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!

News Roundup: Double Brit Rainbow Award Win, New Books, Blogs, Reviews, Free Stuff and More!

14 Jan

And we’re back! A very happy and prosperous new year to one and all, may it be filled with books and other kinds of goodness. While Tig sobs as she stows her tinsel and baubles for another 300 or so days (I’m giving her till October to get them out again!) I’ll be steering us through our first news roundup of 2017, and it’s a bumper one…

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poppy jenkinsFirst up, we don’t do a lot of tooting our own horn here at UK LesFic, but sod it, I’m about to, so bear with me. The 2016 Rainbow Awards were announced just before we headed off for our Christmas holidays and we scored a blog mistress double whammy as Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton scooped Best Lesbian Contemporary & Erotic Romance, and my own Cold to the Touch topped the Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller category. The books also came second (Poppy) and third (Cold) overall in Best Lesbian Book. Huzzah!

You can find the full list of all the winners and runners up at the link.

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January seems to be a busy old month for new releases with the publication of books by five UK authors. Lesley Davis‘ conspiracy-themed, alien invader romance (?!) Raging at the Stars is currently on sale at the Bold Strokes website, alongside Cari Hunter‘s third Dark Peak crime thriller, A Quiet Death. Both books will be on general sale on January 17th. Felucca Dreams, an Egypt-set romance by Natalie Debrabandere is now on sale at Amazon, and AE Radley‘s Grounded, the other half of Flight SQA016, will be released via Ylva on January 18th. Meanwhile, Jade Winters has published Unravelled – which she’s tagged as “contemporary women’s fiction.” You can find the synopses for all these books and more over on the New Releases page.

Jane Retzig has released A Question of Trust – the follow-up to The Wronged Woman – onto audio book, and she has some free copies to give away via Audible. If any UK LesFic readers would like one, please email Jane: jane retzig @ gmail. com (take out the spaces before using the address!) or PM her on Facebook or GoodReads.

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lostinthestarlightWith 2016 drawing to a close, top five, top ten, and top eleventy-twelve lists have been cropping up all over the show. The Lesbian Review‘s 10 Best Books of 2016 featured Clare Ashton‘s Poppy Jenkins at number 3:

Ashton has a phenomenal ability to pull you into a story and make you feel a range of things. Beautifully written and superb storytelling.

And Kiki Archer‘s Lost in the Starlight hot on its heels at number 4:

This is an absolutely beautiful, happy book that will have you delighted and charmed from the first word. A must-read from 2016.

You can find the full countdown at the above link.

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Clare Lydon also got in on the act with her five fave books of the year, with the ubiquitous Poppy Jenkins snagging the number 4 slot this time:

This book has been lighting up the lesfic charts around the world this year, and probably the Welsh tourist board should offer Ashton some commission for the undoubted visits she’s encouraged with her lingering prose. Put simply, this is a corker of a lesbian romance.

saving graceCold to the Touch by Cari Hunter sneaked in at number 3:

What I love about this book are the two leads and their on-off relationship. And because this isn’t a romance, there really was an element of ‘will they get together?’ Which, I’ll be honest, kept me on the edge of my seat more than the crimes. What can I say? I’m a romantic at heart.

And the top slot was taken by another brit, HP Munro, with her sequel Grace Falls:

HP Munro’s USP is humour, and this book delivers in spades, with many laugh-out-loud moments scattered through the pages. Plus, the central romance between Charlotte and Erin truly pulls on the heartstrings and by the end, you’ll be on your feet, hollering for them, just like Sully and the gang.

For the full list and Clare’s more in-depth write ups, hop over here.

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alliwantforeverI’ll stick with Ms Lydon for a moment to mention her Round-Up of 2016 Goals (which included “Watch All of the Sport,” and “Stand up, Jig Around,” amongst other worthy ambitions!) Clare has assessed and analysed her 2016 achievements in her own inimitable style, though she failed miserably on the standing up and jigging around aspect:

Epic fail on this one, but I won’t be too hard on myself because writing is a sedentary occupation – especially if you did as much of it as I did in 2016! However, I plan to do better this year, and it’ll feature again in my upcoming 2017 goals blog, with an actual number weight-wise to aim for. Gulp.

2017 looks set to be another busy one – read Clare’s Goals for 2017 here –  and we have a sneak peek at the new cover for All I Want Forever, the final romantic adventure for Tori and Holly (“featuring San Francisco, love, mishaps and all their usual mayhem.”) Keep an eye on Clare’s blog for a release date.

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Jenny Frame, CK Martinand Jen Silver have also hopped on the 2016 review, looking forward to 2017 blogging bandwagon. You can read their thoughts on the year that was and the year that’s to come by clicking their names.

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hindsightReviews now, and Jody Klaire‘s Hindsight, the latest in her Above and Beyond series – has been reviewed at the Lesbian Reading Room:

The action is fast paced, the number of players on the table at any one time is unbelievable and the combination of flashbacks and current action, from multiple points of view, left me gasping. And yet somehow Jody Klaire not only manages to keep all the storylines, points of view and personalities clear, she somehow manages to bring it all to a successful resolution.

Read the full piece here.

The Lesbian Review have been casting their ears over the audio version of Jenny Frame‘s Heart of the Pack:

When you want something that fun and entertaining that is easy to listen to with a nicely dramatic romance then pick up a Jenny Frame. This one is no exception. I really enjoyed it.

Read the full review here.

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For those who fancy a bit of bedtime sauciness, AL Brooks has recorded a reading from her erotic debut, The Club, on The Lesbian Talk Show. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it, but I’m going to assume that it’s probably NSFW!  Enjoy.

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kikiarcherpolariAnd finally this week, congratulations to Kiki Archer, Stella Duffy and Sarah Waters who have all been shortlisted for Diva’s Author of the Year award. You can vote for your favourites at this list, but get your skates on, the vote closes February 14th.

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Whew, I think that about covers it! Wrap up warm and have a lovely weekend 🙂

 

The Christmas Q&A!

20 Dec

rainbow-treeIt’s that time of year where we say “it’s that time of year” again, and we corner some of the fabulous UK lesfic authors to ask them about their favourite reads of the year. And because, let’s be honest, 2016 left a lot to be desired, we asked them about their hopes for 2017. Take it away gals…

 

c-holly-banner

 

 

Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare’s the author of the best-selling romcom series All I Want – Christmas, Valentines, Autumn, you name it her heroines have been there and entertained her readers all the way. Clare’s other novels include London Calling, The Long Weekend and her latest Nothing to Lose.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

saving graceCan I choose three? I loved HP Munro’s Saving Grace, the follow-up to Grace Falls. It’s romantic, sexy and funny, and it was great catching up with old friends. I was also a fan of G Benson’s Flinging It – her easy style just wraps itself around you. Plus, Catherine Ryan-Hyde’s The Language Of Hoofbeats was just terrific – a family saga which was beautifully written and paced.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

I’d love to see a breakout lesfic book crossover to the mainstream – there’s so much talent around, it’s about due to happen again. On a personal note, my aim for 2017 is to release three novels including All I Want Forever and the third in the London series.

AL Brooks

albrooksAL Brooks’ debut has been causing a stirring this year with readers finding her erotic novel The Club a refreshing read. Her second novel, Dark Horse, is published by Ylva in February.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

just-julietFavourite book of the year was Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan. Simply one of the best YA coming out stories ever – great characters, a genuine warmth and depth to the story, and moved me to tears at the end. Beautiful.

What are your hopes for 2017?

My hopes for 2017 are twofold. Firstly, a hope for us all: that the good people of the world, the ones with humanity and tolerance, come together to show the hate-mongering minorities that we will not stand for their destructive rhetoric any longer. Secondly, a personal hope: that this deluge of words that has taken over my soul the past eighteen months keeps on going and lets me continue to fulfil my lifelong dream to be a writer…

Wendy Hudson

Wendy HudsonWendy Hudson is the debut author of romantic thriller, Four Steps, that has impressed readers as a work that could have been written by a seasoned pro.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

a-story-of-nowjpgI’m going to offer two titles for this because they are really one, wonderful story, that my 20 year old self completely identified with. A Story of Now and The Sum of these Things by Emily O’Beirne. I think Emily is one of the most skilled writers I’ve come across in lesfic, at writing those beautifully intimate moments between her main characters. I’d defy anyone not to fall in love with them and their story. It truly touched me.

What are your hopes for 2017?

For 2017 I’m hoping to be less of a pantser and more of an organiser when it comes to my writing. I even bought a whiteboard to help me plan! Okay, so I bought it four months ago and it’s still not up on the wall, which I admit isn’t a good start. But, you know, it’s not 2017 yet…

Book two will hopefully be published, it’s currently titled Mine to Keep but as always these things are subject to change! I’d also like to continue Alex and Lori’s story (and Frank’s!) with a follow up to Four Steps, but I don’t want to force it, so we’ll see what happens.

HP Munro

 hpmunroAward-winning author HP Munro can turn her hand to historical novels as well as a romcom and this year followed up the popular Grace Falls with Saving Grace.

nothing to loseWhat was your favourite book of the year and why?

Clare Lydon’s Nothing To Lose – I loved the book when I read it. However,  I found myself thinking about the book more and having way more empathy for Scarlet and her predicament when I had two weeks to pack my life up for a move from Edinburgh to London. After the stress of doing that, I can’t imagine only having minutes.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

For time and space to write and a little less stress.

Jenny Frame

beneath-the-wavesjenny frameJenny Frame loves her royals. From the Aristocratic Courting the Countess to the A Royal Romance. And wolves! Don’t forget Heart of the Pack.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

Beneath The Waves by Ali Vali. I’m hugely interested in ancient myths, and alternative history. The themes in this book explored both of these subjects. It was refreshing to read these themes wrapped up with a lovely love story.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

2016 has been a tumultuous year, on both sides of the pond, and personally. Therefore I would be delighted if 2017 was a nice, boring, hum drum, year. I would just be absolutely fine with that. Here’s hoping we get it.

Jade Winters

JadeWintersphotosmJade Winters is the popular and prolific author of both lesfic thrillers and romances with her books rarely out of the top 100. Her latest are Flirting with Danger and Christmas Kiss.

What was your favourite book of the year?

FourStepsFour Steps by Wendy Hudson. This book had me gripped from the first page. I especially like thrillers with some romance thrown in and this book didn’t disappoint. I have a tendency to start reading a book, then get distracted and not go back to it for a while, but this one kept my attention throughout. Well thought out characters and a good pace made sure of this. I particularly liked the setting in the Scottish Highlands and could really visualise the scenes. It was really well written and I literally couldn’t put it down.

What are your hopes for 2017?

Aside from good health and world peace 🙂 I’m hoping to travel more and work less. From a writing perspective I’m hoping to concentrate on crime fiction in 2017 i.e The Ashley McCoy series, although I do have a romance in the pipeline for early next year.


Anna Larner

Anna LarnerAnna Larner has been signed up by Bold Strokes and her debut Highland Fling, set everywhere from the Scottish Highlands to a gay bar in Leicester, is out in April next year.

What was your favourite book of the year?

When I Knew YouDuring this tumultuous year, I found myself returning to the comfort of my favourite writers who have meant such a lot to me, such as Nancy Garden, Carol Ann Duffy, and Virginia Woolf to name a few.

But, of course, all favourites begin as exciting new discoveries. This year I read my first novel by KE Payne, her lesbian romance When I Knew You.

What I particularly enjoyed was the clever idea underpinning the story – let’s just say it involves a series of letters.  I also loved the contrast between the two main characters, and on turning the last page I felt sad that I would never get a trip on Ash’s boat or have my pulse taken by surgeon Dr Nat.

What are your hopes for 2017?

My hopes for 2017? That my debut novel Highland Fling becomes your new discovery and a favourite you treasure and return to.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2017.