Tag Archives: Bold Strokes Book Festival UK

News roundup: a ton of new summer books, reviews, blogs and Stella Duffy OBE

18 Jun

Summer is very nearly here so it’s time to stock up on books for the beach or indoors out of the rain!

Luckily there are lots of new releases this week just in time for summer and first up is Clare Lydon’s new romance, Nothing to Lose:

nothing to loseNobody would ever describe Scarlet Williams as a ray of sunshine, but that doesn’t mean she deserves the flood that wipes out her basement flat, making her temporarily homeless.

Enter Joy Hudson, local mayor & sunshine specialist, who opens her house to flood refugees and ends up with Scarlet on her doorstep. Two more opposing characters you couldn’t fail to meet, and yet, somehow, they strike up a friendship. But when the rain stops and the sun comes out, could that friendship blossom into something more?

You can also hear Clare reading from Nothing to Lose in a video available from her Facebook page here.

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Gill McKnight also has a new romance available from the Ylva website and also on Amazon from the end of June. Here’s the blurb for Welcome to the Wallops:

Welcome to the Wallops.1The villages of High Wallop and Lesser Wallop have graced either end of the Wallop valley since medieval times. And competition between the two has never ceased since, especially over the famous Cheese and Beer festival.

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

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

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

Gill was also interviewed at Steampunk Cafe where she shared her thoughts on her previous novel, The Tea Machine, and other oddments about herself:

I live on a Greek island. I’ve been a published writer for ten years. I found an abandoned seven week old puppy and kept him and he is now the love of my life. He’s called Wally and he has the biggest ears in the world…oh, and green eyes and a ginger nose.

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It’s been a long time coming for those of you who’ve been eagerly awaiting Jane Fletcher’s new book, but it’s here:

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

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

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

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saving graceNot out yet, but another author who’s been quiet of late is showing good signs of activity. HP Munro has revealed the cover for Saving Grace, the sequel to Grace Falls. No blurb or release date yet but we’ll be keeping an eye out.

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On to reviews and the Velvet Lounger has been back busily reviewing UK books.

She reviewed Jen Silver’s The Circle Dance  – “a classic British romance.” She also says:

circle_finalThis is a ‘domestic drama’ – an observation of human relations, from the hysterical over re-action of a frightened mother to the tears of a woman re-united with her beloved cat. Ms Silver shows us her characters flaws and foibles, watches them react to everyday situations, and allows some to grow and develop, while others struggle to learn life’s lessons.

Very much in the tradition of British lesfic romances The Circle Dance is a gentle story of real women’s lives. Well done, enjoyable reading and another winner from Jen Silver.

You can read the full review here.

collide o scopeAnd of Andrea Bramhall’s Collide-O-Scope the Velvet Lounger said:

“The whodunit is interesting, with unexpected twists and turns. It develops into a plot that might seem unlikely, but comes across as totally plausible and well thought out.

As always Ms Bramhall’s writing flows, her setting in the coastal village is perfect and the local colour adds a level of depth and veracity to the storyline. She balances plot and character, narrative and description, internal monologue with action and intrigue to make an extremely enjoyable read.”

More here.

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bold books logoThe BSB annual festival in Nottingham two weeks ago was a great success and two new authors have been blogging about the experience. Robyn Nyx writes:

“Saturday morning came, and we were buying giveaways and prizes at 9am in the local mall before heading to Waterstones to set up the event. There was a palpable sense of dread—what if hardly anyone shows up? It’s an annual issue, but we needn’t have worried. Over the two days, we had a combined attendance of 115, and we sold more books than ever before—over twice as many as the previous year, and that was a record!”

You can read the rest of her blog here.

Anna Larner has written up her thoughts on the event and writing. On writing a good romance she notes:

“And, as I have been asked to select my golden rule for a successful romance, it would be this – Writing from the heart, putting into the story what it feels like to long for someone, to fall for someone, the uncertainty, the self-doubt, the tortured agony of it all…”

Read more here.

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TheNightWatchNewWebsite532pxThe Night Watch, adapted from Sarah Waters’ book, has just completed its run at the Royal Exchange. You can watch and listen to Sarah talking about the novel, including her favourite character Kay, and what it was like to hand the novel over for adaptation with complex issues such as the book’s timeline and the atmosphere of war-time London. Here’s the link.

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Congratulations to Stella Duffy, writer, actorStella Duffy who was listed in the Queen’s birthday honours for an OBE.

On her blog she says:

“My mum would have loved this. I wish my folks were alive to see that their girl (no 7 of 7 kids)  didn’t ‘waste her education’ by becoming an artist … my dad didn’t cry when I came out, but he was devastated when I, first of us all to get a uni education, told him I wanted to be an actor not a lawyer or a teacher. (Because – poor.)

The citation says ‘writer and theatremaker’. I love that the palace and the government had to say theatremaker. That’s new(ish) for them. Unusual. We are making new words to tell the truth of what we do.”

And finally, I’ll leave you with the words of Stella Duffy OBE from her blog in the aftermath of Orlando last week:

“And so … we get up again. We rise up again. We fucking phoenix up again in roaring glorious flames of beautiful queerity. Because we can, and we will, and we do. And we do it in memory of those queer campaigners who got us this far, in memory of those killed in Orlando’s hateful attack, and for the sake of those to follow us. Because it’s not fixed yet, and there is so much more to do. Please let’s do this work of inclusion together, we sure as hell can’t do it alone.”

News roundup: new authors, BSB blog tour, new books and romance in Wales

21 May

So it’s getting closer to summer, which means it’s raining outside. But never fear, here’s the UKLesFic news and some reading to curl up with inside.  

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First up, some new authors for you:

A.L. Brooks lives in London and works 9-5 in corporate financial systems. Out of hours she balances the desire for firm abs against the call of red wine and chocolate while writing, cooking, travelling or reading lesfic.

She’s already appeared in Ladylit’s Summer Love anthology last year and her steamy debut novel The Club will be published in July by Ylva (blurb below). You can catch A.L. this summer at Ylva’s Lesvos Lesfic Convention.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksWelcome to The Club—leave your inhibitions and your everyday cares at the door and indulge yourself in an evening of anonymous, no-strings, woman-on-woman action.

For many of the women who visit The Club this is exactly what they are looking for and what they get. For others the emotions run high, and one night of sex can change their lives in ways they couldn’t have imagined. For Lou, her weekly visits to The Club enable her to set aside her shyness and loneliness and feel intimacy, however briefly. For Kath, caring for her mother at home, The Club is a welcome relief from her everyday toil; while Max needs distraction from her troubled relationship, even as she tries to tell herself she isn’t really cheating. Tania and Jacky find an outlet for a tricky block in their sex life. Cassie and Nina, bar staff at The Club, find themselves staying on after hours. And finally, Stephanie, struggling with her sexuality, finds her life changing in so many ways once she plucks up courage to enter.

The lives of these women intersect in ways they don’t realize, and watching over them all is Mandy— the owner, whose own ghosts play a pivotal role in the existence of The Club.

You can find out more on the Ylva website.

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thelastbeginningLauren James has been in contact to give us the heads-up for her YA LGBT novel due out in October. The Last Beginning is a sequel to her mainstream YA romance The Next Together. You can find out more about Lauren on her website and she also runs an LGBT YA review blog on Tumbler.  Here’s the blurb for The Last Beginning:

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives…

But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove’s investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

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Alex Spear is another new author. She was born in London but the lucky thing now lives by the sea and she enjoys juggling several pieces of work at once.  You can find out more about her from her blog, and her novel People Person is out now on Amazon:

Louisa Cannes is trying to juggle her human resources career with looking after her family and keeping her girlfriend interested. Her ethics are repeatedly tested at the difficult job she depends on to pay for her nephew’s life-saving treatment. Cripplingly long hours, an incompetent, lazy line manager and a couple of vindictive rivals don’t exactly help, and she is in danger of burning out. But why does the evil boss, Penelope, seem determined to destroy Louisa one minute then groom her for promotion the next? Can Louisa avoid competing with her best friend, can she still call herself a people person, and who can she really trust in the race to the top?

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royal rebelOn to other news and Jenny Frame has revealed the cover for Royal Rebel due out 2017. Royal Rebel is the second book in the Royal Romance series. Also, a reminder that Jenny’s Heart of the Pack is now available on Amazon.

heart of the packHeart of the Pack has also been reviewed of Alexa Black’s blog:

I seem to keep reading about lesbian werewolves. This is a good thing… [In this novel I] liked the way the werewolves were depicted as good, kind creatures with stable and loving families. I tend to like my monster stories a bit more dark than Heart of the Pack, and I sometimes found the whole thing a little too sweet, but I also really like seeing a softer side to “monsters.” Especially if it still fits with their nature. The Wolfgangs really did feel like a dog pack in many ways, loving, devoted, and tight-knit, and I found that refreshing.

You can read the full review here.

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coffeemornA bit of blogging now and Jen Silver has been writing about writing. She offers you a glimpse of writer’s typical day – i.e. finding every excuse for procrastination in lieu of that blank page:

“Take coffee and breakfast bowl into the living room, sit in chair, glasses on, open iPad. Quick scan of emails and Facebook. Open up newspaper app. Read a few articles that interest me and then look at the weather…endlessly fascinating for anyone living in the British Isles. As we live in the middle of the country, it’s often wrong.”

You can read more here.

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Cold to the TouchBold Strokes have kicked off their annual blog tour which runs up to the weekend of the Nottingham Book Festival. And the first blog comes from Cari Hunter who explains why she loves the Nottingham shindig.

“My online friends are scattered around the world, and I know that I’ll probably never meet most of them in person, which is why it’s always lovely to see readers supporting the UK Bold Strokes event. For that one weekend a year, we actually do get to meet a part of the LesFic community. It’s the perfect opportunity to put faces to names and to say “hello” rather than hit “Like” or comment on a status update. There’s also the off-chance of autographing a book or two, which always makes me feel like a proper author and secretly tickles me pink.”

Catch up with the rest here.

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bestbookCongratulations to Kiki Archer. She recently won the Best LGBTQ Fiction category at the NIE Awards. The National Indie Excellence Awards have been going for 10 years and you can find the full list of this year’s winners here.

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There was a bit of update from Jody Klaire this week on her blog. She’s been quiet of late, but has also been busy writing.

Jody talks about Hindsight (Book 4 of the Above and Beyond Series) and also about the forthcoming Best Maid Plans, the follow up to romcom La Vie en Bleu due out October. Here’s the blurb:

BestMaidPlans_lgLove in France is wonderful. Pippa Saunders has her true love Berne Chamonix nearby and spring is in the air. Nevermind that she and Rebecca don’t have jobs or money, still haven’t finished the house, and Rebecca is pining because Babs keeps disappearing on business trips.

Rebecca is determined to prove she is a worthy match for Babs by impressing her family. To win them around, Pippa announces that they often renovate for one of the most successful businesses in Europe . . . only that business belongs to her ex-fiancé, Doug Fletcher. Oops. As a favor for his glowing reference, Doug wants Pippa to be his best maid at his wedding and renovate his future house. With Rebecca’s happiness in her hands, Pippa agrees, and summer in France becomes summer in a sleepy Welsh village. But as everyone knows, the best made plans with Pippa and friends never quite go as expected.

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DSC_3634Finally, a sneak peek at Clare Ashton‘s new book out this summer. Poppy Jenkins is a romance set in a Mid-Wales summer in countryside as lush as the heroine. Expect humour, angst and a side-order of Bara Brith. You can find chapter 1 here.

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That’s all folks!

News roundup: new books from Clare Lydon and Cherry Potts, BSB and Polari events, and a good natter with Cari Hunter

30 Jan

News comes from the cold-virus reservoir that is the Ashton household this week. There’s a lot of it around I was told, when I was clearly asking for sympathy. Anyway, the more helpful suggested whisky as a relief, so let’s hope this doesn’t go too awry…

New books

AllIWantForValentines_FinalHot off the press is Clare Lydon‘s follow up to her Christmas bestseller All I Want for Christmas. All I Want for Valentine’s is the second book in the series that continues Tori and Holly’s story. And Clare has more novellas planned which follow their story through the year – All I Want for Spring is due out in March.

Here’s the blurb for book two and you can read more about the series here:

Did you read All I Want For Christmas and love it? Great news – Tori & Holly are back, ready to tackle the New Year as a loved-up couple! But what would complete the picture? A cat, of course. But to make that happen, Holly sets Tori a challenge. If she completes it, she’ll get a kitten for Valentine’s Day. But nothing’s ever that easy, now is it?

Step back into the lives of Tori & Holly in this funny, romantic and heart-warming story, the first in a series set to follow the lives of London’s favourite lesbian duo throughout 2016. Clare Lydon’s books are packed with sharp wit and charm, guaranteed to leave you feeling upbeat! Don’t delay – snap up this book today!

The Dowry Blade FRONT Cover finalMeanwhile, Cherry Potts, is also on the verge of publishing her lesbian epic fantasy, The Dowry Blade, a labour of love and an epic task in itself. The book is due out on the 25th February and there are launch events at Lewisham Library (24th February at 6.30 pm), Clapham Books (25th February 7.30 pm) and Beckenham Bookshop (3rd March at 7 pm).

Other launch events are being planned and she’ll be doing a giveaway on Goodreads from 25th February. Here’s the blurb.

Trust anyone, even an enemy…Trust no one, not even a friend

Nine years after the loss of her sister, and near obliteration of her clan, Brede is living unwillingly in the marshes. The sudden ending of a decade long drought, brings with it many changes: rumour has it that the rain was bought at the price of a King’s head, and the sword needed for such a sacrifice is missing. Change comes for Brede with the arrival of Tegan, a wounded mercenary. Brede’s discovery, first of the Dowry Blade and then a stolen horse, sets in train a journey in search of her missing sister and leads to an unexpected role in the Queen’s household, and a powerful lover.

starstruckAlso a quick reminder that Lesley Davis‘ latest, Starstruck, is now available. Lesley has been blogging about her new novel on the Bold Strokes Blog:

What was fun this time around was nearly everyone plays two parts. Cassidy Hayes is an actress so you’re introduced to the character she plays as well as her true self. Aiden Darrow is a writer, someone well used to having one foot in the real world and another in imaginary realms. She also loves the character Cassidy plays on screen and that’s where the idea for my story originated. Can someone very fantasy minded separate the actress from the character she plays? Especially when she is such a fangirl of the show the actress stars in?…Did I mention Cassidy has a stalker?

You can read the rest of the post here.

Blogs and interviews

Cari HClare Lydon’s continuing the Lesbian Book Club and this week she had a good natter with Cari Hunter. Definitely worth catching up with the podcast to hear Cari talk about how she got into this writing lark, how she’s found working on her excellent Dark Peak series, and of course a mention or two about biscuits and a brew is never far away. Here’s the link.

(As part of the interview Clare did ask her how the UK LesFic blog came about, but Cari couldn’t remember. I’d take offence, but I can’t remember either.)

gillmcknightIt’s been Gill McKnight‘s turn on the Ylva blog hop and she’s been ruminating about how she came up with her latest book The Tea Machine:

“The Tea Machine really began with a kernel of a thought, something my history teacher said eons ago that stuck. She was one of those teachers that make the subject they teach come alive. She pointed out that if the Romans had used steam as a source of power, the way, say, the English industrialists had, like George Stephenson (the father of the locomotive steam engine) for example; then we would probably all be living on Mars now

Here’s the full post.

lavieenbleuJust time for a quick review. The Lesbian Reading Room reviewed Jody Klaire‘s romcom La Vie en Bleu.

“La Vie en Bleu is an absolutely lovely read. It is well written, humorous and full of excellent human observation combined with an interesting version of the classic re-united lovers romance. It is very different from the Above and Beyond Series, but like all Ms Klaire’s work is extremely well done.

You can read the full review here.

Events

Some details on forthcoming events now.

bold books logoBold Strokes will be hosting another book festival in Nottingham. The event is in its seventh year and a great opportunity to meet some of the UK Bold Strokes authors (and the odd stray American) and hear about their latest books. The event takes place on the weekend of June 4th-5th and you can find more details as they come available on the Facebook event page.

VGLeePolari-on-sea is back after its successful run in Hastings last year. The next event is on Wednesday February 24th and includes readings from VG Lee – you can book tickets here.

VG is also running the Polari Writing Class at The Printworks in Hastings. It’s a set of six afternoon workshops that coincide with the season’s evening events. Dates and topics are:

Feb 24th – Ways into writing
March 22nd – Characterization.
April 27th – Flash fiction and poetry
May 25th – The short story
June 29th – Memoir and storytelling
July 27th – Ways to take your writing forward.

Attend all the classes or pick and choose. Price is £5 per workshop (or £25 for all six) payable in cash on the day. To reserve a place, email VG at vglee@dircon.co.uk.

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That’s all folks!

News Roundup: New Books from Clare Lydon, Jody Klaire & Jade Winters, New Ylva Author A.E. Radley, Events, Blogs, Giveaways, & More!

4 Jun

Torrential rain and gale force winds? It must be summer in the UK! The manky weather doesn’t seem to be denting the enthusiasm of our authors, though, and there’s a ton of news for me to get through. Also I am typing around a cat, so please bear with me. Now, without further blathering…

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How’s about we start with some new books and a new author?

This-London-Love-CoverClare Lydon has recently revealed the cover and the first two chapters of her (tentatively scheduled for) June release This London Love:

And to get you in the mood, here’s the new cover in all its shiny redness, plus the first two chapters to whet your appetite. This London Love is a spin-off of London Calling, focusing on Jess’s flatmate Kate and her search for her London love. The exact launch date is yet to be decided but I’m hoping for some time in June. Watch this space for more soon, but for now, it’s time to get acquainted with Kate and Meg…

You can read the chapters here or listen to Clare reading from them in her latest Lesbian Book Club podcast.

Clare will also be hosting the literature tent at this year’s Brighton Pride (August 1st). She’s promised us more details on the line up as it’s confirmed, but the main site should be enough to whet your appetite for now…

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Everything-to-LoseSneaking past us in a manner befitting a thriller, and heading straight into the charts, is Jade Winters’ Everything to Lose, the sequel to her first Ashley McCoy novel, A Walk into Darkness. The book is widely available from the usual places, and its blurb reads thusly:

Detective Sergeant Ashley McCoy is about to face her most challenging case yet, when her own brother is accused of the callous murder of a young woman. Though desperate to prove his innocence, Ashley is prevented from investigating the case. Instead, she is sent to solve a strikingly similar murder.
As she struggles with the immense pressures of work, her own personal life starts to implode when her partner abandons her. Just as things can’t seem to get any worse, a past case comes back to haunt her. Sometimes it takes the pain of the past to uncover the mysteries of the present…

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lavieenbleuJody Klaire has revealed the cover for her forthcoming romance La Vie En Bleu. She has also been chatting about the book’s French setting in this blog piece:

I specifically wanted to chat about the area I chose to place the story. Ajoux-Sur-Rhône to be exact and those of you who are used to me will know that, yes, I created a new little town just for Pippa to inhabit with her friends. It is based in a beautiful region. Provence and the Côte D’Azur are some of the most romantic settings in the country.

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selected playsOberon Books have just released a collection of selected plays by Emma Donoghue:

Adapted from her book of thirteen revisionist fairy tales of the same name, this play interweaves four classic plots – Beauty and the Beast, Donkeyskin, the Goose Girl, the Little Mermaid – with an invented one about a desperate girl going to a witch for help. Kissing the Witch finds the gritty in the fantastical, and excavates magic to find what’s really going on.

Synopses for each of the plays can be found at this page of the publisher’s website, with the book available to purchase at the same link.

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INTO-THE-FIRE-largeFinally in the brand new books bit is the chance to win a signed copy of Manda Scott‘s forthcoming dual timeline thriller Into The Fire. Manda has five copies to give away and all you have to do is hop over here and complete the entry form. The draw will take place on Sunday 7th June, 8 p.m., so get your skates on. The book is released June 18th, and there’s loads of information including a preview of the opening chapters on Manda’s website.

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bio-pic_ae-radleyYlva has snapped up a new British signing, with A.E. Radley joining the wolf pack in the last couple of weeks. A.E. Radley is already a popular fan fic author (curvypragmatist at fanfiction.net), and her début novel – Flight SQA016 – will be published in March 2016.

Spurred on by overwhelming and ever-increasing debts, Emily White takes a job working in the first-class cabin on the prestigious commuter route from her home of New York to London with Crown Airlines. A gruelling transatlantic schedule means she is in the air nearly as much as she is on the ground and desperately misses her five-year-old son.

On board she meets Olivia Lewis, who is a literal high-flying business executive with a weekly commute, a meticulous schedule, and terrible social skills.

When a personal emergency brings them together, will Emily be able to swallow her pride and accept help from Olivia? And will Olivia be able to prevent herself from saying the wrong thing?

You can read a little more about A.E. Radley here at the Ylva website.

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too late I love youSummer tends to bring with it a slew of events, and Kiki Archer will be reading at L Fest on the Sunday (July 19th) Polari panel. Click this YouTube link to find out about tickets and – in the words of the irrepressible Ms Archer – “Win at life”. There’s more information on this weekend of lesbian-themed shenanigans over on our Events page.

Sticking with Polari, London’s award-winning LGBT literary salon will be at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival on Saturday June 6th at the St Mary’s Old Church, Stoke Newington, Church Street, N16 9ES, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £5, and V A Fearon will be appearing along with VG Lee, James Maker and Sophia Blackwell. Hit this link for all the necessaries.

And just sneaking in under the deadline is the cover for Kiki’s new book Too Late… I Love You. No blurb as yet, but the book is due out at some point this month, and the cover (designed by Jayne Fereday who also takes the credit for the cover of That Certain Something) is very pretty indeed.

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bsbpanelAlso this weekend (6-7th June) is the UK BSB Fest in Nottingham, which kicks off at 11.00 at the town centre Waterstones bookshop. In preparation for the event, the attending authors have been blogging on the theme of “Change”, with Andrea Bramhall, Crin Claxton, I. Beacham, Rebecca Buck, Jane Fletcher, Amy Dunne, and myself (Cari Hunter) posting entries since our last news roundup. You can read the blogs by clicking the links, and the pertinent info for the weekend’s festivities is on our Events page.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006If all that’s not enough to be getting on with, Sarah Waters will be discussing The Paying Guests at the Guardian Bookclub, which offers a chance to chat about the novel with the author on Monday 8 June 2015, 7pm – 8.30pm at Amnesty International UK , London, EC2A 3EA. Tickets are £15 and you can book them here. Spoiler warning as per the website: this event assumes you’ve read the book!

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jensilverA quick hop around the blogs now, with an opportunity to Meet Jen Silver on Lyn Lawler’s blog. Jen has been chatting about her latest novel Arc Over Time, writing in general, archaeology, and golf, amongst other things!

In terms of writing, I like to get straight into the story. That’s something I might be criticised for. I don’t go in for lengthy descriptions, which is why my books aren’t likely to go over the 200-page mark. Telling a good story is important to me, and I hope that’s what I’ve managed to achieve so far with these two books.

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that certain somethingThe Lesbian Review has picked out its Top 10 Lesbian Covers (that’s book covers, not rehashes of songs!) with Clare Ashton‘s That Certain Something – “a perfect representation of this sweet, light romance”, and Clare Lydon‘s London Calling – “The colours, symmetry and image style show that it is a light chicklit book and the white space gives it a lovely balance” – both finding a spot on the list. Head to the website to see if you agree with the team’s choices.

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Adding a full stop to this mammoth round up are two blogs I’ve posted in relation to the forthcoming release of No Good Reason. The first – a menu and swearing guide – might be a Takeaway Fish and Chipslittle like teaching British readers to suck eggs, but it is full of pretty pictures of delicious food. Then I’ve been discussing the joys and terrors of kicking off a new series in Serial Thriller, which was recently posted on the BSB blog:

For my shift-addled brain, remembering to put knickers on in a morning can be enough of a stretch, so keeping track of continuity details across two novels has required an extensive series bible, timeline, cast list, and the occasional map. As an avid series fan, I know that there’s nothing more annoying than an author who can’t be bothered getting it right, and that there’s always someone out there who will spot an inconsistency.

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And I think the topic of knickers is as good a place as any to draw the proceedings to a close! If you are planning to come to Nottingham this weekend, be sure to say hello – all being well, Tig and I will both be there on the Saturday.

News Roundup: Sarah Waters Hits the Stage, New Romance from KE Payne, Blogs from Jody Klaire, Clare Lydon, Jenny Frame, & Cari Hunter, Angie Peach Heads to GCLS, and Loads More!

9 May

Ahh, the sun is shining between rain showers, the birds are singing, and the Tories have finally stopped ringing me up at inopportune moments. Life is good and the news is absolutely hopping. So without further ado…

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KePayneLet’s start this week with a snippet about a new romance from K.E. Payne, who contacted the blog to let us know she has her seventh novel due out with Bold Strokes in October. The novel’s title is When I Knew You and its blurb goes like this:

When Ash Wells and Nat Braithwaite are thrown together after seventeen years apart, old resentments and passions are rekindled. The days of their heady teenage relationship are long gone – or are they? As they put aside their differences to honour the memory of a friend, Ash and Nat learn that sometimes, to build a future, you have to be willing to let go of the past.

K.E has promised to let us know when she gets the cover for this one sorted, so keep an eye on the news for updates.

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frog musicAwards season is continuing apace, with Emma Donoghue‘s Frog Music and Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests both shortlisted for the Third Annual Bisexual Book Awards. The Bi Writers Association will announce their winners in a ceremony to be held Saturday 30th May, with Waters and Donoghue competing against each other in the Bisexual Fiction category. You can find the full list of nominees here. Good luck to both Brits!

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We’ll stick with Sarah Waters for a moment, as word of a stage adaptation of Tipping the Velvet has sneaked onto the ‘net. Waters’ much-loved début novel is to be adapted for the stage as part of the Lyric Hammersmith‘s new season:

The play opens this autumn, and will run from 18th September to 24th October. This new adaptation of the novel by acclaimed playwright Laura Wade (Posh, Royal Court/West End) has been in the planning for four years. It will be directed by Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica, Almeida/West End).

From October the play will also be running in Edinburgh at the Edinburgh Lyceum, with the final performance scheduled for Saturday 21 November. As ever, more details can be found by hitting the link.

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vgleepolariThe Still Got Manners website has reviewed Polari‘s recent evening at Glasgow’s AyeWrite! festival. The event featured VG Lee: “who kicked things off in riotous style with accounts of her attempts at writing lesbian erotica. The droll sense of humour that runs through her writing is made even more hilarious by her impeccable comedy timing”, and Jackie Kay “with the talent of the true poet, she had audience members wiping away tears one moment with a lyrical tribute to her mother (and a reminder never to dismiss people as simply ‘old’)”. 

You can find the full review at the above link. Upcoming events from Polari feature Karen Campbell and Kerry Hudson. For more details see their schedule here.

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clare lydonSkipping onto blogs now, and Clare Lydon has decided that Book Editing: Not for Wimps in a new post detailing the trials and tribulations of cutting her next novel down to size:

With The Long Weekend, my beta readers brought up the fact I kept using the word ‘arse’, and had all the characters slapping each other’s bums every other scene – so I changed it. In This London Love, my beta readers told me people kept cocking their heads, putting their hands on their hips and turning on their heels every five minutes – all terribly camp and dramatic, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Clare’s third novel, This London Love – “not strictly a sequel” to London Calling – is due out in June, and the full blog entry is at the first link.

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blindtrustJody Klaire has been busy getting ready for the release of two novels. With Blind Trust, the sequel to The Empath, due out in summer, and a new romance La Vie En Bleu also pending, Jody has three blog updates to get people in the mood. You can find a primer for Blind Trust here and a character study on Renee Black from The Empath here. Rounding it all up is Jody discussing writing a romance when she’s better known for thrillers, along with a sneak-peek at the blurb for La Vie En Bleu, a snippet of which reads like this:

My name is Pippa Saunders and I have a BIG secret. You see I am engaged to Prince Charming, AKA Doug Fletcher, (Well unless it’s a golf day,) and my best friend and I, Rebecca (The one with the terrible haircut) live in our pokey little flat and are wonderful underachievers.  My life is pretty simple, I go to work in an office, go out to dinner with the handsome Doug and enjoy girlie DVD nights with Rebecca. It’s how I like it. Simple, uncomplicated and… well… Rebecca says boring…

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a royal romanceOver at the Bold Strokes blog, Jenny Frame, whose début A Royal Romance is out this month, is the feature of a new interview. In an interesting read, Jenny field questions about her influences, writing methods, and inspiration, amongst numerous other topics:

I always wanted to tell a story that was a modern retelling of a fairy tale. So my knight in shining armour and handsome prince is a handsome butch instead, who falls in love not with a suitable princess, but the village girl who protests outside the palace gates…It also gave me the opportunity to write about history and politics, two subjects I love, but still keep at its heart a sweet romance, with a healthy dose of spice.

Read more at this link.

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laddow3Finally in our blog hop I’ve chucked some pretty pictures of the Dark Peak and a shot of some rather gnarly-looking sheep onto my blog as a scene setter for No Good Reason. The snaps were mostly taken during the last year’s worth of hikes and include a few spectacular snowy shots from what turned out to be a good winter for walking. The pics and a bit of Dark Peak history can be found at the link.

And sneaking in just before the deadline, my freebie author copies arrived, which means only one thing: Giveaway! I’ve put two copies of No Good Reason up for grabs, either here at my blog or on my Facebook page. Deadline for comments/likes/discussion of biscuits is whenever I get my arse out of bed after my night shift (officially: noon GMT) on Wednesday 13th May. Best of British to you all.

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playing my loveFor those readers who might be reading this across the pond, or for anyone fond of travelling, Angela Peach will be heading Stateside in July to play at the Golden Crown Literary Society conference. Taking place 22-26 July, the conference is an extravaganza of LesFic, featuring panels, signings, readings and discussions, and culminating in the Goldies award ceremony. Although the schedule is still a work in progress, Angela has confirmed that she will be appearing on one of the panels. Hit the main GCLS site if you fancy making the trip or to have a toot at the finalists for this year’s awards.

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If you’re more of a homebody, Vic Oldham has offered a glimpse of what this year’s Bold Strokes UK Nottingham bash has in store. With 13 BSB authors in attendance, the event promises to be bigger than ever and will include two after-event parties, the chance for prospective authors to pitch their novels, panels, chats, signings, and something called a Mayhem Team. I wish I could shed some light on the latter, but I honestly have no clue. As ever, the weekend will be held at the Waterstones store in the centre of Nottingham and it takes place 5-7th June.

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News Roundup: New books from Bold Strokes, L.T. Smith, & Pauline George. Clare Lydon’s Top 10 of 2014, Jade Winters on Saucy stuff, Events, Interviews & More!

12 Jan

Happy New Year! Yes, we’re back, refreshed and raring to go now that the festive season is over and done with and the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are already in the bloody shops. So stick your feet up, pop a Mini Egg or two, and settle in for the news…

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As befits the start of a year, we have loads of news on forthcoming novels. First up,  a trio of books pending from Bold Strokes Book‘s UK contingent.

a royal romanceLesley Davis recently announced that she has signed the contract for her next book, Starstruck. The author’s eleventh novel (if I’ve counted them correctly) is due for release in 2016.

With her début A Royal Romance due out in May, Jenny Frame isn’t resting on her laurels either. She posted this message over the Christmas period: I’m delighted to announce that I have just signed a contract with Bold Strokes Books for my second book, Heart of the Pack, coming in 2016. It features the Werewolves of Wolfgang County. If that has you intrigued, you can read more about said werewolves right here on Jenny’s blog.

Finally for this BSB hat trick, a tiny teaser from Rebecca S. BuckI just signed a contract for a new novel with BSB! This one is set in the 1920s…

For a sneak peek at the first half of BSB’s 2015 LesFic schedule, head to their newly updated Forthcoming page, which lists releases right through to August 2015. You’ll be able to find more information on new books from Andrea Bramhall, Lesley Davis, Gill McKnight, and me, Cari Hunter.

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199StepstoLoveThe second novel from Pauline George (whose début, Jess, was featured on the blog in February) has been released by Regal Crest. Set in Whitby, 199 Steps to Love has a blurb that reads like this:

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?

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beginningsAlso due out this month is an Ylva reissue of L.T. Smith‘s Beginnings (first published in 2007).

1974. The Osmonds, space hoppers and climbing trees, all grounded in the ultimate belief that life was perfect. Childhood filled with tomorrows and a friendship built to endure anything. Or was it? Lou Turner loves Ashley Richards. Always has and always will. This is Lou’s story…a story spanning thirty years…from the innocence of youth to the bitterness of adulthood…

You can read the full blurb over on our New Releases page, and if that has you minded to read more of L.T.’s work, she posted a short Christmas story over the break. Part One can be found here, and the remaining three parts are linked from her main blog.

Meanwhile, Astrid Ohletz – Ylva’s Publisher in Chief – posted this new year message on their website:

We at Ylva Publishing are really happy to have been able to give some spotlight to amazing authors from other publishing houses and self-publishers in 2014.

You’ll find interviews with Bev Prescott, Barbara Winkes, Carrie Carr, Rebecca Swartz, D Jordan ylvaRedhawk, Liz Bugg, Sarah Ettritch, Andrea Bramhall and Cari Hunter on our blog. We also had a lot of authors from other publishing houses and self-publishers participating in the anthologies we published last year. This list is too long to list here.
We would like to continue this tradition in 2015 as we are lovers of lesbian fiction. So, if you are or know an author who would like to be interviewed by us and get a spotlight on our blog… just contact as at info@ylva-publishing.com and we see if we can fit you in. We have several spots to offer. And watch out for our submission calls in 2015.

Hit the links to read the Brit-themed interviews 🙂

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Also getting into the spirit of new year message is BSB editor, Vic Oldham, who is largely responsible for organising the annual BSB UK Author Fest held in Nottingham each year. It’s never too early to make a note in your diary, and this year’s event will run from June 5-7th, about which Vic had this to say:

We’ll be posting more details as they come along, but this is sure to be the most amazing year yet. We’ve got several new authors joining us, lots of ‘old’ favorites (not that I’m calling anyone old, clearly), and a whole host of new panels and even some writing workshops for those of you aspiring to join the ranks of the published.bold strokes notts

For the full blog and more details, head here.

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Being a thoughtful sort, Clare Lydon decided to close out 2014 with a review of the year on her blog. 2014: Ten Things I Learned details the ups and downs of everything from make-up application, to footy, to reading in public.

Publishing Books Is A Rollercoaster Ride

Writing a book and readying it for self-publication is a lot of hard work – the cover, editing, proofing, formatting & marketing. 2014 was a crash-course in that, and with a little help from my amazing friends as well as huge support from the local, national & international writing and reading communities, I managed it. I look forward to doing it again this year with at least one more book, maybe two.

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Having found her calling behind a microphone, Clare is also reading from her second novel, The Long Weekend, at the Polari Literary Salon, February 23rd at the Royal Festival Hall. Tickets are available here, and more details can be found on our Events page.

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HILD_jacket_closerA snippet of news now from Nicola Griffith about Hild II and III:

Yes, after Hild II there will be Hild III. But there will only be three. The working title of Hild II is Menewood. I have no anticipated completion date. I’ve been travelling way too much to properly get my head back in the writing, as opposed to publicity, game.

Click here for the full post, and that link will allow you to root around for all the updates posted by Nicola during our festive hiatus.

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598px-Sarah_WatersOver at The Hairpin website is an interview with Sarah Waters that we missed while we were busy stuffing our faces with chocolate coins and Christmas pud. Queering the Canon is a fascinating interview that focuses upon “the importance of queer archives, secret lesbian communities of bygone eras, and the queering of Jane Austen classics”.

And for this novel, I sort of knew enough about lesbian history and this period to be confident that I could talk about lesbian communities…I think the crucial thing about this period was, there was the lesbian experience and information about homosexuality, but it very much depended on which circles you moved in. So if you were kind of arty or perhaps well-off, I think you’d have access to the new kinds of knowledge and information that were available. We have much less information, and we always do, about the working-class lesbian life in this period.

The full interview is well worth a read and can be found at the above link.

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neighbourJade Winters might be a prolific writer of LesFic, but – until recently – she’d never popped her erotica-writing cherry. All that changed with the publication of Neighbour From Heaven, a short piece of erotica co-written with Alexis Bailey and released in early December. Jade has been talking about her “first time” writing saucy stuff, in a guest blog that you can read here:

After reading Alexis’s stories I realised how liberating it was to let the characters be free and upfront about their wants and desires. For me, writing erotica, is less about the character’s heart fluttering when they encounter the woman of their dreams. It’s about their natural sexual desires being explored and not being ashamed to admit it.

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Kerry-Hudson-008For any prospective novelists out there, author Kerry Hudson is running writing workshops at City Lights, a project she founded to provide “affordable, high-quality, part-time creative writing courses that develop and reignite passion for the written word”. If that sounds like your idea of fun and you live in or near London, then head to this link for more details, booking information and prices.

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And I think that just about covers it. I hope everyone had a smashing Christmas and saw in 2015 with style (or went to bed at 10.30 p.m., which, y’know, is okay too!) Looking forward to bringing you the best and the brightest in UK LesFic for the coming year 🙂

News roundup: L Fest videos, an awful lot of blogging and an event or two

13 Jun

A quick gambol through the news…

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KikiAndBoobsAnd this just in…oh God, I knew it was coming. The L Fest artist of the week videos have kicked off with the indie author panel who may not appear as you expect… Have a look at this short fun video. Kiki Archer‘s done a typically fab job of making it a lot of fun with an effortlessly cool appearance from Jade Winters. (Ha! Clare Ashton you are totally in it too! – Cari H xx)

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DSC_4067 - CopyAuthors have been busy blogging again. Andrea Bramhall caught the writing process blog hop. She talks about her work in progress The Chameleon – “the story of Amhale Zuma and Imogen Frost; they are multiracial childhood friends in a South Africa driven by fear and separated by hate when children are colour blind and the eyes of the world were watching as Apartheid began to crumble.

It’s nice to see Andrea’s a big planner – far too many of these nonchalant pantsters around.

I have a huge poster sized diagram of a story arc up on the wall in my study.  When I complete my research I outline each chapter–briefly–on a sticky note and put it on the appropriate part of my arc, different coloured depending on who’s point of view the chapter will be written from. OCD, right?”

Be proud of your fastidiousness Andrea. Here’s the full piece.

Andrea’s Nightingale was also reviewed on C-spot reviews this week. Here’s what the Bookgeek had to say of her story of love beyond and despite brutal arranged marriages and abduction.

Andrea Bramhall put out a book which, although it contains a love-story, is difficult to be labelled as a romance. It is in the form a romance-cum-thriller a thought-provoking exploration beyond the curtains the genre of lesbian fiction usually accepts for itself…So let me recommend Nightingale to anyone, lesbian or feminist, who would like to read a thought-provoking, well-written novel about the clash of cultures happening on a daily bases right where we live

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london callingClare Lydon has been blogging over at Women and Words. She talks about the London setting of her best-selling debut London Calling.

The lead characters lived in zone one, based smack in the middle of London Town. They got the tube, they ate in local restaurants, they drank London lager, they lived and breathed the city. Quite a few readers commented that London came across as a lead character in the novel and I loved that description. I wanted to portray a sense of real-life London, of what it’s like to live in the city I’ve called home for the past 15 years.

Clare is spurning the capital for her next book, but don’t worry, she promises she’ll be back in this fascinating city for her third novel. Here’s the full piece.

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BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne, author of the YA novel Secret Lies, has been getting one or two things off her chest. In a  guest post on E. Kristin Anderson’s blog, Amy responds to an accusation that coming out stories are no longer valuable and that young people don’t read:

I can’t fathom how someone could nonchalantly say that young people don’t read nowadays. If that was the case, why is YA fiction so huge?….Coming out stories can be a lifeline in an otherwise bleak and lonely world. They show there is a brighter world beyond the high school years. You’re not alone. Who you are and who you love isn’t wrong or sinful. And above everything else, they show that unconditional acceptance, love, and happiness are definitely possible in the future.

Go Amy! Here’s the full post.

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nicola griffithThe Nicola Griffith goodreads Q&A that we mentioned in last week’s news, is now live. Nicola will be answering a question a day throughout June, and all you need to do to get involved is sign up with goodreads. This is the direct link to the Q&A and Nicola’s answers so far. For those of you who were wondering about a sequel to Hild, Nicola is currently “into it” and its working title is Menewood. In her own words, Nicola has now “drawn the line under banging the Hild drum” and has been considering future blog topics in this post. Comments are welcome at her site.

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val mcdermidNot content with being a best-selling author, and having her work adapted for television, Val McDermid has turned her hand to penning a radio drama. Deadheading – a comic thriller set amongst the plots and sheds of a Lancashire allotment – stars Julie Hesmondhalgh and Miriam Margolyes, in fifteen minute instalments. You can catch up with the aired episodes here (only three days left to run on the first!) and read a short interview with Val discussing the project here:

My favourite line, which I couldn’t shoehorn in, was about an allotment society chairman who held the post for several years and always held the meetings at his substantial house. ‘And do you know, in all those years, he never so much as offered us a cup of tea or a biscuit,’ one outraged committee member said.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderOver on her brand new blog, LT Smith has revealed the origins behind her online pseudonym Fingersmith, and how the Sarah Waters novel pulled her back into loving the written word:

Just reading that first paragraph made me fall in love all over again. It was as if my heart suddenly filled with all the emotion I had locked away for far too long and allowed me accept reading back into my life.

You can read the full piece here.

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VGLeeOn to events and VG Lee has a busy couple of months ahead. You can catch her being interviewed on BBC Sussex and Surrey Radio on Sunday 29th June at 5 – 6 p.m. as a guest on Rosie Wilby’s Sunday Night Live. Then she’ll be moving swiftly on to a Laughing Cows comedy night in London – more detail here. And then she’ll be running two workshops up at L Fest: A Leap of Faith – creating believable characters and a credible narrative and Fast and Furious – perfection in a few hundred words or less. There are more details on the L Fest workshops here. She’ll be back down south for a charity cabaret fundraiser for Pride in Brighton at the end of July – full details here.

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Finally for those of you who missed last weekend’s Bold Strokes Festival, you can catch the author readings and some very entertaining panels  on Youtube.

The event was also covered in the Nottingham Post.  The article has a picture of the authors looking very serious and writerly. But it also looked like this:

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You can find more photos of the event on our Facebook page here, including the UKLesFic eds attempting a Charlie’s Angels pose…seemed like a good idea at the time.

Ta ra!