~~~

polariflyerFinally, there are lots of events for your diaries now the dates for the Polari tour have been announced. The award-winning literary salon will be heading out from its London home to places as far flung as Brighton and Newcastle. The events will be hosted by the colourful Paul Burston and many give readers a chance to catch VG Lee. You’ll also be able to see VA Fearon at the Brighton event and Clare Ashton in Brum. Here’s the full list of dates and almost finalised lineup.

Now go get some ice-cream. Ta ra a bit! 

A Storming L Fest 2014

22 Jul
DSC_5992

VG Lee

The forecast for the L Fest weekend was for stunning sunshine and a heatwave, which naturally meant that torrential rain, thunder and lightning arrived. UK LesFic wimped out of camping and turned up on a very soggy Saturday morning. But saturated tents turned out to be great for audiences of the indoor and dry arts stage, and even though the event kicked off at 10 a.m. there was a good turnout to see VG Lee open the event.

VG has become a bit of feature at L Fest and they are happy to have her. She talked a little about the resurgence of British lesbian fiction in the last couple of years and how good it is to see writers beyond the established literary set having success.

indiepanel

Cindy Rizzo, Clare Lydon, Clare Ashton, Kiki Archer

She handed over to Kiki Archer to host a very lively indie panel. There were excellent readings by US author of Exception to the Rule Cindy Rizzo, Clare Ashton read from best-selling romcom That Certain Something and Clare Lydon from her well-received début London Calling. Kiki put the panellists through their paces with questions ranging from “Do you like writing sex scenes?” to “do you base your books on your own experiences?” after authors had read pieces about waking up with a hangover in bed with their boss. You can see the whole session on this video. Do not miss Kiki Archer’s reading and do marvel at how good a sport her wife is!

DSC_6158

Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight

Up next was Crin Claxton‘s fabulous Bards on Buzzers quiz. The panel featured Lammy winner Andrea Bramhall (Clean Slate), Goldie award winner Amy Dunne (Secret Lies), Gill McKnight author of the popular Garoul werewolf series, and BSB development editor Vic Oldham. Serious bookworms were well-rewarded with a quick-fire round, followed by some in-depth questions by Crin to the authors. Authors were then treated to seeing Crin and beautiful assistant Denny acting out scenes from the panellists’ work in the guess the novel round, in ways that both surprised and tickled everyone. The audience were especially surprised to find Agadoo feature so prominently in Lammy-award winner Andrea Bramhall’s opus.

 

VG Lee meanwhile delivered two workshops “A Leap of Faith” and “Fast and Furious”, both very well received by new and established authors. Several other authors were also spotted in various states at different times. Karen Campbell author of the new novel The Knowing was one the appreciative attendees of VG’s workshops. Angela Peach took camping to a different level by sleeping in a hearse. She was asked about her enjoyment of the evening activities but declined to comment in the presence of children. H.P. Munro made several appearances, mainly looking very authorial but, by the end of Saturday evening after drinking games with other indie authors, she looked a little less serious!

DSC_6268

Andrea Bramhall, Amy Dunne, Vic Oldham, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight

The sun, at last, came out which baked those with hangovers in their tents and hearses, and BSB authors were back in action early that morning for a slick readings and Q&A session. The work of the panellists shows how varied these British authors and the Bold Strokes output now is. Andrea Bramhall talked about the inspiration behind her diverse work which includes scuba diving and memory loss, to love across religious and cultural divides. Amy Dunne talked about becoming an expert in post-apocalyptic life while researching her work in progress (she has a cuddly Christmas novel out before that). Crin Claxton is hard at work on a follow up to the thoroughly entertaining  Supernatural Detective and Gill McKnight teased the audience with some hints about her current work on a series of novels on soul matchers.

DSC_6455

Maureen Duffy

The highlight of the arts stage for many was an audience with Maureen Duffy – trail blazing novelist and poet writing since the 1960s. An enthralled audience listened to Maureen reading from her novels and poetry, followed by a Q&A which revealed that she writes sitting in an arm chair and then sends her words away to be typed up, which UK LesFic thinks is class. Some misty eyed and overawed authors and readers patiently waited to have copies of Maureen’s work signed at the end of the session.

L Fest is a wonderfully varied festival. As well as the author sessions, two band stages were in action, attendees could learn anything from drumming to how to avoid lesbian bed-death, Planet London hosted speed dating, films, quizzes and a friendly zone to hang out and there was always something entertaining to see and do. Here’s a taste of this fabulous event:1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9

News Roundup: New Author Jenny Frame, Goldie and IndieFab Winners, New Novel from Jade Winters, Sarah Waters goes on a Paying Guests Tour, and More!

17 Jul

And we’re back! Refreshed and ready for a steamy summer of LesFic-themed romps, mischief, and general shenanigans. Let’s get on with it then, shall we?

~ ~ ~

jenny frameFirst up, a warm welcome to a new UK author, Jenny Frame, who hails from Motherwell and recently signed with Bold Strokes Books. Jenny’s début novel, A Royal Romance, will be published in 2015, and the blurb goes like this:

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?

As with many LesFic authors, Jenny started her writing career by dipping her toe into the fan fiction arena (Xena Uber, if I’m not mistaken), and there are several stories available for downloading on her website. She can also be found on Facebook, and her bio is now up on our Author page.

~ ~ ~

GCLS clean logoBrits scored a hat-trick of wins in this year’s Goldie awards, with gongs going to H.P. Munro for Silver Wings in the Historical Fiction category, Sky Croft for Mountain Rescue: The Ascent in the Romantic Suspense/Intrigue category, and Amy Dunne for Secret Lies in the category of Young Adult.

The GCLS site seems to be kaput at the moment, but a full list of the winners can be found here.

indiefabRounding out an excellent week for the UK, Crin Claxton‘s The Supernatural Detective has been awarded an Honorary Mention in the 2013 IndieFab awards, which celebrate the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cherries on top a metaphorical ice cream sundae of indie books.

Massive congrats to all four authors! We reckon you’re all fab :-)

~ ~ ~

lfestSpeaking of fabulous authors and sunshine, L Fest is happening this very weekend (July 18-21), and there are loads of Brit authors – VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Clare Lydon, Clare Ashton, Jade Winters, Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight and I. Beacham – heading to the festival tents. The forecast is hot, hot, and occasionally thundery, so grab your Factor 30 and a pair of wellies and get out there! All the details can be found at the above link.

~ ~ ~

faking itDue to our little hiatus, we missed the release of Jade Winter‘s new novel Faking It. Well, it’s out, it’s doing fantastically well in the amazon charts, and you can catch a promo video for it here. I’ve added the blurb to the New Releases page, but for those of you who just can’t be bothered clicking…

Danni Gardener is a talented writer. The only problem is, nobody else seems to think so. Rejected by what seems to be the entire global publishing industry, her gay best friend Josh makes her ‘an offer she can’t refuse’. Pretend to be his fiancée for one night only and he will open doors for her in the elusive publishing world. It all seems so simple. Across London, successful non-fiction editor Brooke Gibson is wondering how long she can carry on living with her partner, Megan, who seems unable or unwilling to commit to their relationship. When Danni and Brooke are introduced, the chemistry between them is explosive. This seemingly ‘professional’ encounter will throw them into emotional turmoil and a situation neither could have foreseen. Will aspiring writer Danni jeopardise a literary opportunity and break the cardinal rule of mixing business with pleasure? Will Brooke reciprocate, risking everything for a woman she believes to be engaged? After all, there is nothing so desirable as forbidden fruit…

~ ~ ~ PayingGuest_D-2-186x300

Sarah Waters is heading out on a Paying Guests Tour, an August-September hop around the UK which is taking in the cities of Edinburgh, Nottingham, Oxford, York, and London, amongst others (no Manchester, Sarah? Why? Why?!) Tickets are variously priced, very reasonable and often redeemable against a copy of the novel. Head to this page for more details. Having listened to Sarah read and chat at YLAF events, I can highly recommend that you go along to see her.

~ ~ ~

Stella Duffy, writer, actorSticking with events for the moment, this one is very short notice but I’ll pop it in anyway: Stella Duffy will be discussing the thorny issue of Is there a gay gene and should it matter? along with other panellists tonight at Hall 2, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. Tickets are £20/£26 (this price includes a copy of Julie Bindel’s Straight Expectations). For details call 020 7520 1490 or hit this link.

~ ~ ~
stilllifeThe Writing Processes blog tour seems to be winding down, but LT Smith got herself a last-minute tag and has been answering the questions over on her website. Putting the rest of us to shame, she seems to have about five million projects either pending or in progress, so head over there to read all about them and/or wonder how the hell she finds the time to squeak everything in:

I have just finished editing Still Life, my new story that is due out in September. If it hadn’t been for Day Peterson, I think I would have run screaming from the house every five minutes. But, I am really happy with how she (I mean the story, not Day) is turning out, although editing is very time consuming.

Driving Me Mad has just been accepted for publication for spring next year, a story I started to write last year and sent along to the Academy of Bards as a short piece. I had such great feedback that I decided to add to her – and she ballooned like a greedy piglet. To be honest, I am really happy at how she came out. The story seemed it had to be written.

~ ~ ~

Nicola_05-08-30_003rFinally this week, an event you’ve got plenty of time to prepare and save up for, as Nicola Griffith has been confirmed as a guest of honour at Reader Con 26, an annual conference or convention devoted to “imaginative literature” — literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called “slipstream”. The con will take place in July, 2015 in Burlington, Massachusetts. For more details, keep an eye on the main website.

Over on GoodReads, Nicola has also been chatting about Hild’s sexuality:

Hild isn’t lesbian/homosexual. She’s bisexual. I doubt they had such terms back then, though. I’ve seen no evidence that who you did or did not have sex with defined how women thought of themselves…

You can catch the full response at the link, and still ask Nicola questions by signing up to the site.

~ ~ ~

the knowingJust sneaking in at the last minute, we have the winners of the giveaway for signed copies of Karen Campbell‘s new novel The Knowing. Congrats and a shiny paperback go to Marie Foose and Rebecca Layer. For those of you who missed out on a copy, the book is now available in Kindle or paperback.

~ ~ ~

And I think that about covers everything. Or most things. I’m sure I’ve missed stuff, but I’ve done my best :-)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 219 other followers