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All’s Well That Ends Well…

27 May

For the past four years, Tig and I have had a blast creating this blog and this community of readers and UK authors. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege, and we owe a lot to the authors who’ve contributed, offered freebies, written blogs, and kept us up to date with their news and releases. To finish things off with a bang rather than a whimper, we corralled a few folks to answer one simple question:

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

This is what they had to say…

Manda Scott

My hope for the future of lesbian fiction is that it remains vibrant, inspiring and above all, literate – that we continue to write stories that are not confined to the ghetto, but that spread to the wider world. At this time of global chaos, with the collapse of eco-systems and the 6th extinction happening all around us, and yet, with LGBTQ rights under threat in ways we thought were long gone, we need a resilient, informed, emotionally intelligent response that helps people to understand at a core level that we have more in common than that which divides us. The best of lesbian fiction has always offered that. My hope is that it will continue to do so.

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Manda Scott’s novels have been short listed for an Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award and translated into over twenty languages. She was a long term columnist for the Glasgow Herald, is a reviewer for the Independent and has contributed to the Telegraph, Times, Daily Express and BBC History Magazine. She has appeared on Time Team as an expert on the Boudican era and contributed to Radios 4 & 5. Her most recent release is Into The Fire, a dual timeline mystery set in 2014 and 1429.

VG Lee

VGLeeOutside of the lesbian book-reading community, I feel that lesbian fiction – with a few notable exceptions – isn’t highly regarded.  For a change to take place, our authors may need to widen the scope of their work. I’ve said this before, but the number of respected mainstream lesbian authors can be counted on the fingers of our hands and this list hasn’t altered very much in years! I’m glad that there are many younger authors coming up, some I very much admire, so I do believe that the situation is going to get better.

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VG Lee is the critically acclaimed author of five novels: The Comedienne, The Woman in Beige, Diary of a Provincial Lesbian, Always you, Edina, and her latest release Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire. In 2012 VG Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing and in 2014 she won The Ultimate Planet award for Best Established Author. In her sixtieth year she decided to become a stand-up comedian and is now a regular performer at Laughing Cows comedy nights in London and the Midlands.

Jody Klaire

I’m really blessed that UK Lesfic was around when I started publishing books. Being an author is a wonderful career but it’s a really tough to establish yourself in a busy marketplace and having you guys supporting and cheering made a real difference. It’s been fantastic from my point of view to watch your own efforts, hard work and talent get more and more recognition. I’ve been cheering you guys too.

I think it’s important that, like a wonderful friend wanted, the bar is raised and continues to be raised. If we are respected for the polished prose, story-telling ability and high-quality of our work then our authors will be in a better position to reach, entertain and promote understanding in readers. I’d like to see more family friendly fiction with an emphasis on showing a positive, uplifting message that you can be sassy and classy. It’s important that message is clear. Self-respect is something I feel passionate about. I’d like any reader to be able to pick up my work and feel that they are unique and deserve respect whoever they are. The community is blessed with a perspective of what intolerance feels like and why it’s all that more important that to understand the right to be happy and loved should be universal.

Men’s strengths are often displayed in fiction but everyone seems to miss that women are incredible. We step up when needed; we run homes, work long hours, raise children (or furries,) seek to help others, feel compassion for others, take on so many different roles at once yet, usually, without complaint or hesitation. No, we roll up our sleeves and get on with making a difference every day. I try very hard to show that strength in my characters. I try to show just how beautiful we are as human beings inside and out. I hope it shows: Sassy but classy, intelligent and kind, compassionate yet strong and we should demand high-quality fiction that gives us the respect we deserve.

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Jody has been everything from a serving police officer, to recording artist/composer and musician until finding her home in writing. She lives in sunny South Wales in the UK with a ‘lively’ golden retriever called Fergus and other furry friends. She has four books released in the Above and Beyond series, and two in the Renovating Hearts series. You can find out more about her and her novels here at her blog.

Jen Silver

I had a dream…and awoke to find I was as famous as Sarah Waters…

A few months before my first novel was published, I attended a residential writing course and on the first evening all the participants were asked to give a brief description of what they were working on. I suspected I was the only ‘gay in the room’. So, when it came to my turn, I told them that I’d had a novel accepted for publication and it was a lesbian romance. Someone piped up, “Oh, like Sarah Waters.”

This was obviously the only lesbian author they’d ever heard of and I could only nod and say, “yes, like Sarah Waters”. Well, unless any of my books get made into TV series or films, I’m not likely to become that well known. But this is what came to mind when I thought about answering this question – what are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

I hope that it will continue to flourish and grow. We need a strong presence—visibility—in the world, now as much as in earlier times. As both a writer and a reader, I want to create and read stories about lesbians who come across as real people leading normal lives, free to love who they want…not portrayed as monsters to either be hidden away or destroyed.

Later on, at the course I mentioned above, one young woman asked why I referred to my books as ‘lesbian romance’. Why didn’t I just describe them as ‘romance’? I don’t know what answer I gave her, but thinking about it now, my answer would be that a separate genre is necessary so that we can find books about ourselves.

Maybe, in time, that will change too.  A time when Sarah Waters won’t be the only name that defines lesbian fiction. A time when we no longer need a neatly labelled niche to share our stories with the world.

That is my hope.

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Jen lives near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire with her long-term partner whom she married in December 2014. She has always enjoyed reading an eclectic range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and lesbian fiction. As well as reading and writing, other activities include golf, archery, and taking part in archaeological digs. Jen’s latest novel, Christmas at Winterbourne, was published by Affinity in October 2016.

Anna Larner

As I wrote this blog I began to think about what it means to have hope, after all hope is one of the most important strengths an individual can possess. It takes tremendous tenacity, resolve, vision, belief, and courage to hope for something. It is at the heart of the human spirit. Without hope very little can be achieved.

Have you noticed that hopeful people are rarely naive fools, but individuals who have spotted the possibility of something – they have seen what others blinded by scepticism may have missed. The hopeful see the potential in things.

Hope, like optimism, is infectious. A hope which is shared by others has energy to it and gathers a momentum which builds and grows to the point where it is unstoppable.

So with this in mind here are my hopes – I hope that we will continue to promote and carve out the physical and emotional space we deserve for the literature we cherish. I hope that we will remember the writers who went before us, who bravely put into words what many could not speak. And I hope that we will have the same self-belief and courage as them as we continue to imagine characters and narratives that console, captivate and inspire.

The only limit for the future of lesbian fiction is our ability to have hope for it.

I know that what we hope for together, as writers and readers, we can and will achieve.

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Anna has a degree in English Literature and Master’s degrees in The Word and Visual Imagination, and Museum Studies. She has written and curated a permanent exhibition of LGBT voices and memorabilia, based at Leicester’s LGBT Centre, one of the first permanent exhibitions in the UK. As a former member of the Steering Committee for the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland LGBT History Project, Anna is passionate about preserving LGBT history and ensuring that LGBT voices are heard. Anna’s debut novel, Highland Fling, was published by Bold Strokes Books in April, 2017.

Clare Lydon

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

Crikey, no biggie then.  I’d say the future for lesbian fiction looks bright – there’s never been a better time for lesbian fiction than now. More choice, more authors, more books, more sub-genres – you name it, it’s here.

But what I’d like to see is more crossover into the mainstream and more coverage in mainstream media. I already know it’s not just lesbians who read my books – they’re enjoyed by a cross-section of people representing all flavours of the sexuality and gender spectrums, which is great.

But I’m greedy – I want lesbian fiction to have a positive impact on more lives around the globe, to see our lives reflected back not just to us, but to millions more. And as the world gets more connected every day, the growth potential is there.Lesbian fiction to the masses! Hurrah!

Finally, in the romance and crimes genres especially, we have some cracking stories just begging to be made into films or TV. So my ultimate hope would be to see these stories hit some kind of screen, large or small, and watch their reach widen even further. Why not Cari’s Dark Peak series or my London Romance series on Netflix? Why not Tig’s Poppy Jenkins as a movie? I’d be watching, and I wouldn’t be the only one.

Thanks to you two for shining a light on UK lesfic over the past few years and for taking part in the rise of lesfic. When I first started writing, your site was invaluable, and you’ve been a constant support to countless writers over the past three years. We all owe you both a debt of gratitude.

I’m going now before I start sobbing ;0)

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Clare is a London-based writer of contemporary lesbian romance. She’s a No.1 best-seller on lesbian fiction charts around the globe with five full-length novels to her name, as well as writing the All I Want series, which concluded with its sixth instalment, All I Want Forever in January, 2017. Clare is a lively and enthusiastic member of the UK Lesfic community and regularly hosts the Lesbian Book Club podcast over on the Lesbian Lounge.

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And the final words go to…

Cari Hunter

I still remember how exciting it was to go into Gay’s The Word as a fledgling, still in the closet, wet-behind-the-ears lesbian, and discover shelf upon shelf of lesbian fiction. My girlfriend (now wife!) and I bought a copy of Sarah Dreher’s Stoner McTavish and dashed back a few days later to buy every other book in the series.

Almost twenty years later, fledgling lesbians are spoiled for choice in terms of lesbian fiction. As mainstream authors still have a tendency to sideline or closet their LGBTQ characters, the small presses and the indie authors have stepped in to fill the void, and they’re doing it in a considerable amount of style, climbing the bestseller charts, and proving that UK lesbian and bisexual authors are writing and that, more to the point, they’re being read.

My hopes for the future of lesbian fiction, then? That our community continues to thrive and to grow, and that the mainstream publishers and the mainstream media eventually sit up and recognise that we’re here and that we’re worth supporting. That UK authors continue to set their books within their own regions, and write in their own dialect, chucking in slang and foodstuffs that make people scratch their heads and hop over to Google. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, I hope authors continue to write and readers continue to read, because that will ensure that lesbian fiction continues to exist.

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Cari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her wife, their cat, and a pond full of frogs. She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time. Although she doesn’t like to boast, she will admit that she makes a very fine Bakewell Tart.

Cari has just finished a new crime series based in the Peak District. The first book – No Good Reason – won the 2015 Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery Rainbow Award, and its sequel Cold to the Touch won a Goldie and a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery. The third book in the series – A Quiet Death – was published in January 2017.

Clare Ashton

Most of all I hope people keep writing, whether it be that detective of iron integrity or the hapless heroine of the romcom who wakes up in the armpit of the wrong woman. Comfort reads that delight even after the tenth reading are magic and a nugget of happiness for many.

A broad range of literature is essential for expanding your horizons and developing empathy towards others but finding yourself represented, validated and worthy of a happy ending is precious. So please, keep writing!

~ ~ ~

Clare Ashton lives in the Midlands with her partner and two lovely distracting kids. She loves a moody atmospheric novel but she’s a big softie inside and can’t resist writing romcoms. Her latest award-winning romance is Poppy Jenkins.

~ ~ ~

So for one last time: that’s all folks, from Cari and Tig.

The Polari Longlist – Everything you need to know (and more!)

14 Aug

Okay, so that header might be a bit of a fib. A couple of weeks back when I came to look at the lesbian-themed novels featured on the Polari longlist, I realised there were too many to really cover in a single news post, so I planned to do a separate post just like this to give people an idea what the books were about and who they were by.

The Polari First Book Prize is awarded to a début novel “which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English within the twelve months of the deadline for submissions (this year Feb 1, 2013). Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission.” I think the key thing to note there is “explores the LGBT experience;” the novels I’ve picked out to feature here are not necessarily LesFic and some of the blokes on the list might well have written lesbian-themed novels, but time is short and I like an easy life – hence the copy and paste nature of this post! So, in no particular order…

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the january flowerThe January Flower by Orla Broderick (Council House Publishing)

Our narrator Mary has been cast as a Universal Mother with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She is any mother struggling with domesticity, the current economic climate and self-worth. She seeks love unaware that love is already a constant force in her life. Through the beauty of her island home she learns to grow in Nature. She learns that no matter what we endure love will always remain. No matter how hard our winters may seem, the humble flower, the snowdrop will bloom in January. Love is always inside us. We just have to find it.

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Orla Broderick lives on the beautiful Isle of Skye, Scotland. She has been funded, supported and encouraged by HI-Arts. She was mentored by Roger Hutchinson (Calum’s Road, The Silent Weaver). She attended the HI-Arts writers masterclass with tutors Angus Dunn, Kevin MacNeil and Andrew Greig and an Arvon work-in-progress workshop with tutors Jane Rogers and Lesly Glaister. The January Flower was edited by Peter Urpeth (Far Inland). She is Irish, originally from Co. Donegal but was raised in Co. Wicklow. She went to an all girls Irish Catholic Boarding school, but was always in trouble with the nuns, so she learned to write as one way to escape. Orla has participated in and devised creative writing workshops. Her writing is poetic prose and is compared with the writings of Dylan Thomas. Mostly, she likes to walk by the river and dream.

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the governessThe Governess by Rachael Eyre (Self-published e-book)

An erotic thriller set in Victorian England. Miss Benson, a governess, is sent to teach Amy how to be a lady. Amy is discovering the joys of sex and suitors. Miss Benson’s unconventional methods lead to scandal, heartbreak and murder as she becomes obsessed with her young charge.

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Rachael Eyre has been mad keen on writing and fictional worlds since the age of seven- she hasn’t changed much in twenty years. Noticing there was a real gap in the market for gay and lesbian themed fantasy/sci fi/adventure fiction, she decided to fill it. She would never write something she wouldn’t want to read herself.

The Governess is her first completed novel. Her second, The Revenge of Rose Grubb, will join it on Kindle shortly. A revenge saga spanning thirty years, it takes in school bullying, faked deaths and our culture’s unhealthy obsession with celebrity. Our heroine won’t stop till she’s collected her enemy’s scalp. Rachael is currently writing her third novel, Love and Robotics. It’s her first attempt at writing a proper love story, even though the lovers are a (male) robot and an equally male raddled old explorer.

She lives in Lancaster, UK with her long suffering partner Ruth. She loves dragons but doesn’t like ferrets. At all.

Rachael doesn’t seem to have her own blog but there are a few posts over on her Goodreads author page.

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the murder wallThe Murder Wall by Mari Hannah (Pan Macmillan)

Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian town, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then the brutal killing of a man on Newcastle’s Quayside gives Daniels another chance to get it right, and her first case as Senior Investigating Officer. When Daniels recognises the corpse, but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life swerves dangerously into her professional life. But much worse, she is now being watched. As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim…

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Mari Hannah was born in London and moved north as a child. Sponsored by the Home Office, she graduated from Teesside University before becoming a Probation Officer, a career cut short when she was injured while on duty. Thereafter, she spent several years working as a film/television scriptwriter. During that time she created and developed a number of projects, most notably a feature length film and the pilot episode of a crime series for television based on the characters in her book, the latter as part of a BBC drama development scheme. She lives in Northumberland with her partner, an ex-murder detective. In 2010, she won the Northern Writers’ Award.

Mari is the author of the Kate Daniels crime series: The Murder Wall (which the Guardian newspaper called “a satisfyingly meaty read”) Settled Blood, and Deadly Deceit. Her website with loads more information about the author and her books can be found here.

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tony hoganTony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)

When Janie Ryan is born, she’s just the latest in a long line of Ryan women, Aberdeen fishwives to the marrow, always ready to fight. Her violet-eyed Grandma had predicted she’d be sly, while blowing Benson and Hedges smoke rings over her Ma’s swollen belly. In the hospital, her family approached her suspiciously, so close she could smell whether they’d had booze or food for breakfast. It was mostly booze.

Tony Hogan tells the story of a Scottish childhood of filthy council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can’t help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what. Told in an arrestingly original — and cry-out-loud funny — voice, it launches itself headlong into the middle of one of life’s great fights, between the pull of the past and the freedom of the future. And Janie Ryan, born and bred for combat, is ready to win.

~ ~ ~

Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel.

Her first novel, TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA was published in July 2012 and has been shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year. Kerry’s second novel, THIRST, was developed with support from the National Lottery through an Arts Council England grant and will be published by Chatto & Windus in 2014. She currently lives and writes in Hackney. Her blog can be found here. A recent review in the Observer newspaper had this to say:

It would be easy for Hudson to slip into the well-worn groove of the misery memoir made good, and there are points at which Tony Hogan threatens to lapse into cliche. However, Janie’s irrepressible, childish glee and the sly humour into which it evolves give the novel a wry self-awareness that is both refreshing and endearing.

One senses a broader purpose at work, too: the Ryan women are nothing if not fighters, and the “Ryan Temper” speaks of their frustration at the hand that life has dealt them. In this sense, Hudson’s debut, as undespairing as it is unflinching, manages to be both a personal statement of intent and also a painfully funny, humane commentary on a welfare system that blunts the blade of grinding poverty but fails to address the numbing poverty of aspiration which overwhelms so many of Janie’s contemporaries.

A further review from The Guardian can be found here.

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the sitarThe Sitar by Rebecca Idris (self-published ebook)

From the bowels of middle-class England, bona fide Brit Muslim lesbian Jaya Chakarbatti belies her mild-mannerisms and leads her group of Lassi Lesbians from their urban Midland terraced houses, to the smelly back alleys of London’s gay Soho, to seek out other Gaysians. Through the jungle of Bollywood drag queens, unrequited clumsy love, and stark choices between the Quran or The Pink Paper, the group of girls take a snap shot of modern, urban Britain amidst riots, religious tensions, and social discontent, before ending up somehow in the heat of sweaty, uncomfortably straight but shamelessly camp Bangladesh.

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Rebecca Idris is a British author living in London. She writes contemporary stories set in urban, modern England, exploring themes of postcolonial politics, emerging immigrant identities, and gay and lesbian humour. The best I can find for Rebecca in terms of a blog is her twitter feed and an interview with the Gaysian blog (the link on that page to her website is defunct.)

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If last year is anything to go by, the shortlist for the prize will be announced in September and the winner chosen in November. Which will give you all plenty of time to get reading!

News Roundup: In Which A Whole Host of Authors Are Doing Exciting Things!

24 Jun

If there’s anything sticky smeared on this update, worry not, it’s only marmalade. I dragged myself out of my pit good and early just to bring you the news. How’s that for commitment? And yes, it’s just taken me three attempts to spell commitment correctly, I fear this may not end well…

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divaFirst up this week, exciting times for two of our most popular authors, Kiki Archer and Clare Ashton, who have a swanky feature in this month’s Diva magazine. In the article, Kiki and Clare chat about the joys and pitfalls of Indie publishing, and give some pointers to authors who may be thinking of heading in that direction. The July issue of Diva is widely available right now.

Kiki’s novels have also been highlighted as great beach reads in the July-August Curve magazine. That issue should also be on the news stands as I type.

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rainWe’ve welcomed another new author to the site in the last couple of days. Rain McAlistair started writing in 2010 and has since published three Indie novels – DoveBridge, and Moonchaser. A fourth novel is currently in progress but, in her own words, “it’s early days yet.”  Born in Warwickshire, Rain has since settled in the West of Ireland. We’re looking forward to hearing more from Rain in the not too distant future. In the meantime, you can find out all about her on her website.

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Cherry PottsAfter an open call to UK authors on this site a few weeks ago, Cherry Potts has recorded a Bar Rag with the ladies from The Cocktail Hour podcast. Cherry chatted with hosts Andy and Cheri, and then read from her short story collection, Mosaic of Air. You can listen to the Bar Rag by hitting the above link, and anyone who leaves a comment on the page will be entered into a draw to win a copy of Cherry’s current release, Lover’s Lies.

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Some new and upcoming releases now…

Crin Claxton‘s début novel Scarlet Thirst has had a revamp (ha, no pun intended!) and has been reissuedBSB_Scarlet_Thirst by BSB as an e-book. You can buy it on Kindle or directly from the BSB website. You want a little teaser? Oh g’wan then:

One rainy February night, cool butch vampire Rob Perdoni is bowled over by Rani Shah and immediately wants to date her. Rani is tough and gorgeous, just the sort of woman Rob likes. Trouble is, she’s human. Rani, on the other hand, doesn’t believe vampires exist. But before she can say, “Bite me,” she’s taking a roller-coaster ride from femme on the streets to vampire between the sheets.

Meanwhile, Nicola Griffith‘s forthcoming novel Hild is available to pre-order (Kindle and hardcover) and has picked up its first review over at Publisher’s Weekly:

Griffith goes boldly into the territory, lingering over landscape, wallowing in language, indulging the senses, mixing historical fact with feminist fiction in a sweeping panorama of peasants working, women weaving, children at play, and soldiers in battle: the Dark Ages transformed into a fantasy world of skirt and sword.

Hild is due for release on November 12th.

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Rounding out the news this week with two authors who are keeping themselves good and busy.

admin-ajaxA guest blog by author and film maker Rachel Dax will be posted over at Kim Taylor Blakemore’s website tomorrow. In the feature, Rachel will be discussing  the portrayal of women prisoners in film, the reality of both the prisoners’ and the guards’ lives, and how the film Yield to the Night became the inspiration for her novel After the Night.

We are also hoping to bring you a feature from Rachel in the not too distant future (i.e. by the end of the week – fingers and toes crossed!)

Andrea Bramhall announced this week that she will be polishing off her passport (and possibly packing her thermals!) to head to Provincetown, USA for Women’s Week. The annual lesbian festival in this gayest of all American small towns will run from 14-20 October, and features a schedule cram-packed with well, a bit of everything really. You can read all about the event on their main website.

For anyone thinking of heading over for the week, I highly recommend the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop where the portions are so large I almost did myself a mischief trying to finish one. But before I allow myself to become distracted by peach-flavoured reminisces, Andrea has also participated in the Women & Words 1 Question, 10 Answers. Find out which of her characters she would like to take a road trip with, here.

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I’m sure there was something else I needed to…Mmmm…

b&J

Special Feature: 4th Annual Bold Strokes Book UK Festival, by Victoria Oldham

7 May

With its healthy list of UK authors, Bold Strokes Books is one of the biggest publishers of LesFic in the country. We’ve mentioned its annual UK bash a few times already, but with the weekend rapidly approaching we asked its organiser and Rabble-Rouser in Chief, Victoria Oldham, to tell us a bit more about the event and why as many as possible of you should go to it!

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Another year has flown by. It’s already time for the 4th Annual Bold Strokes Book Festival in Nottingham. And wow, has the event grown!

BSB1The first year it was scheduled for a single weeknight, for a few hours. Two weeks before the event, the book store moved the date to accommodate a big name author, resulting in one of our authors being unable to come. But we had a really good turn out anyway, and feedback suggested we could move on to something bigger.

So, we went for it. The following year we made it a two day event, and we had eight authors. Turnout was amazing, and we were sponsored by loads of LGBT businesses as well as by Starbucks. Last year we had a good turnout, though we were competing with Super Saturday at the Olympics. After the panels at Waterstones on Sunday, we went to the New Foresters for our meet and mingle, and as a group we watched Great Britain bring home medal after medal on the big screen TV.

In this, our fourth year, we’ve grown so much we’ve had to add a few hours to the event on both days! We’ve got eleven LGBTQ authors scheduled this year, and they’ll be reading and discussing everything from fantasy to romance to crime and punishment. Over the course of two days, there will be readings of new work and upcoming work, and lots of time for questions and answers. Plus, we’ll enjoy nibbles and drinks at local club Propaganda on Saturday night, where you can mingle with the authors and ask all the questions you like. On Sunday we’re bringing back our popular How to Get Published and What to Expect When You Do panel, sponsored by Starbucks.

Rebecca S BuckAnd for the first time, you can pitch your novel to a Bold Strokes Editor! Sign up for a ten minute time slot and tell us about your novel. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get your work in front of the largest LGBTQ publisher in the world!

We’ll end the weekend with a late lunch provided by New Foresters, the only lesbian-owned pub in Nottingham. It’s your final chance to get books signed, get your hands on our giveaways, and connect with the authors.

This event gets bigger and bigger every year, and the award-winning authors who show up love to meet readers and fellow authors. I believe, with all my heart, that events like this are important for the LGBTQ community. We all love to read books where we identify with the characters, and LGBTQ fiction allows us that. Come to this fantastic event, support the authors, get some amazing fiction, and have a damn fine weekend surrounded by readers and writers.

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BSB2

The 4th Annual Bold Strokes Book Festival is completely free to attend and will be held on June 8th and 9th 2013 at Waterstones, Nottingham (just off Market Square and five minutes’ walk from the train station.)  The Saturday event will start at 1 pm, while the Sunday one will see you out of bed just that little bit earlier with panels getting under way at 11 am. If you head into Waterstones and aim for the escalators, someone will be on hand to point the way to the event room.

For more information go to: http://boldstrokesauthorfestuk.wordpress.com/

And to sign up for a pitch slot, email Vic at: bsbediting@gmail.com

Niamh Murphy short story, Rachel Dax blogs, and Virginia Woolf’s Lighter Side…

9 Feb

newyear185

Niamh Murphy has a new short story out: Delicious, available from Torquere Press or here on Amazon.

Charlotte is invited to a boisterous New Year’s party and struggles to get close to the woman she craves, her gorgeous cookery teacher, Nadia. She soon realizes she is pining for someone way out of her league and resolves to leave the party and try to overcome her obsession. But Nadia is not the type to let Charlotte go that easily.

admin-ajaxOver at Women and Words, Rachel Dax, author of The Legend of Pope Joan, is guest blogger this week. Read how she goes about historical research, how she gets her inspiration, and how she brings imagined worlds alive.

Charleston-Bulletin-001Meanwhile, recently discovered, previously unseen manuscripts written byVirginia Woolf for her young nephews reveal an “affectionate, mischievous” side to the author of Orlando and Mrs Dalloway.

The Charleston Bulletin was a family newspaper founded and illustrated by Woolf’s nephew, for which Woolf wrote and dictated a series of supplements. It is “very likely” to be the last unpublished work from Woolf, and the British Library, which acquired the manuscripts in 2003, hope its release will give the public the opportunity to see how “very light-hearted” Woolf could be. More details can be found in this article from The Guardian newspaper.

Article: VG Lee’s experience of lesbian publishing in the UK

30 Jan

VGLee

Last year there was an article in The Guardian about the lack of lesbian authors in the UK. A few big names have made the mainstream, but lesbian publishing is difficult in the UK, with authors looking to US publishers and indie publishing as some of the few ways forward. VG Lee tells us a bit about how she has successfully had her work published in the UK:

My first novel, The Comedienne, was published by Diva Books in 2000 as part of an exciting new venture to publish quality lesbian fiction. At that time I had an agent who liked my writing but was looking for a ‘straight’ book from me, so I decided to go it alone. Diva also published my second book, The Woman in Beige, before folding.  They were great to work with, run in the main by a wonderful woman, Helen Sandler, who now runs Tollington Press, of which more later. They produced several lesbian anthologies which are still available today and probably made it possible for around a dozen lesbian authors to have books published.

Even thirteen years ago, this is still very difficult.  There are probably no more than two handfuls of British lesbian authors I can think of who are mainstream and also well known: Sarah Waters, Ali Smith, Jackie Kay, Val McDermid, Carol Anne Duffy, Emma Donoghue, Stella Duffy, Maureen Duffy, Jeanette Winterson. This list hasn’t been added to in several years.

After Diva I went to Onlywomen Press which had a solid reputation and been going a long time, but with limited resources. This was not a happy experience for me. Fortunately around that time Helen Sandler was starting up Tollington Press and I was one of her first authors with my short story collection. Tollington does charge for their services but their authors are predominantly lesbian and I felt my book was well looked after. This was definitely a happy experience!

However, having had my work published for over ten years I felt I would like a more mainstream press, which is why I am now with Ward Wood.

I came into contact with one of the directors through Facebook. I live in Hastings on the south coast, and she often holidayed in the town.  Ward Wood is an independent publisher, there are no fees. If they like your manuscript, then they will publish it. I’ve loved working with them and hope they will publish my next book next year.  They are in the process of putting two of my previous novels on kindle and Always you, Edina, my most recent novel, has also been brought out on Kindle.