Tag Archives: Kerry Hudson

News roundup: new books, old books, events and more events! Everything from L Fest to Aye Write and Manda Scott to Nicola Griffith

28 Mar

Whoever is planning the festivals this year has suddenly got their arse in gear because events are being announced every which way this week. But first, some other tasty morsels from around the interweb.

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You Are What You Eat, and if it’s a biscuit you’re probably a Brit, and if it’s a cookie you’re more likely to be from the US. And that’s before you even get to different brands. This causes a problem for the likes of Cari Hunter who can’t go two chapters without someone having some’t nice to eat. Her trials and tribulations with the great food divide across the pond was explored in a Curve article this week by Diana Simmonds:

no good reasonHunter says, of her culinary concerns, ‘I think it’s a fear of chucking a reader out of a scene by throwing something at them that’s so completely alien it makes them stop and go ‘huh?’ I’ll probably swap custard creams for shortbread. But I am sad Americans don’t have Battenberg cake, though, I mean look how pretty it is!’

And so it is, even if you don’t like marzipan, and whether you care or not that it might have been named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband. But that’s the thing: if you don’t explore, you might as well stay home and guzzle more S’mores.

Read the rest of the entertaining article here.

There’s more from Cari as she gears up for the publication of No Good Reason in June with a taster of her life as a paramedic, which closely resembles that of her heroines.

I’ve worked for the ambulance service for thirteen years, eleven of those as a paramedic, and the last four of those leading a dual life as an author. My books tend to resemble my world – medical themes, with police, doctors, chaos, and violence – and I’ve always tried to keep them on the right side of realism. Bearing that in mind, none of my leading ladies are uber-heroines, those striding, muscle-ripped superwomen so beloved of cop/doc fiction, and the central pair in the Dark Peak series are no different. Sanne and Meg are bright, intuitive, and good at their jobs, but they get knackered, get puked on, laugh at the wrong things, and fuck up just like any of us.

Have a read of the post No Angels Here for an excellent taster of life as a paramedic – it’s a typically gripping and funny read.

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On to new books and pieces.

Lesley DavisPlaying in Shadow is now available from the Bold Strokes website (it will be available on Amazon April 20th). This is the link if you want to get your mitts on a paperback or have your ereader gobble up an ebook.

Lesley has also revealed the blurb and cover for the next book in the pipeline, Starstruck, which is due out January next year. Here’s the blurb and cover:

starstruckActress Cassidy ‘CJ’ Hayes is famous for her role in “The Alchemidens”, a fantasy show where she plays a kick-ass heroine. Her rising success has brought her quickly under Hollywood’s glaring spotlight. It also gained her the unwelcome attentions of an obsessive fan who wants more than just an autograph. Aiden Darrow is both a well-respected screenwriter and a writer of lesbian romances. As a big fan of actress C.J. Hayes, Aiden is astounded when the woman of her dreams ends up moving into the house next door to her. Their attraction is undeniable but Cassidy is understandably nervous about getting too close to anyone. Aiden, meanwhile, is trying to separate reality from fiction because Cassidy is nothing like the character she portrays so well. All through her childhood, Aiden dreamed of a hero to come rescue her. Can she be the hero that Cassidy so desperately needs now?

reloadKiki Archer has been quiet of late, beavering away on a screenplay and waiting for news from various production companies in between the odd appearance on Sky News. But she has been tinkering with a short story or two. Her latest is another funny piece, Reload and Try Again, and has been published in the digital magazine Cracked Eye. Head on over here to download the app and buy a copy of this promising new magazine.

intothefireManda Scott has released the synopsis for her forthcoming novel Into the Fire (release date of June). It starts:

FORGET WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW…

2014 – A man’s charred corpse is found in the latest of a string of arson attacks in the French city of Orléans. There’s a secret, hidden within the body that changes everything.

1429 – Joan of Arc, warrior-knight, leads the armies of France into victory, and escorts her king to his consecration. But even then, her story was a lie.

SOME LEGENDS NEVER DIE – but they may be rewritten…

Brilliantly linking past and present, Manda Scott’s exhilarating thriller challenges us to think again about one of the most enduring legends in history.

swordfishUKLesFic doesn’t know if there is any lesbian content, but that sounds like a cracking read. The whole synopsis and excerpt is available from Manda’s website, which is looking beautiful after a recent make-over.

And a quick mention of Andrea Bramhall‘s Swordfish: her sequel to Ladyfish is now available from Audible. Flutter over here for a copy.

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Now for some books that have been out for a while but which have had rather nice mentions this week:

hild coverNicola Griffith‘s Hild has made it onto a list of 29 Awesome Books With Strong Female Protagonists (and for some reason it bugs me that they didn’t find 30). This is what they had to say about the epic: “Nicola Griffith’s Hild is a sweeping, historical novel that takes place in Britain during the Middle Ages, where a bright, curious child named Hild, the king’s niece, becomes his seer in a brutal, violent time. Strong-willed and gifted, Hild grows up to become one of the most powerful women in seventh-century Britain: Saint Hilda of Whitby.

Go and have a shufty at the rest of the list here.

(Do you think that looks like Nicola on the cover? Apparently six out of 10 readers think Nicola looks like one of her heroines. Here’s the pie-chart to prove it.)

pennanceClare Ashton‘s books got a favourable mention on Indie Reader in an article about how indie publishing is allowing marginalised authors to reach an audience beyond the traditional publishing world, often criticised for being being male-, hetero-, cis- and white-centric.

The article lists nine authors who don’t fit the usual publishing industry mould. Of Clare’s books, it says “[they] are shining examples of literature featuring lesbian romance. Her first novel, Penance, is a hauntingly moving ghost story, and the romance that blossoms from tragedy demonstrate Ashton’s unique ability to spin a yarn.” All true you know :p

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Right, on to those events.

LFest2015Hot off the press is the lineup for L Fest in July, and it’s looking mighty fine with a first showing for the literary salon, Polari, at the festival. VG Lee and Kiki Archer will be appearing as part of that session and will pretty much guarantee a good guffaw from even those with the most insensitive of funny bones.

There also looks like a great mix of indie authors on the panel entitled Close & Personal with the Indie Authors: Desire, Dramas & Divas. Go and rub, err, shoulders with HP Munro, Karen Campbell, Veronica Fearon, Suzanne Egerton and Clare Lydon, who’ll be hosting the panel.

AND Manda Scott will be there. She’ll be doing an hour-long slot on Women Warriors: “from Boudica to Jeanne d’Arc to Christine Grenville, Nancy Wake and Violet Szabo of the SOE, there have always been women that wanted to fight – and were good at it. In this hour, we celebrate their victories, and look at what’s changed – and what hasn’t – when fighting flows in our life blood.

L Fest is a unique lesbian festival with three days of entertainment from fabulous UK authors, bands, cinema, workshops and you can have a laugh with a great big bunch of lesbians in a field, all for £99. Have a look at the rest of the lineup here.

ayewriteThe Polari Salon will also be popping up in Glasgow as part of the Aye Write Festival in April. Paul Burston will be the fabulous host as usual to guests Jackie Kay, VG Lee and Patrick Gale. Not one to be missed! The session costs £9 and will be held at the Mitchell Library at 7.30 on April 23rd. More details and tickets on the Aye Write website.

Kerry Hudson and Jackie Kay will also be appearing on the Out There panel. They will be reading their work from the anthology of the same name and discussing issues around LGBT literature in Scotland. The panel is in the same place on the same date as Polari, just a little earlier in the evening. More details and tickets here.

Kerry Hudson will also be appearing at the Ullapool Book Festival in May, as will Val McDermid. More details here.

catherine hallCatherine Hall gets around a bit.  On Wednesday 22nd of April, she’ll be taking part in the Reader Series at Canterbury Christ Church University at the Sidney Cooper Gallery.  The event is bargainously free. More details here.

She’ll also be appearing at the Brighton Pavilion, which is where her latest book, The Repercussions, is set. The event is on Friday 24th April, costs £8 and includes wine. You can’t get much more convivial than that.

Meanwhile, Maureen Duffy will be appearing at Poetry at The Print Room on Tuesday 14th April. This is part of a series of intimate evenings in the company of contemporary poets at The Coronet in Notting Hill. More details here.

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Phew! Nearly there.

And finally, don’t forget to catch up with the latest Lesbian Book Club podcast with Clare Lydon. Clare has a romp through the UK and US Amazon lesfic charts and also gives us a quick update on progress on her own writing with book 3 – the yet unnamed follow up to London Calling. She then interviews Karen Campbell about her gritty novels.

Karen reveals (in that rather lovely Scottish accent) how she started writing years ago with Violet’s Story after mulling over a story centred on mental health and featuring that favourite name of hers. They cover a great range of topics, including the follow up to The Knowing, a hint of the supernatural, the madness of writing and being shy and introverted, with some hints about a collaboration with Angela Peach. Oh, and football. Have a listen here.

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That is all. Good night!

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News Roundup: New books from Bold Strokes, L.T. Smith, & Pauline George. Clare Lydon’s Top 10 of 2014, Jade Winters on Saucy stuff, Events, Interviews & More!

12 Jan

Happy New Year! Yes, we’re back, refreshed and raring to go now that the festive season is over and done with and the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs are already in the bloody shops. So stick your feet up, pop a Mini Egg or two, and settle in for the news…

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As befits the start of a year, we have loads of news on forthcoming novels. First up,  a trio of books pending from Bold Strokes Book‘s UK contingent.

a royal romanceLesley Davis recently announced that she has signed the contract for her next book, Starstruck. The author’s eleventh novel (if I’ve counted them correctly) is due for release in 2016.

With her début A Royal Romance due out in May, Jenny Frame isn’t resting on her laurels either. She posted this message over the Christmas period: I’m delighted to announce that I have just signed a contract with Bold Strokes Books for my second book, Heart of the Pack, coming in 2016. It features the Werewolves of Wolfgang County. If that has you intrigued, you can read more about said werewolves right here on Jenny’s blog.

Finally for this BSB hat trick, a tiny teaser from Rebecca S. BuckI just signed a contract for a new novel with BSB! This one is set in the 1920s…

For a sneak peek at the first half of BSB’s 2015 LesFic schedule, head to their newly updated Forthcoming page, which lists releases right through to August 2015. You’ll be able to find more information on new books from Andrea Bramhall, Lesley Davis, Gill McKnight, and me, Cari Hunter.

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199StepstoLoveThe second novel from Pauline George (whose début, Jess, was featured on the blog in February) has been released by Regal Crest. Set in Whitby, 199 Steps to Love has a blurb that reads like this:

At 61, Lucy finds herself divorced and decides to go on holiday to Whitby. There she meets the gallery owner, a woman named Jamie, who she is drawn to in ways she can’t yet understand. Jamie is also drawn to Lucy, despite the advice of her best friend against lusting after a straight woman. But just as they come together, Lucy leaves without explanation, not only putting a physical distance between them, but an emotional one as well. Can they overcome the distances and find each other? Or is it more than just the miles that’s keeping them apart?

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beginningsAlso due out this month is an Ylva reissue of L.T. Smith‘s Beginnings (first published in 2007).

1974. The Osmonds, space hoppers and climbing trees, all grounded in the ultimate belief that life was perfect. Childhood filled with tomorrows and a friendship built to endure anything. Or was it? Lou Turner loves Ashley Richards. Always has and always will. This is Lou’s story…a story spanning thirty years…from the innocence of youth to the bitterness of adulthood…

You can read the full blurb over on our New Releases page, and if that has you minded to read more of L.T.’s work, she posted a short Christmas story over the break. Part One can be found here, and the remaining three parts are linked from her main blog.

Meanwhile, Astrid Ohletz – Ylva’s Publisher in Chief – posted this new year message on their website:

We at Ylva Publishing are really happy to have been able to give some spotlight to amazing authors from other publishing houses and self-publishers in 2014.

You’ll find interviews with Bev Prescott, Barbara Winkes, Carrie Carr, Rebecca Swartz, D Jordan ylvaRedhawk, Liz Bugg, Sarah Ettritch, Andrea Bramhall and Cari Hunter on our blog. We also had a lot of authors from other publishing houses and self-publishers participating in the anthologies we published last year. This list is too long to list here.
We would like to continue this tradition in 2015 as we are lovers of lesbian fiction. So, if you are or know an author who would like to be interviewed by us and get a spotlight on our blog… just contact as at info@ylva-publishing.com and we see if we can fit you in. We have several spots to offer. And watch out for our submission calls in 2015.

Hit the links to read the Brit-themed interviews 🙂

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Also getting into the spirit of new year message is BSB editor, Vic Oldham, who is largely responsible for organising the annual BSB UK Author Fest held in Nottingham each year. It’s never too early to make a note in your diary, and this year’s event will run from June 5-7th, about which Vic had this to say:

We’ll be posting more details as they come along, but this is sure to be the most amazing year yet. We’ve got several new authors joining us, lots of ‘old’ favorites (not that I’m calling anyone old, clearly), and a whole host of new panels and even some writing workshops for those of you aspiring to join the ranks of the published.bold strokes notts

For the full blog and more details, head here.

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Being a thoughtful sort, Clare Lydon decided to close out 2014 with a review of the year on her blog. 2014: Ten Things I Learned details the ups and downs of everything from make-up application, to footy, to reading in public.

Publishing Books Is A Rollercoaster Ride

Writing a book and readying it for self-publication is a lot of hard work – the cover, editing, proofing, formatting & marketing. 2014 was a crash-course in that, and with a little help from my amazing friends as well as huge support from the local, national & international writing and reading communities, I managed it. I look forward to doing it again this year with at least one more book, maybe two.

clare lydon

Having found her calling behind a microphone, Clare is also reading from her second novel, The Long Weekend, at the Polari Literary Salon, February 23rd at the Royal Festival Hall. Tickets are available here, and more details can be found on our Events page.

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HILD_jacket_closerA snippet of news now from Nicola Griffith about Hild II and III:

Yes, after Hild II there will be Hild III. But there will only be three. The working title of Hild II is Menewood. I have no anticipated completion date. I’ve been travelling way too much to properly get my head back in the writing, as opposed to publicity, game.

Click here for the full post, and that link will allow you to root around for all the updates posted by Nicola during our festive hiatus.

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598px-Sarah_WatersOver at The Hairpin website is an interview with Sarah Waters that we missed while we were busy stuffing our faces with chocolate coins and Christmas pud. Queering the Canon is a fascinating interview that focuses upon “the importance of queer archives, secret lesbian communities of bygone eras, and the queering of Jane Austen classics”.

And for this novel, I sort of knew enough about lesbian history and this period to be confident that I could talk about lesbian communities…I think the crucial thing about this period was, there was the lesbian experience and information about homosexuality, but it very much depended on which circles you moved in. So if you were kind of arty or perhaps well-off, I think you’d have access to the new kinds of knowledge and information that were available. We have much less information, and we always do, about the working-class lesbian life in this period.

The full interview is well worth a read and can be found at the above link.

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neighbourJade Winters might be a prolific writer of LesFic, but – until recently – she’d never popped her erotica-writing cherry. All that changed with the publication of Neighbour From Heaven, a short piece of erotica co-written with Alexis Bailey and released in early December. Jade has been talking about her “first time” writing saucy stuff, in a guest blog that you can read here:

After reading Alexis’s stories I realised how liberating it was to let the characters be free and upfront about their wants and desires. For me, writing erotica, is less about the character’s heart fluttering when they encounter the woman of their dreams. It’s about their natural sexual desires being explored and not being ashamed to admit it.

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Kerry-Hudson-008For any prospective novelists out there, author Kerry Hudson is running writing workshops at City Lights, a project she founded to provide “affordable, high-quality, part-time creative writing courses that develop and reignite passion for the written word”. If that sounds like your idea of fun and you live in or near London, then head to this link for more details, booking information and prices.

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And I think that just about covers it. I hope everyone had a smashing Christmas and saw in 2015 with style (or went to bed at 10.30 p.m., which, y’know, is okay too!) Looking forward to bringing you the best and the brightest in UK LesFic for the coming year 🙂

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

23 Oct

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

starting overAnd from Rainbow Book Reviews:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Oct

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

In that vein, here is the news:

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

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

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

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

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller: Tumbledown by Cari Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the year:

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

Debut author of the year:

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

So first, I had to learn to speak English!

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

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

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

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


Reviews and blogs

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

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

Still Life by LT Smith was reviewed by Terry Baker:

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

New and future releases:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, don’t miss:

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

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

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

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Until next fortnight… ta ra!

News roundup: a scorching Scottish anthology, new books, Sarah Waters and more!

23 Aug

It’s the summer bank holiday which would explain why I’m sitting here with two jumpers on and have a streaming cold. Here is the news…sniff…

First up are shiny new covers for forthcoming books.

OutThereOut There is a very promising anthology of works by Scottish LGBT authors and includes pieces by Ali Smith, Kerry Hudson, Jackie Kay, Val McDermid and Carol Ann Duffy. The publisher describes the collection of poetry and prose as “diverse, sometimes hilarious, sometimes polemical, often surprising and deeply moving, but always suffused with energy, wit and empathy” and with that list of authors I’m not surprised.

The book is available late September and now available for pre-order on Amazon.

SecondThoughtsJade Winters has pencilled in her new book Second Thoughts for September and it has this very pretty cover. Here’s the blurb:

Melissa Carter thought she had it all. On the cusp of an exciting new journey with her partner Amy, Melissa’s once perfect life is thrown into a roller coaster ride when her ex, Sadie Miller, shows up unexpectedly. All too soon, Melissa’s emotions are pulled in different directions as she is faced with a life changing dilemma: should she choose the safe haven with Amy or follow a long lost dream with Sadie? With her wedding to Amy looming, one thing is for certain, time is not on her side.

RoyalRomanticNew Bold Strokes author Jenny Frame has also revealed her sumptuous cover for her debut A Royal Romance. Here’s the blurb for the 2015 publication:

Georgina, Princess of Wales, has always known her destiny, but she never expected duty to call so soon. When her father dies suddenly, she is called back from her Royal Navy post to assume the crown. While the people acclaim their new Queen, Great Britain’s first openly gay monarch, all George feels is the isolation of her station.

Beatrice Elliot’s staunch anti-monarchist views have always been a point of gentle contention with her working class, royalty-loving parents. When Bea—director of a hospice charity—must spend six months working with Queen Georgina, her charity’s new patron, sparks fly and passion blooms. But is love enough to bridge the gap between Bethnal Green and Buckingham Palace?

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Well it’s still not August the 28th is it? But if you’re wringing your hands in anticipation at Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests, here are a few more tidbits to torment yourself with. (I wonder how many times Sarah Waters has been asked if there are lesbians in it.)

First up is a short video of Sarah talking about the background to the novel and the story itself. It’s well worth watching for anyone at all interested in the novel. She covers her research of the time and setting of early 1920s suburban London – a turbulent and very different place to the glamorous latter half of the decade in the city. She says the heart of the novel is a romance and that the story is about what happens to a loving relationship under pressure of guilt and shame. Here’s the vid:

September’s Diva also has an interview with Sarah Waters discussing the novel and her research into the era and setting. Again well worth a read and if you’re already wondering about what Sarah is working on next, apparently she hasn’t anything specific yet but you could bet good money on it being historical.

The Guardian has a review by Rachel Cusk of the Paying Guests. She says of the novel:

This fascinating domestic scenario might have made for an absorbing short novel; but at more than 500 pages long, The Paying Guests has ambitions elsewhere. That these pertain to plot rather than to the development of the novel’s core ideas is disappointing

She also adds that “the sexual perspective is designed for the modern reader,” and labels the novel as “middlebrow entertainment”.

I for one couldn’t be more pleased to hear it. It sounds like a bloody good quality read.

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nightingaleAndrea Bramhall has been blogging about L Fest over on Women and Words. She talks about the Bold Strokes panels, the event in general and that tricky decision of whether or not to camp at a British festival. Here’s what she says of the event:

L-Fest itself had been set up like a music festival but with a little bit of everything thrown in. Paintballing, comedy acts, live music, fancy dress disco, volleyball, a dog show, workshops, Indie authors, a massage tent, thousands of lesbians…it had all the ingredients to be a fabulous weekend, especially when there was free child care available in the day for all those who were travelling as a family, and doggie day care for those with fur-babies.

While we’re with Andrea we should also mention that her latest novel, Nightingale, is now available on Audible. Here’s the link to the unabridged audio book.

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the knowing

And this just in (or at least I’ve only just seen it), a smashing review of Karen Campbell‘s supernatural thriller The Knowing.

This book is probably one of the best I’ve ever read. The character of Jen is fantastically written and I really felt like I connected with her on every level, actually feeling every emotion she experienced, both good and bad. There are so many twists and turns in this book you really don’t know what is going to happen next and this made we want to continue reading, I found it hard to actually put the book down.

You can read the full review here.

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Right I’m off for a glass of Talisker. My grandad used to swear by it, or at least swear a lot after it. Ta ra!

News roundup: new books, interviews, blogs and dates for the Polari tour

26 Jul

The sun is shining and if I don’t blow up a paddling pool soon, a large one, then two small children will cry. So let’s get on with the news.

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Upcoming books first with some lovely shiny new covers

smaller coverCari Hunter‘s landed herself a particularly lovely cover for her next novel No Good Reason due out spring next year. It features one of my favourite bits of rock (Stanage) in one of my favourite bits of the world (the Peak District). Here’s the all important blurb to get you wishing that spring 2015 was a bit closer:

Detective Sanne Jensen (not blonde, not tall, definitely not Scandinavian) and Doctor Meg Fielding (scruffy, scatter-brained, prone to swearing at patients) are lifelong best friends, sharing the same deprived background and occasionally the same bed.

When a violent kidnapping stuns the Peak District village of Rowlee, both women become involved in the case. As Sanne and her colleagues in East Derbyshire Special Ops search for the culprit, and Meg fights to keep his victim alive, a shocking discovery turns the investigation on its head. With the clock ticking, Sanne and Meg find themselves pushed closer by a crime that threatens to tear everything apart.

mountainrescueSky Croft‘s sequel to Goldie winner Mountain Rescue: The Ascent is pencilled in for December. Kelly Saber and Dr Sydney Greenwood are back and will need to tackle everything that life and the mountains can throw at them. Here’s the blurb:

Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber are back in this sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent.

Having settled into their relationship, life is sweet for the devoted couple, and a brief trip away allows Saber to meet Sydney’s family.

Upon their return, rock slides, torrential rain, and surging rivers cause no end of problems for the Mountain Rescue team, while on the home front, Sydney needs her partner’s support more than ever when faced with a family tragedy.

Together, the two women have to navigate between personal trials, and the trials of the mountain. This is…On the Edge.

BeyondMidnightEllen Dean has a new novel out now. Beyond Midnight is book two in the Hyacinth Dickinson series – tales of thrilling romance, witchcraft and intrigue:

Beyond Midnight, from best-selling author Ellen Dean, is the second book in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Two years on from a terrible helicopter crash charismatic Dr. Hyacinth Dickinson, world renowned gynaecologist/obstetrician and Mistress of the Amethyst Coven, is out for revenge.

Those who betrayed her must pay, including the beautiful Sofia Roberto-Sabatini, who is in line to be a Mafia Don.

Sofia has a rare blue diamond, knowledge that is supposed to be secret. But, secrets have a way of leaking. Hyacinth is determined to possess that diamond by fair means or foul. If magic needs to be used, then so be it.

But things don’t always go according to plan. Hyacinth has enemies who want the diamond as badly as she does, and so the chase begins. The two women end up running for their lives.

Will they survive? Will love conquer all?

Beyond Midnight is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

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On to interviews.

hp munroGoldie award winner and author of the very popular Stars Collide, HP Munro, was interviewed by AJ Adaire. HP’s answers are typically humorous and she talks about her books, which span chick lit to award-winning historical fiction. Talking about her characters:

“I guess my approach is to try to make them normal, I want readers to think that if they were to meet the character in real life they would be able to sit down and shoot the breeze with them and not be intimidated.

They have hang-ups. They can be funny, they can be snarky and they can be supportive or angry and hurtful. Just like we all can.”

The whole interview is well worth the read and can be found here.

Kerry-Hudson-008Kerry Hudson, author of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma, has also been busy with interviews.

She answers questions in the Irish Times such as: What advice would you give to an aspiring author? – “Work hard, don’t be an arsehole, buy a good chair”; What’s your favourite word – “A (definitely unpublishable in a respectable paper) word from the first line of my first novel”, which UKLesFic thinks is one of “cunting”, “shitting”, “little” or “fucker”. Here’s the link to her book for you to decide.

Her answers are great and here’s the full article. Also don’t miss her interview on Writers&Artists where she talks about her writing in general and her second novel Thirst.

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HILDUKNicola Griffith‘s acclaimed novel Hild has at last made it to these shores and she’s started a blog tour to tie in with the UK paperback edition. The tour includes Q&A sessions, reviews and essays. The full schedule is here and this week included a piece on Women and Words on Hild, history and sex:

I’ve been asked questions about my characters’ sexuality ever since I began to publish. Sometimes I answer more patiently than others…Hild, my novel set in seventh-century Britain about the early life of St Hilda of Whitby, is about to be published in the UK. I know that someone won’t be able to resist asking, ‘So why is Hild a lesbian?’

First, she’s bisexual. Second, why the fuck not?

While it may not matter about the sexuality of a character for a good novel, Nicola does go into some detail about the historical basis for Hild’s sexuality. Here’s the whole article.

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Mari-Hannah-008Mari Hannah has been writing about her experience of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival which takes place every July. The Polari Prize winner (The Murder Wall) has been attending the event for many years and this time took part in the first panel of the event about routes into publishing.  You can find the full post here complete with a list of ten things overheard at the festival.

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polariflyerFinally, there are lots of events for your diaries now the dates for the Polari tour have been announced. The award-winning literary salon will be heading out from its London home to places as far flung as Brighton and Newcastle. The events will be hosted by the colourful Paul Burston and many give readers a chance to catch VG Lee. You’ll also be able to see VA Fearon at the Brighton event and Clare Ashton in Brum. Here’s the full list of dates and almost finalised lineup.

Now go get some ice-cream. Ta ra a bit! 

News roundup: Kiki Archer novel hot off the press, free audio story from Rachel Dax, a ton of stuff from Emma Donoghue and Goldie finalists

18 Apr

The sun is shining (somewhere) and there are eggs to be hunted down so I’ll keep this short and snappy.

WhenYouKnowKiki Archer‘s much anticipated chicklit sequel to One Foot onto the Ice is out. When You Know shot straight to number one in the Amazon UK lesfic charts. (The trailer’s here.)

Fans of her books really shouldn’t miss out on this one. Here’s what reviewer Terry Baker made of it:

“in my honest opinion, this is one of the most hilarious books I’ve read in ages. This book is written by a British author, but I’m more than certain that wherever you are from, you’ll be laughing at the antics of some of these characters in this book…This book is crying out for a sequel. It simply has to have one. When you read it, you’ll see why.”

You can read the rest of the review here.

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gabrielMeanwhile, Rachel Dax has turned her pen, voice and camera to a children’s story for adults with strong LGBTQ themes. The audio story of Gabriel the singing goose is available here on YouTube, where you experience Rachel’s impressive range of talents.

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Kerry Hudson (author of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma) has set up a new mentoring project for female writers. The aim of the WoMentoring Project is to address the lack of peer mentoring available for women, professional services being prohibitively expensive for most. It’s an unfunded project run on goodwill and author, editor and agent mentors offer their skills for free to women just starting out. Here’s the link for more information.

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FrogMusicOn to a multitude of pieces on Frog Music by Emma Donoghue.

The New Yorker has an excellent post by Emma Donoghue on the cultural influences on Frog Music.

“I drew on so many visual sources: maps, oil paintings, fashion plates, newspaper cartoons, jewelry, and children’s toys. But it was photography—the thrilling new art of the nineteenth century—that I found most inspiring, not just for the information it captured but for the mood of the times.”

There’s also an interview with Emma on Goodreads where she answers questions about her latest book, Room and how she works, and a more general interview with the Huffington Post about what makes a good story and her background as a writer. She’s also grilled on her reading taste in this interview on the New York Times site.

If you’re in any doubt about reading Frog Music check the review on C-Spot which starts:

The latest work from Emma Donoghue is one that will stick with you for a while. Frog Music is a gem. Set in the scalding summer of 1876 in the midst of a smallpox epidemic, Donoghue’s story surrounding the little-known unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet unfolds. From the very beginning, she pulls the reader into the heat and the period with imagery that isn’t verbose but also doesn’t leave you wanting.

Read the rest of the review here.

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GCLS clean logoAnnouncements have started for this year’s Goldie shortlists. The YA category is already up and Amy Dunne (Secrets and Lies) and KE Payne (The Road to Her) are finalists. I Beacham‘s The Rarest Rose has also been selected in Paranormal/Horror and Rachel Dax‘s The Legend of Pope Joan in the historical category. Congratulations everyone! It’s fantastic to see so many Brits short-listed. You can keep up with the announcements  here.

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easter-chicken-baskets-1267061-mThat is all, except to wish you a Happy Easter, or a Happy Ishtar, and hope that you celebrate this weekend of renewal, or fertility and sex, in an appropriate and enjoyable manner. For me that involves chocolate. Ta ra.