Tag Archives: Cari Hunter

All’s Well That Ends Well…

27 May

For the past four years, Tig and I have had a blast creating this blog and this community of readers and UK authors. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege, and we owe a lot to the authors who’ve contributed, offered freebies, written blogs, and kept us up to date with their news and releases. To finish things off with a bang rather than a whimper, we corralled a few folks to answer one simple question:

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

This is what they had to say…

Manda Scott

My hope for the future of lesbian fiction is that it remains vibrant, inspiring and above all, literate – that we continue to write stories that are not confined to the ghetto, but that spread to the wider world. At this time of global chaos, with the collapse of eco-systems and the 6th extinction happening all around us, and yet, with LGBTQ rights under threat in ways we thought were long gone, we need a resilient, informed, emotionally intelligent response that helps people to understand at a core level that we have more in common than that which divides us. The best of lesbian fiction has always offered that. My hope is that it will continue to do so.

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Manda Scott’s novels have been short listed for an Orange Prize, nominated for an Edgar Award and translated into over twenty languages. She was a long term columnist for the Glasgow Herald, is a reviewer for the Independent and has contributed to the Telegraph, Times, Daily Express and BBC History Magazine. She has appeared on Time Team as an expert on the Boudican era and contributed to Radios 4 & 5. Her most recent release is Into The Fire, a dual timeline mystery set in 2014 and 1429.

VG Lee

VGLeeOutside of the lesbian book-reading community, I feel that lesbian fiction – with a few notable exceptions – isn’t highly regarded.  For a change to take place, our authors may need to widen the scope of their work. I’ve said this before, but the number of respected mainstream lesbian authors can be counted on the fingers of our hands and this list hasn’t altered very much in years! I’m glad that there are many younger authors coming up, some I very much admire, so I do believe that the situation is going to get better.

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VG Lee is the critically acclaimed author of five novels: The Comedienne, The Woman in Beige, Diary of a Provincial Lesbian, Always you, Edina, and her latest release Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire. In 2012 VG Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing and in 2014 she won The Ultimate Planet award for Best Established Author. In her sixtieth year she decided to become a stand-up comedian and is now a regular performer at Laughing Cows comedy nights in London and the Midlands.

Jody Klaire

I’m really blessed that UK Lesfic was around when I started publishing books. Being an author is a wonderful career but it’s a really tough to establish yourself in a busy marketplace and having you guys supporting and cheering made a real difference. It’s been fantastic from my point of view to watch your own efforts, hard work and talent get more and more recognition. I’ve been cheering you guys too.

I think it’s important that, like a wonderful friend wanted, the bar is raised and continues to be raised. If we are respected for the polished prose, story-telling ability and high-quality of our work then our authors will be in a better position to reach, entertain and promote understanding in readers. I’d like to see more family friendly fiction with an emphasis on showing a positive, uplifting message that you can be sassy and classy. It’s important that message is clear. Self-respect is something I feel passionate about. I’d like any reader to be able to pick up my work and feel that they are unique and deserve respect whoever they are. The community is blessed with a perspective of what intolerance feels like and why it’s all that more important that to understand the right to be happy and loved should be universal.

Men’s strengths are often displayed in fiction but everyone seems to miss that women are incredible. We step up when needed; we run homes, work long hours, raise children (or furries,) seek to help others, feel compassion for others, take on so many different roles at once yet, usually, without complaint or hesitation. No, we roll up our sleeves and get on with making a difference every day. I try very hard to show that strength in my characters. I try to show just how beautiful we are as human beings inside and out. I hope it shows: Sassy but classy, intelligent and kind, compassionate yet strong and we should demand high-quality fiction that gives us the respect we deserve.

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Jody has been everything from a serving police officer, to recording artist/composer and musician until finding her home in writing. She lives in sunny South Wales in the UK with a ‘lively’ golden retriever called Fergus and other furry friends. She has four books released in the Above and Beyond series, and two in the Renovating Hearts series. You can find out more about her and her novels here at her blog.

Jen Silver

I had a dream…and awoke to find I was as famous as Sarah Waters…

A few months before my first novel was published, I attended a residential writing course and on the first evening all the participants were asked to give a brief description of what they were working on. I suspected I was the only ‘gay in the room’. So, when it came to my turn, I told them that I’d had a novel accepted for publication and it was a lesbian romance. Someone piped up, “Oh, like Sarah Waters.”

This was obviously the only lesbian author they’d ever heard of and I could only nod and say, “yes, like Sarah Waters”. Well, unless any of my books get made into TV series or films, I’m not likely to become that well known. But this is what came to mind when I thought about answering this question – what are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

I hope that it will continue to flourish and grow. We need a strong presence—visibility—in the world, now as much as in earlier times. As both a writer and a reader, I want to create and read stories about lesbians who come across as real people leading normal lives, free to love who they want…not portrayed as monsters to either be hidden away or destroyed.

Later on, at the course I mentioned above, one young woman asked why I referred to my books as ‘lesbian romance’. Why didn’t I just describe them as ‘romance’? I don’t know what answer I gave her, but thinking about it now, my answer would be that a separate genre is necessary so that we can find books about ourselves.

Maybe, in time, that will change too.  A time when Sarah Waters won’t be the only name that defines lesbian fiction. A time when we no longer need a neatly labelled niche to share our stories with the world.

That is my hope.

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Jen lives near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire with her long-term partner whom she married in December 2014. She has always enjoyed reading an eclectic range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction and lesbian fiction. As well as reading and writing, other activities include golf, archery, and taking part in archaeological digs. Jen’s latest novel, Christmas at Winterbourne, was published by Affinity in October 2016.

Anna Larner

As I wrote this blog I began to think about what it means to have hope, after all hope is one of the most important strengths an individual can possess. It takes tremendous tenacity, resolve, vision, belief, and courage to hope for something. It is at the heart of the human spirit. Without hope very little can be achieved.

Have you noticed that hopeful people are rarely naive fools, but individuals who have spotted the possibility of something – they have seen what others blinded by scepticism may have missed. The hopeful see the potential in things.

Hope, like optimism, is infectious. A hope which is shared by others has energy to it and gathers a momentum which builds and grows to the point where it is unstoppable.

So with this in mind here are my hopes – I hope that we will continue to promote and carve out the physical and emotional space we deserve for the literature we cherish. I hope that we will remember the writers who went before us, who bravely put into words what many could not speak. And I hope that we will have the same self-belief and courage as them as we continue to imagine characters and narratives that console, captivate and inspire.

The only limit for the future of lesbian fiction is our ability to have hope for it.

I know that what we hope for together, as writers and readers, we can and will achieve.

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Anna has a degree in English Literature and Master’s degrees in The Word and Visual Imagination, and Museum Studies. She has written and curated a permanent exhibition of LGBT voices and memorabilia, based at Leicester’s LGBT Centre, one of the first permanent exhibitions in the UK. As a former member of the Steering Committee for the Leicester, Leicestershire, and Rutland LGBT History Project, Anna is passionate about preserving LGBT history and ensuring that LGBT voices are heard. Anna’s debut novel, Highland Fling, was published by Bold Strokes Books in April, 2017.

Clare Lydon

What are your hopes for the future of lesbian fiction?

Crikey, no biggie then.  I’d say the future for lesbian fiction looks bright – there’s never been a better time for lesbian fiction than now. More choice, more authors, more books, more sub-genres – you name it, it’s here.

But what I’d like to see is more crossover into the mainstream and more coverage in mainstream media. I already know it’s not just lesbians who read my books – they’re enjoyed by a cross-section of people representing all flavours of the sexuality and gender spectrums, which is great.

But I’m greedy – I want lesbian fiction to have a positive impact on more lives around the globe, to see our lives reflected back not just to us, but to millions more. And as the world gets more connected every day, the growth potential is there.Lesbian fiction to the masses! Hurrah!

Finally, in the romance and crimes genres especially, we have some cracking stories just begging to be made into films or TV. So my ultimate hope would be to see these stories hit some kind of screen, large or small, and watch their reach widen even further. Why not Cari’s Dark Peak series or my London Romance series on Netflix? Why not Tig’s Poppy Jenkins as a movie? I’d be watching, and I wouldn’t be the only one.

Thanks to you two for shining a light on UK lesfic over the past few years and for taking part in the rise of lesfic. When I first started writing, your site was invaluable, and you’ve been a constant support to countless writers over the past three years. We all owe you both a debt of gratitude.

I’m going now before I start sobbing ;0)

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Clare is a London-based writer of contemporary lesbian romance. She’s a No.1 best-seller on lesbian fiction charts around the globe with five full-length novels to her name, as well as writing the All I Want series, which concluded with its sixth instalment, All I Want Forever in January, 2017. Clare is a lively and enthusiastic member of the UK Lesfic community and regularly hosts the Lesbian Book Club podcast over on the Lesbian Lounge.

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And the final words go to…

Cari Hunter

I still remember how exciting it was to go into Gay’s The Word as a fledgling, still in the closet, wet-behind-the-ears lesbian, and discover shelf upon shelf of lesbian fiction. My girlfriend (now wife!) and I bought a copy of Sarah Dreher’s Stoner McTavish and dashed back a few days later to buy every other book in the series.

Almost twenty years later, fledgling lesbians are spoiled for choice in terms of lesbian fiction. As mainstream authors still have a tendency to sideline or closet their LGBTQ characters, the small presses and the indie authors have stepped in to fill the void, and they’re doing it in a considerable amount of style, climbing the bestseller charts, and proving that UK lesbian and bisexual authors are writing and that, more to the point, they’re being read.

My hopes for the future of lesbian fiction, then? That our community continues to thrive and to grow, and that the mainstream publishers and the mainstream media eventually sit up and recognise that we’re here and that we’re worth supporting. That UK authors continue to set their books within their own regions, and write in their own dialect, chucking in slang and foodstuffs that make people scratch their heads and hop over to Google. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts, I hope authors continue to write and readers continue to read, because that will ensure that lesbian fiction continues to exist.

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Cari Hunter lives in the northwest of England with her wife, their cat, and a pond full of frogs. She works full-time as a paramedic and dreams up stories in her spare time. Although she doesn’t like to boast, she will admit that she makes a very fine Bakewell Tart.

Cari has just finished a new crime series based in the Peak District. The first book – No Good Reason – won the 2015 Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery Rainbow Award, and its sequel Cold to the Touch won a Goldie and a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Thriller/Mystery. The third book in the series – A Quiet Death – was published in January 2017.

Clare Ashton

Most of all I hope people keep writing, whether it be that detective of iron integrity or the hapless heroine of the romcom who wakes up in the armpit of the wrong woman. Comfort reads that delight even after the tenth reading are magic and a nugget of happiness for many.

A broad range of literature is essential for expanding your horizons and developing empathy towards others but finding yourself represented, validated and worthy of a happy ending is precious. So please, keep writing!

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Clare Ashton lives in the Midlands with her partner and two lovely distracting kids. She loves a moody atmospheric novel but she’s a big softie inside and can’t resist writing romcoms. Her latest award-winning romance is Poppy Jenkins.

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So for one last time: that’s all folks, from Cari and Tig.

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News roundup – reviews, blogs, audiobooks and the Polari Prize!

11 Mar

Here is the news!

Anna Larner’s debut Highland Fling is out next month but has been reviewed already by Lesreveur:

“Highland Fling is based on two very independent and loving women from two very different worlds. The book starts off with Eve describing her perfect woman and guess who she finds in the Highlands…I can normally work out the plot in a book after reading the first few chapters and I thought I had with this book but it just kept surprising me at every turn! I had a few moments of “Really did I just read that?” and “did she just say that?”. I love when a book does this because you feel the writer is writing outside the box.”

Read the full review here.

Stopping with Anna for a moment, the Boldstrokes author also recently presented a paper at the Lesbian Lives Conference in Brighton on why authors are compelled to write stories of lesbian love. Her paper included thoughts from her own perspective and many other authors and she has made the paper and slides available on her website.

Clare Lydon wrapped up her All I Want Series recently with All I Want Forever and she’s been blogging about her experience of writing Tori and Holly’s story:

When I was thinking about writing their story, I heard from a friend about how awful her online dating experiences had been. I thought there might be something in that, so I began to write down some instances people had told me about, and ones that had happened to me.

Yes, I went on a date where the person tried to sell me an insurance plan within half an hour – we never had a second try. And yes, one of my friends did fall asleep on the loo on a first date, but the embellishments were all my own. After it was published, I received a deluge of emails from readers telling me they’d also fallen asleep on the toilet during a date. Unbeknown to me, I’d tapped into a common phenomenon!

You can read the rest of the piece here.

Boldstrokes have been releasing more audiobooks of late, the most recent including Cari Hunter’s Desolation Point, Jenny Frame’s Courting the Countess and Lesley DavisStarstruck. You can get any one of these for free when you subscribe to Audible. Here’s the link to BSB’s latest.

And finally, a quick note for debut authors – the Polari First Book Prize is now open for submissions. The prize has been running for seven years and UK born and resident writers are eligible to enter. Books should have been published in the twelve months up to 1st Feb 2017. More details here!

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

11 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

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

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

The full review can be found here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

28 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

?

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

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

You can read the rest of the piece here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally!

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

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

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

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

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That’s all folks!

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

14 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the full countdown at the above link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full piece here.

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

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

Read the full review here.

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

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

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

 

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

5 Nov

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

FourSteps nothing to lose diggingupthedead rainbowawardhm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find Cari’s full profile here.

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

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

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

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

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

Jen Silver  announced the publication of book number five:

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

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

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

Catch the full review here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When Madison’s life is in danger, will love pull them through? Or will it be too late?

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

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

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

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That’s all folks!

 

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

8 Oct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a shufti over here for a taster.

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

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

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason:

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

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

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

lostinthestarlightKiki Archer’s Lost in the Starlight:

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

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

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton’s Poppy Jenkins:

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

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

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

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

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

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