Tag Archives: Polari Prize

News roundup – reviews, blogs, audiobooks and the Polari Prize!

11 Mar

Here is the news!

Anna Larner’s debut Highland Fling is out next month but has been reviewed already by Lesreveur:

“Highland Fling is based on two very independent and loving women from two very different worlds. The book starts off with Eve describing her perfect woman and guess who she finds in the Highlands…I can normally work out the plot in a book after reading the first few chapters and I thought I had with this book but it just kept surprising me at every turn! I had a few moments of “Really did I just read that?” and “did she just say that?”. I love when a book does this because you feel the writer is writing outside the box.”

Read the full review here.

Stopping with Anna for a moment, the Boldstrokes author also recently presented a paper at the Lesbian Lives Conference in Brighton on why authors are compelled to write stories of lesbian love. Her paper included thoughts from her own perspective and many other authors and she has made the paper and slides available on her website.

Clare Lydon wrapped up her All I Want Series recently with All I Want Forever and she’s been blogging about her experience of writing Tori and Holly’s story:

When I was thinking about writing their story, I heard from a friend about how awful her online dating experiences had been. I thought there might be something in that, so I began to write down some instances people had told me about, and ones that had happened to me.

Yes, I went on a date where the person tried to sell me an insurance plan within half an hour – we never had a second try. And yes, one of my friends did fall asleep on the loo on a first date, but the embellishments were all my own. After it was published, I received a deluge of emails from readers telling me they’d also fallen asleep on the toilet during a date. Unbeknown to me, I’d tapped into a common phenomenon!

You can read the rest of the piece here.

Boldstrokes have been releasing more audiobooks of late, the most recent including Cari Hunter’s Desolation Point, Jenny Frame’s Courting the Countess and Lesley DavisStarstruck. You can get any one of these for free when you subscribe to Audible. Here’s the link to BSB’s latest.

And finally, a quick note for debut authors – the Polari First Book Prize is now open for submissions. The prize has been running for seven years and UK born and resident writers are eligible to enter. Books should have been published in the twelve months up to 1st Feb 2017. More details here!

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

10 Sep

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

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

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

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

Lost in the Starlight is available on Amazon now!

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

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

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

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

What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A skeleton, deep inside the bunker.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

collide o scopeIt’s had LT Smith puzzling too:

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to read all of these blogs in full.

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

Have a listen here.

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

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

POLARIpinkLARGEThe winner will be revealed in October.

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

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

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

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

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Phew! That’s all folks!

News roundup: Polari Prize winner, some top tens, a bit of blogging and a hint of envy

9 Oct

The leaves are turning and there’s a chill in the air: time for a wistful stroll through the autumn news.

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therentalheartAnd hasn’t the year flown by. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Polari submissions were being sought. But the winner of the Polari First Book Prize was announced this week and it’s Kirsty Logan for her book of short stories The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales. The critically acclaimed collection was shortlisted for the Green Carnation Prize and is the winner of the Scott Prize. Of the book, Paul Burston said “The judges were enormously impressed with Logan’s command of language and skillful story telling. She writes from a variety of queer perspectives, showing us a range of outsider’s viewpoints.Diva has more on this year’s prize and the Polari evening is reviewed over at Dolores Delargo Towers.

Kirsty is based in Scotland and she is a literary editor and freelance writer. Her fiction has been published in literary magazines and anthologies and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She also had a piece in The Guardian this week listing The best LGBT sex in literature. In the article she confesses: “I wanted this to be a list of literary smut. I wanted to choose the 10 hottest, most realistic, most beautifully written queer sex scenes ever published.” The resulting list is heavy on the literary writers, with the top spot going to Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith.

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too late I love youSpeaking of lists, Kiki Archer‘s Too Late…I Love You makes The Lesbian Review’s 10 Great Books To Try.  Of the book The Lesbian Review says:

This is one of the best books I have read this year. I absolutely loved it. It is well written and will keep you guessing and Archer keeps the story tight.

I would also like to add that the flirting between the women was really lovely and well done. Often writers resort to descriptions of emotions to convey that fluttery feeling of excitement one gets from good chemistry. Archer managed a lot with dialogue alone.

I was hooked from early on right up to the last word.

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Amy-Dunne-author-1-256x300Another British author getting coverage over on The Lesbian Review is Amy Dunne who answered their author profile questions. When asked what readers might find interesting about her, Amy replied “From the ages of 8 – 22 I genuinely thought I was going to become a Catholic nun. I blame Sister Act. Fortunately, I saw the light and accepted I was a lesbian instead.” Now, surely there’s a book in that.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300The Paying Guests has hit America and so has Sarah Waters. The Daily Beast has an article on Sarah Waters: Queen of the Tortured Lesbian Romance. When asked whether the novel was a crime, love or historical story she replies:

“I think love story at its heart…I was writing part one over and over again, and it wasn’t going right. I was thinking of it as a romance, a very small story. Then I realized that even though in my other novels love and desire are strong elements, I’d never written a love story before, with the two characters tested. That crystallized it for me: The crime would push and test them. This is a love story complicated by crime.”

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untrained eyeJody Klaire has been blogging and talking about her recent writing experiences:

“I learned a lot from La Vie en Bleu and from book one and two of Aeron’s series. I hope that I show that improvement in Untrained Eye. When writing a series, I noticed how easy it would be to settle into a formula. To keep the stories very similar and the characters the same.”

Jody also mentions that she will be on the Liz McMullen Show – for details on how to leave her a question to answer on the show and for the full blog post, scamper over here.

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Finally,  a few things to look forward to. Bold Strokes have signed up Cari Hunter‘s third book in the Dark Peak Series. Book 2 (Cold to the Touch) is out in December and book 3 is pencilled in for January 2017. Not many details yet, but Clare Lydon has a new book out at the end of the October – All I Want for ChristmasJen Silver has two books out next year and is comfortably into the first draft of another (catch up with her news here). And if there’s still not enough lesfic to look forward to, Andrea Bramhall will fill the void – she’s just completed the first draft of Collide-O-Scope, taking a jaw-dropping eight days to complete it. (And if you suspect a smidgen of jealousy there, you’d be right – seriously, eight bloody days?! I spend that long faffing about with character names).

And with that unseemly outburst, I bid you adieu!

Eight days….how the hell…


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

11 Sep

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

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

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

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

Here’s the blurb for Petite Mort:

Beatricehitchman

Photo by Sarah Lee

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

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

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

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

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duffy_maureenOn to interviews.

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

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

You can read the whole interview here.

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

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

You can read the full profile here.

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

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

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

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

You read the full review here.

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

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

Here’s the full entertaining list.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finally some events for your diary including one tonight.

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

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

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

News Roundup: Clare Lydon at Brighton Pride, Sarah Waters is Just About Everywhere, New Author Kirsty Grant, Call to UK Authors & Loads More!

1 Aug

For some reason everything in our house is breaking, blowing up, leaking, or flat-out refusing to work. So, before my laptop decides to join in the fun, I’m going to whip through this week’s news…

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clarelydonThe sun is still out, the beaches are packed, people are wandering around in ill-advised shorts, and Pride season is upon us! Anyone off to Brighton Pride this weekend (1st-3rd August – forecast: warm with isolated showers) should head directly to the Literature Live tent in Preston Park on the Saturday, where Clare Lydon will be first up with a reading from London Calling. It is your civic duty to go cheer her along and maybe buy a book or two. I’m sure she’ll be happy to scribble on a copy for you. All the details about this fabulous three-day weekend event can be found here.

Clare has also been waxing lyrical about her recent festival experiences, with her blog post listing the Top Ten Things About L Fest, 2014:

9. The Fishfinger Butty stall

When the rains came and all else seemed lost, there was the fishfinger butty stall. £3 bought you two slices of spongy white bread, fishfingers & ketchup. An extra quid for a potato waffle. This was the stuff of festival dreams.

Read the full 1-10 at the link.

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loved settledWe have a new author to welcome to the site this week. Kirsty Grant was born in Edinburgh, raised in Bonnyrigg, and now resides in Stirling. Her debut novella, Loved, Settled and Understood, was published by Melange Books in July:

Following the death of her best friend, Laura, Sophie’s life is thrown into turmoil. Torn between the stability of her long term relationship with her boyfriend, Jeff, and the unexpected raw desire for Laura’s sister, Jane, Sophie finds herself questioning her sexuality. Acting upon her desire, Sophie discovers that following her heart has unforeseen consequences and she finds herself tangled in a web of complicated love and heartache. Loved, Settled and Understood is a passionate love story which takes Sophie on a life altering journey of grief, lust, love and anger. How many hearts will be broken in the quest for true love? Is it easier to walk away from love to avoid heartache? Will the words of her late friend, Laura, echo true and will Sophie ever be loved, settled and understood?

You can find out more about Kirsty here at her blog, or over at her author page on Facebook.

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598px-Sarah_WatersThe pre-release publicity romp for Sarah WatersThe Paying Guests is kicking up a gear, with Kirkus whetting the appetite of pretty much every lesbian with a pulse with the opening line of this review:

An exquisitely tuned exploration of class in post-Edwardian Britain—with really hot sex.

Okay, okay, so it goes on to say slightly more reviewy other stuff as well:

Waters is a master of pacing, and her metaphor-laced prose is a delight; when Frances and Lilian go on a picnic, “the eggs [give] up their shells as if shrugging off cumbersome coats”—just like the women. As life-and-death questions are answered, new ones come up, and until the last page, the reader will have no idea what’s going to happen.

The full text of the review can be found at the second link up there.

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paying guestsIf all that talk of sex and egg shells has got you chomping at the bit, then you may want to take the opportunity to “spend an evening” with Sarah Waters at Stylist’s second book club event, which is being held on Thursday 28th August, 6-8pm. Here are the details from the site:

An exclusive preview copy of The Paying Guests will be sent to you before the event, three weeks ahead of its official publication, so you’ll be ready with your questions.

On the night, Sarah will read an excerpt of her new book, followed by an audience Q&A, and you’ll get the chance to have your hardback copy, available to collect on the night, signed by the author.

The venue, Holborn’s chic Rosewood London hotel, is particularly apt: it was formerly the HQ of Pearl Assurance Company, the building where Leonard works in The Paying Guests.

Tickets are £35, which includes a glass of wine and two exclusive copies of The Paying Guests – a preview copy sent in advance and a hardback copy on the night. The last time I checked, tickets were still available at this link.

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Frozen-Scream-main-300x178Finally in our Sarah Waters round up (!): not content with launching a book and touring the country, Sarah has also co-written a play with Olivier award winning entertainer, Christopher Green.

Based on the lost 1928 supernatural murder-mystery novel, The Frozen Scream tells the chilling tale of a group who find themselves stranded at an abandoned lodge in the depths of winter. Forced to entertain themselves, they begin to tell the tale of Jack Frost, the most terrifying of the Frost Giants. But as the story takes a shocking twist, they discover they should have heeded the early warnings to ‘beware the ice’.

A series of mysterious deaths apparently led to claims that the original novel was cursed, so it should be interesting to see what happens with this stage version. The play will run in Cardiff from December 11-20th, and then move to the Birmingham Hippodrome January 7-17th. To buy tickets for either venue, follow the links, and to read more about the adaptation, head here.

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KikiAndBoobsA call now to UK authors who fancy being included in a charity short story anthology. I’m going to be a right lazy sod and just let Ms Angie Peach tell you all about it:

So, after chatting with lots of authors at L Fest, Kiki Archer and I have decided to open up the genre of admissions to include any and every genre! And that’s not all! We’ve also extended the deadline for you to submit your short story to us, which will now be the end of September. So if you are Indie, published or even unpublished, and want to be involved in this amazing opportunity, get in touch with either Kiki or myself. Please also share this status so word can get around! Unfortunately, it is still only open for UK authors. Here’s a link to the charity! Thanks everyone! 

You can contact both authors via their Facebook pages. Just click on their names to hop over to their pages.

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hild coverA big congrats this week to Nicola Griffith and Sarah Waters, who – with Hild and The Paying Guests respectively – have both made it onto the Guardian‘s Not the Booker Prize list, a selection of books nominated by readers and intended to be a little more balanced than those the Booker may have chosen. A list of around 90 books needs cutting down to a shortlist of 6, and that’s where you lot come in. To vote for your favourite two novels from the list (which must be from two different publishers), write a review of around 100 words for each book in the comments section on this post. The deadline for votes is midnight, 3rd August, and you don’t need to write anything particularly erudite, just be enthusiastic!

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veronica fearonMore congratulations to V A Fearon (The Girl with the Treasure Chest) and Sarah Westwood (The Rubbish Lesbian), who have been longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. The prize is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in the UK in English within the 12 months of the deadline for submissions (this year Feb 1, 2013). The shortlist for the award, which was won by Mari Hannah‘s The Murder Wall last year, will be announced at the Polari Literary Salon on September 8th 2014,  and the winner will be revealed on October 8th 2014 in the Purcell Room at the London Literature Festival.

Good luck to the four authors on both of these longlists! For a sneak peek at the line up for forthcoming Polari events head here.

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Okay, I’m going to quit while the going is good and the laptop is still functional. If you are off to a Pride event this weekend, have loads of fun and shake your rainbow booty!

rainbow fan

 

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.

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!