News Roundup: New Author CK Martin, Reviews, Threesomes, Bargain Books, Giveaways, and More!

24 Sep

With the debacle of the Great British Bake Off’s C4 sell-off travesty hanging heavy over us all here at UK LesFic, it’s a good thing we have so many new books to cheer us. So, Ready, Steady…BAKE READ!

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dirty-little-warFirst up, we’ve recently added a new author to the UK LesFic listings. C.K. Martin loves writing character-driven stories, so you’ll find her books in the romance, crime and fantasy genres. She believes that realistic, diverse and engaging characters shouldn’t come at the expense of great plots – readers deserve to have both – and is a big fan of the slow burn when it comes to relationships, so be warned!

When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book (or pressed against the Kindle screen). Her third biggest passion in life is travel, so although she says she’s based in England, for much of the year you won’t find her there. Instead she’ll be hanging out with her wife in some amazing city or, more likely, at the beach. Read more about CK and her novels here at her blog.

CK’s current release is Dirty Little War, the blurb for which reads like this:

Evie Baedeker knows her place in the world. Born into a life of organised crime in the gritty East End of London, she has endured nothing but hardship and disappointment. Then one night, in a sleazy bar, fate sends a dangerous opportunity her way.

Carmen Trogan, daughter and heir apparent to a rival business, has no idea who Evie is when their eyes meet across the dance floor. But Evie knows all about her. The chance to bring the rich and beautiful woman to her knees – both figuratively and literally – is too good to pass up. Sparks fly from their first kiss, but Evie is playing a dangerous game. There are consequences that come with spending the night with a woman like Carmen.

Will she be able to walk away from the best night of her life, or will she risk it all to see Carmen one more time?

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lostinthestarlightIf you’re fond of relaxing and letting someone else do the work for you, then take a peek at Kiki Archer reading the first chapter of her new super smash hit Lost in the Starlight. Kiki will also be appearing alongside VG Lee and Scott Campbell at the Polari Shout Festival on Saturday 19th November at the Birmingham Mac. The event sold out last year, so get your skates on and head here for more details and tickets.

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Never one to shy away from a contentious subject, AL Brooks has been discussing threesomes in her There Were Three in the Bed post over on the Ylva blog:

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksThe other main issue women have with it is that, somehow, saying you’d want to experience a third woman in the bed equates to you saying that there’s a problem with your sex life as it is. That there’s something ‘missing’. That may be true in some instances, but I think if both women in the couple are open to discussing sex freely and without judgment, they could find that it’s something that appeals to them both, and add a whole new dimension to the way they enjoy each other. There could also be a specific reason why a third woman could compliment their existing relationship – for example, if the couple has a very established top/bottom dynamic and one (or both) wants to occasionally play with the other role.

If that snippet has tempted you into reading the full piece, hit the above link.

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Some reviews now to tempt you in the direction of recent releases…

Les Reveur (ooh la la!) has thoroughly enjoyed Nothing to Lose by Clare Lydon:

I found the novel light, sexy and easy to read. It was exactly what I was in the mood for. The characters had genuine life and love obstacles and I found myself cheering them on throughout…This was the first novel by Clare Lydon I’ve read and I’ll definitely be watching out for her next. 

AllIWantForSummerMeanwhile the lasses at The Lesbian Review have been casting their critical eye over All I Want For Summer:

This book reminded me why I hate camping, but it also reminded me why I enjoy this series. It’s charming, light and fun and keeps you reading until you realise you’re at the end. I am super surprised at how this one ended though, much darker than usual. I can’t wait for the next book to see what happened.

And Gill McKnight‘s Welcome to the Wallops:

I love when an author gives me a great storyline, wonderful rich setting, believable characters, and new information that enhances the story, but never interrupts  or takes away from it. Ms McKnight ticked all those boxes for me.

Read the full text of those reviews here and here.

Clare Ashton‘s Poppy Jenkins continues to garner strong write ups. This first from Jess van Netten at the Lesbrary:

poppy jenkinsThere is underlying current of chemistry between Poppy, the out lesbian, and Roslyn, the seemingly straight friend, that moves the story along at varying speeds. At times, it reaches fever pitch, with sexual innuendoes providing very funny conversations between the leads. I laughed out loud many a time, explaining little plot points to my wife as though talking about my friends.

And this in-depth review from Shira Glassman on her blog Welcome to the Mangoverse:

Poppy may as well be a 21st century Anne of Green Gables or other costume drama small-town girl, full of buoyancy and enthusiasm, as well as love for her village and its people. But by making her this, the author doesn’t rob her of her sexuality, and that’s what makes this so wonderful. A woman’s sexual–not just romantic but sexual–attraction to another woman is depicted as innocent and wholesome. Do you have any idea how fucking healing that is?

Click both links to read the full text.

Just-My-Luck-by-Andrea-BramhallAnd finally, The Romantic Reader has had fun with Andrea Bramhall‘s new comedy release Just My Luck

While Bramhall’s other novels have serious plots, murder, kidnapping … this book is just more fun. These characters talk to you, the reader, and it took me a few chapters to get into it, once I did I was hooked on them. I loved being in their headspace, feeling their struggles right along with them.

If you fancy trying your luck to win a copy of this book, Andrea is running a Goodreads giveaway for five signed copies. The closing date for entries is October 7th.

Wendy Hudson is also running a GR giveaway for three signed copies of her new Scotland-based thriller/romance, Four Steps. Closing date for this one is September 30th.

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Bargain books!

snowbound-for-blogFrom free books to very cheap books now, with Clare Lydon‘s second novel The Long Weekend currently on e-book sale for the whopping bargain price of 99p.

And Cari Hunter‘s debut romantic Peak District-set thriller Snowbound is today’s e-book Daily Bargain over at the Bold Strokes website (Saturday 24th September only.) It’ll be on sale for $2.99 (about £2.30) until 11.59 p.m. (EDT) and will also come hand in hand with Jenny Frame‘s short story Dapper, which is free with all BSB e-book purchases throughout September.

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Hopefully there’s enough in that little lot will tide you over for a while. Meanwhile, let’s just remember the good times before they get taken away from us…

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News roundup: new books, a new author, Polari Tour and Prize, crime blogs and a freebie!

10 Sep

And we’re back! After a lovely summer, where traditionally all goes quiet in lesfic land, there’s a load of news waiting to be unleashed and a fresh pile of books for your autumn reading. Here we go!

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It has been out a matter of hours but Kiki Archer’s new book is at the top of the lesfic charts already. Here’s the blurb and lovely sparkly cover:

lostinthestarlightA-list singing superstar, Honey Diamond, has it all – the albums, the talent shows, the upcoming Hollywood film. But it’s her gentle light, endearingly shining through all the glitz and glam, that warms the hearts of so many. A shy girl, who’s only ever known fame, born into a world that’s not true to life. Will Honey ever experience the love she so knowingly sings about? Will the vindictive online gossip sites ever leave her alone?

For a bit more of tease have a peek at the book trailer on YouTube.

Lost in the Starlight is available on Amazon now!

Also just out is Wendy Hudson’s Four Steps and it’s already been covered at The Lesbian Review:

FourStepsI was swept up into the Scottish Highlands and the lives of Alex and Lori. The author uses alternating chapters to tell the story of the growing romance between Alex and Lori and the secondary story of suspense, which builds step by step until the final chapters where I was flipping (tapping actually, as my copy was an ebook) pages as fast as I could…I loved the arc of the romance between Alex and Lori. And the pacing of this story was perfect.  Alex and Lori’s romance built slowly alongside the trouble creeping toward them. The trouble was indeed creepy.

You can read the rest of the review here and get your copy on Amazon.

alliwantforautumnClare Lydon continues Holly and Tori’s adventures in her next book in the All I Want series. The Autumn installment is out on September the 21st and here’s the blurb:

What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…

After a hit & run accident, Holly is determined to recover in record-speed, but she’s frustrated when her mind and body have different agendas. Meanwhile, when Tori’s career takes an unexpected turn, the couple are faced with some life-changing decisions.

When Tori & Holly’s journeys begin to pull in different directions, will the glue that keeps them together be enough to secure their future?  Is true love enough to win the day?

ashakaanNatalie Debrabandere’s new book Ashakaan was published at the beginning of summer to rave reviews in the US:

The year is 2251. Jamie Cartwright is a gifted young army officer, the owner of a sexy smile, handsome looks, and a fiery temper. Stationed on-board the Atlantis, the finest spaceship the Quantum Fleet has ever commissioned, her future as a member of the Alliance military is looking bright. Unbeknownst to her though, and to everyone else except an old shaman in a distant and mysterious universe, Jamie’s destiny is accelerating, headed fast toward an extraordinary conclusion…

needleinahaystackAlso released during the summer was Sally Edwards Needle in a Haystack:

A pivotal point in a young girl’s life, with family tragedy, new friendships and the first glimpse of romance. We are plunged deeply into the mind of Charlie Duke as we read extracts from her personal diary.

Sally is new to the UKLesFic news listings but published her debut a couple of years ago. She hails from Shropshire and specialises in stories that feature disabled characters. How to Love was her debut – the story of a young disabled lesbian woman, coming of age, living a life of independence, and finding love.

You can find both How to Love and Needle in a Haystack  on Amazon and you can find out more about Sally on her website.

underparrLooking further ahead, Andrea Bramhall has announced that her second book in the Norfolk Crime Investigation Stories will be published in May 2017.

December 5th, 2013 left its mark on the North Norfolk Coast in more ways than one. A tidal surge and storm swept millennia-old cliff faces into the sea and flooded homes and businesses up and down the coast. It also buried a secret in the WWII bunker hiding under the golf course at Brancaster. A secret kept for years, until it falls squarely into the lap of Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and her fellow officers.

A skeleton, deep inside the bunker.

How did it get there? Who was he…or she? How did the stranger die—in a tragic accident or something more sinister? Well, that’s Kate’s job to find out.

christmasatwinterbourneJen Silver’s fifth novel will be out in November, ready for Christmas, and is the first of Jen’s novels to be set in southern England:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians. When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author. One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well. For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

If you can’t wait until November to read more you can have a sneak peek at the first chapter on the Affinity website.

ylvaOn to blogs and August has been crime month over at Ylva Publishing. Andrea Bramhall has been pondering why the British are fascinated with murder:

Books, TV shows, documentaries, news broadcasts, popular music…it’s everywhere. Crime drama, mysteries, murders, and detective stories. As a nation we’re hooked on them. Well, I know I am, and looking at the top rated shows on TV, so are you! As a population does that make us a bunch of morbid, blood thirsty savages, living vicariously through fictitious characters who carry out our innermost desires?

collide o scopeIt’s had LT Smith puzzling too:

Personally, I love reading crime and detective novels because when I read I love to think, love to work at the plot like a literary winkle, prising out information, identifying those red herrings that attempt to lead me up the garden path, and, more than anything, I love to figure it all out before everyone else. A definite smug face moment.

Meanwhile Wendy Hudson wondered why Scotland in particular lends itself to murderous goings on:

The dilemmas of the human condition remain the same no matter what period you look at in history. Living in a country soaked in past bloodshed, and steeped in unsolved mysteries, whether reader or writer, Scotland will always intrigue and suck us in. If you combine all of these reasons, the history and landscape, the miserable weather, our sense of justice and cutting humour; maybe we can start to understand why the darker stories continue to live on in Scotland, more so than the good.

And Clare Ashton had to bring sex, well passion at least, into it:

The biggest high, I think, comes from a novel that pulls together passion, suspense and intrigue. With romance, circumstance may pull the heroines apart and break your heart, but with romantic intrigue you can twist the story to stop the reader in their tracks, chill them to the bone, even make them drop their eReader and exclaim “oh shit”. The stakes can be so much higher. It isn’t simply a matter of will the couple get together, more the terror that secrets and even death may pull them apart.

Click here to read all of these blogs in full.

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton has been getting around a bit over the summer and also had a good chin wag with Clare Lydon for her Lesbian Book Club podcast.  During the podcast, Clare Lydon does a run down of the charts and gives an update on her writing, then gets chatting with Clare Ashton about writing process, Wales, Poppy Jenkins and synonyms for breasts.

Have a listen here.

The LGBT Polari First Book Prize short list was announced at the beginning of summer and the Polari website notes that:

Fiction features strongly – from Anne Goodwin’s poignant midlife coming-of-age (Sugar and Snails) and Jacquie Lawrence’s exploration of love through the entangled lives of six women (Different for Girls) to Paul McVeigh’s funny and frightening story of a young boy navigating the troubles of 1980s Northern Ireland (The Good Son) and Stevan Alcock’s unforgettable tale of teenage life set to the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders (Blood Relatives). The shortlist is rounded-off by Juliet Jacques poignant memoir of the transgender experience (Trans) and a raw yet moving collection of poems written in celebration of the masculine form (Physical).”

POLARIpinkLARGEThe winner will be revealed in October.

Polari is also touring the country again this year. Here are the details in brief. For performers and more information see the Polari Salon listings.

  • Sep 22 – Bishops Stortford Library
  • Sep 28 – Printworks, Hastings
  • Oct 14 – Marlborough Theatre, Brighton
  • Oct 21 – Nottingham Writers’ Studio
  • Nov 4 – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
  • Nov 11 – Ideas Store, Tower Hamlets
  • Nov 15 – Hove Library
  • Nov 18 – Grand Theatre, Blackpool
  • Nov 19 – MAC Birmingham
  • Nov 21 – Fruit Space, Hull
  • Nov 23 – Newcastle City Library
  • Nov 25 – End of tour at Southbank Centre, London

TheRetreatFinally, it’s always nice to have a freebie. Jane Retzig has released her novel The Retreat in audio which is available from Audible.

To celebrate its launch she has several free copies to give away. Be quick and email her at  janeretzig @ gmail.com if you want to win a copy.

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Phew! That’s all folks!

News Roundup: New books from Jody Klaire & Jenny Frame, AL Brooks Talks Sex, Cari Hunter Talks Frogs…

29 Jul

Like much of the country, we’re winding down for our summer break here at UK LesFic. So, grab your beach towels, your factor 45, and a hanky knotted in the corners, and prepare to hunker down with a good book.

We’ll be back – tanned, rested, and ready to roll – with more news and features in early September.

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The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksThis update is a bit of a blog fest, so let’s kick off with sex because…actually, do I need a reason?! Anyway, no matter what your lesfic genre of choice, the chances are you’ll have read a few sex scenes in your time. New Ylva author AL Brooks has been discussing “vanilla” versus all the other possible flavours of lady lovin’ in a new blog:

Don’t get me wrong, if they (love scenes in lesbian romance) are written well they can be sexy as hell, without the need to use particular words or phrases that would be more likely to be found in an erotic story. But, it seems to me, in making a clear distinction between romance and erotic romance, a lot of the joy of lesbian sex has been lost in the former. I’m talking about the sheer variety of lesbian sex that two women can share, both in actions and positions. Let’s face it, the list is pretty much endless, so why aren’t those being brought into stories of lesbian romance?

Good question. To read the rest of the piece and add your own two penn’orth, follow the link.

The Giveaway winners from AL’s recent UK LesFic guest blog are: Holli (who won the paperback copy) – just how many bottles of douche did it take to deskunk that dog?!, and ebooks go to Devlyn and BarbaraG. Congrats to all three, and thanks to everyone who entered the draw.

Ms Brooks will also be with Andrea Bramhall at Norwich Pride this Saturday. They’ll be in charge of the Ylva stall in the forum from 10 a.m.

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Over on the Women & Words blog, Jody Klaire has been talking about her new book Hindsight, and wondering whether a person’s past affects the way they see things:

For some in the book, those scars had created mental barriers that made it difficult for that character to “let the walls down.” Her past affected her relationships and her level of trust. With a lot of experiences, they can make you lose confidence in yourself as much as your view of your surroundings. I wanted to pay special attention to that in my writing so that it reflected that…

Hindsight is due for release on August 1st, and you can read Jody’s guest blog here.

nobleheartAnd a quick check on Amazon has just brought me news of Hindsight‘s sequel, Noble Heart, which is slated for publication in March, 2017. Its blurb reads like this:

Some things are worth more than they appear. Aeron Lorelei finds herself thrust back undercover once more. This time it’s to secure the freedom and safety of three generations of one family. Frei, Renee, and Aeron have to pull off their most difficult challenge yet. Infiltrating Frei’s hostile past means maintaining a cover, protecting the POIs, and revealing the truth before it’s concealed for good. Only then do they have a shot at ensuring the POI’s freedom. All Aeron has to do is help save a family, stay true to her cover identity, wrestle the feelings of everyone around her, and wipe a family history from file . . . In other words, business as usual. True gold lies within noble hearts.

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Another new book for 2017 is Jenny Frame‘s contemporary romance Unexpected. Jenny just revealed the cover and the blurb over on Facebook. The exact release date is still TBC.

unexpectedSelf-made business owner Dale McGuire has always enjoyed two things in life: women and fast cars. Now in her midthirties, she’s restless and can’t work out why. Then one day a ten-year-old boy turns up, claiming to be her son, and her simple ordered world turns upside down.
Rebecca Harper bears the emotional scars of her father’s crimes, and now she has two rules: never let anyone too close, and never admit weakness. Thanks to an anonymous egg donor, infertility didn’t stop her from having her son Jake. Now pregnant for a second time, she’s horrified when Jake brings home the woman he believes is his other mother.
When distrust turns to understanding and passion, can Dale and Rebecca, two women bound by fate, make a family neither expected?

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jensilverJen Silver has written a GCLS blog discussing the torment of being at a lesbian book fest and only having a limited amount of space in her suitcase:

I was constantly balancing the number of my books that I sold with the number I could take back home. But there were three books I wasn’t going to leave Washington DC without purchasing…

To find out which books those were, click the link.

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330x235valmcdermidWe’ll wind things up with a couple of rainy day links, the first of which is Val McDermid‘s episode of Arts Night on iPlayerIs fiction the best way to access the truth? Val McDermid explores the relationship between fiction, video games and crime documentary.

The episode will remain available for just over three weeks. I’m guessing we’ll probably see some wet weather before that deadline.

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Podcast-episode-30And if you’re still stuck for things to do, you could have a toot at an interview that I recorded with fellow author Alexandra Amor for her It’s a Mystery Podcast. We talked about the Dark Peak books, genre, the (in)visibility of queer characters in mainstream crime, and, um…frogs.
The interview is now up at Alexandra’s blog, where you can listen to it or download it, and there’s also a video over on YouTube.

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Whatever your plans might be for the summer, have a pleasant and safe one. Eat loads of ice cream, stay up late, and generally muck around🙂

summer

Welcome to the Club – a bit of research and a giveaway!

22 Jul
The-Club-by-A.L.-Brooks

Welcome to The Club—leave your inhibitions and your everyday cares at the door and indulge yourself in an evening of anonymous, no-strings, woman-on-woman action. For many of the women who visit The Club this is exactly what they are looking for and what they get. For others the emotions run high, and one night of sex can change their lives in ways they couldn’t have imagined. For Lou, her weekly visits to The Club enable her to set aside her shyness and loneliness and feel intimacy, however briefly. For Kath, caring for her mother at home, The Club is a welcome relief from her everyday toil; while Max needs distraction from her troubled relationship, even as she tries to tell herself she isn’t really cheating. Tania and Jacky find an outlet for a tricky block in their sex life. Cassie and Nina, bar staff at The Club, find themselves staying on after hours. And finally, Stephanie, struggling with her sexuality, finds her life changing in so many ways once she plucks up courage to enter. The lives of these women intersect in ways they don’t realize, and watching over them all is Mandy— the owner, whose own ghosts play a pivotal role in the existence of The Club.

“Welcome to The Club—leave your inhibitions and your everyday cares at the door.”

Aaah… it’s a tough life being an lesfic author. It’s your job to imagine attractive women meeting and falling into bed with each other. It’s hell I tell you. Then there’s the research. Just your everyday research. Here’s AL Brooks to tell you about where the background checks for her intriguing debut, The Club, took her.

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Research for a novel can take you to many strange places, I’ve discovered. The Club is an ensemble piece set in a fictional lesbian sex club. There are many characters and stories interwoven throughout and as a result that led to some, er, interesting research projects.

Over the duration of my time writing The Club, I managed to rack up a Google search list that contained, amongst other things: BDSM equipment suppliers and dungeon-builders, the symptoms of anxiety attacks, the truth about female ejaculation and what real lesbian sex clubs there were in the UK for comparison purposes (I couldn’t find any evidence of any, sadly).

At the end of the process I was thankful for the fact that (a) I was doing this all from my personal laptop, rather than my work one, and (b) that I was old enough not to have my mother monitoring my internet usage.

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Sound intriguing? The Club is now available on Amazon and you can also enter the draw for a free paperback and two ebooks! Just add a comment of interest below, or even better leave a comment letting AL Brooks know about your most surprising topic of research – something you never thought you needed to know!

(Giveaway closes Thursday 28th July.)

News roundup

15 Jul

It’s a topsy turvy week when Britain puts forward the Blonde Bombshell Boris Johnson as the face of UK diplomacy, but things have been a little more sane in lesfic land.

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GCLS clean logoCold to the TouchTo start with, that talented writer Cari Hunter got what her books deserve at the Golden Crown Literary Society Awards this week when she was awarded the best Crime novel. Both books one and two of her Dark Peak Series made the short list but Cold to the Touch came out on top. Congratulations Cari!

No other Brits won awards this time. Maybe Boris can put a good word in for us when he nips over to see Hills.

On to forthcoming books.

BeforeKE Payne is done checking the proofs for her new YA romance Before.

The novel will be out in September and here’s the blurb:

When the confident, determined Alex Brody joins the successful band Be4, sparks fly between her and her bandmates, none more so than with Tally Mullins. But as their success continues and Tally learns more about Alex, her dislike turns to admiration. Soon Tally finds out that there’s far more to Alex than she first thought.

AllIWantForSummerClare Lydon continues the adventures of Toni and Holly in the next of the All I Want series.

The next installment, All I Want for Summer, is out in two weeks. No blurb yet, but watch this space. Not this space literally. But that kind of space, or thereabouts in the next news. I digress….

Meanwhile, we do have a blurb for Jody Klaire’s Hindsight. This is part of the Above and Beyond series, and here’s that blurb in this space:

hindsightEscaping your past isn’t always easy. Aeron Lorelei gets a vision that her general and close friend, Ursula Frei, has been captured and seriously hurt but Aeron doesn’t know by who, where and why. All she knows is that Frei is getting weaker and they have to find her… fast. So Aeron and her commander, Renee Black, set out on the trail using the only information they have to go on: the memories of Frei’s past which are triggered when Aeron touches a padlock, a padlock that shows the depth of the scars Frei holds inside. As the memories get more vivid and Aeron’s still dimmed burdens begin to drain her, Renee is faced with losing both the women she adores. But, the memories begin to point to just why Frei is missing and Renee faces the decision to keep faith in Aeron’s “burdens,” and what her own heart is telling her, or pull Aeron out and lose Frei, her best friend and the woman who once saved her life.

Hindsight will be out in August and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

poppy jenkinsOn to reviews and the Romantic Reader enjoyed Clare Ashton’s sunny tale of romance in mid-Wales.

“This book is a true gem. For the very first pages you are taken by the beauty of the Welsh village as much as the main character Poppy. You become invested in the characters, rooting for their triumphs, and sharing their sadness. Poppy Jenkins is not the book to pass on. This one will steal your heart. Good luck on getting that back!”

You can read the rest of the review here.

heart of the packAnd Jenny Frame’s hairy tale of love, Heart of the Pack, was reviewed on Inked Rainbow Reads:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the first page! I was pulled into the story and couldn’t put it down. The romance between the two women was beautifully written. I loved finding out about the pack and meeting many of them. The pack dynamic they have is so interesting. I wouldn’t mind moving there!”

Read the full review here and also catch Jenny reading from the Heart of the Pack on the Lesbian Talk Show podcast.

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PolariOnSeaLastA couple of reminders before I go and check the news and inadvertently extend the kids’ vocabulary in an unfortunate way.

It’s the last Polari on Sea event on Wednesday the 27th July with an impressive lineup including Maureen Duffy and VG Lee.

It will be held in the evening at the Printworks in Hastings and you can get more information and tickets here.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksAnd a quick reminder about new books.

The Club by AL Brooks is available now from the Ylva site and from Amazon on the 20th (pre-order is available).

What kind of club do you think those two gals have joined…?

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Toodle-pip!

 

News Roundup: New Novels from Clare Ashton & Gill McKnight, New Author Neve Fontaine, Events, Reviews & More!

2 Jul

It’s no understatement to say that a hell of a lot can happen in a couple of weeks. If – like us – you’re feeling the urge to batten down the hatches, duck beneath a duvet, and shut out the rest of the world, then perhaps we can brighten your outlook somewhat with this fortnight’s news (which, I can assure you, will contain no mention of beleaguered politicians, referendum reruns, financial meltdown, or Boris bloody Johnson.)

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poppy jenkinsIf you want a cheerful summery read to take under those covers with you, then look no further than Clare Ashton‘s latest release Poppy Jenkins which is currently flying high at the top of the UK LesFic charts:

Two old friends, one hot summer, a whole load of confusion.

Poppy Jenkins makes everyone smile. She’s the heart of Wells, a beautiful village in mid-Wales, leaving light and laughter in her wake. She has a doting family, an errant dog and a little sister with a nose for mischief. But she’s the only gay in the village and it’s a long time since she kissed a girl: the chance of romance in sleepy Wells is rarer than a barking sheep.

If she doesn’t think too hard, life is cosy, until a smart sports car barrels into town with the last woman Poppy wants to see behind the wheel. Beautiful Rosalyn Thorn was once Poppy’s high school BFF even though she was trouble. Then one day she abandoned Wells and Poppy without explanation. Now the highflier is back and bound to cause fresh havoc in the village and with Poppy’s heart; folk are not happy.

Wells needs to wake up to the 21st century and Rosalyn can help, but old prejudices die hard. If they can be friends it could be the chance to make everyone’s happy ever after. Couldn’t it?

Clare has been chatting about the inspiration behind Poppy Jenkins and its setting over at the Women & Words blog:

I grew up in Mid-Wales, a beautiful green country of rolling hills and picturesque castles with fresh air a plenty. It drove me bonkers. As a teenager I thought it the most frustrating place on the planet. So did all my friends and we sat on the common room sofa at school dreaming of places we’d rather be…

Read the full piece by clicking on the link, and the book has also been reviewed over at the Lesbian Reading Room:

But beyond all of that this is a most exquisite piece of writing. The language is fulsome, rounded and glorious. The sentences flow across the page and into your heart and mind with genuine elegance… It is, genuinely, a modest and tender romance, but suffused with a tone of voice and love of language which makes it feel like so much more.

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dangling fishNext up is a new author, Neve Fontaine, who was born and bred in South Yorkshire. Neve released her debut novel A Dangling Fish last December. I’ve added Neve’s bio to our Author page, and you can find out more about her over at her blog.

The blurb for A Dangling Fish goes like this:

Gabbi Sinclair is trying to pick up the pieces after a failed relationship and, though she doesn’t realise it at first, the hang-ups it’s left her with about women. She decides the best thing to do is pick up that life, and attempt to claw back the lost years of her youth, where it was a decade ago. Where better to do it than a Greek island full of women. Easy enough, right?

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There seems to be a growing trend for multi-author series at the moment, and August 10th will see the publication of Gill McKnight‘s novella Daughter of Baal which is book three in the five book Law Game series (the other four books are all scheduled to be released on the same date.)

daughter of baalA 1920’s society wedding attended by the richest and most fashionable people possible ends in murder. Lady Margo, top sleuth and Maid of Honour suspects there is more to it than the ‘curse’ of the stolen idol in the garden grotto. The Clamp family have been looting the Middle East of archaeological finds for decades, could the culprit be a rival for this lucrative and illegal trade, or more likely has a love triangle gone horribly wrong.

As the weekend unfolds Lady Margo, and her trusted servant and chauffer, Jones, find a house full of secrets and lies. From the elite guests upstairs to the lowest estate worker, no-one is as they seem and none can be trusted.
And through it all, the Daughter of Baal watches with a knowing grin.

Gill has also been blogging about her current release Welcome to the Wallops with her Five Things You Should Know About Welcome to the Wallops feature:

1- It’s a contemporary romance. I haven’t written one of those since forever, they tend to bore me as there’s no werewolves, ghosts, or villainy. In fact, the only other contemp rom I’ve written was my debut novel Falling Star, everything else has been tampered with werewolves, ghosts, and villainy.

Catch up with the remaining four facts at the link.

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dapperWe shared the cover for Jenny Frame’s new erotic short story Dapper a few weeks ago, and its blurb is now up on the Bold Strokes website. The story is due for release in September and, according to Jenny, it is “burning hot!”

Amelia Honey, cutter and suit designer at an exclusive London Savile Row tailor, is happy with her professional life, but her love life is barren and cold. When she is asked to stand in for her boss’s private appointment with the mysterious Byron De Brek, she couldn’t be more excited—or nervous. Byron is the perfect example of a dapper butch, and someone who fuels Amelia’s darkest fantasies.

Will she follow Byron’s lead and explore those darker needs, or will she run away from what her heart and her body truly hunger for?

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The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksFirst time author A.L. Brooks has launched a new website and will be appearing at this year’s LFest (to be held July 17th-20th). As if that’s not keeping her busy enough, she will also be hosting a launch party for her debut novel, The Club. The event will be held at The Loft, Players Bar, Charing Cross Theatre, on July 22nd (19.00-22.00):

To celebrate the publication of my debut novel, The Club, I’m hosting a little soiree. Glass of Prosecco as you arrive, nibbly buffet food to munch on, and general all-round happiness throughout the evening. All welcome!

See this Facebook events page for more info.

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bsb_the_temple_at_landfall__81031Finally this week, the first in Jane Fletcher’s Celaeno series, The Temple at Landfall, is now available as an audio book. Originally published in 1999 by Dimsdale Press (as The World Celaeno Chose), the book was republished by Bold Strokes in 2005, and was followed by four sequels. Its short and sweet blurb reads like this:

Lynn feels more like a prisoner than the chosen of the Goddess. Transfer to another temple is her chance to taste a little freedom on the journey, but all does not go to plan and her dull life is shattered by the dangers and choices that await her.

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And that’s about yer lot. Hopefully it’ll tide you over for the next couple of weeks assuming, of course, that the sky doesn’t fall in the meantime…

News roundup: a ton of new summer books, reviews, blogs and Stella Duffy OBE

18 Jun

Summer is very nearly here so it’s time to stock up on books for the beach or indoors out of the rain!

Luckily there are lots of new releases this week just in time for summer and first up is Clare Lydon’s new romance, Nothing to Lose:

nothing to loseNobody would ever describe Scarlet Williams as a ray of sunshine, but that doesn’t mean she deserves the flood that wipes out her basement flat, making her temporarily homeless.

Enter Joy Hudson, local mayor & sunshine specialist, who opens her house to flood refugees and ends up with Scarlet on her doorstep. Two more opposing characters you couldn’t fail to meet, and yet, somehow, they strike up a friendship. But when the rain stops and the sun comes out, could that friendship blossom into something more?

You can also hear Clare reading from Nothing to Lose in a video available from her Facebook page here.

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Gill McKnight also has a new romance available from the Ylva website and also on Amazon from the end of June. Here’s the blurb for Welcome to the Wallops:

Welcome to the Wallops.1The villages of High Wallop and Lesser Wallop have graced either end of the Wallop valley since medieval times. And competition between the two has never ceased since, especially over the famous Cheese and Beer festival.

As head Judge of Show, Jane Swallow has always struggled to keep peace, friendship, and equanimity within the community she loves, but this year everything is wrong. Her father has just been released from prison and is on his way to Lesser Wallop with the rest of her travelling family and their caravans.

Her job is on the line, and her ex-girlfriend from a million years ago has just moved in next door.

Her life is going down the drain unless she can pull off some sort of miracle.

Gill was also interviewed at Steampunk Cafe where she shared her thoughts on her previous novel, The Tea Machine, and other oddments about herself:

I live on a Greek island. I’ve been a published writer for ten years. I found an abandoned seven week old puppy and kept him and he is now the love of my life. He’s called Wally and he has the biggest ears in the world…oh, and green eyes and a ginger nose.

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It’s been a long time coming for those of you who’ve been eagerly awaiting Jane Fletcher’s new book, but it’s here:

the-shewstoneIn the port city of Fortaine, two young girls acquire new families.

Four-year-old Eawynn, the unwanted illegitimate daughter of an ambitious noble, is dumped in the temple. When she is old enough, she will be initiated into its sisterhood of priestesses. Meanwhile Matt, the street urchin, earns a crime lord’s admiration, so much so he adopts her as his daughter and heir to his underworld clan.

Nearly two decades later, their paths cross when Eawynn is appointed custodian of the Shewstone, the mystical orb of prophecy. Unfortunately for her, Matt is on a mission to steal it.

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saving graceNot out yet, but another author who’s been quiet of late is showing good signs of activity. HP Munro has revealed the cover for Saving Grace, the sequel to Grace Falls. No blurb or release date yet but we’ll be keeping an eye out.

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On to reviews and the Velvet Lounger has been back busily reviewing UK books.

She reviewed Jen Silver’s The Circle Dance  – “a classic British romance.” She also says:

circle_finalThis is a ‘domestic drama’ – an observation of human relations, from the hysterical over re-action of a frightened mother to the tears of a woman re-united with her beloved cat. Ms Silver shows us her characters flaws and foibles, watches them react to everyday situations, and allows some to grow and develop, while others struggle to learn life’s lessons.

Very much in the tradition of British lesfic romances The Circle Dance is a gentle story of real women’s lives. Well done, enjoyable reading and another winner from Jen Silver.

You can read the full review here.

collide o scopeAnd of Andrea Bramhall’s Collide-O-Scope the Velvet Lounger said:

“The whodunit is interesting, with unexpected twists and turns. It develops into a plot that might seem unlikely, but comes across as totally plausible and well thought out.

As always Ms Bramhall’s writing flows, her setting in the coastal village is perfect and the local colour adds a level of depth and veracity to the storyline. She balances plot and character, narrative and description, internal monologue with action and intrigue to make an extremely enjoyable read.”

More here.

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bold books logoThe BSB annual festival in Nottingham two weeks ago was a great success and two new authors have been blogging about the experience. Robyn Nyx writes:

“Saturday morning came, and we were buying giveaways and prizes at 9am in the local mall before heading to Waterstones to set up the event. There was a palpable sense of dread—what if hardly anyone shows up? It’s an annual issue, but we needn’t have worried. Over the two days, we had a combined attendance of 115, and we sold more books than ever before—over twice as many as the previous year, and that was a record!”

You can read the rest of her blog here.

Anna Larner has written up her thoughts on the event and writing. On writing a good romance she notes:

“And, as I have been asked to select my golden rule for a successful romance, it would be this – Writing from the heart, putting into the story what it feels like to long for someone, to fall for someone, the uncertainty, the self-doubt, the tortured agony of it all…”

Read more here.

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TheNightWatchNewWebsite532pxThe Night Watch, adapted from Sarah Waters’ book, has just completed its run at the Royal Exchange. You can watch and listen to Sarah talking about the novel, including her favourite character Kay, and what it was like to hand the novel over for adaptation with complex issues such as the book’s timeline and the atmosphere of war-time London. Here’s the link.

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Congratulations to Stella Duffy, writer, actorStella Duffy who was listed in the Queen’s birthday honours for an OBE.

On her blog she says:

“My mum would have loved this. I wish my folks were alive to see that their girl (no 7 of 7 kids)  didn’t ‘waste her education’ by becoming an artist … my dad didn’t cry when I came out, but he was devastated when I, first of us all to get a uni education, told him I wanted to be an actor not a lawyer or a teacher. (Because – poor.)

The citation says ‘writer and theatremaker’. I love that the palace and the government had to say theatremaker. That’s new(ish) for them. Unusual. We are making new words to tell the truth of what we do.”

And finally, I’ll leave you with the words of Stella Duffy OBE from her blog in the aftermath of Orlando last week:

“And so … we get up again. We rise up again. We fucking phoenix up again in roaring glorious flames of beautiful queerity. Because we can, and we will, and we do. And we do it in memory of those queer campaigners who got us this far, in memory of those killed in Orlando’s hateful attack, and for the sake of those to follow us. Because it’s not fixed yet, and there is so much more to do. Please let’s do this work of inclusion together, we sure as hell can’t do it alone.”