News roundup: the Diva literary festival, a busy Cari Hunter, AL Brooks, new author Wendy Temple and new books!

28 Jan

diva_lit_festNow something I moan about, often, is the lack of a literary festival for lesfic in the UK. It’s been a few years now since the big festivals in York (YLAF), of which I only caught the last fantastic year, so it’s very exciting to kick off this week’s post with news that Diva is launching its own festival!

The inaugural event will be in Birmingham in November and signed up already are: Stella Duffy, Kiki Archer, Val McDermid, Clare Ashton, Rebecca Chance, VG Lee, VA Fearon and Jacquie Lawrence. Hopefully there’ll be more announcements over the year as more authors are brought on board. For more details see the press release which has email addresses for interested authors.

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AQuietDeathCari Hunter’s A Quiet Death, the final book in the Dark Peak crime series, was reviewed over on C-Spot reviews and by the Velvet Lounger at The Lesbian Reading Room and what fab reviews they are of this gritty crime novel focussed on a sex trafficking case:

I heavily suspected that I’d enjoy this book since I’ve not yet been disappointed by anything written by the author and I was right. Hunter has not only a talent for bringing her characters to life and dropping the reader into the scene but also for balancing dark, deadly serious story lines with levity and humor so the reader doesn’t get lost in despair over the heartbreaking cases. I look forward to reading whatever she comes up with next.” More from C-Spot here.

Once again I cannot recommend this series enough. If you like crime, a thriller, and suspense with a cast of real life everyday folk and unassuming heros, written with excellent if unpretentious style, you really cannot do any better than this.” More from the Velvet Lounger’s review here.

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Cari’s also been blogging about her work as a paramedic which feeds into her writing. This post covers her new year’s eve shift and, just like her books, is a poignant mixture of brutal life and humour:

Our last patient of 2016 is a tiny little boy with a life-limiting genetic condition. He’s had a high temp and diarrhoea since noon, and he’s poorly, with a feeble cry and poor respiratory effort. His parents have already lost a child to the same condition and they seem to know that their son is unlikely to make it out of the hospital this time. I sit with him on the stretcher, cooing at him and stroking his cheek as K flies us in on our second red paeds standby of the night. I hand over the baby and reams of paperwork, including end-of-life care wishes, to the waiting team, and stagger out of Resus, adrenaline fading fast. “Right, drunk people only from now on,” I say, back in the cab and through a mouthful of chocolate. “Drunk people being smacked in the head.”

You can read the rest of the piece here.

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albrooksIt’s the first of Clare Lydon’s Lesbian Bookclub podcasts of the year. She gives us an update on her writing including the latest installment of the All I Want series and what’s hot in the lesfic charts. This month’s guest is Brit AL Brooks whose erotic debut about a sex club in Manchester caused a stir last year. They talk about The Club, being out as an erotic writer and her next book, the romance Dark Horse. Have a listen here.

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A quick mention now of a writing course based online and in Scotland. For anyone looking for help finding their voice as a writer and with developing their social media presence, Orla Broderick has developed a course to help with both of these aspects of writing.  You can find more information about the course and contact Orla here.

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charming-the-vicarRight, on to upcoming releases and new books.

Jenny Frame has been a busy bee and has three books pending for 2017! Her latest cover reveal is for Charming the Vicar, the second in the Axedale village series, which tells the love story of Bridget Claremont, Axedale’s unconventional vicar.

New author Wendy Temple has released the cover of her debut and its blurb. defensivemindsetDefensive Mindset will be out late April 2017.

Star footballer and successful businesswoman Jessie Grainger has her life set, and doesn’t need anything getting in the way. That includes rebellious rival player Fran Doherty, a burnt-out barmaid with a past as messed up as her attitude. So when the clashing pair find themselves on the same Edinburgh women football team, how will they survive each other, let alone play to win?

Wendy is from Scotland and started writing fanfiction in 2005. She is nutty about sports and it should be no surprise that includes playing football. You can find out more about Wendy from the Ylva website.

Robyn Nyx posts free short stories from time to time, and her latest for January is called Heart Halfway Gone – a short erotic romance. Scroll to the bottom of Robin’s books page to find a choice of file downloads. 

And finally!

alliwantforeverOut now is Clare Lydon’s All I Want Forever! It’s already at the top of the UK Amazon lesfic charts. Here’s the cover and blurb:

They’re engaged, but they’re living 5,000 miles apart…

Everyone says Tori & Holly are meant to be, but when distance means barriers in their love affair, can the pair overcome them? The wedding’s booked, Tori’s mum has bought a new dress, but will they be in the same city come the big day?

Join Tori & Holly on their final adventure as they grapple with their destiny. Can they agree on their future and finally grasp their happy ever after?

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That’s all folks!

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News Roundup: Double Brit Rainbow Award Win, New Books, Blogs, Reviews, Free Stuff and More!

14 Jan

And we’re back! A very happy and prosperous new year to one and all, may it be filled with books and other kinds of goodness. While Tig sobs as she stows her tinsel and baubles for another 300 or so days (I’m giving her till October to get them out again!) I’ll be steering us through our first news roundup of 2017, and it’s a bumper one…

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poppy jenkinsFirst up, we don’t do a lot of tooting our own horn here at UK LesFic, but sod it, I’m about to, so bear with me. The 2016 Rainbow Awards were announced just before we headed off for our Christmas holidays and we scored a blog mistress double whammy as Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton scooped Best Lesbian Contemporary & Erotic Romance, and my own Cold to the Touch topped the Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller category. The books also came second (Poppy) and third (Cold) overall in Best Lesbian Book. Huzzah!

You can find the full list of all the winners and runners up at the link.

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January seems to be a busy old month for new releases with the publication of books by five UK authors. Lesley Davis‘ conspiracy-themed, alien invader romance (?!) Raging at the Stars is currently on sale at the Bold Strokes website, alongside Cari Hunter‘s third Dark Peak crime thriller, A Quiet Death. Both books will be on general sale on January 17th. Felucca Dreams, an Egypt-set romance by Natalie Debrabandere is now on sale at Amazon, and AE Radley‘s Grounded, the other half of Flight SQA016, will be released via Ylva on January 18th. Meanwhile, Jade Winters has published Unravelled – which she’s tagged as “contemporary women’s fiction.” You can find the synopses for all these books and more over on the New Releases page.

Jane Retzig has released A Question of Trust – the follow-up to The Wronged Woman – onto audio book, and she has some free copies to give away via Audible. If any UK LesFic readers would like one, please email Jane: jane retzig @ gmail. com (take out the spaces before using the address!) or PM her on Facebook or GoodReads.

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lostinthestarlightWith 2016 drawing to a close, top five, top ten, and top eleventy-twelve lists have been cropping up all over the show. The Lesbian Review‘s 10 Best Books of 2016 featured Clare Ashton‘s Poppy Jenkins at number 3:

Ashton has a phenomenal ability to pull you into a story and make you feel a range of things. Beautifully written and superb storytelling.

And Kiki Archer‘s Lost in the Starlight hot on its heels at number 4:

This is an absolutely beautiful, happy book that will have you delighted and charmed from the first word. A must-read from 2016.

You can find the full countdown at the above link.

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Clare Lydon also got in on the act with her five fave books of the year, with the ubiquitous Poppy Jenkins snagging the number 4 slot this time:

This book has been lighting up the lesfic charts around the world this year, and probably the Welsh tourist board should offer Ashton some commission for the undoubted visits she’s encouraged with her lingering prose. Put simply, this is a corker of a lesbian romance.

saving graceCold to the Touch by Cari Hunter sneaked in at number 3:

What I love about this book are the two leads and their on-off relationship. And because this isn’t a romance, there really was an element of ‘will they get together?’ Which, I’ll be honest, kept me on the edge of my seat more than the crimes. What can I say? I’m a romantic at heart.

And the top slot was taken by another brit, HP Munro, with her sequel Grace Falls:

HP Munro’s USP is humour, and this book delivers in spades, with many laugh-out-loud moments scattered through the pages. Plus, the central romance between Charlotte and Erin truly pulls on the heartstrings and by the end, you’ll be on your feet, hollering for them, just like Sully and the gang.

For the full list and Clare’s more in-depth write ups, hop over here.

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alliwantforeverI’ll stick with Ms Lydon for a moment to mention her Round-Up of 2016 Goals (which included “Watch All of the Sport,” and “Stand up, Jig Around,” amongst other worthy ambitions!) Clare has assessed and analysed her 2016 achievements in her own inimitable style, though she failed miserably on the standing up and jigging around aspect:

Epic fail on this one, but I won’t be too hard on myself because writing is a sedentary occupation – especially if you did as much of it as I did in 2016! However, I plan to do better this year, and it’ll feature again in my upcoming 2017 goals blog, with an actual number weight-wise to aim for. Gulp.

2017 looks set to be another busy one – read Clare’s Goals for 2017 here –  and we have a sneak peek at the new cover for All I Want Forever, the final romantic adventure for Tori and Holly (“featuring San Francisco, love, mishaps and all their usual mayhem.”) Keep an eye on Clare’s blog for a release date.

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Jenny Frame, CK Martinand Jen Silver have also hopped on the 2016 review, looking forward to 2017 blogging bandwagon. You can read their thoughts on the year that was and the year that’s to come by clicking their names.

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hindsightReviews now, and Jody Klaire‘s Hindsight, the latest in her Above and Beyond series – has been reviewed at the Lesbian Reading Room:

The action is fast paced, the number of players on the table at any one time is unbelievable and the combination of flashbacks and current action, from multiple points of view, left me gasping. And yet somehow Jody Klaire not only manages to keep all the storylines, points of view and personalities clear, she somehow manages to bring it all to a successful resolution.

Read the full piece here.

The Lesbian Review have been casting their ears over the audio version of Jenny Frame‘s Heart of the Pack:

When you want something that fun and entertaining that is easy to listen to with a nicely dramatic romance then pick up a Jenny Frame. This one is no exception. I really enjoyed it.

Read the full review here.

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For those who fancy a bit of bedtime sauciness, AL Brooks has recorded a reading from her erotic debut, The Club, on The Lesbian Talk Show. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it, but I’m going to assume that it’s probably NSFW!  Enjoy.

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kikiarcherpolariAnd finally this week, congratulations to Kiki Archer, Stella Duffy and Sarah Waters who have all been shortlisted for Diva’s Author of the Year award. You can vote for your favourites at this list, but get your skates on, the vote closes February 14th.

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Whew, I think that about covers it! Wrap up warm and have a lovely weekend 🙂

 

The Christmas Q&A!

20 Dec

rainbow-treeIt’s that time of year where we say “it’s that time of year” again, and we corner some of the fabulous UK lesfic authors to ask them about their favourite reads of the year. And because, let’s be honest, 2016 left a lot to be desired, we asked them about their hopes for 2017. Take it away gals…

 

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Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare’s the author of the best-selling romcom series All I Want – Christmas, Valentines, Autumn, you name it her heroines have been there and entertained her readers all the way. Clare’s other novels include London Calling, The Long Weekend and her latest Nothing to Lose.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

saving graceCan I choose three? I loved HP Munro’s Saving Grace, the follow-up to Grace Falls. It’s romantic, sexy and funny, and it was great catching up with old friends. I was also a fan of G Benson’s Flinging It – her easy style just wraps itself around you. Plus, Catherine Ryan-Hyde’s The Language Of Hoofbeats was just terrific – a family saga which was beautifully written and paced.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

I’d love to see a breakout lesfic book crossover to the mainstream – there’s so much talent around, it’s about due to happen again. On a personal note, my aim for 2017 is to release three novels including All I Want Forever and the third in the London series.

AL Brooks

albrooksAL Brooks’ debut has been causing a stirring this year with readers finding her erotic novel The Club a refreshing read. Her second novel, Dark Horse, is published by Ylva in February.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

just-julietFavourite book of the year was Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan. Simply one of the best YA coming out stories ever – great characters, a genuine warmth and depth to the story, and moved me to tears at the end. Beautiful.

What are your hopes for 2017?

My hopes for 2017 are twofold. Firstly, a hope for us all: that the good people of the world, the ones with humanity and tolerance, come together to show the hate-mongering minorities that we will not stand for their destructive rhetoric any longer. Secondly, a personal hope: that this deluge of words that has taken over my soul the past eighteen months keeps on going and lets me continue to fulfil my lifelong dream to be a writer…

Wendy Hudson

Wendy HudsonWendy Hudson is the debut author of romantic thriller, Four Steps, that has impressed readers as a work that could have been written by a seasoned pro.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

a-story-of-nowjpgI’m going to offer two titles for this because they are really one, wonderful story, that my 20 year old self completely identified with. A Story of Now and The Sum of these Things by Emily O’Beirne. I think Emily is one of the most skilled writers I’ve come across in lesfic, at writing those beautifully intimate moments between her main characters. I’d defy anyone not to fall in love with them and their story. It truly touched me.

What are your hopes for 2017?

For 2017 I’m hoping to be less of a pantser and more of an organiser when it comes to my writing. I even bought a whiteboard to help me plan! Okay, so I bought it four months ago and it’s still not up on the wall, which I admit isn’t a good start. But, you know, it’s not 2017 yet…

Book two will hopefully be published, it’s currently titled Mine to Keep but as always these things are subject to change! I’d also like to continue Alex and Lori’s story (and Frank’s!) with a follow up to Four Steps, but I don’t want to force it, so we’ll see what happens.

HP Munro

 hpmunroAward-winning author HP Munro can turn her hand to historical novels as well as a romcom and this year followed up the popular Grace Falls with Saving Grace.

nothing to loseWhat was your favourite book of the year and why?

Clare Lydon’s Nothing To Lose – I loved the book when I read it. However,  I found myself thinking about the book more and having way more empathy for Scarlet and her predicament when I had two weeks to pack my life up for a move from Edinburgh to London. After the stress of doing that, I can’t imagine only having minutes.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

For time and space to write and a little less stress.

Jenny Frame

beneath-the-wavesjenny frameJenny Frame loves her royals. From the Aristocratic Courting the Countess to the A Royal Romance. And wolves! Don’t forget Heart of the Pack.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

Beneath The Waves by Ali Vali. I’m hugely interested in ancient myths, and alternative history. The themes in this book explored both of these subjects. It was refreshing to read these themes wrapped up with a lovely love story.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

2016 has been a tumultuous year, on both sides of the pond, and personally. Therefore I would be delighted if 2017 was a nice, boring, hum drum, year. I would just be absolutely fine with that. Here’s hoping we get it.

Jade Winters

JadeWintersphotosmJade Winters is the popular and prolific author of both lesfic thrillers and romances with her books rarely out of the top 100. Her latest are Flirting with Danger and Christmas Kiss.

What was your favourite book of the year?

FourStepsFour Steps by Wendy Hudson. This book had me gripped from the first page. I especially like thrillers with some romance thrown in and this book didn’t disappoint. I have a tendency to start reading a book, then get distracted and not go back to it for a while, but this one kept my attention throughout. Well thought out characters and a good pace made sure of this. I particularly liked the setting in the Scottish Highlands and could really visualise the scenes. It was really well written and I literally couldn’t put it down.

What are your hopes for 2017?

Aside from good health and world peace 🙂 I’m hoping to travel more and work less. From a writing perspective I’m hoping to concentrate on crime fiction in 2017 i.e The Ashley McCoy series, although I do have a romance in the pipeline for early next year.


Anna Larner

Anna LarnerAnna Larner has been signed up by Bold Strokes and her debut Highland Fling, set everywhere from the Scottish Highlands to a gay bar in Leicester, is out in April next year.

What was your favourite book of the year?

When I Knew YouDuring this tumultuous year, I found myself returning to the comfort of my favourite writers who have meant such a lot to me, such as Nancy Garden, Carol Ann Duffy, and Virginia Woolf to name a few.

But, of course, all favourites begin as exciting new discoveries. This year I read my first novel by KE Payne, her lesbian romance When I Knew You.

What I particularly enjoyed was the clever idea underpinning the story – let’s just say it involves a series of letters.  I also loved the contrast between the two main characters, and on turning the last page I felt sad that I would never get a trip on Ash’s boat or have my pulse taken by surgeon Dr Nat.

What are your hopes for 2017?

My hopes for 2017? That my debut novel Highland Fling becomes your new discovery and a favourite you treasure and return to.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2017.

News roundup: interviews, reviews, readings and Christmas books!

3 Dec

A quick sprint through the news because I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet. Actually it’s been a fairly quiet fortnight but don’t miss these tasty morsels:

TheRetreatClare Lydon interviewed Jane Retzig this month. In the words of Clare: “This month I’m interviewing fellow Brit Jane Retzig, best known for The Wrong Woman, Boundaries and The Retreat. Jane talks about publishing in the 90s and the differences doing it herself today, as well as chatting religion and the inspiration behind her slightly off-kilter lesbian romance novels. These include the late-great Leonard Cohen and, oddly, Alexandra Burke. Jane is a fabulous guest, so I hope you enjoy.” It is indeed a fab and interesting interview and here’s the link.

kikidiva2-copyKiki Archer is interviewed in this month’s Diva with some splendid shots of her in soft autumnal wear. Kiki says: “We chat about life, loves and literature, and they say of Lost In The Starlight: ‘It’s laugh-out-loud funny, warm and engaging, much like Kiki herself.'” Go and have a read.

And for a taster of Kiki’s latest, Lost in the Starlight, you can catch her reading at Polari Birmingham on YouTube.

And if you’ve read it already have a listen to what the chapesses at The Lesbian Review thought of the book in their Les Do Books podcast.

carol-ann-duffyBold Strokes author Anna Larner has been blogging about her literary crush Carol Ann Duffy:

As the UK’s first female Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy has re-imagined the role on her own terms. Gone is the notion of a patriarchal remote, aloof honour and in its place the Poet Laureate has become an open, engaged, and fearless defender of not only poetry but of social justice and equality.

You can read the rest of this piece here.

christmaskisschristmasatwinterbourneAllIWantForChristmas-Clare-Lydon

Out now is Jade Winters Christmas short story A Christmas Kiss:

When romance pessimist Emma finds herself under the mistletoe with the enigmatic Zara, she doesn’t think the encounter will last longer than a night. Will it take more than a Christmas kiss for Zara to find a place in her heart?

You can buy it on Amazon.

Affinity books are having a Christmas sale, including Jen Silver’s Christmas at Winterbourne and for another Christmas read you can grab Clare Lydon’s All I Want for Christmas (99p at the time of writing!)

That’s all folks!

News Roundup: New Author Nita Round, Festive Fare from Clare Lydon & Jade Winters, Polari with Kiki Archer Tonight in Brum, and More!

19 Nov

Hard to know what to say, really, when the last fortnight has seen the world whacked off its axis and many of our overseas friends are now terrified that all their hard-fought progress and steps towards equality could begin to unravel. As governments lurch to the right, it’s now more than ever that we need our community and our mates and our wits about us. And our stories, of course – we need to keep telling our stories…

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So it seems apt that we start this week by welcoming a new author to the site. Nita Round has been writing all of her life in one form or another, and she loves telling stories. Her head is full of them, and they all scream for her attention. Chosen as one of the winning entries in a short story competition, publication was the catalyst for her to write more, and she now writes full time.

She loves being outdoors in the garden or visiting sites of National heritage, but she also loves reading, cooking and gaming, and no matter what she always finds something to do. She lives in the heart of England with her wife of 21 years and their King Charles Cavalier, Rosie.

knightssacrificeHer first novel, Knight’s Sacrifice, is due to be published by Regal Crest in February (tentative release date), with a second, The Ghost of Emily Tapper, set to follow hot on its heels. This is the blurb for Knight’s Sacrifice:

For most people, running a funeral home is a dull and conservative line of work, but when Catherine Samuels inherits the family business she discovers that it is anything but straightforward. For a start, the dead do not always stay dead, they sit up, and they bite. In this strange world, Catherine needs help, and that comes in the form of Cassandra (Cassie) Evans, a heavily armed problem solver, knowledgeable in all things arcane and undead.

Cassie, however, hates her posting to Catherine Samuels. Her charge knows nothing of family, her heritage, nor her duty as the sole remaining caretaker of The Gate, a sentient construct that guards the way to hell and stops the inhabitants of Hell finding their way to the land of the living. Anyone who does not understand the importance of this duty is a liability. Catherine is a liability. Except that Cassie finds an unsettling attraction developing between them that she neither expects nor wants. Duty first, there is no room for emotional entanglements, and certainly not with a woman who rejects all that Cassie thinks is important.

When Catherine finds herself on the brink of losing everything, Cassie, her family, and even life itself, then she must awaken. She must become The Samuel, The Gate Keeper and guard the way between the living and the dead. To make it safe she must travel to hell, with the warrior that she has chosen, and there, if they survive, she must heal the problems of the Gate before all hell breaks loose.

You can read more about Nita here on her website.

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content_it-had-to-be-you-3d-smallJust in time to offer a bit of pre-festive cheer, Clare Lydon is giving away copies of her new Christmas-themed novella It Had To Be You over on her website:

When Georgia meets Milly, she knows she could be a game-changer. But then she meets her mother, and all hell breaks loose.

To get your freebie gift, hit this link and complete the small form on the page.

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a-christmas-kissAnd, judging by the new cover on Jade Winters’ Facebook page, it would seem that she also has something in mind for Christmas. No details of release or content as yet, but we’ll do our best to keep you updated.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has written a blog post in remembrance of her US editor, Ellen Key Harris-Braun, the woman who was the first to see the potential in Ammonite (“this sex-romp-on-girlie-planet, or radical-reexamination-of-gender, or biological-What-If”). It’s a very fond and interesting look back at those initial steps towards publication and well worth a read:

And then one day the president of Ballantine, Linda Grey, walked through the Del Rey offices, caught sight of the sketch, and said, “What the hell is that?” Ellen started to explain but Linda Grey gave her a look and said, “Del Rey’s an SF imprint; put a spaceship on the cover.” So that’s what happened. Ammonite, my precious first novel about self- and other-worldly exploration acquired a lurid orange and yellow illustration, complete with jelly-bean spaceship…

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never-enoughNew Bold Strokes author Robyn Nyx has been blogging on the publisher’s official site about the gamut of emotions involved in publishing as a first timer:

There’s disbelief when you read the email offering you a contract for your pretty paper baby. Then comes elation, because someone actually believes you’re talented enough for them to invest $10,000 to edit, produce, and market your manuscript. A few short months later, there’s pain…

You can read the full piece here, and her debut, Never Enough, was released this week.

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kikiarcherpolariPolari, the LGBT Literary Salon, is making an appearance as part of Birmingham’s Shout Festival at the Mac, TONIGHT (Saturday 19th November). Kiki Archer, Scott Campbell & VG Lee will be reading from their latest novels, and a good time is always had by all. The evening sold out when it was held last year, so for tickets and more specifics, hurry over to the main site.

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Finally this week, for anyone who has been following Jody Klaire‘s downloadable Whistleblower series, the fourth part, Not Genuine, is now available by following this link at Jody’s blog.

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Whatever you may be up to this weekend, have a safe one.

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Jen Silver – Journey to Winterbourne and an Ebook Giveaway!!!

18 Nov

Giveaway is now closed and the winners are: Elma Young and Devlyn!

Christmas is coming and Jen Silver has the perfect book for the upcoming holidays. Leave a comment at the end of the blog to be in with a chance of winning an ebook of Christmas at Winterbourne. Take it away Jen!

 

christmasatwinterbourneThe ideal Christmas to me is a few days in a country house hotel, log fires, mulled wine on tap, homemade mince pies, Christmas crackers and beautifully prepared meals that we haven’t had to shop for or cook (and clean up). Then, a little doze after the main meal when the most important decision is whether or not to watch the Queen’s speech.

So this was the inspiration for Christmas at Winterbourne…the cosy Christmas setting with a lesbian twist.

The book took me a long time to finish. I started it two and a half years ago and since then I have had four other books published (and another submitted to my publisher and accepted!).

What happened? Well, it was going to be a short story for Affinity’s 2014 Christmas Collection. However, after writing the first sixteen hundred words, I realised there was a full-length novel lurking.

Christmas at Winterbourne is a story that has its beginnings in the past. Characters in the book flash back to memories of the previous owner of Winterbourne House, Kim Russell. The book’s subtitle is ‘A Memoir in the Making’ so the story is as much about Kim as it is about the present day inhabitants and guests.

Kim has her own fully developed backstory in an unpublished novel—something I started writing about twenty-three years ago. But it needed re-telling from a present-day perspective. This meant I already had a cast of characters, just older (and not necessarily wiser). But the Christmas theme brought a different dimension and gave me the chance to add some new characters.

The Christmas setting won’t appeal to everyone, so it was a relief for me to see these comments by a reviewer:

…I was surprised at how much I liked this book. I am not a fan of Christmas and I was really worried that this book would be all about it. Turns out that while the book is set during that time of year, it was much, much more than that! Ms Silver writes flawlessly. The pace was great, there were no technical errors that I noticed and the story itself was just wonderful…

Readers of my other books will also notice I’ve taken a break from the north of England landscape. Christmas at Winterbourne is set in the Sussex countryside, not far from Brighton. I had started the original story when I was living in London. When I began the new one, I did have thoughts about relocating it to somewhere near Manchester, but Winterbourne was pretty much set in my mind as I could picture the village and surrounding area with visions of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville West frolicking in the woods.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it before, here is the back of the book blurb:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians.

When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate…ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

jen_silver_christmasWil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author.

One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well.

For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy a visit to Winterbourne House. Never a dull moment where this lot are concerned (oh, and there are horses, too!).

Christmas at Winterbourne is available from: Affinity eBooks / Amazon UK / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

New roundup: latest from the Rainbow Awards, new author Vicki Clifford, Cari Hunter is profiled, reviews and new releases!

5 Nov

Lots of news this week with a new author, reviews and new books to read in between raking up the leaves, throwing out the mouldy pumpkins, setting off the fireworks and putting up the Christmas decorations – yes, this early 🙂

FourSteps nothing to lose diggingupthedead rainbowawardhm

The Rainbow Awards have been rolling out more honorable mentions in the run up to announcing the winners in December:

Clare Lydon‘s Nothing to Lose in the Contemporary Romance Category – “Thoroughly enjoyed reading a relationship I could relate to in a British setting.

Wendy Hudson‘s Four Steps in Romantic Suspense – “A complicated, slow-burning romance entwined with a hard-hitting thriller plot. Beautifully and masterfully done.

And Vicki Clifford‘s Digging Up the Dead in Bisexual Mystery / Thriller – “I enjoyed reading this book. I would have liked to read the others first but I was able to get a handle on the backstory quite easily. Writing style made the story flow nicely.

Vicki is an author we haven’t covered before but Digging up the Dead is book 3 in a series of crime novels featuring heroine Viv Fraser. Vicki has a fabulously varied background as a freelance hairdresser with a PhD in psychoanalysis and until recently taught religious studies at the University of Stirling. You can find out more about Vicki and her Edinburgh crime series on her website and here’s the cover and blurb for book 1, Beyond Cutting:

beyondcuttingIf you ever thought the life of a hairdresser was tranquil, then think again. This is no ordinary hairdresser. Viv Fraser Ph.D and stylist to the Edinburgh establishment, has a double life as an investigative journalist and finds herself involved in some hair-raising, not to mention explosive scenes, as she trawls the seamier side of her city. In this fast-paced mystery Viv investigates the case of a missing teenage boy, but her efforts are hampered by people trying to save their own skin. Always top of his class, Andrew’s school blazer turns up on a river path without him. As she picks at the veneer of the Capital’s gay scene Viv discovers an unsavoury mix of lies, jealousy and sexual deceit. Determined to find Andrew, she ignores threats on her life and continues to dig in places that even Detective Marconi has yet to explore.

carihunterThe Lesbian Review has been building up its author profiles and latest to submit to their questions was Cari Hunter who they describe as an “author who writes beautifully. Her work is thriller and action related novels rather than romance and lighter. I love her use of language and absolutely consume her novels with a vengeance.“:

When asked what inspired her to write the Dark Peak Series Cari wrote: “Simple answer? I wanted to write a crime series, so I decided I’d do that. I returned to my favourite setting of the Peak District and I created Detective Sanne Jensen – small, not Scandinavian, quite timid – and her best friend and sometime lover, Doctor Meg Fielding – feisty, scruffy, likes swearing.

Find Cari’s full profile here.

Clare Lydon‘s been twiddling her thumbs for a brief spell in between books but she’s now back in the saddle and plans on having two more novels by March:

alliwantforautumnI spent October trying to figure out if I should write the next book in the London series next, or if I should write the final book for All I Want. I asked readers, and the responses were 50/50 for both. I asked myself, but I was reluctant to plot either. But when I eventually knuckled down and set to work, the answer was clear: All I Want Forever began to flow from my fingertips, so I went with that. But if you’re waiting for the next London book, have no fear: I will be writing it as soon as I’ve finished Forever, and it’ll be with you by the end of March next year.

You can catch up with more news from Clare on her blog here.

Clare’s All I Want for Autumn was also reviewed by Kitty Kat:

This was a fantastic story with emotional turmoil, sizzling love scenes with ultra hot sex as one expects from Clare Lydon. I can’t wait for the final instalment but I will really miss Holly and Tori after following their beautiful romance all year.

Jen Silver  announced the publication of book number five:

christmasatwinterbourneA fifth book release is just as thrilling and nerve-wracking as it was the first time. Thrilling – to see it online. Nerve-wracking waiting to find out what readers think of it – particularly friends and relations.

And the story of Christmas at a lesbian guest house has already been reviewed by Kitty Kat:

This is a love story with great humour, relationship angst and deep emotions running through it.  The fact that it is set at Christmas makes it all the more special, with a cosy, traditional feeling.  I felt as if I was there with them all.  The setting is beautifully described and Jen Silver has got me so convinced that I want to book a stay there!  I highly recommend ‘Christmas at Winterbourne’.

Catch the full review here.

hindsightMeanwhile, Jody Klaire has been reading from her novel Hindsight, book 4 of the Above and Beyond Series. Also on Jody’s blog is part 4 of her series The Whistleblower. This is a free downloadable series featuring Susan from The Empath and other characters from the Above and Beyond Series.

A quick note to say that the film The Handmaiden, which was inspired by Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, goes on general release in February 2017. Read up about this version of the story here.

Also a quick note to say that the following are also out now!

heart of the packJenny Frame’s Heart of the Pack is now out as an audio book.

Selena Miller accepts a job in Wolfgang County, jumping at the chance to get away from her overbearing family. Crippled by anxiety, she’s determined to start a new, independent life.

As second of the Wolfgang pack, Caden Wolfgang is used to having her orders followed without question. When the Alpha allows a human to work in the heart of their business, Caden is horrified. Haunted by a childhood tragedy at the hands of a human, Caden makes it her mission to keep Selena from threatening everything they’ve built.

When contempt turns into attraction and passion flares, can their love survive Selena learning the truth of what the Wolfgangs really are?

never-enoughRobyn Nyx‘s Never Enough is now available from Bold Strokes and will be available from Amazon on the 15th.

When a killer sets her sights on her target, is there any stopping her?

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?

reparationPat Adams-Wright‘s book 2 of the Reluctance SeriesReparation, is out on Amazon.

Carrie Markham’s life is in a state of flux. Former society girl married to a property developer, Jonathan, finds herself facing a long-denied truth when she meets a struggling sales rep named Simone.

Next door, Carrie’s friends Esther and Joy continue to hope to adopt baby Marc while also taking on the battles of everyday life and what it continues to throw at them.
All the women have choices to make and some long-standing situations to put to bed. In all encounters, there must remain the hope of… REPARATION.

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That’s all folks!