Tag Archives: Catherine Hall

Merry Christmas Q&A!

18 Dec

snowmanIt’s becoming a bit of a festive tradition here at UK LesFic to corral a few of our finest (or drunkest!) authors and ask them to answer three book and Christmas-themed questions.

Our questions to round out this year were:

– What was your book of the year and why?

– What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

– And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Here’s what they had to say…

 

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VGLeeVG Lee is a stand-up comedian and novelist and, in the words of Stella Duffy, “funny, smart, clever, witty, not afraid to be honest and poignant at the same time.” Her first novel Diary of Provincial Lesbian is treasured by many, and Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”.

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What was your book of the year and why?

petite mortI read Petite Mort by Beatrice Hitchman, published by Serpent’s Tail, when I was a judge on this year’s Polari First Book Prize and thought it was excellent. (The novel made the shortlist of five.) The heroine is Adele Roux, seventeen years old and the story is set for the most part in Paris in 1913. It is beautifully written, atmospheric and thrilling.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

I’m going to go backwards to answer this because I want to re-read Emma Donoghue’s The Sealed Letter which was published in 2008. Someone lent me a copy and I thoroughly enjoyed it but then had to give it back and I find I miss it. The story is set in Victorian London and based on a real-life scandal and it’s absolutely gripping!

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As there are several people I would like to be the angel on the top of my tree, I shall be diplomatic and opt for my cat Lettuce. I can easily imagine her climbing up the tree, hanging from a branch, bringing the whole thing crashing down…

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kikiarcherpolariKiki Archer is the mistress of lesbian chicklit and all five of her novels have been massive lesfic best-sellers. She’s been quiet of late, working on a screenplay to that bestest selling of them all, But She is My Student.

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What was your book of the year and why?

love is enoughI loved Melissa Brayden’s Kiss the Girl. It was smart, sweet, and really sexy. Plus there was a huge focus on snogging, perfect.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My ‘to read’ pile is so high now, but top of the list is definitely Cindy Rizzo’s Love is Enough. I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy over the summer when she read on my Creating Chemistry panel at L Fest, and she was such good fun. I loved her debut book, Exception to the Rule, and I’ve heard this one is just as good.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would love it to be Gillian Anderson, Stella Duffy from The Fall. I have a huge crush on her power lesbian vibe and her array of satin shirts!

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catherine hallCatherine Hall is a Cambridge graduate who enjoyed careers in documentary-film production and international peace-building before she became a freelance writer. Her début, Days of Grace, was critically and commercially successful, and The Proof of Love won the Green Carnation Prize. Her latest novel is the vivid and intriguing The Repercussions.

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What was your book of the year and why?

thirstI really loved Kerry Hudson’s Thirst – it’s easy to see why it was shortlisted for this year’s Green Carnation prize. It’s a love story with a difference that takes you from Hackney to Russia with complex, damaged, beautifully portrayed characters who really make you care and yearn for them to be all right in the end.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

My Christmas stocking is bound to be bookishly bulgy. Hopefully with Stella Duffy’s new collection of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined. I’ve read a couple of them and they’re fantastic. If there’s also a copy of The Paying Guest by Sarah Waters to curl up with in front of a roaring fire and a hot toddy, I’d be a very happy girl indeed.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Laura Prepon, in her incarnation as Alex Vause in Orange is The New Black would be the perfect naughty angel to grace my tree. Hopefully she’d fly down and join me under the mistletoe for a bit of Christmas cheer…

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KePayneBath resident KE Payne is an author with Bold Strokes Books. She has written five Young Adult novels, including the very funny 365 Days. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. Her latest novel, Once the Clouds Have Gone, is her first adult lesbian romance, and she has been dead chuffed with its reception.

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What was your book of the year and why?

kiss in the darkThe book that stayed with me long after I’d read it this year was A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke. It’s the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go. I loved her flowing style of writing and the fact that the book is written from two different perspectives, which added a nice twist to it.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Can I cheat and have two? I know I’m late to the party on this one, but I’m itching to get my hands on the latest Sarah Waters novel, The Paying Guests. I absolutely love her flowing style of writing, so that’s definitely on my list. I also hear rumblings that Kate Morton has a new book on the horizon too, so I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one. I love Kate Morton; I find her writing so beautiful and soothing. Reading her books is akin to snuggling on the sofa under a blanket on a winter’s night with your fluffy PJs on. Just lovely.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree (and why)? Oh, this is going to sound cheesy, and he never did suit a tutu, but I’d like my father to come back and visit me again. He died a long time ago now, and I sometimes struggle to remember what he sounded like, so to hear his voice again just one more time would make my Christmas.

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veronica fearonVeronica Fearon was born in Hackney, in the east end of London to West Indian parents. She has a degree in psychology and has worked as a criminal lawyer in London for most of her adult life. Her début novel, The Girl with the Treasure Chest, was longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize.

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What was your book of the year and why?

mitchieMy book of the year is called Mitchie by Catherine Blackfeather. It’s a story about a young girl forced to flee her home town, and make a life disguised as a boy. It’s full of reprehensible characters, which I love, and Mitchie’s voice is earnest and comical even in the face of some quite serious issues.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Top of my wish list for next year is Always you Edina by VG Lee. She is one of those rare writers who can inject humour into every word or sentence she chooses.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

As for the Angel at the top of my tree, I’d have Angelique Kidjo who could sing a mixture of crimbo, politics and just plain powerful songs.

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JodyKlaireJody Klaire hails from Wales, where she lives with a host of furry friends: her golden retriever, several gerbils, some sneaky house mice, and a neighbour’s cat. She loves writing, sport, music, art, and teaching herself new subjects. Jody is a proud member of the GCLS, and is delighted to be a part of the Bedazzled Ink family. Jody’s début novel, The Empath was a runner up in the recent Rainbow Awards.

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What was your book of the year? Why?

the midnight moonThat’s a toughie if I’m honest. There’s been so many wonderful books out and so many awesome big hitters. We seem to have been planning a British invasion too if the Rainbow Awards are anything to go by. (Big cheer to UKLesfic’s own Cari.) I also got to see my début, The Empath get in on the act too and I’ve got Fractured to release in Nov/Dec.

All that being said, My favourite book of the year has to be The Midnight Moon by Geri Hill. She’s someone who I love reading. It doesn’t seem to matter where she takes me, what characters are there or what the topic is. As an author she makes me want to read anything with her name on it, I get excited when her books are due for release. She’s a master and The Midnight Moon is an effortless, feel-good romance with some witty, fun-filled dialogue. The characters are cool, the location is sunny and warm and well… it’s Gerri!

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

There’s a couple of novels I’m quite looking forward to. Obviously I’m always excited to read my fellow Bedazzled authors’ offerings and I’m also really looking forward to Melissa Brayden‘s book Just Three Words. (Bold Strokes folks are pretty cool bunch.) I guess it goes without saying that Gerri’s offerings will be a must-buy for me, right?

just three wordsOn the writing side of things, I am releasing three books next year, the second in the series, and follow-on’s of both The Empath and Fractured. (Blind Trust – Above & Beyond Book II and Blood Run – The Black Wolf Chronicles Book II.) I’m also set to release my first ever romance La Vie En Bleu around May time which takes a scatty Englishwoman and a suave French artisan and throws in a whole load of Notting Hill/Oscar Wilde humour. It looks set to be an exciting year on both reading and releasing fronts!

Who would you most like as the angel on top of your tree?

Not that my dear little puppy would fit on the tree (he’s ten weeks and already the size of a lion,) but my Goldie Fergus would probably be my pick. One, because if he’s on the tree, he’s not stealing tissues, my socks, chewing the couch, chewing me… And two, Fergus and angel in the same sentence seems as apt as the name Little John was. Failing getting the fluffy fiend to behave enough for us to place him on top, I’ll go for cake. Simply, because cake is always heavenly!

Have a peaceful, love and laughter-filled time. Merry Christmas!!

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karencampbell2Karen Campbell is the author of Little Whispers, a collection of short stories, and Violet’s Story. Her second novel The Knowing is a supernatural drama set in Glasgow. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drink lots of Irn Bru. She is partial to a tattie scone and square sausage when she goes home. She likes music to be played loudly and is not keen on spiders. At all.

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What was your book of the year and why?

the five peopleThe book I read this year which had the most impact on me was The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. I know it’s not a new book but I only just came across it and it’s fantastic. I was trying to tell my girlfriend the story, once I had just finished it, and I broke down in tears because it was so beautiful and it had touched me so much. If I had to pick a LesFic book, it would need to be The Comedienne by VG Lee, as I have just re-read it for the second time. I love her turn of phrase, it totally appeals to my sense of humour. She’s a very talented writer.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

Next year, I want to publish two books. I want to get better as a writer. I want the world to be my oyster. Oh and Scotland to get independence. I can dream, can’t I?

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

I would like Siouxsie Sioux to be the angel on top of my Christmas tree, so that I could prod her with my finger and make her sing to me. “Dazzle it’s a glittering prize.” Then Robert Smith from The Cure would come to rescue her for the sake of old friendships and I would make them gig in my living-room. Then I would make them roast chicken and mashed potatoes, and serve intoxicating cider so that I could get them drunk and record all their stories. Before she left, I would ask Siouxsie to do my make-up.

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BeatricehitchmanBeatrice Hitchman’s début, Petit Mort has been a bit of a stunner. Short-listed for the Polari Prize and Historical Writers’ Association Debut Novel Prize, and adapted on for Radio 4 as a series, Beatrice’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as Moulin Rouge.

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What was your book of the year and why?

we are all completelyWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. I feel duty-bound to admit that it doesn’t feature any lesbians, but it’s a book about relationships in the most enlightening and unpredictable way. The narrator, Rosemary, a college freshman, has not one but two missing siblings…telling their story and her own, she’ll redefine your very concept of family. It’s such a funny, beautiful book.

What’s top of your wishlist for next year?

A film: Carol, the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Carol was a 1950s landmark in fiction, daring to portray women differently at a time when most lesbian characters met a sticky end. The Blanchett/Mara combo will be absolutely boss, and Todd Haynes made Far From Heaven. O for Over-excited.

And who would you most like as the angel on the top of your tree?

Patricia Highsmith. She’d be hilarious! But she’d drop fag-ash on your presents (on purpose).

 

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A big thank you to all our participating authors! And a Merry Christmas to everyone, from myself and Tig 🙂

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

9 Dec
gambolling

copyright Roger Fereday

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

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

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A few bits and pieces from around the web now:

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Roundup: New Releases from Clare Lydon, Jade Winters & KE Payne, New UK Author Jen Silver, Interviews, Reviews, Blogs & More!

23 Oct

There’s certainly been no sedate shift into autumnal mists and mellow fruitfulness in UK LesFic land. Nope, far from battening down the hatches and settling in with a nice hot water bottle and a slanket, we have new books flying out of the traps, awards being awarded, TV deals being done, and a new author to welcome to the site. So, let’s just get on with it, eh?

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Shall we open this week with a bit of blogging and a couple of interviews?

stilllifeFor those who couldn’t make it to the recent Spot-On Romance weekend at the Virtual Living Room, L.T. Smith has been writing about her experiences as one of the authors in the Spot-On spotlight:

The questions posed were so thoughtful, almost like a gentle coaxing, that I didn’t realise I was being questioned at all. It was like a chat with some very good friends about subjects that we all held dear. All that was missing was the cafetiere and the smell of scones baking.

Head here for the full piece, and try not to be put off by the scary-looking kid right at the start (L.T. if that’s your scary-looking kid, then I apologise unreservedly…)

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catherine hallOn a slightly darker note, Catherine Hall has posted a guest blog here in which she reveals the inspiration behind her latest novel, The Repercussions:

I used to work for an international peacebuilding organisation and in 2003 I took a trip to Rwanda with a photographer to talk to people and take photographs that we could use for our communications work…

I was profoundly affected by that trip. For months I felt sick, and had terrible nightmares. The photographer I was with had been there during the genocide and she was still traumatised. And so I began to wonder what it must be like for a war photographer, who sees more wars and even more close up, than most soldiers. And that was where the idea for Jo, my war photographer came from.

Hit the link for the full, thought-provoking piece.

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Kerry-Hudson-008Kerry Hudson, who won the Scottish First Book Award for Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, has a recent interview in the Daily Record. Her second novel Thirst features an unconventional love story between a Siberian shoplifter and a London security guard, and has just been long-listed for the Green Carnation prize. You can read the interview and check out the other novels longlisted for the Green Carnation prize by clicking the two links – you might have to answer a stupid question about Homebase to access the interview!

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And what would a news round up be without a mention of Sarah Waters? She’s been chatting to Lambda Literary about – you guessed it! – The Paying Guests, in an interview worth reading if only for her answer to the 10th question. I mean, it’s worth reading anyway, but that one is particularly amusing.

You can also catch up with interviews on the LGBT radio show Out in South London with Sarah Waters and Catherine Hall, both discussing their latest novels. Click here for details and to listen to the show.

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jensilverThis week we issue a warm welcome to new author Jen Silver who, along with most of the northern England lesbian contingent, lives near Hedben Bridge in Yorkshire (true fact, international readers!) Her début novel, Starting Over – an archaeology-themed romance – was recently published by Affinity Press and has already garnered an excellent review from Terry Baker:

History, romance, intrigue, mystery, infidelity, love and loss are all entwined together in this wonderfully well written, fast paced, debut romance from the pen of new lesfic author Jen Silver… This is a story which grabbed me from the beginning. Both Ellie and Robin have their faults and flaws. It’s their journey on the path of love in this story that shows how love can conquer almost anything. But, it also shows that relationships have to be worked on and the course of true love doesn’t always run smoothly.

starting overAnd from Rainbow Book Reviews:

There is a large and diverse ensemble providing many fascinating, amusing, and lovingly delicious interactions. It is always enjoyable when an author can sculpt such intriguingly different dynamics and backgrounds for the distinctive women and men covering a wide range of ages. The collection of lesbians alone in this fairly small community in northern England generates some felicitous tension as previous pairs, possibly active pairs, and the central off again/on again couple add a saucy and crackling good dynamic.

All of Jen’s bio and contact information can be found on our Author page, and more details for Starting Over are on the New Releases page.

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Mari-Hannah-008And now to the Congrats! section of the news, where we offer bouquets and something shiny to Nicola Griffiths, who has scooped the Washington State Book Award (given annually for outstanding books published by Washington authors the previous year) for Hild.

Applause also to Mari Hannah whose Kate Daniels series of crime novels has been optioned by TV company Sprout Pictures. A further two books in the series have been contracted by her publisher with the first due out next year. For all the gen, head here.

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once the clouds have goneAs folks get back from their summer jollies, the news and the new releases are both picking up speed.

October has seen the release of BSB author KE Payne‘s first “contemporary romance” (KE is better known for YA novels) Once The Clouds Have Gone, which see its heroine returning to her small Scottish home town following the death of her father, and meeting up with “the intriguing and spirited Freddie Metcalfe.”

In a recent review, Terry Baker had this to say about the characters:

Both Tag and Freddie are flawed women in different ways. Both have been hurt in the past. Both need to let go of their pasts to enable them to move on and have a future, either together or not as the case may be. It’s their background stories that makes this present day story real and true to life. Their stories could happen to anyone. There is nothing remotely far fetched about them at all. As with all families, there are ups and downs. This is a real roller coaster ride of ups and downs, thrills and spills. A book I enjoyed from start to finish and could not put down.

You can find the full blurb on our New Releases page, and if you’re suitably intrigued yourselves, the novel is available to buy at all the usual places. The rest of Terry’s review is here.

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As you may have fathomed from her guest post on the blog this week, a new Jade Winters romance Second Thoughts has also hit the shelves this month, and Jade has released a trailer for the novel here.

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TheLongWeekend-640x1024Clare Lydon is swiftly following up her best-selling début London Calling, with The Long Weekend which is due for release in November. Clare has been teasing the novel over on her blog where she’s had this to say:

Book two is a drama-filled weekend flecked with humour, featuring a bunch of old friends simultaneously revelling in each other and bringing out each other’s worst attributes. It’s packed to the rafters with tension, romance, fine food and arguments, all set against the backdrop of a sparkling Devon coastline.

Keep an eye out on Clare’s blog in the run up to the book’s release where she’ll be posting the first two chapters. In the meantime, more details about the novel can be found over on the New Releases page.

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JodyKlaireFinally this week, Jody Klaire has revealed the blurb for her second novel, Fractured (book one in the Black Wolf Chronicles), which will be released in November.

Nita Ramirez, an amnesiac enforcer for the omnipotent criminal empire of Los Lobos is sent to Edinburgh, a city held in the icy grip of a serial killer, to protect an ally of her boss La Señora. While in the city, Nita discovers that the darkest depth of winter holds torturous memories, an unfinished mission to stop the murderous Slasher, and the monstrous truth that the killer she spent so long trying to find is far closer to her than she could ever imagine. To catch this killer, you have to be one.

I’m sure we’ll have more news on Fractured, and hopefully a cover, in the coming weeks.

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And I think that just about covers everything. If it doesn’t – because things do slip by us – please feel free to give us a shout 🙂

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

10 Oct

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

In that vein, here is the news:

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

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

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

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

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller: Tumbledown by Cari Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the year:

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

Debut author of the year:

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

So first, I had to learn to speak English!

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

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

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

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


Reviews and blogs

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

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

Still Life by LT Smith was reviewed by Terry Baker:

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

New and future releases:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, don’t miss:

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

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

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

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Until next fortnight… ta ra!

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

26 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full text of the review here.

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

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

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

“These poor, poor, tragic lesbians!”

Go read it at the link.

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

News Roundup: Landmark Scottish LGBT Anthology, New Author Chrissie McDill, Fingersmith gets a Korean Makeover, UK Authors on Tour, & More!

16 Sep

With only two days to go before Scotland decides on its independence, you may well be wondering what will happen to UK LesFic should the vote go with the yes camp (alternatively, you may be wondering what the hell I’m talking about, in which case, turn on your telly!) The answer – from my POV at least, as Tig’s on holiday and we’ve not discussed it – is absolutely nothing. We like our Scottish authors, they’re funny and supportive of the site, and I think we’ll let them stick around. Plus, I’m far too lazy to go and edit the author listing. Whatever happens to the UK, best of luck to us all, eh?

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OutThereAs if to prove a point, we’re sticking with Scotland for our first three news items this week…

Keren McGill at Freight Books has been in touch about their new Scottish LGBT anthology, Out There, an important landmark in Scottish literature and LGBT writing worldwide.

In the year that Scotland votes on independence from the rest of the UK, Freight Books brings a new and definitive anthology of prose writing and poetry from Scotland’s leading and emerging LGBT writers. It will be edited by Zoë Strachan and includes a stellar list of contributors; Ali Smith, Louise Welsh, Kerry Hudson, Jackie Kay, Ronald Frame, Toni Davidson, Val McDermid, Damian Barr and UK poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy to name but a few.

Following Glasgow’s ‘Gay Games’ and the now famous Glasgow Kiss, this is the first anthology of its kind in over twelve years. Out There is the perfect barometer of just how far Scottish LGBT writing has come in that time. The writing is diverse, sometimes hilarious, sometimes polemical, often surprising and deeply moving, but always suffused with energy, wit and empathy.

‘It will pose key questions, not just about LGBT writing in Scotland today, but also about the social and sexual landscape of our nation as a whole.’ LGBT History Month

The anthology is available to purchase now, and you can see photographs from a preview event at Glasgow’s Pride House at this link.

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no way to liveThe newest author to our listings is Chrissie McDill, who describes herself as “an ageing writer for the more mature lesbian”. She has lived in London and Surrey, where she beat the feminist drum to become one of the first women branch managers of a national building society in the early 80’s. She left in 1988 to start her own women’s taxi business, which has provided her with a wealth of ideas for her stories. Since retiring and moving back to her native Scotland, she has published No Way to Live, a psychological thriller about a woman haunted by her past and terrified of her future. Chrissie lives with her partner and two bonkers but loveable Cairn terriers in South Lanarkshire and can be contacted on Facebook. For more information on Chrissie, pay her website a visit, and look out for her new novel in the next couple of months.

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hp munroTo round up our north of the border news, H.P. Munro is the latest author to be profiled over at Planet of the Books. These short, snappy interviews are good fun, and this one is no exception:

Where do you write? And what do you need around you? 

To begin with I wrote while travelling for work, so it was on planes and train and in airports and hotels. Now I tend to write at home in whatever room takes my fancy or where the comfy seats are. I recently got some friendly abuse from some fellow writers from posting photos of me writing at the poolside while on holiday in Thailand, which was easily the nicest place I’ve even written.

To read the full interview, head here.

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the murder wallCongratulations this week to Mari Hannah who has made the longlist for the CWA Dagger in the Library award. The award honours an author’s whole body of work, rather than a single title, and the longlist was voted for by readers and librarians. The shortlist will be announced on November 3rd, with the winner revealed in a ceremony at the end of that month. To see all the authors on the longlist, hit the link.

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Andrea Bramhall has been chatting to the good ladies at the Cocktail Hour podcast for one of their Conversation at the Bar features. You can download or listen to the interview at this link. Sadly, said link contains no photographic evidence of Cheri’s amazing bed head.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006With a few UK authors currently embarking on country-wide tours, it was getting a little complicated to keep up with the wheres and whens. To try to remedy this, I’ve just updated the Events page with links to the listings of all forthcoming UK appearances by Nicola Griffith, Catherine Hall (we’ll have more for you from Catherine on Friday!), and Sarah Waters. Sarah has recently added a Manchester date to her listings, which is good news for everyone in that area who’s not working a bloody night shift that night (12th October.) Tickets for lucky, not at work northerners can be purchased here.

Meanwhile, the incomparable AfterEllen website has revealed that a big screen version of Fingersmith is on the way, only this version will transplant the story to Korea. Casting for Agashi (English title still to be decided) will take place this month, with production getting under way early next year. Click here to read the full piece.

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stilllifeFinally, if you’re between books and wondering what to read next, the Lesbian Reading Room has a new review of L.T. Smith‘s latest release Still Life: 

The writing is sharp and witty. Very British humour and language so you Americans need to be prepared. L.T.’s style is down to earth, direct and realistic. When Brits are full of angst you really know it. The writing flows and the story weaves around us, playing on all the stupid mind games we all go through with often hilarious results. Of course that’s easy to say as a reader, much harder when it is your heart on the line.

Still need more? Okay, then, you can read the full write-up at this link.

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Right, I’m off to bulk-buy Haggis, Irn Bru and shortbread before they become rare foreign delicacies.

GOOD LUCK Scotland whatever you decide 🙂

Haggis-creature

A rare sighting of the Haggis in the wild.

 

News roundup: a scintillating Polari shortlist, Beatrice Hitchman’s intriguing Petite Mort, events, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy and more!

11 Sep

Cari’s been gambolling around the coast complete with baby seals, so you’re stuck with me again for this week’s post. Let’s have a quick romp through the news…

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petitmortThe Polari shortlist was announced at Monday’s Polari evening in London, and what an exciting short list it is. Paul Burston has commented on the great diversity of this year’s entries, which can be any first book that explores the LGBT experience in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. Here’s the list:

Sarah Westwood‘s The Rubbish Lesbian – a collection of her columns for Diva magazine
Dean Atta‘s poetry collection I’m Nobody’s Nigger
Diriye Osman‘s short story collection Fairytales For Lost Children
Vernal Scott‘s God’s Other Children – a London memoir
Beatrice Hitchman‘s noir novel Petite Mort

We’ve mentioned Sarah Westwood’s book in passing before but we haven’t featured Beatrice Hitchman. Hitchman’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as  Moulin Rouge.

Here’s the blurb for Petite Mort:

Beatricehitchman

Photo by Sarah Lee

A silent film, destroyed in a fire in 1913 at the Pathé studio, before it was seen even by its director. A lowly seamstress, who makes the costumes she should be wearing, but believes her talent – and the secret she keeps too – will soon get her a dressing room of her own.

A beautiful house in Paris, with a curving staircase, a lake, and locked rooms. A famous – and dashing – creator of spectacular cinematic illusions, husband to a beautiful, volatile actress, the most adored icon of the Parisian studios. All fit together, like scenes in a movie. And as you will see, this plot has a twist we beg you not to disclose…

For a bit more background on the book and author there’s a review in the Polari Magazine and an interview in Diva. You can also read more about Beatrice on her website.

Sticking with Polari just for a moment, you can read a little about the background of Polari and the Polari Tour here and also get a taster for what to expect from Kiki Archer at the Birmingham event in this video.

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duffy_maureenOn to interviews.

Maureen Duffy was interviewed on Totally4Women.  Maureen talked about diverse topics from prizes, her opinion of self-publishing and the representation of women in media. On that last matter she has this to say:

You have only to count the numbers of titles and reviewers in the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books by men as against those by women to see the discrimination. Also while women read books by both men and women, men read predominantly books by men. The emphasis is for youth and glamour for women writers still. Our enemy is still the patriarchal society, witness Cameron’s cabinet even after the reshuffle. Even Mrs Thatcher whom they all profess to admire was painfully dumped when the novelty wore off.

You can read the whole interview here.

ellendeanPlanet of the Books has a new author profile up and this time it’s Ellen Dean‘s turn. She answers the usual questions and this is what she had to say about spending the day as one of her favourite characters:

It has to be Hyacinth Dickinson from Beautiful Strangers and Beyond Midnight, Books 1 and 2 in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Tall, blonde and gorgeous. Hyacinth is psychic and can use telepathy to get into people’s minds and learn all their secrets, or make them do what she wants them to do. Plus, she owns valuable and rare diamonds (a girl’s best friend) two fabulous houses, a yacht and enjoys partying with a wide circle of friends. It would be a hard to decide where to actually be: in one of her fabulous houses, controlling the Amethyst Coven or lazing on the yacht in Cannes. Oh, decisions, decisions!

You can read the full profile here.

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fallingcoloursRJ Samuel‘s Falling Colours was reviewed over on Piercing Fiction. The review starts with “Let’s start by saying this is a fun book to read.” A phrase that might not auger too well with a Lynne Pierce review.

But fear not, the review’s a good one and this is what Lynne has to say in summation for RJ’s tale of a vision painter:

RJ Samuel has used the theme of a person caught between two cultures before, but Kiran has a comic twist that makes her fun while revealing the struggle she goes through.  The book is a slapstick mystery in the best tradition of the old 1930s movies.  It would be great to have a sequel to this book to see where Samuels could take the characters, but Kiran would have to bring Marge back again.  That might be too much for any of them to take.

Read Falling Colours.  It’s fresh; it’s different; it’s worth it.

You read the full review here.

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Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare Lydon‘s been blogging again and this week it’s about some harsh truths for writers. Her ten truths cover everything from the number of copies a typical book sells (not many) and who cares about your manuscript (you and your mum). Here’s her truth about muses:

Writing is an art. But like any art, it’s 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. Like anything, you have to work at it and you have to do regularly to get good at it – it takes practice. If you only write ‘when the muse takes you’, you will never finish that book you’re working on. And muses are like fairies btw – they don’t exist.

Here’s the full entertaining list.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Now for our weekly sample of Sarah Waters news.

There was an interesting article in The New York Times this week. While everyone in the UK, from my mother-in-law to my doctor, is looking forward to picking up The Paying Guests, apparently that’s not the reception she gets in the US:

Ms. Waters has tended to receive less critical attention in the United States than at home. Laura Miller, who wrote a delighted review of her novel “The Little Stranger” for Salon, said that might be because she has fallen, unfairly, into a genre ghetto.

“She does have a devoted readership here, but if there’s a problem with her work getting the respect it deserves, it’s probably because it’s historical fiction. Some people who write it are at the top of their game … but at the same time, it’s full of cheesy, endless series about things like the women of the War of 1812.”

The article goes on to give some nice detail on Sarah Waters’ background from being the only gay in the village, to then meeting the other one and how she fell into writing. Here’s the full article.

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everythingStella Duffy has just released a collection of her work that has been previously published or broadcast on the radio. Here’s the blurb for Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined:

This collection of short stories brings together, for the first time, a selection of Stella Duffy’s award-winning writing, as well as some of the numerous stories that have been broadcast on radio and appeared in anthologies over the past 20 years. Many of these books are out of print and the radio broadcasts are unavailable; this collection therefore not only highlights the range and variety of her writing, but also breathes new life into some of her best stories.

Here’s the Amazon link although note that the Kindle version for 80 p is just a single short story.

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Finally some events for your diary including one tonight.

Nicola Griffith is touring at the beginning of October. The tour includes places as different and as far-flung as London and Ilkley. Full details are on her blog.

Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at Gay’s the Word tonight – a great chance to see two excellent authors. Starts at 7 p.m.  More details here.

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Right, my turn to gambol around the coast. Ta ra!