Tag Archives: Val McDermid

News Roundup: Stella Duffy on 20 Years of Being Published, Ylva Call for Festive Submissions, VG Lee at L Fest, New Books, Giveaways, Blogs and More!

20 Jun

With the national team performing their usual rousing routine of losing horribly and destroying the slender hopes of the three fans who thought they might have a chance of glory, why not take your mind off the footy and settle down with a nice mix of news? There’s a little something for everyone this week…

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorI’ll start with a blog update from Stella Duffy, who has been reflecting on her 20 years of being a published author and offering her thanks to those who have supported her along the way:

Interaction with readers has been one of the greatest unexpected gifts of my writing work. I didn’t realise this interaction would happen, and back when I was first published it happened very differently – without twitter, without facebook, without amazon, goodreads, blogs …

To read the rest of the piece, and feast your eyes upon a vintage Calendar Girl cover, click here.

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ylvaNow, I know that Christmas stockings, tinsel, carols, and festive shenanigans seem like a long way away when you’re currently debating which bikini to pack for your summer holiday, but Ylva are already decking the halls in preparation for a Christmas anthology:

We are looking for lesbian fiction. At least one of the main characters must be a lesbian. If the story is erotica, it must be F/F. All submissions should have Christmas or Hanukkah as the main theme. The stories can be romantic, humorous, or erotic.

christmas-tree-snow-1If you fancy trying your hand at writing a short story (4000-8000 words) for the collection, head to this link for all the necessary details. All the proceeds from the anthology will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. Both organisations provide housing for homeless LGBT youth.

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VGLeeSticking with the authorly theme, if you are heading to the lesbian weekend extravaganza that is L Fest, more details have been posted about the writing workshops with VG Lee:

Workshop 1: A leap of faith: Let’s get emotional! To create believable characters and a credible narrative we have to know how people really feel and react…

Workshop 2: Fast & furious: Perfection in a few hundred words or less. We will work towards writing a piece of flash fiction… 

Hit the above link to read more about each of the sessions. Both workshops are included in the price of the admission, so they really are too good an opportunity to pass up.

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edinburgh BookFest-LightThere’s a veritable embarrassment of riches for lovers of lesbians and lesfic authors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year.

Set in a specially created tented village in Charlotte Square Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Book Festival offers something for just about every age and every interest, bringing readers and writers together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion.

The festival runs from 9-25th August, and the schedule has just been made public. Feast your eyes on this little lot (with love to the missus for copying them all down out of the paper for me!)

Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate): 9th August, 18.30

Jackie Kay (author of Reality Reality & Trumpet): 12th August, 18.30

Ali Smith (author of Girl Meets Boy): 15th August, 10.30 & 24th August, 20.30

Val McDermid (author of the Lindsay Gordon series & many more!): 20th August, 17.00

Sarah Waters (author of Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and the upcoming The Paying Guests): 25th August, 20.00

Tickets for each event are around £10. For more details and ticket availability/booking, the official site for the festival is here.

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BSB-QueerJusticeI was just tooting around looking for new release info, when I happened upon the cover for Rebecca Buck‘s forthcoming collection of short stories, A Queer Kind of Justice: Prison Tales Across Time. The collection is slated for a September e-book release from Bold Strokes in the category of Historical Fiction. Given Rebecca’s love of all things historical and her recent experience guiding people around the Galleries of Justice museum in Nottingham (“On any given day you might find me dressed as a Victorian warder, a drunken Georgian prisoner, or conducting a mock trial with a group of children!”), she’s probably the perfect person to get her teeth into the subject. There’s no blurb on the BSB site yet, but as soon as one appears, we’ll let you have it!

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faking itAnother author with a new release pending is Jade Winters, whose novel Faking It is scheduled for publication on June 29th. Jade has just updated her blog with a new post about Diabolical Dialogue:

Conversation is an exchange of information – it’s not dialogue… My book was full of conversation. The way I had written my characters’ dialogue was so out of sync with how people spoke in real life. Why did I fall into this trap? Because I wanted to get the message across in a clear and precise manner (whilst boring the pants off the reader). I was scared to have my characters swear, say something rude, you know, all those things that comes naturally to some people.

Hit the link to read the full piece. Faking It is – as yet – blurb-less, but for now you can feast your eyes on its shiny new cover.

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HILD_jacket_closerFree Stuff! Ha! Thought that’d get your attention. There are 5 copies of Nicola Griffith‘s Hild currently up for grabs over at goodreads. The giveaway ends July 8th and is open to residents of Great Britain only. All you need to do is hop over to the link and add your name to the hat. Good luck.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire has a new blog post over at Women and Words, where she chats about her début novel The Empath and the challenge of finding a unique voice for her characters:

Well, my writing is a little different, as are my characters. When you meet Aeron Lorelei, my protagonist in The Empath, you will see from the very first page that she is unique. Her voice, her speech, her thoughts and feelings are hers alone. I never intended to create characters who were so very… well… different but I hope one thing that resonates is that when you pick up one of my books, it’s unmistakably mine.

Apologies for not quite hitting the giveaway deadline with this one, but it fell between two news posts!

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Right, three night shifts and a bunch of rowdy, drunken, and inconsolable footy fans await. I sincerely hope that your weekend turns out to be better than mine…

 

News roundup: L Fest videos, an awful lot of blogging and an event or two

13 Jun

A quick gambol through the news…

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KikiAndBoobsAnd this just in…oh God, I knew it was coming. The L Fest artist of the week videos have kicked off with the indie author panel who may not appear as you expect… Have a look at this short fun video. Kiki Archer‘s done a typically fab job of making it a lot of fun with an effortlessly cool appearance from Jade Winters. (Ha! Clare Ashton you are totally in it too! – Cari H xx)

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DSC_4067 - CopyAuthors have been busy blogging again. Andrea Bramhall caught the writing process blog hop. She talks about her work in progress The Chameleon – “the story of Amhale Zuma and Imogen Frost; they are multiracial childhood friends in a South Africa driven by fear and separated by hate when children are colour blind and the eyes of the world were watching as Apartheid began to crumble.

It’s nice to see Andrea’s a big planner – far too many of these nonchalant pantsters around.

I have a huge poster sized diagram of a story arc up on the wall in my study.  When I complete my research I outline each chapter–briefly–on a sticky note and put it on the appropriate part of my arc, different coloured depending on who’s point of view the chapter will be written from. OCD, right?”

Be proud of your fastidiousness Andrea. Here’s the full piece.

Andrea’s Nightingale was also reviewed on C-spot reviews this week. Here’s what the Bookgeek had to say of her story of love beyond and despite brutal arranged marriages and abduction.

Andrea Bramhall put out a book which, although it contains a love-story, is difficult to be labelled as a romance. It is in the form a romance-cum-thriller a thought-provoking exploration beyond the curtains the genre of lesbian fiction usually accepts for itself…So let me recommend Nightingale to anyone, lesbian or feminist, who would like to read a thought-provoking, well-written novel about the clash of cultures happening on a daily bases right where we live

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london callingClare Lydon has been blogging over at Women and Words. She talks about the London setting of her best-selling debut London Calling.

The lead characters lived in zone one, based smack in the middle of London Town. They got the tube, they ate in local restaurants, they drank London lager, they lived and breathed the city. Quite a few readers commented that London came across as a lead character in the novel and I loved that description. I wanted to portray a sense of real-life London, of what it’s like to live in the city I’ve called home for the past 15 years.

Clare is spurning the capital for her next book, but don’t worry, she promises she’ll be back in this fascinating city for her third novel. Here’s the full piece.

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BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne, author of the YA novel Secret Lies, has been getting one or two things off her chest. In a  guest post on E. Kristin Anderson’s blog, Amy responds to an accusation that coming out stories are no longer valuable and that young people don’t read:

I can’t fathom how someone could nonchalantly say that young people don’t read nowadays. If that was the case, why is YA fiction so huge?….Coming out stories can be a lifeline in an otherwise bleak and lonely world. They show there is a brighter world beyond the high school years. You’re not alone. Who you are and who you love isn’t wrong or sinful. And above everything else, they show that unconditional acceptance, love, and happiness are definitely possible in the future.

Go Amy! Here’s the full post.

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nicola griffithThe Nicola Griffith goodreads Q&A that we mentioned in last week’s news, is now live. Nicola will be answering a question a day throughout June, and all you need to do to get involved is sign up with goodreads. This is the direct link to the Q&A and Nicola’s answers so far. For those of you who were wondering about a sequel to Hild, Nicola is currently “into it” and its working title is Menewood. In her own words, Nicola has now “drawn the line under banging the Hild drum” and has been considering future blog topics in this post. Comments are welcome at her site.

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val mcdermidNot content with being a best-selling author, and having her work adapted for television, Val McDermid has turned her hand to penning a radio drama. Deadheading – a comic thriller set amongst the plots and sheds of a Lancashire allotment – stars Julie Hesmondhalgh and Miriam Margolyes, in fifteen minute instalments. You can catch up with the aired episodes here (only three days left to run on the first!) and read a short interview with Val discussing the project here:

My favourite line, which I couldn’t shoehorn in, was about an allotment society chairman who held the post for several years and always held the meetings at his substantial house. ‘And do you know, in all those years, he never so much as offered us a cup of tea or a biscuit,’ one outraged committee member said.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderOver on her brand new blog, LT Smith has revealed the origins behind her online pseudonym Fingersmith, and how the Sarah Waters novel pulled her back into loving the written word:

Just reading that first paragraph made me fall in love all over again. It was as if my heart suddenly filled with all the emotion I had locked away for far too long and allowed me accept reading back into my life.

You can read the full piece here.

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VGLeeOn to events and VG Lee has a busy couple of months ahead. You can catch her being interviewed on BBC Sussex and Surrey Radio on Sunday 29th June at 5 – 6 p.m. as a guest on Rosie Wilby’s Sunday Night Live. Then she’ll be moving swiftly on to a Laughing Cows comedy night in London – more detail here. And then she’ll be running two workshops up at L Fest: A Leap of Faith – creating believable characters and a credible narrative and Fast and Furious – perfection in a few hundred words or less. There are more details on the L Fest workshops here. She’ll be back down south for a charity cabaret fundraiser for Pride in Brighton at the end of July – full details here.

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Finally for those of you who missed last weekend’s Bold Strokes Festival, you can catch the author readings and some very entertaining panels  on Youtube.

The event was also covered in the Nottingham Post.  The article has a picture of the authors looking very serious and writerly. But it also looked like this:

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You can find more photos of the event on our Facebook page here, including the UKLesFic eds attempting a Charlie’s Angels pose…seemed like a good idea at the time.

Ta ra!

 

News roundup: VG Lee on writing, interviews with Kiki Archer, and more with Niamh Murphy, Clare Ashton, Lesley Davis and Val McDermid

16 May

Is it me, or is it quiet this week? If it is just me, then let me know what I missed. Here’s what I didn’t, and very nice it is too:

VGLeeFabulous VG Lee has been taking part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. VG’s short and entertaining piece talks about how her writing process works (“By pauses, leaps and bounds.”) and her current novel Mr Oliver that she originally started over 20 years ago:

“I have always returned to Mr Oliver – his life and loves. The story is set in the 1970’s and moves between London and Yorkshire. It is about obsessive love and how it can ruin a life or many lives. As in all my work, tragedy is closely linked to comedy, which I feel is an ideal combination.”

You can read the rest of the piece here on a Facebook note (requires you to be logged into Facebook).

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PLayinginshadowLesley Davis revealed the cover for her next book Playing in Shadow. Here’s what a very pleased Lesley had to say about it:

“I would like to announce my next book from Bold Strokes Books, “Playing In Shadow’, now has this gorgeous cover to grace it! This is a spin off to ‘Playing Passion’s Game’ so fans of Trent….she’s back! She’s brought friends along so I hope you’ll enjoy meeting Bryce and Scarlet. Gamers, gays, and Goths unite!”

Playing in Shadow is due for release in 2015.

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KikiDivaKiki Archer was interviewed in Diva magazine and G3 this week. In the G3 interview she talks about the possibility of another book to follow her new and already best-selling When You Know. She also lets us in on the inspiration for the bathroom scene in the first book One Foot Onto the Ice and her plans for moving into film.

As a highly successful indie author, Kiki talked to Diva magazine about how publishing is changing and the impact of social media on book sales. She talks about her popular video logs and other ways the UK indie authors reach readers through non-traditional ways. Have a gander over here for some tips.

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Niamh Murphy has been busy on her current work in progress The Lady Edris and the Kingdom in a Cave – chapter 5 is now available for review on Wattpad. She has also uploaded her first reading, this time of her debut novel Mask of the Highwaywoman. You can see it here.

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valmcdermidIf you’re in Edinburgh next week, you can catch Val McDermid answering questions and reading from her Lambda finalist Cross and Burn. She will be appearing at the Central Library on Thursday 22nd May and you can book tickets here!

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that certain somethingFinally, that Clare Ashton got her book out at last. That Certain Something is out on Amazon and Smashwords. (It’s terribly good you know, have a peek at the sample, it’s got lesbians in it and everything.)

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Until next time, ta ra!

 

News Roundup: Val McDermid in Manchester, RJ Samuel’s Launch Party, VG Lee on Video, Book Reviews, and More…

28 Mar

Things were finally a little more sedate on the news front this week, but we don’t really do sedate here at UK LesFic, so as a special bonus I’ve added a write-up of Val McDermid’s appearance at Waterstones in Manchester on Wednesday night. Enjoy!

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val mcdermidFollowing hot on the heels of Joanna Trollope’s reimagining of Sense & Sensibility, Val McDermid’s take on Northanger Abbey is the newest release in the Austen Project, in which six best-selling contemporary authors have been paired with one of Jane Austen’s complete works: Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park. Taking these well-loved stories as their base, each author has been tasked to write their own unique version.

Val McDermid is always good value at an author event. Funny, personable, and genuinely interesting, she covered a lot of ground during Wednesday’s chat. Starting with Austen, she spoke about how returning to the classics as a fledgling author helped to improve her writing, and how unpicking the plotting of such writers as Austen and Agatha Christie provided her with a masterclass on structuring a multi-layered story. Her own version of Northanger Abbey differs from the original in that parts of the mystery are held over to the end, whereas Austen plays all of her cards with a good twenty percent of the novel still remaining. Val admitted that she found the task “daunting” and refused to participate when she was initially asked. Northanger Abbey was specifically assigned to her due to its elements of suspense and intrigue – “Can’t really see me doing Pride & Prejudice, can you?” – and she confirmed that she was tempted to slaughter a few of the more annoying cast members in ways far too gruesome for the project. At an earlier point, chatting to her editor, she had discussed how much fun it would be to rework Emma as a lesbian novel, “Which is probably why they didn’t ask me to do that one!”

northanger abbeyMoving on to her writing in a more general sense, she identified Sarah Paretsky (V.I. Warshawski) as an early influence, as Paretsky had created a strong female protagonist who didn’t need to get a bloke in when she wanted to get something done. Val also revealed that she doesn’t plot as rigidly as she used to. Her first novels were plotted chapter by chapter, but at some point this suddenly stopped working for her, sending her into a panic. “What if this was it?” What if she had dried up? Hurtling towards a deadline, she would speak to her editor on the phone: “It’s fine, it’s all fine. I’m writing!” and eventually went to Italy, sequestered herself away and wrote 65,000 words in nine days of solid graft. She could barely string a sentence together when she had finished, but her editor was certainly happy: “It’s the best first draft you’ve ever handed in!” Since then, her process has been looser, something she called “driving at night writing”, in that you know where you start out from and your eventual destination, but the middle bit reveals itself incrementally as you go along.

In closing, Val answered questions from the audience, signed copies of Northanger Abbey, and posed for piccies. If she’s heading to your town in the not too distant future, she’s well worth hanging out with.

Val’s version of Northanger Abbey has just been released in hardback and e-book.

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And now onto the news proper…

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I’ll kick off with a date for the diaries, as Kiki Archer will be appearing at the Polari Literary Salon on Monday 28th April. The event takes place at the Level 5 Function Room at Royal Festival Hall, South Bank Centre at 7.45 p.m. Tickets are £5 and available to book here. I’ve added the listing to our events page for those who might want to check back in a little closer to the time.

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VGLeeSticking with Polari, VG Lee has a new video of her reading from her forthcoming novel Mr Oliver at a recent Polari evening:

Mr Oliver has had his heart broken by falling for a much younger women, and in this scene he’s on a cruise to recover. A lady of a certain age also feels like getting over her own woes by trying to seduce him. The result is VG Lee’s classic mix of tragedy and comedy.

Head over to YouTube to watch the video.

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the january flowerCrafty Green Poet, who won a copy of Orla Broderick’s The January Flower in our recent giveaway, has reviewed the book over on her blog.

The whole book is very poetically written, full of lovely phrases. Oddly I felt this sometimes stopped me feeling close to Mary. I also often felt that the individual characters, other than Mary, could have benefited from more consistently and better developed voices. Having said that, this is a lovely book to read for a different insight into life in the Scottish Highlands and for its portrayal of people living in close connection and awareness of nature.

You can read the full review here.

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AplacesomewherMeanwhile, the Lesbian Reading Room has been waxing lyrical about RJ Samuel‘s new novel,  A Place Somewhere:

A Place Somewhere is an extremely well-written novel, well edited and crafted – always a joyous find when one reads a new author, particularly somebody who is self published. The characters RJ portrays are well rounded and have an integrity that is sometimes challenged by their heart-ache and loss, but ultimately shows them for who they really are.

The review can be read in its entirety at the above link.

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RJSamuelAuthorPicRJ is also having a launch party for the novel and the song, starting at 7pm GMT (3pm EST) on Saturday 29th of March. On the event page, RJ has this to say:

As the theme of the book is a bit dark (online deception), I‘m hoping to make the launch a more positive experiment in connection.. I’ll be reading at some point and Sharon Murphy will be performing the song. There’ll be friends at the party here in Galway (Ireland) and I have (just about) managed to figure out how to live stream from here. I’m also hoping to have FB friends video chat with us on FaceTime or Skype.

I’ll post the details of how ye can watch the live stream if you’re interested, but I was hoping to get some idea of who would be interested in participating in the video conversations. Please comment or PM me if you’d like to take part. Please remember, this is a new (and kinda scary) thing for me so it might not be very ‘professional’, just informal. I just love the idea that we might be able to connect ‘communities’ across the world in some small way.

For more information, head over here to the launch party Facebook page.

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And that just about rounds up the roundup. Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. I’m on nights and the clocks are going forward, WOO HOO!

News Roundup: Brits Listed as Lambda Award Finalists, Reviews, Interviews and a Call for Submissions…

7 Mar

I think there’s something wrong with UKLesFic writers. Why aren’t you all procrastinating and naval gazing like normal writers. Shouldn’t you be surfing the web and wasting time on Facebook rather than doing something constructive like writing new books, getting great reviews and being short-listed for awards? Here is an awful lot of news:

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LammySealLet’s start with the Lammys. As one of the most prestigious LGBT fiction awards, it’s fantastic to see some UK names across the categories. A loud whoop and a very British handshake to these Lambda Literary Award finalists:

Nicola Griffith for Hild: A Novel in bisexual fiction
Jeanette Winterson for The Daylight Gate in the lesbian general fiction category
Val McDermid for Cross and Burn in lesbian mystery
and Andrea Bramhall for Clean Slate in lesbian romance

Finalists get a swanky night out in New York where the winners are announced on 2nd June.

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POLARIpinkLARGEProceedings for the annual Polari Prize have also kicked off with a call for submissions. This respected and regular feature in the literary calendar judges début works by UK authors that explore the LGBT experience. It is open to poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction, published (including self-published) in the UK between 2 February 2013 and 1 February 2014. Last year’s prize was refreshingly won by a crime genre novel – The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah.

The Bookseller also reports that WH Smith is supporting the event this year and will be selling short-listed books (announced September) in its travel stores. The winner will be announced in October.

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Onto reviews.

OutLateWithFriendsThe Rainbow Reader reviewed Suzanne Egerton‘s Out Late with Friends and Regrets. Not one for simple glowing praise, The Rainbow Reader always gives insightful and thoughtful reviews and she found a lot to admire and recommend in her critique of Suzanne’s book.

Ms. Egerton offers up a long list of interesting and engaging characters, and sprinkles the narrative with entertaining, clever, and colloquial dialogue. Her pacing is quick, the detail is descriptive without being burdensome, and the humor is honest and charming.

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tumbledownforblogCari Hunter‘s Tumbledown was reviewed over on the Lesbian Reading Room. This is what they had to say about the action/thriller sequel to Desolation Point:

“Once again Ms Hunter outdoes herself in the tension and pace of the plot. We literally know from the first 2 pages that the evil is hunting them, but we are held on the edge of our seats for the whole book to see what will unfold, how they will cope, whether they will survive – and at what cost this time….Well written, edited and effortlessly enthralling, Tumbledown is a wonderful read. “

Here’s the full review.

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BSB_Because_of_HerTerry Baker reviewed Ke Payne‘s Because of Her – a tale of of 17-year-old rebel Tabby Morton who is forced to move to London and attend a posh school in the hopes that it’ll make a lady of her.

“Although this is a young adult book, don’t let that stop you from buying it and enjoying it. I was hooked in from the first page right the way through to the last page. KE Payne has a wonderful way with words and her stories are well written and emotionally charged…Homophobia, teen angst, teen romance, coming out, keeping secrets, is all dealt with in a sympathetic and understanding way against a back drop of an upper crust school and parents at the end of their tethers with their teenage daughters… I’m looking forward to reading more from this up and coming author soon.”

You can read the full review here.

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Moving swiftly onto events:

JessPauline George will be launching her book Jess on 29th March in Brighton. She will be reading extracts and signing copies. Get there early for a free glass of bubbly followed by nibbles. Full details are: The Marlborough, Brighton, 29th March from 6.30 p.m.

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VG Lee is guest author at another writing masterclass by Paul Burston. This one covers performance and promotion skills and has the following topics:

  • Overcoming stage fright
  • Working with audiences
  • Establishing the right atmosphere from the start
  • What makes a bad performance – from voice to body language
  • What reading aloud can teach you about your writing
  • How – and what – to tweet to get the right kind of attention
  • Social media promotion strategies for authors

About the course VG Lee says:

I’m thrilled to be Paul Burston’s special guest at his Performance and Promotion skills for writers Masterclass. I think for authors taking part in readings, and who want to energetically promote their work, this will be invaluable. So often over the years I’ve seen an audience lose interest in a well written book, just because the author is reading so badly or reads for too long.

You can find full details here.

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say somethingJade Winters revealed the cover for her next book. She gave readers palpitations by starting off the announcment with “Sadly this will be the last book I write”.  Fortunately for them this sentence ended with “without the need for glasses”. Release date for the book is “soon”.

Jade’s Guilty Hearts is reviewed in this month’s Diva. In the issue she also gives her writing tips to budding romance writers.

Terry Baker also reviewed Jade’s Caught by Love. This is what she had to say:

This book is a well written, page turner. I was totally hooked from the very first page, right through to the last page. There are so many twists and turns and ups and downs, it was like being on a rollercoaster…. This story is definitely one of Jade’s best. Somehow though, I get the feeling I’m going to be saying that about each new book of Jade’s I read.

Full review here.

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clarelydonOne of the worst offenders of high work-rate and efficiency this week is new author Clare Lydon.

Clare’s début was released last week and shot to number on the Amazon UK lesfic charts. The novel was reviewed on Planet of the Books. This is what they had to say about the story of Jess who finds herself back in London, living in her parents’ spare room, jobless and single:

“A well crafted and juicy lesbian chick-lit that is one of the strongest to come in publication since the deluge of self-e-publishing came along. While accessible publishing has led to a marked increase in lesbian fiction, the quality across the board is variable. That is not the case with Clare Lydon’s London Calling which is as strong as any mainstream straight chick lit from a major publisher.  It a nutshell, it’s got everything you would expect from the genre, along with a heavy dose of real-world lesbian culture thrown in.”

Full review here.

Clare has also been busy with Q&As. Over on LGBTQA Culture you can find out about when she started writing, her favourite authors and music, and who she’d like to be stuck in an elevator with. And in G3 she talks more about the book and of whom she is the literary lovechild.

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best lesbian romanceBold Strokes author Jane Fletcher has a short story (The Things You Don’t Do) in the anthology Best Lesbian Romance 2014, edited by BSB’s Commander in Chief, Radclyffe. The anthology is currently available on Kindle and will be released as a paperback on March 20th.

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NicolaGriffithFor those who like to rest their eyes every now and again, and give their ears a bit of a work-out, Nicola Griffith has a new podcast up, in which she chats with her partner Kelley Eskridge, Jonathan Strahan, and Gary Wolf:

It’s the kind of conversation that would have suited a late night in a hotel bar: Hild, historicity, genre, reading stance and more from four people who love to read and think.

The unedited podcast runs for about an hour and is available at this link.

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ylvaYlva Publishing have put out a call for submissions for a Christmas anthology. It will be a collection of romantic, erotic and humorous stories with as wide a range of moods as Christmas elicits. Proceeds will go to good causes that provide a roof over the heads of homeless LGBT youth: the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The deadline is 31st July and stories should be between four and eight thousand words. You can find full details over on Women and Words.

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baliholidayNow writers, go and take a holiday, or have a plot crisis, or something, and give UKLesFic blog an easy week hey? Here’s some inspiration – no, for a holiday not another book.

News Roundup: New UK Author Clare Lydon, Hild Named as Nebula Finalist, Cover Sneak Peeks, Reviews, and More!

27 Feb

The daffs and crocuses are out, the sun is shining (at the time of writing this anyway, I can’t guarantee what it’ll be doing at the time of posting!) and spring seems to be in everyone’s step. So hang up your winter coat, grab a nice brew, and settle down with the news for a few minutes. You’ve earned a break, y’know…

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london callingFirst up, a big, sunny welcome to new London-based author Clare Lydon, whose début novel London Calling is out on 28th February. You can read more about Clare over on our Authors page, and the synopsis for London Calling goes like this:

“When the plane took off, I wondered what Karen was doing, if she was happy, knew I was leaving or wanted me back. Whatever, it was too late now. I was gone…”

Jess Sharp is at a crossroads – back in London, living in her parents’ spare room, jobless and single. Not quite the irresistible package she was aiming for at age 32. One night, things take an upward turn when she meets someone who could be a game-changer. However, everything in her riotously chaotic life seems to get in the way, including her best friend’s wedding, far too much tequila and the ghosts of girlfriends past. The course of true love has never been so injury-prone. Will Jess eventually overcome her romantic ineptitude and find her happy ever after? Or will she continue to trip over her own feet in the race for romance?

We’ll be hosting a Q&A with Clare in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

~ ~ ~

Another author with new work pending is Rebecca Buck, whose short story collection A Queer Sort of Justice: Prison Tales Through Time will be released by Bold Strokes Books on September 1st 2014.

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a place somewhereNever one to rest on her laurels, RJ Samuel has been busy tweaking the cover of her fourth novel, A Place Somewhere,  which is due out in March. Until we get a concrete release date, here’s the blurb to whet your appetite. Good to see you got rid of the croc on the cover, RJ!

How far would you go? Would you lie to protect the innocent? ALEX HART risks everything to be with her online girlfriend of two years and moves from Ireland to America. But the unthinkable happens and she is emotionally and financially ruined. Devastated, she turns her anger and betrayal into a mission to root out those who deceive the innocent online. When a mother pleads for Alex to protect her daughter from an online predator in Ireland, Alex must become what she hates. How far will Alex go before losing herself in her own web of deception?

For our readers on the other side of the pond, RJ seems to have conquered her fear of flying and will be winging her way over to Portland for the Golden Crown Literary Society Conference in July. More on that closer to the time, no doubt.

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nicola griffithA rousing round of applause now for Nicola Griffith‘s Hild, which has been nominated for the prestigious Nebula Awards in the category of Best Novel. The Nebula Awards ® are voted on, and presented by, active members of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Safe to say, if your name’s on the list of finalists, you’re in very good company. The 49th Annual Nebula Awards weekend will be held May 15-18th, so that’s plenty of time for Nicola to pick out something posh to wear…Good luck!

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FrogMusicWhile we’re on the subject of lists, Cosmopolitan magazine has just listed Emma Donoghue‘s Frog Music as one of 10 Books By Women You Have To Read This Spring:

With Frog Music, a literary crime novel fixated on human darkness, Donoghue proves herself endlessly inventive. It’s based on the true story of Jenny Bonnet, a frog-catcher who was murdered in San Francisco in the mid-1870s. Donoghue nails both the period details and the atmosphere — think sweltering heat waves, dumping grounds for unwanted babies, and smallpox epidemics. This is the kind of book that will keep you up at night and make you smarter. 

Frog Music is published in the UK on 27th March.

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Cherry PottsA couple of dates for the diary now, with an evening of Feminist Fables & Folk Tales taking place on Wednesday 12th March at the Ivy House, Nunhead, 7.45 p.m. The event, to tie in with International Women’s Day, will feature Catherine Blackfeather on Sleeping Beauty, Cherry PottsThe Bone Box, Emily Cleaver‘s The Frog,  and Jelena Ćurčić with a couple of Serbian folk tales. There will also be a Flash from the Floor, which is your opportunity to tell a feminist folk tale in 100 words or less… For more information, see the Facebook link above.

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For those folk who live some way above the Watford Gap, Chinley Book Group presents A Life of Crime, an Evening with Val McDermid on Wednesday 30 April 2014, 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 (includes cheese and wine!). For more details, including contact information for purchasing tickets, see our Events page.

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guiltyheartkindlecover-186x300Planet of the Books has been casting their beady eye over Jade Winters‘ latest release Guilty Hearts. Their reviewer gave it top marks and had this to say about the book:

The emotions of the two women are very well written, as I was reading this book I actually felt like I was there, living right beside them. I laughed when they laughed, cried when they cried & wanted them both to hurry up & realise they wanted to be together…

This is a fantastic story, it is very well written with great character portrayal & sub-plots. I had never read any of Jade Winters’ work before but after reading this I will definitely be added more of her books to my reading list.

You can read the full review here.

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lesfic downunderA few weeks ago, we mentioned setting a trend in regional specific LesFic blogs. Since then, the Canadian LesFic site The Moose Hall has launched itself onto t’Internet, as has LesFic Down Under, which is “your hang-out for Lesbian Fiction in the Southern Hemisphere. On our bookshelves you’ll find links to Australian, New Zealand, South African, Southern Pacific, and Tasmanian (oops, sorry, they’re part of Australia, aren’t they), authors and their books.” 

You can say “g’day” to both new endeavours by hitting the links.

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Cari HFinally this week, it’d be a bit stupid of me to chat about everyone else’s news and not mention that Ylva Publishing are hosting a Spotlight Interview with me over on their blog. I had a great time answering a bunch of fun, varied questions, with superpowers, blubbing along to Tumbledown, my slight overbite, and why I write, all getting a look in:

I’ve always written for my own entertainment, and being published hasn’t changed that. Writing a long story is like having my favourite novel play out in my head for a year or so, except that I get to create everything in it, put words into my characters’ mouths, and decide how things turn out. I love the challenge and the freedom of that. 

You can read the full interview at the above link.

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That’s yer lot for this week, I hope the sun is still shining!

Daffodil

News roundup: Cari Hunter’s Bad Medicine, Blogs & Giveaways from Amy Dunne & Kiki Archer, Nicola Griffith’s Tiptree Honour and More!

20 Feb

Fancy a quickie? You’re in luck. Here’s this week’s short and sweet UK LesFic news.

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tumbledownforblogCari Hunter‘s been posting over on the Bold Strokes blog on being an irritating spouse and pedant. It’s a short and typically funny piece where she talks about writing medical scenes and getting the balance “right and not sounding like a pompous arse”:

“There are quite a few perils involved in my day job as a paramedic: driving fast on blue lights, drunkards with lively fists, an abundance of spilled bodily fluids, and patients who decide—for whatever reason—to answer the door naked. If I’m honest, I can cope with pretty much all of the above, but one side effect of the job is more disconcerting: my wife will no longer watch medical dramas on the telly with me.”

Get yourself over here to read the rest of the blog.

Cari’s latest novel, Tumbledown, is also now out on Kindle.

~~~

onefootMeanwhile, Kiki Archer‘s characters from One Foot Onto the Ice have been taking a peek at her other novels. The blog is a nice fictional piece to give you a taster of Kiki’s characters (and there’s a giveaway too):

Susan laughed. “The lady in my book’s about to sing during an interview.”
“What’s the book?”
“Binding Devotion by Kiki Archer. Pippa, one of the main characters, is on an interview for a job working as PA to the other main character, Andi, who happens to be a wonderfully charismatic lesbian advocate for LGBT rights.”
Jenna rolled her eyes. “And this Pippa’s a lesbian too?”
“Yes.”
“So, let me guess. They get it on?…”

Kiki’s doing a giveaway of a signed paperback version of One Foot Onto the Ice, so make sure you leave a comment before Tuesday to be in with a chance.

~~~

BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne‘s also been blogging over at Women and Words and is doing a giveaway (deadline Friday!). She talks about her well-respected début novel, Secret Lies,  a story of first love, traumatic lives and the taboo subject of self-harm, an area she discussed leaving out with her editor:

“So, why did I want to keep it in the book? To raise awareness. I want people to understand that it’s a deeply complex issue and that more research has to be conducted. It’s not going to go away and ignoring it is dangerous.

If even one young person, a parent, family member, or teacher enjoys reading Secret Lies and takes something positive away too, then I’ve succeeded in doing what I set out to do.

Above anything else, it’s a coming-of-age romance story. First love (is something many of us can relate to and) is full of a whole host of wonderful feelings and experiences.”

The full piece is here.

You can also find the latest review for Secret Lies on Frances and Lynne’s blog

“Two main realizations struck me as I turned the last page. The first was just how realistic the main characters, and in fact all the characters, were. They were flawed, but there were still many good qualities to them… A very realistic book for middle/older teens that I wish I had been around when I was a teenager.”

~~~

330x235valmcdermidWe were contacted a little while ago by a reader pining for news of LesFic events north of the border in Scotland. While we’ve not managed to find something that’s entirely lesbian fiction-orientated, Val McDermid will be appearing at Aye Write! (Glasgow’s book festival) on Saturday 12th April. More details are to be announced, but the festival has a website here with some early programme information. We’ll also keep an eye on the site and see what else we can dig up a bit closer to the time.

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hild coverA big congratulations this week to Nicola Griffith whose epic novel Hild has been included on the Tiptree Award Honor List. The Tiptree Award is  an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender, and the judges had this to say about Hild:

This stunningly beautiful historical novel describes what life might have been like for a woman whose mother has arranged for her to be “the light of the world”: the real-life St. Hilda of Whitby. In a rollicking good read, the reader is drawn into action and adventure as Hild becomes a king’s seer, a warrior, and a vessel through which the dynamics of power and gender in war-ravaged 7th-century Britain can be explored.

For more about the award, the winner, and the honour list, hop over to this website.

Nicola was actually chatting about writing Science Fiction when she heard the good news. Her blog piece, largely focusing on Ammonite and Slow River is over here.

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Kerry-Hudson-008Finally, for any writers there’s a workshop on March 23rd with Paul Burston and Kerry Hudson (Tony Hogan bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole My Ma) on overcoming writer’s block. Topics include:

  • Storyboarding – overcoming the ‘fear of the blank screen’
  • What writing groups can do for you, and how to find the right one
  • Deadlines, feedback and brainstorming
  • How to read like a writer (and how it can help you)
  • Tips for building confidence

For more information on this workshop with these two experienced and respected writers follow this link.

~ ~ ~

That’s all folks!

News Roundup: BSB 2014 Bash, KE Payne at the VLR, Ali Smith in London, Kiki tops the USA chart, and much more…

10 Oct

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last did this, but here we are chomping at the bit for another gallop around the news. I have no idea where this horse imagery is coming from. I don’t own one. I don’t even like them, with their huge teeth and snorty nostrils. Hmm, shall we just get on with it?

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group shotSupremely organised Bold Strokes editor Vic Oldham is already gearing up for the 5th Annual Bold Strokes Book Festival UK and she wants to let everyone know exactly why they should be marking the date on their 2014 calendars (what do you mean, you haven’t got one yet?! It’s October!) The festival will be taking place in Nottingham over the weekend of June 6th-8th, is entirely free to attend, and loads of fun. If you need any more incentive, head to Vic’s blog post for 20 great reasons, and hit this link to read up on last year’s bash. For the record, I will not be doing number 4, but wholeheartedly agree with number 16.

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BSB_Because_of_HerAs mentioned on the last news, the Virtual Living Room UK Author Spotlight Weekend is this weekend, and BSB YA author Ke Payne was somehow omitted from all the early listings. So I would like to set the record straight: KE PAYNE will also be there. Along with a whole host of other fabulous peeps. Fun, games, and general chaos kick off this Friday at 4 pm, UK time.

Sticking with KE for a moment: back at the end of August we shared the synopsis for her upcoming novel Because of Her (due for release in March 2014). At the time it didn’t have a cover. Now it does, and I think you’ll all agree it’s really quite swanky.

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51Zch618BLL._SY445_Maureen Duffy‘s new novel In Times Like These has been released this week. It’s difficult to really get a handle on this novel because the blurb on Amazon is a dog’s breakfast of mangled-together text, and I have absolutely no idea as to its lesbian content. More information and a slightly less tangled blurb can be found on the front page of Maureen’s website. As the saying goes, you pays yer money and you takes yer chances…

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stirfry-978144724812501We’re a little late catching this one (to be fair to us, it’s only just been highlighted on the author’s page!) but July 2013 saw the release of four of Emma Donoghue‘s early titles, Hood, Stir Fry, Landing and Kissing The Witchreleased onto Kindle, with shiny new covers to boot. Hood and Stir Fry are two of my favourites of hers, so it’s lovely to see them in with a chance of finding a whole new e-reader audience.

~ ~ ~

330x235valmcdermidFans of Val McDermid should be rubbing their hands with glee throughout October because Val is going to be, quite frankly, bloody everywhere.  So ubiquitous, in fact, that there are far too many TV appearances and radio shows for us to list. Best thing you can do to plan your schedule is head to the News page on Val’s blog, where there’s a handy timetable.

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alismithA real treat now for Londoners (or anyone who fancies heading down to the Big Smoke) to catch an appearance by Ali Smith, who will be reading extracts from her book Artful at Gay’s the Word bookshop on Sunday 20th October. From the Facebook page:

Gay’s the Word bookshop is delighted-beyond-words to be welcoming author Ali Smith for a relaxed Sunday afternoon reading from her extraordinary and special book ‘Artful’

Event Entry £5 per person – Booking required – please call 0207 278 7654 to secure your place. Limited places available.

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Kiki-ArcherKiki Archer‘s new book One Foot Onto the Ice has been going down a storm in the US. It hit the number one spot in the Amazon lesfic charts and then proceeded to start climbing up into the top 100 contemporary novels. It was also reviewed on the So So Gay website. Here’s what they had to say:

When it comes to lesbian oriented romance, it is clear that Kiki Archer remains the top author to watch as her latest book One Foot Onto the Ice manages to immediately catch our notice. In a story that is filled to the brim with romance, intrigue and comedy we are not surprised to see this book hitting the highest summits in the charts so quickly after release.

You can read the rest of the review here.

~ ~ ~

And that’s about yer lot. Hope to see a few of you kicking about this weekend on the VLR :-)

News Roundup: We’re all Melting but UK Authors are still doing Cool Stuff!

22 Jul

england-flip-flopsSo, I’m sitting here covered head to toe in ice pops, wearing naught very much at all, with a fan blowing directly into my face, and my fingers are still slipping around on the damn keyboard. Yes, summer finally hit the UK! The roads are melting, people are getting told off for turning up to work in flip flops, and everyone’s looking a bit pink and peely. Naturally, stuff is beginning to break, not least my Internet connection, which for some reason is refusing to allow me to log onto WordPress. Consequently, I’m writing this but my lovely co-mistress is putting it all together, and we’re hoping that nothing else goes pear-shaped before we get it posted. Ha! Fat chance.

~ ~ ~

The weekend of 12-14 July saw my hometown of Manchester hosting the UK GLBT Fiction Meet, and I popped along on the Saturday to wave the flag for LesFic, invade one of the panels, eat some amazing flapjack and meet some very nice people indeed. The event has been growing in leaps and bounds for the last four years, and there was a real family atmosphere as old friends were reunited and new ones were welcomed to the fold. The emphasis was still very much on M/M fiction but the panels were relevant and entertaining for authors and readers of any genre, and as an F/F writer with an American publisher I found it fascinating to learn of other British authors’ experiences of writing “in Brit”. By the end of my panel (Leave my “ou” alone - How do I retain my Britishness in a world of American publishers) I felt very fortunate indeed to be writing with Bold Strokes, who did “leave my ou alone” and let me use the word pillock.

One of the event’s co-organisers, Josephine Myles, has posted a fun, comprehensive overview of the meet here and here. Stay tuned for details of the 2014 Meet as soon as we get them!

~ ~ ~

PopeJoanCover2The aforementioned technical difficulties have buggered the timing of this news post ever so slightly and prevented us from giving you a heads-up about the bookflash for Rachel Dax’s The Legend of Pope Joan, Part 2 – Athens that took place at the Virtual Living Room on Sunday 21st July. For those of you who want to catch up with the posts for this event, hit the link to join the group and they should be there in the archive for you to read.

~ ~ ~

Ke Payne has been keeping herself (and us!) busy of late, with a flurry of interviews and blog posts to tie in to the release of her new book The Road to Her. There’s an in-depth and illuminating interview with Ke over at the Hannah’s Nook blog and she’s also been wrestling with her latest edits at Women and Words. As if all that wasn’t enough to be getting on with, she recently announced that Bold Strokes have signed her fifth novel Because of Her, which should be ready for publication in 2014.

Lastly but by no means leastly in the Ke Payne section of this roundup: Ke has stuck the proverbial pin into the entrants of last week’s giveaway and we have our winner, Sue H. Congrats, Sue. We’ll be in touch for your contact details, and shortly afterwards a signed copy of The Road to Her will be winging its way to you :-)

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rebecca's hatHeading back to the subject of new contracts, Rebecca S. Buck has just announced the signing of her fourth novel. A little while ago she was chatting about a novel set around the time of the Great Fire of London, but so far she’s keeping the details of this current contract under her hat. Which is fair enough; it’s a fabulous hat.

~ ~ ~

A little music for the soul now, with Val McDermid discussing her favourite tunes on Desert Island Discs. You can find out what Val picked to be stranded with by listening along at the BBC iPlayer (UK only).

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One of the newest authors to the growing list, Catherine Blackfeather, is offering her debut novella Mitchie for free on Kindle. Head over to Amazon to download yourself a copy today or tomorrow.

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awalkintodarknessRounding out this roundup is Jade Winters, whose new novel A Walk Into Darkness has just been published. And when I say just, I mean today! Here’s a little blurbage to tickle your fancy:

Twenty-five years after a young girl goes missing from her home in South-East England, most have given up hope of ever finding closure. But when a renowned psychic has visions of a murder the police reopen the case, placing the puzzle of the ‘woodlands killer’ in Ashley McCoy’s capable hands.  Firmly set in the harsh reality of a world where the young and beautiful are not safe from dangerous hands, A Walk Into Darkness navigates the ups and downs of Ashley’s life; desperate to solve the cold case without letting the trials and intrigues of life get in the way. When the delectable Tasha comes onto the scene, both women struggle to find a balance between their responsibilities and the undeniable chemistry behind their growing friendship. 

A story of murder, intrigue and the twisting path of life and love.

~ ~ ~

And on that note, all my ice pops have melted, so I’m going to go and grab a mop and leave you in peace.

News Roundup: Awards for UK Authors, Clare Ashton at the VLR, New Book Covers and Trailers, and BSB a Hit in Nottingham

10 Jun

Whew, back to earth with a bump after a fabulous weekend at the BSB Nottingham bash, where the sun sort of shone, loads of folks turned up, lots of laughs were had and I got to meet my blog co-mistress for the first time. More on that anon; what else has been happening in the past few days?

lambda-literary-awards_s345x230On June 3rd, the winners of the 25th Annual Lambda Literary awards were announced at a sold-out gala ceremony held in New York city. Nicola Griffith was presented with her Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist prize, and she has posted a lovely, candid write-up of her “Night at the Lammys” on her blog. Due to popular demand, she also posted the text of her acceptance speech:

I’ve spent my whole writing life feeling like a stranger in a strange land: the foreigner, the cripple, the queer. But tonight this award says: You belong here. We value who you are and what you do. We see you, we know you, you’re one of us. And I like that. A lot. So thank you.

Many congratulations to Nicola, and also to Jeanette Winterson who triumphed in the Lesbian Memoir/Biography category for Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

~ ~ ~

Sticking with the awards theme, Val McDermid will be presented with an honorary degree from Dundee University in a ceremony later this month. Val published her first novel in 1987 and has since written more than 30 books. Her shortest story to date was also published this last week when she took part in the Guardian’s Twitter Fiction challenge to come up with a story in 140 characters or less:

He couldn’t work out why she’d grown interested in TV DIY shows. Then he leaned on the fatally weakened balcony wall of their highrise flat.

Ha! Nice one!

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717930A heads-up now about a Spot-On feature this weekend at the Virtual Living Room. Running from 14-17th June, the theme will be Lesbian Moms in Lesbian Fiction, aka cute kids, and our very own Clare Ashton will be chatting about the topic, along with Karin Kallmaker, Lara Zielinsky, Sunny Alexander, Melissa Brayden, Joann Lee, Barbara Winkes and PJ Treblehorn. The VLR is a lively Yahoo discussion group that focuses on lesbian literature in all its permutations. To sign up and take part in the fun, hit the link.

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nightingaleNot only has Andrea Bramhall recently finished the first draft of her forthcoming novel Nightingale, she has given readers a sneak peek at its shiny new cover as well as its synopsis, over on her blog

When Charlie Porter meets Hazaar Alim her first year of University, she’s instantly smitten. Hazaar has it all: beauty, talent, and brains. What she doesn’t realize is that Hazaar’s future has already been decided and Charlie has no place in it.

Hazaar desperately wants to break with her traditions and stay with Charlie, but when forced to choose, she chooses her family over love. When she realizes the choice she made is the worst one possible, it’s too late…

Nightingale is due for release in Spring 2014.

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HSWidgetWith scores of novels being published each year, it is harder than ever to make your work stand out in a crowded market. To this end, book trailers are becoming a popular way to engage a potential audience. RJ Samuel has just completed a trailer for her novel Heart Stopper. Hop on over to YouTube and see what you think.

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Finally, a big thanks to all the folks who came to Nottingham this last weekend to support the UK BSB authors. We hadbsb a brilliant couple of days with our largest audience ever, and I know that a few of the people who went along keep an eye on this blog. I took a ton of notes and will – day job permitting –  attempt to write a bit of an overview for those who couldn’t make it. There are some lovely photos (courtesy of Clare Ashton, who has a far better camera than me!) over on our Facebook page. If you don’t do FB, this link should take you to the album.

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