Tag Archives: Maureen Duffy

News roundup

15 Jul

It’s a topsy turvy week when Britain puts forward the Blonde Bombshell Boris Johnson as the face of UK diplomacy, but things have been a little more sane in lesfic land.

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GCLS clean logoCold to the TouchTo start with, that talented writer Cari Hunter got what her books deserve at the Golden Crown Literary Society Awards this week when she was awarded the best Crime novel. Both books one and two of her Dark Peak Series made the short list but Cold to the Touch came out on top. Congratulations Cari!

No other Brits won awards this time. Maybe Boris can put a good word in for us when he nips over to see Hills.

On to forthcoming books.

BeforeKE Payne is done checking the proofs for her new YA romance Before.

The novel will be out in September and here’s the blurb:

When the confident, determined Alex Brody joins the successful band Be4, sparks fly between her and her bandmates, none more so than with Tally Mullins. But as their success continues and Tally learns more about Alex, her dislike turns to admiration. Soon Tally finds out that there’s far more to Alex than she first thought.

AllIWantForSummerClare Lydon continues the adventures of Toni and Holly in the next of the All I Want series.

The next installment, All I Want for Summer, is out in two weeks. No blurb yet, but watch this space. Not this space literally. But that kind of space, or thereabouts in the next news. I digress….

Meanwhile, we do have a blurb for Jody Klaire’s Hindsight. This is part of the Above and Beyond series, and here’s that blurb in this space:

hindsightEscaping your past isn’t always easy. Aeron Lorelei gets a vision that her general and close friend, Ursula Frei, has been captured and seriously hurt but Aeron doesn’t know by who, where and why. All she knows is that Frei is getting weaker and they have to find her… fast. So Aeron and her commander, Renee Black, set out on the trail using the only information they have to go on: the memories of Frei’s past which are triggered when Aeron touches a padlock, a padlock that shows the depth of the scars Frei holds inside. As the memories get more vivid and Aeron’s still dimmed burdens begin to drain her, Renee is faced with losing both the women she adores. But, the memories begin to point to just why Frei is missing and Renee faces the decision to keep faith in Aeron’s “burdens,” and what her own heart is telling her, or pull Aeron out and lose Frei, her best friend and the woman who once saved her life.

Hindsight will be out in August and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

poppy jenkinsOn to reviews and the Romantic Reader enjoyed Clare Ashton’s sunny tale of romance in mid-Wales.

“This book is a true gem. For the very first pages you are taken by the beauty of the Welsh village as much as the main character Poppy. You become invested in the characters, rooting for their triumphs, and sharing their sadness. Poppy Jenkins is not the book to pass on. This one will steal your heart. Good luck on getting that back!”

You can read the rest of the review here.

heart of the packAnd Jenny Frame’s hairy tale of love, Heart of the Pack, was reviewed on Inked Rainbow Reads:

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the first page! I was pulled into the story and couldn’t put it down. The romance between the two women was beautifully written. I loved finding out about the pack and meeting many of them. The pack dynamic they have is so interesting. I wouldn’t mind moving there!”

Read the full review here and also catch Jenny reading from the Heart of the Pack on the Lesbian Talk Show podcast.

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PolariOnSeaLastA couple of reminders before I go and check the news and inadvertently extend the kids’ vocabulary in an unfortunate way.

It’s the last Polari on Sea event on Wednesday the 27th July with an impressive lineup including Maureen Duffy and VG Lee.

It will be held in the evening at the Printworks in Hastings and you can get more information and tickets here.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksAnd a quick reminder about new books.

The Club by AL Brooks is available now from the Ylva site and from Amazon on the 20th (pre-order is available).

What kind of club do you think those two gals have joined…?

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Toodle-pip!

 

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

28 Mar

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of the entertaining article here.

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

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

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

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On to new books and pieces.

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

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

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

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

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

FORGET WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW…

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

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

SOME LEGENDS NEVER DIE – but they may be rewritten…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Right, on to those events.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Phew! Nearly there.

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

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

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That is all. Good night!

News Roundup: Ali Smith, Stella Duffy & Val McDermid hit the airwaves, New Anthologies from R.J. Samuel, Rebecca S. Buck, & Maureen Duffy. Interviews, Reviews, and More!

26 Sep

So, in the week that Scotland decided to vote nay to independence, what have our authors in this most United of Kingdoms been getting up to?

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alismithFirstly, congratulations to Ali Smith, whose novel How To Be Both has been short listed for the Man Booker Prize. You can hear her talking about the novel on this episode of Radio 4’s Open Book, an episode that also features Stella Duffy looking back at twenty years or writing, and discussing her new anthology of short stories, Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined (the blurb is available on our New Releases page.)

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330x235valmcdermidVal McDermid might be a little unhappy with the way the referendum went, but she has also been busy chatting on the airwaves. In this recent interview on Radio 4’s Saturday Live show, she talks about “her passion for football, her musical aspirations and where she finds inspiration for her novels.” If you’re wondering, she’s an avid Raith Rovers fan…

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Amy_Dunne_lgIf you’re anywhere near Nottingham this Sunday, Bold Strokes YA author Amy Dunne will be appearing at the inaugural night of a new women’s only entertainment event, Womyn’s World. Amy will be in the Green Room at the Nottingham Arts Theatre from 6.30 p.m. to talk about her début novel, Secret Lies, future projects, and to take part in a Q&A. The full program can be found at the link, with further events planned for the last Sunday in each month.

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the alleywayThe last few days have seen the publication of new short story anthologies from Rebecca S. Buck and R.J. Samuel. Rebecca’s “prison tales across time” e-book release A Queer Kind of Justice is available from the Bold Strokes website, or Amazon. Meanwhile, R.J. has published The Alleyway and Other Short Stories under her full name, Rejini Samuel.  The collection isn’t LesFic, but we thought you might be interested in hearing about it anyway. This is what R.J had to say about the anthology:

Nervous and excited as I’m going to be publishing this collection of very short stories on Amazon tomorrow. Doing it under my real name as I wrote most of them a few years ago and some of the stories were shortlisted in competitions under my name. They’re also quite a bit darker than my novels. They feature a variety of main characters and no real ‘happy ending’, more like ‘no real ending’…but I hope they leave the reader thinking…

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Killing For Keeps RHB V3 copyKilling for Keeps, the fifth novel in Mari Hannah‘s award-winning Kate Daniels series now has itself a cover. The book is due for publication on December 4th, and its blurb goes like this:

Two brothers from the same criminal family die within hours of each other, five miles apart, one on the edge of a Newcastle industrial estate, the other in a busy A & E department of a local hospital, unseen by the triage team. Both victims have suffered horrific injuries. Who wanted them dead? Will they kill again? Investigating these brutal and bloody killings leads DCI Kate Daniels to break some rules, putting her career as well as her life on the line.

As the body count rises in the worst torture case Northumbria Police has ever seen, the focus of the enquiry switches, first to Glasgow and then to Europe ending in a confrontation with a dangerous offender hell-bent on revenge.

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paper wingsMaureen Duffy‘s new collection of love poems, Paper Wings, has been turned into “wonderful and varied images by the artist Liz Matthews” in a free exhibition which has just opened at Enitharmon Press, 21 Bury Street, Bloomsbury, London. The exhibition is open 10-6, Monday to Saturday, and closes 17 October.

From Maureen’s FB page: There’s also a beautiful (but affordable) artist’s book version of the entire exhibition – and Paper Wings is also available as a DVD, with Maureen reading the poems aloud in the background as the images appear, page by page, on screen.

You can find more information about the exhibition at the above link.

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stilllifeIt’s hard to resist this introduction to L.T. Smith‘s latest blog entry, extolling the virtues of a new audio file she has posted:

Maybe you want to protect your hearing. Maybe you have had enough of screeching Northerners to last you a lifetime – thanks to Coronation Street and/or Emmerdale – and would prefer to skip this small audio clip I have made. The decision is completely yours and the onus is definitely on you.

If that’s tickled your fancy, and you want to listen to L.T. – whose voice has apparently been extra-butched up thanks to a cold – reading a chapter from her latest novel, Still Life, then head here to her blog, where you’ll find the YouTube link.

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catherine hallCatherine Hall has been answering 10 lovely, varied questions over at the Alma Books website. If you want to know what three books she’d save from a house fire, or which period of history she’d most liked to have live through, then click the link.

Catherine’s new novel, The Repercussions has also been reviewed over at the Elysion website:

She manages to evoke the horror and confusion of World War One and twin it with current day experience, laying bare the personal cost of conflict. In amongst the often harrowing settings, the book blossoms hope through its tales of love and longing which expertly manage to keep humanity as the core theme and lend a softness and compassion to the whole book.

…It’s a lovely and touching novel; not always comfortable reading, but somehow sad and optimistic at the same time – a perfect read for an autumnal night.

You can read the full text of the review here.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Finally this week, I know we’ve had a lot of Sarah Waters stuff to highlight of late, but this interview with the Salon website is probably one of the best that’s come out of her publicity tour for The Paying Guests. It’s a fun, in-depth, and candid chat with Laura Miller, who obviously knows Waters’ novels backwards:

There’s a maturity in being able to write novels about lesbian relationships and not feeling obliged to depict them as this perfect bond that society is unjustly crushing.

I’m also conscious that being able to write about lesbians is a luxury of living in my own society, one that’s fairly relaxed about gay lives. Plenty of other parts of the world wouldn’t have that luxury. I remember when “The Night Watch” was published in Russia, they sent me a review and translated it for me and it said something like, “This novel gives us a fascinating glimpse of the tragic lives of these poor …”

“These poor, poor, tragic lesbians!”

Go read it at the link.

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And that brings us to the end of another romp through the LesFic news. Have a splendid weekend!

News roundup: a scintillating Polari shortlist, Beatrice Hitchman’s intriguing Petite Mort, events, Maureen Duffy, Stella Duffy and more!

11 Sep

Cari’s been gambolling around the coast complete with baby seals, so you’re stuck with me again for this week’s post. Let’s have a quick romp through the news…

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petitmortThe Polari shortlist was announced at Monday’s Polari evening in London, and what an exciting short list it is. Paul Burston has commented on the great diversity of this year’s entries, which can be any first book that explores the LGBT experience in poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction. Here’s the list:

Sarah Westwood‘s The Rubbish Lesbian – a collection of her columns for Diva magazine
Dean Atta‘s poetry collection I’m Nobody’s Nigger
Diriye Osman‘s short story collection Fairytales For Lost Children
Vernal Scott‘s God’s Other Children – a London memoir
Beatrice Hitchman‘s noir novel Petite Mort

We’ve mentioned Sarah Westwood’s book in passing before but we haven’t featured Beatrice Hitchman. Hitchman’s intriguing debut has drawn comparisons with the writing of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter and with films such as  Moulin Rouge.

Here’s the blurb for Petite Mort:

Beatricehitchman

Photo by Sarah Lee

A silent film, destroyed in a fire in 1913 at the Pathé studio, before it was seen even by its director. A lowly seamstress, who makes the costumes she should be wearing, but believes her talent – and the secret she keeps too – will soon get her a dressing room of her own.

A beautiful house in Paris, with a curving staircase, a lake, and locked rooms. A famous – and dashing – creator of spectacular cinematic illusions, husband to a beautiful, volatile actress, the most adored icon of the Parisian studios. All fit together, like scenes in a movie. And as you will see, this plot has a twist we beg you not to disclose…

For a bit more background on the book and author there’s a review in the Polari Magazine and an interview in Diva. You can also read more about Beatrice on her website.

Sticking with Polari just for a moment, you can read a little about the background of Polari and the Polari Tour here and also get a taster for what to expect from Kiki Archer at the Birmingham event in this video.

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duffy_maureenOn to interviews.

Maureen Duffy was interviewed on Totally4Women.  Maureen talked about diverse topics from prizes, her opinion of self-publishing and the representation of women in media. On that last matter she has this to say:

You have only to count the numbers of titles and reviewers in the Times Literary Supplement and London Review of Books by men as against those by women to see the discrimination. Also while women read books by both men and women, men read predominantly books by men. The emphasis is for youth and glamour for women writers still. Our enemy is still the patriarchal society, witness Cameron’s cabinet even after the reshuffle. Even Mrs Thatcher whom they all profess to admire was painfully dumped when the novelty wore off.

You can read the whole interview here.

ellendeanPlanet of the Books has a new author profile up and this time it’s Ellen Dean‘s turn. She answers the usual questions and this is what she had to say about spending the day as one of her favourite characters:

It has to be Hyacinth Dickinson from Beautiful Strangers and Beyond Midnight, Books 1 and 2 in the Hyacinth Dickinson Series. Tall, blonde and gorgeous. Hyacinth is psychic and can use telepathy to get into people’s minds and learn all their secrets, or make them do what she wants them to do. Plus, she owns valuable and rare diamonds (a girl’s best friend) two fabulous houses, a yacht and enjoys partying with a wide circle of friends. It would be a hard to decide where to actually be: in one of her fabulous houses, controlling the Amethyst Coven or lazing on the yacht in Cannes. Oh, decisions, decisions!

You can read the full profile here.

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fallingcoloursRJ Samuel‘s Falling Colours was reviewed over on Piercing Fiction. The review starts with “Let’s start by saying this is a fun book to read.” A phrase that might not auger too well with a Lynne Pierce review.

But fear not, the review’s a good one and this is what Lynne has to say in summation for RJ’s tale of a vision painter:

RJ Samuel has used the theme of a person caught between two cultures before, but Kiran has a comic twist that makes her fun while revealing the struggle she goes through.  The book is a slapstick mystery in the best tradition of the old 1930s movies.  It would be great to have a sequel to this book to see where Samuels could take the characters, but Kiran would have to bring Marge back again.  That might be too much for any of them to take.

Read Falling Colours.  It’s fresh; it’s different; it’s worth it.

You read the full review here.

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Clare-Lydon-LV-cropClare Lydon‘s been blogging again and this week it’s about some harsh truths for writers. Her ten truths cover everything from the number of copies a typical book sells (not many) and who cares about your manuscript (you and your mum). Here’s her truth about muses:

Writing is an art. But like any art, it’s 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. Like anything, you have to work at it and you have to do regularly to get good at it – it takes practice. If you only write ‘when the muse takes you’, you will never finish that book you’re working on. And muses are like fairies btw – they don’t exist.

Here’s the full entertaining list.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Now for our weekly sample of Sarah Waters news.

There was an interesting article in The New York Times this week. While everyone in the UK, from my mother-in-law to my doctor, is looking forward to picking up The Paying Guests, apparently that’s not the reception she gets in the US:

Ms. Waters has tended to receive less critical attention in the United States than at home. Laura Miller, who wrote a delighted review of her novel “The Little Stranger” for Salon, said that might be because she has fallen, unfairly, into a genre ghetto.

“She does have a devoted readership here, but if there’s a problem with her work getting the respect it deserves, it’s probably because it’s historical fiction. Some people who write it are at the top of their game … but at the same time, it’s full of cheesy, endless series about things like the women of the War of 1812.”

The article goes on to give some nice detail on Sarah Waters’ background from being the only gay in the village, to then meeting the other one and how she fell into writing. Here’s the full article.

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everythingStella Duffy has just released a collection of her work that has been previously published or broadcast on the radio. Here’s the blurb for Everything is Moving, Everything is Joined:

This collection of short stories brings together, for the first time, a selection of Stella Duffy’s award-winning writing, as well as some of the numerous stories that have been broadcast on radio and appeared in anthologies over the past 20 years. Many of these books are out of print and the radio broadcasts are unavailable; this collection therefore not only highlights the range and variety of her writing, but also breathes new life into some of her best stories.

Here’s the Amazon link although note that the Kindle version for 80 p is just a single short story.

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Finally some events for your diary including one tonight.

Nicola Griffith is touring at the beginning of October. The tour includes places as different and as far-flung as London and Ilkley. Full details are on her blog.

Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are both appearing at Gay’s the Word tonight – a great chance to see two excellent authors. Starts at 7 p.m.  More details here.

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Right, my turn to gambol around the coast. Ta ra!

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.

indiepanel

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

News Roundup: Lambda Win for Andrea Bramhall, Free Stuff from Clare Ashton & Amy Dunne, L-Fest & BSB Fest, Blog Hops, Reviews, and Lots More!

5 Jun

Okay, there’s no polite way of putting this: some of you UK authors need to go on an early summer holiday or something, and stop doing so much bloody stuff. Please? I hear the Balearics are lovely this time of year…

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cleanslateWithout further ado, let’s kick off another mammoth week of news by saying a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Andrea Bramhall, whose second novel Clean Slate was awarded best Lesbian Romance at the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards on Monday evening. The Lammies are one of the most keenly sought after awards in the field of GLBTQ writing, so it’s lovely to see one heading over this side of the pond.

Andrea has just blogged her reaction to the news in a post entitled: Keep Calm and Wait for the Recount:

I’m trying to play it cool and not run around the house shouting ‘I won, I won, I won’ but part of me is still waiting for the results of the recount–that must surely be underway–and I don’t want to look like an idiot when the powers that be politely inform me that I shouldn’t have gotten myself all excited in the first place…

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Amy_Dunne_lgSkipping along from shiny stuff to free stuff, as the True Colorz blog (“your source for all things YA in the GLBTQ community”!) has just hosted a Q&A with Amy Dunne, and there’s a chance to win a copy of Secret Lies if you leave a comment on the page. The interview is well worth a read, although I’m hoping Ms Dunne didn’t write a college essay on The Yellow Wallpaper for the same reason I did: it was far shorter than Moby Dick.

Question: If you could travel back in time and tell the teenage you one thing, what would it be?

“Amy, you’re a lesbian. Surprise!”

To read all of Amy’s answers and to enter the comp, head here.

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that certain somethingSticking with the theme of free things, Clare Ashton is also giving stuff away over at Women & Words, where she has been chatting about That Certain Something and encouraging people to Add a Little Sunshine to their day:

Pia enlists the help of an enchanting third character – London. I have a soft spot for the charismatic city and I’ve adored living through the scenes in some of my favourite settings: the romantic Serpentine Lake, Brixton market on a noisy morning, an old bombed-out church – now a peaceful garden in the heart of the city. A balmy summer in London has been a nice place to daydream about.

To be in with a chance of getting your mitts on a copy of That Certain Something (in e-book or paperback – winner’s choice), hit the above link and add your two penneth to the chat about favourite classy film dames in the comments section.

Terry Baker has cast her LesFic-loving eye over That Certain Something this week and not found the book lacking in the slightest:

This story is a beautifully written, multi layered, lesfic, romantic comedy. It is chick lit for lesbians as its very best. Clare Ashton has got the balance between the romance and the comedy just right. Neither one overshadows the other. This is a refreshingly different book from Clare’s other two full length, more serious novels. Although we did get a taste of her wonderful sense of humor in her short story, published last year.

Click here to read the full review.

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NicolaGriffithFor those who like to plan ahead, here’s an early shout out about an Ask The Author session with Nicola Griffith on Goodreads. The details are a little vague (in all honesty, I don’t have any), but the shindig kicks off on Friday, and keeping an eye on Nicola’s Goodreads author page would probably be a decent place to start.

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lfestAs the rain pours non-stop over here (hmm, I bet it’s lovely and sunny in the Balearics), what better time to think of summer festivals?

L Fest 2014 (18-21 July) has updated its arts page with loads of info about the authors, poets, panellists, and comedians who will be heading over to Staffordshire for the weekend. Tig gave the line-up in last week’s news, but novelist and poet Maureen Duffy is a more recent addition. For profiles, info and pretty pictures, click the arts page here.

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bsbpanelWith just two days to go before the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival, a blog hop featuring the attending authors has continued apace. In an effort to prove that fiction writers also lead adventurous factual lives, I. Beacham has somehow managed to avoid all mention of gratuitous pussy jokes in an entertaining piece about rescuing her cat from a vicarage. Jane Fletcher has been speaking historically, Rebecca Buck has been fighting labels, Crin Claxton has been shaking her tassels, and Victoria Oldham – editor and organiser in chief – has brought things full circle back to cats (but not pussies – no one goes for the obvious gags these days!) with her summary of what exactly goes into organising a book festival, and why she comes back and does it all over again each year:

crin and cheriThe authors get to meet readers, the readers get to meet authors. We connect and reconnect, and it’s all over the power of words, both written and spoken. I get to meet readers and new authors, and sometimes I’m fortunate enough to hear pitches from aspiring authors who want to work with us, and that makes me feel incredibly lucky. I get to tell people about the amazing company I work for, a company that works to provide quality literature to the queer community, and a company dedicated to helping authors grow and learn at every step of their career.

If you want to come along to Nottingham this Saturday and Sunday (7th & 8th June) and find out what the BSB Fest is all about, click here for the necessary details. Once again this year, Vic will be hearing pitches from aspiring authors, and she has some advice for potential pitchers in this blog post.

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amazonia_impossible_choiceThe Writing Processes blog hop has snared another couple of British authors (okay, I snared one of ’em!) with Sky Croft and Manda Scott posting their entries in the last few days.

Speaking about potential future novels, Sky had this to say:

I have a few other ideas on the go right now, but I’m not sure which to focus on first. That’s always a dilemma for me, which book to start on – I have so much I want to get down, and not enough time to do it all, so naturally some ideas fall by the wayside. It’s tough to decide which ideas to let go of and which to pursue, especially if you’re passionate about them.

manda-scottMeanwhile, Manda is busy working on edits of The Girl Who Walked Through Fire:

I did the line edits in January and somewhere, stalking the hallways of my publisher, is a copy-editor who will require that I make fundamental changes to the plot and structure in the name of ‘consistency’ and I will chew large lumps out of my desk in frustration and do about half of them, writing long, detailed notes about why and how the other half prove the editor in question just didn’t bother to read the text. Then I’ll give up and do them anyway.

To read the full text of both blogs, go to the above links.

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cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderLast but by no means least, L.T. Smith has gone and launched a new blog, where you can find information on all of her novels, forthcoming releases (including the blurb for September release Still Life), and what she’s up to at the moment:

Buying a book is like choosing a friend to spend time. It’s not an easy choice, especially because you are going to invest time, emotion and money in the venture. That’s why I have included excerpts for you to read. A case of “try before you buy”. There are also some sound files to listen to if you want to hear how I think my stories should “sound”. However, if you treasure your hearing, maybe you might want to listen to music instead.

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Right-O, that’s about yer lot for this week. If anyone reading this blog is heading to the Nottingham BSB Fest, please do come over and say hello – Tig is hoping to be there on the Saturday, so no doubt the daft Blog Mistress picture will get an update 🙂

 

Yup, this one!

Yup, this one!

 

 

News Roundup: New Novels from Just About Everyone, Reviews Galore, Awards, and Upcoming Events

14 Mar

After Tig‘s heartfelt plea in the last news, you’d think all the UK LesFic authors would be off sunning their bums on an island somewhere and giving us both a rest. Ha. Not a bloody chance. Here is another rather lively News Roundup…

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First out of the traps this week are Jade Winters and RJ Samuel, who have both released novels within the last couple of days.

say somethingJade’s latest, Say Something, is now available on Amazon (UK) , Amazon (US), and Smashwords, and we have a blurb to go with the cover we recently previewed.

When love-struck teenagers Jessie and Toni’s clandestine affair is exposed, Jessie’s only option is to move on. Feeling betrayed by Toni, she swears she will never trust another with her heart. Fast forward ten years when, in a strange twist of fate, this vow is put to the test as Jessie and Toni are thrown together by chance. Can Jessie put the put the past behind her to help Toni – who now needs her more than ever. Will she be able to deny the feelings that still run deep for the only woman she has ever loved?

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AplacesomewherRJ Samuel‘s A Place Somewhere is also available on Createspace, Amazon UK, and Amazon US. This is what LesFic reviewer Terry Baker had to say about the novel:

I’ve loved each of RJ Samuel’s books, this one is in my honest opinion, her best to date. Told from the heart and written from the mind and muse. Truly a wonder to behold. A definite and firm favorite to be read time and again. 

You can read the full review at this link.
 

Not content with writing the book, RJ also wrote a song with the same title, a clip of which can be heard over here on YouTube.

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pauline georgeNever one to rest on her laurels, Terry has also been casting her eye over Pauline George‘s début novel, Jess:

Now and then I come across a début author who shines through. Pauline George is one such author. She has written a wonderful story with believable and loveable characters. All well developed, multidimensional and easy to get to know.

As always, you can catch up with the full review here.

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crin claxtonOoh, just nicking in under the deadline, Crin Claxton‘s novel, The Supernatural Detective is a finalist in the 2014 ForeWord Review Book of the Year Award: Gay and Lesbian category.

Each year, Foreword shines a light on a small group of indie authors and publishers whose ground-breaking work stands out from the crowd. Foreword’s awards are more than just a shiny sticker on the front of a book; they help connect the best indie books to readers eager to discover new stories written by previously unknown authors.

The finalists are selected by librarians and booksellers, and the winners will be announced at the American Library Association annual conference on June 27 in Las Vegas.

Congratulations and good luck, Crin!

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statesofindependence2014If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, Amy Dunne and editor Victoria Oldham will be flying the Bold Strokes flag at the Leicester festival States of Independence, a celebration of the breadth and diversity offered by independent publishers throughout the region. As Vic so succinctly says:

The event is free to attend, and there are panels and book vendors, and a whole crowd of people who loves books as much as you do. If you’re in the vicinity, this is where you should spend your Saturday!

The event takes place Saturday 15th March at De Montfort University, and all the necessary details, including information on the LGBTQ panel (the topic of which is The Road to Integration), can be found at the above link.

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season's meetingsWe’re sticking with Amy Dunne for a moment, as her second novel Season’s Meetings now has a blurb and a lovely new cover (yes, that is Amy’s own pup Kimmy, in a starring role!)

Could the festive road trip from hell actually lead to love?

Catherine Birch is a lonely workaholic who hates Christmas. This year, she is being forced to celebrate with her best friend’s family in the Highlands of Scotland. Having missed her flight, Catherine reluctantly ventures on a road trip with beautiful stranger Holly Daniels. Although polar opposites, the intense attraction between them is unmistakable. Just as Catherine begins to think spending Christmas with Holly might not be so bad, a raging snowstorm leaves them stranded in the middle of nowhere. Huddled together, with little chance of rescue, they forge a pact: if they escape, they’ll make this a Christmas to remember. But will it be remembered for the right reasons?

With a December release date, the novel is perfectly timed to slip into your Christmas stocking. Hey, it’s never too early to plan these things, there are only 285 shopping days left, folks!

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BSB_Because_of_HerKE Payne is also keeping herself very busy on the writing front. Her fifth novel Because of Her (available now from the BSB site, and on wider release from March 18th) has been given a standing ovation at Lesbian Fiction Reviews:

If I could use just one word to describe the book it’d be sweet, and this applies to the main character, the plot and the way K.E. Payne tells the story. I felt completely caught with Tabitha because she’s a down-to-earth, sensible and sensitive character. She’s not perfect, doesn’t look like a model; she’s just a girl with insecurities and fears who is violently taken away from what she’s known her entire life and has to face a big challenge.

once the clouds have goneWhile novel number 6 – Once the Clouds Have Gone – now has a cover and a blurb:

Nine years after leaving the small Scottish town where she’d grown up, Tag Grainger is forced to return following the sudden death of her father—and back to a life she’s long since put behind her. After inheriting a share in a family business she wants no part in, Tag is overwhelmed by the dark clouds of her past: her brother can’t forgive her, the nephew she adored doesn’t remember her, and everywhere she goes there are whispers about how she abandoned her family. With her old wounds reopened, Tag longs to escape again, until the appearance of the intriguing and spirited Freddie Metcalfe forces her to reevaluate much more than she thought she needed to. But while Freddie is harboring a secret of her own, can she help Tag reconnect with her family and move on from her past?

Once the Clouds Have Gone is due for release in October.

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duffy_maureenSome more dates for the calendar now, with Maureen Duffy set to headline at Polari on March 17th. Paul Burston’s celebrated Polari salon provides a platform for new and emerging LGBT literary talent and showcases the very best in queer writing. From the Polari website:

Maureen’s latest novel, In Times Like These, is a fable that puts politics to its ultimate test. Jill Gardiner describes it as ‘a pacy, exciting read, centered around an out-lesbian MP and her artist girlfriend, whose well-established relationship is very much of our times.’ 

For tickets and further details about the event click here.

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frogmusicFinally this week, Emma Donoghue‘s Frog Music tour, will see events taking place in Brighton (25th March), Norwich (26th March), and Cambridge (1st April). More details on each of those dates can be found at the links, while a full worldwide listing of the tour is on the Latest News ticker-tape on Emma’s homepage.

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Right, that’s yer lot. For those with the weekend off, have a fabulous one. For those working it, like me, keep your heads down, it’ll be over before you know it!