Archive | March, 2013

Q and A with Manda Scott

28 Mar

Manda Scott
(MC Scott) is author of more than a dozen novels, including several contemporary crime thrillers, the four Boudica novels exploring the world of the legendary war-leader, and a new series based on imperial Rome. Rome book 4: The Art of War is out in hardback this month, and Rome 3: The Eagle of the Twelfth is newly out in paperback.

We’re thrilled that Manda very graciously took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for UK LesFic.

When did you start writing fiction? Which writers would you say inspired or influenced your work?

I began in the mid 90s. I was working full time as a vet, in the clinical department of the Cambridge Vet School and had an idea that I could combine full time veterinary medicine with writing. It wasn’t true, of course, but it took me six years to realise that.

As to influences…I’ve always been moved most by historical novels: Rosemary Sutcliff when I was young, and a slew of WWII RAF memoirs that my father kept in his study. Later, I found Mary Renault and fell in love with her depiction of Alexander (not with the man; I wanted to be him, which is quite different to falling in love with him, but her way of creating a world was and remains one of the best I’ve ever read). These two, without question, are my lasting influences. At the time I began writing, though, there was very little lesbian fiction and there’s no doubt that Val McDermid’s early crime thrillers were an inspiration – an indicator of what was possible. In a world where every other instance of lesbian fiction revolved around the angst of the protagonists’ sexuality, Val’s work showed women who were lesbian and it was simply part of who they were. I wrote the Kellen Stewart series very much in the wake of that idea; that I could have characters who were lesbian without being stressed about it. Getting those published was hard at first. Now, it would be a lot easier.

Your Boudica and Rome series include a mixture of historical and fictional characters. Which do you find easier to bring to life: people who are well documented in a variety of primary sources, those we know very little about, or those who are entirely your own creation?

Fictional characters are always easier than those who have any kind of anchor in historical ‘fact’. They (the fictional ones) can be moved around according to what I need, or – more often – according to who I am coming to understand they are, whereas the ‘factual’ ones have to fit what we know of their lives and so I have to do a kind of reverse development where I know what happened at certain points and have to try to work out who they could have been in order for their actions to fit some kind of internal logic. Everything I write depends entirely on the people driving the narrative so getting under the skin of each character is essential. It’s also easier to let myself leak into the fictional characters –I am much more visible in Bán/Valerius than in Breaca in the Boudican series, for instance, although in the end, she and I merged a lot more than I’d thought, but it was hard, and felt at times as if I was treading into her space.

Your Rome books also include people known primarily from religious sources, such as St Paul. Were you at all nervous about using Biblical characters? What has the response been like?

Rome4Was I nervous? Not at all. I think Saulos/Paul was one of history’s more dangerous psychopaths and the more people who understand that, the better. I didn’t just look at Paul, I looked at the entire historical basis for Christianity – in the course of researching what I thought was going to be a straightforward historical spy thriller, I unearthed the historical basis for Christ (three different men, since you ask: one was Judas of the Sicarioi (yes, it is an anagram) crucified as an insurgent having led a highly effective terrorist movement against Rome for nearly 30 years. One – that man’s brother – was a Nazirite, given to the Hebrew god at birth. He was a pacifist, celibate vegetarian and if anyone at all gave the Sermon on the Mount, it was him. He was stoned to death by the Sanhedrin for being too popular. He also prevented the war against Rome for another 30 years after his elder brother’s death.

The third man is the son, or possibly the grandson of Judas, named Menachem. He was an outstanding war leader and led a successful assault against the ‘impregnable’ rock of Masada. When the Romans took it back, they needed three years and the legions had to build themselves a ramp up the side. Menachem took it, defeated and slaughtered the garrison on the top, armed himself from Herod’s armoury, which contained enough supplies for a thousand men for ten thousand days (or ten thousand men for a thousand days, depending on how you look at it) and then led his victorious rebels back against the legions in Jerusalem. Having defeated them, he rode down the streets of Jerusalem on an ass, proclaiming himself king of Israel – which, in fact, he was. He had his own coins minted and raised his own taxes. If his own people hadn’t killed him for ‘behaving like a king’ he might have successfully held Jerusalem against Titus in 70AD – and the history of the world would be very different.

I’ve had one or two people throw hissy fits about this, but the historical data fits with what we know and it’s buried so deeply in The Emperor’s Spy that you have to look for it to see it. One day, I’ll write that story – of Yehuda and Yacov – and give it the space it needs.

It is very easy to get so caught up in your characters’ stories that one forgets the factual outcomes. Are you ever tempted to twist history and create a fictional world in which, for example, the Eceni defeated the Romans and forced them out of Britain?

I did write a short story called The Last Roman in Britain which is predicated on the idea that the Boudican forces won their final battle and drove the legions from Britain. I wrote it to go in the back of the paperback of The Emperor’s Spy and so it brought together Pantera, the spy whose name means Leopard, who has a back history in the tribes of Britain, and Bán/Valerius who is leading the tribes. It was enormous fun to write and I do, often, talk about the though experiment of ‘what the world would be like’ if the Boudican forces had actually won that battle. Nero might have fallen. Seneca might have taken over (that’s the reality in the short story), the druidic power base in Anglesey would have consolidated and been a political stepping-off point for the later rebellions in Gaul and Germany which were suppressed in our reality, but with a free Britain, and a weaker Rome, would have been a lot more powerful.

So by the time the Saxon wolves come in the fourth and fifth centuries, we would still be a warrior nation and less prone to letting them walk all over us. No Anglo-Saxon Britain, and so no battles with Harald Hardrada and so no loss at Hastings, and so no Norman conquest… and through it all, no imposition of the worst of Rome; the concept of marriage in which ownership of a woman passes from her father to her husband – that was completely foreign to the tribes as far as we can tell; no breakdown of the tribes – we’d still be living communally; no imposition of their new religion which was, in essence, the mores of Rome dressed up as if they were supported by a god. Perhaps hypocrisy and suppression of women would still be rife, but it might not be. Certainly the world would be a very different place.

Your Roman novels often have glimpses of characters from past books. Of your many characters, who has stayed with you the most?

That’s hard because a lot of the characters are outward expressions of archetypes that I work with in a shamanic way on a daily basis. So the Elder Grandmother is with me all the time, as is Airmid in her role as Nemain (or, we could say that Airmid is Nemain brought to earth and given form). And then they all have to take something of a back seat to make room for the world I’m inhabiting now, which is 15th Century France. I believe I know who Jeanne d’Arc really was, and it wasn’t a peasant’s daughter from Domremy. If I had to pick one, it would be the Elder Grandmother; she is my go-to source of wisdom and sanity.

Although the lesbian fiction market has grown in recent years and mainstream publishing has become more accepting of gay characters, there can still be a perception – rightly or wrongly – that “straight” books are an easier sell. Do you feel under any pressure to include straight relationships in your books, or is it purely personal choice to do so?

Rome3I’ve never been under any pressure either way; my publishers are immensely gracious and pretty much let me write what I want to write. And so that’s what I do: a long time ago, I went on a week long writing workshop on which Fay Weldon was the tutor. She taught me a huge amount, but two things stuck with me that I use daily: ‘find your voice’ and ‘write what you want to read’.

In the beginning, I wanted to read books about lesbian women who were doing other things than being screwed up about their sexuality. Back in the 90s, there weren’t many of those and I had read all of them (and all of the others, about being screwed up. It was a way of balancing out the rigidly heterosexual world of veterinary surgery that I inhabited).

As my writing grew – it’s always an apprenticeship, and each book, I learn something new – I found that I wanted to stretch myself and that writing of other relationships was a natural way to do that. In any case, I was writing history by then and it was necessary: the relationship between the Boudica and Airmid was central to the entire Boudica: Dreaming series, but we know that she was partnered in some way to Prasutagos and she had children, so I had to weave other relationships into the mix. In any case, my understanding of human sexuality, and of the way we were before Rome imposed its straight roads and nuclear families, is that we’re serially monogamous and everyone is somewhere on the span of bisexuality. When you live 80 people to a roundhouse, and your culture has no notion of ‘sexuality’ in any kind of definition, then relationships happen with the people you are closest to and if you’re a warrior, there’s a fair chance that one or two of those will be men: saving someone’s life on the battlefield is an intensely intimate experience.

I’ve also found that I enjoy writing gay men. In the beginning, this was because I was writing of Valerius in the legions and he was moving around too much to give him anything other than a camp prostitute and I didn’t want to go there – he wasn’t that kind of person. And I’d read Mary Renault, and been so very impressed by her Alexander, that it was easy to write a fighting man who loved other men. That came out again in The Eagle of the Twelfth for much the same reasons: having realised I could write of an actual lost eagle in the timeline I was exploring (Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth which had so affected my childhood was based on a false premise; the Ninth legion never actually lost their eagle: the Twelfth definitely did – and got it back again) I also realised that the Twelfth moved around way too much for there to be any kind of serious intimate relationship with a woman. I also wanted Demalion to have something more to lose at the ‘last stand’ at Beth Horon than simply the legion’s honour. I’ve had more ‘how dare you?!’ emails about that than I have about the history of Christianity, but still not very many. Truly, the world is changing for the better.

hensteethYour earliest books – the Kellen Stewart series – were interesting takes on the lesbian crime novel. With Rome’s emphasis on a male-centric world, do you feel you have taken a step away from your lesbian readership? Do you have a particular audience in mind as you write?

See above. Tho’ the first two novels in the ROME series both have a lesbian relationship at their heart. The first, The Emperor’s Spy, has Hannah and Hypatia as back story and progressing into the present while the second, The Coming of the King, has Hypatia and Iksahra as crucial to the narrative. Given how absurdly patriarchal Rome was, finding roles for strong women, and allowing them to express themselves fully has been interesting, but it does matter. By The Eagle of the Twelfth, it wasn’t possible to give Demalion anything other than a relationship with another man if I was going to be able to build him as fully rounded as I wanted.

With the fourth, The Art of War, moving back to Rome and the Year of the Four Emperors, it’s been possible to bring women once again into the foreground, but in this case, the woman history records is Caenis, the freedwoman who became Vespasian’s partner and reigned with him as his Empress, for all that it was illegal for him to marry her (Senators could not marry freed-women). Pantera is the centre around which The Art of War turns, but it’s the women around him: Caenis and Jocasta particularly, who are crucial to the narrative.The new Jeanne d’Arc book has a dual narrative thread; part in the 15th Century, part in the present and I know already that there’s a lesbian thread in the present, that I suspect will be echoed, however finely tuned, in the past.

So to answer your question more fully, I write for myself, always; it’s all anyone can do and it means the books have an energy they’d lack if I was trying to write for someone else. I’m a lesbian woman and while I read lesbian books incessantly when I first began to be out in the world, I don’t any more, and I never read them to the exclusion of anything else. I think I long ago ceased to define a book by the sexuality of the protagonists and am looking, rather, for books that transport me, where the people in them live fully rounded lives. I’ve read four historical novels this year, all of which had lesbian protagonists, three of which were utterly dire (and one of those was written by a man, who had clearly never actually spoken to a lesbian woman in his entire life). One of them shone and is a remarkable work of art, but that’s not because of the sexuality of its protagonists, it’s because it’s a brilliantly written novel.

boudicaLike many authors, you publish under initials (M.C. Scott), but your earlier books were published under your full name. Why did you decide on the change?

My publishers thought it would help to sell books – most men won’t buy a book if they know it’s by a woman. If the author is gender neutral, then they’ll pick it up and if they discover later that the author was a woman, that’s fine. So we go from 80:20 women: men to 50:50 as soon as it’s not obvious who I am. It’s entirely commercial. And, very sadly, it worked.

What can you tell us about your upcoming books? Do you have plans for further epic series beyond Rome, or will you be exploring different eras or genres?

I’m working on a dual-timeline novel of Jeanne d’Arc at the moment which will stand alone (tho’ I’ve so enjoyed the contemporary thread that we might create another around it – we’ll wait and see on that one). I’ve got a contemporary thriller in the pipeline, just waiting for me to finish it, and then I’ve got another dual-timeline novel planned in a different era. I have plans for books that stretch forward the next 20 years, but it may be that the digital revolution and Amazon in particular will have destroyed the publishing industry, so I’m not taking anything for granted. We have sold the film rights to various of the novels and they’re in development now, so that’s another interesting area to explore. I’d love to get more into film work.

~ ~ ~

Anyone wishing to find out more about Manda and her writing, can visit her official blog here, and a big thank you to Manda for providing such comprehensive answers.

News Roundup: New Interview with Clare Ashton, Binding Devotion reviewed, States of Independence, & Get your pitch ready for BSB in Nottingham

25 Mar

clareashtonOur very own Clare Ashton has been interviewed for the blog Hannah’s Nook. This illuminating Q&A sees Clare answering questions about her novels, influences, lesbian literature in a more general sense, and what it means to be a British writer in a niche market largely dominated by American publishers. You can read the full interview here.

Meanwhile, over on the Planet of the Books blog they’ve been reviewing Kiki Archer‘s Binding Devotion:

“This book explores what things that look perfect from the outside, might actually feel like from the inside. Conviction, passion, temptation, desire and great sex scenes to boot. The story is gripping and the characters are easily imaginable within the London LGBT community.”

Read the full review on their website.

states of indie
Safely back from a wild camping trip (in this weather?!), Andrea Bramhall has been blogging about the recent States of Independence literary festival, and giving some hints as to what her upcoming novels will be about. At the festival, Andrea and Bold Strokes editor, Victoria Oldham, participated in a debate on LGBTQ literature and whether there is still a need for it, where the “argument about labelling oneself a lesbian writer or a writer who is also a lesbian was definitely a hot topic.”

Answers to that vexing question on a postcard please, or you could just go and read the full write-up here at Andrea’s site. The sneak peek of Nightingale and Swordfish – her novels in progress – can be found here.

bold books logo
Speaking of Bold Strokes Books and the lovely Ms Oldham: the forthcoming Bold Strokes UK Fest to be held in Nottingham in June (see events page) will now include an opportunity for budding authors to put their best pitch forward to Victoria:

“In other news, for the first time we’ll be hearing pitches at the event. This means you have the chance to sit down with me for ten minutes and tell me about your book – beginning, middle and end. Convince me it’s compelling, and leave me with a single page synopsis and your contact details. If you’re interested in pitching, get in touch and let me know, and I’ll add you to the sign up sheet.”

So, you all have, what? Two and a half months to get your pitches polished, your synopses sparkling, and your bios buffed. That’s loads of time! And I think Vic likes chocolate (and if she doesn’t, then I’ll be waiting outside the Pitching Room and I certainly do!)

All For Love by Dalia Craig

23 Mar

allforloveDalia Craig, writer of lesbian erotica and romance, has a new short story out. Here’s the blurb for All for Love:

A dark secret threatens Tara’s dream of a happy ever after life with Cheryl.
Cheryl has been hurt before and is consequently afraid to trust anyone including, Tara, her lover of five years. She is convinced that Tara won’t understand and will see her actions as a betrayal or worse, but time is running out and her dark secret is soon to be exposed.
Tara knows they belong together but Cheryl’s increasingly volatile behavior is proving a barrier to their happiness. They need a miracle, or two, to save their relationship. In a final attempt to resolve the issues keeping them apart, Tara makes a stand and risks all for love.

All For Love was previously published in the anthology, To Love & To Cherish, by loveyoudivine and Sapphicplanet.

You can read an excerpt on Dalia’s website.

All for Love is available from the following:

I got kissed by Val McDermid

21 Mar

Guest blog by Kerri Russell who got up close and personal with Val McDermid in Oxford. Picture by Anu Prashar

I got kissed by Val McDermid.

Kerri and Val, taken by Anu PrasharOk, ok, so it was just a peck on the cheek as she said good-bye to everyone, and it obviously didn’t mean anything at all, but at least now I finally have something interesting to say when people ask that old, predictable conversation-starting question: “What famous people have you met?”

It happened when Val McDermid was invited to speak at the University of Oxford’s annual history month lecture. As part of the committee that organizes this yearly event, I had the privilege of not only hearing her talk, but also enjoying an evening of dinner and drinks with her after the talk. I wasn’t asked to write this blog post until after the event, and wish I’d had the presence of mind to ask more insightful questions at the time.

Her lecture was a brilliant mix of discussing her own life experiences including: challenges of being both Scottish and Queer at Oxford in an environment that wasn’t really accepting of either of those identities; her work experience and how she transitioned from tabloid journalism to stage and then mystery writing; and also Queer identity and how Queer perception has changed, and yet has not changed, during her life thus far. There were so many times when I found myself laughing at her stories because of the humorous way she expressed something that was, in fact, serious or painful or sad.

It was an absolutely brilliant evening. But don’t take my word for it. You can download it and listen to it yourself from Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section.

News roundup: new novels, free novels, and genre pigeonholes…

18 Mar

detectiveCrin Claxton’s new novel The Supernatural Detective has just come out on ebook, and she tells us there will be a print version coming soon.

A girl meets girl, girl meets ghosts, funny, fast-paced thriller stretching from the streets of London’s theatre-land to the sand dunes of Provincetown.

When Tony Carson wakes to a pretty drag queen perched on her chest of drawers, she thinks she’s dreaming. But it’s Tony’s powers that have awoken, and the ghosts just won’t leave her alone.

Struggling with the mystery surrounding the death of her father, attractive herbalist Maya Silva needs Tony more than she knows, and it’s not just for her supernatural detecting.

Dark storms are brewing and Tony’s about to discover the spirit world can be a very dangerous world indeed…


Andrea Bramhall signs books at States of Independence

Andrea Bramhall signs books at States of Independence

Andrea Bramhall  has announced that her third and fourth novels are signed up with Bold Strokes Books: Nightingale and Swordfish. She promises to post more details soon.

Cari Hunter is running a giveaway for her new book, Desolation Point. Go and comment on her blog for a chance of winning a copy.

And finally, novelist Nicola Griffith protests against dismissive pigeonholing by gender and genre: Lesbian novels? No such thing!, and discusses her favourite lesbian sci-fi novels.


News Roundup: Polari Prize, States of Independence, LT Smith, Hild cover unveiled, and open call for Manda Scott questions.

14 Mar

POLARIpinkLARGEAs if authors don’t have enough dates to try to keep up with, the deadline for submissions to the Polari First Book Prize is fast approaching. Pinching a bit of a blurb from their website:

The Polari First Book Prize is named after ‘London’s peerless gay literary salon’ Polari, founded in 2007. The Prize is for a first book which explores the queer experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction by a writer born or resident in the UK, published in English within the past twelve months. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission.

The deadline for submissions is March 31st, 2013. For anyone interested in giving it a shot, the fine print details can be found here.

statesofindependence2013With the weekend also fast approaching, Bold Strokes Books editor, Victoria Oldham has been telling folks all about the upcoming States of Independence festival:

“States of Independence is a one day carnival of the feisty, the wayward, the unclassifiable, and the wilfully strange,” said Will Buckingham, DMU lecturer. And I’ll be there, this Saturday, at the Bold Strokes Books table with Amy Dunne, and Andrea Bramhall, who will be on the LGBTQ panel Do we still need LGBTQ literature? with Gregory Woods and Russell Christie. Come join us for an awesome day of books, readings, awards announcements and general insanity.

The festival takes place this Saturday at De Montford University in Leicester. Find full details over on the festival website.

Fans of LT Smith, whose novels include Hearts and Flowers Border, will be pleased to hear she has been signed by Ylva Press. Her novels were previously published by PD Publishing, which closed late last year. LT’s new novel, See Right Through Me, will be published in autumn this year. More about Ylva and the blurb for the new novel here.

91CYqVEe28L._SL1500_Nicola Griffith‘s forthcoming novel Hild (released November 12th ) is now available for pre-order and, over on her blog, Nicola has proudly unveiled the face of Hild to the world. There is also a very useful listing of independent bookshops (worldwide) who will be stocking the novel. With indie shops disappearing at a rate of knots, this is a great list to keep handy. Hild now has her own page on Nicola’s blog, with all the lowdown on this new release. We honestly have no idea as to Hild’s LesFic credentials, but have to admit the novel sounds intriguing.

manda-scottMore good news to round out this update! Author, dreamer and sometime veterinary surgeon Manda Scott has graciously agreed to be our next Q&A guest. If anyone has questions for Manda, please comment in this thread or email us at: by Monday if possible (eek, another deadline!)

Bold Strokes Books Palm Springs LGBT Festival – Sun, Shorts & Chicken Fried Steak

11 Mar

Today’s guest blog comes from our own Cari Hunter, who’s just been on a book-related jolly to California (the lucky devil!)

~ ~ ~

It started out months ago as a flippant remark made to my partner: “If I get another book signed up, we’ll go to Palm Springs.” I was still busy writing story number two at the time, but the thought of heading out to the annual Bold Strokes Books Festival held in sunny California during deepest, darkest February sounded awfully attractive. When I signed the contract for Desolation Point and received a publication date of April 2013, my lovely missus reminded me of my earlier promise and then got busy Googling accommodation, flights, and the nearby national parks. Despite a fear of flying that I can only describe as “paralysing”, it seemed we were going to America…

The Joshua Tree national park sits just north of Palm Springs

Joshua Tree National Park, just north of Palm Springs

The BSB LGBT Palm Springs Book Festival takes place over a four-day weekend, with events – author panels, readings, signings, Q&As, and general daftness – held at the Casitas Laquita hotel and the Palm Springs public library. We arrived in California a few days early, determined to explore some of the desert hiking trails and avoid scaring the locals by alleviating a little of our English winter pallor. By the time the festival rolled around, I had almost mastered driving on the right (so, technically the wrong!) side of the road, suntan and cactus scratches had somewhat tempered the lily whiteness of my limbs, and we had learned that asking for a “small” portion still provided more food than we could hope to eat. The weather was hot and forecast to get hotter, Desolation Point had been rushed to the printers so it would be available early, and our hotel came with a cat. The portents were definitely good.

Cari Hunter reads from her novel

Cari Hunter reads from her novel Desolation Point

Thursday’s inaugural panel was appropriately entitled The Hook: First Scenes. I read a slightly edited version of Desolation Point’s opening scene, tried not to blow unintentional raspberries into the microphone, and then took part in a discussion that covered starting and ending a novel, changes that were made during the editing process, and tricks to grab the reader’s attention right from the outset. The ensuing Lesbian Desire panel kick-started a joke about hand washing that would run for the duration of the festival, while the Coffee Break featured UK author Jane Fletcher in a Truth or Dare battle with Georgia lovely, D. Jackson Leigh. I swooned a little over shiny new copies of my book (it might just have been the heat!) and tried not to blush when people asked me for autographs. That night we dined out with an online friend, finally, finally unravelling the mystery that is “Chicken Fried Steak”.

With the mercury continuing to rise, Friday got underway with a chat about Other Worlds, before I read for a panel discussing the Art of Romance. I had managed to find a short but sweet extract that included the phrase “bloody Nora”, didn’t contain any maiming or mayhem, and didn’t give too much away. Later, Carsen Taite nabbed me to record a very giggly video blog (see below!) where she wilfully declined to understand a word I was saying, and I deafened her with my football terrace whistle. Highlight of the day was a Coffee Break chat where Justine Saracen and Ashley Bartlett played off each other quite beautifully, took the piss out of their generational differences, and generally made us all laugh.


The British contingent! Cari Hunter & Jane Fletcher

Saturday morning saw my partner and me playing hooky at the top of the Palm Springs aerial tramway, where we trusted the helpful directions of a Ranger and promptly got lost in a foot of snow. We made it down in time for the BSB skit, which featured Nell Stark sporting a pink tutu and an atrocious British accent, Justine Saracen in a scuba mask, and Trinity Tam dressed as a cat. Suffice to say, you probably needed to be there! The closing panel on Sunday broke the mould somewhat. Deciding to forgo the traditional format, participants offered a synopsis for an upcoming work and then fielded suggestions from fellow authors on how that work could be improved. I’m not sure why Ms Saracen wasn’t keen on inserting musical numbers and a bliss montage into her book about a British nurse working in occupied Belgium during WWII, but I didn’t see her taking many notes.


Final casting call on the last day of the festival

Afterwards, there was just time for hugs, kisses, and group photos before people began to go their separate ways. We staggered back to our hotel to coo at Miss Kitty. We were knackered, happy, and already chatting about our next trip “over the pond.” Well, we came home with a few spare dollars; it’d be rude not to go back and spend them…

Click to watch the aforementioned Vlog with me and Carsen Taite!

News on the Run…Queer’s the Word at Shout, Lambda Finalists announced…

9 Mar

Queers-The-WordAwfully sorry for the short notice on this one, but it sounded too good not to mention. The SHOUT festival – currently being held in Birmingham and the West Midlands – is hosting Queer’s The Word, a creative writing and poetry workshop tomorrow (Sunday 10th March) from 2pm-5pm. Aimed at new and emerging queer writers, the event is being hosted by author and poet Sophia Blackwell.

According to the website blurb, the workshop will be: “full of tips on learning to express yourself, editing your work, finding inspiration all around you, and getting your writing out there, this session is bound to inspire and get the creative juices flowing. For all levels from absolute beginner to advanced.” Tickets still seem to be available here and are a snip at a mere fiver.

25th-Annual-Lambda-Literary-Awards-300x123Meanwhile, Wednesday 6th March saw the finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards being announced. Now in their twenty-fifth year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. A huge congratulations to Brit author Lesley Davis whose novel Dark Wings Descending is nominated in the Lesbian Romance category, and to Jeanette Winterson who is nominated in the Lesbian Memoir/Biography category for Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? A full listing of all the nominations can be found here, and the winners will be announced during a ceremony on Monday June 3, 2013. We’re keeping our fingers crossed…

News roundup: Kiki Archer, The Green Carnation Prize and Devon Marshall

5 Mar

BindingDevotionReplacementjpgIn its opening weekend, Kiki Archer‘s Binding Devotion shot to number 1 in the Amazon UK lesbian charts and took the lesbian Smashwords number 1 spot too. An early review from Terry Baker says this:

“Kiki Archer has surpassed herself. Her writing here is honed to perfection. She has joined the ranks of a small group of excellent writers here in the UK and I’m pleased to notice that her books are also being well read in the USA too.

If you want an enjoyable read that you won’t be able to put down, look no further. I’m envious of all who haven’t read this yet. You’ve got a plethora of delights ahead of you. The only drawback now is……..How long do I have to wait for the next Kiki Archer book?”

Read more of Terry’s review on When Sally Met Sally.

2013greencarnation-04The Green Carnation prize is back for its fourth year and open for submissions. The prize is a literary prize for UK LGBT published works and was established in July 2010 by author Paul Magrs because of the lack prizes for gay men in the UK. The prize has been since extended to all LGBT writers – a welcome development given that lack of lesbian prizes also – but unfortunately this has not been extended to self-published/indie writers.

Finally, spare a thought for Devon Marshall whose computer gobbled up her manuscript. Readers waiting for The Vampires of Hollywood Book 2 might need to wait a bit longer…. Read more here.

Kiki Archer’s new book Binding Devotion

1 Mar

Best-selling author Kiki Archer has a new book out today. Kiki writes funny lesbian chicklit and her previous books But She is My Student and Instigations hit number 1 in the Amazon lesbian fiction charts in the UK and US.

BindingDevotionReplacementjpgHere’s the blurb for her topical new novel, Binding Devotion:

“What’s more important … the bond of marriage or the pull of desire?”

“But what’s more powerful?”

Andi Armstrong is the 29-year-old CEO of the UK’s largest LGBT campaigning organisation, Proud Unity. She’s a public figure, an empowering speaker, a devoted boss and a loyal wife. Or so she thought.

Having spent the past seven years fighting for the marriage rights of same-sex couples, she can’t imagine that her own civil partnership might actually be failing. She committed for life. She’s bound by law. She’s an example of how it works … Andi Armstrong knows that she has to make it work. She wants it to work.

But what happens when desire takes over … when the pull is too strong? Should Andi sacrifice everything, her beliefs and her loyalty … for desire, for excitement, for happiness … for love?

KikiArcherFor someone who isn’t her wife?

“Binding Devotion” is a saucy and topical lesbian fiction novel that will leave you questioning the intricacies of commitment in the face of unexpected infidelity.

Catch the book trailer for Binding Devotion here.

Binding Devotion is available on Amazon and Smashwords. The paperback is also available from Lulu.