Tag Archives: Orla Broderick

Christmas Q&A

18 Dec

baublesUK LesFic is turning in for the year. But before we put up our feet for a couple of weeks, there’s time for a festive Q&A with several lovely authors. Here’s what we asked them:

Which book do you want for Christmas?

What was your book of the year?

We’ll be back early in 2014, until then we’ll leave you with these great recommendations, and a Merry Christmas and wishes for a happy new year from Tig (Clare) and Cari!

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VG Lee

the_summer_bookThe book I’m hoping to get for Christmas is The Summer Book by the late lesbian author, Tove Jansson who also created the Moomin books. I only found out about her recently and this novel, about a relationship between an aging woman and her grand-daughter has some resonance for me, now that I’m getting older myself!

the murder wallHaving been one of the judges for the 2013 Polari First Book Prize, I was fortunate to read many novels by lesbians over the summer.  Our winner was Mari Hannah’s, The Murder Wall and I think I would choose it again for best lesbian fiction. The author is lesbian, the main character, a detective, is also a lesbian. Yes, we do have a few lesbian crime writers but I feel there is room for many more and I was pleased that genre fiction won.

Merry Christmas!

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Amy Dunne

HighDesertBooks make amazing presents. As always, I’ve made sure we’ve purchased lots of books as gifts for our family and friends. When asked what I would like I’ve listed lots of books. But the book I’m most excited about is Katherine V. Forrest’s new Kate Delafield story, High Desert. I cannot wait to snuggle down and read this.

Choosing just one book of the year is way too difficult because there were some really fantastic reads. My top three are: Shadows of Something Real by Sophia Kell Hagen, How Sweet It Is by Melissa Brayden, and finally Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

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Cherry Potts

91CYqVEe28L._SL1500_My most wished for book for wintermiddle, which has been pointed out very clearly to a certain person who I believe has taken note, is Nicola Griffith’s HildFirstly because I’ve read everything by Nicola I can lay hands on, but also because I think Hilda of Whitby is a superb role model – a woman in medieval England with real power. She’s one of my heroes. So of course I want to read it!

Most of what I’ve read this year has been submissions, so actual published books haven’t had much of a look in, however I would recommend Mary Ackers’ collection Bones of an Inland Sea. It is a beautifully written clever and thoughtful series of connected stories, and working out the connections is half the fun. One strand involves a female to male transsexual which is handled with great tenderness. One of those books that go into the ‘I wish I’d written that’ category.

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Kiki Archer

I always seem to get a biography for Christmas and this year I’m hoping it’s Miranda Hart’s Is it just me? I love her show and find myself laughing loudly throughout each episode, even if she’s just looking into the camera and saying the words: “I thank you.” She calls the book her Miran-ual and I’m sure it would provide a lot of laughs over the Christmas period. Plus I’m not sure I could cope with Katie Price’s sixteenth biography. The other fifteen are already taking up too much room on my bookcase.

ExceptonToTheRuleMy book of the year was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. The tag line was: “They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose,” and I was hooked. The book was a deeply emotional, unconventional, romance, with a very sad, yet bitter sweet ending. Chick lit with depth!

My lesfic book of the year was Cindy Rizzo’s Exception to the Rule. I had the privilege of reading an advance copy over the summer holidays and I immediately knew I’d see it at the top of the charts. Fast paced, intelligent, engaging, and very hot. Exactly what I like in a good read.

Happy Christmas everybody.

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Orla Broderick

girlisA Girl Is A Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride – Finally I find a novel to challenge. With language like no other, with heart rending passion displayed on every page. Here’s a new voice. Here’s a woman’s tale of love and vulnerability. It is not an easy cozy little fireside read. It is not for the faint hearted. It is raw and honest. It is terrible and beautiful all at once. I was shocked by this book from the very first page. I was horrified. A girl loves her brother. He has a brain tumour. His life, his well being is infinitely more important than hers. Her pain is of no consequence to anyone, even herself. To her, pain is life, is love. I would urge anyone to purchase at least four copies directly from the publisher Galley Beggar Press and distribute widely. This book is going to change the way we write – and hopefully what we read.

The book(s) I would like for Christmas: I would like The Guga Stone: Lies, Legends and Lunacies from St Kilda, by Donald S. Murray and Douglas Robertson because I love a beautiful book and I know this one will be truly gorgeous in every way. I would like The Others by Siba Al-Harez because it is a new story and there have been wonderful reviews and I am curious. I would also like a copy of Orlando by Virginia Woolf because (I am ashamed to say) I have never read it.

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Cari Hunter

RoseUnderFireI actually know which books I’m getting for Christmas, because I ordered them and – at the moment, until my darling gives me some cash – paid for the bloody things! I love getting my teeth into a decent crime series, and a friend recommended Chelsea Cain to me this year. She’s a fun writer, who can be a little too outrageous (the culprits in one of her books were tiny killer octopi) but is consistently entertaining. So, I’m getting her new one, Let Me Go, in my stocking, along with Autumn Bones, the latest from Jacqueline Carey,  one of my favourite authors.

My book of the year is Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein’s splendid companion novel to Code Name Verity. While it didn’t quite reach the heights of CNV (how could it?), it was still a book that stayed with me long after I’d finished reading it and was possibly even better the second time around.

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LettersNeverSentRachel Dax

My book highlights of the year are Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran and Out Late With Friends by Suzanne Egerton which I am currently halfway through and loving. Next to read is Careful Flowers by Kieran York – which I am really excited about.

OutLateWithFriendsI am hoping to find Hild by Nicola Griffith in my Christmas stocking. I am particularly interested to see what Hild is like because St Hilda gets a mention in my trilogy The Legend Of Pope Joan and I am keen to find out whether Nicola Griffith and I are exploring similar ideas in our writing.

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Andrea Bramhall

Okay, the book at the top of my Christmas list this year is Bonkers by Jennifer Saunders. That woman cracks me up so much and just reading the blurb had me in stitches. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into that one as I’m sure it will be one of those laugh out loud books for me.

My book of the year…seriously? You want me to pick ONE? That’s got to be against the Geneva Convention or some thing. Torturous, cruel and unusual punishment…do you know how many fantastic books there are out there? ONE? *Gulp* No need to resort to threats. I can’t babysit, Tig. Kids hate me. *sigh* Fine, I’ll do it. Just take that light out of my eyes, okay?

secretliesI’ll have to say…Secret Lies by Amy Dunne. I usually have to be in the mood for young adult titles but this particular debut novel didn’t fall into the same category. It is rather on the gritty side and it won’t be a book everyone can read as it deals with subjects that are both provocative and heartbreaking. It touches on the subjects of child abuse and self harming, and I think it does so in a way that is realistic, compassionate, and yet doesn’t shy away from the darkness each bring to a very different young adult novel. Dunne has managed to capture the innocence and excitement of young love against the pain and angst of two girls struggling through difficulties that most ‘grown ups’ would flinch at dealing with. This author is definitely one to watch.

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christmas-tree-snow-1

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News Roundup: Help us Win Stuff, Free Stuff, New Stuff, P-Town Stuff, and Spooky Stuff!

4 Nov

Morning, morning! To compensate for last week’s lack of news (in truth, there wasn’t much going on, I was snowed under with Tumbledown edits, and Clare was snowed under with having a life!) we have a ginormous update for you this week. Loads of authors have been up to mischief, and there’s plenty of free stuff for you all to get your grabby hands on. So, where to start?

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nominatedLet’s start with us. And when I say “us”, I mean UK LesFic, which has been nominated for an Ultimate Planet award in the category of Blogger of the Year, over at the Planet London website. Huzzah! And, of course, thank you to all those who took the time to nominate the site. So what happens next? Voting for the shortlisted nominees is open here throughout November, and it would be rather fab if people would hop on over there and put a tick in our box (so to speak).

VG Lee, Stella Duffy, and Jackie Kay are nominated for Published Author of the Year, and also on the list are Clare Ashton and Kiki Archer, who are scrapping it out for Published Author of the Year (Independent).  Congratulations to all, and um…good luck to those trying to decide between the latter two 🙂

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onefootWhilst we’re on the theme of Ultimate Planet and Ms Archer, Planet of the Books (the literary offshoot of Ultimate Planet) recently reviewed Kiki’s new novel One Foot Onto The Ice, where they had this to say:

Well paced, and gentle, and sometimes very sexy, this romance offers some sweet moments as two polar opposite women find love and face their internal demons in a bid for love.

You can read the full text of the review here.

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the black houndSpooky stuff now, and Niamh Murphy has published a new short story for Halloween over on Wattpad. Complete and in three parts, The Black Hound tells the story of Isobel, forced to live in a crumbling manor where something lurks on the surrounding moors. With the arrival of the new lady’s maid, Kate, Isobel’s life is about to be altered, forever…

The story is free to read, and available at the link.

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Amy_Dunne_lgDébut Bold Strokes Books author Amy Dunne has a Behind the Writing interview up at her BSB author’s page, where she chats about what made her become a writer (“the gift of the gab”!) where she gets her ideas from, and what her family have had to say about the whole shebang (which sounds naughtier than was actually intended!)

They’ve been amazingly supportive—especially considering I’ve been telling them I was going to write a book for over ten years. My beautiful wife was the only person I trusted to read the first draft. She kept putting it off and making excuses, and only later she confessed it was because she was terrified it was going to be awful and she wasn’t sure how she’d break the news to me…

You can read the full interview at the first link, and with Secret Lies due for release in December there is a short excerpt from the novel in the November BSB newsletter.

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FinalistSMMore awards news for you, with Elisa Rolle running a month-long Treasure Hunt throughout November to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Rainbow Awards. Each day, mystery excerpts from 6 of the shortlisted novels will be published. To enter, try to identify your chosen book in the comments. There’s no limit on how many books you can win, and you can keep entering until November 30th. Correct entrants will go into a draw at the end of the month. The books offered are a mix of e-books and paperbacks. You can find the entire list of novels at the link, and there are quite a few LesFic authors on it…

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the january flowerSticking with the theme of freebies, Orla Broderick‘s Polari-longlisted novel The January Flower is currently free on Kindle. The offer is open for five days, and the original announcement was made on Friday, so there should be a couple of days remaining for you to go and get yourself a copy. The first link is the UK link, and the US link (before we get our arses kicked by our US readers!) is here.

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See Right Through Me- Draft2With the joyous prospect of Christmas shopping creeping onto the horizon, November seems set to be a lively month for LesFic releases. LT Smith has been talking about her new novel See Right Through Me over on the Ylva website:

When I was writing See Right Through Me, I kept on thinking about how we sometimes doubt the most obvious good things in our lives. How we question those three little words—not “I love you” exactly, but the three other little words that should come hand in hand with it. Trust, respect, and love. How sometimes our own actions can lead to negativity, lead to those other three words—jealously, insecurity, and heartbreak. I wanted to show what could happen if we found ourselves in that situation, what we could lose if we allowed our lack of confidence to encroach on love. Not the most pleasant experience, believe me.

See Right Through Me has just been published, and you can read the full piece from LT here.

Sneaking in at the last minute is MORE FREE STUFF! Ylva have just announced that they have two e-book versions of See Right Through Me to give away. All you have to do to enter the draw is leave a comment at the foot of this page, or send an email to info@ylva-verlag.de Better get your skates on though; the closing date is 5 a.m. Tuesday morning (how random!)

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GB-Cover1VT Davy, another author with a new book out, has been blogging about Deadlines, Rewrites and Getting it Out There

The biggest rewrite happened back in May following the passage through Parliament of the same-sex marriage bill. I never thought that it would go through. I thought that the bishops in the House of Lords would ensure that it was sent back down to the Commons to be revised. When it did pass, I spent 24 hours worrying about whether the novel that I’d worked on for seven months was now relevant. It didn’t take me long to realise it was, as the news about the battles for equal marriage from the USA and Australia kept on coming.

And just before I hit post on this news, up went a guest blog from VT over on Women and Words, where she talks about the politics behind A Very Civil Wedding .

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NicolaGriffithThere are not one, but two new interviews – one video, one print – with Nicola Griffith talking about Hild. The print interview at The Coffin Factory includes a particularly lovely description of Nicola discovering Whitby for the first time:

In my early twenties I was living in Hull, a depressed (and depressing) city in East Yorkshire. And one spring I needed to get out, get away for a few days. I hiked north up the coast, to a town called Whitby. I’d read Dracula so I was expecting the one hundred and ninety-nine steps up the cliff. I was expecting the great ruin of an abbey against the skyline. I wasn’t expecting what happened next…

To find out what did happen next and how it inspired the novel, hit the link.

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I.Beacham_lgClosing out this week with reports from three of our Brits who made the trip over to PTown for Women’s Week and then made it all the way back, safe and sound, to tell us about it. Over on the UK BSB blog, I. Beacham shares her insight into the benefits of Women’s Week:

So there’s a lot of lovely exchange going on all week and women meeting women and talking (and possibly other stuff, but I’m British and I don’t talk about sex). PTown is very relaxed and definitely a place every lesbian (reader or not) ought to go at least once in their lifetime. The place is alive, exciting, exhilarating.

She also gives some handy travel tips for anyone who might be considering making the trip next year: Is it easy to get to? Remember PTown is right on the far tip of the Cape, any further right and you’ll be a fish. 

Sage advice indeed. For more of the same, head here.

PTownJoining the BSB contingent was Andrea Bramhall, whose A Brit Abroad blog gives a comprehensive look into the panels and various hijinks that occur when a lot of lesbians gather in one rather small town:

Saturday was the last day of readings and signings. We were in the Provincetown Library and Vk Powell went into full cop mode trying to coral us all on the When Sparks Fly panel. Shelley Thrasher drafted in the considerable theatrical talents of Melissa Brayden and Carsen Taite to play characters in her reading. Carsen was meant to be playing a French woman but she had a decidedly German accent. It was hilarious. 

There are some lovely photos, and of course the rest of the tale, at the link.

Not to be outdone, RJ Samuel has posted a series of seven blog entries detailing her time in the States. From clicking on the link to buy plane tickets, to meeting online friends, playing wiffle ball, and of course, appearing on her first panel, RJ has left no stone unturned:

RJ Samuel reading on FridayI enjoyed the experience of relaxing and just reading my words aloud to what seemed like a group of interested friends. While planning the trip, I’d printed out 10 booklets of a short story and had promised them to the first five women who came up to say hi to me after each reading. On the spur of the moment, looking out at the audience, especially at the friendly face of Tonie, Kate’s partner, I wanted some way to thank them for listening, for being supportive. I asked for a hug instead and the wonderful hugs I got were another highlight of my trip. And a surprise for me and for anyone who knows how shy and introverted I can be.

Her epic blog starts here, and the links for the next entry can be found at the base of each page.

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And I think that’s about yer lot. If you’re off to a bonfire this week, wrap up warm, eat parkin, and try not to have anyone’s eye out with a sparkler 🙂

News Roundup: Kiki Archer Teases, New Books from Sky Croft & Mari Hannah, Interviews, Blogs, and more!

20 Sep

Firstly, a big thank you to Ms Ashton for taking hold of the blog reins whilst I sunned myself, failed to fall into a levada or off a mountain, ate gratuitous amounts of ice cream, and survived a landing on the world’s dodgiest bloody runway. She is now off to scoff cream teas in St Ives for the next week so you’re all stuck with me. Sorry about that.

What started out as quite a quiet news update suddenly blossomed into a lovely lively one as soon as I did my trot around the blogs, so here we go…

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one foot onto the iceKicking off with new book news, and Kiki Archer has just uploaded a trailer/teaser for One Foot Onto The Ice. Kiki’s fourth novel is set for an October 2013 release and the teaser – with its hints about the characters and themes – should be enough to whet your appetite! You can watch the short trailer at Youtube by clicking the above link.

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Sequel fever now, starting with Sky Croft who has signed a contract with Regal Crest for her fourth book, Amazonia: An Impossible Choice, which is a follow-up to Amazonia. The novel has a tentative publication date of August 2014 and, as it’s a little early to list it on our Forthcoming Releases page, here’s the blurb:

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

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

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Monument to Murder cover imageMari Hannah, whose début novel The Murder Wall is short-listed for the Polari prize, recently announced that the publication date for the fourth book in the Kate Daniels series, Monument to Murder, has been brought forward to November 21st 2013. The book will be available in hardback from that date. I’ve been highly efficient and added it to the New and Forthcoming Releases page, so head over there for the synopsis.

Meanwhile, over at Beige Magazine, Mari has been chatting about her novels, her previous career as a probation officer, and lesbian fiction in general:

Kate’s story went on to spawn a series but I honestly believe that her sexuality shouldn’t define her. Her backstory is important but it’s the investigation that drives the books. She’s normal. We’re all normal! The feedback I’m getting is brilliant and that is good enough for me. I’m hoping my approach will lead other LGBT writers to submit their work.

The full interview can be found here.

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orla broderickWe’re a little late finding this (well, a couple of weeks, which isn’t that bad!) but one of the writers who missed out on the Polari short list, Orla Broderick, has a lovely, candid interview in the West Highland Free Press. Speaking about her first novel The January Flower, Orla had this to say:

“I wanted to develop this voice for all the single mums. It was for everybody. I could see there was a story of Skye that wasn’t being told. It isn’t this romantic notion. There is a whole real life here. Single mothers on benefits are voiceless and completely downtrodden.”

You can read the complete interview here.

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NicolaGriffithOur Stateside readers who are based in the Pacific Northwest (or anyone planning an imminent trip to those parts) may want to check out this listing of Nicola Griffith‘s Hild related appearances. Some of the events are free and quite a few seem to involve “drinks” so fill yer welly boots – hey, if it’s winter in Seattle, you’re going to need wellies! Nicola has also mentioned a possible end-of-October London appearance, more details on that if/when they come up.

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vghome34An event a little closer to home now, and one for folks who might be wondering what to do with themselves on this miserable, soggy Friday night. Look no further, we have the perfect date for you:

VG Lee: Author, comedian and renowned exponent of the elasticated waistband, and Fellow Traveller Theatre present ‘LADY OF THE WILD WEST HILL’

Date: Friday 20th September. Time: 7.30pm. Tickets: £6.00 (plus booking fee). Venue: Birmingham LGBT Centre.

Further details can be found here, and if you’re a little too far from Birmingham to make the trip and fancy curling up with a decent book instead, VG’s novel The Comedienne is now available at the knock-down – dare I say, bargain – price of £4.99.

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tumbledownforblogRounding out this week’s roundup with an update at my own blog, in which I’ve been debating the issue of violence in my own novels, and Hurt/Comfort as a genre, and why I fail so utterly at writing fluffy bunny romances:

The villains in my books do terrible things because they are terrible people, and shying away from the detail would blunt an edge that should be sharp. There’s something inherently dishonest in a punch that doesn’t leave a bruise, or a violent attack that doesn’t leave its victim traumatised. 

The full piece can be read here, and feedback is more than welcome.

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And now back to our regular Friday schedule of hoovering, and trying to find new uses for tomatoes…

News roundup: awards, free short stories, Sarah Waters novel on the distant horizon, and love actually

15 Sep

So, in my best BBC accent, here is the news:

POLARIpinkLARGEThe short list for the Polari Prize has been announced and it has a very healthy number of women finalists. The list was announced at the latest colourful Polari event (see Jon Dolores’ blog for an account of the evening). Here’s the shortlist:

The Murder Wall – Mari Hannah
Tony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma – Kerry Hudson
The Sitar – Rebecca Idris
Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan – Mark O’Connell
The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones – Jack Wolf

You can read more about the announcement on The Bookseller. The winner of this year’s prize will be announced at November’s Polari evening.

tony hoganOne of the finalist’s, Kerry Hudson, has also just won the Scottish First Book Prize. Her book Tony Hogen Bought Me And Ice Cream Before He Stole My Ma has been described as Trainspotting on a sugar rush. From the blurb, it tells a story of a Scottish childhood of council flats and B&Bs, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, and a dysfunctional family you can’t help but adore.

Together with three other category winners her book goes forward to a final round of voting for the £30,000 overall prize starting at the beginning of October. There’s more information here. Good luck Kerry!

598px-Sarah_Waters

Sarah Waters (from Wikimedia Commons)

Good news for Sarah Waters fans who thought that 2009 for the Little Stranger was a very long time ago. The wait for a new novel is now finite (huzzah!)  But it is still a year away (ya, boo, sucks). The Bookseller has reported that the as yet untitled book is to be sold in autumn 2014. It is set in London, 1922, in the  tense aftermath of World War One. You can read more about it here.

Orla Broderick, author of the January Flower, has a piece on the Irish writing site http://www.writing.ie. She talks about her background as a writer and how she develops her stories, not restricted to the taught seven major plots.

Time for some freebies. Jade Winters has four short stories available on her website. The Love Letter, My Story of You, Love on the Cards and Makeover all have love as a theme from love letters from the past spanning the decades to a new job, a new boss, a new love.

And finally, Ke Payne and Nicola Griffith got married (not to each other, their partners will be glad to hear). Nicola has a sweet photo on her blog. Congratulations both!

News Roundup: The People’s Book Prize, P-Town, New Books & General Naughtiness

4 Sep

Happy hump day! That actually sounds a lot naughtier than intended, but this news post is brought to you by a night-shift brain in holiday mode whose WordPress internet connection is finally working again, so I’m feeling rather frivolous (and borderline incoherent. Be warned.)

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So what’s been going on in the last week?

Eagle-eyed readers of this blog might have noticed a big update to the New & Upcoming Releases page, which is now crammed full of releases up to and including next February. I tried my best to scout around for titles, but if there are authors out there with a book that I’ve missed (and some of you are proper secret squirrels when it comes to this publicity malarkey) please let us know so we can list it.

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the january flowerSticking with the theme of new books, Suzanne Egerton’s Out Late with Friends and Regrets and Orla Broderick’s The January Flower are both autumn nominations for this year’s People’s Book Prize. The prize is aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works and, as the title of the prize suggests, the public are entirely responsible for choosing the winners. See this page to find out how you can add your vote. Good luck to all involved!

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LadyfishAndrea Bramhall (who will be guest-blogging here on Friday) had some good news this week when she found out that her début novel Ladyfish is going to be released as an audio book. The title will be available from September 24th and is available to pre-order here. In a busy week, Andrea has also been blogging over on Women & Words about her second novel Clean Slate, which is hot off the presses this month.

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rj samuelA heads-up now for anyone who might be reading this blog from t’other side of the pond and fancies seeing three UK LesFic authors in Province Town this October. R.J. Samuel recently announced that she is set to conquer her fear of flying (good luck!) by heading over to Women’s Week in P-Town:

I’ve almost worked up the courage to book my flights (petrified of flying  ).. I’m thrilled to be going to Provincetown for Women’s Week!! I’ll be reading on the GCLS Author Panel on Friday October 18th with Liz Bradbury, Deej Garden, Joan Timberlake, Melissa Brayden, and Barbara Sawyer. I’m so looking forward to the week and meeting FB friends in person.

R.J. will join Andrea Bramhall and I.Beacham as UK flag-flyers for this week-long fest celebrating everything to do with lesbian culture.

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I think we’ll close out this round up by returning to our theme of naughtiness with a couple of new novellas.

cover3Terry Baker has given a glowing review to Clare Ashton’s short story The Dildo in the Kitchen Drawer:

This is a wacky, zany, hilarious short story with Clare Ashton’s wicked sense of humor shining through on every page. I say wicked, because I’m not sure if I’m going to forgive her for naming the dog Terry! But I digress.

Although the story is short, it is crammed full to the brim with great scenarios and lovable fully formed characters, including the naughty dog and his antics. His owner, Mrs Smedley needs a medal for putting up with him. Look out for the gorgons too.

The full review can be found here at Terry’s blog.

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rosen2011_170Rosen Trevithick has also been dabbling in the dangly-bits arena and her comedy novella My Granny Writes Erotica is free on amazon until Friday (US readers, don’t think I’ve forgotten you: see this link instead.) It doesn’t fall into the category of LesFic but it is funny, very British, has some nice things to say about writing in general and is well worth an hour or two of your time. Plus, it’s free, so I’m thinking this is a win-win scenario really.

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And with that I bid you farewell and hand the blog reins over to Ms Ashton while I go and sun myself in Madeira for a week.

Obrigado!

The Polari Longlist – Everything you need to know (and more!)

14 Aug

Okay, so that header might be a bit of a fib. A couple of weeks back when I came to look at the lesbian-themed novels featured on the Polari longlist, I realised there were too many to really cover in a single news post, so I planned to do a separate post just like this to give people an idea what the books were about and who they were by.

The Polari First Book Prize is awarded to a début novel “which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English within the twelve months of the deadline for submissions (this year Feb 1, 2013). Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission.” I think the key thing to note there is “explores the LGBT experience;” the novels I’ve picked out to feature here are not necessarily LesFic and some of the blokes on the list might well have written lesbian-themed novels, but time is short and I like an easy life – hence the copy and paste nature of this post! So, in no particular order…

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the january flowerThe January Flower by Orla Broderick (Council House Publishing)

Our narrator Mary has been cast as a Universal Mother with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She is any mother struggling with domesticity, the current economic climate and self-worth. She seeks love unaware that love is already a constant force in her life. Through the beauty of her island home she learns to grow in Nature. She learns that no matter what we endure love will always remain. No matter how hard our winters may seem, the humble flower, the snowdrop will bloom in January. Love is always inside us. We just have to find it.

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Orla Broderick lives on the beautiful Isle of Skye, Scotland. She has been funded, supported and encouraged by HI-Arts. She was mentored by Roger Hutchinson (Calum’s Road, The Silent Weaver). She attended the HI-Arts writers masterclass with tutors Angus Dunn, Kevin MacNeil and Andrew Greig and an Arvon work-in-progress workshop with tutors Jane Rogers and Lesly Glaister. The January Flower was edited by Peter Urpeth (Far Inland). She is Irish, originally from Co. Donegal but was raised in Co. Wicklow. She went to an all girls Irish Catholic Boarding school, but was always in trouble with the nuns, so she learned to write as one way to escape. Orla has participated in and devised creative writing workshops. Her writing is poetic prose and is compared with the writings of Dylan Thomas. Mostly, she likes to walk by the river and dream.

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the governessThe Governess by Rachael Eyre (Self-published e-book)

An erotic thriller set in Victorian England. Miss Benson, a governess, is sent to teach Amy how to be a lady. Amy is discovering the joys of sex and suitors. Miss Benson’s unconventional methods lead to scandal, heartbreak and murder as she becomes obsessed with her young charge.

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Rachael Eyre has been mad keen on writing and fictional worlds since the age of seven- she hasn’t changed much in twenty years. Noticing there was a real gap in the market for gay and lesbian themed fantasy/sci fi/adventure fiction, she decided to fill it. She would never write something she wouldn’t want to read herself.

The Governess is her first completed novel. Her second, The Revenge of Rose Grubb, will join it on Kindle shortly. A revenge saga spanning thirty years, it takes in school bullying, faked deaths and our culture’s unhealthy obsession with celebrity. Our heroine won’t stop till she’s collected her enemy’s scalp. Rachael is currently writing her third novel, Love and Robotics. It’s her first attempt at writing a proper love story, even though the lovers are a (male) robot and an equally male raddled old explorer.

She lives in Lancaster, UK with her long suffering partner Ruth. She loves dragons but doesn’t like ferrets. At all.

Rachael doesn’t seem to have her own blog but there are a few posts over on her Goodreads author page.

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the murder wallThe Murder Wall by Mari Hannah (Pan Macmillan)

Eleven months after discovering a brutal double murder in a sleepy Northumbrian town, Detective Chief Inspector Kate Daniels is still haunted by her failure to solve the case. Then the brutal killing of a man on Newcastle’s Quayside gives Daniels another chance to get it right, and her first case as Senior Investigating Officer. When Daniels recognises the corpse, but fails to disclose the fact, her personal life swerves dangerously into her professional life. But much worse, she is now being watched. As Daniels steps closer to finding a killer, a killer is only a breath away from claiming his next victim…

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Mari Hannah was born in London and moved north as a child. Sponsored by the Home Office, she graduated from Teesside University before becoming a Probation Officer, a career cut short when she was injured while on duty. Thereafter, she spent several years working as a film/television scriptwriter. During that time she created and developed a number of projects, most notably a feature length film and the pilot episode of a crime series for television based on the characters in her book, the latter as part of a BBC drama development scheme. She lives in Northumberland with her partner, an ex-murder detective. In 2010, she won the Northern Writers’ Award.

Mari is the author of the Kate Daniels crime series: The Murder Wall (which the Guardian newspaper called “a satisfyingly meaty read”) Settled Blood, and Deadly Deceit. Her website with loads more information about the author and her books can be found here.

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tony hoganTony Hogan Bought Me An Icecream Float Before He Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)

When Janie Ryan is born, she’s just the latest in a long line of Ryan women, Aberdeen fishwives to the marrow, always ready to fight. Her violet-eyed Grandma had predicted she’d be sly, while blowing Benson and Hedges smoke rings over her Ma’s swollen belly. In the hospital, her family approached her suspiciously, so close she could smell whether they’d had booze or food for breakfast. It was mostly booze.

Tony Hogan tells the story of a Scottish childhood of filthy council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can’t help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what. Told in an arrestingly original — and cry-out-loud funny — voice, it launches itself headlong into the middle of one of life’s great fights, between the pull of the past and the freedom of the future. And Janie Ryan, born and bred for combat, is ready to win.

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Kerry Hudson was born in Aberdeen. Growing up in a succession of council estates, B&Bs and caravan parks provided her with a keen eye for idiosyncratic behaviour, material for life, and a love of travel.

Her first novel, TONY HOGAN BOUGHT ME AN ICE-CREAM FLOAT BEFORE HE STOLE MY MA was published in July 2012 and has been shortlisted for the Southbank Sky Arts Literature Award, Guardian First Book Award, Green Carnation Prize, Author’s Club First Novel Prize and Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year. Kerry’s second novel, THIRST, was developed with support from the National Lottery through an Arts Council England grant and will be published by Chatto & Windus in 2014. She currently lives and writes in Hackney. Her blog can be found here. A recent review in the Observer newspaper had this to say:

It would be easy for Hudson to slip into the well-worn groove of the misery memoir made good, and there are points at which Tony Hogan threatens to lapse into cliche. However, Janie’s irrepressible, childish glee and the sly humour into which it evolves give the novel a wry self-awareness that is both refreshing and endearing.

One senses a broader purpose at work, too: the Ryan women are nothing if not fighters, and the “Ryan Temper” speaks of their frustration at the hand that life has dealt them. In this sense, Hudson’s debut, as undespairing as it is unflinching, manages to be both a personal statement of intent and also a painfully funny, humane commentary on a welfare system that blunts the blade of grinding poverty but fails to address the numbing poverty of aspiration which overwhelms so many of Janie’s contemporaries.

A further review from The Guardian can be found here.

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the sitarThe Sitar by Rebecca Idris (self-published ebook)

From the bowels of middle-class England, bona fide Brit Muslim lesbian Jaya Chakarbatti belies her mild-mannerisms and leads her group of Lassi Lesbians from their urban Midland terraced houses, to the smelly back alleys of London’s gay Soho, to seek out other Gaysians. Through the jungle of Bollywood drag queens, unrequited clumsy love, and stark choices between the Quran or The Pink Paper, the group of girls take a snap shot of modern, urban Britain amidst riots, religious tensions, and social discontent, before ending up somehow in the heat of sweaty, uncomfortably straight but shamelessly camp Bangladesh.

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Rebecca Idris is a British author living in London. She writes contemporary stories set in urban, modern England, exploring themes of postcolonial politics, emerging immigrant identities, and gay and lesbian humour. The best I can find for Rebecca in terms of a blog is her twitter feed and an interview with the Gaysian blog (the link on that page to her website is defunct.)

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If last year is anything to go by, the shortlist for the prize will be announced in September and the winner chosen in November. Which will give you all plenty of time to get reading!