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:
UK 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.
Books 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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Voting 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.
A 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!“
There 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
Staying 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:
“This 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.“
“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:
Dalia 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?“
Niamh 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.
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.
Until next fortnight… ta ra!