News roundup: new books, old books, events and more events! Everything from L Fest to Aye Write and Manda Scott to Nicola Griffith

28 Mar

Whoever is planning the festivals this year has suddenly got their arse in gear because events are being announced every which way this week. But first, some other tasty morsels from around the interweb.

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You Are What You Eat, and if it’s a biscuit you’re probably a Brit, and if it’s a cookie you’re more likely to be from the US. And that’s before you even get to different brands. This causes a problem for the likes of Cari Hunter who can’t go two chapters without someone having some’t nice to eat. Her trials and tribulations with the great food divide across the pond was explored in a Curve article this week by Diana Simmonds:

no good reasonHunter says, of her culinary concerns, ‘I think it’s a fear of chucking a reader out of a scene by throwing something at them that’s so completely alien it makes them stop and go ‘huh?’ I’ll probably swap custard creams for shortbread. But I am sad Americans don’t have Battenberg cake, though, I mean look how pretty it is!’

And so it is, even if you don’t like marzipan, and whether you care or not that it might have been named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband. But that’s the thing: if you don’t explore, you might as well stay home and guzzle more S’mores.

Read the rest of the entertaining article here.

There’s more from Cari as she gears up for the publication of No Good Reason in June with a taster of her life as a paramedic, which closely resembles that of her heroines.

I’ve worked for the ambulance service for thirteen years, eleven of those as a paramedic, and the last four of those leading a dual life as an author. My books tend to resemble my world – medical themes, with police, doctors, chaos, and violence – and I’ve always tried to keep them on the right side of realism. Bearing that in mind, none of my leading ladies are uber-heroines, those striding, muscle-ripped superwomen so beloved of cop/doc fiction, and the central pair in the Dark Peak series are no different. Sanne and Meg are bright, intuitive, and good at their jobs, but they get knackered, get puked on, laugh at the wrong things, and fuck up just like any of us.

Have a read of the post No Angels Here for an excellent taster of life as a paramedic – it’s a typically gripping and funny read.

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On to new books and pieces.

Lesley DavisPlaying in Shadow is now available from the Bold Strokes website (it will be available on Amazon April 20th). This is the link if you want to get your mitts on a paperback or have your ereader gobble up an ebook.

Lesley has also revealed the blurb and cover for the next book in the pipeline, Starstruck, which is due out January next year. Here’s the blurb and cover:

starstruckActress Cassidy ‘CJ’ Hayes is famous for her role in “The Alchemidens”, a fantasy show where she plays a kick-ass heroine. Her rising success has brought her quickly under Hollywood’s glaring spotlight. It also gained her the unwelcome attentions of an obsessive fan who wants more than just an autograph. Aiden Darrow is both a well-respected screenwriter and a writer of lesbian romances. As a big fan of actress C.J. Hayes, Aiden is astounded when the woman of her dreams ends up moving into the house next door to her. Their attraction is undeniable but Cassidy is understandably nervous about getting too close to anyone. Aiden, meanwhile, is trying to separate reality from fiction because Cassidy is nothing like the character she portrays so well. All through her childhood, Aiden dreamed of a hero to come rescue her. Can she be the hero that Cassidy so desperately needs now?

reloadKiki Archer has been quiet of late, beavering away on a screenplay and waiting for news from various production companies in between the odd appearance on Sky News. But she has been tinkering with a short story or two. Her latest is another funny piece, Reload and Try Again, and has been published in the digital magazine Cracked Eye. Head on over here to download the app and buy a copy of this promising new magazine.

intothefireManda Scott has released the synopsis for her forthcoming novel Into the Fire (release date of June). It starts:

FORGET WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW…

2014 – A man’s charred corpse is found in the latest of a string of arson attacks in the French city of Orléans. There’s a secret, hidden within the body that changes everything.

1429 – Joan of Arc, warrior-knight, leads the armies of France into victory, and escorts her king to his consecration. But even then, her story was a lie.

SOME LEGENDS NEVER DIE – but they may be rewritten…

Brilliantly linking past and present, Manda Scott’s exhilarating thriller challenges us to think again about one of the most enduring legends in history.

swordfishUKLesFic doesn’t know if there is any lesbian content, but that sounds like a cracking read. The whole synopsis and excerpt is available from Manda’s website, which is looking beautiful after a recent make-over.

And a quick mention of Andrea Bramhall‘s Swordfish: her sequel to Ladyfish is now available from Audible. Flutter over here for a copy.

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Now for some books that have been out for a while but which have had rather nice mentions this week:

hild coverNicola Griffith‘s Hild has made it onto a list of 29 Awesome Books With Strong Female Protagonists (and for some reason it bugs me that they didn’t find 30). This is what they had to say about the epic: “Nicola Griffith’s Hild is a sweeping, historical novel that takes place in Britain during the Middle Ages, where a bright, curious child named Hild, the king’s niece, becomes his seer in a brutal, violent time. Strong-willed and gifted, Hild grows up to become one of the most powerful women in seventh-century Britain: Saint Hilda of Whitby.

Go and have a shufty at the rest of the list here.

(Do you think that looks like Nicola on the cover? Apparently six out of 10 readers think Nicola looks like one of her heroines. Here’s the pie-chart to prove it.)

pennanceClare Ashton‘s books got a favourable mention on Indie Reader in an article about how indie publishing is allowing marginalised authors to reach an audience beyond the traditional publishing world, often criticised for being being male-, hetero-, cis- and white-centric.

The article lists nine authors who don’t fit the usual publishing industry mould. Of Clare’s books, it says “[they] are shining examples of literature featuring lesbian romance. Her first novel, Penance, is a hauntingly moving ghost story, and the romance that blossoms from tragedy demonstrate Ashton’s unique ability to spin a yarn.” All true you know :p

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Right, on to those events.

LFest2015Hot off the press is the lineup for L Fest in July, and it’s looking mighty fine with a first showing for the literary salon, Polari, at the festival. VG Lee and Kiki Archer will be appearing as part of that session and will pretty much guarantee a good guffaw from even those with the most insensitive of funny bones.

There also looks like a great mix of indie authors on the panel entitled Close & Personal with the Indie Authors: Desire, Dramas & Divas. Go and rub, err, shoulders with HP Munro, Karen Campbell, Veronica Fearon, Suzanne Egerton and Clare Lydon, who’ll be hosting the panel.

AND Manda Scott will be there. She’ll be doing an hour-long slot on Women Warriors: “from Boudica to Jeanne d’Arc to Christine Grenville, Nancy Wake and Violet Szabo of the SOE, there have always been women that wanted to fight – and were good at it. In this hour, we celebrate their victories, and look at what’s changed – and what hasn’t – when fighting flows in our life blood.

L Fest is a unique lesbian festival with three days of entertainment from fabulous UK authors, bands, cinema, workshops and you can have a laugh with a great big bunch of lesbians in a field, all for £99. Have a look at the rest of the lineup here.

ayewriteThe Polari Salon will also be popping up in Glasgow as part of the Aye Write Festival in April. Paul Burston will be the fabulous host as usual to guests Jackie Kay, VG Lee and Patrick Gale. Not one to be missed! The session costs £9 and will be held at the Mitchell Library at 7.30 on April 23rd. More details and tickets on the Aye Write website.

Kerry Hudson and Jackie Kay will also be appearing on the Out There panel. They will be reading their work from the anthology of the same name and discussing issues around LGBT literature in Scotland. The panel is in the same place on the same date as Polari, just a little earlier in the evening. More details and tickets here.

Kerry Hudson will also be appearing at the Ullapool Book Festival in May, as will Val McDermid. More details here.

catherine hallCatherine Hall gets around a bit.  On Wednesday 22nd of April, she’ll be taking part in the Reader Series at Canterbury Christ Church University at the Sidney Cooper Gallery.  The event is bargainously free. More details here.

She’ll also be appearing at the Brighton Pavilion, which is where her latest book, The Repercussions, is set. The event is on Friday 24th April, costs £8 and includes wine. You can’t get much more convivial than that.

Meanwhile, Maureen Duffy will be appearing at Poetry at The Print Room on Tuesday 14th April. This is part of a series of intimate evenings in the company of contemporary poets at The Coronet in Notting Hill. More details here.

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Phew! Nearly there.

And finally, don’t forget to catch up with the latest Lesbian Book Club podcast with Clare Lydon. Clare has a romp through the UK and US Amazon lesfic charts and also gives us a quick update on progress on her own writing with book 3 – the yet unnamed follow up to London Calling. She then interviews Karen Campbell about her gritty novels.

Karen reveals (in that rather lovely Scottish accent) how she started writing years ago with Violet’s Story after mulling over a story centred on mental health and featuring that favourite name of hers. They cover a great range of topics, including the follow up to The Knowing, a hint of the supernatural, the madness of writing and being shy and introverted, with some hints about a collaboration with Angela Peach. Oh, and football. Have a listen here.

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That is all. Good night!

News Roundup: Brits’ Lambda Award Joy, New Author Evangeline Jennings, Emma Donoghue on the Stonewall Honour List, and More!

12 Mar

It’s been an excellent couple of weeks for news here in UK LesFic land, not necessarily in terms of quantity, but definitely in terms of quality. So let’s bloody-well get on with it, eh?

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that certain somethingFirst and foremost, a massive shout out to our very own Clare Ashton whose delightful RomCom, That Certain Something, has been shortlisted for a Lambda Literary award.

For those not in the know about these things, the Lambda Literary Awards “identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world. The Awards ceremony has consistently drawn an audience representing every facet of publishing.”

The much-anticipated shortlist was announced on Wednesday 4th March, with Andrea Bramhall‘s Nightingale joining That Certain Something in the Lesbian Romance category. Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests was also listed in the category of Lesbian General Fiction.

The awards ceremony will take place on June 1st, and a full list of all the finalists can be found here. Congratulations and all the luck in the world to the three Brits (and to everyone else, of course!)

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riding in carsIt’s always lovely to welcome a new author to the site, and Evangeline Jennings has recently joined our listing. Born and raised in Liverpool, Evangeline now spends most of her time in Austin, TX. She is the author of Riding in Cars with Girls, a crime-themed collection of essentially feminist, very noir, and almost entirely queer short stories and novellas. She is also the founding editor of the Pankhearst writers collective. Her full bio can be found on the Authors page, and her next publication will be a short story in this erotica anthology.

You can find out more about Evie over at her blog.

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Nicola Griffith‘s website has a whole new look and very nice it is too, with links to all of her books, loads of information, a blog section, and updates about guest appearances. The site is still a work in progress and Nicola is keen for reader feedback, so pay a visit and see what you think.

Sticking with that theme, Val McDermid‘s site has also had a makeover. There’s certainly a lot of information to be found, but with so much moving, streaming, and jumping out at you, you might want to take some Hyoscine before heading on over there!

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frog musicIt’s a very award-themed update this one, and Emma Donoghue has just announced that Frog Music is one of four Honor Books in Literature for the 2015 Stonewall Book Awards:

The first and most enduring award for GLBT books is the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table. Since Isabel Miller’s Patience and Sarah received the first award in 1971, many other books have been honored for exceptional merit relating to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience.

All of this year’s Stonewall winners can be found here, and Emma’s news nicely coincides with the paperback release of Frog Music, which comes complete with a rather natty new cover design.

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Cold to the TouchSpeaking of new covers and shiny things, I was pleasantly surprised to receive word from Bold Strokes that my fifth novel, Cold to the Touch – the second in the Dark Peak series of crime thrillers, and the sequel to June release No Good Reason – will be published in December, 2015. That was rather earlier than I’d anticipated, but very fitting for a winter-themed book. I suppose I’m a bit like the 192 bus: you wait and wait for one book to come out, and then two turn up in quick succession.

Given that the first book in the series isn’t out yet, I’ve tried to keep the blurb for book two spoiler-free, but it should be enough to give you a general idea…

Winter in the Derbyshire Peaks: months of knee-deep snow, short days, and rocketing crime rates.

Detective Sanne Jensen is living in self-imposed isolation and quietly falling apart, while Dr. Meg Fielding–Sanne’s best friend and occasional lover–is struggling to cope with her violent brother, who is back in town and demanding money that she doesn’t have.

When the murder of a drug addict is dumped onto Sanne’s already unmanageable caseload, she suspects the death may be the start of something more sinister. But how can she investigate a crime when no one cares about the victim? And how can she stop a killer who has no identity, no motive, and no conscience?

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POLARIpinkLARGEA call to all budding UK LesFic authors now, as the Polari prize opens for submissions. If you’ve no idea what I’m yammering on about – where have you been?

Now in its fifth year, The Polari Prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in English by a writer born or resident in the UK within the twelve months of the deadline for submissions (this year 1st February, 2015). Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission.

Previous winners and nominees have included Mari Hannah, Kerry Hudson, and Beatrice Hitchman. All submissions for this year’s prize need to be in my May 1st, and for more information about the process, head over here. Good luck!

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mask of the highwaywomanNiamh Murphy
‘s recently republished swashbuckling epic, Mask of the Highwaywoman has been reviewed by jj over at Rainbow Book Reviews, who had this to say about its central characters:

Bess is a rather sweet enigma wrapped in a formfitting disguise for the road that somewhat has her blending in with her highwayman colleagues and initially she is masked as they are… Along with Evelyn, I was constantly losing my balance and a sense of perspective largely because the highwaywoman is so difficult to get a handle on and nothing that unfolds could possibly have been anticipated. Disconcerting and exhausting, it was also exciting and extremely challenging. These twists and turns more than elevated the excitement. For me, they put this book in a class by itself! 

You can read the full text of the review here.

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Rounding out the roundup with a couple of dates for your diary…

manda-scottCatherine Hall will be appearing at the Words by the Water Festival in beautiful Keswick on Friday 13th March, at 10.45 a.m). Tickets and more information are available here.

Hopping across into April, and Manda Scott will be discussing the topic Romans to Redcoats (which probably has nothing to do with Butlins!) at the Wrexham Carnival of Words on Saturday April 25th. The event will run from 2.30 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at this link.

As ever, event info can be found separately on our Events page, and I’ve recently updated the New & Upcoming Releases page as well – authors if you have a book out in the next five months or so, let us know about it!

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And that’s about all she wrote for this update. Have a lovely weekend and watch out for the eclipse (20th March!)

 

News roundup: a lot of blogging and chatting from Emma Donoghue, VG Lee, Nicola Griffith, Amy Dunne and more!

27 Feb

A whiff of spring is in the air, or at least the green shoots of a busy lesfic year are coming through at last, and there’s quite a bit to tell you this week:

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been answering Seven Questions for the Working Writer over on Jenna Leigh Evans’ blog. She answers questions about juggling writing with earning a living (she’s never had a day job) and how she knows when a passage needs editing (it makes her stomach twinge). Read the full piece here.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has been busy on her blog. This week she has been talking a little about how to avoid cliched characters when writing fiction and how to create a memorable cast.

But a great story or novel—oh, a great story is dense. The characters’ actions are plot-driving and characteristic and specific. These people are fully human, the kind of people we would recognise this year, last century, tomorrow. In this fiction, the writer is almost profligate in her generosity: we know a lot about the protagonist just by the way he flips his hair, just by the speed with which they blinks before they kill someone.

Here’s the full piece.

It also turns out that even the best get the odd duff review. Nicola has been braving Amazon and reading Hild reviews and details her reaction to some particularly snide 1-star reviews. It only bothered her, mildly, for 5 minutes. Still, an entertaining and interesting piece which is here in full.

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vgleepolariVG Lee was interviewed by Sacha Black about VG’s writing process. She talks about her technique of prolific note taking as first draft, what and who inspires her characters and her take on the publishing industry. This is her advice for aspiring novelists:

Not to be influenced in any way by friends and family. They will be biased. To aspiring novelists I would recommend a writing group, creative writing classes at local colleges or universities. Here you will get unbiased feed back. Friends I made through a creative writing class when I first began writing, I am still friends with them now. We are all still writing and we have all been published, in fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. We help each other.

VG is always an interesting read and here’s the full interview.

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LT Smith has been catching up her readers on her writing exploits. And she’s been busy. Beginnings is out in its second edition and she talks about the horticulture involved in that. She’s also having a shufty at Once and a few other things besides:

I can remember not long after Once was published and I won an award from the Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards for comedy. Obviously, I was really excited, as anyone would be if his or her book had been given the big thumbs up by the reader. But, I can still remember thinking ‘I thought it was sad’. Shows how much I know doesn’t it. Maybe if I write a comedy I may get an award for drama. Food for thought.

Read the full article, and keep an eye out for an imminent book giveaway too, over on LT’s blog.

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Clare Lydon continues with the book club on Lesbian Radio. And this week she had a good natter with Amy Dunne author of Secret Lies and Season’s Meetings. Amy gives some insight into her writing approach to each book and what inspired her to write the gritty Secret Lies. Have a listen here.

Amy also revealed the cover and blurb for her next book this week. The Renegade, a post-apocalyptic romance, will be available in September. Here’s the blurb:

renegadeIn this post-apocalyptic world, you have a choice: survive as a slave or fight for your freedom.

The Red Death pandemic wiped out most of the human population, and the world that remains is dangerous and unforgiving. Survivor Alex Clarke and her companions are rescued after a vicious attack and welcomed into the Rapture’s Haven Camp. Although given medical treatment, food, shelter, and protection, Alex senses something sinister lurking beneath the camp’s friendly exterior.

Camp medic Evelyn Bennett is instinctively drawn to Alex and warns her that the camp is a dangerous cult and the women are slaves. While planning to escape, their secret relationship is discovered. Escape is no longer possible. They must fight for their freedom—or die trying.

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V.A FearonMeanwhile Cherry Potts and VA Fearon have been chatting about lesbian fiction. Cherry talked about running Arachne Press and trying to fit in her own writing. VA Fearon revealed her obsessive writing habit and also chatted about the Dani series. All five books have been written – although only The Girl with the Treasure Chest is out so far. Here the video of their conversation.

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A few items in brief:

thehysteryappVT Davy‘s second ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, The Hystery App, is now available. VT has produced a trailer for the book which is a blend of science fiction, romance, and women’s history. The trailer is available here on YouTube.

Jenny Frame has been putting the final touches to the forthcoming A Royal Romance and has an update on her other work here.

Gill McKnight, author of the Garoul werewolf series, has been quiet of late, but she’s just about to get a lot noisier. She’s joined Women and Words as a regular contributer and she’s already received a very warm welcome. She has a new book, Soul Selecta, is due out in April.

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hp munroFinally, you can catch HP Munro in the Virtual Living Room today. The online discussion group is hosting a Hollywood weekend where authors of novels with a film theme will be chatting about their books. Authors include Melissa Brayden (Waiting in the Wings), Karin Kallmaker (Stepping Stone), Krystin Zimmer (The Gravity Between Us), Jae (Departure from the Script) and Chris Paynter (Survived by her Longtime Companion). You can join the group here.

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That’s all folks!

Q&A with Jane Retzig

23 Feb

The_Wrong_Woman_Cover_for_KindleToday we have Jane Retzig in the hot seat for a Q&A. Jane started writing in the 90s and published Boundaries – a tale of passion and turmoil between a young and older lover in 1970s Northern England. After a break in writing she has written three more novels – stories with a bit of a difference to keep her readers on their toes.

Her latest, The Wrong Woman, is a lesbian mystery romance set in the north. It features Kate, the rising star of the trauma therapy world, accused of a terrible crime and finding love when she least expects it.

Hi Jane. How would you describe your novels and please tell us a little about your new work The Wrong Woman.

I’ve always seen my novels as Lesbian Romantic Fiction. I’m interested in situations where something happens to take my protagonists out of their comfort zone… How they respond under pressure.

The Wrong Woman was inspired by personal experience of bullying directed against myself and several of my friends. While I was writing it, I jokingly referred to it as ‘my revenge novel’ but I don’t think it is really. It was motivated by a desire for the ‘baddies’ to get their come-uppance, but I hope I managed to capture the light and shade in all of us. The book pretty much wrote itself and took me by surprise on several occasions. It was a cathartic experience. I felt a lot better after I’d written it.

What have readers liked most about your latest novel?

boundariesIt seems to be a bit like Marmite – people either seem very enthusiastic or they hate it. It’s got a big ‘cast list’ compared with my usual writing and the lack of chapters seems to have thrown and confused some readers. The people who like it seem to have enjoyed the fast pace, the twists and turns, and the fairly quirky characters. A friend who read it texted me at 2.30am with ‘Just finished your book, you ****! Thought you should be awake in the middle of the night too!’

You have a diverse set of characters. Who have you enjoyed creating and writing most?

I’m very fond of a lot of my characters, but in The Wrong Woman I’d have to say Saskia, my ‘shake-up cocktails girl’. I had a lot of fun with her.

How important is setting and region for your novels?

All of those things – region, season, period, time – they all vary in importance depending on how important they are to my characters.

Who has influenced your writing and which authors/novels have left their mark on you?

thephotograph

The Photograph – a lesbian mystery romance

There have been so many, starting with Enid Blyton as a kid. Then the great Northern writers – Stan Barstow, Keith Waterhouse. A whole swathe of American authors – Patti Smith, Kate Millett, Jane Bowles, Carson McCullers. American lesbian fiction – I think I worked my way through everything Silver Moon and Gay’s the Word had on their shelves. I also love the books of my Northern gay romantic fiction writing buddy Tim Bairstow. But probably if I had to name my two biggest influences I’d have to say Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Taylor for their brilliant characterisation and great storytelling.

Are you a fan of lesbian fiction and if so, which novels have tickled your fancy?

I love lesbian fiction and I’ve currently got five UKLesFic blog featured novels waiting impatiently for me on my kindle. Frustratingly, I don’t seem to be able to read when I’m writing though, and I’ve been writing fairly constantly for the past year.

So the last lesbian-themed novel I read was By Blood by Ellen Ullman. It’s brilliant, very creepy and compulsive and set in San Francisco in the 1970s.

When I finish my current novel, I’m looking forward to a massive lesfic binge (hopefully in the garden on a sun lounger).

You had a break from writing. What got you back in the saddle?

The_Full_Legacy

Lesbian tale with a hint of the supernatural

It was more the other way round. I’ve always tended to write when I have space. I just hit a period in my life that was quite turbulent – moving four times, looking after a poorly elderly relative, coping with the breakdown of a very long-term relationship – I’m much more settled now, so I’m writing again.

What’s next in the pipeline?

I’m about a third of the way through a new novel. Its working title is The Retreat, and it’s about a long term affair that’s on the verge of being uncovered.

Thanks Jane! You can find out more about Jane and all of her novels on Amazon.

News Update: Clare Lydon Events and Radio Show, Hild and The Paying Guests Scoop Library Awards, Interview with Sarah Waters, & Emma Donoghue on Audible…

12 Feb

I suspect the recent cold weather might have sent most of our UK LesFic authors into hibernation. These last couple of weeks have been very very quiet on the news front, but – being knee-deep in edits myself – I’ve decided not to hang on to this update any longer (mainly because one of the events featured is actually taking place tonight!)

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clare lydonWe’ll start with the aforementioned event, which is Clare Lydon reading at Wood Green Library (alongside Katie Bennett-Hall) as part of LGBT History Month, and also for the launch of the LBT Women & Guests Drop-in & Book Club. This event is tonight (12th February) 5.30-7 p.m, and will cost you absolutely nothing, although booking is advised. Clare will be reading from the charity UK LesFic anthology, L is For and there will be an author Q&A after the readings. You can find more details and the booking information at this link.

l is forThis seems like the perfect moment to remind people that Clare will also be reading from her second novel, The Long Weekend, at Polari (Royal Festival Hall) on the 23rd February. Tickets and more info here.

I’m not sure when this woman ever sleeps (she certainly doesn’t hibernate!) but the third episode of her radio show, The Lesbian Book Club, is now up featuring American author Cindy Rizzo talking about L Fest, her novels, going from being self-published to signing with Ylva Publishing, and generally having a right old natter. You can listen along at this link.

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kissing the witchMore good news now for all those who like to read with their ears. Kissing the Witch, Emma Donoghue‘s lesbian, feminist retelling of well-known fairy tales has been released as an unabridged audio book on audible:

Thirteen tales are unspun from the deeply familiar and woven anew into a collection of fairy tales that wind back through time. Emma Donoghue reveals heroines young and old in unexpected alliances–sometimes treacherous, sometimes erotic, but always courageous. Told with luminous voices that shimmer with sensuality and truth, these age-old characters shed their antiquated cloaks to travel a seductive new landscape, radiantly transformed.

Hit the link for more information. Meanwhile, Emma’s website reveals she’s is “immersed” in her next adult novel, set in 1850s Ireland.

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HILDUKNicola Griffith‘s Hild has bagged a runners up spot in the Historical Fiction category in the American Library Association list of Notable Books 2014. The full round up of all the winners and runners up can be found here. Hild was also chosen, alongside Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests, for the 2015 Over The Rainbow list, which aims to create a bibliography of books that exhibited commendable literary quality and significant LGBT content and are recommended for adults. Congrats to both!

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Speaking of Sarah Waters, she has been interviewed over at the Indian Express blog in which she discusses her novels, her thoughts about writing a book set in the present day, and what she thinks about her unofficial title: The Queen of the Tortured Lesbian Romance:

Yes, some of my characters have been a little tortured. And while my books have love stories, all of them except one (The Little Stranger) have had lesbian protagonists and lesbian desire has been at the heart of the narrative. I don’t want it ever to be forgotten.

You can read the full 3 page interview at the link.

598px-Sarah_WatersMeanwhile, Elinor over at The Lesbrary has been catching up with one of Sarah’s older novels with a recently posted review of The Night Watch:

I loved it, but other readers may find The Night Watch too depressing. I felt emotionally drained when I finished it. For me, it was worth it, but fans of happy endings might disagree. Whether or not you enjoy the book depends largely on the degree to which you engage with the characters, and not everyone will like these reserved Londoners and their private struggles. This is not a novel with an action-packed plot, which keeps the reader close to the main characters. If you don’t connect with the characters during the 1947 section, you probably won’t enjoy hundreds more pages with them.

The full in-depth review can be found here.

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And that really is yer lot for this fortnight, although, just taking a toot at the list of releases pending from UK authors, I suspect this may be the lull before the storm…

News roundup: loads of events and tons of new books!

28 Jan

It’s been a while since I’ve had a gambol through the news. So time to limber up those digits and romp through this week’s edition (did you know that your fingers don’t have muscle inside. It’s all in the palm and forearm apparently…).

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Lots of fabulous events coming up where you can catch your favourite authors.

Stella Duffy, writer, actorThe award-winning Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at this Friday’s Polari evening. Grab yourself some tickets here if you’re lucky enough to be in the area. Also a reminder that the Manchester Polari evening is hot on its heels (February 10th). Beatrice Hitchman, whose debut Petite Mort was short-listed for the Polari Prize, will be appearing.  You can book tickets here.

catherine hallCatherine Hall will also be appearing oop north in Manchester as part of the first ever National Festival of LGBT History. She’ll be reading from The Repercussions on the afternoon of Saturday 14th February at the Central Library. For more details and a full list of events tootle over here.

VGLeeEventThe ever-entertaining VG Lee will be doing a gig in Bedford on 17th February (7 p.m.). She says of the evening “I shall be chatting, a bit of reading, a bit of comedy – no singing or dancing unless too much wine is imbibed.” You can also catch her on March 7th in Huddersfield as part of the Polari frolicks up North session at the literary festival – more details for the event here.

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swordfishAndrea Bramhall has been blogging on the Bold Strokes site about her latest action-packed novel of genius scientists and terrorists – Swordfish (the sequel to Ladyfish).  It’s a personal piece where she delves into the past of one of the characters and how it’s taught her a thing or two about herself.

Every character has a little something of me in them. And I do mean everyone. Good guys and bad guys. It’s my way of connecting with them, of making them real to me, and making whole characters rather than flat two dimensional ones that are just a jumble of actions and words that don’t make sense. Now, that can make writing some things very dark. If you read this book, you’ll meet Masood and see what I mean, but it can also be enlightening. This is what I mean when I say Cassie taught me things.

Here’s the full piece.

The Velvet Lounger has also been passing her critical gaze over Andrea’s book and this is what she had to say:

a mad romp full of twists and turns, high tension deadlines, scientific breakthroughs and shoot ‘em up confrontations with the bad guys. It is fast paced when the story is hot, but manages to combine gentler, slower moments of intimacy and tenderness…A great fun read, fast and furious.

You can read the full review here.

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On to new and forthcoming books.

The_Wrong_Woman_Cover_for_KindleJane Retzig has published her fourth novel The Wrong Woman, and it is already doing very nicely indeed, bouncing around at the top of the Amazon lesfic charts. Here’s the blurb for her new romance:

Kate is a rapidly rising star of the trauma therapy world – London based, shy, uptight, and with an air of aloofness that masks a deep sense of insecurity. When she has to relocate her ‘Traumatology for the 21st Century’ conference to Horton Hill ‘Deluxe’ Hotel and Conference Centre in the heart of industrial West Yorkshire, she is understandably horrified by the state of the place.

Horton Hill is a mess. The car park looks like the surface of the moon. The pool is a health hazard. And the staff seem incapable of speaking intelligible English. When Naz, the hotel’s ‘Hospitality Assistant’ finds Kate struggling with her luggage, she instantly stops to help. Bright, enthusiastic and hard-working, she is drawn to Kate’s barely concealed vulnerability, and desperately wants to make a good impression on the harassed, but undeniably attractive conference organiser.

Despite her natural caution, as the weekend progresses, Kate finds herself warming to Naz’s kindness and obvious interest in her.
But she is unaware that her carefully constructed life back in London is starting to unravel. And when she finds herself accused of a terrible crime, Kate discovers that sometimes friendship and love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

thehysteryappV.T. Davy (author of A Very Civil Wedding) has just signed off on the cover for novel number three. It’s due out in February and “blends science fiction, lesbian romance and women’s history to ask whether the rights that women espouse today are those that were fought for by the pioneers of feminism or whether they have become distorted beyond recognition.” Here’s the intriguing blurb:

When the biophysicist Dr Brogan Miller and her partner, the women’s historian Dr Honor Smith, stumble upon a cosmic phenomenon that enables them to film the everyday lives of women from the past, they believe it will bring about a revolution in the way that women’s history is taught and studied.
 
On the release of the Hystery app, their initial euphoria is not dampened as astonishing uploads from all over the world pour in showing women from all centuries at home, at work and at play. But, as the uploads take a more sinister turn, they realise that, in their excitement, they overlooked society’s appetite for new technology that bends each innovation to satisfy its basest cravings. It is only when tragedy strikes the couple and the extraordinary Erin James enters Brogan’s life that she finds the courage to put right what she has let loose on the world.

blindtrustJody Klaire has revealed the cover and blurb for her sequel to The Empath. Blind Trust is the second book in the Above and Beyond series. No release date as yet, but here’s that blurb:

Aeron Lorelei finds herself part of the mysterious Criminal Investigations Group and is looking forward to catching up with Commander Renee Black after being locked in bootcamp for six months. However, something isn’t quite right with Renee and Aeron can’t figure out why she is pushing her away. When mother nature puts a mountain in their path (literally) and Renee does the unthinkable, it is left to Aeron to clear Renee’s name. Stuck in a small Colorado town with only a few days to solve a mystery, Aeron needs some ‘spiritual’ support.’ Saving Renee involves using the burdens she loathes and every ounce of belief she has. It looks bleak for Renee, and when the danger lurking in the past snakes its way into the town, it is up to Aeron alone to stop it.

SecretsAnd finally, Jade Winters has a novel out… soon. Secrets is written with Alexis Bailey with whom Jade co-wrote her first published piece of erotica. Here’s the blurb:

To the outside world, Lauren’s marriage is picture perfect, but she is hiding a secret. Beneath the smile lies an unquenchable yearning: Lauren craves intimacy with a woman.

Until now, these desires have been mere fantasy, harmless daydreams. That is until Lauren meets a beautiful woman on her daily commute, a stranger with whom she has an immediate passionate connection.

Torn between loyalty to her marriage and a passion for another woman, Lauren struggles to do “the right thing”. But she is about to discover that her marriage is not what it seems. It is not just her who is hiding a secret…

And if that’s whetted your appetite, go and indulge in chapters one and two for free here.

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Until next time…tara a bit!

News Roundup: New books from Bold Strokes, L.T. Smith, & Pauline George. Clare Lydon’s Top 10 of 2014, Jade Winters on Saucy stuff, Events, Interviews & More!

12 Jan

Happy New Year! Yes, we’re back, refreshed and raring to go now that the festive season is over and done with and the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are already in the bloody shops. So stick your feet up, pop a Mini Egg or two, and settle in for the news…

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As befits the start of a year, we have loads of news on forthcoming novels. First up,  a trio of books pending from Bold Strokes Book‘s UK contingent.

a royal romanceLesley Davis recently announced that she has signed the contract for her next book, Starstruck. The author’s eleventh novel (if I’ve counted them correctly) is due for release in 2016.

With her début A Royal Romance due out in May, Jenny Frame isn’t resting on her laurels either. She posted this message over the Christmas period: I’m delighted to announce that I have just signed a contract with Bold Strokes Books for my second book, Heart of the Pack, coming in 2016. It features the Werewolves of Wolfgang County. If that has you intrigued, you can read more about said werewolves right here on Jenny’s blog.

Finally for this BSB hat trick, a tiny teaser from Rebecca S. BuckI just signed a contract for a new novel with BSB! This one is set in the 1920s…

For a sneak peek at the first half of BSB’s 2015 LesFic schedule, head to their newly updated Forthcoming page, which lists releases right through to August 2015. You’ll be able to find more information on new books from Andrea Bramhall, Lesley Davis, Gill McKnight, and me, Cari Hunter.

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199StepstoLoveThe second novel from Pauline George (whose début, Jess, was featured on the blog in February) has been released by Regal Crest. Set in Whitby, 199 Steps to Love has a blurb that reads like this:

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?

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beginningsAlso due out this month is an Ylva reissue of L.T. Smith‘s Beginnings (first published in 2007).

1974. The Osmonds, space hoppers and climbing trees, all grounded in the ultimate belief that life was perfect. Childhood filled with tomorrows and a friendship built to endure anything. Or was it? Lou Turner loves Ashley Richards. Always has and always will. This is Lou’s story…a story spanning thirty years…from the innocence of youth to the bitterness of adulthood…

You can read the full blurb over on our New Releases page, and if that has you minded to read more of L.T.’s work, she posted a short Christmas story over the break. Part One can be found here, and the remaining three parts are linked from her main blog.

Meanwhile, Astrid Ohletz – Ylva’s Publisher in Chief – posted this new year message on their website:

We at Ylva Publishing are really happy to have been able to give some spotlight to amazing authors from other publishing houses and self-publishers in 2014.

You’ll find interviews with Bev Prescott, Barbara Winkes, Carrie Carr, Rebecca Swartz, D Jordan ylvaRedhawk, Liz Bugg, Sarah Ettritch, Andrea Bramhall and Cari Hunter on our blog. We also had a lot of authors from other publishing houses and self-publishers participating in the anthologies we published last year. This list is too long to list here.
We would like to continue this tradition in 2015 as we are lovers of lesbian fiction. So, if you are or know an author who would like to be interviewed by us and get a spotlight on our blog… just contact as at info@ylva-publishing.com and we see if we can fit you in. We have several spots to offer. And watch out for our submission calls in 2015.

Hit the links to read the Brit-themed interviews :-)

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Also getting into the spirit of new year message is BSB editor, Vic Oldham, who is largely responsible for organising the annual BSB UK Author Fest held in Nottingham each year. It’s never too early to make a note in your diary, and this year’s event will run from June 5-7th, about which Vic had this to say:

We’ll be posting more details as they come along, but this is sure to be the most amazing year yet. We’ve got several new authors joining us, lots of ‘old’ favorites (not that I’m calling anyone old, clearly), and a whole host of new panels and even some writing workshops for those of you aspiring to join the ranks of the published.bold strokes notts

For the full blog and more details, head here.

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Being a thoughtful sort, Clare Lydon decided to close out 2014 with a review of the year on her blog. 2014: Ten Things I Learned details the ups and downs of everything from make-up application, to footy, to reading in public.

Publishing Books Is A Rollercoaster Ride

Writing a book and readying it for self-publication is a lot of hard work – the cover, editing, proofing, formatting & marketing. 2014 was a crash-course in that, and with a little help from my amazing friends as well as huge support from the local, national & international writing and reading communities, I managed it. I look forward to doing it again this year with at least one more book, maybe two.

clare lydon

Having found her calling behind a microphone, Clare is also reading from her second novel, The Long Weekend, at the Polari Literary Salon, February 23rd at the Royal Festival Hall. Tickets are available here, and more details can be found on our Events page.

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HILD_jacket_closerA snippet of news now from Nicola Griffith about Hild II and III:

Yes, after Hild II there will be Hild III. But there will only be three. The working title of Hild II is Menewood. I have no anticipated completion date. I’ve been travelling way too much to properly get my head back in the writing, as opposed to publicity, game.

Click here for the full post, and that link will allow you to root around for all the updates posted by Nicola during our festive hiatus.

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598px-Sarah_WatersOver at The Hairpin website is an interview with Sarah Waters that we missed while we were busy stuffing our faces with chocolate coins and Christmas pud. Queering the Canon is a fascinating interview that focuses upon “the importance of queer archives, secret lesbian communities of bygone eras, and the queering of Jane Austen classics”.

And for this novel, I sort of knew enough about lesbian history and this period to be confident that I could talk about lesbian communities…I think the crucial thing about this period was, there was the lesbian experience and information about homosexuality, but it very much depended on which circles you moved in. So if you were kind of arty or perhaps well-off, I think you’d have access to the new kinds of knowledge and information that were available. We have much less information, and we always do, about the working-class lesbian life in this period.

The full interview is well worth a read and can be found at the above link.

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neighbourJade Winters might be a prolific writer of LesFic, but – until recently – she’d never popped her erotica-writing cherry. All that changed with the publication of Neighbour From Heaven, a short piece of erotica co-written with Alexis Bailey and released in early December. Jade has been talking about her “first time” writing saucy stuff, in a guest blog that you can read here:

After reading Alexis’s stories I realised how liberating it was to let the characters be free and upfront about their wants and desires. For me, writing erotica, is less about the character’s heart fluttering when they encounter the woman of their dreams. It’s about their natural sexual desires being explored and not being ashamed to admit it.

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Kerry-Hudson-008For any prospective novelists out there, author Kerry Hudson is running writing workshops at City Lights, a project she founded to provide “affordable, high-quality, part-time creative writing courses that develop and reignite passion for the written word”. If that sounds like your idea of fun and you live in or near London, then head to this link for more details, booking information and prices.

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And I think that just about covers it. I hope everyone had a smashing Christmas and saw in 2015 with style (or went to bed at 10.30 p.m., which, y’know, is okay too!) Looking forward to bringing you the best and the brightest in UK LesFic for the coming year :-)

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