Tag Archives: Clare Lydon

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.

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

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

You can read the rest of the piece here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally!

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

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

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

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

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That’s all folks!

The Christmas Q&A!

20 Dec

rainbow-treeIt’s that time of year where we say “it’s that time of year” again, and we corner some of the fabulous UK lesfic authors to ask them about their favourite reads of the year. And because, let’s be honest, 2016 left a lot to be desired, we asked them about their hopes for 2017. Take it away gals…

 

c-holly-banner

 

 

Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare’s the author of the best-selling romcom series All I Want – Christmas, Valentines, Autumn, you name it her heroines have been there and entertained her readers all the way. Clare’s other novels include London Calling, The Long Weekend and her latest Nothing to Lose.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

saving graceCan I choose three? I loved HP Munro’s Saving Grace, the follow-up to Grace Falls. It’s romantic, sexy and funny, and it was great catching up with old friends. I was also a fan of G Benson’s Flinging It – her easy style just wraps itself around you. Plus, Catherine Ryan-Hyde’s The Language Of Hoofbeats was just terrific – a family saga which was beautifully written and paced.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

I’d love to see a breakout lesfic book crossover to the mainstream – there’s so much talent around, it’s about due to happen again. On a personal note, my aim for 2017 is to release three novels including All I Want Forever and the third in the London series.

AL Brooks

albrooksAL Brooks’ debut has been causing a stirring this year with readers finding her erotic novel The Club a refreshing read. Her second novel, Dark Horse, is published by Ylva in February.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

just-julietFavourite book of the year was Just Juliet by Charlotte Reagan. Simply one of the best YA coming out stories ever – great characters, a genuine warmth and depth to the story, and moved me to tears at the end. Beautiful.

What are your hopes for 2017?

My hopes for 2017 are twofold. Firstly, a hope for us all: that the good people of the world, the ones with humanity and tolerance, come together to show the hate-mongering minorities that we will not stand for their destructive rhetoric any longer. Secondly, a personal hope: that this deluge of words that has taken over my soul the past eighteen months keeps on going and lets me continue to fulfil my lifelong dream to be a writer…

Wendy Hudson

Wendy HudsonWendy Hudson is the debut author of romantic thriller, Four Steps, that has impressed readers as a work that could have been written by a seasoned pro.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

a-story-of-nowjpgI’m going to offer two titles for this because they are really one, wonderful story, that my 20 year old self completely identified with. A Story of Now and The Sum of these Things by Emily O’Beirne. I think Emily is one of the most skilled writers I’ve come across in lesfic, at writing those beautifully intimate moments between her main characters. I’d defy anyone not to fall in love with them and their story. It truly touched me.

What are your hopes for 2017?

For 2017 I’m hoping to be less of a pantser and more of an organiser when it comes to my writing. I even bought a whiteboard to help me plan! Okay, so I bought it four months ago and it’s still not up on the wall, which I admit isn’t a good start. But, you know, it’s not 2017 yet…

Book two will hopefully be published, it’s currently titled Mine to Keep but as always these things are subject to change! I’d also like to continue Alex and Lori’s story (and Frank’s!) with a follow up to Four Steps, but I don’t want to force it, so we’ll see what happens.

HP Munro

 hpmunroAward-winning author HP Munro can turn her hand to historical novels as well as a romcom and this year followed up the popular Grace Falls with Saving Grace.

nothing to loseWhat was your favourite book of the year and why?

Clare Lydon’s Nothing To Lose – I loved the book when I read it. However,  I found myself thinking about the book more and having way more empathy for Scarlet and her predicament when I had two weeks to pack my life up for a move from Edinburgh to London. After the stress of doing that, I can’t imagine only having minutes.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

For time and space to write and a little less stress.

Jenny Frame

beneath-the-wavesjenny frameJenny Frame loves her royals. From the Aristocratic Courting the Countess to the A Royal Romance. And wolves! Don’t forget Heart of the Pack.

What was your favourite book of the year and why?

Beneath The Waves by Ali Vali. I’m hugely interested in ancient myths, and alternative history. The themes in this book explored both of these subjects. It was refreshing to read these themes wrapped up with a lovely love story.

And what are your hopes for 2017?

2016 has been a tumultuous year, on both sides of the pond, and personally. Therefore I would be delighted if 2017 was a nice, boring, hum drum, year. I would just be absolutely fine with that. Here’s hoping we get it.

Jade Winters

JadeWintersphotosmJade Winters is the popular and prolific author of both lesfic thrillers and romances with her books rarely out of the top 100. Her latest are Flirting with Danger and Christmas Kiss.

What was your favourite book of the year?

FourStepsFour Steps by Wendy Hudson. This book had me gripped from the first page. I especially like thrillers with some romance thrown in and this book didn’t disappoint. I have a tendency to start reading a book, then get distracted and not go back to it for a while, but this one kept my attention throughout. Well thought out characters and a good pace made sure of this. I particularly liked the setting in the Scottish Highlands and could really visualise the scenes. It was really well written and I literally couldn’t put it down.

What are your hopes for 2017?

Aside from good health and world peace 🙂 I’m hoping to travel more and work less. From a writing perspective I’m hoping to concentrate on crime fiction in 2017 i.e The Ashley McCoy series, although I do have a romance in the pipeline for early next year.


Anna Larner

Anna LarnerAnna Larner has been signed up by Bold Strokes and her debut Highland Fling, set everywhere from the Scottish Highlands to a gay bar in Leicester, is out in April next year.

What was your favourite book of the year?

When I Knew YouDuring this tumultuous year, I found myself returning to the comfort of my favourite writers who have meant such a lot to me, such as Nancy Garden, Carol Ann Duffy, and Virginia Woolf to name a few.

But, of course, all favourites begin as exciting new discoveries. This year I read my first novel by KE Payne, her lesbian romance When I Knew You.

What I particularly enjoyed was the clever idea underpinning the story – let’s just say it involves a series of letters.  I also loved the contrast between the two main characters, and on turning the last page I felt sad that I would never get a trip on Ash’s boat or have my pulse taken by surgeon Dr Nat.

What are your hopes for 2017?

My hopes for 2017? That my debut novel Highland Fling becomes your new discovery and a favourite you treasure and return to.

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas and a fabulous 2017.

News roundup: interviews, reviews, readings and Christmas books!

3 Dec

A quick sprint through the news because I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet. Actually it’s been a fairly quiet fortnight but don’t miss these tasty morsels:

TheRetreatClare Lydon interviewed Jane Retzig this month. In the words of Clare: “This month I’m interviewing fellow Brit Jane Retzig, best known for The Wrong Woman, Boundaries and The Retreat. Jane talks about publishing in the 90s and the differences doing it herself today, as well as chatting religion and the inspiration behind her slightly off-kilter lesbian romance novels. These include the late-great Leonard Cohen and, oddly, Alexandra Burke. Jane is a fabulous guest, so I hope you enjoy.” It is indeed a fab and interesting interview and here’s the link.

kikidiva2-copyKiki Archer is interviewed in this month’s Diva with some splendid shots of her in soft autumnal wear. Kiki says: “We chat about life, loves and literature, and they say of Lost In The Starlight: ‘It’s laugh-out-loud funny, warm and engaging, much like Kiki herself.'” Go and have a read.

And for a taster of Kiki’s latest, Lost in the Starlight, you can catch her reading at Polari Birmingham on YouTube.

And if you’ve read it already have a listen to what the chapesses at The Lesbian Review thought of the book in their Les Do Books podcast.

carol-ann-duffyBold Strokes author Anna Larner has been blogging about her literary crush Carol Ann Duffy:

As the UK’s first female Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy has re-imagined the role on her own terms. Gone is the notion of a patriarchal remote, aloof honour and in its place the Poet Laureate has become an open, engaged, and fearless defender of not only poetry but of social justice and equality.

You can read the rest of this piece here.

christmaskisschristmasatwinterbourneAllIWantForChristmas-Clare-Lydon

Out now is Jade Winters Christmas short story A Christmas Kiss:

When romance pessimist Emma finds herself under the mistletoe with the enigmatic Zara, she doesn’t think the encounter will last longer than a night. Will it take more than a Christmas kiss for Zara to find a place in her heart?

You can buy it on Amazon.

Affinity books are having a Christmas sale, including Jen Silver’s Christmas at Winterbourne and for another Christmas read you can grab Clare Lydon’s All I Want for Christmas (99p at the time of writing!)

That’s all folks!

News Roundup: New Author Nita Round, Festive Fare from Clare Lydon & Jade Winters, Polari with Kiki Archer Tonight in Brum, and More!

19 Nov

Hard to know what to say, really, when the last fortnight has seen the world whacked off its axis and many of our overseas friends are now terrified that all their hard-fought progress and steps towards equality could begin to unravel. As governments lurch to the right, it’s now more than ever that we need our community and our mates and our wits about us. And our stories, of course – we need to keep telling our stories…

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So it seems apt that we start this week by welcoming a new author to the site. Nita Round has been writing all of her life in one form or another, and she loves telling stories. Her head is full of them, and they all scream for her attention. Chosen as one of the winning entries in a short story competition, publication was the catalyst for her to write more, and she now writes full time.

She loves being outdoors in the garden or visiting sites of National heritage, but she also loves reading, cooking and gaming, and no matter what she always finds something to do. She lives in the heart of England with her wife of 21 years and their King Charles Cavalier, Rosie.

knightssacrificeHer first novel, Knight’s Sacrifice, is due to be published by Regal Crest in February (tentative release date), with a second, The Ghost of Emily Tapper, set to follow hot on its heels. This is the blurb for Knight’s Sacrifice:

For most people, running a funeral home is a dull and conservative line of work, but when Catherine Samuels inherits the family business she discovers that it is anything but straightforward. For a start, the dead do not always stay dead, they sit up, and they bite. In this strange world, Catherine needs help, and that comes in the form of Cassandra (Cassie) Evans, a heavily armed problem solver, knowledgeable in all things arcane and undead.

Cassie, however, hates her posting to Catherine Samuels. Her charge knows nothing of family, her heritage, nor her duty as the sole remaining caretaker of The Gate, a sentient construct that guards the way to hell and stops the inhabitants of Hell finding their way to the land of the living. Anyone who does not understand the importance of this duty is a liability. Catherine is a liability. Except that Cassie finds an unsettling attraction developing between them that she neither expects nor wants. Duty first, there is no room for emotional entanglements, and certainly not with a woman who rejects all that Cassie thinks is important.

When Catherine finds herself on the brink of losing everything, Cassie, her family, and even life itself, then she must awaken. She must become The Samuel, The Gate Keeper and guard the way between the living and the dead. To make it safe she must travel to hell, with the warrior that she has chosen, and there, if they survive, she must heal the problems of the Gate before all hell breaks loose.

You can read more about Nita here on her website.

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content_it-had-to-be-you-3d-smallJust in time to offer a bit of pre-festive cheer, Clare Lydon is giving away copies of her new Christmas-themed novella It Had To Be You over on her website:

When Georgia meets Milly, she knows she could be a game-changer. But then she meets her mother, and all hell breaks loose.

To get your freebie gift, hit this link and complete the small form on the page.

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a-christmas-kissAnd, judging by the new cover on Jade Winters’ Facebook page, it would seem that she also has something in mind for Christmas. No details of release or content as yet, but we’ll do our best to keep you updated.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has written a blog post in remembrance of her US editor, Ellen Key Harris-Braun, the woman who was the first to see the potential in Ammonite (“this sex-romp-on-girlie-planet, or radical-reexamination-of-gender, or biological-What-If”). It’s a very fond and interesting look back at those initial steps towards publication and well worth a read:

And then one day the president of Ballantine, Linda Grey, walked through the Del Rey offices, caught sight of the sketch, and said, “What the hell is that?” Ellen started to explain but Linda Grey gave her a look and said, “Del Rey’s an SF imprint; put a spaceship on the cover.” So that’s what happened. Ammonite, my precious first novel about self- and other-worldly exploration acquired a lurid orange and yellow illustration, complete with jelly-bean spaceship…

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never-enoughNew Bold Strokes author Robyn Nyx has been blogging on the publisher’s official site about the gamut of emotions involved in publishing as a first timer:

There’s disbelief when you read the email offering you a contract for your pretty paper baby. Then comes elation, because someone actually believes you’re talented enough for them to invest $10,000 to edit, produce, and market your manuscript. A few short months later, there’s pain…

You can read the full piece here, and her debut, Never Enough, was released this week.

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kikiarcherpolariPolari, the LGBT Literary Salon, is making an appearance as part of Birmingham’s Shout Festival at the Mac, TONIGHT (Saturday 19th November). Kiki Archer, Scott Campbell & VG Lee will be reading from their latest novels, and a good time is always had by all. The evening sold out when it was held last year, so for tickets and more specifics, hurry over to the main site.

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Finally this week, for anyone who has been following Jody Klaire‘s downloadable Whistleblower series, the fourth part, Not Genuine, is now available by following this link at Jody’s blog.

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Whatever you may be up to this weekend, have a safe one.

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