Tag Archives: LT Smith

News roundup: new books, a new author, Polari Tour and Prize, crime blogs and a freebie!

10 Sep

And we’re back! After a lovely summer, where traditionally all goes quiet in lesfic land, there’s a load of news waiting to be unleashed and a fresh pile of books for your autumn reading. Here we go!

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It has been out a matter of hours but Kiki Archer’s new book is at the top of the lesfic charts already. Here’s the blurb and lovely sparkly cover:

lostinthestarlightA-list singing superstar, Honey Diamond, has it all – the albums, the talent shows, the upcoming Hollywood film. But it’s her gentle light, endearingly shining through all the glitz and glam, that warms the hearts of so many. A shy girl, who’s only ever known fame, born into a world that’s not true to life. Will Honey ever experience the love she so knowingly sings about? Will the vindictive online gossip sites ever leave her alone?

For a bit more of tease have a peek at the book trailer on YouTube.

Lost in the Starlight is available on Amazon now!

Also just out is Wendy Hudson’s Four Steps and it’s already been covered at The Lesbian Review:

FourStepsI was swept up into the Scottish Highlands and the lives of Alex and Lori. The author uses alternating chapters to tell the story of the growing romance between Alex and Lori and the secondary story of suspense, which builds step by step until the final chapters where I was flipping (tapping actually, as my copy was an ebook) pages as fast as I could…I loved the arc of the romance between Alex and Lori. And the pacing of this story was perfect.  Alex and Lori’s romance built slowly alongside the trouble creeping toward them. The trouble was indeed creepy.

You can read the rest of the review here and get your copy on Amazon.

alliwantforautumnClare Lydon continues Holly and Tori’s adventures in her next book in the All I Want series. The Autumn installment is out on September the 21st and here’s the blurb:

What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…

After a hit & run accident, Holly is determined to recover in record-speed, but she’s frustrated when her mind and body have different agendas. Meanwhile, when Tori’s career takes an unexpected turn, the couple are faced with some life-changing decisions.

When Tori & Holly’s journeys begin to pull in different directions, will the glue that keeps them together be enough to secure their future?  Is true love enough to win the day?

ashakaanNatalie Debrabandere’s new book Ashakaan was published at the beginning of summer to rave reviews in the US:

The year is 2251. Jamie Cartwright is a gifted young army officer, the owner of a sexy smile, handsome looks, and a fiery temper. Stationed on-board the Atlantis, the finest spaceship the Quantum Fleet has ever commissioned, her future as a member of the Alliance military is looking bright. Unbeknownst to her though, and to everyone else except an old shaman in a distant and mysterious universe, Jamie’s destiny is accelerating, headed fast toward an extraordinary conclusion…

needleinahaystackAlso released during the summer was Sally Edwards Needle in a Haystack:

A pivotal point in a young girl’s life, with family tragedy, new friendships and the first glimpse of romance. We are plunged deeply into the mind of Charlie Duke as we read extracts from her personal diary.

Sally is new to the UKLesFic news listings but published her debut a couple of years ago. She hails from Shropshire and specialises in stories that feature disabled characters. How to Love was her debut – the story of a young disabled lesbian woman, coming of age, living a life of independence, and finding love.

You can find both How to Love and Needle in a Haystack  on Amazon and you can find out more about Sally on her website.

underparrLooking further ahead, Andrea Bramhall has announced that her second book in the Norfolk Crime Investigation Stories will be published in May 2017.

December 5th, 2013 left its mark on the North Norfolk Coast in more ways than one. A tidal surge and storm swept millennia-old cliff faces into the sea and flooded homes and businesses up and down the coast. It also buried a secret in the WWII bunker hiding under the golf course at Brancaster. A secret kept for years, until it falls squarely into the lap of Detective Sergeant Kate Brannon and her fellow officers.

A skeleton, deep inside the bunker.

How did it get there? Who was he…or she? How did the stranger die—in a tragic accident or something more sinister? Well, that’s Kate’s job to find out.

christmasatwinterbourneJen Silver’s fifth novel will be out in November, ready for Christmas, and is the first of Jen’s novels to be set in southern England:

The Christmas festivities for the guests booked into Winterbourne House have all the goings-on of a traditional holiday. The only difference is that this guesthouse is run by lesbians, for lesbians. When the guests arrive, tensions are already simmering between the house’s owner Wilma (Wil) and very pregnant partner, Gabriella. Wil has a lot on her plate… ensuring the smooth running of the events, looking after all the guests, including her in-laws and business partners. What she hasn’t planned for is a ghost from Christmas past.

Wil inherited Winterbourne from her adopted mother, Kim Russell, author of a series of successful lesbian novels. Most of the guests who stay, do so because they are fans of the author. One guest, Sally Hunter, is on a mission to write Kim’s official biography. She meets with resistance from the people at the house she tries to interview, stirring up memories from those who knew the reclusive writer well. For a bit of extra spice to the festivities, add in an unexpected snowstorm, a disappearing guest, and an imminent birth. Join the guests and staff at Winterbourne for a Christmas you’ll not soon forget.

If you can’t wait until November to read more you can have a sneak peek at the first chapter on the Affinity website.

ylvaOn to blogs and August has been crime month over at Ylva Publishing. Andrea Bramhall has been pondering why the British are fascinated with murder:

Books, TV shows, documentaries, news broadcasts, popular music…it’s everywhere. Crime drama, mysteries, murders, and detective stories. As a nation we’re hooked on them. Well, I know I am, and looking at the top rated shows on TV, so are you! As a population does that make us a bunch of morbid, blood thirsty savages, living vicariously through fictitious characters who carry out our innermost desires?

collide o scopeIt’s had LT Smith puzzling too:

Personally, I love reading crime and detective novels because when I read I love to think, love to work at the plot like a literary winkle, prising out information, identifying those red herrings that attempt to lead me up the garden path, and, more than anything, I love to figure it all out before everyone else. A definite smug face moment.

Meanwhile Wendy Hudson wondered why Scotland in particular lends itself to murderous goings on:

The dilemmas of the human condition remain the same no matter what period you look at in history. Living in a country soaked in past bloodshed, and steeped in unsolved mysteries, whether reader or writer, Scotland will always intrigue and suck us in. If you combine all of these reasons, the history and landscape, the miserable weather, our sense of justice and cutting humour; maybe we can start to understand why the darker stories continue to live on in Scotland, more so than the good.

And Clare Ashton had to bring sex, well passion at least, into it:

The biggest high, I think, comes from a novel that pulls together passion, suspense and intrigue. With romance, circumstance may pull the heroines apart and break your heart, but with romantic intrigue you can twist the story to stop the reader in their tracks, chill them to the bone, even make them drop their eReader and exclaim “oh shit”. The stakes can be so much higher. It isn’t simply a matter of will the couple get together, more the terror that secrets and even death may pull them apart.

Click here to read all of these blogs in full.

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton has been getting around a bit over the summer and also had a good chin wag with Clare Lydon for her Lesbian Book Club podcast.  During the podcast, Clare Lydon does a run down of the charts and gives an update on her writing, then gets chatting with Clare Ashton about writing process, Wales, Poppy Jenkins and synonyms for breasts.

Have a listen here.

The LGBT Polari First Book Prize short list was announced at the beginning of summer and the Polari website notes that:

Fiction features strongly – from Anne Goodwin’s poignant midlife coming-of-age (Sugar and Snails) and Jacquie Lawrence’s exploration of love through the entangled lives of six women (Different for Girls) to Paul McVeigh’s funny and frightening story of a young boy navigating the troubles of 1980s Northern Ireland (The Good Son) and Stevan Alcock’s unforgettable tale of teenage life set to the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders (Blood Relatives). The shortlist is rounded-off by Juliet Jacques poignant memoir of the transgender experience (Trans) and a raw yet moving collection of poems written in celebration of the masculine form (Physical).”

POLARIpinkLARGEThe winner will be revealed in October.

Polari is also touring the country again this year. Here are the details in brief. For performers and more information see the Polari Salon listings.

  • Sep 22 – Bishops Stortford Library
  • Sep 28 – Printworks, Hastings
  • Oct 14 – Marlborough Theatre, Brighton
  • Oct 21 – Nottingham Writers’ Studio
  • Nov 4 – Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh
  • Nov 11 – Ideas Store, Tower Hamlets
  • Nov 15 – Hove Library
  • Nov 18 – Grand Theatre, Blackpool
  • Nov 19 – MAC Birmingham
  • Nov 21 – Fruit Space, Hull
  • Nov 23 – Newcastle City Library
  • Nov 25 – End of tour at Southbank Centre, London

TheRetreatFinally, it’s always nice to have a freebie. Jane Retzig has released her novel The Retreat in audio which is available from Audible.

To celebrate its launch she has several free copies to give away. Be quick and email her at  janeretzig @ gmail.com if you want to win a copy.

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Phew! That’s all folks!

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News Roundup: Jody Klaire’s new RomCom, Clare Ashton Stops Hearts, Blogs from Amy Dunne & L.T. Smith, Sarah Waters Competition & More!

29 Aug

Things are livening up a little on the lesfic front as people mosey on back from the beaches, pack away their sun cream, and hunker down to wait for autumn – fireworks, golden leaves, parkin, treacle toffee, trick or treatin’, what’s not to love?!

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untrained eyeIt’s been an exciting week for Jody Klaire with the release of her romantic comedy La Vie en Bleu, and the cover reveal for the third instalment of her Above & Beyond series – Untrained Eye. If you like a little music to go along with your reading, Jody has posted a rather…eclectic (let’s just say that there’s a few Spice Girl’s tracks on it!) play list for La Vie en Bleu here. Meanwhile, the blurb for Untrained Eye reads like this:

When Aeron’s burdens are dimmed to help her recover and understand that she can’t heal everyone, she welcomes her new found freedom. Her only worry is that Renee will feel guilt for the price she’s paid and so Aeron resolves not to tell anyone. When CIG boss Ursula Frei comes to her for help with a personal mission, things start to get tricky. Frei enlists Aeron’s help to prevent a group of children in Caprock Academy becoming victim to the same deep scars Frei herself bears. She needs the help of the Criminal Investigation Team but that can’t happen without Lilia or Aeron. So Aeron fakes a vision.

In that vision, Aeron, Renee and Frei go undercover to Caprock, rescue the children and walk away stronger.
Unknown to Aeron, Lilia has had the same vision and allows the CIG team to get involved. The problem is that the two visions differ in one essential part. Whereas Aeron’s version sees them successful and united, in Lilia’s vision, she’s seen the three agents implode under the weight of secrets, misunderstandings and their mission unravel.

Lilia has faith in Aeron, Frei and Renee and believes they can get the children out…even if it means one of them gets left behind.

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that certain somethingSpeaking of romcoms, Clare Ashton‘s That Certain Something recently made it onto About Entertainment‘s list of Must Read Heart Stopping Lesbian Romance Novels:

That Certain Something is an adorable chick-lit romance about two people from totally different backgrounds finding one another, and connecting on a such a deep level that they click right from the start. The main protagonists, along with the secondary characters shine in this feel good romantic comedy.

So, fire up the nearest defib and grab yourself a copy 🙂

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This-London-Love-CoverLastly on the light and luscious lady lovin’ front, is this review from The Lesbian Review for Clare Lydon‘s This London Love:

The writing style embodies what I love about British books, it’s tight, clean and witty. And while the book follows a pretty standard romantic comedy plot, it manages to not be formulaic…
I loved that Meg was not perfect, and while Kate pretty much falls in love with her at first sight, Lydon never lets her be on a pedestal. The friction between Meg and Kate mirrors the hurdles that real life relationships go through, and it shows that happy endings can happen to real people, and that they are not possible without some work along the way.

Read the full piece at the link.

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renegadeWith The Renegade due for release next month, Amy Dunne has been blogging about her writing processes over at the Bold Strokes site:

Scenes play in my head like a movie clip. While I’m typing away on the keyboard and words appear on the screen, I’m actually writing what I’m seeing in my mind’s eye. Almost like I’m experiencing everything with the characters. I’ve always had an overactive imagination and I enjoy daydreaming these scenes. I can vividly imagine seeing, smelling, hearing, and touching things in each scene.

The full text of When The Magic Happens can be found by clicking on the title.

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val mcdermidHopping north of the border now where Val McDermid recently met one of her most famous fans – Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon – at the Edinburgh festival. The interview is available to watch on the BBC’s iPlayer for the next 28 days.

Also this last week, in a frank and revealing interview with the Guardian, Val has been chatting about misogynistic trolls, our current government taking the UK back to Victorian times, and Scotland’s future:

I really worry we are heading more towards the Victorian ethic where those who have the capacity to claw their way to the top will do, and the rest will be sweeping the shit out of the doorway. We’re going back to Bleak House – it doesn’t feel like we’re moving forward at all.

Read the full piece at the link.

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Driving Me MadSix weeks holiday hasn’t been nearly enough for L.T. Smith, who’s been getting an entertaining whinge on in a new blog about her absolute reluctance to get back into the classroom (get back in there! I’ll finally be able to go swimming again once the kids are out of the pool!) Hidden amongst the highly amusing grumbles are nuggets of information about forthcoming books and short stories:

But I have been writing. Two short stories are finished but not edited. Attic Space is a ghost story that I originally penned for the Ylva anthology but she came out too big. I’m undecided what to do with her, but she will get my attention again before long. One thing I need to say though is that Attic Space did not have one single F word throughout. Not one! It was a challenge I set myself and through her I realised how hard it was for me to write without being a potty mouth. But, I did it. Go me. F**k yeah!

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Finally this fortnight, for anyone who’s harbouring a secret stash of period photos, there’s a new competition on Sarah Waters‘ website that’s right up your street. She’s looking for pictures from London in the 1920s to match scenes in The Paying Guests, and a complete set of her novels is up for grabs for the best entrant. Go here for more details.

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News Roundup: Clare Lydon Lovin’ In London, Kiki Archer & L.T. Smith Interviews, New Releases from Manda Scott & Jenny Frame, and More!

3 Jul

With a mini heatwave, England coming so close in the footy, and everyone cooking at Wimbledon, it’s been a busy ol’ fortnight here in the UK. So what have all our authors been up to?

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This-London-Love-CoverIt’s always nice to kick off the week with a new release, and we’ll start with the new ‘un from Clare Lydon, whose third novel This London Love is currently riding high in the UK amazon LesFic charts. The book is a spin-off from Clare’s début hit, London Calling, and you can find a trailer for it right here.

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For all those folks who live up north, the rather fabulous Hideaway Cafe in Urmston, Manchester is building on the success of its regular Saturday LGBT nights by launching a women’s LGBT reading group. The inaugural meeting will be on Tuesday July 7th at 7 p.m., and it’ll be a chance to meet like-minded women, pick a book, and eat cake. And trust me, the cakes there look amazing. Also, the cafe is licensed, which is always good news. The cafe’s owners – the Sponge Sisters – have strong ties to the local LGBT community, and Jo and her missus are also planning a lesbian book fest to take place on September 12th 2015. The details are still being finalised, but Tig and I will be going along, to read, chat, sign, but mostly to eat cake with lesbians. Personally I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday. Hit the link for more information on the Hideaway, and we’ll keep you updated with details of the book fest as we receive them.

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too late I love youWith Too Late… I Love You kicking up a storm in the Amazon charts, Kiki Archer has been chatting to Plumsauce Productions about the novel and her move towards writing mainstream fiction:

I noticed that my two previous novels One Foot Onto The Ice and When You Know both broke into the mainstream contemporary romance charts, at one point sitting alongside JK Rowling’s Casual Vacancy. Both novels were obviously lesbian-romance, the covers and the blurbs made that very clear, yet they were charting as mainstream. This made me wonder how many straight women were actually enjoying my books, and if I did release one with a pretty, typically chick-lit-type cover, would this work to push sales even higher into the charts…

To find out exactly how successful that tactic was, hit this link.

The book has also been reviewed over at A Modern Girl’s Bookshelf, in a write up that emphasizes its appeal to a mainstream readership:

Something many people don’t realize (and something Too Late… I Love You certainly proves) is often, LGBT lit isn’t much different from popular lit that features a heterosexual relationship. I feel like there’s this unspoken misconception that gay/lesbian relationships portrayed in literature can’t be appreciated or enjoyed by straight readers. Sure, it’s viewed as “cool and quirky” to feature a secondary relationship that isn’t straight, but for some reason, if it’s the protagonist’s relationship, it’s a big deal. I’ll say it here, loud and clear: that is not true! Lately, popular fiction authors have been taking strides to rid the bookish community of this idea (see: Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On; Kimberly McCreight’s Reconstructing Amelia; John Green & David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson), but LGBT genre writers have been doing it for years. Enter the captivating world of Kiki Archer…

For the full text of the review go here.

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heart of the packFollowing on from the success of her début novel, A Royal Romance, Jenny Frame has revealed the cover of her next book Heart of the Pack (a Wolfgang County novel). The book will be released via Bold Strokes in 2016.

Jenny’s début A Royal Romance has been well received by book blogger Leeanna.Me:

It was just fun to see the relationship develop between George and Bea, to see George’s life as queen and Bea’s as a commoner. It was also refreshing to see that both of their families were encouraging, even when Bea doubted that things could work between them because of their class differences. I did think the ending was a tad rushed, considering all the build up and back-and-forth on their relationship. But A Royal Romance left me wanting a sequel, and romances don’t usually do that to me.

Find the full review here

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L.T. Smith is the under the spotlight over at the Ylva website, with an interview discussing the reissued version of her novel, Once:

Personally, I would describe Once as a book about overcoming life events and experiencing the wondrous realization of how strong the human spirit actually is. Once is about rediscovering hope, falling in love, and learning to love life. This book is about friendship, new beginnings, recognising that although we do have limitations these are definitely outweighed by our strengths but it just takes a little time to remember that.
And, best of all, Once has a dog in it. What else do you need to know?

The interview also reveals the title and cover for L.T.’s next novel Driving Me Mad, which is apparently “a little darker” than her usual fare. Driving Me Mad will be released in October, and its blurb reads like this:

Driving Me MadFor Rebecca Gibson, her journey to a work convention will be one she’ll never forget. After driving around for four hours, Rebecca stops to ask for directions at an isolated house on the outskirts of Kirk Langley, Derbyshire.
Her initial meeting with the house’s attractive owner, Annabel Howell, seems strange and unsettling, but at her hostess’s insistence, Rebecca spends the night.
Plagued by nightmares, Rebecca senses that her dream world has blended with what she believes is reality. When she leaves the next day, her life has changed. Can Rebecca solve a mystery that has been haunting a family for over sixty years? Will she find love along the way? Or will the events drive her mad?

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INTO-THE-FIRE-largeManda Scott has been busy publicising the release of Into the Fire with a series of interviews and blogs, the most recent of which is this in-depth and revealing interview at Writerly Witterings:

When my mother died, I found amongst her ‘saved from childhood’ file, my first book – it was 10 pages written in feltpen from the perspective of one of the owls in the kitchen. It was early self-publishing, it had a copyright and a publisher’s marque and it was all bound up with blue ribbon. So yes, I always planned to write, but what I hadn’t planned was how much focus veterinary medicine was going to take to be any good. Then I had a 3 month gap between jobs and that let me start my first real book – a fiction set in a Vet School.

Full details for the official Into The Fire blog tour for can be found here. 

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has revealed details of her first novel for middle-grade readers (8-12 year olds):

The Lotterys Plus One introduces Sumac Lottery, a girl with six siblings, two moms, two dads, and a tranquil cloud-painted room in the big Victorian house they all call Camelottery. When her racist, homophobic grandfather nearly burns his house down, he has to move in with the Lotterys, a volatile situation about which no one is happy, least of all Sumac, who has to give up her room. The Lotterys Plus One explores family, the limits of tolerance, and the possibilities of love.

The book will be released February 2017.

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VGLeeVG Lee has loads of events and appearances on the way, with the first being LFest on July 19th, where she’ll be appearing alongside Kiki Archer, VA Fearon, and Diana Souhami. You can find the full list of VG’s upcoming events here, and there’s more details about LFest – including a list of all the other UK authors who’ll be attending – on our own Events page.

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And that just about covers it. I’ll be over here eating a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. Y’all go and read a book 🙂

News roundup: a lot of blogging and chatting from Emma Donoghue, VG Lee, Nicola Griffith, Amy Dunne and more!

27 Feb

A whiff of spring is in the air, or at least the green shoots of a busy lesfic year are coming through at last, and there’s quite a bit to tell you this week:

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emma-donoghue-illo_2373764bEmma Donoghue has been answering Seven Questions for the Working Writer over on Jenna Leigh Evans’ blog. She answers questions about juggling writing with earning a living (she’s never had a day job) and how she knows when a passage needs editing (it makes her stomach twinge). Read the full piece here.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith has been busy on her blog. This week she has been talking a little about how to avoid cliched characters when writing fiction and how to create a memorable cast.

But a great story or novel—oh, a great story is dense. The characters’ actions are plot-driving and characteristic and specific. These people are fully human, the kind of people we would recognise this year, last century, tomorrow. In this fiction, the writer is almost profligate in her generosity: we know a lot about the protagonist just by the way he flips his hair, just by the speed with which they blinks before they kill someone.

Here’s the full piece.

It also turns out that even the best get the odd duff review. Nicola has been braving Amazon and reading Hild reviews and details her reaction to some particularly snide 1-star reviews. It only bothered her, mildly, for 5 minutes. Still, an entertaining and interesting piece which is here in full.

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vgleepolariVG Lee was interviewed by Sacha Black about VG’s writing process. She talks about her technique of prolific note taking as first draft, what and who inspires her characters and her take on the publishing industry. This is her advice for aspiring novelists:

Not to be influenced in any way by friends and family. They will be biased. To aspiring novelists I would recommend a writing group, creative writing classes at local colleges or universities. Here you will get unbiased feed back. Friends I made through a creative writing class when I first began writing, I am still friends with them now. We are all still writing and we have all been published, in fiction, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. We help each other.

VG is always an interesting read and here’s the full interview.

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LT Smith has been catching up her readers on her writing exploits. And she’s been busy. Beginnings is out in its second edition and she talks about the horticulture involved in that. She’s also having a shufty at Once and a few other things besides:

I can remember not long after Once was published and I won an award from the Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards for comedy. Obviously, I was really excited, as anyone would be if his or her book had been given the big thumbs up by the reader. But, I can still remember thinking ‘I thought it was sad’. Shows how much I know doesn’t it. Maybe if I write a comedy I may get an award for drama. Food for thought.

Read the full article, and keep an eye out for an imminent book giveaway too, over on LT’s blog.

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Clare Lydon continues with the book club on Lesbian Radio. And this week she had a good natter with Amy Dunne author of Secret Lies and Season’s Meetings. Amy gives some insight into her writing approach to each book and what inspired her to write the gritty Secret Lies. Have a listen here.

Amy also revealed the cover and blurb for her next book this week. The Renegade, a post-apocalyptic romance, will be available in September. Here’s the blurb:

renegadeIn this post-apocalyptic world, you have a choice: survive as a slave or fight for your freedom.

The Red Death pandemic wiped out most of the human population, and the world that remains is dangerous and unforgiving. Survivor Alex Clarke and her companions are rescued after a vicious attack and welcomed into the Rapture’s Haven Camp. Although given medical treatment, food, shelter, and protection, Alex senses something sinister lurking beneath the camp’s friendly exterior.

Camp medic Evelyn Bennett is instinctively drawn to Alex and warns her that the camp is a dangerous cult and the women are slaves. While planning to escape, their secret relationship is discovered. Escape is no longer possible. They must fight for their freedom—or die trying.

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V.A FearonMeanwhile Cherry Potts and VA Fearon have been chatting about lesbian fiction. Cherry talked about running Arachne Press and trying to fit in her own writing. VA Fearon revealed her obsessive writing habit and also chatted about the Dani series. All five books have been written – although only The Girl with the Treasure Chest is out so far. Here the video of their conversation.

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A few items in brief:

thehysteryappVT Davy‘s second ‘state of the lesbian nation’ novels, The Hystery App, is now available. VT has produced a trailer for the book which is a blend of science fiction, romance, and women’s history. The trailer is available here on YouTube.

Jenny Frame has been putting the final touches to the forthcoming A Royal Romance and has an update on her other work here.

Gill McKnight, author of the Garoul werewolf series, has been quiet of late, but she’s just about to get a lot noisier. She’s joined Women and Words as a regular contributer and she’s already received a very warm welcome. She has a new book, Soul Selecta, is due out in April.

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hp munroFinally, you can catch HP Munro in the Virtual Living Room today. The online discussion group is hosting a Hollywood weekend where authors of novels with a film theme will be chatting about their books. Authors include Melissa Brayden (Waiting in the Wings), Karin Kallmaker (Stepping Stone), Krystin Zimmer (The Gravity Between Us), Jae (Departure from the Script) and Chris Paynter (Survived by her Longtime Companion). You can join the group here.

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That’s all folks!

News Roundup! Polari a hit in Birmingham, Clare Lydon hits the Airwaves, Dangerous Dykes at the Virtual Living Room, New Books, Reviews, and More!

20 Nov

With the festive season nigh upon us, the LesFic world shows no signs of hanging up its stockings and settling down with some mulled wine. Which has made for a rather lively news update…

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polaribrumFirst up this week, the Polari Tour made a very popular stop in Birmingham. Clare Ashton opened the evening to the packed theatre with a reading from The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer which warmed up the crowd nicely. Frances Gapper followed that up with a very humorous reading about a superstitious friend. And Kiki Archer finished off the first part of this high energy evening with a reading from Alana Molton-Croft and Me (from the new L is for… UK charity anthology) which had the crowd crying with laughter. Gerry Potter enthralled the audience with fierce, funny and touching kikiarcherpolarianecdotes and poetry. VG Lee finished the evening with a tour de force of stand up comedy, a gem of a reading and smidgeon of erotica in a style that only VG could do.

You can see videos of Clare’s reading here, and Kiki’s reading here. For anyone who fancies catching up with Clare’s first foray into the romcom genre, her third novel That Certain Something, is currently on sale for the bargain (and slightly random) price of £1.94, but only till the end of November, so get your skates on!

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clare lydon

Speaking of Clares, the lovely Clare Lydon dropped us a line to let us know that she has teamed up with MyLesbianRadio.com to begin a new podcast, The Lesbian Book Club. She’ll be interviewing authors, discussing publishing processes, and giving listeners the low-down on what’s new and noteworthy in the world of LesFic. First in the hot seat is author Angela Peach, who chatted to Clare about the aforementioned UK LesFic charity anthology, L Is For… You can listen to, or download the episode here.

Clare’s second novel The Long Weekend, has recently been reviewed at Planet of the Books, who had this to say:

The Long Weekend is a page turner full of authentic, likeable characters (with their flaws of course, making them all the more interesting!) and a story that unfolds worthy of its set up. The novel is self aware and Lydon is careful not to trip into stereotypical, cliched pitfalls, keeping the pace and the twists just ahead of the reader, whilst delivering a satisfying conclusion all round.

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cover_A_Unwrap-These-Presents_500x800L.T. Smith and the apparently ubiquitous Clare Lydon are amongst twenty-three authors contributing to a new festive Ylva anthology Unwrap These Presents. According to the blurb, these holiday stories give you “snow, presents, plenty of food, Holiday cheer and nicely wrapped curvy women under the tree.” All profits will be donated to the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. Both organizations provide housing for homeless LGBT youth.

L.T. is also running a book giveaway for “anyone who is interested!” In her own words:

This could be for many many reasons. One, it could be to celebrate the release of the new anthology from Ylva, Unwrap These Presents. Two, it might be because I had completely forgotten to do a book giveaway for Still Life and also for Forget stilllifeMe Not. The list could go on, but I don’t think you will be interested in knowing the ins and outs.

Up for grabs:
Signed copy of Still Life, e-book of Still Life. Three e-book copies of Forget Me Not, and one e-book copy of either Hearts and Flowers Border, Puppy Love or See Right Through Me.

What you have to do is simple. Let me know you are interested. So, either in a comment on my facebook page or to my e-mail fingersmith @ hotmail.co.uk let me know two of your choices. Closing date: 22 November at midnight.

As ever, take the spaces out of that e-mail address before you use it!

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Cari HThe Virtual Living Room Yahoo group (a place where readers and writers of lesbian literature in its permutations can come together and discuss the works and the topics within them) are holding a Dangerous Dykes fest this coming weekend 21-23rd November.

The three day weekend will be devoted to discussing the Crime/Mystery/Suspense genre of Lesbian Fiction, and is “a must for those of you who like a bit of intrigue in their reading.”

There’s a great crowd of authors taking part, with me being the lone Brit in the gang! These are the ladies who’ll be in the hot seat:

Xenia Alexiou, Kim Baldwin, Barrett, RE Bradshaw, Cari Hunter, Isabella, Jae, Anne Laughlin, Leslie Murray, Cathy Rowlands, Shelley Singer, Baxter Clare Trautman, and Ali Vali.

There will be loads of book giveaways throughout the weekend, as well as the opportunity to ask questions and generally chat. To join in, hit the above link and sign up to the group. You can receive the e-mails in digest form, which is very much recommended for events such as this!

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006You’d think us remiss if we didn’t mention Sarah Waters at least once a fortnight, so here’s an interview that she did with The Guardian, in which she discusses turning her talents to the stage for her new play The Frozen Scream (co-written with Christopher Green).

It would be exciting if it was a hit. But I would still feel very tentative and alarmed by the idea of writing my own dialogue. It’s been an education working with Chris because this is a different way of telling a story for me. My instincts are to signal things. I would say: “Right, we need all the audience to be looking in this direction at this point.” And Chris would say: “Oh, it’s OK if some people notice and some people don’t.” That was amazing to me because my novels are plotted so carefully. It’s been good for me to explore a looser way of creating a narrative effect. But I’m not sure I could do it alone.

Frozen-Scream-main-300x178The Frozen Scream will be at Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff from 11 to 20 December and then Birmingham Hippodrome from 7 to 17 January. Audiences should apparently wear “warm clothes and sensible footwear” (shouldn’t be too much to ask of lesbians!) and “expect the unexpected.” Ooer.

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mountain rescue on the edgeWrapping up this week with a couple of new books. Sky Croft‘s sequel to Goldie award winning Mountain Rescue: The Ascent will be published in December, and is now available to pre-order.  Mountain Rescue: On the Edge sees Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber return in a new adventure:

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.

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believe meProviding further proof that sequels are the new orange, Jade Winters has just previewed the cover for her second Ashley McCoy novel, Believe Me. This follow-up to A Walk Into Darkness is set for a January release. More news on this one as we get it. Meanwhile, Jade is still publishing chapters of her new novel, The Hidden Truth, at this link here.

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And that should just about do it for this last couple of weeks. If anyone is planning on kicking around in the Virtual Living Room this weekend, I’ll see you there!

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!