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News Roundup: Our First Birthday! New Indie Sites, RJ Samuel & Jade Winters Interviews, Upcoming Events, and More!

30 Jan

cake!Ooh, time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it? UK LesFic celebrated its first birthday this week – 25th January, fact fans! – and it’s not been a bad year at all. We’ve come a long way since those early posts, made a lot of new friends, expanded our author list considerably, and almost know what we’re doing now!

So, we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who’s supported the site over the past 12 months. I would offer you a slice of cake, but we’ve scoffed it all. Have some news instead…

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First out of the traps this week, Planet of the Books has been catching up on RJ Samuel‘s novels with a review of her 2012 début, Heart Stopper. The link there includes a brief Q&A with RJ.

RJSamuelAuthorPicHeart Stopper is right on the money with the scientific detail – reminiscent of early Michael Crichton – and an intriguing love story between two appealing female characters, and both are stories of the heart. A fantastic first novel that combines drama, attention to detail and a compulsive attraction. 

RJ has also been busy creating Indie LesFic, a new site listing independent authors of lesbian fiction (many of whom will be familiar to regular readers of this blog.) The site is growing day by day, so be sure to pay it a visit here.

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Apparently, sites for indie authors are a bit like buses – you wait ages for one and then two come along at once (hopefully smelling a lot nicer than the top deck of the 192 – cannabis, wet dogs, and well, more cannabis!)

In the words of its web mistresses, Sapphica Books is: “one easy, fabulous place to find independent authors writing lesbian fiction and non-fiction.” VT Davy and Vickie Clifford are two home-grown talents currently signed up to the site, but as it grows I expect we will see many more joining its listing.

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guiltyheartkindlecover-186x300Over at LGBTQA Culture is another combined review and interview, this time featuring Jade Winters and her new novel Guilty Hearts. Katie Kobrossi had this to say about the book:

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an easy read and a love story that’ll leave you with a smile on your face. I felt for these characters (we meet and love many) and join them on their journeys to finding themselves and the meaning of love and commitment.

You can read the full piece here.

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Cherry PottsCherry Potts recently posted an open invite to our UK LesFic Facebook page: Lesbian writers in London or nearby, who can read their work well – short stories or poetry – please contact us. We are looking for performers for our Queer Tales session 19th Feb. Max 2000 words. Hope to hear from you. We can pay reasonable expenses and a couple of free drinks.

The full details, including contact information, for The Story Sessions can be found here.

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ylvaAlso on the look out for talent, is LesFic publisher Ylva who have posted a call for submissions for their 2014 Halloween anthology:

We are looking for lesbian fiction. That hasn’t changed. All submissions must have either Halloween or supernatural beings as the main theme. The stories can be romantic, humorous, enthralling, spooky or erotic. We accept only short stories that haven’t been previously published.

Full details can be found by hitting this link.

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KePayneWe now know a little more about KE Payne‘s sixth novel Once The Clouds Are Gone, as KE has just unveiled its blurb over on her website:

Nine years after leaving the small Scottish town where she’d grown up, the sudden death of her father forces Tag Grainger to return to a life she’s long since put behind her. After inheriting a share of a family business she wants no part in, Tag is overwhelmed by the dark clouds of her past; her brother can’t forgive her, the nephew she adored doesn’t remember her, and everywhere she goes there are whispers about how she abandoned her family. With her old wounds re-opened Tag longs to escape again, until the appearance of the intriguing and spirited Freddie Metcalfe forces her to re-evaluate much more than she thought she needed to. But while Freddie is harbouring a secret of her own, can she help Tag reconnect with her family and move on from her past?

The novel is due for release in October 2014, and KE is currently working with Bold Strokes on the cover design.

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Another novel promised for 2014 is Sky Croft‘s sequel to her 2013 hit Mountain Rescue: The Ascent. According to her blog, she has just sent the manuscript for Mountain Rescue: On The Edge off to Regal Crest, and is hoping to see the book released this year.

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vghome34VG Lee has so many antics planned for February and March that it’s impossible for us to list them all. If you fancy catching Val performing comic readings, stand-up comedy, headlining at Polari, hosting this year’s Rainbow Intersection event, or being part of Polari Up North in early March, head over here to her events page, and pop the dates into your diary. All that and keeping an allotment as well, she puts the rest of us to shame!

Monument to Murder cover image~ ~ ~

If you still have any space left in your diary , February 5th will see Polari First Book Prize winner Mari Hannah in conversation with Ann Cleeves at the Tea and Tipple, 18 Market Place, Corbridge, NE45 5AW.

For tickets, call: 01434 632931

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HILD_jacket_closerNicola Griffith has been chatting with Norelle Done at Seattle Wrote, in a piece that’s part interview, part overview of Nicola’s career to date. The feature is well worth a read, and concludes with sage advice for aspiring writers:

“You have to do the work. It involves being patient … You don’t get to be a good writer until you’ve done the work. It’s not magic, although it can feel like magic.” And she would echo her partner, Kelley Eskridge, who spoke with me about a concept called the ‘Generosity Economy’: “Play nicely … You don’t get anywhere as a lone person … It’s possible, but it’s very hard. Very unlikely. Why not make friends, and do some good in the world!”

Find the full interview here, and Nicola has also posted another handy Hild round-up, this one featuring loads of reviews, but sadly no photos of “pets reading Hild.”

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the january flowerFinally this week, a reminder to get your entries in for our two ongoing book giveaways. Orla Broderick‘s giveaway for The January Flower ends on 31st January, and LT Smith‘s giveaway for Puppy Love runs until noon GMT on February 3rd. Leave a comment in the relevant thread, or email uklesfic at to enter.

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Somewhat ironically, I do have a birthday cake to make now – for the missus though, not the site! Whatever your plans for the day, I hope you too find time for cake.

rainbow cake

News Roundup: Two New Authors, Ylva Want You!, Jade Winters Giveaway, Amy Dunne Chats at the Bar, and Lots More…

26 Sep

Honestly, my Blog Buddy goes away for a week and everyone’s suddenly getting up to all sorts of mischief! So, pull up a comfy chair, dunk a biccie or two and settle in for a bumper news update…

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We’ll start this week by welcoming two new authors to the site.

denialcoverJackie Kennedy lives in Scotland and in her own words is “rubbish” at talking about herself, but her début novel, Denial, was published by Affinty eBooks in August and promptly hit the number one spot on Amazon UK’s lesbian book chart.  Terry Baker rather liked the book when she reviewed it last month:

This well written book is an absolute blockbuster. There is a little bit of everything in it. Humour, a touch of  the supernatural, heartbreak, angst, yes, a lot of angst, but at the same time as it’s heart aching, it’s heart warming and gives out hope. It is also hot and sexy, steaming hot in fact. It’s painful to read at times, but as soon as I thought, please, no more pain, I was actually laughing out loud. So, there is an excellent balance between the pain and the laughter.

We’re hoping to hear more about Jackie in the not too distant, but in the meantime you can read the full review of Denial here.

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GB-Cover1London-born author Vic Tanner Davy has also been in touch with the site to give us a heads-up about A Very Civil Wedding, a lesbian romance and Vic’s second novel, which will be published in November. For Vic’s bio, head to the Authors page where you can find a link to Vic’s blog.

Because I am nothing if not efficient (but mainly because I have little resembling a life!) the blurb and covers for Denial and A Very Civil Wedding can be found on the New & Upcoming Releases page.

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ylvaYlva Publishing are Looking For You! Well, your short stories at any rate, with an open call for submissions for a new anthology. So, if you don’t mind, I will hand you over to publisher, Astrid Ohletz, for this next section:

“Ylva Publishing wants to spread the love a bit. How? Well, we are seeking contemporary romance stories for an anthology we’d like to publish in January 2014. An anthology full of sinfully sweet romance and amazingly erotic fun. So, here’s what we’re looking for: We’re looking for lesbian fiction. All submissions should be either contemporary romance or erotica. We only accept short stories that haven’t been previously published.

Word count: We are looking for stories between 4,000 and 12,000 words in length.

Payment: Writers whose stories are selected for the anthology will receive a one-time payment of $40 (via PayPal) plus a free e-book of the anthology in each format (epub, mobi, pdf).

Deadline: The deadline is set for October 30, 2013.

Submissions: Electronic submissions only. Please send your story as an e-mail attachment (.doc, .docx, or .rtf) to Put “Spread the love” in the subject line of your e-mail. In the body of your e-mail, please include your name, the title and word count of your story, and a two-or-three-sentence summary of your story.It will take our editors about two weeks to review your submission; then we’ll get back to you.We are looking forward to receiving your stories.”

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Fabulous, thank you Astrid.

anthologyYlva already have one UK author in their pack (L.T. Smith), another with a novel pending “in a year or so”, and they sound very happy to add more, so good luck to anyone who chances their arm at a submission. Speaking of L.T., she has a short story (Batteries Not Included) in the upcoming When The Clock Strikes Thirteen, an anthology full of paranormal and fantastic stories which will be published by Ylva on October 18th. For more details, including a teaser for L.T.’s short, head over here.

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Amy_Dunne_lgFrom writing to listening now, and BSB’s newest YA author Amy Dunne has just recorded a Conversation at the Bar with Andy from The Cocktail Hour podcast:

I had a lovely time talking and laughing away, even though it was past 12am on a school night. For this reason, please excuse my inability to tell the time and say “self-publicity” not publication. Doh! Anyway, I really did enjoy it and kudos to Andy for making me feel so relaxed and welcome.

Amy chatted about her novel Secret Lies which will be published in December, and the podcast can be downloaded or listened to at the above link. I hope Andy was the perfect lady for their first date and picked up the tab!

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LadyfishSticking with ears and BSB authors for a moment, as Andrea Bramhall‘s novel Ladyfish has come out on audio book this very week. The title is unabridged and runs for 8 hours and 16 whole minutes! So, if you fancy someone taking the load off and reading you a story while you lie in a darkened room and pop chocolates into your mouth, go and treat yourself.

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awalkintodarknessAnd now a welcome return to one of our favourite things here at UK LesFic: Free Stuff! 

Jade Winters is holding a Goodreads Giveaway for her novel, A Walk Into Darkness. There’s one copy up for grabs, and the giveaway runs until December 1st, so it’ll be nicely timed for the festive season (did you know there are only 89 days, 10 hours, and 26 minutes to Christmas?) Head to the first link for the giveaway and the second if you’d like to make yourself rock in a corner and weep.

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glasgayI’m sure there’ll be no weeping at this year’s Glasgay! Festival which Suzanne Egerton wrote to tell us all about:

It’s the twentieth anniversary of Glasgay! this year, and although not strictly literary-themed, it does feature Jackie Kay reading at one event, and I’m sure some UK LesFic authors are interested in writing for the theatre. I’m looking forward to an event at Glasgow Women’s Library on The Gateways Club of Chelsea, an iconic gathering place for lesbians in the old days – even I went there a few times. The brochure says that there will also be a chance to look at some rare materials from the National Lesbian Archive Collection; the library is very lesbian-friendly. 

The Fest runs from October 9th to November 9th and for anyone interested in attending there’s loads more information at the official site.

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DSC_2985Closing out this update with another festival, but one that has recently been and gone. If you missed out on BooQfest, Crin Claxton has posted a handy link to a write-up of her session at the event, and a little detective work of mine also found a transcript of VG Lee‘s playwriting panel and hour-long chat/performance on the same blog (scroll down the page a little to find VG’s stuff.)

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Whew, I think that’s covered just about everything so, if no one has any objections, I think I’ll lie in a darkened room for a while and pop chocolates into my mouth…

Guest Blog: Victoria Oldham – Pitch it to Me

2 Jun

Today’s guest post comes from Victoria Oldham, one of the commissioning editors for Bold Strokes Books. We’ve mentioned a few times that Vic will be hearing pitches from prospective authors at next week’s BSB bash in Nottingham and the forthcoming UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet in Manchester. Then we realised that folks might not have a bloody clue what it meant to “pitch your novel” (clue: it doesn’t mean kicking it into a hole!) So here’s Vic to shed a little light…

Pitch it to Me

Andrea Bramhall signs books at States of Independence

When you work in publishing, you throw terms around like confetti, just expecting folks to know what they mean. POV, ms, fancy-tagger, white space, etc. You kind of just figure a writer will know what you’re talking about.

But that’s not always true. How can you possibly know what I mean when I tell you your white space balance is off, if no one has ever mentioned that before?

I’ve come to realize that’s the case with the term “pitch”. When I tell you to come “pitch your novel to Bold Strokes”, I’m guessing you have an inkling of what I mean. You should come tell me about your book.

At the Bold Strokes Nottingham event, and at the GLBT Fiction Meet in Manchester, I’ll be hearing pitches for Bold Strokes. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet someone who works for the company, to get the idea of your novel across and potentially get it reviewed in full. That’s a big deal–it’s not easy to get face time with publishing houses! (Particularly publishing houses in the States, as there aren’t any lgbtq publishing houses left in the UK).

In the interest of convincing you to sign up to pitch to me, so I’m not sitting there listening to crickets, here are the three steps to pitching your novel:

  1. Know your time allotment. In the case of the pitches I’m hearing, it’s a ten minute time slot.
  2. Give me a solid overview of your book. Beginning, middle, end. Primary characters, major conflict, resolution. Know what you’re going to say in advance–don’t wing it! This is your moment to shine, to convince me your book is just what I’m looking for. But, for the love of God, don’t tell me “this book is the best thing ever and if you don’t take it you’re stupid”. Let me be the judge of whether or not it’s the best thing since rocky road ice cream. Be concise, be clear, be interesting. (If you can’t make your story interesting and explain it in a straightforward manner, who can? And if you can’t, perhaps there’s too much going on…but, I digress into editorial mode. Back to pitching…)
  3. Make sure you’re pitching to the right people. If you’re pitching a hetero, sci-fi, memoir, we’re not going to be interested. You’ll want to pitch that novel to someone who publishes that kind of novel. If you’re pitching to us, we want positive lgbtq fiction.
  4. Leave me with a single page synopsis and your contact details.

states of indieThat’s it! It’s that easy, and that difficult. My advice: practice. Write it down, read it out loud, make sure it makes sense. Don’t leave me with a synopsis full of spelling mistakes! Have someone else check it over. Sit across from someone (your dog, your cat, your plush toys, an actual human) and say exactly what you want to say to me, and time it. There are folks signed up before you and after you, so you don’t want to run over your ten minutes.

That’s what it means to pitch your novel. Convince the publisher that you’re serious about writing, and you have something they should consider.

If you have any questions, you can drop a comment below, email me at  bsbediting @ gmail .com , check out the writing section of my personal website, or even just ask me on Saturday at the Bold Strokes event (pitches will be heard on Sunday morning. TBD in Manchester).

Victoria Oldham is the development editor and UK Rep for Bold Strokes Books and runs the literary consultancy Global Words.  

News Round Up: Sky Croft at Women & Words, Arachne Press Seeking Submissions, Cherry Potts interview, and Hild’s full cover revealed.

15 Apr

imagesSky Croft, author of Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, has been guest blogging over at  Women and Words.  The piece focuses upon where Sky gets her inspiration, and she reveals that the wilds of Scotland have been particularly important for her writing:

I’ve holidayed there since I was a child, and many of my fondest memories are from that time. It’s a beautiful place: lush rolling hills around the border, impressive jagged peaks in the Highlands, and a feeling of peace and solitude that I’ve yet to find anywhere else. I could continue, but I’d best stop there before I sound like a tour guide!

You can read the entire blog here.

Another recent addition to the UK LesFic authors, Cherry Potts, has been in touch to tell us that Arachne Press are currently mosaic-of-air (1)looking for submissions and are very keen to find new lesbian authors. Hurry, because the window for submissions ends in May!

“We will start considering unsolicited work from April 2013 for publication in 2015. We will consider novels, poetry, short story collections, and young adult/ older children’s fiction titles. Submissions will only be considered until the end of MAY 2013.”

There’s loads more information about their submission process right here. Polish off those manuscripts, folks!

Cherry Potts’ own story collection Mosaic of Air will be republished in September. You can find out more about Cherry and Arachne Press in her recent interview for Inkapture Magazine.

spine detail (1)Nicola Griffith recently received her ARCs (Advance Reading Copies – yes, I had to bloody google it!) for her forthcoming novel, Hild. They are very lovely and I think it’s safe to say, that she’s quite fond of them 😉 With an entire boxful heading over to her in the not too distant future, she has promised a giveaway over at her blog. In the meantime, you can see more of the cover artwork  here.

News Roundup: Polari Prize, States of Independence, LT Smith, Hild cover unveiled, and open call for Manda Scott questions.

14 Mar

POLARIpinkLARGEAs if authors don’t have enough dates to try to keep up with, the deadline for submissions to the Polari First Book Prize is fast approaching. Pinching a bit of a blurb from their website:

The Polari First Book Prize is named after ‘London’s peerless gay literary salon’ Polari, founded in 2007. The Prize is for a first book which explores the queer experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction by a writer born or resident in the UK, published in English within the past twelve months. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission.

The deadline for submissions is March 31st, 2013. For anyone interested in giving it a shot, the fine print details can be found here.

statesofindependence2013With the weekend also fast approaching, Bold Strokes Books editor, Victoria Oldham has been telling folks all about the upcoming States of Independence festival:

“States of Independence is a one day carnival of the feisty, the wayward, the unclassifiable, and the wilfully strange,” said Will Buckingham, DMU lecturer. And I’ll be there, this Saturday, at the Bold Strokes Books table with Amy Dunne, and Andrea Bramhall, who will be on the LGBTQ panel Do we still need LGBTQ literature? with Gregory Woods and Russell Christie. Come join us for an awesome day of books, readings, awards announcements and general insanity.

The festival takes place this Saturday at De Montford University in Leicester. Find full details over on the festival website.

Fans of LT Smith, whose novels include Hearts and Flowers Border, will be pleased to hear she has been signed by Ylva Press. Her novels were previously published by PD Publishing, which closed late last year. LT’s new novel, See Right Through Me, will be published in autumn this year. More about Ylva and the blurb for the new novel here.

91CYqVEe28L._SL1500_Nicola Griffith‘s forthcoming novel Hild (released November 12th ) is now available for pre-order and, over on her blog, Nicola has proudly unveiled the face of Hild to the world. There is also a very useful listing of independent bookshops (worldwide) who will be stocking the novel. With indie shops disappearing at a rate of knots, this is a great list to keep handy. Hild now has her own page on Nicola’s blog, with all the lowdown on this new release. We honestly have no idea as to Hild’s LesFic credentials, but have to admit the novel sounds intriguing.

manda-scottMore good news to round out this update! Author, dreamer and sometime veterinary surgeon Manda Scott has graciously agreed to be our next Q&A guest. If anyone has questions for Manda, please comment in this thread or email us at: by Monday if possible (eek, another deadline!)

News roundup: Kiki Archer, The Green Carnation Prize and Devon Marshall

5 Mar

BindingDevotionReplacementjpgIn its opening weekend, Kiki Archer‘s Binding Devotion shot to number 1 in the Amazon UK lesbian charts and took the lesbian Smashwords number 1 spot too. An early review from Terry Baker says this:

“Kiki Archer has surpassed herself. Her writing here is honed to perfection. She has joined the ranks of a small group of excellent writers here in the UK and I’m pleased to notice that her books are also being well read in the USA too.

If you want an enjoyable read that you won’t be able to put down, look no further. I’m envious of all who haven’t read this yet. You’ve got a plethora of delights ahead of you. The only drawback now is……..How long do I have to wait for the next Kiki Archer book?”

Read more of Terry’s review on When Sally Met Sally.

2013greencarnation-04The Green Carnation prize is back for its fourth year and open for submissions. The prize is a literary prize for UK LGBT published works and was established in July 2010 by author Paul Magrs because of the lack prizes for gay men in the UK. The prize has been since extended to all LGBT writers – a welcome development given that lack of lesbian prizes also – but unfortunately this has not been extended to self-published/indie writers.

Finally, spare a thought for Devon Marshall whose computer gobbled up her manuscript. Readers waiting for The Vampires of Hollywood Book 2 might need to wait a bit longer…. Read more here.

News Roundup: Festival of Words, Rachel Dax, LGBT History Month and Nicola Griffith on her Next Big Thing…

22 Feb

bramhallLadyfish author Andrea Bramhall has updated her website with a piece about last weekend’s Nottingham Festival of Words: “I had a really great time chatting to people about books and LGBTQ matters, and attended a very interesting debate about LGBTQ writing and its place in publishing.” Read more on her blog.

Rachel Dax has been blogging about her series The Legend of Pope Joan. She describes what kind of reception Part 1 has had and what it’s like to top the pope charts on Amazon!

AfterTheNightThis weekend Rachel Dax and Clare Ashton are taking part in the Lesfic Indie Author weekend on the Yahoo discussion group the Virtual Living Room. Join up to ask them questions here. To coincide with the indie weekend Rachel Dax has made her first novel, After the Night,  free for this weekend.

Lambda Literary site has an article on LGBT History Month in the UK and how sexuality is portrayed in young adult literature.

Meanwhile, Nicola Griffith has been answering questions on her forthcoming novel, Hild, for The Next Nicola_05-08-30_003rBig Thing blog hop. For those who might have missed the NBT run-around, it asked authors to answer a series of ten questions, focussing on upcoming works that readers may not yet have heard about. Read Nicola’s entry here.

And a reminder: entries for the When Sally Met Sally / Freya Publications short story competition close on 28th February, so get your story submitted now! The judges are looking for 2000-5000 word stories on the theme of love, to be published in an anthology later this year.

Call for Submissions: Short Story Competition

27 Jan

wsmsWhen Sally Met Sally and Freya Publications are running a short story competition and publishing winning entries in an anthology. The theme is love and the closing date is 28th February 2013, so get writing! More details here.