Archive | July, 2015

News Roundup: New Books from Jade Winters, Gill McKnight, Rebecca S. Buck, and Amy Dunne, Goldie Win for Andrea Bramhall, Clare Lydon Does a Lot of Stuff, Reviews, Events & More…

31 Jul

Huzzah! It’s finally stopped raining and there’s a weird yellow light in the sky. Let’s shake off our brollies and see what the UK LesFic lasses have been up to…

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Hopefully, the sun will continue to shine for Saturday at least, as Brighton Pride prepares to strut its stuff and get out the gay. Clare Lydon will be hosting shenanigans in the literature tent with a line-up that includes Catherine Hall and Carol Robson. You can find general information about tickets and timings on the festival’s main page, and Clare has more info about the book side of things here.

clare lydonIf you want to keep up with Clare (and she takes some keeping up with – she’s a busy lady!) then head to the subscription page for her newsletter where you’ll get exclusive info on first reads, new releases & offers. And if you need proof of how busy she is, you can read her recent Women & Words blog here (nb. the giveaway has finished), and watch her compering the recent Indie Panel at LFest here. Finally, just slipping in beneath the deadline is the latest episode of The Lesbian Bookclub, featuring Clare’s interview with Bold Strokes author and all-round lovely person, Crin Claxton.

Videos of VG Lee‘s and Kiki Archer‘s LFest stints have also been posted on YouTube. Hit the names for the links.

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nightingaleCongrats to Andrea Bramhall whose novel Nightingale won a Goldie for Best Lesbian Romance at the GCLS conference last weekend. The Brits had a great presence in the finals, and Jen Silver and Angie Peach both made it over to New Orleans for the event, so fingers crossed UK authors will pick up a few more gongs in future years!

If you want to read more about the conference, Jen has just posted a recap of her GCLS experience over on her blog.

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Plans for the inaugural lesbian book festival to be held at the Hideaway Cafe in Urmston (Manchester) are picking up speed. The date is set for September 12th, with proceedings scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. So far, the authors confirmed attending are: I Beacham, Andrea Bramhall, Karen Cambell, Veronica Fearon, Michelle Grubb, Cari Hunter, and Jen Silver. Cake, tea, lesbians, and books. It’s a no-brainer really. The women’s LGBT book club is also up and running at the cafe on the first Tuesday of each month, 7-9 p.m. See the website for more details.

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in it togetherNew books now, and Jade Winters has recently released her twelfth (crikey!) novel, In It Together:

Cara has no one but herself to blame for the situation she finds herself in – she broke the cardinal rule: Don’t read someone’s personal diary. But what if she hadn’t? How long would it have been before she found out that Maddie, her girlfriend of four years, was sleeping with her flatmate?

Now suddenly homeless, Cara flees to her family home in the heart of Cumbria to lick her wounds. There Cara reunites with the past she so desperately tried to outrun and comes face to face with the heart wrenching dilemma that caused her to leave in the first place.

With nowhere to hide Cara finally has to confront her demons head on. Does she tell the truth and risk tearing a brother and sister apart? Or does she carry on with the lie and be without the love she has denied herself for so long?

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cover_the-tea-machine_500x800Meanwhile, Gill McKnight has revealed the gorgeous cover for The Tea Machine, her first release after shifting publishers to Ylva. Gill has promised “Victorian ladies, and giant space squid, and hunky big Amazonian warriors with lasers, and tea”, and the official synopsis reads like this:

The story of a love that never dies…except it does, over and over again.

London 1862, and Millicent Aberly, spinster by choice, has found her future love—in the future! She meddled with her brother’s time machine and has been catapulted into an alternative world where the Roman Empire has neither declined nor fell. In fact, it has gone on to annex most of the known universe.

Millicent is rescued from Rome’s greatest enemy, the giant space squid, by Sangfroid, a tough and wily centurion who, unfortunately, dies while protecting her. Wracked by guilt and a peculiar fascination for the woman soldier, Millicent is determined to return in time and save Sangfroid from her fatal heroics. Instead, she finds her sexy centurion in her own timeline. And Sangfroid is not alone; several stowaways have come along with her.

Soon Millicent’s mews house is overrun with Roman space warriors and giant squid.

The book is due for release in November.

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BSB-HopeHeartWinterSkip forward into December and Rebecca S. Buck‘s new lesbian historical story, Hope in the Heart of Winter, will be released onto e-book via Bold Strokes:

In 1927, Evadne Burns invites her closest school friends to join her for a weekend reunion at her grand home, Winter Manor. The passing of time and the dark shadow of the First World War has shaped them all as women, yet their friendships remain strong. The tragedy of the era has only made them more determined to live their lives to the full.

Evadne is delighted to see Clara and Courtney again, two women dedicated to each other since they were schoolgirls and still unable to keeps their hands off each other, even in view of Winter’s servants. There is the more conservative Madge, to remind them of the life they were expected to lead. But most of all, Evadne is pleased to see Edith Richardson, with whom she shared one precious night but left a lasting connection. With Edith, she chooses to share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives, together or apart.

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renegadeWith The Renegade hitting shelves in September, Amy Dunne has posted an excerpt from her futuristic apocalyptic romp (is “romp” the right word a book that pretty much wipes out humanity before the end of the prologue? Probably not!) over on her blog. I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from Amy as the release date rolls around, but for now get stuck into the first chapter, or head to the book’s official page on the BSB website where the first three chapters are ready and waiting, and where the book can be pre-ordered.

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too late I love youOver at Chick Lit Plus, reviewer Michelle has been finding a lot to like in Kiki Archer‘s Too Late… I Love You:

Without giving too much away, I will say there is some hilarious banter in here. Some of it is crude so it’s not for the faint of heart but I was literally laughing out loud at some of the things that came out of everyone’s mouth. The twist at the end completely took me by surprise. It was actually fantastic. For a book I would not have normally read, I really enjoyed this.

You can find the full review at this link.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Off to bonny Scotland now, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where Sarah Waters and Jackie Kay will be discussing their favourite Virago Modern Classics authors on Saturday 15th August.

The Female Gaze: Classics by Women Writers

Three of Britain’s best-loved contemporary writers join us to discuss their favourite Virago Modern Classics author. Sarah Waters discusses Rebecca West, Maggie O’Farrell chooses Molly Keane, and Jackie Kay opts for Zora Neale Hurston. Why were these wonderful writers previously neglected, and what does their work tell us about the contemporary author who chose them? 

Chaired by Lennie Goodings as part of her Guest Selected strand of events.

The event will take place at Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, 5A Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 4DR, at 5pm. For further information and tickets, head here.

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NicolaGriffithAnd we’ll round out the fortnight with Nicola Griffith discussing why it’s so important to count women’s stories, in a recent interview with the Seattle Review of Books:

My book Hild was out here in paperback and it came out in the UK in hardcover, so I had to do publicity — write “five-best” lists and, you know, that kind of thing. So I was thinking about my five favorite historical novels and I wrote them down and I was pleased because at least three of them, or actually four of them, were by women. I thought, “yay women!” And then I realized that those books by women were all about men. And then I thought, “goddamn.” These were my influences…

You can read the full piece at the above link.

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Right, that little lot should keep you ticking over for the next couple of weeks. If you do happen to catch some sunshine, be sure to make the most of it!

L Fest 2015

21 Jul

The sun shined DSC_1606on L Fest this year, and a fun and cozy event it was too. Live music got the big top treatment and the arts stage was hosted nearby in an airy bright tent. Stalls lined the edges of two grassy areas with everything from busking to dog shows. There were fewer author panels this year, and no fiction workshops, but what the sessions lacked in quantity they certainly made up for in quality.

Karen Campbell

Jubilation at working microphones and a brilliant reading from Karen Campbell

First up was the Indie Panel ably captained by Clare Lydon. HP Munro had the unenviable task of kicking off the show before the microphones arrived but was beautifully audible by the time her reading of the merkin scene from the much-loved Stars Collide came around. Sally Edwards read from her self-confessed highly autobiographical debut How to Love. Karen Campbell enthralled the audience with a brilliant reading from her work in progress about a lesbian dwarf. And Suzanne Egerton, who has one of those voices you need for Book at Bedtime, delivered her humorous story Diva like a pro.

Polari Panel

The fabulous Polari panel: Diana Souhami, host Paul Burston, VG Lee, Kiki Archer and VA Fearon

Sunday morning was time for Paul Burston‘s Polari panel and a large and eager crowd was up early to see some sparkling readings. VA Fearon started the session with a reading from her gritty London gangland thriller The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Some light relief was dished out by Kiki Archer with the shitting-mobility-scooter-icecream scene from Too Late…I Love You, much to the delight of the audience. Diana Souhami was a great inclusion, effortlessly entertaining with her own witty observations and reading wonderful snippets from her biography of the fascinating Alice B Tokas and Gertrude Stein. VG Lee supplied the grand finale with two Deirdre stories to a most appreciative crowd.

Manda Scott

Manda Scott

The last author session was from the big-selling Manda Scott. The historical fiction author took a handful of questions and then talked most impressively about everything from living in round houses to knights steering horses with their bums and how genuinely terrifying battle reenactments are. She offered a few interesting tidbits about her writing career such as her name change (to MC Scott) being forced upon her for the Rome series, much to her chagrin, and the barriers to writing the Boudica series – pressure to keep to her previous thriller brand and established historical authors suggesting there was not enough material to support new fiction – Manda went on to write a series of four sizable tomes.

It was, all in all, a fabulous festival. But let’s hope 2016 sees a beefed up arts side to L Fest.

Polari

Polari panelists VG Lee, Paul Burston, Kiki Archer, Diana Souhami

HP Munro

HP Munro reading the merkin scene from Stars Collide

Suzanne Egerton

Suzanne Egerton

News roundup: reviews, profiles and a bit of a natter

17 Jul

Got your tickets for L Fest? There’s still time. But not much, so let’s get on with the news because there’s sleep to be had, bags to be packed and children and wife to be bundled into a car destined for Uttoxeter.

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Let’s start with some cracking reviews of the recent releases.

arc over timeJen Silver‘s second novel Arc Over Time, the follow up to Starting Over, had two great reviews. The Lesbian Reading Room had this to say:

As with Starting Over, Ms Silver has delivered a charming, witty and clever observational novel. Her characters are very authentic people, warts and all – recognisable characters many of us will have encountered. They live in a real world and, unlike so many lesbian romances, behave like real people.

Planet London also says “All in all Arc over time is a gripping read, a well written lesbian romance set in England which allows for a chance to learn about history and archeology along the way. Although this is the sequel to Starting Over it can be read separately without losing any of the enjoyment.

too late I love youKiki Archer‘s Too Late… I Love You is reviewed in this month’s Diva, where the sex-toy shopping spree scene clearly made its mark, and has also been picked up by All Things Lesbian:

This book is what all young lesbians are in search of when they start reading romance novels. Kiki Archer is the lesbian answer to Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones’ Diary), Sophie Kinsella (Remember Me?), and Cecelia Ahern (P.S. I Love You)…. All in all, this is possibly one of the best lesbian novels I’ve read

no good reason
Cari Hunter
‘s much admired No Good Reason also had a fabulous review over on The Lesbian Reading Room:

I love Ms. Hunter’s writing. Clean, neat, purposeful, it drives us forward with faultless delivery. She crams in a whole host of action, drama, and character development without it ever feeling rushed or heavy-handed. Each book has improved on the last and this is no exception—an absolute winner for lovers of crime thrillers and slightly oddball romance that makes a refreshing change.

CariDiInterviewYou can also hear Cari have a natter with Diana Simmonds about this first book in the Dark Peak Series. The Curve columnist and romance writer has a chuckle with Cari about cross-the-pond differences in English that baffle the Brits and perplex Americans, writing authentic thrillers, other fiction pet peeves and Cari coming back home with her latest Brit crime novel. You can find the video on Women and Words.

Meanwhile, Clare Lydon was featured on My Writing Life where you can read an excerpt from Clare’s latest  This London Love. Clare also gets a chance to talk about her writing:

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropPeople sometimes get mixed up with the genre I write in – contemporary lesbian romance. They think it’s erotica, but it’s not – rather, my books are chicklit with lesbian leads. My characters are sassy and full of life, constantly tripping over their own feet but always managing to get back up again. My books have an over-riding message of love and hope, with a healthy dollop of British wit thrown in.

Clare is also one of the authors profiled on The Lesbian Review. Authors are posed a standard set of questions and this is Clare’s response when asked who inspired her to start writing:

Originally, my dad. He was a journalist back in the day, and he instilled a love of books in me from an early age. He took me to the library as a child, and bought me a book every week when I was a young adult.

Discovering Georgia Beers’s novels opened up the lesbian romance genre for me. If you haven’t read Georgia Beers yet, you should – her books are fab.

A few years later, after reading about tons of American lesbians, I thought, ‘Hey, I could do this!’, but set the books in the UK to reflect the British experience.

You can read the rest of her responses here.

INTO-THE-FIRE-largeFinally a few bits and pieces from one of the star authors at L Fest, Manda Scott.

Manda’s tale of Joan of Arc intertwined with a modern day police investigation,  Into the Fire was reviewed at the Crime Worm blog:

This book’s got the lot to be one of this year’s intelligent hits. For those who like their crime fiction, there’s a superb present-day mystery, which is intelligently and classily done, with plenty of action. There’s the historical fiction aspect; the spies (in both storylines); political machinations (ditto); war scenes, exciting and readable – real edge-of-your-seat stuff; back-stabbing; great dialogue; an absolute dream of a cast, each one superbly drawn and nicely rounded

Manda has also been talking about writing dual timeline thrillers, such as Into the Fire, on the Big Thrill:

Still, there are some kinds of writing that have always struck me as way more scary than the standard “get on a horse and make it go” variety. Writing a dual timeline novel particularly, feels more like the circus trick where you stand on the backs of two over-bred greys and send them spinning round the ring in the hope that neither will decide to bolt off at right angles: you have to be a hardcore adrenaline junky even to contemplate it.

You can read the rest of her piece here.

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Right. Where’s me camera? Moff to take some snaps of them authors. Ta rah!

News Roundup: Clare Lydon Lovin’ In London, Kiki Archer & L.T. Smith Interviews, New Releases from Manda Scott & Jenny Frame, and More!

3 Jul

With a mini heatwave, England coming so close in the footy, and everyone cooking at Wimbledon, it’s been a busy ol’ fortnight here in the UK. So what have all our authors been up to?

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This-London-Love-CoverIt’s always nice to kick off the week with a new release, and we’ll start with the new ‘un from Clare Lydon, whose third novel This London Love is currently riding high in the UK amazon LesFic charts. The book is a spin-off from Clare’s début hit, London Calling, and you can find a trailer for it right here.

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For all those folks who live up north, the rather fabulous Hideaway Cafe in Urmston, Manchester is building on the success of its regular Saturday LGBT nights by launching a women’s LGBT reading group. The inaugural meeting will be on Tuesday July 7th at 7 p.m., and it’ll be a chance to meet like-minded women, pick a book, and eat cake. And trust me, the cakes there look amazing. Also, the cafe is licensed, which is always good news. The cafe’s owners – the Sponge Sisters – have strong ties to the local LGBT community, and Jo and her missus are also planning a lesbian book fest to take place on September 12th 2015. The details are still being finalised, but Tig and I will be going along, to read, chat, sign, but mostly to eat cake with lesbians. Personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. Hit the link for more information on the Hideaway, and we’ll keep you updated with details of the book fest as we receive them.

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too late I love youWith Too Late… I Love You kicking up a storm in the Amazon charts, Kiki Archer has been chatting to Plumsauce Productions about the novel and her move towards writing mainstream fiction:

I noticed that my two previous novels One Foot Onto The Ice and When You Know both broke into the mainstream contemporary romance charts, at one point sitting alongside JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. Both novels were obviously lesbian-romance, the covers and the blurbs made that very clear, yet they were charting as mainstream. This made me wonder how many straight women were actually enjoying my books, and if I did release one with a pretty, typically chick-lit-type cover, would this work to push sales even higher into the charts…

To find out exactly how successful that tactic was, hit this link.

The book has also been reviewed over at A Modern Girl’s Bookshelf, in a write up that emphasizes its appeal to a mainstream readership:

Something many people don’t realize (and something Too Late… I Love You certainly proves) is often, LGBT lit isn’t much different from popular lit that features a heterosexual relationship. I feel like there’s this unspoken misconception that gay/lesbian relationships portrayed in literature can’t be appreciated or enjoyed by straight readers. Sure, it’s viewed as “cool and quirky” to feature a secondary relationship that isn’t straight, but for some reason, if it’s the protagonist’s relationship, it’s a big deal. I’ll say it here, loud and clear: that is not true! Lately, popular fiction authors have been taking strides to rid the bookish community of this idea (see: Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On; Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia; John Green & David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson), but LGBT genre writers have been doing it for years. Enter the captivating world of Kiki Archer…

For the full text of the review go here.

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heart of the packFollowing on from the success of her début novel, A Royal Romance, Jenny Frame has revealed the cover of her next book Heart of the Pack (a Wolfgang County novel). The book will be released via Bold Strokes in 2016.

Jenny’s début A Royal Romance has been well received by book blogger Leeanna.Me:

It was just fun to see the relationship develop between George and Bea, to see George’s life as queen and Bea’s as a commoner. It was also refreshing to see that both of their families were encouraging, even when Bea doubted that things could work between them because of their class differences. I did think the ending was a tad rushed, considering all the build up and back-and-forth on their relationship. But A Royal Romance left me wanting a sequel, and romances don’t usually do that to me.

Find the full review here

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L.T. Smith is the under the spotlight over at the Ylva website, with an interview discussing the reissued version of her novel, Once:

Personally, I would describe Once as a book about overcoming life events and experiencing the wondrous realization of how strong the human spirit actually is. Once is about rediscovering hope, falling in love, and learning to love life. This book is about friendship, new beginnings, recognising that although we do have limitations these are definitely outweighed by our strengths but it just takes a little time to remember that.
And, best of all, Once has a dog in it. What else do you need to know?

The interview also reveals the title and cover for L.T.’s next novel Driving Me Mad, which is apparently “a little darker” than her usual fare. Driving Me Mad will be released in October, and its blurb reads like this:

Driving Me MadFor Rebecca Gibson, her journey to a work convention will be one she’ll never forget. After driving around for four hours, Rebecca stops to ask for directions at an isolated house on the outskirts of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire.
Her initial meeting with the house’s attractive owner, Annabel Howell, seems strange and unsettling, but at her hostess’s insistence, Rebecca spends the night.
Plagued by nightmares, Rebecca senses that her dream world has blended with what she believes is reality. When she leaves the next day, her life has changed. Can Rebecca solve a mystery that has been haunting a family for over sixty years? Will she find love along the way? Or will the events drive her mad?

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INTO-THE-FIRE-largeManda Scott has been busy publicising the release of Into the Fire with a series of interviews and blogs, the most recent of which is this in-depth and revealing interview at Writerly Witterings:

When my mother died, I found amongst her ‘saved from childhood’ file, my first book – it was 10 pages written in feltpen from the perspective of one of the owls in the kitchen. It was early self-publishing, it had a copyright and a publisher’s marque and it was all bound up with blue ribbon. So yes, I always planned to write, but what I hadn’t planned was how much focus veterinary medicine was going to take to be any good. Then I had a 3 month gap between jobs and that let me start my first real book – a fiction set in a Vet School.

Full details for the official Into The Fire blog tour for can be found here. 

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has revealed details of her first novel for middle-grade readers (8-12 year olds):

The Lotterys Plus One introduces Sumac Lottery, a girl with six siblings, two moms, two dads, and a tranquil cloud-painted room in the big Victorian house they all call Camelottery. When her racist, homophobic grandfather nearly burns his house down, he has to move in with the Lotterys, a volatile situation about which no one is happy, least of all Sumac, who has to give up her room. The Lotterys Plus One explores family, the limits of tolerance, and the possibilities of love.

The book will be released February 2017.

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VGLeeVG Lee has loads of events and appearances on the way, with the first being LFest on July 19th, where she’ll be appearing alongside Kiki Archer, VA Fearon, and Diana Souhami. You can find the full list of VG’s upcoming events here, and there’s more details about LFest – including a list of all the other UK authors who’ll be attending – on our own Events page.

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And that just about covers it. I’ll be over here eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Y’all go and read a book 🙂