News roundup: new books from Clare Lydon and Cherry Potts, BSB and Polari events, and a good natter with Cari Hunter

30 Jan

News comes from the cold-virus reservoir that is the Ashton household this week. There’s a lot of it around I was told, when I was clearly asking for sympathy. Anyway, the more helpful suggested whisky as a relief, so let’s hope this doesn’t go too awry…

New books

AllIWantForValentines_FinalHot off the press is Clare Lydon‘s follow up to her Christmas bestseller All I Want for Christmas. All I Want for Valentine’s is the second book in the series that continues Tori and Holly’s story. And Clare has more novellas planned which follow their story through the year – All I Want for Spring is due out in March.

Here’s the blurb for book two and you can read more about the series here:

Did you read All I Want For Christmas and love it? Great news – Tori & Holly are back, ready to tackle the New Year as a loved-up couple! But what would complete the picture? A cat, of course. But to make that happen, Holly sets Tori a challenge. If she completes it, she’ll get a kitten for Valentine’s Day. But nothing’s ever that easy, now is it?

Step back into the lives of Tori & Holly in this funny, romantic and heart-warming story, the first in a series set to follow the lives of London’s favourite lesbian duo throughout 2016. Clare Lydon’s books are packed with sharp wit and charm, guaranteed to leave you feeling upbeat! Don’t delay – snap up this book today!

The Dowry Blade FRONT Cover finalMeanwhile, Cherry Potts, is also on the verge of publishing her lesbian epic fantasy, The Dowry Blade, a labour of love and an epic task in itself. The book is due out on the 25th February and there are launch events at Lewisham Library (24th February at 6.30 pm), Clapham Books (25th February 7.30 pm) and Beckenham Bookshop (3rd March at 7 pm).

Other launch events are being planned and she’ll be doing a giveaway on Goodreads from 25th February. Here’s the blurb.

Trust anyone, even an enemy…Trust no one, not even a friend

Nine years after the loss of her sister, and near obliteration of her clan, Brede is living unwillingly in the marshes. The sudden ending of a decade long drought, brings with it many changes: rumour has it that the rain was bought at the price of a King’s head, and the sword needed for such a sacrifice is missing. Change comes for Brede with the arrival of Tegan, a wounded mercenary. Brede’s discovery, first of the Dowry Blade and then a stolen horse, sets in train a journey in search of her missing sister and leads to an unexpected role in the Queen’s household, and a powerful lover.

starstruckAlso a quick reminder that Lesley Davis‘ latest, Starstruck, is now available. Lesley has been blogging about her new novel on the Bold Strokes Blog:

What was fun this time around was nearly everyone plays two parts. Cassidy Hayes is an actress so you’re introduced to the character she plays as well as her true self. Aiden Darrow is a writer, someone well used to having one foot in the real world and another in imaginary realms. She also loves the character Cassidy plays on screen and that’s where the idea for my story originated. Can someone very fantasy minded separate the actress from the character she plays? Especially when she is such a fangirl of the show the actress stars in?…Did I mention Cassidy has a stalker?

You can read the rest of the post here.

Blogs and interviews

Cari HClare Lydon’s continuing the Lesbian Book Club and this week she had a good natter with Cari Hunter. Definitely worth catching up with the podcast to hear Cari talk about how she got into this writing lark, how she’s found working on her excellent Dark Peak series, and of course a mention or two about biscuits and a brew is never far away. Here’s the link.

(As part of the interview Clare did ask her how the UK LesFic blog came about, but Cari couldn’t remember. I’d take offence, but I can’t remember either.)

gillmcknightIt’s been Gill McKnight‘s turn on the Ylva blog hop and she’s been ruminating about how she came up with her latest book The Tea Machine:

“The Tea Machine really began with a kernel of a thought, something my history teacher said eons ago that stuck. She was one of those teachers that make the subject they teach come alive. She pointed out that if the Romans had used steam as a source of power, the way, say, the English industrialists had, like George Stephenson (the father of the locomotive steam engine) for example; then we would probably all be living on Mars now

Here’s the full post.

lavieenbleuJust time for a quick review. The Lesbian Reading Room reviewed Jody Klaire‘s romcom La Vie en Bleu.

“La Vie en Bleu is an absolutely lovely read. It is well written, humorous and full of excellent human observation combined with an interesting version of the classic re-united lovers romance. It is very different from the Above and Beyond Series, but like all Ms Klaire’s work is extremely well done.

You can read the full review here.

Events

Some details on forthcoming events now.

bold books logoBold Strokes will be hosting another book festival in Nottingham. The event is in its seventh year and a great opportunity to meet some of the UK Bold Strokes authors (and the odd stray American) and hear about their latest books. The event takes place on the weekend of June 4th-5th and you can find more details as they come available on the Facebook event page.

VGLeePolari-on-sea is back after its successful run in Hastings last year. The next event is on Wednesday February 24th and includes readings from VG Lee – you can book tickets here.

VG is also running the Polari Writing Class at The Printworks in Hastings. It’s a set of six afternoon workshops that coincide with the season’s evening events. Dates and topics are:

Feb 24th – Ways into writing
March 22nd – Characterization.
April 27th – Flash fiction and poetry
May 25th – The short story
June 29th – Memoir and storytelling
July 27th – Ways to take your writing forward.

Attend all the classes or pick and choose. Price is £5 per workshop (or £25 for all six) payable in cash on the day. To reserve a place, email VG at vglee@dircon.co.uk.

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That’s all folks!

News Roundup: New Releases from Jane Fletcher & Jen Silver, Free Audio Book from Jane Retzig, Wrapping up 2015 with Clare Lydon, Events, Awards, and More!

16 Jan

The tinsel is stashed away for another year, the party poppers are popped, and we’re back with our first news round-up of 2016. I suspect most of our authors are still slightly hungover, because things are a little quiet on the UK LesFic front, but I’ve done my best to dig up a few tantalising tidbits with which to welcome in the new year…

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Let’s kick off with some good news on the awards front, with both Sarah Waters and Ali Smith making the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, for The Paying Guests And How to be Both respectively. The winner will be announced on June 3rd, and you can see a complete list of the finalists here.

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bold books logoBold Strokes Books have seen in the new year by giving their website a complete overhaul, and they’re rewarding punters with 10% off their current and backlist releases all through January. The website is far easier to navigate, looks rather pretty, and now comes with the facility to pre-order e-books. There are loads of UK authors publishing with BSB, so now might be a great opportunity to take a peek and catch up on those you might have missed.

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the-shewstoneI’ll stick with BSB for the moment, because Jane Fletcher is an author of theirs we’ve not heard from for a long while. If you’re a fan of Jane’s fantasy/romance novels, you’ll be delighted to hear that June 2016 will see the release of The Shewstone, the blurb for which reads like this:

In 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.

Clicking the link up there will take you to the pre-order page and allow you to jump to Jane’s BSB profile and all of her back catalogue.

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For those who enjoy resting their eyes and reading with their ears, Jane Retzig has released an audio version of her lesbian mystery/romance, The Photograph

the photographEverybody’s worried about Becky. She’s too rich, too young, and much too cute for her own good. And she’s driving her friends and family to distraction, playing fast and loose with the bored housewives she meets through Girl Power, the offshoot of Marsten Builders, which she co-runs with her best friend, Frankie. When she hears Niamh busking in the center of town, Becky is stunned by the intensity of her attraction to the itinerant young musician. The feeling is mutual. For Niamh, Becky has a familiar feel that reminds her of the home and family she has lost, and she quickly finds herself looking for ways to meet this intriguing young woman again.

Both women are deeply wary of any kind of new relationship. Their early experiences have left them wounded and vulnerable. But for some reason, they can’t help but trust each other. But even as the pair are taking their first shaky steps toward love, they begin to realize that their apparent chance meeting is already part of a much bigger drama unfolding. Events of the past are starting to catch up with them, and they are about to be faced with challenges and decisions that will change their lives forever….

The audio book is narrated by Danielle O’Farrell and available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes, but Jane is marking the launch by giving away free Audible copies to you lucky UK LesFic readers. If you are interested, please contact Jane at: janeretzig @ gmail . com  Be sure to take the spaces out of the address before you use it.

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clare lydonClare Lydon has wrapped up 2015 with a Ten Things I Learned… blog post, in which she discusses the joys of discovering Scrivener…

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a writing program that enables you to jump around your manuscript at will, keeps notes and most importantly, turn your novels into ebooks at the click of a button. Scrivener has made my life so much better. Apart from the morning it ate This London Love the day before I was due to release. That wasn’t pretty.

…And how rubbish she is at choosing titles:

Being a former magazine editor, titles should come easy to me, but they don’t. Time to start eating dictionaries for breakfast and pun books for lunch.

See the above link to have a toot at the other eight highlights!

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carved_final (1)Always busy on the blogging front, it seems that Jen Silver has been ramping up the novel writing as well, with new releases due in February and March. February will see the publication of Carved in Stone – the conclusion to the Starling Hill trilogy, and the re-release of all the books in that series, with a makeover cover for the central book in the trilogy. Meanwhile a standalone novel, The Circle Dance, is due out in March:

Another book, due out in March, is a completely new story with different characters and is called The Circle Dance. No archaeology in this one, but there is a nod or two to the surfeit of stone circles in the UK. You don’t have to go far to find one here. Not all as magnificent as Stonehenge, but compelling evidence of an ancient culture’s communication network.

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catherine hallA few events for your calendar now:

Val McDermid will be headlining at the York Literature Festival in March (if the city has dried out by then!). Poet Carol Ann Duffy is also on the guest list.  Find a full programme of events, ticket booking and the usual gubbins at the festival’s main site.

Catherine Hall has three events to discuss her most recent novel, The Repercussions, planned for spring. Find a listing of them here.

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And that about wraps things up. Brr, speaking of wrapping, it’s cold out there! Get plenty of layers on and don’t be slipping on any icy puddles. In fact, best just to stay inside and read a good book.

A Frolicking and Festive Q&A

18 Dec

We close out this year with our annual romp beneath the mistletoe with some of our most popular UK LesFic authors, who very kindly took the time to discuss their reading highlights of the year, the books they’re most looking forward to in 2016, and their traditional festive indulgences…

 

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Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare had a busy old year in 2015. Not content with releasing two novels (This London Love, and the festive frolic, All I Want for Christmas), she continued to hosting her popular Lesbian Book Club over on the Lesbian Lounge, and appeared at LFest. Keep up to date with Clare, here at her blog.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all the littleI read quite a few books in 2015, but two stuck in my head. The first was G Benson’s All The Little Moments. It’s a debut novel about a family dealing with grief and it had me in floods of tears – I mean, *sobbing*. But as well as being a family drama that put me through the wringer, there was romance, no shortage of humour and two gorgeous little kids running around the novel too. The characters stayed with me and continue to pop into my head months after reading it.
My second choice is a book written in 1969 but only read by me this year. It’s called Patience And Sarah by Isabel Miller and it’s the story of a love affair between two women in the 19th century and is loosely based on a true story. It’s poetic, sublime, romantic and made me want to crawl inside the pages and just lie there, soaking it up. I loved every delicious word and plan on reading it again soon. If you haven’t read it yet, do it!

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

at the waters edgeI’ve interviewed loads of fab authors on my Lesbian Book Club podcast and quite a few have new books coming out next year. I’m particularly looking forward to new novels from British authors Angela Peach and HP Munro – we’ve been waiting a while, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it! Also, Harper Bliss is planning on producing something every month, so she’s going to be interesting to keep an eye on – I really liked her At The Water’s Edge. It’s going to be a stellar year I’m sure!

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I love Christmas and all its traditions. I love the invisible deadline whereby you have to see all your friends beforehand, so end up having dinner out for 20 days straight (it’s already started for me). I love autumnal weather. I never get bored of hearing Wham!, Mariah, The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. I love The Holiday, Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol. I love buying presents, sending cards, inhaling tins of Quality Street and glugging mulled wine. But most of all, I love the excitement and anticipation of Christmas. The build-up is pure, blissful magic.
The Boxing Day hangover, though? Not so good.

HP Munro 

hp munroHP lives in Edinburgh with her wife and a wauzer named Boo. Her début novel Silver Wings was shortlisted for the Golden Crown Literary Society Historical Fiction award in 2014, her second novel Grace Falls was published in Feb 2014, swiftly followed in late May by novel number three, Stars Collide. 

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

the red filesjpgIt’s been a good year for reading, as most of my favourite authors all published this year (some of them twice!) but I’m going to go with one that I sort of stumbled across. The Red Files by Lee Winter, had everything that I wanted and more. Action, suspense, and political drama. Not to mention my absolute favourite plotline of a love story -two protagonists who start out from a point of dislike who are thrown together to unravel a bit of a mystery.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

In the interests of my own sanity I’d love to have a book out there next year, aside from that – non lesfic I’m impatiently waiting for Christopher Brookmyre’s new book in January and lesfic wise I’ll settle for all my favourite authors publishing again….twice!

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

My favourite thing about Christmas is my wife’s face when I inevitably select the most humungous tree (last years was over 12ft) When we get it home I put on the festive music, crack open a bottle of bubbly and dress up in my Santa suit to decorate the house.

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Karen Campbell 

karencampbell2Karen has just published her fourth novel The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, and won the Ultimate Planet (New) Author of the Year Award in 2014. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drinks lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all my friendsI don’t read lesfic, although I did read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which was good once I got past the 200 page mark. I found it slow to begin but she writes beautifully so I didn’t mind. My favourite book I read this year was called All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I am getting a Jeanette Winterson book for Christmas called The Gap of Time. It is a reworking of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. I love Jeanette, she is my favourite
author in the whole wide world.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I don’t have any. I am the only Scottish person I know who doesn’t get drunk at Hogmanay. I participate in Christmas for other people, I don’t care one way or the other. It’s nice to see my nephews happy but other than that, I think the message has been lost. We need to be kind and thoughtful all year.

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Jenny Frame

jenny frameJenny hails from the small town of Motherwell in Scotland, where she lives with her partner, Lou, and their well loved and very spoiled dog. She made her lesfic début in 2015 with A Royal Romance, and her second novel Heart of the Pack is due to be published in May, 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

PLayinginshadowI’m way, way, behind on my 2015 reading list, but of the ones I’ve gotten through I enjoyed, Playing In Shadow by Lesley Davis, and Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden, and The Romance Vote by Ali ValiPlaying In Shadow I really enjoyed because it had lots of elements I really enjoy, including video games references and gothic rock. Just Three Words is a sweet book. So utterly romantic that it makes you swoon. The Romance Vote was really enjoyable to read. I knew next to nothing about the American political system, and I came away from the book with a little bit more of an insight into it. The second thing thing that made it so great was the deliciously handsome butch character, which you can always be sure to find in a Ali Vali book.

prescription for loveWhat’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I’m hoping to catch up on my reading list over Christmas and the New Year, and first on the list is, Ready or Not by Melissa Brayden, and Radclyffe‘s Prescription For Love.

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Yum yum!

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Andrea Bramhall

BSB-AndreaBramhallLgAndrea is a Stockport native who now runs a campsite in Deepdale, and is planning a move to the Lake District in the not too distant. Somehow she finds time to write novels and scuba dive! Her second novel, Clean Slate, scooped the 2014 Lambda Literary award for best lesbian romance. Her sixth novel, Collide-O-Scope is due to be published by Ylva in 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

The Red Files, by Lee Winter. Funny, good mystery, great characters, and some pretty hot love scenes. Well worth a read.

What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

the fifthTop of my reading list for next year – hmmm, tricky. There are so many books on my “to read pile” right now. Building a house is not conducive to keeping up to date with new releases. But I’m really looking forward to Michelle Grubb‘s upcoming release The Fifth Gospel. I’ve really enjoyed Michelle’s previous two books, so I’m excited about this next one.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

Fave seasonal piece – I don’t really have a fab seasonal book. I like to spend time with my family and friends so I spend more time away from books at this time of year than any other. We do have a sort of tradition though. On Christmas Eve my partner and I watch Christmas movies…lots of them, but A Christmas Carol is always one of them. Used to be the old black and white one, but we’ve modernised. Patrick Stewart as Scrooge works best now.

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Manda Scott

manda-scottManda Scott’s first novels were a series of critically acclaimed crime stories featuring lesbian detective Kellen Stewart, and her debut Hen’s Teeth was short-listed for the Orange Prize. More recently she has been better known for her best-selling historical novels – the Boudica Series and then the Rome spy thrillers set in the same era. Into the Fire published in 2015 is a historical thriller linking arson attacks in modern-day France with the story of Joan of Arc.

spygames2My favourite read is always the most recent – which is Spy Games by Adam Brookes. It’s not remotely lesbian, but it’s an exceedingly good spy thriller, one of the best I’ve ever read.  This man really is the new Le Carré.

Of the rest, Tuesday Falling was excellent (by S Williams) and I always love the work of Andrew Taylor: his most recent A Silent Boy is exceptional. Non-fiction would have to be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and in the light of the Paris climate talks, this has to be required reading for everyone, along with The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. If you haven’t read both, they’re essential.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

The new Neil Gaiman, whatever that is. The new Andrew Taylor, whatever that is. The new Imogen Robertson

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas indulgence… I give myself a week of reading between the solstice and the end of the month – which is sheer, unencumbered indulgence and gets me through the seasonal hostilities. I’m really, really looking forward to this.

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VG Lee

VGLeeVG Lee is a fond favourite of many a lesbian fiction reader. Her first novel Diary of a Provincial Lesbian was a treasure back in the days when lesbian fiction was thin on the ground. And now in more plentiful times, her work
stands out for its quality, comedy and poignancy. Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”. As a judge of the Polari First Book Prize, VG samples a good selection of queer fiction and her recommendations are always worth heeding.

carol– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

I re-read Carol by Patricia Highsmith as the film was due out. I’d feared that it might sound dated but quite the contrary. It’s a great, exquisitely written book – the characters aren’t particularly likeable but that seems very in keeping with much of the fiction today. Haven’t seen the film yet but the book would make a great Christmas present.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

DeliriumDelirium, the Rimbaud Delusion by Barbara Scott Emmett. Now I’m not sure if this is lesfic as I’ve only heard a short section from it when the author, Barbara Scott Emmett was chosen from the Polari Workshop in Newcastle to read at the evening event. It did sound as if there is at least a lesbian element in it. The piece the author chose to read out captured the entire audience and I’ve now ordered the novel on Amazon.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I may have mentioned this before but I spend the whole of Boxing Day in bed with Christmas present books and cheese and pickled onion sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Pickled onions courtesy of author Rose Collis!

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Kiki Archer

Kiki-264After a year out screenplay writing, the original lesbian chicklit favourite came back this year with a scorcher of a novel. Too Late I Love You smashed the lesbian fiction charts and had a foray into the contemporary fiction charts too. Rumour has it that a glitzy novel is on its way for next year.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

justthreewordsMelissa Brayden‘s Just Three Words. It’s the second in the Soho Loft Series and focuses on Hunter and Sam, two friends, work colleagues and house mates who risk everything when desire takes hold. I loved the book because it portrayed a growing shift of feelings between friends. Come on, we’ve all been there – that friend who’s a friend, until they’re not.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

gettingbackI have so many I need to catch up on, but top of the list is Getting Back by Cindy Rizzo. Cindy excels when writing strong and powerful women and I love the idea of a novel focused on the publishing industry and changes within it.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas is my favourite time of year. The tree is always up by December 1st, the house is swamped in festive lights and carols are played on repeat. As for indulgence it has to be tree chocolates. It’s the naughtiness of announcing to the children they cannot be pinched without permission… and the minute they’re in bed that’s exactly what I do. No one in the family knows I’ve replaced the whole batch three times already.

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rainbow treeA massive thank you to each of our participating authors – we hope they’ve given you plenty of ideas for stocking fillers! All that remains for Tig and I to do is wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2016. We’ll be back with more news, guest blogs, and features in January.

News Roundup: awards, events, new books, freebies and more!

15 Dec

It’s time for the last post of 2015!

Apart from the next post that is, which is our fabulous best of 2015 lesfic as chosen by several wonderful UK lesfic authors. But apart from that, here’s the last post of the year!

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no good reasonAnd firstly massive congratulations to that Cari Hunter whose No Good Reason has made off with the Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller. The awards organiser Elisa Rolle was tickled to make out the award certificate: “Cari Hunter has been awarded… for No Good Reason”. But actually there were very good reasons and the book was judged to be “Brilliant” and “A fabulous mystery”. More details and fine words about the book here.

Cold to the TouchAnd if you’ve had the good sense to have read No Good Reason already, you are in luck because book two of The Dark Peak series, Cold to the Touch, is now available on Amazon.

The Velvet Lounger at the Lesbian Reading Room has been quick off the mark and reviewed Book 2 already:

Cari Hunter writes decidedly good stories. She combines excellent plot lines, which twist and turn, with crime drama and just the right amount of thriller to keep us on the edge of our seats. Each book feels distinctive, enjoyably new and refreshingly different to standard crime dramas. Cold to the Touch is a sequel to the excellent No Good Reason, and fans of Sanne and Meg will love where she takes them this time. Cold to the Touch is more than strong enough to stand alone, but why miss an excellent series?

blindtrustYou can read the spoiler-free review here.

Congratulations also to Jody Klaire whose Blind Trust was runner up in the Rainbow Awards in the Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller category. Jody is on Book Three of the Above and Beyond series and you can get a sneak peek at Untrained Eye on her website.

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Speaking of awards, The Ultimate Planet Awards are now open for voting. The awards were created to recognise, thank and promote the work of grass-roots event organisers and community businesses who improve the lesbian, bi and queer scene.

ultimateplanetThere are three categories related to lesfic: Independent Author with nominees Dawn Carter, Karen Campbell, Kiki Archer and Sally Edwards. Publishing House Author with LT Smith, Sarah Waters and VG Lee. And LBQ Book nominees Diary of a Broken Heart by Karen Campbell, Murder by Proxy by Dawn Carter, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and Too Late I Love You by Kiki Archer. Good luck to all the nominees and get voting here.

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AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonOn to reviews, and The Lesbian Review has been busy. First up is Clare Lydon‘s All I Want for Christmas. The review site says:

“All I Want For Christmas by Clare Lydon is a must-read Christmas novel. It will fill you with holiday cheer and make your heart sparkle with twinkly lights.

It is the story of Tori who, exactly a month before Christmas, decides that all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. This ensues in a delightful romantic romp through bad dates, missed opportunities and long lost loves returning to her life.”

You can read the full review here and if you fancy buying a signed copy for Christmas then scuttle over here before last post.

starting overJen Silver‘s Starting Over is also reviewed:

The book starts off with one of the most awkward and hilarious visits that I have ever read… This is a gentle read that explores the intricacies of a relationship and what it means to different people. It’s an awesome read for people who like happy endings and for those who like to take a peek into other people’s lives.

Read the full review here.

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A bit of blogging and chatting now.

catherine hallIt’s good to hear that Catherine Hall, author of The Repercussions, is working on a new novel. She did a rare blog recently about getting back in the saddle and her writing routine:

I’ve been accused before of obsession, of being compulsive about order, my habits, my routines, and I think there’s probably some truth in it. But to get to the marathon end of a novel, a certain amount of obsession is required. You have to protect your time to write it from all the other people and things that make their demands. You have to really care about this thing that you’re creating, enough to keep going for as long as if takes, going back to it day after day, facing your own imperfections, your lack of talent, nitpicking over words, checking details, historical fact. It’s horrible, it’s exhausting, it’s fantastic.

You can read the full piece here.

Cari HMeanwhile, Cari Hunter has been ruminating about why she writes what she writes. Why crime and why lesfic?

When I put pen to paper at the start of No Good Reason, I didn’t really consider my motives. Crime has long been a favourite genre of mine, and I had thoroughly enjoyed getting my teeth stuck into the police procedural aspects of my third novel Tumbledown, so it seemed like a natural step to try my hand at writing a fully fledged crime novel. I also craved the opportunity to write a series, and a format where a fresh case could be investigated by recurring protagonists fitted that bill nicely.

Read on here.

jenny frameAnd Jenny Frame, author of A Royal Romance, was interviewed over on Lynn Lawler’s site. Jenny talks about why she started writing, her background and her inspiration behind A Royal Romance. There’s also a sneak preview of her forthcoming book Heart of the Pack – A Wolfgang County Novel.

You can read the full piece here.

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HopeHeartWinterRebecca Buck has a new short story set in the roaring twenties and, at the moment, it is free on the Bold Strokes Website! Here’s the blurb.

In 1927, Evadne Burns invites her closest school friends to join her for a weekend reunion at her grand home, Winter Manor. The passing of time and the dark shadow of the First World War has shaped them all as women, yet their friendships remain strong. The tragedy of the era has only made them more determined to live their lives to the full.

Evadne is delighted to see Clara and Courtney again, two women dedicated to each other since they were schoolgirls and still unable to keeps their hands off each other, even in view of Winter’s servants. There is the more conservative Madge, to remind them of the life they were expected to lead. But most of all, Evadne is pleased to see Edith Richardson, with whom she shared one precious night but left a lasting connection. With Edith, she chooses to share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives, together or apart.

Rebecca’s forthcoming novel, Fragile Wings, set in the same era is also available for pre-order on the site. And she also blogs about the Great War over on the Bold Strokes Author Blog site.

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wheniknewyouKe Payne has a release date for her next novel, When I Knew You. It’s her second adult romance (after Once The Clouds Have Gone). It’s just been through its final edit stage and will be published by Bold Strokes in March. Here’s the blurb:

When Ash Wells and Nat Braithwaite are thrown together after seventeen years apart, old resentments and passions are rekindled. The days of their heady teenage relationship are long gone – or are they? As they put aside their differences to honour the memory of a friend, Ash and Nat learn that sometimes, to build a future, you have to be willing to let go of the past.

Ke will be with us in the new year to tell us about her latest book.

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VGLeeA little way in the future yet but some early notice from VG Lee about a Gaia Women Tutored Writing Retreat next September in Scotland. The event runs from 5th to the 10th. VG will be the resident tutor supplying advice and running the writing workshop covering the novel.

There will also be a second tutor overseeing the short story section. For more information on the retreat see the Gaia Woman website.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006On to more best-selling authors and their favourite picks.

Sarah Waters was recently interviewed at the Cinema Museum in London about her Desert Island Movies. Here’s her list. And while you’re on her website check out the details for the theatre adaptation of The Night Watch starting in May in Manchester.

manda-scottManda Scott has been picking her favourite books of the year over on her website. She’s picked the best of her reads from fantasy to World War II fiction. See the full list here and there’s more from Manda in our best-of-2015 Q&A!

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Finally the fabulous Women and Words are running their Hootenanny so nip over there every day for the chance to win in the massive lesfic giveaway!

Tara a bit!

News Roundup: New Releases from Karen Campbell & Angela Peach, Polari Readings, Andrea Bramhall Cover reveal, and Free Stuff!

21 Nov

Welcome to a rather wet and shivery news update, written on one of those days where you just want to curl up with a nice cup of tea and a good book. So howsabout you stick the kettle on and I’ll have a toot at what’s on the shelves this week?

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strange adventures ofAnd I can indeed start by telling you all about a new book. Karen Campbell Diary of a Broken Heart, The Knowing, Little Whispers has recently released The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, a book that – it’s fair to say – sounds unlike anything else in the pantheon of UK LesFic.

Mavis Street is a dwarf with one brown eye and one green eye, and a lopsided mouth. She grows up in the love of her mother and father, who teach her the lessons she needs for life. Growing up adept at poker, she wins a casino, buys a strip joint (where she first meets the beautiful Eladora Diodata) and runs a funeral parlour. She is assisted in life with best friends, Freya the Norwegian, Allistar Spanner and Sven the Swedish fisherman.

But Mavis needs a love and is lonely. She has a voice of honey and this dwarf talent leads her to a late-night radio show, where she broadcasts through the night, unable to sleep with longing for her lost love, Eladora Diodata.
Finally, Mavis will receive word that Eladora must be rescued and Mavis and Sven will set off on a course that will alter all their lives.

This is a book about family and love and friends and even though you may look in the mirror, as Mavis does, and think yourself ugly, there is always a true lover waiting who sees that you are beautiful because beauty is not measured in centimetres.

You can buy the book at the link above.

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VGKikiI had the pleasure of meeting Karen at the recent lesbian authors coffee shop event in Urmston where she read her short story, Voices Carry, from the Little Whispers collection. It’s a gorgeous story and – as luck would have it for those not in Manchester that day – Polari have posted a video of Karen reading it for the November Polari event.

Karen shared the bill with Kiki Archer and VG Lee, whose readings from Too Late…I Love You, and Diary of a Provincial Lesbian can be watched by clicking the links.

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cloud heartsMeanwhile Angie Peach is gearing up for the release of a new novel in February/March 2016 by releasing a selection of short stories to whet the appetite. The first, Cloud Hearts, is available here on Amazon:

I’m waiting in the meadow for her, for Elizabeth. The last place she could possibly be, and I hope that after all this time, she’ll remember. Because if she doesn’t…well, the consequences don’t even bear thinking about. We parted in the worst way possible and even though it took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened, I know the burden she carries weighs heavy in her heart and there’s every chance she can’t let go of the past.
But she must. If we are to ever have a chance at love again, she needs to forgive. Please, Elizabeth? Please?

Keep an eye out for more shorts as the release date creeps closer.

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collide o scopeAndrea Bramhall has unveiled the cover and the blurb for her forthcoming release Collide-O-Scope, her first with Ylva, which will be published in April 2016:

An unidentified woman is found murdered on the North Norfolk Coastal Path and newly promoted Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and Kings Lynn’s CID have the task of figuring out whom, how, and why. A job that’s made more difficult when every one of the forty residents in the village has something to hide and answers her questions with a string of lies.

Georgina Temple has her own secrets to keep, and her own reasons to keep them. But her growing attraction to Kate makes it increasingly difficult to keep them.

Kate’s investigation into the woman’s death delves into the heart of the tiny fishing village where nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Andrea’s most recent novel, The Chameleon’s Tale, was also reviewed by the Velvet Lounger this week:

“In the latest offering, The Chameleon’s Tale, we are firmly planted in South Africa, starting during apartheid when being liberal was a dangerous personal statement, and jumping forward to the present day, when the anger and pain of that era is still deeply engrained in all those affected. It combines romance, as do all Bramhall’s books, with a personal intrigue and a political thriller – in this case a page-turner dealing with corporate greed and social abuse.”

You can read the full review here.

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AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonAll of which brings us hurtling to everyone’s favourite bit of the news: Free stuff!

First up is Clare Lydon, who is giving away a free bonus chapter of her chart-topping festive romance All I Want For Christmas. If you’ve read the book and you want to find out what happens to the characters on Boxing Day then all you need to do is sign up to Clare’s mailing list and she’ll send you the chapter for absolutely no pence whatsoever. Can’t say fairer than that.

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Cold to the TouchAnd that’s not all… Being a generous type, I’m currently running a giveaway for two copies of Cold to the Touch – the December sequel to No Good Reason. The first couple of names I pull out of the hat when the draw closes on Sunday 22nd November will win a paperback – signed or unsigned! – and a bag of delicious pork scratchings :-)

You can enter by commenting here on my blog, or by saying hallo on my Facebook page. You are not obliged to eat the pork scratchings. Good luck!

 

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sdmFinally this week it’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to lesbian fiction author Sandra Moran. Sandra – who had many UK friends, myself and Tig among them – died on November 7th with her family by her side, shortly after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Sandra’s first novel Letters Never Sent was published in 2013 and went on to win Rainbow awards for Best Lesbian Historical Romance and Best Lesbian Début, a Goldie for Dramatic General Fiction, and the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Nudge followed hot on its heels in 2014, and All We Lack was published in March of this year.

Sandra had only spent a few years in the LesFic community, but her love of all things neon, taking blurry pictures of her cats and creating daft pie charts, along with her just being a damn good egg, made her a very popular lady indeed. She’ll be hugely missed, and our deepest condolences go to her family.

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News Roundup: Rainbow Award honourable mentions, new books, events and a loo break

5 Nov

fireworks-728413_640Ooooooooooooooooooo, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…

I lost my bra
I left my knickers in my girlfriend’s car.

I digress.  It’s that time of year, when children eat apples of their own volition and parents gleefully encourage them to hold white hot pieces of metal. It’s Fireworks Night!

~~~

First up, the Rainbow Awards and a few of the British entries are already sparkling away. No shortlists yet, but the honorable mentions are being rolled out (books that have scored highly with at least one judge):

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason has been described as “A fabulous mystery, well grounded in setting, creepy and steadily paced, reminiscent of the television show Broadchurch.” and by another judge as “Very good craft. Great story”.

season's meetingsAmy Dunne’s Season’s Meetings has been very well received: “I really enjoyed this book.  You could feel like you were with the characters especially when they were stranded in that decrepit car in the snow.  A wonderful holiday romance!”

too late I love youKiki  Archer’s Too Late… I Love You: “Another well written book by Kiki Archer.  Hard to put down, kept my interest throughout.  I really liked Connie and how her story was told.  Liked Kiki’s writing style as well.” I liked it – I liked it a lot – the premise was fresh and new and the humor in the romance most welcome.

blindtrustAnd Jody Klaire’s Blind Trust: “Heroine Aeron Lorelei is the kind of “aw, shucks” down home woman it can grow tiring to read about in less skilled hands, but in Klaire’s care, she’s a paragon of many virtues, none of them cloying or unbelievable. I fell in love with her over the course of the novel, and when I finished, I wished I had my own Aeron.”

Let’s hope they all make it through to the final short lists. Good luck folks!

~~~

On to bits and blogs and something’s been bugging Jen Silver:

Maybe it’s my age, but I find myself being critical of stories where the characters can seemingly go for days without going to the loo. I mean, really. How many of us, get up, get dressed, and rush out of the house without stopping to pee? Let alone any other morning rituals – shower, teeth brushing, coffee, food.

For the rest of Jen’s thoughts on bathroom breaks have peek over here.

There’s a new episode of the Lesbian Book Club with Clare Lydon available. This month she interviews best-selling Kiki Archer. Kiki has a natter about writing what you know, overgrown bushes, where that pen-name came from, her ultra-successful Too Late… I Love You, and tips for authors wanting that best-seller. And a hint or two about her work in progress Lost in the Starlight. Sounds intriguing.

At the end of the show Clare also reads an extract from her new novel All I Want For Christmas. Pop over here to listen.

~~~

New and upcoming books and a brand new author.

TheRetreatJane Retzig has a new book out and it’s already available on Amazon: The Retreat: A Kind of Lesbian Romance.

Jo and Ed are unlikely best friends. He is the only son of wealthy parents. She was born on ‘the wrong side of the tracks’. He loves sport, messing around with cars, and drinking. She’s ambitious and hardworking. They are, in fact, a perfect team. They’ve stood by each other for almost thirty years. They’ve built a successful business together.

There’s just one problem. Jo is having an affair with Ed’s wife. And now someone knows their secret. It’s Christmas Eve 2014. And nothing is ever going to be the same again…

ReluctancePat Adams-Wright has her second novel, Reluctance, out late November:

Two women, whose hearts and worlds have been torn apart by the loss of their partners, in drastically different ways, are thrown together by chance. Fate has brought them to live side by side, but can love dispel the reluctance that lives in both their hearts and give their burgeoning romance chance to take flight.

ShapeofthepathAnd now to new author EH Smith: a fiction and fanfiction writer who lives in Kent with her wife and two cats, studying for a BSc in Natural Science and working towards a second novel.

Her Shape of the Path is already available on Amazon. Here is the blurb:

The Shape of the Path follows Kathryn Cayliss on her coming-of-age journey through negotiating her first love, homophobic parents, and the temptations of recreational drugs as a means to escape her suffering. Through a difficult and unpredictable journey, will there be redemption as her path wends in unexpected directions.

~~~

polaribirminghamAnd finally a reminder about some events:

You can catch Suzanne Egerton at the Local Author Showcase, Motherwell Library, where writers talk about the writing process and read from their work. They’ll be a Q&A session too. Saturday 28th November, 2pm. Call 01698 332626 to book a place.

Polari-on-Sea is coming to an end, but you still have a chance to catch one more night of the Hasting’s outing of the literary salon. Diana Souhami and VG Lee are among the writers featured on the final night, on Monday 23rd November. More details here.

There’s also still a chance to get tickets for the Birmingham leg of the Polari tour on November the 14th. This sold out last year and was an excellent evening. The line-up is fabulous with VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Karen McLeod and Karen Campbell. Don’t miss out! Grab a ticket here.

~~~

And that’s it. Wrap up warm. Mind where you stick those sparklers. And have a happy bonfire night!

News Roundup: Clare Lydon is Feeling Festive, a New Release from Jade Winters, Sarah Waters on the Silver Screen, Jody Klaire Interview, and More!

24 Oct

At last! The Spooky Season is nigh upon us, with pumpkins being readied, the shops full of Haribo, and ridiculously expensive Halloween costumes clogging up the aisles (whatever happened to making your own out of a sheet and some fake blood?!) All of which leads me nicely to our first news piece of the fortnight…

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AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonHandily combining two festive occasions in one book release, is Clare Lydon whose fourth novel, All I Want for Christmas, is set to hit bookshelves (or e-readers) on October 31st, which should give people plenty of time to buy it and get it ready to tuck into Christmas stockings. Eyes right for the seasonal cover. Meanwhile, the book’s blurb goes like this:

This Christmas, Tori Hammond is on a mission to find love. Her ideal present under the tree would be a shiny new girlfriend, so Tori gives herself one month to find that special lady by December 25th. Christmas spells romance and she’s going to grab some.

However, Tori’s dates bring their own complications, and when someone unexpected strolls back into her life, her Christmas girlfriend quest is turned upside down. Will Tori land on her feet and find the woman of her dreams? And if she does, will it be who she expected?

~ ~ ~

Jade Winters has sneaked another novel onto Amazon, with the release of Love Interrupted:

Love-Interrupted-High-Resolution.jpgcover-430x688There are two sides of every story. And then there’s the truth.

Divorce is rarely pretty and never fair. When successful divorce solicitors Harper Anderson and Dylan Blue find themselves on opposing sides of a bitter separation, they become uncontrollably consumed by more than just the case…

Dylan is fiercely ambitious, Harper a crusader for justice, so when the adversaries lock horns in professional combat, the tension is overwhelming. Harper hates Dylan’s ruthlessness, Dylan is repulsed by Harper’s ‘bleeding heart liberalism’. As they both battle for their clients’ interests, they find themselves at once repelled and strangely attracted to one another.

It is a case which will divide, infuriate and ultimately unite the two women, who find a deep love and understanding in the ashes of their clients’ broken relationship.

The novel is available to buy on Kindle or you can read it for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited punter.

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justine and janeSomeone we’ve not heard from for a long while is Bold Strokes author, Jane Fletcher, but fans of her Celaeno and Lyremouth Fantasy series will no doubt be pleased to hear that a new book is on the way. Jane recently posted this message on Facebook:

I’m not a compulsive writer. I don’t have the all-consuming urge to write that other authors talk about. Sometimes it just feels like a slog. But the thing that keeps me going is though I don’t necessarily like writing, I adore having written. And to that end, I can announce that I have wrote. I sent off the manuscript for The Shewstone this morning.

We’re not sure yet whether the novel will be related to her previous works, or a standalone – more news as soon as we get it!

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire has made a return to the Liz McMullen Show to chat about her French romcom romp, La Vie En Bleu, her Above and Beyond series, and her passion for music, amongst other stuff. You can watch the interview at this link.

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News about Emma Donoghue‘s next novel has been posted on her website. We have no clue as to its lesbian content (might not have any!) but we thought we’d give you a heads up just in case: You heard it first: my next novel, The Wonder, set in 1850s Ireland, comes out in September 2016. It’s the story of an eleven-year-old girl who seems to live without eating, and the English nurse sent to discover whether she’s a fraud.

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598px-Sarah_WatersI mentioned a Sarah Waters film night in the last but one news, and it’s been listed on the Events page for a while as well. Originally, following the link provided sweet FA in terms of information, but Sarah’s website has now updated with details of what the evening will entail. Apparently the first in a Desert Island Flicks (stop it!) series, Sarah will be showing clips from and discussing films that have “moved, entertained and inspired her.” The event will be held on 7th November at the Cinema Museum, London, and tickets are £8.50. You can find more information here.

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Finally this week, the larger LesFic community received the news that one of its most popular authors, Sandra Moran (Letters Never Sent, Nudge, and All That We Lack) had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Sandra has a hell of a lot of British mates, myself and Tig included, and our thoughts are with her and her family.

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