Tag Archives: RJ Samuel

News roundup: Goldie shortlists, a lot of blogging, new books and events!

25 Apr

The awards season is in full swing and over the last few days the shortlists for the Goldies leaked out, and the UK has put in a jolly good show.

nightingalestars collidethat certain somethingLittleWhispers

Three authors made it on to the short list for Traditional Romance from a huge list of nominations: Andrea Bramhall for Nightingale, HP Munro for Stars Collide, and Clare Ashton for That Certain Something.

Karen Campbell put in a double showing in the Anthology (Fiction) category. Her collection, Little Whispers, was shortlisted and she also contributed to the UK anthology L is For… Lots of familiar authors in that (Kiki Archer, VG Lee, Clare Lydon etc.).

Jody Klaire is a finalist in the Debut Author category with The Empath, Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests popped up in the Romantic Intrigue section and KE Payne’s Because of Her was shortlisted in the YA category.

l is fortheempath_lgBSB_Because_of_HerAplacesomewherRJ Samuel is a popular gal and A Place Somewhere made it onto the shortlists of both the Ann Bannon popular choice category and the Tee Corinne Cover Design Award.

High fives all round for a good showing in the American dominated awards, or perhaps a cordial handshake will a solemn nod of approval. Winners will be announced at the GCLS conference in New Orleans on 22nd July. Fingers crossed lots of those Brits get a nice glass lump of an award on the night.  Good luck everyone.

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Right, moving on with the rest of this week’s business.

no good reasonCari Hunter’s imminent arrival has popped its head out for a good look. You can have a sneak peek at the prologue and first two chapters of No Good Reason over here. Cari promises the book will be Brittier than a buggering cold day at Blackpool and the extract features the text “Running late. Got puked on. Fancy a chippy tea at mine instead?

soul selectaGill McKnight’s Soul Selecta was reviewed over on C-Spot Reviews. Its review of Gill’s tale of the love-matching Soul Selecta begins: “Soul Selecta is an odd novel. A funny, stimulating, enjoyable read, but still a little odd. I like odd, however, so it’s all good.”  And it ends: “Soul Selecta ignores most lesfic plot arcs and completely entertained me with trashy Olympian gods, young lesbian love, some hot sex, a conundrum, and enough twisty fun that I consulted several times with my cats about what might happen next. Recommended.” Well I’d say. Sounds fabulous.

PLayinginshadowLesley Davis has been blogging over on the Bold Strokes site about characters and stories that stay with you when reading and playing games. Trent, from her novel Playing Passion’s Game, is one character who always has her ear and Lesley talks about her reappearance in her latest novel Playing in Shadow:

She’s one of my favourite characters I have created and I have so much more to share about her. So while romance weaves it spell around Bryce and Scarlet, Trent and Juliet will be preparing for motherhood. And as you can imagine, with these characters, it’s not going to be all boring bibs and baby grows!

You can read the full piece here.

riding in carsEvangeline Jennings has been over at Women and Words talking about the route she has taken on her way to publishing her latest book, Riding in Cars With Girls – it’s a roundabout one that you can follow here. The book itself is a collection of short stories, from “ESCORT – A high class hooker fucks a Mafia Don to death” to “TRANS AM – A widow hunts her husband’s killer across America. Route 666.” Hop in over here for a ride.

The_Full_LegacyMeanwhile Jane Retzig‘s The Full Legacy (a romance with a hint of the supernatural) has been published as an audiobook. It’s available on Audible, Amazon and will be available from iTunes soon. It’s narrated by Elizabeth Shelly who Jane says has done a brilliant job.

Clare Lydon reported from the Indie Author Fair in London:

it was also a real treat to be in Foyles’ flagship bookshop selling my novels – I was immensely proud. Plus, if you could bottle the upbeat energy in that room and sell it, you’d make a mint. After visiting The London Book Fair and hearing much indie author bashing, it was brilliant to soak up and add to the enthusiasm and gung-ho attitude of all the authors and readers present. We’re living proof that publishing is changing and only for the better.

Read her full article here.

runRun, the debut novel from new author Pat Adams-Wright, has hit the digital shelves. Here’s the blurb.

For Charlie Reinette, it was a typical Friday night out with her work mates. Or so she thought… Instead, she found herself in the midst of a domestic dispute, rescuing a woman she hardly knows and setting off a deadly chain of events. Harbouring the rescued woman finds them having to run from murder and the infernos raging behind them. Not quite the woman her friends think she is, Charlie has to face her past, her future, and everything in between as she fights for her life and the life of the woman she saved. Can the two women, Charlie’s group of eclectic friends, and the police catch the man terrorising them across Europe? How will they stay ahead of his game? One thing’s for certain…they need to RUN!

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Finally a few items in brief.

Should you start a novel with dialogue? No but yes says Jen Silver. She talks about one of the many writing rules and her new novel here.

Rachel Dax, author of the Pope Joan series, has started a fundraiser for her next film. A Delicate Love is a short film about “a young man’s first taste of love leads to a collision of fantasy and food“. Click here for further details.

Orla Broderick started an initiative to fill the bare shelves of a local Women’s Aid shelter with books. She donated two copies of her January Flower and put out a plea for other authors to donate. The support has been so fantastic that she’s extending the scheme to more shelters in Scotland. If you would like to donate please read about Orla’s plans here.

Polari is off to the seaside with a new venue in Hastings for the next six months. You can find out more about Polari on Sea’s first event on Facebook. And after last year’s success, Paul Burston has secured funding for another Polari national tour. Watch this space for further details.

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…Oh I do like to be beside the seaside… But I’ll settle for sitting in a sunny garden with my feet in a paddling pool. Tatty bye!

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News Roundup: Spring lineup for Polari, new releases, interviews, Hootenanny (and a bit more)

9 Dec
gambolling

copyright Roger Fereday

Everyone’s getting ready for Christmas and things are finally quietening down in the world of UK LesFic. But we still have time for one last gambol through the news in 2014. We’ll be here next week for a best books of the year piece as recommended by some of the UK’s best lesfic authors, but then UK LesFic takes a break until next year.

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The Stella Duffy, writer, actorPolari Salon has announced a rather fine Spring line up. Stella Duffy and Catherine Hall are booked in for what should be a great night on 30th January and Sarah Waters will be appearing at the March 30th evening. Click here for the full line up, and to book tickets.

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A few bits and pieces from around the web now:

the repercussionsThe Writes of a Woman has a piece on The Repercussions and also an interview with the author Catherine Hall. Catherine talks about the choices she made with the story of women and war from its title, the form of the novel, to the diversity of characters and the themes explored. You can read the article here.

Amy Dunne has been blogging about what Christmas means to her, over at Women and Words:

In my personal experience, as we grow older, our wishes for Christmas change. This year, there’s nothing of monetary value that I need or even want. Just to be able to spend the day with my family, is the most important thing in the whole wide world. To laugh, feel loved, and make wonderful new memories is the most incredible gift of all.

You can read the full piece here.

theempath_lgJody Klaire joined Lorraine Howell, Linda K Silva and Yvonne Heidt on the Liz McMullen Show to talk about their common literary interest in empaths. Jody says that the panel was fun as well as terrifying, and you can listen to the show here. Her debut has also been given a great review in She Magazine which described the novel as “an exhilarating rush, a cross between the best of X Files and Orange is the New Black. Fast-paced, sharp, and very, very smart“. You can read more of that review here.

stars collideClare Lydon has continued her Lesbian Book Club pod casts with an interview with the entertaining HP Munro. They talk about fan fiction, HP’s novels, how she started writing, and lots of other lesfic-related stuff. Listen in here. Also from Clare, you can also catch her recent book reading from G-Fest.

Jen Silver has just announced that her second novel, Arc over Time, a sequel to her début, Starting Over will be released by Affinity e-book press in May, 2015. According to a recent blog post, the novel will focus “mainly on the developing relationship between the archaeologist, Dr Kathryn Moss and the journalist, Denise Sullivan— with all the problems inherent in maintaining a long distance relationship”.

Jen promises more about this one in the months to come.

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A bit of a reminder of what’s new and due out in December:

lisforL Is For is the new anthology with an impressive list of UK LesFic authors. It features stories from VG Lee, Kiki Archer, Jade Winters, HP Munro, Andrea Bramhall and many more. All proceeds go to the R U Coming Out charity.

neighbourJade Winters has an erotic short story out, penned with Alexis Bailey and called the Neighbour from Heaven:Some people borrow a cup of sugar, others a cordless hand-drill, but what young lesbian Lucy gets from her sexy neighbour is beyond the realms of probability…and decency!

mountain rescue on the edgeSky Croft‘s Mountain Rescue: On the Edge is also out. A sequel to Mountain Rescue: The Ascent, it follows Dr. Sydney Greenwood and expert climber Kelly Saber through their personal trials, and trials in the mountains.season's meetings Sky’s also running a GoodReads giveaway for Mountain Rescue: On The Edge. The closing date for entries is December 14th.

And just in time for Christmas, Amy Dunne‘s Season’s Meetings is due out on the 15th December: “Could the festive road trip from hell actually lead to love?

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Finally, don’t miss The Hootenanny over on Women and Words. The massive giveaway of ebooks and paperbacks starts on Friday and includes books by Amy Dunne, Andrea Bramhall, Clare Ashton, Lesley Davis, Jody Klaire and RJ Samuel as well as lots of other lesfic authors from across the pond and every other direction. Here’s the lineup so you can get ready.
hootenanny2014

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That’s all folks!

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

26 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can read the full text of the review here.

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

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

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

“These poor, poor, tragic lesbians!”

Go read it at the link.

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

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

11 Sep

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

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

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

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

Here’s the blurb for Petite Mort:

Beatricehitchman

Photo by Sarah Lee

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

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

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

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

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duffy_maureenOn to interviews.

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

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

You can read the whole interview here.

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

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

You can read the full profile here.

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

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

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

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

You read the full review here.

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

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

Here’s the full entertaining list.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Finally some events for your diary including one tonight.

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

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

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

News Roundup: The Solstice Shorts Festival Needs You, New RJ Samuel Blog, Sarah Waters Reviews, Tour Dates from Catherine Hall & Nicola Griffith, and More!

29 Aug

In a week where the Great British Baked Alaska Sabotage scandalised a nation, how can we here at UK LesFic possibly live up to that level of excitement? Well, we can’t. But we do have news for you, once you’ve all calmed down a little.

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Cherry PottsFirst this week is the opportunity to spread a bit of festive cheer by helping to crowd-fund the Solstice Shorts Festival, a one-day short stories and folk music festival to be held at the West Greenwich library and the Royal Observatory on December 21st (the winter solstice). You can read all about the festival, watch a video from organiser Cherry Potts, and contribute to the funding at the above link. The deadline for contributions is Thursday September 4th.

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rjsamuel2Over at Women and Words, RJ Samuel has been exploring the topic of being “an outsider looking out” in a blog post that reveals details of her forthcoming novels…

I am currently working on the third in the Vision painter series which will feature my Indian-Irish vision painter as well two other main characters, an Irish woman, and an Indian woman brought up in Africa and America. And, for the first time, I’ll be working on another novel at the same time, this one featuring an agoraphobic Irish travel writer who needs to find the missing Indian wife of her ex’s new boyfriend. This will be set in Ireland and France.

…as well as taking a closer look at the inspiration behind those she has already published:

My novels mix genres as well as diverse characters, settings, and explore pacemakers, vision painting, and online deception amongst other subjects…my novels featured an Indian or Indian-Irish protagonist and my protagonists struggled with a sense of place, of belonging.

Head here to read the full piece.

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The Planet of the Books blog has been busy adding the profiles of several UK authors. Hit each individual link to read short, fun interviews with:

london callingClare Lydon

Have you created any characters you don’t like?

Yes! In my new novel, The Long Weekend, there are a couple of characters who are annoyingly self-absorbed. In London Calling, Jess had her moments too – she was a frustrating lead character at times, even if her heart was in the right place.

karencampbell2Karen Campbell

Where do you write? And what do you need around you?
I write anywhere I have an A4 pad and some music. Generally, I do it in front of my computer but that’s just so that I can lean on the table and blast my songs. In the summer, I was out in the garden. I shouldn’t though, as I get carried away and sing.

And VG Lee

Which character you’ve created/written do you wish you could spend a day as?
Mrs Botolph in my first novel, The Comedienne. She is the old friend of the main character’s mother and is very bossy and gets things done!

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theempath_lgA quick heads-up that Jody Klaire‘s debut novel, The Empath (book one of the Above & Beyond series), has been released onto Kindle this week. The full blurb for the novel can be found on our New Releases page, and if you like a soundtrack to go with your reading, Jody has published a playlist for the book here on her blog. If you enjoy this first book, its sequel Fractured will be out on November 14th.

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PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Sarah Waters‘ latest release The Paying Guests is picking up reviews all over the place. There are too many for us to feature them all, but a five star review from Joanna Briscoe in The Express describes the novel as: morally complex, atmospheric, romantic and psychologically deep, and goes on to say that The Paying Guests is an astonishing achievement and a notable Booker omission, while the Independent found itself longing for more of a spark:

Perhaps Waters does not want to put on a fireworks display of plot surprises. She does give us a poignant love story which symbolically sees in the death of the old order, the death of the old-fashioned husband and maybe the birth of an era of love without secrets. Yet we find ourselves wishing for a few more fireworks all the same.

If you prefer to make up your own mind, the novel is out in all formats (yes, hardback, paperback, and e-book) as of yesterday.

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the repercussionsClosing out this week with some diary dates, and Catherine Hall will be talking about her new novel The Repercussions (due for release on September 25th) at various libraries, bookshops and festivals this autumn. For a full list of events, see this page on her website. You can also hop to her blog from there, where Catherine has recently been talking about the thorny issue of self-publicity:

One of the things I never thought about when I started writing was promotion. Even if I had, Twitter hadn’t been invented then, Facebook was in its infancy and blogging was something that felt far too narcissistic.

I had an old fashioned idea about what a writer was – someone who sat alone, preferably in a garret (preferably in Paris), and worked long into the night on an Olivetti typewriter sustained by cigarettes and gin. So far, so Moulin Rouge. I liked it…

The third link will take you to the rest of the piece.

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NicolaGriffithAnd rounding out this roundup, news that Nicola Griffith will be heading to the UK in October (1st-10th) to do “Hild-ish things”:

It will be the first time I’ve done a novel-related event in the UK since 1993 when I was there for the launch of Ammonite. There are so very many UK readers I’ve met since and talked to through the magical ether of the intarwebs. I wish I could meet you all. I wish I could spend a month in the UK travelling about. But ten days is what we have. So I hope you can come to one of the events above. It’ll be a blast!

For all the dates and details (with more still to come) go to this page at Nicola’s blog.

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Now, you’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to cram some sponge and ice cream into a meringue…

News roundup: The Best of British in Curve, the return of Jane Retzig, Sarah Waters in the Literary Review, blogs and there’s always more!

8 Aug

I’m multitasking. This is not something I do well. So forgive me, while I have an 18-month-old on my knee watching Frozen and mop the brow of a fevered 3-year-old sleeping next to me, if things go slightly awry… Here is the news:

boundariesFirst, thanks to Henriette Bookgeek for pointing us in the direction (northwards for me) of Jane Retzig. The Yorkshire lass originally published her first novels with The Dimsdale Press in the 90s but has re-released the Yorkshire-set Boundaries for Kindle and in paperback. thephotographShe’s followed this up with a new novel The Photograph, also set oop north, and a rewrite of her second novel The Full Legacy. She describes her writing as (fairly gritty) lesbian romantic fiction and lists as her influences great Northern writers of the 50s and 60s – Barstow, Braine and Waterhouse – as well as Jane Austen, Patti Smith, British novelist Elizabeth Taylor, Daphne du Maurier, and almost all the output of Naiad Press. Jane is currently working on her new novel The Wrong Woman.

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It’s great to see some coverage of UK lesbian fiction in Curve magazine this month. The article by Sue Fidler, aka TheVelvet Lounger, addresses the resurgence of British lesfic in the last couple of years.
CurveSue talks about the breadth and quality of fiction now being produced and covers Lammy award winning romances from Andrea Bramhall, gritty YA fiction by Amy Dunne, unusual and some comic romances from Clare Ashton, exciting and well-crafted thrillers from Cari Hunter and Veronica Fearon‘s gritty and demanding The Girl With the Treasure Chest. Have a peek at the article here. (If you’re quick you can also grab a copy of August’s Diva which has an interview with Veronica.)

AmyandwifeSticking with Amy for a moment, she has a letter over on the site Dear Teen Me – a collection of letters from authors to their teen selves. Have a read. It covers some rough times but rest-assured it all ends in Dolly Parton and fur babies.

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amazonia an impossibleOnto blogs. Sky Croft‘s been blogging over on Women and Words about the wedding fever that’s been hitting her novels and own life. Sky’s sequel Amazonia: An Impossible Choice, one of the books she talks about in the blog, is out this month. Sky is running a giveaway over on Goodreads, so head over here before the 8th September to be in with a chance of winning one of two paperbacks.

Jody Klaire‘s also gearing up for the release of The Empath. Here are her in-flight instructions as she gets ready for publication takeoff including who’s on-board, the view out the window and the best way to get hold of the book. Here’s the full piece.

rjsamuel2RJ Samuel has been interviewed by AJ Adaire. The interview is a nice mix of frivolous, serious and personal questions and answers. RJ talks about her unique background and books, including the concept of a vision painter and how her books uncannily predict the future:

My books have been weirdly prophetic, some of the bad stuff in them seems to happen in my life. And A Place Somewhere has proved the same in that my move to America is turning out to be quite similar to Alex’s (and my job might now involve accounting), just that it didn’t involve an online girlfriend. An interesting fact (not necessarily bad) is that I have an Excel sheet for the book with character names written out which I started in March 2013 and the family that turned up to lodge in my house in August had the same names as three of my characters.”

Naturally I and others wondered if she was going to write herself a wonderfully happy fairytale next. You can read her answer to this and the rest of the questions here.

HILDUKNicola Griffith has been busy blogging about Hild with its release in the UK. Here’s her latest news roundup with links to interviews and posts including Ten Things About Hild – things that are known and things that Nicola madeup about Hild:

“6. How well she got on with her family. Hereric died and that death left Hild and her mother and her sister at the mercy of the world. I imagine there was a bit of irrational blame there: you bastard, you left us alone! And then the three women would have to had to stick together to face the world. But mothers and daughters don’t often get along so well after puberty. And Hereswith got the good marriage (at least insofar as we know). There again, Hild was the one who got the prophecy about being a light of the world.”

Here’s that article in full and the link to the full roundup.

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faking itTerry Baker reviewed Jade Winters‘ latest best-seller Faking It – a story of a writer pretending to be her gay chum’s fiancee in return for a promise of being published, just as she bumps into the love of her life.

Another winner from Jade Winters. This book is well written and edited. A true lesfic chick-lit romance with a good dose of humor thrown in for good measure. A quick and fast paced page turner from start to finish…Although this is chick-lit, this story did have a more serious side to it too. There is lies, deceptions, angst and homophobia all entwined with a light hearted sense of humor. So, it’s not all doom and gloom, but a very well thought out and put together work of art.

Here’s the full review.

PayingGuest_D-2-186x300Is it August the 28th yet? Not long now though and Sarah Waters‘  The Paying Guests will be in our eager mitts. Meanwhile it’s reviewed in the August edition of The Literary Review. The review goes into some enticing detail with the characters and setting although it’s careful to avoid spoilers:

As previously, lesbian desires are prominent and prove critical but – in keeping with the period – they announce themselves upon Waters’s protagonists, Frances and Lilian, awkwardly and initially inchoately. Frances has had Sapphic experiences but now lives alone with her mother. The household having fallen on hard times (there are prominent references to servants previously in attendance), they take in a married couple as lodgers – or ‘paying guests’, a preferred neologism. Leonard and Lilian Barber move in with all their clutter. Waters is excellent on the psychic disturbance this generates in Frances, faced with ‘the oddness of the sound and the sight of the couple going about from room to room as if the rooms belonged to them’.

The reviewer notes that with Waters’ track record and consistent high standard the novel is likely to be successful in terms of awards. However he comments on the story: “The prospective challenge for the reader can be that witnessing so much expressive, articulate forbearance and hand-wringing proves exhausting or confining. At times, I longed for reticence or stoicism“. Quite frankly, I’m glad to hear there’s a lack of it.

Have a good read of the full review here.

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VGLeeFinally, as well as Polari evenings hitting the provinces with the likes of Veronica Fearon, Kiki Archer, Clare Ashton and VG Lee performing across the country, five workshops will also be run. The first one has been announced for Brighton on the 25th September with the title “Who Am I? The LGBTQ  Monologue”. It’s a 2-hour workshop led by VG Lee and Paul Burston. The pair will help you kick-start those personal monologues and give guidance about how to perform them and get published. More details here.

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That’s all for now. This post was brought to you by Frozen and Cadbury’s chocolate buttons.

 

News Roundup: New Blogs from Clare Ashton & RJ Samuel, Interviews with Stella Duffy & Emma Donoghue, Kiki Archer Gets Her Tatts Out, & Much More!

22 May

After Tig copped lucky with a quiet spell last week, the recent sunshine seems to have made this week’s news fairly blossom. There’s loads of it to catch up on, so slap on some sun cream, and enjoy…

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V.A FearonIf the fine weather has you hankering after a night out in the Big Smoke but you’re stuck for entertainment ideas, VA Fearon and Sarah Westwood (AKA  The Rubbish Lesbian) will be appearing at Polari on May 27th. Tickets are £5 and you can book them here.

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that certain somethingThe Writing Processes Blog Hop continues apace, with Clare Ashton copping a tag from VG Lee and subsequently posting her entry, in which she chats a little about the inspiration behind her current best seller That Certain Something:

It was sparked by a conversation on the VLR discussion group where I was larking about answering questions for one of their spot-on weekends. Someone found my answers entertaining and fun and asked if my novels were the same. I had to respond that actually they were rather angst-ridden and miserable, so it had me wondering why on earth wasn’t I writing something humorous?

And goes on to reveal how she actually begins to put pen to paper:

A lot of that daydreaming at first. Playing with the glimmerings of a plot, characters and themes. I start jotting down bits of dialogue that I keep hearing in my head and ideas for scenes in a new Moleskin notepad for each book…

To read the full blog, hop over here.

RJ Samuel reading on FridayRJ Samuel also got nabbed and provided some insight into the influences behind her novels:

I don’t really write by genre. I write the story I need to tell, and everyone’s story is different. I draw from my diverse background as an Indian, born in Nigeria, living for many years in Ireland, and with all my family in America. From my educational and career background as a doctor, an IT person, a restaurant/bar owner, a writer. Even from my brief experiences in summer jobs as chambermaid, inventory clerk, pizza cutter, physiotherapy assistant, flower-stall ‘manager’.

Click here to read the rest of RJ’s answers.

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Stella Duffy, writer, actorWe’ve found a couple of interviews with Stella Duffy to catch up on. In a lively feature in The Guardian this weekend, Stella hopped through a multitude of topics covering family, work, cancer, and Nigel Farage (to name but a few).

Nigel Farage is probably fun to have a drink with, which is a problem. Some people might think: “Working class, lesbian, left wing – ugh!”, but they’d find I’m fun to have a drink with. Without space for dialogue, there’s no reconciliation.

And while I was hunting down the link for that chat, I came across another piece from the British Council in April that we somehow managed to overlook – never let it be said that we’re infallible! In Brussels to debate the concept of a national literature, Stella had this to say on the topic:

“The idea of there being a British national literature sort of confuses me anyway, making it ripe for a good discussion! The range of people in Britain is amazingly interesting – rather than there being a particular ‘national identity’, there are so many different ‘national identities’. One of the reasons the different regions of the UK are so important is because they didn’t used to speak the same language. There’s an incredible diversity in dialogue which comes through in prose, which is one of the things that makes British writing so exciting.”

You can read the full text of both interviews by hitting the links.

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FrogMusicMeanwhile, Emma Donoghue has been Making Beautiful Music over at Lambda Literary, where she chats about Frog Music, the rise of queer literature, and her quandary over whether to kick off her writing career with Stir Fry or Hood:

I think that what I would say is that I was entirely wrong. I remember my editor talking me down. I rung her up to say, Stir Fry’s really immature and shallow, it won’t work!
She said to me, “Emma, lots of people are going to prefer
Stir Fry,” and she was entirely right. It sold much better. Clearly, it’s not that I was insecure in general—I wasn’t—I just had this feeling that Hood was much stronger stuff. I would still say it is, I would say it’s a far better book. But readers need all sorts of things from their books.

Click the first link up there to read the entire piece.

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HanselGretalIf you’re a better woman than I am (not difficult!) and one of the 186.9 million people who understand what the hell Tumblr is all about, you can join Niamh Murphy over there on her brand new page. There are handy links to each of Niamh’s books and to the reading she recently posted from Mask of the Highway Woman. For those of you who aren’t so down with the kids and remain befuddled, head here, where WikiP will make everything as clear as mud.

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Kiki-ArcherKiki Archer has been getting her tatts out (quite literally) for all those lesbians who might struggle with the tricky concept of letting a potential love interest know that they too are a big old friend of Dorothy. In five handy steps, you can learn how to drop hints, let the cat out of the bag, and if all else fails, flash a bit of tatt. For Kiki’s How To guide, click here.

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nightingaleA couple of reviews now to wind up the week, both for Andrea Bramhall‘s Nightingale, and both resoundingly enthusiastic:

The Lesbian Reading Room had this to say:

Nightingale is an amazing and sometimes brutal tale of the fate of women forced into arranged marriages and abducted by their husband’s family to places where western law and western agencies cannot reach them. At the same time it is a wonderful romance that tells the tale of two women who’s souls connect from the very first day and are destined to love each other despite their separation.

While over at Rainbow Book Reviews:

This multi-tiered story with a hot and sexy love story, an extremely exciting intense military-like task force operation marvelously intertwined with a host of outstanding supporting characters makes this book a wonderfully balanced and supremely entertaining read. I easily give this my highest recommendation. Truly, not to be missed!

As a Lambda finalist, Andrea also took part in an ongoing Q&A blog spot at the Lesbian Reading Room, where she chats about finding the inspiration for her novels, what the nomination means to her, and what’s up next.

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Righto, that’s me done for the week. Apologies to my neighbours, but I’m getting my shorts on!