Tag Archives: Sarah Waters

News roundup: new books, free books, blogging, reviews and the C word!

8 Oct

Dig out your woollies and grab a mug of hot chocolate – it’s time to snuggle up with some books.

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And there’s lots of new lesfic for you to get your mitts on this week.

flirting-with-dangerFirst up is Jade Winters with Flirting with Danger.

When the stepdaughter of a celebrated tennis player goes missing, ambitious journalist Astrid is determined to find answers.  This is the high profile story she’s been waiting for; the case that could bring her the recognition she so craves.

In her hunt for clues, Astrid’s attention is piqued by an intriguing tweet from Callie—a family friend of the missing girl.  

Convinced Callie might be a strong lead, Astrid follows her instincts and tracks Callie down. The encounter is one which will throw her whole being off balance.  

As the pressure to find the missing girl intensifies, so does the attraction between the two women.  With so much at stake, can Astrid hold her nerve and heart enough to deal with the shocking conclusion?

aquestionoftrustJane Retzig has a sequel out to The Wrong Woman. A Question of Trust is a lesbian mystery romance and is FREE on Amazon this weekend! Grab a copy here.

Three months have passed since the events of ‘The Wrong Woman’. Saskia is now working part-time with Jaiden, who is struggling to hide her feelings for her new friend and co-worker. Saskia thought Jaiden was flirting with her when she invited her to work ‘undercover’ and she’s frustrated that their private investigations have never wandered even remotely close to the erotic.

Neither Jaiden nor Saskia have had much luck with love. But when they finally kiss, it feels different… passionate… and unconditional. Then a major problem comes crashing into Jaiden’s life and her first instinct is to hide it.

And as secrets and lies start to spiral out of control, Saskia questions whether she should ever have trusted Jaiden with her already wounded heart.

mroliverVG Lee’s new book, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, has a male protagonist but I believe it also contains lesbians. In any case, who wouldn’t want to hear about a new VG Lee book.

Mr Oliver was a man of the moment in the 1960s, but as he reaches his fiftieth birthday he’s a decade out of date. From his bachelor flat to his relationships with women, he orders everything around him with the same rigour and precision that he uses to manage The Store in London’s Oxford Street.

Yes, he knows his Aquascutum from his Berkertex, can spot a linen mix fabric from twenty yards, but he doesn’t recognise his nemesis, Claire Daker, when she walks into his life.

Hired as ‘the face of youth’ by the impeccably trouser-suited Head Buyer Miss Frances, Claire, with her pleated mini-skirts and citrus lemon knee socks, proves to be the agent of change for both of them.

Enter Doreen Mildmay, a passionate woman who always gets her man, and the man in her sights is Sydney Oliver. She knows a broken man when she sees one and she’d like to fix him. But does he want to be fixed or would Mr Oliver rather pursue his object of desire?

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Cold to the TouchJudging is underway at the Rainbow Awards and Elisa is rolling out honorable mentions throughout October. Those books that scored at least 36 out of 40 get a mention, and Cari Hunter ran off with three for Cold to the Touch:

Talk about cold! Cari Hunter writes winter so that you feel the snow creep down your collar or the wind whistle through the rip in your pants. She makes you feel the ache of fatigue from three nights in a row of too little sleep, and the terror of thinking you’re losing your job, your career, your best friend, and your chance at love.

The-Club-by-A.L.-BrooksYou can read the other judges’ comments here.

AL Brooks has also garnered praise for her erotic debut The Club which seems to be hitting the spot:

This was an interesting first time offering. Definitely loaded with juicy erotic scenes and well-developed characters.

More here.

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Jen Silver has been blogging in the run up to the publication of Christmas at Winterborne and introducing readers to her characters:

christmasatwinterbourneWinterbourne is the name of the lesbian guesthouse – almost a character in its own right. And the story takes place over Christmas when guests arrive for a seasonal holiday programme starting on the 23rd through to the 27th of December.

With five weeks leading up to the release of this, my fifth novel, I thought I would drip-feed some information about the house and the characters involved. I hope I’m not going to put off some potential readers by revealing that there are fifteen characters with an active role in the story. And that’s just the human ones.

There are also horses and dogs because this is, after all, a country estate. So I’ll start by introducing the two oldest characters, both in their late 70s.

Catch up with the cast list revealed so far, including the young Londoners on Jen’s blog.

TheLongWeekend-640x1024Clare Lydon’s been a busy gal this year with her All I Want Series, but don’t forget her other novels including The Long Weekend. Clare has been reading an excerpt from her second novel for the Lesbian Talk Show. You can have a listen here.

kikiarcherprofileKiki Archer has been answering The Lesbian Review’s author profile questions. Have a look here to find out what inspired Kiki to start writing and how she describes her style. She also delves into what inspired each novel and of her latest, Lost in the Starlight, she says:

I just wanted to create a story where a hidden secret keeps you from being your true self. I love the world of celebrity and shows like The X factor. I’m also led to believe there are stars who choose to hide their sexuality for fear they’ll no longer be popular. I wanted to write about someone who was brave enough to be honest and how this could actually enhance their popularity and success. Thus Honey Diamond was born.

annelisterNot fiction but very lesbian and fascinating: Sarah Waters visits Anne Lister’s home of Shibden Hall and talks about her life and loves and reads from her diaries. Tootle over here to listen to Sarah and to have a nose around Shibden Hall.

hindsightMeanwhile Jodi Klaire has revealed a sneak peek of her forthcoming book, Hindsight (book 4 of the Above and Beyond series).

Have a shufti over here for a taster.

Also on Jodi’s blog is her free downloadable series, The Whistleblower, which features Susan from The Empath and also other characters familiar to readers of the Above and Beyond series. The series is downloadable as a PDF and is up to episode 3. Here’s the link to the beginning.

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The Lesbian Review has been busy with the Brits this week and had great things to say about them all.

no good reasonCari Hunter’s No Good Reason:

“This novel is dark and brooding and brilliantly written. Sanne is one of those women with zero self confidence but so much heart that you cannot help fall in love with her. She takes everything very seriously and acts tough but is really quite unsure of her own value.

Meg is a quirky character who is known for swearing at irritating patients. She and Sanne have a deep bond and she is protective over her friend, always knowing when she needs something more than she is saying.

It is beautifully written. Hunter transports you right into the world she creates and keeps you firmly in the grip of the icy weather, craggy rocks and oppressive atmosphere.”

lostinthestarlightKiki Archer’s Lost in the Starlight:

“Lost In The Starlight is an absolutely charming, hilarious and gorgeous story or two women from different backgrounds learning that life is a little more complicated than they thought when it comes to love and secrets…

I was not sure that Archer’s book could live up to such a good title but it did. And the title was explained in the book in a well thought out moment. (I was a little worried it would be cheesy but it wasn’t.) Apparently I worry about things that I have no need to be concerned about. I was in safe hands with Kiki Archer.

poppy jenkinsClare Ashton’s Poppy Jenkins:

Ashton did an amazing job with the characters. Every one was beautifully explored. The quaint town of Wells was as much a character in the novel as the human cast and I could not help but fall in love with it.

This book is beautifully written, yet easy to read. It is filled with conflict but you like all the characters. It is set in a small town that is dying and you hope for its resurrection. It really is a special novel.

AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonThe last two are also included on The Lesbian Review’s list of Light Romances That Delight together with Clare Lydon’s All I Want for Christmas of which the article says:

As Christmas comes hurtling towards us, I start to feel all warm and mushy. I love Christmas, but after reading this novel I am pretty sure that Lydon has me beat in that department.

This is the novel that made me crown Lydon as the queen of lesbian rom/com. It is utterly charming and has some of the funniest lesbian moments that I have ever read.

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Ooooo, makes you want to start Christmas already. (Apologies to non-Christmas fans who are struck down in paroxysms of outrage at the mere mention of the C word before December. Actually I don’t mean that. CHRISTMAS!!!)

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News roundup: a ton of new summer books, reviews, blogs and Stella Duffy OBE

18 Jun

Summer is very nearly here so it’s time to stock up on books for the beach or indoors out of the rain!

Luckily there are lots of new releases this week just in time for summer and first up is Clare Lydon’s new romance, Nothing to Lose:

nothing to loseNobody would ever describe Scarlet Williams as a ray of sunshine, but that doesn’t mean she deserves the flood that wipes out her basement flat, making her temporarily homeless.

Enter Joy Hudson, local mayor & sunshine specialist, who opens her house to flood refugees and ends up with Scarlet on her doorstep. Two more opposing characters you couldn’t fail to meet, and yet, somehow, they strike up a friendship. But when the rain stops and the sun comes out, could that friendship blossom into something more?

You can also hear Clare reading from Nothing to Lose in a video available from her Facebook page here.

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Gill McKnight also has a new romance available from the Ylva website and also on Amazon from the end of June. Here’s the blurb for Welcome to the Wallops:

Welcome to the Wallops.1The villages of High Wallop and Lesser Wallop have graced either end of the Wallop valley since medieval times. And competition between the two has never ceased since, especially over the famous Cheese and Beer festival.

As head Judge of Show, Jane Swallow has always struggled to keep peace, friendship, and equanimity within the community she loves, but this year everything is wrong. Her father has just been released from prison and is on his way to Lesser Wallop with the rest of her travelling family and their caravans.

Her job is on the line, and her ex-girlfriend from a million years ago has just moved in next door.

Her life is going down the drain unless she can pull off some sort of miracle.

Gill was also interviewed at Steampunk Cafe where she shared her thoughts on her previous novel, The Tea Machine, and other oddments about herself:

I live on a Greek island. I’ve been a published writer for ten years. I found an abandoned seven week old puppy and kept him and he is now the love of my life. He’s called Wally and he has the biggest ears in the world…oh, and green eyes and a ginger nose.

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It’s been a long time coming for those of you who’ve been eagerly awaiting Jane Fletcher’s new book, but it’s here:

the-shewstoneIn the port city of Fortaine, two young girls acquire new families.

Four-year-old Eawynn, the unwanted illegitimate daughter of an ambitious noble, is dumped in the temple. When she is old enough, she will be initiated into its sisterhood of priestesses. Meanwhile Matt, the street urchin, earns a crime lord’s admiration, so much so he adopts her as his daughter and heir to his underworld clan.

Nearly two decades later, their paths cross when Eawynn is appointed custodian of the Shewstone, the mystical orb of prophecy. Unfortunately for her, Matt is on a mission to steal it.

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saving graceNot out yet, but another author who’s been quiet of late is showing good signs of activity. HP Munro has revealed the cover for Saving Grace, the sequel to Grace Falls. No blurb or release date yet but we’ll be keeping an eye out.

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On to reviews and the Velvet Lounger has been back busily reviewing UK books.

She reviewed Jen Silver’s The Circle Dance  – “a classic British romance.” She also says:

circle_finalThis is a ‘domestic drama’ – an observation of human relations, from the hysterical over re-action of a frightened mother to the tears of a woman re-united with her beloved cat. Ms Silver shows us her characters flaws and foibles, watches them react to everyday situations, and allows some to grow and develop, while others struggle to learn life’s lessons.

Very much in the tradition of British lesfic romances The Circle Dance is a gentle story of real women’s lives. Well done, enjoyable reading and another winner from Jen Silver.

You can read the full review here.

collide o scopeAnd of Andrea Bramhall’s Collide-O-Scope the Velvet Lounger said:

“The whodunit is interesting, with unexpected twists and turns. It develops into a plot that might seem unlikely, but comes across as totally plausible and well thought out.

As always Ms Bramhall’s writing flows, her setting in the coastal village is perfect and the local colour adds a level of depth and veracity to the storyline. She balances plot and character, narrative and description, internal monologue with action and intrigue to make an extremely enjoyable read.”

More here.

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bold books logoThe BSB annual festival in Nottingham two weeks ago was a great success and two new authors have been blogging about the experience. Robyn Nyx writes:

“Saturday morning came, and we were buying giveaways and prizes at 9am in the local mall before heading to Waterstones to set up the event. There was a palpable sense of dread—what if hardly anyone shows up? It’s an annual issue, but we needn’t have worried. Over the two days, we had a combined attendance of 115, and we sold more books than ever before—over twice as many as the previous year, and that was a record!”

You can read the rest of her blog here.

Anna Larner has written up her thoughts on the event and writing. On writing a good romance she notes:

“And, as I have been asked to select my golden rule for a successful romance, it would be this – Writing from the heart, putting into the story what it feels like to long for someone, to fall for someone, the uncertainty, the self-doubt, the tortured agony of it all…”

Read more here.

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TheNightWatchNewWebsite532pxThe Night Watch, adapted from Sarah Waters’ book, has just completed its run at the Royal Exchange. You can watch and listen to Sarah talking about the novel, including her favourite character Kay, and what it was like to hand the novel over for adaptation with complex issues such as the book’s timeline and the atmosphere of war-time London. Here’s the link.

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Congratulations to Stella Duffy, writer, actorStella Duffy who was listed in the Queen’s birthday honours for an OBE.

On her blog she says:

“My mum would have loved this. I wish my folks were alive to see that their girl (no 7 of 7 kids)  didn’t ‘waste her education’ by becoming an artist … my dad didn’t cry when I came out, but he was devastated when I, first of us all to get a uni education, told him I wanted to be an actor not a lawyer or a teacher. (Because – poor.)

The citation says ‘writer and theatremaker’. I love that the palace and the government had to say theatremaker. That’s new(ish) for them. Unusual. We are making new words to tell the truth of what we do.”

And finally, I’ll leave you with the words of Stella Duffy OBE from her blog in the aftermath of Orlando last week:

“And so … we get up again. We rise up again. We fucking phoenix up again in roaring glorious flames of beautiful queerity. Because we can, and we will, and we do. And we do it in memory of those queer campaigners who got us this far, in memory of those killed in Orlando’s hateful attack, and for the sake of those to follow us. Because it’s not fixed yet, and there is so much more to do. Please let’s do this work of inclusion together, we sure as hell can’t do it alone.”

News Roundup: New Books from Clare Lydon, Lesley Davis & Jenny Frame. Blogs, The UK BSB Event, and Sarah Waters at the Royal Exchange.

3 Jun

With nearly half the year gone already and only 204 shopping days till Christmas, we have news aplenty on upcoming releases that are perfectly timed for beach reading, and a few that might find their way into festive stockings…

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clare lydonFirst up is one of those beach reads, with Clare Lydon aiming to have her new novel Nothing to Lose out by the end of June:

Really thrilled to announce that my new lesbian romance, Nothing To Lose, is almost ready to launch! The book is with my proof-reader and the cover is nearly done, so I hope to have my new lesbian fiction novel for sale by the end of June. 

To whet your appetite, Clare has posted the first chapter at her website. Head here for the exclusive preview.

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We now have the blurb for the second in Jenny Frame‘s A Royal Romance series, Royal Rebel. This one hasn’t got a release date yet, but Jenny promises it will be out in “early 2017”.

royal rebelPrincess Rozala of Denbourg enjoys her reputation as a wild child, especially when it annoys her father, the King. When Rosa’s latest girlfriend brings scandal to the palace doors, her father sends her to Britain, in the hopes that time with her cousin Queen George and the new Queen Consort will finally make her face her responsibilities.

After overcoming personal demons and quitting the high-stakes world of finance, Lennox King is content to keep her life simple. As the new director of a hospice charity, she uses a strict business approach to help the charity grow and prosper.

When Rosa comes to work at the charity under orders from the Queen Consort, babysitting a spoiled princess is definitely not on Lennox’s agenda. But when passion flares between them, will Lennox’s past stop their relationship in its tracks, or will a twist of fate bring a new future that neither was expecting?

You can find more details about Jenny’s upcoming books here at her blog.

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Another forthcoming release from Bold Strokes is Lesley Davis‘ Raging at the Stars. The book will be available in January 2017 and you can pre-order here at the BSB website. Here’s a sneak peek at the blurb:

raging-at-the-starsConspiracies. Emory Hawkes is an ardent believer. She’s an investigative journalist dedicated to seeking out the truths behind cover-ups and exposing the lies that keep the general population in the dark. Her priority? To expose the secrets at Area 51. While watching the skies over that top secret base, she observes what appears to be saucer-shaped objects descending. Whether of military design or otherworldly origin, Emory can only watch as they launch a devastating attack.

Emory’s theories go against everything Captain Sofia Martinez stands for, and all she has dedicated her life to, working at Area 51. Sofia knows Emory lives to challenge her authority, but can they put aside their differences to fight together to save mankind?

Can they save the world from not just the invaders above but also from the all too human element who have their own secret agendas to set in motion?

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JodyKlaireSkipping on to a few blogs now, and Jody Klaire has been chatting about her novels on Diva magazine’s website:

Other than I like smiling, I don’t know what to say. Odd for an author who is writing a blog to promote their work, right? A bit, but I’m battling with how to start. I could say that I write two series: thrillers and romantic comedies. Both stories explore the sense of not fitting into the place you grew up; being afraid to be who you are inside; what it is to be different… and celebrate it…

Read the rest of the piece at the above link.

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jensilverMeanwhile, Jen Silver has been sharing fond memories of last year’s GCLS conference whilst ticking down the days to the next:

I thought nothing could top last year’s GCLS with the abundance of lesbian icons in attendance…Dorothy Allison, Lee Lynch, Rita Mae Brown, J M Redmann. But the GCLS conference organisers have done it again. If anyone’s not sure about the value of attending a GCLS conference, just take a look at the line up. As well as the aforementioned Jewelle, there are authors I’ve admired from afar for many years…Katherine V Forrest, Karin Kallmaker, Lee Lynch, Radclyffe, Georgia Beers, Fay Jacobs…to name a few.

The conference, which runs from July 6th-10th, will take place in Washington DC, and Jen is scheduled to appear on a couple of panels. For more information and a full conference schedule, see the main GCLS website here.

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bold books logoWith only a day to go till the Bold Strokes UK Festival in Nottingham, their UK blog is in countdown mode as well, with new updates from participating authors: Anna Larner, Lesley Davis, Rebecca Buck, Amy Dunne, Jane Fletcher, I. Beacham, & Robyn Nyx.

The festival is being held at the Nottingham Waterstones (in the Sillitoe room on the 4th floor), and will kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday 4th June. All the events are completely free to attend, and there are promises of cake and coffee! Just turn up on the day and say hello. For more details, head here.

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TheNightWatchNewWebsite532pxFinally this week, a treat for those who like to see their favourite lesbian fiction brought to life, as Sarah WatersThe Night Watch opens at the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester. Described as a “pitch perfect production” by The Observer, the play will run until June 18th. Go here for more information and tickets.

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And that’s about all she wrote. If you are heading to the BSB Fest in Nottingham on Saturday, don’t be a stranger. Fair warning, though: I might be wearing shorts… 🙂

News roundup: Ultimate Planet Awards, upcoming titles, a bit of blogging and a pussy thriller

26 Mar

It’s Easter weekend and time to eat hide the chocolate eggs for the kids’ Easter trail. But before that, here are a few tasty morsels of news and some tempting books for the holiday weekend.

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kikiUPAwardWinners of the Ultimate Planet Awards were announced at the weekend at a fancy ceremony in London. The awards were started a couple of years ago to recognise and promote event organisers and businesses who improve the queer women’s scene.

There were three fiction-related awards and Kiki Archer was the big winner on the night. She took home the award for Best Independent Author and for Best Book with Too Late… I Love You. Sarah Waters won the Best Publishing House Author Award. Both were there to collect the awards and were reportedly jolly chuffed indeed.

You can read about the evening and other awards on Diva.

Looking ahead a bit now:

AQuietDeathCari Hunter revealed the cover and blurb for book three of the Dark Peak series. Book one, No Good Reason, was recently short-listed for a Lammy and book two,  A Cold Death, is already available. Watch out for mild spoilers in the blurb below. A Quiet Death is due out January 2017.

In book three in the Dark Peak series, things are looking up for Detective Sanne Jensen and Dr. Meg Fielding. Dating each other seems to be working, their families are behaving themselves, and the worst of the post-Christmas crime wave is over.

The discovery of a Pakistani girl’s body out on the moors changes all that. No one knows who she is, who hurt her, or how she came to be there. As pressure mounts on East Derbyshire Special Ops for a quick resolution, it becomes ever more apparent that the case won’t provide one.

With the Pakistani community closing ranks, and threads of suspicion reaching farther than anyone could have predicted, the investigation leaves Sanne facing an ordeal she may not survive.

Jenny Frame has just signed a contract for her fourth book with Bold Strokes. Royal Rebel – A Royal Romance Story will be published in 2017 (cover when we see it). Also, her first novel, A Royal Romance, will be released on audio book this year.

GallowsDropMari Hannah is onto book six of the Kate Daniels novels. Gallows Drop will be out in November and here’s the blurb:

At dawn on a lonely stretch of road, a body is found hanging from an ancient gallws the morning after a country show. Hours earlier, DCI Kate Daniels had seen the victim alive. With her leave period imminent, she’s forced to step aside when DCI James Atkins is called in to investigate. There’s bad blood between them.

When Kate discovers that Atkins’ daughter was an eyewitness to a fight involving the victim, the two detectives lock horns and he’s bumped off the case. It’s the trigger for a vicious attack on Kate, exposing a secret she’s kept hidden for years and unearthing an even darker one.

Shaken but undeterred, Kate sets out to solve a case that has shocked a close-knit village community. As suspects emerge, she uncovers a curious historical connection with a hangman, a culture of systematic bullying, a web of deceit and a deep-seated psychosis, any one of which could be motive for murder.

On to blogs and reviews:

Anna LarnerNew author Anna Larner has been writing about her first experience of reading lesbian romances as a teenager back in the 80s, and in particular Annie on My Mind. It’s a rather nice piece about the climate at that time and a book that is cherished by many:

Let’s begin, where I began, in the UK in the 1980’s, as a geeky teenager, standing awkwardly at the reception desk of my local library. I had secretively ordered a copy of the lesbian romance novel, Annie on My Mind, through inter-library loan. To this day I cannot decide whether it was indigestion or disgust betrayed on the librarian’s face, as she reluctantly handed the book over to me.

You can read the full post here.

carved_final (1)Jen Silver‘s Carved in Stone was reviewed over on Rainbow Book Reviews. This is the third book in the Starling Hill Trilogy and has “romance, adventure, a treasure hunt, and happy endings.” Here’s what they had to say about the book:

This book concludes a very enjoyable and illuminating collection by tying up several loose ends and bringing up to date all the pairs that have previously been introduced. I do recommend you read the first two publications (‘Starting Over’ and ‘Arc Over Time’) for the best possibly enjoyment of ‘Carved in Stone’. This trilogy most certainly allowed me to not only become enchanted and familiar with Northern England, but also to immerse me in everything the current environs present. The tantalizingly rich presentation of rural, small town life and an appreciation of current-day archaeology is more than great fun. This three-volume assemblage is a consummate treat. Applause!

circle_finalJen‘s also been talking about her novel The Circle Dance over on Women and Words and her problems writing that third novel:

As well as having to get to know new characters, I think I’m now more self-conscious about my writing. Before the publication of my first book, Starting Over, I just wrote stories for my own consumption. The best analogy I can come up with relates to playing golf. When you stand over the ball and start thinking of all the things you’ve been told about stance, swing, distance from the ball, not moving your head, rotating your hips – chances are you’re either going to nob it off the tee… (nob is a common technical term here in the UK) or shank it into the woods….So the trick is to let go, try to let it flow – but even thinking that can inhibit the process. I have to find that one pre-shot thought that will keep me out of the trees when I sit down to write. I just need to remember that I’m writing for myself, writing the stories I enjoy reading.
proofofevidence
And finally, Jade Winters has been quiet of late, but she’s just published a short story in the genres: Cozy Animal Thrillers and Lesbian Fiction. Here’s the blurb for this tongue-in-cheek tale of murder mystery.

In Godalming, home of astute and spoilt house cat Kitty, something is brewing in the feline community. After a string of robberies at the local butchery, Kitty’s human is fired after being accused of the crime. But when Tiddles, Kitty’s best friend from next door, comes to her for help, the tension in both human and feline worlds mount.

The budgie with which Tiddles shares her home has been killed in a brutal attack, and Tiddles is blamed for the murder. Soon to be collected by the shelter and losing her home, Tiddles begs Kitty to help her find the real killer and prove her innocence before she is lost forever for a crime she did not commit.

Kitty, addicted to catnip and Sherlock Holmes mysteries, fancies herself a feline version of her hero and embarks on her own investigation of the puzzling circumstances surrounding the budgie’s demise.

Will she solve the murder in time to redeem her friend or will she be too late to save Tiddles?

You can buy Proof of Evidence on Amazon now.

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Toodle pip.

News Roundup: New Books from Jenny Frame, Jade Winters and I. Beacham, L.T. Smith Q&A, Reviews, Top 10 Lists, & More!

13 Feb

It might be chilly outside, but things seem to be warming up on the UK LesFic front, with loads of news to get through. So let’s get cracking…

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courting the countessEveryone loves new books, and this week we have three to tell you about, the first being Jenny Frame‘s Courting the Countess, which continues along a similar aristocratic line as her début, A Royal Romance. The book will be Jenny’s second of 2016 (her first – Heart of the Pack – is due out in May) and is set for publication in September. Its blurb reads like this:

Professor of archaeology Henrietta “Harry” Knight becomes Countess of Axedale upon her father’s death and takes a sabbatical from Cambridge University to begin refurbishing the long-neglected and run down Axedale Hall. The child of a loveless marriage, witness to her father’s infidelities and her mother’s pain, Harry has no intention of ever falling in love.
Annie Brannigan is a survivor, remaining positive through hardships. As an agency housekeeper, she moves from post to post with her daughter Riley, taking care of people who have everything she will never have. Annie’s greatest wish is to find her happy ever after.
Can love restore the countess’s heart and the crumbling Axedale Hall, or will the first foundations of love turn to dust?

As if that wasn’t enough, there was more great news for Jenny this week when A Royal Romance was awarded an Alice B. Lavender certificate for Outstanding Début. Congrats!

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salvationApril, 2016 will see the release of SalvationI. Beacham‘s third lesbian romance:

When you fall in love, if it’s real, it’s forever. But what happens if the woman who gave your life meaning now hates you, for all the wrong reasons? Do you walk away? Claire chooses to stay, knowing her partner will never love her again. Her happiness has been stolen, and her future seems unclear. That is until Regan arrives.

Regan is an angry woman running from problems. Faced with challenges, she moves to Devon to sort out her dead brother’s estate. From the moment she meets Claire, they seem destined to clash. As they do, secrets begin to unravel that test them both but which offer the chance for love.

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the song the heartAnd if you want something to get stuck into right now, Jade Winters has just published The Song, The Heart:

Twenty-four year old Skye Anderson has always wanted to quit her boring job as a waitress to pursue her dreams of becoming a singer. But two things stand in her way . . . her irrational fear of failure and her father’s downward spiral of self-destruction. Everything changes when she goes on a trip to London, gains the courage to sing at a karaoke bar, and meets a charismatic woman who makes her heart skip a beat.

Morgan Harrington is a successful night club owner with no time for romance. Yet after hearing Skye sing one night, she feels an instant connection to the secretive yet beautiful woman. But before Morgan can even think about a relationship, she must overcome her own inner-demons and make an important decision that might taint her life forever.

As these two women grow closer, their dark pasts and Skye’s even darker secret only complicate matters. If they ever hope to build a life together, they’ll have to find the strength to face the heartache, betrayal, and loss in their increasingly complex lives . . .

Is their relationship destined to end on a sour note? Or will Skye and Morgan have a chance at living their own love song?

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Driving Me MadL.T. Smith has been chatting to Women & Words, with a new Q&A and giveaway currently being hosted on the blog. The interview is full of fun tidbits…

It seems as if everything I love to do is classed as a guilty pleasure these days, especially since the advent of ‘Dry January’. I rarely drink alcohol – I can get a hangover whilst nursing a glass of wine. But it isn’t just the booze that people are expected to feel guilty about consuming post-Christmas. It’s everything and anything that is sweet, fattening, moreish … I’ve never caught myself drooling out the words “Oh my. More tofu please. I. Just. Can’t. Get. Enough.”  Or humming happily whilst piling up the salad. Not happening in my kitchen.

So. Guilty pleasure. Chocolate, a comfy place to sprawl, loads of time, and a bloody good book. Not necessarily in that order, but definitely together. Perfect.

…And three e-book copies of L.T.’s new lesbian thriller, Driving Me Mad, are up for grabs. Closing date for entries is Sunday 14th February, so get your skates on.

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starstruckSkating along to reviews now, with Lesley Davis‘s current romance/thriller Starstruck receiving a glowing report from The Lesbian Review blog:

Aiden and Cassidy’s relationship is a delight to follow and they are super hot together. Having the main conflict come from outside of the relationship works well…Starstruck is a fun, sweet read and I’m looking forward to whatever Lesley Davis comes up with next. Yes, I’m a fangirl, and I’m not afraid to admit it.

You can find the full text here.

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JodyKlaireMeanwhile, the Lesbian Reading Room has been enjoying the third instalment in Jody Klaire‘s Above and Beyond series, Untrained Eye:

These are amazing characters and unusual plots. Jody Klaire manages to mix up a thriller crime drama with a psychic whodunnit and an ever so slowly burning romance. It’s a wonderful action adventure story for girls. Add in humour, great dialogue, brilliant writing and these books are just a joy.

Head here for the full review.

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Jen Silver’s author profile is now alive and kicking on The Lesbian Review, and a recent themed romance feature on the blog saw Clare Lydon‘s All I Want for Christmas highlighted in the Christmas Romance category and Kiki Archer‘s Too Late…I Love You occupying the Toaster Oven (apparently the prize given when a lesbian “converts” a heterosexual woman) Romance slot.

For all eleven of the books featured in the top ten (ahem) follow this link.

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220px-The_Little_Stranger_Sarah_WatersFinally this fortnight, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters has been named as one of the 100 greatest British novels as part of a new poll conducted for the BBC. The list was compiled by polling 82 book critics and literary scholars from outside the UK to choose the greatest British novels as seen by the rest of the world. The Little Stranger is ranked at number 45.

The diverse list ranges from classic to contemporary literature, and is also notable for the high number of female writers featured, making up 40 per cent of the top 100.

The full list of novels can be viewed here.

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And that’ll probably do us for this update. Whatever you’re up to this weekend – be it smooching with your sweetie, or just eating sweeties – have a good one.

News Roundup: New Releases from Jane Fletcher & Jen Silver, Free Audio Book from Jane Retzig, Wrapping up 2015 with Clare Lydon, Events, Awards, and More!

16 Jan

The tinsel is stashed away for another year, the party poppers are popped, and we’re back with our first news round-up of 2016. I suspect most of our authors are still slightly hungover, because things are a little quiet on the UK LesFic front, but I’ve done my best to dig up a few tantalising tidbits with which to welcome in the new year…

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006Let’s kick off with some good news on the awards front, with both Sarah Waters and Ali Smith making the Bailey Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist, for The Paying Guests And How to be Both respectively. The winner will be announced on June 3rd, and you can see a complete list of the finalists here.

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bold books logoBold Strokes Books have seen in the new year by giving their website a complete overhaul, and they’re rewarding punters with 10% off their current and backlist releases all through January. The website is far easier to navigate, looks rather pretty, and now comes with the facility to pre-order e-books. There are loads of UK authors publishing with BSB, so now might be a great opportunity to take a peek and catch up on those you might have missed.

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the-shewstoneI’ll stick with BSB for the moment, because Jane Fletcher is an author of theirs we’ve not heard from for a long while. If you’re a fan of Jane’s fantasy/romance novels, you’ll be delighted to hear that June 2016 will see the release of The Shewstone, the blurb for which reads like this:

In the port city of Fortaine, two young girls acquire new families.

Four-year-old Eawynn, the unwanted illegitimate daughter of an ambitious noble, is dumped in the temple. When she is old enough, she will be initiated into its sisterhood of priestesses. Meanwhile Matt, the street urchin, earns a crime lord’s admiration, so much so he adopts her as his daughter and heir to his underworld clan.

Nearly two decades later, their paths cross when Eawynn is appointed custodian of the Shewstone, the mystical orb of prophecy. Unfortunately for her, Matt is on a mission to steal it.

Clicking the link up there will take you to the pre-order page and allow you to jump to Jane’s BSB profile and all of her back catalogue.

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For those who enjoy resting their eyes and reading with their ears, Jane Retzig has released an audio version of her lesbian mystery/romance, The Photograph

the photographEverybody’s worried about Becky. She’s too rich, too young, and much too cute for her own good. And she’s driving her friends and family to distraction, playing fast and loose with the bored housewives she meets through Girl Power, the offshoot of Marsten Builders, which she co-runs with her best friend, Frankie. When she hears Niamh busking in the center of town, Becky is stunned by the intensity of her attraction to the itinerant young musician. The feeling is mutual. For Niamh, Becky has a familiar feel that reminds her of the home and family she has lost, and she quickly finds herself looking for ways to meet this intriguing young woman again.

Both women are deeply wary of any kind of new relationship. Their early experiences have left them wounded and vulnerable. But for some reason, they can’t help but trust each other. But even as the pair are taking their first shaky steps toward love, they begin to realize that their apparent chance meeting is already part of a much bigger drama unfolding. Events of the past are starting to catch up with them, and they are about to be faced with challenges and decisions that will change their lives forever….

The audio book is narrated by Danielle O’Farrell and available on Audible, Amazon and iTunes, but Jane is marking the launch by giving away free Audible copies to you lucky UK LesFic readers. If you are interested, please contact Jane at: janeretzig @ gmail . com  Be sure to take the spaces out of the address before you use it.

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clare lydonClare Lydon has wrapped up 2015 with a Ten Things I Learned… blog post, in which she discusses the joys of discovering Scrivener…

If you don’t know what it is, it’s a writing program that enables you to jump around your manuscript at will, keeps notes and most importantly, turn your novels into ebooks at the click of a button. Scrivener has made my life so much better. Apart from the morning it ate This London Love the day before I was due to release. That wasn’t pretty.

…And how rubbish she is at choosing titles:

Being a former magazine editor, titles should come easy to me, but they don’t. Time to start eating dictionaries for breakfast and pun books for lunch.

See the above link to have a toot at the other eight highlights!

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carved_final (1)Always busy on the blogging front, it seems that Jen Silver has been ramping up the novel writing as well, with new releases due in February and March. February will see the publication of Carved in Stone – the conclusion to the Starling Hill trilogy, and the re-release of all the books in that series, with a makeover cover for the central book in the trilogy. Meanwhile a standalone novel, The Circle Dance, is due out in March:

Another book, due out in March, is a completely new story with different characters and is called The Circle Dance. No archaeology in this one, but there is a nod or two to the surfeit of stone circles in the UK. You don’t have to go far to find one here. Not all as magnificent as Stonehenge, but compelling evidence of an ancient culture’s communication network.

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catherine hallA few events for your calendar now:

Val McDermid will be headlining at the York Literature Festival in March (if the city has dried out by then!). Poet Carol Ann Duffy is also on the guest list.  Find a full programme of events, ticket booking and the usual gubbins at the festival’s main site.

Catherine Hall has three events to discuss her most recent novel, The Repercussions, planned for spring. Find a listing of them here.

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And that about wraps things up. Brr, speaking of wrapping, it’s cold out there! Get plenty of layers on and don’t be slipping on any icy puddles. In fact, best just to stay inside and read a good book.

News Roundup: awards, events, new books, freebies and more!

15 Dec

It’s time for the last post of 2015!

Apart from the next post that is, which is our fabulous best of 2015 lesfic as chosen by several wonderful UK lesfic authors. But apart from that, here’s the last post of the year!

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no good reasonAnd firstly massive congratulations to that Cari Hunter whose No Good Reason has made off with the Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller. The awards organiser Elisa Rolle was tickled to make out the award certificate: “Cari Hunter has been awarded… for No Good Reason”. But actually there were very good reasons and the book was judged to be “Brilliant” and “A fabulous mystery”. More details and fine words about the book here.

Cold to the TouchAnd if you’ve had the good sense to have read No Good Reason already, you are in luck because book two of The Dark Peak series, Cold to the Touch, is now available on Amazon.

The Velvet Lounger at the Lesbian Reading Room has been quick off the mark and reviewed Book 2 already:

Cari Hunter writes decidedly good stories. She combines excellent plot lines, which twist and turn, with crime drama and just the right amount of thriller to keep us on the edge of our seats. Each book feels distinctive, enjoyably new and refreshingly different to standard crime dramas. Cold to the Touch is a sequel to the excellent No Good Reason, and fans of Sanne and Meg will love where she takes them this time. Cold to the Touch is more than strong enough to stand alone, but why miss an excellent series?

blindtrustYou can read the spoiler-free review here.

Congratulations also to Jody Klaire whose Blind Trust was runner up in the Rainbow Awards in the Best Lesbian Mystery/Thriller category. Jody is on Book Three of the Above and Beyond series and you can get a sneak peek at Untrained Eye on her website.

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Speaking of awards, The Ultimate Planet Awards are now open for voting. The awards were created to recognise, thank and promote the work of grass-roots event organisers and community businesses who improve the lesbian, bi and queer scene.

ultimateplanetThere are three categories related to lesfic: Independent Author with nominees Dawn Carter, Karen Campbell, Kiki Archer and Sally Edwards. Publishing House Author with LT Smith, Sarah Waters and VG Lee. And LBQ Book nominees Diary of a Broken Heart by Karen Campbell, Murder by Proxy by Dawn Carter, The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters and Too Late I Love You by Kiki Archer. Good luck to all the nominees and get voting here.

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AllIWantForChristmas-Clare-LydonOn to reviews, and The Lesbian Review has been busy. First up is Clare Lydon‘s All I Want for Christmas. The review site says:

“All I Want For Christmas by Clare Lydon is a must-read Christmas novel. It will fill you with holiday cheer and make your heart sparkle with twinkly lights.

It is the story of Tori who, exactly a month before Christmas, decides that all she wants for Christmas is someone to love. This ensues in a delightful romantic romp through bad dates, missed opportunities and long lost loves returning to her life.”

You can read the full review here and if you fancy buying a signed copy for Christmas then scuttle over here before last post.

starting overJen Silver‘s Starting Over is also reviewed:

The book starts off with one of the most awkward and hilarious visits that I have ever read… This is a gentle read that explores the intricacies of a relationship and what it means to different people. It’s an awesome read for people who like happy endings and for those who like to take a peek into other people’s lives.

Read the full review here.

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A bit of blogging and chatting now.

catherine hallIt’s good to hear that Catherine Hall, author of The Repercussions, is working on a new novel. She did a rare blog recently about getting back in the saddle and her writing routine:

I’ve been accused before of obsession, of being compulsive about order, my habits, my routines, and I think there’s probably some truth in it. But to get to the marathon end of a novel, a certain amount of obsession is required. You have to protect your time to write it from all the other people and things that make their demands. You have to really care about this thing that you’re creating, enough to keep going for as long as if takes, going back to it day after day, facing your own imperfections, your lack of talent, nitpicking over words, checking details, historical fact. It’s horrible, it’s exhausting, it’s fantastic.

You can read the full piece here.

Cari HMeanwhile, Cari Hunter has been ruminating about why she writes what she writes. Why crime and why lesfic?

When I put pen to paper at the start of No Good Reason, I didn’t really consider my motives. Crime has long been a favourite genre of mine, and I had thoroughly enjoyed getting my teeth stuck into the police procedural aspects of my third novel Tumbledown, so it seemed like a natural step to try my hand at writing a fully fledged crime novel. I also craved the opportunity to write a series, and a format where a fresh case could be investigated by recurring protagonists fitted that bill nicely.

Read on here.

jenny frameAnd Jenny Frame, author of A Royal Romance, was interviewed over on Lynn Lawler’s site. Jenny talks about why she started writing, her background and her inspiration behind A Royal Romance. There’s also a sneak preview of her forthcoming book Heart of the Pack – A Wolfgang County Novel.

You can read the full piece here.

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HopeHeartWinterRebecca Buck has a new short story set in the roaring twenties and, at the moment, it is free on the Bold Strokes Website! Here’s the blurb.

In 1927, Evadne Burns invites her closest school friends to join her for a weekend reunion at her grand home, Winter Manor. The passing of time and the dark shadow of the First World War has shaped them all as women, yet their friendships remain strong. The tragedy of the era has only made them more determined to live their lives to the full.

Evadne is delighted to see Clara and Courtney again, two women dedicated to each other since they were schoolgirls and still unable to keeps their hands off each other, even in view of Winter’s servants. There is the more conservative Madge, to remind them of the life they were expected to lead. But most of all, Evadne is pleased to see Edith Richardson, with whom she shared one precious night but left a lasting connection. With Edith, she chooses to share a secret that will affect the rest of their lives, together or apart.

Rebecca’s forthcoming novel, Fragile Wings, set in the same era is also available for pre-order on the site. And she also blogs about the Great War over on the Bold Strokes Author Blog site.

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wheniknewyouKe Payne has a release date for her next novel, When I Knew You. It’s her second adult romance (after Once The Clouds Have Gone). It’s just been through its final edit stage and will be published by Bold Strokes in March. Here’s the blurb:

When Ash Wells and Nat Braithwaite are thrown together after seventeen years apart, old resentments and passions are rekindled. The days of their heady teenage relationship are long gone – or are they? As they put aside their differences to honour the memory of a friend, Ash and Nat learn that sometimes, to build a future, you have to be willing to let go of the past.

Ke will be with us in the new year to tell us about her latest book.

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VGLeeA little way in the future yet but some early notice from VG Lee about a Gaia Women Tutored Writing Retreat next September in Scotland. The event runs from 5th to the 10th. VG will be the resident tutor supplying advice and running the writing workshop covering the novel.

There will also be a second tutor overseeing the short story section. For more information on the retreat see the Gaia Woman website.

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Writer-Sarah-Waters-006On to more best-selling authors and their favourite picks.

Sarah Waters was recently interviewed at the Cinema Museum in London about her Desert Island Movies. Here’s her list. And while you’re on her website check out the details for the theatre adaptation of The Night Watch starting in May in Manchester.

manda-scottManda Scott has been picking her favourite books of the year over on her website. She’s picked the best of her reads from fantasy to World War II fiction. See the full list here and there’s more from Manda in our best-of-2015 Q&A!

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Finally the fabulous Women and Words are running their Hootenanny so nip over there every day for the chance to win in the massive lesfic giveaway!

Tara a bit!