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 :-)

Merry Christmas Q&A!

18 Dec

snowmanIt’s becoming a bit of a festive tradition here at UK LesFic to corral a few of our finest (or drunkest!) authors and ask them to answer three book and Christmas-themed questions.

Our questions to round out this year were:

- What was your book of the year and why?

- What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

- And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Here’s what they had to say…

 

c-holly-banner

 

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VGLeeVG Lee is a stand-up comedian and novelist and, in the words of Stella Duffy, “funny, smart, clever, witty, not afraid to be honest and poignant at the same time.” Her first novel Diary of Provincial Lesbian is treasured by many, and Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”.

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What was your book of the year and why?

petite mortI read Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman, published by Serpent’s Tail, when I was a judge on this year’s Polari First Book Prize and thought it was excellent. (The novel made the shortlist of five.) The heroine is Adele Roux, seventeen years old and the story is set for the most part in Paris in 1913. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and thrilling.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

I’m going to go backwards to answer this because I want to re-read Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter which was published in 2008. Someone lent me a copy and I thoroughly enjoyed it but then had to give it back and I find I miss it. The story is set in Victorian London and based on a real-life scandal and it’s absolutely gripping!

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As there are several people I would like to be the angel on the top of my tree, I shall be diplomatic and opt for my cat Lettuce. I can easily imagine her climbing up the tree, hanging from a branch, bringing the whole thing crashing down…

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kikiarcherpolariKiki Archer is the mistress of lesbian chicklit and all five of her novels have been massive lesfic best-sellers. She’s been quiet of late, working on a screenplay to that bestest selling of them all, But She is My Student.

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What was your book of the year and why?

love is enoughI loved Melissa Brayden’s Kiss the Girl. It was smart, sweet, and really sexy. Plus there was a huge focus on snogging, perfect.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My ‘to read’ pile is so high now, but top of the list is definitely Cindy Rizzo’s Love is Enough. I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy over the summer when she read on my Creating Chemistry panel at L Fest, and she was such good fun. I loved her debut book, Exception to the Rule, and I’ve heard this one is just as good.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would love it to be Gillian Anderson, Stella Duffy from The Fall. I have a huge crush on her power lesbian vibe and her array of satin shirts!

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catherine hallCatherine Hall is a Cambridge graduate who enjoyed careers in documentary-film production and international peace-building before she became a freelance writer. Her début, Days of Grace, was critically and commercially successful, and The Proof of Love won the Green Carnation Prize. Her latest novel is the vivid and intriguing The Repercussions.

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What was your book of the year and why?

thirstI really loved Kerry Hudson’s Thirst – it’s easy to see why it was shortlisted for this year’s Green Carnation prize. It’s a love story with a difference that takes you from Hackney to Russia with complex, damaged, beautifully portrayed characters who really make you care and yearn for them to be all right in the end.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My Christmas stocking is bound to be bookishly bulgy. Hopefully with Stella Duffy’s new collection of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined. I’ve read a couple of them and they’re fantastic. If there’s also a copy of The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters to curl up with in front of a roaring fire and a hot toddy, I’d be a very happy girl indeed.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Laura Prepon, in her incarnation as Alex Vause in Orange is The New Black would be the perfect naughty angel to grace my tree. Hopefully she’d fly down and join me under the mistletoe for a bit of Christmas cheer…

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KePayneBath resident KE Payne is an author with Bold Strokes Books. She has written five Young Adult novels, including the very funny 365 Days. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. Her latest novel, Once the Clouds Have Gone, is her first adult lesbian romance, and she has been dead chuffed with its reception.

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What was your book of the year and why?

kiss in the darkThe book that stayed with me long after I’d read it this year was A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke. It’s the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. I loved her flowing style of writing and the fact that the book is written from two different perspectives, which added a nice twist to it.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Can I cheat and have two? I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m itching to get my hands on the latest Sarah Waters novel, The Paying Guests. I absolutely love her flowing style of writing, so that’s definitely on my list. I also hear rumblings that Kate Morton has a new book on the horizon too, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one. I love Kate Morton; I find her writing so beautiful and soothing. Reading her books is akin to snuggling on the sofa under a blanket on a winter’s night with your fluffy PJs on. Just lovely.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree (and why)? Oh, this is going to sound cheesy, and he never did suit a tutu, but I’d like my father to come back and visit me again. He died a long time ago now, and I sometimes struggle to remember what he sounded like, so to hear his voice again just one more time would make my Christmas.

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veronica fearonVeronica Fearon was born in Hackney, in the east end of London to West Indian parents. She has a degree in psychology and has worked as a criminal lawyer in London for most of her adult life. Her début novel, The Girl with the Treasure Chest, was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

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What was your book of the year and why?

mitchieMy book of the year is called Mitchie by Catherine Blackfeather. It’s a story about a young girl forced to flee her home town, and make a life disguised as a boy. It’s full of reprehensible characters, which I love, and Mitchie’s voice is earnest and comical even in the face of some quite serious issues.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Top of my wish list for next year is Always you Edina by VG Lee. She is one of those rare writers who can inject humour into every word or sentence she chooses.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As for the Angel at the top of my tree, I’d have Angelique Kidjo who could sing a mixture of crimbo, politics and just plain powerful songs.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire hails from Wales, where she lives with a host of furry friends: her golden retriever, several gerbils, some sneaky house mice, and a neighbour’s cat. She loves writing, sport, music, art, and teaching herself new subjects. Jody is a proud member of the GCLS, and is delighted to be a part of the Bedazzled Ink family. Jody’s début novel, The Empath was a runner up in the recent Rainbow Awards.

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What was your book of the year? Why?

the midnight moonThat’s a toughie if I’m honest. There’s been so many wonderful books out and so many awesome big hitters. We seem to have been planning a British invasion too if the Rainbow Awards are anything to go by. (Big cheer to UKLesfic’s own Cari.) I also got to see my début, The Empath get in on the act too and I’ve got Fractured to release in Nov/Dec.

All that being said, My favourite book of the year has to be The Midnight Moon by Geri Hill. She’s someone who I love reading. It doesn’t seem to matter where she takes me, what characters are there or what the topic is. As an author she makes me want to read anything with her name on it, I get excited when her books are due for release. She’s a master and The Midnight Moon is an effortless, feel-good romance with some witty, fun-filled dialogue. The characters are cool, the location is sunny and warm and well… it’s Gerri!

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

There’s a couple of novels I’m quite looking forward to. Obviously I’m always excited to read my fellow Bedazzled authors’ offerings and I’m also really looking forward to Melissa Brayden‘s book Just Three Words. (Bold Strokes folks are pretty cool bunch.) I guess it goes without saying that Gerri’s offerings will be a must-buy for me, right?

just three wordsOn the writing side of things, I am releasing three books next year, the second in the series, and follow-on’s of both The Empath and Fractured. (Blind Trust – Above & Beyond Book II and Blood Run – The Black Wolf Chronicles Book II.) I’m also set to release my first ever romance La Vie En Bleu around May time which takes a scatty Englishwoman and a suave French artisan and throws in a whole load of Notting Hill/Oscar Wilde humour. It looks set to be an exciting year on both reading and releasing fronts!

Who would you most like as the angel on top of your tree?

Not that my dear little puppy would fit on the tree (he’s ten weeks and already the size of a lion,) but my Goldie Fergus would probably be my pick. One, because if he’s on the tree, he’s not stealing tissues, my socks, chewing the couch, chewing me… And two, Fergus and angel in the same sentence seems as apt as the name Little John was. Failing getting the fluffy fiend to behave enough for us to place him on top, I’ll go for cake. Simply, because cake is always heavenly!

Have a peaceful, love and laughter-filled time. Merry Christmas!!

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karencampbell2Karen Campbell is the author of Little Whispers, a collection of short stories, and Violet’s Story. Her second novel The Knowing is a supernatural drama set in Glasgow. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drink 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.

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What was your book of the year and why?

the five peopleThe book I read this year which had the most impact on me was The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. I know it’s not a new book but I only just came across it and it’s fantastic. I was trying to tell my girlfriend the story, once I had just finished it, and I broke down in tears because it was so beautiful and it had touched me so much. If I had to pick a LesFic book, it would need to be The Comedienne by VG Lee, as I have just re-read it for the second time. I love her turn of phrase, it totally appeals to my sense of humour. She’s a very talented writer.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Next year, I want to publish two books. I want to get better as a writer. I want the world to be my oyster. Oh and Scotland to get independence. I can dream, can’t I?

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would like Siouxsie Sioux to be the angel on top of my Christmas tree, so that I could prod her with my finger and make her sing to me. “Dazzle it’s a glittering prize.” Then Robert Smith from The Cure would come to rescue her for the sake of old friendships and I would make them gig in my living-room. Then I would make them roast chicken and mashed potatoes, and serve intoxicating cider so that I could get them drunk and record all their stories. Before she left, I would ask Siouxsie to do my make-up.

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BeatricehitchmanBeatrice Hitchman’s début, Petit Mort has been a bit of a stunner. Short-listed for the Polari Prize and Historical Writers’ Association Debut Novel Prize, and adapted on for Radio 4 as a series, Beatrice’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as Moulin Rouge.

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What was your book of the year and why?

we are all completelyWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I feel duty-bound to admit that it doesn’t feature any lesbians, but it’s a book about relationships in the most enlightening and unpredictable way. The narrator, Rosemary, a college freshman, has not one but two missing siblings…telling their story and her own, she’ll redefine your very concept of family. It’s such a funny, beautiful book.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

A film: Carol, the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Carol was a 1950s landmark in fiction, daring to portray women differently at a time when most lesbian characters met a sticky end. The Blanchett/Mara combo will be absolutely boss, and Todd Haynes made Far From Heaven. O for Over-excited.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Patricia Highsmith. She’d be hilarious! But she’d drop fag-ash on your presents (on purpose).

 

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A big thank you to all our participating authors! And a Merry Christmas to everyone, from myself and Tig :-)

rainbow tree

News Roundup: Spring lineup for Polari, new releases, interviews, Hootenanny (and a bit more)

9 Dec
gambolling

copyright Roger Fereday

Everyone’s getting ready for Christmas and things are finally quietening down in the world of UK LesFic. But we still have time for one last gambol through the news in 2014. We’ll be here next week for a best books of the year piece as recommended by some of the UK’s best lesfic authors, but then UK LesFic takes a break until next year.

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The Stella Duffy, writer, actorPolari Salon has announced a rather fine Spring line up. Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are booked in for what should be a great night on 30th January and Sarah Waters will be appearing at the March 30th evening. Click here for the full line up, and to book tickets.

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A few bits and pieces from around the web now:

the repercussionsThe Writes of a Woman has a piece on The Repercussions and also an interview with the author Catherine Hall. Catherine talks about the choices she made with the story of women and war from its title, the form of the novel, to the diversity of characters and the themes explored. You can read the article here.

Amy Dunne has been blogging about what Christmas means to her, over at Women and Words:

In my personal experience, as we grow older, our wishes for Christmas change. This year, there’s nothing of monetary value that I need or even want. Just to be able to spend the day with my family, is the most important thing in the whole wide world. To laugh, feel loved, and make wonderful new memories is the most incredible gift of all.

You can read the full piece here.

theempath_lgJody Klaire joined Lorraine Howell, Linda K Silva and Yvonne Heidt on the Liz McMullen Show to talk about their common literary interest in empaths. Jody says that the panel was fun as well as terrifying, and you can listen to the show here. Her debut has also been given a great review in She Magazine which described the novel as “an exhilarating rush, a cross between the best of X Files and Orange is the New Black. Fast-paced, sharp, and very, very smart“. You can read more of that review here.

stars collideClare Lydon has continued her Lesbian Book Club pod casts with an interview with the entertaining HP Munro. They talk about fan fiction, HP’s novels, how she started writing, and lots of other lesfic-related stuff. Listen in here. Also from Clare, you can also catch her recent book reading from G-Fest.

Jen Silver has just announced that her second novel, Arc over Time, a sequel to her début, Starting Over will be released by Affinity e-book press in May, 2015. According to a recent blog post, the novel will focus “mainly on the developing relationship between the archaeologist, Dr Kathryn Moss and the journalist, Denise Sullivan— with all the problems inherent in maintaining a long distance relationship”.

Jen promises more about this one in the months to come.

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A bit of a reminder of what’s new and due out in December:

lisforL Is For is the new anthology with an impressive list of UK LesFic authors. It features stories from VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Jade Winters, HP Munro, Andrea Bramhall and many more. All proceeds go to the R U Coming Out charity.

neighbourJade Winters has an erotic short story out, penned with Alexis Bailey and called the Neighbour from Heaven:Some people borrow a cup of sugar, others a cordless hand-drill, but what young lesbian Lucy gets from her sexy neighbour is beyond the realms of probability…and decency!

mountain rescue on the edgeSky Croft‘s Mountain Rescue: On the Edge is also out. A sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, it follows Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber through their personal trials, and trials in the mountains.season's meetings Sky’s also running a GoodReads giveaway for Mountain Rescue: On The Edge. The closing date for entries is December 14th.

And just in time for Christmas, Amy Dunne‘s Season’s Meetings is due out on the 15th December: “Could the festive road trip from hell actually lead to love?

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Finally, don’t miss The Hootenanny over on Women and Words. The massive giveaway of ebooks and paperbacks starts on Friday and includes books by Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Clare Ashton, Lesley Davis, Jody Klaire and RJ Samuel as well as lots of other lesfic authors from across the pond and every other direction. Here’s the lineup so you can get ready.
hootenanny2014

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That’s all folks!

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