Archive | May, 2015

News roundup: a new author, new reviews, the BSB event and an offer or two

23 May

Good evening. Here is the news. And, blimey, there’s quite a bit of it….

bsbprogramNot long now until the Bold Strokes Nottingham gig which kicks off early on Saturday 6th June. Don’t miss the first session at 11.15 all about “Getting Some Action: diving in and getting it done”. The UK’s Cari Hunter will be on the panel with a couple of new authors from Down Under, Mardi Alexander and Michelle Grubb. Over the weekend you can catch readings and lively quizzes featuring I Beacham, Andrea BramhallRebecca S Buck, Crin Claxton, Lesley Davis, Amy Dunne, Jane Fletcher with Justine Saracen and David Swatling joining them from the US.

Entry is free and there’s lots of opportunity to socialise with the authors, and I believe there’s even free food at the end of the weekend. Click on the image for the full listings.

In preparation for the event, Lesley Davis has also been blogging on the BSB Nottingham site where she talks about the voices in her head:

I’m working on a new story now, no spoilers for that just yet, but the voices are back! I’ve got one set telling me scenes from what I am writing and another set that are telling me what they want once I’m finished!

royalromanticAnother BSB author, Jenny Frame has also been busy blogging with the publication of A Royal Romance (now available on Amazon). She discusses how her politics have softened over the years and also the politics of her characters:

When I grew up into a teenager, and my political principles started to form, I began to think about the people at the bottom, not at the top, and the injustice of riches being handed to someone by an accident of birth. I wanted to rebel against the establishment, not peer through rose tinted glasses at the history of the past. By the time I got to college and then university, I had very similar opinions to that of my character, Beatrice Elliot.

You can read the full piece on the Bold Strokes blog.

no good reasonAnd finally, in the BSB bunch, Cari Hunter‘s latest novel hasn’t even hit the shelves and it’s already had its first glowing review. C-Spot Reviews got their mitts on an early copy of Cari’s first novel in her Dark Peak crime series and this is what they had to say:

A new Cari Hunter novel? What mayhem will engulf her characters this time? The answer: Truly terrible things, as well as truly lovely things, abound in the mystery-thriller No Good Reason. “She hurt” are the opening words, and this is a bodily hurt. The plot takes off immediately as a captive woman makes her bloody escape and then — Well, this is not a romance, dear reader, so brace yourself.

Sound good? Well it is. Read the full review here.

unbrokenLet’s move on to a new author to this blog, Natalie Debrabandere. Natalie has just published her first book Unbroken. She lives in Leicestershire where she alternates between running between raindrops and perfecting lasagne-making. Somewhere in there is guitar-playing and writing too. It is unknown whether she has cats, dogs or children, but she does have a shiny new blog where she talks about the background to Unbroken and its possible sequel. Here’s the blurb for her debut:

When Liz Jackson arrives at the Whanau Ano Holiday Park on the beautiful west coast of New Zealand, the last thing she expects to find is love. Fresh from an abusive relationship, the British surgeon wants nothing but peace, solitude, and time to indulge in her passion for painting.

Kristan Holt is a kayak instructor and a helicopter pilot. Handsome and charismatic, she owns the park and the Activity Centre, and when the beautiful doctor literally knocks her off her feet one morning in the café, she leaves an indelible mark on her heart.

When both women fall in love it looks as if both have finally found the missing piece in their lives. But someone will stop at nothing, including murder, to deny them the future that they want.

Unbroken is available on Amazon.

A bit of news from Angela Peach. The lucky thing is going to the GCLS conference in New Orleans. She’ll be doing a reading as well as appearing on a panel alongside Dillon Watson, Riley Adair Garret, Sandra Moran and Ann McMan on the Friday (24th July) at 14.30. If you’re also heading New Orleans way here’s the full schedule.

TheLongWeekend-640x1024Moving on to reviews. The relatively new site The Lesbian Review has been making its way through UK authors. Already a fan of London Calling, the site reviewed Clare Lydon‘s The Long Weekend:

The long weekend by Clare Lydon is a cute lesbian book about an old set of university friends meeting for their 20 year reunion during a short vacation over the Easter weekend…I like the way Lydon writes. Her books are well paced and easy to read. The Long Weekend is light lesbian chick lit with an entertaining storyline that does not rely on sex to keep it interesting.

Full review here.

secretliesAmy Dunne‘s Secret Lies was also reviewed:

I like the way Amy Dunne writes. It is clean, fast paced and she manages to build rapport between her characters. It was a sweet romance with a lot of angst that will appeal to the teen market.

pennanceAs was Clare Ashton‘s Pennance:

The book is utterly unique. You will search to find anything comparable in the lesbian genre. It is well written and really dark. Some people tout this as a ghost story and it is easy to see why. It is moody and oppressive. Yet it isn’t really a ghost story. Not in the traditional sense at least.

You can find the full review here.

Coincidentally, Pennance is also to have a new lease of life as a translation. Verlag Krug & Schadenberg will be publishing a German edition next year.

the repercussionsMeanwhile, Catherine Hall‘s The Repercussions was reviewed at A Life in Books:

Hall’s exploration of the morality of war photography and its effects on those who practice it are vivid and immediate. All this is achieved in an intensely involving story – moving, poignant and often surprising. It’s a novel which succeeds in treating a deadly serious subject in a gripping, humane and thoroughly engrossing way. I’m looking forward to seeing what Hall does next.

You can read the full review here.

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Before I sign off, a latest release and a couple of nice offers:

arc over timeJen Silver‘s second book, Arc Over Time, is now out on Kindle and available from Amazon. The paperback will follow at a later date and Jen will be joining us on UKLesFic to talk some more about her new novel very soon.

The_Full_LegacyJane Retzig has written in to tell us that she has a number of free downloads of the audio version of The Full Legacy. Anyone interested should get in contact with her a soon as possible (janeretzig@gmail.com) and let her know if they need a copy from Audible’s UK or US site.

And if you’re super quick you might be able to get hold of Manda Scott‘s No Good Deed for a snip at 1.99 for the Kindle. Here’s the link to this bargainous book.

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Happy reading this weekend and a toodle pip from UKLesFic!

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The Hystery App: Guest blog by VT Davy

15 May

VT Davy’s books revolve around a question or an issue. A Very Civil Wedding dramatised the scenario of the next in-line to the throne wanting to marry her girlfriend. Vic’s latest book takes an appealing idea of being able to film the lives of women through the ages. Read on to find out about the repercussions.

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If your tablet or smartphone had an app on it that allowed you to input any date and time from the past and then enabled you to use the device’s camera to film your current location at that date and time, would you download it? Think of the possibilities…

Want to research your family tree? You could go to the house lived in by your ancestors, input when they lived there, and find out more about their daily lives.

thehysteryappWant to witness historic events at first hand? You could go to the location where the event was supposed to have taken place, input the date and time, and see it from any angle you wished.

Want to set the record straight? You could go to a location where some disputed historic happening occurred, input the date and time, and publish your findings.

There’s just one restriction: only women who are deceased are visible to the camera. Even so, it would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it? Or would it?

This is the premise of my latest novel, The Hystery App. The app comes about by accident when Dr Brogan Miller and her wife, Dr Honor Smith, are experimenting with sending a personal satellite into space, something that amateur scientists are now doing. A freak occurrence turns the satellite into a sort of time machine that allows mobile devices communicating with it to film video of women from the past.

Things start to go wrong when the app, like all technology before it, starts to be abused by people exploiting women for their own ends. The novel draws deliberate parallels with the use and abuse of the Internet to look at the question of how society treats women and girls, but also how women and girls treat themselves. Using glimpses of the uploads from the Hystery app, it shines a light on some of the milestones in Britain for the women’s movement and compares them to snippets from today’s multimedia culture to evaluate how far women have come and how far they still have to go.

In writing the novel, I am concerned about the state of feminism today. In the last twenty-five years, we seem to have slipped backwards. We live in a world where the top female artists in the music industry sing strutting anthems about girl power whilst wearing nothing more than a scrap of material in the relevant places. Compare their wardrobe to the top male artists in the music industry and you’ll see that equality has some way to go.

What does this say about the respect the managers and producers have for their talent? Your voice isn’t really good enough; we’d better get you to strip off? More than that, what does it say about the respect that the performer has for their talent?

Images like these stream onto the screens of teenage girls providing a very confused message for the next generation of women. What are they being taught here? To be a strong, powerful woman, like the song says, you have to expose your body for the titillation of men?

No doubt, the performers would argue that women’s lib means having the choice to wear (or not) what you like without being dictated to by men. Wearing very little to showcase their vocal talent is their choice, then. If that’s true (and I’m not sure it really is as free a choice as they think it is), that’s fine. However, because your music is purchased by impressionable young girls, would a more responsible choice not be to be a strong, powerful woman who has reached the top of her profession without using her body in that way?

On the flip side, women who have reached the top of their profession in politics, business or academia and who don’t use their bodies in that way are trolled mercilessly on the Internet and in the tabloid papers for the way that they look. And not just by men. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. It is this dichotomy that intrigues me and I hope it will provoke a reaction in readers, too.

VT_Davy_jpg_210x1000_q85As well as making readers think about an issue, reading should be fun, which is why The Hystery App has at its heart the relationship between Brogan and Honor and, without giving anything away, a stranger called Erin James, who comes into Brogan’s life at a crisis point. The story, a combination of romance and science fiction with lots of humour and observations on family life thrown in, and the love triangle at the centre, I guarantee, will be unlike any you have read before. I hope readers will enjoy it on lots of levels.

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You can buy The Hystery App on Amazon and find out more about Vic at Liberation Publishing.

News Roundup: Sarah Waters Hits the Stage, New Romance from KE Payne, Blogs from Jody Klaire, Clare Lydon, Jenny Frame, & Cari Hunter, Angie Peach Heads to GCLS, and Loads More!

9 May

Ahh, the sun is shining between rain showers, the birds are singing, and the Tories have finally stopped ringing me up at inopportune moments. Life is good and the news is absolutely hopping. So without further ado…

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KePayneLet’s start this week with a snippet about a new romance from K.E. Payne, who contacted the blog to let us know she has her seventh novel due out with Bold Strokes in October. The novel’s title is When I Knew You and its blurb goes like this:

When Ash Wells and Nat Braithwaite are thrown together after seventeen years apart, old resentments and passions are rekindled. The days of their heady teenage relationship are long gone – or are they? As they put aside their differences to honour the memory of a friend, Ash and Nat learn that sometimes, to build a future, you have to be willing to let go of the past.

K.E has promised to let us know when she gets the cover for this one sorted, so keep an eye on the news for updates.

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frog musicAwards season is continuing apace, with Emma Donoghue‘s Frog Music and Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests both shortlisted for the Third Annual Bisexual Book Awards. The Bi Writers Association will announce their winners in a ceremony to be held Saturday 30th May, with Waters and Donoghue competing against each other in the Bisexual Fiction category. You can find the full list of nominees here. Good luck to both Brits!

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We’ll stick with Sarah Waters for a moment, as word of a stage adaptation of Tipping the Velvet has sneaked onto the ‘net. Waters’ much-loved début novel is to be adapted for the stage as part of the Lyric Hammersmith‘s new season:

The play opens this autumn, and will run from 18th September to 24th October. This new adaptation of the novel by acclaimed playwright Laura Wade (Posh, Royal Court/West End) has been in the planning for four years. It will be directed by Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica, Almeida/West End).

From October the play will also be running in Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Lyceum, with the final performance scheduled for Saturday 21 November. As ever, more details can be found by hitting the link.

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vgleepolariThe Still Got Manners website has reviewed Polari‘s recent evening at Glasgow’s AyeWrite! festival. The event featured VG Lee: “who kicked things off in riotous style with accounts of her attempts at writing lesbian erotica. The droll sense of humour that runs through her writing is made even more hilarious by her impeccable comedy timing”, and Jackie Kay “with the talent of the true poet, she had audience members wiping away tears one moment with a lyrical tribute to her mother (and a reminder never to dismiss people as simply ‘old’)”. 

You can find the full review at the above link. Upcoming events from Polari feature Karen Campbell and Kerry Hudson. For more details see their schedule here.

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clare lydonSkipping onto blogs now, and Clare Lydon has decided that Book Editing: Not for Wimps in a new post detailing the trials and tribulations of cutting her next novel down to size:

With The Long Weekend, my beta readers brought up the fact I kept using the word ‘arse’, and had all the characters slapping each other’s bums every other scene – so I changed it. In This London Love, my beta readers told me people kept cocking their heads, putting their hands on their hips and turning on their heels every five minutes – all terribly camp and dramatic, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Clare’s third novel, This London Love – “not strictly a sequel” to London Calling – is due out in June, and the full blog entry is at the first link.

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blindtrustJody Klaire has been busy getting ready for the release of two novels. With Blind Trust, the sequel to The Empath, due out in summer, and a new romance La Vie En Bleu also pending, Jody has three blog updates to get people in the mood. You can find a primer for Blind Trust here and a character study on Renee Black from The Empath here. Rounding it all up is Jody discussing writing a romance when she’s better known for thrillers, along with a sneak-peek at the blurb for La Vie En Bleu, a snippet of which reads like this:

My name is Pippa Saunders and I have a BIG secret. You see I am engaged to Prince Charming, AKA Doug Fletcher, (Well unless it’s a golf day,) and my best friend and I, Rebecca (The one with the terrible haircut) live in our pokey little flat and are wonderful underachievers.  My life is pretty simple, I go to work in an office, go out to dinner with the handsome Doug and enjoy girlie DVD nights with Rebecca. It’s how I like it. Simple, uncomplicated and… well… Rebecca says boring…

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a royal romanceOver at the Bold Strokes blog, Jenny Frame, whose début A Royal Romance is out this month, is the feature of a new interview. In an interesting read, Jenny field questions about her influences, writing methods, and inspiration, amongst numerous other topics:

I always wanted to tell a story that was a modern retelling of a fairy tale. So my knight in shining armour and handsome prince is a handsome butch instead, who falls in love not with a suitable princess, but the village girl who protests outside the palace gates…It also gave me the opportunity to write about history and politics, two subjects I love, but still keep at its heart a sweet romance, with a healthy dose of spice.

Read more at this link.

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laddow3Finally in our blog hop I’ve chucked some pretty pictures of the Dark Peak and a shot of some rather gnarly-looking sheep onto my blog as a scene setter for No Good Reason. The snaps were mostly taken during the last year’s worth of hikes and include a few spectacular snowy shots from what turned out to be a good winter for walking. The pics and a bit of Dark Peak history can be found at the link.

And sneaking in just before the deadline, my freebie author copies arrived, which means only one thing: Giveaway! I’ve put two copies of No Good Reason up for grabs, either here at my blog or on my Facebook page. Deadline for comments/likes/discussion of biscuits is whenever I get my arse out of bed after my night shift (officially: noon GMT) on Wednesday 13th May. Best of British to you all.

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playing my loveFor those readers who might be reading this across the pond, or for anyone fond of travelling, Angela Peach will be heading Stateside in July to play at the Golden Crown Literary Society conference. Taking place 22-26 July, the conference is an extravaganza of LesFic, featuring panels, signings, readings and discussions, and culminating in the Goldies award ceremony. Although the schedule is still a work in progress, Angela has confirmed that she will be appearing on one of the panels. Hit the main GCLS site if you fancy making the trip or to have a toot at the finalists for this year’s awards.

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If you’re more of a homebody, Vic Oldham has offered a glimpse of what this year’s Bold Strokes UK Nottingham bash has in store. With 13 BSB authors in attendance, the event promises to be bigger than ever and will include two after-event parties, the chance for prospective authors to pitch their novels, panels, chats, signings, and something called a Mayhem Team. I wish I could shed some light on the latter, but I honestly have no clue. As ever, the weekend will be held at the Waterstones store in the centre of Nottingham and it takes place 5-7th June.

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