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News roundup: New Releases from Angela Peach, Jody Klaire, Andrea Bramhall, and Jenny Frame. Blogs, Events, and Giveaway Winners!

7 May

As befits a week when it’s more tempting to sit out in the garden than it is to sit in front of a computer, this news is crammed with brand new book releases. So, grab a copy of whatever tickles your fancy and head into the sunshine!

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a darker kind of loveLet’s start with A Darker Kind of Love, the new novel from Angela Peach that’s so hot off the Amazon presses it almost missed being included in this news post. It’s Angie’s first novel in two and a half years, an absence that Angie explains in the book’s acknowledgements: Turns out I’m much better at producing a novel when my heart has been broken! Although this does not bode well for a happy love life/successful writing career combo, I know where to tap into for inspiration… 

The blurb for A Darker Kind of Love reads like this:

Stronger than desire, deeper than attraction. Relationships can be tricky, especially when your ex is still hanging around. For Hanna, meeting Sophie marks the start of something new…but first she has to convince her ex girlfriend, Mel, to let her go. But Mel doesn’t want to let go. Ever.

Angie has also been confirmed as a guest on the Indie panel at this year’s LFest. The annual lesbian festival will be held July 15th-18th at Uttoxeter Racecourse, Staffordshire. If you’re interested in going, click the link for the festival’s main website.

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hindsightJody Klaire, meanwhile, has two new books in the offing: Hindsight (the fourth in the Above & Beyond series) and Best Maid Plans, the follow-up to La Vie En Bleu, which is tentatively set for release in October. I’ll let Jody tell you a bit more about Hindsight

Hindsight is in the workshop ready for August… ish and takes us further into the series plot while, I hope, giving you more of the characters and what makes them who they are. It was fun to use a whole other technique, writing wise, to bring the story to life. I’m not sure if you feel the same but Frei is a character I really love and, once again, you get to know her. Hindsight sees you meet Bess… who I really hope you’ll love as much as me; you revisit Oppidum to catch up with just what the new mayor has been up to… and Mrs. Squirrel; all on the adventure that sees Aeron and Renee push themselves and each other to help their dear friend.

The rest of that blog post can be read right here.

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October will also see the publication of Just My Luck, 2016’s second release from Andrea Bramhall:

Just-My-Luck-by-Andrea-BramhallGenna Collins works a dead end job, loves her family, her girlfriend, and her friends. When she wins the biggest Euromillions jackpot on record everything changes…and not always for the best.

When Abi Kitson fell in love she always knew it would go unrequited. The woman of her dreams was so close yet seemingly untouchable for so many reasons.  Reasons like – they are best friends, or the big age gap, or the ‘other’ woman, nevermind Abi’s own baggage.   And even when those reasons crumble it seems luck just isn’t on her side.

It’s a learning curve for both of them. But what if money really can’t buy you everything you want? What if the answers aren’t hidden in a big, fat bank balance? What if happiness is right in front of them? They just have to reach out…

Andrea was recently interviewed by Jules Bremner on Radio Pride Live. Hit the link to hear her chatting about her murder/mystery Collide-O-Scope.

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dapperAnd last but by no means the least of the new releases is Dapper by Jenny Frame, who had this to say on Facebook:

Good news! I have a new short story coming out in September. It’s called Dapper and you can check out the cover below. It will be given away for free, as part of a promotion for the month of September on the Bold Strokes Books site. 

As soon as that promotion rolls around, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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FourStepsA heads up now for anyone who lives near Glasgow, as Wendy Hudson is holding a launch party for her début novel, Four Steps, on 26th August at 7 p.m. The event will take place at Katie’s Bar and will feature a book chat and signing, followed by a DJ. According to the Facebook event page, it’s an open and free event so “invite your friends and family.”

Can’t say fairer than that!

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Sneaking in under the deadline is a special offer on Guilty Hearts by Jade Winters. The e-book is available on Amazon at the reduced price of 99p for a “limited time”. Which basically translates as: Get your skates on.

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We’ll sign off this fortnight with the winners from Jen Silver‘s giveaway of The Circle Dance. Congratulations to Karen Hughes and Melissa Whisenant. Look out for an email from Jen in the not too distant future!

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And that’s yer lot. Enjoy the weekend and make the most of the sunshine while it’s with us!

News Roundup: Lambda Finalists Announced, New Bold Strokes Authors, New Books From Clare Lydon & Gill McKnight, and More…

14 Mar

It’s been an up and down couple of weeks in LesFic land: quiet for a while and then bang, the news came a-rollin’ in. Given the current dearth of decent biscuits on the shop shelves – hurry up and get unflooded, McVitie’s! – I heartily recommend that you cut yourselves a nice piece of cake, fetch a brew, and settle in for a few minutes.

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lambda-literary-awards_s345x230The big news this week was the announcement of the 2016 Lambda Literary Award finalists. There’s no warning as to when these bad boys come out, they just sneak online and the LGBTQ book-reading world goes a bit nuts for a while. The Brits didn’t do at all badly this year, with four very familiar names included amongst this year’s finalists:

Bisexual Literature: The Gap of Time by Jeanette Winterson

Lesbian Mystery: No Good Reason by Cari Hunter

Lesbian Romance: The Chameleon’s Tale by Andrea Bramhall & The Renegade by Amy Dunne.

The awards will be announced on June 6th, and you can find a full run down of the contenders here. Congrats to everyone who made it through 🙂

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The 2015 Indiefab Book of the Year finalists were also announced this week, with Crin Claxton‘s second Supernatural Detective novel, Death’s Doorway, listed amongst those in the LGBT (Adult Fiction) category. The winners will be announced in June, and you can read all about the awards, and find a full list of those finalists here.

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Moving on to new authors now, and Bold Strokes Books have recently added two Brits to their listing, both of whom will be appearing at the annual UK BSB bash, to be held in Nottingham the weekend of June 4th & 5th.

bold books logoAnna Larner has a degree in English literature and master’s degrees in 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 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. When she’s not writing or reading, she loves lazy Sunday lunches and all things Scandinavian. Anna lives in Leicestershire with her partner Ang.

Her début novel, Highland Fling, will be released in 2017:

Eve Eddison describes her ideal woman to her best friend, Roxanne, over pints in their local pub a few days before she travels to the Scottish Highlands. There she falls head over heels for an enigmatic local, Moira Burns, and the usually reticent Eve wants more than a holiday romance. Forestry officer Moira Burns has no intention of letting go—either of past pain or for present pleasure. If that means she misses out on her chance at happiness, so be it. Convinced Eve is headed for heartbreak, Roxanne advises her to let Moira go…but has Eve found her ideal woman at last?

From the breathtaking Highlands of Scotland to the buzz of a Leicester gay bar, family and friendship are tested to breaking point, as letting go proves painfully hard.

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Robyn Nyx is an avid shutterbug and lover of all things fast and physical. Her writing often reflects both of those passions. She writes lesbian fiction when she isn’t busy being the chief executive of a UK charity. She lives with her soul mate and fellow scribe. They have no kids or kittens, which allows them to travel to exotic places at the drop of a never-enoughhat for “research.” She works hard to find writing time, when she’s not being distracted by blue skies and motorbike rides. You can read more about Robyn over on her blog, and her début novel, Never Enough, is scheduled for a November, 2016 release:

Award-winning journalist Madison Ford is taking a well-deserved break from covering foreign wars. That break is cut short when she receives a mysterious package, full of incriminating information on a human trafficking ring. When she’s asked to do an interview with an actress and humanitarian, it seems like a welcome distraction. Little does she know how distracting it will become.

Elodie Fontaine is in demand. She chooses the movies she wants to work on and the women she wants in her bed. Humanitarian work takes up the rest of her time. Love isn’t an option. When Madison walks into her life, she’s faced with a dilemma: pursue Madison and lose her heart, or avoid the risk and lose her chance at happiness. When Madison’s life is in danger, will love pull them through? Or will it be too late?

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Celesbrian TV, a new LGBTQI lifestyle magazine channel – has recently interviewed Scott Campbell (formerly Karen Campbell). Scott discusses his creative processes, writing to music, and choosing character names. The feature also includes a review of his novel, Diary of a Broken Heart. You can watch the interview here.

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All-I-Want-For-Spring-400On to new books now, and Clare Lydon‘s second novella in her I Want… series, All I Want for Spring, will be released on March 18th. The follow-up to All I Want for Christmas, and All I Want for Valentine’s, takes the action to Rome…

Never mind spring: will Tori & Holly’s relationship survive the weekend?

Two women in love, and all they want for spring is a romantic break in sunny Rome. But what happens when they don’t spell romance the same way? What happens when their long-held beliefs are challenged? Will Tori & Holly be willing to compromise to get home unscathed?

Welcome back to the world of London’s No.1 lesbians, chock-full of love, heart and desire. Will Tori & Holly come back from their weekend away stronger than ever, or bruised by love?

If you want to find out more about Tori and Holly’s year of romance, Clare has written a brand new piece for the Women & Words blog, which also features a chance to win a copy of All I Want For Spring. Winners will be selected on March 18th, so get yer skates on.

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Welcome to the Wallops.1Gill McKnight‘s new novel, Welcome to the Wallops (The Wallops Book #1), will be published in May 2016:

The villages of High Wallop and Lesser Wallop have graced either end of the Wallop valley since medieval times. And competition between the two has never ceased since, especially over the famous Cheese and Beer festival.

As head Judge of Show, Jane Swallow has always struggled to keep peace, friendship, and equanimity within the community she loves, but this year everything is wrong. Her father has just been released from prison and is on his way to Lesser Wallop with the rest of her travelling family and their caravans.

Her job is on the line, and her ex-girlfriend from a million years ago has just moved in next door.

Her life is going down the drain unless she can pull off some sort of miracle.

You can read more about the inspiration behind the book in this blog post.

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Hopefully that little lot will tide you over for the next fortnight. We’ll see you back here around about Easter, eh?

Guest Blog & Giveaway: KE Payne Chats About Her New Novel ‘When I Knew You.’

19 Feb

It’s my pleasure to hand the UK LesFic reins over to KE Payne today. KE likes paper clips and squirrels, and lives in the Cotswolds with her missus and a menagerie of dogs and guinea pigs. After starting out writing in the YA genre, she switched across to lesbian romance, and is about to see her seventh novel – When I Knew You – published by Bold Strokes Books. KE has two paperback copies of the novel up for grabs in today’s give away. See the end of the blog for details on how to enter. As for the book itself, well I’ll let KE tell you more about it…

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When I Knew YouAsh Wells has done it all. Travelled Europe, then returned to England years later to buy and renovate a ramshackle cottage in Cornwall, before settling down and starting her own successful business nearby.

Nat Braithwaite has done it all too. Aced medical school, then became a successful surgeon in London, before snagging the prestigious consultancy post in Ireland she’s dedicated her whole life to achieving.

Their lives, it seems, have both travelled the perfect path. But appearances can be deceptive, and when they meet again years later, it’s clear life has been anything but perfect for either of them.

Ash has long thought she would never be able to forgive Nat for finishing with her when they were eighteen, on the very night before their final school exams. Worn down by her parents’ insistence that Ash would always hold back Nat’s dream of being a doctor, Nat had given in to them, and in the process had broken Ash’s heart.

Flunking her exams, and with her dream of joining Nat at medical school in tatters, Ash had fled to Europe to try and get over her, returning years later to a small Cornish village to start up a tourist boat business with her friend Gabe. Meanwhile, Nat has already made a name for herself as a renowned cardiac surgeon in one of London’s top hospitals and has just gained the consultancy post she’s always believed her hard work and perseverance deserved.

At 35, their lives are now polar opposites. Or so they think.

When cancer claims their best friend Livvy, her death throws Ash and Nat together again after seventeen years apart, and in the process opens up a whole raft of old wounds that they both thought had healed years ago. Livvy writes them a series of letters, giving them a wishlist of all the things she’d wanted to do and see with her teenage daughter Chloe, but never got the chance to. Desperate to honour Livvy’s last wishes, can Ash and Nat now put the past behind them, and look to the future? Or is the past just too painful for them both to move on?

TT and When I Knew You bookWhen I Knew You is my second romance novel, after the success of Once The Clouds Have Gone (Bold Strokes Books 2014). I had the most fabulous time writing When I Knew You, and I loved getting to know both Ash and Nat. I felt as though I really knew Livvy too, mainly via the letters she writes to Ash and Nat. Livvy’s letters from the grave are heart-breaking, and while I don’t always relish writing poignant scenes, I did have a silent ‘yes!’ moment when my beta reader told me they’d made her cry. Job done. Sorry, SM!

The idea for When I Knew You came to me during a long summer’s walk two years ago, when I got to wondering how two former lovers would feel about being brought back together after so many years apart. I also wanted to explore the idea of lost teenage friendships and chances missed, and of living for the present, rather than allowing the past to get in the way.

I really felt like I travelled with Ash and Nat on their journey – both physically and emotionally – from their initial reunion just after Livvy’s funeral where they can hardly bear to look at one another, to their travels around England. The novel takes the pair on trips down memory lane from the dreaming spires of Oxford, to the museums of London, and on down to the sand dunes of a sun-drenched Cornwall, and I felt like I was with them at every single stage.

When I Knew You is now available to pre-order from the BSB website, and will be available elsewhere from 16th March. I hope you’ll enjoy Ash and Nat’s journey of discovery just as much as I did!

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To be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy of When I Knew You, either leave a comment on this post, or email us at uklesfic @ gmail.com (take the spaces out of the address before you use it!)

Closing date for entries is 26th February, 12pm GMT. Good luck!

And if you’d like to read more about KE and her books, you can catch up with her on her blog.

News Roundup: New Releases from Jane Fletcher & Jen Silver, Free Audio Book from Jane Retzig, Wrapping up 2015 with Clare Lydon, Events, Awards, and More!

16 Jan

The tinsel is stashed away for another year, the party poppers are popped, and we’re back with our first news round-up of 2016. I suspect most of our authors are still slightly hungover, because things are a little quiet on the UK LesFic front, but I’ve done my best to dig up a few tantalising tidbits with which to welcome in the new year…

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Let’s kick off with some good news on the awards front, with both Sarah Waters and Ali Smith making the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, for The Paying Guests And How to be Both respectively. The winner will be announced on June 3rd, and you can see a complete list of the finalists here.

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bold books logoBold Strokes Books have seen in the new year by giving their website a complete overhaul, and they’re rewarding punters with 10% off their current and backlist releases all through January. The website is far easier to navigate, looks rather pretty, and now comes with the facility to pre-order e-books. There are loads of UK authors publishing with BSB, so now might be a great opportunity to take a peek and catch up on those you might have missed.

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the-shewstoneI’ll stick with BSB for the moment, because Jane Fletcher is an author of theirs we’ve not heard from for a long while. If you’re a fan of Jane’s fantasy/romance novels, you’ll be delighted to hear that June 2016 will see the release of The Shewstone, the blurb for which reads like this:

In the port city of Fortaine, two young girls acquire new families.

Four-year-old Eawynn, the unwanted illegitimate daughter of an ambitious noble, is dumped in the temple. When she is old enough, she will be initiated into its sisterhood of priestesses. Meanwhile Matt, the street urchin, earns a crime lord’s admiration, so much so he adopts her as his daughter and heir to his underworld clan.

Nearly two decades later, their paths cross when Eawynn is appointed custodian of the Shewstone, the mystical orb of prophecy. Unfortunately for her, Matt is on a mission to steal it.

Clicking the link up there will take you to the pre-order page and allow you to jump to Jane’s BSB profile and all of her back catalogue.

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For those who enjoy resting their eyes and reading with their ears, Jane Retzig has released an audio version of her lesbian mystery/romance, The Photograph

the photographEverybody’s worried about Becky. She’s too rich, too young, and much too cute for her own good. And she’s driving her friends and family to distraction, playing fast and loose with the bored housewives she meets through Girl Power, the offshoot of Marsten Builders, which she co-runs with her best friend, Frankie. When she hears Niamh busking in the center of town, Becky is stunned by the intensity of her attraction to the itinerant young musician. The feeling is mutual. For Niamh, Becky has a familiar feel that reminds her of the home and family she has lost, and she quickly finds herself looking for ways to meet this intriguing young woman again.

Both women are deeply wary of any kind of new relationship. Their early experiences have left them wounded and vulnerable. But for some reason, they can’t help but trust each other. But even as the pair are taking their first shaky steps toward love, they begin to realize that their apparent chance meeting is already part of a much bigger drama unfolding. Events of the past are starting to catch up with them, and they are about to be faced with challenges and decisions that will change their lives forever….

The audio book is narrated by Danielle O’Farrell and available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes, but Jane is marking the launch by giving away free Audible copies to you lucky UK LesFic readers. If you are interested, please contact Jane at: janeretzig @ gmail . com  Be sure to take the spaces out of the address before you use it.

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clare lydonClare Lydon has wrapped up 2015 with a Ten Things I Learned… blog post, in which she discusses the joys of discovering Scrivener…

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a writing program that enables you to jump around your manuscript at will, keeps notes and most importantly, turn your novels into ebooks at the click of a button. Scrivener has made my life so much better. Apart from the morning it ate This London Love the day before I was due to release. That wasn’t pretty.

…And how rubbish she is at choosing titles:

Being a former magazine editor, titles should come easy to me, but they don’t. Time to start eating dictionaries for breakfast and pun books for lunch.

See the above link to have a toot at the other eight highlights!

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carved_final (1)Always busy on the blogging front, it seems that Jen Silver has been ramping up the novel writing as well, with new releases due in February and March. February will see the publication of Carved in Stone – the conclusion to the Starling Hill trilogy, and the re-release of all the books in that series, with a makeover cover for the central book in the trilogy. Meanwhile a standalone novel, The Circle Dance, is due out in March:

Another book, due out in March, is a completely new story with different characters and is called The Circle Dance. No archaeology in this one, but there is a nod or two to the surfeit of stone circles in the UK. You don’t have to go far to find one here. Not all as magnificent as Stonehenge, but compelling evidence of an ancient culture’s communication network.

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catherine hallA few events for your calendar now:

Val McDermid will be headlining at the York Literature Festival in March (if the city has dried out by then!). Poet Carol Ann Duffy is also on the guest list.  Find a full programme of events, ticket booking and the usual gubbins at the festival’s main site.

Catherine Hall has three events to discuss her most recent novel, The Repercussions, planned for spring. Find a listing of them here.

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And that about wraps things up. Brr, speaking of wrapping, it’s cold out there! Get plenty of layers on and don’t be slipping on any icy puddles. In fact, best just to stay inside and read a good book.

A Frolicking and Festive Q&A

18 Dec

We close out this year with our annual romp beneath the mistletoe with some of our most popular UK LesFic authors, who very kindly took the time to discuss their reading highlights of the year, the books they’re most looking forward to in 2016, and their traditional festive indulgences…

 

c-holly-banner

 

Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare had a busy old year in 2015. Not content with releasing two novels (This London Love, and the festive frolic, All I Want for Christmas), she continued to hosting her popular Lesbian Book Club over on the Lesbian Lounge, and appeared at LFest. Keep up to date with Clare, here at her blog.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all the littleI read quite a few books in 2015, but two stuck in my head. The first was G Benson’s All The Little Moments. It’s a debut novel about a family dealing with grief and it had me in floods of tears – I mean, *sobbing*. But as well as being a family drama that put me through the wringer, there was romance, no shortage of humour and two gorgeous little kids running around the novel too. The characters stayed with me and continue to pop into my head months after reading it.
My second choice is a book written in 1969 but only read by me this year. It’s called Patience And Sarah by Isabel Miller and it’s the story of a love affair between two women in the 19th century and is loosely based on a true story. It’s poetic, sublime, romantic and made me want to crawl inside the pages and just lie there, soaking it up. I loved every delicious word and plan on reading it again soon. If you haven’t read it yet, do it!

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

at the waters edgeI’ve interviewed loads of fab authors on my Lesbian Book Club podcast and quite a few have new books coming out next year. I’m particularly looking forward to new novels from British authors Angela Peach and HP Munro – we’ve been waiting a while, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it! Also, Harper Bliss is planning on producing something every month, so she’s going to be interesting to keep an eye on – I really liked her At The Water’s Edge. It’s going to be a stellar year I’m sure!

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I love Christmas and all its traditions. I love the invisible deadline whereby you have to see all your friends beforehand, so end up having dinner out for 20 days straight (it’s already started for me). I love autumnal weather. I never get bored of hearing Wham!, Mariah, The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. I love The Holiday, Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol. I love buying presents, sending cards, inhaling tins of Quality Street and glugging mulled wine. But most of all, I love the excitement and anticipation of Christmas. The build-up is pure, blissful magic.
The Boxing Day hangover, though? Not so good.

HP Munro 

hp munroHP lives in Edinburgh with her wife and a wauzer named Boo. Her début novel Silver Wings was shortlisted for the Golden Crown Literary Society Historical Fiction award in 2014, her second novel Grace Falls was published in Feb 2014, swiftly followed in late May by novel number three, Stars Collide. 

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

the red filesjpgIt’s been a good year for reading, as most of my favourite authors all published this year (some of them twice!) but I’m going to go with one that I sort of stumbled across. The Red Files by Lee Winter, had everything that I wanted and more. Action, suspense, and political drama. Not to mention my absolute favourite plotline of a love story -two protagonists who start out from a point of dislike who are thrown together to unravel a bit of a mystery.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

In the interests of my own sanity I’d love to have a book out there next year, aside from that – non lesfic I’m impatiently waiting for Christopher Brookmyre’s new book in January and lesfic wise I’ll settle for all my favourite authors publishing again….twice!

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

My favourite thing about Christmas is my wife’s face when I inevitably select the most humungous tree (last years was over 12ft) When we get it home I put on the festive music, crack open a bottle of bubbly and dress up in my Santa suit to decorate the house.

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Karen Campbell 

karencampbell2Karen has just published her fourth novel The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, and won the Ultimate Planet (New) Author of the Year Award in 2014. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drinks lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all my friendsI don’t read lesfic, although I did read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which was good once I got past the 200 page mark. I found it slow to begin but she writes beautifully so I didn’t mind. My favourite book I read this year was called All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I am getting a Jeanette Winterson book for Christmas called The Gap of Time. It is a reworking of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. I love Jeanette, she is my favourite
author in the whole wide world.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I don’t have any. I am the only Scottish person I know who doesn’t get drunk at Hogmanay. I participate in Christmas for other people, I don’t care one way or the other. It’s nice to see my nephews happy but other than that, I think the message has been lost. We need to be kind and thoughtful all year.

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Jenny Frame

jenny frameJenny hails from the small town of Motherwell in Scotland, where she lives with her partner, Lou, and their well loved and very spoiled dog. She made her lesfic début in 2015 with A Royal Romance, and her second novel Heart of the Pack is due to be published in May, 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

PLayinginshadowI’m way, way, behind on my 2015 reading list, but of the ones I’ve gotten through I enjoyed, Playing In Shadow by Lesley Davis, and Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden, and The Romance Vote by Ali ValiPlaying In Shadow I really enjoyed because it had lots of elements I really enjoy, including video games references and gothic rock. Just Three Words is a sweet book. So utterly romantic that it makes you swoon. The Romance Vote was really enjoyable to read. I knew next to nothing about the American political system, and I came away from the book with a little bit more of an insight into it. The second thing thing that made it so great was the deliciously handsome butch character, which you can always be sure to find in a Ali Vali book.

prescription for loveWhat’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I’m hoping to catch up on my reading list over Christmas and the New Year, and first on the list is, Ready or Not by Melissa Brayden, and Radclyffe‘s Prescription For Love.

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Yum yum!

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Andrea Bramhall

BSB-AndreaBramhallLgAndrea is a Stockport native who now runs a campsite in Deepdale, and is planning a move to the Lake District in the not too distant. Somehow she finds time to write novels and scuba dive! Her second novel, Clean Slate, scooped the 2014 Lambda Literary award for best lesbian romance. Her sixth novel, Collide-O-Scope is due to be published by Ylva in 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

The Red Files, by Lee Winter. Funny, good mystery, great characters, and some pretty hot love scenes. Well worth a read.

What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

the fifthTop of my reading list for next year – hmmm, tricky. There are so many books on my “to read pile” right now. Building a house is not conducive to keeping up to date with new releases. But I’m really looking forward to Michelle Grubb‘s upcoming release The Fifth Gospel. I’ve really enjoyed Michelle’s previous two books, so I’m excited about this next one.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

Fave seasonal piece – I don’t really have a fab seasonal book. I like to spend time with my family and friends so I spend more time away from books at this time of year than any other. We do have a sort of tradition though. On Christmas Eve my partner and I watch Christmas movies…lots of them, but A Christmas Carol is always one of them. Used to be the old black and white one, but we’ve modernised. Patrick Stewart as Scrooge works best now.

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Manda Scott

manda-scottManda Scott’s first novels were a series of critically acclaimed crime stories featuring lesbian detective Kellen Stewart, and her debut Hen’s Teeth was short-listed for the Orange Prize. More recently she has been better known for her best-selling historical novels – the Boudica Series and then the Rome spy thrillers set in the same era. Into the Fire published in 2015 is a historical thriller linking arson attacks in modern-day France with the story of Joan of Arc.

spygames2My favourite read is always the most recent – which is Spy Games by Adam Brookes. It’s not remotely lesbian, but it’s an exceedingly good spy thriller, one of the best I’ve ever read.  This man really is the new Le Carré.

Of the rest, Tuesday Falling was excellent (by S Williams) and I always love the work of Andrew Taylor: his most recent A Silent Boy is exceptional. Non-fiction would have to be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and in the light of the Paris climate talks, this has to be required reading for everyone, along with The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. If you haven’t read both, they’re essential.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

The new Neil Gaiman, whatever that is. The new Andrew Taylor, whatever that is. The new Imogen Robertson

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas indulgence… I give myself a week of reading between the solstice and the end of the month – which is sheer, unencumbered indulgence and gets me through the seasonal hostilities. I’m really, really looking forward to this.

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VG Lee

VGLeeVG Lee is a fond favourite of many a lesbian fiction reader. Her first novel Diary of a Provincial Lesbian was a treasure back in the days when lesbian fiction was thin on the ground. And now in more plentiful times, her work
stands out for its quality, comedy and poignancy. Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”. As a judge of the Polari First Book Prize, VG samples a good selection of queer fiction and her recommendations are always worth heeding.

carol– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

I re-read Carol by Patricia Highsmith as the film was due out. I’d feared that it might sound dated but quite the contrary. It’s a great, exquisitely written book – the characters aren’t particularly likeable but that seems very in keeping with much of the fiction today. Haven’t seen the film yet but the book would make a great Christmas present.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

DeliriumDelirium, the Rimbaud Delusion by Barbara Scott Emmett. Now I’m not sure if this is lesfic as I’ve only heard a short section from it when the author, Barbara Scott Emmett was chosen from the Polari Workshop in Newcastle to read at the evening event. It did sound as if there is at least a lesbian element in it. The piece the author chose to read out captured the entire audience and I’ve now ordered the novel on Amazon.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I may have mentioned this before but I spend the whole of Boxing Day in bed with Christmas present books and cheese and pickled onion sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Pickled onions courtesy of author Rose Collis!

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Kiki Archer

Kiki-264After a year out screenplay writing, the original lesbian chicklit favourite came back this year with a scorcher of a novel. Too Late I Love You smashed the lesbian fiction charts and had a foray into the contemporary fiction charts too. Rumour has it that a glitzy novel is on its way for next year.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

justthreewordsMelissa Brayden‘s Just Three Words. It’s the second in the Soho Loft Series and focuses on Hunter and Sam, two friends, work colleagues and house mates who risk everything when desire takes hold. I loved the book because it portrayed a growing shift of feelings between friends. Come on, we’ve all been there – that friend who’s a friend, until they’re not.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

gettingbackI have so many I need to catch up on, but top of the list is Getting Back by Cindy Rizzo. Cindy excels when writing strong and powerful women and I love the idea of a novel focused on the publishing industry and changes within it.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas is my favourite time of year. The tree is always up by December 1st, the house is swamped in festive lights and carols are played on repeat. As for indulgence it has to be tree chocolates. It’s the naughtiness of announcing to the children they cannot be pinched without permission… and the minute they’re in bed that’s exactly what I do. No one in the family knows I’ve replaced the whole batch three times already.

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rainbow treeA massive thank you to each of our participating authors – we hope they’ve given you plenty of ideas for stocking fillers! All that remains for Tig and I to do is wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2016. We’ll be back with more news, guest blogs, and features in January.

News Roundup: Kiki Archer Live Q&A, Amy Dunne Goes Renegade, New Release from Karen Campbell, and More!

25 Sep

Welcome! It’s a bit on the nippy side, but the sun is shining, flowers are still blooming, and I’m taking a quick break from squinting at page proofs to bring you all the happenings in the land of UK LesFic. Enjoy!

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renegadeAmy Dunne is first up this fortnight with a couple of stops on her publicity romp for her new futuristic, apocalyptic adventure-romance, The Renegade. Amy has been talking survival (and her absolute lack of survival skills!) over on Women & Words:

Let me start with an honest admission. I’m 90% certain that I wouldn’t survive in the post-apocalyptic world I’ve created. I’ve no survival skills to speak of, I’m awful at basic camping, I’m a complete technophobe to the point I don’t know anything other than switching something on and off and maybe hitting it if it still doesn’t work, I have OCD, I’m a hypochondriac, and generally don’t cope well in the great outdoors…

And she has actually been talking to Marion Dries in this Voice of Lesbian Literature podcast.

The Renegade is available to buy right now.

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strange adventures ofKaren Campbell has been teasing a new release over on Facebook, with this enigmatic quote:

“I am Mavis Street and this was the day I married the love of my life and gave her my name. ‘I love you’ says it all but never says enough.” Coming soon – The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street.

As soon as we have any more information on the book, we’ll let you know, but in the meantime you can feast your eyes on its cover…

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Kiki-264Any fans of Kiki Archer who have this Saturday (26th September) evening free, will be wanting to head to the Big Tent LesFic group on Facebook where Kiki will be participating in a live Q&A at 7pm (Brit time!) These Q&As are usually good fun and even more so when there’s an enthusiastic bunch of inquisitors beneath the canvas.

The group is a community of lesbian fiction readers and writers which is inclusive of anyone no matter where they may fall on the gender/sexuality spectrum.You can request to join the group here.

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clare lydonIf you only know ten things about Clare Lydon and feel that perhaps your life has been lacking for want of another fifteen, then you definitely need to check out her latest blog where she’s listed a massive 25 eclectic and entertaining things about herself:

What would I put in my room 101? Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Pink wine. Coldplay. Offal. Chelsea FC. Pink fizzy wine. Goat’s Cheese. Maroon 5. Parsley. Crocs. Especially Crocs. Enough with the Crocs.

Check out the other 24 fascinating factoids here.

Clare has also been chatting to Jen Silver in the latest episode of her Lesbian Bookclub podcast. With Jen’s third book The Circle Dance due out in February, 2016, she discusses the representation of older lesbians in LesFic, and how life is treating her post-retirement. You can listen to the show at the link.

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Tis September, which means that the Rainbow Awards are nigh upon us. Kick starting the annual festivities is the cover contest, where you can add your votes for your favourites and help see them through to the next round of the competition. There are loads of covers in the initial round, and plenty of UK authors – namely, Kiki Archer, Crin Claxton, VT Davy, Amy Dunne, Cari Hunter – who need your support. Head here to make your vote count!

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lavieenbleuIt’s been far too long since Allo Allo “graced” our tellies and if you’ve been missing the ridiculous accentage then Jody Klaire might just be able to fill the void. Jody has recorded a reading from her continental romantic hit, La Vie en Bleu, complete with daft accent, for which she has already posted an apology:

I heartily apologise to any French folk out there for sounding more Allo, Allo than an actual French person. It seems to add to the comic effect so I hope that you enjoy!

Plug in and listen here.

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330x235valmcdermidFinally this fortnight, a heads up that Val McDermid and Sarah Waters have both updated their forthcoming events pages with plenty of opportunities to see them in discussion in the upcoming months. For Val’s appearances, head here, and you can find all of Sarah’s events here or summarised on our own Events listing.

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I reckon that about covers it. If you spot any news that we’ve missed, be sure to let us know (uklesfic @ gmail.com) and have a fabulous weekend!

 

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

31 Jul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The book is due for release in November.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the full review at this link.

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

The Female Gaze: Classics by Women Writers

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full piece at the above link.

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