Archive | October, 2016

News Roundup: New Books from HP Munro & AL Brooks, Kiki Archer & Clare Lydon Share Their Coming Out Stories, Reviews, Blogs & More!

21 Oct

As the nights draw in and you can barely get into a supermarket without falling over bloody massive tins of Roses and Quality Street, what better way to stave off the inevitable slalom towards the festive season than curling up with a good book? So find a rug to tuck yourself under, and away we go…

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saving graceWe’ve not heard a peep from HP Munro for a goodly while now, but this week saw the release of Saving Grace, her follow-up to 2014’s Grace Falls. HP says the book is a “companion piece” rather than a true sequel but that it features many of the same characters:

When Charlotte Grace left Grace Falls at the age of seventeen, she swore she’d never return. More than twenty years on she still regrets breaking the heart of her first love. Reaching a crossroads in her life, Charlotte has started to merely drift along.

Erin Hunter has spent a lifetime recovering from having her heart shattered by the person she trusted most. Taking shelter in her home town and her career, she’s avoided relationships.

Neither woman ever thought they’d see each other again. They didn’t count on Grace Falls. The quirky town’s charm pulls people in, and if the town isn’t enough, its residents are more than willing to lend a hand.

Celebrate a return to Grace Falls.

The book is available to buy from all the usual online spots.

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AL Brooks’ second novel Dark Horse has been scheduled for publication in February, 2017. More on this when we have it – for now, here’s the cover and the blurb.

darkhorseSometimes, going back is the only way forward.

Punished for a crime she did not commit, Sadie is sent away to live with Elsie, her grandmother and rebuild her life estranged from the rest of her family.

Now, several years later she returns home to visit her terminally ill mother and face up to the past. In the midst of family turmoil Sadie meets Holly and falls in love for the first time.

Can Sadie overcome the lies of the past to build a brighter future?

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coming-out-dayAs anyone who’s been through it probably knows, coming out to family, friends, and even yourself is an experience that you’ll never forget. October 11th was National Coming Out Day, and two of our most popular UK authors shared their coming out stories to mark the occasion. You can watch Kiki Archer‘s video (specially filmed in her closet!) here, while Clare Lydon chose to write a blog on the theme:

clare lydonI was still at university when I told my parents I was a lesbian. I was 21 and unbeknown to them, I had a girlfriend. But I knew it would be a shock for them. After all, when I had left home to start my degree two years earlier, I’d had a boyfriend. Not anymore.

But going home to tell my parents was beyond nerve-wracking. For a start, they’re old-school catholic, and from a very different generation. Did they even know anybody else who was gay? I didn’t think so…

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courting the countessJenny Frame has picked up a smashing review of her latest novel, Courting the Countess, from Les Reveur:

The sexual tension in this book was off the charts. You could have sliced it with a butter knife. I loved that element and it left me understanding the want these women had for one another. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I will say this… The love these women find in each other is not only about them (don’t get me wrong their love is very present and emotional) but it’s about family and doing anything you can for the people you love. It’s very sweet actually.

Jenny is also hoping to update her blog on a monthly basis to keep readers apprised of her latest book news and to share some insights into her writing process. Her first piece (read it in full here) focuses on hopeless romantics…

I think it’s time to stop making excuses and reclaim the title of hopeless romantic as a badge of honour. If you are a hopeless romantic, you are in touch with your feelings, you wear your heart on your sleeve, and have faith and hope that no matter how bad things can seem, there’s always a fairytale around the corner.

So wearing my badge proudly, how does this hopeless romanticism present itself? Well, if you were to ask my family or my partner Lou, they would tell you I’m extremely over emotional and cry at the drop of a hat…

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The Rainbow Awards are still collating their Honourable Mentions, with Clare Ashton being one of the latest recipients. Her bubbly romance Poppy Jenkins scooped two HMs (awarded 36/40 or more by a judge) in the latest round of announcements:

poppy jenkins1) I was absolutely charmed by the characters, and the story drew me in immediately and held me until the end.

2) A really amazing read. There was nothing here that made me think it was too much or too little or too anything else. All was perfect and I don’t use this word easily. The characters are all very well developed, so much so that at the end of the book they feel real; the story is interesting with the right amount of plot twists that keep the reader engaged but that don’t devolve in the realm of absurd even when unexpected things happens; the writing style is really really good; and the setting is one of the most interesting of all that I have read till now. What make this book even better is the way the author was able to navigate two different times of narration: it never feels like Poppy’s walks down memory lane are a rude interruption of the story, and the contemporary storyline is strong enough to become better thanks to them. Wonderful read!

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pennancegermanSticking with Clare for the moment, as her debut novel Pennance has recently been translated into German by Verlag Krug & Schadenberg. Released as Return to Life with shiny new cover art, the novel is available here at Amazon.

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AL Brooks’ erotic, Manchester-set debut, The Club, has been reviewed on The Lesbian Review:

The writing is clean and engaging, but the real strength is in how it’s structured. It almost straddles the line between full-length novel and short story collection, with each woman or couple’s story followed individually, threaded together through their interactions at the club. Mandy is the only character we see followed from the beginning to the end, and even that is through a series of flashbacks that tracks her journey to opening the club.

As ever you can read the full write up by hitting the link.

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christmasatwinterbourneWith her new novel – Christmas at Winterbourne – scheduled for release in November, Jen Silver is introducing its characters on her blog. This week Kim Russell gets her moment in the spotlight…

Time to introduce a character who has been mentioned in the previous three introductory blogs…Kim Russell… the character who isn’t there but who is central to the story. She died in a horse riding accident fifteen years before the start of the novel.

Kim was the author of a successful series of novels featuring an Australian sleuth, Amy Ransom. The novels were also made into films. The reason most of the guests book into Winterbourne House is because of the author’s fame. Fans come from all over the world to stay.

Christmas at Winterbourne will be published on November 1st, and you can read its first chapter here on the Affinity website.

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And that’s yer lot for this roundup. Toodle pip till next time!

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News roundup: new books, free books, blogging, reviews and the C word!

8 Oct

Dig out your woollies and grab a mug of hot chocolate – it’s time to snuggle up with some books.

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And there’s lots of new lesfic for you to get your mitts on this week.

flirting-with-dangerFirst up is Jade Winters with Flirting with Danger.

When the stepdaughter of a celebrated tennis player goes missing, ambitious journalist Astrid is determined to find answers.  This is the high profile story she’s been waiting for; the case that could bring her the recognition she so craves.

In her hunt for clues, Astrid’s attention is piqued by an intriguing tweet from Callie—a family friend of the missing girl.  

Convinced Callie might be a strong lead, Astrid follows her instincts and tracks Callie down. The encounter is one which will throw her whole being off balance.  

As the pressure to find the missing girl intensifies, so does the attraction between the two women.  With so much at stake, can Astrid hold her nerve and heart enough to deal with the shocking conclusion?

aquestionoftrustJane Retzig has a sequel out to The Wrong Woman. A Question of Trust is a lesbian mystery romance and is FREE on Amazon this weekend! Grab a copy here.

Three months have passed since the events of ‘The Wrong Woman’. Saskia is now working part-time with Jaiden, who is struggling to hide her feelings for her new friend and co-worker. Saskia thought Jaiden was flirting with her when she invited her to work ‘undercover’ and she’s frustrated that their private investigations have never wandered even remotely close to the erotic.

Neither Jaiden nor Saskia have had much luck with love. But when they finally kiss, it feels different… passionate… and unconditional. Then a major problem comes crashing into Jaiden’s life and her first instinct is to hide it.

And as secrets and lies start to spiral out of control, Saskia questions whether she should ever have trusted Jaiden with her already wounded heart.

mroliverVG Lee’s new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, has a male protagonist but I believe it also contains lesbians. In any case, who wouldn’t want to hear about a new VG Lee book.

Mr Oliver was a man of the moment in the 1960s, but as he reaches his fiftieth birthday he’s a decade out of date. From his bachelor flat to his relationships with women, he orders everything around him with the same rigour and precision that he uses to manage The Store in London’s Oxford Street.

Yes, he knows his Aquascutum from his Berkertex, can spot a linen mix fabric from twenty yards, but he doesn’t recognise his nemesis, Claire Daker, when she walks into his life.

Hired as ‘the face of youth’ by the impeccably trouser-suited Head Buyer Miss Frances, Claire, with her pleated mini-skirts and citrus lemon knee socks, proves to be the agent of change for both of them.

Enter Doreen Mildmay, a passionate woman who always gets her man, and the man in her sights is Sydney Oliver. She knows a broken man when she sees one and she’d like to fix him. But does he want to be fixed or would Mr Oliver rather pursue his object of desire?

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Cold to the TouchJudging is underway at the Rainbow Awards and Elisa is rolling out honorable mentions throughout October. Those books that scored at least 36 out of 40 get a mention, and Cari Hunter ran off with three for Cold to the Touch:

Talk about cold! Cari Hunter writes winter so that you feel the snow creep down your collar or the wind whistle through the rip in your pants. She makes you feel the ache of fatigue from three nights in a row of too little sleep, and the terror of thinking you’re losing your job, your career, your best friend, and your chance at love.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksYou can read the other judges’ comments here.

AL Brooks has also garnered praise for her erotic debut The Club which seems to be hitting the spot:

This was an interesting first time offering. Definitely loaded with juicy erotic scenes and well-developed characters.

More here.

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Jen Silver has been blogging in the run up to the publication of Christmas at Winterborne and introducing readers to her characters:

christmasatwinterbourneWinterbourne is the name of the lesbian guesthouse – almost a character in its own right. And the story takes place over Christmas when guests arrive for a seasonal holiday programme starting on the 23rd through to the 27th of December.

With five weeks leading up to the release of this, my fifth novel, I thought I would drip-feed some information about the house and the characters involved. I hope I’m not going to put off some potential readers by revealing that there are fifteen characters with an active role in the story. And that’s just the human ones.

There are also horses and dogs because this is, after all, a country estate. So I’ll start by introducing the two oldest characters, both in their late 70s.

Catch up with the cast list revealed so far, including the young Londoners on Jen’s blog.

TheLongWeekend-640x1024Clare Lydon’s been a busy gal this year with her All I Want Series, but don’t forget her other novels including The Long Weekend. Clare has been reading an excerpt from her second novel for the Lesbian Talk Show. You can have a listen here.

kikiarcherprofileKiki Archer has been answering The Lesbian Review’s author profile questions. Have a look here to find out what inspired Kiki to start writing and how she describes her style. She also delves into what inspired each novel and of her latest, Lost in the Starlight, she says:

I just wanted to create a story where a hidden secret keeps you from being your true self. I love the world of celebrity and shows like The X factor. I’m also led to believe there are stars who choose to hide their sexuality for fear they’ll no longer be popular. I wanted to write about someone who was brave enough to be honest and how this could actually enhance their popularity and success. Thus Honey Diamond was born.

annelisterNot fiction but very lesbian and fascinating: Sarah Waters visits Anne Lister’s home of Shibden Hall and talks about her life and loves and reads from her diaries. Tootle over here to listen to Sarah and to have a nose around Shibden Hall.

hindsightMeanwhile Jodi Klaire has revealed a sneak peek of her forthcoming book, Hindsight (book 4 of the Above and Beyond series).

Have a shufti over here for a taster.

Also on Jodi’s blog is her free downloadable series, The Whistleblower, which features Susan from The Empath and also other characters familiar to readers of the Above and Beyond series. The series is downloadable as a PDF and is up to episode 3. Here’s the link to the beginning.

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The Lesbian Review has been busy with the Brits this week and had great things to say about them all.

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason:

“This novel is dark and brooding and brilliantly written. Sanne is one of those women with zero self confidence but so much heart that you cannot help fall in love with her. She takes everything very seriously and acts tough but is really quite unsure of her own value.

Meg is a quirky character who is known for swearing at irritating patients. She and Sanne have a deep bond and she is protective over her friend, always knowing when she needs something more than she is saying.

It is beautifully written. Hunter transports you right into the world she creates and keeps you firmly in the grip of the icy weather, craggy rocks and oppressive atmosphere.”

lostinthestarlightKiki Archer’s Lost in the Starlight:

“Lost In The Starlight is an absolutely charming, hilarious and gorgeous story or two women from different backgrounds learning that life is a little more complicated than they thought when it comes to love and secrets…

I was not sure that Archer’s book could live up to such a good title but it did. And the title was explained in the book in a well thought out moment. (I was a little worried it would be cheesy but it wasn’t.) Apparently I worry about things that I have no need to be concerned about. I was in safe hands with Kiki Archer.

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton’s Poppy Jenkins:

Ashton did an amazing job with the characters. Every one was beautifully explored. The quaint town of Wells was as much a character in the novel as the human cast and I could not help but fall in love with it.

This book is beautifully written, yet easy to read. It is filled with conflict but you like all the characters. It is set in a small town that is dying and you hope for its resurrection. It really is a special novel.

AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonThe last two are also included on The Lesbian Review’s list of Light Romances That Delight together with Clare Lydon’s All I Want for Christmas of which the article says:

As Christmas comes hurtling towards us, I start to feel all warm and mushy. I love Christmas, but after reading this novel I am pretty sure that Lydon has me beat in that department.

This is the novel that made me crown Lydon as the queen of lesbian rom/com. It is utterly charming and has some of the funniest lesbian moments that I have ever read.

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Ooooo, makes you want to start Christmas already. (Apologies to non-Christmas fans who are struck down in paroxysms of outrage at the mere mention of the C word before December. Actually I don’t mean that. CHRISTMAS!!!)