Tag Archives: Amy Dunne

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!

News roundup: a new author, new reviews, the BSB event and an offer or two

23 May

Good evening. Here is the news. And, blimey, there’s quite a bit of it….

bsbprogramNot long now until the Bold Strokes Nottingham gig which kicks off early on Saturday 6th June. Don’t miss the first session at 11.15 all about “Getting Some Action: diving in and getting it done”. The UK’s Cari Hunter will be on the panel with a couple of new authors from Down Under, Mardi Alexander and Michelle Grubb. Over the weekend you can catch readings and lively quizzes featuring I Beacham, Andrea BramhallRebecca S Buck, Crin Claxton, Lesley Davis, Amy Dunne, Jane Fletcher with Justine Saracen and David Swatling joining them from the US.

Entry is free and there’s lots of opportunity to socialise with the authors, and I believe there’s even free food at the end of the weekend. Click on the image for the full listings.

In preparation for the event, Lesley Davis has also been blogging on the BSB Nottingham site where she talks about the voices in her head:

I’m working on a new story now, no spoilers for that just yet, but the voices are back! I’ve got one set telling me scenes from what I am writing and another set that are telling me what they want once I’m finished!

royalromanticAnother BSB author, Jenny Frame has also been busy blogging with the publication of A Royal Romance (now available on Amazon). She discusses how her politics have softened over the years and also the politics of her characters:

When I grew up into a teenager, and my political principles started to form, I began to think about the people at the bottom, not at the top, and the injustice of riches being handed to someone by an accident of birth. I wanted to rebel against the establishment, not peer through rose tinted glasses at the history of the past. By the time I got to college and then university, I had very similar opinions to that of my character, Beatrice Elliot.

You can read the full piece on the Bold Strokes blog.

no good reasonAnd finally, in the BSB bunch, Cari Hunter‘s latest novel hasn’t even hit the shelves and it’s already had its first glowing review. C-Spot Reviews got their mitts on an early copy of Cari’s first novel in her Dark Peak crime series and this is what they had to say:

A new Cari Hunter novel? What mayhem will engulf her characters this time? The answer: Truly terrible things, as well as truly lovely things, abound in the mystery-thriller No Good Reason. “She hurt” are the opening words, and this is a bodily hurt. The plot takes off immediately as a captive woman makes her bloody escape and then — Well, this is not a romance, dear reader, so brace yourself.

Sound good? Well it is. Read the full review here.

unbrokenLet’s move on to a new author to this blog, Natalie Debrabandere. Natalie has just published her first book Unbroken. She lives in Leicestershire where she alternates between running between raindrops and perfecting lasagne-making. Somewhere in there is guitar-playing and writing too. It is unknown whether she has cats, dogs or children, but she does have a shiny new blog where she talks about the background to Unbroken and its possible sequel. Here’s the blurb for her debut:

When Liz Jackson arrives at the Whanau Ano Holiday Park on the beautiful west coast of New Zealand, the last thing she expects to find is love. Fresh from an abusive relationship, the British surgeon wants nothing but peace, solitude, and time to indulge in her passion for painting.

Kristan Holt is a kayak instructor and a helicopter pilot. Handsome and charismatic, she owns the park and the Activity Centre, and when the beautiful doctor literally knocks her off her feet one morning in the café, she leaves an indelible mark on her heart.

When both women fall in love it looks as if both have finally found the missing piece in their lives. But someone will stop at nothing, including murder, to deny them the future that they want.

Unbroken is available on Amazon.

A bit of news from Angela Peach. The lucky thing is going to the GCLS conference in New Orleans. She’ll be doing a reading as well as appearing on a panel alongside Dillon Watson, Riley Adair Garret, Sandra Moran and Ann McMan on the Friday (24th July) at 14.30. If you’re also heading New Orleans way here’s the full schedule.

TheLongWeekend-640x1024Moving on to reviews. The relatively new site The Lesbian Review has been making its way through UK authors. Already a fan of London Calling, the site reviewed Clare Lydon‘s The Long Weekend:

The long weekend by Clare Lydon is a cute lesbian book about an old set of university friends meeting for their 20 year reunion during a short vacation over the Easter weekend…I like the way Lydon writes. Her books are well paced and easy to read. The Long Weekend is light lesbian chick lit with an entertaining storyline that does not rely on sex to keep it interesting.

Full review here.

secretliesAmy Dunne‘s Secret Lies was also reviewed:

I like the way Amy Dunne writes. It is clean, fast paced and she manages to build rapport between her characters. It was a sweet romance with a lot of angst that will appeal to the teen market.

pennanceAs was Clare Ashton‘s Pennance:

The book is utterly unique. You will search to find anything comparable in the lesbian genre. It is well written and really dark. Some people tout this as a ghost story and it is easy to see why. It is moody and oppressive. Yet it isn’t really a ghost story. Not in the traditional sense at least.

You can find the full review here.

Coincidentally, Pennance is also to have a new lease of life as a translation. Verlag Krug & Schadenberg will be publishing a German edition next year.

the repercussionsMeanwhile, Catherine Hall‘s The Repercussions was reviewed at A Life in Books:

Hall’s exploration of the morality of war photography and its effects on those who practice it are vivid and immediate. All this is achieved in an intensely involving story – moving, poignant and often surprising. It’s a novel which succeeds in treating a deadly serious subject in a gripping, humane and thoroughly engrossing way. I’m looking forward to seeing what Hall does next.

You can read the full review here.

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Before I sign off, a latest release and a couple of nice offers:

arc over timeJen Silver‘s second book, Arc Over Time, is now out on Kindle and available from Amazon. The paperback will follow at a later date and Jen will be joining us on UKLesFic to talk some more about her new novel very soon.

The_Full_LegacyJane Retzig has written in to tell us that she has a number of free downloads of the audio version of The Full Legacy. Anyone interested should get in contact with her a soon as possible (janeretzig@gmail.com) and let her know if they need a copy from Audible’s UK or US site.

And if you’re super quick you might be able to get hold of Manda Scott‘s No Good Deed for a snip at 1.99 for the Kindle. Here’s the link to this bargainous book.

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Happy reading this weekend and a toodle pip from UKLesFic!

News roundup: a lot of blogging and chatting from Emma Donoghue, VG Lee, Nicola Griffith, Amy Dunne and more!

27 Feb

A whiff of spring is in the air, or at least the green shoots of a busy lesfic year are coming through at last, and there’s quite a bit to tell you this week:

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been answering Seven Questions for the Working Writer over on Jenna Leigh Evans’ blog. She answers questions about juggling writing with earning a living (she’s never had a day job) and how she knows when a passage needs editing (it makes her stomach twinge). Read the full piece here.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has been busy on her blog. This week she has been talking a little about how to avoid cliched characters when writing fiction and how to create a memorable cast.

But a great story or novel—oh, a great story is dense. The characters’ actions are plot-driving and characteristic and specific. These people are fully human, the kind of people we would recognise this year, last century, tomorrow. In this fiction, the writer is almost profligate in her generosity: we know a lot about the protagonist just by the way he flips his hair, just by the speed with which they blinks before they kill someone.

Here’s the full piece.

It also turns out that even the best get the odd duff review. Nicola has been braving Amazon and reading Hild reviews and details her reaction to some particularly snide 1-star reviews. It only bothered her, mildly, for 5 minutes. Still, an entertaining and interesting piece which is here in full.

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vgleepolariVG Lee was interviewed by Sacha Black about VG’s writing process. She talks about her technique of prolific note taking as first draft, what and who inspires her characters and her take on the publishing industry. This is her advice for aspiring novelists:

Not to be influenced in any way by friends and family. They will be biased. To aspiring novelists I would recommend a writing group, creative writing classes at local colleges or universities. Here you will get unbiased feed back. Friends I made through a creative writing class when I first began writing, I am still friends with them now. We are all still writing and we have all been published, in fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. We help each other.

VG is always an interesting read and here’s the full interview.

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LT Smith has been catching up her readers on her writing exploits. And she’s been busy. Beginnings is out in its second edition and she talks about the horticulture involved in that. She’s also having a shufty at Once and a few other things besides:

I can remember not long after Once was published and I won an award from the Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards for comedy. Obviously, I was really excited, as anyone would be if his or her book had been given the big thumbs up by the reader. But, I can still remember thinking ‘I thought it was sad’. Shows how much I know doesn’t it. Maybe if I write a comedy I may get an award for drama. Food for thought.

Read the full article, and keep an eye out for an imminent book giveaway too, over on LT’s blog.

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Clare Lydon continues with the book club on Lesbian Radio. And this week she had a good natter with Amy Dunne author of Secret Lies and Season’s Meetings. Amy gives some insight into her writing approach to each book and what inspired her to write the gritty Secret Lies. Have a listen here.

Amy also revealed the cover and blurb for her next book this week. The Renegade, a post-apocalyptic romance, will be available in September. Here’s the blurb:

renegadeIn this post-apocalyptic world, you have a choice: survive as a slave or fight for your freedom.

The Red Death pandemic wiped out most of the human population, and the world that remains is dangerous and unforgiving. Survivor Alex Clarke and her companions are rescued after a vicious attack and welcomed into the Rapture’s Haven Camp. Although given medical treatment, food, shelter, and protection, Alex senses something sinister lurking beneath the camp’s friendly exterior.

Camp medic Evelyn Bennett is instinctively drawn to Alex and warns her that the camp is a dangerous cult and the women are slaves. While planning to escape, their secret relationship is discovered. Escape is no longer possible. They must fight for their freedom—or die trying.

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V.A FearonMeanwhile Cherry Potts and VA Fearon have been chatting about lesbian fiction. Cherry talked about running Arachne Press and trying to fit in her own writing. VA Fearon revealed her obsessive writing habit and also chatted about the Dani series. All five books have been written – although only The Girl with the Treasure Chest is out so far. Here the video of their conversation.

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A few items in brief:

thehysteryappVT Davy‘s second ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, The Hystery App, is now available. VT has produced a trailer for the book which is a blend of science fiction, romance, and women’s history. The trailer is available here on YouTube.

Jenny Frame has been putting the final touches to the forthcoming A Royal Romance and has an update on her other work here.

Gill McKnight, author of the Garoul werewolf series, has been quiet of late, but she’s just about to get a lot noisier. She’s joined Women and Words as a regular contributer and she’s already received a very warm welcome. She has a new book, Soul Selecta, is due out in April.

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hp munroFinally, you can catch HP Munro in the Virtual Living Room today. The online discussion group is hosting a Hollywood weekend where authors of novels with a film theme will be chatting about their books. Authors include Melissa Brayden (Waiting in the Wings), Karin Kallmaker (Stepping Stone), Krystin Zimmer (The Gravity Between Us), Jae (Departure from the Script) and Chris Paynter (Survived by her Longtime Companion). You can join the group here.

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That’s all folks!

News Roundup: Spring lineup for Polari, new releases, interviews, Hootenanny (and a bit more)

9 Dec
gambolling

copyright Roger Fereday

Everyone’s getting ready for Christmas and things are finally quietening down in the world of UK LesFic. But we still have time for one last gambol through the news in 2014. We’ll be here next week for a best books of the year piece as recommended by some of the UK’s best lesfic authors, but then UK LesFic takes a break until next year.

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The Stella Duffy, writer, actorPolari Salon has announced a rather fine Spring line up. Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are booked in for what should be a great night on 30th January and Sarah Waters will be appearing at the March 30th evening. Click here for the full line up, and to book tickets.

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A few bits and pieces from around the web now:

the repercussionsThe Writes of a Woman has a piece on The Repercussions and also an interview with the author Catherine Hall. Catherine talks about the choices she made with the story of women and war from its title, the form of the novel, to the diversity of characters and the themes explored. You can read the article here.

Amy Dunne has been blogging about what Christmas means to her, over at Women and Words:

In my personal experience, as we grow older, our wishes for Christmas change. This year, there’s nothing of monetary value that I need or even want. Just to be able to spend the day with my family, is the most important thing in the whole wide world. To laugh, feel loved, and make wonderful new memories is the most incredible gift of all.

You can read the full piece here.

theempath_lgJody Klaire joined Lorraine Howell, Linda K Silva and Yvonne Heidt on the Liz McMullen Show to talk about their common literary interest in empaths. Jody says that the panel was fun as well as terrifying, and you can listen to the show here. Her debut has also been given a great review in She Magazine which described the novel as “an exhilarating rush, a cross between the best of X Files and Orange is the New Black. Fast-paced, sharp, and very, very smart“. You can read more of that review here.

stars collideClare Lydon has continued her Lesbian Book Club pod casts with an interview with the entertaining HP Munro. They talk about fan fiction, HP’s novels, how she started writing, and lots of other lesfic-related stuff. Listen in here. Also from Clare, you can also catch her recent book reading from G-Fest.

Jen Silver has just announced that her second novel, Arc over Time, a sequel to her début, Starting Over will be released by Affinity e-book press in May, 2015. According to a recent blog post, the novel will focus “mainly on the developing relationship between the archaeologist, Dr Kathryn Moss and the journalist, Denise Sullivan— with all the problems inherent in maintaining a long distance relationship”.

Jen promises more about this one in the months to come.

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A bit of a reminder of what’s new and due out in December:

lisforL Is For is the new anthology with an impressive list of UK LesFic authors. It features stories from VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Jade Winters, HP Munro, Andrea Bramhall and many more. All proceeds go to the R U Coming Out charity.

neighbourJade Winters has an erotic short story out, penned with Alexis Bailey and called the Neighbour from Heaven:Some people borrow a cup of sugar, others a cordless hand-drill, but what young lesbian Lucy gets from her sexy neighbour is beyond the realms of probability…and decency!

mountain rescue on the edgeSky Croft‘s Mountain Rescue: On the Edge is also out. A sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, it follows Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber through their personal trials, and trials in the mountains.season's meetings Sky’s also running a GoodReads giveaway for Mountain Rescue: On The Edge. The closing date for entries is December 14th.

And just in time for Christmas, Amy Dunne‘s Season’s Meetings is due out on the 15th December: “Could the festive road trip from hell actually lead to love?

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Finally, don’t miss The Hootenanny over on Women and Words. The massive giveaway of ebooks and paperbacks starts on Friday and includes books by Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Clare Ashton, Lesley Davis, Jody Klaire and RJ Samuel as well as lots of other lesfic authors from across the pond and every other direction. Here’s the lineup so you can get ready.
hootenanny2014

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That’s all folks!

What Exactly is Christmas? Guest Blog From Amy Dunne

1 Dec

It’s the first day of Advent, so deck the halls and all that! To help us celebrate this most festive of festivals, we have a guest blog from Amy Dunne, whose Christmas-themed novel Season’s Meetings is out this very month. Falalalalalalalalah.

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What exactly is Christmas?

Amy DunneIt’s that time of year again. The weather outside is cold and the nights grow dark so quickly. The branches on the trees are bare and the glittery frost dusts everything in its path. Plenty of cosy nights snuggled inside with raging fires to toast our toes. The yearly prediction that this will be the UK’s worst winter since the beginning of time. It’s December. In just a few weeks, people will celebrate Christmas Day. Children will be bordering on hysteria, parents will be trying to survive the manic shopping expeditions, we’ll all buy far too much food and drink, and the festivities will begin.

I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I always have been. I always will be. I love the festivities. I can’t wait to see the expressions on my family and friend’s faces when they open the gifts I’ve chosen, and Lou’s taken time to painstakingly wrap to perfection. Lou and I are festive fanatics. From October, we count down until December 1st and then decorate our home, our fur-babies, and ourselves with Christmas paraphernalia.
season's meetings
I’m extra excited this year because my second novel, Season’s Meetings, is being released in December by Bold Strokes Books. It’s a fun, festive romance set in the Highlands of Scotland. I came up with the story and characters last October and started writing the story near the end of November. This time last year I had written only three chapters. Now I’m staring at the beautiful cover and skimming with delight through the pages of the actual book. It feels somewhat surreal—but not quite as surreal as it felt doing the edits and reading about snow and blizzards in the middle of August. The cover and story star our very own little cairn terrier, Kimmy. She was actually only added to the story last December. Inspiration struck after she (and her feline brother and sister) systematically destroyed the Christmas tree that Lou and I had slaved over for hours. She used a forty-minute window of unsupervised opportunity to break through the doggy-proof gate that we’d put in place—we still don’t know how she did it. After we got over the initial frustration, we could (eventually) laugh about it, and I realised Kimmy and her mischievousness should be added into the story.

As the time for Christmas music, decorating, shopping, and general festivity is fast approaching, I decided it was time to sit our fur-babies down and have the talk. I was adamant that I would succeed in explaining to them what Christmas is, in the vague hope they may refrain from sabotaging it and our tree this year. I must admit, at the start of this process I was enthusiastic, but by the end I’d lost all hope. I know they have smaller brains and all, but jeez! I personally think they had no intention of participating. They were only there for the treats that I’d bribed them with. Anyway, here’s the transcript:

Amy: “Thank you so much for agreeing to do this. I really think you’ll appreciate everything so much more once you’ve learned what Christmas is.”
Alice: “Is it food?”
Harley: “Let’s get one thing straight. I’m only here for the treats, woman. Hand them over, or me and my fluffy behind are out of here.”
Kimmy: “This is completely pointless, Mummy Amy. Christmas is about me.”

2 minutes later…

Kimmy 2

Kimmy

Amy: “There you go. You’ve all had your treats. Now it’s time to listen. Okay. So, I’m not actually sure how to start. Perhaps I didn’t think this through enough. Well, anyway, let’s begin with something simple. You know how every year we bring a tree into the house and decorate it with shiny baubles, decorations, and tinsel—”
Alice: “What’s a year? Is it food?”
Harley: “It doesn’t happen every year.”
Amy: “Alice, you can’t eat a year. It’s time. And it does happen every year, Harley. Christmas happens every December.”
Harley: “How many Christmases have I had to put up with?”
Amy: “We’re kind of moving off point here, guys. Harley, you’ve had six Christmases because you’re six years old.”
Kimmy: “Have I had six Christmases?”
Amy: “No, Kimmy. You’ve had two. This will be your third.”
Kimmy: “You had Christmases without me? How could you do that? I feel so unloved.”
Harley: “I’m actually forty-two years old in cat years. So if they happen every year, I’d have had forty-two of them.”
Alice: …
Kimmy: [blatantly sulking]…
Amy: “Let’s forget about the whole time thing. Kimmy, those Christmases happened before you were born.”
Kimmy: “So it’s my fault now? I don’t believe it. Not only do you break my little heart, you’re actually blaming me.”
Alice: “How do you know I can’t eat time?”
Amy: “I’m not blaming you, Kimmy. And Alice you can’t eat time because it’s not a physical thing.”
Alice: “Can I try?”
Amy: “No.”
Harley: “So you were referring to human years?”
Amy: “Yes.”
Harley: “Well, that’s a bit rude.”
Amy: “Why is it rude?”
Harley: “Because the three of us don’t use human years. We use cat years, or in her case [glares at Kimmy] dog years. You should know your audience and do proper research.”
Kimmy: “What do you mean by dog years?”
Alice: “Can I eat audience? It sounds tasty.”
Amy: “I need a drink.”

The Tree Before...

The Tree Before…

5 minutes and one alcoholic beverage later…

Amy: “This really isn’t going how I envisioned it. Forget about years, cat, dog, or otherwise. Let’s move on. Can any of you remember the tree we have? It’s the one you destroyed last year. It’s big and green.”
Kimmy: “What’s green?”
Amy: “Sorry, Kimmy. I forgot you’re colour blind. Don’t worry about it.”
Kimmy: “Don’t worry? How can you say that? What do you mean I’m blind? When were you going to tell me? Everything’s getting dark.”
Amy: “No, it’s not.”
Kimmy: “It is! It’s so dark. Where am I?”
Harley: “I remember the tree.”
Alice: “If I’ve eaten some of it, maybe I remember. I think it tasted funny.”
Harley: “It’s not even a real tree.”
Kimmy: “I can’t see! Where have you gone? What will my life become? I’ll never get to see my pretty face again.”
Amy: “Kimmy, open your eyes and you’ll see just fine. Yes, the plastic tree we had in the house.”
Kimmy: “My special play tree? Yes, I remember it. It’s my favourite toy but you took it away from me.”
Amy: “It’s not just yours, Kimmy. It belongs to all of us. We only have it up in December—”
Alice: “Can I eat December?”
Kimmy: “Nope. It’s definitely mine. I marked it.”
Amy: “What do you mean marked it?”
Kimmy: “Do you really need me to explain?”
Amy: “You didn’t—”
Kimmy: “I did my business. That’s why it’s mine. I mark everything that’s mine. Don’t bother looking at me like that, I can’t see you because I’m blind.”
Amy: “For all that’s good in the world, please, please, give me strength.”

5 minutes later…

After

The Tree After…

Amy: “Okay, so we’ve established that the tree isn’t food. Right, Alice?”
Alice: “…”
Amy: “It isn’t a plaything or a toilet either. It’s just supposed to look nice. That’s why we put ornaments on it.”
Harley: “Why?”
Amy: “Why what?”
Harley: “Why do you bring a not-real tree into the house when there are lots of real trees that look better outside? And why do you put cat toys on it and then get annoyed when we play with them?”
Amy: “They’re not cat toys. They’re ornaments. It’s tradition—”
Alice: “Can I eat tra—”
Amy: “No, Alice. Kimmy, are you still sulking?”
Kimmy: “First you admit to having Christmases without me, then you blame me for it, then you tell me I’m blind, and now you say my tree isn’t mine.”
Amy: “I’ll take that as a yes then. Let’s move on from the tree. Just, please, promise not to touch, eat, play, or mark it this year. Okay?”
Harley: “What’s it worth?”
Alice: “Just a little nibble?”
Kimmy: “It’s my tree. I can do what I want with it.”

4 minutes and another alcoholic beverage later…

Harley

Harley

Amy: “So, Santa Claus brings all of the good boys and girls presents while everyone is asleep. It’s magical. He watches over every child and has a list of whether they’re good or bad. And then on Christmas morning they get to open their presents.”
Harley: “Define good?”
Alice: “He has claws? Is he related to us?”
Amy: “No, that’s his name. He’s human—I think.”
Harley: “Santa sounds like a creepy guy.”
Amy: “He’s not creepy. He’s a nice guy.”
Harley: “If it makes you sleep better at night, you tell yourself that.”
Kimmy: “So, I get presents off Santa for being a good girl?”
Amy: “Well, no. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “Why do you all keep saying that? I’m not a dog. And you always tell me I’m a good girl.”
Amy: “Yes, but that’s just a phrase. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “I’m not a dog.”
Amy: “Kimmy, we’ve been through this way too many times. You’re a dog.”
Kimmy: “So, I’m not a good girl then? What about a star? You said I was going to be a famous star because of agreeing to be in your book.”
Amy: “It’s not meant to be taken literally.”
Kimmy: “I’m living in a den of lies.”
Harley: “So we don’t get presents from this Santa guy?”
Amy: “No. But mummy Lou and I always get you presents.”
Harley: “Maybe Santa would choose better presents.”
Amy: “Harley, you’ve got to be grateful for all of your presents. It’s the thought that counts.”
Harley: “Hypocrite!”
Amy: “What do you—”
Harley: “You’ve never been grateful for the presents we’ve given you. Every single mouse, bird, and frog we’ve presented for you, you’ve either ungratefully thrown away or let loose again. The screaming, crying, and slamming of the door doesn’t seem very grateful to me. Where’s the thought then? Huh?”
Amy: “I appreciate what you’re saying. In the past I’ve handled your presents badly. I’m sorry. But Christmas isn’t about the mindless murder of innocent animals. Okay?”
Harley: “Oh really? What about all of the turkeys?”
Amy: “…”

6 minutes later…

Alice

Alice

Amy: “So, then baby Jesus was born in a stable. A little while later the star led the three wise men to visit him. That’s where Christmas comes from. Simple, eh?”
Kimmy: “Mentioning a star at this point is just cruel.”
Harley: “You seriously believe this?”
Amy: “Well, some people do and some don’t. Historically there’s proof it happened, but the religious side of it is always full of contention.”
Harley: “Humans are so weird.”
Alice: “I’m hungry.”
Kimmy: “I’m going to go live at grandma’s house. She appreciates that I’m a good girl and a star.”

2 minutes later…

Amy: “And then we wear our jumpers, and you wear your cute festive outfits.”
Kimmy: “I’m too upset to think about outfits right now.”
Amy: “But, Kimmy, you look so beautiful in them.”
Kimmy: “I know I do. But with being blind and not a star, I can’t make any promises.”
Amy: “Harley and Alice? You guys always wear them.”
Harley: “If you ever try to put me in one of those monstrosities again, I will cut you. You’ve been warned.”
Alice: “I’m with him on this one. They taste awful.”
Amy: “Sod it! I give up.”

So, that’s it. I accepted defeat. At least with children there’s the subtle threat of Santa’s naughty list to help with coercion. It turns out cats and our dogs don’t want to grasp what Christmas is. If it’s not entirely about them, or can’t be eaten, or played with, they’re just not bothered.

I hope you all have a safe winter, filled with love, laughter, and good health. And if you do celebrate Christmas, have a fabulous time.

~ ~ ~

Cheers, Amy!

~ ~ ~

959850

Amy was raised in Derbyshire, England. She attended Keele University and graduated in 2007 with a BSc in Philosophy and Psychology. After graduating she worked for a while with vulnerable young people. She is currently concentrating on her writing. She is married to her beautiful wife, Lou. They share a love of Dolly Parton, have two gorgeous cats, and a very mischievous little dog.

Contact Info:

Twitter: @giftofthegaborg

Website/Blog: authoramydunne.wordpress.com

Facebook: facebook.com/amy.dunne.165

E-mail: authoramydunne @ hotmail.com

News roundup: award shortlists, interviews, new releases and something for the weekend

10 Oct

The eagle-eyed and elephant-brained among you may have noticed and retained that UKLesFic slept through last week’s news. Don’t worry, it was a planned lie-in, as we intend to bring you the news fortnightly in future. UK authors are a much busier bunch than we ever anticipated so we’re going to a slightly cut-down version of the news every two weeks. We’ll still be covering everything from Booker prize winners to the latest debut publications, but we’ll leave out, for example, reviews of novels that have already been covered well.

In that vein, here is the news:

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rainbowawardsfinalistUK authors have been putting in a good appearance in the Rainbow Awards. In the run-up to announcing the finalists, honourable mentions were made about books that received 36 or more out of 40 points from at least one judge, and for the Brits that included: Clean Slate and Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall, Tumbledown by Cari Hunter, Secret Lies by Amy Dunne, That Certain Something by Clare Ashton and the anthology When The Clock Strikes Thirteen which includes a short story by LT Smith.

The list of finalists was published on Sunday and UKLesFic were especially pleased to see that it included the following books.

In the Lesbian Romantic Comedy category: Playing My Love by Angela Peach and That Certain Something by Clare Ashton

Lesbian Sci-Fi / Futuristic & Fantasy: The Empath by Jody Klaire

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller: Tumbledown by Cari Hunter

LGBT Anthology / Collection: When the Clock Strikes Thirteen featuring a short story by L.T. Smith

Lesbian Contemporary Romance: Clean Slate by Andrea Bramhall, Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall and See Right Through Me by L.T. Smith

The winners of the awards will be announced on December 8th, and you can find the full list of finalists and read what the judges had to say about the Honourable Mentions at this link.

As well as the judged entries there is also a cover contest which is open to a public vote.
theempath_lglondon callingthat certain somethingtumbledownforblogBooks from four UK authors have made it through to the final round of voting and are: The Empath by Jody Klaire, London Calling by Clare Lydon, That Certain Something by Clare Ashton and Tumbledown by Cari Hunter.

You can vote for your favourites here – you need to vote for at least three for your vote to count, but you can vote for more if the fancy takes you! Voting closes 18th October.

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planetlondonVoting is now open for the Ultimate Planet Awards. These awards were launched last year and were designed to recognise the lesbian, bisexual and queer women in the community who contribute the thriving social scene. They have two categories for authors this year and these are the excellent shortlists together with reasons for the nominations:

Author of the year:

Catherine Hall – “for her new book The Repercussions which is unputdownable”
Kiki Archer – “Kiki Archer is a young and vibrant author appealing to a young and vibrant reader. There is also much warmth and humour in her novels.”
Sarah Waters – “At the top of her game. Just when you think she can’t get any better she brings out a new book to blow your mind”
Stella Duffy – “Intelligent, warm lady with a charm to match. Her books are something else”
VG Lee – “She delivers all emotions and gives an insight into her own world. She just draws you in and compels you to read. A truly talented writer.”

Debut author of the year:

Clare Lydon – “Clare has come into the charts with a brilliantly exciting novel, one of which you won’t want to leave until the final word and full stop.”
Karen Campbell – “Karen is new on the lesbian author scene and deserves to have her work recognised for the talent that she demonstrates.”
Robin Talley – “Interestingly written & beautifully captivating.”
Sarah Westwood – “The Rubbish Lesbian continues to bring it. Every time.”
VA Fearon – “writing hard hitting fiction with lesbians central to her story. The book is tight, well paced and she captures an underworld with a sharp eye, yet also some humour.”

Go and vote for your favourite authors! Here’s the link.

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Interviews

330x235valmcdermidA couple of nice interviews for you now. Val McDermid was interviewed on The Big Thrill.  It’s a long and interesting interview and covers inspiration for The Skeleton Road, her Scottish background, crime novels and her time at university at Oxford:

“…I went to St. Hilda’s when I had just turned seventeen. I was the first person from a Scottish state school they’d ever accepted. And for me, it was a huge culture shock. Fife is quite a parochial place. For a long time it was quite cut off from the rest of Scotland, until we got the road bridges fifty years ago, and so it was quite inward looking, and to go from somewhere like that to Oxford was quite a shock. For a start, nobody could understand a word I said, because I had a very thick Fife accent, and they still use a lot of dialect words in Fife. They also talk with a fast kind of speak, a fast kind of tempo.

So first, I had to learn to speak English!

You can read the interview in full here or listen to it here.

catherine hallThere is also an excellent interview with Catherine Hall in the Polari Magazine. With the publication of her latest novel The Repercussions, it delves into her fascination of writing about war,  partly inspired by her time making documentaries about developing countries and her work in an international peace building organisation:

In 2003 I took a trip to Rwanda and the Congo with a photographer to talk to people involved in those terrible conflicts … I was profoundly affected by that trip. For months I felt a sense of nausea, and had terrible nightmares. The photographer I was with had been there last just after the genocide and she was still traumatised. I began to wonder what it must be like for a war photographer, who sees more wars, and even more close up, than most soldiers. And that was where the idea for Jo, my war photographer in The Repercussions, came from.

She also talks about her writing process, on being categorised as a lesbian writer and the importance of reflecting queer life in contemporary fiction for both queer and non-queer readers. The full interview is here.


Reviews and blogs

the repercussionsStaying with Catherine Hall for a moment, you can catch a review of The Repercussions over on Shiny New Books:

The Repercussions cleverly intertwines the lives of two women through its narrative structure. What seem on the outside like two disparate stories from different time periods are shown to have a thematic relationship to one another… Despite all the horror that both Elizabeth and Jo witness in the book, there are beautiful moments of great joy and humour. The novel shows that, even though people may be hampered by tremendous grief and trauma, there is a chance for happiness if you are brave enough to grab it.

Still Life by LT Smith was reviewed by Terry Baker:

stilllifeThis is obviously a romance and the story follows the tried, tested and successful girl meets girl, girl loses girl and gets girl again formula. It’s the journey the characters take in this book that sets it so far apart from a lot of similar romance books. Set in the art world, there is a mix of love, angst, and a wonderful laugh out loud humor throughout. The fact that Jess and Diana are flawed women and each have unhappy pasts adds into the intrigue. The push and pull of will they won’t they get together, will they won’t they stay together, will Jess get her act together is what kept me feverishly turning the pages through to the end.

BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne has a guest post on Queer Romance Month. She talks about her background, her personal experiences of the good queer fiction can do and why she writes it now:

Reading books can be an enjoyable pastime, but it can also offer a different perspective, support, guidance, and encouragement to those who desperately need it. Stories and characters can give hope in an otherwise bleak and lonely world. I truly do believe that queer fiction can save lives. It helped me and the many readers that I’ve been fortunate to hear from.

You can read the full piece here.

New and future releases:

notsuchastrangerDalia Craig‘s latest romance, Not Such a Stranger, is out now. Here’s the blurb for her Whitby-set romance:

Two women, a lovely old house, and an ancient family feud, come together in this lesbian romance set in and around the picturesque seaside town of Whitby, North Yorkshire.

When Jaime Fyre inherits Rykesby from her uncle, James, the unexpected bequest proves increasingly problematic. The sudden arrival of Kimberly Marshall, who lays claim to the property, adds to Jaime’s troubles. Why is Kimberly so convinced Jaime is both a liar and a cheat?

The mystery deepens when Jaime finds a photograph of her mother amongst her uncle’s possessions. Why is it there? Did her mother and her uncle have a relationship? Jaime’s search for answers draws a blank. With nobody left to ask, the list of unanswered questions grows, matching the tension between Kimberly and Jaime.

As Jaime’s future happiness, and her relationship with Kimberly, hang in the balance will what Jaime discovers behind a locked door in the library help or hinder her quest for truth and reconciliation?

enthralledNiamh Murphy will be rolling out her new story on Wattpad first – she’ll be posting a new chapter every week until Halloween. The blurb’s below and here’s the link to more details for Wattpad.

Enthralled follows Stella, a huntress with only one mission: to kill. But one night she has decided to take on a Vampire hive completely alone and it seems she has an ulterior motive.

199stepstolovePauline George has revealed the cover and blurb for her next release. 199 Steps to Love should be out Jan 2015:

At 61, Lucy finds herself divorced and decides to go on holiday to Whitby. There she meets the gallery owner, a woman named Jamie, who she is drawn to in ways she can’t yet understand.

Jamie is also drawn to Lucy, despite the advice of her best friend against lusting after a straight woman.

But just as they come together, Lucy leaves without explanation, not only putting a physical distance between them, but an emotional one as well.

Can they overcome the distances and find each other? Or is it more than just the miles that’s keeping them apart?

Finally, don’t miss:

Jade Winter’s book giveaway for Second Thoughts. Closes midnight tonight. Details on her Facebook page.

Kerry Hudson‘s short story on Radio 4 this Sunday at 7.45 pm. Grown on This Beach is taken from the Out There anthology and is “a touching and poetic story about a woman talking through her past relationships with her new found love.”

LT Smith taking part in a Spot-on Romance weekend in the online discussion group the Virtual Living Room. Click here to join.

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Until next fortnight… ta ra!

News Roundup: Ali Smith, Stella Duffy & Val McDermid hit the airwaves, New Anthologies from R.J. Samuel, Rebecca S. Buck, & Maureen Duffy. Interviews, Reviews, and More!

26 Sep

So, in the week that Scotland decided to vote nay to independence, what have our authors in this most United of Kingdoms been getting up to?

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alismithFirstly, congratulations to Ali Smith, whose novel How To Be Both has been short listed for the Man Booker Prize. You can hear her talking about the novel on this episode of Radio 4’s Open Book, an episode that also features Stella Duffy looking back at twenty years or writing, and discussing her new anthology of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined (the blurb is available on our New Releases page.)

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330x235valmcdermidVal McDermid might be a little unhappy with the way the referendum went, but she has also been busy chatting on the airwaves. In this recent interview on Radio 4’s Saturday Live show, she talks about “her passion for football, her musical aspirations and where she finds inspiration for her novels.” If you’re wondering, she’s an avid Raith Rovers fan…

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Amy_Dunne_lgIf you’re anywhere near Nottingham this Sunday, Bold Strokes YA author Amy Dunne will be appearing at the inaugural night of a new women’s only entertainment event, Womyn’s World. Amy will be in the Green Room at the Nottingham Arts Theatre from 6.30 p.m. to talk about her début novel, Secret Lies, future projects, and to take part in a Q&A. The full program can be found at the link, with further events planned for the last Sunday in each month.

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the alleywayThe last few days have seen the publication of new short story anthologies from Rebecca S. Buck and R.J. Samuel. Rebecca’s “prison tales across time” e-book release A Queer Kind of Justice is available from the Bold Strokes website, or Amazon. Meanwhile, R.J. has published The Alleyway and Other Short Stories under her full name, Rejini Samuel.  The collection isn’t LesFic, but we thought you might be interested in hearing about it anyway. This is what R.J had to say about the anthology:

Nervous and excited as I’m going to be publishing this collection of very short stories on Amazon tomorrow. Doing it under my real name as I wrote most of them a few years ago and some of the stories were shortlisted in competitions under my name. They’re also quite a bit darker than my novels. They feature a variety of main characters and no real ‘happy ending’, more like ‘no real ending’…but I hope they leave the reader thinking…

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Killing For Keeps RHB V3 copyKilling for Keeps, the fifth novel in Mari Hannah‘s award-winning Kate Daniels series now has itself a cover. The book is due for publication on December 4th, and its blurb goes like this:

Two brothers from the same criminal family die within hours of each other, five miles apart, one on the edge of a Newcastle industrial estate, the other in a busy A & E department of a local hospital, unseen by the triage team. Both victims have suffered horrific injuries. Who wanted them dead? Will they kill again? Investigating these brutal and bloody killings leads DCI Kate Daniels to break some rules, putting her career as well as her life on the line.

As the body count rises in the worst torture case Northumbria Police has ever seen, the focus of the enquiry switches, first to Glasgow and then to Europe ending in a confrontation with a dangerous offender hell-bent on revenge.

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paper wingsMaureen Duffy‘s new collection of love poems, Paper Wings, has been turned into “wonderful and varied images by the artist Liz Matthews” in a free exhibition which has just opened at Enitharmon Press, 21 Bury Street, Bloomsbury, London. The exhibition is open 10-6, Monday to Saturday, and closes 17 October.

From Maureen’s FB page: There’s also a beautiful (but affordable) artist’s book version of the entire exhibition – and Paper Wings is also available as a DVD, with Maureen reading the poems aloud in the background as the images appear, page by page, on screen.

You can find more information about the exhibition at the above link.

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stilllifeIt’s hard to resist this introduction to L.T. Smith‘s latest blog entry, extolling the virtues of a new audio file she has posted:

Maybe you want to protect your hearing. Maybe you have had enough of screeching Northerners to last you a lifetime – thanks to Coronation Street and/or Emmerdale – and would prefer to skip this small audio clip I have made. The decision is completely yours and the onus is definitely on you.

If that’s tickled your fancy, and you want to listen to L.T. – whose voice has apparently been extra-butched up thanks to a cold – reading a chapter from her latest novel, Still Life, then head here to her blog, where you’ll find the YouTube link.

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catherine hallCatherine Hall has been answering 10 lovely, varied questions over at the Alma Books website. If you want to know what three books she’d save from a house fire, or which period of history she’d most liked to have live through, then click the link.

Catherine’s new novel, The Repercussions has also been reviewed over at the Elysion website:

She manages to evoke the horror and confusion of World War One and twin it with current day experience, laying bare the personal cost of conflict. In amongst the often harrowing settings, the book blossoms hope through its tales of love and longing which expertly manage to keep humanity as the core theme and lend a softness and compassion to the whole book.

…It’s a lovely and touching novel; not always comfortable reading, but somehow sad and optimistic at the same time – a perfect read for an autumnal night.

You can read the full text of the review here.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Finally this week, I know we’ve had a lot of Sarah Waters stuff to highlight of late, but this interview with the Salon website is probably one of the best that’s come out of her publicity tour for The Paying Guests. It’s a fun, in-depth, and candid chat with Laura Miller, who obviously knows Waters’ novels backwards:

There’s a maturity in being able to write novels about lesbian relationships and not feeling obliged to depict them as this perfect bond that society is unjustly crushing.

I’m also conscious that being able to write about lesbians is a luxury of living in my own society, one that’s fairly relaxed about gay lives. Plenty of other parts of the world wouldn’t have that luxury. I remember when “The Night Watch” was published in Russia, they sent me a review and translated it for me and it said something like, “This novel gives us a fascinating glimpse of the tragic lives of these poor …”

“These poor, poor, tragic lesbians!”

Go read it at the link.

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And that brings us to the end of another romp through the LesFic news. Have a splendid weekend!