Tag Archives: Pauline George

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

12 Jan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hit the links to read the Brit-themed interviews 🙂

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

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

For the full blog and more details, head here.

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

Publishing Books Is A Rollercoaster Ride

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

clare lydon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Oct

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

In that vein, here is the news:

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

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

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

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

Lesbian Mystery / Thriller: Tumbledown by Cari Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of the year:

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

Debut author of the year:

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

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

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Interviews

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

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

So first, I had to learn to speak English!

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

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

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

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


Reviews and blogs

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

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

Still Life by LT Smith was reviewed by Terry Baker:

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

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

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

You can read the full piece here.

New and future releases:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, don’t miss:

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

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

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

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Until next fortnight… ta ra!

News Roundup: BSB UK Fest Line-Up Revealed, Interviews with Pauline George & RJ Samuel, Blogs, Reviews, Events, & More!

11 Apr

rainbow-wedding-cake__fullAs gay wedding bells finally (legally!) chime across England and Wales, and lesbian couples break out the taffeta, pearls, triple-tiered cakes, and tuxedos, Tig and I would like to offer our congratulations to anyone who has already tied or is planning to tie the knot.

So how will LesFic respond to the new changes? What term will authors use for these newly married women? Do we stick with partner or move on to wife? ‘Er indoors? The old ball and chain? The missus? The better half? Only time will tell, but it’s lovely to have all the choices at our disposal.

Anyway I digress, where was I? Oh, aye, let’s get on with the news…

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bold books logoFirst this week, I can reveal the line-up of authors who will be putting on their best game face for the Bold Strokes Books UK Festival. The weekend-long free-for-all (in pretty much every sense of the term!) is being held in Nottingham on June 7th & 8th and features author panels, readings, Q&A sessions, signings, meet-and-greets, giveaways, loads of food, shenanigans, and the chance to hang out with other like-minded LesFic-loving folk.

This year the authors and editors attending will be:

group shotI. Beacham (Sanctuary & The Rarest Rose), Andrea Bramhall (Ladyfish & Clean Slate), Rebecca Buck (Truths, The Locket & The Flintlock), Crin Claxton (The Supernatural Detective), Lesley Davis (Playing Passions Game & the Wings paranormal series), Amy Dunne (Secret Lies), Jane Fletcher (the Celaeno & Lyremouth series), Michelle Grubb (Getting Lost, due out in 2015), Eric Andrews-Katz (The Jesus Injection), Justine Saracen (Tyger, Tyger, Burning BrightWaiting for the Violins), Stacia Seaman (editor), Victoria Oldham (editor), and Me (Desolation Point & Tumbledown). But don’t let that last put you off!

2013’s event was the biggest and most successful to date, and this year Vic Oldham wants to hear from you: What do you want/expect from the weekend? Do you have any questions that would you like to ask the authors or editors? And is there anything that might encourage you to come along if you’re currently sitting on the fence?

Feel free to comment here or over on the BSB UK blog.

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pauline georgeTwo UK authors have been hitting the airwaves recently, with Pauline George interviewed by Tom C at Croydon Radio, and RJ Samuel chatting to Breda Burns and Grainne O’Reilly on wrfm Westport Radio Arts show.

To listen to the podcast with Pauline, head here (scroll to 1 hr 9 mins to find the start of the interview), while RJ has uploaded her interview onto YouTube.

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Amy_Dunne_lgAmy Dunne has been tagged by Blog Tour Monday, giving her a great opportunity to tell people about her writing processes, her upcoming works, and why she ever picked up a pen in the first place:

I read anything and everything, but lesfic always has and will have a special place in my heart. It’s wonderful to be able to read a story and feel represented in the pages. When I was in a dark place and unsure of myself, lesfic opened my world up. It offered solidarity and hope. It enabled me to accept my sexuality and source the courage to live the way I wanted to. As dramatic as it sounds, it really did impact tremendously on my life. It’s always been my ambition to provide stories that do the same thing. It’s a privilege to be doing just that.

Amy is currently working on The Renegade, book one of the Rapture series, which is speculative fiction. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where only a few survivors remain, the novel is tentatively due for release in Spring 2015.

Read the entire piece here at Amy’s blog.

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With Frog Music newly released, Emma Donoghue has a few suggestions for what people might want to read afterwards. She’s been discussing her six favourite books over at The Week news site. To compare your personal faves with Emma’s hop (Ha! No pun intended) over here.

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nicola griffithA trio of updates now from Nicola Griffth, who has been discussing bisexual characters, killing off characters, and making stuff up, with Annabel (high school junior and new fan).

I wrestled with Gwladus and Cian, and Hild’s attraction to both. I found it surprisingly difficult at first; I’ve never written a bisexual main character before. The power differential and possibility of incest, respectively, made this even more complicated of course. 

The full radio interview with Nicola that Tig mentioned in the last news update is now available at this link, and if that’s not enough for you, any budding authors living in or near to Seattle can sign up for Nicola’s workshop on the Magic of Immersive Fiction. The workshop will be held on June 1st and is an overflow workshop for those who missed out on the April 13th session. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying that places will be limited and disappearing fast, so check out the workshop’s sign up page if you’re interested.

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london callingC-Spot Reviews has a new reviewer – The Bookgeek – whose first write-up for the site focuses on Clare Lydon‘s London Calling:

With this delightful debut, British author Clare Lydon keeps the reader entertained with plenty of interesting people, great food, lots of humour, and a heart-warming romance…Last but not least, the title “London Calling” is indicative of the whole tone of the book which oozes with unabashed Britishness and does not cater to international tastes, which adds to its allure.

Click here to read the full review.

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manda-scottFinally this week, anyone who fancies celebrating World Book Night with Manda Scott is very much in luck! On Wednesday 23rd April 7.30 p.m. there will be a talk with Manda at Oakham Castle (somewhere between Melton Mowbray and Stamford, and reasonably close to Peterborough!) Tickets are a snip at £3. For more details see the Rutland Library Events page.

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And that’s just about it. I thought this was going to be a quiet week until I went out trawling for news. Yes, yes, I know, it’s my fault for looking!

 

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!

News Roundup: Brits Listed as Lambda Award Finalists, Reviews, Interviews and a Call for Submissions…

7 Mar

I think there’s something wrong with UKLesFic writers. Why aren’t you all procrastinating and naval gazing like normal writers. Shouldn’t you be surfing the web and wasting time on Facebook rather than doing something constructive like writing new books, getting great reviews and being short-listed for awards? Here is an awful lot of news:

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LammySealLet’s start with the Lammys. As one of the most prestigious LGBT fiction awards, it’s fantastic to see some UK names across the categories. A loud whoop and a very British handshake to these Lambda Literary Award finalists:

Nicola Griffith for Hild: A Novel in bisexual fiction
Jeanette Winterson for The Daylight Gate in the lesbian general fiction category
Val McDermid for Cross and Burn in lesbian mystery
and Andrea Bramhall for Clean Slate in lesbian romance

Finalists get a swanky night out in New York where the winners are announced on 2nd June.

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POLARIpinkLARGEProceedings for the annual Polari Prize have also kicked off with a call for submissions. This respected and regular feature in the literary calendar judges début works by UK authors that explore the LGBT experience. It is open to poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction, published (including self-published) in the UK between 2 February 2013 and 1 February 2014. Last year’s prize was refreshingly won by a crime genre novel – The Murder Wall by Mari Hannah.

The Bookseller also reports that WH Smith is supporting the event this year and will be selling short-listed books (announced September) in its travel stores. The winner will be announced in October.

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Onto reviews.

OutLateWithFriendsThe Rainbow Reader reviewed Suzanne Egerton‘s Out Late with Friends and Regrets. Not one for simple glowing praise, The Rainbow Reader always gives insightful and thoughtful reviews and she found a lot to admire and recommend in her critique of Suzanne’s book.

Ms. Egerton offers up a long list of interesting and engaging characters, and sprinkles the narrative with entertaining, clever, and colloquial dialogue. Her pacing is quick, the detail is descriptive without being burdensome, and the humor is honest and charming.

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tumbledownforblogCari Hunter‘s Tumbledown was reviewed over on the Lesbian Reading Room. This is what they had to say about the action/thriller sequel to Desolation Point:

“Once again Ms Hunter outdoes herself in the tension and pace of the plot. We literally know from the first 2 pages that the evil is hunting them, but we are held on the edge of our seats for the whole book to see what will unfold, how they will cope, whether they will survive – and at what cost this time….Well written, edited and effortlessly enthralling, Tumbledown is a wonderful read. “

Here’s the full review.

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BSB_Because_of_HerTerry Baker reviewed Ke Payne‘s Because of Her – a tale of of 17-year-old rebel Tabby Morton who is forced to move to London and attend a posh school in the hopes that it’ll make a lady of her.

“Although this is a young adult book, don’t let that stop you from buying it and enjoying it. I was hooked in from the first page right the way through to the last page. KE Payne has a wonderful way with words and her stories are well written and emotionally charged…Homophobia, teen angst, teen romance, coming out, keeping secrets, is all dealt with in a sympathetic and understanding way against a back drop of an upper crust school and parents at the end of their tethers with their teenage daughters… I’m looking forward to reading more from this up and coming author soon.”

You can read the full review here.

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Moving swiftly onto events:

JessPauline George will be launching her book Jess on 29th March in Brighton. She will be reading extracts and signing copies. Get there early for a free glass of bubbly followed by nibbles. Full details are: The Marlborough, Brighton, 29th March from 6.30 p.m.

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VG Lee is guest author at another writing masterclass by Paul Burston. This one covers performance and promotion skills and has the following topics:

  • Overcoming stage fright
  • Working with audiences
  • Establishing the right atmosphere from the start
  • What makes a bad performance – from voice to body language
  • What reading aloud can teach you about your writing
  • How – and what – to tweet to get the right kind of attention
  • Social media promotion strategies for authors

About the course VG Lee says:

I’m thrilled to be Paul Burston’s special guest at his Performance and Promotion skills for writers Masterclass. I think for authors taking part in readings, and who want to energetically promote their work, this will be invaluable. So often over the years I’ve seen an audience lose interest in a well written book, just because the author is reading so badly or reads for too long.

You can find full details here.

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say somethingJade Winters revealed the cover for her next book. She gave readers palpitations by starting off the announcment with “Sadly this will be the last book I write”.  Fortunately for them this sentence ended with “without the need for glasses”. Release date for the book is “soon”.

Jade’s Guilty Hearts is reviewed in this month’s Diva. In the issue she also gives her writing tips to budding romance writers.

Terry Baker also reviewed Jade’s Caught by Love. This is what she had to say:

This book is a well written, page turner. I was totally hooked from the very first page, right through to the last page. There are so many twists and turns and ups and downs, it was like being on a rollercoaster…. This story is definitely one of Jade’s best. Somehow though, I get the feeling I’m going to be saying that about each new book of Jade’s I read.

Full review here.

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clarelydonOne of the worst offenders of high work-rate and efficiency this week is new author Clare Lydon.

Clare’s début was released last week and shot to number on the Amazon UK lesfic charts. The novel was reviewed on Planet of the Books. This is what they had to say about the story of Jess who finds herself back in London, living in her parents’ spare room, jobless and single:

“A well crafted and juicy lesbian chick-lit that is one of the strongest to come in publication since the deluge of self-e-publishing came along. While accessible publishing has led to a marked increase in lesbian fiction, the quality across the board is variable. That is not the case with Clare Lydon’s London Calling which is as strong as any mainstream straight chick lit from a major publisher.  It a nutshell, it’s got everything you would expect from the genre, along with a heavy dose of real-world lesbian culture thrown in.”

Full review here.

Clare has also been busy with Q&As. Over on LGBTQA Culture you can find out about when she started writing, her favourite authors and music, and who she’d like to be stuck in an elevator with. And in G3 she talks more about the book and of whom she is the literary lovechild.

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best lesbian romanceBold Strokes author Jane Fletcher has a short story (The Things You Don’t Do) in the anthology Best Lesbian Romance 2014, edited by BSB’s Commander in Chief, Radclyffe. The anthology is currently available on Kindle and will be released as a paperback on March 20th.

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NicolaGriffithFor those who like to rest their eyes every now and again, and give their ears a bit of a work-out, Nicola Griffith has a new podcast up, in which she chats with her partner Kelley Eskridge, Jonathan Strahan, and Gary Wolf:

It’s the kind of conversation that would have suited a late night in a hotel bar: Hild, historicity, genre, reading stance and more from four people who love to read and think.

The unedited podcast runs for about an hour and is available at this link.

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ylvaYlva Publishing have put out a call for submissions for a Christmas anthology. It will be a collection of romantic, erotic and humorous stories with as wide a range of moods as Christmas elicits. Proceeds will go to good causes that provide a roof over the heads of homeless LGBT youth: the Albert Kennedy Trust in the UK and the Ali Forney Center in New York City. The deadline is 31st July and stories should be between four and eight thousand words. You can find full details over on Women and Words.

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baliholidayNow writers, go and take a holiday, or have a plot crisis, or something, and give UKLesFic blog an easy week hey? Here’s some inspiration – no, for a holiday not another book.

Guest Blog: Pauline George on her Début Novel ‘Jess’

24 Feb

Today’s guest blog is from brand new author Pauline George, whose début novel Jess has just been published by Regal Crest.  You can read the blurb for the novel over on our New & Upcoming page, but in the meantime allow Pauline to tell you how the story came about…

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JessJess is my first. Well, my first novel at least. I started writing Jess about ten years ago, although I actually finished it in less than a year. Most of the years since writing Jess, she sat in my laptop, gathering binary dust, waiting for me to have the courage to send her out into the big wide world.

When I did submit Jess to a publishing company a few years ago, I received a rejection e-mail. I was brave enough to ask why and was told that my lead character, Jess, was ‘snarky and shallow’. When I read this in the e-mail, I was aghast, because that is exactly what Jess is. It’s the story of a part of her life where she has the chance to change.

Because of this rejection I put Jess away and didn’t touch her for a few years. I know it was just one rejection, and many authors have had a lot of them. I know I should have ignored it. But Jess is my first, and for me writing is a very personal thing, as it probably is for all writers. I guess I couldn’t take the criticism at that time and maybe it made me feel vulnerable. Whatever it was, I saved Jess and left her in her folder on my laptop.

Sometime later, I don’t know why, I thought about Jess and how I shouldn’t let that one publisher put me off. So I blew the binary dust off Jess and got to work. I went over her with a fine tooth comb, rewriting and getting her ready for the big day. I decided I would again send Jess out into the big wide world, and this time I would persevere and take my chances.  I resolved to rise above the rejections and keep sending Jess out, until someone liked her. The next publisher I sent Jess to did like her and offered me a contract. I am grateful that Cathy and the team at Regal Crest saw the potential and gave Jess a chance. I suppose in a way I should also be grateful to that first rejection, as it led to me making Jess better. I didn’t change her character in any way, but maybe I made it more obvious how shallow she was in the beginning.

It’s been such a long time from first writing Jess, that now, on being asked what my inspiration was, I have to say I’m not sure. A little bit of history about me: when I first discovered my sexuality 20 years ago at the ripe old age of 42, I wanted to read books with female protagonists and women who loved women. I went to my local library to see if I could find lesbian novels to read, but twenty years ago there was a dearth of them, at least in my local library. Over the next few years I read as many as I could find in the library and then I discovered London’s Charing Cross Road – do you remember Silver Moon Bookshop? I realised I wanted to be one of those authors, I wanted to write a lesbian novel. I thought I could write one as good as those I was reading, at least I hoped I could, and so I started Jess.

pauline georgeThey say ‘write about what you know’, and I took that as far as I could without being biographical. Although Jess isn’t based on anyone I know, there is a bit of me in her. Not so much in the character herself but within the story. I hope my friends will be flattered and not offended that I’ve used their names in Jess. It is only their names though, the rest is fiction as they say. I was totally enamoured by Niagara when I went to stay there for a few days. It was so amazing and I thought it would be good to incorporate that trip into Jess. It was my first holiday to that part of the world but it wasn’t my last. I’ve now been to America for a few years and absolutely love it. Maybe there will be reference to these trips in subsequent books, especially the time spent in Vegas. I also went on a murder weekend founded by Joy Swift MBE, which was great fun. I used the plot, with Joy’s permission, in Jess, as I thought it would be fun to take the characters away for the weekend. So you can see there are a few of my experiences in Jess.

I found it quite easy to write Jess. The characters led me along and told me their story. I know that probably sounds a bit daft, and I don’t know how it works for other authors, but this is how it works for me. Most of the work I did on Jess was on my hour and a half long journey to work as a signaller on the Tube. I would think about what I’d already written and see where it would go next. Whatever I came up with and whatever the characters were telling me, I would keep running it all around in my head until I could put it down on paper. I write almost everything by hand with a fountain pen in A5 notebooks, and then transfer it to my laptop. Sometimes, if I was having a good inspirational day, I would write so much that it would take quite a while to type it up. But it’s the way I work, I get an idea and have to get it down there and then. I don’t always have my laptop handy, especially if I’m at work. On a break I would take myself into our little kitchen and sit at the table busily writing away. My colleagues got used to seeing me and hearing me wittering on about my book. I do like the process of handwriting, it makes me slow down and get my thoughts into a coherent pattern. Mind you, I sometimes get writer’s cramp and have to stop for a few minutes. I have been very lucky, in that I’ve not had too much of a problem with writer’s block. A lot of the time I seem to have writer’s diarrhoea, if there is such a thing!

My second offering is a novella and has been accepted by Regal Crest for publication in January 2015. Although at the time of writing this blog I’m adding meat to the bones and it could grow up into a full novel.

I hope you enjoy reading Jess as much as I enjoyed writing about a small part of her life.

News roundup: new authors, some teasers from Cari Hunter and Kiki Archer and interviews with Nicola Griffith and Angie Peach

24 Jan

The weather seemed to settle this week, but that wasn’t from any lack of homosexual activity. Here’s the UK lesbian fiction news:

JessThere are two new authors to welcome this week, Pauline George and Anna Samuels who both hail from the south. Pauline has been writing for years but her first novel is just about to be published by Regal Crest. From the blurb, Jess is the tale of a modern day lesbian Lothario. Her sister Josie challenges her to get to know a woman before she jumps into bed with her and Jess is intrigued. How hard can that be?

sanctuaryAnna Samuels lives and works in the New Forest and her love of the south coast is inspiration for her writing. She has a number of short stories available on Amazon including A Sanctuary by the Sea. From the blurb, Annie Christopher arrives in Merryford in search of a fresh start. Annie is running from the pain of her past and needs a new home and a new job. She quickly finds work at a sea-front cafe. She is intrigued by the mysterious Alex – a quiet, intense colleague who Annie finds herself drawn to.

You can find out more about both these writers on the author page.

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tumbledownforblogTwo bits of news from our own Cari Hunter. A teaser post about her new thriller Tumbledown lists the five things you will be mistress/master of by the time you finish reading it. That cake doesn’t half look good, but perhaps, when you’re between the legs of a woman giving birth, don’t mention you picked up your delivery skills from a lesfic crime novel.

Cari is also doing a giveaway for Tumbledown. There are two paperback copies up for grabs of this exciting sequel to Desolation Point. Here’s her blog with more detail.

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WhenYouKnowAnother author being a tease is Kiki Archer. She revealed the cover of her next book this week. When You know is the follow up to her best-seller One Foot Onto The Ice. No blurb yet. I imagine she’ll be tickling our fancy with that later in the year.

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Blu at C-Spot Reviews recently posted her thoughts on LT Smith‘s Puppy Love:

“When reading, I seldom laugh out loud or cry. This story had me giggling and covering my mouth in glee, then tearing up in empathy over the very believable descriptions of Ellie’s responses to grief. Neither are overblown and the internal processing Ellie does as she works through her attraction to Emily is very well written.”

Look out for a giveaway of Puppy Love on UKLesFic coming soon…

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There’s another giveaway, this time of Emma Donoghue‘s Frog Music, on Goodreads. Sadly it’s only for US readers. But if you’re over the pond head over to Goodreads before February 1st to be in with a chance of winning a copy.

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NicolaGriffithNicola Griffith is still busy with Hild. Links to latest reviews of can be found in her latest roundup. Don’t miss the great video interview with Author Magazine. She talks about being a story teller, Hild and the inspiration behind the Aud series. And it’s set in her Seattle home so you get a little peek in there too.

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playing my loveAngela Peach’s latest novel Playing My Love has been selling swiftly just about everywhere and quickly hit number 1 on the Amazon US and UK lesfic charts. She was interviewed on Smile Somebody Loves You where she talks about that novel and a whole heap of other things . They certainly didn’t hold back on the questions. What was your worst date ever? What is the kinkiest thing you’ve ever done? What is your “guilty pleasure”?

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OrlaBroderickOrla Broderick was featured in The Sunday Times at the weekend as one of the winners of the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards. If you are a subscriber you can read the whole article here which features extracts of the winners’ work.

Two paperback copies of her novel The January Flower are also up for grabs in our current giveaway (ends on the 31st). See her guest post for details.

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Some events for your diary. Leading author and poet Maureen Duffy will be heading the bill at the London Polari event on March 17th.  Book tickets ahead by visiting the Southbank Centre website. You can also find out about upcoming Polari events here.

Kerrry Hudson will also be appearing at a Spread the Word event in London on 19th February. Kerry is the author of the fabulously titled Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-cream Float Before He Stole My Ma which was short-listed for the Polari Prize and won the Scottish First Book Prize. Kerry will be reading for her work and answering questions. More details here.

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Finally, an affecting and personal blog from Stella Duffy.

So. I have breast cancer again.
This is rubbish, depressing, worrying and also kind of amazing

If you haven’t already read it, the inspiring piece is typically positive, forthright and gutsy. Best wishes and positive thoughts Stella for the times ahead. A lot of readers are thinking of you.