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News Roundup: The People’s Book Prize, P-Town, New Books & General Naughtiness

4 Sep

Happy hump day! That actually sounds a lot naughtier than intended, but this news post is brought to you by a night-shift brain in holiday mode whose WordPress internet connection is finally working again, so I’m feeling rather frivolous (and borderline incoherent. Be warned.)

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So what’s been going on in the last week?

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog might have noticed a big update to the New & Upcoming Releases page, which is now crammed full of releases up to and including next February. I tried my best to scout around for titles, but if there are authors out there with a book that I’ve missed (and some of you are proper secret squirrels when it comes to this publicity malarkey) please let us know so we can list it.

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the january flowerSticking with the theme of new books, Suzanne Egerton’s Out Late with Friends and Regrets and Orla Broderick’s The January Flower are both autumn nominations for this year’s People’s Book Prize. The prize is aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works and, as the title of the prize suggests, the public are entirely responsible for choosing the winners. See this page to find out how you can add your vote. Good luck to all involved!

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LadyfishAndrea Bramhall (who will be guest-blogging here on Friday) had some good news this week when she found out that her début novel Ladyfish is going to be released as an audio book. The title will be available from September 24th and is available to pre-order here. In a busy week, Andrea has also been blogging over on Women & Words about her second novel Clean Slate, which is hot off the presses this month.

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rj samuelA heads-up now for anyone who might be reading this blog from t’other side of the pond and fancies seeing three UK LesFic authors in Province Town this October. R.J. Samuel recently announced that she is set to conquer her fear of flying (good luck!) by heading over to Women’s Week in P-Town:

I’ve almost worked up the courage to book my flights (petrified of flying  ).. I’m thrilled to be going to Provincetown for Women’s Week!! I’ll be reading on the GCLS Author Panel on Friday October 18th with Liz Bradbury, Deej Garden, Joan Timberlake, Melissa Brayden, and Barbara Sawyer. I’m so looking forward to the week and meeting FB friends in person.

R.J. will join Andrea Bramhall and I.Beacham as UK flag-flyers for this week-long fest celebrating everything to do with lesbian culture.

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I think we’ll close out this round up by returning to our theme of naughtiness with a couple of new novellas.

cover3Terry Baker has given a glowing review to Clare Ashton’s short story The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer:

This is a wacky, zany, hilarious short story with Clare Ashton’s wicked sense of humor shining through on every page. I say wicked, because I’m not sure if I’m going to forgive her for naming the dog Terry! But I digress.

Although the story is short, it is crammed full to the brim with great scenarios and lovable fully formed characters, including the naughty dog and his antics. His owner, Mrs Smedley needs a medal for putting up with him. Look out for the gorgons too.

The full review can be found here at Terry’s blog.

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rosen2011_170Rosen Trevithick has also been dabbling in the dangly-bits arena and her comedy novella My Granny Writes Erotica is free on amazon until Friday (US readers, don’t think I’ve forgotten you: see this link instead.) It doesn’t fall into the category of LesFic but it is funny, very British, has some nice things to say about writing in general and is well worth an hour or two of your time. Plus, it’s free, so I’m thinking this is a win-win scenario really.

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And with that I bid you farewell and hand the blog reins over to Ms Ashton while I go and sun myself in Madeira for a week.


News Roundup: Polari Longlist announced, New Reading from Hild, and a Whole Lot of Blogging Going on…

5 Aug

Morning, morning. I’m sitting here eating a teacake for my breakfast and washing it down with a lovely cup of tea. I suspect the only way I could make that more English is by playing Land of Hope and bloody Glory in the background. Due to also being extremely organised, I’m starting this news roundup during a day off and will likely be finishing it in the middle of a set of night shifts. Feel free to try to spot which bits I wrote with a regular brain and which bits were added during the nights…

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91CYqVEe28L._SL1500_First up, exciting news for those who like to listen to a nice bedtime story; Nicola Griffith has posted an audio file of her reading from the first chapter of Hild. The file is about 8 minutes long, full of lush language and imagery, and Nicola’s accent is simply lovely. Let’s hope she has the time to record the audio book, I mean Hild‘s what, 560 pages or so? She’d get through that in no time!

If you prefer to read not listen, there’s an exclusive preview of the first chapter here .

Sticking with Hild for the moment, US (sorry UK folks) readers of this blog can get a leg up on the November release date by entering the Good Reads giveaway Nicola has just opened. There are five copies available and, as they say, you’ve got to be in it to win it. Closing date is August 31st.

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HanselGretalVoracious consumer of all things LesFic, Terry Baker has been casting her critical eye over one of our regularly featured authors Niamh Murphy. In a recent review, Terry had this to say about Niamh’s novella Gretel A Fairytale Retold:

This is a well written page turner with twists and turns along the way from an up and coming UK lesbian fiction author. It’s a beautiful lesfic variation on the timeless fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel, that has held the attention of millions of children and adults over the years.

All three characters are well formed and easy to get to know. Although this is a novella, Niamh Murphy has packed a lot into it, including the age old subject, homophobia and the outcome of that hatred. At the heart of this story though, is a beautiful and tender sweet romance.

The full text of the review is available here, and the novella can be purchased at for an absolute steal at just £1.

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AMHLast roundup, I gave a pre-emptive heads up about Clare Ashton‘s guest appearance at Kim Taylor Blakemore’s Out of the Shadows of History blog. The piece entitled Something a Little Bit Different has since been posted and a fascinating read it is too:

Publishers like genre. They know how to sell and market a lesbian romance or mystery. But what if you don’t want to write to a formula? What if you love writing that something only you could have written, and it’s not quite like anything else…

Feel free to join the genre v non-genre LesFic debate over on the site; I think it’s a conversation worth having.

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Andrea Bramhall has a lot on her plate at the moment: the imminent release of her second novel Clean Slate, gearing up to start telling people about novel number three, Nightingale, and a trip across the pond to Provincetown, New England in October for Women’s Week. This week however, she found the time to share her inspiration behind Clean Slate and explain exactly why she will be donating half of the royalties she receives for the novel to charity. Go here to read the piece.

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OutLateWithFriendsSuzanne Egerton has been chatting about Out Late With Friends and Regrets over at the ever-popular Women & Words blog. In a candid piece posted on Friday, Suzanne reveals her motivations behind her writing, how her own experiences shaped her début novel, and how the book has fared so far.

When I started to look into the subject of women who find out quite late on that they’re gay (I couldn’t be the only one, surely?) I was astonished to find out just how common a situation it is. Research differs, with some opinions offering a “fluid sexuality” theory, whilst others cite conditioning. I’ve given Fin the latter status, and a Roman Catholic background to reinforce her dilemmas with dollops of guilt. Awfully mean, I know, but we authors can be cruel to those we love!

For the full text of the blog, hop over here.

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VG Lee announcing Polari Prize long list (image Jon Dolores)

On July 30th , The Polari Prize long list was announced by VG Lee, and there is a host of female authors featured amongst the hopefuls.

The Polari Prize is awarded for a first book 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. Self-published works are eligible and two such novels have made it onto this year’s longlist.

When my brain kicks back into gear, I hope to pull together a piece on the five female authors featured on the longlist. In the meantime, get busy with the clicking!

The January Flower by Orla Broderick (Council House Publishing)
The Governess by Rachael Eyre (self-published ebook)
The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah (Pan Macmillan)
Tony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)
The Sitar by Rebecca Idris (self-published ebook)

And if you’d like a taster of what a Polari night can be like, Jon Dolores’ blog is a good place to start.

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awalkintodarknessSneaking in at the last gasp is an early heads up about a Virtual Living Room Book Flash with Jade Winters. Taking part next Saturday (August 10th) at 3pm (EST) – which I think translates to 8pm here – Jade will be answering questions about her new release A Walk Into Darkness. To participate in the event, sign up to the VLR and pull up a chair next Saturday.

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Right, as it’s now Sunday night and things are getting a little fuzzy around the edges I suspect it may be time for me to pull on my jammies and get a little shut-eye. Sweet dreams!

News Roundup: Goldie win for Clare Ashton, Ke Payne Giveaway, Stella Duffy, Emma Donoghue, reviews, festivals and more!

3 Jul

My, what a lot can happen in a week. Everyone fell over at Wimbledon (and then blamed the grass!), the word “shitstorm” was added to the German dictionary, and the sun threatened to come out for a microsecond before heading straight back in again.

Meanwhile, in the UK LesFic world, all this has been going on…

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GCLS-2x2Blackweb---2Top of the Pops this week is Clare Ashton, whose second novel After Mrs Hamilton scooped a Goldie award in the Romantic Suspense/Intrigue category. Saturday’s awards ceremony was the highlight of the ninth annual Golden Crown Literary Society convention, which celebrates everything there is to celebrate about lesbian literature and creative non-fiction. The conventions are held in a different American city each year and the 2013 awards were dominated by American authors and publishers, so it was lovely to see UK LesFic being represented. Congratulations to Clare and all the other winners and nominees. If anyone is looking to expand on their To-Read list, a full breakdown of the 2013 Goldie awards can be found here.

Sticking with Clare for the moment, After Mrs Hamilton and her début novel Pennance and will be the focus of this month’s read on the LesficREADER Facebook group. Clare will be discussing both books through the weekend of 18th-22nd July weekend. The group is invite only, so try hitting the link and smiling sweetly at the admins.

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BSB_The_Road_to_Her_smallSpeaking of sweet, Ke Payne has free stuff to give out! She is holding a GoodReads giveaway for signed copies of her new novel The Road to Her. There are two copies available and the giveaway ends July 5th, so get your skates on. Hit this link to enter. The Road to Her will be released by BSB on July 16th. To read more about it, head to the New Releases page.

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I’m trying to write this news update in some semblance of order. Y’know, like a proper journo would. So, a word now about another new release (see what I did there?)

emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been talking about her forthcoming novel Frog Music over on her Facebook page. The novel is due for publication on 1 April 2014 and its blurb looks a little (well, a lot) like this:

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny’s murderer to justice – if he doesn’t track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It’s the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts. In thrilling, cinematic style, Frog Music digs up a long-forgotten, never-solved crime. Full of songs that migrated across the world, Emma Donoghue’s lyrical tale of love and bloodshed among lowlifes captures the pulse of a boom town like no other.

Aww, crap. Now I have this stupid song in my head. Quick, someone whistle something else. ANYTHING ELSE.

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorOkay, I give up. I can’t find a way to link frogs with Stella Duffy and it’s far too early to try. The lovely and very unfrog-like Stella will be teaching a two-day improvisation for writers/writing workshop on 22nd & 23rd August at MakeBelieve Arts in Deptford, as part of her Chaosbaby show week. Both days will run from 10.30-4.30pm and just £95 will get you your spot at the workshop. All the necessary info is on this image. For more details about the fabulous-sounding Chaosbaby project go here.

If any readers/authors do attend this workshop, be sure to let us know how you get on!

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Cherry PottsAnyone in Oxfordshire (or thereabouts) who may be looking for entertainment over the August bank holiday need look no further. Cherry Potts will be at the Towersey Festival, where David McGrath (a fellow Arachne Press author), Esther Poyer (a poet) and Cherry – otherwise known as the #SpreadtheWordThree – will perform on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday in various venues at various times, and run workshops to explore the joys of writing with the festival audience. If that’s not enough of an incentive to head on down, there will also be folk music, and more Real Ale than you can swing a stick at. Seriously, this is a festival that’s very proud of its booze!

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Nicola_05-08-30_003rA recent Reading In the Closet feature at the Work In Progress blog saw authors discussing the novels that helped them to come out. In a heartfelt piece, Nicola Griffith chose Mary Renault’s Alexander, Frank Herbert’s Dune, and Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword:

The problem was loneliness: all my friends were turning into squealing, boy-fancying aliens. So I turned to books. I wasn’t looking for queer role models—or perhaps I was but, hey, Catholic school, north of England—just people I could understand. I found them in stories of adventure set in unknown and sometimes dangerous places.

Go here to read the full article where you can also watch a short video with Nicola.

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Back in May we gave you a heads up about a Niamh Murphy short story Is She? that was being posted as a work in progress over at Wattpad. The six chapter story is now complete and you can catch up with it here. Niamh has been chatting to readers over at the site so be sure to leave her some feedback.

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JK realityClosing out this roundup now with a little feedback in the form of reviews. This last weekend, The Guardian reviewed Jackie Kay‘s recent collection of short stories, Reality Reality, and ranked it “among the best of the genre.”

Listening to the voices in these interior monologues is like eavesdropping on the private thoughts and secret lives of a host of disparate women, many of whom share a quiet desperation and self-delusion. We all know that older women slowly become more invisible in our youth-obsessed society, so for Kay to place predominantly middle-aged and older women centre stage feels like a radical act.

The full text of the review can be found here.

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Desolation Point desktopHaving spent the last few news roundups blowing everyone else’s trumpet (so to speak), it seems a little daft not to blow my own. Queer book review blog Out in Print recently gave Desolation Point a smashing review, warning folks not to read it “too close to bedtime, or you might find yourself late for work in the morning”.

The result is a fully engaging and absorbing read that will keep you up at night in order to finish it. I found myself saying, “Just one more chapter, and then I’ll go to bed” until I finally turned the last page. I particularly liked the way the balance of power and responsibility shifted between Alex and Sarah and back again, both of them alternately courageous and vulnerable. Their dialogue is also well-turned, sounding spoken rather than written.

You can read the review at this link.

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Arrgh! It’s now an hour and a half later, and I’m still humming that bloody song. Please feel free to head to the earlier link and share my earworm pain.

News Roundup: Awards for UK Authors, Clare Ashton at the VLR, New Book Covers and Trailers, and BSB a Hit in Nottingham

10 Jun

Whew, back to earth with a bump after a fabulous weekend at the BSB Nottingham bash, where the sun sort of shone, loads of folks turned up, lots of laughs were had and I got to meet my blog co-mistress for the first time. More on that anon; what else has been happening in the past few days?

lambda-literary-awards_s345x230On June 3rd, the winners of the 25th Annual Lambda Literary awards were announced at a sold-out gala ceremony held in New York city. Nicola Griffith was presented with her Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist prize, and she has posted a lovely, candid write-up of her “Night at the Lammys” on her blog. Due to popular demand, she also posted the text of her acceptance speech:

I’ve spent my whole writing life feeling like a stranger in a strange land: the foreigner, the cripple, the queer. But tonight this award says: You belong here. We value who you are and what you do. We see you, we know you, you’re one of us. And I like that. A lot. So thank you.

Many congratulations to Nicola, and also to Jeanette Winterson who triumphed in the Lesbian Memoir/Biography category for Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

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Sticking with the awards theme, Val McDermid will be presented with an honorary degree from Dundee University in a ceremony later this month. Val published her first novel in 1987 and has since written more than 30 books. Her shortest story to date was also published this last week when she took part in the Guardian’s Twitter Fiction challenge to come up with a story in 140 characters or less:

He couldn’t work out why she’d grown interested in TV DIY shows. Then he leaned on the fatally weakened balcony wall of their highrise flat.

Ha! Nice one!

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717930A heads-up now about a Spot-On feature this weekend at the Virtual Living Room. Running from 14-17th June, the theme will be Lesbian Moms in Lesbian Fiction, aka cute kids, and our very own Clare Ashton will be chatting about the topic, along with Karin Kallmaker, Lara Zielinsky, Sunny Alexander, Melissa Brayden, Joann Lee, Barbara Winkes and PJ Treblehorn. The VLR is a lively Yahoo discussion group that focuses on lesbian literature in all its permutations. To sign up and take part in the fun, hit the link.

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nightingaleNot only has Andrea Bramhall recently finished the first draft of her forthcoming novel Nightingale, she has given readers a sneak peek at its shiny new cover as well as its synopsis, over on her blog

When Charlie Porter meets Hazaar Alim her first year of University, she’s instantly smitten. Hazaar has it all: beauty, talent, and brains. What she doesn’t realize is that Hazaar’s future has already been decided and Charlie has no place in it.

Hazaar desperately wants to break with her traditions and stay with Charlie, but when forced to choose, she chooses her family over love. When she realizes the choice she made is the worst one possible, it’s too late…

Nightingale is due for release in Spring 2014.

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HSWidgetWith scores of novels being published each year, it is harder than ever to make your work stand out in a crowded market. To this end, book trailers are becoming a popular way to engage a potential audience. RJ Samuel has just completed a trailer for her novel Heart Stopper. Hop on over to YouTube and see what you think.

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Finally, a big thanks to all the folks who came to Nottingham this last weekend to support the UK BSB authors. We hadbsb a brilliant couple of days with our largest audience ever, and I know that a few of the people who went along keep an eye on this blog. I took a ton of notes and will – day job permitting –  attempt to write a bit of an overview for those who couldn’t make it. There are some lovely photos (courtesy of Clare Ashton, who has a far better camera than me!) over on our Facebook page. If you don’t do FB, this link should take you to the album.

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News roundup – free book, new anthology, Cherry Potts and the Bold Strokes blog tour

5 Jun

We’re in the final run-up to the UK Bold Strokes Festival in Nottingham which takes place this weekend, and the attending authors have been doing a blog tour this week. Amy Dunne talked about the power of books and their vital company for someone coming out. Rebecca Buck described the excitement of the festival and its origins. I. Beacham explains why she wrote her latest book The Rarest Rose. And Andrea Bramhall talks about word power. Catch up with all the blogs on the Bold Stokes Festival site.


Counting_Down_The_Seconds_-_lesbian_fiction_storiesEarlier this year, UK online magazine When Sally Met Sally and publisher Freya Publications held a short-story competition for female writers of LGBT fiction. The winning entries have now been posted and the best entries have been published in a new anthology called Counting Down the Seconds.  It features writers from all over the world and stories from science fiction to period drama, darker tales of lost love, from literary fiction to chick lit.


518YExipElL._SX385_The audio version of Emma Donoghue’s Astray by Hachette Audio has just won the award for Best Short Story Collection at the Audies. The Audie Awards are a US competition only for audio books. Narrators include Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren and Dion Graham and the edition has already won an Earphone award.


Cherry Potts, author of fantasy, science fiction and fairy tales, has several readings lined up starting this weekend. She’ll be reading in Lewisham, Brixton and central London. For more details check here.


Finally, OutLateWithFriendsgrab a free copy of Suzanne Egerton’s new book Out Late with Friends and Regrets. It’s free to download on Amazon today and tomorrow. This is Suzanne’s debut novel and you can read more about the background on the novel’s publication and the story in this guest blog on UKLesFic.

Nicola Griffith wins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize

27 Apr

NicolaGriffithLambda Literary Foundation has just announced the recipients of the 2013 James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize and this year the prize recognises UK novelist Nicola Griffith as well as US writer Trebor Healey.

This is what the Foundation had to say of their work:

“Trebor Healey and Nicola Griffith are both writers who are unafraid to take risks in their writing, stretching the strictures of genre to ask bigger questions. They use the lens of their LGBT experience as a prism through which universal themes of love, society, and the meaning of life are refracted, disassembled and reassembled in ways that are at once challenging and rewarding to the reader. Their work deepens and enriches the tapestry of LGBT literature: worthy of a place in the modern canon of English literature while expanding the notions of what LGBT literature can be.”

Nicola’s first book Ammonite was an ambitious and thoughtful science fiction novel exploring what might happen when a member of a technologically advanced civilisation visits a planet in which all males have been wiped out by a virusammoniteAmmonite won a Lambda Literary award and James Tiptree, Jr. Award for science fiction or fantasy, as well as plaudits from the likes of Ursula Le Guin.

Her follow up, Slow River, kept one foot in the science fiction genre but is set on near-future Earth, a dark and troubled world but recognisably ours. The protagonist, the emotionally damaged daughter of a powerful family, wakes up in an alley with her identity missing, and the book follows her attempt to make sense of family secrets and corporate corruption, and to prevent ecological disaster. Slow River won the Nebula Award and another Lambda.

237642-MNicola followed Slow River with the Aud trilogy: Blue Place, Stay and Always, featuring ex-cop Aud Torbingen (“Aud, rhymes with shroud”), a sexy, strong, intelligent character in a taut crime series dominated by Aud’s struggle to balance toughness and fragility and to allow herself to love. The Blue Place won Nicola yet another Lambda.

With her latest novel Hild (due out in November 2013), Nicola Griffith takes on historical fiction for the first time, in the story of the seventh-century abbess and saint, Hild of Whitby. We’re looking forward to it already!

Congratulations Nicola from everyone at UKLesFic on winning this major award!

News Roundup: Clare Ashton nominated for a Goldie Award, New Author Sky Croft, Brit Authors talk Tea, and Manda Scott Touring in Shropshire

12 Apr

GCLS-2x2Blackweb---2As the temperatures rise ever so slightly, the LesFic awards season seems to have kicked up a gear. This week has seen the nominations for the Goldie Awards announced, and we are thrilled here at UK LesFic because our very own Clare Ashton is nominated in the Romantic Suspense/Intrigue category for After Mrs Hamilton.

The Goldie award ceremony is the highlight of the annual Golden Crown Literary Society conference, which alights on a different US city each year. This year’s conference will be held 26-30th June in Dallas, Texas with a wealth of LesFic authors in attendance. There aren’t any UK names on the schedule, but maybe we can set that right for the next conference in Portland, Oregon.

Many congratulations to Clare, and commiserations to those who didn’t make it onto the short list. The awards will be held on the 29th June and – as with the Lambdas – we’ll be keeping a keen eye on the results.

A warm welcome to a new author on our listing. Sky Croft, an author with Regal Crest, has two novels in the pipeline for this year, with her first, Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, currently slated for a May release. Sky has her own blog, where you can find out more about all three of her novels.

cupoftea2Playing along at 1 Question, 10 Answers over on the Women & Words blog this month were the aforementioned Ms Croft, BSB author Ke Payne, and me. The question this time around was “What is your favourite beverage” and unsurprisingly two out of the three Brits chose tea. You can read the full piece at the above link, including a selection of recipes from other authors that were slightly more exotic than tea bag, boiling hot water and milk.

manda-scottAnybody who lives in or around Shropshire and fancies meeting Manda (MC) Scott this month is most definitely in luck. Her book tour to promote Rome: The Art Of War is focused on that area, with an upcoming signing in Waterstones, Shrewsbury on Saturday April 20th (12 p.m. – 1 p.m.) and a talk at Ludlow Library on April 25th. Full details of both those appearances can be found by following the links.