All’s Well That Ends Well…

27 May

For the past four years, Tig and I have had a blast creating this blog and this community of readers and UK authors. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege, and we owe a lot to the authors who’ve contributed, offered freebies, written blogs, and kept us up to date with their news and releases. To finish things off with a bang rather than a whimper, we corralled a few folks to answer one simple question:

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

This is what they had to say…

Manda Scott

My hope for the future of lesbian fiction is that it remains vibrant, inspiring and above all, literate – that we continue to write stories that are not confined to the ghetto, but that spread to the wider world. At this time of global chaos, with the collapse of eco-systems and the 6th extinction happening all around us, and yet, with LGBTQ rights under threat in ways we thought were long gone, we need a resilient, informed, emotionally intelligent response that helps people to understand at a core level that we have more in common than that which divides us. The best of lesbian fiction has always offered that. My hope is that it will continue to do so.

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Manda Scott’s novels have been short listed for an Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award and translated into over twenty languages. She was a long term columnist for the Glasgow Herald, is a reviewer for the Independent and has contributed to the Telegraph, Times, Daily Express and BBC History Magazine. She has appeared on Time Team as an expert on the Boudican era and contributed to Radios 4 & 5. Her most recent release is Into The Fire, a dual timeline mystery set in 2014 and 1429.

VG Lee

VGLeeOutside of the lesbian book-reading community, I feel that lesbian fiction – with a few notable exceptions – isn’t highly regarded.  For a change to take place, our authors may need to widen the scope of their work. I’ve said this before, but the number of respected mainstream lesbian authors can be counted on the fingers of our hands and this list hasn’t altered very much in years! I’m glad that there are many younger authors coming up, some I very much admire, so I do believe that the situation is going to get better.

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VG Lee is the critically acclaimed author of five novels: The Comedienne, The Woman in Beige, Diary of a Provincial Lesbian, Always you, Edina, and her latest release Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire. In 2012 VG Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing and in 2014 she won The Ultimate Planet award for Best Established Author. In her sixtieth year she decided to become a stand-up comedian and is now a regular performer at Laughing Cows comedy nights in London and the Midlands.

Jody Klaire

I’m really blessed that UK Lesfic was around when I started publishing books. Being an author is a wonderful career but it’s a really tough to establish yourself in a busy marketplace and having you guys supporting and cheering made a real difference. It’s been fantastic from my point of view to watch your own efforts, hard work and talent get more and more recognition. I’ve been cheering you guys too.

I think it’s important that, like a wonderful friend wanted, the bar is raised and continues to be raised. If we are respected for the polished prose, story-telling ability and high-quality of our work then our authors will be in a better position to reach, entertain and promote understanding in readers. I’d like to see more family friendly fiction with an emphasis on showing a positive, uplifting message that you can be sassy and classy. It’s important that message is clear. Self-respect is something I feel passionate about. I’d like any reader to be able to pick up my work and feel that they are unique and deserve respect whoever they are. The community is blessed with a perspective of what intolerance feels like and why it’s all that more important that to understand the right to be happy and loved should be universal.

Men’s strengths are often displayed in fiction but everyone seems to miss that women are incredible. We step up when needed; we run homes, work long hours, raise children (or furries,) seek to help others, feel compassion for others, take on so many different roles at once yet, usually, without complaint or hesitation. No, we roll up our sleeves and get on with making a difference every day. I try very hard to show that strength in my characters. I try to show just how beautiful we are as human beings inside and out. I hope it shows: Sassy but classy, intelligent and kind, compassionate yet strong and we should demand high-quality fiction that gives us the respect we deserve.

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Jody has been everything from a serving police officer, to recording artist/composer and musician until finding her home in writing. She lives in sunny South Wales in the UK with a ‘lively’ golden retriever called Fergus and other furry friends. She has four books released in the Above and Beyond series, and two in the Renovating Hearts series. You can find out more about her and her novels here at her blog.

Jen Silver

I had a dream…and awoke to find I was as famous as Sarah Waters…

A few months before my first novel was published, I attended a residential writing course and on the first evening all the participants were asked to give a brief description of what they were working on. I suspected I was the only ‘gay in the room’. So, when it came to my turn, I told them that I’d had a novel accepted for publication and it was a lesbian romance. Someone piped up, “Oh, like Sarah Waters.”

This was obviously the only lesbian author they’d ever heard of and I could only nod and say, “yes, like Sarah Waters”. Well, unless any of my books get made into TV series or films, I’m not likely to become that well known. But this is what came to mind when I thought about answering this question – what are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

I hope that it will continue to flourish and grow. We need a strong presence—visibility—in the world, now as much as in earlier times. As both a writer and a reader, I want to create and read stories about lesbians who come across as real people leading normal lives, free to love who they want…not portrayed as monsters to either be hidden away or destroyed.

Later on, at the course I mentioned above, one young woman asked why I referred to my books as ‘lesbian romance’. Why didn’t I just describe them as ‘romance’? I don’t know what answer I gave her, but thinking about it now, my answer would be that a separate genre is necessary so that we can find books about ourselves.

Maybe, in time, that will change too.  A time when Sarah Waters won’t be the only name that defines lesbian fiction. A time when we no longer need a neatly labelled niche to share our stories with the world.

That is my hope.

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Jen lives near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire with her long-term partner whom she married in December 2014. She has always enjoyed reading an eclectic range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and lesbian fiction. As well as reading and writing, other activities include golf, archery, and taking part in archaeological digs. Jen’s latest novel, Christmas at Winterbourne, was published by Affinity in October 2016.

Anna Larner

As I wrote this blog I began to think about what it means to have hope, after all hope is one of the most important strengths an individual can possess. It takes tremendous tenacity, resolve, vision, belief, and courage to hope for something. It is at the heart of the human spirit. Without hope very little can be achieved.

Have you noticed that hopeful people are rarely naive fools, but individuals who have spotted the possibility of something – they have seen what others blinded by scepticism may have missed. The hopeful see the potential in things.

Hope, like optimism, is infectious. A hope which is shared by others has energy to it and gathers a momentum which builds and grows to the point where it is unstoppable.

So with this in mind here are my hopes – I hope that we will continue to promote and carve out the physical and emotional space we deserve for the literature we cherish. I hope that we will remember the writers who went before us, who bravely put into words what many could not speak. And I hope that we will have the same self-belief and courage as them as we continue to imagine characters and narratives that console, captivate and inspire.

The only limit for the future of lesbian fiction is our ability to have hope for it.

I know that what we hope for together, as writers and readers, we can and will achieve.

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Anna has a degree in English Literature and Master’s degrees in The Word and Visual Imagination, and Museum Studies. She has written and curated a permanent exhibition of LGBT voices and memorabilia, based at Leicester’s LGBT Centre, one of the first permanent exhibitions in the UK. As a former member of the Steering Committee for the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland LGBT History Project, Anna is passionate about preserving LGBT history and ensuring that LGBT voices are heard. Anna’s debut novel, Highland Fling, was published by Bold Strokes Books in April, 2017.

Clare Lydon

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

Crikey, no biggie then.  I’d say the future for lesbian fiction looks bright – there’s never been a better time for lesbian fiction than now. More choice, more authors, more books, more sub-genres – you name it, it’s here.

But what I’d like to see is more crossover into the mainstream and more coverage in mainstream media. I already know it’s not just lesbians who read my books – they’re enjoyed by a cross-section of people representing all flavours of the sexuality and gender spectrums, which is great.

But I’m greedy – I want lesbian fiction to have a positive impact on more lives around the globe, to see our lives reflected back not just to us, but to millions more. And as the world gets more connected every day, the growth potential is there.Lesbian fiction to the masses! Hurrah!

Finally, in the romance and crimes genres especially, we have some cracking stories just begging to be made into films or TV. So my ultimate hope would be to see these stories hit some kind of screen, large or small, and watch their reach widen even further. Why not Cari’s Dark Peak series or my London Romance series on Netflix? Why not Tig’s Poppy Jenkins as a movie? I’d be watching, and I wouldn’t be the only one.

Thanks to you two for shining a light on UK lesfic over the past few years and for taking part in the rise of lesfic. When I first started writing, your site was invaluable, and you’ve been a constant support to countless writers over the past three years. We all owe you both a debt of gratitude.

I’m going now before I start sobbing ;0)

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Clare is a London-based writer of contemporary lesbian romance. She’s a No.1 best-seller on lesbian fiction charts around the globe with five full-length novels to her name, as well as writing the All I Want series, which concluded with its sixth instalment, All I Want Forever in January, 2017. Clare is a lively and enthusiastic member of the UK Lesfic community and regularly hosts the Lesbian Book Club podcast over on the Lesbian Lounge.

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And the final words go to…

Cari Hunter

I still remember how exciting it was to go into Gay’s The Word as a fledgling, still in the closet, wet-behind-the-ears lesbian, and discover shelf upon shelf of lesbian fiction. My girlfriend (now wife!) and I bought a copy of Sarah Dreher’s Stoner McTavish and dashed back a few days later to buy every other book in the series.

Almost twenty years later, fledgling lesbians are spoiled for choice in terms of lesbian fiction. As mainstream authors still have a tendency to sideline or closet their LGBTQ characters, the small presses and the indie authors have stepped in to fill the void, and they’re doing it in a considerable amount of style, climbing the bestseller charts, and proving that UK lesbian and bisexual authors are writing and that, more to the point, they’re being read.

My hopes for the future of lesbian fiction, then? That our community continues to thrive and to grow, and that the mainstream publishers and the mainstream media eventually sit up and recognise that we’re here and that we’re worth supporting. That UK authors continue to set their books within their own regions, and write in their own dialect, chucking in slang and foodstuffs that make people scratch their heads and hop over to Google. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, I hope authors continue to write and readers continue to read, because that will ensure that lesbian fiction continues to exist.

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Cari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her wife, their cat, and a pond full of frogs. She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time. Although she doesn’t like to boast, she will admit that she makes a very fine Bakewell Tart.

Cari has just finished a new crime series based in the Peak District. The first book – No Good Reason – won the 2015 Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery Rainbow Award, and its sequel Cold to the Touch won a Goldie and a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery. The third book in the series – A Quiet Death – was published in January 2017.

Clare Ashton

Most of all I hope people keep writing, whether it be that detective of iron integrity or the hapless heroine of the romcom who wakes up in the armpit of the wrong woman. Comfort reads that delight even after the tenth reading are magic and a nugget of happiness for many.

A broad range of literature is essential for expanding your horizons and developing empathy towards others but finding yourself represented, validated and worthy of a happy ending is precious. So please, keep writing!

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Clare Ashton lives in the Midlands with her partner and two lovely distracting kids. She loves a moody atmospheric novel but she’s a big softie inside and can’t resist writing romcoms. Her latest award-winning romance is Poppy Jenkins.

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So for one last time: that’s all folks, from Cari and Tig.

All Good Things…

18 May

After much discussion and a few strong cups of tea, Tig and I have reluctantly decided to close the UK LesFic blog.

When we first chatted about kicking off a UK-centric blog, our aim was to create a resource where readers could come to find authors they may have missed or overlooked, because the UK media didn’t seem to realise that UK lesbian authors existed outside of the mainstream. It was a kick back, if you like, to prove that UK Lesbian fiction was not only alive and well but bloody thriving.

Little did we know that four years later we’d have more than ninety authors on our Author Page, with more out there just waiting for us to find them. We’re very proud of the site and of the community it’s created, but the demands of our own lives – raising kids, doing full-time jobs, writing books! – mean we’re not able to give the blog the attention it deserves.

We’d like to say a massive thank you to all the authors who’ve supported us and contributed since our very first post, and to the readers who’ve kept everything ticking along. We hope people have found authors they might never otherwise have stumbled across and books they might never otherwise have read.

We have one last fare thee well extravaganza planned, so keep an eye out for that. But for now, cheers! And keep reading 🙂

Cari & Tig.

Guest Blog & Giveaway with Anna Larner: Highland Fling – We need to talk about love!

24 Mar

A warm welcome to Anna Larner, whose debut novel, Highland Fling, will be released next month by Bold Strokes Books. Anna is today’s guest blogger and generous giver-away-er of a lovely signed paperback…

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Set in the majesty of the Highlands of Scotland, Highland Fling tells the story of holiday maker Eve Eddison who falls for enigmatic local Moira Burns. The unfolding twists and turns of their emotional journey to love remind us that when we fall for someone, we don’t really know what we’re getting into.

This brief description offers just an outline and I’ve been thinking about how I can introduce Highland Fling to you properly, how to explain to you what lies at its heart, what drives its characters and shapes their story. To do this we need to talk about love – because ‘love’ in all its complexities defines Highland Fling.

As we all know, love can hurt us as much as it can bring us joy. Love is contradictory. Love can begin big, burn bright and fizzle out, or it can start small, grow tall and magnificent. It can mean nothing or it can define you. It can be forgotten or forever remembered.

Love can humiliate you or make you proud. It can thoughtlessly hurt you or tenderly heal you. It can be certainty or it can be risk. It can be the impulse to leave or the reason to stay.

It is the stuff of humour and the heart of tragedy.

And that is Highland Fling – love in all its states, real and true.

I can’t protect my characters from the effects of love, and it is not my place to. This is their story not mine. If I stepped in to prevent Eve from falling for Moira because I know that loving Moira will risk her heart, then I diminish Eve by not allowing her to grow and find her ‘one’.  And if I refined Moira, somehow made her simpler, then she would not reflect her true self and I would have fictionalised her when the real Moira is so much more vivid and whole.

Highland Fling not only embodies love, it has been written with love, from my heart, unguarded, unconfined by expectation. If I followed a rule at all, then it is this – to be true to my characters, to be their faithful writer and yours.

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To celebrate the publication of Highland Fling, Anna is giving away a signed paperback copy. Just leave a comment on this post or send an e-mail to: uk lesfic @ gmail .com (take out the spaces before you use the address!) to be entered into the draw. Closing date: 31st March, 2017. Good luck!

Highland Fling will be available 1st April 2017 from the Bold Strokes Books website, and 18th April 2017 from all other retailers.

To keep in touch with Anna, check out her blog or find her here on Facebook.

News roundup – reviews, blogs, audiobooks and the Polari Prize!

11 Mar

Here is the news!

Anna Larner’s debut Highland Fling is out next month but has been reviewed already by Lesreveur:

“Highland Fling is based on two very independent and loving women from two very different worlds. The book starts off with Eve describing her perfect woman and guess who she finds in the Highlands…I can normally work out the plot in a book after reading the first few chapters and I thought I had with this book but it just kept surprising me at every turn! I had a few moments of “Really did I just read that?” and “did she just say that?”. I love when a book does this because you feel the writer is writing outside the box.”

Read the full review here.

Stopping with Anna for a moment, the Boldstrokes author also recently presented a paper at the Lesbian Lives Conference in Brighton on why authors are compelled to write stories of lesbian love. Her paper included thoughts from her own perspective and many other authors and she has made the paper and slides available on her website.

Clare Lydon wrapped up her All I Want Series recently with All I Want Forever and she’s been blogging about her experience of writing Tori and Holly’s story:

When I was thinking about writing their story, I heard from a friend about how awful her online dating experiences had been. I thought there might be something in that, so I began to write down some instances people had told me about, and ones that had happened to me.

Yes, I went on a date where the person tried to sell me an insurance plan within half an hour – we never had a second try. And yes, one of my friends did fall asleep on the loo on a first date, but the embellishments were all my own. After it was published, I received a deluge of emails from readers telling me they’d also fallen asleep on the toilet during a date. Unbeknown to me, I’d tapped into a common phenomenon!

You can read the rest of the piece here.

Boldstrokes have been releasing more audiobooks of late, the most recent including Cari Hunter’s Desolation Point, Jenny Frame’s Courting the Countess and Lesley DavisStarstruck. You can get any one of these for free when you subscribe to Audible. Here’s the link to BSB’s latest.

And finally, a quick note for debut authors – the Polari First Book Prize is now open for submissions. The prize has been running for seven years and UK born and resident writers are eligible to enter. Books should have been published in the twelve months up to 1st Feb 2017. More details here!

News Roundup: New Release from SJ Campbell, Q&A With VG Lee, Blogs, Free Fiction, and More!

25 Feb

With Storm Doris (Doris? Really?!) upon us and the kids all off school, it’s probably a good idea to hunker down with a book and a brew. But first, the news…

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ishinnieIf you’re looking for a new book to take into the storm bunker with you, Ishinnie by SJ Campbell (who also wrote Diary of a Broken Heart and the Strange Adventures of Mavis Street) is fresh off the press:

ISHINNIE. Perfect love in a world where same-sex relationships are expected and heterosexuals are the minority. This is a book of two love stories.

Annie, who falls in love with the beautiful and career-driven Christina, never feeling good enough with her small dreams of a happy family. Annie is haunted by the death of her alcoholic father, destroyed when his husband leaves him for a woman, but Annie believes in ‘Ishinnie’ and that her perfect love with Christina will get her through.

Their son, Jim, tells his story as he falls in love with a girl at school, learning to hide his love for fear of ridicule and bullying. As Jim matures and his passions grow stronger, he has to learn what ‘Ishinnie’ is and take a stand.

Annie and Jim, mother and son, on a collision course because of their love, held together by Christina. Will they learn that the hardest part of love is forgiveness?

You can buy Ishinnie in e-book or paperback from all the usual places.

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bIf free fiction is more your thing, then The Globe and Mail (no, not that homophobic, bigoted pedlar of shite, but the Canadian one, which should be far more sensible and polite) are celebrating the occasion of Canada’s sesquicentennial by inviting a group of writers – from home and abroad – to celebrate the country’s history in fiction. Stir Fry and Frog Music author Emma Donogue is one of the first to contribute, and you can find her story – The Big Cheesehere.

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Skipping on to blogs now, and AL Brooks has a dual offering for us. First up is her Valentine’s Day piece, The Love of Writing about Love:

Every time I read such a book, I am in awe of the story-crafting that has been employed by the author to elicit such a reaction in me. How did they know which exact words to write, in that exact order, to make my heart beat just that little bit faster, and my stomach do that kind of tightening thing it does when I’m getting the “feels”?

You know what I mean, right? That indefinable combination of emotion and physical response to a scene that has you tingling with joy at what those two characters are sharing. It’s a good dose of empathy (if you’ve been there yourself), maybe envy (if you haven’t), a definite dollop of awwww, a hint of arousal, and an all-round deep satisfaction that you just cannot explain…

To get all squishy with AL, click on the link.

darkhorseTying in with the release of her new novel, Dark Horse, AL has also been blogging about her time spent in Australia:

I also spent a few weekends in Ballarat, a country town about 90mins drive from Melbourne. My housemates were from there originally, and still had friends back there they would meet up with for dancing at the (only?) nightclub in town. Ballarat was the only Australian town in which I ever really experienced homophobia – it was pretty redneck back in those days. And when I started plotting out Dark Horse, for me it was a no-brainer to set the main part of the story there, and show the new, grown-up version of Ballarat that is a significantly more tolerant place to visit these days.

Read the rest of the blog here.

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Anna LarnerNew BSB author Anna Larner is pretty damn chuffed about having her short story accepted for the forthcoming anthology Girls Next Door. Anna’s story – Hooper Street – will be available in the collection, scheduled for a June 2017 release:

Sometimes the most intriguing girls are right next door—BFFs, ex-girlfriends, new girls in town, party girls, study mates, team mates, and sexy strangers. All it takes is a night out, the right moment, or an accidental kiss to discover what’s been there all along—the perfect girl for a love that lasts a lifetime. Best-selling romance authors tell it from the heart—sexy, romantic stories of falling for the girls next door.

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vghome34The LGBTQ Arts Review has been chatting to VG Lee, who will be sharing an extract from her new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, at the WOW Festival Polari Salon on March 8th:

I was inspired to start writing when my long-term relationship broke up. At the time I was devastated and found myself writing sad, angry & self-pitying poems on scraps of paper. When life took a turn for the better, I joined a Creative Writing Class in Hackney and found myself writing quite humorous prose. At a local reading event the Editor of the then Diva Books liked one of my short stories and asked if I had a novel? I didn’t, but set to work on my first novel, The Comedienne, published by Diva Books in 2000 when I was 50!

The full Q&A can be found here.

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And that’ll about do us for this fortnight. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

News Roundup: New Books from Nita Round, AL Brooks, & Scott Campbell, Reviews, Events, and More!

11 Feb

It’s a bit of a chilly welcome for this fortnight’s toot at the UK LesFic news. I heartily recommend reading this whilst cradling a nice hot water bottle, wearing gloves, and slurping from a mug of tea…

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Let’s kick off the roundup with two new books from UK authors. Nita Round‘s debut, Knight’s Sacrifice, is already available to buy, and A L Brooks‘ second novel, Dark Horse, is set for publication on February 15th. You can read the full synopses for both novels over on our New Releases page.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Nita has a second book in the pipeline, The Ghost of Emily Tapper, which has a tentative publication date of May, 2017:

theghostofemilytapperTwo families, inexorably linked through time and misfortune, come together to face an uncertain, and possibly fatal, future. Maggie Durrant is heir to a rambling estate in the middle of nowhere. Along with the ramshackle, gothic style castle, she is plagued with a curse that will end her days sooner, rather than later. Providing her brother doesn’t get to her first. In the city, a world away from the estates of Magwood Hall and the Durrants, Emma Blewitt discovers a heritage that she did not know she had. Orphaned at a young age, she finds herself the beneficiary of a house, money, and the legacy of an aunt who leaves her everything and tells her nothing.

Through ghosts and spectres, murder and mayhem, even the curse of the ghost of Emily Tapper cannot diminish the attraction between Emily and Maggie. Their bond has the strength of ages behind them, but Emma must discover her own legacy before she and Maggie can seek a solution to The Ghost of Emily Tapper.

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alliwantforeverSticking with recent releases for the moment, as there’s a new review of Clare Lydon‘s latest, All I Want Forever, up at Les Reveur blog:

Firstly the writing as always was impeccable and to be honest I’ve come to expect nothing else from Clare Lydon. She has a way of bringing you into the book, so much so that you feel like one of the secondary characters. The best part for me is how in this series the characters are real people, with real people issues and anxieties and it made me connect with the main protagonists Holly and Tori on a much deeper level, which in turn made me much more invested. We’ve followed Tori and Holly’s love through many obstacles and relationship hurdles that have only brought them closer and solidified their love.

You can read the full piece here.

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AQuietDeathMeanwhile, Out in Print have been casting an eye over A Quiet Death, the final part of Cari Hunter‘s Dark Peak crime series:

Hunter moves these people through the plot with a confident joy that really comes through on the page. She revels in the details, works in the peaks and valleys, and maintains the balance between explanation and action like a true pro. And those action scenes are incomparable. They move so well, so effortlessly that it’s past your bedtime before you know it, and you’ll still want another chapter. She also has a way with a twist, keeping you off balance until she reveals the true connection between Sanne and the case at hand…

The full review can be found here.

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ishinnieFrom new books to forthcoming ones, as Scott Campbell has been teasing his Facebook followers with extracts from his forthcoming novel, Ishinnie.

I could almost see her heart breaking while she stood at our breakfast bar staring out into the clouds, looking for sense in life, to understand why we could be blessed with so much love and stripped of it in the same breath.
She turned her eyes, met mine, and I swallowed hard. She had never been more breath-taking or more beautiful than she was in that moment, with tears unabashedly wetting her cheeks, and the sun golden through her red hair. She was my perfect love.
 Apparently, the book is due out “very soon,” so more on this when we have it.

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Hopping on to events, and Bold Strokes author, Anna Larner – whose debut Highland Fling is scheduled for release in April – will be presenting a paper discussing the “Permutations of Lesbian Love in Popular Fiction,” at the Lesbian Lives conference in Brighton on Friday 24th February. For more information about the event, head to the official page.

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underparrAndrea Bramhall is planning a launch party for the second part of her Norfolk Coast Investigation series, Under Parr. The event will be held on the 13th of May 2017 at Deepdale Backpackers and Camping, from 5pm to 9pm. There will be a short reading from the novel, and there’s an open invitation for interested folks.

If you are one of those interested folks, then you can find more information here at the event’s Facebook page.
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I’ll round out this roundup with a peek at a couple of blogs. Jen Silver has been chatting about British Wording and Other Things, AKA the art of weeding out any obscure British-isms in her books (balls to that! Leave ’em in! – Ed), and Jenny Frame has been discussing the other love of my life, food, over at her blog:
courting the countessIn the idyllic haven of Wolfgang County, Lena comes close to nature, understands the importance of eating good, well cared for food, not seeing some foods as bad and letting go of the outside world’s body image demands, and just enjoying the life that nature has provided for us. If only more places in the world were like Wolfgang County.
Courting The Countess also used food in a big way. Annie courted Harry with cakes, biscuits, and delicious home cooked meals, until the countess was putty in her hands.
To read more about The Food of Love, click the link.
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Right, that little lot should keep you going for a while. Have a great weekend!

News roundup: the Diva literary festival, a busy Cari Hunter, AL Brooks, new author Wendy Temple and new books!

28 Jan

diva_lit_festNow something I moan about, often, is the lack of a literary festival for lesfic in the UK. It’s been a few years now since the big festivals in York (YLAF), of which I only caught the last fantastic year, so it’s very exciting to kick off this week’s post with news that Diva is launching its own festival!

The inaugural event will be in Birmingham in November and signed up already are: Stella Duffy, Kiki Archer, Val McDermid, Clare Ashton, Rebecca Chance, VG Lee, VA Fearon and Jacquie Lawrence. Hopefully there’ll be more announcements over the year as more authors are brought on board. For more details see the press release which has email addresses for interested authors.

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AQuietDeathCari Hunter’s A Quiet Death, the final book in the Dark Peak crime series, was reviewed over on C-Spot reviews and by the Velvet Lounger at The Lesbian Reading Room and what fab reviews they are of this gritty crime novel focussed on a sex trafficking case:

I heavily suspected that I’d enjoy this book since I’ve not yet been disappointed by anything written by the author and I was right. Hunter has not only a talent for bringing her characters to life and dropping the reader into the scene but also for balancing dark, deadly serious story lines with levity and humor so the reader doesn’t get lost in despair over the heartbreaking cases. I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.” More from C-Spot here.

Once again I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like crime, a thriller, and suspense with a cast of real life everyday folk and unassuming heros, written with excellent if unpretentious style, you really cannot do any better than this.” More from the Velvet Lounger’s review here.

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Cari’s also been blogging about her work as a paramedic which feeds into her writing. This post covers her new year’s eve shift and, just like her books, is a poignant mixture of brutal life and humour:

Our last patient of 2016 is a tiny little boy with a life-limiting genetic condition. He’s had a high temp and diarrhoea since noon, and he’s poorly, with a feeble cry and poor respiratory effort. His parents have already lost a child to the same condition and they seem to know that their son is unlikely to make it out of the hospital this time. I sit with him on the stretcher, cooing at him and stroking his cheek as K flies us in on our second red paeds standby of the night. I hand over the baby and reams of paperwork, including end-of-life care wishes, to the waiting team, and stagger out of Resus, adrenaline fading fast. “Right, drunk people only from now on,” I say, back in the cab and through a mouthful of chocolate. “Drunk people being smacked in the head.”

You can read the rest of the piece here.

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albrooksIt’s the first of Clare Lydon’s Lesbian Bookclub podcasts of the year. She gives us an update on her writing including the latest installment of the All I Want series and what’s hot in the lesfic charts. This month’s guest is Brit AL Brooks whose erotic debut about a sex club in Manchester caused a stir last year. They talk about The Club, being out as an erotic writer and her next book, the romance Dark Horse. Have a listen here.

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A quick mention now of a writing course based online and in Scotland. For anyone looking for help finding their voice as a writer and with developing their social media presence, Orla Broderick has developed a course to help with both of these aspects of writing.  You can find more information about the course and contact Orla here.

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charming-the-vicarRight, on to upcoming releases and new books.

Jenny Frame has been a busy bee and has three books pending for 2017! Her latest cover reveal is for Charming the Vicar, the second in the Axedale village series, which tells the love story of Bridget Claremont, Axedale’s unconventional vicar.

New author Wendy Temple has released the cover of her debut and its blurb. defensivemindsetDefensive Mindset will be out late April 2017.

Star footballer and successful businesswoman Jessie Grainger has her life set, and doesn’t need anything getting in the way. That includes rebellious rival player Fran Doherty, a burnt-out barmaid with a past as messed up as her attitude. So when the clashing pair find themselves on the same Edinburgh women football team, how will they survive each other, let alone play to win?

Wendy is from Scotland and started writing fanfiction in 2005. She is nutty about sports and it should be no surprise that includes playing football. You can find out more about Wendy from the Ylva website.

Robyn Nyx posts free short stories from time to time, and her latest for January is called Heart Halfway Gone – a short erotic romance. Scroll to the bottom of Robin’s books page to find a choice of file downloads. 

And finally!

alliwantforeverOut now is Clare Lydon’s All I Want Forever! It’s already at the top of the UK Amazon lesfic charts. Here’s the cover and blurb:

They’re engaged, but they’re living 5,000 miles apart…

Everyone says Tori & Holly are meant to be, but when distance means barriers in their love affair, can the pair overcome them? The wedding’s booked, Tori’s mum has bought a new dress, but will they be in the same city come the big day?

Join Tori & Holly on their final adventure as they grapple with their destiny. Can they agree on their future and finally grasp their happy ever after?

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That’s all folks!