Tag Archives: L Fest

A Storming L Fest 2014

22 Jul
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VG Lee

The forecast for the L Fest weekend was for stunning sunshine and a heatwave, which naturally meant that torrential rain, thunder and lightning arrived. UK LesFic wimped out of camping and turned up on a very soggy Saturday morning. But saturated tents turned out to be great for audiences of the indoor and dry arts stage, and even though the event kicked off at 10 a.m. there was a good turnout to see VG Lee open the event.

VG has become a bit of feature at L Fest and they are happy to have her. She talked a little about the resurgence of British lesbian fiction in the last couple of years and how good it is to see writers beyond the established literary set having success.

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Cindy Rizzo, Clare Lydon, Clare Ashton, Kiki Archer

She handed over to Kiki Archer to host a very lively indie panel. There were excellent readings by US author of Exception to the Rule Cindy Rizzo, Clare Ashton read from best-selling romcom That Certain Something and Clare Lydon from her well-received début London Calling. Kiki put the panellists through their paces with questions ranging from “Do you like writing sex scenes?” to “do you base your books on your own experiences?” after authors had read pieces about waking up with a hangover in bed with their boss. You can see the whole session on this video. Do not miss Kiki Archer’s reading and do marvel at how good a sport her wife is!

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Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight

Up next was Crin Claxton‘s fabulous Bards on Buzzers quiz. The panel featured Lammy winner Andrea Bramhall (Clean Slate), Goldie award winner Amy Dunne (Secret Lies), Gill McKnight author of the popular Garoul werewolf series, and BSB development editor Vic Oldham. Serious bookworms were well-rewarded with a quick-fire round, followed by some in-depth questions by Crin to the authors. Authors were then treated to seeing Crin and beautiful assistant Denny acting out scenes from the panellists’ work in the guess the novel round, in ways that both surprised and tickled everyone. The audience were especially surprised to find Agadoo feature so prominently in Lammy-award winner Andrea Bramhall’s opus.

 

VG Lee meanwhile delivered two workshops “A Leap of Faith” and “Fast and Furious”, both very well received by new and established authors. Several other authors were also spotted in various states at different times. Karen Campbell author of the new novel The Knowing was one the appreciative attendees of VG’s workshops. Angela Peach took camping to a different level by sleeping in a hearse. She was asked about her enjoyment of the evening activities but declined to comment in the presence of children. H.P. Munro made several appearances, mainly looking very authorial but, by the end of Saturday evening after drinking games with other indie authors, she looked a little less serious!

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Andrea Bramhall, Amy Dunne, Vic Oldham, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight

The sun, at last, came out which baked those with hangovers in their tents and hearses, and BSB authors were back in action early that morning for a slick readings and Q&A session. The work of the panellists shows how varied these British authors and the Bold Strokes output now is. Andrea Bramhall talked about the inspiration behind her diverse work which includes scuba diving and memory loss, to love across religious and cultural divides. Amy Dunne talked about becoming an expert in post-apocalyptic life while researching her work in progress (she has a cuddly Christmas novel out before that). Crin Claxton is hard at work on a follow up to the thoroughly entertaining  Supernatural Detective and Gill McKnight teased the audience with some hints about her current work on a series of novels on soul matchers.

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Maureen Duffy

The highlight of the arts stage for many was an audience with Maureen Duffy – trail blazing novelist and poet writing since the 1960s. An enthralled audience listened to Maureen reading from her novels and poetry, followed by a Q&A which revealed that she writes sitting in an arm chair and then sends her words away to be typed up, which UK LesFic thinks is class. Some misty eyed and overawed authors and readers patiently waited to have copies of Maureen’s work signed at the end of the session.

L Fest is a wonderfully varied festival. As well as the author sessions, two band stages were in action, attendees could learn anything from drumming to how to avoid lesbian bed-death, Planet London hosted speed dating, films, quizzes and a friendly zone to hang out and there was always something entertaining to see and do. Here’s a taste of this fabulous event:1 2 3 5 6 7 8 9

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News Roundup: New Author Jenny Frame, Goldie and IndieFab Winners, New Novel from Jade Winters, Sarah Waters goes on a Paying Guests Tour, and More!

17 Jul

And we’re back! Refreshed and ready for a steamy summer of LesFic-themed romps, mischief, and general shenanigans. Let’s get on with it then, shall we?

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jenny frameFirst up, a warm welcome to a new UK author, Jenny Frame, who hails from Motherwell and recently signed with Bold Strokes Books. Jenny’s début novel, A Royal Romance, will be published in 2015, and the blurb goes like this:

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?

As with many LesFic authors, Jenny started her writing career by dipping her toe into the fan fiction arena (Xena Uber, if I’m not mistaken), and there are several stories available for downloading on her website. She can also be found on Facebook, and her bio is now up on our Author page.

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GCLS clean logoBrits scored a hat-trick of wins in this year’s Goldie awards, with gongs going to H.P. Munro for Silver Wings in the Historical Fiction category, Sky Croft for Mountain Rescue: The Ascent in the Romantic Suspense/Intrigue category, and Amy Dunne for Secret Lies in the category of Young Adult.

The GCLS site seems to be kaput at the moment, but a full list of the winners can be found here.

indiefabRounding out an excellent week for the UK, Crin Claxton‘s The Supernatural Detective has been awarded an Honorary Mention in the 2013 IndieFab awards, which celebrate the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the cherries on top a metaphorical ice cream sundae of indie books.

Massive congrats to all four authors! We reckon you’re all fab 🙂

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lfestSpeaking of fabulous authors and sunshine, L Fest is happening this very weekend (July 18-21), and there are loads of Brit authors – VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Clare Lydon, Clare Ashton, Jade Winters, Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight and I. Beacham – heading to the festival tents. The forecast is hot, hot, and occasionally thundery, so grab your Factor 30 and a pair of wellies and get out there! All the details can be found at the above link.

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faking itDue to our little hiatus, we missed the release of Jade Winter‘s new novel Faking It. Well, it’s out, it’s doing fantastically well in the amazon charts, and you can catch a promo video for it here. I’ve added the blurb to the New Releases page, but for those of you who just can’t be bothered clicking…

Danni Gardener is a talented writer. The only problem is, nobody else seems to think so. Rejected by what seems to be the entire global publishing industry, her gay best friend Josh makes her ‘an offer she can’t refuse’. Pretend to be his fiancée for one night only and he will open doors for her in the elusive publishing world. It all seems so simple. Across London, successful non-fiction editor Brooke Gibson is wondering how long she can carry on living with her partner, Megan, who seems unable or unwilling to commit to their relationship. When Danni and Brooke are introduced, the chemistry between them is explosive. This seemingly ‘professional’ encounter will throw them into emotional turmoil and a situation neither could have foreseen. Will aspiring writer Danni jeopardise a literary opportunity and break the cardinal rule of mixing business with pleasure? Will Brooke reciprocate, risking everything for a woman she believes to be engaged? After all, there is nothing so desirable as forbidden fruit…

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Sarah Waters is heading out on a Paying Guests Tour, an August-September hop around the UK which is taking in the cities of Edinburgh, Nottingham, Oxford, York, and London, amongst others (no Manchester, Sarah? Why? Why?!) Tickets are variously priced, very reasonable and often redeemable against a copy of the novel. Head to this page for more details. Having listened to Sarah read and chat at YLAF events, I can highly recommend that you go along to see her.

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorSticking with events for the moment, this one is very short notice but I’ll pop it in anyway: Stella Duffy will be discussing the thorny issue of Is there a gay gene and should it matter? along with other panellists tonight at Hall 2, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1. Tickets are £20/£26 (this price includes a copy of Julie Bindel’s Straight Expectations). For details call 020 7520 1490 or hit this link.

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stilllifeThe Writing Processes blog tour seems to be winding down, but LT Smith got herself a last-minute tag and has been answering the questions over on her website. Putting the rest of us to shame, she seems to have about five million projects either pending or in progress, so head over there to read all about them and/or wonder how the hell she finds the time to squeak everything in:

I have just finished editing Still Life, my new story that is due out in September. If it hadn’t been for Day Peterson, I think I would have run screaming from the house every five minutes. But, I am really happy with how she (I mean the story, not Day) is turning out, although editing is very time consuming.

Driving Me Mad has just been accepted for publication for spring next year, a story I started to write last year and sent along to the Academy of Bards as a short piece. I had such great feedback that I decided to add to her – and she ballooned like a greedy piglet. To be honest, I am really happy at how she came out. The story seemed it had to be written.

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Nicola_05-08-30_003rFinally this week, an event you’ve got plenty of time to prepare and save up for, as Nicola Griffith has been confirmed as a guest of honour at Reader Con 26, an annual conference or convention devoted to “imaginative literature” — literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called “slipstream”. The con will take place in July, 2015 in Burlington, Massachusetts. For more details, keep an eye on the main website.

Over on GoodReads, Nicola has also been chatting about Hild’s sexuality:

Hild isn’t lesbian/homosexual. She’s bisexual. I doubt they had such terms back then, though. I’ve seen no evidence that who you did or did not have sex with defined how women thought of themselves…

You can catch the full response at the link, and still ask Nicola questions by signing up to the site.

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the knowingJust sneaking in at the last minute, we have the winners of the giveaway for signed copies of Karen Campbell‘s new novel The Knowing. Congrats and a shiny paperback go to Marie Foose and Rebecca Layer. For those of you who missed out on a copy, the book is now available in Kindle or paperback.

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And I think that about covers everything. Or most things. I’m sure I’ve missed stuff, but I’ve done my best 🙂

News roundup: L Fest videos, an awful lot of blogging and an event or two

13 Jun

A quick gambol through the news…

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KikiAndBoobsAnd this just in…oh God, I knew it was coming. The L Fest artist of the week videos have kicked off with the indie author panel who may not appear as you expect… Have a look at this short fun video. Kiki Archer‘s done a typically fab job of making it a lot of fun with an effortlessly cool appearance from Jade Winters. (Ha! Clare Ashton you are totally in it too! – Cari H xx)

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DSC_4067 - CopyAuthors have been busy blogging again. Andrea Bramhall caught the writing process blog hop. She talks about her work in progress The Chameleon – “the story of Amhale Zuma and Imogen Frost; they are multiracial childhood friends in a South Africa driven by fear and separated by hate when children are colour blind and the eyes of the world were watching as Apartheid began to crumble.

It’s nice to see Andrea’s a big planner – far too many of these nonchalant pantsters around.

I have a huge poster sized diagram of a story arc up on the wall in my study.  When I complete my research I outline each chapter–briefly–on a sticky note and put it on the appropriate part of my arc, different coloured depending on who’s point of view the chapter will be written from. OCD, right?”

Be proud of your fastidiousness Andrea. Here’s the full piece.

Andrea’s Nightingale was also reviewed on C-spot reviews this week. Here’s what the Bookgeek had to say of her story of love beyond and despite brutal arranged marriages and abduction.

Andrea Bramhall put out a book which, although it contains a love-story, is difficult to be labelled as a romance. It is in the form a romance-cum-thriller a thought-provoking exploration beyond the curtains the genre of lesbian fiction usually accepts for itself…So let me recommend Nightingale to anyone, lesbian or feminist, who would like to read a thought-provoking, well-written novel about the clash of cultures happening on a daily bases right where we live

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london callingClare Lydon has been blogging over at Women and Words. She talks about the London setting of her best-selling debut London Calling.

The lead characters lived in zone one, based smack in the middle of London Town. They got the tube, they ate in local restaurants, they drank London lager, they lived and breathed the city. Quite a few readers commented that London came across as a lead character in the novel and I loved that description. I wanted to portray a sense of real-life London, of what it’s like to live in the city I’ve called home for the past 15 years.

Clare is spurning the capital for her next book, but don’t worry, she promises she’ll be back in this fascinating city for her third novel. Here’s the full piece.

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BSB_Secret_LiesAmy Dunne, author of the YA novel Secret Lies, has been getting one or two things off her chest. In a  guest post on E. Kristin Anderson’s blog, Amy responds to an accusation that coming out stories are no longer valuable and that young people don’t read:

I can’t fathom how someone could nonchalantly say that young people don’t read nowadays. If that was the case, why is YA fiction so huge?….Coming out stories can be a lifeline in an otherwise bleak and lonely world. They show there is a brighter world beyond the high school years. You’re not alone. Who you are and who you love isn’t wrong or sinful. And above everything else, they show that unconditional acceptance, love, and happiness are definitely possible in the future.

Go Amy! Here’s the full post.

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nicola griffithThe Nicola Griffith goodreads Q&A that we mentioned in last week’s news, is now live. Nicola will be answering a question a day throughout June, and all you need to do to get involved is sign up with goodreads. This is the direct link to the Q&A and Nicola’s answers so far. For those of you who were wondering about a sequel to Hild, Nicola is currently “into it” and its working title is Menewood. In her own words, Nicola has now “drawn the line under banging the Hild drum” and has been considering future blog topics in this post. Comments are welcome at her site.

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val mcdermidNot content with being a best-selling author, and having her work adapted for television, Val McDermid has turned her hand to penning a radio drama. Deadheading – a comic thriller set amongst the plots and sheds of a Lancashire allotment – stars Julie Hesmondhalgh and Miriam Margolyes, in fifteen minute instalments. You can catch up with the aired episodes here (only three days left to run on the first!) and read a short interview with Val discussing the project here:

My favourite line, which I couldn’t shoehorn in, was about an allotment society chairman who held the post for several years and always held the meetings at his substantial house. ‘And do you know, in all those years, he never so much as offered us a cup of tea or a biscuit,’ one outraged committee member said.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderOver on her brand new blog, LT Smith has revealed the origins behind her online pseudonym Fingersmith, and how the Sarah Waters novel pulled her back into loving the written word:

Just reading that first paragraph made me fall in love all over again. It was as if my heart suddenly filled with all the emotion I had locked away for far too long and allowed me accept reading back into my life.

You can read the full piece here.

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VGLeeOn to events and VG Lee has a busy couple of months ahead. You can catch her being interviewed on BBC Sussex and Surrey Radio on Sunday 29th June at 5 – 6 p.m. as a guest on Rosie Wilby’s Sunday Night Live. Then she’ll be moving swiftly on to a Laughing Cows comedy night in London – more detail here. And then she’ll be running two workshops up at L Fest: A Leap of Faith – creating believable characters and a credible narrative and Fast and Furious – perfection in a few hundred words or less. There are more details on the L Fest workshops here. She’ll be back down south for a charity cabaret fundraiser for Pride in Brighton at the end of July – full details here.

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Finally for those of you who missed last weekend’s Bold Strokes Festival, you can catch the author readings and some very entertaining panels  on Youtube.

The event was also covered in the Nottingham Post.  The article has a picture of the authors looking very serious and writerly. But it also looked like this:

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You can find more photos of the event on our Facebook page here, including the UKLesFic eds attempting a Charlie’s Angels pose…seemed like a good idea at the time.

Ta ra!

 

News roundup: a bumper edition with festivals, blog tours, new best-sellers and more!

31 May

Here is the  late news:

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Things are hotting up in the events calendar and it’s looking like a great year for catching your favourite authors.

bold books logoWe’re in the final stretch in the run-up to the Bold Strokes Nottingham Festival on the 7th and 8th of June. The Bold Strokes UK blog has been hosting posts by authors attending the event.

Cari Hunter kicked things off with a post about coming home to Britain. After running around the US in Desolation Point and Tumbledown, she’s glad to be back in her home Peak District for her fourth novel No Good Reason.

Amy Dunne followed up with a post about being really bloody excited about the Nottingham Festival and why everyone should go. She’s had a big year with her debut Secret Lies being a Goldie finalist and working on two more novels which weren’t even a twinkle in her eye this time last year.

Andrea Bramhall talks about her new novel Nightingale – a story about an British Muslim woman forced to choose between love and her family. Andrea talks about the reality faced by women in less tolerant cultures and countries, and their harsh treatment.

And last, for this week, is Lesley Davis who likes her leading ladies. She talks about what it is that captures her attention in heroines on TV and in her own novels.

It’s a fab and free event in a great city, definitely recommended.  And you may find the odd indie author lurking in the audience.

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Paul Burston by Krystyna FitzGerald-Morris

Down south that same weekend is a pop-up Polari at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival. Paul Burston will be hosting the panel which includes the wonderful VG Lee. You can get tickets here. For a taster of what the Polari events are like you can read an account by Jon Dolores of last Monday’s event with Veronica Fearon. Pictures here.

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lfest

 

The lineup for L Fest was also announced this week. As well as bands, caberet and fun workshops, there’s a great group of authors going this year. On the Creating Chemistry panel are best-selling indie authors Jade Winters, Clare Lydon and Clare Ashton with the session hosted by the bestest selling of them all Kiki Archer. VG Lee will be holding writing workshops and Bold Strokes authors are also out in force this year with Andrea Bramhall, Amy Dunne, Crin Claxton, Gill McKnight and I. Beacham. US authors Cindy Rizzo and Justine Saracen will also be there.

This is another great event. Well worth the money with all that’s on offer and just the fabulousness of sitting in a field with so many lesbians.

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Onto new books and upcoming releases.

stars collideGoldie finalist HP Munro has just released Stars Collide and it’s had a stellar start hitting the number one spot on Amazon pretty much everywhere. Here’s the enticing cover and blurb:

It’s tough growing up in the spotlight and Freya Easter has had to do just that, being part of the Conor family, who are Hollywood acting royalty, has meant that every aspect of her family’s life has been played out in the spotlight. Despite her own fame Freya has managed to keep one aspect of her life out of the public eye, however, a new job on hit show Front Line and a storyline that pairs her with the gorgeous Jordan Ellis, may mean that Freya’s secret is about to come out.

In a world of glitz and glamor, Jordan Ellis has come to the conclusion that all that glitters is not gold. She has become disillusioned with relationships and is longing for a deeper connection, and is surprised when it comes in the form of the most unexpected package.

Whilst their on screen counterparts begin a romantic journey, Freya and Jordan find themselves on a similar pathway.

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amazonia_impossible_choiceAnother Goldie finalist, Sky Croft, has revealed the cover and blurb for her forthcoming novel Amazonia: An Impossible Choice. It’s the follow up to Amazonia and will be available in August. Here’s the blurb:

A year after the events in Amazonia, Blake and Shale are preparing for their upcoming joining ceremony. A few days after celebrating their union, a savage storm hits the Amazon village, unearthing a long lost secret – a clue to the location of a sacred relic, which was once stolen from the Amazon tribe. Accompanied by Kale and Amber, Blake and Shale set out on a quest to reclaim the treasured artefact. Away from the safety of their village, the four women encounter thieves, deadly foes, and predatory animals. Their search leads them underground to a vast cave system, where darkness is a constant enemy, and one mistake in the perilous terrain could mean death.

As echoes from the past come back to haunt them, Blake and Kale are both put into life-threatening situations. With only time to save one, Shale is faced with an impossible choice–her wife or her twin? Who will she choose?

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theempath_lgJody Klaire‘s The Empath is also out this summer. She is very keen for you to meet the heroine from her story. She’s written a short prequel so you can get to know her. You can find the teaser here.

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Things have been busy in the blogosphere this week with the writing process blog hop and the Lesbian Reading Room interviews with Goldie finalists.

catsCari Hunter talked about writing her sequel to the forthcoming No Good Reason. In this series I’m very excited to see that Cari’s bringing the thriller and adventure elements of her writing to the fore. Here’s what she says about her foray into the crime genre:

I prefer to write regular women, women you could bump into on the street and have a laugh with, so even though the case in No Good Reason is horrific, there’s plenty of humour as well, which is not particularly in keeping with the genre. Many mainstream crime novels have po-faced leads, but in my experience the people working in emergency services laugh more often than they cry, and I want my writing to reflect that.

Cari’s blogs are always entertaining. Have a read of her writing process too for the familiar phases of “self doubt”, “procrastination” and “the hissy fit” here.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother hugely entertaining lady is Suzanne Egerton who also answered the writing process questions. Her work in progress has the 1970s London as its backdrop with its cultural and fashion highs and police corruption and gang land lows.

Nina is initially shy and has been brought up to assume that her husband knows best. She is still grieving for the baby she miscarried. Georgie is a fun, flirty girl who would love to have swung through the sixties, but she is sole carer and provider for her mother, an ailing ex-actress with whom she lives in a grim, draughty flat; there is never enough money. The lives of Nina and Georgie change utterly when they start work at the casino; its tawdry glamour has a transformative effect. Plenty happens as the girls experience a new sense of freedom, enjoy friendships, party, mix and match, and see a darker side of Swinging London.

For inspiration and her unique take on things, Suzanne casually drops in “My own ten years of experiences as a croupier and later a pit boss have been a huge source of inspiration,” and “I have spent many a late hour labouring over an engraving machine, inscribing sports trophies, or tokens of love; I have cleaned toilets, worked in a factory, sold door-to-door. I have committed crime. A great education for a writer.

I’m keeping my eyes peeled for this one – it sounds excellent. Here’s the full piece. You can also find Suzanne’s tips for readings here too.

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Free this weekend!

Rachel Dax has been at it too. She’s currently working on part 3 of The Legend of Pope Joan trilogy:

In this novel Joan reaches the pinnacle of her journey and becomes Pope. Her existence is precarious but equally invigorating and addictive. She has immense power yet at the same time is more vulnerable and isolated than ever before and this only leads to more danger.

Of her writing process she says:

Usually I will get an idea or image that totally consumes me and then I start writing. The first part of the writing process is like a giant vomit. I just spew it out and get the key story or plot points/images on ‘paper’ and then after that, I work towards making it into a complete work.

The Legend Of Pope Joan, Part 2. Athens has been nominated for a Goldie Award in the Historical Fiction category.You can have a taster of this unique trilogy for FREE by downloading part 1 this weekend.

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Goldie finalists Amy Dunne and Andrea Bramhall have been answering questions at the Lesbian Reading Room. The set questions ask authors about their favourite books, inspiration, support, their next work and what it means to them to be a Goldie finalist.

swordfishFor her work-in-progress Andrea notes that “The inspiration for [The Chameleon] came from the BSB UK event last year. I was talking to a lady from South Africa and she was drinking a glass of wine. The idea struck me of writing a story set in the vineyards of the Western Cape. Exploring the themes and idea’s that have affected me a great deal since I spent a portion of my childhood in South Africa in the eighties. When opposition to Apartheid was at it’s highest and the world was watching…But the idea for my latest proposal for a novel, set in a coastal village in the UK, came from one of the women in my village threatening to shoot her neighbours cat because it was hunting birds in her garden.”

Andrea is “currently researching for The Chameleon, and working on the proposal for Collide-O-Scope (with the crazy village cat lady), but up next publication wise is Swordfish due to be published in January 2015.”

season's meetingsFor Amy,  “Season’s Meetings is up next for publication. It’s due to be released this December coming. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I’m already counting down the weeks and trying not to dwell on the prospect of the hardcore editing that’s fast approaching.

My wife and I are huge fans of Christmas. We love everything about it. As soon as December 1st arrives we’re decorating out house without a hint of hesitation. It’s a time for family, laughter, fun, indulgence, and love. I tried to incorporate all of things we love into the story and I had an absolute blast writing it.

Here are the full interviews for Amy and Andrea.

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Finally a quick look at reviews.

playing my loveAngela Peach‘s very popular Playing My Love was reviewed over on Girl Guide London. Here’s what they had to say about the story with two endings that has intrigued readers:

Playing my Love is certainly a tender novel full of romance but also some laughs, and characters that made me read the whole book through in one sitting – I literally couldn’t put it down. The rocky journey of the two main characters, both holding back their feelings from each other, is an equally gripping story-line… Playing my Love is a great read, perfect for any holidays you’ve got planned lazing on the beach, or cheering up your afternoon on a rainy day

You can read the full review here.

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that certain somethingAnd since I was a bit of a useless arse this week and did the news late, I missed the opportunity to tell you about my chat with Beni Gee on the VLR last night. It was terribly good, you should have been there. So instead, I better tell you about some reviews of That Certain Something by people with impeccable taste. These are the best reviews I’ve ever had so you’re not going to get away without hearing about them 🙂

The Velvet Lounger over on the Lesbian Reading Room had this to say:

Clare Ashton has written another winner. That Certain Something was a joy to read from start to finish. It warms your heart, tickles your fancy and captivates your mind…You will be captivated, entertained and fall in love, all while belly laughing your way through Pia’s bare-arsed antics

And TT Thomas also said “Ashton’s writing is smooth as glass in this one, and yet manages to layer texture, tone and timing into a love story that would burn down Londontown if it got any hotter! There’s not a misstep in this wonderful novel, unless you count your own as you bump into walls while reading because you can’t put it down! Read That Certain Something, and then give a copy to someone you like…you know, in that way.

Huzzah!

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L Fest

23 Jul

ClareUKLesFic’s Clare Ashton reports from L Fest 2013.

L Fest was big, beautiful and had something for everyone this year. The music side of the festival has always been major part of the event, but this year they ramped up the arts side (organised by Spring Out) with everything from a cabaret night, carnival procession, tea dance, cinema and, of course, author events.

VG Lee and Clare Ashton

VG Lee and Clare Ashton

Headlining act VG Lee kicked off the event with her one-woman play The Lady of Wild West Hill. There were various technical hitches but being the pro and quick thinking wit, VG accommodated the interruptions with aplomb and the audience assumed they were part of her funny act and the play was a fabulous success.

(I was very chuffed to catch up with her on Sunday to grab a quick photo.)

Saturday morning author events kicked off with the panel Ghosts From the Past with Crin Claxton and New Zealander Robyn Vinten. The audience looked hungover but happy from the fabulous opening night and Robyn started with an excellent read from her first literary novel. Bruceville reunites three childhood friends for a reunion that stirs up the horrifying and romantic past.

Crin Claxton

Crin Claxton

Crin followed up with a reading from her novel the Supernatural Detective, a funny ghost crime novel brought to life by Crin’s excellent reading and assistance from actress partner Deni who added some wonderful voices for incidental characters. Crin talked about her penchant for the extraordinary in the ordinary – stories with a little bit of magic in them. This was the second reading I had seen from this book. This time I had the good sense to buy a copy and get it signed by Crin who later gave me a lesson in good signing practice (i.e. bringing a bloody pen).

The day continued with an open mic session for author readings and workshops from Helen Sandler (from Spring Out) on Performing Your Work and VG Lee From Truth to Fiction – generating ideas for fiction and getting them down on paper. VG also did another popular workshop on the Sunday (The Lesbian Monologue).

Robyn Vinten

Kiki Archer

Saturday night was time for cabaret headed up by Clare Summerskill, and a Grease themed party – which seemed to involve a large amount of alcohol and bad behaviour (further coverage has been censored, but UKLesFic has come by some photos…) .

Kiki Archer

Kiki at the romance panel signing session

Sunday morning was time for the romance panel with me, Kiki Archer and Angie Peach. I started with a passage from After Mrs Hamilton (video here) and Kiki followed up with (by popular demand and unrelenting pressure) the kitchen scene from Instigations (video here). Angie had the hard task of following that, but she did with an absorbing read from In Reflection (a book that both Kiki and I found dark and unnerving and memorable). Angie’s reading’s here.

The Q&A session that followed was great fun with all authors having awkward questions about how much of themselves they put into their work about high-class escorts, murderers and teachers who have affairs.

You can see the session here:

Not fiction, but a very affecting and inspiring session was Clare Summerskill‘s Gateway to Heaven reading – a collection of oral histories from older lesbians and gay men. Clare showed what a class act she was with her commentary and analysis of the lost voices of generations of especially working-class GLBT people and by bringing to life the histories in her performance. The session was heart-breaking, uplifting, funny and above all inspiring.

Rose CollisThis was followed up with a popular spoof costume drama, Cromford, and Rose Collis’ one-woman show Trouser-Wearing Characters about gender-bending characters of the past.

The biggest disappointment of the arts side of L Fest? I missed Jackie Kay‘s session. I saw Jackie Kay on panels at the last ever YLAF and she was incredibly witty as well the seriously talented writer you’d expect. As well as a reading and Q&A there was a book club session discussing Reality Reality which I also missed. So I kicked myself hard twice this weekend. Next year….

If you haven’t considered going to L Fest before, please do.  The timetable was packed with music, comedy, cinema and workshop events as well as games and activities so that everyone had more sessions they wanted to attend than they physically could from dog shows, pole-dancing workshops and throwing yourself around in a sumo suit.

Romance panel

The romance panel with L Fest organiser Cindy Edwards

Finally, and just because they were fabulous, dynamic, charismatic and bloody good to photograph, here are some photos of Betty – and yes they did play the L Word theme tune.

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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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News roundup: L Fest and Bold Strokes Festivals, new online magazine Gaze and competitions

10 Apr

LFestArtsThe line up for L Fest is shaping up nicely. Jackie Kay and VG Lee are already confirmed, and Crin Claxton will be doing a reading. More acts will be announced soon so keep checking back to the L Fest website.

The Bold Strokes Book Festival has also expanded its list of attending writers and now includes an impressive list of UK lesfic authors. The event is held in Nottingham and is a great opportunity to see authors like Andrea Bramhall, Cari Hunter, Gill McKnight and Lesley Davis. You can find out more here.

GazeCoverA new online magazine has just been launched. Gaze is a bi-monthly online review covering serious political and cultural topics and contributors include VG Lee, Sophie Ward and Julie Bindel. You can follow Gaze on Facebook and Twitter and content will be available here.

The deadline for Polari Prize submissions has been extended to 30th April. The prize is for debut UK authors of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction whose work has been published in English within the past twelve months. Self-published works are eligible for submission. To enter email paulburston@btinternet.com, with ‘Polari First Book Prize’ in the subject field, and let him know about your work.

TipiFinally Andrea Bramhall, author of Ladyfish and Clean Slate, is holding a competition to name a character in her next novel. Fans of Ladyfish might have suspected Andrea is a scuba-diving enthusiast, but she is also co-owner of Deepdale Backpackers and Camping in Norfolk. Deepdale are also offering a night in a Tipi on the Norfolk coast to winners of the competition. Find out more about this fab competition here.