Archive | September, 2013

News Roundup: Two New Authors, Ylva Want You!, Jade Winters Giveaway, Amy Dunne Chats at the Bar, and Lots More…

26 Sep

Honestly, my Blog Buddy goes away for a week and everyone’s suddenly getting up to all sorts of mischief! So, pull up a comfy chair, dunk a biccie or two and settle in for a bumper news update…

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We’ll start this week by welcoming two new authors to the site.

denialcoverJackie Kennedy lives in Scotland and in her own words is “rubbish” at talking about herself, but her début novel, Denial, was published by Affinty eBooks in August and promptly hit the number one spot on Amazon UK’s lesbian book chart.  Terry Baker rather liked the book when she reviewed it last month:

This well written book is an absolute blockbuster. There is a little bit of everything in it. Humour, a touch of  the supernatural, heartbreak, angst, yes, a lot of angst, but at the same time as it’s heart aching, it’s heart warming and gives out hope. It is also hot and sexy, steaming hot in fact. It’s painful to read at times, but as soon as I thought, please, no more pain, I was actually laughing out loud. So, there is an excellent balance between the pain and the laughter.

We’re hoping to hear more about Jackie in the not too distant, but in the meantime you can read the full review of Denial here.

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GB-Cover1London-born author Vic Tanner Davy has also been in touch with the site to give us a heads-up about A Very Civil Wedding, a lesbian romance and Vic’s second novel, which will be published in November. For Vic’s bio, head to the Authors page where you can find a link to Vic’s blog.

Because I am nothing if not efficient (but mainly because I have little resembling a life!) the blurb and covers for Denial and A Very Civil Wedding can be found on the New & Upcoming Releases page.

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ylvaYlva Publishing are Looking For You! Well, your short stories at any rate, with an open call for submissions for a new anthology. So, if you don’t mind, I will hand you over to publisher, Astrid Ohletz, for this next section:

“Ylva Publishing wants to spread the love a bit. How? Well, we are seeking contemporary romance stories for an anthology we’d like to publish in January 2014. An anthology full of sinfully sweet romance and amazingly erotic fun. So, here’s what we’re looking for: We’re looking for lesbian fiction. All submissions should be either contemporary romance or erotica. We only accept short stories that haven’t been previously published.

Word count: We are looking for stories between 4,000 and 12,000 words in length.

Payment: Writers whose stories are selected for the anthology will receive a one-time payment of $40 (via PayPal) plus a free e-book of the anthology in each format (epub, mobi, pdf).

Deadline: The deadline is set for October 30, 2013.

Submissions: Electronic submissions only. Please send your story as an e-mail attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf) to info@ylva-verlag.de. Put “Spread the love” in the subject line of your e-mail. In the body of your e-mail, please include your name, the title and word count of your story, and a two-or-three-sentence summary of your story.It will take our editors about two weeks to review your submission; then we’ll get back to you.We are looking forward to receiving your stories.”

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Fabulous, thank you Astrid.

anthologyYlva already have one UK author in their pack (L.T. Smith), another with a novel pending “in a year or so”, and they sound very happy to add more, so good luck to anyone who chances their arm at a submission. Speaking of L.T., she has a short story (Batteries Not Included) in the upcoming When The Clock Strikes Thirteen, an anthology full of paranormal and fantastic stories which will be published by Ylva on October 18th. For more details, including a teaser for L.T.’s short, head over here.

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Amy_Dunne_lgFrom writing to listening now, and BSB’s newest YA author Amy Dunne has just recorded a Conversation at the Bar with Andy from The Cocktail Hour podcast:

I had a lovely time talking and laughing away, even though it was past 12am on a school night. For this reason, please excuse my inability to tell the time and say “self-publicity” not publication. Doh! Anyway, I really did enjoy it and kudos to Andy for making me feel so relaxed and welcome.

Amy chatted about her novel Secret Lies which will be published in December, and the podcast can be downloaded or listened to at the above link. I hope Andy was the perfect lady for their first date and picked up the tab!

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LadyfishSticking with ears and BSB authors for a moment, as Andrea Bramhall‘s novel Ladyfish has come out on audio book this very week. The title is unabridged and runs for 8 hours and 16 whole minutes! So, if you fancy someone taking the load off and reading you a story while you lie in a darkened room and pop chocolates into your mouth, go and treat yourself.

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awalkintodarknessAnd now a welcome return to one of our favourite things here at UK LesFic: Free Stuff! 

Jade Winters is holding a Goodreads Giveaway for her novel, A Walk Into Darkness. There’s one copy up for grabs, and the giveaway runs until December 1st, so it’ll be nicely timed for the festive season (did you know there are only 89 days, 10 hours, and 26 minutes to Christmas?) Head to the first link for the giveaway and the second if you’d like to make yourself rock in a corner and weep.

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glasgayI’m sure there’ll be no weeping at this year’s Glasgay! Festival which Suzanne Egerton wrote to tell us all about:

It’s the twentieth anniversary of Glasgay! this year, and although not strictly literary-themed, it does feature Jackie Kay reading at one event, and I’m sure some UK LesFic authors are interested in writing for the theatre. I’m looking forward to an event at Glasgow Women’s Library on The Gateways Club of Chelsea, an iconic gathering place for lesbians in the old days – even I went there a few times. The brochure says that there will also be a chance to look at some rare materials from the National Lesbian Archive Collection; the library is very lesbian-friendly. 

The Fest runs from October 9th to November 9th and for anyone interested in attending there’s loads more information at the official site.

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DSC_2985Closing out this update with another festival, but one that has recently been and gone. If you missed out on BooQfest, Crin Claxton has posted a handy link to a write-up of her session at the event, and a little detective work of mine also found a transcript of VG Lee‘s playwriting panel and hour-long chat/performance on the same blog (scroll down the page a little to find VG’s stuff.)

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Whew, I think that’s covered just about everything so, if no one has any objections, I think I’ll lie in a darkened room for a while and pop chocolates into my mouth…

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News Roundup: Kiki Archer Teases, New Books from Sky Croft & Mari Hannah, Interviews, Blogs, and more!

20 Sep

Firstly, a big thank you to Ms Ashton for taking hold of the blog reins whilst I sunned myself, failed to fall into a levada or off a mountain, ate gratuitous amounts of ice cream, and survived a landing on the world’s dodgiest bloody runway. She is now off to scoff cream teas in St Ives for the next week so you’re all stuck with me. Sorry about that.

What started out as quite a quiet news update suddenly blossomed into a lovely lively one as soon as I did my trot around the blogs, so here we go…

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one foot onto the iceKicking off with new book news, and Kiki Archer has just uploaded a trailer/teaser for One Foot Onto The Ice. Kiki’s fourth novel is set for an October 2013 release and the teaser – with its hints about the characters and themes – should be enough to whet your appetite! You can watch the short trailer at Youtube by clicking the above link.

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Sequel fever now, starting with Sky Croft who has signed a contract with Regal Crest for her fourth book, Amazonia: An Impossible Choice, which is a follow-up to Amazonia. The novel has a tentative publication date of August 2014 and, as it’s a little early to list it on our Forthcoming Releases page, here’s the blurb:

A year after the events in Amazonia, Blake and Shale are preparing for their upcoming joining ceremony.  A few days after celebrating their union, a savage storm hits the Amazon village, unearthing a long lost secret – a clue to the location of a sacred relic, which was once stolen from the Amazon tribe. Accompanied by Kale and Amber, Blake and Shale set out on a quest to reclaim the treasured artefact. Away from the safety of their village, the four women encounter thieves, deadly foes, and predatory animals. Their search leads them underground to a vast cave system, where darkness is a constant enemy, and one mistake in the perilous terrain could mean death. 

As echoes from the past come back to haunt them, Blake and Kale are both put into life-threatening situations. With only time to save one, Shale is faced with an impossible choice – her wife or her twin? Who will she choose?

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Monument to Murder cover imageMari Hannah, whose début novel The Murder Wall is short-listed for the Polari prize, recently announced that the publication date for the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series, Monument to Murder, has been brought forward to November 21st 2013. The book will be available in hardback from that date. I’ve been highly efficient and added it to the New and Forthcoming Releases page, so head over there for the synopsis.

Meanwhile, over at Beige Magazine, Mari has been chatting about her novels, her previous career as a probation officer, and lesbian fiction in general:

Kate’s story went on to spawn a series but I honestly believe that her sexuality shouldn’t define her. Her backstory is important but it’s the investigation that drives the books. She’s normal. We’re all normal! The feedback I’m getting is brilliant and that is good enough for me. I’m hoping my approach will lead other LGBT writers to submit their work.

The full interview can be found here.

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orla broderickWe’re a little late finding this (well, a couple of weeks, which isn’t that bad!) but one of the writers who missed out on the Polari short list, Orla Broderick, has a lovely, candid interview in the West Highland Free Press. Speaking about her first novel The January Flower, Orla had this to say:

“I wanted to develop this voice for all the single mums. It was for everybody. I could see there was a story of Skye that wasn’t being told. It isn’t this romantic notion. There is a whole real life here. Single mothers on benefits are voiceless and completely downtrodden.”

You can read the complete interview here.

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NicolaGriffithOur Stateside readers who are based in the Pacific Northwest (or anyone planning an imminent trip to those parts) may want to check out this listing of Nicola Griffith‘s Hild related appearances. Some of the events are free and quite a few seem to involve “drinks” so fill yer welly boots – hey, if it’s winter in Seattle, you’re going to need wellies! Nicola has also mentioned a possible end-of-October London appearance, more details on that if/when they come up.

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vghome34An event a little closer to home now, and one for folks who might be wondering what to do with themselves on this miserable, soggy Friday night. Look no further, we have the perfect date for you:

VG Lee: Author, comedian and renowned exponent of the elasticated waistband, and Fellow Traveller Theatre present ‘LADY OF THE WILD WEST HILL’

Date: Friday 20th September. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: £6.00 (plus booking fee). Venue: Birmingham LGBT Centre.

Further details can be found here, and if you’re a little too far from Birmingham to make the trip and fancy curling up with a decent book instead, VG’s novel The Comedienne is now available at the knock-down – dare I say, bargain – price of £4.99.

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tumbledownforblogRounding out this week’s roundup with an update at my own blog, in which I’ve been debating the issue of violence in my own novels, and Hurt/Comfort as a genre, and why I fail so utterly at writing fluffy bunny romances:

The villains in my books do terrible things because they are terrible people, and shying away from the detail would blunt an edge that should be sharp. There’s something inherently dishonest in a punch that doesn’t leave a bruise, or a violent attack that doesn’t leave its victim traumatised. 

The full piece can be read here, and feedback is more than welcome.

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And now back to our regular Friday schedule of hoovering, and trying to find new uses for tomatoes…

News roundup: awards, free short stories, Sarah Waters novel on the distant horizon, and love actually

15 Sep

So, in my best BBC accent, here is the news:

POLARIpinkLARGEThe short list for the Polari Prize has been announced and it has a very healthy number of women finalists. The list was announced at the latest colourful Polari event (see Jon Dolores’ blog for an account of the evening). Here’s the shortlist:

The Murder Wall – Mari Hannah
Tony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma – Kerry Hudson
The Sitar – Rebecca Idris
Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan – Mark O’Connell
The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones – Jack Wolf

You can read more about the announcement on The Bookseller. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced at November’s Polari evening.

tony hoganOne of the finalist’s, Kerry Hudson, has also just won the Scottish First Book Prize. Her book Tony Hogen Bought Me And Ice Cream Before He Stole My Ma has been described as Trainspotting on a sugar rush. From the blurb, it tells a story of a Scottish childhood of council flats and B&Bs, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, and a dysfunctional family you can’t help but adore.

Together with three other category winners her book goes forward to a final round of voting for the £30,000 overall prize starting at the beginning of October. There’s more information here. Good luck Kerry!

598px-Sarah_Waters

Sarah Waters (from Wikimedia Commons)

Good news for Sarah Waters fans who thought that 2009 for the Little Stranger was a very long time ago. The wait for a new novel is now finite (huzzah!)  But it is still a year away (ya, boo, sucks). The Bookseller has reported that the as yet untitled book is to be sold in autumn 2014. It is set in London, 1922, in the  tense aftermath of World War One. You can read more about it here.

Orla Broderick, author of the January Flower, has a piece on the Irish writing site http://www.writing.ie. She talks about her background as a writer and how she develops her stories, not restricted to the taught seven major plots.

Time for some freebies. Jade Winters has four short stories available on her website. The Love Letter, My Story of You, Love on the Cards and Makeover all have love as a theme from love letters from the past spanning the decades to a new job, a new boss, a new love.

And finally, Ke Payne and Nicola Griffith got married (not to each other, their partners will be glad to hear). Nicola has a sweet photo on her blog. Congratulations both!

Where I Write: Manda Scott

13 Sep

manda-scottUKLesFic is very pleased this week. Another writer has indulged our nosy tendencies and this time it’s Manda Scott! She sent us lots of lovely pictures (click on the photos to see larger versions).

Former vet, newspaper columnist and reviewer, Manda is also a prolific writer.

Her first novels were a series of critically acclaimed crime stories featuring lesbian detective Kellen Stewart, and her debut Hen’s Teeth was short-listed for the Orange Prize. More recently she has been better known for her best-selling historical novels – the Boudica Series and then the Rome spy thrillers set in the same era.

On top of that she lives in beautiful Shropshire. UKLesFic isn’t jealous at all…no, not at all…

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Wild ponies on the Long Mynd

One of the great joys of being a writer (as opposed to being a vet, which is what I was before) is working from home. No commute. No alarm clock. No structure to the day but the one that evolves as the day needs. This is how we evolved. It’s our nature: deadlines arise out of the world around us: the need for fire and food, for water and a warm, dry bed. Everything else is a modern construct and it doesn’t sit well on the paleololithic parts of our brains, which is just about all of them.

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The Teme

So my daily commute is four yards from my bedroom to my office, although the reality of being a dog owner – and 90% of the reason for having a dog – is that there’s an hour’s walk up on the hills first. Or, this being Shropshire, which has an abundance of amazing walking country, along the river.

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View from my window: North/East

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View from my window: North/West

The office, when I come back to it, has a north-facing window, which looks up towards the hills. Or, if I choose to look the other way, a view down into the garden where my beloved’s ability to persuade edible things to grow is finally bearing fruit (sorry, had to be done).

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Squirrel on his playstation

I’ve spent long enough doing this that I’ve wrecked my back and both hands/arms/wrists, so these days I have a desk that can be moved from standing to sitting and back again, a chair that cost almost as much as the house (possibly not, but it felt like it at the time), and various ergonomic keyboards and mice that will persuade my joints that I’m not really doing the same thing time after time after time. Which of course is a lie; I might be writing different books, but the letters are all the same. The important thing is that I persuade my body that I’m typing the letter ‘e’ at a slightly different angle every time I hit it. Hence the standing desk, and a rolled-up yoga mat that I stand on with bare feet. It’s the cheap equivalent of walk-stations – those hugely expensive US-designed delights where you walk on a treadmill while typing – which absolutely guarantees that when you hit the e or the spacebar or the delete key, it’ll be from a new direction. A rolled-up yoga mat may not be as sexy, but it fits better into what was once, I think, a box room; certainly it’s very small to be a bedroom.

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Cat TV

I have company here; both cats come and sleep on the desk and they have their playstation alongside – and the feline version of television, otherwise known as a planted aquarium. You can blame that on an ex-gf who finally lost her temper because I was ‘never interested in the things she was interested in’ (No, that’s because most of the time I’m not even here. I’m in another world, doing other things. That’s the nature of writing. Sorry. Or actually, not sorry at all, which is why she’s an ex-gf) – So I became fascinated by fish and plants and the underwater worlds we could create, and now, several years after the end of that relationship, I still have a fish tank in the office. The cats love it. The dog has her own bed over by the printer and the rest is taken up with bookshelves that double as dog-toy shelves and, despite horribly regular visits to the charity bookshop in the local town, are still horribly full of books. I have read them all, that’s the only good thing, or at least I’ve read some of all of them…

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Dog bed…sans dog…and untidy shelves…

So it’s not the most salubrious office in the world, and I’m having minor nightmares at the concept of having to dismantle the shelving so we can have the very ancient carpet replaced, but it works and I love it and the animals are happy and what else is a writing life for?

Gran Bramhall’s Recipe for Delicious Characters – a guest blog by Andrea Bramhall

6 Sep

cleanslateSo, Clean Slate, my second novel, has just been released by Bold Strokes Books. It is the story of Morgan and Erin Masters. At the beginning of the book Morgan suffers a terrible head injury and loses twenty years of her memories. The effects of this memory loss are at times hilarious, heartbreaking, and shocking. There have been times throughout the writing process where I have cried, laughed, and then cried some more. And then I cried laughing.

I have blogged quite a lot lately about the inspiration behind Clean Slate and why it has urged me to pledge half of the royalties I earn from Clean Slate to a local charity, but if you want to know more about that you can check out this blog here.

Instead I thought I’d talk about my ‘evolution’ as a writer. Big words, hey? Well, that’s part of it. As is learning all those pesky grammar rules I obviously didn’t learn in school.

My first novel, Ladyfish, was a labour of love written over a very cold winter while I basked in the memories of a sunny holiday, scuba diving and getting a sun tan—yes, you can insert ‘burnt’ in place of ‘sun tan’. The story fell out of my head in three weeks, and my poor editor could very definitely tell when I first submitted it. But we slaved over it and I began to learn the work of writing. The hours of editing, rewriting, and torturing myself…I mean searching to find the right word to convey exactly what I meant. But I think one of the biggest things I learnt was the layers that are required to build believable, three-dimensional characters that people want to read about. It’s kind of like making a trifle. I know, you probably think I’m a bit crazy for that, but hear me out before you send for the straitjacket.

With a trifle you have all these different layers, right? You’ve got the jelly, which is your character’s basic personality type, or archetype. Let’s take Morgan Masters, the main character in Clean Slate. She’s basically a lost soul. That’s her jelly, or if you’re American, her Jello. Then inside the jelly you’ve got fruit and sponge fingers and a hefty—read here huge—glug of booze. This is my gran’s recipe I’m following here and I’ve been told not to mess with a classic. I think she was talking about the trifle…but I can’t be sure.

So fruit, booze, and sponge fingers, well these are Morgan’s issue’s. The insecurities, fears, worries, and concerns that make up a huge part of who she is. Then gran puts a load of custard on the top. Now this isn’t as deep as the trifle goes, but it’s totally smothering all that lost soul angst, those insecurities, and trust issues. We know there’s more underneath—but I’m damned if I can see through the custard! Then we add the layer that everyone gets to see. Cream. Whipped cream, no less. The sweetness that gets our mouths watering and our little mitts reaching for the spoon. This is what everyone sees. The public face. Sprinkle on top the hundreds and thousands like a smile on a very bad day, and the strawberry sitting on the very top.

You see? There is a method to my madness, people. This is how I layer up a character. I follow gran’s trifle recipe.

As the reader you get a big bowl full of trifle, a spoon, and a chance to see the character—warts and all. Characters in the book, though, only get to see certain parts of the trifle, depending on their perspective. So some of them will only see the cream, the hundreds and thousands, and this strawberry on the top. They don’t get to see what flavour jelly is in the trifle, they don’t know if it’s strawberry, raspberry, or even lime, or anything that’s inside it. Other characters in the book may see the serving bowl, they may see that there’s custard beneath the cream, jelly, fruit, and sponge. But they still don’t know what type of fruit it is or how much sponge is in there, and they certainly don’t know that there’s more than a hint of booze. But as the reader you get to see every side, see every part, and taste all the hidden stuff inside.

Now, Morgan has an additional problem: because of her memory issues she doesn’t know what flavour the jelly is, what kind of fruit is inside. She has no idea that there is sponge in the jelly or what flavour booze. She’s learning who she is—who she was—through the eyes of everyone who has ever known her. The question is, who knew the real Morgan? Did anyone know every ingredient that made up the original trifle? Or is that recipe lost for good?

trifleSo, who doesn’t love trifle?

News Roundup: The People’s Book Prize, P-Town, New Books & General Naughtiness

4 Sep

Happy hump day! That actually sounds a lot naughtier than intended, but this news post is brought to you by a night-shift brain in holiday mode whose WordPress internet connection is finally working again, so I’m feeling rather frivolous (and borderline incoherent. Be warned.)

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So what’s been going on in the last week?

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog might have noticed a big update to the New & Upcoming Releases page, which is now crammed full of releases up to and including next February. I tried my best to scout around for titles, but if there are authors out there with a book that I’ve missed (and some of you are proper secret squirrels when it comes to this publicity malarkey) please let us know so we can list it.

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the january flowerSticking with the theme of new books, Suzanne Egerton’s Out Late with Friends and Regrets and Orla Broderick’s The January Flower are both autumn nominations for this year’s People’s Book Prize. The prize is aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works and, as the title of the prize suggests, the public are entirely responsible for choosing the winners. See this page to find out how you can add your vote. Good luck to all involved!

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LadyfishAndrea Bramhall (who will be guest-blogging here on Friday) had some good news this week when she found out that her début novel Ladyfish is going to be released as an audio book. The title will be available from September 24th and is available to pre-order here. In a busy week, Andrea has also been blogging over on Women & Words about her second novel Clean Slate, which is hot off the presses this month.

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rj samuelA heads-up now for anyone who might be reading this blog from t’other side of the pond and fancies seeing three UK LesFic authors in Province Town this October. R.J. Samuel recently announced that she is set to conquer her fear of flying (good luck!) by heading over to Women’s Week in P-Town:

I’ve almost worked up the courage to book my flights (petrified of flying  ).. I’m thrilled to be going to Provincetown for Women’s Week!! I’ll be reading on the GCLS Author Panel on Friday October 18th with Liz Bradbury, Deej Garden, Joan Timberlake, Melissa Brayden, and Barbara Sawyer. I’m so looking forward to the week and meeting FB friends in person.

R.J. will join Andrea Bramhall and I.Beacham as UK flag-flyers for this week-long fest celebrating everything to do with lesbian culture.

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I think we’ll close out this round up by returning to our theme of naughtiness with a couple of new novellas.

cover3Terry Baker has given a glowing review to Clare Ashton’s short story The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer:

This is a wacky, zany, hilarious short story with Clare Ashton’s wicked sense of humor shining through on every page. I say wicked, because I’m not sure if I’m going to forgive her for naming the dog Terry! But I digress.

Although the story is short, it is crammed full to the brim with great scenarios and lovable fully formed characters, including the naughty dog and his antics. His owner, Mrs Smedley needs a medal for putting up with him. Look out for the gorgons too.

The full review can be found here at Terry’s blog.

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rosen2011_170Rosen Trevithick has also been dabbling in the dangly-bits arena and her comedy novella My Granny Writes Erotica is free on amazon until Friday (US readers, don’t think I’ve forgotten you: see this link instead.) It doesn’t fall into the category of LesFic but it is funny, very British, has some nice things to say about writing in general and is well worth an hour or two of your time. Plus, it’s free, so I’m thinking this is a win-win scenario really.

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And with that I bid you farewell and hand the blog reins over to Ms Ashton while I go and sun myself in Madeira for a week.

Obrigado!