Archive | October, 2013

Halloween Q&A

31 Oct

halloweenIt’s Halloween and whether you have a tub of sweets ready for trick or treaters, or the lights off to pretend you’re not in, it’s a fabulous night to curl up with a creepy book.

We asked several authors which books frightened them most and which character scared the bejeebers out of them. Here are their answers:

I Beacham
The most frightening book I’ve ever read is Ghost Story by Peter Straub (it was made into a movie of the same name with Fred Astaire).

ghoststoryWithout giving too much away, the story is about four aging men in a town someplace upstate New York who get together on a regular basis and over firelight and whiskey, exchange ghost stories. They call themselves The Chowder Society. It is clear that the men have known each other for years and were once teenage / early twenties buddies. The key to this story is that they all hide a tragic secret of something they did during their youth.  It is this tragedy that now returns to haunt them in the most chilling way. As the book progresses, the more frightening things become.

Without any shadow of a doubt, the most scary character is the woman in the book (I’m not giving any names away here for fear of spoiling a wonderful read).  Just know that the beautiful woman who is now going out with one of the aged men’s son is not all she appears to be!

If you’re looking for a good ghost book (and the movie was brilliant too), seek no further!

Niamh Murphy
DraculaI went through a phase of reading Gothic Horror books in my early teens (Point Horror just didn’t do it for me!) and although I found the imagery somewhat unsettling and the penny dreadful plots were enjoyable escapism, no book really ‘frightened’ me until I read about the grimly realistic dystopia set out in George Orwell’s 1984.

Things that go bump in the night are all well and good, but the really frightening thought for me would be to live in a world without art, where literature and expression are suppressed and love is forbidden. Even now, over sixty years since it’s release, the book still feels as though it is talking about a future almost within reach. Scary stuff.

For most scary character: I have to say that although Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not brilliantly written, nor is the plot particularly captivating (I seem to remember there was an awful lot of administration and paperwork) the one character I have found genuinely creepy in any book has been the eponymous Dracula himself. It wasn’t his murder of every last person aboard the ‘Demeter’, his bloodsucking or his shape shifting that bothered me, it was one description early on in the book in which Jonathon Harker looked out from a window in the castle and saw the Count crawling along the castle walls like a spider. That was really quite awful!

To this day I still have visions of it.

Angela Peach
bone collectorI read The Dark by James Herbert when I was about 11 years old, and it scared me for months! Ironically, I don’t mind the dark now, but at the time, I was scared lifeless. Not been scared like that since! As for character that scared me the most, I guess the killer in The Bone Collector is an example of what scares me – real life killers with no remorse or conscience for their victims.

Suzanne Egerton
My most frightening book is, I think, one by Graham Masterton, read many years ago. I thought it was called The Manitou, but reading the blurb just now didn’t bring up the memory, so maybe it was one of his others. The cover depicted a heavily-carved chair, I recall. The chair was possessed by a (very) malevolent spirit, which caused it to writhe and wreak havoc on the owner, a decent chap who had taken a fancy to it.

So the scary character is the chair (snigger if you will, but I imagined it manifesting itself at the bottom of the bed for ages – stupid girl!)

I tend to avoid scary stories, on the whole. Wasn’t bothered by The Rats (the ones on I’m a Celeb etc. are so obviously well-fed pet-grade animals, I worry about the celebs hurting them, rather than vice versa). And I find these ‘most haunted’ programmes too ludicrous to watch. What I find horribly frightening are psychopaths and sadists, rather than sobbing blobs of ectoplasm!

Clare Ashton
pitandpendulumMost of the scary stories that made an impression on me I read as a kid – Lord of Rings and the ring wraiths, gothic Edgar Allan Poe short stories (I’ve got a knot in my belly just thinking about the Pit and the Pendulum).

As an adult it’s actually taken kids’ stories to have that same deep emotional impact. The book that made me most fearful was His Dark Materials trilogy with its concept of daemons (people’s souls embodied as most loved companion animals). The experimenters irrevocably separating children from their daemons and Lyra being painfully parted from Pantalaimon were some of the most vivid and moving pieces of writing I’ve read.

Scariest characters? Dementors. Just for that chilling scenario of being locked away in your own head in inconsolable despair. Wonderfully terrifying creations.

Kate Snowdon
rats The most frightening book I’ve read is James Herbert’s The Rats. And it wasn’t a character that had me checking under my bed and blocking off gaps under my door, it was those delightful furry / hairy creatures.

Lesley Davis
I have thought long and hard on these questions and have to say I can’t answer either! I have never really read scary books (I don’t call Stephen King / James Herbert scary!) and have no memory of anything I’ve read frightening me. I’ve always been more drawn to Sci-fi than horror. I’m not a big fan of being scared, the closest I get to horror is playing the zombie maps in the Call of Duty games!

 Ke Payne
womaninblackI’m not a huge fan of horror novels as such, but I’d have to say that the book that I can distinctly remember giving me the heebie jeebies was James Herbert’s The Rats. There’s a revolting scene in a cinema which still creeps me out when I think about it.

The scariest character which has me hiding behind cushions is The Woman in Black (from Susan Hill’s novel). There’s something about how she silently stands in the cemetery of Eel Marsh House watching Arthur Kipps that makes me want to put all the lights on in the house. And have the dog on the sofa next to me – just in case.

News Roundup: New Author V.A. Fearon, L Festive line up, Listening to Hild, KE Payne on Novel 6, and much more…

23 Oct

Fresh from dusting the flour off its nose, checking its soggy bottom and flirting lasciviously with the lovely Sue Perkins, here is this week’s perfectly presented and tastily flavoured News Roundup…

~ ~ ~

V.A FearonOne of my favourite things about co-authoring this blog is hearing from new UK authors, adding them to the listings and finding out all about their books. This week, we have welcomed London author V.A. Fearon to the site.  V.A.’s debut novel The Girl with the Treasure Chest is the first in a series of five novels set in London’s dangerous gangland. In V.A.’s own words:  The main protagonist is Dani, a lesbiantreasure chest who negotiates in disputes between gangs in London. It’s set in the early nineties and has a very strong love story running through it. The novel is available now and you can read the full synopsis over on the New and Upcoming Releases page.

If that has piqued your interest, V.A. will be reading from her novel tomorrow night (Thursday 24th October)  6.30 – 8.30 at the Portofino Coffeeshop, 5 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TW. Head on down there and show your support!

~ ~ ~

lfestiveTime to deck those halls now and turn your thoughts to Christmas (go on, hit the link and make yourself weep!) as L Festive has just announced the line up for its one day Xmas Xtravaganza**. Now in its third year, L Festive is the seasonal little sister of L Fest, and the all-day event will feature “fabulous author workshops, solos lunch, acoustic live music stage, the NEW L Fest awards ceremony, all day DJ’s, stalls & dating games”.

The event will take place at various Birmingham venues on November 30th. During the day, Kiki Archer, Angela Peach and Clare Ashton are running two author sessions, the details for which go a little like this:

11:00 – 12:00 Session One:
Join these best-selling lesbian fiction authors, for some sexy, yet funny, and quite possibly dark, author readings, and indulge in the ability to ask them absolutely anything in a no-holds-barred Q and A session.

12:15 – 13:15 Session Two:
Writer’s workshop. An hour of writing tips, starting with idea creation and moving through to book publication, with best-selling lesbian fiction indie authors, Clare Ashton, Kiki Archer and Angie Peach.

Tickets are £20 online and £25 on the day, and you can reserve your places on the writing sessions by going to the above link. No, not the Christmas Clock, t’other one!

(** note: blatant overuse of Xs are my responsibility and nothing at all to do with L Festive.)

~ ~ ~

KePayneOne author who’s certainly keeping herself busy of late is KE Payne, who has just updated the current and future projects page on her blog with details of her forthcoming novel Because of Her and news of novel number six…

I’ve just completed my sixth lesbian novel, and in a break from my norm I’ve not only decided to market as a contemporary lesbian romance rather than YA, I’ve written it in the third person (my first ever time). I’ve given it the working title of Once The Clouds Have Gone and it features the main characters of Tabitha “Tabby” Morton and Freddie Metcalfe. I love them both to bits already. It’s currently being considered for publication, so fingers are currently being kept crossed 🙂

Our fingers are crossed, KE, let us know how you get on.

~ ~ ~

mosaic of airIt’s been a busy week on the email this week with Cherry Potts also getting in touch to let us know that her short story collection Mosaic of Air was published last month in paperback and is now available as an ebook (with a shiny new cover). Cherry is also putting together a LGBT evening at Lewisham Library (SE13) 6th Feb, 2014, 8-9.30 p.m., and possibly at the Ivy House (SE15) on a Wednesday at some point that same month, and she wondered if anyone would like to join her. “Could you spread the word?” she asks. Consider it spread. Anyone interested in either of those two evenings can email Cherry at: cherry@arachnepress.com

~ ~ ~

91CYqVEe28L._SL1500_Good news for those folks who like to listen to their books rather than tire out the old peepers, as an audio book of Nicola Griffith‘s forthcoming Hild is currently in production. The novel will be narrated by Anne Flosnik, an established British actress with more than 300 audio book titles under her belt. If anyone ever wondered what went into creating an audio book, Nicola has provided an insight into the process…

Anne only got the book on Friday and had to start recording this morning; she’s had to get up to speed fast. So we’ve been collaborating. We’ve already exchanged email, lots of texts, and two long–90 minutes–phone calls. We’ve talked about pronunciation of names and places, how class differences often trump ethnic and geographic ones, who changes and in what way, which bits are sly and which bits broad.

The best part of this truly accelerated process is that Anne and I have been able to communicate in Northern Lass shorthand:

“These country thegns, think of them as huntin’ shootin’ fishin’ types.”
“A bit all that?”
“Exactly.”

You can read the entire piece here on Nicola’s blog.

~ ~ ~

cleanslateFrom listening to watching now, as Carsen Taite caught up with Andrea Bramhall during last week’s Women’s Week to record one of her legendary Vlogs. Chatting in a slightly windy Provincetown, Andrea “Bromhall” or “Bramhall” – depending on whether you can speak PROPER ENGLISH, MS TAITE! –  discussed Clean Slate, camping, and popping over to the Queen’s for tea. The whole interview can be found here at the BSB blog.

~ ~ ~

CrossingPlaceCatherine Blackfeather has been blogging about her varied work at Women and Words, and her new anthology The Crossing Place and Other Stories.

I was kind of panicked by the fact that I write so many different kinds of things- what is my genre? I mean, lots of them have a lesbian or gay theme, but I don’t write just straightforward novels. I like to write stories that are kind of folk-tales, some of them are kind of spiritual, some are funny, some of them have hetero characters.

The short story collection is available on Amazon and will be free 26-27 October.

~ ~ ~

This might be a good time to remind folks – authors and readers – that sending us your LesFic-related news makes our lives very easy indeed. And I do so like an easy life. Our email is: uklesfic@gmail.com and we are always happy to hear from you 🙂

Right, I’ve been sitting on the sofa so long my bottom’s gone numb (but not soggy!) so I am off to bed to dream of cake.

News Roundup: Stonewall Award Nominees, Jackie Kay in Sheffield, Spooky Fun at the Ivy House, Clare Ashton Interview, and much more…

18 Oct

With quite a few UK authors burning the midnight oil over at the Virtual Living Room last weekend and three hopping over the pond for Women’s Week, it’s a wonder there’s anything to report in this news post. But we like a challenge here at UK LesFic (unless it involves making something that resembles a brain covered in swiss rolls) and have discovered that there’s still plenty going on…

~ ~ ~

charlotte-mendelsonWe’ll start this week by donning our posh frocks for the announcement of the eighth annual Stonewall Awards nominees. The awards are designed to acknowledge and celebrate those who have made a positive impact on the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain over the last 12 months.  Among the categories for Broadcast of the Year (obviously we’re rooting for the Great British Bake Off!) and Sports Award of The Year (Clare Balding is up for this one) is the award for Writer of the Year, where Charlotte Mendelson has made the list for Almost English. This is what the Stonewall Awards had to say about the work:

‘Longlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize Almost English is described by The Guardian as ‘beautifully written, warm, funny and knowing’. It follows a 16 year olds disjointed life, torn between an unhappy existence at a mixed boarding school and her life with her mother who lives under the overbearing presence of three elderly Hungarians.

The complete list of nominees can also be found at the link above.

~ ~ ~

With ever dwindling numbers of bookshops, it’s great to see Nottingham based publisher Five Leaves opening a new independent store.  Five Leaves Bookshop will open mid-November in Nottingham centre.  As well as specialising in lesbian and gay books it will also stock history, politics and landscape, general fiction and poetry.  For more information about the shop, head over here.

~ ~ ~

JK realityBit last minute this, but poet Jackie Kay will be appearing at the Off The Shelf literary festival in Sheffield tomorrow. During the day she will be exploring the theme of “Outside” with various guests, while the evening sees her across at the Crucible Studio theatre reading from her new short story collection Reality Reality. The full program for the festival and information on booking tickets can be found at the first link.

~ ~ ~

NicolaGriffith

Those folks who like a blog post that prompts you to stand up and offer a rousing round of applause should head over to Nicola Griffith‘s latest entry, in which she has this to say about Hild’s sexuality:

Interviewers and reviewers have already asked me: So why is Hild a lesbian?

I say: First, she’s bisexual. Second, why the fuck not?

I am tired of having to have a reason for characters being queer. When my first agent told me that my proposal for Slow River was “not a selling outline,” I asked her to explain. She said, “Well, why does Lore [the protagonist] have to have a girlfriend?” I said, “Because she’s a dyke.” And fired her.

And if that doesn’t make you want to read Hild, I don’t think anything will!

~ ~ ~

ArchnePressStorySessionsThose with a penchant for spooky fun, should plan to join Cherry Potts and VG Lee at The Ivy House in London on October 30th for a night of Halloween Tales, which sounds like a great event organised by Arachne Press. There will be readings by VG and Cherry and then a Flash from the Floor where anyone can read their 100-word story whether carefully crafted beforehand or scribbled in the interval. For more details, head to the special Event page on Facebook.

~ ~ ~

3901374Lesley Davis has been blogging at Women and Words about her new novel Pale Wings Protecting. She talks about how the story evolved around a character from Dark Wings Descending (book 1 of the Wings Series) and how the main characters from that book muscled in too. Here’s a snippet:

When the character of Blythe Kent was introduced in “Dark Wings Descending” I knew I wanted to have that character in her own story. The FBI agent would play a small role in her best friend Detective Rafe Douglas’s investigation, being the profiler who unwittingly profiles something more than just an evil in a human form. But whereas Rafe and Ashley Scott’s story would involve all manner of heaven and hell, I had originally plotted that Blythe’s story would just be a crime book, without the added supernatural twist.

You can read the rest of the post here.

~ ~ ~

clareashtonAnd rounding up this news is a fab spotlight interview with Clare Ashton over at Ylva Publishing, where Clare reveals a longed-for super power, her lottery dreams, and exactly how much of herself is in her characters:

Less than some people think, more than I’d like to acknowledge (even to myself).

Of course, my time as a high-class escort was vital for writing After Mrs Hamilton (Mum—this is a joke).

The interview is a great, fun read and can be found by bobbing over here.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of bobbing, is anyone looking forward to Halloween quite as much as I am? Only 13 more days till I’ll be carving up pumpkins, decking the porch with icky stuff, and stealing all the Haribo I’ve bought for the nippers! We’re hoping to bring you a special Halloween feature for that week, so keep your fingers crossed we can round up enough authors who are willing to share their scares…

News Roundup: BSB 2014 Bash, KE Payne at the VLR, Ali Smith in London, Kiki tops the USA chart, and much more…

10 Oct

I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last did this, but here we are chomping at the bit for another gallop around the news. I have no idea where this horse imagery is coming from. I don’t own one. I don’t even like them, with their huge teeth and snorty nostrils. Hmm, shall we just get on with it?

~ ~ ~

group shotSupremely organised Bold Strokes editor Vic Oldham is already gearing up for the 5th Annual Bold Strokes Book Festival UK and she wants to let everyone know exactly why they should be marking the date on their 2014 calendars (what do you mean, you haven’t got one yet?! It’s October!) The festival will be taking place in Nottingham over the weekend of June 6th-8th, is entirely free to attend, and loads of fun. If you need any more incentive, head to Vic’s blog post for 20 great reasons, and hit this link to read up on last year’s bash. For the record, I will not be doing number 4, but wholeheartedly agree with number 16.

~ ~ ~

BSB_Because_of_HerAs mentioned on the last news, the Virtual Living Room UK Author Spotlight Weekend is this weekend, and BSB YA author Ke Payne was somehow omitted from all the early listings. So I would like to set the record straight: KE PAYNE will also be there. Along with a whole host of other fabulous peeps. Fun, games, and general chaos kick off this Friday at 4 pm, UK time.

Sticking with KE for a moment: back at the end of August we shared the synopsis for her upcoming novel Because of Her (due for release in March 2014). At the time it didn’t have a cover. Now it does, and I think you’ll all agree it’s really quite swanky.

~ ~ ~

51Zch618BLL._SY445_Maureen Duffy‘s new novel In Times Like These has been released this week. It’s difficult to really get a handle on this novel because the blurb on Amazon is a dog’s breakfast of mangled-together text, and I have absolutely no idea as to its lesbian content. More information and a slightly less tangled blurb can be found on the front page of Maureen’s website. As the saying goes, you pays yer money and you takes yer chances…

~ ~ ~

stirfry-978144724812501We’re a little late catching this one (to be fair to us, it’s only just been highlighted on the author’s page!) but July 2013 saw the release of four of Emma Donoghue‘s early titles, Hood, Stir Fry, Landing and Kissing The Witchreleased onto Kindle, with shiny new covers to boot. Hood and Stir Fry are two of my favourites of hers, so it’s lovely to see them in with a chance of finding a whole new e-reader audience.

~ ~ ~

330x235valmcdermidFans of Val McDermid should be rubbing their hands with glee throughout October because Val is going to be, quite frankly, bloody everywhere.  So ubiquitous, in fact, that there are far too many TV appearances and radio shows for us to list. Best thing you can do to plan your schedule is head to the News page on Val’s blog, where there’s a handy timetable.

~ ~ ~

alismithA real treat now for Londoners (or anyone who fancies heading down to the Big Smoke) to catch an appearance by Ali Smith, who will be reading extracts from her book Artful at Gay’s the Word bookshop on Sunday 20th October. From the Facebook page:

Gay’s the Word bookshop is delighted-beyond-words to be welcoming author Ali Smith for a relaxed Sunday afternoon reading from her extraordinary and special book ‘Artful’

Event Entry £5 per person – Booking required – please call 0207 278 7654 to secure your place. Limited places available.

~ ~ ~

Kiki-ArcherKiki Archer‘s new book One Foot Onto the Ice has been going down a storm in the US. It hit the number one spot in the Amazon lesfic charts and then proceeded to start climbing up into the top 100 contemporary novels. It was also reviewed on the So So Gay website. Here’s what they had to say:

When it comes to lesbian oriented romance, it is clear that Kiki Archer remains the top author to watch as her latest book One Foot Onto the Ice manages to immediately catch our notice. In a story that is filled to the brim with romance, intrigue and comedy we are not surprised to see this book hitting the highest summits in the charts so quickly after release.

You can read the rest of the review here.

~ ~ ~

And that’s about yer lot. Hope to see a few of you kicking about this weekend on the VLR 🙂

BooQfest by Lesley Davis

7 Oct

Pam from the US wished that there was better coverage of UK events such as BooQfest, and UKLesFic is happy to oblige. Lesley Davis has sent us her report on the Northampton festival. Lesley was there to talk about the fantasy genre and her Lambda finalist novel Dark Wings Descending and its sequel Pale Wings Protecting (published this month).

3901374Being invited to Northampton’s BooQfest this year was a wonderful surprise. I was to have an hour-long panel to myself, aided and abetted by Chris Hinchley as my moderator. The setting was intimate but it meant that the people in the audience could get up close and personal and join in on what I was doing. I got to speak about all my different books, concentrating mostly on the more recent Dark Wings Descending and the newly released Pale Wings Protecting. It was fun to talk about how the ideas for the stories came about, why I chose to go the ‘angels and demons’ route with my stories, and why that genre at all. The audience were great and it was wonderful to have some of my friends there to ask questions that they already knew the answers to but for the rest of the audience to hear too. I did a reading from Dark Wings Descending, setting the scene of demons roaming the earth. I talked about what comes first, the characters or the story, and there were the usual questions concerning being a British writer writing for an American publisher. It always boils down to ‘pants’ vs ‘trousers’!

I was then a part of a Fantasy Panel with novelist Derek Kettlety, Dr. Who/The Sarah Jane Adventures screenwriter Joseph Lidster, and poet Roz Kaveney. Chris Hinchley moderated us again marvellously. This panel should have run for two hours instead of just the one, because I think we could have put to rights the sorry state of gay portrayal in the fantasy genre! It was very sad to realise that we just aren’t treated with due respect in the genre at all. When the only ‘happy ever after’ endings can be counted on one hand and aren’t even fantasy related, you know TV and film need to get their act together and portray us with honour.

20130914_141156There were some spirited debates about books in general, the brilliance of J.K. Rowling causing children to pick up a book as opposed to the multi-selling power of Fifty Shades of Grey having the same effect for the older reader. Star Trek, Dr. Who (where we were treated to some “Spoilers, sweetie!”), Defiance, and Warehouse 13, all were discussed for their ‘gay’ content (I was sporting a Warehouse 13 tee-shirt so it had to be included!) To be honest, hearing how badly we are treated in mainstream media only served to make me more thankful that as a writer I can create my own worlds where lesbians are allowed to be whatever they want to be and find their one true love. The general consensus seemed to be we needed more gay characters that weren’t used just for comedic value or cannon fodder. We were all tired of the gay character killed off for a plot point.

I hope next year’s Booqfest gets more publicity so that more spirited debates can take place! The LBGT community has a lot to say concerning media of all sorts, and it was great to have a place to hear it spoken out loud.

You can find out more about Lesley, her books and appearances at book festivals on her website.

News Roundup: UK Authors at the VLR, Rainbow Awards Finalists, Sarah Waters’ New Novel, Giveaways Galore & Loads More

3 Oct

Even if the weather stays mild, there are still indisputable signs that summer’s over and done with. The nights start to draw in, the telly gets a hell of a lot better, The Great British Bake Off has everyone craving CAKE (and Sue Perkins!), politicians return from their holidays and immediately resume their roles of acting like dicks, and Christmas puds hit the shelves in Asda.

In terms of UK LesFic, the signs look a little like this: new books come flying out, everyone’s suddenly doing stuff, planning stuff or writing stuff, Tig and I are chasing around news snippets like mad things, the awards season kicks off, and the news subsequently expands its waistline like someone sitting down to a lunch of pie, chips and beans.

Better get started then, eh?

~ ~ ~

717930First this week, an early heads-up about a special Spotlight Weekend for UK LesFic authors at the Virtual Living Room. Running from 11th-14th October, the weekend will feature a whole host of familiar faces answering questions and chatting to readers and other authors. And who might these familiar faces be?

Kiki Archer (But She is My Student, Instigations, Binding Devotion and One Foot on the Ice)

I Beacham (Sanctuary and The Rarest Rose)

Andrea Bramhall (Ladyfish and Clean Slate)

Crin Claxton (Scarlet Thirst and The Supernatural Detective)

Rachel Dax (After the Night, The Legend of Pope Joan Part I and Part II)

Suzanne Egerton (Out Late with Friends and Regrets)

Cari Hunter (Snowbound and Desolation Point)

VG Lee (The Woman in Beige, The Comedienne, Always You Edina and Diary of a Provincial Lesbian)

Niamh Murphy (Mask of the Highway Woman, Delicious and A Fairy Tale Retold)

R.J. Samuel (Heart Stopper, Falling Colours, Casting Shadows and In Your Words)

Jade Winters (143, Talk Me Down from the Edge and A Walk into Darkness)

My lovely blog buddy Clare Ashton will be moderating, along with Beni Gee and Terry Baker. If you want to come along and join in the fun, click the link at the top, which will take you to the group’s main page.

~ ~ ~

RJSamuelAuthorPicFor those stubborn souls who may need more incentive to sign up to the VLR, R.J. Samuel is currently running an exclusive VLR giveaway for the first two novels in her Vision Painter series, Falling Colours and Casting Shadows. Members can choose one of the books, and the offer is open until October 7th.

R.J. also had this to say about her upcoming trip to Women’s Week in the USA:

“I will be doing two readings in Provincetown on the GCLS panels – Thursday panel 11:00 am to 11:35 am and Friday 11:35 am to 12:10 pm. I’ll be giving away 10 ‘Limited Edition’ J printed copies of my short story In Your Words (including excerpts of Heart Stopper and Falling Colours) to the first 5 women at each reading to come up to me after the readings and say hi. (And yes, this is a blatant ploy to avoid being the only author standing alone twiddling my thumbs after the panel readings J ).”

Fans who may have been looking forward to new work from R.J. should check out her latest blog post, which gives a bit of an insight into her writing and why she’s not quite as up to speed with it as she might have liked. Here’s hoping her muse is feeling slightly less bewildered but still finding time for plenty of cupcakes…

~ ~ ~

FinalistSMEarlier this week, the Rainbow Awards announced their Honourable Mentions (books scored 36+/40 by at least one judge), swiftly followed by the full list of finalists for each individual category.

Honourable mentions went to Kiki Archer for Binding Devotion (Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction), Andrea Bramhall for Ladyfish (Lesbian Contemporary Romance) and Jade Winters for A Walk Into Darkness (Lesbian Mystery Thriller).  Joining them in the finals are: I. Beacham with The Rarest Rose (Lesbian Paranormal Romance) and me (Cari Hunter!) with Desolation Point (Lesbian Mystery Thriller).

A full list of finalists can be found at the link, and the winners will be announced on December 8th. Congrats and best of British to all 🙂

~ ~ ~

A4Another busy little soul at the moment is Kiki Archer, who has been celebrating the release of her new novel One Foot Onto The Ice by chatting to Lucy Jo Amos over here at Lucy’s blog, and taking part in a video interview with When Sally Met Sally, where she faced the lose-lose scenario of choosing between twerking or eating a freeze-dried worm.

Worm. Every time. I do not twerk.

You can catch the interview at the link. Meanwhile, in a new review, Terry Baker had this to say about One Foot Onto The Ice:

One of the really great things about this book is the laugh out loud humor throughout. I’m only too pleased I read this book indoors. It’s hilarious in places. I would defy anyone to read the scene with Susan and Jenna in the bathroom without laughing. This is a brilliantly written scene as it shows Jenna in a really different light. So, there is a whole range of emotions across the board to be experienced between the pages.

The full review can be found here.

~ ~ ~

HanselGretalSticking with reviews for the moment with another of Terry’s, this time for Jade WintersA Walk Into Darkness:

This well written mystery, murder, intrigue, romance had me totally hooked from the very first page through to the last page. To say it is a page turner is an understatement. I couldn’t get through the book fast enough to find out how it ended. I knew Jade Winters was a talented writer from reading some of her short stories. But, she has really excelled herself in penning this full length book that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

And over at Rainbow Book Reviews, they’ve been singing the praises of Niamh Murphy‘s fairytale reworking Gretel:

This is a truly imaginative, inventive, and ingenious re-telling of such a beloved classic. I felt completely immersed as if I shared Gretel’s mind and body. I became enthralled by Maeve and yes, possibly bewitched. I applaud the brilliance of this short story and completely recommend it!

As always, the full reviews are available at the links.

~ ~ ~

598px-Sarah_WatersThe drip feed of details about Sarah Waters‘ new novel continues over at her website. We now have a title, an era and an indication of what the book will be about. The Paying Guests (due for release in autumn 2014) will be set in the 1920s, and its blurb currently reads like this:

It is 1922, and London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned, the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers.

For with the arrival of Lilian and Leonard Barber, a modern young couple of the ‘clerk class’, the routines of the house will be shaken up in unexpected ways. And as passions mount and frustration gathers, no one can foresee just how far, and how devastatingly, the disturbances will reach…

~ ~ ~

Speaking of upcoming novels, LT Smith has a new Facebook page, where she has just announced the forthcoming publication of her novel/novella (it’s 40,000 words in length) Puppy Love. The book looks set to join See Right Through Me in a November 2013 release. A cover is still pending but the blurb can be found on the New & Upcoming Releases page. All proceeds from the book will go to charities to help puppies in need. Aww.

~ ~ ~

GB-Cover1It’s almost time for dinner (it was tea-time when I bloody started!) so a quick mention of two current giveaways:

V.T. Davy is running a Mystery Voice Twitter competition to win copies of A Very Civil Wedding. To enter you need to click the link, identify the voice and tweet your answer before October 6th. To be notified of the results, follow @LiberationBooks (she says, like she knows what the hell she’s talking about – I tweet about as much as I twerk!)

Finally, for US readers only, Stella Duffy has a GoodReads giveaway for copies of her novel Parallel Lies. The competition runs until 15th October. Sorry UK peeps, I don’t make the rules.

~ ~ ~

BSB_Scarlet_ThirstOkay, when I said that was the last thing I lied, because I stupidly checked Facebook JUST IN CASE I’d missed anything and there was Crin Claxton telling folks that her revised version of lesbian vampire romp Scarlet Thirst is now going cheap on amazon (UK and US) for a limited time. And when I say cheap, I mean £3.32, which is a bloody – no pun intended – bargain, and perfectly timed for Halloween.

~ ~ ~

Right, I’ve put my blinkers and the kettle on. If anyone else does anything exciting, it’ll have to wait till next week…

Book Feature: One Foot Onto the Ice by Kiki Archer

1 Oct

one foot onto the iceKiki Archer is back with another dose of funny lesbian chick lit. But She is My Student and its sequel Instigations were hit stories of longing between a teacher and student. Binding Devotion featured a equal marriage rights champion whose own marriage was under strain in the face of temptation. With One Foot Onto the Ice, she’s back at school but this time the kids and teachers have been let loose on the slopes of a French Alps ski resort and a sexy ski instructor is about stir things up.

Hi Kiki, please tell us about your new novel.

It’s called One Foot Onto The Ice and it’s about two women who find themselves connected in more ways than one. Susan Quinn is a teacher at an all-girls school, and Jenna James is a ski instructor in the French Alps. The pair meet up when Susan leads a school ski trip to the sunny slopes of Morzine and discovers her old classmate is their guide for the week.

The novel is a fast-paced romance where the young cast of students and teachers search for excitement on the slopes, with some finding it a lot more easily than others.

Your last novel, Binding Devotion, posed the reader questions about commitment in the face of desire. What’s the theme for this novel?

It’s about love and how you can find it in the most unexpected places with the most unexpected people. I do believe in soul mates and I do believe in that invisible pull that grabs hold of your heart and never lets go. One Foot Onto The Ice is also about trust. It’s about making the decision to judge someone for who they are now, not who they once were, and choosing to take that first step together.

Who was your favourite main character and what grabbed you about them? Are they inspired by anyone in real life?

I love Jenna. She’s flawed in lots of different ways, but she’s aware of her flaws and that makes her very endearing to me. She’s very open about who she is and what she wants from life, that’s why it’s such a shock for her when she starts to crave something she didn’t even know she desired. Is she inspired by anyone? – We’re all flawed, aren’t we?

Your books have very colourful minor characters for readers to love and hate. Who did you have a soft spot for in this book and who rubbed you up the wrong way?

I like the dynamic between Champagne and Priggy and I picture a pair of girls, just like them, walking around the corridors of Cheltenham Ladies College as we speak. Marcus was also an interesting character for me. In my first two novels we met Ben, who was a lovely guy, completely accepting of Kat’s sexuality. However not all guys are lovely and accepting. Some are total idiots, and Marcus is one of them. I wanted the reader to cringe at him, and I think I succeeded.

What was the best part of writing this novel for you?

I actually love the moment when it’s released and I invite people into the secret world that I’ve created, to meet the characters that I’ve grown to know and love. The best bit is being able to talk about them like they’re real people, and hear what the readers want to happen next.

Do you have a favourite scene?

I enjoyed writing the bathroom scene. Poor Susan’s one of those women who find themselves in the most embarrassing situations with nowhere to hide. I really felt for her, and I think I actually winced in pain for her as well. But, by consequence, the scene showed Jenna in a very kind and compassionate light, which I liked.

Have to ask. Are you an expert skier?

Watch the clip and judge for yourself!

And you know your readers will devour this book and want more. What have you lined up for them next?

I’m currently writing the sequel to One Foot Onto The Ice, due out 2014. I love Jenna and Susan and their story is only just beginning!

Thanks Kiki! And if that wasn’t enough to get you reading One Foot Onto The Ice, here’s Kiki reading the first scene of the book: