Tag Archives: AL Brooks

News Roundup: New Release from SJ Campbell, Q&A With VG Lee, Blogs, Free Fiction, and More!

25 Feb

With Storm Doris (Doris? Really?!) upon us and the kids all off school, it’s probably a good idea to hunker down with a book and a brew. But first, the news…

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ishinnieIf you’re looking for a new book to take into the storm bunker with you, Ishinnie by SJ Campbell (who also wrote Diary of a Broken Heart and the Strange Adventures of Mavis Street) is fresh off the press:

ISHINNIE. Perfect love in a world where same-sex relationships are expected and heterosexuals are the minority. This is a book of two love stories.

Annie, who falls in love with the beautiful and career-driven Christina, never feeling good enough with her small dreams of a happy family. Annie is haunted by the death of her alcoholic father, destroyed when his husband leaves him for a woman, but Annie believes in ‘Ishinnie’ and that her perfect love with Christina will get her through.

Their son, Jim, tells his story as he falls in love with a girl at school, learning to hide his love for fear of ridicule and bullying. As Jim matures and his passions grow stronger, he has to learn what ‘Ishinnie’ is and take a stand.

Annie and Jim, mother and son, on a collision course because of their love, held together by Christina. Will they learn that the hardest part of love is forgiveness?

You can buy Ishinnie in e-book or paperback from all the usual places.

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bIf free fiction is more your thing, then The Globe and Mail (no, not that homophobic, bigoted pedlar of shite, but the Canadian one, which should be far more sensible and polite) are celebrating the occasion of Canada’s sesquicentennial by inviting a group of writers – from home and abroad – to celebrate the country’s history in fiction. Stir Fry and Frog Music author Emma Donogue is one of the first to contribute, and you can find her story – The Big Cheesehere.

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Skipping on to blogs now, and AL Brooks has a dual offering for us. First up is her Valentine’s Day piece, The Love of Writing about Love:

Every time I read such a book, I am in awe of the story-crafting that has been employed by the author to elicit such a reaction in me. How did they know which exact words to write, in that exact order, to make my heart beat just that little bit faster, and my stomach do that kind of tightening thing it does when I’m getting the “feels”?

You know what I mean, right? That indefinable combination of emotion and physical response to a scene that has you tingling with joy at what those two characters are sharing. It’s a good dose of empathy (if you’ve been there yourself), maybe envy (if you haven’t), a definite dollop of awwww, a hint of arousal, and an all-round deep satisfaction that you just cannot explain…

To get all squishy with AL, click on the link.

darkhorseTying in with the release of her new novel, Dark Horse, AL has also been blogging about her time spent in Australia:

I also spent a few weekends in Ballarat, a country town about 90mins drive from Melbourne. My housemates were from there originally, and still had friends back there they would meet up with for dancing at the (only?) nightclub in town. Ballarat was the only Australian town in which I ever really experienced homophobia – it was pretty redneck back in those days. And when I started plotting out Dark Horse, for me it was a no-brainer to set the main part of the story there, and show the new, grown-up version of Ballarat that is a significantly more tolerant place to visit these days.

Read the rest of the blog here.

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Anna LarnerNew BSB author Anna Larner is pretty damn chuffed about having her short story accepted for the forthcoming anthology Girls Next Door. Anna’s story – Hooper Street – will be available in the collection, scheduled for a June 2017 release:

Sometimes the most intriguing girls are right next door—BFFs, ex-girlfriends, new girls in town, party girls, study mates, team mates, and sexy strangers. All it takes is a night out, the right moment, or an accidental kiss to discover what’s been there all along—the perfect girl for a love that lasts a lifetime. Best-selling romance authors tell it from the heart—sexy, romantic stories of falling for the girls next door.

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vghome34The LGBTQ Arts Review has been chatting to VG Lee, who will be sharing an extract from her new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, at the WOW Festival Polari Salon on March 8th:

I was inspired to start writing when my long-term relationship broke up. At the time I was devastated and found myself writing sad, angry & self-pitying poems on scraps of paper. When life took a turn for the better, I joined a Creative Writing Class in Hackney and found myself writing quite humorous prose. At a local reading event the Editor of the then Diva Books liked one of my short stories and asked if I had a novel? I didn’t, but set to work on my first novel, The Comedienne, published by Diva Books in 2000 when I was 50!

The full Q&A can be found here.

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And that’ll about do us for this fortnight. Have a good weekend everyone!

 

 

News Roundup: New Books from Nita Round, AL Brooks, & Scott Campbell, Reviews, Events, and More!

11 Feb

It’s a bit of a chilly welcome for this fortnight’s toot at the UK LesFic news. I heartily recommend reading this whilst cradling a nice hot water bottle, wearing gloves, and slurping from a mug of tea…

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Let’s kick off the roundup with two new books from UK authors. Nita Round‘s debut, Knight’s Sacrifice, is already available to buy, and A L Brooks‘ second novel, Dark Horse, is set for publication on February 15th. You can read the full synopses for both novels over on our New Releases page.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Nita has a second book in the pipeline, The Ghost of Emily Tapper, which has a tentative publication date of May, 2017:

theghostofemilytapperTwo families, inexorably linked through time and misfortune, come together to face an uncertain, and possibly fatal, future. Maggie Durrant is heir to a rambling estate in the middle of nowhere. Along with the ramshackle, gothic style castle, she is plagued with a curse that will end her days sooner, rather than later. Providing her brother doesn’t get to her first. In the city, a world away from the estates of Magwood Hall and the Durrants, Emma Blewitt discovers a heritage that she did not know she had. Orphaned at a young age, she finds herself the beneficiary of a house, money, and the legacy of an aunt who leaves her everything and tells her nothing.

Through ghosts and spectres, murder and mayhem, even the curse of the ghost of Emily Tapper cannot diminish the attraction between Emily and Maggie. Their bond has the strength of ages behind them, but Emma must discover her own legacy before she and Maggie can seek a solution to The Ghost of Emily Tapper.

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alliwantforeverSticking with recent releases for the moment, as there’s a new review of Clare Lydon‘s latest, All I Want Forever, up at Les Reveur blog:

Firstly the writing as always was impeccable and to be honest I’ve come to expect nothing else from Clare Lydon. She has a way of bringing you into the book, so much so that you feel like one of the secondary characters. The best part for me is how in this series the characters are real people, with real people issues and anxieties and it made me connect with the main protagonists Holly and Tori on a much deeper level, which in turn made me much more invested. We’ve followed Tori and Holly’s love through many obstacles and relationship hurdles that have only brought them closer and solidified their love.

You can read the full piece here.

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AQuietDeathMeanwhile, Out in Print have been casting an eye over A Quiet Death, the final part of Cari Hunter‘s Dark Peak crime series:

Hunter moves these people through the plot with a confident joy that really comes through on the page. She revels in the details, works in the peaks and valleys, and maintains the balance between explanation and action like a true pro. And those action scenes are incomparable. They move so well, so effortlessly that it’s past your bedtime before you know it, and you’ll still want another chapter. She also has a way with a twist, keeping you off balance until she reveals the true connection between Sanne and the case at hand…

The full review can be found here.

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ishinnieFrom new books to forthcoming ones, as Scott Campbell has been teasing his Facebook followers with extracts from his forthcoming novel, Ishinnie.

I could almost see her heart breaking while she stood at our breakfast bar staring out into the clouds, looking for sense in life, to understand why we could be blessed with so much love and stripped of it in the same breath.
She turned her eyes, met mine, and I swallowed hard. She had never been more breath-taking or more beautiful than she was in that moment, with tears unabashedly wetting her cheeks, and the sun golden through her red hair. She was my perfect love.
 Apparently, the book is due out “very soon,” so more on this when we have it.

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Hopping on to events, and Bold Strokes author, Anna Larner – whose debut Highland Fling is scheduled for release in April – will be presenting a paper discussing the “Permutations of Lesbian Love in Popular Fiction,” at the Lesbian Lives conference in Brighton on Friday 24th February. For more information about the event, head to the official page.

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underparrAndrea Bramhall is planning a launch party for the second part of her Norfolk Coast Investigation series, Under Parr. The event will be held on the 13th of May 2017 at Deepdale Backpackers and Camping, from 5pm to 9pm. There will be a short reading from the novel, and there’s an open invitation for interested folks.

If you are one of those interested folks, then you can find more information here at the event’s Facebook page.
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I’ll round out this roundup with a peek at a couple of blogs. Jen Silver has been chatting about British Wording and Other Things, AKA the art of weeding out any obscure British-isms in her books (balls to that! Leave ’em in! – Ed), and Jenny Frame has been discussing the other love of my life, food, over at her blog:
courting the countessIn the idyllic haven of Wolfgang County, Lena comes close to nature, understands the importance of eating good, well cared for food, not seeing some foods as bad and letting go of the outside world’s body image demands, and just enjoying the life that nature has provided for us. If only more places in the world were like Wolfgang County.
Courting The Countess also used food in a big way. Annie courted Harry with cakes, biscuits, and delicious home cooked meals, until the countess was putty in her hands.
To read more about The Food of Love, click the link.
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Right, that little lot should keep you going for a while. Have a great weekend!

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!

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…

 

c-holly-banner

 

 

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: New Books from HP Munro & AL Brooks, Kiki Archer & Clare Lydon Share Their Coming Out Stories, Reviews, Blogs & More!

21 Oct

As the nights draw in and you can barely get into a supermarket without falling over bloody massive tins of Roses and Quality Street, what better way to stave off the inevitable slalom towards the festive season than curling up with a good book? So find a rug to tuck yourself under, and away we go…

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saving graceWe’ve not heard a peep from HP Munro for a goodly while now, but this week saw the release of Saving Grace, her follow-up to 2014’s Grace Falls. HP says the book is a “companion piece” rather than a true sequel but that it features many of the same characters:

When Charlotte Grace left Grace Falls at the age of seventeen, she swore she’d never return. More than twenty years on she still regrets breaking the heart of her first love. Reaching a crossroads in her life, Charlotte has started to merely drift along.

Erin Hunter has spent a lifetime recovering from having her heart shattered by the person she trusted most. Taking shelter in her home town and her career, she’s avoided relationships.

Neither woman ever thought they’d see each other again. They didn’t count on Grace Falls. The quirky town’s charm pulls people in, and if the town isn’t enough, its residents are more than willing to lend a hand.

Celebrate a return to Grace Falls.

The book is available to buy from all the usual online spots.

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AL Brooks’ second novel Dark Horse has been scheduled for publication in February, 2017. More on this when we have it – for now, here’s the cover and the blurb.

darkhorseSometimes, going back is the only way forward.

Punished for a crime she did not commit, Sadie is sent away to live with Elsie, her grandmother and rebuild her life estranged from the rest of her family.

Now, several years later she returns home to visit her terminally ill mother and face up to the past. In the midst of family turmoil Sadie meets Holly and falls in love for the first time.

Can Sadie overcome the lies of the past to build a brighter future?

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coming-out-dayAs anyone who’s been through it probably knows, coming out to family, friends, and even yourself is an experience that you’ll never forget. October 11th was National Coming Out Day, and two of our most popular UK authors shared their coming out stories to mark the occasion. You can watch Kiki Archer‘s video (specially filmed in her closet!) here, while Clare Lydon chose to write a blog on the theme:

clare lydonI was still at university when I told my parents I was a lesbian. I was 21 and unbeknown to them, I had a girlfriend. But I knew it would be a shock for them. After all, when I had left home to start my degree two years earlier, I’d had a boyfriend. Not anymore.

But going home to tell my parents was beyond nerve-wracking. For a start, they’re old-school catholic, and from a very different generation. Did they even know anybody else who was gay? I didn’t think so…

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courting the countessJenny Frame has picked up a smashing review of her latest novel, Courting the Countess, from Les Reveur:

The sexual tension in this book was off the charts. You could have sliced it with a butter knife. I loved that element and it left me understanding the want these women had for one another. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I will say this… The love these women find in each other is not only about them (don’t get me wrong their love is very present and emotional) but it’s about family and doing anything you can for the people you love. It’s very sweet actually.

Jenny is also hoping to update her blog on a monthly basis to keep readers apprised of her latest book news and to share some insights into her writing process. Her first piece (read it in full here) focuses on hopeless romantics…

I think it’s time to stop making excuses and reclaim the title of hopeless romantic as a badge of honour. If you are a hopeless romantic, you are in touch with your feelings, you wear your heart on your sleeve, and have faith and hope that no matter how bad things can seem, there’s always a fairytale around the corner.

So wearing my badge proudly, how does this hopeless romanticism present itself? Well, if you were to ask my family or my partner Lou, they would tell you I’m extremely over emotional and cry at the drop of a hat…

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The Rainbow Awards are still collating their Honourable Mentions, with Clare Ashton being one of the latest recipients. Her bubbly romance Poppy Jenkins scooped two HMs (awarded 36/40 or more by a judge) in the latest round of announcements:

poppy jenkins1) I was absolutely charmed by the characters, and the story drew me in immediately and held me until the end.

2) A really amazing read. There was nothing here that made me think it was too much or too little or too anything else. All was perfect and I don’t use this word easily. The characters are all very well developed, so much so that at the end of the book they feel real; the story is interesting with the right amount of plot twists that keep the reader engaged but that don’t devolve in the realm of absurd even when unexpected things happens; the writing style is really really good; and the setting is one of the most interesting of all that I have read till now. What make this book even better is the way the author was able to navigate two different times of narration: it never feels like Poppy’s walks down memory lane are a rude interruption of the story, and the contemporary storyline is strong enough to become better thanks to them. Wonderful read!

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pennancegermanSticking with Clare for the moment, as her debut novel Pennance has recently been translated into German by Verlag Krug & Schadenberg. Released as Return to Life with shiny new cover art, the novel is available here at Amazon.

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AL Brooks’ erotic, Manchester-set debut, The Club, has been reviewed on The Lesbian Review:

The writing is clean and engaging, but the real strength is in how it’s structured. It almost straddles the line between full-length novel and short story collection, with each woman or couple’s story followed individually, threaded together through their interactions at the club. Mandy is the only character we see followed from the beginning to the end, and even that is through a series of flashbacks that tracks her journey to opening the club.

As ever you can read the full write up by hitting the link.

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christmasatwinterbourneWith her new novel – Christmas at Winterbourne – scheduled for release in November, Jen Silver is introducing its characters on her blog. This week Kim Russell gets her moment in the spotlight…

Time to introduce a character who has been mentioned in the previous three introductory blogs…Kim Russell… the character who isn’t there but who is central to the story. She died in a horse riding accident fifteen years before the start of the novel.

Kim was the author of a successful series of novels featuring an Australian sleuth, Amy Ransom. The novels were also made into films. The reason most of the guests book into Winterbourne House is because of the author’s fame. Fans come from all over the world to stay.

Christmas at Winterbourne will be published on November 1st, and you can read its first chapter here on the Affinity website.

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And that’s yer lot for this roundup. Toodle pip till next time!

News roundup: new books, free books, blogging, reviews and the C word!

8 Oct

Dig out your woollies and grab a mug of hot chocolate – it’s time to snuggle up with some books.

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And there’s lots of new lesfic for you to get your mitts on this week.

flirting-with-dangerFirst up is Jade Winters with Flirting with Danger.

When the stepdaughter of a celebrated tennis player goes missing, ambitious journalist Astrid is determined to find answers.  This is the high profile story she’s been waiting for; the case that could bring her the recognition she so craves.

In her hunt for clues, Astrid’s attention is piqued by an intriguing tweet from Callie—a family friend of the missing girl.  

Convinced Callie might be a strong lead, Astrid follows her instincts and tracks Callie down. The encounter is one which will throw her whole being off balance.  

As the pressure to find the missing girl intensifies, so does the attraction between the two women.  With so much at stake, can Astrid hold her nerve and heart enough to deal with the shocking conclusion?

aquestionoftrustJane Retzig has a sequel out to The Wrong Woman. A Question of Trust is a lesbian mystery romance and is FREE on Amazon this weekend! Grab a copy here.

Three months have passed since the events of ‘The Wrong Woman’. Saskia is now working part-time with Jaiden, who is struggling to hide her feelings for her new friend and co-worker. Saskia thought Jaiden was flirting with her when she invited her to work ‘undercover’ and she’s frustrated that their private investigations have never wandered even remotely close to the erotic.

Neither Jaiden nor Saskia have had much luck with love. But when they finally kiss, it feels different… passionate… and unconditional. Then a major problem comes crashing into Jaiden’s life and her first instinct is to hide it.

And as secrets and lies start to spiral out of control, Saskia questions whether she should ever have trusted Jaiden with her already wounded heart.

mroliverVG Lee’s new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, has a male protagonist but I believe it also contains lesbians. In any case, who wouldn’t want to hear about a new VG Lee book.

Mr Oliver was a man of the moment in the 1960s, but as he reaches his fiftieth birthday he’s a decade out of date. From his bachelor flat to his relationships with women, he orders everything around him with the same rigour and precision that he uses to manage The Store in London’s Oxford Street.

Yes, he knows his Aquascutum from his Berkertex, can spot a linen mix fabric from twenty yards, but he doesn’t recognise his nemesis, Claire Daker, when she walks into his life.

Hired as ‘the face of youth’ by the impeccably trouser-suited Head Buyer Miss Frances, Claire, with her pleated mini-skirts and citrus lemon knee socks, proves to be the agent of change for both of them.

Enter Doreen Mildmay, a passionate woman who always gets her man, and the man in her sights is Sydney Oliver. She knows a broken man when she sees one and she’d like to fix him. But does he want to be fixed or would Mr Oliver rather pursue his object of desire?

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Cold to the TouchJudging is underway at the Rainbow Awards and Elisa is rolling out honorable mentions throughout October. Those books that scored at least 36 out of 40 get a mention, and Cari Hunter ran off with three for Cold to the Touch:

Talk about cold! Cari Hunter writes winter so that you feel the snow creep down your collar or the wind whistle through the rip in your pants. She makes you feel the ache of fatigue from three nights in a row of too little sleep, and the terror of thinking you’re losing your job, your career, your best friend, and your chance at love.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksYou can read the other judges’ comments here.

AL Brooks has also garnered praise for her erotic debut The Club which seems to be hitting the spot:

This was an interesting first time offering. Definitely loaded with juicy erotic scenes and well-developed characters.

More here.

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Jen Silver has been blogging in the run up to the publication of Christmas at Winterborne and introducing readers to her characters:

christmasatwinterbourneWinterbourne is the name of the lesbian guesthouse – almost a character in its own right. And the story takes place over Christmas when guests arrive for a seasonal holiday programme starting on the 23rd through to the 27th of December.

With five weeks leading up to the release of this, my fifth novel, I thought I would drip-feed some information about the house and the characters involved. I hope I’m not going to put off some potential readers by revealing that there are fifteen characters with an active role in the story. And that’s just the human ones.

There are also horses and dogs because this is, after all, a country estate. So I’ll start by introducing the two oldest characters, both in their late 70s.

Catch up with the cast list revealed so far, including the young Londoners on Jen’s blog.

TheLongWeekend-640x1024Clare Lydon’s been a busy gal this year with her All I Want Series, but don’t forget her other novels including The Long Weekend. Clare has been reading an excerpt from her second novel for the Lesbian Talk Show. You can have a listen here.

kikiarcherprofileKiki Archer has been answering The Lesbian Review’s author profile questions. Have a look here to find out what inspired Kiki to start writing and how she describes her style. She also delves into what inspired each novel and of her latest, Lost in the Starlight, she says:

I just wanted to create a story where a hidden secret keeps you from being your true self. I love the world of celebrity and shows like The X factor. I’m also led to believe there are stars who choose to hide their sexuality for fear they’ll no longer be popular. I wanted to write about someone who was brave enough to be honest and how this could actually enhance their popularity and success. Thus Honey Diamond was born.

annelisterNot fiction but very lesbian and fascinating: Sarah Waters visits Anne Lister’s home of Shibden Hall and talks about her life and loves and reads from her diaries. Tootle over here to listen to Sarah and to have a nose around Shibden Hall.

hindsightMeanwhile Jodi Klaire has revealed a sneak peek of her forthcoming book, Hindsight (book 4 of the Above and Beyond series).

Have a shufti over here for a taster.

Also on Jodi’s blog is her free downloadable series, The Whistleblower, which features Susan from The Empath and also other characters familiar to readers of the Above and Beyond series. The series is downloadable as a PDF and is up to episode 3. Here’s the link to the beginning.

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The Lesbian Review has been busy with the Brits this week and had great things to say about them all.

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason:

“This novel is dark and brooding and brilliantly written. Sanne is one of those women with zero self confidence but so much heart that you cannot help fall in love with her. She takes everything very seriously and acts tough but is really quite unsure of her own value.

Meg is a quirky character who is known for swearing at irritating patients. She and Sanne have a deep bond and she is protective over her friend, always knowing when she needs something more than she is saying.

It is beautifully written. Hunter transports you right into the world she creates and keeps you firmly in the grip of the icy weather, craggy rocks and oppressive atmosphere.”

lostinthestarlightKiki Archer’s Lost in the Starlight:

“Lost In The Starlight is an absolutely charming, hilarious and gorgeous story or two women from different backgrounds learning that life is a little more complicated than they thought when it comes to love and secrets…

I was not sure that Archer’s book could live up to such a good title but it did. And the title was explained in the book in a well thought out moment. (I was a little worried it would be cheesy but it wasn’t.) Apparently I worry about things that I have no need to be concerned about. I was in safe hands with Kiki Archer.

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton’s Poppy Jenkins:

Ashton did an amazing job with the characters. Every one was beautifully explored. The quaint town of Wells was as much a character in the novel as the human cast and I could not help but fall in love with it.

This book is beautifully written, yet easy to read. It is filled with conflict but you like all the characters. It is set in a small town that is dying and you hope for its resurrection. It really is a special novel.

AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonThe last two are also included on The Lesbian Review’s list of Light Romances That Delight together with Clare Lydon’s All I Want for Christmas of which the article says:

As Christmas comes hurtling towards us, I start to feel all warm and mushy. I love Christmas, but after reading this novel I am pretty sure that Lydon has me beat in that department.

This is the novel that made me crown Lydon as the queen of lesbian rom/com. It is utterly charming and has some of the funniest lesbian moments that I have ever read.

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Ooooo, makes you want to start Christmas already. (Apologies to non-Christmas fans who are struck down in paroxysms of outrage at the mere mention of the C word before December. Actually I don’t mean that. CHRISTMAS!!!)