Tag Archives: Kate Snowdon

Halloween Q&A

31 Oct

halloweenIt’s Halloween and whether you have a tub of sweets ready for trick or treaters, or the lights off to pretend you’re not in, it’s a fabulous night to curl up with a creepy book.

We asked several authors which books frightened them most and which character scared the bejeebers out of them. Here are their answers:

I Beacham
The most frightening book I’ve ever read is Ghost Story by Peter Straub (it was made into a movie of the same name with Fred Astaire).

ghoststoryWithout giving too much away, the story is about four aging men in a town someplace upstate New York who get together on a regular basis and over firelight and whiskey, exchange ghost stories. They call themselves The Chowder Society. It is clear that the men have known each other for years and were once teenage / early twenties buddies. The key to this story is that they all hide a tragic secret of something they did during their youth.  It is this tragedy that now returns to haunt them in the most chilling way. As the book progresses, the more frightening things become.

Without any shadow of a doubt, the most scary character is the woman in the book (I’m not giving any names away here for fear of spoiling a wonderful read).  Just know that the beautiful woman who is now going out with one of the aged men’s son is not all she appears to be!

If you’re looking for a good ghost book (and the movie was brilliant too), seek no further!

Niamh Murphy
DraculaI went through a phase of reading Gothic Horror books in my early teens (Point Horror just didn’t do it for me!) and although I found the imagery somewhat unsettling and the penny dreadful plots were enjoyable escapism, no book really ‘frightened’ me until I read about the grimly realistic dystopia set out in George Orwell’s 1984.

Things that go bump in the night are all well and good, but the really frightening thought for me would be to live in a world without art, where literature and expression are suppressed and love is forbidden. Even now, over sixty years since it’s release, the book still feels as though it is talking about a future almost within reach. Scary stuff.

For most scary character: I have to say that although Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not brilliantly written, nor is the plot particularly captivating (I seem to remember there was an awful lot of administration and paperwork) the one character I have found genuinely creepy in any book has been the eponymous Dracula himself. It wasn’t his murder of every last person aboard the ‘Demeter’, his bloodsucking or his shape shifting that bothered me, it was one description early on in the book in which Jonathon Harker looked out from a window in the castle and saw the Count crawling along the castle walls like a spider. That was really quite awful!

To this day I still have visions of it.

Angela Peach
bone collectorI read The Dark by James Herbert when I was about 11 years old, and it scared me for months! Ironically, I don’t mind the dark now, but at the time, I was scared lifeless. Not been scared like that since! As for character that scared me the most, I guess the killer in The Bone Collector is an example of what scares me – real life killers with no remorse or conscience for their victims.

Suzanne Egerton
My most frightening book is, I think, one by Graham Masterton, read many years ago. I thought it was called The Manitou, but reading the blurb just now didn’t bring up the memory, so maybe it was one of his others. The cover depicted a heavily-carved chair, I recall. The chair was possessed by a (very) malevolent spirit, which caused it to writhe and wreak havoc on the owner, a decent chap who had taken a fancy to it.

So the scary character is the chair (snigger if you will, but I imagined it manifesting itself at the bottom of the bed for ages – stupid girl!)

I tend to avoid scary stories, on the whole. Wasn’t bothered by The Rats (the ones on I’m a Celeb etc. are so obviously well-fed pet-grade animals, I worry about the celebs hurting them, rather than vice versa). And I find these ‘most haunted’ programmes too ludicrous to watch. What I find horribly frightening are psychopaths and sadists, rather than sobbing blobs of ectoplasm!

Clare Ashton
pitandpendulumMost of the scary stories that made an impression on me I read as a kid – Lord of Rings and the ring wraiths, gothic Edgar Allan Poe short stories (I’ve got a knot in my belly just thinking about the Pit and the Pendulum).

As an adult it’s actually taken kids’ stories to have that same deep emotional impact. The book that made me most fearful was His Dark Materials trilogy with its concept of daemons (people’s souls embodied as most loved companion animals). The experimenters irrevocably separating children from their daemons and Lyra being painfully parted from Pantalaimon were some of the most vivid and moving pieces of writing I’ve read.

Scariest characters? Dementors. Just for that chilling scenario of being locked away in your own head in inconsolable despair. Wonderfully terrifying creations.

Kate Snowdon
rats The most frightening book I’ve read is James Herbert’s The Rats. And it wasn’t a character that had me checking under my bed and blocking off gaps under my door, it was those delightful furry / hairy creatures.

Lesley Davis
I have thought long and hard on these questions and have to say I can’t answer either! I have never really read scary books (I don’t call Stephen King / James Herbert scary!) and have no memory of anything I’ve read frightening me. I’ve always been more drawn to Sci-fi than horror. I’m not a big fan of being scared, the closest I get to horror is playing the zombie maps in the Call of Duty games!

 Ke Payne
womaninblackI’m not a huge fan of horror novels as such, but I’d have to say that the book that I can distinctly remember giving me the heebie jeebies was James Herbert’s The Rats. There’s a revolting scene in a cinema which still creeps me out when I think about it.

The scariest character which has me hiding behind cushions is The Woman in Black (from Susan Hill’s novel). There’s something about how she silently stands in the cemetery of Eel Marsh House watching Arthur Kipps that makes me want to put all the lights on in the house. And have the dog on the sofa next to me – just in case.

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Guest Blog – Kate Snowdon

2 Aug

YouCantRunfromLoveS250New author Kate Snowdon tells us about her very different experience of starting writing and how she’s now bitten by the writing bug.

When I was asked to write something for this blog regarding my experience of writing my debut novel, You Can’t Run From Love, I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it. The one thing I can say with certainty is that I enjoyed every minute of the experience, and I would never have predicted that.

I was probably like many new authors, not believing I’d actually had a book published until I held it in my hands. Where I might possibly differ is that I’d never had a burning desire or inner longing to write and had not even considered it. So, why did I write a novel? Good question. It’s one of two that frequently pop up, the other being, how long did it take to write? It was the disbelieving looks to the first answer and not recalling the second that prompted me to give it some thought.

It all started when my partner and I moved into a late 19th century house which was in need of renovation. Not long before this endeavour, she had been seriously ill and subsequently recovered well. Sadly, though, she experienced further setbacks in her health, and understandably the disruption of the work became too much and eventually had to stop. It was during this period I started to read the books my partner had been reading for years: lesbian romance. It wasn’t that I thought I could write one, but more that it would be fun to try! The added attraction was that it would keep me occupied and stop my partner feeling guilty at not having the energy to do the things we’d always done in the past. I am not always the most relaxing person to have around and the writing gave us the opportunity to do something we could share again. We discussed and researched the general format the book should take, and I set off on my story.

The finished product, a year later, didn’t read like any of the books we’d read and was far too long! I didn’t have any idea what I could do to improve it, yet my partner thought it was worth pursuing. That’s when we looked more closely at a publisher. At the time, Bella Books only wanted the first two chapters plus the final one. I hoped I’d receive feedback on how I could improve what I’d written. It didn’t quite work out like that. They asked to review the full manuscript. Again, I hoped for some advice, but no, they wanted to publish, and I can say in all honesty I wasn’t expecting that. It definitely needed improvement, and when I received the editor’s comments my surprise turned out to be justifiable: they were pretty damning. But I’d received the feedback I’d wished for! As I squirmed my way through them and my cut manuscript, I couldn’t disagree with anything. Well, maybe one small thing, but it seemed trivial given the circumstances. I knew I had a lot of hard work ahead of me. It was also rather unfortunate that, due to the time lapse—seventeen months since I’d finished writing—I’d already written my second book with all the same mistakes.

It took three months to complete the changes to You Can’t Run From Love. It’s an easy, fun read for those who like contemporary romance and are not looking for anything too serious. There are a few serious undertones, though, if you wish to look. My second novel, Love’s Battle, I was able to amend before it went to an editor, and I very much hope I’ve learned a great deal from working on my first, but we’ll see. It’s still with them. I think it’s better, but it is slightly different and might be difficult to compare. In theory, my third book should be better still!

I’ve been incredibly fortunate on this writing journey, the whole experience has been a joy and I’m hooked. It’s been incredibly liberating too. I had only been out to family and obviously, lesbian friends, but since starting to write I’ve emerged from my closet. Not all by my own doing, but that’s another story.

You can find more out about Kate on her shiny new blog: http://snowdonkate.wordpress.com/

News Roundup: Everyone’s got the Blogging Bug, Manda Scott & VG Lee at Brighton Pride, and the Pope’s testicles cause a stir…

29 Jul

As the schools break up for the summer hols, the roads fill up with staycationers and unnecessary roadworks, and the weather inevitably turns rubbish, what better excuse is there than to sit in a quiet spot with a good book, or a good blog? Or maybe you’re more inclined to write the good book or blog. Whichever floats your boat, UK LesFic is here for you. So, what have folks been up to this week?

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A fair bit of blogging, seems to be the answer…

bsb_the_rarest_rose__03887I. Beacham is a bit of a secret squirrel when it comes to an online presence, but she has been spotted over at Women and Words chatting about her new release The Rarest Rose, a love story with ghostly undertones:

I have a genuine love of history and I am more than aware that next year will be the 100th anniversary of the 1914 – 1918 World War One. As a keen reader of that period of time and, in particular, its emotive and powerful poetry, I have always felt drawn to its sadness and loss. It was a time that deeply impacted many across the globe, and certainly here in Britain. I have grown up hearing about those in the family who went to fight, and who did – or did not—return… So I think my latest book was influenced by this approaching anniversary and that, subconsciously,I wanted to acknowledge it. The outcome is that The Rarest Rose delivers two love stories, both blighted, and where echoes of the past still resonate. These gentle reverberations offer direction and hope for the two contemporary characters in this book.

You can read the full piece here.

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youcantrunA former secret squirrel, Bella author Kate Snowdon is becoming less of an enigma with the creation of a brand new blog, which was swiftly followed by her very first post. The aptly titled The First Post! gives an insight into Kate’s début novel You Can’t Run From Love, as well as explaining why she initially preferred to keep things on the hush-hush. It’s a telling reminder that lesbian authors may face a real dichotomy between publicising their works and keeping their private lives private, but it’s one with a happy ending. Once Kate gets started, there’s apparently no stopping her: we will be hosting a guest post from her later this week.

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SuzanneEgertonSticking with the blog theme, Suzanne Egerton‘s blog might not be new, but we don’t seem to have it listed on our Author page. So you should all go on over there and see what you’ve been missing out on, and I’ll update the information as soon as Talk Talk get their fingers out and stop WordPress from being a temperamental little arse!

Suzanne will also be reading from her novel Out Late with Friends and Regrets in a five minute spot at Café Rio, Glasgow, tonight (Monday 29th.)  The readings begin at 8p.m, there are other fabulous performers on the schedule, and all are welcome.

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clareashtonLast blog mention in this bloggiest of blog roundups comes from Clare Ashton, who will be guesting over at Kim Taylor Blakemore‘s blog this coming Tuesday. Can we tempt you with the tag-line?

After Mrs. Hamilton, Pennance, and all things indie! Drop on over Tuesday to learn what inspires and motivates the inimitable Clare Ashton.

Of course you’re tempted. Head over here on Tuesday to read the post.

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An advance heads up now for Brighton Pride, where Manda Scott and VG Lee will be making appearances in the Literature Tent on Saturday 3rd August between 2-5 p.m. At 3 p.m. Manda will be giving a talk about the roots of writing history. We’re not exactly sure what VG will be up to, but it’s guaranteed to be entertaining. Full details about the Pride festivities can be found at the official website.

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sedia stercorariaFinally this week, a big thanks to Rachel Dax whose recent guest post about The Legend of Pope Joan II is single-handedly responsible for providing the funniest search term resulting in a hit to our site: “so why the testicles are checking the pope?”

For a explanation, see Rachel’s guest post of June 28th… Hell, the Pope’s testicles certainly makes a change from Lesbian Ass Kissing

News Roundup: Trio of Brand New Authors, New Reviews & BSB’s Rogues’ Gallery

17 Jun

I’ve just tied back my hair (ha!), grabbed a feather duster and given the site a bit of a summer clean out. In a nutshell, this means the New Releases page is bang up to date (with a couple of additions we’d missed added retrospectively), we have three new authors whom I shall tell you all about in a moment, and more information added to the Events page. If it wasn’t so bloody chilly outside I’d treat myself to a Solero…

youcantrunRight, new authors. Henriette Bookgeek has truly earned her spurs the last few weeks and pointed us in the direction of a trio of new Brit authors. Bella Books has signed two of these: Kate Snowdon and Lyn Dowland, but in a somewhat dubious marketing strategy they seem determined not to let anyone know much about them. Neither author has a website and Lyn isn’t even listed on Bella’s site, despite her début book – Distance Learning – being scheduled for a September release. We can tell you that Kate lives up in Scotland and her first novel, You Can’t Run From Love, sneaked out in April, when it was reviewed by Terry Baker:

A nice well written debut book with a sweet and tender romance that simmers throughout the book. The scenic descriptions and wildlife are brilliant too.

As Kate recently followed us on Facebook, I’m hoping to get in touch with her, then we can let you know more about her!

blue hourRounding out our trio is Beatrice Donahue, whose short story The Blue Hour was published in May by Ladylit. Beatrice hails from Southwest England and, according to her Goodreads page, is currently contemplating a sequel to her novelette:

It appears that a sequel (and final) piece is brewing for Eve and Rosina. What will become of them? They’re telling me the rest of their story now, usually at night, and I’m doing my best to write it down.

A Q&A with Beatrice can be found here at the Harper Bliss site, and Terry Baker had this to say about The Blue Hour in her review:

A well written debut novelette. The two characters, Rosina and Eve are likeable, well formed and interact well with each other. From the scenic descriptions, it was easy to visualize myself back in a sleepy little English village in the roaring 1920’s.The story is short, but sweet, hot and very erotic. I’ll be watching out for more from Beatrice Donahue.

If any of the authors are lurking in these parts, give us a shout – we’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, blurbs for all of their books can be found over on our New Releases page.

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Sticking with reviews for the moment, The Guardian has recently reviewed two of the authors we’ve featured on this site. They had this to say about Diana Souhami‘s biography The Trials of Radclyffe Hall:

Souhami, a witty and astute reader of human nature, never makes her subject a martyr, cataloguing the pets Hall ditched because of defects, the dismal pretexts for infidelity, the admiration for Italian fascism. Not always a wonderful life, then, but a truly remarkable one.

The full text of the review can be found here.

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In the same week, Stella Duffy’s The Purple Shroud (the sequel to Theodora) also got a favourable write-up:

Theodora is, in Duffy’s hands, a richly paradoxical character from whom the light of life shines brightly.

Read the whole review here.

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bsbOver on the BSB UK website, Vic Oldham has been busy collecting photos from the 2013 Nottingham Event, and what a rogues’ gallery it is turning out to be 😉 Hit the link to scroll through the pics, and if you have any that you took yourself I’m sure Vic would be happy to include them on the site.

On a more serious note, Andrea Bramhall posted a blog about breaking down barriers during the weekend, and Amy Dunne shared her thoughts on how LGBTQ books made her realise she wasn’t alone. Like all good stories, both blogs come with a happy ending.

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Speaking of rogues… If you’re feeling daring, hop over to our About page, which has also had a bit of an update in the last week 🙂

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Right, I don’t care if it’s miserable outside, I’m having that Solero!

News Roundup: Too Much Stuff to Fit in One Title!

10 May

Lots of snippets of good news this past week, so without further ado…

lfestartistL Fest (a “unique weekend celebration of lesbian culture and community“) has been expanding its line-up for this year’s event, which takes place July 19th-22nd. The Arts Section, which had already confirmed appearances by UK authors Jackie KayVG Lee and Crin Claxton, will now include Clare Ashton and Kiki Archer too. Clare and Kiki will be talking about indie publishing and their work, as well as reading from their latest novels. Everything you need to know about the festival can be found on the above link.

All we need now is for the sun to shine!

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Over at The Lesbrary, they have been catching up with some of the UK’s top lesbian writers.

whybehappyJeanette Winterson‘s memoir Why be Happy When You Could be Normal is favourably reviewed by Karelia Stetz-Waters:

Winterson can do what no one should attempt: two memoirs about the same story. I was lucky to get to read Oranges are not the Only Fruit and Why Be Happy as they should be read. One at fifteen when one needs heroes. One at nearly 40 when one knows what heroes really look like.”

Meanwhile, one of Emma Donoghue‘s older releases, Kissing The Witch, has been weaving its magic around Jordan:

“Often times the tales of old try to pit women against women, with the classic step mother and step sisters always being terrible to the girl in cinders, or the witch and queen that curses the young and fair girl that happens to be more beautiful. It is a common occurrence and one of the more unfortunate themes rampant in fairy tales. Instead, Emma Donoghue put the power back in women’s hands with these stories.”

Read the full text of each review at the links above.

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shandyCari Hunter has been busy fielding interviews about her new novel Desolation Point.  An in-depth Q&A has just been published at Hannah’s Nook, and she recently knocked back a shandy or two with Cheri and Andy for a Cocktail Hour podcast. To be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of Snowbound or Desolation Point just leave a comment on the podcast page.

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Niamh Murphy has uploaded the first two chapters of Is She?, a new short story to Wattpad. You can read chapter one here and chapter two here. She has also made Mask of the Highway Woman  – the short story upon which her full-length novel was based – available here.

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YouCan'tRunfromLoveS250Thanks to a heads up from Henriette Bookgeek (who is blessedly on the ball with these things!) we’ve added a new UK author to our listing. Kate Snowdon is an author with Bella Books, and her début novel You Can’t Run From Love was published in March, 2013. Information on Kate is a little thin on the ground but hopefully that’ll change in the not too distant future.

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