Tag Archives: Karen Campbell

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…

 

c-holly-banner

 

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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!

~ ~ ~

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.

~ ~ ~

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.

~~~

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!

~ ~ ~

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.

c-holly-banner

 

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.

News Roundup: New Releases from Karen Campbell & Angela Peach, Polari Readings, Andrea Bramhall Cover reveal, and Free Stuff!

21 Nov

Welcome to a rather wet and shivery news update, written on one of those days where you just want to curl up with a nice cup of tea and a good book. So howsabout you stick the kettle on and I’ll have a toot at what’s on the shelves this week?

~ ~ ~

strange adventures ofAnd I can indeed start by telling you all about a new book. Karen Campbell Diary of a Broken Heart, The Knowing, Little Whispers has recently released The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street, a book that – it’s fair to say – sounds unlike anything else in the pantheon of UK LesFic.

Mavis Street is a dwarf with one brown eye and one green eye, and a lopsided mouth. She grows up in the love of her mother and father, who teach her the lessons she needs for life. Growing up adept at poker, she wins a casino, buys a strip joint (where she first meets the beautiful Eladora Diodata) and runs a funeral parlour. She is assisted in life with best friends, Freya the Norwegian, Allistar Spanner and Sven the Swedish fisherman.

But Mavis needs a love and is lonely. She has a voice of honey and this dwarf talent leads her to a late-night radio show, where she broadcasts through the night, unable to sleep with longing for her lost love, Eladora Diodata.
Finally, Mavis will receive word that Eladora must be rescued and Mavis and Sven will set off on a course that will alter all their lives.

This is a book about family and love and friends and even though you may look in the mirror, as Mavis does, and think yourself ugly, there is always a true lover waiting who sees that you are beautiful because beauty is not measured in centimetres.

You can buy the book at the link above.

~ ~ ~

VGKikiI had the pleasure of meeting Karen at the recent lesbian authors coffee shop event in Urmston where she read her short story, Voices Carry, from the Little Whispers collection. It’s a gorgeous story and – as luck would have it for those not in Manchester that day – Polari have posted a video of Karen reading it for the November Polari event.

Karen shared the bill with Kiki Archer and VG Lee, whose readings from Too Late…I Love You, and Diary of a Provincial Lesbian can be watched by clicking the links.

~ ~ ~

cloud heartsMeanwhile Angie Peach is gearing up for the release of a new novel in February/March 2016 by releasing a selection of short stories to whet the appetite. The first, Cloud Hearts, is available here on Amazon:

I’m waiting in the meadow for her, for Elizabeth. The last place she could possibly be, and I hope that after all this time, she’ll remember. Because if she doesn’t…well, the consequences don’t even bear thinking about. We parted in the worst way possible and even though it took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened, I know the burden she carries weighs heavy in her heart and there’s every chance she can’t let go of the past.
But she must. If we are to ever have a chance at love again, she needs to forgive. Please, Elizabeth? Please?

Keep an eye out for more shorts as the release date creeps closer.

~ ~ ~

collide o scopeAndrea Bramhall has unveiled the cover and the blurb for her forthcoming release Collide-O-Scope, her first with Ylva, which will be published in April 2016:

An unidentified woman is found murdered on the North Norfolk Coastal Path and newly promoted Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and Kings Lynn’s CID have the task of figuring out whom, how, and why. A job that’s made more difficult when every one of the forty residents in the village has something to hide and answers her questions with a string of lies.

Georgina Temple has her own secrets to keep, and her own reasons to keep them. But her growing attraction to Kate makes it increasingly difficult to keep them.

Kate’s investigation into the woman’s death delves into the heart of the tiny fishing village where nothing and no one is quite what they seem.

Andrea’s most recent novel, The Chameleon’s Tale, was also reviewed by the Velvet Lounger this week:

“In the latest offering, The Chameleon’s Tale, we are firmly planted in South Africa, starting during apartheid when being liberal was a dangerous personal statement, and jumping forward to the present day, when the anger and pain of that era is still deeply engrained in all those affected. It combines romance, as do all Bramhall’s books, with a personal intrigue and a political thriller – in this case a page-turner dealing with corporate greed and social abuse.”

You can read the full review here.

~ ~ ~

AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonAll of which brings us hurtling to everyone’s favourite bit of the news: Free stuff!

First up is Clare Lydon, who is giving away a free bonus chapter of her chart-topping festive romance All I Want For Christmas. If you’ve read the book and you want to find out what happens to the characters on Boxing Day then all you need to do is sign up to Clare’s mailing list and she’ll send you the chapter for absolutely no pence whatsoever. Can’t say fairer than that.

~ ~ ~

Cold to the TouchAnd that’s not all… Being a generous type, I’m currently running a giveaway for two copies of Cold to the Touch – the December sequel to No Good Reason. The first couple of names I pull out of the hat when the draw closes on Sunday 22nd November will win a paperback – signed or unsigned! – and a bag of delicious pork scratchings 🙂

You can enter by commenting here on my blog, or by saying hallo on my Facebook page. You are not obliged to eat the pork scratchings. Good luck!

 

~ ~ ~

sdmFinally this week it’s with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to lesbian fiction author Sandra Moran. Sandra – who had many UK friends, myself and Tig among them – died on November 7th with her family by her side, shortly after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

Sandra’s first novel Letters Never Sent was published in 2013 and went on to win Rainbow awards for Best Lesbian Historical Romance and Best Lesbian Début, a Goldie for Dramatic General Fiction, and the Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Nudge followed hot on its heels in 2014, and All We Lack was published in March of this year.

Sandra had only spent a few years in the LesFic community, but her love of all things neon, taking blurry pictures of her cats and creating daft pie charts, along with her just being a damn good egg, made her a very popular lady indeed. She’ll be hugely missed, and our deepest condolences go to her family.

~ ~ ~

News Roundup: Kiki Archer Live Q&A, Amy Dunne Goes Renegade, New Release from Karen Campbell, and More!

25 Sep

Welcome! It’s a bit on the nippy side, but the sun is shining, flowers are still blooming, and I’m taking a quick break from squinting at page proofs to bring you all the happenings in the land of UK LesFic. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

renegadeAmy Dunne is first up this fortnight with a couple of stops on her publicity romp for her new futuristic, apocalyptic adventure-romance, The Renegade. Amy has been talking survival (and her absolute lack of survival skills!) over on Women & Words:

Let me start with an honest admission. I’m 90% certain that I wouldn’t survive in the post-apocalyptic world I’ve created. I’ve no survival skills to speak of, I’m awful at basic camping, I’m a complete technophobe to the point I don’t know anything other than switching something on and off and maybe hitting it if it still doesn’t work, I have OCD, I’m a hypochondriac, and generally don’t cope well in the great outdoors…

And she has actually been talking to Marion Dries in this Voice of Lesbian Literature podcast.

The Renegade is available to buy right now.

~ ~ ~

strange adventures ofKaren Campbell has been teasing a new release over on Facebook, with this enigmatic quote:

“I am Mavis Street and this was the day I married the love of my life and gave her my name. ‘I love you’ says it all but never says enough.” Coming soon – The Strange Adventures of Mavis Street.

As soon as we have any more information on the book, we’ll let you know, but in the meantime you can feast your eyes on its cover…

~ ~ ~

Kiki-264Any fans of Kiki Archer who have this Saturday (26th September) evening free, will be wanting to head to the Big Tent LesFic group on Facebook where Kiki will be participating in a live Q&A at 7pm (Brit time!) These Q&As are usually good fun and even more so when there’s an enthusiastic bunch of inquisitors beneath the canvas.

The group is a community of lesbian fiction readers and writers which is inclusive of anyone no matter where they may fall on the gender/sexuality spectrum.You can request to join the group here.

~ ~ ~

clare lydonIf you only know ten things about Clare Lydon and feel that perhaps your life has been lacking for want of another fifteen, then you definitely need to check out her latest blog where she’s listed a massive 25 eclectic and entertaining things about herself:

What would I put in my room 101? Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Pink wine. Coldplay. Offal. Chelsea FC. Pink fizzy wine. Goat’s Cheese. Maroon 5. Parsley. Crocs. Especially Crocs. Enough with the Crocs.

Check out the other 24 fascinating factoids here.

Clare has also been chatting to Jen Silver in the latest episode of her Lesbian Bookclub podcast. With Jen’s third book The Circle Dance due out in February, 2016, she discusses the representation of older lesbians in LesFic, and how life is treating her post-retirement. You can listen to the show at the link.

~ ~ ~

Tis September, which means that the Rainbow Awards are nigh upon us. Kick starting the annual festivities is the cover contest, where you can add your votes for your favourites and help see them through to the next round of the competition. There are loads of covers in the initial round, and plenty of UK authors – namely, Kiki Archer, Crin Claxton, VT Davy, Amy Dunne, Cari Hunter – who need your support. Head here to make your vote count!

~ ~ ~

lavieenbleuIt’s been far too long since Allo Allo “graced” our tellies and if you’ve been missing the ridiculous accentage then Jody Klaire might just be able to fill the void. Jody has recorded a reading from her continental romantic hit, La Vie en Bleu, complete with daft accent, for which she has already posted an apology:

I heartily apologise to any French folk out there for sounding more Allo, Allo than an actual French person. It seems to add to the comic effect so I hope that you enjoy!

Plug in and listen here.

~ ~ ~

330x235valmcdermidFinally this fortnight, a heads up that Val McDermid and Sarah Waters have both updated their forthcoming events pages with plenty of opportunities to see them in discussion in the upcoming months. For Val’s appearances, head here, and you can find all of Sarah’s events here or summarised on our own Events listing.

~ ~ ~

I reckon that about covers it. If you spot any news that we’ve missed, be sure to let us know (uklesfic @ gmail.com) and have a fabulous weekend!

 

News roundup: new author, new books, an unmissable Polari Tour and more!

11 Sep

Holidays are up and the kids are back at school, and it’s time for a scamper through the UK lesfic news:

~~~

First up, new books and new authors!

nofallenangelBella Books have signed up new author Sadie Winters. Sadie is one of those lucky folk who live by the sea in the South West, pottering about on the beach, baking and gardening when she’s not doing a spot of lesfic writing or freelance work. Her book No Fallen Angel has a shiny cover and a release date of February 2016. Here’s the blurb:

Angel Khoury is sick and tired. Tired of her job dancing in a London Gentleman’s Club and sick of her troubles with women. But when Angel is offered freelance work in a sleepy little village on the southwest coast of England and ends up taking a second job at a local garden center to make ends meet, things start heating up. And soon they are sizzling.

The source of the heat is Nell Frank, the blond woman who owns the garden center, whose life is complicated enough without an exotic dancer in the picture. After encounters under moonlit skies, on beautiful Cornish beaches, and in greenhouses under fragrant flowering vines, the couple must face their demons. Both have deep scars, and temptations abound.

Can they overcome these obstacles for a future together? Is Nell’s lover the fallen angel she fears? Soon Angel and Nell must decide if they’re ready to leave their past behind to find their happily ever after.

fivegunsblazingEmma Rose Millar‘s Five Guns Blazing will be published on the 15th. The novel is a tale of piracy, slavery and treason based on the true story of lesbian pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Here’s the blurb:

Never had she imagined she would be brought so low, and all for the love of a very bad man.

1710

Convict’s daughter, Laetitia Beedham, is set on an epic journey from the back streets of London, through transportation to Barbados and gruelling plantation life, into the clutches of notorious pirates John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, Mary Read and the treacherous Anne Bonny.

In a world of villainy and deceit, where black men are kept in chains and a woman will sell her daughter for a few gold coins, Laetitia can find no one in whom to place her trust.

As the King’s men close in on the pirates and the noose begins to tighten around their necks, who will win her loyalty and her heart?

And Jenny Frame announced that Bold Strokes have signed up her third book. Courting the Countess is a contemporary romance. No cover or blurb yet, but it will be available in 2016.

~ ~ ~

On to author blogs.

ngradvisory“[N]ever kill a puppy, be nice to small children, and always include a bit of romance.”  According to Cari Hunter, these are the cardinal rules for writing lesfic, if you do not want to feel the wrath of the reader. For Cari, a writer of crime and characters whose lives are far too complicated to indulge in anything as straightforward as love at first sight, this can cause the odd issue. Cari goes on to talk about the expectations of some lesfic readers and how these restrictions might stifle the genre. Have a read of the full article here and a run through of Cari’s non-formula tales.

~ ~ ~

Jody Klaire has been blogging about her experience of the Festival of Writers, although it was touch and go whether she would make it there:

I loved listening to Julie Cohen, Tamsyn Murray and Allie Spencer discussing their experiences, their struggles and how they overcame them. I got to hear from agents, publishers, authors on how the industry is and then how to take risks and find icebergs with Shelley Harris. It was an adventure!

Read about the rest of Jody’s adventures here.

You can also catch up with Jen Silver‘s news with her latest blog. It’s been a busy year for Jen with a trip to the GCLS conference and local author readings and her novels are still getting great reviews. The Wild Times Tavern is the latest to fall for her Starting Over:

A saga of lesbian love set in the wilds of Yorkshire? You’ve got to be kidding – how could I not be hooked? Jen Silver introduces an array of colourful characters – some gay, some straight – and then sets them off on a series of romantic trajectories, often resulting in messy head long crashes, angst and trauma.

You can read the full review here.

~~~

polaritourNow get your diaries out. You really don’t want to miss out on this year’s Polari Tour. The tour kicks off in London on Tuesday night when the shortlist for the 2015 Polari Prize will also be announced. The tour then heads off Cambridge, Cardiff, Bristol, Brighton, Hertford, Liverpool, Birmingham, Nottingham, Newcastle and Bedford. Performers include the likes of VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Karen Campbell, Mari Hannah, VA Fearon and Ali Smith.

For full details and dates see the Polari Website.

Paul Burston and VG Lee are also running free writing workshops to accompany the events. At each event, there will be a From Page to Performance workshop in the afternoon. For more information and to reserve a place on the workshops please contact VG Lee (vglee at dircon.co.uk).

And finally, a quick reminder for anyone in the environs of Manchester on Saturday afternoon: you can catch readings by several UK authors at the Lesbian Authors Festival. The event is held at a new lesbian cafe, The Hideaway Café, in Urmston. Readings start at 2.15 and will include Andrea Bramhall, I Beacham, Cari Hunter, Michelle Grubb, Jen Silver, Karen Cambell and Veronica Fearon.

~~~

Now run along there and have a spiffing weekend. Toodle pip!

News Roundup: New Books from Jade Winters, Gill McKnight, Rebecca S. Buck, and Amy Dunne, Goldie Win for Andrea Bramhall, Clare Lydon Does a Lot of Stuff, Reviews, Events & More…

31 Jul

Huzzah! It’s finally stopped raining and there’s a weird yellow light in the sky. Let’s shake off our brollies and see what the UK LesFic lasses have been up to…

~ ~ ~

Hopefully, the sun will continue to shine for Saturday at least, as Brighton Pride prepares to strut its stuff and get out the gay. Clare Lydon will be hosting shenanigans in the literature tent with a line-up that includes Catherine Hall and Carol Robson. You can find general information about tickets and timings on the festival’s main page, and Clare has more info about the book side of things here.

clare lydonIf you want to keep up with Clare (and she takes some keeping up with – she’s a busy lady!) then head to the subscription page for her newsletter where you’ll get exclusive info on first reads, new releases & offers. And if you need proof of how busy she is, you can read her recent Women & Words blog here (nb. the giveaway has finished), and watch her compering the recent Indie Panel at LFest here. Finally, just slipping in beneath the deadline is the latest episode of The Lesbian Bookclub, featuring Clare’s interview with Bold Strokes author and all-round lovely person, Crin Claxton.

Videos of VG Lee‘s and Kiki Archer‘s LFest stints have also been posted on YouTube. Hit the names for the links.

~ ~ ~

nightingaleCongrats to Andrea Bramhall whose novel Nightingale won a Goldie for Best Lesbian Romance at the GCLS conference last weekend. The Brits had a great presence in the finals, and Jen Silver and Angie Peach both made it over to New Orleans for the event, so fingers crossed UK authors will pick up a few more gongs in future years!

If you want to read more about the conference, Jen has just posted a recap of her GCLS experience over on her blog.

~ ~ ~

Plans for the inaugural lesbian book festival to be held at the Hideaway Cafe in Urmston (Manchester) are picking up speed. The date is set for September 12th, with proceedings scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. So far, the authors confirmed attending are: I Beacham, Andrea Bramhall, Karen Cambell, Veronica Fearon, Michelle Grubb, Cari Hunter, and Jen Silver. Cake, tea, lesbians, and books. It’s a no-brainer really. The women’s LGBT book club is also up and running at the cafe on the first Tuesday of each month, 7-9 p.m. See the website for more details.

~ ~ ~

in it togetherNew books now, and Jade Winters has recently released her twelfth (crikey!) novel, In It Together:

Cara has no one but herself to blame for the situation she finds herself in – she broke the cardinal rule: Don’t read someone’s personal diary. But what if she hadn’t? How long would it have been before she found out that Maddie, her girlfriend of four years, was sleeping with her flatmate?

Now suddenly homeless, Cara flees to her family home in the heart of Cumbria to lick her wounds. There Cara reunites with the past she so desperately tried to outrun and comes face to face with the heart wrenching dilemma that caused her to leave in the first place.

With nowhere to hide Cara finally has to confront her demons head on. Does she tell the truth and risk tearing a brother and sister apart? Or does she carry on with the lie and be without the love she has denied herself for so long?

~ ~ ~

cover_the-tea-machine_500x800Meanwhile, Gill McKnight has revealed the gorgeous cover for The Tea Machine, her first release after shifting publishers to Ylva. Gill has promised “Victorian ladies, and giant space squid, and hunky big Amazonian warriors with lasers, and tea”, and the official synopsis reads like this:

The story of a love that never dies…except it does, over and over again.

London 1862, and Millicent Aberly, spinster by choice, has found her future love—in the future! She meddled with her brother’s time machine and has been catapulted into an alternative world where the Roman Empire has neither declined nor fell. In fact, it has gone on to annex most of the known universe.

Millicent is rescued from Rome’s greatest enemy, the giant space squid, by Sangfroid, a tough and wily centurion who, unfortunately, dies while protecting her. Wracked by guilt and a peculiar fascination for the woman soldier, Millicent is determined to return in time and save Sangfroid from her fatal heroics. Instead, she finds her sexy centurion in her own timeline. And Sangfroid is not alone; several stowaways have come along with her.

Soon Millicent’s mews house is overrun with Roman space warriors and giant squid.

The book is due for release in November.

~ ~ ~

BSB-HopeHeartWinterSkip forward into December and Rebecca S. Buck‘s new lesbian historical story, Hope in the Heart of Winter, will be released onto e-book via Bold Strokes:

In 1927, Evadne Burns invites her closest school friends to join her for a weekend reunion at her grand home, Winter Manor. The passing of time and the dark shadow of the First World War has shaped them all as women, yet their friendships remain strong. The tragedy of the era has only made them more determined to live their lives to the full.

Evadne is delighted to see Clara and Courtney again, two women dedicated to each other since they were schoolgirls and still unable to keeps their hands off each other, even in view of Winter’s servants. There is the more conservative Madge, to remind them of the life they were expected to lead. But most of all, Evadne is pleased to see Edith Richardson, with whom she shared one precious night but left a lasting connection. With Edith, she chooses to share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives, together or apart.

~ ~ ~

renegadeWith The Renegade hitting shelves in September, Amy Dunne has posted an excerpt from her futuristic apocalyptic romp (is “romp” the right word a book that pretty much wipes out humanity before the end of the prologue? Probably not!) over on her blog. I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more from Amy as the release date rolls around, but for now get stuck into the first chapter, or head to the book’s official page on the BSB website where the first three chapters are ready and waiting, and where the book can be pre-ordered.

~ ~ ~

too late I love youOver at Chick Lit Plus, reviewer Michelle has been finding a lot to like in Kiki Archer‘s Too Late… I Love You:

Without giving too much away, I will say there is some hilarious banter in here. Some of it is crude so it’s not for the faint of heart but I was literally laughing out loud at some of the things that came out of everyone’s mouth. The twist at the end completely took me by surprise. It was actually fantastic. For a book I would not have normally read, I really enjoyed this.

You can find the full review at this link.

~ ~ ~

Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Off to bonny Scotland now, and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, where Sarah Waters and Jackie Kay will be discussing their favourite Virago Modern Classics authors on Saturday 15th August.

The Female Gaze: Classics by Women Writers

Three of Britain’s best-loved contemporary writers join us to discuss their favourite Virago Modern Classics author. Sarah Waters discusses Rebecca West, Maggie O’Farrell chooses Molly Keane, and Jackie Kay opts for Zora Neale Hurston. Why were these wonderful writers previously neglected, and what does their work tell us about the contemporary author who chose them? 

Chaired by Lennie Goodings as part of her Guest Selected strand of events.

The event will take place at Baillie Gifford Main Theatre, 5A Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 4DR, at 5pm. For further information and tickets, head here.

~ ~ ~

NicolaGriffithAnd we’ll round out the fortnight with Nicola Griffith discussing why it’s so important to count women’s stories, in a recent interview with the Seattle Review of Books:

My book Hild was out here in paperback and it came out in the UK in hardcover, so I had to do publicity — write “five-best” lists and, you know, that kind of thing. So I was thinking about my five favorite historical novels and I wrote them down and I was pleased because at least three of them, or actually four of them, were by women. I thought, “yay women!” And then I realized that those books by women were all about men. And then I thought, “goddamn.” These were my influences…

You can read the full piece at the above link.

~ ~ ~

Right, that little lot should keep you ticking over for the next couple of weeks. If you do happen to catch some sunshine, be sure to make the most of it!

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

9 May

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

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

Read more at this link.

~ ~ ~

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

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

~ ~ ~

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

~ ~ ~

DSC_4199

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

~ ~ ~