Archive | June, 2014

News roundup: free stuff, new books, calls for submissions, interviews and a bit more

27 Jun

UKLesFic is heading off on holiday for a couple of weeks – some to the hills, others just to catch up on sleep – so here’s a quickie before we go:

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First, free stuff.

fakingitJade Winters is doing an excellent giveaway for her book Faking It, due out on the 29th. To celebrate she’s doing a special ‘Danni giveaway’ which is a bundle of things her character likes in the book: chocolate chip muffin with a Latte via Costa coffee voucher, a Girl On Girl T shirt and of course a paperback copy of Faking it. To enter see Jade’s Facebook page. Be quick. You need to enter by midnight Saturday 28th.

cover3Comic short story The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer by Clare Ashton is free all weekend. Grab a Kindle copy from Amazon. Last time this story was mentioned, with an aside in the news about the Great British Bakeoff, UK LesFic had hits from people searching for information on “flour dildos”, which sadly the blog was unable to provide. We’ll see what happens this time.

And a reminder for the Karen Campbell giveaway of The Knowing here on UK LesFic. Sign up for a copy by 3rd July.

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The Green Carnation Prize organisers have announced the judges for 2014 and the award is now open for submissions. Previous winners for this UK LGBT literature prize include Catherine Hall and Patrick Gale. For information on entering see the submissions criteria. Unfortunately self-published works are still ineligible.

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radio-picOn to interviews, and Clare Lydon has been having a chat on the radio about her novel London Calling, writing and the process of self-publishing . Here is her TOTP-style mic picture – apparently the urge to sing was almost overwhelming. Click here for the interview (around the 37:40 mark).

KiKI_standingMeanwhile Kiki Archer was interviewed on AJ Adaire’s blog. Kiki talks about her background, writing process, reviews and reasons behind the success of her novels:

I think I proudly categorize my novels as chick-lit. I don’t pretend I’ve written the next War and Peace. I write easy-read ‘fun’ books. People know what they’re getting when they pick up a Kiki Archer. They’re getting giggles, fun, and frolics. Doesn’t everyone need that every once in a while?”

You can read the full interview here.

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stilllifeLT Smith fans will be very pleased to hear that she has a new novel out in September. Here’s the cover and blurb for Still Life.

After breaking off her relationship with a female lothario, Jess Taylor decides she doesn’t want to expose herself to another cheating partner. Staying at home, alone, suits her just fine. Her idea of a good night is an early one—preferably with a good book. Well, until her best friend, Sophie Harrison, decides it’s time Jess rejoined the human race.
Trying to pull Jess from her self-imposed prison, Sophie signs them both up for a Still Life art class at the local college. Sophie knows the beautiful art teacher, Diana Sullivan, could be the woman her best friend needs to move on with her life.

But, in reality, could art bring these two women together? Could it be strong enough to make a masterpiece in just twelve sessions? And, more importantly, can Jess overcome her fear of being used once again?
Only time will tell.

owleyesNew author Georgie Watts has her debut available as a paperback on Amazon. The Kindle version should also be available soon. Here’s the blurb:

Twenty year old Sarah is struggling to cope with a stressful job, demanding parents and an eating disorder, when she is drawn into the dark world of Graffiti and Street Art. Set in the nineties in an unremarkable mid-British town, ‘Owl Eyes’ is a gritty yet funny coming of age story of loss, love, friendships and acceptance. If you like the nineties, gritty yet witty content as well as strong female characters, then you might like this book.
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There are two new calls for submissions for short stories from UK authors.

Kiki Archer and Angela Peach are organising a charity lesbian chicklit anthology with proceeds going to www.rucomingout.com. They are looking for fun and light pieces between 2000 and 5000 words from new and established authors. Please contact Kiki or Angela for more information.

Arachne Press are hosting a one day festival on Short Story day – 21st December. Stories on the theme of time to be read at the festival will be chosen by competition. Please register your interest here – Arachne are seeking funding at the moment and will contact authors.

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Finally, tickets for Polari at the Manchester Literary Festival are now on sale for the 15th October. The event is part of a forthcoming Polari tour and you’ll be able to see the fabulous VG Lee on this Manchester leg. More details here.

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That’s it!

“We’re all going on a summer holiday…”. Cue hits from people searching for Cliff Richard shaped dildos….

Q&A with Karen Campbell (and bonus Giveaway!)

25 Jun

Today it’s our pleasure to welcome Karen Campbell to the site. Hailing from Scotland, and a keen fan of Glasgow Rangers and Irn Bru, Karen is the author of Violet’s Story and the short story collection Little Whispers. Her new novel The Knowing – a Glasgow-based, supernatural crime thriller – is due for release on June 30th.

We also have two signed copies of The Knowing to give away – see the end of the post for more details.

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karencampbell2First up, tell us a bit about yourself. Are you really as grumpy as your bio says you are, or is it all for show?

I am quite grumpy in the morning, especially if I feel that I have been woken up before I have had about twelve hours sleep. (Which I never get with three dogs and an annoyingly chirpy girlfriend from the moment her eyes open.) I get better once I have had a cup of tea, but it’s touch and go some days. I’m joking, I think. I am generally quite a cheerful soul, I just swear too much, and with the Scottish accent it makes me sound grumpy!

the knowingYour new novel The Knowing is out at the end of June. What inspired you to write a “gritty, supernatural crime novel set in Glasgow”?

As a Scot, I think it is important to show Scotland in my writing. I lived in Glasgow for a bit and it has a gritty feel about it. Saying that, I love Glasgow, it has a great vibe and I will always have a softness in my heart for the city. The novel itself came from a short story I wrote and kept going back to, adding another chapter and another until it finally dawned on me that I had a book.

With British lesfic on the up and up, how important is Glasgow as a setting for the book? Would the story have worked as well in another city?

The story could work anywhere but I don’t love other cities as I love Glasgow. It was important for me to have Scottish characters in a Scottish city because I am very proud of my country. Glasgow is a wonderfully vibrant city but it also has a dark underbelly and a colourful history, which makes it perfect for a bit of creepiness.

The Knowing is the first part of a trilogy, and you’re currently writing its sequel, A Love Like Ishinnie. Do you have the series completely mapped out, or are you adapting it and developing it as you go along?

I know how the second book ends and I almost know how the last one ends, but there are a lot of in-betweens, and the fun I have with writing is that I like it to take me along on the ride and see where the story goes.

violet's storyYour debut novel Violet’s Story was a first-person account of mental illness. Were there particular issues that you wanted to address with the novel, and was it difficult to get inside Violet’s head?

This was my first serious dabble into writing, which I started when I was about 21 and went back to over the years. I wanted to show that love was the cause of her madness, and it wasn’t hard for me to get inside Violet’s head (maybe I shouldn’t admit that). I think there is a bit of madness in everyone and, as writers, we can tap into that side of us to make a character credible. Or maybe I’m just doo-lally.

LittleWhispersThere’s quite a gap between Violet’s Story in 2001 and the publication of The Knowing. Was it a case of getting back into writing, or are you sitting on a big stash of unpublished stuff?

I never stopped writing, but it was mostly short stories, nothing to grab me. After recovering from two episodes of cancer, I thought I only have one shot at this life and I need to be doing what it is that makes me happy, and so I knuckled down a bit and got a bit more serious about it. I got plenty of ideas for more books, from this hiatus, and now I just need to get around to actually writing them down instead of having them flying around the recesses of my mind.

If you had to choose between Irn Bru and Rangers getting back up into the Scottish Prem, which would it be?

Rangers every time. There are other drinks but there is only one Glasgow Rangers!

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Many thanks to Karen for letting us peck her head with our questions, and to Lily at Austin Macauley Publishers for setting up the Q&A. You can find out more about Karen and her novels by heading here to her Facebook page.

And now for the GIVEAWAY! If you fancy getting your hands on a signed copy of The Knowing, we have two up for grabs. To be entered into the draw, just leave a comment in this thread or email us at uklesfic @ gmail.com (take out the spaces when you use the address). Closing date for entries is  July 3rd at noon BST. Good luck!

News Roundup: Stella Duffy on 20 Years of Being Published, Ylva Call for Festive Submissions, VG Lee at L Fest, New Books, Giveaways, Blogs and More!

20 Jun

With the national team performing their usual rousing routine of losing horribly and destroying the slender hopes of the three fans who thought they might have a chance of glory, why not take your mind off the footy and settle down with a nice mix of news? There’s a little something for everyone this week…

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorI’ll start with a blog update from Stella Duffy, who has been reflecting on her 20 years of being a published author and offering her thanks to those who have supported her along the way:

Interaction with readers has been one of the greatest unexpected gifts of my writing work. I didn’t realise this interaction would happen, and back when I was first published it happened very differently – without twitter, without facebook, without amazon, goodreads, blogs …

To read the rest of the piece, and feast your eyes upon a vintage Calendar Girl cover, click here.

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ylvaNow, I know that Christmas stockings, tinsel, carols, and festive shenanigans seem like a long way away when you’re currently debating which bikini to pack for your summer holiday, but Ylva are already decking the halls in preparation for a Christmas anthology:

We are looking for lesbian fiction. At least one of the main characters must be a lesbian. If the story is erotica, it must be F/F. All submissions should have Christmas or Hanukkah as the main theme. The stories can be romantic, humorous, or erotic.

christmas-tree-snow-1If you fancy trying your hand at writing a short story (4000-8000 words) for the collection, head to this link for all the necessary details. All the proceeds from the anthology will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. Both organisations provide housing for homeless LGBT youth.

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VGLeeSticking with the authorly theme, if you are heading to the lesbian weekend extravaganza that is L Fest, more details have been posted about the writing workshops with VG Lee:

Workshop 1: A leap of faith: Let’s get emotional! To create believable characters and a credible narrative we have to know how people really feel and react…

Workshop 2: Fast & furious: Perfection in a few hundred words or less. We will work towards writing a piece of flash fiction… 

Hit the above link to read more about each of the sessions. Both workshops are included in the price of the admission, so they really are too good an opportunity to pass up.

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edinburgh BookFest-LightThere’s a veritable embarrassment of riches for lovers of lesbians and lesfic authors at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year.

Set in a specially created tented village in Charlotte Square Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh International Book Festival offers something for just about every age and every interest, bringing readers and writers together for inspiration, entertainment and discussion.

The festival runs from 9-25th August, and the schedule has just been made public. Feast your eyes on this little lot (with love to the missus for copying them all down out of the paper for me!)

Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate): 9th August, 18.30

Jackie Kay (author of Reality Reality & Trumpet): 12th August, 18.30

Ali Smith (author of Girl Meets Boy): 15th August, 10.30 & 24th August, 20.30

Val McDermid (author of the Lindsay Gordon series & many more!): 20th August, 17.00

Sarah Waters (author of Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and the upcoming The Paying Guests): 25th August, 20.00

Tickets for each event are around £10. For more details and ticket availability/booking, the official site for the festival is here.

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BSB-QueerJusticeI was just tooting around looking for new release info, when I happened upon the cover for Rebecca Buck‘s forthcoming collection of short stories, A Queer Kind of Justice: Prison Tales Across Time. The collection is slated for a September e-book release from Bold Strokes in the category of Historical Fiction. Given Rebecca’s love of all things historical and her recent experience guiding people around the Galleries of Justice museum in Nottingham (“On any given day you might find me dressed as a Victorian warder, a drunken Georgian prisoner, or conducting a mock trial with a group of children!”), she’s probably the perfect person to get her teeth into the subject. There’s no blurb on the BSB site yet, but as soon as one appears, we’ll let you have it!

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faking itAnother author with a new release pending is Jade Winters, whose novel Faking It is scheduled for publication on June 29th. Jade has just updated her blog with a new post about Diabolical Dialogue:

Conversation is an exchange of information – it’s not dialogue… My book was full of conversation. The way I had written my characters’ dialogue was so out of sync with how people spoke in real life. Why did I fall into this trap? Because I wanted to get the message across in a clear and precise manner (whilst boring the pants off the reader). I was scared to have my characters swear, say something rude, you know, all those things that comes naturally to some people.

Hit the link to read the full piece. Faking It is – as yet – blurb-less, but for now you can feast your eyes on its shiny new cover.

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HILD_jacket_closerFree Stuff! Ha! Thought that’d get your attention. There are 5 copies of Nicola Griffith‘s Hild currently up for grabs over at goodreads. The giveaway ends July 8th and is open to residents of Great Britain only. All you need to do is hop over to the link and add your name to the hat. Good luck.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire has a new blog post over at Women and Words, where she chats about her début novel The Empath and the challenge of finding a unique voice for her characters:

Well, my writing is a little different, as are my characters. When you meet Aeron Lorelei, my protagonist in The Empath, you will see from the very first page that she is unique. Her voice, her speech, her thoughts and feelings are hers alone. I never intended to create characters who were so very… well… different but I hope one thing that resonates is that when you pick up one of my books, it’s unmistakably mine.

Apologies for not quite hitting the giveaway deadline with this one, but it fell between two news posts!

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Right, three night shifts and a bunch of rowdy, drunken, and inconsolable footy fans await. I sincerely hope that your weekend turns out to be better than mine…

 

News roundup: L Fest videos, an awful lot of blogging and an event or two

13 Jun

A quick gambol through the news…

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KikiAndBoobsAnd this just in…oh God, I knew it was coming. The L Fest artist of the week videos have kicked off with the indie author panel who may not appear as you expect… Have a look at this short fun video. Kiki Archer‘s done a typically fab job of making it a lot of fun with an effortlessly cool appearance from Jade Winters. (Ha! Clare Ashton you are totally in it too! – Cari H xx)

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DSC_4067 - CopyAuthors have been busy blogging again. Andrea Bramhall caught the writing process blog hop. She talks about her work in progress The Chameleon – “the story of Amhale Zuma and Imogen Frost; they are multiracial childhood friends in a South Africa driven by fear and separated by hate when children are colour blind and the eyes of the world were watching as Apartheid began to crumble.

It’s nice to see Andrea’s a big planner – far too many of these nonchalant pantsters around.

I have a huge poster sized diagram of a story arc up on the wall in my study.  When I complete my research I outline each chapter–briefly–on a sticky note and put it on the appropriate part of my arc, different coloured depending on who’s point of view the chapter will be written from. OCD, right?”

Be proud of your fastidiousness Andrea. Here’s the full piece.

Andrea’s Nightingale was also reviewed on C-spot reviews this week. Here’s what the Bookgeek had to say of her story of love beyond and despite brutal arranged marriages and abduction.

Andrea Bramhall put out a book which, although it contains a love-story, is difficult to be labelled as a romance. It is in the form a romance-cum-thriller a thought-provoking exploration beyond the curtains the genre of lesbian fiction usually accepts for itself…So let me recommend Nightingale to anyone, lesbian or feminist, who would like to read a thought-provoking, well-written novel about the clash of cultures happening on a daily bases right where we live

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london callingClare Lydon has been blogging over at Women and Words. She talks about the London setting of her best-selling debut London Calling.

The lead characters lived in zone one, based smack in the middle of London Town. They got the tube, they ate in local restaurants, they drank London lager, they lived and breathed the city. Quite a few readers commented that London came across as a lead character in the novel and I loved that description. I wanted to portray a sense of real-life London, of what it’s like to live in the city I’ve called home for the past 15 years.

Clare is spurning the capital for her next book, but don’t worry, she promises she’ll be back in this fascinating city for her third novel. Here’s the full piece.

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BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne, author of the YA novel Secret Lies, has been getting one or two things off her chest. In a  guest post on E. Kristin Anderson’s blog, Amy responds to an accusation that coming out stories are no longer valuable and that young people don’t read:

I can’t fathom how someone could nonchalantly say that young people don’t read nowadays. If that was the case, why is YA fiction so huge?….Coming out stories can be a lifeline in an otherwise bleak and lonely world. They show there is a brighter world beyond the high school years. You’re not alone. Who you are and who you love isn’t wrong or sinful. And above everything else, they show that unconditional acceptance, love, and happiness are definitely possible in the future.

Go Amy! Here’s the full post.

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nicola griffithThe Nicola Griffith goodreads Q&A that we mentioned in last week’s news, is now live. Nicola will be answering a question a day throughout June, and all you need to do to get involved is sign up with goodreads. This is the direct link to the Q&A and Nicola’s answers so far. For those of you who were wondering about a sequel to Hild, Nicola is currently “into it” and its working title is Menewood. In her own words, Nicola has now “drawn the line under banging the Hild drum” and has been considering future blog topics in this post. Comments are welcome at her site.

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val mcdermidNot content with being a best-selling author, and having her work adapted for television, Val McDermid has turned her hand to penning a radio drama. Deadheading – a comic thriller set amongst the plots and sheds of a Lancashire allotment – stars Julie Hesmondhalgh and Miriam Margolyes, in fifteen minute instalments. You can catch up with the aired episodes here (only three days left to run on the first!) and read a short interview with Val discussing the project here:

My favourite line, which I couldn’t shoehorn in, was about an allotment society chairman who held the post for several years and always held the meetings at his substantial house. ‘And do you know, in all those years, he never so much as offered us a cup of tea or a biscuit,’ one outraged committee member said.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderOver on her brand new blog, LT Smith has revealed the origins behind her online pseudonym Fingersmith, and how the Sarah Waters novel pulled her back into loving the written word:

Just reading that first paragraph made me fall in love all over again. It was as if my heart suddenly filled with all the emotion I had locked away for far too long and allowed me accept reading back into my life.

You can read the full piece here.

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VGLeeOn to events and VG Lee has a busy couple of months ahead. You can catch her being interviewed on BBC Sussex and Surrey Radio on Sunday 29th June at 5 – 6 p.m. as a guest on Rosie Wilby’s Sunday Night Live. Then she’ll be moving swiftly on to a Laughing Cows comedy night in London – more detail here. And then she’ll be running two workshops up at L Fest: A Leap of Faith – creating believable characters and a credible narrative and Fast and Furious – perfection in a few hundred words or less. There are more details on the L Fest workshops here. She’ll be back down south for a charity cabaret fundraiser for Pride in Brighton at the end of July – full details here.

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Finally for those of you who missed last weekend’s Bold Strokes Festival, you can catch the author readings and some very entertaining panels  on Youtube.

The event was also covered in the Nottingham Post.  The article has a picture of the authors looking very serious and writerly. But it also looked like this:

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You can find more photos of the event on our Facebook page here, including the UKLesFic eds attempting a Charlie’s Angels pose…seemed like a good idea at the time.

Ta ra!

 

Q&A With Sky Croft

10 Jun

Under the UK LesFic Q&A spotlight today is Sky Croft, Regal Crest author of the Mountain Rescue and Amazonia series, lover of wilderness and women, and 2014 Goldie nominee. With two novels set for release later this year (Amazonia: An Impossible Choice in August and Mountain Rescue: On The Edge in December), we’d like to thank Sky for finding the time to let us pick her brains…

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mountain rescueFirst things first, congratulations on the Goldie nomination for Mountain Rescue: The Ascent. How did you feel when you saw your name on the shortlist? And who would you thank most in an acceptance speech?

I was over the moon when I first saw my name on the shortlist – though I re-read it umpteen times, thinking I must’ve misunderstood somehow. I never imagined I’d be a finalist among such big-name authors!

In an acceptance speech (which is really getting ahead of myself!) I’d have to thank my parents the most. They always believed in me, and their support allowed me to realise my dream of becoming an author. Also, I’d like to thank the readers for their kind words regarding Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, as I never would’ve had the courage to enter the awards otherwise!

Tell us a little about yourself. How would your nearest and dearest describe you?

Hmm…let me think. Most people say I’m funny, though whether they’re laughing at me or with me I can never tell! I like to think with.

I love nothing more than a long walk in the countryside or down at my local beach, followed by an evening at the cinema. I’m an avid film buff and my DVD collection takes up half my home! When I’m not writing or working my way through another TV box set, I’m usually enjoying the rare few minutes of free-time with my fiancée and our pet budgie.

My family would say I’m caring, overly sensitive and talk way too much.

Personally, I think a comical, hypersensitive, non-stop talker is quite an apt description of me.

Your work is very varied: the supernatural Shadowstalkers, the adventure romance Mountain Rescue series and the fantasy Amazonia series. What, if anything, links them? Do you feel there are common themes?

ShadowStalkersBoth the Mountain Rescue and Amazonia series are romances at heart, so the obvious theme there is love, and how it enriches our lives.

Family is a central theme throughout my books. In Shadowstalkers, the Valentines are an incredibly tight-knit family. Amazonia displays the bonds of sisterhood, with both the twins, and the ties of the tribe as a whole. Mountain Rescue shows how friends (the rescue team) can become family without needing the connection by blood.

Loss is also a recurring theme. Mountain Rescue and Amazonia both have the loss of the family home, while Shadowstalkers has the loss of a parent. Over the course of the stories, the characters have to come to terms with those losses and move forward with their lives. They have to find hope again after tragedy.

All three of my books explore heroism, without it being overly contrived. I’m a big believer in female empowerment, so my stories tend to have feisty, strong-minded women at the core.

The sequel to Amazonia is out in August. What can readers look forward to in book two?

amazonia_impossible_choiceThere’s a wedding in store for the main couple (which I really enjoyed writing), and an Indiana Jones style treasure hunt with lots of trials for the Amazons to overcome. The women also have to face extreme weather, predatory animals, and deadly foes. They’re certainly kept busy in this book! Oh, and the past resurfaces in an unexpected way.

I was always fascinated by the idea of putting Shale into a situation where she had to choose between her twin or her love. I know I’m morbid, but I like to challenge my characters, and I felt that dilemma would be the biggest of her life. So naturally I took the story there in book two. You’ll have to read it to see what happens!

You say on your bio that you’re an “avid film buff”. Which of your books would you most like to see up on the big screen, and who would you cast in the leading roles?

I would love to see Shadowstalkers as a TV series. I think there’s lots of scope within that world to make numerous stand-alone episodes, as well as a bigger story arc for a season. Cassie’s such a conflicted heroine, her story would be fascinating to watch on-screen.

For the matriarch of the family, Eve Valentine, I would pick Lena Olin. Not only is she beautiful, she portrays strong characters without losing her femininity. She’d be ideal for showing both sides of Eve – the protective mother, and the lethal qualities of a shadowstalker.

summer-glau

Summer Glau – lovely lady, but she does have an unfortunate habit of starring in doomed TV shows…

As the lead, Cassie Valentine, I see Summer Glau playing the role. Cassie is written as exceptionally attractive, which Summer certainly is, and I could easily picture her kicking ass (witnessed when she was the terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles). Despite Cassie’s physical prowess, she is vulnerable mentally, and I think Summer would be wonderful at portraying that aspect of the character (she did a fantastic job playing the damaged River in Firefly/Serenity).

I could easily envisage Evan Rachel Wood as Vicki Valentine. I loved Evan’s depiction of the spoilt Queen Sophie-Anne on True Blood. Vicki’s self-importance causes quite a few problems for the Valentine clan, and sometimes you love her, sometimes you hate her. I think Evan would be more than capable of taking on such a misunderstood character.

Where do you get your ideas and how do you start developing stories?

I love to daydream. I can sit for hours thinking over different characters and scenarios. When ideas emerge, I focus on those that have enough merit to hold my interest, and I begin to ask questions around that subject. An obvious example would be: What’s the main character’s background? What led them to be in the scenario they’re now in? Etc. These questions lead me deeper into the original idea, and from that a plot begins to take shape.

What has surprised you most about the feedback on your books?amazonia (1)

I’ve been surprised by how many people are committed to the series of Mountain Rescue, and their loyalty to the characters and the story. They really want to see what happens next in the lives of Sydney and Saber, where they’re going as a couple, and what adventures they have next on the mountainside. I certainly hoped there’d be a following for them (to allow me to write many follow-ons!) but it’s exhilarating to realise so many people relate to the characters, which, as I mentioned in an earlier question, is what pushed me to enter the book into the Golden Crown Literary Society awards.

A lot of people seem surprised that I vary my work genre-wise, and that in turn surprises me. I’ve never understood why an author needs to be boxed into one area of writing. Even from a young age I’ve always crossed the genre-lines. For me personally, I feel it helps to keep my work fresh – it stimulates my mind to create other worlds, and other scenarios for the characters to contend with.

What’s up next?

I’d like to revisit Shadowstalkers and write the sequel for that, as I’ve already got quite a bit of the story planned out. Another Mountain Rescue is definitely on the cards, and after those I have a sci-fi tale I’d like to tell. I’ve also got my own wedding to plan 🙂

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Cheers, Sky!

For more information on Sky and her novels, her blog is here, and her official author page at Regal Crest is here.

 

 

News Roundup: Lambda Win for Andrea Bramhall, Free Stuff from Clare Ashton & Amy Dunne, L-Fest & BSB Fest, Blog Hops, Reviews, and Lots More!

5 Jun

Okay, there’s no polite way of putting this: some of you UK authors need to go on an early summer holiday or something, and stop doing so much bloody stuff. Please? I hear the Balearics are lovely this time of year…

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cleanslateWithout further ado, let’s kick off another mammoth week of news by saying a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Andrea Bramhall, whose second novel Clean Slate was awarded best Lesbian Romance at the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards on Monday evening. The Lammies are one of the most keenly sought after awards in the field of GLBTQ writing, so it’s lovely to see one heading over this side of the pond.

Andrea has just blogged her reaction to the news in a post entitled: Keep Calm and Wait for the Recount:

I’m trying to play it cool and not run around the house shouting ‘I won, I won, I won’ but part of me is still waiting for the results of the recount–that must surely be underway–and I don’t want to look like an idiot when the powers that be politely inform me that I shouldn’t have gotten myself all excited in the first place…

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Amy_Dunne_lgSkipping along from shiny stuff to free stuff, as the True Colorz blog (“your source for all things YA in the GLBTQ community”!) has just hosted a Q&A with Amy Dunne, and there’s a chance to win a copy of Secret Lies if you leave a comment on the page. The interview is well worth a read, although I’m hoping Ms Dunne didn’t write a college essay on The Yellow Wallpaper for the same reason I did: it was far shorter than Moby Dick.

Question: If you could travel back in time and tell the teenage you one thing, what would it be?

“Amy, you’re a lesbian. Surprise!”

To read all of Amy’s answers and to enter the comp, head here.

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that certain somethingSticking with the theme of free things, Clare Ashton is also giving stuff away over at Women & Words, where she has been chatting about That Certain Something and encouraging people to Add a Little Sunshine to their day:

Pia enlists the help of an enchanting third character – London. I have a soft spot for the charismatic city and I’ve adored living through the scenes in some of my favourite settings: the romantic Serpentine Lake, Brixton market on a noisy morning, an old bombed-out church – now a peaceful garden in the heart of the city. A balmy summer in London has been a nice place to daydream about.

To be in with a chance of getting your mitts on a copy of That Certain Something (in e-book or paperback – winner’s choice), hit the above link and add your two penneth to the chat about favourite classy film dames in the comments section.

Terry Baker has cast her LesFic-loving eye over That Certain Something this week and not found the book lacking in the slightest:

This story is a beautifully written, multi layered, lesfic, romantic comedy. It is chick lit for lesbians as its very best. Clare Ashton has got the balance between the romance and the comedy just right. Neither one overshadows the other. This is a refreshingly different book from Clare’s other two full length, more serious novels. Although we did get a taste of her wonderful sense of humor in her short story, published last year.

Click here to read the full review.

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NicolaGriffithFor those who like to plan ahead, here’s an early shout out about an Ask The Author session with Nicola Griffith on Goodreads. The details are a little vague (in all honesty, I don’t have any), but the shindig kicks off on Friday, and keeping an eye on Nicola’s Goodreads author page would probably be a decent place to start.

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lfestAs the rain pours non-stop over here (hmm, I bet it’s lovely and sunny in the Balearics), what better time to think of summer festivals?

L Fest 2014 (18-21 July) has updated its arts page with loads of info about the authors, poets, panellists, and comedians who will be heading over to Staffordshire for the weekend. Tig gave the line-up in last week’s news, but novelist and poet Maureen Duffy is a more recent addition. For profiles, info and pretty pictures, click the arts page here.

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bsbpanelWith just two days to go before the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival, a blog hop featuring the attending authors has continued apace. In an effort to prove that fiction writers also lead adventurous factual lives, I. Beacham has somehow managed to avoid all mention of gratuitous pussy jokes in an entertaining piece about rescuing her cat from a vicarage. Jane Fletcher has been speaking historically, Rebecca Buck has been fighting labels, Crin Claxton has been shaking her tassels, and Victoria Oldham – editor and organiser in chief – has brought things full circle back to cats (but not pussies – no one goes for the obvious gags these days!) with her summary of what exactly goes into organising a book festival, and why she comes back and does it all over again each year:

crin and cheriThe authors get to meet readers, the readers get to meet authors. We connect and reconnect, and it’s all over the power of words, both written and spoken. I get to meet readers and new authors, and sometimes I’m fortunate enough to hear pitches from aspiring authors who want to work with us, and that makes me feel incredibly lucky. I get to tell people about the amazing company I work for, a company that works to provide quality literature to the queer community, and a company dedicated to helping authors grow and learn at every step of their career.

If you want to come along to Nottingham this Saturday and Sunday (7th & 8th June) and find out what the BSB Fest is all about, click here for the necessary details. Once again this year, Vic will be hearing pitches from aspiring authors, and she has some advice for potential pitchers in this blog post.

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amazonia_impossible_choiceThe Writing Processes blog hop has snared another couple of British authors (okay, I snared one of ’em!) with Sky Croft and Manda Scott posting their entries in the last few days.

Speaking about potential future novels, Sky had this to say:

I have a few other ideas on the go right now, but I’m not sure which to focus on first. That’s always a dilemma for me, which book to start on – I have so much I want to get down, and not enough time to do it all, so naturally some ideas fall by the wayside. It’s tough to decide which ideas to let go of and which to pursue, especially if you’re passionate about them.

manda-scottMeanwhile, Manda is busy working on edits of The Girl Who Walked Through Fire:

I did the line edits in January and somewhere, stalking the hallways of my publisher, is a copy-editor who will require that I make fundamental changes to the plot and structure in the name of ‘consistency’ and I will chew large lumps out of my desk in frustration and do about half of them, writing long, detailed notes about why and how the other half prove the editor in question just didn’t bother to read the text. Then I’ll give up and do them anyway.

To read the full text of both blogs, go to the above links.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderLast but by no means least, L.T. Smith has gone and launched a new blog, where you can find information on all of her novels, forthcoming releases (including the blurb for September release Still Life), and what she’s up to at the moment:

Buying a book is like choosing a friend to spend time. It’s not an easy choice, especially because you are going to invest time, emotion and money in the venture. That’s why I have included excerpts for you to read. A case of “try before you buy”. There are also some sound files to listen to if you want to hear how I think my stories should “sound”. However, if you treasure your hearing, maybe you might want to listen to music instead.

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Right-O, that’s about yer lot for this week. If anyone reading this blog is heading to the Nottingham BSB Fest, please do come over and say hello – Tig is hoping to be there on the Saturday, so no doubt the daft Blog Mistress picture will get an update 🙂

 

Yup, this one!

Yup, this one!

 

 

“I’ve Been Doing This Thing” – H.P. Munro Guest Blog

3 Jun

hp munroToday’s guest blog comes from Edinburgh-based author, H.P. Munro, who’s been having rather a good year so far. Her début novel Silver Wings made the shortlist for the Goldies in the Historical Fiction category, while her third novel Stars Collide (released at the end of May) is currently sitting pretty in the number one spot on the UK and US LesFic Amazon charts.

H.P. is a relative newcomer to the site, and she has a bit of a confession to make…

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“I have something to tell you, I’ve been doing this thing.”

As it turns out, this is not the opening gambit you should adopt when trying to tell your wife that for the past year you’ve been moonlighting as a fanfiction writer and have created a bit of a following.

silver-wings-h-p-munro-paperback-cover-artFor years, friends and I would lament that there weren’t enough romcom-type lesbian fiction books out there. In my twenties I giggled along with the rest of the planet at the escapades of Bridget Jones and had people move seats away from me on the bus while I guffawed happily at one of Catherine Alliot’s hapless characters. However, when I started to read lesbian fiction it seemed every book I read had either dark undercurrents or characters with damaged pasts. I like a good drama as much as anyone, but it’s nice to balance it off with a bit of light relief now and again.

At one point during one of these such conversations I boldly announced, “I reckon I could have a bash at that.” Once sober, I realised that despite having an often overactive imagination (and one failed attempt at a fantasy novel during my teens) I had no experience of writing anything other than reports for work and the odd cheque.

A while later I stumbled across fanfiction by accident. Now, I like to think of it as a bit like a speakeasy club that you need to follow clues to find and know the knock sequence to get in, or perhaps like the Masons (I’m totally going to invent a handshake now).

It wasn’t until I read a few that my previous declaration came back to me, and so, with tentative steps, I wrote my first fic.
I know a number of authors have started out in a similar vein, and I guess – a bit like comedians working the clubs – you really learn your craft, as your audience responds very quickly, and quite often rather vocally, about what you’re doing right or wrong. In those early days I took on every bit of advice I was given, I found a network of incredibly talented writers to chat to and, bit by bit, my confidence built.

grace fallsAt the time I was spending a lot of time travelling, I was miserable away from home and my only salvation was immersing myself in the little fictional worlds that I created. It was only when I stopped travelling but realized I wanted to continue writing that I thought I should perhaps share what I’d been doing with my wife…why keep it a secret, I hear you cry….to be honest, at the start I was embarrassed, and then as things progressed I wasn’t sure how long I’d stick at it (two guitars, a gym ball, Wii fit and countless other remnants of passing interests are evidenced in our house). I’m incredibly lucky to have an understanding and supportive wife, who didn’t cuff me around the ear but simply asked to read what I’d written and also whether there was anything else she should know, like was I also masquerading as Batgirl (totally am).

It was only after my wife asked what I was going to do with the stories that I’d written that I considered doing something else with them. I’d always gone down the AU route simply because, although I used the characters, I sort of liked to play with them in different eras and scenarios (similar to when, as a child, my Sindy doll had a crew-cut, wore Action Man’s clothes and spoke with a Russian accent). And so began my journey to remove both the traces of their origins and the self-imposed shackles of working with existing characters. I was able to breathe new life into characters I created, give them a different voice and mould them into the people I wanted them to be.

stars collideAnd so here I am today. I have stepped out fully from the shadows. When I say fully, I mean that I still go bright red and umm and ahh when my wife proudly announces to friends and family that I have a new book out. But my eighty-one-year-old mum has read them (that made for an interesting lunch the day after, I can tell you!), as have both my sisters, straight and gay friends, and only this week I was asked by my head of department how my books were going.

Four years on, and it would appear I’m still doing this thing.

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To keep up with all the news on H.P. and her books, head to her blog, or her Facebook page.