Tag Archives: Val McDermid

News roundup: award shortlists, interviews, new releases and something for the weekend

10 Oct

The eagle-eyed and elephant-brained among you may have noticed and retained that UKLesFic slept through last week’s news. Don’t worry, it was a planned lie-in, as we intend to bring you the news fortnightly in future. UK authors are a much busier bunch than we ever anticipated so we’re going to a slightly cut-down version of the news every two weeks. We’ll still be covering everything from Booker prize winners to the latest debut publications, but we’ll leave out, for example, reviews of novels that have already been covered well.

In that vein, here is the news:

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rainbowawardsfinalistUK authors have been putting in a good appearance in the Rainbow Awards. In the run-up to announcing the finalists, honourable mentions were made about books that received 36 or more out of 40 points from at least one judge, and for the Brits that included: Clean Slate and Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall, Tumbledown by Cari Hunter, Secret Lies by Amy Dunne, That Certain Something by Clare Ashton and the anthology When The Clock Strikes Thirteen which includes a short story by LT Smith.

The list of finalists was published on Sunday and UKLesFic were especially pleased to see that it included the following books.

In the Lesbian Romantic Comedy category: Playing My Love by Angela Peach and That Certain Something by Clare Ashton

Lesbian Sci-Fi / Futuristic & Fantasy: The Empath by Jody Klaire

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller: Tumbledown by Cari Hunter

LGBT Anthology / Collection: When the Clock Strikes Thirteen featuring a short story by L.T. Smith

Lesbian Contemporary Romance: Clean Slate by Andrea Bramhall, Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall and See Right Through Me by L.T. Smith

The winners of the awards will be announced on December 8th, and you can find the full list of finalists and read what the judges had to say about the Honourable Mentions at this link.

As well as the judged entries there is also a cover contest which is open to a public vote.
theempath_lglondon callingthat certain somethingtumbledownforblogBooks from four UK authors have made it through to the final round of voting and are: The Empath by Jody Klaire, London Calling by Clare Lydon, That Certain Something by Clare Ashton and Tumbledown by Cari Hunter.

You can vote for your favourites here – you need to vote for at least three for your vote to count, but you can vote for more if the fancy takes you! Voting closes 18th October.

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planetlondonVoting is now open for the Ultimate Planet Awards. These awards were launched last year and were designed to recognise the lesbian, bisexual and queer women in the community who contribute the thriving social scene. They have two categories for authors this year and these are the excellent shortlists together with reasons for the nominations:

Author of the year:

Catherine Hall – “for her new book The Repercussions which is unputdownable”
Kiki Archer – “Kiki Archer is a young and vibrant author appealing to a young and vibrant reader. There is also much warmth and humour in her novels.”
Sarah Waters – “At the top of her game. Just when you think she can’t get any better she brings out a new book to blow your mind”
Stella Duffy – “Intelligent, warm lady with a charm to match. Her books are something else”
VG Lee – “She delivers all emotions and gives an insight into her own world. She just draws you in and compels you to read. A truly talented writer.”

Debut author of the year:

Clare Lydon – “Clare has come into the charts with a brilliantly exciting novel, one of which you won’t want to leave until the final word and full stop.”
Karen Campbell – “Karen is new on the lesbian author scene and deserves to have her work recognised for the talent that she demonstrates.”
Robin Talley – “Interestingly written & beautifully captivating.”
Sarah Westwood – “The Rubbish Lesbian continues to bring it. Every time.”
VA Fearon – “writing hard hitting fiction with lesbians central to her story. The book is tight, well paced and she captures an underworld with a sharp eye, yet also some humour.”

Go and vote for your favourite authors! Here’s the link.

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Interviews

330x235valmcdermidA couple of nice interviews for you now. Val McDermid was interviewed on The Big Thrill.  It’s a long and interesting interview and covers inspiration for The Skeleton Road, her Scottish background, crime novels and her time at university at Oxford:

“…I went to St. Hilda’s when I had just turned seventeen. I was the first person from a Scottish state school they’d ever accepted. And for me, it was a huge culture shock. Fife is quite a parochial place. For a long time it was quite cut off from the rest of Scotland, until we got the road bridges fifty years ago, and so it was quite inward looking, and to go from somewhere like that to Oxford was quite a shock. For a start, nobody could understand a word I said, because I had a very thick Fife accent, and they still use a lot of dialect words in Fife. They also talk with a fast kind of speak, a fast kind of tempo.

So first, I had to learn to speak English!

You can read the interview in full here or listen to it here.

catherine hallThere is also an excellent interview with Catherine Hall in the Polari Magazine. With the publication of her latest novel The Repercussions, it delves into her fascination of writing about war,  partly inspired by her time making documentaries about developing countries and her work in an international peace building organisation:

In 2003 I took a trip to Rwanda and the Congo with a photographer to talk to people involved in those terrible conflicts … I was profoundly affected by that trip. For months I felt a sense of nausea, and had terrible nightmares. The photographer I was with had been there last just after the genocide and she was still traumatised. I began to wonder what it must be like for a war photographer, who sees more wars, and even more close up, than most soldiers. And that was where the idea for Jo, my war photographer in The Repercussions, came from.

She also talks about her writing process, on being categorised as a lesbian writer and the importance of reflecting queer life in contemporary fiction for both queer and non-queer readers. The full interview is here.


Reviews and blogs

the repercussionsStaying with Catherine Hall for a moment, you can catch a review of The Repercussions over on Shiny New Books:

The Repercussions cleverly intertwines the lives of two women through its narrative structure. What seem on the outside like two disparate stories from different time periods are shown to have a thematic relationship to one another… Despite all the horror that both Elizabeth and Jo witness in the book, there are beautiful moments of great joy and humour. The novel shows that, even though people may be hampered by tremendous grief and trauma, there is a chance for happiness if you are brave enough to grab it.

Still Life by LT Smith was reviewed by Terry Baker:

stilllifeThis is obviously a romance and the story follows the tried, tested and successful girl meets girl, girl loses girl and gets girl again formula. It’s the journey the characters take in this book that sets it so far apart from a lot of similar romance books. Set in the art world, there is a mix of love, angst, and a wonderful laugh out loud humor throughout. The fact that Jess and Diana are flawed women and each have unhappy pasts adds into the intrigue. The push and pull of will they won’t they get together, will they won’t they stay together, will Jess get her act together is what kept me feverishly turning the pages through to the end.

BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne has a guest post on Queer Romance Month. She talks about her background, her personal experiences of the good queer fiction can do and why she writes it now:

Reading books can be an enjoyable pastime, but it can also offer a different perspective, support, guidance, and encouragement to those who desperately need it. Stories and characters can give hope in an otherwise bleak and lonely world. I truly do believe that queer fiction can save lives. It helped me and the many readers that I’ve been fortunate to hear from.

You can read the full piece here.

New and future releases:

notsuchastrangerDalia Craig‘s latest romance, Not Such a Stranger, is out now. Here’s the blurb for her Whitby-set romance:

Two women, a lovely old house, and an ancient family feud, come together in this lesbian romance set in and around the picturesque seaside town of Whitby, North Yorkshire.

When Jaime Fyre inherits Rykesby from her uncle, James, the unexpected bequest proves increasingly problematic. The sudden arrival of Kimberly Marshall, who lays claim to the property, adds to Jaime’s troubles. Why is Kimberly so convinced Jaime is both a liar and a cheat?

The mystery deepens when Jaime finds a photograph of her mother amongst her uncle’s possessions. Why is it there? Did her mother and her uncle have a relationship? Jaime’s search for answers draws a blank. With nobody left to ask, the list of unanswered questions grows, matching the tension between Kimberly and Jaime.

As Jaime’s future happiness, and her relationship with Kimberly, hang in the balance will what Jaime discovers behind a locked door in the library help or hinder her quest for truth and reconciliation?

enthralledNiamh Murphy will be rolling out her new story on Wattpad first – she’ll be posting a new chapter every week until Halloween. The blurb’s below and here’s the link to more details for Wattpad.

Enthralled follows Stella, a huntress with only one mission: to kill. But one night she has decided to take on a Vampire hive completely alone and it seems she has an ulterior motive.

199stepstolovePauline George has revealed the cover and blurb for her next release. 199 Steps to Love should be out Jan 2015:

At 61, Lucy finds herself divorced and decides to go on holiday to Whitby. There she meets the gallery owner, a woman named Jamie, who she is drawn to in ways she can’t yet understand.

Jamie is also drawn to Lucy, despite the advice of her best friend against lusting after a straight woman.

But just as they come together, Lucy leaves without explanation, not only putting a physical distance between them, but an emotional one as well.

Can they overcome the distances and find each other? Or is it more than just the miles that’s keeping them apart?

Finally, don’t miss:

Jade Winter’s book giveaway for Second Thoughts. Closes midnight tonight. Details on her Facebook page.

Kerry Hudson‘s short story on Radio 4 this Sunday at 7.45 pm. Grown on This Beach is taken from the Out There anthology and is “a touching and poetic story about a woman talking through her past relationships with her new found love.”

LT Smith taking part in a Spot-on Romance weekend in the online discussion group the Virtual Living Room. Click here to join.

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Until next fortnight… ta ra!

News Roundup: Ali Smith, Stella Duffy & Val McDermid hit the airwaves, New Anthologies from R.J. Samuel, Rebecca S. Buck, & Maureen Duffy. Interviews, Reviews, and More!

26 Sep

So, in the week that Scotland decided to vote nay to independence, what have our authors in this most United of Kingdoms been getting up to?

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alismithFirstly, congratulations to Ali Smith, whose novel How To Be Both has been short listed for the Man Booker Prize. You can hear her talking about the novel on this episode of Radio 4’s Open Book, an episode that also features Stella Duffy looking back at twenty years or writing, and discussing her new anthology of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined (the blurb is available on our New Releases page.)

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330x235valmcdermidVal McDermid might be a little unhappy with the way the referendum went, but she has also been busy chatting on the airwaves. In this recent interview on Radio 4’s Saturday Live show, she talks about “her passion for football, her musical aspirations and where she finds inspiration for her novels.” If you’re wondering, she’s an avid Raith Rovers fan…

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Amy_Dunne_lgIf you’re anywhere near Nottingham this Sunday, Bold Strokes YA author Amy Dunne will be appearing at the inaugural night of a new women’s only entertainment event, Womyn’s World. Amy will be in the Green Room at the Nottingham Arts Theatre from 6.30 p.m. to talk about her début novel, Secret Lies, future projects, and to take part in a Q&A. The full program can be found at the link, with further events planned for the last Sunday in each month.

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the alleywayThe last few days have seen the publication of new short story anthologies from Rebecca S. Buck and R.J. Samuel. Rebecca’s “prison tales across time” e-book release A Queer Kind of Justice is available from the Bold Strokes website, or Amazon. Meanwhile, R.J. has published The Alleyway and Other Short Stories under her full name, Rejini Samuel.  The collection isn’t LesFic, but we thought you might be interested in hearing about it anyway. This is what R.J had to say about the anthology:

Nervous and excited as I’m going to be publishing this collection of very short stories on Amazon tomorrow. Doing it under my real name as I wrote most of them a few years ago and some of the stories were shortlisted in competitions under my name. They’re also quite a bit darker than my novels. They feature a variety of main characters and no real ‘happy ending’, more like ‘no real ending’…but I hope they leave the reader thinking…

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Killing For Keeps RHB V3 copyKilling for Keeps, the fifth novel in Mari Hannah‘s award-winning Kate Daniels series now has itself a cover. The book is due for publication on December 4th, and its blurb goes like this:

Two brothers from the same criminal family die within hours of each other, five miles apart, one on the edge of a Newcastle industrial estate, the other in a busy A & E department of a local hospital, unseen by the triage team. Both victims have suffered horrific injuries. Who wanted them dead? Will they kill again? Investigating these brutal and bloody killings leads DCI Kate Daniels to break some rules, putting her career as well as her life on the line.

As the body count rises in the worst torture case Northumbria Police has ever seen, the focus of the enquiry switches, first to Glasgow and then to Europe ending in a confrontation with a dangerous offender hell-bent on revenge.

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paper wingsMaureen Duffy‘s new collection of love poems, Paper Wings, has been turned into “wonderful and varied images by the artist Liz Matthews” in a free exhibition which has just opened at Enitharmon Press, 21 Bury Street, Bloomsbury, London. The exhibition is open 10-6, Monday to Saturday, and closes 17 October.

From Maureen’s FB page: There’s also a beautiful (but affordable) artist’s book version of the entire exhibition – and Paper Wings is also available as a DVD, with Maureen reading the poems aloud in the background as the images appear, page by page, on screen.

You can find more information about the exhibition at the above link.

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stilllifeIt’s hard to resist this introduction to L.T. Smith‘s latest blog entry, extolling the virtues of a new audio file she has posted:

Maybe you want to protect your hearing. Maybe you have had enough of screeching Northerners to last you a lifetime – thanks to Coronation Street and/or Emmerdale – and would prefer to skip this small audio clip I have made. The decision is completely yours and the onus is definitely on you.

If that’s tickled your fancy, and you want to listen to L.T. – whose voice has apparently been extra-butched up thanks to a cold – reading a chapter from her latest novel, Still Life, then head here to her blog, where you’ll find the YouTube link.

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catherine hallCatherine Hall has been answering 10 lovely, varied questions over at the Alma Books website. If you want to know what three books she’d save from a house fire, or which period of history she’d most liked to have live through, then click the link.

Catherine’s new novel, The Repercussions has also been reviewed over at the Elysion website:

She manages to evoke the horror and confusion of World War One and twin it with current day experience, laying bare the personal cost of conflict. In amongst the often harrowing settings, the book blossoms hope through its tales of love and longing which expertly manage to keep humanity as the core theme and lend a softness and compassion to the whole book.

…It’s a lovely and touching novel; not always comfortable reading, but somehow sad and optimistic at the same time – a perfect read for an autumnal night.

You can read the full text of the review here.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Finally this week, I know we’ve had a lot of Sarah Waters stuff to highlight of late, but this interview with the Salon website is probably one of the best that’s come out of her publicity tour for The Paying Guests. It’s a fun, in-depth, and candid chat with Laura Miller, who obviously knows Waters’ novels backwards:

There’s a maturity in being able to write novels about lesbian relationships and not feeling obliged to depict them as this perfect bond that society is unjustly crushing.

I’m also conscious that being able to write about lesbians is a luxury of living in my own society, one that’s fairly relaxed about gay lives. Plenty of other parts of the world wouldn’t have that luxury. I remember when “The Night Watch” was published in Russia, they sent me a review and translated it for me and it said something like, “This novel gives us a fascinating glimpse of the tragic lives of these poor …”

“These poor, poor, tragic lesbians!”

Go read it at the link.

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And that brings us to the end of another romp through the LesFic news. Have a splendid weekend!

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

23 Aug

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

First up are shiny new covers for forthcoming books.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the knowing

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

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

You can read the full review here.

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

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

15 Aug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full and very comprehensive review here.

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

 

 

 

 

News Roundup: 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!

 

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