Tag Archives: HP Munro

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

14 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can find the full countdown at the above link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full piece here.

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

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

Read the full review here.

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

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

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

 

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…

 

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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: New Books from HP Munro & AL Brooks, Kiki Archer & Clare Lydon Share Their Coming Out Stories, Reviews, Blogs & More!

21 Oct

As the nights draw in and you can barely get into a supermarket without falling over bloody massive tins of Roses and Quality Street, what better way to stave off the inevitable slalom towards the festive season than curling up with a good book? So find a rug to tuck yourself under, and away we go…

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saving graceWe’ve not heard a peep from HP Munro for a goodly while now, but this week saw the release of Saving Grace, her follow-up to 2014’s Grace Falls. HP says the book is a “companion piece” rather than a true sequel but that it features many of the same characters:

When Charlotte Grace left Grace Falls at the age of seventeen, she swore she’d never return. More than twenty years on she still regrets breaking the heart of her first love. Reaching a crossroads in her life, Charlotte has started to merely drift along.

Erin Hunter has spent a lifetime recovering from having her heart shattered by the person she trusted most. Taking shelter in her home town and her career, she’s avoided relationships.

Neither woman ever thought they’d see each other again. They didn’t count on Grace Falls. The quirky town’s charm pulls people in, and if the town isn’t enough, its residents are more than willing to lend a hand.

Celebrate a return to Grace Falls.

The book is available to buy from all the usual online spots.

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AL Brooks’ second novel Dark Horse has been scheduled for publication in February, 2017. More on this when we have it – for now, here’s the cover and the blurb.

darkhorseSometimes, going back is the only way forward.

Punished for a crime she did not commit, Sadie is sent away to live with Elsie, her grandmother and rebuild her life estranged from the rest of her family.

Now, several years later she returns home to visit her terminally ill mother and face up to the past. In the midst of family turmoil Sadie meets Holly and falls in love for the first time.

Can Sadie overcome the lies of the past to build a brighter future?

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coming-out-dayAs anyone who’s been through it probably knows, coming out to family, friends, and even yourself is an experience that you’ll never forget. October 11th was National Coming Out Day, and two of our most popular UK authors shared their coming out stories to mark the occasion. You can watch Kiki Archer‘s video (specially filmed in her closet!) here, while Clare Lydon chose to write a blog on the theme:

clare lydonI was still at university when I told my parents I was a lesbian. I was 21 and unbeknown to them, I had a girlfriend. But I knew it would be a shock for them. After all, when I had left home to start my degree two years earlier, I’d had a boyfriend. Not anymore.

But going home to tell my parents was beyond nerve-wracking. For a start, they’re old-school catholic, and from a very different generation. Did they even know anybody else who was gay? I didn’t think so…

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courting the countessJenny Frame has picked up a smashing review of her latest novel, Courting the Countess, from Les Reveur:

The sexual tension in this book was off the charts. You could have sliced it with a butter knife. I loved that element and it left me understanding the want these women had for one another. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I will say this… The love these women find in each other is not only about them (don’t get me wrong their love is very present and emotional) but it’s about family and doing anything you can for the people you love. It’s very sweet actually.

Jenny is also hoping to update her blog on a monthly basis to keep readers apprised of her latest book news and to share some insights into her writing process. Her first piece (read it in full here) focuses on hopeless romantics…

I think it’s time to stop making excuses and reclaim the title of hopeless romantic as a badge of honour. If you are a hopeless romantic, you are in touch with your feelings, you wear your heart on your sleeve, and have faith and hope that no matter how bad things can seem, there’s always a fairytale around the corner.

So wearing my badge proudly, how does this hopeless romanticism present itself? Well, if you were to ask my family or my partner Lou, they would tell you I’m extremely over emotional and cry at the drop of a hat…

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The Rainbow Awards are still collating their Honourable Mentions, with Clare Ashton being one of the latest recipients. Her bubbly romance Poppy Jenkins scooped two HMs (awarded 36/40 or more by a judge) in the latest round of announcements:

poppy jenkins1) I was absolutely charmed by the characters, and the story drew me in immediately and held me until the end.

2) A really amazing read. There was nothing here that made me think it was too much or too little or too anything else. All was perfect and I don’t use this word easily. The characters are all very well developed, so much so that at the end of the book they feel real; the story is interesting with the right amount of plot twists that keep the reader engaged but that don’t devolve in the realm of absurd even when unexpected things happens; the writing style is really really good; and the setting is one of the most interesting of all that I have read till now. What make this book even better is the way the author was able to navigate two different times of narration: it never feels like Poppy’s walks down memory lane are a rude interruption of the story, and the contemporary storyline is strong enough to become better thanks to them. Wonderful read!

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pennancegermanSticking with Clare for the moment, as her debut novel Pennance has recently been translated into German by Verlag Krug & Schadenberg. Released as Return to Life with shiny new cover art, the novel is available here at Amazon.

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AL Brooks’ erotic, Manchester-set debut, The Club, has been reviewed on The Lesbian Review:

The writing is clean and engaging, but the real strength is in how it’s structured. It almost straddles the line between full-length novel and short story collection, with each woman or couple’s story followed individually, threaded together through their interactions at the club. Mandy is the only character we see followed from the beginning to the end, and even that is through a series of flashbacks that tracks her journey to opening the club.

As ever you can read the full write up by hitting the link.

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christmasatwinterbourneWith her new novel – Christmas at Winterbourne – scheduled for release in November, Jen Silver is introducing its characters on her blog. This week Kim Russell gets her moment in the spotlight…

Time to introduce a character who has been mentioned in the previous three introductory blogs…Kim Russell… the character who isn’t there but who is central to the story. She died in a horse riding accident fifteen years before the start of the novel.

Kim was the author of a successful series of novels featuring an Australian sleuth, Amy Ransom. The novels were also made into films. The reason most of the guests book into Winterbourne House is because of the author’s fame. Fans come from all over the world to stay.

Christmas at Winterbourne will be published on November 1st, and you can read its first chapter here on the Affinity website.

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And that’s yer lot for this roundup. Toodle pip till next time!

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

18 Jun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full review here.

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

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

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

More here.

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

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

You can read the rest of her blog here.

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

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

Read more here.

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

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

On her blog she says:

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

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

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

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

A Frolicking and Festive Q&A

18 Dec

We close out this year with our annual romp beneath the mistletoe with some of our most popular UK LesFic authors, who very kindly took the time to discuss their reading highlights of the year, the books they’re most looking forward to in 2016, and their traditional festive indulgences…

 

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Clare Lydon

Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare had a busy old year in 2015. Not content with releasing two novels (This London Love, and the festive frolic, All I Want for Christmas), she continued to hosting her popular Lesbian Book Club over on the Lesbian Lounge, and appeared at LFest. Keep up to date with Clare, here at her blog.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all the littleI read quite a few books in 2015, but two stuck in my head. The first was G Benson’s All The Little Moments. It’s a debut novel about a family dealing with grief and it had me in floods of tears – I mean, *sobbing*. But as well as being a family drama that put me through the wringer, there was romance, no shortage of humour and two gorgeous little kids running around the novel too. The characters stayed with me and continue to pop into my head months after reading it.
My second choice is a book written in 1969 but only read by me this year. It’s called Patience And Sarah by Isabel Miller and it’s the story of a love affair between two women in the 19th century and is loosely based on a true story. It’s poetic, sublime, romantic and made me want to crawl inside the pages and just lie there, soaking it up. I loved every delicious word and plan on reading it again soon. If you haven’t read it yet, do it!

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

at the waters edgeI’ve interviewed loads of fab authors on my Lesbian Book Club podcast and quite a few have new books coming out next year. I’m particularly looking forward to new novels from British authors Angela Peach and HP Munro – we’ve been waiting a while, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it! Also, Harper Bliss is planning on producing something every month, so she’s going to be interesting to keep an eye on – I really liked her At The Water’s Edge. It’s going to be a stellar year I’m sure!

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I love Christmas and all its traditions. I love the invisible deadline whereby you have to see all your friends beforehand, so end up having dinner out for 20 days straight (it’s already started for me). I love autumnal weather. I never get bored of hearing Wham!, Mariah, The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl. I love The Holiday, Elf, The Muppets Christmas Carol. I love buying presents, sending cards, inhaling tins of Quality Street and glugging mulled wine. But most of all, I love the excitement and anticipation of Christmas. The build-up is pure, blissful magic.
The Boxing Day hangover, though? Not so good.

HP Munro 

hp munroHP lives in Edinburgh with her wife and a wauzer named Boo. Her début novel Silver Wings was shortlisted for the Golden Crown Literary Society Historical Fiction award in 2014, her second novel Grace Falls was published in Feb 2014, swiftly followed in late May by novel number three, Stars Collide. 

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

the red filesjpgIt’s been a good year for reading, as most of my favourite authors all published this year (some of them twice!) but I’m going to go with one that I sort of stumbled across. The Red Files by Lee Winter, had everything that I wanted and more. Action, suspense, and political drama. Not to mention my absolute favourite plotline of a love story -two protagonists who start out from a point of dislike who are thrown together to unravel a bit of a mystery.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

In the interests of my own sanity I’d love to have a book out there next year, aside from that – non lesfic I’m impatiently waiting for Christopher Brookmyre’s new book in January and lesfic wise I’ll settle for all my favourite authors publishing again….twice!

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

My favourite thing about Christmas is my wife’s face when I inevitably select the most humungous tree (last years was over 12ft) When we get it home I put on the festive music, crack open a bottle of bubbly and dress up in my Santa suit to decorate the house.

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Karen Campbell 

karencampbell2Karen has just published her fourth novel The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, and won the Ultimate Planet (New) Author of the Year Award in 2014. Karen is Scottish, grumpy in the morning, supports Arsenal and Rangers, and drinks 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.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

all my friendsI don’t read lesfic, although I did read The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, which was good once I got past the 200 page mark. I found it slow to begin but she writes beautifully so I didn’t mind. My favourite book I read this year was called All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I am getting a Jeanette Winterson book for Christmas called The Gap of Time. It is a reworking of Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. I love Jeanette, she is my favourite
author in the whole wide world.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I don’t have any. I am the only Scottish person I know who doesn’t get drunk at Hogmanay. I participate in Christmas for other people, I don’t care one way or the other. It’s nice to see my nephews happy but other than that, I think the message has been lost. We need to be kind and thoughtful all year.

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Jenny Frame

jenny frameJenny hails from the small town of Motherwell in Scotland, where she lives with her partner, Lou, and their well loved and very spoiled dog. She made her lesfic début in 2015 with A Royal Romance, and her second novel Heart of the Pack is due to be published in May, 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

PLayinginshadowI’m way, way, behind on my 2015 reading list, but of the ones I’ve gotten through I enjoyed, Playing In Shadow by Lesley Davis, and Just Three Words by Melissa Brayden, and The Romance Vote by Ali ValiPlaying In Shadow I really enjoyed because it had lots of elements I really enjoy, including video games references and gothic rock. Just Three Words is a sweet book. So utterly romantic that it makes you swoon. The Romance Vote was really enjoyable to read. I knew next to nothing about the American political system, and I came away from the book with a little bit more of an insight into it. The second thing thing that made it so great was the deliciously handsome butch character, which you can always be sure to find in a Ali Vali book.

prescription for loveWhat’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

I’m hoping to catch up on my reading list over Christmas and the New Year, and first on the list is, Ready or Not by Melissa Brayden, and Radclyffe‘s Prescription For Love.

What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Terry’s Chocolate Orange. Yum yum!

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Andrea Bramhall

BSB-AndreaBramhallLgAndrea is a Stockport native who now runs a campsite in Deepdale, and is planning a move to the Lake District in the not too distant. Somehow she finds time to write novels and scuba dive! Her second novel, Clean Slate, scooped the 2014 Lambda Literary award for best lesbian romance. Her sixth novel, Collide-O-Scope is due to be published by Ylva in 2016.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

The Red Files, by Lee Winter. Funny, good mystery, great characters, and some pretty hot love scenes. Well worth a read.

What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

the fifthTop of my reading list for next year – hmmm, tricky. There are so many books on my “to read pile” right now. Building a house is not conducive to keeping up to date with new releases. But I’m really looking forward to Michelle Grubb‘s upcoming release The Fifth Gospel. I’ve really enjoyed Michelle’s previous two books, so I’m excited about this next one.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

Fave seasonal piece – I don’t really have a fab seasonal book. I like to spend time with my family and friends so I spend more time away from books at this time of year than any other. We do have a sort of tradition though. On Christmas Eve my partner and I watch Christmas movies…lots of them, but A Christmas Carol is always one of them. Used to be the old black and white one, but we’ve modernised. Patrick Stewart as Scrooge works best now.

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Manda Scott

manda-scottManda Scott’s first novels were a series of critically acclaimed crime stories featuring lesbian detective Kellen Stewart, and her debut Hen’s Teeth was short-listed for the Orange Prize. More recently she has been better known for her best-selling historical novels – the Boudica Series and then the Rome spy thrillers set in the same era. Into the Fire published in 2015 is a historical thriller linking arson attacks in modern-day France with the story of Joan of Arc.

spygames2My favourite read is always the most recent – which is Spy Games by Adam Brookes. It’s not remotely lesbian, but it’s an exceedingly good spy thriller, one of the best I’ve ever read.  This man really is the new Le Carré.

Of the rest, Tuesday Falling was excellent (by S Williams) and I always love the work of Andrew Taylor: his most recent A Silent Boy is exceptional. Non-fiction would have to be This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein and in the light of the Paris climate talks, this has to be required reading for everyone, along with The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. If you haven’t read both, they’re essential.

– What’s top of your reading wish list for next year?

The new Neil Gaiman, whatever that is. The new Andrew Taylor, whatever that is. The new Imogen Robertson

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas indulgence… I give myself a week of reading between the solstice and the end of the month – which is sheer, unencumbered indulgence and gets me through the seasonal hostilities. I’m really, really looking forward to this.

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VG Lee

VGLeeVG Lee is a fond favourite of many a lesbian fiction reader. Her first novel Diary of a Provincial Lesbian was a treasure back in the days when lesbian fiction was thin on the ground. And now in more plentiful times, her work
stands out for its quality, comedy and poignancy. Sarah Waters described her most recent book, Always You Edina, as “A real treat of a novel”. As a judge of the Polari First Book Prize, VG samples a good selection of queer fiction and her recommendations are always worth heeding.

carol– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

I re-read Carol by Patricia Highsmith as the film was due out. I’d feared that it might sound dated but quite the contrary. It’s a great, exquisitely written book – the characters aren’t particularly likeable but that seems very in keeping with much of the fiction today. Haven’t seen the film yet but the book would make a great Christmas present.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

DeliriumDelirium, the Rimbaud Delusion by Barbara Scott Emmett. Now I’m not sure if this is lesfic as I’ve only heard a short section from it when the author, Barbara Scott Emmett was chosen from the Polari Workshop in Newcastle to read at the evening event. It did sound as if there is at least a lesbian element in it. The piece the author chose to read out captured the entire audience and I’ve now ordered the novel on Amazon.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

I may have mentioned this before but I spend the whole of Boxing Day in bed with Christmas present books and cheese and pickled onion sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Pickled onions courtesy of author Rose Collis!

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Kiki Archer

Kiki-264After a year out screenplay writing, the original lesbian chicklit favourite came back this year with a scorcher of a novel. Too Late I Love You smashed the lesbian fiction charts and had a foray into the contemporary fiction charts too. Rumour has it that a glitzy novel is on its way for next year.

– What was your favourite read of 2015 and why?

justthreewordsMelissa Brayden‘s Just Three Words. It’s the second in the Soho Loft Series and focuses on Hunter and Sam, two friends, work colleagues and house mates who risk everything when desire takes hold. I loved the book because it portrayed a growing shift of feelings between friends. Come on, we’ve all been there – that friend who’s a friend, until they’re not.

– Which novel is top of your wish list for next year?

gettingbackI have so many I need to catch up on, but top of the list is Getting Back by Cindy Rizzo. Cindy excels when writing strong and powerful women and I love the idea of a novel focused on the publishing industry and changes within it.

– What’s your favourite seasonal traditional or indulgence?

Christmas is my favourite time of year. The tree is always up by December 1st, the house is swamped in festive lights and carols are played on repeat. As for indulgence it has to be tree chocolates. It’s the naughtiness of announcing to the children they cannot be pinched without permission… and the minute they’re in bed that’s exactly what I do. No one in the family knows I’ve replaced the whole batch three times already.

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rainbow treeA massive thank you to each of our participating authors – we hope they’ve given you plenty of ideas for stocking fillers! All that remains for Tig and I to do is wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a peaceful 2016. We’ll be back with more news, guest blogs, and features in January.

L Fest 2015

21 Jul

The sun shined DSC_1606on L Fest this year, and a fun and cozy event it was too. Live music got the big top treatment and the arts stage was hosted nearby in an airy bright tent. Stalls lined the edges of two grassy areas with everything from busking to dog shows. There were fewer author panels this year, and no fiction workshops, but what the sessions lacked in quantity they certainly made up for in quality.

Karen Campbell

Jubilation at working microphones and a brilliant reading from Karen Campbell

First up was the Indie Panel ably captained by Clare Lydon. HP Munro had the unenviable task of kicking off the show before the microphones arrived but was beautifully audible by the time her reading of the merkin scene from the much-loved Stars Collide came around. Sally Edwards read from her self-confessed highly autobiographical debut How to Love. Karen Campbell enthralled the audience with a brilliant reading from her work in progress about a lesbian dwarf. And Suzanne Egerton, who has one of those voices you need for Book at Bedtime, delivered her humorous story Diva like a pro.

Polari Panel

The fabulous Polari panel: Diana Souhami, host Paul Burston, VG Lee, Kiki Archer and VA Fearon

Sunday morning was time for Paul Burston‘s Polari panel and a large and eager crowd was up early to see some sparkling readings. VA Fearon started the session with a reading from her gritty London gangland thriller The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Some light relief was dished out by Kiki Archer with the shitting-mobility-scooter-icecream scene from Too Late…I Love You, much to the delight of the audience. Diana Souhami was a great inclusion, effortlessly entertaining with her own witty observations and reading wonderful snippets from her biography of the fascinating Alice B Tokas and Gertrude Stein. VG Lee supplied the grand finale with two Deirdre stories to a most appreciative crowd.

Manda Scott

Manda Scott

The last author session was from the big-selling Manda Scott. The historical fiction author took a handful of questions and then talked most impressively about everything from living in round houses to knights steering horses with their bums and how genuinely terrifying battle reenactments are. She offered a few interesting tidbits about her writing career such as her name change (to MC Scott) being forced upon her for the Rome series, much to her chagrin, and the barriers to writing the Boudica series – pressure to keep to her previous thriller brand and established historical authors suggesting there was not enough material to support new fiction – Manda went on to write a series of four sizable tomes.

It was, all in all, a fabulous festival. But let’s hope 2016 sees a beefed up arts side to L Fest.

Polari

Polari panelists VG Lee, Paul Burston, Kiki Archer, Diana Souhami

HP Munro

HP Munro reading the merkin scene from Stars Collide

Suzanne Egerton

Suzanne Egerton

News roundup: Goldie shortlists, a lot of blogging, new books and events!

25 Apr

The awards season is in full swing and over the last few days the shortlists for the Goldies leaked out, and the UK has put in a jolly good show.

nightingalestars collidethat certain somethingLittleWhispers

Three authors made it on to the short list for Traditional Romance from a huge list of nominations: Andrea Bramhall for Nightingale, HP Munro for Stars Collide, and Clare Ashton for That Certain Something.

Karen Campbell put in a double showing in the Anthology (Fiction) category. Her collection, Little Whispers, was shortlisted and she also contributed to the UK anthology L is For… Lots of familiar authors in that (Kiki Archer, VG Lee, Clare Lydon etc.).

Jody Klaire is a finalist in the Debut Author category with The Empath, Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests popped up in the Romantic Intrigue section and KE Payne’s Because of Her was shortlisted in the YA category.

l is fortheempath_lgBSB_Because_of_HerAplacesomewherRJ Samuel is a popular gal and A Place Somewhere made it onto the shortlists of both the Ann Bannon popular choice category and the Tee Corinne Cover Design Award.

High fives all round for a good showing in the American dominated awards, or perhaps a cordial handshake will a solemn nod of approval. Winners will be announced at the GCLS conference in New Orleans on 22nd July. Fingers crossed lots of those Brits get a nice glass lump of an award on the night.  Good luck everyone.

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Right, moving on with the rest of this week’s business.

no good reasonCari Hunter’s imminent arrival has popped its head out for a good look. You can have a sneak peek at the prologue and first two chapters of No Good Reason over here. Cari promises the book will be Brittier than a buggering cold day at Blackpool and the extract features the text “Running late. Got puked on. Fancy a chippy tea at mine instead?

soul selectaGill McKnight’s Soul Selecta was reviewed over on C-Spot Reviews. Its review of Gill’s tale of the love-matching Soul Selecta begins: “Soul Selecta is an odd novel. A funny, stimulating, enjoyable read, but still a little odd. I like odd, however, so it’s all good.”  And it ends: “Soul Selecta ignores most lesfic plot arcs and completely entertained me with trashy Olympian gods, young lesbian love, some hot sex, a conundrum, and enough twisty fun that I consulted several times with my cats about what might happen next. Recommended.” Well I’d say. Sounds fabulous.

PLayinginshadowLesley Davis has been blogging over on the Bold Strokes site about characters and stories that stay with you when reading and playing games. Trent, from her novel Playing Passion’s Game, is one character who always has her ear and Lesley talks about her reappearance in her latest novel Playing in Shadow:

She’s one of my favourite characters I have created and I have so much more to share about her. So while romance weaves it spell around Bryce and Scarlet, Trent and Juliet will be preparing for motherhood. And as you can imagine, with these characters, it’s not going to be all boring bibs and baby grows!

You can read the full piece here.

riding in carsEvangeline Jennings has been over at Women and Words talking about the route she has taken on her way to publishing her latest book, Riding in Cars With Girls – it’s a roundabout one that you can follow here. The book itself is a collection of short stories, from “ESCORT – A high class hooker fucks a Mafia Don to death” to “TRANS AM – A widow hunts her husband’s killer across America. Route 666.” Hop in over here for a ride.

The_Full_LegacyMeanwhile Jane Retzig‘s The Full Legacy (a romance with a hint of the supernatural) has been published as an audiobook. It’s available on Audible, Amazon and will be available from iTunes soon. It’s narrated by Elizabeth Shelly who Jane says has done a brilliant job.

Clare Lydon reported from the Indie Author Fair in London:

it was also a real treat to be in Foyles’ flagship bookshop selling my novels – I was immensely proud. Plus, if you could bottle the upbeat energy in that room and sell it, you’d make a mint. After visiting The London Book Fair and hearing much indie author bashing, it was brilliant to soak up and add to the enthusiasm and gung-ho attitude of all the authors and readers present. We’re living proof that publishing is changing and only for the better.

Read her full article here.

runRun, the debut novel from new author Pat Adams-Wright, has hit the digital shelves. Here’s the blurb.

For Charlie Reinette, it was a typical Friday night out with her work mates. Or so she thought… Instead, she found herself in the midst of a domestic dispute, rescuing a woman she hardly knows and setting off a deadly chain of events. Harbouring the rescued woman finds them having to run from murder and the infernos raging behind them. Not quite the woman her friends think she is, Charlie has to face her past, her future, and everything in between as she fights for her life and the life of the woman she saved. Can the two women, Charlie’s group of eclectic friends, and the police catch the man terrorising them across Europe? How will they stay ahead of his game? One thing’s for certain…they need to RUN!

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Finally a few items in brief.

Should you start a novel with dialogue? No but yes says Jen Silver. She talks about one of the many writing rules and her new novel here.

Rachel Dax, author of the Pope Joan series, has started a fundraiser for her next film. A Delicate Love is a short film about “a young man’s first taste of love leads to a collision of fantasy and food“. Click here for further details.

Orla Broderick started an initiative to fill the bare shelves of a local Women’s Aid shelter with books. She donated two copies of her January Flower and put out a plea for other authors to donate. The support has been so fantastic that she’s extending the scheme to more shelters in Scotland. If you would like to donate please read about Orla’s plans here.

Polari is off to the seaside with a new venue in Hastings for the next six months. You can find out more about Polari on Sea’s first event on Facebook. And after last year’s success, Paul Burston has secured funding for another Polari national tour. Watch this space for further details.

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…Oh I do like to be beside the seaside… But I’ll settle for sitting in a sunny garden with my feet in a paddling pool. Tatty bye!